Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend Events for Families

All fishing licenses are waived for two days only, Feb. 16-17, 2019. Gather up your gear and reel in the fun with your whole family at these free fishing weekend events.

Free fishing weekend in winter

Love to fish? On Feb. 16-17, 2019, southeast Michigan families can take advantage of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend.

All fishing licenses are waived for those two days this winter (the fun happens again in June), so grab your rod and your bait and head out to one of these awesome free fishing events.

Not only do all of these events include free fishing, but numerous activities will be held as well.

From snacks and beverages to fishing competitions, these events have something in store for everyone in your family. They are perfect for expert fishermen – as well as little tots just learning to cast a line.

Don’t forget: Some events require advance registration, so make sure to reserve your spot! And be sure to check ahead to see if some of these fishing spots require an entrance fee. All catch restrictions still apply.

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Mid City Ice Fishing Derby 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 224 E. Caspian Ave., Caspian
  • Phone: 906-265-9277
  • Time: 5 a.m.-5 p.m.

This annual derby offers prizes to the person who catches the biggest northern pike, walleye, yellow perch and bluegill.

Dam to Dam 2019

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 8249 S. Croton Hardy Drive, Newaygo
  • Phone: 231-652-2250
  • Time: 6 a.m.-5 p.m.

Find ice fishing and ice golf at this annual. Funds go to support TrueNorth Mentors.

Fishing for a Cure 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 23477 S. Bay Road, Pickford
  • Phone: 906-424-0456
  • Time: 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

This fishing fundraiser goes to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Ryan Williams Perch Derby 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 324 S. Hancock St., Pentwater
  • Phone: 231-869-4150
  • Time: 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

The city of Pentwater offers this perch competition during their Winterfest celebration.

Ice Fishing Contest 

Feb. 16, 2019

  • Address: The Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning, 2315 Harmon Lake Road, Mayville
  • Phone: 989-673-2050
  • Time: 7:30-11 a.m. and 1:30-5:30 p.m.

Enjoy a day of ice fishing, raffles and more to support programs for people with disabilities.

2019 WinterFest & Fishing Derby 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: Higgins Lake, Roscommon
  • Phone: 989-275-8760
  • Time: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

This event features free fishing and a carnival for kids.

Bay City State Park Winter Festival 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: Bay City State Park, 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City
  • Phone: 989-667-0717
  • Time: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Families enjoy a fishing derby, fishing clinics, crafts, live animal presentations and much more.

Meridian Township Youth Ice Fishing Derby 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 1990 Central Park Drive, Okemos
  • Phone: 517-853-4610
  • Time: 10 a.m.-noon

Kids 16 and under can fish on the lake and enter to win a prize. Instruction, equipment and bait provided.

Free Centennial Ice Fishing Derby 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: Seven Lakes State Park, 14390 Fish Lake Road, Holly
  • Phone: 248-634-7271
  • Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Michigan State Parks at this annual ice fishing competition.

Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Wild About Winter Activity Day

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan
  • Phone: 269-668-2876
  • Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Snowshoe through the snow, have a glass of cocoa by a roaring fire, participate in a winter scavenger hunt and participate in ice fishing.

Barton City Kids Fishing Tournament 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: Jewel Lake, Trask Lake Road, Barton City
  • Phone: 989-335-3895
  • Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Kids compete against one another to see who can nab the biggest catch.

Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department Ice Fishing Contest 

Feb. 16, 2019

  • Address: 107 E. US 2, Wakefield
  • Phone: 906-364-0174
  • Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Help raise funds for the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department by joining them in a free fishing contest.

Family Hardwater School & Youth Tournament 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, 6087 M-115, Cadillac
  • Phone: 231-779-1321
  • Time: noon-3 p.m.

Learn how to fish and then try out what you’ve learned. Prizes for kids only.

Free Ice Fishing Day for Kids 

Feb. 16, 2019 

  • Address: 11000 Camp Petosega Road, Alanson
  • Phone: 231-340-1191
  • Time: noon-4 p.m.

Parents bring their kids for a free afternoon of ice fishing, hot chocolate and food. Parents must stay with their kids. If the outside temperature is below zero degrees, the event will be held from 2-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019.

Interlochness 3 

Feb. 16-17, 2019

  • Address: Any lake in Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Benzie counties
  • Phone: 231-714-7565
  • Time: 6 a.m.-3 p.m.

Register at the party store (2614 M-137, Interlochen) and fish any lake in the three participating counties.

Snowfest 2019 Fishing Contest 

Feb. 16-17, 2019 

  • Address: 680 M-134, Cedarville
  • Phone: 906-484-3935
  • Time: 6 a.m.-5 p.m.

Kids and adults can compete in this pike and perch fishing contest. Top three winners get a cash prize.

Catch Us If You Can 

Feb. 16-17, 2019 

  • Address: Houghton Lake, Higgins Lake and Lake St. Helen
  • Phone: 989-422-2002
  • Time: sunrise-sunset

Catch a tagged fish from one of the participating lakes to win a gas card and your chance at the grand prize.

Shanty Days 

Feb. 16-17, 2019

  • Address: 6632 Main St., Caseville
  • Phone: 989-856-3818
  • Time: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Enjoy fishing at the city’s annual winter carnival.

OAC Outdoors – Michigan Free Fishing Weekend

Feb. 16-17, 2019 

  • Address: DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, 1801 Atwater St., Detroit
  • Phone: 844-622-6367
  • Time: 2-4 p.m. daily

Learn about proper ice fishing techniques and safety practices. Then test out what you’ve learned at Milliken State Park. Center admission fees apply.

This post was originally published in 2016 and is updated regularly.