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Fish For Free This Weekend

Michigan’s annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to introduce a young person to ice fishing.

Everyone in Michigan is invited to fish for free Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18, for the 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. A license is not required to fish those two days, but all other fishing regulations still apply.

Ice Fishing Tips

These two days make up #MiFreeFishingWeekend – an annual effort to promote Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities. While many individuals and families will bundle up and head out to fish for free on their own, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources points out that there are many events organized throughout the state to get you started, too. Here are a few:

  • Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department 9th Annual Ice Fishing Contest (Gogebic County)
    Feb. 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Join this event that features thousands of door and raffle prizes and lots of indoor kids activities.
  • Caseville 26th Annual Shanty Days – Ice Fishing Contest (Huron County)
    Feb. 17-18, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days
    This event is hosted by the Caseville Chamber of Commerce and rewards anglers who catch the biggest walleye, lake trout, yellow perch and northern pike.
  • 2012 Sturgeon Spearing, Black Lake, Cheyboygen Co. Informal shanty towns often pop up on frozen inland lakes throughout Michigan during the winter. See if there’s one in your area during the 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend.

    Meridian Township Annual Ice Fishing Derby (Ingham County)
    Feb. 17, 9 a.m. to noon
    Held at Central Park South, this annual event is hosted by Meridian Township Parks and Recreation.

  • Lake St. Clair Metropark Free Youth Ice Fishing Derby (Macomb County)
    Feb. 17, 7 a.m. to noon
    Join the Macomb Sportsmen Society for this event, where kids get a free ice-fishing lesson! Equipment, shelter, bait and lunch will be provided.
  • Free Ice Fishing Derby (Oakland County)
    Feb. 17, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Head to Seven Lakes State Park for an annual event that’s fun for the whole family. Loaner equipment will be provided, as well as refreshments, prizes and a warm fire.
  • Winter Activity Day (Van Buren County)
    Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Check out Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery’s annual Free Fishing Weekend event. Lots of activities are planned for the Mattawan site, including hatchery tours, snowshoe rentals, a winter scavenger hunt, ice-fishing seminars and jig making.

Please note that during the 2018 #MiFreeFishingWeekend:

  • All events are subject to weather conditions.
  • The DNR Recreation Passport is not required for entry to state parks and recreation areas.

There are many other events scheduled in locations throughout the state. Information about these events, including those listed above, can be found at michigan.gov/freefishing.

Michigan has been celebrating the Winter Free Fishing Weekend annually since 1994. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing are a natural match.

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