Fishing Regulations

A great catch from Lake Superior
A great catch from Lake Superior.

Kaitlyn Knick

Unless otherwise provided for, fishing regulations apply to all finfish found in the park.  Other taxa, including amphibians, mollusks and crustaceans (e.g. waterdogs, crayfish) are not considered “fish” for the purpose of NPS fishing regulations and are addressed by NPS regulations governing “wildlife” (36CFR2.2).  

These fishing regulations apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within the park that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.

Fishing shall be in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State of Michigan (36CFR2.3(a)) except as provided below. Where there is a conflict between a state regulation and a federal (NPS) regulation, the state regulation is superseded by the federal regulation. 

For state fishing regulations please visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website

For more information on how NPS fishing regulations work, go to the regulations page on the NPS Fish and Fishing website (https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fishing/how-regulations-work.htm) 

The following are prohibited, as per National Park Service regulations:

  • Fishing in fresh waters in any manner other than by hook and line, with the rod or line being closely attended.
  • Possessing or using as bait for fishing in freshwaters, live or dead minnows or other bait fish, amphibians, non-preserved fish eggs or fish roe, except in designated waters.
  • Chumming or placing preserved or fresh fish eggs, fish roe, food, fish parts, chemicals, or other foreign substances in fresh waters for the purpose of feeding or attracting fish in order that they may be taken.
  • Commercial fishing, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law.
  • Fishing by the use of drugs, poisons, explosives, or electricity.
  • Digging for bait, except in privately owned lands.
  • Failing to return carefully and immediately to the water from which it was taken a fish that does not meet size or species restrictions or that the person chooses not to keep. Fish so released shall not be included in the catch or possession limit: Provided, that at the time of catching the person did not possess the legal limit of fish.
  • Fishing from motor road bridges, from or within 200 feet of a public raft or float designated for water sports, or within the limits of locations designated as swimming beaches, surfing areas, or public boat docks, except in designated areas.
  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into a park area ecosystem. This includes the discarding and/or dumping of bait and bait buckets.
  • The use or possession of fish, wildlife or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law, or treaty rights.

The following additional regulations apply only within Isle Royale National Park

Lake Superior waters:

  • Fishing is allowed from all public boat docks, so long as it does not interfere with boat traffic
  • Anglers should refer to the Michigan fishing regulations for possession limits and detailed license requirements for Lake Superior.
  • Coaster Brook Trout are catch and release only in Isle Royale waters.
  • Possession or use of bait for fishing within Lake Superior park waters (which extend 4.5 miles out from the island) is limited.
    • Only those fish and or fish parts taken from fish that are caught using lawful fishing methods within Isle Royale National Park waters may be used during a current visit. Use during subsequent visits is prohibited.
    • Transporting fish or fish parts for use as bait to the park is prohibited.

Inland Lake and Stream Requirements

  • Method of take, all species:
    • Live, dead, or preserved bait or organic food may not be used or possessed at any time.
    • Only barbless hooks may be used.
    • Artificial lures only may be used. “Artificial lure” means any lure that is man-made, an imitation of or as a substitute for natural bait, used to attract fish for the purpose of taking them, and includes artificial flies.
  • Brook trout: It shall be unlawful to take brook trout in any manner from Hidden Lake, or the streams, rivers, and creeks of Isle Royale National Park that are tributaries of Lake Superior, except as “catch and release” and with the following restrictions:
    • Season: Last Saturday in April through Labor Day.
    • Size Limit: Catch and release only; no size limit.
    • Daily Catch and Possession Limit: Catch and release only; no possession allowed.
  • Rainbow trout may be taken in the streams, rivers, and creeks of Isle Royale National Park that are tributaries of Lake Superior with the following restrictions:
    • Season: Last Saturday in April through Labor Day.
    • Size Limits: Minimum size is 7 inches.
    • Daily Catch and Possession Limits: Five (5) fish.
  • Lake trout in Siskiwit Lakemay be taken with the following restrictions:
    • Season: April 16 through October 31.
    • Size Limits: Minimum size is 15 inches.
    • Daily Catch and Possession Limits: Three (3) fish.
  • Northern pike: It shall be unlawful to possess northern pike from any interior lakes within Isle Royale National Park that are greater than 30 inches in length.
    • Season: May 15 through October 31.
    • Size Limits: No Minimum size; maximum size is 30 inches.
    • Daily Catch and Possession Limits: Five in combination with walleye, but no more than two northern pike.
  • Lake Herring (cisco) and Lake Whitefish, Coregonus sp.: It shall be unlawful to take cisco or whitefish in any manner from inland lakes within Isle Royale National Park, except as “catch and release” and with the following restrictions.
    • Season: April 16 through October 31.
    • Size Limits: Catch and release only; no size limit.
    • Daily Catch and Possession Limits: Catch and release only; no possession allowed.

 

Last updated: March 26, 2021

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800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Phone:

(906) 482-0984

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