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)

9/18/18  Communication comes in many forms nowadays.  Back in the days of 1968 when I began fishing the Great Lakes, we were all learning how to catch Salmon.  There was no baseline established.  We got our information face to face from fishermen that were successful.  And it was shared openly with great camaraderie.
               In the mid 1970s CB radio were on most boats.  Talking boat to boat was a great step forward.  By the later 1970s marine band radios came down in price a lot.
               By listening to marine radio, channel 10 in Frankfort, forefathers of our fleet like Capt. Mike Bradley Sr. communicated openly with other charter boats.  Pro info being shared with the entire fleet, yes.  Listening the charter skippers handed you the whole ball game.
               When a change from today where good info has went underground thru cell phones.  Marine band radio traffic today does not carry the importance it once did.

9/17/18  Postponed until later today if time allows...  Lost most of this day with a visit t my eye doctor here in Manistee.

9/15/18  Have a beautiful weekend.  Don't have many like this left with temps in the 80s.  Be back Monday with the interesting history of communication that goes back to 1968.

9/14/18  Hectic week, lots going on as we look forward to the 2019 season.  Long list of things to do.  Restocking meat heads is the 1st priority.  We're almost out of stock on most colors, so this has to be dealt with between now and Christmas. 
              Happy Friday, enjoy what's left of summer by making time for yourself!

9/13/18  Let's see, in the left border Montana to Canada and points in between are covered with catch photos.  This shows how universal fishing is.  Fishing transcends race, religion, politics, language and gender.  This is a great common denominator for mankind.
               People that passionately like to fish do not attack schools, nightclubs, or outdoor concerts.  So, maybe the greatest benefit of fishing is it keeps us centered on the reel important things in life.  Like where in the heck? ... are we gonna get our next bite?

9/12/18  Today's featured photo is from Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk with a respectable morning catch of 3 Kings and 2 very chunky Coho.  He caught these fish towards Big Point Sable & the bathhouse in a small pocket of cold water down 40'.  His flavor of the day was my 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons in the Icy Blue pattern. Click Capn. Kirk's catch
              Kirk is one of the best in Ludington's sport fleet and is far more effective fishing my spoons that I am.  Guess I need to know where he keeps his rabbit's foot. 
              Just kidding, Kirk catches from years and years of experience at his home port.  Know he's one of the very best early and late season on Lk. MI fishermen too!
              Known Kirk for about 15 years that began with him being my UPS daily driver. 
He always took the extra steps when we had incoming shipments or package pickups.

9/11/18  Counted the photos sent in from website viewers.  There's 12 pics that tell us their reel-story.  Having viewership share their results is what keeps this website fresh.
               This site would be monotonous, if it was just about me.  It's not!  It's about the failures and successes that we, ...the big water fishing fleet face everyday.

9/10/18  Here's the reel-story about trophy Lake Trout.  We pickup the conversation from Darin when he wanted to know what hooks and sizes used on Salmon Buster™ spoons: 

"Thanks for the info. They (Lake Trout) were from Lake Nipigon in Ontario.

We fished on Nipigon in the middle of July. On the cloudy day, your gold/gold spoon was the ticket. We caught four out of five lake trout with that one. Trolling 45 to 60 feet down with speeds of 2.5 to 2.7 mph. Those were all on downriggers. Click Jumbo 20& 30# LTs
              The next day was full of sunshine and the white ghost spoon was the one that caught five out of eight trout.  We also caught fish on the shad minnow spoon (Skinny Minnie), blue/white (XG Bluetail) and orange crush with gold back.  Same trolling speeds but they wanted the Dipsy Diver. Fished about 50 feet down.  Darin "

Best part? ...all the photos today in the left border were sent in by viewers of this website!

9/9/18  Yesterday's strong E wind curtailed a lot of the Manistee fleet's activity to around the pier heads.  Seen a good number of boats on harbor patrol at 10am, but no nets going down. Hope they had a good morning bite, cause what I seen wasn't much.

9/8/18  Have a great weekend.  Did speak with Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk.  He fished N and found a pocket of cold 41° water at 40' down and boxed a nice mixed bag of Coho and Kings.  This is a big improvement over last year's Lk. MI September production.

9/7/18  Finishing out this week with another guest fish report Tom M who was featured yesterday.  He had this to say about his 9/5/18 solo trip out of E Chicago, IN:

            "John, Got out this morning by myself picked up these three on your green frog meat rig. Lost 3 too the back of the boat trying to net them by myself.  Pretty tough to do for me when they're decent fish!"  Click for his jumbo Kings

9/6/18  Truth is stranger than fiction is born out in today's reel-story from Tom M.  Tom fishes out of E Chicago, IN on the S end of Lk. MI.  Known Tom since 2004 when he was the 1st to introduce meat fishing to his port and was a ahead of the rest of his home boys.
            Today's photos from Tom on 9/3/18 shows a Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Sheephead and a King he caught off the "wall" at Pastrick Marina.  These fish all hit the XG-Green Frog 12" combo.  Plus, stomach contents showing a pile of partially digested Alewives.
                                   Click Tom's 5 in 1 mixed bag photos

9/5/18  Longtime message board member, going back to the early 2000s, Steve T is an asset to all.  He always shares the straight skinny on his success, or lack thereof. 
             Steve has a Cherokee similar to what used in the charter business docked in Arcadia, MI.  Steve's Labor Day report echoes what I wrote on 9/1/18 with plus 100' to 140' deep fish.  He used flasher/fly combinations to boat Coho not quite 12 pounds off his home port.  Along with catching a nice mixed bag consisting of a Laker, Coho and King Salmon.
                                 Click Steve's Labor Day extra Phat Coho

9/4/18  Whew! Almost made it thru my 35th primetime season in the fishing business that dates back to 1983.  20 years as a Great Lakes and rivers guide/charter skipper and 15 years as a tackle manufacturer has whizzed by way too fast!
             While crunch time is over, this season has a long ways to go.  Fall fishing is a favorite of mine.  The crowds are gone, but not the fish!
            Last year got into some reel-big Coho towards the end of this month.  Largest Coho was around 17 pounds and all were better that 12 pounds.  A 12 lb. Coho is a State of MI Master Angler sized fish.  Steelhead in the big lake happens in Oct/Nov too.

9/3/18  Last day of our less than perfect Labor Day Weekend.  If the wind didn't keep you dockside? ...the thunderstorms did.  Wettest Labor Day in my recent memory.
             Then, to complicate matters even further, a barrage of S wind has driven the thermocline reel-deep.  September is known for wind and the time warm water stacks up in central Lk. MI ports.  Too bad the unofficial end of summer was a bummer!

9/2/18  Customer testimonials are always good to hear.  Today's is from Montana' Fort Peck Reservoir part of the Missouri River system.  Montana plants about 300,000 Kings that are landlocked.  Their main feed supply is ciscoes.  Here's what Levi P. had to say:

"It's been a tough fishing year here in Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana but the 2017 special spoon pack I bought has saved the trip!! Just wanted to say thanks again, it was great buying from you guys.  I tell everyone I can about the spoons!" Click Montana Kings

9/1/18  Unless you're fishing off Ludington's car ferry, chances are, you're probably dockside today from a S blow (to 20 knots) with predicted seas 5' to 6'.
             This changes tomorrow when the wind comes down and 3' seas are on tap.
             With the thermocline already a 100' down this past Thursday, it's entirely possible central Lk. MI ports are stacked with warm water top to bottom inside the 150' depths.     
             Seen this happen before and had to move out to 200' to 300' depths to find anything close to 50° water temp and that will be down reel-deep.
             This is when braid rigger rods and our stealth downrigger cable become valuable tools.  You can fish your downriggers to 200' effectively with far less cable blow-back at 2 mph on a 12 pound cannonball.  Just bloodknot about 30' of 30# test mono leader to the braid and you're good to go!

8/31/18  Happy Friday!  This is your roving fleet reporter from Manistee, MI.  Fished last evening pretty much straight out in front Manistee (16s to 14s) in 130' to 200' of water. 
               Down-temp was 51° at 105'.  Seen lots of bait and good marks, but no takers between the hours of 5 till 7pm when Wayne J and I waved the white flag and quit.
               Seen enough to know there were fish there (90' to 125' down).  With the sun lowering on the horizon, we seen only 1 fish caught.  There were a 20 to 30 boats working this area.  So, it wasn't like I couldn't get a handle on what's going on.  Nor, was I willing to wait them out and place our bets on sunset bite for a fish, or 2
               As fate would have it? ...this was a very-very wise move, because we got hit with a lot of orders last night that had to go out today.

8/30/18  Story from Manistee, MI is weather. According to the wash-down bucket on my boat we've had about 5" of rain in the last few days, as thunderstorms have rolled thru.
               Big seas from the NW buffeted Manistee's north pier today.  No boats launched out of the 1st Street Public Launch from what I could see today about 2pm.
               Alas, there is some good news on the horizon for our Labor Day Weekend.  Sunday going in Monday morning looks very cooperative with 1' to 2' seas.
               Then, wind returns with thunderstorms until late next week.

8/29/18  Unsettled best describes our upcoming Labor Day Weekend.  Saturday has thunderstorms in the am. Then, diminishing wind in the evening.  Sunday looks fine with calm 1' to 2' seas.  Monday is another round of predicted thunderstorms.
              With the pressure on the fish this week lessened, fish should reload at all central Lk. MI ports.  Boat maintenance is my plan for today with cooler temps in the 60s.

8/28/18  Posted a pic of the BTI 10 flasher and fly combo hanging from the jaw of a decent King in the new 2019 White Lightning pattern.  This new generation lure tape is stunning and catches fish.  Downside? ...I've had 2 jumbos take better than a 1000' of line on a 4.65 spoon and nothing to show for it.  Click White Lightning 10" Combo
              Looks like the fish are going to get a break from fleet pressure until this Thursday when it's calm enough (5' to 8' seas) for the boats to get a whack at 'em again!

8/27/18  Fished with Ryan V from Sterling, MI last evening from about 6pm till 8:00pm.  This was a short abbreviated trip due to thunderstorms with plenty of sparks on the horizon.
              Ryan was a gem to fish with.  Gaining most of his expertise on Saginaw Bay wrecking havoc upon the walleyes.  In fact, Ryan recently won a big tournament there.  So, this was easy trip for me with plenty of help setting lines.
             We had 2 hits.  Took an OK King 55' down on the new 2019 White Lightning color shifting pattern on a 10" BTI flasher/fly combo.  Then, we missed a bite on a 300' copper towing meat.  Short trip? ...yes, but 2 hours is better then no hours!
              Report from Manistee this past weekend begins with a very lumpy Saturday morning.  A lot of boats did not get out.  Saturday evening boats on harbor patrol had good action when the sun went down on 20 to 30 lb. class fish. Click Ryan's evening King
              Sunday morning was a heavy fog that held some back too.  Coho moved in with a few boats getting into double figures in fat chunky Coho, a few Kings, and Lakers.

