Schuitmaker: Oversight prompts bill idea from Paw Paw resident

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker will introduce legislation to allow free fishing on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

A constituent in the 20th Senate District prompted Schuitmaker to introduce Senate Bill 615 after the man tried to fish on Memorial Day only to discover he was breaking the law.

“A concerned Paw Paw resident was surprised Michigan did not have free fishing days on national holidays and brought the issue to my attention,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “I have to say I agree with him, especially when we have such a high tourist volume in our state on those weekends.”

Each year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) designates a Saturday and the following Sunday during January or February as free winter fishing days. In addition, the department may designate one other day or two consecutive days each year as free fishing days.

“We have a few free fishing days at the beginning of the year, when most people buy their fishing licenses, but none during the summer months,” said Schuitmaker. “We need to promote our Great Lakes State for both residents and tourists, and a free fishing day on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day will help tout our state's natural resources and recreational activities.”

During free fishing days, a resident or nonresident may fish for all species of fish in any Michigan waters designated by the DNR without purchasing a license or permit. 

Schuitmaker said SB 615 will likely be referred to the Senate Committee on Great Lakes and Tourism for consideration.