Private Lakes

Discussion in 'Questions about MI Hunting/Fishing Law' started by outdoor_m_i_k_e, Jan 31, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Would this assumption be correct about Michigan fishing laws regarding Private lakes. ..

    . . IF the lake is owned all the way around it by ONE person, has no inlets or outlets, and has never been stocked by the state then no rules apply. . if more then one owns around the lake then rules apply. . . if there is just ONE inlet or outlet, then rules apply, or if the state has EVER stocked fish in it, then rules apply. . .

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
  2. I have spoke with two CO's about this same question, because the lake I live on falls into this category. I was given two seperate answers. I will follow the word of the one who works in this county, since he is the one that will be enforcing it.

    If I were going to gamble, I would call the local CO for that county and get their opinion before I thought about disregarding any state laws because I thought it was private.

    It will be interesteing to see what the "experts" say about this.

    Captain Jay

  3. malainse

    Staff Member Super Mod Mods

    I agree with Jay as to many things can come into play.
    Start reading @ page 12.
  4. A private lake is considered to be a lake where there are no inlets or outlets and all of the land surrounding the lake is privately owned (does not have to be owned by one person). The lake also cannot have been stocked by the DNR. Many man-made ponds or lakes in developments fall into this category. Very few lakes do. As suggested, check with your local DNR office. I am sure the CO or fish biologist can give you an exact answer.
  5. I'm President of the Swiss Alpine Association in Osceola County north of Reed city. The roughly 600 acre association is all privately owned lots, about 450, with some 35 scattered acres designated as common ground for all property owners to use.
    There are two totally enclosed lakes with no inlets or outlets.
    The association has a beach and a boat area for any members to access either lake.
    We do our own management and licenses are required.
    Other than state safety mandates we make our own rules regarding the lakes...No keeping freshly planted species for the first year. No fuel motors, dock restrictions, no netting etc...most regular DNR rules are used as ours.

    You could keep a Largemouth Bass during the regular statewide closed season, but don't get caught with it off the property.

    The DNR has no jurisdiction on the lakes other than our complaints for trespassing, fuel motors or other EPA regulations regarding pollution, wetland areas etc..

    There is one glitch that hits us and our neighboring Indian lake every 20 years or so, Them more frequently than us. High water. One of our lakes and their's is bordered by a County rd...ours is normally back from the road about 75 yards...their's about 15-20 feet.
    During unusually high snow melt and rain the lake can reach the road for a few days. During this rare time it's fair game for the general public to enter our lake over the right of way, over the private land (which is now covered by water) and onto the main lake surface using float tubes, paddleboats, canoe's. As long as the are on the water and not on private land in any way there is no violation, On Indian lake people fish from and over the right of way of the road...
    If they are not landowners however, they must have fishing licenses.

    Beautiful area, surrounded by 1000's of acres of STATE LAND. Check the website:

  6. Jim,
    You may want to take a look at the following link provided by malainse.
    It is all good reading but you may find page 16 letter c. and the court case mentioned quite interesting :)
  7. Thanks for the link.
    I'll print out copies for our Rules Committee.

    Different CO's and Sheriff's Deputy's have given different interpretations as mentioned previously.

    I do know people fish the other lake directly from the public road despite private property signage, maybe casting a bait out is different than actually setting foot...or maybe it just isn't worth the neighbors time and effort to prosecute. Dunno.

    Thanks again.

    BTW we're selling a surplus Dump Truck/Snow Plow in the classifieds if any other clubs/associations are interested :rolleyes:
  8. Ieatantlers

    Ieatantlers Banned

    Because those deer on 'your' property can walk to the neighbors, or onto state land, etc. A fish in a private lake can not fly to another lake. Or a deer in a high fence can not walk onto state land. That is why different rules apply to those areas- they are not a common resource to the public.
  9. My boys go to a private pond to fish. Was wondering if I need a license to fish there also? D Buck
  10. If you know that the pond is truly private, then no. This has been discussed at length here many times. But the stipulations are that the pond can have no inlet or outlet and all of the property surrounding the pond has to be owned by one owner. If that's the case, it's private and you should be OK.

  11. That's not what CO Wicklund said about 2 weeks ago. Look down the list in this forum to "Private Lakes". Any number of owners according to the CO.

    L & O
  12. Well going back a number of years, the info I provided was confirmed on several occasions by retired CO Boehr. Unless they've changed it recently, I've always understood it to be that one owner must own all of the shoreline of the lake/pond in order to be private. So which one is correct? I never did get an absolute confirmation.

    I've tried several times to get on the DNR site and see if I can get a clarification but have yet to find it. I'm going to try to find the correct contact at the DNR and send an email and see if we can get an absolute clarification. If I do, I'll post the information so we can put this issue to bed.

    #12 jpollman, Feb 17, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  13. malainse

    Staff Member Super Mod Mods

    Tell us more about the pond ?

    The DNR will tell you to contact a CO for the location of the pond in question. Way to many variables come into play to give a "absolute clarification".
  14. Well OK, I guess that's why I haven't been able to find anything on the DNR site. But in this situation I would think that a clear cut absolute answer should be available. It's a simple straight forward question. In order to be considered a private lake, does all of the land surrounding the lake/pond need to be owned by ONE owner? I could have sworn that several years ago I found something stating that was the case. But I have not been able to find it again.

  15. Here's what I've found out. I just talked to the law enforcement division at the DNR Southfield Operations Service Center. I briefly explained the circumstances and asked the officer the question that we've been discussing. According to him, I'm correct. In order for a lake to be considered private (for the issue we're discussing, no license required), there can be no inflow or outflow from the lake and all of the land surrounding the lake must be owned by ONE person. I asked if anything had changed recently and he said no, there haven't been any changes to that stipulation recently. So apparently the information that was given by Boehr numerous times was correct.


Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page