Hot Off The Presses:

ESLA’s May 2022 Newsletter

President’s Column: “Our Field of Dreams”

ESLA Waters will buzz with summer projects

Become an ESLA Champion or Legend

2021 Drone Survey: What we learned

Secrets to Sunset Photos

(Paper copy should arrive soon in your mailbox.)

Join The Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association

News and Upcoming Events

IT’S A (FISHING) SHORE THING – April 22, 2022 (Friday)

ESLA plans to videotape our “Shore Thing” events in 2022 for our members who may be interested but can’t attend in person. The events are held on the fourth Fridays of the months of April, May, July, August, and September at 5 p.m. at Twisted Fish Art Gallery in Elk Rapids. The first Shore Thing this year was Friday, April 22, and featured two fishing guides – smallmouth bass specialist Fred Fields and salmon/trout expert Jim Chamberlain. The video is featured here:

ESLA Meetings and Events 2022

Board/Member Calendar

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs, May 19 (Zoom)

All Member Annual Meeting, 5 p.m. June 23, ER Harbor Pavilion

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs., July 15

Board, 10 a.m., Thurs., Sept. 15

Board, Thurs. 10 a.m., Dec. 1 (Zoom)

Annual Meeting June  23 – ER Pavillion

For the second straight year, ESLA will hold its annual meeting at the Elk Rapids Harbor Pavillion (next to the boat ramp). Mark your calendars for June 23, a Thursday. We’ll return to a more convivial gathering with pandemic concerns abating. A social hour begins at 5:15 p.m. with appetizers, wine, beer and soft drinks. The formal program will begin around 6 p.m. In a change from our typical featured single speaker, we’ll introduce you to project leaders on our board and our lake biologist and they’ll explain some of the sustained, as well as new projects for 2022. Because we use the occasion to vote on board appointments, you’ll need to be a dues-paying member to attend. Looking forward to a big turnout!


ESLA has finalized its popular “It’s a Shore Thing” events for 2022. All begin at 5:30 p.m. on the fourth Friday of the month from April through September (excluding June) at Twisted Fish Art Gallery, 10443 W. Bay Shore Dr., Elk Rapids, just south of the village off US 31. Appetizers and light drinks are served during a happy half-hour or so, followed by presentations. ESLA hopes to videotape speakers so members who can’t attend can watch later on our website. Seeking volunteers (if you have a recent vintage cell phone, you’re halfway there) with skills to make that happen. Contact us at ElkSkegemoglakes@gmail.com.

April 22: It’s a Fishing Thing — Two top guides with great knowledge of Elk and Skegemog lakes, as well as East Bay, speak. Jim “Fish with Jim” Chamberlain is the trout/salmon expert who has had excellent success trolling Elk for steelhead and lake trout. He thinks he knows where our brown trout have gone, too. Fred “Coach’s Angle” Fields is a superb smallmouth bass expert focusing on East Bay, Skegemog, and Elk. Things to know: he doesn’t troll, won’t use live bait, but loves to talk basketball.

May 27: It’s a Weather Thing — The regional National Weather Service office in Gaylord promises to send one of its top meteorologists. Expect discussion on the increasing frequency of intense storms each year and what that means for our members and lakes.

July 22: It’s a Drone Thing — ESLA project leaders will explain findings of the drone imagery survey conducted on our shorelines and nearshore waters last year and how they’ll help ESLA set water quality goals, suggest improvements for healthy shorelines to waterfront owners, and provide a baseline moving forward.

August 26: It’s a Deep Thing — Hans VanSumeren, director of the Greater Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College, will explain the results of the Elk Lake Deep Water study his students will complete later this spring. It may offer insights into concerns that the ecosystem-altering quagga mussels have gained a foothold and other questions.

Sept. 22: It’s a Hydrology Thing — Mark Stone, Antrim County Director of Dams, will explain findings of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, supported by grants from Antrim County and in-kind support from the Intermediate Lake Association. The study is building a mathematical model of the hydrology and hydraulics of the chain of lakes to use as a tool to evaluate flood scenarios and potential solutions to the increasing frequency of multi-day, intense rainstorms.

Most Recent Blog Posts

Boat Wash First – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Boat Wash First – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Boat washes can help stop aquatic hitchhikers and reduce the spread of invasive species in our waters. Every year ESLA partners with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to promote the State’s 2019 law, “Clean, Drain and Dry.” Again, in 2022, ESLA will team up with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (TOM) at various ESLA boat launches. We’re waiting to get on TOM’S schedule for events. These events have added purpose in 2022 with a fast-spreading virus affecting bass showing up regularly last year in the bays of Grand Traverse. We’ll strongly encourage anglers of the importance of draining and wiping down their bait and fish wells to stop the transfer. We need volunteers to pass out literature and talk to trailer boaters. If you want to help, send an email to ElkSkegemoglakes@gmail.com.

Virtual “It’s a Shore Thing”

ESLA works with government, non-profits, foundations and private business to promote the health of our lakes and rivers. Watch the interviews here to learn more about issues facing our waters and how you can help. Want more? Check our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter.

Andrea Albert

Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Andrea Albert talks to ESLA’s virtual “It’s a Shore Thing” host Bob Campbell about issues she encounters on our waters and how our members can help her and other officers when they see something amiss.

Mark Stone

Antrim County Director of Dams and Drain Commissioner Mark Stone talks to ESLA’s board about the safety of the Elk Rapids and Bellaire dams and his excitement about a critical study underway of the hydrology of our lakes, rivers and connecting waterways.

Ron Reimink

Ron Reimink, founder of Freshwater Solutions, L.L.C., reveals in an interview with ESLA Environment Committee chair Jan Garvey and VP Bob Campbell what his 2020 research into Swimmers Itch for ESLA showed. Spoiler alert: Think – duck, duck (uh-oh)!

Heather Hettinger

Heather Hettinger, the top Department of Natural Resources biologist in the northwest corner of lower Michigan, answers questions from the ESLA board’s fishing fanatics about the present and future of fishing our waters.

ESLA Committees

Environmental Protection

Researches issues and proposes ESLA positions and programs. Manages protection activities.

Finance Committee

Responsible for reviewing and providing guidance for all of the organization’s financial matters.

Government Relations

Organizes and Maintains ESLA representation with township, county, state and federal agencies.


Manages ESLA newsletter, website, email broadcasts, handbooks, membership directory etc.

Recreation & Safety

Develops programs for water and ice safety, boat and snowmobile safety, water level control.

Governance and Membership

Maintains oversight of all committees. Promotes membership and member services.

Water permit violation notice issued to ER firm

State environmental regulators have ramped up their investigation of an Elk Rapids fruit processing plant’s waste discharges onto its land that drains to Elk Lake. In late 2021, the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy issued a violation notice citing more than 50 occasions where Burnette Foods Inc. exceeded maximum volumes of fruit processing wastes. ESLA first brought the issue to the state’s attention in 2019 and has been carefully monitoring it since then. Click here to read more, including the state’s allegations and Burnette’s response.


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