Gear Up for Free Fishing Weekend in Pure Michigan

It’s the perfect weather for some ice fishing in Pure Michigan! Today, Elyse Walter from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources tells us how to take advantage of winter fishing opportunities during Free Fishing Weekend February 15 – 16, 2014.

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources

There are many great things about Michigan, but one of the best is the fact that you can go fishing 12 months out of the year. With a vast amount of water and a multitude of species, there’s never a dull moment for this popular outdoor activity – even when the temperatures dip.

In fact, Michigan’s ice fishing is well known and often something many anglers look forward to each year. Many claim the state’s winter months produce even better fishing than spring and summer – just ask Dale Blakley from Niles who caught the new state record flathead catfish (52 pounds) on January 12 in Barron Lake in Cass County!

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources

So while many flock to the lakes once conditions are right, there are other anglers that have never set foot on the ice. It’s quite simple to go ice fishing, with a few pieces of appropriate equipment (including safety items) and lots of warm clothing you can soon be on your way. You’ll have lots of species you can target, including bluegill, crappie, smelt, walleye, yellow perch and northern pike, and lots of ways in doing so, including tip-ups, hook-and-line and spearing.

Need further incentive to drop a line this winter? Try it for free as part of the 2014 Winter Free Fishing Weekend, coming Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16. This annual weekend provides two days where no fishing license is required for residents or non-residents – although all regulations still apply.

The Department of Natural Resources coordinates the Winter Free Fishing Weekend each year (and has since 1994) as an opportunity to showcase the great angling opportunities available in Michigan and allowing people to try the experience for free.

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources

While many individuals and families will flock to their favorite fishing hole as part of this weekend, others will join official events coordinated throughout the state that will provide hands-on ice fishing experience. An official 2014 Winter Free Fishing Weekend event list is available online highlighting activities (such as youth fishing tournaments) in many parts of the state, including the counties of Alpena, Arenac, Cheboygan, Clinton, Gogebic, Keweenaw, Macomb, Montcalm, Otsego, Roscommon, Tuscola, Washtenaw and Wayne.

Don’t miss your chance to experience the vast array of Michigan’s winter fishing opportunities. Start planning your next fishing trip at www.michigan.gov/fishing!

Have you been ice fishing in Michigan?  Where do you like to fish? 

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. 

 

Fishing in Pure Michigan: An Infographic

With trout, walleyes, salmon, perch, bass and more ready to bite, Michigan is home to the best catches a fishing trip can offer. And with four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams, there’s no end to the places to cast your line during your Pure Michigan fishing experience.

We compiled just a few reasons why Michigan is an angler’s dream. To download a full-sized version of the graphic, click here or on the image below.

For more on fishing in Michigan, visit michigan.org.

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.