Bay City State Recreation Area Hosting 14th Annual Free Fishing Festival

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The Bay City State Recreation Area will host its 14th Annual Free Fishing Festival on Saturday, June 7, to celebrate Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend. During Free Fishing Weekend, no fishing license is required; however, all other fishing regulations apply.

The festival starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. This is a Department of Natural Resources “GO-Get Outdoors” event and is sponsored by Frank’s Great Outdoors, the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club and the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area.

The day’s activities include a kids’ fishing derby, kids’ casting tournament, a fishing tips and tricks workshop, fly fishing demonstration, several how-to workshops, fish arts and crafts and much more. There also will be the annual Great Tobico Minnow Race, with a grand prize going to the fastest minnow overall.

New for this year is a special “Go Fish” pond game that will challenge young anglers and update their parents on the current Michigan Department of Community Health Fish Advisory.

“A major goal of the festival is to promote fishing and boating safety,” said DNR Park Interpreter Valerie Blaschka. “Personnel from the DNR Law Enforcement and Fisheries Divisions and the U.S. Coast Guard will be on hand with demonstrations to encourage safe fishing practices and responsible boating on Michigan waters.”

Special fish exhibits will be on display in the visitor center, including mounts which represent Michigan’s record-sized fish catches.

A free hot dog lunch will be provided by the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club, and equipment and bait used for fishing events has been donated by Frank’s Great Outdoors of Linwood. Trophies and prizes will be presented to youth at a special awards ceremony in the afternoon. Children will be able to earn a special Fishing for Fun Junior Ranger patch by participating in five activities and all youth will receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win one of 100 fishing poles donated by area sponsors.

The activities are free of charge, but all vehicles entering the recreation area must have a 2008 Michigan State Park Motor Vehicle Permit. Permits are available for purchase at the recreation area entrance at $24 for a resident annual or $6 for a resident daily. Non-resident permits are $29 for an annual and $8 for a daily.

For more information on the festival or other activities at the recreation area, please call the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area at 989-667-0717. The Bay City State Recreation Area is located at 3582 State Park Dr. in Bay City.