This years fall trip started Friday night, September 13. The group consisted of Jim, Randy, Boyd, and myself. We headed for Michigan's Upper Peninsula with only a general idea of where we wanted to go. Anything after Labor Day is considered 'Off-Season' in the UP, so there is always an abundance of available cabins. We got out of town by 9:00pm and headed north.
We arrived at Curtis Michigan just after daylight and stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast. The waitress recommended a place called Sunset Pines on South Manistique Lake as having excellent accommodations and reasonable prices.
We drove to Sunset Pines and talked with Kay, the owner of the resort.
Kay had a four-bedroom cabin available, as well as two aluminum boats with Yamaha motors. The cost, including the cabin, boats, and motors was $635 for the week. We backed in the trailer and unloaded.
South Manistique Lake is located near the town of Curtis, which is about one hour south of Lake Superior. Curtis started as a logging town in 1905, and Manistique Lake was commercially fished during the 30's. It is a 4,000 acre lake with a few holes that go down to 20 feet. The most prominent fish are Smallmouth Bass and Walleye. There are also Perch, Bluegill, Northern Pike, and Musky.
It was great being up north again. One morning as we walked to the boats, we saw a couple of Sandhill cranes just lifting off the water. A great Blue Heron was wading the shoreline looking for fish, and a Kingfisher chattered it's way across the surface of the water. We positioned ourselves on the lea side of Norton Island and got into a decent drift, bouncing crawlers off the sandy bottom, looking for Walleye. The crawlers produced a few Walleye, but the fishing was slow. Boyd tried trolling with various baits, and finally had some luck with a Hot-In-Tot. It is a lure that runs about 12 feet deep and is similar to a deep diving Rapella. The next day we were all trolling with Hot-In-Tots and catching Walleye, Smallmouth, and Northern.
On one of the windy days, we took a day trip to Tahquamenon Falls State Park and did some hiking. The park had a mini-brewery. They served brews of Stout, Amber, and Harvest Wheat. At $6 a glass, we considered it to be a bit pricey, but then, it was a state park. The country in the Upper Peninsula is similar to southern Canada with thousands of lakes and a landscape sculptured by long past glaciers. We saw a bald eagle as it worked its way along the lakeshore. A couple of crows pestered it as it flew into the forest. That night we dined on fresh Bass and Walleye filets. Jim outdid himself by fixing the best fish I have ever tasted.
The Upper Peninsula is a great place to visit. It is sparsely populated with a variety of lakes and activities that can quickly burn a week of anyone's spare time.