April, May & June 2008

5.24.08_Manistee_1st_Trip_006.jpg (67368 bytes)
5/17/08 Manistee, MI
6.22.08_Two_Rivers_WI.jpg (169904 bytes)
6/22/08 Kewaunee, WI
5.25.08_Kewaunee_Terrys_Triple.jpg (30566 bytes)
5/28/08 Kewaunee, WI
5.24.08_Manistee_1st_Trip_decent_King.jpg (85006 bytes)
5/17/08 Manistee, MI

Home 2011 Events Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log Members Only

6/30/08  Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction as today's featured photo clearly shows.  Message board member "Jerryriggin" was off Port Austin in quest of fish.  After setting up originally for Salmon/Trout they switched over to crawler harnesses to beat up on the Walleyes.  Much to their surprise a King at, or over 10 lbs. decided to munch on a large juicy nightcrawler.  Moral of the story?  There's isn't one, cuz fishing defies logic!  
       They ended up with a couple of Kings, several limits of Walleyes, and some Lake Trout from area of Lake Huron known as the thumb.  Click for 6/28/08 Krawler King

6/29/08  A series of fast moving thunderstorms since Friday has made things tough for the Manistee crowd.  The only consistent thing about our central Michigan fishery is lack of consistency.  One day it's diamonds, the next day it's coal!
     Weather looks to be decent for the upcoming Fourth of July Weekend.  Highs in the 70s and no thunderstorms predicted in the long term forecast.

6/28/08  According to Capt. Dick Donovan the hot setup for Manistee's shelf has been the lead core outfits.  He took a dozen fish last Saturday and 10 of the fish came of core.  He said 5, 7 and 10 colors were working.  Also, Capt. Dick said the fish were tightly grouped around a couple of pods of bait in 90' to 100' water, slightly south of the harbor.  Let's hope Manistee's shelf reloads for this weekend's fishermen.  We're getting to that time of the season when the offshore temp breaks no longer exist.  This should draw some bait inshore, along structure where currents reload the food chain.

6/27/08   Up to date net locations for Manistee, Ludington and Whitehall have been published.  Battice's trap net's in Ludington are marked a lot better, then the Stone's nets off Manistee.  The deal in Whitehall is a tragedy in the highest form with dangerous conditions!  Word is the LRB is getting the heat from other tribes for their commercial netters total lack of regard for public safety. Click updated printable net page
     Tried to get out yesterday morning, but a stout wind from the SW, or S quickly changed my mind.  Wind and wave reports for Manistee have been off by 100% the past week, or so.  Came to the conclusion to forego trusting forecasts and will call contacts in Manistee before heading to the pond.  Click here for the wave info, reliable, ...or not?

6/26/08  It's no secret money is tight due to the fact of getting robbed the pump.  This has filtered down to fewer boats fishing, unless there's an outstanding report to draw them to the Great Lakes.   The recent Bud Pro-Am in Manistee was a victim of costly gas too.  Participation was down to around 55 amateur and 30 pro entries.  Back in the 1990s this tournament had up to 150 amateur contestants.  It's good to see they had the turnout they did.  There's a lot more tournaments when compared to 10 years ago and entry fees of $200-$500 is gonna hold a bunch of folks back.
      Manistee's Bud Pro-Am is from the days when our offshore Steelhead fishing was top notch and the King population hadn't fully recovered from the BKD pandemic.  Hence, the reason for the 3rd week in June and not later in the season for Salmon.

6/25/08  Installed a link to the satellite image on the Great Lakes Info page for detecting area where Lake Michigan has the more active food chain.  Two Rivers, WI out produced both Algoma and Kewaunee with the stained greenish water last weekend.  The active biomass probably explained why.  Satellite Color View of Lk. MI
      There's a ton of tools on the internet to help us with fishing.  The Great Lakes Info page mostly for my usage when I was still in the charter/river guide business circa 1983 thru 2003.  Having the temp chart (Lk. MI), flow and river temp data for the Manistee River was a big help and saw service everyday.  Click Great Lakes Info Page 

6/24/08  Had the chance to review several port reports from our message board.  The condensed version is Michigan fishermen are catching at several ports, but numbers of fish vary greatly.  Our best report came from WI member, "No Fish Nick" who boxed 14 Kings to plus 17 lbs.  Nick was using mostly my stuff & meat. Click "No Fish" King
       Now, there's more to the story of Nick's success, or me info-mercializing my products.  It's the area and the satellite photo that says a lot!  Nick was out of the port of Two Rivers, WI.  Almost straight west and just slightly north of Ludington on Lk. MI's west shoreline.  As delineated in the satellite shot, you can plainly see the biomass of greenish water circled in one of today's featured photos: satellite image Lk. MI.

     This off-colored water is a haven for plankton and phytoplankton, or the very beginning of the food chain.  These tiny micro-critters draw bait fish like a magnet and where you have bait? ...the predatory fish will soon gravitate to. 
     
Thanks to member, Mike R for locating and sharing the informative satellite image!

6/23/08  Let's go with a hodgepodge of subjects for today's update:
1.  This website is a perfect example of how the internet passes on info ignored by the newspapers, magazines and TV.  Plus, the info here is free, the others mentioned cost!
2.  Fishing in southern Lake Michigan is going gangbusters off IN, mostly Coho with some Kings.  Better sized fish are reported from the WI side and they have bait.
3.  Catching in Manistee and Ludington is up and down, nothing even close to stable.
4.  Installed 3 new products at the webstore.  Red and Clear leader material and lead core.  The new red leader line sure adds a touch of panache to the red meat rigs.

6/22/08  There's a lot of ingrained mistruths with our big water fishery pertaining to the color red.  According to Dr. Keith Jones who works for Berkley products in Spirit Lake, Iowa the 2 colors most visible to a fish are red and green.  While the myth of fish can't see red stays with us.  When Dr. Jones was asked about how this deep rooted fable got started he said, "I don't know, all I can say is it's wrong!" Click for new red products
      Try telling Great Lakes fishermen who do well with red Thinfins, red Bomber Long A's, or a multitude of red lures that devastate Steelhead, fish can't see red.  More on this timely subject tomorrow, cuz there's a pile of new red stuff on the market now.

6/21/08  2 days ago, Manistee's fish cleaning station at the First Street Public Launch
was closed and seen they had problems with city water mains.  Hopefully, that's reopened by now.  So, fishermen do not have to dispose of carcasses at home.
      Had a chance to sneak out of the shop this past Thursday and wet lines for a few hours.  We hit 2 Kings, neither one of them were giants.  I'd rate my outing with John J as no big deal.  De-stratified is what I call the fishing, as one Salmon came at 18 feet down and the other at 90 feet.  Now, that's quite a large disparity! 
      Did see there was a 12 degree temp break on the 29 to 30 west line.  Water dropped from 58 to 46 degrees and some boats were doing well on Steelhead.  Please keep in mind, this is dated info ala last Thursday.  Click our best 6/19/08 King

6/20/08  Today's update is courtesy if Bill F. who in charge cleaning up the mess left by the unscrupulous LRB tribal net fishers, the Stones.  Bill was kind enough to inform, "Here's a better update from me. I'm the one hired to pull the nets. On your "hazardous" list; we pulled the net off 44'20.471 on Monday 6-16. I thoroughly grappled the area @ 44'05.570 and there is no net there, we did mark very dense schools of fish on the bottom. I removed the net from 44'05.018 on Wednesday 6-4. There is one for sure, maybe 2 more nets to pull north of Big Sable, one is about 44'05.222 (#'s 601,602,+603 on photo)." Click Bill's chart plotter  Click abandoned Stone net
       The crap pulled by the LRB tribal net fishers is a debacle beyond compare.  Total disregard for public safety as this photo clearly shows: floating net  How'd you like to get tangled up in that death trap in heavy seas?  Thanks to Bill F. dangerous conditions have been made safe and sound thru his hard work and I thank him for that, as should we all!

6/19/08  Trap net locations have been updated as of yesterday.  Talley for nets closer to Manistee, MI is a heck of a lot less then last year's blockade.  The nets are not marked well, which is noted in the: Printable Net Locations Page  I do recommend you print out this page if you're fishing from Big Point Sable to Onekama, MI.
     This website is lacking fresh Salmon and Trout photos.  This is partially due to the fact many are staying closer to home and concentrating on Lk. Erie & Saginaw Bay.
     Summer 2008 begins tomorrow early evening around 7:30pm for Manistee.

6/18/08  US31 between Ludington and Manistee is open as of sometime yesterday afternoon.  Awaiting the word on how long the public launches in Ludington will be closed.  Recent household waste water emptying into Pere Marquette Lake while undesirable is not anything to get to worried about.  The Pere Marquette River will flush the water in the basin waters of Ludington's harbor several times a week.
     Today's featured photo of from this past Fathers Day.  Message board member, "Eyefull" took his great looking family Walleye catching on Saginaw Bay.  While Lake Erie gets most of the publicity when it comes to Walleye, Bay City, MI's Saginaw Bay is just as good, if not better.  This photo proves it: Fathers Day Walleyes

6/17/08  This weekend marks the 2008 Manistee County Sport Fishing Association's Budweiser Pro/Am Tournament being held this coming Saturday and Sunday.  There is a Ladies Day Tournament on the Friday prior.  Entry fees range from $250 in the amateur to $350.  Take 50 bucks off the listed amounts ...if you're a member of the MCSFA.
      This event used to take place in the Manistee Armory and has moved to the Lion's Pavilion on First Street is where the captains meeting/weigh-ins take place.
      What's does it take to win?  Two legal 5 fish MI limits.  If your fish can average 8 pounds, you'll be in the money and a 10 pound average will win it!   Strategies will be all over the place, but 3 to 6 pounds Kings in semi abundance on Manistee, MI's shelf won't do serious contenders a lick of good!  Click for tourney rules & info

6/16/08  All the dangerous unattended nets listed on the Net Info Page has been cleaned up with the exception of the net in the 20 numbers off Onekama.  Use this page as a guideline only, ...due to possible new net placements at any time.
       Manistee's past Saturday morning program was best in 170 to 240 feet of water straight out of port, to the south a couple, maybe three miles. 
      Half cores to 70' down was productive.  Best bite was from 9am until 10:30am.  A few Kings in the double digits, but most were 3 to 8 pounders according to Capt. Tim Rasmussen from Sue Lee Charters.  The Sue Lee works out of Fisherman's Center.

6/15/08  Fathers Day Update:  Heard a lot of 6 to 10 fish catch totals for yesterday morning out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  From the shelf out to 350' of water was mentioned.  Now, if I could figure out why the evenings are not reloading with fish, I'd be all set.  For me? ....trying to get out of the shop in the mornings is next to impossible.
      There a new net at 13.5 and that's all the info I have presently.  Updated the printable net page to reflect the new net.  Hope to have more information before the next weekend's Manistee Bud Pro-Am Tournament.

6/14/08  Satellite temp chart has not been updated since 6/10 for Manistee.  Not much news on fishing, but morning catches are a bunch better than what the afternoons are giving up.  South of Manistee was said to be best (9s to the 13s).
     1100' to 1400' in sections of highway lanes on US31 has been washed away between Scottville and Manistee (US31 is closed).  50 to 70 trees in the city proper of Manistee have been blown down with straight line winds exceeding 80 mph.  
     Northern parts of Mason County received as much as 10 inches of rain, while the area of Manistee County I live got at least 7".  Some are calling the Thursday evening/Friday morning storms the worst in 50 years.  M.D.O.T. cancelled wide load permits for Manistee/Ludington areas for those hauling wide beamed boats.

6/13/08  Friday the 13th made things tough for Manistee and Mason Counties (Ludington), as they bore the brunt of dangerous major thunderstorms.  US31 between Scottville and Manistee is closed, cuz of washed out roads/bridges.  Where I live we received over 7 inches of rain in less then 6 hours.  Flash flood warning are in effect.
     Several trees are down, along with power lines.  This website is being updated on backup generator power.  Both my front and backyards have standing water in them.  Things are not good and more info will be posted when it becomes available to me.  To quote a local Manistee resident, "Ludington looks like a bomb went off, ...what a mess!"

6/12/08  Just not much happening according to the info I'm privy too.  Morning bite in Manistee has to be better than what I saw last evening.  Made a short run to trouble shoot sonar problems.  Trolled from the high 16s to the high 14s and never lifted a rod.  Angle of the 3 foot rollers from the northwest kinda locked us into an uncomfortable ride in the 170' -120' depths.  Did see one boat wave a net, but no others ...including ours!

6/11/08  Fathers Day is this coming Sunday (6/15/08).  Busy with store orders.  So, no time to get the word on the latest fishing info.  Temp chart for Ludington looks reel-good and the surface temps off Manistee, MI finally looks decent.  Gonna try to get out this evening check out what's up with my namesakes.  Click for temp charts

6/10/08  Fishing in Manistee, MI was said to have improved over the weekend for those that braved the weather.  Heard Manistee reports say the fish higher up in the water column too.  Like from just below the surface to 70', or 80' down.
     Today's featured photo is why I go Walleye fishing.  First photo is the final trim and bone removal in a safe clean environment before packaging.  Click Walleye fillets
      Second photo is a poor man's vacuum sealer where you use water pressure to submerge the fish-bag, thusly pushing most of the air out. It's better to use a 5 gal. bucket and submerge fully.  Kitchen sink was used for demo purposes.  This helps keep any freezer burn to a bare minimum.  Click poor man's vacuum sealer  
       Recouping some your some of your fishing expenses by eating what you catch makes a ton of sense with 4 buck a gallon gas.  Freezing the Walleye fillets in water with a small amount of salt for longer shelf life and contains the problems of freezer burn.

6/9/08  Just getting my feet back underneath me after a hectic, but fun filled weekend.  Today's featured photo is Capt. Larry Buckle from Fish Patroll Charters unhooking one of the many Saginaw Bay Walleyes we caught last Saturday.
      Capt. Larry is a reel-pro with savvy enough skills to teach me a thing or two!  If you're up for a Saginaw Bay a walleye-fest?  ...speak with Larry about rates and best times to go, call
810-513-FISH. Capt. Larry at work  Fish Patroll's website
      Concerning our past Walleye outing held last Saturday, a special thank you goes out to Capt. Paul Vantol for getting everyone dialed in on spoon feeding Saginaw Bay Walleyes.  With his help, I believe all members caught their limit.  
      Paul's been in on the ground floor with developing the spoon program we used and I must give credit, where credits do.  Plus, his open willingness to gladly share inside info is to be commended.  Paul runs Kickin' Back Charters and runs Walleye trips on Saginaw Bay too.  To contact Capt. Vantol call:
989-860-2932 

6/8/08  Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to gain "hands on" knowledge aboard Capt. Larry Buckle's Fish Patrol charter boat on Bay City's Saginaw Bay Walleyes.
      18 years have passed since I ran a charter boat on Lake Erie circa 1984-1990. Seeing the evolution of the trolling artificial lures (spoons) has made a tremendous leap forward to be explained at a later date.  The subject of methodizing how we did it in a few paragraphs is beyond my writing skills, but here's the important stuff:
Lures: Silver Streak Juniors (mostly copper was the hottie)
New stuff to me:  Walker mini diver disks (6' lead lengths from mini divers to spoons)
Modus Operandi:  50' to 70' lead off the big planer boards
Water Depth: 14' to approx. 20'
Area Fished: south side of the channel out to the "Spark Plug"
Speed: 1.5 to 2.5 mph
Water Clarity: good healthy looking stained water
Fish Take: Kept 25 (5 MI legal limits), threw back 13 (some undersized, below 15")
Hours fished: 6:30am until 10:30am (lines in the water)
 A special great big thank you goes out to "Getaway" Bob K for making our first annual trip to Saginaw Bay a huge rousing, over the top success!  He opened his house to our message board members for cleaning fish, furnished snacks and a Walleye fry! 

6/7/08  Full update tomorrow about our journey to Bay City, MI's Saginaw Bay.  Lot's of 'eyes and a good time will have to suffice for now.  Check out today's featured photos:
      5 Saginaw Bay limits of Walleyes    6/7/08 hot walleye lures & mini divers

6/6/08  Tomorrow morning if all goes to plan, I'll be fishing Saginaw Bay as a charter customer aboard Capt. Larry Buckle's boat. Figuring in the cost savings and the local knowledge gained, I came up with this conclusion, "it's one heck of a bargain!"
Chartering is a cost effective viable alternative.  Click for Capt. Larry's website
     BJ Sports in St. Joe, MI is reopening this Saturday 6/7/080.  Their Grand Opening is the following Saturday, 6/14/08.  This tackle shop is known for hard to find, highly productive tackle.  Used to purchase my T4 Flatfish from them, prior to retiring from the river guide business in 2003.  They are now stocking meat and have a proven selection of my products for southern Lake Michigan.  Click for more info on BJ Sports
     Tomorrow morning's update will be postponed until my return from Bay City, MI.

6/5/08  South wind finally for central Lake Michigan!  After suffering many weeks thru chilly northern breezes, a predicted warm blow from the south is welcomed.  This should help the MI ports of Ludington, Manistee, Frankfort and possibly Leland.
      This Saturday, June 7th is our first annual Saginaw Bay Walleye outing for members of our message board.  We'll be launching out of Bay City, MI.  Walleye fishing is said to be pretty decent.  Our itinerary begins 7pm Friday evening preceding our event with seminar "how to" presentations.  "Getaway" Bob K will be doing the "Lay of the Bay" and charter skipper  Paul Vantol will focus on mini Streak spoons for Walleyes.
      I need to thank Chip Cartwright for the specially priced mini Silver Streak Walleye catching spoons for members of this website available at our do Friday evening.

6/4/08  Fishing took a slight turn for the better in Manistee, MI yesterday.  Fresh Water Hall of Fame inductee, Capt. Bud Raskey was aboard Capt. Jack D's "Joanna."  They took 7 fish, including Kings to plus 17 pounds.  Let's hope these were the scouts for the main herd, soon to stampede upon the waters of Central Lake Michigan.
      My hat's off to message board member, "mrymar" for the heaviest second day weight in the amateur division during last weekend's Grand Haven, MI big money tournament.  Their 12 Kings go 76.05 pounds. 3rd highest catch for the day in the entire field.  
     Here's what Mike R had to say, "It was flat as glass most of the morning, and the sun was super bright. Both chrome series shined."  He was speaking of the new 2008 Gold and Silver Bullet metalized products available at: www.michiganangler.com

6/3/08  All ports from St. Joe to Muskegon have reported in with good to excellent fishing.  Manistee/Ludington haven't shown a consistent fishery yet, as cold water continues to plague these highly popular ports.  A few days SW, or S wind would help the situation immensely for central Lake Michigan.  For every day of south wind we get 3 days of north, or northwest, pushing the warmer waters southward.  Then there's the worse combinations of east wind that shoves any warm water offshore.
      If any guidelines can be drawn from this spring season, it's running two to three weeks behind what's considered normal.  There are some fish being caught in Manistee and Ludington.  Morning trips seem to produce better.  I know of 6 boats that fished these ports this past Sunday afternoon/evening and all struggled to get into a fish, or 2.

6/2/08  St. Joe continues to be a strong port with double digit catches.  Kewaunee, WI has some monstrous hog Kings to contend with.  Click for WI King 17 lbs +
      There's a bunch of fishing going on in Manistee, but not catching.  Predominate patterns north winds have slowed the action to a crawl in the Victorian Port City.
      Walleyes on Saginaw Bay and Michigan's small section of Lake Erie have been limit city for the most part.  Fermi was mentioned for Lk. Erie and have a photo courtesy of website member "Greybeard."  Click 6/1/08 Fermi Walleyes

6/1/08  Updated the printable net locations page Use this page only as a rough reference and not gospel.  Hope to wet a line this morning and test some new ideas.  Manistee now has a new automated boat ramp fee machine, instead of a person.

5/31/08  On cruise control until I get a worthy update from Manistee, or Ludington.

5/30/08  Updated the trap net locations page for Manistee.  Supposed to blow today and tomorrow out of the south.  Hopefully, this will improve the fishing in the central to more northerly Lk. MI ports.  My next trip will be this Sunday if the forecast holds true.
     Don't have much fishing news from around my area (Manistee-Ludington).  Currently, it's easy pickings for Kings, Coho & Steelhead in St. Joe, MI. Click 5/29/08 St. Joe  
     Bay City, Michigan's Saginaw Bay Walleyes are hotter than a firecracker and coming on crawler harnesses, or small mini spoons. Click 5/29/08 Saginaw Bay Walleyes

5/29/08  Been a tad nippy in Manistee County pretty much all May.  On the May 28th, (yesterday) the low was 27 degrees at my place.  When this website was updated last night around midnight, 35 degrees and falling.  This does not improve our fishing, as cold translates the winds are out of the north.  This prevents the pond from warming up.
      Website member, ERABBIT, aka Ed C won some money with the BTI 10" Flasher and Radiant Ripper Fly.  Truth is stranger than fiction here, as he caught Brown Trout on attractor fly combinations.  Something way out of the ordinary.  He was fishing the 2008 44th Annual Lake Trout Derby on NY's Seneca Lake.  Click Ed's money Browns  
      Added a few semi confirmed net locations around Whitehall, MI.  Tribal trap nets left abandoned over the winter washed ashore around Whitehall's piers earlier this year. Please use extreme care when navigating waters north of Muskegon to Whitehall until there's more info on what's there ...and what's not?  Click Whitehall net info

5/28/08  A picture can pass on a lot of things to you.  Today's featured photo courtesy from Steve at Photodynamix in Green Bay, WI shows 6 chunky fish with a good girth.  Plump, rotund fish tells us the bait situation might not be as bad, as we've been led to believe ...or at least let's hope so! Click chunky WI fish  Click Silver Bullet WI King
      I misspoke about the fishing being good in Ludington, MI over the weekend.  We had three board members, ...all fish on the inside of the 130' depths and it was struggle city.
      My results for last Sat. and Sunday were tolerable, but not great by any means.  John J and I took 4 fish on 5/24 (Sat. morning) and 3 fish on 5/25 (Sun. morning).  We never had a hit on the inside of the 200' depth and nary a tap out any deeper than 260'.  Our catch numbers were about mid-pack for Manistee, as cold water and north wind has slowed the fishing.  Been a lot of talk about deep fish, but our bites were in the 50' to 75' down range, over plus 200'.  We released 4 of the 7 fish. Click best fish on 5/25  

5/27/08  Lot's of good fishing news from the past holiday weekend!  St. Joe has lit up like a firecracker with easy 5 specie limits.  Grand Haven reported good catches and expect Ludington reports to be the same.  Action in Manistee should be rated fair by fleet consensus.  (1 to 5 fish for a morning fish). Click 5/24/08 Manistee King
      Kewaunee, WI is harboring some serious hog Kings for 2008, as today's featured photo clearly shows.  The interesting thing about the triple header photo?   This feat was accomplished solo by message board member, Terry's Toy.  48 pounds of Kings in 3 fish, by yourself is one helluva conquest!  Click 5/25/08 Kewaunee hog triple
      Tomorrow, I'll do a more in-depth
description of last Sat. & Sun from Manistee and cover member t75735h explorations to catching over 200 feet down! t75735h's King

5/26/08  Memorial Day 2008, honoring our heroic service men and women from Bunker Hill to Baghdad.  Full recount of this weekend's statewide fishing news tomorrow.

5/25/08  Yesterday, our first water trial of the season came off without a hitch aboard SR 1979. For now, I'm gonna enjoy this holiday weekend, like you!
     Fishing was scattered in Manistee, MI yesterday, some did, but most did not.  Heard a bunch of 1 to 5 fish per boat radio chatter.  More when time allows.....

5/24/08  Just gonna put this website on autopilot for today.  Good reports from Grand Haven, Ludington and fair action in Manistee is the latest fish news.  Got a respite planned with the welcomed company of John J aboard our first trip of 2008 today.

5/23/08  Updated the printable net locations for safety's sake.  All the working nets are listed and the nets considered dangerous.  Please pay heed to this important page.  The locations were made possible by LRB Tribal Officer, Dave Deforest.  I thank him for making our waters safer, and so should we all!  Click for current net info
      Awesome catch photo from Michigan City, IN via website member "Andy S".  It sure brightens this home page to have numbers like that hung on their brag board.  That catch came from about 4 miles straight out of MC, 35'-70' down. 5/21/08 MI City
     A few alewives came into Manistee, MI's harbor in the last day, or two.  Website member,  "Wetfoot" took 14 pound King right off the pier heads.  Heard a charter took a dozen fish trolling shallow (20 to 30 fow) from our harbor to Gurney Creek.
      Another Manistee report said: all the fish we've been taking is 130' and deeper ....over waters to 300' deep.  So, for now? ....it's a crap shoot where to go! 

5/22/08  Best fishing report this season thus far comes from Michigan City, IN.  According to one of our message board members:
"Dropped the hammer out of MC the last two days. Straight out only 4 miles. All mature Kings, Lakers, and Steelhead. Few coho, BUT the majority are nice healthy kings. 
      Hopefully, pics tomorrow, if I get time to upload them. MASSIVE cooler overload shots.  Took over 20 fish yesterday and today. The fish are FULL of 4-5 inch Alewives.  The water temp is 39-40 degrees out there. Everyone whacking them!" 
 
Andy S
       There is a new net off Big Point Sable.  This has been confirmed by Capt. Larry Scharich who operates Shipwatch Marina in Manistee and Capt. Jim Fenner President of the Ludington Charter Boat Association.   Having a possible lethal navigation hazard in Michigan's most heavily fished Big Point Sable is plain stupid and just asking for trouble.  This shows the LRB tribal netters
have taken no mercy the sport fishing fleet!

