Looking for a “reel” good time in Michigan this winter? Try going fishing!

Love fishing but never thought to do it in the winter? Elyse Walter of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources tells us why winter could be the perfect time to explore fishing in Michigan. Read her thoughts below and let us know in the comments section where you like to go ice fishing in Michigan.

For more on Michigan's fisheries, visit michigan.org or the Pure Michigan Fishing tab on Facebook.

Michigan’s world-class fisheries are known throughout the country, if not the world, with many anglers pursuing them throughout the year. These fisheries are even on proud display during the state’s legendary winter months – a time of year many anglers proclaim to be the best time to go fishing.

If you’re new to ice fishing, don’t be intimated by the idea of heading out in the cold! The DNR has lots of information online to educate you about the kind of equipment you’ll need and the various safety precautions you’ll need to take.

If you already go ice fishing each winter, consider taking on a new challenge by targeting a different fish. Popular winter species include bluegill, crappie, smelt, walleyes and yellow perch (among others).

Learn about these fishes and gain some tips on how to catch them in the winter by checking out the “Michigan Fishes and How to Catch Them” section of the DNR’s website.

Still not convinced winter is a great time to head outdoors to go fishing? What if you didn’t have to purchase a Michigan fishing license to test the waters?

That’s the case this February as the 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend arrives Saturday, 16 and Sunday, February 17. During those two days anyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish all waters without purchasing a license, although all regulations do still apply.

The DNR coordinates the Winter Free Fishing Weekend each year (and has since 1994) as an opportunity to showcase the great angling opportunities available in Michigan, but alleviating some of the financial investment needed to get involved. It’s the perfect time to discover the state’s winter water wonderland.

Consider exploring the wealth of fishing opportunities Michigan offers this winter. Start planning your next fishing trip at www.michigan.gov/fishing!

Elyse Walter is a communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. She specifically works with the DNR’s Fisheries Division to help educate and promote the state’s fishing opportunities and aquatic resources.