Spring Bass Catch-and-Immediate-Release Season

The bass fishing season in Michigan officially begins the 3rd Saturday in June for Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, and Detroit River, and the Saturday before Memorial Day for all other waters. However, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources allows for a special Catch-and-Immediate-Release season that begins before the start of the regular fishing season. This special season gives anglers the opportunity to catch a trophy fish while ensuring the bass remain at their beds and complete their spring spawn.

The Catch-and-Immediate-Release season requires special procedures for bass anglers who want to know how much their fish weighs. Since the fish cannot be stored in a livewell and weighed later, the angler needs to quickly determine the fish's weight and return it immediately to the water. One such technique is to measure the length of the fish before returning it to the water. Using the length, the angler can then easily determine the approximate weight of the fish using a conversion chart.

One such chart, shown below, is found on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website (//www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9222.html). In addition to bass, this site provides conversion charts for panfish, trout, pike, and walleye. For speed and ease, length should be measured using a rule made specifically for fish. Be sure to consult the regulations regarding a Catch-and-Immediate-Release season in your state.

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