5/21/08  Retrieving the nets abandoned by Manistee LRB tribal netters has begun in earnest.  Yesterday, the net in the 15s was yanked and more nets will be pulled until the mess in Manistee, MI is cleaned up.  A firm from Traverse City, MI has been contracted to do the work.  The Stones are entirely responsible and while paying lip service to pulling nets, never did squat!  The Little River Tribe's leadership is being very proactive in making sure the waters off Manistee are made safe! Click 5/20/08 net hauled ashore
       Senior Chief Jensen and crew from USCG Station in Manistee, MI are hosting an open house this Saturday (5/24/08).  Time frame is from 9am to 4pm.  There will be tours of the CG vessels and the new buildings erected a year, or two ago.  
       Let's acclaim the Manistee USCG for their goodwill gesture and all military men every where for serving our country.  The CG goes out in water way beyond my comfort level!

5/20/08  Not many fishing reports from last weekend.  Rough water was a problem in many areas.  Best I heard? ...was 14 fish taken by Capt. Steve Hamilton who skippers the First Class charter boat, here in Manistee.  Troutsville (LTs) for the most part, but they did have a couple of Salmon.  I have a lot of respect for Capt. Steve's skills and rank him with some of the top captains in central Lake Michigan.
      Yesterday's results in Manistee (5/19/08) were decent.  Heard from a trusted source, Kings were being caught 140' to 160' down, over 180 to 220 fow.  Statewide trend towards deeper than normal Kings continue.  Normal "used to be" the top 70'.

5/19/08  Had a couple of small kinks in my copper line rig.  Copper is touchy stuff.  Any kinks can break the line during a hard pull.  Needed to redo the leader connection and thought a soldered a tiny loop might make a smother snag-free transition from copper to mono. Trying to eliminate the splice from getting those annoying hung-ups in the line guides. Seems to work just fine, ...so far! Soldered loop, mono to copper
       Here's the latest trap net news & locations from Manistee, MI:

AS OF 16 MAY 2008 

44-03.601N x 86-31.637W 107 FOW 
44-04.393N x 86-31.146W 82 FOW 
44-04.720N x 86-30.99W 79 FOW to be pulled 
44-05.018N x 86-31.00W 156 FOW to be pulled 
44-05.540N x 86-30.726W 166 FOW 
44-05.570N x 86-30.365 123W FOW to be pulled 
44-05.979N x 86-29.845W 106 FOW 
44-06.816N x 86-29.227W 122 FOW to be pulled 
44-07.090N x 86-28.284W 121 FOW to be pulled 
44-08.444N x 86-27. 285W 101 FOW to be pulled 
44-10.379N x 86-24.701W 92 FOW to be pulled 
44-12.873N x 86-24.701W 65 FOW 
44-15.311N x 86-25.436W 154 FOW to be pulled 

Net removal will begin the week of 19 May 2008 
There are nets north of Manistee not yet recorded!

5/18/08  My 2008 season's inaugural was ill fated last Thursday.  1st problem was the forecast, said waves 1', or less.  Reel story was 1' of whitewater on growing 3 footers.  2nd was wheel bearing issues, along with dragging brake shoes on the 1st axel to the truck.  Fishing at times seems as a side show to maintaining a boat! Click Bad Seal
      Fixed the bad inner bearing and the seal that started the problem.  Then repacked all 4 trailer hubs and replaced another seal, along with a couple of bearings.
      Don't get lulled into a false sense of security just because you have the greaseable "Bearing Buddy" caps.  Grease does not have a straight shot to the larger inner wheel bearing.  The inner bearing (closest to the hub) carries most of the load.
      It's easy to understand addressing dragging brake shoes will help the towing mileage.  Leave your boat trailer hooked up for a better anchoring point to your vehicle if you want to check and see if your trailer brake shoes are dragging too.  That way it, your trailer won't roll off the jack. 
Signs of a wheel bearing seal going bad     Wheel bearing retainer

5/17/08  Put the finishing touches on Capt. Craig's excellent article about hooks titled, "Getting to the Point"  Craig's work has raised the bar and offered a scientific magnified view of hooks.  His work was added to the "open to the public" section in our tips and tricks section, or better known as Capt. John's Encyclopedia.  Information like this helps keep this website a step, or two above the rest.  Tips & Trix section
      3 to 5's seas are predicted for today and more rough water is in store for tomorrow.  This means a weekend fish report from central Lake Michigan might be hard to come by.  As soon as I hear what's up with the fleet, so will you! 
       Tomorrow's update will take a look at a recent problem I had and how to make sure this doesn't happen to you.  Avoid costly repairs, as we look at lubrication issues!

5/16/08  Saved lot's of money today at the pump by filling up before the gas crossed over the 4 buck threshold in Manistee, MI.  It's some kind of fun watching a 50 dollar bill evaporate into a little over 12 gallons of gasoline! Pump price on 5/15/08  
      Soon I'll be outfitting my 22' Sea Ray with oars, so I don't have a guilty conscience when trolling the big lake.  Trolling with oars shouldn't be all that bad unless you're trying to get the boat on plane.  Master plan is for me to sit at the dinette beating cadence on a big drum, then yelling "stroke," "stroke," to my fishing buddies.  Figure after a few trips with oars, I'll have a lot of former fishing buds plenty eager to never speak to me again!

5/15/08  Season 2008 is gaining steam, as today's featured photo clearly shows.  Capt. Terry fishing solo out of Kewaunee, WI took a King right at 21 pounds.  Flavor of the day was the new 2008 Silver Bullet 12" flasher combo, just in case you didn't notice the incredibly tempting flasher/rig in the image!  5/12/08 WI King 21+ lbs
      Incidentally, our WI message board members have been taking fish down and past 300 feet for the past 2 two years.  I think 336' from our board holds the record.
      More good fish reports from up by my neck of the woods.  Craig from Capt. Chucks in Ludington tallied 8 Kings fishing by the "project" south of Ludville last Sat.  More good stuff from Manistee, as last Saturday there were a few boats doing OK from 120' to 150' of water, fishing down 50 to 80 feet.  Heard one boat had 5 Kings.
      There's a new photo article waiting in the wings about probably the most overlooked tackle you have, that being hooks.  If you can't stick 'em, you're sure not gonna box 'em.

5/14/08  Today's featured timely photo is from exactly 4 years ago & goes hand in hand with good news!  Fishing is getting off to a fair start in Manistee.  While the numbers aren't great, it's a sign of better things to come.  2 to 3 fish per boat in a mixed bag, mostly Kings to 12 pounds for a morning session.   Manistee fish are coming over water depths of 250' to 300' while working the top 30' with 1/2 cores, divers and riggers.  This is well outside the problem areas of unattended nets. Click for archived photo
       Now on the other side of the coin, what's going on in southern Lake Michigan ports like St. Joe is a goofy set of new rules.  Last weekend's pro tournament boats did well 18 to 20 miles NW of St. Joe fishing down 150' to 350' down.  Your heard me right, 150' to 350' down on the riggers.  This is a distant cry from what's considered normal!
       Our average sport fishing fleet's vessel is not set up to troll this deep, nor venture out 18 to 20 miles offshore.  St. Joe's deep fish report from Capt. Russ P: Kings to 18 pounds and Lakers in the high teens to over 20 from the extreme depths they fished.

5/13/08  Just not too keen about posting anything negative concerning Manistee.  Like yesterday's net location's fiasco.  Manistee took it on the chin in 2007 and survived.  We will do so again this season.  Look at the present net problem as serious, but fixable!
      What makes the areas in red dangerous is the floating polypropylene line.  Polypro floats and will wrap around your prop, rendering you dead in the water.  This problem of poorly maintained nets is from the same person, ...who did same thing in Ludington, MI in 05, the LRB tribal net fisher, Mr. Levi Stone (known for speaking with a forked tongue). 
     To give you a little better lay of the land (4s to 6s), is the area called the humps, or 3 Bears north of Big Point Sable.  Avoid this area, and the others listed in red!
     Tomorrow a new article by Capt. Craig pointed at hooks will debut.  Plus, a general rundown of last weekend's semi lack luster fishing results from southern Lake Michigan.

5/12/08  Today's special safety update takes precedence over all else.  With Memorial Day only two weeks away, there are extreme hazards to navigation off the port of Manistee, MI.  Areas listed in red are dangerous.  Avoid and give a wide berth to:

15.311 x 25.436 154 FOW floating line
15.230 x 25.384 144 FOW balled up net on bottom
13.250 x 25.450 138 FOW
08.450 x 27.320 105 FOW
07.090 x 28.900 121 FOW
06.870 x 29.680 130 FOW floating Line
05.970 x 29.930 120 FOW
05.570 x 30.740 175 FOW
05.280 x 30.700 150 FOW
05.060 x 31.000 151 FOW
04.720 x 30.990 100 FOW floating line

RED = DANGER

BLACK = JUST STAY AWAY

The above info will be posed on the Net Locations Page sometime later today.  I do not like what's going on any more than you.  However, the tribal fish cops, DNR and the USCG are doing what they can to remedy the situation.  More on this tomorrow.....!

