GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Anglers, tie your hooks! April 30 marks the start of the spring fishing season.

Several regulations take effect this weekend. Saturday marks possession season for trout, walleye and northern pike in the Lower Peninsula’s inland waters. Possession season for bass opens state May 28 with a few exceptions, while possession season for muskellunge opens on June 4.

Fishing licenses for 2022 are already available. The are valid from April 1 to March 31, 2023. All anglers 17 and older must have a license. They are available for purchase online and at sporting goods stores all across the state.

FOLLOWING THE RULES

There are a lot of regulations based on what type of fish you are targeting and where you are fishing, including where you can catch and keep fish, catch limits and minimum sizes. The DNR says the regulations are all about keeping the ecosystem balanced.

“The intent with a lot of those is to get fish to spawning size and allow them to spawn at least once before they’re harvested so that we don’t over-harvest the population,” said Brian Gunderman of the DNR’s Fisheries Division. “And in some instances, there are (regulations) just specifically to create like a really quality fishery, but the default is to have enough, they spawn at least one time.”

Gunderman says the easiest way to stay in touch with the DNR is to download the annual State Fishing guide.

“There’s a lot of resources on our DNR website — michigan.gov/dnr. There are trout stream maps in there; any regulations are available online or fish stocking, lots of stuff on there for somebody who’s trying to figure out what they want to go fishing,” Gunderman told News 8.

If you don’t have Wi-Fi on the water, the DNR also has the guides available for download for your smartphones and a limited number of print copies.

BEING RESPONSIBLE STEWARDS

As always, the DNR encourages anglers to be good stewards of our natural spaces, including taking precautions to prevent spreading invasive species.

This year, the agency is specifically targeting the New Zealand mudsnail and didymo, also known as rock snot. Both have been spotted in detected in Michigan and can do major damage to our streams.

The mudsnail doesn’t have a predator in Michigan waters because it doesn’t provide any real nutritional value, so the snail population can grow exponentially. While the New Zealand mudsnail can reproduce sexually, most of those found in Michigan waters are from asexual females. The DNR says one mudsnail can produce 40 million clones in one year.

The NZMS Collaborative has five steps to make sure you’re not spreading the mudsnail — including a thorough inspection of your boots and waders, getting rid of all debris, using a disinfectant and allowing your equipment to dry thoroughly before taking it to a different body of water.

Didymo is a different creature. It is a type of algae that grows into large stalks or thick mats that cover streambeds. If it spreads, it can take over a habitat and chase off fish and other species.

Didymo is believed to have come from Lake Superior and parts of Canada and had been spotted in the Great Lakes Basin in the past. But last year, it was spotted in the lower peninsula for the first time when it was found in the Upper Manistee River in Kalkaska County.