DNR News: #stateparks100, muskie harvest registration, new smelt regs

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News Digest - Week of Jan. 14, 2019

bearded turkey on green grass

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at michigan.gov/dnrpressroom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of some of the images used below  are available in this folder. Note: State park centennial logos are available in the toolkit at the bottom of the website michigan.gov/stateparks100.

Michigan state parks: 100 years young and going strong

Michigan state parks turn 100 in 2019!

With 103 state parks – from Milliken State Park in Detroit, to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on the western end of the Upper Peninsula – Michigan's enviable collection of outdoor recreation destinations is a draw for more than 27 million visitors every year. But it didn't happen by accident. 

Almost 100 years ago, Michigan's state parks system was established, moving forward a vision to acquire lands for great outdoor spaces where the public could enjoy leisure time in some of the most beautiful woods and water found anywhere in the country. Today, no matter where you are in Michigan, you're never more than a half-hour away from a state park, state forest campground or state trail system!

If it's been awhile since you've been in a Michigan state park, check out the video above for a bird's-eye view of some of these special places.

"Over the past 100 years, we are all fortunate for the vision and passion of those who had the foresight to secure these priceless natural treasures for future generations," said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson. "During this centennial celebration year, we invite old friends and first-time visitors to explore four seasons of fun. It's time to get to know your Michigan state parks all over again."

Take advantage of this yearlong celebration by visiting michigan.gov/stateparks100 to learn more about the rich history, find events near you, listen to podcasts, watch videos, and many other ways to enjoy and support Michigan's award-winning state parks system. For more information, contact Maia Turek, 989-225-8573.

Don’t forget about mandatory muskie harvest registration

snowmobile and fishing shanty on a frozen lake

With Michigan's ice-fishing season well under  way, the DNR reminds anglers who harvest a muskellunge that there is mandatory registration. The muskie harvest limit is one fish per angler per license year.

A muskellunge harvest must be reported within 24 hours of the catch. Reports can be made online through the DNR’s Harvest Reporting System (michigan.gov/registerfish), toll-free by calling 844-345-FISH (3474), or in person at any DNR Customer Service Center during normal state business hours and with advanced notice of arrival.

Fisheries managers use the registration information to evaluate muskie harvest across the state, helping them better manage those fish populations.

The general possession season for muskellunge is open through March 15 for all Great Lakes and inland waters and the St. Marys River. For more information, check out the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at michigan.gov/fishingguide or contact Cory Kovacs, 906-293-5131, ext. 4071 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

Regulation change affects smelt fishing

Close-up view of a rainbow smelt in someone's hand

If you're fishing for smelt this year, make sure you know about a legislative change, signed at the end of 2018, that alters how anglers can target smelt in Michigan.

The previous state statute let people use any number of hooks attached to a single line, while fishing for smelt, alewife or other bait fish in the Great Lakes or recognized smelt waters. Now, anglers fishing for those species can use no more than three lines per person, with no more than six hooks or lures on all lines. All hooks attached to an artificial bait or “night crawler harness” are counted as one hook (note: for crappie/perch rigs and umbrella rigs, each hook is counted as part of the total six allowed). This means anglers may use up to six hooks on one line or spread the six hooks out over up to three lines.

For more information on fishing regulations, see the current Michigan Fishing Guide, available at fishing license vendors and online at michigan.gov/fishingguide. Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.


Up for a nighttime snowshoe hike under the full moon? Mark your calendar for Jan. 18 at Hartwick Pines State Park. There's even a supply of snowshoes to borrow (first come, first served).


Turkey hunters, there are still about two weeks left to apply for your 2019 spring turkey license. Don't miss out! Drawing results will be available online starting March 4. Get all the details at michigan.gov/turkey.


Nothing can spoil a day in the woods like coming across dumped trash. If you'd like to help stop illegal dumping and  increase awareness of recycling opportunities, learn more about the Adopt-a-Forest program.

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