Regulation change affects Michigan smelt fishing

If you’re fishing for smelt this year, make sure you know about a legislative change, signed at the end of 2018, that alters how anglers can target smelt in Michigan.

The previous state statute let people use any number of hooks attached to a single line, while fishing for smelt, alewife or other bait fish in the Great Lakes or recognized smelt waters.

Now, anglers fishing for those species can use no more than three lines per person, with no more than six hooks or lures on all lines. All hooks attached to an artificial bait or “night crawler harness” are counted as one hook (note: for crappie/perch rigs and umbrella rigs, each hook is counted as part of the total six allowed). This means anglers may use up to six hooks on one line or spread the six hooks out over up to three lines.

For more information on fishing regulations, see the current Michigan Fishing Guide, available at fishing license vendors and online at michigan.gov/fishingguide. Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.