Free Fishing Weekends

December 13, 2012

Michigan is home to some outstanding fishing, with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,037 inland lakes, and more than 36,350 miles of rivers and streams.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division strives to engage as many individuals as possible in our state’s plentiful recreation opportunities, and provides special opportunities to do so – including our annual Free Fishing Weekends. Conducted one weekend each winter and summer, these events allow anyone to enjoy Michigan’s premier fishing for FREE!

Free Fishing Weekend

As part of these weekends, all fishing license fees are waived for two days with residents and out-of-state visitors allowed to enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for all species of fish during their respective open seasons. Please note all regulations will still apply during that time. The 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend will be held Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17.

To encourage involvement in Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are often offered in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by constituent groups, schools, parks (local/state), businesses and others. Will you be joining them and planning a 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend event?

We have numerous resources to help you plan and execute an event in your community. Simply visit and look through the Free Fishing Weekend Event Planning e-Toolkit. If you’ve already been hosting Free Fishing Weekend events, thank you! We’ve got tools to help you as well via the Free Fishing Weekend Event Promotion e-Toolkit located at the website listed above. Resources in this e-Toolkit include outreach and public relations materials.

Once your event is coordinated, please register it as an official 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend activity online at: Upon doing so you will be contacted about receiving a packet of resources from Fisheries Division that you can use during your event.

If you won’t be hosting a Winter Free Fishing Weekend event, but are planning on participating in next year’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend (June 8 and 9) or want to stay informed about the program, we invite you to sign up for our Free Fishing Weekends email list at If you are already signed up, please stay tuned for future communication from us.

Please join this year’s efforts to help get more individuals of all ages out fishing. We welcome you to become a part of the tradition that is the annual Free Fishing Weekends – a time to get together and have some fishing fun!

For additional Free Fishing Weekend information, please contact me at or (517) 373-9719.

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