Walleye and pike season opener set for May 15
MARQUETTE— For many fishing enthusiasts, May 15 is the long-waited season opener for walleye and northern pike. These fish are prized sportfish as they fight well and provide excellent table fare.
“While many area gamefish have catch and immediate release seasons, the term ‘season opener’ means that this is the time of year when you can actually keep the fish that you catch, while staying within a daily possession limit,” said George Madison, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries manager.
All indications for this year suggest that the mild winter we just had will lead to a good season opener for walleye and pike. Both walleye and pike are fish that spawn in shoreline areas during the spring, and for the western Upper Peninsula this spawning event occurs in late May. This spring, these fish will be easier to catch because they are still congregated in the near-shore waters.
Fishing does not need to be complicated or technical for walleye and pike. Both species of fish can be caught from shore fishing or by boat. Flashy lures, crawler harness rigs, or bobber and worm will do the job. Since these fish are hard fighters, it is wise to bring a landing net with you when you go fishing. Information on how to fish can be found at the Michigan DNR website.
Sport fishing regulations vary in areas for walleye and pike, as well as for many other fish. People heading out to fish can find the latest fishing regulations guide online. Each year, there are a few changes to regulations that anglers need to be aware of.
These changes are noted in the beginning of the fishing guide rulebook and are printed in red to make it easier for people to find them. For extra ease of convenience, these regulation changes can be downloaded from the website to a smartphone or computer making them available to anglers when they are out on the water.
“An important reminder for people who plan to go fishing is to wear a life jacket while being on or near the water,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer.
“Accidents happen every year when people trip or accidently fall into the water and wearing a life jacket would have saved these people’s lives.”
This life jacket recommendation if especially important for children on or near the water. Another good reminder is to bring some warm clothes when you go fishing. Air temperatures are often cooler near the water and being uncomfortable takes the fun out of fishing.
For recommendations on where to fish, the Michigan DNR website has location information of Family Friendly Fishing Waters, where catch rates of fish are higher than most lakes, and Trout Trails, which points anglers in the direction of good trout fishing. For all this information and more on fishing, visit www.Michigan.gov/Fishing or call your local Michigan DNR office.
The next season openers to occur in the Upper Peninsula will be for bass on May 23 and muskellunge on June 6.