Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowmobile and Ice Fishing - Explore Newaygo, Michigan


By Brent Vanderstelt

Newaygo County, in Western Michigan, is a winter wonderland with many outdoor activities to keep the outdoor enthusiasts happy year round.

Winter activities include 144 miles of snowmobile trails within the Manistee Forest, 234 natural inland lakes and 2 large dams to offer up some excellent ice fishing.

Hess Lake Rentals welcomes you to some of the finest trails in Michigan. Enjoy riding on rolling and twisting trails past picturesque lakes and rivers. These trails are brushed, signed and groomed for your safety and riding pleasure.

Unload your sled at one of these staging areas:

1. Newaygo Motor-sports Park north of Newaygo on M-37
2. White Cloud staging area west of M-37 on M-20
3. M-37 in the Village of Baldwin
4. Southwest of Baldwin 76th St. west to staging area at Bozos
5. U.S. 10 in Branch Timbercreek Campground

You will find services you might need on the trail or close by, whether it's gas, food, lodging, parts etc.

You can obtain trail report from many local snowmobile clubs or the MSA (Michigan Snowmobile Association) at or NCSC (Newaygo County Snow Chasers) at

The purpose of the NCSC is to promote the sport, increase quality of the trail system, educate and promote safe operation through safety courses. Memberships are available from $15.00 for an individual and $20.00 for a family.

The sport of ice-fishing is one of the fastest-growing forms of angling. The reasons are obvious. You don't need a whole bunch of gear to get started. But don't get me wrong, because we've come a long way from the days of chopping a hole with a spud and sitting on a bucket.

Today, ice-anglers have a multitude of new gear available that is designed just for ice-fishing enthusiasts. There are special lines, rods, power augers, shelters and warmer clothing that make ice-fishing not only bearable, but also downright fun. To really get into the sport, though, doesn't require a huge investment.

Hess Lake Rentals offers modern fishing cottages for rent with a 2 person ice shanty, poles, auger and heater for a special package price. Cottages are equipment with everything you need to enjoy a day of ice fishing on Hess Lake.

Hess Lake offers up some nice crappies (the size of footballs) right after the first ice and seem to last only 2-3 weeks. You can also expect a Northern Pike or two, but I have not yet seen any caught.

Other nearby lakes includes, Bills Lake and Fremont Lake. Bills Lake has had several recent plantings of Rainbow trout and Walleye, while Fremont Lake is know for its walleye, crappie and bluegills.

While we are covering winter fishing, we can not forget about the awesome winter steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River.

Croton is where the Majority of action starts. For three miles below the Croton dam is solid spawning gravel and expansive riffles. This section is loaded with many resident trout from 12" to 16".

The Mid-section, Thornapple access to Newaygo is where large numbers of Great Lakes Steelhead and Salmon migrate to hold and spawn throughout the winter and spring.

The months of November, December, March and April are the best times of the year for Steelhead. Ten pound steelheads are common but there are fish up to 20 pounds!

You may obtain up to the minute fishing reports from Parsley's Sport and Fly Shop (231-652-6986) located on the banks of the Muskegon River, or contact one of the many local river guides.

Get all the contact information online at .


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