This month, Michigan will be celebrating its 27th annual Free Fishing Weekend on September 23rd and 24th. If you have kids who love to fish, this is a great opportunity for them to get out on the water. Even if they don’t know how yet, there are many fishing opportunities available that can teach them!
The event was started in 1982 when Governor William Milliken signed legislation making it legal for anglers of all ages to fish without a license during the weekend of September 23-24. This tradition has continued every year since then.
The weekend is a celebration of Michigan’s rich fishing heritage, with more than 700 lakes covering the state. The goal was to encourage families to enjoy some free time together in nature and “catch” fish for supper on Saturday night. With over 100 years of tradition behind it, Free Fishing Weekend continues to be one of the most well-attended outdoor events each year!
This year there will be family-friendly activities all around the Great Lakes State from children teaching their parents how to tie flies at home; casting demonstrations; live bird dog field trials; fly tying workshops in Marquette County’s Black Creek Lean To Cabins – just 20 minutes southeast of Big Bay along U.S. Highway 41; and fly fishing lessons in the Upper Peninsula at Michigan Tech’s outdoor pond on Saturday, October 20th from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm – with prizes awarded every hour!
Please note some restrictions that may apply when using these sites for Free Fishing Weekend. The free fishing license is not valid for hunting or trapping of any kind. A state park entrance fee may be required if you are going into a state park while this event is taking place (nearby Ludington State Park charges $12 per vehicle). Be sure to wear light-colored clothing so you can see your gear easily if it gets lost underwater, as well as bringing a picnic lunch and snacks, bottled water, and insect repellent!
The free fishing license is not valid for hunting or trapping of any kind. A state park entrance fee may be required if you are going into a state park while this event is taking place (nearby Ludington State Park charges $12 per vehicle). Be sure to wear light-colored clothing so you can see your gear easily if it gets lost underwater, as well as bringing a picnic lunch and snacks, bottled water and insect repellent!
*Tip: while fishing for small minnows, it’s best to cast the line and wait at least five minutes before reeling in. If there are no bites after that time period, change your bait or location!
Welcome to September, everyone! The first day of the month is just around the corner. And there are a few free fishing weekends coming up in Michigan that you should take advantage of with your kids this fall.
Free Fishing Weekend is Sept 15th – 17th, 2018
Some basic requirements for these events: All children aged 12 or younger must be accompanied by an adult who has a valid license and rod permit (or one child per licensed angler). You also need to know when they’ll be available on Saturday and Sunday of those two weeks so you can plan ahead accordingly if necessary. Know before you go!
What to Bring: You’ll also want to make sure you have these items when heading out for the free fishing weekend. No one likes being unprepared! Remember that children 12 years old or younger will need a rod permit and an adult with them who has a valid license and rod permit (or one child per licensed angler). Other things you might like include bait worms, hooks, bobbers, plastic containers for live minnow buckets (free at most bait shops!), pliers, or needle-nose pliers if there’s a line in your reel spinning inside when trying to retrieve it. And don’t forget a cooler!
Also, be aware of the rules when bringing children out during this time. You’ll want to have them prepared with all necessary fishing gear and remembering that they will need an adult who is licensed, as well. Children under 12 years old are not allowed to fish unless there’s at least one person in their party 16 or older for every child younger than 12 (or two adults if no other people).