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Free fishing weekend events throughout northern Michigan

(WPBN/WGTU)-- Free fishing weekend is underway.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites everyone in Michigan to fish for free Saturday and Sunday. A license is not required to fish for these two days, but all other fishing regulations still apply.

The DNR says these two days make up #MiFreeFishingWeekend – an annual effort to promote Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities. While many individuals and families will bundle up and head out to fish for free on their own, the DNR points out that there are several organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate the weekend, too.

The DNR says warmer temperatures could make for unsafe ice fishing conditions but other angling opportunities may still be available.

Here's a look at events happening for Free Fishing Weekend throughout northern Michigan:

Benzie County

Event Name: First-Annual Inter-Loch-Ness Tri-County Ice Fishing Tournament

Location: Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties

Date: Saturday, February 18 & Sunday, February 19

Time: 6 a.m. (Saturday) until 3 p.m. (Sunday)

Details: Fish any lake in Benzie, Grand Traverse or Leelanau counties! More information available online at gtasfa.com/. Anglers should register online or at Haven's Interlochen Party Store.

Contact: info@gtasfa.com

Event Name: Take a Kid Ice Fishing

Location: 602 Main Street, Frankfort (City of Frankfort Marina)

Date: Saturday, February 18

Time: 12 p.m.

Details: Join the Benzie Water Festival as they host "Take a Kid Ice Fishing"! Rods, bait, shanties and volunteer instruction will be provided.

Contact: joshuastoltzis@gmail.com, 231-640-0200

Emmet County

Event Name: Friends of Oden Fish Hatchery Ice Fishing Event

Location: Camp Petosega, 11000 Camp Petosega Road, Alanson

Date: Saturday, February 18

Time: TBD

Details: A day of free ice fishing on Pickerel Lake with gear, bait, food and entertainment provided.

Contact: mhent@hughes.net, 231-548-5694

Grand Traverse County

Event Name: First-Annual Inter-Loch-Ness Tri-County Ice Fishing Tournament

Location: Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties

Date: Saturday, February 18 & Sunday, February 19

Time: TBD

Details: Fish any lake in Benzie, Grand Traverse or Leelanau counties! More information available online at gtasfa.com/. Anglers should register online or at Haven's Interlochen Party Store.

Contact: info@gtasfa.com

Leelanau County

Event Name: First-Annual Inter-Loch-Ness Tri-County Ice Fishing Tournament

Location: Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties

Date: Saturday, February 18 & Sunday, February 19

Time: TBD

Details: Fish any lake in Benzie, Grand Traverse or Leelanau counties! More information available online at gtasfa.com/. Anglers should register online or at Haven's Interlochen Party Store.

Contact: info@gtasfa.com

Mecosta County

Event Name: Fish the Chip during Free Fishing Weekend

Location: Any river-running Chippewa Watershed Conservancy sites

Date: Saturday, February 18 & Sunday, February 19

Time: Sunrise to sunset, both days

Details: Fish the Chippewa River or any of its tributaries from any of Chippewa Watershed Conservancy river-running preserve sites.

Contact: katie@chippewawatershedconservancy.org, 989-772-5777

Otsego County

Event Name: Northland Sportsman Club Fishing Derby

Location: Otsego Lake State Park, 7136 Old 27 South, Gaylord

Date: Saturday, February 18

Time: TBD

Details: Join this special event held at the Otsego Lake State Park boat launch.

Contact: monfortonjim@yahoo.com, 989-619-9393

Roscommon County

Event Name: WinterFest 2017

Location: Higgins Lake, North Higgins Lake State Park

Date: Saturday, February 18

Time: 8 a.m. to ??

Details: Join this annual event for only $5 per person. The Higgins Lake Fishing Derby will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from North Higgins Lake State Park. Tons of other activities will be held as well. For more information visit hlrcc.com/chamber-events/winterfest.

Contact: info@hlrcc.com, 989-275-8760

Event Name: Catch Us If You Can - Double Up

Location: Houghton Lake, Higgins Lake, Lake St. Helen

Date: Saturday, February 18 & Sunday, February 19

Time: All day, both days

Details: Catch one of the more than 200 tagged fish in Houghton Lake, Higgins Lake or Lake St. Helen and win a prize.

Contact: info@visithoughtonlake.com, 989-422-2002

Wexford County

  • Feb. 18, noon to 4 p.m.
  • Come to the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac for an on-the-ice experience and learn how to ice fish.

Please note that all events are subject to weather conditions. Even if there is no fishable ice in certain parts of the state this weekend, other types of fishing may be available. Also, during the 2017 Winter #MiFreeFishingWeekend no DNR Recreation Passport is required for entry to any state park or recreation area.

There are many other events scheduled in locations throughout the state. Information about these events, including those listed above, can be found at Michigan.gov/freefishing.

Michigan has celebrated the Winter Free Fishing Weekend every year since 1994. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing are a natural match.

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