5/11/08  Mothers Day, a special holiday for the person that brought us into the world.  
       Today's featured photo is super pig-hog Lake Trout from Lake Superior's Stannard Rock.  There's close to 50 pounds in the two Lakers in the picture.  Think Lakers don't fight?  Saddle up with a 30 pounder and you'll soon change your mind.  Giant Trout are like trying to wrestle with a bulldozer headed the wrong way. 2 Jumbo Lakers
       Stannard Rock is close to a 40 mile run run from shore.  This area has long been known as some of the best, if not the best Laker fishing in the lower 48 states! 

5/10/08  Last weekend's tournament in Harbor Beach, MI once again proved the effectiveness of BTIs and flies.  Capt. Larry Buckle from Fish Patrol Charters did very well on the Gold Bullet BTI and the matching Gold Bullet trolling fly.  He was running this combo 10' down and 10' behind the cannonball over 25 to 30 feet of water.  
       You might think this is really tight and close to the boat?  Yes it is, but if the fish are ready to hit, boat noise will not deter them.  I've seen this several times in the Platte Bays north of Frankfort, MI  ...6' down and 6' back take a bunch of Coho.
       Today's photo of the day is the first good King reported in from Kewaunee, WI so far.  According to Capt. Terry, this fish came on my 12" Silver Bullet Flasher with matching 3 Fly Meat Rig over 160' of water.  Click for recent Kewaunee King  We've all be trained to be color spooky, but the newly introduced metalized products have partially solved that problem.  Many thanks to everyone that shares their photos with us!

5/9/08  Let's look at the timely subject making first contact with your quarry, Mr. Fish.  You've probably heard you only get one chance to make a first impression and that does holds true with ultra-sticky sharp hooks.  Sharp digs in, while dull causes missed fish!
Going to defer the rest of this topic along with metallurgy of hooks till next week.
     
Recent St. Joe report from our message board was talking deep fish, a few Coho and Lakers, while the Kings are very scarce.  According to a top charter skipper who charters out of St. Joe, Chinook fishing in 2007 never stabilized until into June.  Southern Lk. MI is a watch point, and let's hope more Kings show up for this weekend's big tournament

5/8/08   Let's go with an important safety announcement for the MI ports of Manistee and Whitehall.  Both of these ports are suffering from abandoned nets, never pulled last winter.  Trap nets come up off the bottom 40' and are hazards to fishermen with trolling gear down, or navigation in general.  Tribal fish cops are working to remedy the situation, along with the USCG.  The 1st of June is the target date to have everything cleaned up.
      Safety is my primary concern and when I know more, so will you!  The simple facts in the LRB experiment into commercial fishing was a bust.  Two sunken LRB tugs, one in Manistee and one in Ludington are just a couple of examples that gave this tribe a public relations nightmare.  Not to mention the abandoned gear laying on the bottom!
      Thanks to the Bob J from the Detroit Steelheaders we did find out there were a few Kings taken in the range of 12 to 14 pounds last weekend during their St. Joe tourney.

5/7/08  The ancient fish tug Mercury was re-floated on 5/5/08 after it's sinking weeks ago.  The Mercury is an old tub dating back to a bygone era of the 1930s gill net boats.  Not sure of how old this vessel is, but it was an unsafe boat that leaked like a sieve in the first place.  This boat was sunk from inattention and not having automatic bilge pump switches.  Vandalism, or conspiracy as originally claimed was not part of the equation.
      The Little River tribe gave Larry Smith $50,000.00 to buy this old wreck and additional monies totaling to the grand sum of $84,896.00, as proven in today's posted ledger sheet off a whistle blower website. documented proof  Mercury salvage
      As more of the story unfolds from last weekend, it was a "tough go" for those fishing out of St. Joe, MI.  Not many Kings were caught.  Catches were mostly Lakers, along with some Coho.  The marks the second year in a row, where the south end is a long ways from normal, if there is such a thing as normal when it comes to fishing. 
      Biggest King caught thus far (plus 13 pounds) by our message board members came from Lk. Huron's Port Sanilac.  Second is plus 12 pounds from Ludington, MI.

5/5/08  It's a great pleasure to announce the 2008 Brew City Salmon Tournament being held August 9, 2008 at McKinley Marina.  August 10th is a weather backup date.  To the uninformed, Brew City is Milwaukee, WI.  There's already 47 boats entered in this contest according to Todd Pollesch who can be reached at 414 899-5959.  Entry fee is $125.   
       From the limited reports I have to work with, by the sound of things, more tonnage per boat was landed in Lk. Huron this past weekend.  Sure the Huron fishermen caught plenty of Lake Trout as usual, but there were some Kings and a fair amount of Coho.  According to the details, the fish were pretty much unmolested, cuz fishing pressure was extremely light. 5/3/08 Lk. Huron King  5/3/08 Harbor Beach catch

      Work progresses on the continuing saga of SR 1979 with page 5 in the series carried over from 2007.  Older boats provide tremendou$ value, if you're willing to do some upgrades.  This season will cover fine tuning the fish-ability, without letting costs get out of hand.  Changed the lower end lube, made 2 new 5' rigger arms, installed a storage box, added soundproofing and only spent about $200 thus far. SR 1979 page 5

5/4/08  King season will be upon us soon and today's update will go a long ways in extending the serviceability and life of your rods.  Most of the strain on the rod is put on the reel seat.  Just tightening down the seat down is not enough.  If you reels came equipped with reel clamps, use them.  Reel Clamps in Use
       This holding clamp will form a strong saddle and lock the reel in place.  Side torque from arm reeling by inexperienced anglers who reel in sharp squares, instead of circles will loosen the reel seats.  While this isn't the total answer, it helps.
       Here's another worthy tip that will save you tons of grief.  Use a Q-Tip cotton swab to check your line guides.  If you have a broken, or cracked line guide, the loose cotton fibers will generally get stuck in the problem area.  Checking Line Guides
       Granted, both of today's tips will probably benefit the less experienced angler, but we have fishermen of all skill levels who visit this website.  None will be overlooked!

5/3/08  Made a set of solid, one piece 5' out-downs, or long arms for my Big John downriggers from stainless steel.  The stock, supposedly 4' booms, only hang 3'6" away from the side my boat.  I do not like any sectioned, screw tighten, or pieced together rigger arms.  All manufacturers are doing this to cut down on shipping charges in dealing with big box outlets, like Cabelas, or Bass Pro. Custom made BJ 5' rigger arms
        Don't take this as a smear on BJ riggers, as they're made in Traverse City, MI, not China.  The new custom booms will add close to 3 feet of spacing to the rigger spread.  
        Been neglecting our WI brothers on the other side of the pond.  Milwaukee's Brew City Tournament dates and more info will be announced in the 5/4/08 update.
        Good luck to all the fishing teams in Harbor Beach, MI's Can Can MDA Tournament today.  Should have a full report on the outcome sometime early next week.

5/2/08  Ludington's Capn Kirk and message board member drew first blood on a verified King in double digits at 7pm last evening.  I said verified, cuz this is not a rumor, but a trusted source who does not BS.  This fish was caught around the harbor.
       Want to know when the fishing is at it's early season best in Manistee by gauging results from a surface temp chart?  Just fix your eyes on at the archived satellite temp reading from 6/2/04.  Right along Manistee's shelf, aka drop-off, ...you'll see warm 50 degrees on the inside, and colder, low 40 degree water to the deep side.  The closer the thermobars are together the better the catching!  This sets up an awesome fish holding temperature break right on the current fed transition from shallow to deep water.
       You can access these free satellite maps on my Great Lakes Info Page, along with links to weather, ect.  That page was built when I was still chartering to serve my needs.  Surface temp charts are a valuable free tool, more so, if you don't fish everyday.  To view the archived temp chart in today's chat, click here.

5/1/08  Let's take a look at diver reels, so necessary to our Great Lakes Fishery!  Winding in a magnum diver and what's behind can weigh a pound, or more.  Then factor in the water drag on the lure/attractor you're towing.  Fleet standard on reels is around the size of the Diawa 47LCs.  The small framed Diawa SG 47 LC features 5 to 1 retrieve and does not provide enough umph, as far as I'm concerned. Click reel size comparisons
       Larger framed reels with bigger gear boxes will provide more power and an easier handle to crank.  Especially, when you start winding in 200' of line and what's behind it.  The discontinued Penn 895LC is power steering, compared to any LC 47 sized reels.  
       Next step would be the new Okuma Catalina 45D LC with 4 ball bearings and an oversized reel handle.  We used these reels last August when I had the enlightening opportunity to beat up on the fish with Leland, MI's world famous, Capt. Jim Munoz.  
      While Okuma shot itself in the foot with a lot of bad, poorly constructed reels when they first came out, their Catalina series shares no such problems.  At least according to skipper Munoz.  Our shrunken, dwarfish Lk. MI Kings of lately will not tax a smaller reel like they once did, but winding in a magnum diver with a flasher/fly/meat rig will!

