Family day is still a fairly new holiday, only becoming part of the calendar in 2008.

But it looms large next week. For families in Muskoka finding something to do in the cold of February can be challenging, but the Ontario government is offering a free option.

Fishing is going to be free all Family Day weekend in terms of not requiring a license. From February 16th to 18th anyone in Ontario can pick up a rod and try catching a fish. Of course, you might have to cut a hole in the ice, but that is part of the fun.

A quick online search reveals there are a number of ice fishing operators throughout the Muskoka region that are offering packages. Prices range from $50 to $100 per person and typically include a heated hut, transportation onto the lake, and all the gear needed to start fishing.

“We want to encourage families to enjoy the outdoors by providing a fun and affordable way to connect with each other and with nature,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or a first-timer, this is an opportunity to create lasting memories with family and friends, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this weekend — I know I will.”

A special website has been set up to help families plan a family fishing day – you can click here for more info.

The government is also offering two other days this year for free-fishing weekends, Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June.