8/26/18  Reports from reliable sources said there was a push of adult Kings in and around the harbor this last Thursday.  Most caught were 20 lbs and above.  Let's hope there's more on the way.  Long range weather for Labor day Weekend is starting to look good.
                                           Have a great Sunday!

8/25/18  Added a new link to the page I use most on this site: Great Lakes Info
Info on this page has a lot of wind and sea condition links to plan/figure out your next trip.
               New page shows how the Great Lakes windstream is funneled by large bodies of water.  On this page there's check boxes for a lot of other info pertinent to your safety & planning. Only drawback is it takes a longtime to load. Click Great  Lakes Windstream
              Presently, I am not aware of any resource on the internet that offers as much wind, sea, radar and weather forecasts/conditions as my Great Lakes Info page does!

8/24/18  It's going to be a new ball game for central Lk. MI soon.  We've got a S and SW blow on the way for tonight.  Then, the lake lays down and the starts pumping again on this coming Monday and Tuesday.  This should set up Lk. MI with a lot better down temp, or thermocline to stratify the Salmon for the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
             Good luck to all fishing Frankfort's Benzie Frenzy event this weekend!

8/23/18  Fished the harbor last night out of Manistee from 7pm till past dark.  Right at sunset Wayne J and I hooked up on a runaway beer truck headed towards Ludington.  Soon, this drag screaming, wicked adult King was almost 500' away from the boat. 
              Not good, considering we were on the outside of the scrum of boats on harbor patrol.  Fought this bad boy within 75' of the boat only to have the hook pull free and lament about all work reeling on this jumbo was for nothing!
             We stayed on the outside of the pack in 40' of water.  Never seen another boat with a fish on.  Hope those closer to the pier heads got into some fish.
             Missing ingredient was lack of gulls.  When there's bait around the harbor that attracts fish you'll see flocks of birds dive-bombing for dinner.  There were no gulls at all!
             Plain and simple, central Lk. MI needs another push of fish.  Lk. MI rolled over, cold water on top.  This scattered what we had to parts unknown.  Hopefully, fishing will stabilize/improve after the predicted stout S blow (to 30 knots) that begins tomorrow.

8/22/18  Central Lk. MI has 40° water on the surface according to the Ludington temp buoy from recent strong N and NW wind.  This means it's going to be a crap shoot where the fish are.  From the beach out to the 700' depths is a pretty big playground.
              To mix things up even more? week a big S blow will bring in a lot of warm water continuing the yo-yo effect on Lk. Mi and the fish we all seek.
              Wind and big seas continues to dominate the scene going into the weekend.  Saturday afternoon the winds lighten up.  Sunday looks OK with 2 footers.
              Many thanks to Kevin D aka Chummer for supplying today's featured pic of a double on adult Kings they landed late last week. Click Chummer's double

8/21/18  Here's how you save a fishing trip from Randy R:

"Good Morning John: Since I had the double kings using the X-Glow Mean Green and Pearl fly combo I have not caught another salmon up here in East Bay.
               So, I went to Frankfort Saturday morning to try the big lake. Well we got out and then turned around due to big swells.  Put the boat back on the trailer & headed back .
                Passed Crystal lake launch site turned around and launched the boat to try for some of the landlocked Coho I heard about.  Click Crystal Lk. Coho
Well, I did not have small gear for this little fish nor any info them as far as what to use so I put on the smallest spoons and baits I had with me.  Low and behold I got 2 of them on the X-Glow Mean Green Flasher and Pearl Fly combo on the dipsy with six rods out both were caught on the same setup."  Randy R.

8/20/18  Yesterday, Lk. MI off the Port of Manistee, MI was like a frog in a blender, a mixed up mess.  Lk. Trout, Browns and Kings were caught in waters less than 35' deep. 
               Those that got out early, before the fog set-in did get into some fish in 50' to 150' depths before that bite dried up.  Inside and shallow probably produced better.
               My efforts were a non-event, but it did give me time to spend with long time and former deckhand/1st mate, John J.  Big N blow coming mid week, Kings will be in the harbor.
                   Hoping we get another push of fish for the last week of August!

8/19/18  Planning on fishing today and quick glimpse at my horoscope said: "Going deep is one of your specialties, but returning to shallow waters requires a set of skills you still are learning to master. You look beyond the veil of illusion into the depth of your being and ..."
              So, plan 1 is to fish spoons in 50' to 80' of water and only mosey out deeper if plan 1 does not work.  Tune into tomorrow for today's results.
              If we suck at catching? least it can be blamed on a phony baloney  horoscope for leading us astray.  Nice to have an excuse already lined up!

8/18/18  Question for you today: how many Kings over 20 lbs. do you have to catch to consider your efforts a good fishing trip? answer is 1 or 2.
              Bass, panfish, trout, & walleye anglers go fishing all the time without the remotest chance of catching a 20 pounder, & do so happily.  W Coast anglers limit might be 1 a day.
              By sheer volume, Great Lakes King Salmon have diminished their value.  So, it's my contention we've spoiled ourselves with over-expectations of 200-300 pounds of boxes of Kings.  Yes, I've had boxes well over 300 lbs. in the charter business.
              This I can tell you with careful observation from 20 years as a charter skipper (1983-2003).  Average charter customers are good for maybe landing 50 pounds of Kings.  Whether is be five at 10 pounds, or two 25 pounders.  Then, they're shot and you'll lose a lot of fish from them not keeping the line tight.  Tomorrow's topic? ...rebuilding the fleet.

8/17/18  S of Manistee, MI the 10s starting in 75' of water there is a DNR "test" net running SW for 3/8 0f a mile.  Same thing at the 9.5 numbers. 
               My understanding of "test" nets? ...test nets are deadly gill nets that kills everything that gets stuck in them depending on mesh size.  These nets are scheduled to be pulled this morning at 9:30am.  So, beware of this area in the morning!
              A huge thank you goes out to Capt. Brad Peterson from Angler Management Charters in Manistee for calling in with this info.  Click Angler Management website
              Kevin D aka Chummer had a good morning yesterday.  Nice 5 fish box on meat.  Know he was using 350 coppers and pulls a lot of meat.  Many thanks to Kevin for the high quality photos he shares with us!  Click Chummer's 8/16/18 catch

8/16/18  Fished Manistee, MI last evening from 7 till 9pm.  Setup in the 13s and trolled S to the 10s.  Hit 3 fish all on the same rigger 75' down over 80' to 88' of water.  Temp break was 55' down.  Salmon my wife, Merlene & I caught came out of 48-50° water. 
              Troll speed was 2 mph.  Flavor of the day was the 12" Ghostbuster combo.  All 3 bites came on this rig.  Seas were a nice 1' chop that made for a pleasant evening.
              This is the 3rd day in a row I've fished.  Haven't done that since leaving the charter business in 2003 (15 years ago).  Caught our 1st adult Coho in 2018.
                  Big fish, big fun!  Go get 'em!  Click wife's too big to hold fish

Important 1pm supplemental update:  In the 9.5 numbers S of Manistee, MI there is a new net going in according to Capt. Brad from Angler Management Charters.  No further info.  Could be a test net, or a long term trap net.  Will investigate for more info ASAP!

8/15/18  Fished a very lumpy Lk. MI out of Arcadia, MI with Capt. Steve B. aboard his battleship, a 35' Cabo.  3 to 4s from the SW that grew into 5s when we pulled lines. 
              There was some fish in the Steeple Hole, but as we got closer to the Herring Hole it was pretty grim.  Temp dropped by 10' from the stout SW wind.
              News for all: even a 35' boat in sloppy seas is not a pleasant way to fish. 
So, buying bigger will not flatten out the boat ride during trolling, or on the way in.

8/14/18  Yesterday morning it was my great pleasure with fish Lk. MI off Manistee, MI with Wayne J from 6:30 am till almost noon.  Wayne has been a significant asset to my tackle manufacturing business since 2005.  Plus, manning the my show booth some years back.
               Today's reel story begins with water temp and a narrow playground for Kings with a sharp break at 55' down where it was 51°.  Then falling off rapidly to the 40s.
               We hit 2 adult  Kings on Salmon Buster™ spoons (Yellowtail & Super Gold Bullet) about 40' down in 60° water at 2.2 mph.  We had 2 bites on meat running about 65' down in the colder 40° water at the same troll speed.  Click Wayne J's biggie
               Heartbreaker was when Wayne masterfully coaxed a big King within 25' of the boat.  Only have the hook pop-out when the rascal porpoised.  Then, we had a screamer running line off the diver rod on the new White Lightning 10" Combo that mysteriously cut the line between the 1st and 2nd fly.  So, we dealt with Houdini fish on our first 2 tries.
              Good news is we took a goodie, probably in the low 20s on the Super Gold Bullet 4.65 spoon and smaller guy fall prey to a Ghostbuster 10" Combo on the diver stick.
              Should we be disappointed with a 2 fish box?  Hell no!  It was a great morning doing battle with the hardest fighting, most majestic fish in our Great Lakes, Mr. King Salmon.  Lk. MI played nice with flat calm seas on a gorgeous sunny summer day.

8/13/18  Here's the reel story on today's featured photo:

Took a 28lb 5 oz fish John on the new white lightning meat rig i got from you when i visited the shop Thursday using the meat prep straight from the package as we discussed. 62 ft down in 145 fow just of Arcadia south Nr golf course.  Click for this fish
              I'll send you some nice pics of the fish/lure later this morning. From the time i set up the rig and put it in the water I was confident that this lure was going to produce and it didn't disappoint me. At first hook up the fish seemed smaller as it came to the surface very quickly but once it realized it was hooked it was game on and it almost spooled the entire reel with 650' of line! Some 25 mins later we got the fish to the net & the battle was over.
             Thanks once again for giving me the opportunity to try out this new lure, the reflections of light color in strong sunshine are dazzling. Talk more soon, Steve"

8/12/18  Successful fish report from Derek L who fished Manistee yesterday:

"Capt. King, Started skinny away from the circus at the shelf. It paid off big time. Lots of bait and fish in tight. Big fish went 39.5. 2nd master angler (over 27lbs.) of the week and 5th in 5 years using your meat rigs.  Dredging buoys at the pier heads are making travel in the dark interesting. It looked like a charter caught a poly ball the other night and was getting assistance from the DNR. Thanks, Derek"  Click Derek's catch pic

39.5 is a ginormous big dad King!  Will be contacting Derek for more photos.  He emailed me thumbnails of his catch, not full file size.  Checked the temp off Manistee, MI last evening in short abbreviated trip due to water rougher than I wanted to fish (1 to 3s going to 4s).
            55' down was 54° and a good comfort level down to 70' with 44° in the 11 numbers over 190'.  This is a better temp range then what the Ludington temp buoy was saying.

8/11/18  Have a great summer weekend!  Yesterday's results are sketchy at best seeing I only spoke with one fisherman.  Looks like a handful or less fish per boat unless you hit the mother lode.  Good news is there are adult Kings in Manistee, MI for the taking.

8/10/18  From what I've been able to piece together, Frankfort is leading the way among central LK. MI ports such as Manistee and Ludington for big Kings.  Know boats from Arcadia are running N to fish Frankfort waters and doing decent.
              Forecast Lk. MI wind and seas are not bad for this weekend.  Was at Manistee's 1st Street Launch on this past Wednesday.  Parking lot was half full and that was for a weekday.  Look for even more of the fleet to show up this weekend!
              Remember courtesy goes a long ways, we all have the same goal in mind! 

  Today's featured pic is from UP charter skipper, Capt. Steve S.  It shows for all to see the honest grin on Michael's (holding the fish) face.  Even better is the big guy King tipped the scales at 26 pounds.  Here's the reel-story from Capt. Steve:

Here's the pic of last night's big fish. Michael caught this one on a 10" Ghostbuster bti/meat rig combo. As usual, the fish completely inhaled the meat and was hooked deep in the gills.
          Weight was 26 lbs and was caught off Fairport. Michael thought that pattern had the best name of them all and was convinced it was going to catch a big fish. He was right, and very excited. Steve"  Click for Michael's 26 pounder

8/8/18  Been testing a new pattern for 2019 that shows great promise.  This is a cornucopia of dazzling shifting blue, pink, turquoise and silver all at once.  This is the most advanced lure tape I seen come down the pike.  Click White Lightning color
             When it takes the only fish caught it means I'm onto something good.  Have this color in a spoon that's caught Steelhead and Salmon.  More testing is needed.

8/7/18  Yesterday, spoke with Frankfort, MI charter skipper, Capt. Brian Murphy and owner of the Frankfort Tackle Box across from the public launch.  Brian said fishing was good from Grace Rd. to Point Betsie with 6 to 9 Kings per boat (did not ask if this was the sports fleet, or the charter guys).  He echoed my 8/5/18 update with the bite coming later in the morning around 9am.  So, this is good news for all who frequent this port!

8/6/18  Right now finding temp 40° to 50° range is the key to success.  Recent S and SW wind has pushed a lot of warm water in at all central Lk. MI ports.  Be prepared to fish 70' and deeper when you find the thermocline.  Ludington temp buoy said 71° at 69' down. 
             So, there is a possibility inshore depths down to 100' or better could be all warm water.  If that's the case? ...move out deeper until you find the colder water.
            Posted an interesting photo of how far summer Kings inhale meat.  The 2 trebles were stuck way down in the throat at the opening of the stomach. Click inhaled meat

8/5/18  S and SW wind have drove the temp down past where the Ludington, Mi temp buoy can read it.  64° at 69' is what the temp buoy read at midnight.
            Here's a tip you can file away for future use.  Learned during my 20 years as a charter boat skipper, deep summer Salmon usually don't offer much of an early bite.  When the sun is coming up, low angle light rays from the sun do not penetrate the depths down to 100' and deeper.  Give it time, those deep fish will take off once the sun rises a little.

8/4/18  Have a great weekend.  Strong wind from the S and SW this weekend is going to move the fish deeper.  How much? ...only time will tell.  Deep is good for meat fishermen!

8/3/18  Feel good story to me posting Randy R's solo fishing trip with a double header on big summer adult Kings.  Here's Randy's E Grand Traverse Bay reel-fish tale:
John just thought I would send you a picture from this morning’s catch  with a Solo Double header using your 10” X-Glow Mean Green flasher & Pearl fly combos off dipseys.  I just bought these a week ago and BOOM 2 Kings on at the same time!  1 - 17# female and 1 - 21# Male quite a battle I wont forget.  Click for Randy's fish
             Thanks for the great products  More to come for sure." Randy R.

8/2/18  Posted a photo the flasher/meat rig™ combos we used on this past Tuesday's trip.  12" Ghostbuster was the best with 3 solid rigger hits with Kings pulling drag.  Unfortunately, 2 of these fish became unbuttoned.  This was completely our fault from lack of time on the water.  Seldom do we lose rigger fish. Click 7/13/18 fish box
            Being a short evening trip with lines in the water for 3 1/2 hours the 5 hits made the time fly by.  Granted it's not my big catches from yesteryear, but it was still fun! 

8/1/18  Yesterday, stumbled into a few fish S of Manistee in the 9s with the father-son duo of Todd and Dylan B. Fished the evening from 6 until almost 9:30pm.  Lost 2 dandies from ring rust.  All on meat.  Temp was on our side for a change.  54° at 65 down and stayed in the high to mid 40s down to a 105'.  Lk. MI played nice with seas around 1'.
             Marked lots of bait, some suspended, most bait piles were on the bottom.  GhostBuster, Skinny Minnie and Super Silver Bullet combos all took hits.  Ended up with 2 adult Kings and a juvenile.  One went over 20 lbs.  Click for our biggest King
            Weird thing was the fish that hit best were in 60° water down about 50'.  Meat generally don't do well on warm water Kings.  This was an anomaly for us.

7/31/18  Fishing was great out of Manistee yesterday.  It's the catching part the left a lot to be desired.  Most boats struggled to get into a fish, or 2 in the area from straight out to 4-5 miles S.  Pepé Le Pew, the loveable Looney Tunes skunk hitched a ride on more than one boat.  Monday's are always tough after a tournament weekend.
              Do know some ports on the WI side of Lk. MI are going gangbusters on adult Kings.  MI side not so much.  But this can change in a heartbeat with the right wind.
              Good news, the thermocline is finally going deeper.  Remember, it not your fault, or lack of skills when fishing is dreadfully slow.  You can't create what's not there!     

7/30/18  I have no info on the fishing out of Manistee, MI.  Just haven't had the time to splash the boat with the summer rush in full swing.
              Do know there's good news on the way for this week prompted by warmer weather that means wind for the S.  This will drive the temp down & improve the fishing. 

7/29/18  Promo tackle sale starts today with bonus offers.

7/28/18  New 2018 X-Glow 12" flashers are in-house and being built.  Continuity in color was accomplished old stock versus new.  Glow properties has been doubled in the new blades.  This exclusive colorant mix is a proprietary blend I have not seen on other glow tackle.  Improving tackle is a goal we met.  Click old vs. new flashers  All 12" flashers & 12" combo deals have been restocked & are available now at:

7/27/18  Good luck to all fishing this weekend.  Keep an open mind to fish and water temperature.  In 2012 out of my home port of Manistee, MI caught early season (April) Manistee Kings down a 155' in 35-36° over 250'-300'. Click for these fish
              In July 2016 had a nice catch of Kings, some Steelhead out of the Port of Manistique, MI in MI's upper peninsula that came out of 60-62° water.  Water depth was 50'-60' of water with the fish coming 35' to 50' down. 
              Then, factor in all the late season adult harbor patrol adult Kings we caught in the charter business (1983-2003) in 70, up 72° water temp.
              So, there are no rules written in stone about preferred temp.  Only educated guesses that messes with your mind.  Especially, if you're not catching fish!

7/26/18  This week's MDNR weekly fishing report was not a glowing review on any MI ports.  Right now, Manistee, MI is a crap shoot with spotty King Salmon fishing. 
               This due mostly to a high temp break.  Lack of a deep thermocline means the fish can be anywhere from the beach to the middle of Lk. MI.  This morning's W wind has moved the temp break a little deeper, but not by much (36' down) according to Ludington's down temp buoy.  Prior 50° water temp was only 15' down.
               Trusted source, Wayne J. who fished this past Tuesday relayed inside of 50' it was wall to wall bait.  Most he's seen is several years.  Bait balls out deeper too!
              The best 4, maybe ...5 weeks of the summer Salmon season are in front of us.  Let's hope for some S & SW wind to push the fish deeper and it happens soon!

7/25/18  "John, Just wanted to pass along a good word on your tackle. This fly has caught 18 fish on it between last year and this year.  Still in great shape even though a few pieces of missing tinsel." Julie S. Northern Lk. Huron  Click Silver Seagreen Glo Fly
              Good to hear positive feedback on my tackle.  Our trolling flies are made with adhesives that get stronger over time.  Ever try to remove an old decal?  Bet you have!

7/24/18  Lack a defined thermocline with info gleaned from the Ludington down temp buoy changed my mind about fishing this afternoon.  Ludington Down Temp Buoy
              10' down is 51° with 61° on the surface.  This means the Kings could be anywhere and I don't have time to look for the proverbial, "needle in the haystack."  Factor in the water is in the 40s at 26' down says working structure could be a hard go.
              Even back when I was a paid pro fish assassin in the charter business struggled on high Kings at this time of the season.  My fish assassin skills have long since left the building and know my time will be better spent in the shop today.
              Do know out deeper the temp will be a lot deeper and more in your favor.  But for a short 3-4 hour evening fish time is not on my side.

7/23/18  Shop bound building tackle and shipping orders makes me the least informed fisherman around my parts.  Did sneak a peek at results of this weekend's Ludington Offshore Classic and saw a 28 pounder and change was the big King for this 2 day event.  The winning boat caught 23 of the 24 allowed and averaged around 10 pounds per fish.
              Should have some fish reports from trusted sources soon.  Hope to get out this week when the workload lessens.  This summer is going by too fast for me.
              All X-Glow white 12" flashers are sold out.  Should have a new shipment in this week.  New 12" flashers will be improved with even more glow properties.

7/21/18  Have a great weekend!

7/20/18  Good luck to all the weekend warriors.  Saturday is going to be touch and go with thunderstorms predicted.  2' to 3' seas look to be tolerable except for fast moving storms coming across Lk. MI.  Staying close to port is a good idea tomorrow.
              As Manistee, MI welcomes the summer Salmon fleet, please note at the 1st launch the city has a chart down by the ramps with commercial trap net locations.  Did not verify the info, so beware and careful. Click Manistee traps printable page

7/19/18  Had the great pleasure to fish with Wayne J and Todd B last evening out of the Port of Manistee, MI for a few hours.  Fished pretty much straight out in 125' to 225' of water.  Just didn't mark that many fish in this area.  Marked a few pods of bait.
              Did see one boat when we came in with 6, or 7 fish that included 2 decent adult Kings.  So, there are fish to be caught if you hit the right area.  We ended up with one small Steelhead and a good time on flat, calm seas.  There were no fish in the harbor last night.

7/18/18  Explaining the the mechanics of our meat heads today that begins with the all important toothpick.  Keep it simple stupid (KISS) works for me.  Said pick works to hold the bait inside the head, that's obvious.  Click toothpick & meat head
               Mechanically pegging the toothpick in the rear of the head to 2 purposes. 
1. To hold tension on how far back you want to the hook to be from the head.
2. Plus, it's a jettison device to free up the head when a fish eats your bait sliding up the leader/line.  This means your foe cannot use the head against you and pry out the hook.
               Best part of the pick in the rear hole?  You can tune bend in the fillet/strip/whole bait to control the rate of spin, adjusted to your trolling speed. 

7/17/18  Let's leadoff today with Zack's 31.7 King Salmon caught this past Saturday morning while fishing with his dad, Mike K.  Mike shared the fish take was 2 to 4 fish a boat with some doing better numbers targeting Lake Trout.  He also mention he marked a lot of bait, most he's seen in a long time.  Click Zack's 31.7 lb. jumbo King

7/16/18  Mid-July and King fishing is beginning to perk up.  Today's chat exposes the myth of hooks supposed to be sharp out of the package, or box.  This is total BS.  Hooks are packed tightly in 1000 counts.  Every bump, or jar these hooks take during travel?  Common sense says the fact of rubbing together is going to knock off some of the point.
              Hook files were invented for a reason to put the finishing touch on a hook.  So, use them.  Reason behind hooks 101 today?  King Salmon as they mature their skin turns into leather.  In fact, billfolds are being made from Salmon hide.  That's why it's important to make the most of your opportunities and not miss bites!  Click hook packaging

7/15/18  Have a great Sunday!

7/14/18  In late 2013 developed a new way to snell our hooks for meat rigs™.  Prior we were bending up the hook eyes.  We broke a lot of hooks doing this.
              Having a straight pull on the main part of the hook is where good things begin to happen.  Having hooks kinked off to the side, due to an off kilter knot will lose bites.
             This is not the same snell knot I taught at sport shows, seminars, or MI Steelheader meetings.  I consider this knot solely proprietary and it stays a company secret.
              You can see in today's pic this is a dead straight line pull on the shank of a 1/0 VMC treble used on our single hook version meat rigs™.  Works even better on our super deadly dual treble-double snelled hooks.  Click meat rig™ snell knot

7/13/18  With the adult big King season right around the corner ...let's look at a tip today that will save you lost fish and the frustration that goes with it.
               First off, Kings that hit meat tend to take it deeply.  This chaffs the line to the hook bigtime.  As Kings mature their gums shrink exposing more teeth to nick the line.  So, keep an watchful eye on the condition of the leader to the hook.
               Swap this out at the first signs of wear.  That's why my 2nd generation meat rigs™ were designed to have replaceable leaders to the hook.  I was the 1st to do this.

7/12/18  Approaching crunch time for the Great Lakes tackle business.  Been extra busy orders out the door.  Surprise best selling this week is our Super Snubbers™ developed to increase "fish in the net ratio" for wire, or super braid no stretch lines.
              I can only speak for myself, but 80% of diver hits come to the net. These snubbers that have 2-3 times the amount give other snubbers have.  In the tackle business the word does spread overtime.  When you have a superior product, this product advertises itself when results are shared among the fleet!  Click for Super Snubber™ info

7/11/18  Continuity, meaning making identical tackle is one of the hardest things I've ran across in the manufacturing/tackle business I started in 2004.  One of the biggest issues is colorants, or masterbatch used for injection molding.  My suppliers seem to never have the exact same colorant a few years down the road when we need to order more.
              Know how spooky fishermen are about colors and even a subtle change in colors will be noticed.  I know, because I belong to this crowd too!

7/10/18  Today's featured pic of an adult 22 lb. King is from Fairport in MI's upper peninsula sent in by Capt. Steve Sager from Top 40 Charters.  My thanks to Steve, a transplant from Manistee to Escanaba, MI where his boat docked now.
               Interesting to note, this King is turning darker on it's way to a river spawner.  Full blown adults have a preference for anything that glows.  I'm sure you've heard, "go with the glow."  This fish hit a 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoon in the Ghostbuster pattern.
               Saw firsthand how deadly the Ghostbuster was in 2016 when we fished out of Manistique in the upper.  You can see this too at: 8/10/16 Salmon 1 & 8/10/16 Salmon 2

7/9/18  Tomorrow and Wednesday central Lk. MI of Manistee is going to play nice with calm seas.  Hope to find time to go test some new tackle that has shown potential.
             Making something out of nothing was accomplished last week by message board member, Sean L. out of Pentwater, MI.  His search for Salmon was a no go.  So, he worked higher in the water column and caught some decent Steelhead to 16 pounds.
             Even though preferred temp was 80' to 115' down Sean ran a good portion of his spread high, from 10' to 40' down in the 60
° water that sat on top of the thermocline.

7/7/18  Cooler weather has been perfect to catch up on painted tackle.  Too warm and the paint starts drying in the tip unless you use additives.
              Fishing out of Manistee, MI is so-so according to the few reports I've heard.  In about 3 weeks prime time for adult Kings will be here.  No longer will you have to look for them, because these fish are homing in on rivers and streams.
              Plus, the Salmon go on a feeding binge transitioning to a spawning river fish.  Good times on the water is what we all have to look forward to!

7/6/18  Fishing news for anything to do with central Lk. MI are hard to come by.  Do know some Kings to and over 20 pounds have been caught.  But not in great numbers.
             Methods used have been scattershot.  From 3 colors of lead core to 140' down says we're not in the glory days ...yet.  Spoons to meat have all be mentioned.
             My struggle with Lk. MI has been locating suspended bait that make fishing for King Salmon a heck of a lot easier.  Good news is the warm push of water that has increased plankton growth that will attract the bait sooner, or later.
            Trying to run a day ahead on my updates to save time for production.  Dreadfully low on spoons and any tackle that requires air brush art work.

7/5/18  Here's the GPS coordinates for the net in the 20 numbers up by Onekama, MI: 

20s  Net Staff Buoy
44° 20'.905 N
086° 20'.102 W
86' of water

20s Trap Net Pot Staff Buoy?
44° 20'.974 N
086° 20'.427 W
103' of water

20s W King Anchor Buoy?
44° 20'.984 N
086° 20'.666 W

114' of water

Use at your own risk: We never found both flag staff buoys, nor could confirm the King anchor.  Seas were choppy on 7/2/18 and locating/seeing anything was difficult!

7/4/18  It's going to be a wait and see if the tribal netters remove the 3 trap nets off Manistee and Onekama, MI according to a very trusted source.
                                   Have a great 4th of July Holiday!

7/3/18  Trap net about 1 mile N of Onekama, MI's harbor is very sketchy.  Found only one staff maker buoy in the 20.9 numbers.  Lk. MI was kinda lumpy and evening sun reflection off the water made it hard to spot anything. Click for GPS & Staff Buoy
              Inside word from a trusted source who spoke with the tribal fishermen from the Soo, they said they'd be pulling their nets shortly.  So, let's hope my all work is for nothing.
              Figure the BM on the flag staff buoys stands for the Bay Mills tribe.  This is the same tribe that completely wiped out the Lake Trout population in Little Traverse Bay with gill nets in the early 1970s.  I witnessed this with my own eyes back then.
              Did not fish.  Only there to gather net intel.  Ran the probe down, 60
° at 100' down and 56° at 115' down.  2 day blow from the S has really lowered the thermocline.

7/2/18  Found out there was another trap net close to Onekama, MI.  Rough estimated numbers is 20.5 and begins in 70-80 feet of water.  Going to try to locate and record the lat/lons this afternoon depending on work load.  Stay tuned for more info...

7/1/18  Finally, put together a printable page with the GPS coordinates gathered over the past few weeks.  Put a lot of time into editing the trap net image with full explanations everyone can understand.  Heat wave continues! Click for printable page

6/30/18  Here's Manistee, MI's trap net locations.  Wind, currents and tribal netters can move these nets at anytime. Use as a guideline ONLY!  Click for printable page

13s Lead Net Staff Buoy
44° 12'.979 N
086° 24'.635 W
63' of water

13s Trap Net Pot Staff Buoy
44° 13'.120 N
24'.806 W
92' of water

13s W King Anchor Buoy
44° 13'.348 N
086° 24'.935 W

109' of water

17s Lead Net Staff Buoy
44° 17'.676 N
086° 22'.308 W

 72' of water

17s Trap Net Pot Staff Buoy
44° 17'.676 N
086° 22'.549 W
 86' of water

17s W King Anchor Buoy
44° 17'.376 N
086° 22'.820 W

98' of water

6/29/18  Have the Manistee, MI's location of the W anchor buoy for the trap net in the 13's off Manistee.  This buoy is 3 laundry detergent bottles tied together & very difficult to see.  W flag staff buoy on this net is laying over & hard to spot too.
44° 13'.348 N & 086° 24'.935 W are the GPS lat/lons for the western most part of the trap net in the 13s a couple miles S of Manistee's harbor.  13s designate the easy to share number by dropping the 44° numbers.  Click actual GPS photo
               Be aware this is Manistee's Forest Festival and there's a carnival setup in the parking area on the 1st Street Launch.  So, boat trailer parking is going to be hard to find.
               This is a work in progress.  All numbers can be found at: Net Locations
This page is under construction to make a printable page with all GPS coordinates.

6/28/18  Possibly might be able to find the W anchor for the net in the 13s S of Manistee this afternoon.  It's been 3 weeks since my last trip and that's far too long.

6/27/18  This is another year of Big Kings.  Meaning fish over 20 pounds are the reel-deal. 
Last weekend's tournament in Kewanee, Wisconsin 10 fish came in at over 200 pounds according to message board member, Steve O.
              Now, that my boat trailer is road ready, trying to come up with an out of town event.  Like to do at least one special trip a year.  Going to the UP  in 2016 and 2017, then fishing out of Manistique (Lk. MI) and Munising (Lk. Superior) were more than worth it!
             Deal on upgrading to an electric hydraulic is a wonderful system made in the USA.  Support at Hydrastar put me in the right track.  I do recommend this system to anyone with an in-cab electric brake controller that are not getting ample stopping power out of their surge brakes.  While pricey, feel like this upgrade was money very well spent!
            The Hydrastar even has a breakaway battery backup in case your trailer becomes unhooked? will lock up your brakes.  Limiting damage to your boat.

6/26/18  Posted a photo of what I've been doing since last Saturday. Over 10 hours in upgrading to electric hydraulic disc on my tandem axel trailer.  This is one of those one-off jobs with a very steep learning curve.  Could probably do another one in 1/2 the time.
             Outcome is fantastic with massive stopping power.  Several times better then the replaced surge brakes that were fraught with issues.  No longer am I landlocked!

6/25/18  This past weekend was Manistee, MI's Bud Pro/Am.  Over 40 boats participated in this event that dates back to the 1980s.  Kings to and past 25 pounds were caught.
               Winning boat with the heaviest catch caught 132 lbs. on day one and 51 lbs. on day 2.  This shows how spotty our fishing is.  Setup in the right spot with a little luck and you'll do just fine.  Miss the magic spot?'ll catch just some.
               Fighting fatigue has me wore out.  Installing the components for the new electric hydraulic disc brakes has 4 major parts.  That's done, wiring and bleeding the brakes is today.  Trying to squeeze this in and keep up with orders has me way-way too busy.
              Every hour lost fixing my beached boat trailer is a hour that's not devoted to fishing, production and filling orders.  Looking forward to this job being done!

6/23/18  1st weekend of official summer of 2018.  Be sure to enjoy it!  Mine will be spent curing boat trailer ills.  This is the second go-round in this deal.  Just was not happy with the replacement surge brake master cylinder.  So, bit the bullet for a pricey electric 1600 psi conversion unit that will lock up the tandem axel disc brakes if need be.
               Taking care of yourself and boat on short, or long trips begins with the often overlooked boat trailer that's last on the list to get any love.

6/23/18  1st weekend of official summer of 2018.  Be sure to enjoy it!  Mine will be spent curing boat trailer.  This is the second go-round in this deal.  Just was not happy with the replacement surge brake master cylinder.  So, bit the bullet for a pricey electric 1600 psi conversion unit that will lock up the tandem axels if need be.
               Taking care of yourself and boat on short, or long trips begins with the often overlooked boat trailer that's last on the list to get any love.

6/22/18  Have a great weekend.  My time will be spent upgrading my boat trailer brakes from surge disc to electric disc.  Safety and the grief saved makes this switch cheap when you compared to rear ending the vehicle ahead of you in a panic stop.

6/21/18  Fishing today!  This trip will be a late start, hope to be setting lines by 8am.  Finding and marking the anchor for the net in the 13s is more important than catching fish.
               6am update: orders came in overnight.  Shipping orders this morning means being a landlubber and no fishing for yours truly.   The URL (web address) of the Ludington down temp data buoy 45024 has been problematic for our Great Lakes info page
              Seems to be finally working now: Click to test Ludington Down Temp Buoy

6/20/18  Looks like tomorrow there's a decent window to fish Lk. MI.  Plan is to locate the king anchor on the net in the 13s.  Then, build a printable page.  My guess is we'll have more trap nets in the not too distant future and want to stay on top of this issue.
              I have no high hopes on the fish tomorrow unless there's a temp break over deep water holding fish.  Will look and seek, if the right conditions are there.

6/19/18   The image of yesterday's trap net is not to scale when it comes to the anchor in the far left of said image.  The lead, or king anchor can set several hundred feet to the west of the west flag staff buoy.  I know from personal experience when I had a diver get stuck in one, back in 2008 ...when we had 10 trap nets off Manistee, MI.
               Need to locate this anchor for the net in the 13s to make a printable page with the GPS coordinates.  Hopefully, this week I'll be able to get on the lake to mark and locate.
              It is of the utmost importance, you know where these nets are!  The cost of getting your fishing gear stuck in one can cost you the long green to replace.

6/18/18  Too busy in the shop this weekend to work on the net locations page.  Posted an image of a trap net in case you haven't seen one yet.  Click trap net image
               There's a lot of net to avoid that involve several hundred feet.  Plus, the floating net going vertical up from the bottom.  Think 30' up from the bottom is the distance.

6/17/18  Have a great Father's day!

6/16/18  Have a great Father's day weekend!  My goal is to complete a printable page of the trap net locations off the Port of Manistee, MI by Monday.
               Today's featured photo is from a while back with bait in Manistee's harbor.  The channel was loaded out to the hole off the south pier. Click Manistee harbor bait

6/15/18  NOAA weather Station for Manistee was MEEM4.  This tower was blown down in the April storm in the mini tsunami (I think).  Have not heard of plans to replace it.
              The offshore Ludington high-tech buoy that displayed water temp down to 70' seems to have been replaced with one from University of MI.  No longer showing down temp, but Station 45024 - Ludington Buoy, MI does give wave heights and surface temp.
              Updated my Great Lakes info page to access this new Ludington buoy.  I use this wealth of information when planning all of my fishing trips and consider it one of the most important pages on this website. Click Great Lakes info page
              For the time being, to access weather for Manistee, use the one at Big Point Sable to see archived and current wind directions.   Click for removed weather station

6/14/18  Being a boat owner comes with maintenance.  Things like changing lubricants are the cheapest insurance policy against costly catastrophic failure. 
              Spent a good part of yesterday changing the oil and lower end lube in my GM small block V8 and 15 hp. 4 stroke trolling motor.  Last week it was changing the lower seals in the kicker that picked up some fishing line & chewed up the seals allowing water egress.
             Granted, when you're pressed for time, boat duties can be a pain.  Only offset with the bigger pain to your billfold, if you neglect them?

6/13/18  Good day to take a break.  Started on a new page for trap net locations off the Port of Manistee, MI.  We have 2 now and expect a few more.  In 2008 there was 10 confirmed trap nets and a mystery one in the 15s.  Ludington during the same time had 5.
              Today's S winds will help the Salmon fishing for all central Lk. MI ports!

6/12/18  Manistee, MI fishing news from my boat is pretty bleak on yesterday's recon mission to locate & mark the new trap net in the 17s two of miles N of the harbor.  Set up in 50' of water in the high 15s before the dropoff.  Trolled out to the 280' depths N & never marked a fish.  Days of E wind has moved the fish and a SW blow will bring them back.
              Did find the net in the 17s that begins in 72' of water at:
44° 17'.676 N and extends out to 86' of water at: 086°22'.549 W.  Click 6/11/18 photo with lat/lons
Critically Important: There is a King anchor due west of the furthest staff marker buoy.  This western most area to avoid is marked by floating jugs is in 98' of water at: 44° 17'.376 N and 086°22'.820 W.  Do not have this info for the net in the 13s.
              This info was intense to gather and see the need for a dedicated page for the Manistee fleet to fish and navigate safely.  Still more work needs to be done.
               My thanks to ace double number 1 fishin' bud, John J for tolerating me avoiding all fish in Lk. MI and maneuvering the boat while I took the photos.

6/11/18  The plan for this morning is to fish for a little while, then locate the trap net in the 17s and record where it's at.  Stay tuned for further developments.

6/10/18  The leads on the trap net in the 13s a couple of miles S of Manistee, MI are marked with floating laundry detergent bottles.  They are brightly colored, but not too easy to see unless your pretty close to them.
               Soon I will get the location of another trap trap in the 17s N of Manistee's harbor.  Can see this will need a dedicated page with full info.

6/9/18  Recon mission for fleet safety yesterday.  Trolled from the 11's to just N of Big Point Sable in the 6s with a watchful eye for commercial trap nets.  None were eyeballed in this fairly long stretch of water.  Click East staff buoy and GPS readout
             Came back to the 13s to clearly identify the trap net that went in recently.
Mis-spoke in yesterday's chat about lack of staff flag buoys, my apologies. 
              This net is clearly marked and begins in 63' of water with a 6' mast with a large orange flag.  GPS coordinates for the W staff buoy are in 92' of water at: 44°13'.120 North & 086° 24'.806 West. Click West staff buoy and GPS readout
             Critically Important: Listed lat/lons are the centerline of the net.  You must allow a 1/3 of a mile north and south to avoid the wing leads to this net.  You navigate at your own risk and absolutely must use the info supplied here as a guideline ONLY!

6/8/18  Gone fishing sign is up for today.  Plan is to fish some and get the exact numbers on the trap net in the 13s.  Know according to 2000 Consent Degree nets are supposed to have staff flags on the buoys.  Which of course, is not being done!

6/7/18  Fishing for spring Kings continues to be decent off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Salmon are being caught on spoons 40' to 60' down over 125' to 250' of water.  Deeper Kings are coming on flasher meat rig combinations.
            June 9th and 10th is the MDNR's free fishing weekend when a license is not required by anyone.  Father's Day 2018 is little more then week away.

6/6/18  According to Lenny V. from my Facebook page, there is another trap net in 17.6 that begins in 60' of water about 2 miles N of the Manistee, MI's harbor.
             My plan is to verify and mark the nets in 13.1 and 17.6 with the leads and the pots marked.  Last I heard there was no staff markers, just floating buoys.
             We've dealt with plenty of trap nets before in Manistee and can do it again once we know the areas and depths to avoid.  Trap nets do promote plankton growth and attract bait fish to the deep water side.  Fishing due W of these nets will put fish in your boat.

6/5/18  Found a photo of my departed friend, Dick Boyajian when he was making my aft curtain for my boat in 2008.  Dick reupholstered the interior too.
             Felt like I was kicked in the gut when I had to ship a set of his trolling bags yesterday.  I relied on him for the early history of our Salmon fishery.  Like when the 1st Manistee Wobbler trolling spoon to grab fleet favor in 1969.  Dick was among the 1st to run J-Plugs that became extremely popular by the mid-1970s.
             Dick's demeanor as a sales rep for Luhr Jensen at the sport shows was top notch. But he never came across as a "know it all." Even though he was a walking encyclopedia when it came to catching fish.  Click Dick installing my aft curtain
            Saying the final goodbye to an treasured fishing bud of 30 some years sure grabs your attention to what's really important in life.

6/4/18  With a heavy heart it hurts me to say goodbye to my friend, Dick Boyajian who passed away yesterday.  Dick was the one of the original charter skippers out of Manistee, MI that goes back to the late 1960s.  Upon his shoulders we all benefitted.  He was in on the pioneering ground floor of methods to catch Salmon and Trout.
             From the early 1970s on, Dick was a Luhr Jensen factory rep and did all sport shows in and around the Great Lakes States up until the early 2000s.
             Dick was a true American hero who served in the WWII's Pacific theater as a radioman-gunner on B24s and never sought accolades for his service to our country.
             The high quality sea bags I've sold since 2004 we made by him with the utmost of care.  Dick thrived into his 90s on his own and mentally was sharp as a tack.  With a tear in my eye, any parting words will never did justice for this brave American I miss dearly.

6/3/18  Grapevine says there are more trap nets off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Have the one in the 13s semi marked.  Unverified rumors about another one in the 17s.
             For now avoid the inshore depths of 160' or less, unless you know where the nets are.  If you stay over 200' you should be in the clear.  Back in mid i2ks, never seen the pot, or capture end deeper then 155'. Click commercial net boat
             This time I do not have an inside source like when Dave Deforest kept us posted on exact locations.  So, it's up to all of us to find, locate and share this info.
             My next window to fish Lk. MI is coming mid week.  Will share what I find.

6/1/18  May has been a good fishing month for the central Lk. MI fleet.  Big Kings in catchable numbers is great for our fishery.
             My goal is to get the exact lat/lons for the net I watched being set on last Tuesday's trip.  My guess is there's more nets on the way.  The 2000 Consent Agreement with the Little River tribe is up for renewal in 2020.  I see more new trap nets as posturing for the upcoming negotiations.  Know our mid-i2ks go-round with tribal fishers was a criminal money grab from the MDNR coffers we, as fishermen pay into.  Think the figure was $6 mil.

5/31/18  Wayne J found the net I spoke about yesterday the hard way.  He lost a probe and cannonball when he got hung in it.  North line location is 44.13.090.
              Wayne not to be deterred, pulled his 5 Kings is a couple of hours, using the 1st light bite to put a butt whipping on the Kings.  He used my spoons and a BTI flasher-fly combo during his time on the water.  Click net lat/lon of Wayne's graph
             Going back to last weekend, nobody can complain about the weather or the Salmon fishing off the Port of Manistee, MI.  It was the best Memorial Day weekend we had in recent memory.  Now, the question is how long will the Kings stick around?

5/30/18  Just going to touch on the high points from yesterday's Manistee, MI morning trip with Wayne J and Todd B.  There was a net boat working in the low 13s and high 12s S of Manistee in approx. 120' of water.  More info on this when it becomes available.
               First 90 minutes of our trip was plagued with missed hits on free sliders.  Fish were scattered from 30' to 100' down over 120' to 170' of water.  Best marks for us were in the 13s to the 15s (straight out of port).
               Did manage to turn things around with the Skinny Minnie 12" combo 100' down on the chute rigger boating a mid-teener and an over 20 spring King.  Click Wayne's big King

5/29/18  Guest update today from longtime website member, Wayne J:

I had a wonderful morning on the pond. Lines in at 5:15 and out at 7am on 5/27/18. Two doubles, one double took one of the two fish, other got off. One double, caught both fish. Took Five all together. (Take Five)

Fish were 10 to 18 pounds. Dropped lines just south of the 14's and finished up at the 11 mark. Headed south and never turned around. Started in 85 ft of water and never was deeper than 115. Riggers set at 60 to 75 feet. Free slider took fish too. Dipsey at 130' approx. Click for Wayne's 5 King Limit

Most notable thing that I did was, a diver tripped with a fish while i was working on a double and it got off. I left it out there while I finished fighting fish. Dropped the fish in the box and a reel started screaming. l Only line I had it was the TRIPPED dipsey about 140' back. Another amazing thing about this was, my trolling motor quit while I was fighting and my electric motor was the only thing running. I was at 1.3 speed and the salmon grabbed it.

Anyway here are the picks. All on your GREAT tackle!"  Wayne J aka Take Five

5/25/18  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

5/23/18   Been laid low by a nasty cold for the past week and have no current fishing info from Manistee, or Ludington, MI.  Need some water time and soon.  Forecast for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend looks decent.  Highs in the 70s with showers for Friday evening and Saturday morning.  After that it's clear sailing.

5/22/18  Guest update from Wayne J who helped out with last weekend's Tight Lines for Troops event in Manistee, MI.               Click for some of the fish caught

"While volunteering for Tight Lines for Troops, I had a chance to snap a couple of fish boxes.  They had a larger than usual catch which consisted of approx 70% lake trout.  I also saw several kings pushing 20 pounds.  Good time for our veterans, Wayne J."

5/21/18  Salmon Buster™ spoon have now caught all the major cold water species in MI.  Coho, Pink, King and Atlantic Salmon have been checked off the list.  Along with Browns, Lake Trout and Steelhead have all fell victim to my creation.   As little as I fish nowadays this is quite an accomplishment to be proud of!

5/19/18  Misclassified the fish we caught on 5/16/18.  I was not a Coho, but a small Atlantic Salmon.  Website contributor, fishing friend and DNR census taker Julie S brought this to my attention. Here's what Julie had to say:

John, Was just looking at that fish you caught the other day. You mentioned it was a coho. I looked at it and it’s an Atlantic salmon. That fish came over from Lake Huron one of the planted sites Alpena St Mary’s LSSU plant OSCODA or Lexington.

These fish are moving around. Would you have approx length and also did you see any kind of fin clip. The ad is there so I’m thinking a fish planted from LSSU which would be one of the pectoral fins or ventral fins. Want to send this info in to our biologist. JULIE S

                   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>  My Reply <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Hi Julie, Looked at that fish long and hard, counted anal rays too.
Just did not see the x and y dots I seen on Atlantics caught in the past.
Spots on gill plates were there, but none too circular.

What raised my suspicion as how to classify fish was the scales were tight,
not like spring coho, with scales falling out. Click fish in question 

Ad fin is there, far side pec fin? ....don't remember taking notice of that.
I'd say it was 21-22 inches long. We did release this fish. Thanks for noticing, John

                  >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Julie's Reply <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

John, The coho just don’t have any spots at all as well as on the gill plates like you indicated. Another good observation was this fish wasn’t loosing any scales.
Another thing is that atlantics to me have a long pointy nose and there body is long and streamlined. This is a younger fish so it may not have the x y dots but just looking at the picture  I do see those spots highly indicating it’s an Atlantic to me. I’ll be sending it into our biologist and get confirmation.  But I’m pretty sure it’s an Atlantic.
Thanks for the information. Julie S. 


5/18/18  The new good old days are back for S Lk. MI ports for Kings to and past 20 pounds.  For those of us that fish central Lk. MI ports like Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington one good blow from the S could push that big herd on our doorstep.  Last week of May and 1st of June traditionally best for Manistee according to my past experiences.

5/18/18  The new good old days are back for S Lk. MI ports for Kings to and past 20 pounds.  For those of us that fish central Lk. MI ports like Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington one good blow from the S could push that big herd on our doorstep.  Last week of May and 1st of June traditionally best for Manistee according to my past experiences.

5/17/18  Fished out of my home port of Manistee, Mi yesterday morning.  Lines went in the h2o at 6am and we pulled around 8am.  During this time Todd B and I cut a 5 mile swath thru Lk. MI 200' wide (bird rods).  Our troll path was a loop in the harbor out to 150' deep.
              Never marked any bait and a hardly any fish around the harbor.  Trolled out the the shelf to the 150' depths and it was bare screen on the Raymarine and Simrad.
              3 sonar types being: 50kz (broad beam), 200kz (pin point) and a 455kz (side scan) all showed next to nothing.  So, quitting early looked like the wise choice.
              Did catch a small Coho on the HRP Laser Salmon Buster™ 4.0 that saved us from the dreaded black kitty.  This fish hit a free slider on the port rigger down 50'.
              Please keep in mind, our lack luster results only apply to where we trolled & other boats could have a far better story.  Click 5/16/18 Atlantic HRP Laser 4.0
              Not to fear, a few days of SW wind and Manistee could be rip-city for spring Kings.  Know there was bait around the harbor last Sunday from reliable reports, but recent N winds possibly could have shifted the bait S.  Good news the surface of Lk. MI was 44° on the shelf and lots pollen for bait fish food was present over the deep water.

5/16/18  Today's featured photo cannot be faked by holding out in front of the camera lens to make it look larger.  The spoon is an Icy Blue Salmon Buster™ 4.0 with custom powder blue over holographic ice chips we make in the shop.
               The actual size relationship of a 4" spoon against a Ludington, MI spring King shows how girthy and rotund this year's crop is.  The worrisome part? ...where are the future generations of smaller Kings we need down the road? Click Icy Blue spoon

5/15/18  Focus today will not be on me in the form of a fish report.  Focus will be on a program that works in difficult situations on inshore Kings in water less than 50' deep.
              We all know Kings get touchy after the sun comes up.  Factor in high sun, tabletop flat calm water with Mr. K Salmon in the top 25' in the water column.  Sun penetration makes Kings very wary on lure presentation that slows the bite a lot after the 1st hour of daylight.  Check out the flat-calm water on 5/13/18 trip
             Being this is about inshore spring Kings in the early season, the only thing going for you is more than likely the water will be off-color, or stained.  Line shyness is lessened.
             Found that stretching the rigger leads to 80' to 100' back that big guy Kings will eat my Salmon Busters™ 4.0s in tough conditions at 2.5 mph (plus, or minus .3 tenths).
Most of my trolling time in my Ludington trips has been spent in water 35'-40' deep.
             Water temp is what it is.  Caught good numbers of Kings in 36°-38° water.  Warmer in close is better, because it attracts bait and grows plankton the bait chow on.
             Been using Slide Diver rods on 20# test mono for each side of the boat.  Lead behind the diver has been 40' to 50' with 55' to 65' of line off the reel, dialed on 3.  Worthy to note:  Slide diver rods have taken my 2 largest jumbo Kings (38 & 39 inches).
             In 6 hours of lines in the water we've caught 4 Kings from 15 to over 20 pounds while marking hardly any bait and scant few fish marks. 
             So, this program does work on the small numbers of spooky Kings I've been able to drive over in central Lk. MI not noted usually ...for a good early May spring King fishery.
             Tomorrow?'s Icy Blue spoon pic explained: Click 5/13/18 Icy Blue

5/14/18   It was  my great pleasure to fish out of Ludington, MI yesterday morning with longtime fishing bud, John J.  Had lines in the water from around 8am until we pulled at 11:30am.  This reel story will conclude tomorrow after we clear out our workload crush of orders that came in after the weekend.

5/12/18  Have a great Mothers Day Weekend!

5/11/18  Like flipping a switch, the weather warmed up and so did the fishing.  Lk. MI reports from MI City, IN to South Haven have all been more than decent.  These ports are the ones I have info for.  I expected Saugatuck and Holland will be next on the hit parade.
              Icy Blue Salmon Buster™ 4.0 has proven itself to be a winner in Ludington for Capn. Kirk and myself.  The power blue over ice chips is a custom tape done in-house.
              Did get some excellent video of both of the Kings Todd B and I caught.  Each of our jumbo Kings took better then 20 minutes to land.  So, there's a lot of great action shots that will be shared with you down the road.  Click Icy Blue Salmon Buster™ 4.0

5/10/18  Another fresh on-the-water report from Ludington skipper, Capn Kirk that came in yesterday afternoon.  He had a mixed bag that chowed on the Icy Blue and Gold Crushed Orange (GOC).  Last I spoke to him he was around the harbor and getting ready to pull lines.
              Now, for part II of my 5/8/18 Ludington event.  We had lines in the water from 4:00pm until we pulled at 6:30pm.  Quitting early yes, it was building to 2 and 3 footers and our 2 Slide Diver rods needed to be redone.  Slide Divers are a great tool, but a pain to re-thread in a bouncy-rocking boat going N in a SW cross beam sea.  Click Todd's 38" King
              Total sum output was 2 Kings for the 2 1/2 hours.  Reel-story is size.  A 36" and 38" jumbo spring Kings are quality hard fighting fish that will test you and your tackle.  Do know, we were geared too light.  Upgrading the 15# test mono to 20#!

5/9/18  Part 2 of yesterday's special delivery update is my fish report for Ludington, MI.  Afternoon started off great around 4pm with calm seas our 1st King of the 2018 season. 
            This fish came not too long after lines-in around 5pm.  This was a line ripping devil fish off our 25' down rigger over 40' of water.  This 36" King liked to cross track and tangle into our bird 1/2 cores.  20 minutes was run off the clock to defeat this spunky King.
            Flavor of the day on this fish was Capn Kirk's Icy Blue 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon.  Reel easy for me to figure out to run after Kirk's glowing report.  Click for this King
            Much to my surprise we did find surface temp in the low 50s not that far from the harbor.  This was missed by the satellite map.  Tomorrow? 2 ...a 38" monster

5/8/18  Yesterday, it was game-on for Ludington's early & late season specialist, Capn. Kirk.  He boated 2 Browns, 2 Kings and 3 Lakers during his morning trip.  Kirk said, "most of my fish came on the Salmon Buster™ 4.0 in the Icy Blue pattern." Click Kirk's catch
             Today's reel story began with a phone call from Capn. Kirk around noon.  He was catching fish on the Icy Blue pattern and needed more.  Seeing I was going to fish Lk. MI, shifted my plan from Manistee to Ludington to make a special delivery to my longtime friend and UPS driver (he's now retired) for over 10 years. Click Capn. Kirk's special delivery

5/7/18  This past weekend's Coho Classic Tournament held in MI City, IN had some very impressive catches of spring Kings to 23 pounds.  Most all pro boats weighed-in their 10 Kings.  This is the good news we've all been waiting for!
             Fishing this afternoon for yours truly.  I see this as a scouting mission with low expectations on fish.  Seeing the main body of Lk. MI off Manistee still stuck in the chilly high 30s.  Plan is to drive around as fast as we can to get a good sonar bounce off bait.  Then, go from there.  Will check out the shelf if the weather plays nice.

5/5/18  Rumblings that spring Kings are beginning to show up in S Lk. MI. 
                                    Have a great weekend!

5/4/18  Gulley washer last night. has predicted calm seas for most of next week.  Their link to Manistee no longer exists and have to use the forecast for Big Point Sable.  5 days of flat water, count me in!  Click Windfinder info

5/3/18  Reports on spring Kings are hard to come by.  Heard a few were caught out of St. Joe on Lk. MI, but that report was dated.  Good news is wind and weather is going to be greatly improved thru next week.
            Traditionally, the 3rd week of May in June is when spring Kings become available in good numbers in central Lk. MI.  History awaits to tell this story.

5/2/18  Limbo land for my fishing plans until next week.  We're supposed to get abut 2" of rain by this weekend with enough wind to keep me off the pond.  Forecast for next week looks a lot better.  Still searching for a good report on Kings from trusted sources.
             April weather, failed trailer brakes and  non functioning electric choke have burned up about a month of my season.  Recent warm weather should help improve fishing.

5/1/18  Today's chat is focused on a tech tip that can save you major boat grief.

Case in Point: Four years ago upgraded my boat to an Edelbrock carburetor with an electric choke wired to a terminal in the keyed ignition.  4 years later the blade fuse in the fuse holder corroded just enough to prevent electric contact.  Making the motor run extremely rich and funky.  The choke was not opening.  Trouble shooting led to the blade inline fuse.
             If I had been smart enough to pay heed to today's tech tip: Dielectric Silicon Compound (a waxy grease) should have been used during fuse holder installation.
             12 volt DC current electrical issues are a pain in the butt we can all live without.  Religiously using Dielectric can prevent a lot of them.  Click Dielectric tube/fuses

Date color codes: red above 32°  blue below 32°

4/30/18  Good riddance to April 2018 that was an extension of winter.  Tomorrow, hello May and all the promise of the 2018 big lake season.  Long range sea and wind forecast is looking very favorable towards the end of this week.
               May is usually the Kings show up.  First, in S Lk. MI.  Then, the action moves N at a pace nobody can predict.  Should have all my boat issues taken care of today.  Ready to hit the pond ASAP depending on workload and weather.
               One piece of news I forgot to share about Manistee, MI? ...this year weeds have not been a problem like the past 2, or 3.  Yet to reel in a fouled lure in 5 hrs of troll time. 

4/29/18  The outlook to fish Manistee's part of  Lk. MI this week is not good.  Best day to go is this coming Thursday, but there's predicted thunderstorms & rain to contend with.
              Been looking at a trip to S Lk. Huron.  This is a wind sheltered coast (mostly).  Port Sanilac and Lexington still have decent opportunities for spring fishing.  Until my boat is in perfect mechanical condition? ...long cross-state road trips are out of the question.

4/28/18  This season is off to a slow start.  Winter extending into April has been a big setback.  This should change quick with Lk. MI gaining water temp.  Wide ranging reports on spring Kings has been almost non existent ...yet?  Lots of questions only time will answer.
              My deal is to be 100% ready by conquering all boat issues this week.  So, when the Kings finally do show up I won't be missing days on the drink.  Great Lakes fishing boats have a lot of complex systems to keep in tip top shape.  Ignoring them is not an option!

4/27/18   Boat issues are to be expected and always unwelcomed.  Electric choke on my boat's GM small block's carburetor needs some major adjustment.  So far, this spring had trailer brake's surge master cylinder fail.  Now, the carburetor is acting goofy?  Guess this is one of the many reasons carburetors are no longer used in the auto industry.
              There are some fish to be caught in Manistee, MI.  This will only get better as our weather has finally warmed up.  70s next week has been a long time in coming.
               Know my 4/24/18 program missed the mark.  5 colors of lead core (5 x 30' =150') should have been in the program.  3 hits, 2 at 19' down and 1 at 15' down off our riggers on long 100' leads at 2.5 mph troll speed is right in the zone of 1/2 cores.
                                      Have a great weekend!

4/26/18  When fishing is tough, the cream rises to the top.  Once again the Gold Crushed Orange Salmon Buster 4.0 proved to be our anti-skunk devise.  Click for LT & spoon
              All 3 of our bites on this past Tuesday's Manistee trip came on this deadly spoon.  Had 4 other patterns in the mix with our 6 rod spread, but the fish only want to hit this one certain color.  Need to try harder to find more colors/patterns when time allows.
              Several new boat upgrades were tested and refined.  New operating system in my Raymarine C127 is spectacular with more options in sonar, radar and GPS.  I'd rank this is one of my best marine electronics purchases ever.  To have a machine that's 6 years old brought up to present day standards without costing a dime is wonderful!

4/25/18  Yesterday, Todd B and I did not get skunked out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  That in itself is a victory considering the small amount of fish and bait we marked.  A Lone Ranger Lake Trout saved us from the dreaded black kitty!
               Did have 2 other nibbles, but you can't count swings and misses!
               Water temp inside the harbor was 46°.  Main body of Lk. MI was 39° once you cleared the stained harbor water.  Did not fish on the beach.  Opted for 30'-50' depths and stayed fairly close to the harbor.  Had lines in the water from 8:15am thru 11:30am.  Would have fished a little longer, but only marked 2 very small pockets of bait in 30' of water.
                Knew when we launched the boat is was going to be a tough go.  There were zero sea gulls about.  Usually, if the harbor is loaded with bait? ...gulls are there in force.
                Today's featured pic of Todd B holding a lake trout that can be improved with fill flash on a cloudy day.  Photo on the left is auto setting.  Photo on the right has fill flash to get rid of dark shadows and enhance said picture.  Click side by side LT photo

4/24/18  Gone Fishin' sign is back up today.  Several video systems and boat upgrades will be tested.  Foresee a tough trip and hope for a fish, or 2.  Even no fish can be tolerated after 4 weeks of cold snowy April that kept the fleet off the water.

4/23/18  Finally hit over 60° at may place in Manistee, MI.  Yesterday was the warmest we've seen since late last October (6 months).  My warm stuff ahead too.
              Holding back until tomorrow to fish Lk. MI out of Manistee.  Cloud cover, calm seas and rest from the weekenders makes waiting an extra day a safe bet.  I have no illusions of grandeur of easy, fast fishing.  I foresee a struggle till we get warmer water.
             This will be a month since my last trip.  New boat upgrades and fixing boat trailer brakes has been the holdup.  Better to have issues now and not primetime summer!  

4/22/18   Not quite tee-shirt weather for Manistee, MI (58°).  Playing the waiting game and letting Lk. MI's temp build.  Last year we had some decent sized schools of Alewives come close to the pier heads in Manistee and Ludington.  This bait brought fair numbers of hungry Kings with them last April and May.  Hoping this happens again this year.
               New Raymarine operating system is like having a brand new machine.  Lot's of new features and adjustability the 2012 OS did not have.  Minor downside is having to learn how to use all the new settings and configure them.  Upgrade was more than worth it considering this multi function display (MFD) was 6 years old.  Being able to extend the service life of our marine electronics is a technologic marvel for all.

4/21/18  2018 boat upgrades seem to be done for now.  Tested the Fish Hawk probe to transducer connection and it passed the test on dry land.
               Installing the Raymarine's new V 19.03 Light House operating system in my C127 MFD came off without a hitch.  Rewriting any OS can be scary.
               Ok, now it's time to bear down on fishing.  Checked Manistee's harbor cams yesterday.  Seen zero boats trolling in the vicinity of the pier heads.  You could surmise fishing is slow, or the home town fleet would have been out in force.
               My deal with fishing is waiting on the water temp to come up.  Even checked the S end of Lk. Huron and the main body came in at 36°.  Lk. MI. is 37°-38°.
               Will be fishing soon now that all the boat gremlins have been chased off.

4/20/18  Today is the unofficial reboot of Spring Part II 2018.  1st month of spring part I was an extension of winter weather.  So, let's look forward to warmer days ahead.
               Going to try updating my C127 Raymarine multi function display today.  Been researching the dos and don'ts, including 2 calls to tech support.
               Being able to bring a 2012 machine to current day standards shows Raymarine is not playing the planned obsolescence game.  Making this a wise purchase by sheer luck.
               If the Lk. MI fishing wasn't so touchy, I'd have left well enough alone and not bothering to go down the road of updating/rewriting Raymarine's operating code.

