Michigan’s trout season opens Saturday, April 27

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DNR News

April 22, 2024
Contact: Lucas Nathan, 517-599-9323 or Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814

Michigan’s trout season opens Saturday, April 27

Buy a license, know the regulations and decontaminate!

Michigan’s statewide trout opener approaches, and anglers across the state are making plans for April 27, the last Saturday of the month.

Beyond gathering gear and choosing the perfect spot, here are some helpful tips to protect our natural resources and ensure a great experience without any snags.

Buy a license

A fly fisherman enjoys a beautiful day on an inland waterway in the Upper Peninsula. (Photo courtesy of John Pepin)

The 2024 fishing license year began April 1, and there are several ways to get a new license.

Purchase online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or at DNR customer service centers across the state. Many sporting good outlets and service stations also sell fishing licenses.

Licenses can be purchased on the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app, too. Access license info, maps, certificates and more on the go – download from the App Store for Apple devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices.

If you have questions about buying a license, contact the DNR’s license sales help desk at 517-284-6057.

Check the regs

It’s always a good idea to check regulations before heading out on any outdoor excursion.

Michigan fishing regulations, with the latest changes highlighted in red print, are available for download to your cellphone through the DNR Hunt Fish app, providing handheld access even when no phone service is available. Printed copies are also available for free where fishing licenses are sold or online at Michigan.gov/DNRRegs.

Color-coded regulation maps also are available online and can be downloaded or printed for easy access.

Protect our waters

Michigan’s trout streams are under increasing threat from harmful species that affect habitat and food sources for trout and other fish. Both didymo (rock snot) and New Zealand mudsnail can be moved to new locations on waders, nets and gear. To protect our waters, be prepared and take the time to decontaminate before moving to a new river or stream.

didymo mats in Manistee River

Didymo is a microscopic diatom (single-celled alga) that thrives in cold, low-nutrient streams. Under the right conditions, prolific growth – or blooms – result in thick mats that can cover river and stream bottoms.

Didymo blooms were first observed in Michigan waters in 2015 in the St. Marys River and then the Manistee and Boardman rivers in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Didymo has the potential to spread to new areas when cells attach to anglers’ waders and gear.

New Zealand mudsnails are only about 1/8 inch long, but they can change aquatic habitats by reaching extremely high densities and outcompeting native macroinvertebrates, leaving fish food in short supply.

New Zealand mudsnail populations are known to be present in the Au Sable, Boardman, Grass, Pere Marquette, Pine and Upper Manistee rivers in Michigan. Mudsnails can survive out of water for several days. Because of their small size, they are easily transported on boats, anchors and fishing gear such as waders and nets.

Learn about more actions anglers and boaters can take to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Plan to decontaminate

To avoid spreading these damaging species, always Clean, Drain and Dry your waders, boots, boats and other gear between trips or before moving to a new body of water.

Take extra precaution in areas with known or suspected didymo or New Zealand mudsnail infestations. In addition to removing debris and mud, the State of Michigan recommends using a chemical disinfectant to achieve maximum decontamination. Disinfectants with documented effectiveness for these species include:

  • Products such as Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner applied to waders and gear.
  • Bleach: Apply a solution of one-half cup (4 fluid ounces) bleach to 5 gallons of water and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • Virkon Aquatic: Apply a solution of 20 grams per liter of water and let stand for 20 minutes (see manufacturer’s label for additional guidance).

Any chemical disinfectants should be applied to waders and gear on land, at a reasonable distance from the water, to avoid accidental discharge into surface waters.

Report new detections

Small New Zealand mudsnails on woody debris in a stream.

To report didymo, use the Eyes in the Field online reporting system. Be sure to add up to three photos to aid in verification.

To report New Zealand mudsnail, take photos and make note of the location, date and time of the observation. There are a few ways to report your observation:

Enjoy the season!

Make the trip more memorable by inviting a friend or loved one to take in a new experience or maybe to relive glory days. Here’s to good fishing, good company and lots of cherished memories made this season!

For all your fishing information, safety and resource needs, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Fishing: A fly fisherman enjoys a beautiful day on an inland waterway in the Upper Peninsula. Photo courtesy of John Pepin.

  • Manistee: Didymo growth on gravel in the Manistee River appears dark brown. Areas where thick growth sloughs off look woolly and light tan, exposing clean substrate underneath. Photo courtesy of EGLE.
  • Debris: New Zealand mudsnails are visible on this woody debris near the mouth of Shanty Creek. Photo courtesy of Emily Burke, Grass River Natural Area, Inc.