Michigan fishing has been a great heritage for the state and its people. Generation after generation of fishermen have been throwing their lines into the Great Lakes for centuries and produced a once steady economy for Michigan. That rich history also provides a great story of how Michigan fishing has evolved from a common livelihood to a great attraction for anglers around the country.
For hundreds of years the Native American tribes of the Chippewa and Ojibwe Indians have lived on the shores of the Lake Superior. They thrived on fishing on the Great Lakes’ shores and have established their villages by the lake. They fished using large birch bark canoes and rope nets made of willow bark. In the Northern areas of the Michigan peninsula, spear and ice fishing has also been a food source for the settlers then. The shores of the lakes have then become the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota with some areas now part of Canada.
When European settlers came into the country, commercial fishing became an abundant livelihood in the Great Lakes. From 1820 to the 1880s a lot of the species found on the lakes started to die out. With the addition of technological advances in equipment, more and more species were wiped out and the golden age of commercial fishing in the great lakes ended by the 1950s. Overfishing, pollution, shoreline and habitat destruction were main reasons for the decrease of catch in the lakes. Even the accidental and deliberate introduction non-native species like the sea lamprey added to the scale of the Michigan Fishing industry at the era.
Protecting the lakes
To protect the great lakes and the abundance of species available in it, a few treaties have been made to control the amount of fishing in the regions. Limitations to the kind of nets they use and the kinds of fish they catch have all been supervised by authorities to ensure that the lake’s biodiversity stays alive. Now sports fish that have been caught in nets are thrown back to the water if caught alive.
Michigan Sports Fishing: the Fun Part of Fishing
In the Great Lakes alone, there are about 3.7 Million registered recreational boats which are about one-third of all of the boats in the country. In Michigan, 986,000 boats are registered. These numbers alone just give us an estimate of how many people are doing leisurely activities on the lake waters. Half of those numbers represents the total percentage of fishing activities done in boats alone.
Fishing enthusiasts and professional anglers come from generations of families along or near the Great Lakes’ shores. From grandparents to preteens, anglers have enjoyed throwing their lines into the lakes’ waters to reel in game fish as trophy catches. The good thing about sports fishing is that most anglers do it more for the challenge of reeling in “the big one” rather than doing it for a commercial gain. Once a fish has been caught, the anglers would take a picture, weigh the fish and throw it back into the water. The anglers themselves claim that the idea of sports Michigan fishing is for the fun of it all.