Why Smallmouth Bass Fishing is Perfect in Traverse City

If you’re looking for a Pure Michigan destination with bountiful fishing to enjoy this fall, look no further than Traverse City. The Traverse City area, in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula, is a perfect location to drop in a line while enjoying the beautiful changing colors and cool, crisp weather. Read more as guest blogger Captain Chris Noffsinger shares the many fishing opportunities and other things to enjoy when visiting Traverse City this season.

There are many places to fish for smallmouth bass in the great State of Michigan, but one of the very best is the Traverse City area. Not only is Traverse City’s smallmouth fishing world class, but the opportunities for recreation, dining, wineries and craft beer nearby are almost endless. From kids to adults, there is something for everyone here.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Starting off the day with a beautiful sunrise overlooking the calm waters of East or West Grand Traverse Bay is a breathtaking experience in itself. But the thought of a trophy smallmouth breaking the calm by leaping into the air and back into the water is what every smallmouth fisherman dreams of. I have been fortunate to experience this firsthand on Grand Traverse Bay and on the surrounding inland lakes.

Photo courtesy of Captain Chris Noffsinger

Photo courtesy of Captain Chris Noffsinger

Traverse City is uniquely intriguing to any angler in search of trophy smallmouth. We have caught smallmouth in the 4-7 pound class every year in the Traverse City region.  They are plentiful and very willing to bite.

The waters here are extremely clear, with visibility reaching depths of 30 feet in some locations. Smallmouth live in most of the inland lakes that surround Traverse City, and the clarity of that water gives you an unparalleled ability and opportunity to sight these trophy bronzebacks. Watching a 4-7 pound smallmouth swim from over 100 feet away to strike is amazing to say the least. This happens every spring and fall, and it never gets old.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

As fall approaches, some of the best bass fishing of the season takes place. Fall colors begin to transform the lush green forest that stood tall all summer long. The reflections of colors on a calm lake in the fall are an unforgettable sight, and as the leaves fall from the trees, the smallmouth sense that winter is coming. This triggers a feeding frenzy that smallmouth fisherman like me look forward to every year.

One of the most notable bass anglers in the world, Kevin VanDam, will visit also visit the Traverse City area this fall to take part in this amazing autumn fishery while filming an episode for “iFISHIGAN.” He will have a special guest this year, Gov. Rick Snyder, who will be joining Kevin on a fishing trip that most anglers only dream of – fishing with one of the most notable bass in the world’s best smallmouth fishing waters.  Catch the action of “iFISHIGAN” on the World Fishing Network when the second season starts in January 2016.

Photo courtesy of Captain Chris Noffsinger

Photo courtesy of Captain Chris Noffsinger

I look forward to smallmouth fishing in this area every year and hopefully I will be able to for many years to come. The Traverse City area is a truly special, world-class, Pure Michigan fishery.

What is your favorite Michigan fishing destination?

fishingAbout the author: Captain Chris Noffsinger has more than 20 years of experience on the water. His knowledge of both inland and Great Lakes fishing is extensive and is used daily to charter tours for Northern Adventures Fishing.

 

 

 

Walking With Nature: Destination Traverse City

The spectacular landscape that embraces the Traverse City area is an ever-changing masterpiece created over centuries by the earth-moving power of ice, wind and water. No matter what the season, nature lovers will find trails and natural areas to fuel their passions. Read more on the beauty of TC, as shared by guest blogger Jonathan Schechter.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  — John Muir

Spring is the gateway to wildflowers and migratory birds at places like the Grass River Natural Area. Summer allows explorers to roam the Manitou Islands in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Autumn is perfect for a paddling trip down the Platte River, and in the stillness of winter, the multitude of cross-country ski pathways and snowshoe trails is proof that the outdoor lure of Traverse City is strong and growing.

Look Out

Why wait? Today is the perfect day to walk with nature.

The Grass River Natural Area is a hidden treasure of Antrim County encompassing 1,433 acres. Spring is the perfect season to view the moss-covered hummocks of land along the clear waters of Finch Creek. Sit silently on a bench under the sweetly scented cedars; nature will share her secrets. During my last visit I watched a mink bound over the boardwalk, heard a hidden grouse drumming from behind lush vegetation and found fresh bobcat tracks – all in a matter of five minutes.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with its 70 miles of shoreline, magnificent sand dunes and trails for every taste, lures millions of outdoor enthusiasts.  Two of its beautiful treasures are the Manitou Islands – and a visit to these isolated spots makes a rewarding summer adventure.

Lighthouse

South Manitou Island is a perfect destination for a day hiker with its lighthouse – a stark reminder of the stormy seas and shipwrecks of the Manitou Passage – and the wreck of the Francisco Morazan, a favorite haunt for cormorants. For a more rugged adventure, North Manitou offers opportunities for backpacking treks – just remember that your visit might be extended an extra day or two if the waters are too rough for the ferry to return.

