- Sports and Recreation
Images from the Sylvania Wilderness
Located in the Ottawa National Forrest on the Western end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the town of Watersmeet, the Sylvania Wilderness Area is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Combined with the adjacent Recreation Area, the 18,327 acre wilderness offers 34 named lakes. The catch and release, barb less hook fishing regulations in many of these lakes have created a little known world class smallmouth bass fishery. The wilderness area lakes are restricted to non-motorized traffic, except for Crooked Lake, on which motors are allowed only by property owners who lived there when the area was declared a “wilderness”.
We arrived at the ranger station late in the day on Friday only to find that the main park was undergoing a renovation project. This meant that the main campground was closed as well as the boat launch on Clark Lake, where I usually land my canoe. It is a convenient landing since it is only a short distance to carry your boat and gear from your car to the water. The entry for now is a small spot on Helen Lake then an portage into Clark lake. Parking is at Snap Jack Lake, nearly a mile from the put in on Helen. This was inconvenient an hopefully when I visit next time the area an facilities will be much improved. Even with this inconvenience there seemed to be lots of visitor and relatively few campsites available
So we stayed at the Lac Vieux Desert Casino Hotel for the night and started the next morning. We got the executive suite.
We covered lots of territory on this two night/3 day trip. We camped on Clark Lake the first night. After setting up camp we made a day trip down through Loon Lake to Deer Island Lake then back. Fishing was a little slow but we caught a few nice sized Smallmouth Bass.
The next day we camped on Whitefish Lake. Getting there from Clark Lake requires two long portages and one short portage and a short paddle through Hay Lake. We fished very little on Whitefish Lake but still managed to catch two nice bass. The bad weather rolled, and after one stormy night we left the next day. A soaking downpour was our farewell from this lake.
None the less the lakes are beautiful, the virgin forest is enchanting, the wildlife is abundant and the crowding from other humans is minimal.
- The Sylvania Wilderness: Solitude and Smallmouth
One of my favorite spots in Michigan, the Sylvania Wilderness Area, is a small backcountry canoe camping reserve with great fishing for Smallmouth Bass.