Reel in the Facts: How Much for a Michigan Fishing License?

Reel in the Facts: How Much for a Michigan Fishing License?

Fishing is a beloved pastime in Michigan, with its abundance of lakes, rivers, and access to the Great Lakes. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newcomer to the sport, obtaining a fishing license is a crucial step before casting your line. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the cost of fishing licenses in Michigan, the different types available, and the regulations you need to be aware of.

The Cost of a Michigan Fishing License

The cost of a fishing license in Michigan varies depending on your residency status, age, and the duration of the license. Here’s a breakdown of the fees:

Resident Licenses

  • Annual All-Species Fishing License: $26
  • Senior Annual (65+ or legally blind): $11
  • 24-Hour All-Species License: $10
  • Youth Annual (under 17, voluntary): $2

Non-Resident Licenses

  • Annual All-Species Fishing License: $76
  • 24-Hour All-Species License: $10

It’s important to note that all fishing licenses in Michigan include a $1 surcharge that goes towards educating the public about the benefits of fishing, hunting, and trapping, as well as the impact of these activities on the conservation and management of the state’s natural resources.

Types of Michigan Fishing Licenses

Michigan offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different needs and preferences:

  1. Annual All-Species Fishing License: This license is valid for one year, from March 1 of the current year to March 31 of the following year. It allows you to fish for all species of fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and reptiles in Michigan’s public waters.
  2. 24-Hour All-Species Fishing License: If you’re planning a short fishing trip or want to try your hand at fishing before committing to an annual license, the 24-hour license is a great option. It’s valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase and allows you to fish for all species.
  3. Senior Annual Fishing License: Michigan residents aged 65 and older, as well as those who are legally blind, are eligible for a discounted senior annual fishing license.
  4. Youth Annual Fishing License: While not required for those under 17, Michigan offers a voluntary youth annual fishing license for a nominal fee of $2. This license can be a great way to introduce young anglers to the sport and instill a sense of responsibility.
  5. Combination Licenses: For those who enjoy both hunting and fishing, Michigan offers combination licenses that bundle the two activities. These licenses can provide cost savings compared to purchasing separate licenses.

Purchasing Your Michigan Fishing License

Michigan has made it easy to obtain your fishing license through various channels:

  1. Online: Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website at or use the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app to purchase your license conveniently from your computer or mobile device.
  2. License Agents: You can also purchase your fishing license from authorized license agents located throughout the state, such as bait and tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and some big-box retailers.
  3. DNR Customer Service Centers: Visit one of the DNR’s Customer Service Centers in person to obtain your fishing license.

When purchasing your license, you’ll need to provide a valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID card, or a DNR Sportcard if you don’t have a Michigan-issued ID.

Fishing Regulations and Seasons in Michigan

Along with obtaining a fishing license, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with Michigan’s fishing regulations and seasons to ensure a safe and legal fishing experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Open Seasons: Michigan has specific open seasons for different fish species, which vary based on location and type of water body. For example, the possession season for trout typically runs from the last Saturday in April through September 30, while the possession season for walleye and northern pike in the Lower Peninsula is from the last Saturday in April through March 15 of the following year.
  • Catch Limits: Michigan enforces daily possession limits for various fish species to promote sustainable fishing practices. These limits can vary based on the species, location, and type of water body.
  • Fishing Methods: Certain fishing methods, such as snagging, using explosives, or depositing litter or fish offal in the water, are prohibited in Michigan.
  • Threatened and Endangered Species: It is illegal to harvest, attempt to harvest, or possess any threatened or endangered fish species unless authorized by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
  • Reporting Requirements: Some species, such as lake sturgeon and muskellunge, have mandatory reporting requirements. If you harvest one of these fish, you must report it within 24 hours through the DNR’s online system or by phone.

To stay up-to-date on the latest fishing regulations and seasons, be sure to consult the Michigan Fishing Guide, which is updated annually and available on the DNR website or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.

Free Fishing Weekends

Michigan offers two free fishing weekends each year, providing an excellent opportunity for residents and non-residents alike to experience the joy of fishing without the need for a license. During these weekends, all fishing license fees are waived, and you can fish on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish.

The free fishing weekends for 2024 are:

  • Winter: February 17 and 18
  • Summer: June 8 and 9

While licenses are not required during these weekends, all other fishing regulations still apply, and a Recreation Passport is necessary for entry into state parks and boating access sites.


Obtaining a Michigan fishing license is a straightforward process that ensures you’re fishing legally and contributing to the conservation and management of the state’s natural resources. By understanding the different license types, costs, and regulations, you can embark on your fishing adventures with confidence and respect for the environment. So, grab your rod, reel, and license, and get ready to experience the thrill of fishing in Michigan’s abundant waters.

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