4/30/08  Let's close out April 2008 with a midweek fishing report.  Lake Erie from Turtle Island to Fermi is producing Walleyes.  Action is said to be steady, not fast and the 'eyes are all fair sized.  We know Saginaw Bay, MI has decent action from the featured Getaway tourney photos from a few days ago.  Getaway's Walleyes
       Michigan City, IN and St. Joe, MI are both looking at big money tournaments in the near future.  So, reports are a lot harder to come by.  Did hear from reliable sources Kings in Michigan City were starting to show and tight to the bottom.  There's a rumored King from St. Joe in the 17 pound class caught in the color plume from the St. Joe River. After this coming weekend, we should start hearing more about King action on Lk. MI.  
      Good luck to all our members fishing the upcoming Can Can Tournament in Harbor Beach, MI.  The Can Can is a 80% payout with 20% going to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  I'm listed as a sponsor of this event by donating to the good cause of MDA.

4/29/08  Today, congratulations are in order to message board members Getaway (6th) and mwittbrodt (9th) for top 10 finishes in last weekend's Freeland Walleye Tournament held Saginaw Bay.  There were 126 boats entered in this event, along with several top "pro" Walleye anglers who did not produce what our members did.  
      Both of our knowledgeable members did best by slow trolling (almost a crawl) with bottom bouncers towing night crawler harnesses in the vicinity of Charity Island.  
          Click for  Team Getaway        Click for their tournament catch
      Another set of congratulations goes to our friends in Sweden, Ove J. and Team Extreme for winning the prestigious Swedish Masters Trolling Series.  Don't have the whole story yet, but I know they use a lot of my flashers. Click for Team Extreme  
      Fishing in Sweden mirrors what's done here in the USA.  Fishing is an universal language that crosses all international borders and spans oceans via the internet!

4/28/08  Too windy for any reports from Manistee, or most Michigan ports this past Saturday.  I did see the Lake Huron fishermen had decent weather and good catches from Port Sanilac, MI up towards White Rock.  More results today, or tomorrow.
     Started on Page 5 of the ongoing saga of the 1979 22 foot Sea Ray purchased last May.  Boats are a continuous work in progress.  Especially, the first couple years you own one.  Several small upgrades are in store and these will be shared in a photo diary.
     I'll bet the talk around the water cooler in the DNR offices is how bad Dexter handled himself in the Grand Rapids Press interview.  His
imperceptive explanation of why there's not a level playing field in daily catch limits from Lake Michigan was off the mark.  IN, IL and WI all offer a 5 Salmon of the same specie daily limit, w/no complicated formulas!  

4/27/08  I was sickened by the opinionated rational in yesterday's update.  Generally, in the government employment system you keep getting promoted until you reach a level of incompetence.  Jim Dexter has proven this point and I'm willing to bet, he regrets saying something so blatantly ignorant!  Our DNR has pulled some less enlightened stuff lately, but Dexter's shell-game explanation on shortchanging Michigan anglers takes the cake.  
      I have a copy of a letter fishing pioneer Dick Swan mailed to MDNR's Fishery Chief, Kelly Smith and other political leaders in the State of Michigan.  Dick is calling for Smith to resign, but I'm not taking sides in this blood feud.  The DNR has been offered equal space and courtesy, if they wish to reply to Dick's letter. Click for Swan letter

4/26/08  Friday, April 25, 2008, The Grand Rapids Press in an article by Howard Meyerson speaking about increasing the MI limit. Basically moving to a 5 King limit to match the other states bordering Lake. Michigan.  Here's an excerpt: 
     "Jim Dexter has a unique perspective on the topic, born of years working closely with Great Lakes anglers and charter captains. He knows anglers love to catch their "limit." When the limit is three they more often go home satisfied. 
      When it is five, that isn't always so. Those focused on "limit" catches can go home unfulfilled with four. Legal limits, he said, have a way of establishing angler expectations. 
     "We know a lot of anglers can't get three fish," Dexter said. "There are going to be a lot more that can't get five."  Click for rest of this article
      Please note the words love, satisfied and unfulfilled, which have nothing to do with the reel facts, or the expense involved in going fishing.  All in all, this is a feeble attempt to explain why it's OK, not to give the same daily bag limits the other states do.
      I guess our brother anglers in IN, IL and WI don't have as delicate feelings, as we Michiganders do.  Is our MDNR is concerned about possibly pushing us into a state of depression, cuz we didn't limit out?  With hokey, crock of BS fairy tales like this, Dexter's next interview might be as a guest on the on the Dr. Phil, or Jerry Springer TV Shows!

4/25/08  Kicker motors are a worthy subject for today's update.  With gas prices reaching higher and higher everyday, kicker motors will save fuel.  I know for a fact the small block GM V8 on my boat will burn at, or over 2 gallons an hour at trolling speeds.  
       My 15 hp. 4 stroke Johnson outboard uses a 1/2 gallon, or slightly less per hour trolling.  Based on a 4 hour morning ...at trolling speed the kicker uses 2 gallons, where as the GM V8 would burn at least 8 gallons.  That's a cost savings of 6 gallons, about $24.00 per morning, or an evening fish.  Go twice a day and you're looking at 50 bucks.  Based my Jethro fuel prices ciphering of the tragic 4 buck a gallon crime.
       There's another issue just as important as the fuel savings.  That's less wear and tear on your main source of propulsion whether it's a I/O, outboard, or straight inboard.  I've yet to hear anyone have good luck trolling with a large outboard.  Especially, if you're trolling with a large 2 stroke outboard the fumes stink like hell on a downwind troll.
       After seeing last weekend's fish pix from Lake Huron, readying my boat has taken on a whole new meaning.  Today's featured photo is my kicker motor in a garbage can filled with water.  This was to make sure the motor started in my driveway before going on a trip to the pond  Both of my motors are just fine after their winter's nap.  Check out as much stuff, as possible at home before your first trip. Click for kicker motor

4/24/08  There's a lot more to Great Lakes fishing than meets the eye.  Owning a boat is a prerequisite. That goes without saying, but owning your our ride means maintenance chores that should not be neglected!  Click for draining the lube
       A simple pre-season task is to make sure the lower end gear lube is changed.  This ensures the lower unit lube is clean no matter what kind of propulsion system you have.  Overlooking this can cost you big bucks, if the lube comes out looking milky, or there's metal shavings contained within the lube. Click installing new lower end lube
       The lower end, or right angle drive gets destroyed when fishing line gets wrapped around your prop, then the line gets behind the prop where you can't see it.  This wears away the seal, allowing water to get in.  After that? ...it gets real expensive!
      Cost to do this yourself?  Around 20 bucks, if you needed to purchase the pump shown in one of today's featured photos like I did.  Consult your owners manual, but in my case the lower unit holds about a 1 1/2 quarts of lube.  There's a air hole at the top, keep pumping until you see the lube at the top hole and re-insert the fill plugs.
      Let's keep in mind, it's a lot cheaper to replace a worn seal, or buying some gear lubricant ...compared to having a marine mechanic completely rebuild your lower end!

4/23/08  Today's topic focuses on Lake Huron's spring Salmon opportunities.  Last weekend saw catches that included Kings to plus 13 pounds, chunky Coho to 4 pounds and catch numbers that ranged from 10 to 20 fish a boat. Click for proof
      This is good news and a way to circumvent the all-too-high gas prices by staying closer to home for many.  Most of the population in Michigan lives on the east side of the state.  Especially, the south eastern corner down by the Metro Detroit area.
       Our resident spring specialist on Lake Huron, Jason F, skipper of the much respected "Rawhide" fishing team identified the stomach contents in yesterday's photo as being Emerald Shiners.  I bow to his expertise for several reasons, including back-2-back wins in the long established Blue Water Classic Tournament!  Click 13# Lk. Huron King

4/22/08  The details from last weekend continue to spell good fishing on the Great Lakes of Erie, Huron and Michigan.  It seems like all the weekend warriors who wetted a line caught and some caught very big numbers.  Click for a gut check
     Inside tip from Michigan City, IN.  Good catches of Kings tight to the bottom in 30 feet of water.  This is the first good action on Kings heard.  So, far this season.
     Restocked the popular Meat Rig Storage Cases at the webstore.  These have been almost impossible to keep in stock, cuz of their obvious value! Click for meat rig case

4/21/08  Good fortune smiled on those who fished the Great Lakes of Huron and Michigan this past weekend.  Heard of some 20 fish catches from Lake Huron at Port Sanilac!  Mostly Coho, some Lakers, and a few Kings from the "sunrise side."
      Lake Michigan's big deal was St. Joe, with big numbers of spring Coho, a few Browns and an occasional King.  Michigan based fishermen who fished Holland and Grand Haven did fair.  Even Manistee's April Brown Tout fishery took a slight turn for the better.
      All success was reported in waters 30 feet, or shallower.  Surface running lures off planer boards (regular, or inline) produced most of the fish.  Recent warm weather will push the fish deeper eventually.  So, enjoy the surface catching stuff while you can!
      Today's feature photo of the day shows a handsome young man showing off his angling prowess with a conquering grin we can all appreciate. Click for this photo

4/20/08  Reports from Lake Huron's Port Sanilac, MI continue to be encouraging. Limits of 3 Coho per MI license, with some Lake Trout thrown in.  Lake Huron's Kings have been tougher to locate.  Look for more information on this tomorrow, as more of our message board members report in with the full scoop.

