What Fishing License Do I Need for Lake Michigan?

In order to fish in Lake Michigan, you must have a valid fishing license. Depending on which state you are in and the type of fishing you plan to do, this may require multiple licenses. Each state surrounding Lake Michigan has their own set of licensing requirements, so it is important to check with your local Department of Natural Resources for specific information.

In Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, an inland fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 16. This license is available as either an annual or daily pass and covers freshwater fisheries in the state. It does not include fishing in Lake Michigan, however.

If you plan to fish in Lake Michigan while visiting one of these three states, you will need a Great Lakes Trout and Salmon Stamp in addition to your Inland Fishing License. This stamp is available as either a single day or year-round permit and can be purchased online or at select retailers.

Michigan requires anglers over the age of 17 to purchase a base fishing license before they can fish anywhere within the state. This includes all inland waters as well as Lake Michigan. You will also need a Great Lakes Trout and Salmon Stamp if you plan to Target trout and salmon in the lake.


To fish legally in Lake Michigan, anglers must obtain an Inland Fishing License (annual or daily) from their home state (Illinois, Wisconsin or Indiana), as well as a Great Lakes Trout and Salmon Stamp from that same state. Residents of Michigan must obtain both a Base Fishing License and Great Lakes Trout and Salmon Stamp before being allowed to fish in any waters within the state–including Lake Michigan.

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Lindsay Collins