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Houghton Lake, cameras and fishing

Don’t you wonder whether people actually care about their fellow man in this day and age? And, when given the opportunity, do we still have it in us to do the right thing?

A few weeks back I had a chance to meet with members of the Mark Martin ice fishing team on Houghton Lake. It was my first time on the hard water this season. There was 6-7 inches of good ice.

(See ‘Fish On’ at the hard water school)

My excursion began at Lyman’s Bait and Tackle in Houghton Lake, where owner Kurt Beachnau helped me download a GPS app to “Ping” the location of Martin’s shanty. From there I went to see Jacinda Dady, who owns “Be Water Rentals. Dady graciously offered me the use of solid snowmobile for the day. What a blast. It was the most time I had spent on a machine since I went into the Army in 1980. 

With a few vague directions from Kurt on a topo chart (loop south about here because of thin ice), I headed straight across the center of the lake. 

You don’t realize how big Houghton Lake until you’re in the middle of it on the ice. Everything is flat and white for miles around. But the GPS took me right to Martin’s shanty (location confidential).

After fishing with Martin and Brandon Stanton for a bit, while snapping a few photos, I decided to head back early. But there was a problem. I didn’t know how to “ping” Lymans from my location on the lake. Lyman’s does have a marker on the lake, a large neon fishhook, that shows up great in the dark. But it was 2:30 in the afternoon.

I headed to where I thought I was supposed to be, but after 90 minutes of riding around the lake I had to stop and ask directions. I finally found my way, dropped off the snowmobile and headed home.

There was another problem, however: No camera. 

Somewhere along the route that afternoon the bag, which I had jammed between the windshield and the cowling, had fallen off. Laying on the ice was a high-end Nikon with a full contingent of lenses. And I had no idea exactly where I had been, or where it was.

After spending the evening contemplating my situation, I reached out through Facebook to my fellow fisherman on the Houghton Lake fishing pages. 

I explained the situation in a post and within FIVE MINUTES I got a note from Tim Boyk of Auburn. He picked up a camera while riding out to fish with friends, Steve Sullivan and Matt Cole of St. Charles, and his son, Kyler. If I could identify what was in the bag, I could have it.

ice fishing
Steve Sullivan, Matt Cole, Tim Boyk, Kyler Boyk

Although he offered to bring the camera to shore right away, for the sake of the fish that needed to be caught that day, we decided to wait until dark and meet at the DNR launch. 

I drove to Country Peddler and ordered two large pizzas. I grabbed some libations and headed toward the launch. 

As happy as I was to get my camera back, the two teenage boys were even more excited about the hot pizzas sitting on the tailgate of their truck.

I’m thankful there are more good people than not. I appreciate the fact these men thought enough to reach out after they found the camera, when nothing required them to do it. After all, they found it on the ice.

We all have opportunities to make someone’s day by doing something nice. Whether it’s returning a camera, stopping for an accident, or even something as simple as opening a door. 

It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.

Tim, thank you again. 😊

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