4/19/08  Good reports from the southern ends of Lk. Huron and Lk. Michigan abound as the 08 season gains steam.  It's darn good to see freshly caught fish grace this website.
      Today's featured photo is from Ed C. who fishes Seneca Lake in NY.  Had had a great first outing with 5 interested customers and 3 Lake Trout that stayed stuck.  Seneca Lake's Lake Trout are part of native/resident strain used to restock the Great Lakes and have been widely distributed throughout the waters of Lake Huron.  
      Ed's weapons of choice were mostly BTIs w/flies, but they did take one fish on a spoon.  His best fly from what I could discern with the Kobalt Killer.  Which Ed nick named the "boy blue."  That rig provided 3 of his strikes! Click for a great photo!
     First time off the dock for me this year will be to get a movie of how devastating the fly gets whipped by the 10" BTIs.  Unlike the old technology slanted vertical flashers, the BTIs providing a distinct enticing whip, or snap to the action of the fly/squid.  My 10 inchers do it with 25% less water drag too, when compared to the 8" finned jobbies!

4/18/08  Good news for you today on two fronts!!.  MC Sports in Traverse City, MI will be stocking the 10" BTI flashers very soon.  I appreciate this major company finding work arounds, as my products do not have bar codes.  Public demand was the reason.  I've never paid sales calls to any tackle store, but that doesn't mean I won't in the future.
      Good news from Manistee, MI too!  There will be less nets in Manistee during 2008 according to yesterday's meeting attended by all agencies concerned.  Tribal fisher Don Stone said there will be only 2 boats operating out of Manistee in 2008 and most of their efforts will be centered on both sides of Big Point Sable.
 
      The net floating on the surface in the 13s off the Port of Manistee has been pulled.  One of the Manistee's commercial fishing boats sunk tied to the dock on 4/16/08 due to the high winds that help set the forest on fire by my place yesterday.  Coast Guard has given this a clean bill of health, cuz nothing has been spilled into the environment.

4/17/08  Want to put things in perspective in a hurry?  Have the woods catch on fire a 1/4 mile from your house!  Yesterday's high 50 to 60 mph winds  knocked down a tree.  Tree falls against the power lines and starts a fire in the dry undergrowth.  Then the 50-60 mph gusts whip this into a major ground fire that burned many acres of woods.  
       Fire for the most part was confined to the ground and did not travel thru the tops of trees.  Initial reports looks like this fire went about a mile before several fire departments brought this blazing ground fire under control.  Click for burned woods
       The direction of the southwest winds was in my favor and pushed this blaze away from my place.  Now what to you grab, or try to remove from the house when imminent danger causes you to evacuate?  My list was the pets, vehicles and computers with files that could never be replaced.  After experiencing this, periodic backup files will be placed in my bank's safety deposit box from now on.  Offsite backup is a must!

4/16/08  I received trap net info from Tribal Law Enforcement Officer, Dave Deforest.
The situation in Manistee right now does not need to be sensationalized, but there are serious hazards to navigation ...temporally!  It seems some LRB trap nets were left unattended for a undetermined extended duration of time.  Right now, some of the nets are not marked according to hoyle, or missing marking buoys.
       This is a direct result of the Manistee tribal netter's 1000% total lack of any sort common sense.  While they call themselves the Stones, they don't have a box to keep their rocks in!  While it's impossible not to hold the parent organization, Little River Tribe responsible.  Let's keep in mind, this is the action of a very few unscrupulous individuals with little regard for the public's safety!  Several agencies are working to fix what's wrong and you can take that to the bank! Click updated status and locations
       Compound this with the sunken net boat in Ludington and you'll see it's a nightmare for the tribal council, plus the tribe members who've had enough of these antics.
       Let's go with a computer tip, cuz without your puter viewing anything on the internet just is not gonna happen.  Desktop computers move tremendous volumes of air thru the case.  About once a year, remove a side-plate and blow out with air.  Either from a compressor, or canned air purchased from a office supply store.  Removing the dust, dirt, and crud inside will extend the life of your box. Click example photo

4/15/08  Today is a procrastinator's worst nightmare, tax day!  Gonna make preparations to haul my boat out storage sometime later today, if all goes.  Predicted temps (later this week) to plus 60 degrees is giving me a case of reel-bad fishing fever.
       Situation is Manistee is gray, and I will not paint it black, cause I live here and we got tons of bad press in 2007.  There's some info at the Manistee Charter Boat website.  Click here for the link  Manistee Charter's website is laid out adequately, but light print over a dark background is hard to read.  Especially, if you're eyes are no longer perfect, cuz 60 years of wear and tear on your vision.
       Many of our message board members are ganging up on Lake Huron's Port Sanilac this weekend.  Decent catches of Coho and a few Kings has perked their interest and it's a lot closer to home for those living on the east side of Michigan.

4/14/08  Let's look at how stuff holds up over the long haul.  Today's featured photo shows some older sized "0" dodgers from the 1980s and 1990s.  It shows over time, the painted surfaces gets chipped, fades, cracks, or falls off.  Click for this photo
       Jerry Bechhold's Fish Catchers. or Hootchies brought us our modern era plastic flashers.  The slanted vertical finned flasher gained a toehold in 2000 and ruled the roost by 2001.  All be it may, he had no painted selections, cuz the color is molded in, or in the Witchcraft lure tape.  Molded in color does not fade, crack or chip.
       Underneath the dodgers in the displayed photo is one on my 2004 12 inch flashers.   Being close to 4 years old and lots of use, this flasher shows no signs of wear.  Other than some light tarnish on the reinforcing rivets, this flasher still retains it's new look.
      i2k attractors will outlast their counter parts of yesteryear by many decades.  In keeping with that thought, there's a 25 to 30% off special on flasher storage boxes this week.  If you're wanting to store, organize and keep your tackle new for almost forever, please consider this offer. Click for special pricing  Click to view storage box

4/13/08  In Manistee, MI we're around 4 weeks away from any vestiges of a reliable fishery for Kings.  By Memorial Day there should be good opportunities.  Might be sooner, if we get a warm May with lots of south wind, but don't count on it.
      No matter how I try to shake the issues associated with the commercial fishing, it keeps rearing it's ugly head.  Yes, recently there have been incidents with hazards to navigation, but look for this mess to be straightened up.  Well before we have numbers of fishermen venturing out of Port of Manistee with improving weather..
      Let's put our trust in a 30 year cop (former detective) Dave Deforest before he went to work as tribal law enforcement.  Dave's no BS and a straight arrow not to be detoured, or intimidated by anyone.  Look for breaking news in the future.

4/12/08  The trap net that was washed up around the piers/shore of Whitehall, MI has been removed.  This is good news for all of us.  It shows the MDNR, USCG, NRC and the Little River Tribal Law Enforcement is serious about making our waters safe.  The status of nets in Manistee remains uncertain, but rest assured the our waters will be safe by Memorial Day 2008. Look for more news on this as info becomes available to me.

4/11/08  Weather looks a longs ways from tolerable until next Tuesday.  So, there won't be much in the line of reports from the Manistee area.  Last I heard Brown Trout were scarce.  Even though the DNR has been planting them, we're getting a poor return on the cost to raise Browns for the central Lake Michigan.
       Reel season will kick off in a couple of weeks.  Be sure to photograph your fish when they're first caught.  The backdrop of the boat and water adds to the image.  There's two ways to take photos: one is provide a record of a dead fish.  The other is to tell a complete story with the trappings of the actual event.  I prefer the second!
      Using fill flash even in fairly well lit light will remove shadows and add dimension to the foreground of the image.  Flash does another thing, it speeds up the shutter if you're using auto setting most of the time like I do.  Click for fill flash photo
      Thusly, eliminating a possible blurred image and enhancing the picture.

