Anglers urged to go outside for Free Fishing Weekend

State Rep. Aaron Miller encourages people to take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend on Feb. 13 and 14 by venturing out on the ice on a local lake or pond.

Rep. Miller, R-Sturgis, said no fishing license is required for residents or non-residents during the Free Fishing Weekend. Not only is it a fun time for experienced anglers, it is the perfect opportunity to introduce someone to the sport.

“Some children have never experienced the fun of dropping a line and reeling in dinner,” Rep. Miller said. “If you have children or grandchildren who may enjoy getting outdoors and enjoying Michigan’s beautiful natural resources in the winter, this would be an excellent opportunity to have them join you on the ice.”

Rep. Miller cautioned all anglers to be aware of safety measures involved in ice fishing. Ice conditions vary, and those seeking to fish should find a local source, such as a bait shop or fishing guide, where they can get the latest information on ice conditions. Other safety precautions include:

• Purchase a pair of ice picks or ice claws, which are available at most sporting goods stores;

• Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process. Ice under the snow will be thinner and weaker;

• Never venture out alone without telling a responsible adult on shore your plans; and

• Look for large cracks or depressions in the ice and avoid those areas.

Free Fishing Weekend takes place annually in February and June, a weekend during which the Michigan Department of Natural Resources promotes awareness of the state’s aquatic resources.

St. Joseph County is home to 94 lakes, while Cass County boasts 122 bodies of water.

A full listing of organized Free Fishing Weekend activities are online at www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

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