Meaty traditions and a new look as Bass Lake business opens for 35th year

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There’s a lot of love to go around at Bass Lake this weekend. Michelle Miller’s arms might get tired from giving so many hugs as the family business, Miller’s Landing, opens for its 35th year.

“Opening day is the greatest because it’s almost like a family reunion,” she said.

The family’s all coming home to the resort now, but Allan Shapet is always the first guest to arrive. The Oakhurst native couldn’t help but finish most of his lunch before our cameras started rolling.

“Well it was a hamburger, which is the best hamburger there is,” Shapet said.

Everyone swears by the burgers, but Shapet really, really likes them. The first burger of the year and the last burger of the season always go to Shapet. But that’s not the only tradition on display on opening day.

“This is another family that has been coming to Miller’s since day one,” Michelle Miller said, as she looked from yellowing photos to shots with higher resolution as the Cook family grew up on the lake and at Miller’s Landing.

We found a Fresno family who comes every year now too — for fishing, or skiing, or just to hang out, and they hit the water early Friday after getting those hugs from Miller. And this year’s reunion may be the best in a long time. Shorelines are drastically different on the waterway locals had started to call “Bass Pond.”

“Winter was good to us so we’re seeing levels we haven’t seen in many, many years,” Michelle Miller said.

With all this winter water in the lake, everyone at Bass Lake is looking forward to a great summer and it’ll include some festivals, including a fishing derby in April, and in May, there’s a block party on the entire lake.