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DNR Encourages Families to Discover that Fishing is Fun
May 26, 2005
Michigan offers an incredible variety of fishing experiences. From big water fishing on a Great Lakes charter boat to wading a clear, fast-running blue ribbon trout stream to relaxing on a dock or drifting on the still waters of a small lake or quite pond, we've got it all!
Despite the wealth of angling opportunities Michigan offers, many youngsters today have never had the chance to learn how much fun fishing can be. Surveys indicate that 87% of today's adult anglers first experienced the joys of fishing as a youngster under the guidance of a grown-up.
How about you? If you're an experienced angler, consider sharing the expertise and fishing skills you've gained over your lifetime. Consider becoming a young person's "mentor."
Aiming to get first-time anglers "hooked" on the sport, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources sponsors an annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend, when residents and nonresidents can fish on these two days without purchasing a fishing license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.
This year's Free Fishing Weekend takes place June 11-12, and the DNR and a host of other agencies and local partners are hosting special events throughout the state. Most are designed for families and children.
"Fishing is a great way to connect with nature," said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. "I encourage all Michigan residents to get out and try 'casting a line' and discover the many rewards that Michigan fishing has to offer."
At Bay City State Recreation Area, visitors can take part in the park's 11th annual Free Fishing Festival June 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day's activities include a kids' fishing derby and casting tournament. One hundred fishing poles will be available for the participants. DNR Law Enforcement personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard also will be putting on demonstrations that encourage safe boating on Michigan's waters.
In Cadillac, the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center is sponsoring a weekend of free fishing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. A limited number of fishing poles are available. Equipment and bait can be picked up at the front desk. Indoors, participants also can try their hand on the center's new fishing simulator from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and throughout the day on Sunday.
A complete list of Michigan Summer Free Fishing Weekend events is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.
The DNR's "Fishing in the Parks" summer program offers free basic fishing instruction at 20 Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas across the state.
In a relaxed and fun atmosphere, specially trained DNR state park explorer guides teach a 20- to 30-minute hands-on lesson on basic fishing techniques.
"Our friendly instructors provide step-by-step direction, including knot-tying, setting up the pole, casting, selecting and using bait, and removing fish from the hook," said Bonnie Arthur, Fishing in the Parks coordinator.
Then the park staff and volunteers assist the participants as they fish. The instruction is free and youngsters under age 17 don't need to have a fishing license.
"Families are welcome to bring their own equipment, but if someone does not have a rod and reel, we supply everything they need to get started," Arthur said.
The program, Arthur said, is designed to help people learn about and enjoy fishing. "Michigan has such great fishing opportunities, we want anyone interested to have the chance to try," she said.
Unlike events such as fishing derbies or one-day trips, which are a good method of introducing kids to fishing, Arthur said this program gives people the opportunity to try fishing through the summer.
"It also enables them to receive one-on-one instruction, which hopefully leads to developing a greater interest in fishing," Arthur said. "This, in turn, helps them to learn about water quality, habitat and fish populations."
The program gets underway in June and runs through the middle of August. Contact the individual park below for days and times: Bay City RA, Bay City, (989) 667-0717; Brighton RA, Brighton, (810) 229-6566; Fort Custer RA, Augusta, (616) 731-4200; Fort Wilkins SP, Copper Harbor, (906) 289-4215; Hayes SP, Onsted, (517) 467-7401; Holland SP, Holland, (616) 399-9390; Holly RA, Holly, (248) 634-8811; Ionia RA, Ionia, (616) 527-3750; Metamora-Hadley RA, Metamora, (810) 797-4439; Muskegon SP, Muskegon, (231) 744-3480; Pontiac Lake RA, Waterford, (248) 666-1020; Port Crescent SP, Port Austin, (989) 738-8663; Proud Lake RA, Commerce Twp., (248) 685-2433; Rifle River RA, Lupton, (989) 473-2258; Sleepy Hollow SP, Laingsburg, (517) 651-6217; South Higgins Lake SP, Roscommon, (989) 821-6374; Sterling SP, Monroe, (734) 289-2715; Tawas Point SP, East Tawas, (989) 362-5041; Yankee Springs RA, Middleville, (269) 795-9081 and Young SP, Boyne City, (231) 582-7523.
A motor vehicle permit is required to enter all Michigan State Parks and can be purchased at the park entrance. Permits are $6 for the day or $24 for a resident annual, which is valid at any Michigan State Park.
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