You can hit the ice without a fishing license this weekend.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has this weekend slated as a Free Family Fishing Weekend here in Maine. The event gives Mainers an opportunity to try the sport without having to purchase a fishing license. Mainers can fish license free Saturday, February 18, and Sunday the 18th. If your fishing license has been suspended or revoked, no fishing for you.

All other laws and regulations must be followed. Those regulations and bag limits can vary depending on the body of water you choose to fish. It's recommended that you read through the 2017 Maine Open Water and Ice Fishing Law Book. You can download it here.

Also keep in mind that ice rarely freezes uniformly. Check the thickness a few times with a chisel or an auger as you venture away from shore.

The next Free Fishing Weekend will take place during open water season, June 3 and 4.