Mentors and Friends

Stream pike Fishing has been an important part of my life.  Like a lot of anglers, however, I’ve had some help along the way. For example, there’s the owner of a local bait shop here in Lansing, Anna Werner, who has been my friend for years and given me all kinds of good information about where and how to fish.  Then there’s my barber, Gary Ridenour, who has showed me the ins and outs of steelhead fishing.  Finally, there’s my dad;   he doesn’t enjoy fishing as much as I do, but he is always happy to take me to the far corners of Michigan so I can fish.

So what does all this mean if you are a teenage angler?  It means you can already pass on some of your fishing knowledge to younger kids and other people in your community.  I have been able to help out with the kids’ fishing program at the Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitors Center, and I have volunteered with a group that helps kids with developmental disabilities spend time with a rod and reel.  But there’s more you can do, too.  If I see a young angler along the Looking Glass, where I live in Clinton County, I offer to show them the good fishing spots, and if I see something they can do to improve their experience, I help them as best I can.

If you are at school, listen to the kids who say they’d like to go fishing.  And, you know what?  We can learn more, too.  Always seek new mentors.  If you’re fishing in a new area, check with the local anglers.  Some (okay, not everyone) might be happy to share information.  I’ve made some friends at good fishing spots all over Michigan, and we share information about what is biting and what kinds of presentations are working.

The people you meet and the friends that you make are one of the best

salmon catch

parts of fishing.  I’ve met doctors out fishing, as well as people who need to catch their dinner.  I’ve met rugged anglers in remote areas Up North and savvy anglers along rivers in cities, and we’re all different, and that’s okay.  But fishing brings us together, and it reminds me we have a lot more in common than we think.  For a teenager, or anyone for that matter, that’s a good message to remember.

Joe Perry – YCC member, DeWitt, MI


The Time Is Finally Here!

For many outdoors people, the Fall is the most favorable time of the year. The trees are changing colors, the night sky shares it’s beautiful starry nights, and what most look forward to, the openning of hunting seasons. These are what truly make Autumn a


nature lovers dream. Along with this, the Fall season has a hidden gem — arguably the best fishing of the year. Some of the most notable are salmon and stealhead fishing in streams, cool water bass fishing on the lake, or triggering a vicious top water strike from pike. Fall fishing can serve as favorable family time or silence for self reflection. It is important to bring young, ambitious kids into the outdoors during the fall. Not only for fall pikethe fact of “getting fresh air”, but to also absorb the knowledge that Mother nature has to offer us.  Besides, what could be better than canoeing down whispering streams on a sunny Michigan afternoon of fishing?




Graham Smith – YCC member, Lyons, MI


The “Reign” of the CCWA Tournament Victor

lake photo

A Rainy Day on Portage Lake

The morning breeze that was adrift on the first Saturday of October had uncertainty in the midst of the many morning impressions. At 8:00 AM that morning, a fishing tournament started with an undetermined victor. That is only part of the uncertainty the day had in store for us. The attitude of the fish and the inclination of the weather would provide an annoyance to all of the fisherman involved in the competition. This is what all the fisherman have been waiting for during the weeks prior: the expected challenge that not every day the fish or weather can be controlled.

Let us back up a minute and talk about the event. The CCWA (Copper Country Walleye Club) puts on a tournament on Portage Lake every year on the first Saturday of October. We have been doing the tournament for 3 years now, so it is a fairly new tournament. The tournament promotes catch and release because in the past 4-5 years Portage Lake hit an incredibly low population status for walleye. A multitude of fisherman that frequently fished in Portage Lake for walleye decided to take action and create a group (which became the CCWA). The newly formed CCWA contacted the DNR to ask them about stocking in Portage Lake. The DNR decided to help us stock consistently for 3 years until the population started to bounce back and now we stock Portage Lake every other year. The population has increased exponentially since the stocking has occurred. A main contributor to population decline was that the lake does not have many areas walleye can reproduce to sustain the population naturally, so we had to help give the walleye a little boost. Now that the stocked fish have grown, we have a fishery that has gotten incredibly better, and still has more potential.

In fishing it is about the enjoyable opportunities and memories  that you hold and not the unpredictable weather and fish that keeps people fishing on a daily basis. The challenge overall keeps people coming back for more adventure and fulfillment of the possible day of a lifetime on the lake. “That’s why fishing isn’t called catching.” Without the challenge, it wouldn’t be a continuous mystery of what could happen the days after the last fishing trip. That is why I continue to spend my time fishing for the opportunity to enjoy time with friends, as well as catch a few fish.

