To protect and enhance Lake Michigan’s aquatic life and habitats for the benefit of current and future generations.


To provide world-class freshwater fishing opportunities, supported by healthy aquatic environments, which enhance the quality of life in Lake Michigan communities.


The following seven values guide the work of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division staff in the Lake Michigan Basin:

  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Professionalism
  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • Communication

Opening Statement

Lake Michigan is the largest freshwater lake entirely within the United States and the fifth largest lake in the world. Lake Michigan is home to the world’s largest freshwater dunes, as well as the world’s largest freshwater estuary (Green Bay). Sand dunes, marshes, tallgrass prairies, savannas, and forests provide the essential habitats for diverse physical and biological systems in the Lake Michigan basin. Lake Michigan offers diverse fishing opportunities from rivers, piers, the shoreline and the open lake. A diversity of interests are known to harvest fish in Lake Michigan which include commercial, subsistence, hired charters, and a variety of other recreational fishery user groups. Thus, managing such a vast and complex resource requires an ecosystem approach that is adaptive and collaborative among stakeholders responsible for fisheries management.

The Lake Michigan Management Plan will be annually reviewed and feed directly into the process used to make management decisions or recommendations by Fisheries Division staff. Reviews will also be conducted with the Lake Michigan Citizen’s Fishery Advisory Committee and broader regional focus groups. Documentation and record keeping will be available on this website for anyone with interest to review the plan, view supporting documents, and provide feedback.

Goal Statements

Goal 1: Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems and Sustainable Fish Populations

Objective 1: Enhance control efforts for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).

Objective 2: Conserve, rehabilitate, and manage desirable aquatic species and their habitats.

Goal 2: Diverse Fishing Opportunities

Objective 1: Increase public awareness of Michigan’s diverse fishing opportunities.

Objective 2: Create, maintain, and enhance fishing opportunities.

Objective 3: Increase participation and interest in Lake Michigan fishing among all demographic groups.

Goal 3: Strategic Resource Partnerships

Objective 1: Achieve fisheries management goals through partnerships.

Objective 2: Promote aquatic resource stewardship and watershed management.

Goal 4: Strategically Focused Assessment and Decision Support Tools

Objective 1: Conduct comprehensive assessments of fish and other aquatic life, habitat, and aquatic resource users.

Objective 2: Develop new and improve existing decision-support tools to optimize Michigan’s fisheries and aquatic resources.

Objective 3: Evaluate fisheries management actions.

Goal 5: Strategically fund priorities identified in this plan

Objective 1: Use existing Sportfish Restoration and Game and Fish funds efficiently.

Objective 2: Seek and secure federal, state, and private grant funds.

Objective 3: Develop relationships and programs with community foundations.

Objective 4: Work with partners to accomplish shared management actions.