PROOS: Enjoy Michigan free winter fishing this weekend

Michigan has celebrated free winter fishing every year for more than two decades in an effort to increase awareness of our state’s great fishing opportunities.

Indeed, with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan is home to some of the world’s best fishing.

This year’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 17-18. It is the first of two weekends when residents and out-of-state visitors can get together and enjoy Michigan fishing — at no charge.

  The free weekend is an excellent time to introduce the joy of fishing to children and help pass down the tradition of Michigan fishing to the next generation of anglers. It is also a chance for even the most experienced angler to try winter fishing for the first time.

During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived and vehicles will be able to enter state parks and use boating sites without a recreation passport. Residents and visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland lakes and the Great Lakes for all species of fish, but all fishing regulations still apply.

To celebrate the free fishing weekend, organized activities have been scheduled across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations, including local and state parks, constituent groups, schools, businesses and others.

Residents looking for more details on the Winter Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, may visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing. Type in “The Coolest Sport Around” on the website for an article packed full of helpful information about ice fishing.

Ice fishing can be dangerous for those who don’t follow safety procedures or who head out unprepared. Type in “Ice Safety Tips” for details on what to know before going out on the ice.

I encourage southwest Michigan anglers — and those who have never gone fishing — to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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