Leland Michigan: Ben & Caroline Maier, Picnic

Oct, 1,2022

Leland, Michigan was the first stop on this year’s American Rivers Tour fall 2022 adventure.

My dark green 2018 Ford F 150 was loaded comfortably in the bed with enough gear ( Yeti cooler, wanagan, emergency sleeping bags and fly fishing gear for a variety of species) to chase fish from Michigan to Montana. The cab, an old school  2 door, 2 seat situation with a little extra storage room behind the front row was comfortable with plenty of legroom for its 2 occupants. Larry Carlson, my 6 foot 4 inch traveling companion, handled navigation (Google maps) in the shotgun seat as I drove.

Our visit included a lunch from Picnic, a newly installed grab & go shop on Leland’s Main Street. We also attended a festive event put on by Picnic’s owners Ben & Caroline Maier, celebrating Ben’s mothers birthday. We enjoyed a bratwurst and smoked salmon studded buffet table with an attractive crowd of Leland residents. Ben Maier not only ran the bratwurst grill with ease, having par boiled locally crafted bratwurst prior to finishing them in great numbers on his gas grill, he also ignited a great fire which had been arranged to celebrate his mother by Ben’s 3 sons earlier in the day.

Our Picnic lunch, organized by Caroline was perfect for the sandy beach on lake Michigan’s Glen Arbor Michigan shoreline just off of M22-S which traverses the lake’s western beaches for several miles. While Ben and I fished with one of his sons, the rest of our crowd set up blankets and enjoyed the early fall sunshine. On the back side of Glen Arbor’s dune we casted with a step, bushy backdrop for about an hour to spawning King & Coho salmon, moving up the Crystal river from the deep lake as their DNA required. Not interested in our salmon egg presentations, we could only cast, hoping to upset one of the majestic creatures schooling in front of us as feeding was not on their agenda in early October.

Donicio Gomez