FTIS: Questions about the Law and What Tournaments/Events Need to Register

Question 1: What is the reason for the new law requiring that all bass, walleye and muskellunge fishing tournaments/events be registered with the DNR?

Question 2: Do all fishing tournaments/events have to register with the DNR?

Question 3: Are bass, walleye and muskellunge tournaments/events required to register if they are not using a DNR-owned access site? What if they are accessing a lake from a county, township or privately-owned launch?

Question 4: What about tournaments/events on the Boundary Waters (Michigan-Wisconsin, Michigan-Ontario, Michigan-Ohio and Michigan-Indiana)?


Question 1: What is the reason for the new law requiring that all bass, walleye and muskellunge fishing tournaments/events be registered with the DNR?

Over the last several years organized bass fishing tournament groups have requested an expansion to the bass season. Specifically, they have requested catch-and-delayed-release fishing for bass during Michigan’s spawning closure in order to allow for tournament fishing in the spring. During public discussions on Michigan’s bass fishing regulations, the Natural Resource Commission (NRC) asked the DNR's Fisheries Division the following questions on tournament activity which at the time in 2015 could not be answered:

  1. How many bass tournaments are conducted in Michigan each year?
  2. How many anglers participate in bass tournaments in Michigan each year?
  3. How many bass are handled and released in Michigan tournaments each year?
  4. What is the economic impact of bass tournament fishing in Michigan?

In response, the NRC passed the initial Fisheries Order which required all bass fishing tournaments to be registered and that those tournaments provide basic participation and catch data after the tournament is complete.

The success of the bass tournament registration and reporting program from 2016-2018, and the need for additional biological data on walleye and muskellunge prompted the NRC to expand the program to include these species starting in 2019.

FISHERIES ORDER 250 Reads in part:

Bass, Walleye and Muskellunge Fishing Tournament/Event Regulations

  1. Beginning January 1, 2019, the following shall be registered online using the Department's Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System:
    1. All bass fishing tournaments;
    2. All walleye fishing tournaments; and
    3. All competitive fishing events targeting muskellunge.
  2. Directors shall verify all tournament or event participants and provide a unique registration receipt to all participating anglers. Tournament directors shall report tournament results to the DNR by December 31, annually.
  3. The fishing tournaments and competitive fishing events listed in this order are required to register and report their results as determined by the DNR for each event type online at www.michigan.gov/fishingtournaments.
  4. Tournament directors shall verify all tournament participants and provide a unique registration receipt to all participating anglers. Tournament directors shall report tournament results to the Department by December 31, annually.

Question 2: Do all fishing tournaments/events have to register with the DNR?

No. The law currently only requires that bass and walleye tournaments and competitive fishing events targeting muskellunge, as defined by the Fish Order, be registered with the DNR.

Question 3: Are bass, walleye and muskellunge tournaments/events required to register if they are not using a DNR-owned access site? What if they are accessing a lake from a county, township or privately-owned launch?

Yes. The Fisheries Order states that all bass and walleye tournaments and competitive events targeting muskellunge must register. This requirement is regardless of how the tournament/events plans to access the lake or river being fished.

Question 4: What about tournaments/events on the Boundary Waters (Michigan-Wisconsin, Michigan-Ontario, Michigan-Ohio and Michigan-Indiana)?

If the tournament/event is being hosted at or is launching from an access site on the Michigan shore, then it has to be registered under Fisheries Order 250. If the tournament is being hosted at or is launching from an access site that is outside of Michigan it does not need to be registered.