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A Guide to Benzie County Michigan
Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks

Explore fishing, paddling, and other recreational
boating on the wonderful inland water of this
favorite northwestern Michigan area

Jim Stamm • 231-882-5673

Send Email • Beulah, MI, 49617



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The Book

Primarily intended for those using a small-water fishing boat, canoe, or kayak, A Guide to Benzie County Michigan Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks is a handy reference guide for anyone fishing by boat, paddling, or other recreational boating on the many inland rivers, lakes, and creeks of Benzie County, Michigan.

With the Third Edition, this book now covers 33 of the county's 58 inland lakes, 2 of its 4 rivers, and 5 of its many creeks – ALL the navigable and publicly accessible inland water in the county. The book also includes a “Fish Typically Caught” table for the rivers and lakes. Note that one of the rivers, one of the creeks, and six of the lakes are in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Discover lakes from 4 to 10,000 acres, rivers both quick and quiet, and creeks that explore the wild and natural Up North.

Some of the details offered include:

  • For each river and creek – length, paddle time, depth, width, type of water, and difficulty.

  • For each river — details for every bridge involved.

  • For each lake – general location, lake area, shoreline length, depth, inlets and outlets, and if motors are allowed or it's a "no wake" lake.

  • For all bodies of water – DNR map (for some), link to Google Maps for the area, type of bottom, fish typically caught, where the fish are found, details for fishing and paddling, what to expect once there, and helpful tips and comments.

  • Complete access details – to boat launches and access sites for all bodies of water including: type of access site and what 's offered at each, GPS coordinates, link to Google Maps, and detailed road directions.

Also included is a road map of Benzie County showing the location of all covered bodies of water and the major roads around them. If you'd like a more detailed map, check out Northwest Michigan (folding map) from Universal Maps,

This book covers Benzie County. It complements the A Guide to the Rivers and Lakes of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, Michigan book, which covers all 65 of the publicly and easily accessible inland lakes, the in-county pieces of the five rivers in those two counties, and ALL of the access points to those lakes and rivers.

Whether canoeing, kayaking, or fishing the county by boat, you'll find this guide invaluable. Keep a copy in your boat, tackle box, truck, car, or cottage for easy reference!


This book is available at these fine establishments throughout the Benzie County area, as well as Empire, Glen Arbor, and Northport (Leelanau County) and Traverse City (Grand Traverse County)...

• Arcadia Marine / Lily Pad Gift Shoppe

• Backcast Fly Shop
• Benzie Area Historical Museum
• Timberline Campground (a)
• Vacation Trailer Park

• Benzie County Conservation District
• Crystal Lake Adventure Sports

• Betsie River Campsite
• Frankfort Chamber
• Frankfort Tackle Box
• Point Betsie Lighthouse Gift Shop
• The Book Store
• Conundrum Café

• Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Center

Glen Arbor
• The Cottage Book Shop

• Riverside Canoe Trips
• Tag Limit Outdoors

Lake Ann
• Lake Ann Grocery

• Dog Ears Books

Traverse City
• Brilliant Books
• Horizon Books

Ask for it at your favorite bookstore — they can order it. Although you are very much encouraged to shop locally, should it be needed, this A Guide to Benzie County Michigan Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks book is also available online at Amazon.

This book is also available at the following libraries:

  • Benzie County
    • Benzonia — Benzonia Public Library (a, b, c)
    • Beulah — Darcy Library (b, c)
    • Frankfort — Benzie Shores District Library (a, b, c)
    • Thompsonville — Betsie Valley District Library (b)

  • Grand Traverse County
    • Fife Lake — Fife Lake Public Library
    • Kingsley — Kingsley Public Library (b)
    • Interlochen — Interlochen Public Library (b)
    • Old Mission Peninsula – Peninsula Community Library (b)
    • Traverse City
      • East Bay Branch Library (b)
      • Traverse Area District Library (b)

  • Leelanau County
    • Empire — Glen Lake Community Library (b)
    • Leland — Leland Township Library (b)
    • Suttons Bay — Suttons Bay Bingham District Library (b)


If you're in the Benzie County area, please contact me for wholesale arrangements. If you're outside of Benzie County, the book is availabe via book distributors such as Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and NACSCORP. The details for the book are: "A Guide to Benzie County Michigan Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks" by Jim Stamm – ISBN-13: 978-1480101821, ISBN-10: 1480101826.

