We stayed a week at the Big Pine Cottage with our 6 kids. The open and spacious floor plan worked out great! We were able to gather as a family in the dining room or living room, but the kids still were able to find their own space when needed. The cottage was the perfect get away! We were able to make day trips to Mackinac City, Oswald's Bear Ranch, St Ignace, the Island, and Sault St Marie, and then return back to the cottage to enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing and of course camp fires with s'mores! We all had an amazing time and many great memories were created! We strongly recommend the Big Pine Cottage for anyone looking for a peaceful get away place that is close enough to many of the wonderful activities that Mackinac has to offer! We look forward to many future stays!
The week at Carp Lake was awesome to say the least. The home on the lake exceeded our expectations! The owners were more than accommodating. Carp Lake is the little town I hoped it would be. Great quiet little community. Make sure you go to the General store for all your needs. (food, bait, boat, advise, fishing tips)
My family fished, hiked, played games, kayaked and more.
This is our second time renting this property. We had a great time again this year, making good use of the lake for kayaking and lounging on some inflatables we brought. Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge are less than 10 minutes away, so there's easy access to a bunch of things to do nearby (the kids really like Mama Mia's Pizza in Mackinac City). The cottage is well equipped, and our kids were really excited to visit again.
My family & I really enjoyed staying in Big Pine Cottage. It's a very spacious, well-equipped place. We couldn't believe how well-stocked the kitchen was when we were cooking. Lots of blankets and towels in the closets too. Providing the stuff for S'mores is a nice touch.
The fire pit in the back is nice with a nice view of the lake. There's a park-style charcoal grill just off the back porch. It's not very big, but it did the job. The lake is sandy and shallow for a long way out. The water is pretty clear too. Perfect for swimming. My son loved splashing around, even though it was a bit cold out. The pier is nice, but forget fishing off it. It's too shallow and bare. I'll give more fishing details later for interested parties.
The owners were wonderful to deal with. We had to reschedule our trip when we found we were expecting a little one very close to the original dates. Kevin was very flexible with us and made our lives easy.
My reason for knocking off a star was one shower was out of commission during our stay. We had a couple people unable to make the trip at the last minute, so having one shower didn't inconvenience us too much, but could have been rough if we had a full house. We also had an issue with the door code not working when we first arrived.
Now onto the fishing details. There are a lot of fish in the lake! You just have to get to them. The lake is very shallow and featureless a long way out. It's very difficult to catch anything from shore. The little bay just south of the pier is also very shallow. The lily pads look inviting, but didn't hold many fish.
We had a big storm and a wicked cold front move through the first day here. The surface temperature on the lake dropped 5-6° overnight. It shut down the fishing for a couple days. I was so frustrated that I resorted to fishing very expensive minnows from the marina for a little bit.
You need to get off shore, either in or on the water. There's a drop-off maybe 150 yards north-east of the pier. The water is about 3 feet deep and drops down to about 6 feet. At the bottom of the drop-off is a weedline. Fish the weedlines! You could wade out to the drop and cast to the weeds. Better yet, make use of the provided kayaks! Bring an anchor to hold yourself on the edges of the weeds. There are tons of panfish and perch there and they're viciously hungry. Lots of fish on worms and even a few taking minnows. Little perch, but panfish up to about 9" were caught.
If you're looking for bigger fish, try spinnerbaits or rattle traps along the weedlines. I mostly fished a Red-Eye Shad on a flipping stick on heavy braid and did pretty well. I got several northern in the 18"-24" range, a 19" walleye, and several 16"-18" largemouth. All very healthy and feisty fish. One pike took a spinnerbait, a pike and bass took large minnows, and the rest came on the Red-Eye. Fish it deep and slow. Pop the bait when you feel it tick the weed tops and hold on!
I recommend braided line or a heavy leader. I lost one lure to a pike while fishing with 12lb monofilament. There's a pretty consistent weedline around the perimeter of the lake. There are also some nice lines in by the aerators. The milfoil is pretty thick in between. The marina was nearly useless. Maybe because it was after Labor Day, but they were never really "open" in the traditional sense. You had to ring the bell and hope someone answered. If you're looking for worms, try the general store across the highway. Look for the big red building. Good luck and tight lines!
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