Although there are no changes regarding the Michigan snagging regulations, I feel I need to refresh everyone’s memory. As an avid outdoorsman and fisherman in this very state, I feel people need to be reminded that snagging negatively affects the overall fishery. Snagging in Michigan rivers is still illegal! I feel this has been a hot topic lately since the salmon run is just about full swing in Michigan lakes and rivers. I was lucky enough to take a trip up to the Manistee River for a few days two weeks ago and was astounded by the number of people “snagging”.
There are many anglers who follow the rules and still catch tons of fish! In fact I would argue learning the proper techniques and methods would actually increase your catch. The problem is that river fishing ain’t easy. I spent my first year or two river fishing completely lost. If not help from some fellow anglers I probably would have quit due to frustration. My advice is to talk with fellow anglers and absorb as much information as they are willing to give. Hiring a guide while still learning is the best thing you can possibly do if affordable. You will save yourself a years worth of trouble and frustration.
Unfortunately in my time up north, the “snaggers” outnumbered the traditional anglers. This isn’t just a problem at the Manistee, just about every river I’ve fished in Michigan snaggers could be spotted. How am I so certain that illegal snagging is taking place?
Anglers using large treble hooks with a stainless steel wire leader is a pretty good indicator. It’s also obvious when passing by floating downriver. Quick jerks and rapid reeling really sticks out since its not part of a traditional river technique. I hate to stereotype, but alot of the snaggers I have witnessed come out late at night with headlamps, heavy duty yellow rods, and don’t talk too much. Presumably because there is less chance of getting caught in the dark.
Anyways, I KNOW that illegal snagging is going on and I’ve never witnessed a single arrest, although I hear about them on internet fishing forums. I try to stay away from the hot spots due to huge amounts of fishing pressure, yet I still see a major problem. So lets protect the viability of our fishery which is in enough trouble as it is due to pollution, invasive species, and bait die-offs.