The Dates You Need to Know About Michigan’s 2023 Fishing Seasons
Michigan is one of the greatest states in the country for fishing. Here is a list of dates for Michigan's 2023 fishing season's so make sure you have your fishing license.
When it comes to fishing and if you live in Michigan, you have a lot to be thankful for.
There is something in season in all four seasons of Michigan that offers residents and non-residents lots of options if you want to wet a line in waters in and around the Mitten State.
I will run through the fishing dates and licenses but seeing how Michigan licenses begin in April, I will start there and work my way to March of 2024.
2023 Michigan Fishing Seasons
Panfish, also known as bluegills, sunfish, perch, and crappie are open all year long with no size limit and you can keep 25 in any combination. Late April, all of May, and June can be some of the best months of the year to catch the big ones but fishing for them through the ice can also be rewarding and great fun for the whole family during the winter months.
Walleye has a few different seasons depending upon where you are in the state. For the Lower Peninsula, walleye season starts the last Saturday in April which is April 29th, and lasts until March 15 of 2024. In the Upper Peninsula season kicks off May 15 and lasts until March 15 of 2024. The limit is 5 per day in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas and the size limit is 15 inches. For those who crave tasty walleyes, the season is open year-round in Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and the Detroit River. The limit is 6 per day in Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and the Detroit River.
Northern Pike starts the last Saturday in April (April 29) and runs until March 15 in the Lower Peninsula. In the Upper Peninsula Pike season runs from May 15 to March 15 of 2024. The season for pike is open all year in the Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and the Detroit River. The size limit is 24 inches and you can keep 2 per day. There are a lot of inland lakes in the northern part of the state that has so many pike, there are often no limits on size, and only 1 that is 24 inches or bigger. Check signage at the boat ramp or your Michigan Fishing digest.
Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
Bass fishing is so much fun and one of the easiest game fish to catch. Saturday before Memorial Day season kicks in the whole state's inland waters and Great Lakes and lasts until March 15 of 2024. In Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and Detroit River bass season begins on the 3rd Saturday in June and ends on December 31. The limit is 5 in any combination and fish must be 14 inches or bigger to keep.
I have yet to haul in a Muskellunge (also known as a Musky) but have caught some fingerlings while bluegill fishing before. Musky take a long time to grow and in order to keep their populations safe the size limit is 42 inches and you are only allowed to keep one per year. Most anglers catch and release Musky. Musky season is first Saturday in June through March 15 of 2024 on all Great Lakes and inland waters and the St. Marys River. The season for Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and Detroit River is 1st Saturday in June through December 31.
Michigan offers two kinds of catfish which are channel and flathead. Both are in season all year long. Channel cats need to be at least 12 inches long and the daily limit is 10. Flathead catfish need to be at least 15 inches long and you can only possess 5 of these daily.
White bass is open all year long with the daily limit on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St Marys River, St. Clair River, and Detroit River being 25 per day. On Michigan's inland waters, the daily limit is 10. There is no size limit on white bass.
Cisco, Lake Whitefish, and Round Whitefish
Cisco, lake whitefish, and round whitefish are open all year with no size limit. You can keep 10 of any combination on the Great Lakes and 5 of any combination on inland waters.
Smelt dipping at one time was really big in Michigan and people still get out the nets to catch a few buckets full. Smelt season is open all year with no size limit. You are allowed 2 gallons of smelt for your daily limit.
There are lots of different options for lake sturgeon regarding seasons, size, and whether you can keep them or not depending upon what body of water you catch them on. Click here and go to page 17 on lake sturgeon regulations.
Trout, Salmon, and Steelhead
Trout, salmon, and steelhead seasons are much more complicated but click here and go to page 44 for all the seasons, size limits, and daily possession limits.