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Woods, water & worse/Jim Junttila

A Copper Country staycation

September 4, 2009
By Jim Junttila

OK, that's it. I've been trying my best to be a good fiscal conservative, but if President Obama believes we can spend our way to prosperity, maybe he knows something I don't. One thing I do know is this: If he can take a vacation while the economy is heading south, so can I. Better yet, I'm making mine a staycation.

I'm staying right here, northa the problem and northa the bridge. Not the Mackinac Bridge neither; the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. What's more, I plan to do something on my vacation that the President doesn't: Go fishing.

Not just any fishing; I'm looking forward to some hot multi-species angling action from float tubing at Sandy Bottom and Lac la Belle to the reefs of Big Traverse and the deep blue sea of Stannard Rock. But first I have a confession to make. Naw, on second thought, I'll hold off til later in the column. Don't let me forget.

If you don't already have plans for Labor Day weekend, may I suggest a leisurely lap around the Keweenaw Peninsula? Start in Hancock and work your way along M203 to Lily Pond, McLain State Park, Bear Lake, Calumet Waterworks and Tamarack Waterworks. Or head on out to the mouth of the Gratiot River or Five Mile Point and Agate Beach out backa Ahmeek. Then up the north coast to Eagle River, Esrey Park, Eagle Harbor, Cat Harbor, Great Sand Dunes, Hebard Park, Copper Harbor, Fort Wilkins and Lake Fanny Hooe, then south on US 41 to Lake Medora, Lac la Belle, Bete Gris and along the south shore to Betsy, Brunette Park, Gay and Big Traverse Bay, then on to Rice Lake to Bootjack Road, take a left and head out to Princess Point, Jacobsville and White City Beach & Pier at Portage Entry on Keweenaw Bay. There are plenty of places to fish, hike, swim, picnic, or rockhound around, and put the boat, jet ski, canoe, kayak or float tube in along the way. Or just plunk a blanket down on the beach and read, nap and relax.

Or take the southern route from Hancock through Ripley and pay Sandy Bottom a visit. It's one-stop shopping with a boat landing, park, picnic grounds, swimming beach, fishing, and you go right by Dolly Partanen's in downtown Dollar Bay on the way.

We have two types of outdoor resources in the Keweenaw: Unused and underused. Instead of taking our own woods, water, pristine parks and uncrowded beaches for granted, take advantage of them. We have world-class rest areas, roadside parks, and state parks like McLain, Twin Lakes and Fort Wilkins, that Detroiters drive 600 miles north to come play in.

Being a believer and a man of faith has helped me economize and keep my fishing up during this recession. I have faith and believe you can provoke the big yank from a hungry brookie, crappie, perch, walleye, smallmouth, northern or bullhead with halfa crawler as well as you can with a whole one.

It's a jungle out there on most inland lakes. With submergent vegetation peaking and weedbeds at their thickest, it's topwater time. I like twitching and splish-splashing my Rapala Skitter Walk, MirrOlure Surface Walker or Zara Spook across the top, and working the edges with shallow running RJ crankbaits. Don't be afraid to drop a weedless snap jig or a crawler or minnow on a floating jighead into holes in the cabbage.

But back to that above aforementioned confession; I've held off as long as I can, but the general economic malaise is having its way with me and I've had to make some lifestyle and literary adjustments to my column. I can no longer afford to sponsor swimwear and intimate apparel for WW&W model correspondents. No more Mr. Nice Guy Sugar Daddy with a pit pass to Victoria's Secret.

Unless my stimulus check arrives pretty quick, I'll be forced to cut back on my usual liberal use of adjectives, adverbs, and just plain verbs; prepositions, propositions, metaphors and similes. Perhaps the hardest part will be cutting my double entendres back to single ones.

It's easier to report the facts than to make stuff up, so you'll have to make do with a little less fiction for the time being, and right when I was striving for a totally fact-free column. I guess I'll just have to put that dream on the back burner for awhile longer.

In the meantime, can you lend me 50 bucks until my brother straightens up?

He's a hunchback.

Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at



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