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Free fishing weekend this Saturday and Sunday


Adults and youths alike can have fun exploring Michigan’s winter fishing opportunities during the 2017 Winter #MiFreeFishingWeekend

Adults and youths alike can have fun exploring Michigan’s winter fishing opportunities during the 2017 Winter #MiFreeFishingWeekend

Everyone in Michigan is invited to fish for free Saturday, Feb. 18, and Sunday, Feb. 19, for the 2017 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. A license is not required to fish for those two days, but all other fishing regulations still apply.
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 DNR points out that there are several organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate the weekend, too. Some of these events include:

  • Free Fishing Festival (Bay County) Feb. 18, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Join this annual event at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at Bay City State Recreation Area where tons of winter recreation activities are highlighted.
  • 8th annual Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department Ice Fishing Contest (Gogebic County) Feb. 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participate in this annual ice fishing contest where lots of prizes are raffled off.
  • Wild about Winter Activity Day (Van Buren County) Feb. 18, 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Visit the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan for its Ice Fishing 101 course, held at three separate times. Additional on-site activities will include snowshoeing, a winter scavenger hunt and much more.
  • Family Ice Fishing (Wexford County) Feb. 18,  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.

OUT-Free-fishing2-ice-safety-tipsPlease note that all events are subject to weather conditions. Even if there is no fishable ice in certain parts of the state this weekend, other types of fishing may be available. Also, during the 2017 Winter #MiFreeFishingWeekend no DNR Recreation Passport is required for entry to any state park or recreation area.

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 celebrated the Winter Free Fishing Weekend every year 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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New fishing regulations adopted for 2013-2014 season take effect April 1


OUT-Fishing-license-father-To ensure Michigan’s fisheries resources are managed properly and provide the best benefits to anglers and the public, the Department of Natural Resources annually adjusts fishing regulations. For the coming 2013-2014 angling year, which starts Monday, April 1, the DNR would like anglers to be aware of the following new fishing regulations:

Muskellunge Possession Limit Change – Only one muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) may be harvested per season per angler. A new non-transferrable muskellunge harvest tag is required to harvest muskellunge in Michigan waters. The muskellunge harvest tag is free and available at all fishing license vendors. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/muskie.

Northern Pike Fishing Regulation Changes – Northern pike regulations now include the establishment of a new 24-inch to 34-inch protected-slot-limit with a daily possession of two northern pike on six waters. A new provision has also been added to the no minimum size limit regulation waters where five northern pike may be harvested daily – only one northern pike greater than 24-inches is now allowed as part of the daily possession limit. The general statewide 24-inch minimum size limit with a daily possession of two northern pike is still in effect for all other waters not listed as an exception.

Bow and Spear Fishing Regulations – Crossbows are included as lawful gear on the waters where bow and arrow use is lawful. The spearing prohibition on Houghton Lake in Roscommon County was removed. Netting Regulations – Netting regulations have been modified and some season dates have changed.

Inland Trout and Salmon Regulations – There are five new research streams in the Upper Peninsula where an additional five brook trout may be retained for the daily possession limit.

Possession Limit Change – The Platte River daily possession limit is one rainbow trout from the Upper (Hatchery) Platte River Weir downstream to Lake Michigan. The Little Manistee River daily possession limit is one rainbow trout from 300 feet downstream of the Little Manistee River Weir down to Manistee  Lake.

Spawning Closure – the lower portion of the Betsie River from the Betsie Valley Trail Bridge (former railroad trestle bridge) west to a line in Betsie Bay between the westernmost dock of the Northstar Marina  and the westernmost dock of the Eastshore Marina is closed to fishing until further notice.

These regulation changes are detailed further in the 2013 Michigan Fishing Guide, now available at all  major retailers and at the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/fishingguide.

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