4/10/08  According to our message board members, there's some good reports coming from southern Lake Huron (Lexington, MI) of good catches of Coho.  This is great news for those who live live in southeastern, Michigan when we throw in the high cost of fuel.
      Lexington is about a one hour drive from the metro Detroit area.  Keeping in mind, during April of 2007, Lake Huron showed better catches of Kings than Lake Michigan did.  So, let's not right-off the sunrise side, nor forget Lake Huron.  Back in the later 1970s and during the 1980s, I preferred Lake Huron, because of the excellent King fishing.
     Just like last season, the fish are in shallow close to shore.  The depth of 12 to 20 feet was mentioned.  Bomber Long As and small spoons on long leads running close to the surface was said to be turning the trick.
     The recent exposť about the tribal commercial fishing in Manistee showed it's never been about fishing rights, sport vs. commercial fishing, or a racial issue.  It's been about how much money the some of the netters could pilfer from the coffers of their tribe.  During 2007 there was an amount of $97,000 given to a tribal fisherman.  Now he's claiming a hardship clause, asking for more money to stay in business.  This does not count the many thousands spent on him before and the extra monies cleaning up the abandoned nets he left in Ludington, MI in 2005.

4/9/08   Yesterday's update about the whistle-blower website concerning the inner workings of the tribal netters was pulled off the internet by the early afternoon.  Never the less there was hundreds of our viewers got to see the truth.  
        I did save the documents from their internal investigation of fraudulent activities that put forth a pretty impressive case against many of the netters.
       There's a hardcore faction within the Little River Tribe of Native Americans that call themselves the Indian Mafia.  The LRB Indian Mafia use blatant tactics of intimidation to run rough-shod.  Therefore, controlling the more moderate & honest tribal members. 
       If the Little River Indians were under more control of our federal government, they'd be under a full investigation under the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations), cuz of organized crime.  This is not our battle to fight and we're better off letting the LRB to settle their own internal conflicts. 
       The trap nets left in since last summer?  We do not have the full story on this yet.  This I do know about nets: over time nets get covered in slime and start growing zebra mussels.  Commercial fishing nets need to be pulled and cleaned for effectiveness. I'll have more on this important story soon.
        Congratulations to our message board members who pulled two top 10 finishes in last weekend's Brown Blast Tournament held in St. Joe, MI.  FBD, Reel Turner, Ufgator and Gene all did a fine job.  In tipping my hat to this fine group, it's my supreme pleasure to know all of you and it's a blessing to have as members of this website!

4/8/08  Today's update is extremely important, but first I have to issue a strong warning to all Lake Michigan fishermen.  Within 3 to 5 weeks there will be boats venturing out of Ludington to Frankfort (if not sooner).  Beware, as the nets tribal fishermen set last summer were not pulled and winter storms have possibly moved them.  I hate the word "possibly," but there's net markers washed up on shore.  
      Recently, the US Coast Guard vessel berthed in Manistee, MI got tangled in an unmarked net, some where's south of the Port of Manistee.  They had to pull their large boat to removed parts of the net from it's running gear.  
      So, take it from me, the mess from last year looks like it's only gotten worse!  Right now, nobody knows where the 21 trap nets might have drifted off to!
       To discover the inner workings of tribal matters, I discovered a website detailing how the 2000 Consent Decree monies given by the State of Michigan has been raped by the tribal netters.  What you'll see is the inside truth of how this has been accomplished.
       Here's a quote and the word Ogema means chief of the tribe: 
"The $800,000+ wasted in "equipment" dwarfs the individual grants. Tribal Council has asked the Ogema and the Department of Public Safety, headed by Joseph LaPorte, to please inventory all of this equipment, because it technically belongs to the Tribe. But, for some unknown reason, the Ogema has refused. Joe LaPorte cited jurisdiction as a problem. Please. The Tribe has no problems with jurisdiction when it comes to screwing over some tribal members, but suddenly their jurisdiction is limited when it comes to going after the Stones. (Because Beth Acre was convicted.) 
       We do know that the money the Tribe spent was very real, and the program is very much dead. You can also see here that Israel is suspected of returning equipment that belongs to the Tribe and getting paid. That is exactly what Kim's sister was busted for. How come Israel isn't in court, Larry? Almost all of the money that was given to the Tribe is now gone, and what little the Tribe does have left will more likely than not have to be spent cleaning up the environmental nightmare the Stones have left for us in Ludington. This program has been completely decimated and raped like the Small Business Grants through the Commerce Commission. Thank you guys...... Please tell your Ogema that you are tired of these guys."
      
The above shows the disgust within the LRB tribe and a total embarrassment to the entire Little River Tribe of Native Americans. $2,139,166.51 has been divested among the tribal fishers.  There was a suspicious repeated amount for many boats all selling at $50,000.00 a piece? 

4/7/08  Here's what I know about the past weekend's results: Brown Trout fishing in Manistee, MI is stupendous, but the catching is almost zilch!  Along the beach south was a 2 1/2 hour boat ride towards Guerney Creek according the Capt. Tom Rasmussen.  Pier fishermen putting their time in are taking a few, with heavy emphasis on few off Manistee's north wall.  Temp on the beach is 37 to 38 degrees.
      St. Joe should be renamed to Cohoville, cuz it's limit city for all who've been fishing this port.  Message board member georgeb reported they're taking a few Coho out of Port Sheldon, MI.  Ramp at Port Sheldon is in they've gained a good foot of water since last January.  Look for more reports tomorrow if all goes well.

4/6/08  Need proof it's spring in Manistee County?  Well, so do I!  After a long arduous snowy winter, it hard to believe the seasons are changing.  Yesterday, it was close to 60 degrees and more of the same is on order for today.  Took a conglomeration of 3 photos merged into one image as proof it's spring.  Should have some fresh fishing info by tomorrow, along with new photos on Monday. Click for proof of spring

4/5/08  Had our warmest day in Manistee County in a long time.  Temp approached 50 degrees yesterday and the warming trend is predicted to continue this week!
      Today is catch up day on orders.  Gonna try to get SR1979 rolling out of storage in the next day, or two.  Big lake fishing season is here!  

4/4/08  Good luck to our members fishing the Brown Blast tournament in St. Joe tomorrow.  We have at least 3 members that will be there.  As far, as I know ...this is the first tourney of 2008.  Let's hope the lake behaves itself and it's a success for all.
      There's a mini sale going on at the webstore.  I have stock issues to straighten out at a greatly reduced prices.  The deal on the Silver Bullet BTIs complete with matching 2 Fly Meat Rigs at low ball.  Found a box of King Kryptonite and Clear Red 2 Fly Meat Rigs when we were cleaning the shop.  This deal comes with number one selling BTIs in Black Mamba Glo and X-Glow King Kryptonite. Click for Super Spring BTI Specials

4/3/08  The Anacortes Salmon Derby held last weekend in the State of Washington on the west coast.  This is truly a remarkable event where a lot of good is done.  The Pacific Ocean Salmon fishermen are looking to their future by giving away college scholarships to students going into fishery academics.  They're raising to their own potential allies in the DNR.  This is a prime example of the "greater good for all" thinking.
       This Salmon derby is supported by the local community, with free dockage and excellent payouts for the big fish.  You can see the $10,000.00 first prize big fish award paycheck is no chump change  My hat's off to a fine group with attained goals that surpass all of our Great Lakes tourneys! Click for winning 24.22# King 10k payout  
       Can you imagine the dedication and loyalty being established with the future leaders in their DNR?  Granted this is a long term project, but the rewards down the road will be worth it!  We need bright young committed people to solve the problems of tomorrow.

4/2/08  Added another inch of the white stuff this morning to my snowometer.  Which now stands at 140 inches, dating back to Nov. 2007.
     Then to make even less sense of what's happening in Manistee, I seen my first robin in the later afternoon.  A sure sign spring 2008 is on the way!
      All of the photos are less then a week old.  It's nice to have fresh fish gracing the home page of this website.  Thanks to our viewers for making this possible.
      We all should be downright envious of the Anacortes Salmon Derby held in the State of Washington on the west coast.  More on this tomorrow, Click for more info

4/1/08  April Fools Day, watch out for harmless and unbelievable stories I always get sucked in by.  Pre-updated the website yesterday afternoon, cuz we're getting smacked with 2 to 3 inch total rainfall gulley washer.  My satellite internet does not work in heavy rain.  In the mean time, check out our excellent photo of the day.  The Steelhead from the Kewuanee River in WI is truly a well composed photo! Click for this photo
    Tomorrow's update will focus on the recent Anacortes Salmon Derby.