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No changes for chumming and steelhead bag limit regulations


Anglers won’t see any changes to chumming or steelhead possession limits as the DNR has decided changes are not needed at this time.

Anglers won’t see any changes to chumming or steelhead possession limits as the DNR has decided changes are not needed at this time.

Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff recently discussed with the public restrictions on the amount of organic material that could be used as chum and a reduced steelhead possession limit on four West Michigan rivers.

Seven meetings were held across the state in July with approximately 275 participants in attendance. Comments also were received through phone and email.

The discussions were initiated after the DNR received requests from anglers and constituent groups to lower the steelhead possession limit on the Muskegon, Pere Marquette, Little Manistee and Big Manistee rivers. A three-fish daily possession limit for steelhead has been in place since 1989. Michigan boasts some of the best river steelhead fishing in the country.

Angler interviews conducted on these four rivers in the past indicated only 5 percent of anglers fishing for steelhead harvest the three-fish daily possession limit.

The DNR also recently received complaints related to excessive use of chum on select Lake Michigan rivers, especially the Muskegon River. The concern stems from lower catch rates for those who do not use chum.

The DNR does not consider chumming as a biological threat to fish populations in general.

“Based on our current understanding of these two specific issues, we do not recommend any regulatory changes at this time,” said Nick Popoff, manager of the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit. “We appreciate the public’s feedback regarding chumming and steelhead possession limits, as it helped us better understand angler concern related to these two issues and this conversation will undoubtedly continue.”

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DNR simplifies fish spearing regulations


New spear and bow-and-arrow angling regulations, announced by the Department of Natural Resources, will provide additional recreational opportunities starting in the 2012 fishing season.
The changes are a result of a multi-year review process begun by an internal DNR Fisheries Division workgroup designed to simplify spearing regulations. Changes in the regulations were made in concert with citizens on the Warmwater Resources Advisory Committee and signed in a fisheries order by DNR Director Rodney Stokes.
Beginning April 1, licensed anglers will be allowed to use spears and bows and arrows to take designated species of fish year-round, except on designated trout waters or as noted in the list of non-spearing waters. Gizzard shad, goldfish and grass carp have been added to the list of species.
The season for spearing northern pike and muskellunge through the ice will remain Dec. 1–March 15, but the number of waters prohibiting spearing for pike and muskellunge has been reduced from 40 to 30.
For additional information, please consult the 2012 Michigan Fishing Guide, which will be available on line at www.michigan.gov/fishingguide  or license dealers in late February.

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