More Rivers and Lakes – Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties

This book is intended as a complement to the A Guide to the Rivers and Lakes of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, Michigan book, which covers all 65 of the publicly and easily accessible inland lakes, the in-county pieces of the five rivers in those two counties, and ALL of the access points to those lakes and rivers.

More Rivers and Creeks

See the Northwestern Michigan River Guide page for details about many rivers in northwestern Lower Michigan, most within an hour of Traverse City.

More Benzie

See more of the county here: Roaming Benzie County — a 3:30 minute slideshow (with music) of photos taken while roaming the Benzie County.

You might also appreciate the Benzie County Michigan Trail Guide which provides the details for 25 trails for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the county.

More Kayaking

Technically-minded paddlers will appreciate The Savvy Paddler — A Guide to the Essentials of Recreational Kayaking book. It's a very practicaly guide covering all aspects of recreational kayaking.

Click on image
for larger view

A few fishing-in-Benzie-County poems...

by Oscar L. Daniels, Frankfort, Michigan

For years I've fished the opening dates,
And now my cares are mum.
St. Pete looks through the pearly gates
And calls for me to come.

"I can't leave now, I'd like to stay
It's best to just stand pat.
And spend today and every day
Just fishin' on the Platte."

'To test my soul, come fish for trout
And give yourself a break.
You need a rest there is no doubt.
Just once, for Heaven's sake."

"Don't sit there with an empty dream
Just grab your lucky hat.
Then meet me down by the old Dead Stream
Go fishin' on the Platte."

St. Pete came down from his place on high
And fished the livelong day.
You wonder now the same as I
What Pete would have to say.

St. Peter said 'I'm glad I came
To fish and chew the fat.
In Heaven above, it's just the same
As fishin' on the Platte."

Mr. Daniels taught science at, and later was superintendent of schools of, Frankfort, Michigan between 1928 and 1944. He enjoyed the Benzie County area as one of his favorite outdoor locales. This poem was printed in the Benzie Area Historical Society newsletter, and has also appeared in the Benzie County Patriot, Volume 69, page 8, April 6, 1967, and the Benzie County Record Patriot, Volume 80, Issue 37, page, March 23, 1977.

-- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o -- o --

by Nelson E. "Doc" Sayles, Frankfort, Michigan

If I could take time off for just one day.
What would I do? I'd go fish in Betsie Bay.

Or I'd find some lake that's true and tried.
That's mentioned in the Benzie County Fishing Guide.

One of Benzie's fifty lakes or more.
And I'd fish and fish. And I wouldn't come ashore.

Until I'd caught a Bass, Muskie, or a Trout,
Or a Blue Gill, or a Water Dog (which I'd throw out).

And then I'd cast again, and when I felt,
A gentle nibble I would know I had a Perch or Smelt.

And I wouldn't run that boat aground.
If I saw Rex Oslyn hanging around.

I'd keep on fishing every minute,
I wouldn't quit until I had my limit.

And any time I want to fish,
I'll try my luck in Benzie County, Michigan.

From the Benzie Banner newspaper — Volume 52, Issue 25, Page 6, January 4, 1940.. A few notes about items in this poem...

  • The Benzie County Fishing Guide is the "Benzie County Fishing and Vacation Guide" by Andrew Johnson & W.O. Kiracofe, Beulah, MI. Published annually from 1937 to 1941.
  • Waterdogs are an immature salamander, sometimes called mudpuppies.
  • Rex Oslyn was the game warden at the time. He served a long time and was sort of a legend.