Michigan’s Outdoor Show Season Gets Underway With Attractions for Many Different Interests

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Lucian Gizel enjoys fishing for bass from a kayak which allows him to get into hard to reach areas. Photo: Courtesy | Lucian Gizel.

By Howard Meyerson

Whether fishing the open waters of Lake Michigan for salmon, the scenic Au Sable River for brown trout, or a hidden inland lake for bass, Lucian Gizel prefers to go by kayak.

The 52-year-old industrial engineer, from Livonia, says nothing beats the quiet, low-profile, shallow-draft fishing craft.

“I got into kayak fishing because of their stealthiness and the ability to get away from power boaters,” said Gizel, co-founder of the online forum, Michigan Kayak Fishing, and a featured speaker at the Ultimate Fishing Show Detroit, which opens January 9 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

The Ultimate Fishing Show, with its 200 vendors, selling everything fishing and boats to go with it, is the gateway show for Michigan’s winter outdoor show season. There are 14 shows between now and the end of March. They cater to hunters, anglers, archers, paddlers, RV users and more.

Gizel’s talk on “Modern Kayak Fishing Techniques,” is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. He will present tips on rigging kayaks, picking between different styles, and how best to fish from them.

“Typically I like to guide on inland lakes, places that are hard to get to and where you get solitude and serenity,” said Gizel, an Ocean Kayak pro-staffer. “But over the last couple of years people have been interested in salmon. It’s a challenge; He takes you where he wants to go and you have to rely on your skill to land them.”

Challenge, indeed.

Hunting Show Returns

Hunters on the east side of the state are likely to be pleased with the return of Huntin’ Time Expo East in 2014. The popular show is returning to its Birch Run home base in Saginaw County. Show producer, Tom Antor, says it’s time. The show did well in its debut there more than a decade ago, but was discontinued after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“It was our biggest show anywhere,” said Antor, who has produced the Grand Rapids based Huntin’ Time Expo West for 22 years. “Then, after 9-11 hit, people weren’t buying so we didn’t do it again. Since then, we have had vendors and outfitters say they want to return to the area.”

Huntin Time Expos cater to big game and deer hunters who have an interest in new gear, world-class taxidermy and working directly with outfitters. Show visitors are encouraged to bring in their deer antlers so they can be scored by the members of Commemorative Bucks of Michigan.

Huntin’ Time Expo East is scheduled for Jan. 17-19 at Birch Run Expo Center. West is scheduled for Jan. 24-26 at the Delta-Plex in Grand Rapids. A special presentation is scheduled at each about Michigan’s controversial proposed antler-point restrictions for deer hunting.

New RVs on Display

Motorhome and travel trailer enthusiasts will find plenty to think about and choose from

Motorhomes and RV vacations are among the attractions offered at the Grand Rapids, RV, Travel and Camper Show.

Motorhomes and RV vacations are among the attractions offered at the Grand Rapids, Camper, Travel and RV Show. Photo courtesy of RVIA.

at the Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids from Jan. 23-26. It is the largest show of its kind in the state, with 90 displays showing everything from small towable trailers to mondo-motorhomes.

“We’re filled to the gills with product,” said show manager, Mike Wilbraham. “One of the interesting trends we see is smaller and more efficient RVs and all-electric approaches for high-end motorhomes that do away with propane.”


While Michigan’s outdoor show lineup is loaded with big venue shows, like the Grand Rapids and Detroit boat shows, some of the smaller venues can prove equally, or more interesting. They are typically specialized, one-of-a-kind shows. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Traditional archers and wood bow enthusiasts should check out the 18th Annual Traditional Bowhunters Expo at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. It is must-see for archery fans and those who enjoy wood recurve and long bows.

The 19th Annual Quiet Water Symposium in East Lansing is Michigan’s only real paddlesports show. It is held at Michigan State University Pavilion for Livestock & Agriculture Education. This is a venue for builders, canoe and kayak trippers and those who enjoy great trips.

Fly-tiers have two to pick from: the 4th Annual Celebration of Fly Tying, sponsored by the Grand River Fly Tyers at Knights of Columbus Hall, in Wyoming is a delightful show with great work on display. Then there is the 36th Annual Midwest Fly Fishing Expo at Macomb Community College in Warren. This is the show that should not be missed.

To find out details about each of the shows this season, check out the 2014 Outdoor Show Calendar.



Jan. 9-12: Ultimate Fishing Show Detroit, Suburban Collection Showplace Novi: showspan.com.

Jan. 17-19: Huntin’ Time Expo East, Birch Run Expo Center: huntingshows.net.

Jan. 23-26: Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids: showspan.com.

Jan. 24-26: Huntin’ Time Expo West, The Delta-Plex , Grand Rapids: huntingshows.net.

Jan. 24-26: 18th Annual Traditional Bowhunters Expo, Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, Kalamazoo: gnbco.com.

Feb. 15-23: Detroit Boat Show, Cobo Center, Detroit: detroitboatshow.net.

Feb. 19-23: Grand Rapids Boat Show, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids: showspan.com.

Feb. 22: 4th Annual Celebration of Fly Tying, Grand River Fly Tyers, Knights of Columbus Hall, Wyoming: grandriverflytyers.com.

Feb. 27- Mar. 2: Outdoorama – Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi: showspan.com.

March 1: 19th Annual Quiet Water Symposium, East Lansing, Michigan State University Pavilion for Livestock & Agriculture Education: quietwatersymposium.org.

March 7-9: Flint Steelheaders Boat, Fishing & Outdoor Show, Birch Run Expo Center, Birch Run: flintsteelheaders.com.

March 7-9: Michigan Deer & Turkey Spectacular, The Summit Sports and Ice Complex, Dimondale: deerinfo.com/michigan.

March 8-9: 36th Annual Midwest Fly Fishing Expo, Macomb Community College, Warren: midwestflyfishingexpo.com/.

March 20-23: Ultimate Sport Show Grand Rapids, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids: showspan.com.

About Howard Meyerson

After more than 30 years in the outdoor writing business, you would think I'd know better.
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1 Response to Michigan’s Outdoor Show Season Gets Underway With Attractions for Many Different Interests

  1. mfs686 says:

    I’ll be at The Ultimate Show in Novie working the DWF booth as always.


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