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 many organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate the weekend as well. Some of these events include:
Pure Curtis Weekend, Big Manistique Lake (Mackinac County)
Feb. 14, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The town of Curtis will host an adult ice fishing tournament, a kids' ice fishing contest and outdoor events throughout the city. Tournament registration will be held at Mick’s Bait Shop at the cost of $15 per entry.
Winter Festival, Bay City Recreation Area (Bay County)
Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This event offers youth an opportunity to participate in an ice fishing clinic where they construct an ice fishing jig, design a lure and learn tips on ice fishing. The derby is held on Tobico Lagoon. Pre-drilled holes, free hot refreshments and warming fire, bait and loaner fishing rods will be provided. Please note a Recreation Passport is required for entry.
Free Ice Fishing Derby, Seven Lakes State Park (Oakland County)
Feb. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This event will offer loaner equipment and instruction to participants. It will be held at the Fisherman’s Cove Shelter at the park. This event is assisted by members of the Izaak Walton League of America. Please note a Recreation Passport is required for entry.
Northland Sportsmen’s Club Winter Ice Fishing Derby, Otsego Lake State Park (Otsego County)
Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m. to noon
This event is for kids age zero to 16. Participants must register at the lake prior to the 8:30 a.m. start time. Bait, tackle and ice holes will be provided. There will be hot beverages on the lake. Please note a Recreation Passport is required for entry.
Family Ice Fishing & Bonfire, Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
Feb. 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Make your own ice fishing jig stick at the Eddy Discovery Center and then head to Mill Lake to try ice fishing. There will be ice fishing demonstrations as well as an area cleared for ice skating. Warm up afterwards around a bonfire with marshmallows and hot chocolate. Please note a Recreation Passport is required for entry.
Please note that all events are subject to weather conditions.
There are many other events scheduled in other locations throughout the state, including in the counties of Arenac, Baraga, Chippewa, Emmet, Gogebic, Huron, Ingham, Presque Isle, St. Clair and Van Buren. Information about these events, including those listed above, can be found at Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.