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I am just starting to look into buying 10-20 acres in NW Michigan to build a small cabin on for hunting and fishing. I do some trout fishing and very little steelhead and salmon fishing but would like to do a lot more. The distance to drive clear across the state and then have to turn around and come back is the big reason I am looking to buy land in that area. I want to be near salmon and steelhead water so I am focusing on the NW. I also deer and grouse hunt. I'm leaning towards Wexford, Manistee, and Kalkaska counties but would be ok with going further North and being closer to some of the ski lifts if there is still good salmon/steelheading. Are there any smaller rivers that offer good migratory fish fishing that I am overlooking?
At this stage I am mostly looking for thoughts on areas with great fishing, proximity to cool towns or areas for my family eg Petoskey, Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes, near by public land, snowmobilie trails, ski hills, and hunting but with the emphasis on great fishing. I will be doing some driving and boot leather looking early spring but am looking to narrow down my starting point.
If you were looking to build a cabin where would you look?
 

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For trout fishing, and salmon and steelhead it would be hard to beat Manistee county!
 

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I would say Wexford. You right in the middle and within a 1/2 hour of the Manistee, Boardman, PM, LM, Pine and the hundreds of feeders to those famous systems. Also there are thousands of acres of stateland to hunt.
 

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Build yourself a map with rivers, lakes, ski resorts, and other things that you want to be near. Then locate the area that can easily reach all the items you want to enjoy from a central location.
 

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Benzie county
 

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Mesick area is centrally located to all that and more.
 

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I am just starting to look into buying 10-20 acres in NW Michigan to build a small cabin on for hunting and fishing. I do some trout fishing and very little steelhead and salmon fishing but would like to do a lot more. The distance to drive clear across the state and then have to turn around and come back is the big reason I am looking to buy land in that area. I want to be near salmon and steelhead water so I am focusing on the NW. I also deer and grouse hunt. I'm leaning towards Wexford, Manistee, and Kalkaska counties but would be ok with going further North and being closer to some of the ski lifts if there is still good salmon/steelheading. Are there any smaller rivers that offer good migratory fish fishing that I am overlooking?
At this stage I am mostly looking for thoughts on areas with great fishing, proximity to cool towns or areas for my family eg Petoskey, Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes, near by public land, snowmobilie trails, ski hills, and hunting but with the emphasis on great fishing. I will be doing some driving and boot leather looking early spring but am looking to narrow down my starting point.
If you were looking to build a cabin where would you look?
Well, I have a home on 26 acres 3 miles east of Petoskey and can see Nubs Nob and Boyne Highlands.

I built in the area due to the beauty of the town and bay, I'm more of an inland lake fisherman now, and you have some of the best big water lakes with walleyes, rainbows, bass, and perch, in Burt, Lake Charlevoix, Mullet, Crooked and Pickeral. The bay is right there with salmon, steelhead, lake trout, and smallies.
If your looking for a major river like the Manistee, forget it, but the Maple and Jordan rivers are nearby. The people are great, and anything you need is nearby, and I get a deer most every year.
 

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Grayling is a great centrally-located spot, and not real far from you. Great fishing for all sorts of inland fish around there. And not a real far drive east, or west to look for Steelhead. I wouldn't buy any 2nd home with the plan to do a lot of Salmon fishing in the future. Buy it with a plan to do other things.
Grayling also has the Mason Tract nearby. TONS of State land, and great hunting all over that area. Both the Ausable, and Big Manistee rivers originate just outside of Grayling.

Not any real "cool" towns in that area. Not like Traverse City, or Petoskey/Habor Springs. Grayling and Gaylord are the big cities. Ma Deeters is a relatively short drive. ;)
 

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Pretty sure I saw a posting on here earlier today from a guy that is selling 25 acres for 25000 just south of Fife Lake.
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Honor.

Platte, Betsie, Little Man, Boardman, Bear Creek within 45 miles. Platte at your doorstep the Betsie within 10 minutes.

Good smallmouth fishing very close by. Some walleye at Herring Lake.

Most beautiful Lower Peninsula terrain. Frankfort is a nice town. 30 minutes to traverse

No brainer. Honor :)
 

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Grayling would be a great spot for inland trout but probably the worst spot for migratory steelhead and salmon. Unfortunately Too many dams on a ausable and manistee to allow fish to move up that far. Benzie co is good. Got betsie, pine, platte, etc within a stones throw. Other rivers close by big water fishing is good. As mentioned don't bank on salmon fishery right now. Many changes could come about in the next few years
 

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Except for deer, I'd look at Manistee County and the Little Manistee R. area. For better deer hunting and still within an easy drive of salmon, steelhead and upland trout the NE quadrant of Mason County is a choice. Another choice, with far better deer hunting, would be the western 1/3 of Manistee County. This puts you within an easy drive of the: Betsie, Bear, Big Manistee, Little Manistee and Platte rivers as well as Crystal Mt. for skiing, some good golfing...especially Arcadia Bluffs...and grouse hunting on state land to the east. The con of this area is the fact that the closer to Lake Michigan you get the land becomes costlier.
 

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Thanks for all the replies and giving me a lot to think about. Honor and Benzie County look to be on the high end of what I can afford but may be worth it.
 

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Thanks for all the replies and giving me a lot to think about. Honor and Benzie County look to be on the high end of what I can afford but may be worth it.
I'd suggest looking at Manistee County east of US31, west of Bear Creek, south of Glovers Lake Rd, and north of Coates Hwy. This gets you away from Lake Michigan a bit and out of the higher end cost of Benzie County due to it being closer to Traverse City. Find the boundaries that I mention above, mark them out on a county map and begin your search.
 

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I'd suggest looking at Manistee County east of US31, west of Bear Creek, south of Glovers Lake Rd, and north of Coates Hwy. This gets you away from Lake Michigan a bit and out of the higher end cost of Benzie County due to it being closer to Traverse City. Find the boundaries that I mention above, mark them out on a county map and begin your search.
I have to agree with this. I have a couple relatives in this "boundary" and it is awesome territory.
 

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Have to agree with Whit, as hard as that is to do:D Great fishing all over that area for just about anything.
 
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