Summer is upon us and this coming weekend will be the perfect time to try out various outdoor activities as fees to fish, go off-roading and entry into state parks will be free.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages everyone to take advantage of “Three Free” Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. The two days will allow Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors to grab a fishing rod, ride the off-road trails and visit state parks and boating access sites, all free of charge.
“We have three big reasons for you to enjoy some of Michigan’s best outdoor recreation opportunities,” 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.”
The free fishing without a valid Michigan fishing license is for all in-season species, but all other fishing regulations apply.
The Cadillac area does have good shore fishing opportunities for those that don’t have boats, including the area of the canal and the Cadillac City Dock near downtown Cadillac.
Another nearby shore fishing option is by the Cadillac Wexford Public Library because the water is deep near the shore.
For people willing to do some wading, you can also try fishing along the 1.5-mile McKellop Walkway, which follows the eastern shore of Lake Cadillac. The M-115 causeway on Lake Cadillac is a good place to fish if you don’t have a boat. Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell are stocked with walleye by MDNR, and they also have good fishing for northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, and yellow perch. Lake Cadillac also has some good fishing for smallmouth bass.
In addition to lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, Pleasant Lake, Lake Meauwataka, and Berry Lake are good inland lakes to try. These lakes have good fishing for largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, and black crappies. Rose Lake is stocked with walleye but also has good fishing for largemouth bass and bluegills.
Center Lake is stocked with rainbow trout but also has a good fishery for bluegills. Lake Missaukee is stocked with walleye but has very good panfish and bass fishing. Missaukee County’s Crooked Lake also has good bass and panfish opportunities. Tippy Dam Pond and Hodenpyl Dam Pond also are good spots to check out, with good fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, black crappie and channel catfish.
While inland lakes are plentiful in the Cadillac area, so are quality river fishing experiences, including the Pine River, Clam River and Manistee River.
For those looking for an off-road adventure, all 4,000 miles of designated routes and trails and the state’s six scramble areas are open for anyone to ride without a ORV licenses or trail permit.
To encourage people to pursue free fishing and other outdoor fun, the DNR is waiving the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks, 1,300 state-managed boating access sites and many other outdoor spaces.
While free fishing and free ORV weekends each take place on back-to-back days twice a year, the “Three Free” Weekend happens only in June.
If you choose to head out for a day of fishing, riding or enjoying the outdoors, the DNR also is urging everyone to put safety first. Additionally, the DNR encourages people to recreate responsibly, stay safe and protect the health and beauty of the state’s natural resources.