The Winter Angler’s Ultimate Packing List

In what seems like the blink of an eye, snow and ice have transformed Michigan into a winter angler’s dream. Despite the cold, the fishing stays hot in Pure Michigan as ice fisherman ready their tackle boxes for this timeless Michigan fishing tradition.  

IceFishing1In celebration of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Free Fishing Weekend February 14-15, 2015, we’ve put together this handy packing list to ensure a successful day of fishing.

Don’t forget to check out the Pure Michigan store for items that will help you keep warm on and off the ice!

What to pack

Many Michiganders know how to handle the cold, but knowing how to dress for long hours on ice may not be so easy. Since you’ll be spending some quality time outdoors, consider layering up with these tips.

A hat, pair of gloves and jacket might seem obvious to pack, but there’s a lot more that can keep you comfortable when ice fishing. Consider layering with long underwear as a base under fleece and a windbreaker. Add some thermal socks and a scarf to stay toasty. Don’t forget to pick up a pair of boots specifically made for the cold, too!

One thing to avoid when layering up is cotton. No matter how cold the weather is, wearing layers causes sweating. There’s nothing worse than being damp on the ice as cotton clothes absorb and hold onto moisture.

What to bring on the ice

AugerWhen it comes to fishing, everyone has their own strategy – and that definitely applies when you’re about to head onto the frozen lake! Whether you choose to sit in a shanty or simply an overturned paint bucket, don’t forget these essentials to avoid being frosty.

Imagine you’re bundled up, bait in hand, walking out to that perfect spot on the ice. And then it hits you – your pole is sitting at home! With all the planning it takes to get ready for a day of ice fishing, sometimes even the most obvious things can be forgotten.

Remember to grab your fishing pole, bait, auger and something to sit on so you don’t freeze to the ice. If you’re heading out any other time but free fishing weekend, make sure you have your fishing license in hand, too.

The little things

OntheIceWhether you’re a perennial ice-fisher or this winter will be your first time, we’re willing to guess you’ll be spending more than just a few minutes trying to catch that prized fish. If you are committing a day, or even a few hours, to drop a line, don’t forget these small necessities to keep you safe and happy.

Remember to bring a few bottles of water to keep you hydrated (in a place they won’t freeze!), snacks to give you energy and your cell phone – in case anything goes wrong.  You’ll also want a camera ready when you reel in that monster under the ice.

When ice fishing, a few small items can make or break a trip. Remember to dress right, be safe and have fun when drilling into another Pure Michigan winter adventure. For more ice fishing tips, check out this post from the Michigan DNR.

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow and ice using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.

Five Reasons to Bundle Up for a Round of Golf on Top of Frozen Lake Huron

Grab your flannel, fleece and golf clubs… Yes, you read it right! You don’t have to leave the Midwest this winter to enjoy a mind-blowing round of golf. St. Ignace Visitors Bureau shares five reasons you can’t miss the one-of-a-kind U.P. Ice Golf Scramble.

Photo Courtesy of The St. Ignace News

Dying to get back on the links for a round of golf? Want to keep your swing in shape but don’t have the budget to search for warm weather? The U.P. Ice Golf Scramble, Feb. 27-28, will reunite you with your favorite pastime – complete with five St. Ignace twists.

1. The Next Best Thing to Fireflies
Remember the fun of chasing fireflies on a summer night? Combine that memory teeing off after sunset and you’ve got the Glow Ball Challenge. Participants will spend Friday evening trying to land their glow-in-the-dark ball closest to the pin for special bragging rights and the chance to win an exclusive tour of the Mackinac Bridge towers. They’ll also enjoy beer tasting and live music. Definitely more fun than fireflies.

2. Our Greens are White
Forget about those pesky sand traps. Let St. Ignace introduce you to a new course and a new twist on your favorite pastime. Anyone can say they shot the back nine, but how many of your friends can say they played on 12 plus inches of Great Lakes ice?

Ice Golf Scramble 13. A Fun and Level Playing Field
Literally and figuratively – this outing offers a level playing field. Literally – because the lake surface is as level as Mother Nature can make it. Figuratively, because we’ve constructed an event that places the emphasis on fun. Saturday’s outing is a two-person, best-ball scramble, which is our way of saying that even if you’ve never golfed in your life, partner up and take a swing at a winter adventure. No handicaps. No pros. Just fun.

Ice Golf Scramble 4. Go to the Extreme
Golf is traditionally a quiet, relaxed sport. But in this age of amped-up activities, bucket lists, and thrill-seeking, what could be more extreme than playing through atop 20 fathoms of icy cold waters? St. Ignace has a long history of using the frozen Great Lakes as a playground – from snowmobiling to pond hockey championships – but if you haven’t golfed Huron, you haven’t taken full advantage of the state’s winter wonderland,

5. Fashion turns to Flannel and Fleece
Ice golfers can forget about the preppy polo shirt or the golf knickers. Pack your thermal underwear, your fleece and anything else that can provide layers of warmth. Make sure you have a touk (a knitted winter hat) or a Stormy Kromer (a stylish wool cap made in the Upper Peninsula) and remember your sun glasses because St. Ignace is known for beautiful winter sunshine!

What could be more thrilling! Are you brave enough to golf on a frozen Great Lake? Learn more and register for the U.P. Ice Golf Scramble at www.stignace.com or call (800) 338-6660.

Grab Your Imagination and Your Boots for a Snow Day Getaway in Oscoda

Cardboard? Check. Scissors? Check. Creativity? Check. Pack up your snow gear and your imagination. Oscoda’s Snow Box Derby is back for its 25th year! Today, Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau tells us how to suit up for smooth sledding and a snow day getaway on Michigan’s sunrise side. 

Photo by George Thomas - Lumberman's Monument

Photo by George Thomas – Lumberman’s Monument

Snow Box Derby
Snow Box Derby is an Oscoda area tradition. The unique sled race glides into action February 8, 2015. Participants work to create a race-worthy sled using cardboard, scissors, duct tape and ingenuity. Creativity is encouraged! Many teams even wear costumes. The theme for this year’s race is “25” in honor of the derby’s 25-year celebration. Throughout the day, there will also be free children’s games including frosty bowling, as well as snowball golf for the adults! What type of sled would you build?

Photo via Under the Radar Michigan

Photo via Under the Radar Michigan

Turn your derby day into a Pure Michigan winter weekend. Check out these other snow day activities that the Oscoda area has to offer:

Snowmobiling
Oscoda is the eastern gateway to northern Michigan’s snowmobile trail system. From here you can travel across the state to Traverse City or northward to the Upper Peninsula. In Foote site Village, six and a half miles west of the trailhead, riders will find food, beverages and fuel. There the trail divides and riders have the option of heading north via Rea Road across the AuSable River and connecting with the Alcona County Trail system.

Cross Country Skiing
Whether you’ve been skiing for years or are just now picking up the sport, Oscoda offers trails for skiers of all levels.

Photo courtesy of Oscoda CVB

Photo courtesy of Oscoda CVB

Experienced XC Skiers

Highbanks Cross Country Ski Trail – This is a linear trail, covering 14 miles of scenic AuSable River bluff, running from Iargo Springs on the west past Lumbereman’s Monument to Sid Town. This back-country trail is marked but not groomed, and is suitable for novice to intermediate skiers.

Hoist Lakes Trails – Longer loops and steeper hills offer an exciting challenge in beautiful surroundings. The trailhead is six miles north of Glennie on the west side of M-65 where parking is available.

Photo by Melissa Ghrist

Photo by Melissa Ghrist

Corsair Ski Trails – This trail is nestled in the beautiful Silver Valley area, surrounded by 120,000 acres of Huron National Forest. The Corsair system offers 44 miles of groomed and tracked trail with a variety of terrain, being one of the largest groomed trail networks in Michigan.

Eagle Run – located two miles west of Oscoda on River Road. The trail runs along the banks of the AuSable River in the Huron National Forest, through mixed hardwoods and pines. The trail consists of 11 miles of groomed loops of varying lengths and difficulty. Trails are 13 feet wide and double packed.

Beginning XC Skiers

Sled Hill (Old Orchard Park) – is located eight miles west on River Road. Winter time fun for the whole family. Groomed sled hills.

Reid Lake – offers six miles of gently rolling trails through an area of many ponds where you can easily find evidence of beaver activity. Parking lot is plowed but the trails are not groomed. The parking area and trailhead are located on the south side of M-72 across from Kohler Road. From Oscoda, follow F-41 north to M-72. Turn west and go 12.5 miles.

Will you build a sled made for speed or ski through peaceful surroundings? Whichever you choose, plan your Oscoda area snow day getaway at oscoda.com