How long is a Michigan fishing license required?

A new fishing season is underway in Michigan, which means anyone interested in angling local streams, rivers and lakes will need to have a fishing license to participate legally. But how long has this been a requirement in Michigan?

Michigan State originally issued commercial licenses in 1865, but did not require them for recreational fishing. The requirement generally in place to ensure fees, taxes and revenue generated from commercial fishing are tracked. But at the time, it wasn’t necessarily in place to protect the resources.

It was not until 1929 that large numbers of people now derived income from commercial fishing. Estimates run into the tens of thousands. This level of commercial use combined with advances in technology led to the first truly substantive commercial fishing law that year. The law now required that all persons fishing for commercial or recreational purposes in Michigan waters or the Great Lakes be licensed. This is when minimum size limits for fish and season closures were also established.

In fact, it was hard to find more info on this when researching Michigan fishing history, so if anyone has any more info on this, please reach out. and to send links or information about it if you wish.

Currently, you must purchase a fishing license if you are 17 or older to fish in Michigan. Anyone younger can fish without a license, but must follow all normal fishing rules and regulations.

Michigan’s annual fishing license is valid from March 1 of a given year to March 31 of the following year.

Here are the prices for the different fishing licenses in Michigan:

  • Annual resident all species – $26
  • Annual all non-resident species – $76
  • Annual All Species Senior (65+ or Legally Blind, Michigan Residents Only) – $11
  • Spearfishing (resident or non-resident) – Free (DNR sports card may be required and requires monthly effort and harvest report)
  • Young all annual species (voluntary permit for residents or non-residents under 17) – $2
  • Daily all resident/non-resident species – $10/day (you set the license start date/time)
  • The sturgeon license and harvest tag are no longer required. However, you must register your sturgeon harvest within 24 hours.

More information on fishing regulations and links to buying a Michigan fishing license can be found on the Michigan DNR website.

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