The 2017 Winter Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan is coming up February 18–19, when all fishing licensing fees will be waived for two days. Are you planning on heading out into Northern Michigan’s outdoors for this bi-annual fishing event?

Professional fisherman and freshwater fishing Hall of Fame angler Mark Martin shares with us some ice fishing safety tips, Michigan fishing license information, and his top gear picks in this Q&A before the Michigan free fishing weekend.

Our weather in Northern Michigan has been a little all over the place lately, including some above freezing temperatures. How can fishermen know if the ice is safe to go ice fishing this weekend?

Whenever I am not sure about ice conditions I personally carry my old-fashioned spud. It is the best way to not only tell the thickness, but the hardness, and if you did fall in the spud will catch on the ice and not let you go under.

But always carry a whistle around your neck along with a pair of ice picks to claw your way out onto the ice.

If fishermen aren’t available to take advantage of Michigan free fishing this weekend, but are planning on going another time this winter season, what do they need to know about Michigan fishing licenses?

They sell one-day $10 resident or non-resident licenses, and three-day licenses for $30 (resident or non-resident). But a resident would be better off instead of getting a three day for $30, getting a yearly for $26. If a non-resident is going to go more than seven days throughout the year, they’re best off getting a yearly license.

For the beginners who want to try out ice fishing for the first time, what are the top pieces of gear you’d recommend they invest in?

  • Warm clothing and boots
  • Chemical hand warmers and toe warmers
  • A good ice fishing rod and reel combo (species specific)
  • A good auger and fish finder

How about your #1 tip?

Remember the fish don’t bite ’til you get there!

More Northern Michigan Fishing Tips:

#2016 #Up_North #Outdoors #Fishing