"Boyhood rivers are home rivers."

"Boyhood rivers are home rivers."

Twice per year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers anglers a chance to take their non-angler friends and relatives out for a free fishing weekend. This year the M-DNR free fishing weekend is this weekend — June 13th and 14th. Both residents and out-of-state visitors can fish for all species this weekend without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

Sporting traditions, as most anglers know, are ones that are largely passed down from friend-to-friend and generation-to-generation, and so the future of sport fishing and the traditions of American fly angling depend on a willingness of anglers to share their knowledge and experience directly with others by personally involving them in the sport. This weekend represents a great chance to do precisely this with a young person, teenager, or friend. Invite a friend, relative, or young person out to fish with you this weekend and you might start or restart a passion and commitment that will last them throughout their lifetime.


“Boyhood rivers are home rivers. Their images and lessons last all our lives, and mine were summer rivers flowing over pale bottoms of sandy gravel. Pines and swamp cedars and hardwoods sheltered their pools and runs. There is still the bittersweet sound of their names in my mind: the gentle Manistee and the strong Pere Marquette and the tea-colored Two Hearted in the Hemingway country of upper Michigan, and I struggled against their currents in huge man-sized waders that accordioned comically down my legs.

“Their memories still crowd the mind. Twilight has a well-remembered softness on the Little Manistee, and its trout still dimple softly in the hemlock shadows. Mating spinners swarm on the Pere Marquette, filling the late afternoon sunlight with the butter-colored sparks of their egg-sacs, and the dark swamp-colored currents of the Black conceal many secrets. There is a tumbling kind of lyricism in rivers, and their moods are as varied as April weather on the storied Au Sable.” -Ernest Schwiebert, Remembrances of Rivers Past, 1972, p. 12.