Hold onto your Ugly Stick, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) just made waves with Michigan's anglers with Fisheries Order 200.23A. In short, it greatly reduces the bag limit for one of the state's most sought-after catches.

Related: UPDATED and BLEAK: Michigan's 23 Deer Season Harvest by County

Picture this: you're standing on the shores of the Pere Marquette River and you're day of pursuing Michigan's underwater game has just begun. You feel that familiar and unique tug on your line, watch your rod flex, and instinctively set the line, reeling in a lunker of a steelhead. You crank in your fighter, pull the lunker onto the shore, measure to make sure it's a keeper, AND ope, nope you have to throw it back.

Michigan's New Steelhead Bag Limits Tag Effect on April

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be enforcing a ZERO bag limit for steelhead on the Pere Marquette River for wild steelhead. The word to focus on is 'wild'.

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Telling the difference between a wild steelhead and one born in a hatchery is fairly easy. Hatchery-born steelhead have their ADIPOSE FIN clipped. This is the fin located closest to the steelhead's tail (see picture below).

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Any steelhead caught on the Pere Marquette with an intact adipose fin must be released or you'll face fines and other penalties.

Related: Tradition is Killing Michigan's Whitetail Deer Season

That isn't the only change for the species in 2024.

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The NRC is also imposing a 1 rainbow trout limit as of April 1, 2024, in the following areas:

  • Carp River (Upstream Boundary: Confluence of Morgan Creek (T47N, R25W, S4) | Downstream Boundary: Lake Superior) (Marquette County) •
  • Bear Creek (Upstream Boundary: County Road 600 | Downstream Boundary: Confluence of Manistee River) (Manistee County) •
  • Betsie River (Benzie County) • Little Manistee River (Upstream Boundary: Johnson’s Bridge (Johnson Road) | Downstream Boundary: 300 ft above the Little Manistee River Weir) (Lake/Manistee Counties) •
  • Manistee River (Upstream Boundary: Tippy Dam | Downstream Boundary: Railroad Bridge below M-55 (T21N, R16W, S6)) (Manistee County) •
  • Muskegon River (Upstream Boundary: Croton Dam | Downstream Boundary: M-120) (Muskegon County) •
  • Pere Marquette River (Upstream Boundary: Reek Road (Indian Bridge) | Downstream Boundary: Old US-31) (Mason County)
  • Pere Marquette River (Upstream Boundary: Upstream edge of the boat ramp/slide at Gleason’s Landing | Downstream Boundary: Reek Road (Indian Bridge) (Lake/Mason Counties)
  • Pere Marquette River – Big South Branch (Upstream Boundary: Confluence of Beaver and Winnepesaug Creeks | Downstream Boundary: Confluence with the Pere Marquette River) (Mason County)
  • Prairie Creek
  • Rogue River
  • Whitefish River (Delta, Alger, and Marquette Counties)
  • White River – North Branch

There you go Michigan anglers! Now you know the updates to the Mitten's bag limits and how to avoid costly fines and penalties while enjoying some of the world's best fishing.

Michigan's Dismal 2023 Deer Season: County By County Look A-Z

Things are looking bleak for a once proud sport. With just one week to go, Michigan whitetail deer hunters (as limited and aging as they are), have a lot of work to do even to come close to last year's total deer harvest. Here's an alphabetical look, county by county, comparing this season's year-to-date total to 2022s.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow