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  

Finding the Outdoors in Your Own Backyard – Midland, MI

Have you ever been to Midland, Michigan? I was born and raised in this city, and am excited to share with you all that our great town has to offer in terms of outdoor entertainment!


The Tridge


One of my favorite outdoor attractions in Midland is the Tridge!  In case you haven’t heard of it, the Tridge is a 3-way wooden footbridge spanning the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers as they flow together.  It opened in 1981, and is located near downtown Midland in Chippewassee Park.  The total length of the bridge is 541 feet.  It is cool to stand on the Tridge on the 4th of July and watch the fireworks being set off over the river, or walk across the Tridge for the annual Labor Day walk.  Also in the evening, the bridge’s arches are lit which make it a very appealing location for nighttime walks any time of the year!

The Tridge also marks the starting point of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, which is another one of my favorite outdoor attractions in Midland!  It is one of the most heavily used trails in Michigan with its paved, flat walkways that welcome all non-motorized users, such as walkers, bicycles, skateboards, and in-line skates.  The scenic trail is 30 miles long, and runs from Midland to Clare County.  It is recognized as one of 25 Rails to Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame trails in the U.S.  There are many access points along the trail, as well as benches for users to stop and enjoy the scenery!  Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, the Pere Marquette Rail Trail offers a peaceful place for viewing wildlife such as deer, chipmunks, and an assortment of birds.

Another awesome outdoor attraction in Midland is City Forest, which is 520 acres and Midland’s largest park!  It is ideal for year-round outdoor activities and there is no charge to enter the park.  In the warmer months, City Forest offers two trail systems for bikers, runners and outdoor enthusiasts.  My favorite thing to do there is ride my mountain bike on the trails because they are well maintained and offer a challenging ride!  In the winter, you can enjoy sledding, ice skating, tobogganing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, along with a trip to the City Forest Café, which offers snacks and beverages!

Lastly, a trip to Midland wouldn’t be complete without visiting Dow Gardens.  It is a 110-acre garden, with over 1700 varieties of plants!  It was started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company.  The property offers paved walking trails that lead you around streams, bridges, and many beautiful scenic spots.  Dow Gardens offers many year-round events such as lunchtime concerts, outdoor movie nights, the Butterfly House, and my personal favorite, the evening luminary walk during the Christmas Holiday.

While I have only touched on a few of the great outdoor activities Midland has to offer, there are many more to explore on your own! They include:  Chippewa Nature Center, Stratford Park, Whiting Forest, Dow Diamond, etc.  So, the next time you are looking for a great place to visit and explore, come to Midland, or look for those special places around your home town and enjoy the outdoors!

Tyler Squires-YCC member, Midland, MI

Sailing Lake Superior aboard the Mary Lou

Menigoz pic 1Littered across the beaches of Lake Superior are innumerable amounts of driftwood. Having spent so much time around these one summer, I soon hatched a plan. It is the dream of every boy’s since the likes of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn- to build and sail your own raft.

The construction of such a vessel would take about two days. I gathered the best of the logs I could find (and there was no shortage to choose from) before getting to work. The bonds that would hold my raft together were coils of rope I had found in my barns. The work started slow, attaching one log at a time and going around and around with my rope. Finally, however, I tied my last knot and stood in pride of my work. The only step left was to christen the craft. This would soon prove to be the easiest task of all. It seemed only right to name the raft after the owner of the beach house we were using. And so it was that the next day was to be the Mary Lou’s maiden voyage.

Menigoz raft flagI couldn’t have picked a better day out of the whole summer for such an event. The sun shone out of blue skies and the lake lay still. My destination was two miles away, but it would take me more than two hours to reach it. I propelled myself with a long skinny log which took some getting used to. The saying ‘It’s all about the journey, not the destination’ proved all too true this day. I moved slowly and quietly along the lake, enjoying the scenery and solitude. I rowed rhythmically with hot skin and sore muscles, but this only made me enjoy it more. This is not to say however, that when I did finally reach my final destination I was not glad. I was admittedly relieved to rest after the tiresome journey. And though I had not gotten wet the entire trip, as I attempted to dismount the raft I fell fully into Lake Superior in front of my amused family and relatives. Quite an unexpected ending to such a memorable day.

Henry Menigoz, YCC member – Ontonagon