Here. For Generations.


It might be casting a line from a dock into a Northern Michigan lake. It could involve relaxing with fishing rod in hand on a Southeast Michigan riverbank. Or maybe it’s a family outing on a Lake Michigan charter boat.

Whatever the setting, most people in Michigan harbor fond memories of fishing – which seems only natural, given our surroundings. After all, the Great Lakes State boasts 3,000 miles of freshwater coastline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and tens of thousands of miles of streams. Added up, it means you’re never more than 6 miles from a fishing opportunity.

Michigan residents rightfully take great pride in our fishing heritage. The various wildlife conservation and management practices in use today are key to ensuring that our water resources can be enjoyed both now and in the future.

How does conservation benefit fishing enthusiasts?

A clear connection – sometimes quite literally – exists between fishing and conservation. Keeping water clean and aquatic systems otherwise healthy are the foundation of a thriving fishery.

  • Keeping water clean

    Cleaning up the water happens at many levels in Michigan, from government environmental regulations to community groups organizing river cleanup afternoons.

  • Promoting fish populations

    Species and habitat conservation and management are keys to enhancing diverse fishing opportunities. Fish stocking is one component of conservation and management. Among other measures, the efforts are supported by fish hatcheries and walleye rearing ponds.

  • Keeping out invasive species

    Invasive species, such as the Asian carp, can have a disastrous effect on our waters, which is why Michigan participates in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee and takes other steps to protect native species from invaders.

How does fishing benefit conservation?

More than 1 million people in Michigan buy fishing licenses each year. Legal, recreational fishing is crucial to ongoing conservation and wildlife management being done in our waters.

  • Fishermen provide support for conservation through their monetary support and many also spend time each year in ensuring that our waters are stocked with fish and are habitable for an array of species.
  • More than $11 million in funding for fish and aquatic habitat conservation is generated annually from the sale of fishing licenses.
  • Each year fishermen spend more than $2.4 billion in fishing-related trip expenses and equipment purchases in Michigan.

You can learn more about these and many other conservation practices on our Wildlife Conservation page.