Time to brush up on ice fishing safety as Michigan's free fishing weekend approaches.

For two days twice a year, residents of Michigan and visitors have an opportunity to enjoy one of the state's premeire outdoor sports. Fishing! Did I mention it's for FREE? The 2021 Free Fishing weekend dates are February 13th and 14th for winter and June 12th and 13th for the summer.

All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. An added bonus is the state is waiving fees for entry into state parks and boating access sites across the state. Residents and out-of-state visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes' waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply.

Fishing is a great activity that allows for plenty of social distancing. If your family is feeling cooped up, it might be time to take the kids out to learn a new skill. Even adults can benefit from time spent outdoors in the fresh air doing a fun activity.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has printable certificates for young anglers to use to commemorate their first catch. Click here for a customizable printable certificate. Print here a customizable printable certificate with optional space for a photo.

The Michigan DNR has some helpful basic ice fishing safety tips for those new to the sport:

  • Steer clear of dark spots or places where the snow looks discolored
  • Never fish alone
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return
  • Always test the ice with a spud
  • Take the appropriate emergency items, such as a lifejacket and ice picks
  • Take a cell phone with you in case you need to call for help
  • Dress in your warmest winter clothes; fill a thermos with hot coffee, chocolate or tea; and bring an empty bucket or old lawn chair to sit on.
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SEE MORE: Fishing Essentials You Need For a Day at the Lake