If you're getting the urge to throw a line in the water and pull out a trophy, you may want to check that you have one or that your Michigan Fishing License is still valid. While landing a lunker is an unmatched feeling, so is the sinking feeling of seeing a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer approaching you with a full string and an expired license.

Related: 2024 Michigan Fishing Update: New Year, New Angler Bag Limits

Michigan fishing licenses are valid on March 1 the year they are purchased, and expire on March 31 the following year. Let's look at Michigan's fishing rules and regulations and determine what type of angling permissions you'll need from the DNR before casting a line, plunging a spear, or shooting an arrow into the water.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Michigan?

Is Your Michigan Fishing License Still Valid?

Anyone who is 17 years of age or older is legally required to have a Michigan fishing license. If you are younger than 17, you must be supervised by an adult with a valid license.

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If you're taking a kid fishing, I highly recommend taking them to a Michigan License Agent Location (click here for an interactive map) and getting them the voluntary annual all-species youth license. If you can, get them their own tackle box, combo reel, hooks, and bait. It's an experience they'll never forget as they will be official, responsible, card-carrying members of the Michigan great outdoors, and it can become an annual tradition.

Michigan Fishing License Prices

Is Your Michigan Fishing License Still Valid?

Michigan's fishing license costs vary, depending on age and residency, and can be purchased at any License Agent Location or online at MDNR-ELicense.com. Here's a quick look at the pricing:

  • Annual all-species resident - $26
  • Annual all species nonresident - $76
  • Annual all-species senior (65+ or who are legally blind, Michigan residents only) - $11
  • Underwater spearfishing (resident or nonresident) - Free (A DNR Sportcard may be needed. See page 6 of the Fishing Guide) and requires monthly effort and harvest reporting.
  • Annual all-species youth (voluntary license for residents or nonresidents under the age of 17) - $2
  • Daily all species resident/nonresident - $10/day (you set the date/time for the license to start)
  • SPORTCARD $1.00
  • PERMITS/TAGS The sturgeon permit and harvest tag are no longer required. However, you must register your sturgeon harvest within 24 hours.
  • Combination license HUNT/FISH COMBO (Combo includes base, 2 deer, and annual all-species fishing)
    • Resident - $76
    • Nonresident - $266
    • Senior (65+, Michigan residents only) - $43

So, grab your tacklebox, unsnarl your reel, and prepare for another tremendous year of Michigan angling. Just don't forget to grab a license first.

The Biggest Fish Ever Caught in an Inland Michigan Lake

Michigan Fishing: 1900-1943

Michigan's 2023 Final Whitetail Deer Harvest vs 2022 Harvest

Another year and another downward trend continues for Michigan's Whitetail Deer Harvest in 2023. Here's a look at the final numbers from each county, ranked by lowest to highest deer harvested, and how they compare to the 2022 season.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow