the drop shot rig is a topic that has been thrown around here quite a bit. last i heard, it is illegal in Michigan waters. there are ways around it tho. instead of using just a lead weight below your hook, use a tube bait. dont ask me why this is considered legal, but from what i have been reading, the "artificial rig" as it is called, is ok.
you can do a search here on the network to read other articles about the drop shot. i would suggest doing so before heading out on the lake.
i personally do not use the drop shot rig because i am still unsure what the laws are. plus, there are just so many more legal ways to catch fish.
Thanks for the heads-up on the legality of that technique, man I would have hated to try and explain myself if caught using it. It just goes to show how important it is for all anglers to know and understand the fishing regulations of other states...Thanks Again !
toadhunter911, please pm me who exactly you emailed, who exactly responded and what you asked verses what they responded so I can look into this confusion. This doesn't clarify things at all. It actually muddies them up even more.
The MDNR told the Michigan BASS Chapter Federation (MBCF) that since a lure is not a weight, we would not be breaking the regulation by using a LURE on the bottom instead of a WEIGHT. There's no sense in everyone posting confusing and contradictory things when work has already been done on this on an organized level by the MBCF.
I talked a number of times with Lt. Wynalda - the MDNR Law spokeman AND with Law Chief Asher. The MDNR does not want to change the regulation because they feel they have a significant problem still with stream snagging. We bass anglers are not snaggers. The intent of the regulation is not to ticket anglers trying to catch bass or perch or whatever.
Guys were told they could use the 'artificial' rig - or whatever you want to call it - by some tournament groups with a lure on the bottom because Ron Spitler was told by the MDNR at the upper level that a lure was not a weight and therefore did NOT meet the definition of the regulation.
Will we get written 'permit' to carry around saying we are okay? No. But if you aren't making snagging motions, you should not get a ticket. You can't use the traditional drop-shot rig in a tournament because is does meet the definition technically of regulation, but I really would feel anyone who protests someone in a tournament just for this reason is a wiener. I won't, even if I see them using a traditional drop-shot, unless I see them trying to snag a bass. Of course, I mentioned that the regular hookset of many bubba bass anglers isn't much different than snagging motions, but as long as we say "SON!" and don't do it every second, we should be okay.
But seriously, we aren't snaggers. I want to hear specifics about anyone who happens to ever get a ticket if they are using a lure on the bottom. I have no problem talking to Lansing about such nonsense. If you aren't attempting to snag fish, you shouldn't get a ticket. You shouldn't be dq'd in a tournament either just because a wiener complains and a tournament director doesn't know the regulation. If it isn't perfectly clear that you broke a law, then you haven't broken any tournament rules I've ever seen. I would like to hear if either of these situations occurs if you're using a lure on the bottom.
This is nonsense that we are putting so much effort into a technicality where Michigan is possibly the only place in the know Universe where bass anglers can't legally use one of the most popular new techniques (okay, perch anglers have been doing similar for year) around. The point is, you could conceivably get a ticket if you use a traditional drop-shot rig in Michigan although you shouldn't if you aren't actively attempting to snag fish. If you use a lure on the bottom and aren't actively attempting to snag fish, you should not get a ticket or be dq'd.
Now, ask 20 MDNR employees from various locales and branches and you'll get probably get 10 different variations of answers. It doesn't change the actual regulation below that does NOT say drop-shotting (or down-shotting) is illegal, just that you can't hang a WEIGHT directly below a hook on your line. A lure is defined and not as a weight. The only place it is somewhat clarified is in defining an artificial FLY for obvious reasons. I don't expect every MDNR employee to swear that we will never get a ticket if we use a lure on the bottom instead of a weight, but I do expect that since Lansing said we would not get tickets since a lure is not a weight by definition, and there are no other definitions, and that we shouldn't get tickets if we aren't making snagging motions, then why beat this horse any more than it already has been beaten?
This is one reason why I will eventually work to change this regulation somehow. The main reason being I don't like regulations that punish the many, good anglers who will use legal fishing items in various forms just to make catching a few bad anglers who are attempting to snag, especially when snagging is clearly defined. There will always be a few jerks who make things tougher on the rest of us, but there a reasonable line that shouldn't be crossed.
A big, weighted treble is pretty obviously not a lure, but cut off two points and throw a tube body over it and you have a legal lure. Attempt to snag fish with it and you're still breaking the law. I would question anyone who uses a bare hook on a line with a weight on a trout/salmon/walleye stream, but if they have a lure on the hook and they aren't making snagging motions, they're fishing as far as I'm concerned. There are more reasonable alternatives. If someone in Lansing is now saying there are no exceptions, then we need to know (toadhunter911) because this contradictory to what the only large organized bass group in Michigan was told just a few months ago.
