Top Tier Trolling Tactics
for Great Lakes Surface Fishing
By Capt. John King began on 11/1/15
 Proof reading is about 99.9% done.  This is a work in progress!


10/26/15 Manistee, MI ...8 miles S of port, 80' of water.  4.0 HRP Salmon Buster™ Spoon

Never, since I started writing fishing articles for this website in the early i2ks have I attempted such a comprehensive, "leave no-stone unturned approach," as I have here in this 6 part article.  Add in 2 companion videos that proves how serious I am about your success!!

Why? ...the answer is easy.  I have a vested interest that began when I introduced to the world, my Salmon Buster™ spoons in 2015.  Just saying, "buy me," without extensive customer support is not how I do business!

Now, it's entirely on my shoulders to make sure you're as successful, as humanly possible with my tackle.  Correct usage is always in the eye of the beholder, but I can share with you every bit of my knowledge going back to 1983 for targeting surface Steelhead, Rainbows, or in Wisconsin speak ..."bows."

Forewords of Moving Forward

2015 was a sharp stick in the eye for most Lk. MI anglers with a slow down of our Chinook/King Salmon Fishery.  Central Lk. MI ports on the MI side still had some Kings show up.  While ports like St. Joe and Leland practically had none.  Moving forward with the Lk. MI King Fishery is a total unknown at the creation of this article and videos.  To be a fisherman, more than likely you're an optimist like me.  Hoping the Kings soon return to their former glory ASAP!

Do know, the brightest spot for my home port of Manistee, MI in 2015 was the amount Steelhead.  The info here describes the nuts and bolts of how to target surface running Steelhead.  In addition, to to a lesser extent, April shoreline Brown Trout.  Basics to the fine points are not overlooked vital for your success.  2015 was the first year since 1996 there were more Steelhead, than Kings at my home port of Manistee, MI.  So, why not go after them?

This is not just a goodie-goodie, oh, "look what my tackle can do" in a long-winded commercial.  It's front loaded with the reel-facts you need to catch one of the most exciting freshwater fish on this planet, Steelhead!  In the late 1980s, I ran many offshore deep-water Steelhead charters in June.  And throughout the 1990s out of the Ports of Frankfort and Manistee, MI.  Plus, in May in the 1990s and early i2ks out the ports of Saugatuck and South Haven, MI when the right conditions were present.  Years of past experience has taught me what to look for and precisely what needs to be done: how to fill fish boxes when there's this version of Rainbow Trout about! Click archived Steelie article: Head Games 2001

Historical Reel Facts

Steelhead are the Great Lakes the freshwater version of the majestic Tarpon when it comes to soaring out of the water. 
These sea run Rainbow Trout are a huge success story in our Great Lakes Fishery.  Possibly, dating back to Chicago's World Fair in the late 1800s when west coast Rainbows were first released into Lk. MI.  Steelhead have colonized several fast flowing rivers and streams clean enough to foster natural reproduction.  Click here for a Wikipedia's complete explanation of genealogy and extensive lifecycle of Rainbows/Steelhead (Oncorhynchus Mykiss).  Click my i2k article on origins of MI Steelhead

Roots of this fishery dates to 1940s when departed Freshwater Hall of Fame fisherman and friend, Capt. Bud Raskey would row his boat with customers aboard on the S end of Manistee Lk. off the mouth of the Little Manistee River pulling old time spoons.  The Little Manistee River is in Bud's backyard. A 1/2 mile away from his former home in Stronach, MI. Click for Bud's story

In the mid 1980s this fishery started grabbing a lot of ink in the fishing magazines and major newspapers.  Scum line was the big deal tag on this fishery that produced 20-30 fish trips in late May, all of June, into early July were the rule ...not the exception. 

Back then, the fleet ran a long ways offshore.  Often traveling more than 20 miles to find huge pods of fish on the surface.  These unmolested fish were dumber than a stump.  Easy to catch was understatement in beginning days of this fishery.  Nowadays, the deep water fishery has slowed some.  But the temp breaks tend to be a lot closer to shore.  Usually, within the 6-12 mile range west of my home port of Manistee, MI. 

Worthy to note, due to the large amount of Steelhead being caught offshore in the 1980s, the Michigan DNR reduced the limit from 5 Steelhead per person/license to 3 fish around 1990.

Ready, Set, Go!