Hometown Tourist: Carlson's Fishery - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Hometown Tourist: Carlson's Fishery

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For more than a century, Carlson’s Fishery has been operating out of an old fishing shack in Leland.

For this week’s Hometown Tourist, we go to what has become a staple when you visit historic Fishtown.

“Carlson's Fishery has been around for around 115 years, this fishery included and not much has really changed it’s just kind of been remodeled and fixed as time goes along,” said Jack Zylstra.

Family-owned with traditions handed down through six generations, Carlson’s Fishery has now become a tradition for visitors to Fishtown.

Here, the door doesn't stop opening for people coming in for their fish fix.

“Everyone loves the smoked whitefish and it comes in for it pretty religiously. Sometimes we'll have a line out the door it gets pretty crowded for sure,” noted Zylstra.

Smoked salmon, whitefish and trout all smoked right here. The aromas bring people in to sample what Fishtown is known for. But at Carlson's you'll find a variety of local options.

“We have three smokehouses right over there, and one by The Cheese Shanty and we smoke it there pretty much every morning. We also sell all three fresh and we also do some other rarities like fish sausage and beef jerky,” explained Zylstra. 

Spend a day here and you'll see customers enjoying their fish dockside along the Leland River, right next to the boats used to catch what's on their plate.

You can even grab some fish and take it down the docks and some of the restaurants will add it to your meal.

“You can bring it down, they’ll cook up the fresh fish for you so it’s pretty nice. We do things a little differently than they used to back then but a lot of it has remained the same. People definitely always come here when they're visiting Fishtown,” said Zylstra.