Capt. John's Log
16 Seasons of Archived Daily Great Lakes News
Below images are thumbnails

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7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

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7/28/08 Manistee, MI
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8/31/08 Manistee
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9/1/08 Manistee, MI

Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log

Click here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

5/20/19  Manistee, MI's "Tight Lines for Troops" pulled off another highly successful free tournament.  Close to 3 dozen boats took part in taking our former service members for a great day of fishing on Lk. MI in homage to our vets.
              Winning fish was a 19.5 lb. King caught aboard the "Indian Giver."  Lake Trout were the predominate species, but there was some Kings taken.
              With our late spring Manistee could be setting up for an outstanding King fishery this Memorial day Weekend.  If we get SW wind and warmer temps?         

5/19/19 Have a great Sunday.  Weather for Manistee is a lot better than predicted.
             Need to stress, as a safety issue, DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY into the 51 LED Black Lights we're selling at the webstore.  A few brief seconds is tolerable.  Please keep this in mind when you're using the best, fastest way to charge/light-up "glow in the dark" tackle.

5/17/19  Main ingredient (alewives) to a successful spring King Salmon season has been a no show thus far at central Lk. MI ports.  Not fishing Lk. MI last fall due to boat issues leaves me in the dark about what the bait situation looks like.  Later fall months of October and November is an excellent indicator on the Alewife population. 
              The next couple of weeks in Manistee, MI we should see some bait and Kings.  Kings are the big deal and most sought after fish we have.  Hope they show soon!

5/16/19  This weekend is Manistee, MI's "Tight Lines for Troops" happening.  2019 marks the 10 year anniversary of honoring our service men and women special event. 
               Manistee goes all out for our veterans with free tournament charter fishing, awards, raffles, and a dinner at no cost to all former service members.
               To improve this do? ...moving it to later in the summer when more stable weather patterns will be a huge bonus to all participants.  Middle of May weather and fishing is iffy in Manistee.  Thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday.  Let's hope this holds off.

5/15/19  Fished a short am trip with Wayne J and Dave F yesterday morning from 7am till about 9am.  Lk. MI was an enjoyable mill pond smooth.  We marked no bait and almost zero suspended fish marks.  Surface temp in the river water was 49°-50°.  We stuck around the harbor area (a mile N and S) with good temp in the mid to upper 40s.
              Boats that headed out to the shelf came back in to troll the harbor.  So, it must have been a tough go out there too.  Seen the same thing with a boat that was way N.
              Wayne J did some dumpster diving in the cleaned fish buckets.  There was some mid to smaller walleyes the night fleet has been catching in Manistee's harbor.  Along with a few Lakers and a good sized King around 20 pounds.

5/14/19 Good news for central Lk. MI fishermen is: Ludington, MI's Capn Kirk who took a King over 20 pounds in 8' of water just off the beach.  This happened around 2pm.
             Kirk's had finished up on Lake Trout in 55-60' of water using Laker gear.  He moved in shallow, traveling N.  His "Hail Mary" move mindset? ...they had to go the direction anyways.  Then, was rewarded with his boat's 1st King of the 2019 season..

5/13/19  Ludington, MI's Lake Trout have been feasting on gobies, as shown in today's featured pic.  All 10 these gobies came out of one Laker. 
             Gobies were at the end of the line when the fish gods were handing out good looks, cuz these bait fish are gross.  Click partially digested gobies
              Flew my water drone for the 1st time yesterday afternoon.  Didn't crash it into and building.  Did have one hard landing getting accustomed to the controls.  To fully test this drone it needs to be over water where there's nothing to hit.
              Should have some fish reports as results from the weekend filter in.  Do know Kings again this season are jumbos and many are already over 20 pounds.

5/10/19  Have a great Mother's Day Weekend.  Going to take a couple of days off and be back this coming Monday.  Need to catch up on yard work.  Might go fishing too.
              After not being checked by COs (MDNR conservation officers) for several years, was checked my last 2 times off the dock ...once in Manistee, MI, then in Ludington. 
              Be sure to have your 2019 MI fishing license and enough life jackets for everyone onboard within reach (at COs request).  This will make their slight interruption over in a hurry and get you back to fishing with zero grief.

5/9/19  The weather is not doing any favors for our central Lk. MI fleet, as we approach Mother's Day Weekend.  Last night's wind to 40 knots out of the E pushed any warm water we had towards WI.  Only good thing? ...this E blow might have pushed the weeds we had in Manistee, MI onto the main body of Lk. MI away from shore.
            My hindsight comment once again proved it's 20/20 by Ludington's Capn Kirk who went N on 5/6/19 and got into a few decent Browns.  He fished the next day and only caught Lakers off the beach. Click Kirk's Ludington's Browns

5/8/19  Been keeping track of "hookup to the boat" tally on single hooks and Salmon Bombs.  Both are a perfect 3 for 3 with zero missed opportunities.
             Once we get 50° surface temps depth charts for the Salmon Bombs will be shared with those who purchased.  This inside info will not be available to the public at large.
             Depth per foot attained will be more once the warmer water is here.  Do know the 8 ouncers go down like a rock pulling a spoon.  6 oz might be most useful off the big boards from the few hours we've spent developing the Salmon Bomb program.

5/7/19  Single hook vs. treble hook has fans on both sides.  Single hook point allows for greater pressure focused on point for deep penetration. Singles have a much larger gap from the barb to the main hook shaft.  Again, allowing for deeper penetration.
             Trebles increase the odds by offering 3 points to stick fish.  Trebles are the Great Lakes fleet's mainstay by all manufacturers.  Except for what we offer, as an option.
              Factor in our single hook option is on a barrel swivel.  So, the fish can't use the spoon, as a pry bar to pull/twist the hook out.  Click single hook stuck fish
              I know from past experience dating back to the late 1960s singles will be a few miss hits, but almost never-ever come out of a fish on the way to the boat.
             Keep this in mind, for later in the season when the Kings hits are precious and  absolutely must make it to the net.  Know I'll be running a lot of singles this summer.

