If a fishing license is the only thing you need to revisit your favorite fishing hole, the Department of Natural Resources hopes to lure you to the water this weekend with free fishing.
This summer’s free fishing weekend is June 12-13. For two days, the state waives all fishing license fees for both residents and out-of-state visitors. Keep in mind that free fishing is not a free-for-all. All fishing regulations still apply.
A Recreation Passport also will not be required for entry into state parks and recreation areas this weekend. To encourage people to pursue free fishing and other outdoor fun, the DNR waives the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan's 103 state parks and 1,300 state-managed boating access sites.
Past free fishing weekends have seen the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center make its stock of fishing poles available for would-be anglers to drop a line in the nearby canal connecting lakes Cadillac and Mitchell. This year will be no exception. While the weekend also has included special programming during the free fishing weekend, this year's iteration will not. The center is located at 6087 E. M-115 in Cadillac West.
DNR Fisheries Biologist Mark Tonello said he expects this June’s Free Fishing Weekend will be a great time. At that point in the season, Tonello said panfish are usually on their beds and can be easily caught. He also said the weather in June is usually good and typically warm, so many people are ready to get outside and have fun.
Throughout the Cadillac area, there are numerous lakes such as Cadillac, Missaukee, Mitchell, Rose and Hodenpyl Dam Pond. Also, within a half hour, residents can reach the Manistee, Pine and Clam rivers.
This weekend, the state also is waiving the purchase of all off-road vehicle licenses or trail permits to allow all Michiganders and non-residents the chance to ride the state's 3,800 miles of designated routes and trails and the state's six scramble areas.
"Michigan is home to some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities and most beautiful natural spaces you'll find anywhere," DNR Director Dan Eichinger said. "Whether you're already an avid outdoors-person or someone just beginning to explore all the options, our 'Three Free' weekend makes it easy to discover a new hobby, visit a new park or introduce friends to an outdoor experience you love."
To get more details about the free fishing weekend or find a local event, visit michigan.gov/freefishing and visit michigan.gov/orvinfo for the latest ORV trail, safety and closure information. Finally, visit michigan.gov/recreationpassport to learn more about all the passport provides.