These two days make up the Winter Free Fishing Weekend – 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 there are numerous organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate the weekend as well. Some of these events include:
- 7th Annual Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department Ice Fishing Contest in Gogebic County
Feb. 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST)
A family-friendly fishing event will be held at Wakefield’s VFW post. Entry fees are $3 for kids aged 4 to 12 and $5 for those age 13 and up.
- Fife Lake Chamber Fishing Derby in Grand Traverse County
Feb. 13, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This event features a $1,000 grand prize for the largest fish caught! The event also will feature a chili cook-off, sleigh rides, craft show and much more. There is a $25 fee for each entry into the derby.
- Ice Fishing Derby in Oakland County
Feb. 13, 7 to 11 a.m.
Visit Seven Lakes State Park in Holly to learn how to fish. This event is sponsored by the Fenton Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, and limited equipment will be available to use.
- Pentwater Lake Perch Fishing Tournament in Oceana County
Feb. 13, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Register for this tournament at Pentwater Angler or Cenzo’s Market. There is a fee of $5 per adult, $2 per kid, or $10 per family.
- Youth Fishing Derby in Wexford County
Feb. 13, noon to 4 p.m.
Come to the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac for an on-the-ice experience and learn how to ice fish. Gear will be available. The cost is free, but registration is required.
Please note all events are subject to weather conditions (information about ice safety is available on the DNR’s website). Also, during the 2016 Winter Free Fishing Weekend no DNR Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to any state park or recreation area.
There are many other events scheduled in locations throughout the state, including in the counties of Bay, Charlevoix, Emmet, Hillsdale, Huron, Mackinac, Otsego, Roscommon, Washtenaw and Van Buren counties. Information about these events, including those listed above, can be found at michigan.gov/freefishing.
Michigan has celebrated 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.