5/6/19  Ludington, MI fish report, from 2 days ago is poor to mediocre at best.  Setup on the shoreline S of the project.  Took the inshore sight seeing tour in 7' to 15' down to the Bass Lake outlet.   Making a futile effort to catch at least one Brown during our early season fishery and came up empty.  Bass Lake is about ~3 miles N of Pentwater, MI
             Headed out to the deeper water.   Did a circle tour back N to the project in 35' to 60' looking for suspended fish (1 suspended mark in 2 hours?).  Surface temp ranged from 38°-41° as WJ & I tried to locate bait and spring Kings like I did in May of 2018.
            Took a 8-10# LT off the big boards with an 8 oz Salmon Bomb.  Then, hit a 10-12# Laker off our inside 10 oz Bomb rod.  Both fish were a gift, because there were zero marks.
            If I had a do-over? ....would have went N out of Ludington to the Lincoln River up to Big Point Sable.  But hindsight is always 20/20!  Click for our 5/4/19 LTs

5/5/19  Fished out of the Port of Ludington, MI yesterday morning.  Wayne J & I were searching for suspended bait and a few Kings to no avail.  Did manage a couple of decent Lakers while we were fine tuning our Salmon Bomb program. 
             Did learn a few things that will be of tremendous value once we have some bait and Kings show up in Manistee, MI.  Particulars will be elaborated tomorrow with a reel-story etched in history by Wayne J.  Click 5/4/19 Ludington LTs

5/4/19  Seas and weather is predicted to be nice today.  Kings have been caught in St. Joe, MI.  So, have a great Saturday and enjoy your sport.
             Worthy to note: Wayne and I took fish in the green pea soup S of Manistee, MI's harbor.  With 2' of visibility, it was the pulse of my spoons that move a lot of water that allowed this to happen.  Probably should have worked the cloudy water more, but my confidence level told me to turn around.

5/3/19  It was my great pleasure to fish Manistee, MI local, dedicated Wayne J (Take Five).  We stuck 5 Lakers, 4 made it to the net and we missed a few nibbles.
             The reel story begins with our chilly spring that has kept central Lk. MI cold for this time of the season (37°).  There's about a mile of good 43° water S of Manistee's pier heads.  Then, it gets cold and turns a milky green color with about 2' of vis.
            Gold Salmon Buster™ spoons took all but one of the bites.  New unreleased 2019 X-Glow A.I. 4.0 SB proved itself again in the stained harbor river water.
            There's a close to mile of 43° water N of the harbor.  Do not fish in tight to the 5th Avenue beach.  This area is loaded with fruit salad, or weeds washed in from the high water we have to begin the 2019 season with.  Click 5/2/19 reel-picture
            We only had 1 down bite on an 11 oz Salmon Bomb that was around 12' deep.  Rest of all of our hits came on 1/2 oz bead chain keel sinkers fish off the big boards.  1/2 oz at 2.7 mph fishes about 5' down.  We had just as many bites over 30' of water as we had in close, or in the 10'-15' depths.  Good amount of LTs around the harbor.  But NO Browns!
            Fished from around 8am till it was pushing 1pm.  Lost our 1st hour looking for Salmon and bait out to the 50' depths.  A lot of time was wasted clearing weeds that choked the trolling kicker motor's prop and made a big mess in our 6 rod spread.
            Inshore ghost net N of Barr Lake was reported to be gone today!

5/2/19  N of the Barr Lake outlet there are floating red buoys in what looks like 12 to 20 feet of water.  This needs to be investigated further before jumping to any conclusions.
              As a lure manufacturer/designer my strong suit is making patterns/color that tent to work all season long.  Not quirky off the wall colors that only produced in a limited time window of the season.  Proved that again with our 2019 White Lightning 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon that was 1st tested last August.

5/1/19  Picking up where I left off yesterday: Take Five aka Santa Claus, aka Wayne J, left Manistee, MI's harbor around noon.  Wayne was solo.  The Lone Ranger in quest of a few bites.  He trolled N close to shore 10' to 15' of water.  Click stomach contents
            Wayne had a double go N of Orchard Beach State Park all by his lonesome tucked in close to the shore.  Luck was with him and landed the 2fer.  Soon after he hit his 3rd Laker.  Closing out his 3 fish LT limit in short order. 
            Flavor of the day was our Salmon Buster™ spoons all captured on full HD video to be shared with you soon.  Good to see the new 2019 White Lightning pattern got bit too.  Showing this pearl color shifting technology is not a one trick pony.
            WJ was impressed how the west coast single hook stuck.  Going completely thru the snout that was never going to come unpinned. Click Wayne's weapons
            Also, today is a partial world rollout of my 2019 A.I. spoons with clear ice chip holographic lure tape that turns itself on and off, depending on the angle of the light source.  Hope to have all models of this 21st century hi-tech spoon available soon.
         Late breaking word is: St. Joe is doing well on Kings to 20 lbs. the past few days.

4/30/19  Manistee, MI is having a smelt run in 2019.  This is the 1st news (I'm aware of) since the later 1990s.  With smelt running the creeks, the predators like Lake Trout follow their food source in close to shore. Click Wayne's Laker limit
              Smelt spawn in 41° to 45° water.  So, how long this run will last is the question? Water on the Lk. MI beach/shoreline was 41° according to Wayne's graph.
              Today's featured pic is Wayne J's solo effort mid-day limit of 3 Lakers caught on our Salmon Buster™ spoons N of Manistee close to the Barr Lake outlet yesterday. 
      There's a lot to unpack in Wayne's reel-story that needs to be continued tomorrow....

4/29/19  Manistee, MI's public cleaning fish tables have been open for about a week now.  Kiosk where seasonal, or daily passes for the launch ramps is up and running too.
              This is earlier then normal when the Kiosk takes money for the 1st Street launch.  10 bucks a day, or buy a seasonal ramp permit for $40. Click cleaning station & Kiosk
               Ludington, MI's season ramp permit is $60, but only 30 bucks for those who live inside their city limits.  Think launch and use of Ludington cleaning tables is $20 for a daily.
               Big news is there is a smelt run this year in the creeks that empty into Lk. MI around Manistee.  To be elaborated on tomorrow's update!

4/28/19  Have a great Sunday.  Wind is supposed to be down today for central Lk. Mi ports.  Unconfirmed, but from very good sources: Manistee is producing Lake Trout on the shelf and up on top of the shelf too.  Will do some digging to confirm 2nd hand report.

4/27/19  It's been a week and a day since John J passed away and it still hurts.  He is non replaceable.  Being with me ever step of the way for the last 20 years. 
               John J seen the 1st 12" flashers, 1st mag meat heads, 1st 10" BTI flashers, 1st super mag heads, & 1st 3D printed spoons.  Click John J wiring pole barn
              John's help built my tackle shop, wired lights in my pole barn, hung doors, installed windows, made tackle, was my 1st mate, & helped with total re-fit of my 1979 Sea Ray.
              I know he didn't need the money, but found some fascination with my projects. He was in all in, as we traveled down the road of life together.  I miss him dearly!

4/26/19  Today's featured Photo is from Dan A who fished out Lk. MI of the Port of St. Joe, MI a few days ago.  On his morning trip 4 Coho and a 22 pound King fell victim to Capt. Dan aboard his Grady White, "Reel Women."  Big news is the double digit 22# King!
               Just by looking at the girth of the fish in today's photo you can see clearly round plump fish not suffering from malnutrition due to lack of bait as we're led to believe!
               Nice to see there are some Kings being caught this early in the season.  Hope there's many more Kings caught by all the viewers of this website. Click Dan's catch

4/25/19  I keep looking for any shred of information to plan my next trip.  Inshore water warmed up some and reports of a few smelt runs is in our favor.
              Only thing I have for Manistee, MI is there was several boats in the harbor perch fishing and catching some.  That's good news for table fish.
              Been reading "Something Spectacular" by the father of our Great Lakes Salmon, Howard A. Tanner.  Found out State of Michigan came up with a million dollars for pellet food to feed and raise the young Coho back in 1966. 
              That's over $7.5 mil in today's dollars to test the viability of a Salmon fishery that may, or may not work?  In other words that's plus $7 mil for a shot in the dark.

4/24/19  Lack of normal inshore water temp is today's topic.  About this time in April 44-50 degree water is laying just off the beach.  According to a reliable source, 41° is all we can muster out of the Port of Ludington, MI.  Predominate N wind has running cold water down the shore.  That's about to change with a W & E winds predicted for the rest of this week.
             As of today at noon surface temp in Manistee is 44°.

4/23/19  Daytime high temps in the mid 70°s is not hard to take.  Hope we turned the corner for better weather.  About time after 6 months of cold weather...right?
               Wind and wave forecasts have been way off the mark.  Error has been running about double of projected wave heights.  Wind direction has been spot on.
               Only thing I'm hearing is Lake Trout out of Manistee and Ludington.  Nary a peep about spring Kings yet.  Brown Trout must be on the endangered species list, because they're scarcer than hen's teeth.  Early season Browns have been close nonexistent.
               Looking for a window to sneak away for a 1/2 day, but must contend with a lot of rain this week.  Rain is OK.  Rain lessens fire danger the dry woods where I live. 
                Had a forest fire, (mostly ground cover) burning adjacent to my property 5-6 years from a downed power line.  That was scary!


4/22/19   Was going to fish yesterday morning out Manistee, MI, but it was too lumpy to shoot quality video.  Wind built to over 20 knots by 10am from the S.  There were some Lake Trout caught according to John Kr. in 20'-30' of water up by the state park.
               Dealing with grief is something we all have to do.  I'm having a hard time with the loss of my wingman, John J who died from a heart attack last Friday.  There are no plans for a service until later this year when his ashes are spread at his deer blind.
               I'd seen John a few days earlier and he looked like the perfect picture of health.  He just returned from wintering over in Arizona and had a nice suntan.  We visited for a good 30-40 minutes before he took his venison (we were keeping frozen) home.
               Unbeknownst to me?  Johnny J left us a venison salami and hot cheese sticks.  Even from the great beyond John J kept on giving and I miss him greatly.

4/21/19  Have a great Easter Sunday!

4/20/19  God's gift to me, my friend, John Johnson is no longer of this world.  JJ was smart and had a lot more on the ball than me.  Seen him figure out complex compound angles on my boat a rocket scientist would have issues with.  Back when he helped with the design on my boat's trolling board that had to be reinforced.
              John has been featured on the website holding fish, or the deer he took off his property too may times to count.  He will be sorely missed by me and my wife, Merlene.
              I count myself as lucky to have a friend, deckhand, carpenter, drywall finisher, tackle builder, electrician, boat tech, mentor, and master jack of all trades like Johnny J.
              He is survived by his wonderful wife, Shirley, 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren.

4/19/19  Great news!  It's not supposed to snow in Manistee, MI in the coming week.  Plus, all low temperatures are a above freezing too.  Wait about 6 months for this to happen. 
              Stable weather means stable fishing and that's what's in store for us next week.  Our central LK. MI season has delayed with winter that's been dying a slow death.  Hope to wet some lines this weekend if the forecast hold true.  Have a great weekend!!!

4/18/19  Started editing Part 2 video on the Kings we caught out of Ludington last May.  Our 2 trips there were cut short by high winds and building seas.  Rough weather makes it difficult to shoot decent video.  Besides, it's just not comfortable wobbling around in a pitching boat.
              Thing I like the best from doing videos?  It's as reel as it gets and cannot be faked.  Unless, you have Disney's Pixar CGI (computer-generated images) Studio capabilities.
              Looking for a window to fish again.  Easter morning long range forecast looks promising.  Boat is ready and so am I to send some time on the pond.

4/17/19  City of Manistee installed more docks recently.  Looks like we're up to 3 of the 7, or 8 that's normally at city's 1st Street public launch.  The 2019 season is moving forward.
              Deal on doing video is a lot to sort thru.  Sony's FDR-X3000 has a GPS overlay. 
At first, didn't see much merit with the overlay.  Then, discover useful data like speed, time elapse, and plotter track.  So, I'm all in on this feature now.  Click 2018 spring King Video
              Spring Coho and Laker fishing is OK, but Kings are the big leagues, most desired on the Great Lakes and the west coast too.  Kings will test you and your tackle.  Make a mistake and the agony of defeat will play games in your head.  To fix these games? ...just land the next one!

4/16/19  Was going to schedule a trip out of the Port of Manistee, MI this afternoon.  Going in, I felt like a firing squad test dummy with more grief than reward. 
               Then, decided to fine tune my boat's audio system by mounting a mic on the transom facing forward away from motor noise.  This will be tested soon.
               Those who fish the Grand Traverse Bay took it on the chin with their daily limit cut from 2 fish to 1.  This is a squabble with the tribal treaty rights.
               Much focus has been on re-establishing native Lk. Trout in the Great Lakes to a self sustaining level like it was prior to overfishing in 1930-1940s and sea lampreys.
               Lake Trout have been planted in Lk. MI since the 1960s with fair success.  What the DNR is not telling us concerns mortality rates and why Lake Trout are not growing into monster 40-50 pounders.  This should have happened.  I know, because we caught 20 pounders in the mid 1970s.  So, there's something way-wrong we're not being told!

4/15/19  Spring 2019 took the day off yesterday and left the door open for Mr. Winter.  He made a return guest appearance.  Dumping 3"-4" of snow on Manistee, MI.
              Silver lining is poor weather slows sales at my online tackle store.  This allowed time to devote to installing the UFO flashers & combos. Click new UFO combos
              UFO pattern is a top seller in spoons and will be in flashers & meat rigs™ too.
              Was able to accomplish most of the video editing on "Central Lk. MI Spring Kings Part 1" that will debut soon after my voice-over introduction. 
               Every fishing trip tells a story and my 5/7/18 Ludington, MI trip is a goodie.  Started with a lot more footage then I could use.  Managed to trim this new movie down to about 8 minutes.  Not bad when you consider is takes a long time to land 2 spring Kings pushing 20 pounds and leave in the important parts of the video intact.

4/14/19  Michigan Governor G. Whitmer is pushing for a 45 cent a gallon gas tax hike that's a bad idea for all Michigan fisher folks.  Fuel is often the biggest cost to any fishing trip.  gas burned in boat has nothing to do with highway usage. 
              Gas tax is not recoverable unless you're a commercial vessel such as charter boats that can file a form and recoup MI gas tax based on gallons purchased.
              At all costs, I try to avoid anything to do with politics in today's hyper tribal politics that been imposed upon us the powers that be.
             Making MI that highest gas tax state in the USA is not a way to promote tourism and hurts the Great Lakes fleet we're all a part of.

4/13/19  Being behind is not a good place to be.  This spring, or lack thereof has postponed drone practice with low temps, or winds to high to fly.  I'm sitting on a pile of technology I've yet to come close to conquering.  Just keeping action cams with the latest operating system (updates) eats up a lot of time.
               I'm into my second week of the 2019 season with just a couple of hours on the pond before the wind came up and chased Wayne J and I back to port.
              Did find some solace in dates we got into Kings in 2018.  May 7th thru the 13th was the window for inshore shallow water jumbo springer Kings in 2018.
              Started the massive task of editing the videos for these events in 2018 to share with you soon.  There's 4-5 hours of footage that needs to be cut to under 10 minutes.

4/12/19  Yesterday, we took a big step back into winter.  2-3" of snow and high temp in the lower 30° mark is not going to improve what's going on in my home port of Manistee, MI.
               Factor in big swings with high winds that keeps our cold dense water stirred up & makes inshore waters very cloudy is the dilemma.  Need weather to break for the good!!!
               Did get a fine report from Dan A who fished out of St. Joe on Lk. MI and took a 3 person limit of spring Coho.   Some in the 3-4 lb. range.  Click Dan's crew & catch

4/11/19  Southern Lk. MI fishermen out of E Chicago, IN are about a month into their season.  During this short time, the spring Coho have gained some in size.  Heard from more than one who fishes this area it's not been a slam dunk easy season.  Hit and miss with limits a lot harder to come is being reported. Click E Chicago, IN Coho
              Do know this year, spring Coho have been more widespread thru-out the MI ports of Manistee, to Saugatuck, and St. Joe, but not in huge numbers.
              Tom M was kind enough to send in today's featured pic of his crew on 4/7/19. 
S Lk. MI Coho are a little bigger and growing.  That's the important part for all of us.

4/10/19  Today's feature photo is from Ludington, MI's savvy fisherman, Capn. Kirk with a couple of Brown Trout he caught a few days ago.   Click Capn Kirk's Browns
               While 2 Browns is no big deal's more that I've seen this year.  Only thing I heard, or seen caught out of Manistee is a few small Coho & Lake Trout.
               Going by water temp, the surface/inshore waters are a lot colder then the past couple of years.  Last year (3/27/18) the surface water was 40° on the beach.  This year on 4/4/19 we're dealing with 36-37° close to the shoreline a week later then 2018.
               We got a lot of season ahead of us, but need warmer water and less wind.

