Michigan Fishing Resorts | Wilderness Bay Lodge & Resort | Laura – FIRST GUESTS!!

We had our first few guest since I last blogged!  We were nervous but all went well, (except the weather.) We wanted everything to go well for our guest.  We wondered if they thought it would be odd if we just sat outside their cabin in a lawn chair so we could be available if they needed anything at all.  I usually use my remote start to start up the jeep in the am before I go to work.  I leave at 545 am.  I didn’t want the “beep, beep” of the horn to wake them at that hour. I decided to forgo that luxury while our guest were fast asleep.  It was so nice seeing them out and about enjoying themselves on the resort.  It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.  Memories were being made at OUR resort!! So cool.

Our very first guest was a couple from Illinois.  They had some luck fishing. 

When they left, she had cleaned the cabin so well, it made this cleaning ladies job pretty easy! They were a fun couple, and I felt like I related to her very well, like we had been friends for a while.  Our second set of guest were from our old stomping grounds, the Quad Cities! They had read the article our hometown paper wrote about us and decided to come check us out! I cut fresh daffodils and paired them with some pine branch and wild fern from the woods.  I had the little arrangement on their kitchen table for when they arrived. Thom did not come empty handed.  He is a wood carver and blessed us with a carved walleye! It is sitting proudly in our store.  It was such a thoughtful gesture.

While they were here it snowed a little and rained 6 inches, not to mention a power outage…. I think the day they got here it was 70 degrees and it digressed from there.  But they managed to have a great time in their forced relaxation.  Both couples were just a delight. We’re off to a good start!

We’ve been selling bait! I am learning very quickly.  We’ve got tuffy flatheads that Juls calls “fluffy feathers” when the fishermen ask what we have.  We have a fridge full of worms and leaches.  On one shelf is my stash of diet coke, and on the next shelf is worms and leaches!! Juls sorted the leaches into their little containers with her bare hands! Later that night, she asked, “do leaches bite?”… I told her “they stick,” and did not go into any further details.  When Dan is not in the store, Juls and I scoop the minnows etc.  We are supposed to count out 12 at a time.  Well, strangely enough, the minnows do not still for this process.  We give these guys “the Wilderness Bay dozen.” There may or not be a few extra minnows in their bucket.  Up until yesterday, I have been pronouncing “crappie minnows” incorrectly referring to them as crappy minnows. I get a kick out of chattin’ it up with these fishermen.  Everyone that comes in is so nice and willing to teach us the way of the fish. We do not claim to know the first thing about fishing but we are not afraid to learn. 

Dan is out sportin’ his brand new waders! I made him cut the tag off before he went into the lake.  He said it was “his right of passage” to keep the tags on his resort owner gear.  He had already said he should run the jeep over his Carharts because they “looked too new.” He would be spotted as a rookie from a mile away. He is putting the docks in today.  We have our fishing boats almost ready to go! The sheriff is coming out to inspect boats tomorrow, to give us his blessing to put boats in the water! We will then have a small fleet of boats ready for our guest to use or rent.  A pontoon, a fast fishing boat and 3 aluminum fishing boats. 

On Mother’s Day, we of course were working but Dan let me sleep in!  Juls and BoBo climbed in bed with me to “wish me a Happy Mother’s Day!” That was the end of my “sleep in.” Juls gets so excited for all holidays. She gets just as excited about April Fool’s Day as she does about Christmas. Her enthusiasm for life and all the special moments is one my favorite things about her.  I couldn’t get upset about my robbed sleep.  I am blessed to have a family that loves me so dearly.  Later in the day, Bruce, a local fishing guide offered to take Juls and me out on the lake.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We crawled into his fishing boat complete with fancy screens and a thing that looked like an ultrasound machine for the lake.  He had poles and fuzzy lures that looked like pom poms. As we went through some shallow channels with rocks and logs, I felt like I was on an episode of “Naked and Afraid,” (except not naked). Bruce is a pro and has guided some pretty important people. He is a wealth of knowledge and has a big heart.  He is a character! He stops in to visit us and helps us learn about bait, fishing conditions etc. It was so kind of him to give up and hour or two of his time to show us around and we are grateful for his friendship. 

We did take the pontoon out for a maiden voyage one Friday night.  The lake was like glass.  The pink and white puffy clouds reflected onto the lake as the sunset. It was only for an hour but it was a great reminder of one of the many reasons we are here.  We saw deer running along the shoreline through the pine trees.  Bobo (Juls service dog), rode along with us.  He rested his heavy head on the edge of the door allowing his floppy velvety ears to blow in the breeze.  Ahhhhh…..


I have had two bear sightings! One was crossing the back road here as I drove home from work.  I was so taken aback.  My first thought was that it was a human in a bear costume.  He had a big ol’ butt and giant feet.  He stopped at the edge of the road and looked right at me.  I was like “hey, what’s up.?” He was not interested in conversation and he bounded down the ravine.  I got my phone out to take a pic and its’ memory was full.  UGH!! Oh well, I’ll never forget it.  For the locals here it is common place, for me it was like winning the lottery.

On a sad note, before I sign off, I wanted to mention we had to put our golden retriever “Cosby” to sleep two weeks ago Sunday.  He was 9 years old.  He had a tumor (that we had no idea he had) rupture.  Juls and I were there with him. It was a gorgeous warm sunny day. Dan had to stay at the resort to “man the store” and answer the phone. Dan lifted Cosby into the jeep ever so gently and kneeled down on the gravel parking lot to talk to him.   He gave him a hug and told him to “come back home.” There were some tears too… Dan was always the one who would wrestle Cosby and play down on the floor with him.  Cosby also had slept on the floor on Dan’s side of the bed for 9 years.  We took him in not knowing what was wrong with him and came home without him.  It’s so hard isn’t it?  Cosby looked at me with his big brown eyes and his “Richard Gere” eyebrows and told me he needed to go.  His job here on earth blessing his family with 9 wonderful years has come to an end.  He was not shaking and he seemed peaceful.  Juls held onto his fuzzy “muppet toes” paw, ya know how their hair grows between their toes? We loved that, and called him “muppet toes.” I whispered in his ear that I was so glad I let him lick my frozen yogurt bowl clean every night. I also reassured him that he never “ruined Christmas.” He used to get so excited to have us all together, he’d wag his tail ferociously, sending drinks and gifts flying… We’d yell “Cosby don’t ruin Christmas!” When it “was time” he had his head on my lap. I gently stroked his red velvet ears.  I am writing this because we have noticed here at Wilderness Bay, our guest love dogs.  A large majority of our guest have booked cabins and are bringing their dogs! We are dog people through and through.  Juls and I went out into the woods and found a big rock the same color as Cosby’s fur. I painted a quote on the rock that says “a dog wags his tail with his heart.” We set Cosby’s water bowl on the front porch next to the rock.  We want all our guest to bring their dogs in for a free milk bone and a cool drink from his bowl. 


Spring is coming, flowering trees are blooming. The forest is painted with a million different shades of green.   Some day’s there is a warm breeze to flow through the trees to give us hope of warm days coming! Wilderness Bay has cars in the parking lot, boats in the water, and the brand new Weber grills are getting fired up.  Life is good!!

Again, thank you all for following our resort adventures, mixed with our day to day life.  We appreciate you taking the time to read this.  Life gets busy, and if you’ve read this, you have given us the gift of your time.  Thank you for that.  Wag your tails!!!




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!



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