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Free Fishing Weekend this weekend offers a chance to try ice fishing

If you have ever wanted to go ice fishing, this is the weekend to do it as once again it is Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan.

It is all smiles in this picture at the Free Fishing Weekend. Events are taking place across the state where you can try your hand at ice fishing.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the need for a fishing license is waived and at many state parks and recreation areas, there will be programs underway where you can learn the art of fishing on solid water and these programs are not directed towards the hardcore fisherman, they are geared to the entire family.

At locations in 26 counties across the state, there will be experts on ice fishing on hand to give advice, show how to cut a hole in the ice and hopefully, watch those taking part reel in a fish or two. Along with this basic information, there will also be presentations on ice fishing safety, what sort of gear is needed, where to find the fish and what bait to use.

For those who have never ice fished before, there will also be free gear to use so all you need to bring is yourself with some very warm clothing and the eagerness to head out onto the ice.

Being in the Great Lakes state, it is never more than a few miles to a river or lake and this alone should have people out on the ice to take part in a great family activity.

"Michigan is home to many fun and family-friendly outdoor activities during the colder months - and fishing is definitely among the most popular," said DNR Director Keith Creagh. "Our Winter Free Fishing Weekend is a great time for people to get outdoors and explore the state's broad range of Pure Michigan fishing opportunities. There's something for everyone - on your own, with a friend or with the whole family."

For a complete listing of Free Fishing Weekend events across the state go to the 2014 Winter Free Fishing Weekend - Official Event List on the MDNR website.

In the Metro Detroit area, the following events are taking place in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties.

Wayne County

Kids Fish Free Weekend
Lake Erie Metro Park boat ramp
32481 Jefferson Ave.
Rockwood, MI
Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16
10 a.m. until 3 p.m. both days., 734-674-6638

Oakland County

Rec 101: Intro to Ice Fishing
Bald Mountain State Recreation Area
Hearth Shelter
1330 E. Greenshield Road
Lake Orion, MI
Sunday, February 16
1p.m. until 3 p.m.
A Recreation Passport is required for entry.
(248) 693-9780,

Ice Fishing Derby
Seven Lakes State Park
14390 Fish Lake Road
Holly, MI
Saturday, February 15
9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Sponsored by Izaak Walton League of America, Fenton Chapter and Seven Lakes State Park there will be a limited amount of ice fishing equipment available. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories at this ice fishing derby.
A Recreation Passport is required for entry.

Macomb County

Annual Youth Ice Fishing Derby
Gino's Surf
37400 Jefferson Avenue
Harrison Township, MI
Saturday, February 15
7 a.m. until 11 a.m.
There will be a youth ice fishing derby for all ages up to 17 years old. There is a small fee of $5 to enter but this includes free bait, hot dogs and hot chocolate along with prizes for those taking part.
(248) 342-7778

Washtenaw County

Family Ice Fishing & Bonfire
Eddy Discovery Center
Waterloo Recreation Area
17030 Bush Road
Chelsea, MI
Saturday, February 15
10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
After making a jig stick at the Discovery Center, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, head down to Mill Lake to test it out. There will be ice fishing demonstrations as well as an area cleared for skating. Warm up afterwards around a bonfire with marshmallows and hot chocolate. Park at the Mill Lake Boat Launch on McClure Road or hike/ski over from the Discovery Center.
A Recreation Passport is required for entry.
(734) 475-3170

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