3 Ways to Get Your Feet Wet along Michigan’s Sunrise Coast

Sunrise2Michigan’s Sunrise Coast stretches from Au Gres to Rogers City along the blue waters of Lake Huron.  This picturesque Northeast coast of Michigan has pristine beaches, spectacular views and endless outdoor activities.

With more than 20 miles of sandy beaches, the Au Sable River and 35 thousand acres of unique trails, the Oscoda area is a great destination for your summer vacation bucket list.

Here are three ways to get your feet wet and enjoy the sun, sand and fresh air in Oscoda.

Explore Oscoda’s Water Trails 

Take in the beautiful scenery and catch a glimpse of wildlife in their native habitat during a canoeing or kayaking trip along the mighty Au Sable River.  The Au Sable is one of North America’s best canoeing rivers and runs through Northern Lower Michigan.

Whether you’re looking for a two-hour trip or a weeklong adventure, it’s an adventure you won’t want to miss.

 Go Fish 

If you’re looking for a trophy size fish, Oscoda is the right place for you.  The area is known for walleye fishing, but the Au Sable River and other inner lakes and streams attract trout, salmon and perch.

Once you decide where you want to fish, ,make sure you stop by the local bait shops and spend some time talking with the locals to determine what lures are hot and what is being caught.

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Life’s a Beach

The pristine beaches along Lake Huron, the Au Sable River, Cedar Lake and Van Etten Lake offer something for everyone.

Want a quiet afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of nature? Take in a sunrise at Huron Sunrise Park, along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Stay for a picnic, wildlife observation, swimming or fishing.

Kids and kids-at-heart can spend a day at Oscoda Beach Park swimming, skateboarding, playing on the playground and more.

If you want to take your boat out for a day on the lake, take off from Van Etten Beach Park. This park is a fresh water lake that has all the recreation activities for swimming, boating, water skiing, wave running and of course, fishing.

After all that exploring, you’ll want a place to rest your head.  Oscoda has everything from cottages, Bed and Breakfast resorts and hotels – many of them with views along Lake Huron.

From relaxing on the beach to fishing for walleyes in the lakes and rivers, Oscoda offers endless outdoor recreation activities. It’s perfect for your next family vacation!

What are you looking forward to doing in Oscoda this summer?

Ice Fishing 101: Six Simple Rules for Ice Fishing in Michigan

Michigan is a winter wonderland – especially for ice fishing! Today, guest bloggers Elyse Walter and Christian LeSage from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources give us six simple rules for a fun and safe ice fishing experience in Pure Michigan. 

Ice-fishing-in-MichiganMichigan offers some wonderful outdoor opportunities throughout the year, including world-class fishing. While some anglers head for the indoors when the temperatures dip, others look forward to winter’s most popular angling activity – ice fishing.

Many anglers and families look forward to the opportunities ice fishing provides them during these colder months, with some proclaiming this the best time to go fishing! Ice fishing is generally a more social event and many anglers welcome sharing a conversation about how they’re doing and what has worked for them. Others prefer the solitude that this wintery sport offers as they battle the elements in their quest to catch fish. Some of the benefits of ice fishing include the fact you can get to just about anywhere on a lake during the season and there are a multitude of species available to target.

If you’ve never been ice fishing there are a few things to think about so you’re prepared to have a fun and safe experience. We often recommend following these six simple rules:

1. Never fish alone.

2. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.

3. Always test the ice with a spud (a long shank with a chisel-like end).

4. Take the appropriate emergency items, such as ice picks and a life jacket.

5. Take a cell phone (enclosed in a plastic bag) with you in case you need to call for help.

6. Lakes tend to be a safer choice during the early winter as streams or rivers have flow which makes them less safe at times.

After you round up your gear (check out this list in our “Ice Fishing, the Coolest Sport Around” article) you’ll want to think about which species to fish for. Maybe you’d like to look for panfish while hook-and-line fishing, such as bluegill, yellow perch or crappie. Use a tip-up to target larger game fish, like northern pike, walleye and numerous trout species. Or – an opportunity unique to Michigan – consider going spearing for some monster fish like northern pike or muskellunge. Please note there are many restrictions associated with spear fishing (for instance, muskellunge harvest is limited to one per angler per season and a harvest tag is required), anglers should read the 2014 Michigan Fishing Guide for more information.

No matter what type of ice fishing method you choose remember this simple tip: success is most often seen around dawn until mid-morning or from late afternoon until sundown.

