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Michigan hand-netting season opens March 1

Spring fishing is right around the corner, and that means Michigan’s annual netting seasons are about to get under way. The hand-netting season opens Friday, March 1, while the dip-netting season starts up Wednesday, March 20. Both seasons close May 31. A Michigan fishing license is required.

The following species can be taken during both seasons: bowfin, carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, longnose gar, smelt and suckers. Waters open to hand netting include all Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River, including all tributaries to those waters from the mouth to a half-mile upstream. Waters open to dip netting include all Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula streams, except designated trout streams and other streams, as noted.

All other waters are closed to these activities. Full season details, as well as descriptions of dip netting and hand netting, are available on page 23 of both the 2018 (available now) and 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide (available March 1), posted at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

The use of seines, hand nets and dip nets for minnows is allowed all year on all waters (except designated trout streams and those waters closed to minnow harvest), while cast nets can be used for alewives, gizzard shad, minnows and smelt all year on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River.

For those interested in dipping for smelt later this spring, visit the DNR’s smelt dipping and fishing opportunities webpage.

Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.