The outcome for the fishing tournament itself wasn’t as good as we hoped, but that was in part because the weather did not decide to cooperate with us. It constantly rained all day and did not stop. We got lucky that the temperature was only moderately cool and that the wind was maybe 5-10 mph all day. This made the day much more bearable. There were 13 walleye catch and 15 fisherman in the tournament. The way the tournament works is that we take 3 fish per person and weigh the fish, so total weight wins. The winner only had 1 fish but it was 7.5 pounds! When everything was done and over we gathered together and awarded the winner the trophy. We cooked fish and enjoyed the rest of the rainy day telling stories. With the weather not being perfect, and the fish not biting as well as we had hoped, the enjoyment of getting an excuse to leave the busy world and just go fishing was worth every

Jonathan Baker – YCC Member, Chassell, MI

Riding with the Wind in your Face

There is nothing better than riding through the woods with the wind in your face.  All around my house are mountain biking trails.  HighlandRecreationAreaThey are in state parks, metro parks, and some are on the side of the road.  The trails range in difficulty from beginner to expert.  There are different obstacles like jumps, berms, and even some logs to cross.  The trails are really fun when the leaves change and fall from the trees.  It adds a difficulty to the trails when the trails are wet.  You don’t have to have an expert mountain bike to have fun on the trails.  I have a Huffy bike and it works great for beginner and intermediate trails.

One time I was camping and the only way I would go to town was on my bike.  The town was two miles away and the trail was hilly plus it was made of gravel so going down the hills was really fast.  It was a nice and sunny day probably about 95 degrees.  The trail was covered by trees and there was a river by the trail so it was cool on the trail.  The trail was definitely an intermediate trail because it tested your ability to use the gears.  The hills were steep and tall.  I rode my bike back and forth to town until my legs got too tired.  So, if you really want to experience the great outdoors grab your bike and hit the trails because there really is nothing like riding with the wind in your face!!

Chris Neuvirth – YCC Member, Oakland Co.

Fishing in Northern Michigan

Boyce BassThere are endless opportunities to go fishing where I live. I am surrounded by small inland lakes and I am always within minutes of getting into a good spot. I can fish from shore or from kayak, canoe, or boat and produce large amounts of fish from all. I mostly fish for bass but I get some other species sometimes.

There is nothing better than going out on the boat on an early, cool morning when the water is calm and foggy and catch fish. Hearing the early morning birds and watching as the sun peeks over the treetops. It is very relaxing and peaceful but can be exciting when you hook into a big one. Michigan’s lakes offer many opportunities, where people can enjoy themselves and find a peaceful spot. Fishing is personally my favorite activity because it never gets boring, there is always an exciting thing that happens and there are many different ways to fish. I usually fish for bass using a wide variety of lures and baits.

Lake fogAll bites that I get whether it is on a topwater frog or a jig is a rush of excitement. Fighting the fish and landing the fish is the best part. Figuring out which baits to use can be a challenge but sometimes they seem to bite anything, which makes for a fun day.

Owen Boyce-YCC Member , Bellaire, MI

Now That’s Pure Michigan

As late spring develops and summer begins to roll around the corner, get outside and be a part of the Michigan out of doors. There is endless opportunities to connect with natures fresh air and it’s beautiful scenery. Whether is be scouting for gobblers, spinning for spring smallies, or simply taking a brisk walk through a woodlot, you can only begin to grasp the beauties Mother Nature has gifted us with.

Smallmouth picture

Waking up to the Robins chirping, the Osprey squalling, and the sun rising in the east are some of the best things a Michigander can ask for. Spring time is in full swing. The birds are back, the kit fox are on the prowl, Mallard young are on the move, and the fawns are out to play. What more could you ask for? Head to the UP and take a hike in the Porcupines, canoe down the Grand River, or even go for a comforting Sunday drive to head north and see what all the buzz is about. In a world full of hustle and bustle, slow your day down. For it is in that moment when you can truly see the great wonders that the Great Outdoors has presented before us. Whether you are into the outdoors or not, be a part of it. It is then when you can say, “I am part of Pure Michigan”.


Graham Smith, Portland, MI – YCC Member