The annual Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan is one of the most popular outdoor events of the year. For two days, February 13-14, 2016, Michigan residents and visitors to the state may enjoy the fun of fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for all species of fish without a license. Please be aware that all fishing regulations remain in full effect. Some of the best freshwater fishing in the world exists in Michigan.
This free event is an exciting time to get out and enjoy an afternoon of fishing on one of the Great Lakes—or any of the other beautiful bodies of water throughout the state—without a license. No matter your skill level, you are sure to have a great time. Michigan’s free fishing weekend gives anglers a chance to reel in prize catches like walleye, perch, bass, trout and northern pike. It’s also the perfect opportunity to brag about the one that didn’t get away, even if it does turn out to be just a fish story. For parents and children, this can be a terrific bonding experience that will provide memories that last a lifetime.
Angler’s Top Spots
Aquatic habitats can be found along more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, over 11,037 inland lakes and 36,350 miles of streams and rivers. Not to be missed during free fishing weekend in Michigan are 12,000 miles of trout waters—which contain nearly 1,000 miles of top blue ribbon trout mainstreams.
Taking the Bait
If you like your fish food from the great outdoors, stick a shovel in the ground and dig up some worms. Crickets and minnows work well too. All three are good choices for fishing beginners because there are no special techniques needed to land the big one. Just put them on your hook and cast out your line. Wait until you feel pressure on your rod and see your bobber go under the water (that’s how you know you have a fish on the line)—then yank your pole back.
For man-made bait the fish can’t resist, consider a spinner, jig, spoon or popper during free fishing weekend in Michigan. Spinners use blades that revolve and flutter through the water creating a vibration that attracts fish. These lures work best for murky waters. Jigs are versatile and inexpensive and can be used to catch just about any fish—set them in motion by making your line hop and jump through the water. Spoons are shaped just like their dinner table namesake. These shiny, curved pieces of metal are set above the hook and wobble through the water. When used properly, poppers trick fish into believing there is injured prey nearby. Use quick, jerky motions to draw your line across the water. If they are still not biting, experiment with different colored lures for best results.
Lighten up—your line should be 6 lb. test line or lighter. Smaller is better—unless you’re angling for movie star sharks or whales from the pages of literature, don’t use gigantic hooks during free fishing weekend in Michigan. Choose hook sizes in the range of 10 – 12. Keep in mind that hook sizes run backwards, so 12 is smaller than 10.