Need additional incentive to drop a line this winter? Try it for free as part of the 2015 Winter Free Fishing Weekend, coming Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15. This annual weekend provides two days where no fishing license is required for residents or non-residents – although all fishing regulations still apply.

The Department of Natural Resources has coordinated the Winter Free Fishing Weekend every year since 1994 in an effort to showcase the great angling opportunities available in Michigan and to allow residents and visitors alike to try the experience for free.

While many individuals and families will flock to their favorite fishing hole as part of this weekend, others will join official events coordinated throughout the state that will provide hands-on ice fishing experience. An official 2015 Winter Free Fishing Weekend event list will be available at www.michigan.gov/freefishing later this winter.

Don’t miss your chance to experience Michigan’s outstanding winter fishing opportunities and to get your family outdoors. Start planning your next fishing trip at www.michigan.gov/fishing

ElyseWalter-ChristianLeSageElyse Walter is a communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Christian LeSage is a Senior Fisheries Biologist for the Department. Elyse works specifically with the DNR’s Fisheries Division to help educate and promote the state’s fishing opportunities and aquatic resources. Christian LeSage’s responsibilities include improving angling opportunities for anglers through fish stocking activities as well as development of the annual Michigan Fishing Guide. Elyse and Christian work together to promote Michigan’s awesome angling opportunities which are second to none.

Nine Things You Might Not Know About Bass Fishing in Michigan

Michigan_MuskegonIt’s time to throw in your line and catch the big one; the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship is nearly here! With trout, walleye, salmon, perch, muskie and bass ready to bite, Michigan is home to some of the best freshwater fishing you can find.  The state’s world-class fisheries will be on display September 18-21, 2014 when the Bassmaster Elite Series Championship takes to the lakes surrounding Escanaba.

Consider yourself a master angler? See how many of these bass fishing tips you know!

Here’s an easy one – Morning or night is when the fish really bite. It’s no secret that when the sun is high in the sky, fish swim down to cooler, deeper water. Bass fishing in the morning or at night has become a favorite summer technique not only to escape the heat and recreational boat traffic; it is also the time for catching big bass!

Keep your eye on the line – Every so often, check the line right about the lure you’re using. If the line is tangled from coming in contact with debris (rocks, gravel, weeds) in the water, it could break easier, meaning your trophy bass gets away.

Study the map – Maps are easily available for every lake around the state of Michigan. These maps are a great way to identify drop-offs and weed beds, as well as any fish cribs that bass might like to use as shelter. You can also mark your own fishing hot-spots or areas that are duds.

Change up your lure – Sometimes, you might not catch a single fish for a whole day just because you’re set on a certain lure. While some bass fishers live and die by the Hula Popper, switching up your lure or even the size of the lure might land you a big one.

Know your seasons – The best time to bass fish is during the pre-spawn. The pre-spawn starts in spring around the time the water is around 60 degrees. Both male and female bass move to shallower waters to find the best place to nest and start aggressively feeding. Pre-spawn is a bass fisher’s goldmine.

Some lakes are better than others – Some Michigan lakes are actually known for being better fishing area for certain types of fish. While catching walleye or a mess of panfish makes for a great day on the water, you’ll find the most luck with bass on lakes or streams known best for bass fishing.

Know where bass like to hang out – Casting near shores and trees on the edge of the water may be the tried-and-true method of bass fishing, but try your luck in some different spots. Bass love bridges, rock piles and brush in the water as places to hide.

Know what to look for – There are countless types of water vegetation in Michigan’s lakes. Specifically for bass, hydrilla, lily pads, hyacinths and other greenery are great bass spots as they provide food, shade and higher level of oxygen in the water.

Don’t try to do too much – The key to any kind of fishing is getting out there and enjoying yourself. Different types of lures and equipment may look nice, but get what you need and hit the water. Catching a great bass is even better when your rival on the water is still in the bait shop trying on sunglasses.

Extra, extra! Read all about it!

The world’s top 50 professional anglers will compete in  Escanaba, Michigan for the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year this September. While this elite tournament will be in Michigan for just four days, the state offers endless opportunities for the big catch, on four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams. As fall color starts to sweep across the state, there is no better time to be out on the sparkling blue wasters, casting a line.

Two days twice a year, families and friends can enjoy Michigan Fishing, for FREE! All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. Residents and outstate visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply. Dates for the 2015 Free Fishing are February 14 and 15 and June 13 and 14, 2015.

So troll the waters, cast your line and experience the wealth of fishing opportunities in Pure Michigan. Learn more in the video below!