Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Get a Fishing License in Michigan

How to Get a Fishing License in Michigan

Going fishing is a thrilling adventure that you can enjoy with family, friends, and even by yourself. To ensure safety, Michigan’s state requires people to acquire a valid fishing license before they head out for a trip.

Contrary to what you may believe, fishing licenses are easy to get in Michigan. Having a Michigan fishing license will allow you to fish in the innumerable lakes, rivers, and across the coastline of this state, for the duration of its validity. 

Here are a few tips that can help you if you want to get one for yourself!

Why Should I Get a Michigan Fishing License?

Michigan has a lot to offer in terms of the rich biodiversity present in its water, especially the large variety of fish populations. This trait makes it a real haven for anglers across the United States. However, to be eligible to fish in Michigan, anglers must get their own fishing licenses.  Having a fishing license would allow holders to fish in the rich waters across Michigan at any time of the year.   

Fishing licenses help ensure that the fish are caught in a sustainable manner. This means that there are restrictions and regulations in place that will prevent certain species from going extinct due to overfishing. Having a fishing license means that you understand the limit of how many fish you can catch and the consequences you would face if you don’t follow the rules. 

Additionally, the funds collected from the fishing license fee would help Michigan state management to maintain the lakes and rivers. This would also help keep the fish (and other local marine life) protected and healthy by removing pollution from the vicinity. The money collected is also directed towards educating the general population regarding the need to help keep Michigan’s environment pollution-free. 

Who can get a Michigan Fishing License?

It has been established that those who want to go fishing in the freshwater bodies across Michigan State need to have an authentic fishing license. To be eligible for a Michigan fishing license, a person must be 17 years or older and should be living in Michigan for six months or longer. 

Along with residents, non-residents can also apply for a fishing license. Michigan State also offers valid licenses that are valid for a shorter time, making them more suitable for those who are merely visiting the state and want to fish in it. 

Veterans, as well as those in active service of the military are eligible to receive a Michigan fishing license. They are required to present some form of identification that can include a driving license or a passport, along with their military identification card, which would validate their services. 

It is also great to know that non-residents of Michigan who are stationed in the state due to their military obligations would receive the same treatment as a proper resident of Michigan. 

How much does a Michigan Fishing License Cost?

The cost of a Michigan fishing license depends on the span of time for which it is valid, the applicant’s age, and whether the applicant is a resident or a non-resident. Here is a list of the prices for a Michigan Fishing License.

Annual fee for a Resident: $26

Annual fee for a Non-Resident: $76

Annual fee for a senior resident (aged more than 65 years): $11

Annual fee for a resident who is legally blind: $11

24-hour permit (for Residents and Non-Residents): $10

72-hour permit (for Residents and Non-Residents): $30

It is interesting to note that Michigan State residents generally opt for getting an annual fishing permit as it is cheaper than getting one that is valid for 72 consecutive hours. 

Non-residents, however, would find getting a 72-hour permit would be significantly cheaper than an annual fishing license. Thus they usually choose the former option. It is also required that all non-residents pay $1 for a Sportcard that would accompany their fishing license.

What is Sportcard?

A Sportcard is issued for one dollar to any non-resident, minor, or a person who does not have a Michigan State ID, or a Michigan State driver’s license. Those eligible to having a Sportcard must take it with them on any fishing trip in Michigan or face a penalty. 

How long are Fishing Licenses Valid in Michigan?

Despite frequent requests made by fishing fanatics across Michigan, there are no options yet to acquire a lifetime fishing license. The most extended fishing license in Michigan is valid is for a year. 

For each annual fishing license, the year begins on March 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year. To elaborate, this means that irrespective of when you buy an annual fishing license, it will expire on March 31 of the upcoming year. 

Those who get the fishing license valid for 24 or 72 hours can fish for the time specified starting from the moment you get them. If you buy such a permit beforehand, it is valid for the time specified beginning on the day of your choosing. 

Exemptions to Michigan Fishing Licenses Prerequisites

Here is a list of some exceptions to the conditions of a Michigan State fishing license:

  • Children under 16 don’t require a fishing license (adults who are setting up fishing gear, hooking bait, and the cast for children don’t need to have a license, but all those participating in fishing activities need one)
  • Legally blind residents can pay the same fishing license fee as senior residents ($11)  
  • Disabled veterans who are unemployed due to their disability, while also being Michigan residents don’t require a license
  • Residents in active military services don’t need fishing licenses, provided that they can prove their active service status
  • Non-residents who are actively serving in the military while posting in Michigan are eligible to get a fishing license for resident prices.  

Places to Acquire an Authentic Michigan Fishing License

Michigan State offers convenient traditional and modern services to interested anglers who want to get a fishing license. 

Traditional Option: The ‘old school’ way of getting a fishing license is to approach a licensed Michigan State vendor. There are plenty of state-sanctioned stores that sell fishing licenses, including any bait and tackle stores around, and even your local Walmart. 

Modern Option: Michigan State has worked tirelessly to make an online option available for those who want to experience fishing within its borders. The online service conveniently caters to both residents and non-residents of the state. You simply have to acquire the needed documents and upload them to the online application. A fishing license would then be made available in PDF format, which can be either carried as a file on your mobile phone, or even printed out. 

It is helpful to remember that when applying for a Michigan fishing license, you will be required to give authentic identification as well as proof of residency. While going fishing, remember to keep your identification card with you along with your license. 

Do Other States allow Fishing with a Michigan Fishing License? 

Sometimes people wonder if their Michigan fishing license can be used in other states across the United States. Though Michigan has excellent water resources at its disposal, featuring many different varieties of fish, anglers sometimes cross interstate borders in their search for a good catch. 

It should be known that most states don’t allow anglers to use a Michigan fishing license. Prime examples can be seen in Ohio, Illinois, and even Canada, who are very strict about fishing licenses. These states don’t allow anglers to fish in their waters, if they don’t hold the respective state sanctioned fishing licenses.

However, states like Indiana and Wisconsin are willing to allow their residents to use their states’ fishing licenses in the Michigan and similarly allow Michigan fishing licenses within their waters. 

Concluding Thoughts

It is vital to get a valid fishing license before going on a fishing expedition. Owning a Michigan fishing license would make you eligible for fishing any day of the week and any time of the year, as long as your license is valid (those without a permit would be fined). 

Michigan’s policies for issuing fishing licenses extends to residents and non-residents alike. It caters to various age groups from young teenagers out on their first expedition to older enthusiasts who want to hone their catching skills.

It’s great to know that Michigan is home to a large number of lakes and rivers, as well as a long coastline, which provide an excellent choice in fishing points to anglers. It is essential to remember that having a fishing license helps ensure your safety as well as protect the environment and its inhabitants, so make sure you have one before your next fishing trip in Michigan!

A fishing license is but a small step to your next big catch!