When summer is heating up the rivers in the day time, and those summer doldrums hit… it’s the time of year to hit the still waters of some of Michigan’s best hidden gems. If you want an opportunity to catch trophy Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Crappie and Pike, this is the weekend we’re heading to some very special regulation still waters.
Wakely Lake and Jones Lake are both Catch and Release, no bait or motors allowed waters with very short fishing seasons. Wakely has had these regulations for many years, allowing for huge bass, bluegill and pike to flourish for many years.
Jones was recognized as Special Regulations water more recently. The fish have had a chance to mature quite a bit in the last few years, so if you were disappointed a few years ago, you won’t be now. There are some big surprises to be had.
Wakely is a walk in lake, meaning you will need to walk about 1/2 mile (1 k) with your gear to access the water. The water is shallow and weedy. Where Jones Lake is just a few steps from your car, smaller in surface size but much deeper, colder and fewer weed beds.
For Wakely you will require some sort of watercraft, like a float tube with flippers, kayak, inflatable boat or canoe in order to take advantage of fishing here. Jones is similar but there may be a possibility to wade to a couple of fishing spots, though I do not know how soft the bottom is in those areas so a watercraft is still highly advisable. The advantage here is that you can drive it right to the waters edge if you can’t carry it. Both of these lakes are open for only a very few short weeks of fishing each year, so take advantage of this opportunity. There are a small number of spaces available in the lodge above Old AuSable Fly Shop. (A real bargain at $65* pr person for two nights) If you want indoors respite…my advise is to contact Lisa Paisley and book it right NOW. First come first served. *If you wish to stay only one night..it’s still going to be $65. If this option fills or you prefer you may try to aquire your own accommodations. May I suggest Gates AuSable Lodge, Fay’s Motel, Woodland Lodge Motel or just Google “Lodging in Grayling, MI” There is no shortage of rooms and price ranges.
If you are like me, and like to spend your time taking in the outdoors this time of year, some of us will most likely be staying at Keystone Landing State Forest Campgrounds (primitive) just a few miles down the road. If you like camping but want to plug into fully modern facilities and have a warm shower, there’s Hartwick Pines State Park. I highly recommend you make reservations for Hartwick NOW, if it’s not already too late.
Of course, if you would like to fish for trout, the Au Sable River is a few steps away, with early morning tiny fly time (Trico’s) and if you want to experience a real adrenaline rush, it’s night time mousing time.
Meals will most likely be a casual affair, so plan for pocket money for Spikes, Paddle Harder, Grayling Restaurant, Gates, pizza or other local fair, or wieners around a campfire etc. There’s plenty of grub to be found and most bring shareables.
Please contact Lisa if you wish to participate, no matter when or where you plan to stay. It will help us to plan for you. We’ll forward info and maps you will need and it will let us know to expect you, so we don’t leave you in the dust in our dash to the water.
contact Lisa Paisley