MDNR Fisheries consolidating, updating Michigan spearing regulations

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is reviewing significant changes to Fisheries Order 219 (FO-219) recommended by an agency workgroup after a lengthy review of spearing regulations. The workgroup claims “the recommended changes simplify spearing regulations and increase the diversity of fishing opportunities while maintaining effective protection of the resource.”

Spearing regulations where reviewed initially by each fisheries management unit considering their waters when recommending any changes. Proposed changes were drafted and prepared by the Warmwater Resources Advisory Committee – a Fisheries Division committee that includes stakeholder participation.

Proposed changes to spearing regulations include:

  • Expanding the season for spearing opportunities on many waters;
  • Expanding the waters where spearing opportunities exist;
  • Expanding the type of gear that can be used;
  • Expanding the list of species available for harvest to include gizzard shad, goldfish, and grass carp;
  • Consolidate spearing provisions listed in FO-220 (special Regulations for Muskellunge and Northern Pike with this Order;
  • Elimination of spearing in some waters due to management changes; and
  • Elimination of many restrictions and exceptions.

“Prior to 2010, many Fisheries Orders contained regulations or references to spearing. As part of the simplification process, several of these Orders were rescinded and/or incorporated into other Orders, reducing the number of Orders dealing with spearing from seven to two. This is the final phase of the process as spearing regulations listed in FO-220 are being recommended for consolidation into this Order. Thus, FO-219 will rescind FO-220. As a result, all spearing regulations will be contained in this Order, except for the provision allowing lake sturgeon to be speared as listed in FO-240.”

Spearing for muskellunge would still not be allowed on Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the Detroit River and St. Clair Rivers. The spearing season for pike and muskie would remain December 1 through March 15 through the ice on all non-designated trout streams and lakes except as otherwise noted in exception lakes. About 19 inland lakes will be exempt from pike and muskie spearing including Houghton, Budd, Ovid, Hudson, Thornapple and Fletcher Floodwaters.

Spearing and gaff restrictions continue for all species on the Black River, Cheboygan River and Indian River for any fish from April 1 through June 15 to protect sturgeon. Additional spearing would be allowed for rough fish, catfish, smelt and whitefish on listed designated trout streams from April 1 through May 31. Yellow perch can still be harvested with hand-propelled spear or bow and arrow on Lake St. Clair from January 1 through the end of February.

The new order would take affect April 1, 2012 and continue in effect until March 31, 2017 if approved at the next NRC meeting and signed by the MDNR director. Check out the version of FO-219 being reviewed this month by the NRC for a complete details.

Filed Under: Ice Fishing News


About the Author: Dan Kimmel is an avid angler, outdoor photographer and outdoor writer who becomes a computer guy in his downtime running web sites like this one, and among others.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Great Lakes Ice Fishing

    If you enjoy ice fishing anywhere in the Great Lakes Region, you'll enjoy Great Lake Ice Fishing. Please join the community forum and share your ice fishing reports & adventures.

  • Article Categories