Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority

Preserving the Resource for Future Generations
Home      Net Marking
On the upper Great Lakes, boaters and anglers need to know how to identify and avoid commercial fishing nets. Three types of nets used are gill nets, trap nets and salmon nets.

Net Descriptions
Tribal members with subsistence fishing licenses may also set nets on the Great Lakes: “Subsistence nets shall be marked at each end with an orange float equivalent to at least a one (1) gallon jug in size bearing the tribal ID number of the subsistence fisher. These nets will not exceed 300 feet.”

Vessel operators should navigate away from all markers and are encouraged to remain 1,500 feet away from any staff buoy or jug used to mark nets. Recreational boaters should be aware of tribal commercial fishing nets in and near areas of high sport fishing pressure and boating traffic. All vessel operators should be prepared to navigate around marked nets.

Commercial Fishing Zones (See more maps in the 2000 Consent Decree.)
Unmarked or improperly marked nets should be reported to state and tribal law enforcement officials or to the DNR RAP Hotline at 1-800-292-7800. It is a federal offense to remove or tamper with legally set tribal commercial fishing gear in the Great Lakes. Removal of net marking staff buoys and jugs results in the commercial fishermen not being able to locate the net and increases vessel navigation concerns for other boaters.

If you should become entangled, follow these safety tips:
— Snagged downrigger cables can be quite dangerous.
— Always keep bow of boat facing into sea.
— Release any tension on downrigger cables and cut.
— If prop becomes tangled shut off engine completely.
— Radio U.S. Coast Guard.
— Do not enter water.