For several generations of southern Michigan residents, Houghton Lake was Northern Michigan, but when I-75 was built in the 50s and 60s, folks could get a lot further for a weekend. But the Houghton-Higgins lakes area has become a perennial favorite for Michigan residents, many of who were introduced to the area by their parents.
A good time to revisit the area is during Tip-Up Town, Jan. 22-24, and again Jan. 29-31. Houghton Lake comes alive with food booths, snowmobile events, a queen contest and other events.
But the centerpiece is still the Tip-Up, a rig used for ice fishing. Ice anglers people the lake, standing over holes in the ice, waiting for a fish to hit their Tip-Up rig.
These days, the event may seem a bit old fashioned for some, but it’s worth going to, especially if you’re starting to get cabin fever at this time of year. It’s also a good chance to expose children to ice fishing.
Just a couple of tips, if you go. Wear warm clothing, a snowmobile suit if you have one, or layers of fleece make a good substitute. As a veteran of past Tip-Up Towns, I’d advise you to wear rubber boots. The ice can get slushy with all the traffic, and leather boots can quickly get wet.
There are many motels and cabins in the Houghton Lake area, but if they’re filled, try the Holiday Inn in Grayling, which is only a few minutes north of the festival site.
For more information, go to: http://www.tip-up-townusa.com/cgi-bin/tutusa2006/index.html