The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds the public that certain fishing opportunities for tribal members of tribal governments located within the 1836 Treaty of Washington and 1842 Treaty of La Point are different than those allowed for state-licensed recreational anglers under Michigan law, and that these activities may be observed this spring.
Tribal governments are sovereign nations and these Tribes have their own Code of Regulation for fishing matters. The Treaty of Washington, signed in 1836, covers the eastern Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan and in 2007 the state of Michigan, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Bay Mills Indian Community and the United States government signed a Consent Decree which defines the extent of the Tribes’ inland treaty rights. The Treaty of La Pointe, signed in 1842, covers the western Upper Peninsula and areas of northern Wisconsin and there is no formal agreement to define the extent of 1842 Treaty rights within Michigan. However, the 1842 Treaty rights have been adjudicated in Wisconsin and Tribal fishers of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community exercise their rights in the 1842 area of Michigan following tribal regulations consistent with the Wisconsin court cases.
As established under the 2007 Inland Consent Decree, Tribal members may use spears or conventional fishing tackle to take walleye and steelhead in some waters of Michigan covered by the 1836 treaty. Similarly, a tribally-regulated, spring subsistence spear fishery is present in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula within the 1842 Treaty area. These activities may occur during periods when these waters are closed to fishing for State-licensed recreational anglers.
A map of the portion of Michigan covered by the 1836 and 1842 Treaties can be found by following this link to the DNR Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/TCU_map_183629_7.pdf
For information on the 2007 Inland Consent Decree and the 1842 Treaty Area, check the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr.
“We appreciate anglers’ concerns when they witness different fishing methods and seasons, but we ask people not to interfere with Tribal members who are exercising their fishing rights,” said Nick Popoff, supervisor of the DNR Fisheries Division’s Tribal Coordination Unit. “If you think a violation is in progress, you can call the DNR’s Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800 and report it.”
The Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management and use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.