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See Historic Fishtown at Leland, MI - Mark Yancey Photo
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See Historic Fishtown at Leland, MI

Leland, MI, is located on the west shore of the Leelanau Peninsula in northwest Michigan. Sandwiched between Main St. and Lake Michigan along the Leland River, a distance of less than 200 yards, is historic Fishtown. See a history of Leland and Fishtown here.

Fishtown is one of the last working fishing districts on the Great Lakes. It is a step back in time with its weathered fishing shanties and smokehouses. Charter fishing boats line the docks taking sport fishermen out on Lake Michigan. You can also catch the ferry to Manitou Island.

Most of the structures in Fishtown had their origins as commercial fishing buildings built between 1910 and 1940. The Carlson family has been fishing and selling fish here for 5 generations. There are a number of small shops featuring everything from fresh smoked fish at Carlson’s Fishery, cheese and sandwiches at the Village Cheese Shanty, candy at the Dam Candy Store, and other items. The rest of Leland is full of small shops and restaurants.

Our most recent visit was on a spectacular day about a week ago.

Historic Fishtown Sign
Historic Fishtown Sign

All the buildings in Fishtown are old. Many have undergone renovations and are filled with small shops.

View of Fishtown
View of Fishtown
Fishtown Weather Vane
Fishtown Weather Vane

This dam blocks the Leland River running from Lake Leelanau through Fishtown to Lake Michigan. At certain times of the year you can see salmon trying to jump upstream.

Dam on the Leland River in Fishtown
Dam on the Leland River in Fishtown

There are a couple old houses and shanties on the southwest side of the river that have been there for decades.

One of the Homes Along the Leland River in Fishtown
One of the Homes Along the Leland River in Fishtown
Detail from Front Porch in Fishtown
Detail from Front Porch in Fishtown
Historic Shanties in Fishtown
Historic Shanties in Fishtown
Panoramic View of Fishtown
Panoramic View of Fishtown

So, the next time you are headed up to the Leelanau Peninsula, stop by Fishtown.

Mark

7 thoughts on “See Historic Fishtown at Leland, MI

  1. One of my favorite stops up north. Pete Sangalli and I took his cousins from Italy on our way to Canada. We stayed overnight in Leland so we had time to see a lot of the area.

  2. We really enjoy Fishtown. Right about now I could go for a bowl of chowder from The Cove to warm me up!

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