Grandma’s Hat and the Big Island

This is the southeast side of Big Bass Lake. The lake you see at the top of the picture is Loon Lake. The tiny island in the upper right is Loon Island And behind it is the Big Island. The surrounding forest is part of the Manistee National Forest and privately owned land.You can easily locate the shallow water around Loon Island. This is wondrous scenery.

Grandmas Hat Sandy Bottom

The smallest island on Big Bass Lake has a great swimming beach all around it. But keep a few things in mind. You aren’t allowed to disturb a nestling loon as this is their incubator island for their young. Thus there is no trespassing on the island itself.

If you bypass that rule and enter the tiny island it is loaded with poison sumac and ivy. Even watching the film, The Seven Year Itch will be made even more difficult. So swim to your hearts content and then go home.

Big Bass Lake Store and Grandma’s Hat

This photograph provides you with an excellent look at the tiny island known as Grandma’s Hat behind the former Big Bass Lake store. Even with Larry Bender’s new store right across the street, I am surprised that no one has come forward to renovate the old Big Bass Lake store with some commerical element to it. How about a novelty store complete with an ice cream parlor? There are many ice cream venues that are only open during the late spring to early fall times of the year.

With the view from the back of the Big Bass Lake store it would be a natural for an ice cream shop.  Or what about a combined barber and beauty shop?   The vuew is probably one of the best on the lake as you can observe the Big Island along with the small one and even take in the narrows in the distance of the lake.  I know that the old store would need a lot of remodeling or even perhaps starting over from scratch.  But that store deserves better than to just sit there empty.  For decades it has well served the greater Big Bass lake area.

Maybe a roller skating rink could be erected on that location?  Then the old Loon Lake Roller Rink would give place to the Big Bass Lake Pavillion.  Or put a new “Fun Spot” in that location with bowling lanes and an arcade.  It’s in a prime location on the lake and needs to be reopened whatever the venue.  Other ideas?

From Grandmas Hat, Tiny Tim, to Loon Island

Here is Loon Island which is located on the southeast side of Big Bass Lake. Each year loons come to nest. As such no one is allowed on the island. If you took a chance anyway you’d come out with a seven year itch as the island is full of poison sumac.

People do swim off the island on the sandy bottom. But you might rather try Sunken Island further north and east. Leave the loons alone so they can do their thing in private. This is the smallest of the five islands on the lake.

The View Behind the Big Bass Lake Store


Otto Barlett used to have some chairs kind of dug into the grass that you could sit in taking in this view. Both as a child and as an adult I used to enjoy taking in this view while partaking in a bottle of Squirt which I learned to enjoy as a boy as my favorite beverage of taste.

I could take in Grandma’s Hat (Tiny Tim to some) and almost a full view of the lake. I could see (out of picture) the bridge to the island that had many houses on it. Oftentimes after that bottle of Squirt I would get in our rowboat and take it under that very bridge on the way back to our property, past the haunted house island and then straight ahead to our dock. In those days the lake was not so crowded with high speed boats. Now about the only time that you can take that journey safetly is before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.

But I’ll never forget that view behind the Big Bass Lake store. Isn’t it breaktaking? By the way, in this picture you can observe a gasoline pump. That is a luxury that no longer exists on the lake as all gasoline must now be carried in to the boats.

Danger of Wake Boats Has Come to BBL

Examine the massive wakes these boats create. I have a Video for you today about these boats. Increasing technology on speed and design are causing concern from BBL homeowners about damage done to their piers and lakefront’s. This has been especially so-due to the lake level this summer. You also might want to think about what’s next in boat technology coming your way.

Think also about Loon Island and nesting loons there. These boats not only have massive waves but the noise level may scare the loons away as well.

A Close-Up Of Grandma’s Hat

Grandma’s Hat is not a piece of finery. It is an island with one tree and and a few shrubs to it. Most living rooms around the lake are bigger than this island which is located on the southeast portion of Big Bass Lake. It is immediately recognizable as one passes under the bridge to the Big Island going east.

The island does have a good sand bottom around it making it attractive to swimmers that dock at the small island. One has to wonder if Big Bass Lake will one day have “two” sunken islands (the other just past the narrows to the east). I once docked on this island and it doesn’t take more than 20 seconds to cross from one side to the other.

My grandmother dubbed the island Grandma’s Hat because the lone tree at that time looked like a plume on a hat. It’s also known as Tiny Tim and probably a few other names. Just behind it is the narrows that leads to the north side of the lake and past two other rather small islands. But nothing on the lake is as small as Grandma’s Hat, and for now, that makes it a most unique indeed.

Where are Loon Island Loons?

My theory as to where the Loon Island loons are is they packed Their feathers and left that area for calmer waters. Have you heard the roar from the wakeboaters? And what the high waves assaulting beachfronts not to mention small island nesting places. Perhaps their namesake Loon Lake was a quieter option?

Big Bass Lake needs to have some rules for wakeboaters before there is trouble.

Lake County North Country Trail

This is the North Country Trail which wanders through Lake County quiet nicely. Eventually it will cross the entire nation. It ambles throughout the Manistee National Forest from south to north. Along the way you can find campgrounds for your rest. I encourage all of you to hike the trail anywhere in Lake County.

The Little Island Over The Years

I knew this island when it was called Grandma’s Hat because of a tree that for all appearances looked like a plumed hat.  It’s also been called Tiny Tim and Loon Island over the years but now it could well be called Bushy Island as it seems to be over run with them.  There is a lot of vegetation on this island per square inch.

It always had a great sand beach around it which I presume exists to this day.  When it was called Grandma’s Hat in the 1950’s there was ample land so that one could be seen on that island from as far away as the Big Bass Lake Store.  Now unless you are my height (6’10”) that would no longer be the case as you would be absorbed by leafy bushes. 

Maybe the island could be renamed just “Bush” Island in honor of one of the former two President’s?  That’s a thought!

What’s Next for BBL?

The South side of the lake features a bridge, a public landing, and three islands. The central part of the lake has two islands, a sunken island, and a channel to Little Bass Lake. Until now, the north side of the lake didn’t have much. With all the rain they now have a waterfall.Eat your heart out southern and central parts of BBL.

Time and Grandma’s Hat

IMG_20171014_070123 one of our readers by the name of Luke made a comment this morning on our article on Turtle Island. Some today call that Island Pirate Island and it seems that many of the islands on the lake have been transformed into other names. The island you see here is today known as loon Island. The entire island is almost covered with bushes and trees. In my day this island was known as Grandma’s hat. You can see a vast difference as this island now has hardly any bushes or trees. I believe each generation names these islands as they desire. Perhaps the lone exception is Four Winds Island. Quite a contrast between  loon Island today and Grandma’s hat in my day.