Learn to Fish with the DNR’s Hook, Line and Sinker Program

Have you always wanted to learn how to fish? The Michigan Department of Natural Resources launched a new program this summer designed to help you get started! Today, Elyse Walter of the DNR’s Fisheries Division fills us in on what the Hook, Line and Sinker program entails.

“Hook, Line and Sinker” is a weekly fishing program now offered at more than 30 state parks, recreation areas and visitor centers. Instructors will teach you everything you need to know to get started, including setting up your fishing rod, knot tying, casting, selecting and using bait, and removing fish from the hook. After 20 to 30 minutes of instruction, you’ll be able to test your recently-acquired skills on the water.

Along with detailed instruction, you can borrow a fishing rod and reel if you don’t have your own. This program is being offered all summer long from mid-June through August.

Hook, Line and Sinker is a free program open to everyone, however you’ll need a Recreation Passport to enter many locations hosting this program. The Recreation Passport replaces the state park sticker and is required for entry to all Michigan state parks and recreation areas. If you haven’t already purchased yours when renewing your license plate at the Secretary of State, you can still purchase your Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area. Michigan residents pay $11 for vehicles and $5 for motorcycles. Non Michigan residents pay $8.40 per vehicle for a daily pass.

Children under the age of 17 are not required to have a fishing license, but anyone age 17 or older planning to cast a line into the water during  the Hook, Line and Sinker program will need to buy one. A variety of licenses are available, ranging in price from $7 to $42.

If you are interested in joining a Hook, Line and Sinker program, visit michigan.org/hooklineandsinker for a complete list of participating locations and their schedules.

Don’t let the summer pass you by without getting the chance to become an excellent angler!

Will you be taking advantage of the Hook, Line and Sinker program? Share with us below, and learn more about fishing in Michigan at michigan.org.

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.

What’s New at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

Fort Wilkins is a restored mid nineteenth century military outpost and lighthouse museum on the rugged shores of Lake Superior. If you’re visiting the Upper Peninsula this summer, it’s a must-see with friends and family! Today Barry James, a history specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, fills us in on what’s new this summer at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park.

If you drive north near the very tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, you’ll be in Copper Harbor, Michigan’s northernmost village. Known for scenic views, excellent hiking and biking trails, this picturesque town also boasts Michigan’s northernmost fort.  Just a mile from the village is historic Fort Wilkins State Park.

The park is unique because it is bordered by water in a setting virtually undisturbed by modern intrusions. Overlooking Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline, nearly 600 miles from their regimental headquarters at Detroit, soldiers built Fort Wilkins in 1844 to keep law and order during Michigan’s copper rush.  If they could return today, the men, women and children who once lived there would still recognize this wilderness outpost, where 19 buildings survive – 12 of them original structures dating from the 1840s.

A perfect place for children to explore and learn, most of the fort’s buildings are accessible. Some have period room settings, others have hands-on displays. The Michigan Historical Center recently completed renovation to exhibits in the Married Enlisted Men’s cabins. Located outside of the fort’s wooden stockade, the four log cabins once housed married soldiers and their families. Known as “Suds Row,” this is where the post laundresses washed clothes. The cabins now introduce visitors to Fort Wilkins through a new audio-visual program, exhibits and a cabin where kids can compare the past to the present.

The new Married Enlisted Man quarters where kids can play and see how people lived in the mid-1800s

When entering one of the cabins children can play in a mid-nineteenth century log cabin exhibit. They learn about period cooking, games and keeping house by measuring period ingredients to “Make a Meal,” learning the “Steps of Laundry” and playing period children’s floor games. The open exhibit allows kids to touch objects, climb on a period bed, and play house.

Another noteworthy improvement is the nine-minute orientation program, “Beyond the Wilderness: The Fort Wilkins Story.” The program details the fort’s history and helps park visitors understand the origins of Michigan’s copper rush. The Michigan Historical Center carried out the renovation project in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Division with additional funding support from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

If you are traveling the Upper Peninsula this summer, be sure to visit Fort Wilkins Historic State Park and check out the new log cabin exhibits, as well as the other fort displays. You may even meet a laundress or a soldier in full costume. The fort presents an engaging experience that educates both adults and children about life at this remote outpost. Fort Wilkins State Park is open now through the end of August.

Are you visiting Fort Wilkins State Park this summer? Share with us below!

Barry James is a history specialist for the DNR’s Michigan Historical Center in the Upper Peninsula. He works out of the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee.

You’re Invited: Summer Web Chat with Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Please join us Wednesday, May 23 at 3:00 p.m. for a live Web chat with Maia Stephens, Recreation Programmer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division. Maia will take your questions on making the most of your Recreation Passport, upcoming events, family fun and more.

You can join the chat at the box below. All are welcome and we will answer as many questions as we can during the hour-long chat. We hope you can join us!