4/9/19  Photo posted yesterday tells the story that Muskies have teeth that can do some damage.  If you're not careful, as Manistee, MI fisherman, John Kr. found out.  Needle nose pliers are a must when unhooking these toothy critters.  John Kr. caught and released his surprise fish a little N of Orchard Beach State Park working the shoreline. 
             Here's what John had to say: "
Trolling about 1/2 mile n of state park, had to quit after a half hour of repeated dunking of my hand in the ice water to stop the bleeding to no avail.  Next time I bring the first aid kit." Click for John's Manistee Musky
            Tomorrow? pics from Ludington, MI (Browns) & E Chicago, IN (Coho).

4/8/19  Have 3 fishing reports to share with you.  Including what not to do with a surprise catch by Manistee, MI fisherman, John Kr.  Click for what not to do!
             Houdini, aka Capn Kirk pulled a couple of Ludington, MI Browns out of his hat. 
E Chicago, IN's Tom M sent in some dandy photos of S Lk. MI Coho action.  When time allows, all this will be shared when we're caught up on orders later this morning.

4/7/19  Used our new inline planers for the 1st time last Thursday.  The boards ran as good, as any I've used.  This includes Offshore, Willie, Yellowbirds and Church Tackle's pickle forked Walleye Board.  Our boards come with 2 styles of mainline release
             Plus, a pinned pinch pad red release, Fishy Flag, and 2 tension springs.  This is a heck of a deal when you consider the price point is below 30 bucks. Click for our boards
Our inlines are a hybrid between Offshore and the Church Tackle red boards.
             Generally, when you run 6 boards, there's always one the lags and don't flock up in a perfect vee.  This is not the case with our inlines.  Happy to see them perform so well.

4/6/19  Last Thursday's pm fishing trip out of Manistee, MI told m to relax and wait for better conditions.  Suspended in the off colored water was some weeds that foul lures.
            If you're fishing central Lk. MI ports (Ludington, Frankfort & Manistee) in similar circumstances go thru your spread every hour to make sure you're not pulling salad.
            This coming week looks pretty nasty to fish the big-water.  So, I'm biding my time until conditions are more favorable with light wind that don't stir up the water.
            Still a little fine tuning on my boat.  Need to remove some of the tension on the electric choke.  Setting proper idle speed in gear must be done to make docking easier. 

4/5/19  Just making it off the dock yesterday afternoon was a victory after last week's failed attempt to fish Lk. MI.  Click our 1st fish of the 2019 season
             Even better Wayne J put a Laker in the boat for the 1st trip of the season.  Conditions were challenging with cold water 36-37° range.
             The water S of the harbor inshore is a silty green pea soup with 18" of visibility.  N is a little better.  The closer you get to Orchard Beach State Park surface water temp drops to chilly 36°.  Water clarity N is a slightly better, but far from ideal.  River water in the harbor was only 40°.  Water needs to warm a little to let it clear.  Cold water is dense and suspends nanometer sediments longer, creating a milky appearance. 

4/4/19  I regret to inform you that Ken Warren of KRW Flies has passed away.  Ken had an uplifting personality and was a good time to be around.  Over the past few years, lost track of Ken, but will always count him as a friend. Click Ken's funeral service details
            In 2003 I was visiting Ken at his trailer in Solberg's Marina.  On his picnic table I turned up/bent the eye of a treble hook and invented the double snell trebles that became popular option on our meat rigs™.  Developed a knot without the bent hook eye in 2014.
            Ludington MI contact, Capn Kirk said there will be a dock going at the Loomis Street, or city boat launch very soon.  Jammed up ice at the ramp caused the delay.

4/3/19  Have video of inshore double digit Kings caught about this time last year.  Time to sharpen my video editing skills and share a new YouTube video with you soon.
             Been thinking about these central Lk. MI springers all winter and what can be done to improve our catch rates.  Dealing with wary April Kings just off the beach in water in no more than 40' deep is the best early season game we have going in Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington MI.  It's time get after these silver bad boys and turn my hunches into results.

4/2/19  Backslid into winter over the weekend.  16° yesterday morning with a dusting of snow has me looking forward the warmer temps we're going to have by this weekend.
             Take this with a grain of salt, but the few contacts I know have fished Lk. MI recently did not provide rave reviews.  If you're looking for a place to blame, cold weather has to be part of this equation.  Seldom have we hit average daytime highs.  Seems like we've been 10-15 degrees under norm.  In time ...this to ...will pass.
            My boat is in the outdrive hospital receiving major surgery.  Prognosis for long term survival is on the bright side after several weeks of fishmore-therapy have been completed.

4/1/19  Adversity is what all Great Lakes fishermen face every time they leave the dock.  Locating fish is one of the hardest tasks we face.  Then, getting them to bite is next.
            Add in the complexities of a boat rigged to fish big water adversity is your constant companion.  It's how you face and deal with issues that define your success.
            One way to defeat adversity is to have 2 forms of propulsion.  2 motors, even a kicker means your likelihood of looking for a tow is nil.  Without a kicker I'd have been up ^#*~ creek without a paddle last Friday.  Getting a tow is not that hard, because we all know it could be our turn at the end of a tow rope.

3/31/19  As of last Friday there was only useable 1 dock at Manistee, MI's 1st Street Public Boat Launch.  This one dock was busy.  The short time Wayne, J and I was there 4 boats launched.  Launching was free, but that could change anytime.
              Tomorrow's chat will focus on a topic you'd better get used to when you join the club to be a Great Lakes fisher person.  Topic will be adversity we all must deal with. 

