The Jig is Up

Michigan offers great fishing opportunities with more than 11,000 inland lakes, thousands of miles of Great Lakes shoreline, as well as numerous rivers and streams.

With so many options, where should you start?

Go close to home. A fishing license is not required for the ponds in Heritage Park, and you are welcome to fish. The two ponds are stocked annually by Canton Leisure Services for the Fishing Derby, held on the first Saturday in May.

Ready to branch out? Purchase a fishing license and read up on the current rules and regulations. You must purchase a fishing license if you are 17 years of age or older to fish. If you are under 17, you may fish without a license, but you are required to observe all fishing rules and regulations. Any adult actively assisting a minor who does not have a license must have a fishing license. Michigan's annual fishing license is valid from March 1 of a given year through March 31 of the following year.

Michigan also has Free Fishing Weekends twice a year, once in winter and once in summer. The winter weekend is always the Saturday and Sunday of President's Day weekend, and the summer weekend is always the Saturday and Sunday following the first full week of June.

This summer’s free fishing weekend is held in conjunction with the "Three Free" program, where residents and nonresidents, in addition to fishing for free, can also ride the off-road trails and visit state parks and boating access sites—all free of charge.

Whether you’re going for free or buying a license, you can pick a good spot using the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) “Where to Fish” page.

Once you’ve picked a spot, learn about what fish you’ll find there at different times of the year. The DNR stocks some lakes and ponds—you can check their fish stocking calendar to see if your chosen spot is on the list. They also put out this handy guide of where to find what kinds of fish in southeast Michigan.

Learn the lingo. We also have some great fishing books at the library, and online through Libby and hoopla. To look for just materials geared towards adults (or towards children), use the audience filter—or get more tips for how to hone your search here.

Feeling overwhelmed? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a great first time guide. So does Outside magazine. And Pure Michigan has one that’s great if you’re looking to get into fly fishing.

Being on or near the water is a fantastic part of living in Michigan. Make the most of it!