The crystal-clear Platte River is well known among anglers for steelhead, salmon and trout, but it can get busy on summer days as kayakers and canoeists paddle downstream. A much better option is to go in the autumn, when the wildlife returns and the fall foliage puts on a brilliant show. Bring your own craft or rent at Riverside Canoe Trips. Seekers of solitude and wildlife may want to paddle during the morning mist; dawn is an unforgettable moment to embrace this landscape, which defines the essence of Pure Michigan.

Kayak

In winter Traverse City has miles and miles of woodland trails for skiers and snowshoers to explore. In the Brown Bridge Quiet Area you can even witness the rebirth of Traverse City’s Boardman River, whose system of dams is being removed, returning this beautiful stream to a time when she was wild and free.  You can get a close-up look at this process at Brown Bridge, a 1300-acre nature preserve just south of town. This broad river meadow, surrounded by high hills, was once the site of a wide forest pond, but today you can hike along its former shoreline and see how nature (with lots of human help) has been healing and renewing the valley.

On my last visit it was winter, and I made my way through deep snow, warmed by the sweet scent of cedar and balsam fir and invigorated by the bounding tracks of a river otter.  It’s a wonderful wild place in the shadows of Traverse City!

bioJonathan Schechter is a Nature Education Writer for Oakland County Parks, a member of the Wilderness Medical Society and an avid hiker and trail-explorer at Sleeping Bear Dunes.  JonathanSchechter@Frontier.com

 

Explore Spring Food & Drink in Northern Michigan

CherryBasketFarm

Photo courtesy of Tec Petaja

The Sara Hardy Farmers Market, along the Boardman River in downtown Traverse City, is my absolute favorite way to experience the spring food scene in Northern Michigan!  I love to browse around all the stalls to see what’s being brought to market from our neighboring farms. But there are plenty of other opportunities to find, sample and buy the season’s freshest foods. Here are some other upcoming events, ranging from small educational gatherings to big community festivals.

They all have one thing in common, though – they all celebrate this glorious time to eat in Northern Michigan!

Ongoing: Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market in Traverse City

This bustling farmers market between Cass and Union Streets is the best way to see all that is happening in the fields and forests of Northern Michigan. The market is open on Saturdays in May and Wednesdays and Saturdays in June. A do-not miss!

Ongoing: A Walk Through the Farmers Market Cooking Classes

Reservations required.Led by award winning Chef/Owners Jen Blakeslee and Eric Patterson of The Cooks’ House, these Saturday morning classes are an educational and delicious way to experience the region’s food scene. Each class starts at 9 a.m. at the Cooks’ House in Traverse City.

Ongoing: Farm Dinners at Cherry Basket Farm

Table

Photo courtesy of Brian Confer

New for 2015, private dinners will be held on the award-winning and historic grounds of Cherry Basket Farm in Omena, with a local menu created by Chef Andy Schudlich of Epicure Catering. Contact them to book your own dinner!

Reservations required.

Ongoing: Hillside Homestead Historic Dinners

During this unique local food experience, proprietress Susan Odom will prepare a traditional menu from 1910 at her historic farmhouse in Suttons Bay. Contact her to book your own traditional farm dinner. Reservations required.

May 13: Morel Dinner at Black Star Farms

Jon Dayton is one of my favorite chefs in the region. His inspired farmstead cuisine is as beautiful as it is delicious. Check Jon’s schedule for other special dinners all through the season at The Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay.

Reservations required.

Mainstream events (any size group) Be Spontaneous!

May 15- 17: Empire Asparagus Festival

This is a quintessential small town festival celebrating the asparagus harvest. It’s also a local favorite! There’s a pig roast, an asparagus cook-off and a big tent filled with asparagus eats. (Including asparagus beer!)

May 16: Wineries of Old Mission Blossom Day

Spend the day sipping the new releases and noshing on spring-inspired food pairings among the cherry blossoms in the Old Mission Peninsula wine country.

Food Truck

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

May 24: Little Fleet Kickoff Party

The Little Fleet is Traverse City’s only food truck hub, featuring eight tasty truck options. The season opener to Little Fleet’s Lot 448 event series, this lively party celebrates the region’s eight best summer beers with live music and delicious food truck fare.

June 6: Rare Bird Brewery Nest Fest

A celebration of the one-year anniversary of Traverse City’s newest microbrewery. Live music, food from the Rare Bird kitchen and tasty brews are sure to make this a fantastic event!

LeelandWineFest

Photo courtesy of Meggen Watt

June 13: Leland Wine & Food Festival

In its 30th year (it’s the longest-running food festival in Michigan) this is an anchor event for the local food and wine community and a welcome summer opener.

June 20: Traverse City Wine & Art Festival

Held on the beautiful lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, this big festival features 200 local wines, food from eight regional restaurants, and lots of music and art.

Taste the difference and see why Traverse City is a Condé Nast Traveler Up-and-Coming Food City as well as one of America’s five top foodie towns (Bon Apetit Magazine).

Cammie

Photo courtesy of WeberPhoto

Cammie Buehler is the managing partner/co-owner of a local-foods catering company and historic farm event venue, Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm. With co-owner and Chef Andy Schudlich, she works to bring contemporary local cuisine to events in and around Northern Michigan.