...or possibly a Gun Lake Fishing Video?  Email it here and we will post it to this website on the fish tales blog page. Here is one to start:
 
First Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2009,  By Charlotte Weick | Advance Newspapers
There is only one place at Gun Lake where travelers can get fresh baked cookies, hot coffee, live bait, hardware goods, fishing tackle and see jackalope and a fish wearing sunglasses. "It ain't like Walmart!" said the David Mercer.

It may not be Walmart, but Gillett's Bait & Tackle at 12258 Marsh Road in Shelbyville is one of the Gun Lake's oldest businesses and a must see stop for travelers on the Allegan County Heritage Trail.

Gillett's is owned and operated by the very friendly David and Rosemary "Rosie" Mercer.
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There is much to see at Gillett's Bait & Hardware in Shelbyville. Jerry "Shorty" Dehn, a Gun Lake resident since the age of 5, caught this big fish 40 years ago.
Newcomers to Gun Lake can learn just about anything they need to know about the area by making Gillett's their first stop. David and Rosie are the experts when it comes to fishing in summer and winter. Do you want to know the condition of the ice before heading out on to Gun Lake?

The Mercers can give you an update on ice conditions, then sell you equipment to bore a hole in the ice and the pole and tackle to go with it.

Do you want to know about the history of the Gun Lake area? Visitors to Gillett's are likely to run into longtime Gun Lake residents who are delighted to talk about the old days and swap fishing tales.

While touring the Gun Lake area for my series of stories about the Heritage Trail, I decided to stop in at Gillett's and was glad that I did. While admiring one of the many trophy fish that fill the walls,

I was fortunate to meet Jerry "Shorty" Dehn, who caught the big fish. Dehn, 74, is retired and likes to hang out at Gillett's. He came to Gun Lake when he was 5 years old, from a town in Michigan called Hooper, a farming community that no longer exists.

He caught the big fish 40 years ago, while ice fishing on Gun Lake. Dehn enjoys summers on Gun Lake and heading to Florida to spend his winters.

"I fished a lot in them days," Dehn said.

There is plenty of "eye candy" in Gillett's. Every corner is crammed with things to see.

In addition to the numerous fish mounts, there are rods and reels, nets, hardware supplies, a case of crickets, tubs filled with minnows, comical fishing signs and of course, the jackalope and fish wearing sunglasses. If this is not enough for visitors, Gillett's also offers tanning, rod repair and Avon cosmetics.

Gillett's is just not the same since the old wood stove disappeared, according to David.

"There used to be a big wood stove that sat there by the fish pole, for 27 years," David said. "But the insurance was going up and up."

"The guys would sit around. One thing that's always been at Gillett's is hot coffee and fresh cookie on Fridays," David said.

When asked about the history of Gillett's, Rosie produced a copy of, "Gun Lake Revisited," by Gayle McEnaney and Connie Foreman. "We're in there," Rosie said.

Gillett's Sentry Hardware on Pickerel Cove was originally two buildings, according to the book.
In 1953, partners George Gillette and Charles Butler built a combination small bait store and gas station, side by side.

This business replaced a bait shop that was run out of Butler's residence. The business also included the Pickerel Cove Drive in, offering hamburgers, malts, root beer and other treats.

In 1955, Butler sold his interest in the business to Gillett, who tore down the drive-in and added on to the bait shop to offer customers hardware, plumbing and heating supplies. Butler and wife, Frances, also built rental cabins.

So, if you stop by Gillett's, say hello to David and Rosie, tip your fishing hat to "Shorty" and ask him about the big fish that did not get away.

I highly recommend that you take a break from the Heritage Trail to spend some time at Gun Lake. You just might catch a whopper of a fish and come up with a fish tale of your own.

Of course, anglers are famous for exaggerating the size of their catches and making the stories as dramatic as possible, but snagging a whopper will give you Gun Lake bragging rights.

And if you want to shoot the breeze, here is no better place than Gillett's to pull up a stool, help yourself to Rosie's hot cookies and coffee and swap stories.

Like the sign on the wall says, "Cows may come and cows may go, but the bull in this place goes on forever."