Five Generations of a Family Business in Fishtown Continues
A fishery in Leland is reeling in its fifth generation as a family-owned business.
Carlson’s has been open for more than 100 years and hooks in tourists from the Great Lakes and beyond.
It’s seen many changes over the years but an important passion remains, the love for family and Fishtown.
“It’s been 115 years or so,” says Nels Carlson, owner of Carlson’s Fishery.
115 years since the Carlson family put its name on a building not far from here.
It’s all stemming from Nels’ great-great-grandfather.
“We started fishing right around the turn of the century,” says Carlson. “My family moved over from North Manitou Island to Leland and started fishing.”
Passing it down generation to generation, until it was Nels’ turn.
“I bought it directly from my uncle in 2012 and before that my dad was involved in it with him,” says Carlson.
When his uncle was ready to move on he took the bait.
Running the fishery by cleaning, smoking, cooking and selling fish or Carlson’s famous jerky.
“I learned pretty much everything I know from him and that generation and now we just continue to do the same thing they did,” says Carlson.
Upholding history in every fish they net and passing it along to others as an export.
Daryl Herman, Nels’ cousin, still enjoys every part of it.
“It’s been in the family business for about 115 years and I’ve been doing it since I got out of high school and just love it down here,” says Herman.
And so does the community.
“We have people every day all day come in the backdoor and watch us filet,” says Carlson. “Kids come in and we teach them how to do stuff if they want to know.”
“It’s a historical place and you can really get a lot by bringing your family out here and seeing how it used to be here,” says Carlson.
For more information on Carlson’s Fishery head to their website.
For information about Fishtown and the community there head to the Fishtown Preservation website.