Bait Legalities?

Discussion in 'LOCAL MICHIGAN TALK' started by TA2D, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. TA2D

    TA2D New Member

    Hey fellers' I will be heading to the UP aroud the end of September, I was just curious on the legalities of using bluegil or other panfish for bait? I want to try to catch some big pike or maybe a muskie using methods that I use for catfish. Any help with this would be appreciated!


  2. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Ithaca, MI
    You are welcome to use just about any small panfish as bait, however the state will bust you if you try to use anything undersized- like a 6 inch bass or something. When you get your license, grab a handbook and check out page 8- sunfishes of any type are legal as long as you have 25 or less per person in posession. You can also use up to 5 bass 14 inches long or longer.

    You can have up to 50 perch, 25 white bass (which you wont find that far north) and up to a dozen herring or whitefish or menominee in posession at any time.

    DONT USE GOBIES. Theyre invasive and illegal to possess. just kill and discard them.

    like I said, all this is on page 8 of the handbook, but if the place where you buy your license doesnt have a handbook, then this is good enough info.

    Pike must be 24 inches, and your creel limit is 5 and muskies must be 42 inches and you can only have 1.

    Good luck. For big muskies... and a lot of them, go to the tequamenon river near the northeast side of the U.P.


  3. bwanatony

    bwanatony New Member

    Grand River Valley, Weste

    Hi Aaron,
    I fished for northerns with live bait in the UP for many years.
    I advise you to alter your tactics a little.
    First, use slipfloats that suspend your bait up off the bottom a ways.
    Second, I think suckers, ciscoes, chubs & the like will outfish bluegills for pike.
    Third, try "quick strike rigging", one hook in the mouth and one in the back of your baitfish. That way you don't have to wait for them to swallow it.
    Fourth, circle hooks are useless for northerns.
    Fifth, steel leaders. You can make your own with components and a crimping tool.
    Spend a bunch of money, they need it up there!
    Good luck & have fun!
  4. bwanatony

    bwanatony New Member

    Grand River Valley, Weste
    the DNR has done a good job explaining the bait rules in the 2006-2007 fishing guide, which you can read online (
    Essentially, you can use any fish for bait as long as it it was legally caught (no carp or goldfish).
    Legally caught means you could use a 14 1/2" bass for bait if you caught it on hook & line, or suckers or shiners that you caught with a seine.