Drop a line this weekend!  Just check the ice first, please.

This Saturday and Sunday, February 17th and 18th, is the annual Free Fishing Weekend in Maine, where any person may fish without a license!  It's a great reason to get the kids out of the house and get them into a fantastic recreational sport!

Anyone can take advantage of the free fishing weekend, "except those who have had their license suspended or revoked.  All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply", according to a press release from The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Whether on open water or ice, fishing is one of the most popular activities in Maine. Maine’s nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams offer endless opportunities for the thousands of residents and non-residents who fish them each year,” said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner. “The free fishing weekend is a great chance for people to try fishing for the first time or for more experienced anglers to teach a child the joys of the sport.”

Maine Game Wardens remind everyone to check the thickness of the ice before venturing onto any lake or pond.  They also say that "due to uneven temperatures, ice conditions are currently very unpredictable and it is not advisable to drive vehicles onto the ice."

Test the thickness of the ice using an ice chisel or ice auger in several locations on the lake or pond,” said Major Chris Cloutier of the Warden Service. “Remember that new ice is usually stronger than old ice and ice seldom freezes uniformly. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous.

Another free fishing weekend happens in may June 2nd and 3rd.