3/30/19  Yesterday was an exercise in futility to the max.  Packed all my test goodies and met Wayne J at the ramp at 8am.  Launched the boat.  Kicker motor started right up. GM 350 V8 cranked up with no problem.  Backed the boat up from the dock to make the swing, then discovered the outdrive would not shift into forward gear.  Docked with kicker motor.
               Did find out Brown Trout are on the endangered species list in Manistee, MI.  There are some small coho being caught and a couple of boats looking for perch in the harbor.  Know there's a tremendous demand for fishing info from city locals.  Had more than a few quiz me on what's happening and that's how my uneventful 1st trip came & went.

3/29/19  It's time to put-up, or shut up!  Hitched up to the boat and will be leaving early in the morning to begin my 51st season on the Great Lakes. 
               I'll let you know by tomorrow, if it was a glorified boat ride? ...or a fishing trip.

3/28/19  Today's featured photo title is "Why I don't like Lead Core."  Picture speaks for itself with a tangled 5 color mess.  5 colors with a 30' leader puts it back 180'. 
               That's tangle waiting to happen when you're dealing with wild cross-cutting spring Kings that are all over the place.  Our early season bad-boy springers prove why Chinooks are called Kings.  Fight is a long drawn out battle where the issue is always in doubt ...until you get the net under these feisty critters.  Click for today King mess
                This is the mean reason for the 2019 Salmon Bombs that will do everything core will without have special dedicated rods loaded with core. Click for Salmon Bombs

3/27/19  Boat never made it out of the pole barn yesterday.  Field was mushy from snow melt, but that's not the defining issue.  Had 2 large orders to fill hanging over my head.
               Just can't ditch work when it comes to getting tackle out the door.  Besides, there's plenty of season in front of me with excellent opportunities.
               Best part is the forecast temps look to be tolerable on Thursday and Friday that will make a much better experience.  Do know I'm ready when work flow allows.

3/26/19  Going to try to get my boat on Lk. MI today.  Said 'try," because my plow truck got stuck yesterday clearing a path when it broke thru 3" of ice and sank in the puddle beneath.  Trick to getting vehicles un-stuck is by not burying them to the axles. 
              You'll notice I didn't say fishing today.  Reason? confidence and anything we might catch will probably be ...the fish gods taking pity me.  Predicting a skunkola.
              Going in with low expectations makes just being on Lk. MI a victory!

3/25/19  Tomorrow looks to be my maiden voyage of 2019.  Zero confidence going in.  In fact, only taking 1 net, because I'm a realist.  Know from experience how tough catching Browns is when the water is very cold.  I'd be surprised to see 40° on the surface.
               Do know my spoons have proven themselves in our early fishery. 
               Problem is? ... side scan sonar has to mark a few fish and that's a rarity nowadays when it comes to central Lk. MI Browns out of the Port of Manistee, MI. 
             Side scan has removed all the mystery when it comes to not catching!

3/24/19  There were a few boats trolling inside of Manistee, MI's harbor yesterday.  No word on if, or what they caught.  Most all of the boat ramp is free from ice  now.
               Yesterday afternoon, test started my trolling motor and made sure the auto pilot worked.  Main motor, GM V8 350 turned over and sounded ready to start.  Cleaned and sorted tackle messes from last year.  Spiffed up the upholstery too.
               Rods are in the boat with new 15# test Triple Fish mono, but need leader sections with snaps behind the bead chain keel weight sinkers.  Today, the electronics go back in.  Just not too keen on leaving pricey electronics in the boat to endure winter's subzero temps.  Not sure if this is necessary, but pull them to be on the safe side.

3/23/19  Fishing for spring Coho in the S end of Lk. MI has slowed this week according to our contact for this area, Tom M.  East Chicago, IN anglers are hoping the recent blow brought in another herd of feisty eager to attack Coho.
              Major final prep for my boat is today's main focus.  Hopefully, yesterday's N blow got rid of the ice and the water settles out before mid week.  My target date to splash the boat is this coming Tuesday, or this Wednesday afternoon permitting?

3/23/19  Fishing for spring Coho in the S end of Lk. MI has slowed this week according to our contact for this area, Tom M.  East Chicago, IN anglers are hoping the recent blow brought in another herd of feisty eager to attack Coho.
              Serious final prep for my boat is today's main focus.  Hopefully, yesterday's N blow got rid of the ice and the water settles out before mid week.  My target date is this coming Tuesday, or this Wednesday weather permitting.

3/22/19  The 2019 season just got reel-serious with the 1st dock going in at Manistee, MI's public launch.  City of Manistee does a fine job when it comes to their Lk. MI fleet.  During season city employees scrub the fish cleaning station every morning to keep it spiffy.   Early season anglers have been able to launch for free in the past.  Will inform to see if this is happening again this year when I visit the launch soon.  Ice has to "git gone" & that will probably happen today with 6 to 9 footers predicted. Click 3/21/19 1st dock

3/21/19  Big N blow tomorrow for Lk. MI waters off Manistee, MI.  This could push the floating ice down the lake, or dissolve it.  Looking for a window for my 1st trip of 2019. 
              There's a lot of moving parts that all have to come together. Part 1 and 2 is Lk. MI has to be free from ice and the City of Manistee has to install a few docks at the public launch.  Temps are predicted for this weekend in the 40s to pushing 50°.  Look for the docks to probably go in sometime next week.
               Part 3 is tolerable weather that does not elevate fishing to an extreme Eskimo sport.  Next Wednesday looks like a go.  If the lake plays nice?

3/20/19  Spring 2019 has officially arrived.  Today's forecast for Manistee, MI is cloudy and rainy with temps in the low 40s.  Not great, but it sure beats snow and subzero cold!
               Wayne J, our resident Manistee reporter took a swing by the public boat launch.  Ice on the ramps is gone on a few spots.  That's the good part. 
               Bad part is the rows of floating ice just outside the harbor that cheeses and idea of trolling the shoreline for spring Browns.  Click 3/19/19 Lk MI floating ice
               Incidentally, know I didn't have to twist Wayne's arm to go look and the lake.  It's just something nice to do and fosters dreams of what 2019 has yet to bring!

3/19/19  Friendly reminder to purchase your 2019 before the end of this month.  Bought my senior license for 11 bucks yesterday.  Once you have an account set up with the MDNR eLicense system repeat purchases are a piece of cake.  Click for online eLicense
              Boat prep this afternoon.  I'm maybe 3 hours away from my 1st trip of 2019 waiting on a field of frozen ice-snow to melt before the boat comes out of the barn.  This is compacted snow and is more like a glacial ice with all the rain we've had.
             Checked inshore water temp for Manistee, MI off the satellite map that says 34°.  Water should be a little warmer around the harbor.  Will keep you posted on when the 1st docks go in at Manistee's public launch.  This could happen reel-soon.

3/18/19  Posted an over-under 2018-2019 photos on the size of the early Coho from the S end of Lk. MI from Capt. John Warren's catch. Click Coho comparison
              Size on this year's spring Coho looks to be a little smaller then the same time last year.  Cool 2018 fall and cold winter probably has a lot to do with this. 
              To confirm emailed my contact, Tom M to see if my visual assessment of right? Here's what Tom said to say: "they are smaller... I heard of a lot of people having to throw Coho back that were under the 14 inch mark. Johnny had to throw three back."

3/17/19  You don't need much luck from St. Patrick's Day when it's game on for spring Coho in the S end of Lk. MI off E Chicago, IN.  Click 3/16/19 S. Lk. MI Coho
               These young Coho are on a fierce attack to grow into adulthood.  What they lack in size s made up in the sheer volume of fish on a death mission.
               Predicted this would happen in my 3/13/19 update when the ice was on the way out.  This area of Lk. MI is ahead of Manistee, MI by a good week, or 2.

3/16/19  Finally, after many months of waiting the 10 day forecast for Manistee, MI says all above freezing temperatures to the 50s.  This means we're getting reel-close to the grand opening of the 2019 season in earnest.  Official Spring 2019 arrives in 4 days too!
              It's going to be wonderful to feel the soft surge of Lk. MI waves under our feet.  A lot of boat owners call their 1st trip a "shake down cruise" to make sure all systems work.
I call my 1st trip relaxation therapy when the lid comes off the daily pressure cooker!

3/15/19  Great shot of Manistee, MI's 1st Street Public Launch taken by our roving reporter, Wayne J.  This pic clearly shows how fast the conditions can improve over 3 days of warm weather.  There's still big ice mounds on the ramp, but this is old discolored ice that will draw heat like a magnet & melt fast. Click 3/11/19 ice   Click 3/14/19 ice is gone
               My guess is around 3/20/19 (1st day of spring) the City of Manistee will install a few ramps and the launch will be open.  Early season anglers usually can launch for free.

3/14/19  Possibility of reaching the 60° today.  Last time it was 60 in Manistee, MI was last October 11, 2018.  Last fall was cool with no Indian summer.
              The last two late fall seasons I've not been able to fish Lk. MI from issues.  Late season fishing gives me a good idea of how much bait is around before winter sets in.  This is a great window on what to expect the following year.
               Major thaw has begun at my place with a good amount of standing water sitting on frozen ground.  Look for the frost to come out of the ground very soon.  There's still a field of snow with 2' drifts that has to melt before my boat comes out of the pole barn.
               In the mean time will be working on boat prep playing the waiting game.

3/13/19  Posted another photo from the extreme S end of Lk. MI from Tom M.  Pic was taken yesterday from Pastrick Marina in E Chicago, IN.  It shows some floating ice sheets along the "wall."  Marina was iced in too. Click ice conditions on S end of Lk. MI
               This area is where the opening salvo of the 2019 Salmon season takes place.  Soon, I'll be reporting on limits of spring Coho from the southern fleet.  Suspect our current warming trend will get boats on the water from this area in the near future.

3/12/19  Posted a photo of the harbor at Manistee, MI courtesy of Wayne "Take Five" J. This let's us know how far along the ice breakup is. Click 3/11/19 Manistee Harbor
              Good news is the gulls are in the harbor, not out at the landfill.  So, there has to be some bait among the ice coming down the channel to Lk. MI. 
              Before we entertain any thoughts of fishing? ...all ice has to be gone.  Fished reel-early before and dodging sheets of shore ice is no fun, or very productive.
              From the look of today's featured photo? ...we're going to need a lot of warm weather to facilitate the melt.  Will post a pic when the 1st docks go in.
              We're going to get a sneak peek of spring in a few days with temps approaching the 60° mark this Thursday.  Set aside time to install the batteries in my boat to make sure I'm ready when the ice says bye-bye.  Notes: Lost 2 falls, trolling fly page, side scan

3/11/19  7 years ago in 2012 we got a burst of warm air in the mid 80s around this time of the year.  That year that set the record for the earliest King Salmon season at central Lk. MI ports.  By mid-late March 2012 we were catch Kings to 20 pounds down 140'-180' of water on meat over 150' to 250' of water off Manistee, MI's shelf.  Think the 3 King limit was still in effect back then.  Current 5 King limit don't happen very often nowadays.
              Great thing about fishing is you never have a clue until it happens!

3/10/19  Last season's early efforts were curtailed by the surge brakes on my boat trailer not working.  Learned brake fluid is hydrophilic.  Meaning is sucks up water like a thirsty camel.  Water had contaminated the trailer brakes and wore out the surge master cylinder. 
              Then, found out, the faulty part was discontinued by the company who made the master cylinder in the 1st place.  Now, my back is against the wall. 
              Cobbled up a replacement that did not provide the stopping power needed.  My next move was to install costly electric brakes.  New electric brakes provide enough power to lock up the 4 disc brakes on the boat trailer and stop on a dime.
              Moral of the story? ...probably lost 3-4 weeks and several fishing trips during the beginning of the 208 season when there was time available to go.

3/9/19  Tonight, we yo-yo our clocks ahead 1 hour to Daylight Saving Time.
             40 some degree warm-up at my place in Manistee, MI yesterday.  Went from -4° to over 40°.  Going to plow the drive to the pole barn today to aid the upcoming melt.
             Last year my 1st Lk. MI trip was on 3/28/18 and we caught a Brown on a Salmon  Buster 4.0 in the Gold Orange Crush pattern.  This selection has been our most reliable for early season Browns and Steelhead.  Befuddling part? ...nothing in nature even remotely resembles these colors.  Yet the fish still whack it? Click 1st fish of last year

3/8/19  After a bitter cold past few days, relief is on the way.  Next week looks to be at, or above freezing every day.  We might even reach into the 50s by next Thursday.  This means getting my boat prepped and ready is on the front burner.
            Still a lot of snow has to melt to clear my storage building to pull the boat out.  That will happen in due time and fishing Lk. MI no longer looks like a distant dream!
            Re-stocked our 3 fly packs for the 2019 season.

3/7/19  Trolling flies for 2019 have been restocked at our webstore.  The popular multi-color Silver and Gold Sea Glows are available again.  Next task is to restock our 3 packs of fly bodies for those that prefer to tie their own. Click Trolling Flies page
             We're lacking the material to make the SUV flies.  Contacted Purple Taco by phone and email and have yet to hear back from them.  We treat our customer support contacts with the highest priority and hope Purple Taco will soon do the same.

3/6/19  Had to delete our trolling bags from the webstore that were made by my friend, Dick Boyajian.  He passed away last year, but had an apprentice in training make the bags.  This didn't work out as planned.  So, we're ending sales of Dick's trolling bags.
             Been working on re-stocking all of our trolling flies.  Hired a new trainee that I'll be working with today to make sure fly quality stays top-notch.
            Weather will be breaking for the better this weekend.  Hope to clean and sort tackle for the soon to be here 2019 season.  Rods are ready to go. 
            Now to spiffy up the boat and take the batteries off the trickle chargers and hook them up.  Doesn't the 3 simple words of: "hook them up" sound good after dealing with winter since last November!  Need to get a 2019 fishing license before 3/31/19.

3/5/19  Most important ingredient to early April success is the right color of water off central Lk. MI ports.  Stained is perfect when the bottom disappears around 7-8'. 
            If you can clearly see the bottom in 10' of water? ...this is the worst case scenario that will not hold many, if any fish?  Water color is the key.
            Stained off-colored water is where the food chain is taking off and absorbs warmth from the sun a lot quicker than the gin clear waters of the main body of Lk. MI.
            My chartering days during the 1990s and early i2ks, seen average April size go from 2 pounds to 3-4 pounders by the end of April.  Brown Trout doubling in weight shows a  tremendous growth rate when these fish first wake up after winter's long nap.
            Being 3-4 weeks away from my 1st 2019 season has my itching to go!  This will be my 51st season in pursuit of Trout and Salmon on Lk. MI.

3/3/19  Early season observations over the past couple-three seasons? ...Manistee and Ludington have marked differences that will be discussed tomorrow.
                                   Have a great Sunday!

3/2/19  Before I get into the meat and potatoes of today's chat, you can take this to the bank: my 1st 2019 fish will come on one of the new secret weapon A.I. spoon patterns.
             Best thing MI anglers have going from them is later April fishing for springer Kings in 30'-40' of water.  From experience over the last 3 seasons, I've marked a few isolated pockets of Kings with 2, or 3 good marks bunched together around small mounds of bait.
             From memory 12' and 17' down over 35' of water is where my hits are coming.  Showing the active feeders are mid-strata fish.  Never had a nibble below 2.5 mph. 
2.7 seems optimum, but I'm too spooked to try faster with this touchy fishery.
            Silver lining is springer Kings are above 15 pounds and 20s are not out of the question.  Banging these fish on 15# test? ...plan on a 30 minute battle per set of fins.

3/1/19  Worst 2 months of winter have came and gone.  So, we're over that hump.  From memory, by the 1st weekend in April Manistee County is mostly down to bare ground.  By 3/20/19 we'll have another good hour of daylight prolonging the sun's heating time.
             Beginning this Sunday we'll be about 20° below our average daytime high temp of 37°.  Temps will moderate towards the end of next week.  A sure and welcome sign spring is not too far off, as Mr. Old Man Winter's days are numbered!
             Tomorrow? ...notes to myself about our brief early season inshore King season gathered over the past 2 years in the 30'-40' depths about 1/4 mile off the beach.  There's a lot of room to dial this in, a before overlooked later April spring fishery. 

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2019 Results
January, February & March

2018 Results
January, February & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
October, November & December

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June
July, August, & September
October, November & December

2016 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2015 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

2014 Results
October, November, & December
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

2013 Results
January, February, & March

April, May, & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2012 Results
January, February, & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2011 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
 October, November, & December

2010 Results
January, February, & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2009 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August, & September
October, November, & December

2008 Results
October, November & December

July, August, & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2007 Results
October November & December
July, August & September

April, May & June
January, February & March

2006 Results
October, November & December
July, August & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2005 Results
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March

2004 Results
October, November & December
August & September 
June & July  April & May
January, February & March

2003 Results
Jan Feb  Mar  April & May
June & July  Aug & Sept

Nov & Dec

2002 Results
Nov & Dec  Oct  Sept  
Aug   July   June  May  
April  March  Feb  Jan

2001 Results
April Brown Trout  
May & June
July Salmon
Aug. Tuna Time

2000 Results
Dec. Nov.
   Oct.  Sept.
July   June
May  March & April
January  February


For complete results of all fishing trips, fishing reports & general info
and a peek into my archived log for the past seasons, 
click the below link:

Past Results

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