Michigan Fishing Resorts | Wilderness Bay Lodge & Resort | Dan – Welcome DREW!!!


I can’t tell you how excited I am that our son, Drew, has joined us for the summer!  We recognized pretty quickly that we were going to need some extra hands around here if we wanted to accomplish everything we could for our customers and our resort.  There just aren’t enough hours in a day!  Drew offered to come to the U.P. this summer and assist us part-time while also filling a role as a job coach for Juls’ to help run her sweet shop.  While Michigan offers great services to the special needs community, given that we are so remote, our proximity is not very conducive to a lot of options for support.  Enter Drew, and it becomes a win-win for all of us.  Drew and Juls will work together in the store and in the cabins after guests have checked out to help us prepare for our incoming guests.  In two days, Drew has already made a great impact in the store.  His management experience in the food and beverage industry makes for an easy transition into the store and he’s already provided us some great suggestions for improvement.  I even had one of our customers compliment us on how great a man he was!  I couldn’t be more pleased to have him with us.  I’ll post a pic later, but better yet, I think I will get him enlisted in the blogging as well.  It will be fun to get his perspective in this adventure!

Last weekend, our family made the trek back down to Davenport for Juls’ Graduation.  Although she fulfilled her requirements in December, we wanted her to be able to walk with the rest of her class in the formal HS Graduation ceremonies.  A big shout out to Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Moline, IL (where I used to work) for their INCREDIBLE hospitality and accommodations.  We had a nice party on Saturday afternoon and were pleased to have many family members and friends come to celebrate with Juls.  Big thanks to Laura’s sister Suz, her husband Joe and their son Danny for coming to support the resort while we were gone.  Alexis has also been helping us and has been an awesome help!  While we were gone the new cash register I purchased in March broke down so they had to do everything manually.  Go figure!!  They handled it like troopers and I couldn’t be more thankful for their help so we could all enjoy Juls’ big day.  


Some of our best friends came up for a visit last week….well to be more specific…my BFF, JACKSON and his mom, dad and grandpa (Karen, Matt and Ken)!  Karen and Matt are soo incredibly talented in front and behind a camera.  They spent the whole week shooting our property and taking videos for our website.  You know how some friendships are just easy?  These are those kind of folks.  We love when we get time with them and enjoy the company.  Jax was a HUGE help in the store (wink wink) and Karen and Matt took some incredible footage of our property.  One night outside was so chilly, we all had heavy coats on, but Karen was doing some long exposure shots at night.  With a clear sky full of stars, I can only imagine what she will show me.  She actually said she’s entering one of the shots into a national contest because it turned out so well.  Matt had his drone out doing these super shots of the property from 400 feet off the lake!  Are you kidding me?  He even kept the cat entertained for an hour!  I was so thrilled Ken came with them as I think the world of him and he LOVES to fish.  Unfortunately, the weather was less than cooperative, but he did catch a decent walleye that ended up on their dinner table one night!  (sorry I left you out of the pics Matt and Ken but you didn’t send them to me yet!!)

So we finally have a full month under our belt.  May wasn’t terribly busy which isn’t so bad.  It gave us a chance to work out some of the kinks, learn a few things and make plenty of mistakes without upsetting a lot of people!!  We are LOVING the folks that are coming into our store.  It’s so fun to meet new people, but also fun to become part of a “neighborhood” of folks up here too.  We are making some great friends and hopefully rekindling some goodwill with folks that are visiting.  When the resort was closed, many people had to find other places to stay and we totally get that!  We just hope they will come and see us while they are here this season and give us a try next season.  We are receiving so many compliments on the store and resort and what we have done so far.  I give the girls so much credit as I’m not the creative one….  Today, I had a great guest come in today and say “we’d like to come back in September because we really like how nice you folks are”.  It meant the world to me.  Mind you, this was the same customer I had to tell yesterday that our well pump went down and I wasn’t sure when we would have water back up again!  I was literally calling other resorts to offer them options to move only to find out it was a rather easy fix and we got the  pump back up in the afternoon.  One of my favorite things so far is having no cars in the parking lot, but suddenly have 12 people walk by the window with 7 kids in life preservers!  You can get to us by car or by boat and their pontoon was loaded!!  People are making us their new tradition again!!   I’m antsy because I keep looking at the bottom line and continually worry about our expenses, but what I’m hearing from our customer base is we are doing a lot of the right things.  That feels good.  It feels good, because Laura and I for years have talked about doing something together.  The “what if” is now a reality and to get validation is so rewarding.  So the next step is to somehow drive more business into this year.  July looks sooo good!  August drops off because people are thinking about going back to school.  Fall and Winter are still out of people’s minds, but ever so important to a small resort like ours.  We can do this!!

Thanks for reading!  I know you are because many people at home tell us, but out of the blue, folks will be in the store and tell us they’ve been keeping up with our blogs!  These are folks we’ve never met!!!  THANK YOU for that!!  Share with your friends and family!!  Every little bit helps and it helps drive our position up on Google search too!!!  



Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort is a family oriented facility located in Watersmeet, Michigan on Thousand Island Lake within the Cisco chain of lakes.  We offer snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter months and game fishing for muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie and bluegill in the spring, summer and fall months.  We offer waterfront cabins, snowmobiles, boat rental, a candy shop and convenience store where you can purchase hunting and fishing licenses.  We pride ourselves on being family oriented with the desire to a place that you will call your home away from home.  New owners Dan and Laura Hance are excited for this opportunity.  Dan comes to this resort with thirty years of experience within the hospitality field and Laura will continue nursing with over twenty five years of knowledge and experience within the health care field.  Dan and Laura want their love for people, their work ethic and combined talents to make Wilderness Bay their dream come true.  We look forward to hearing from you!


  • Judy leis 06/08/2017 at 8:47 pm

    What a wonderful blog. I am not a blogger or follower so this truly makes me want to visit. Oh by the way Dan the beard makes you look younger and wildernessly. Sure that’s not a word. Take care Hance family. Ttfn..


    • Wilderness Bay 06/18/2017 at 10:42 pm

      OMG Judy!! You are the first to say I look younger with a beard!! Trust me, with ticks in my jeans, I am more “wildernessly” than ever!! Hope you are doing well!! Come see us!!



  • Mary Orth -Beth's mom 06/08/2017 at 10:59 pm

    Happy to read about your business and adventures! We miss seeing you in Davenport, but what a beautiful place! Keep blogging. Congrats to Juls on graduating and walking with her class.


    • Wilderness Bay 06/18/2017 at 10:41 pm

      So sweet of you to comment Mary! We miss Davenport and our friends and neighbors there too! Thanks for the well wishes!


  • Polly Baldus 06/09/2017 at 7:00 pm

    We are so happy for you! Looking forward to our week in July!, It will be so much fun.


  • Susan 06/30/2017 at 2:19 pm

    Yahoo! Wilderness Bay is open again. Just started reading your blog. My little sister who lives in Houston told me about it yesterday. Our family has been vacationing in Watersmeet since the 70s when our parents had a beautiful cabin on Marion Lake. Sadly, they sold the cabin in the 90s. We are lucky to be able to visit Long Lake for two weeks every summer (for the past 15 summers) and consider the Wilderness to be our one-stop shop for bait, milk and anything else we need/run out of. Thank you so much for taking on this awesome challenge. We will pass the word about the cabins and the lodge being open once again. Looking forward to meeting you!


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