I finally got out for a full day of fishing last weekend, but there was a problem - the bugs were biting much better than the brook trout. We did get a few small brookies and the weather was beautiful, which made for an enjoyable day on the stream.
In regard to the bugs, specifically mosquitoes, they were as bad as I can remember. Of course my memory may be getting a little weak, but others who have spent time outdoors recently will agreed with me on the explosion of mosquitoes.
These are hungry little beasts, too, not just casual flitterers that land on you now and then, but dive-bombers that are serious about getting into your blood.
The only advice I have, though, is to get used to it if you plan on hitting the woods soon. There is a lot of standing water this spring after the lingering snow from winter and that water makes for ideal hatching conditions for mosquitoes.
Regardless of the bug situation, this should be a busy weekend on area lakes and streams as the state is offering its free summer fishing weekend Saturday and Sunday.
During the weekend, Michigan residents and non-residents can fish without a license, although all other fishing regulations still apply.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has offered the free fishing weekend since 1986 in an effort to promote the state's wonderful fishing opportunities. Those opportunities abound, too, with Michigan having more than 11,000 inland lakes, 3,000-plus miles of Great Lakes shoreline and thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
This weekend offers an ideal chance for someone who knows a little about fishing to invite a non-angler to join them. You never know, you might just get another angler hooked on one of the best sports there is, not to mention all the tasty meals that can be netted.
Even non-anglers can team up with other non-anglers this weekend to give fishing a try. There are numerous sports shops across the region where someone who doesn't fish can pick up fishing equipment and some advice on how and where to fish.
In addition, there are numerous events planned around the state for the free fishing weekend where beginning anglers can pick up a few tips on the sport.
There are several included in the Upper Peninsula, many that are geared toward youths and other beginning anglers.
Included in the U.P. activities are:
More information on these events as well as other aspects of free fishing weekend can also be obtained on the website at www.michigan.gov/freefishing.
In addition to free fishing, the state is also offering the inaugural free ORV weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, residents and non-residents can ride an ORV for free, saving up to $36.25 by not having to buy ORV and trail stickers. Similar to fishing, riders must follow all other ORV rules while enjoying their rides this weekend.
One last free thing: The DNR is offering free entry to all state parks on Sunday without, eliminating he need to have a Recreational Passport.
With all this free stuff offered this weekend there's no excuse to not get out and enjoy the wonderful U.P. outdoors - just don't forget the bug repellent.
Editor's note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.