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New boating & fishing laws take effect in Michigan this week

Posted: 6:05 AM, Mar 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-20 12:58:03Z
Miochigan free fishing weekend

(WXYZ) — Spring is here, and that means people across the state will soon be getting out on the water for boating and fishing. The state is reminding people of new boating and fishing laws that will take effect on March 21, and we have everything you need to know.

Boaters

The new laws are to help make sure that we can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Michigan waters. They affect both motorized and non-motorized watercraft, trailers and other ways to move watercraft.

According to the station, in addition to the already existing law that requires all aquatic plants to be removed from boats and trailers before launching, the changes below have been added prior to transporting watercraft over land:

  • Removing all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks and live wells
  • Draining all water from any live wells and bilges
  • Ensuring the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of aquatic organisms, including plant

By draining the boats and cleaning trailers, it limits the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, which are common in inland lakes. Also, the New Zealand mudsnail and hitchhike from river to river when mud or debris is left on kayaks, canoes and gear.

Anglers

For angler, the new laws focus on the release of baitfish, collection and use of baitfish and cut bait, and the release of captured fish.

Specifically:

  • A person shall not release baitfish in any waters of this state. A person who collects fish shall not use the fish as bait or cut bait except in the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway of the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught if the fish could freely move between the original location of capture and the location of release.
  • A person, who catches fish other than baitfish in a lake, stream, Great Lake, or connecting waterway shall only release the fish in the lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway of the lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught if the fish could freely move between the original location of capture and the location of release.

Moving fish from one body to another can spread fish diseases, and they can also be spread to new locations when water carrying parasites or the infection is transferred by bilges, live wells or ballast tanks.

Make sure that you are cleaning boats, trailers and all other equipment, draining live wells, bilges and all water, drying boats and equipment, and disposing of unwanted bait.

For more information on the laws, click here .