New muskellunge, northern pike regulation changes take effect April 1

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Press Release

March 4, 2013

Contact: Christian LeSage, 517-373-1280 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014

New muskellunge and northern pike regulation changes to take effect April 1

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that new muskellunge and northern pike regulations will go into effect for all anglers on April 1, 2013. In Michigan, only one muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) may be harvested per season per angler. Anglers who would like to harvest muskellunge must have a new muskellunge harvest tag, available March 1, 2013. Anglers are not required to obtain this harvest tag to fish for muskellunge; it’s only for those anglers that intend to harvest a muskellunge. 

Muskellunge harvest tags are free and available at all license vendors. Anglers who do not possess the tag are required to release all muskellunge they catch. The new tag will be used as a means to enforce the new possession limit statewide and will allow the DNR to monitor how many tags are provided to anglers and to provide insight on the level of harvest.

Registration of muskellunge harvest is not a requirement, but it will help the DNR manage this important species. For more information, please visit

New northern pike regulations will also go into effect on April 1, 2013. Northern pike regulations now include the establishment of a new 24-inch to 34-inch protected slot limit (PSL) regulation on several waters. The DNR believes this new regulation has the potential to increase predation levels by larger northern pike on smaller northern pike and result in a greater number of larger northern pike on various waters. A new provision has been added to waters where up to five northern pike may be taken. This provision restricts harvest to only one northern pike greater than 24 inches allowed as part of the daily possession limit of five pike on those waters.

Modifications to the muskellunge and northern pike regulations were developed with collaboration between the DNR and the Warmwater Resources Steering Committee (WRSC), a public advisory group that was tasked with review of muskellunge and northern pike regulation proposals. Additionally, the general angling public participated in a survey to advise the DNR on these regulation changes. These regulations will serve to protect and enhance future muskellunge and northern pike populations for anglers.

For more information on fishing for muskellunge and northern pike in Michigan, please review the 2013 Michigan Fishing Guide, particularly Note 7 in the General Hook and Line Regulations. As always, the guide is available in retail stores and online at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to