MNR Hosts a “Free Fishing Weekend”

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s a great time to launch a line this weekend across Michigan — all license fees are waived on Saturday and Sunday. You also don’t need a recreation passport to park at a boating access site — or even to enter a state park.

Grand Rapids resident Jose Carias has been fishing for three years now.

“It’s an awesome sport,” Carias said. “I love it. I love to fish. This is where I come to do, whenever I feel stressed I come here to get away from the world.

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesperson told News 8 that the DNR does this every year to give people the opportunity to try fishing for the first time without committing to a license. But he said you might want to go with a friend who has done it before.

“They probably have the gear and they probably know where the fish are biting,” MNR spokesman John Pepin said. He said that ideally he would accompany a friend for free and bring someone else, like a brother or son, with him.

“We could all fish for free, and I could come home with a fish for dinner,” Pepin said.

During the pandemic, DNR has seen many people try new outdoor hobbies.

“We had a lot of new beginners who came to try fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, driving all-terrain vehicles, lots of different things,” Pepin said.

For Jose, he was fine with the cold weather on Saturday. It was the perfect opportunity to catch one of his favorite fish.

“Summer fishing, you don’t find these amazing fish,” Carias said. “Steelheads have a lot of power. Once you hook up with a man, it’s so nice.

Still, he said it’s not for everyone.
“Not everyone has the patience,” Carias said. “And sometimes, for this kind of fish, you have to have a lot of patience.”

If you’re thinking of getting out on the water on Sunday, perhaps for the first time, he has some tips for you:

“Don’t come with the mindset that ‘aw, I’m going to go catch a bunch of fish,'” Carias said. “Just come and enjoy nature. Because that’s what it’s all about.

If you’re not lucky enough to get in the water this weekend, the second and final free fishing weekend of the year will take place this summer, June 10-11.

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