From Our Community: Fishing in Pure Michigan

With four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams, there’s no end to the places to cast your line during your Pure Michigan fishing experience.

Yesterday on our Facebook page, we asked fans “Where do you like to go fishing in Michigan?” and received some great responses. Here’s a round-up of suggestions.

“Off the Grand Haven Pier or from a kayak on Spring Lake :)” – Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

“Off the dock on the canal in front of our place in Ludington with my husband & grandchildren. Our grandson loves to catch bluegill!” – Diana Lynn Beck

Little Bay De Noc on Lake Michigan…the best Walleye fishery in the WORLD!!” -  Liz Creed Holmquist

Lake Leelanau..Summer and Winter” – Ken Willis

Higgins….but don’t tell anyone!” – Robert A. Grimes

“Tan lake in Oxford!!!!” – Jillian Maresco

“Anywhere on the water in Michigan is spectacular and beautiful for fishing!!! Love this great state!” –  Jennifer Leonard

Q&A on Ice Carving in Pure Michigan

Randy Finch and Derek Maxfield own and operate Ice Sculptures Ltd in Grand Rapids. You may have also seen them on Ice Brigade on the Food Network. Randy was kind enough to answer a few questions about ice carving.

Q: Is ice carving a popular Michigan activity?

A: Although Michigan is no stranger to ice carving festivals, they are more common in the winter because it is a wonderful to way to generate traffic in a city’s downtown area in an otherwise slow economical time.  An example of this is in Rockford. Three years ago there would be maybe 30 people in the town on an average Saturday. In one weekend last year, they had over 15,000 visiting shops.

Q: How would a beginner learn more about ice carving?

A: Ice sculpting is usually learned in culinary schools or apprenticing with a professional in the  industry. However, in 2003 we published the first ever ice sculpting book in English for students to have the ability to learn on their own as well as have as a reference material. At this time, this book has become the standard in culinary schools around the United States.  You can check it out here:

Q: What kind of ice and tools do you use?

A: The ice is specially made in clinebell tanks to alleviate the ice of impurities. Major carving tools can range based on the project that is taking place. With that said, there are traditional tool like chisels, handsaws, ice chipers.  We also use die grinders, chainsaws, and we even have a computerized ice sculpting machine that can give us perfect sculptures. With each of these tools, we are able to address any and all projects that people bring to us.

Q: What are some of the big festivals or events in Michigan that feature ice carving?

A: Although several of Michigan’s Winter festivals purchase their ice and scultpures from out of state, the two most important winter festivals in Michigan are the Rockford Ice Festival (which was just this past weekend) and the Traverse City Winter WOW Fest (February 18 – 21) These two festivals not only have an amazing turnout but live up to the standard of Pure Michigan because they strictly use Michigan-based ice sculpting.

Q: What have been some of the biggest or most unique creations done by the Ice Brigade?

A: There are so many exciting moments and fun sculptures we were able to create –  from a 30 ft by 30 ft chess set which was playable, a functional ice piano, a pinball machine, a rideable rotating carasel, a playable casino with rollete wheel and rollable dice for the craps table, a riding bull and so many more!!!

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges when doing an ice sculpture?

A: Designing to fit the needs of client, what they want,  figuring out how its going to be transported, and how to make it last the length of the party are all challenges. There are a wide range of factors that are taken into consideration to make each ice sculpture unique and successful.  A successful sculpture begins and ends with a successful plan.

Q: Where can people learn more about ice carving?

A: Check out our site, along with our Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel.

14 Amazing Michigan Beach Photos

With over 3,200 miles of coastline and 11,000 inland lakes, you’re never far from the beach in Michigan. In fact, sandy shores are so ubiquitous in the state that a change of motto may be in order, “If you seek a pleasant beach, look about you.”

We’ve rounded up 14 photos of some very pleasant Michigan beaches. If you have beach photos of your own to share, post them on our Facebook and Twitter pages, we’d love to see them! Continue reading