The Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac, Michigan, will offer the Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy’s Hard Water School ice-fishing event Saturday, Feb. 25. Starting at 9 a.m., the class will cover:
How to set up equipment.
How and where to fish.
When to be out on the ice.
How to fish with electronics.
How to stay safe on the ice and follow rules and regulations.
The class will focus on techniques for walleye, taught by pro fisherman Steve Berry from Clam Outdoors and Vexilar, along with Matt Peterson from Fish Bones Custom Lures; techniques for pan fish, taught by pro fisherman Norm Smith, the DNR’s Dennis Hewitt and Dave Young from HT Enterprise; and setting polar tip-ups to target monster northern pike, taught by the DNR’s Ed Shaw.
In addition, the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy pro-staff will be on hand to teach a variety of tactics on the ice.
“We will spend the first part of the day gearing up and teaching seminars, and then after lunch we will hit the ice and spend the rest of the day fishing,” said Shaw. “After dark, we’ll meet back up at the Carl T. Johnson Center to go over the day’s catch and to review what everyone learned, and then head to dinner.”
Shaw said there will be a warming hut, augers and some shanties available on a first-come, first-served basis, but participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment, if possible.
All ages are welcome, but the Hard Water School is best suited for those at least 8 years of age and older. Participants are responsible for their own dinner costs.
Sunday is available as an optional fishing day; those interested in fishing Sunday are asked to let coordinators know at time of registration.
Registration and lodging
The Hard Water School class costs $30 per person and includes lunch. Clam Outdoors, Vexilar, HT Enterprises and Salmo USA have generously donated door prizes for the class. Register at www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills. No refunds will be given within two weeks of the class. This allows time to back-fill seats and put together class materials.
Nearby lodging is available at Evergreen Resort, Days Inn, Holiday Inn or Pilgrims Village, to name just a few.
A Recreation Passport is required for entry into Mitchell State Park, where the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center is located.
For more information, contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other upcoming fishing clinics
Registration is now open for the following Outdoor Skills Academy classes:
Steelhead Clinic, March 25-26 (45 seats available)
This class, taught by instructors who have more than 30 years of experience fishing steelhead in Michigan, is for both beginners and advanced anglers. Participants will spend one day in the classroom and the next day on the river.
Open Water Walleye Clinic, May 7 (60 seats available)
This three- to four-hour class will give on overview of how Outdoor Skills Academy pro-staffers Steve Berry from Church Tackle and Matt Peterson from Fishbone Custom Lures spend their day chasing trophy walleye. This class will cover everything from which rod and reel to use to how to use your electronics. DNR staff members will be on hand to answer rules and regulations questions.
Fly Fishing Clinic, May 20 and June 17 (25 seats available in each session)
In this clinic for beginners, Outdoor Skills Academy pro-staffers will present the basics of fly fishing, including demonstrations and instruction for various fly casts and instruction on fly selection based on target species. After the classroom session, the class will move outside to the canal for the hands-on portion of the clinic.
Beginners Bass Fishing Clinic, May 13 (60 seats available)
In this class for beginners, the Outdoor Skills Academy pro-staff will present various strategies and techniques for chasing northern Michigan bass. This clinic will cover a wide range of techniques for pursuing both smallmouth and largemouth bass, but will focus on the use of various plastic presentations, including Texas rigging, Carolina rigging, tube jigs, etc.
For more information or to register for any of these classes, visit www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills.