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Fishing in Northern Michigan's Benzie County Along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Meet Captain Ben Wolfe: Seasoned Captain, Savvy Fishing Guide and French Culinary Institute Trained Chef

BENZONIA, MI -- (Marketwired) -- 06/25/14 -- It makes sense that one of Michigan's most talented big lake and river fishing guides lives in Northern Michigan's Benzie County with nearly 30 miles of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 50 inland lakes and two fishing rivers, the Betsie and the Platte.

Ben Wolfe, a seasoned captain and fishing guide is the only licensed commercial guide who can fish within 1/2 mile of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He states, "In the first two weeks of September there are estimated to be 60,000 fish at the mouth of the Platte River that come back to spawn. From that vantage point along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore you can see 40 feet down. It's an amazing experience."

Wolfe Outfitters aims to please his customers. "I serve all levels of experience," says Wolfe. Wolfe Outfitters also runs guided fly-fishing and light tackle trips from his service Wolfe Outfitters, a full service fly-fishing outfit based at Crystal Mountain. Wolfe Outfitters caters to novice, intermediate and experienced anglers, both children and adults, and includes the tackle and equipment needed.

His custom made tours are special because he is a trained chef from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, NY and can therefore make a fishing excursion into a culinary adventure. "I've been fortunate to travel the world and I wanted to bring these collected experiences back to Northern Michigan to share what I think is fun and meaningful to me with visitors from all walks of life," says Wolfe.

Wolfe works with his guests to customize their experience. He listens to their interests and then makes all of the arrangements to help make their dreams come true. This could include fly-fishing, charter fishing, river fishing, bass, walleye and perch fishing. Even though he has a network of guides that work with him, he often will be the one guiding the trip. From newlyweds wanting to try out fishing for the first time to courting couples where there is a proposal of marriage to be made on a trip, Wolfe has experienced it all.

Ben Wolfe has been fishing all of his life during summers in Benzie County where his parents had a summer home. "I get so much joy sharing my love of fishing and exploring the natural areas here in Benzie County. I love it when a father can show his son his passion and I can help in the experience. Everybody loves my excursions because I understand their interests and what they are try to achieve during our 4, 6 or 8 hours together on the water."

"What makes me unique is that I have the flexibility that a lot of people don't have. I have a captain's license that allows me to fish on larger bodies of water, as well as, on smaller or larger rivers due to my variety of boats and expertise. I have also started a coffee company to serve my fishing business -- I provide a premium pot of coffee for every trip."

"I focus on the little extra special touches," he says. "For instance, I pick up all of my guests for the trip and take them to our fishing location. I have my own brewed coffee in an air pot for their travel, which will stay hot most of the day. I bring a nice camera to capture images of their trip. On river fishing trips I can grill lunch on the boat that might include grilled spice-rubbed Lake Trout and vegetables. If they want snacks, I bring something like whitefish, salmon or trout pate, cheeses, salamis and crackers." *

*There is no alcohol by law on any of the excursions.

According to Wolfe, the rivers in Benzie County are easily accessible for a variety of anglers and there is easy access to prime fishing water. Also, the Betsie and Platte Rivers don't require a boat to get at great fishing locations on the rivers and wading is possible on most stretches of both rivers. "Benzie County has done a fantastic job of making great access points to their rivers," Wolfe says. "Fly fishing in Michigan is great! Benzie Country's Betsie and Platte Rivers are easily accessible, clear and beautiful. These are slower moving rivers with good shore access. It's really common to have salmon bumping your legs while you're fishing. The Betsie and the Platte are also kayak friendly rivers." Field and Stream's Kirk Deeter recently named Michigan the number one fly fishing state in the nation.

He adds, "Benzie County is the birthplace of salmon fishing. Whatever Michigan has now was started in Benzie County. What so many people do for enjoyment all began here. It's great to fish in that same body of water that made history for so many anglers. The Platte River State Hatchery is where salmon fishing on the Great Lakes began and that history is still happening as this hatchery is still the main egg harvesting station for Coho salmon in the upper Great Lakes.

Wolfe also offers Eco - Cruise Tours on Benzie County rivers offering sightseeing and close up views of the area's natural habitat.

Overview of Benzie County

Benzie County has the reputation as "the best place in Michigan for Outdoor Sports & Recreation" and is located 30 minutes west of Traverse City, Michigan with two convenient airports. Benzie County is comprised of quaint vacation towns and villages such as Frankfort, Elberta, Honor, Thompsonville, Beulah, Benzonia and Lake Ann. In the center of the county is the majestic Crystal Lake and there are over 50 other smaller lakes and rivers throughout Benzie County. Lake Michigan stretches along the entire West boundary of Benzie County and includes nearly 30 miles of Lake Michigan Shoreline along The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Benzie County is a perfect destination for a relaxed getaway with pristine beaches, miles of biking and walking paths, majestic views of Lake Michigan, and plenty of great restaurants and shops as well as scenic and family attractions. There are also Champion quality golf courses, 22 miles for biking along the Betsie Valley Trail, and approximately 200 miles of rivers. Outdoor activities in the spring, summer and fall that are popular in Benzie County include trolling, casting and fly fishing, charter fishing, golfing, biking, tubing, canoeing and kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing.


Sally Littlefair Zarafonetis
Media Consultant
Benzie County Visitors Bureau
(616) 656-5885
Email Contact

Mary Carroll
Benzie County Visitors Bureau
(800) 882-5801
Email Contact

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