Fishing at Isle Royale
Isle Royale National Park is an angler's paradise. Whether you are fishing Lake Superior or the inland lakes, by boat or on foot, there is exciting sport fishing abound. Through the management of fish and aquatic environments, the park works to preserve and restore native fisheries and their habitats, and provide recreational fishing opportunities for the enjoyment of park visitors.
A Michigan fishing license is required for fishing in Lake Superior, including narrow bays and harbors, and when transporting fish to and from the mainland. If you are under 17 years of age you may fish without a license. Licenses are not required to fish on the inland waters of Isle Royale; possession limits are generally the same as those set by the State of Michigan. Anglers should refer to the Michigan fishing regulations for possession limits and detailed license requirements for Lake Superior. Only 24-hour licenses are available on the island and only when concession services are open.
With its multitude of reefs and bays on Lake Superior, and its numerous interior lakes and streams, Isle Royale provides varied opportunities for recreational fishing. How can you help to conserve and minimize damage to the Isle Royale fishery?
Reminder: Barbless hooks and artificial lures only in all inland lakes, streams, and creeks.
Special Coaster Brook Trout Regulations
Surveys indicate populations are dangerously low and may be at risk of disappearing unless protective measures remain in place. The National Park Service and Michigan DNR have implemented protective regulations at Isle Royale in order to help with the recovery of this once-common fish.
Coaster Brook Trout can be identified by their nearly square tail and wormlike pattern on the back and dorsal fin. If you are uncertain about the species you catch, please return it to the water.
Isle Royale Lake Superior Waters: Extend 4.5 miles out from the island. Catch and release only for all brook trout, including all bays and harbors.
Inland Waters: Catch and release only in all lakes, streams, and creeks.
Disposal of Fish Remains
Please follow these guidelines to eliminate the potential for attracting and feeding wildlife, and to reduce unsightly fish remains and odors. Clean fish away from docks and campgrounds. Do not throw remains into shallow water, or to gulls and other wildlife.
Transporting Fish to the Mainland
You are allowed only one day's catch in your possession. One day's limit may be transported via ferries or seaplane with a Michigan DNR permit while license holder remains in the park.
Fish Consumption Advisory
Contaminants discovered in the park ecosystem remind us that although Isle Royale is remote, it is part of a global system. Ongoing research in six inland lakes (Sargent, Siskiwit, Eva, Shesheeb, Wagejo, and Angleworm) shows fish with mercury levels exceeding the State of Michigan fish consumption advisories. More information can be found through the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Last updated: October 16, 2018