The regulation was just recently renewed for several years again and I have a lot to do already, but others and I will work on this issue again in the future. It's just not a good and fair regulation. See below and read carefully, the exact applicable language:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artificial Lure means a manmade lure manufactured to imitate natural bait. Artificial lures include spoons, spinners and plugs made of metal, plastic, wood and other non-edible materials. They also include plastic products made to resemble worms, eggs, fish and other aquatic organisms.
Snagging means attempting to take fish in a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily in its mouth. It is unlawful to snag fish.
Artificial Lure: Any lure or fly manufactured in imitation of, or as a substitute for, natural bait.
Artificial Fly: Any commonly accepted single hook wet or dry fly, streamer or nymph, without spinner, spoon, scoop or any other fishing lure or bait attached. The fly or leader may be weighted, but no weight shall be attached to the fly or terminal tackle in a manner that allows the weight to be suspended from or below the hook.
You May Not
Have a weight rigidly attached to a multi-pointed hook; or suspended from a multi-point hook; or suspended below any hook unless the hook is on a dropper line (a leader) that is at least 3" long.
Snag fish or retain a fish not hooked in the mouth.
- - - - - - - - -
I did a pretty good search of Michigan Compiled Laws, especially on Public Act 451, and a search of Fisheries Orders and Administrative Rules and found no actual definition of the word 'weight' as it applies in these laws and regulations. No references were direct enough to say the word weight applies to anything with a measured pull on the hook above verses an object considered a weight (which should not be a lure since that is defined) by common definition - i.e. a sinker. This could conceivably be resolved clearly for all parties either way by having a definition of what is meant by 'a weight' added to the Administrative Rule and/or Compiled Law and clarifying that an artificial lure, as defined, is not a weight. Any snagger with half a brain could get around the attempts to outlaw common equipment they use, but snagging is still illegal in and of itself.
Exactly guys. It's way too confusing. This is supposed to be fun, now you need a law degree just to catch fish!
Dan, I went to the MDNR web site and used the "contact MDNR" function. I asked if it was legal to tie a hook directly to the main line if I first tied a leadhead jig with a tube or grub at the bottom of my line. The response I received was it is NOT a legal method to take fish in Michigan. Lynne Thomas was the person who responded to my question. Don't know if she's a CO or a civillian employee. Is it just me, or do the fishing and hunting guides get more complicated every year?
I don't know ANYONE that would consider snagging a salmon 8 or 10 lb line, a #4 hook and a 1/4oz weight.
I also don't know ANYONE that is drop shotting bass on 20lb line, a 5/0 hook and a 3oz weight.
I haven't read the law as written. I'm assuming it says something vague like "No weights permitted below the hook". If that's the case then that is pretty bogus.
I've done some Salmon fishing in NY. Everybody out there snagging in the rivers but the law is very well defined right down the max hook size, max weight, minimum leader length, minimum number of knots between the main line and hook, etc....
Maybe the MI DNR just needs to add some more "details" into the law. Come right out and define in DETAIL what constitues a "Salmon Snagging Rig" and a "Drop Shot".
To me it's pretty Black & White....There is no real GRAY area.
I have no problems drop shotting when fun fishing. However, because of the confusion I refrain from doing it during a tournament.
Look near the end of my 'detailed' email. The exact language is there.
I have no idea who Lynne Thomas is, but she/he is probably making a guess based on the language. I know the MBCF was told we could use the rig that way by Lansing leadership, which is why it was brought up at a state meeting as okay and probably mentioned by a few other tournament groups.
You will get different answers from different people, but the intent is to stop snaggers. If you aren't attempting to snag, you should never get a ticket. I sure want to hear the circumstances if someone does. I'm betting I never hear anything.
I've had this discussion at length with the MDNR. They do not want to ticket bass or perch anglers. They want to stop stream snagging, but they can't or won't give any special dispensation of the true drop-shot rig right now because it does meet the letter of the reg, which is why they told us the modified rig does not meet the letter and if we are not making snagging motions, we should not worry about tickets.
Like I said, I will be working on this issue further later to reach some kind of clarification. The MDNR needs to see the rigs to discuss it further. There is no grey in my mind in the modified rig. A lure is not a weight. I could legally put another lure on the line like a crankbait to create tension below a lure like a small Rapala or Sluggo or grub tied to the line and I can't see an CO writing me for that. I don't see any difference what lure is on the bottom as long as it meets the legal definition of an artificial lure.
The actual regulation above says a weight, not an artificial lure. That part is pretty clear.