If you have ever want to go ice fishing, take a winter hike to watch birds or find out about snowshoeing, then on Feb. 16, the Winter Festival at Bay City Recreation Area is where you should be.
The day of winter fun will begin at 9 a.m. at the recreation area with the youth ice fishing clinic. Young fishers will have the chance to build an ice fishing pole, learn how to rig it, work on creating their own ice fishing jig and learn ice fishing safety and other tips.
Then at 9:30 a.m. there will be a chance for the youngsters to use their newfound knowledge at an ice fishing derby. Free poles and bait will be provided for the children that take part and there will be pre-drilled holes on the lake for them to fish at.
For the adults who want to do a bit of ice fishing, the weekend coincides with the winter Free Fishing Weekend and no license is needed, but all fishing regulation will be in force and must be followed. The free fishing weekend is part of the project Go Get Outdoors sponsored across the state by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
"The Winter Festival is a great opportunity for area families to try out traditional outdoor winter recreational activities. All equipment and instruction is provided,” said park interpreter Valerie Blaschka. "New this year, youth will be able to learn how to tie a fly for ice jigging. This will kick off a series of Saturday afternoon programs on fly tying which will be offered at the visitor center in February and March."
For those who would rather look to the skies for birds, there will be morning bird hikes and a winter bird feeding workshop. For a close up look at some of the wildlife in the area, there will be a wildlife presentation and snowshoe hike out to a beaver lodge along with an owl-calling hike later in the day.
Though the festival is free to all, a Recreation Passport is required for entry into the Bay City State Recreation Area. Recreation Passports can either be purchased when renewing vehicle license plates or at the Bay City Recreation Area or any other Michigan State Park. The cost for this annual pass is $11 and allows entry into any state park or recreation area in the state.
The Bay City State Recreation Area is located at 3582 Park Drive in Bay City and for a complete listing of times and events, check out the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center webpage or call the Bay City Recreation Area at (989) 667-0717.
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