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Daily lake trout possession limit on Grand Traverse Bay reduced

Anglers fishing for lake trout in the waters of Grand Traverse Bay this year need to be aware of a new regulation now in effect. At yesterday’s meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing, the commission acted to reduce the daily possession limit of lake trout in these waters from two fish to one.

The lake trout season for the waters of the Management Unit MM-4 (covering the ports of Elk Rapids, Traverse City and Northport) runs Jan. 1 through Sept. 30. The previous daily possession limit was two fish with a 15-inch minimum size limit. Effective today, and for the rest of the 2019 season, the daily possession limit is one fish with a 15-inch minimum size limit. Most anglers at a March 6 public meeting in Traverse City preferred this change over other regulatory options.

This regulation change was necessary because the 2018 recreational harvest limit for lake trout in Grand Traverse Bay was exceeded. Lake trout harvest limits are required by the 2000 Consent Decree between certain tribal governments, the State of Michigan and the United States. The limits support population rehabilitation and maintain sustainable harvest.

“We would encourage anglers to keep the first lake trout they catch and then shift to targeting other species,” said Heather Hettinger, a local DNR fisheries biologist. “Lake trout are not good targets of catch-and-release fishing, because about 40% of those that are caught and released won’t survive to be caught again.”

This specific regulation change is not listed in the printed version of the 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide; however, it is reflected in the electronic version of the guide found at Michigan.gov/Fishing. The change also is noted on the DNR’s Fishing Regulations Hotline (888-367-7060).