Free fishing weekend always a great experience

This weekend the Michigan Department of Natural Resources offered free fishing statewide, a great opportunity for people of all ages to get outdoors and enjoy fishing. The DNR has a summer and a winter free fishing weekend.

We think this is a good way to introduce new people to the sport, including children. A single opportunity to go fishing as a kid may result in a lifetime of enjoyment and fulfillment. It may also help the state in its continuing effort to cultivate new anglers who will generate license revenue to fund fish stocking and other fishing resource programs in the future.

According to the DNR, Michigan offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world, with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, over 11,037 inland lakes and 36,350 miles of rivers and streams.

Included are 12,000 miles of trout waters, for which approximately 1,000 miles are considered Michigan’s finest.

Several groups have organized events around the free fishing weekends from fishing derbies in various communities to off-road vehicle rides through state or national forestlands.

All of these activities are aimed at getting more people inclined to get outdoors to experience nature first hand-definitely a worthwhile initiative, especially in this age of smart phones and computers monopolizing time and attention of just about everyone.

Even for part of the day, getting out to do some fishing -enjoying the sights and sounds of nature- can be an effective stress reliever and a wonderful pastime.

From bird songs and the sound of winds blowing gently through the pines to the relaxing music of a trickling brook or singing frogs, the sounds of the forest can be very relaxing.

Then there are the sights, additional non-fish-related attractions of nature that make the fishing experience a joy, ranging from the spring and summer wildflowers to damselflies, birds and butterflies floating on the breeze.

Don’t forget the chance to enjoy some fresh fish cooked on an outdoor fire, there’s nothing like it.

If you didn’t get out yet for the free fishing weekend, there may still be a little time left to do it today, depending on when you’re reading this.

Go ahead. Put the paper down and go now. Get outside and fish. If you missed your free fishing chance, you may want to think about buying a daily or annual license to try the experience or mark your calendar for next June or February for more chances to fish free in Michigan.