4/19/18  Up until the 2015 season a shotgun approach to your Salmon program was probably going to work OK.  By "shotgun" I mean to spray everything in sight in a broad pattern.  That all changed in the dreadful 2015 season on Lk. MI with diminished numbers of Kings available.  Nowadays, you need a focused clear sniper program with precision targeting in depth and trolling speed.
               Eliminating reliance on luck to fill your box with every advantage that comes with awareness of the clues you have to work it.  Sonar/fish finders require constant monitoring.
               That's why this season I'm working to update my 2012 Raymarine C127 12" multi function display with the latest updates.  My 12" C127 is running version 3.15 and does not support the Raymarine newest apps for Bluetooth.  Updating will be done in 2 steps.  1st is to update to version 13.  Then to step it up to V19 in another update.  I've never done this before and very concerned about the outcome.
              If I can get the updates successfully installed, there will be a tablet for the crew to monitor at arms reach so they can see what I see (in case something in missed).  Besides, this brings the crew into total participation at at all times as it should.
              Know this is a great idea for charter operations, because customers always want to see the sonar and have it explained to them.  With Bluetooth connectivity  they can have their own display and feel more in the loop.

4/18/18  Today's featured photo is Blue Tooth connection of my Android cell photo to Fish Hawk's X4D depth, down-temp and speed unit. Click side by side Bluetooth photo
               This was the easiest device to date to hookup BT with.  No passwords, or usernames to enter.  Just download the app from Fish Hawk to your tablet, or cell phone and it's a done deal.  Presto-amazo, no muss, no fuss!
               Having a display in your pocket makes finding temp a stay in place and run the rigger until you find the temp you're looking for.  What a tremendous advantage this is to be done right at the rigger and not having to look forward to read the main display!
               I can foresee in the future a heads-up display info transferring all fishing info into wearable eyeglasses.  Thusly, eliminating for cell phone and tablet displays.  It took me a while to catch on to how valuable Bluetooth remote functioning is.

4/17/18  Last Friday a 5' to 8' storm surge, or seiche pushed the water over the breakwalls in Manistee and Ludington, MI.  This seiche was a reverse water (mini sunami) flow that did a lot of damage during the onset of last Friday's thunderstorm.
              Manistee's City Marina lost a lot of their docks.  Manistee's Riverwalk was closed too.  Traverse City's Channel 7 news said the MDOT was inspecting Manistee's US31 and Washington Street drawbridges for damage.  Click more Manistee Marina info
             Will find out today if Manistee's 1st Street Launch is in full operation.  During the storm the U.S.C.G closed Manistee's harbor to all navigation. Click seiche explained

4/16/18  Lots to look forward to with the delayed start of the 2018 season for central MI ports.  Colder than normal water temps has put fishing on hold.  The future is bright for this year, because whatever fish are there, haven't been beat on yet.
              Nasty snow, sleet, rain and ice storm missed Manistee, MI for the most part.  Snow accumulation was several inches N of M72.  Heard Green Bay, WI got close to 2' of snow as this winter-like storm threw the last punch will have to take from Mr. Winter.
             Best news is towards the end of this week we'll actually see temps in the 50s.  My first trip in March (3 weeks ago) exposed failed boat upgrades that are fixed now.  So, I'm more then ready and look forward to get fishing again.

4/15/18  Railing against lousy tech support from manufacturers doesn't solve any problems.  Sharing with you an item to check before purchasing any boat trailer is a much better road.  Search engines will pick this and help others in the future.
               Safety on the road begins with your trailer's braking system in an emergency accident avoiding panic stop.  Click PDF of discontinued LP 80 actuator
               My Trailmaster boat trailer used an actuator from Tiedown to activate the dual axel disk brakes.  This master cylinder blew out and was informed by tech support from both companys there was no replacement .  Tech support at Tiedown used Google to say as much ...with zero hands-on experience, or complete mastery of what they sold.
               Was able to cross reference a replacement master cylinder and do a fix after I was told to cut the old one off and weld a new one on from Trailermaster, or J. Q. Tex Inc.
              Welding a new nose on would have meant I'd have a painted trailer.  Exactly, what was avoided when I paid extra for a galvanized trailer.  Painted trailers look fine for a year, or 2.  Then, road chips from gravel dings the paint off and starts a constant cycle
of repainting.  Guess it a matter of pride with me not having a rusty weather beaten trailer.

4/14/18  Rain changing to freezing rain, then 3" of snow is on tap for Manistee, MI today. 
               Been battling surge brake issues with poor advice from Trailmaster, the manufacturer of my trailer and TieDown the company that made the brake actuator, then discontinued it when Tiedown was purchased by another outfit.
               Their solution was to cut the broken system off and re-weld a brand new hydraulic disk brake actuator back on.  This is pure total BS, because I have a galvanized trailer and it's going to stay that way.  Photos & full story tomorrow....

4/13/18  Friday the 13th update is about the onslaught of an April winter storm.  Rain, freezing rain, snow and high winds are on the way for this weekend.  This storm will likely disable my satellite internet connection.  So, this could be my last chat until Monday.
              Thanks to all that purchased the 2018 reel-deals with 18% off.  Both flasher deals are very close to being sold out.  There are more spoon deals left.  Click 2018 specials

4/12/18  Fishing out of Manistee has been no big deal when boats can get out.  Weather and wind has kept the local fleet dockside for the most part.  I'm hearing maybe a fish for every 2-3 hours of trolling time.  This should improve when the water warms up even a little.  Bright spot is few reports of King Salmon being caught around the harbor with rarity.

4/11/18  On April 19, 2018  Sea Grant is hosting a meeting at 7:00pm till 9:20pm at the Moose Lodge in South Haven, MI.  The Moose Lodge is located at 1025 Wells Street, South Haven, MI 49090.  Know several of our website members fish this part of Lk. MI.  Being held on a Thursday evening makes this event easy to attend.  Lake-wide management plan and stocking options are topics to be covered.  Click Sea Grant Meeting info

4/10/18  Going to muster the courage today to work on my boat.  It's sat since 3/28 when the weather got nasty.  Temperature for Manistee is running 20°-25° below the norm.
              Keep looking without success for a window to fish Lk. MI again.  Issue is when the wind's not blowing, there's rain, freezing rain and snow in the forecast.
              Expanding on yesterday's talk on temp for Kings.  Wrote a 2 part article in 2008 more, or less dedicated to this subject.  Click Eaters, or Biters
             In the later 1970s, thru the 1980s, until the mid-later 1990s the fleet keyed in on 54° religiously.  Then, more and more catches of Kings came in colder water as these fish adapted.  Now, it's no big deal to pull Kings out of 38° water.  Prior to the mid 1990s this  was unheard of.  A few years back, in April caught Kings 150'-200' down in 36° water out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  These deep fish were very lethargic, but still hit meat.

4/9/18  7° at my place in Manistee at daybreak this past Sunday shows the chokehold the extended version of winter has on MI.  Maybe, spring 2018 will really happen this week?
             Speaking of temp I see Fish Hawk's X4D's preferred temperature for Kings is now 44°.  This is a 10° lower then their old handheld temp gauge said.
              The round circular gauge in today's featured photo was introduced in the later 1970s.  This old style is probe is on a 200' cable with rock solid in performance & longevity.
                            Click old vs. new Fish Hawk recommend temp guides
             It cannot be overstated on the importance of down-temp and how Salmon relate to it.  My findings? ...cold water (38°-44°) is best for a dedicated meat program.  Salmon hanging around 54° water are more apt to hit flasher/fly and all types of artificial lures.

4/8/18  Marine electronic manufacturers who stand behind their products are to be judged by the way warranty issues are handled with no muss, no fuss.
            My 1st trip of 2018 was a test run on the new XD4 purchased last winter.  Upon start the unit flashed, then shut off and restarted on it's own.  Came to find out display ser. #8282 was defective from the factory by running tech support tests dockside.
            Karen from Fish Hawk said she'd have a replacement X4D (ser. #13405) out the door ASAP with a return label to their company address in Brainerd, MN. 
           Making this the best tech/replace marine electronics dealer I've ever dealt! 
           Hope this later model head/display 5000 units later will work as supposed to.  
           It's not necessary to have rigger down temp and speed the catch Great lakes fish.  Caught 1000s without a probe.  It's is worthy if you lack confidence, or experienced enough to read the angle of your rigger cables. Click replacement X4D (D is for depth)
           My main reason and only reason was to see the depth at the ball where the temp is compared to where the break shows up on the sonar.  Sonar readings only mark accurate distance from the transducer and do not allow for rigger angle, carry-back, or sway.
                                (tomorrow 54 to 44 degree Kings?)

4/7/18  Salmon Ambassadors program data from 2014 to 2017 in a brief report has been made available to the public.  Over 8000 Kings have been tallied.  Naturally reproduced Kings is skewed against planted Kings, because of the very low stocking numbers.
             Do know we have fewer Kings.  But the size is larger.  Also, the run is mostly over by Labor Day.  That's a good 2 weeks earlier then is used to be.  Click S-A data

4/6/18  Good news for next week as a gradual warming trend begins mid week 
                                      Have a great weekend!

4/5/18   Donating to a good cause for the Great Lakes fishing public doesn't come around very often.  In my Sea Grant's Fish Notes page found that MSU was recruiting college students to analyze stomach contents from Great Lakes fish and need $8500 for this study.  Presently, this study is about only about 1/2 funded.  Click for more info
             This is a huge win-win situation by helping our fishery and college students. 
If everyone that visits this website donates 10 bucks we can help meet their goal. 
I donated 10 bucks and believe many of you will after reading the MSU info page. 
        Results from this study will directly help our fishery with more knowledge gained!

4/4/18  The 2018 season has hit the pause button in Manistee, MI from a return of Mr. Winter who refuses to fade away into the sunset.  Do know whatever the temperature of LK. MI is, wind blowing across makes daytime highs more, or less meaningless.
             Next window I see that presents an opportunity to fish again is about a week from today when the wind shift to the south and conditions improve.
             Tomorrow a good story about a marine electronics manufacturer that stands behind their product with no questions asked.

4/3/18   Bright spot on my trip last week?  Being able to record video for up to 8 hours with a 128 Micro SD card continuously.  Camera never runs out of power, because it's on a direct feed from a USB outlet installed some weeks back. Click radar dome angle
              Radar angle has to be tweaked slightly.  I do not want to shoot over smaller, low profile vessels.   Radar allows for fishing in the fog.  This is good due to the low light that helps  keep the fish active.  Radar is a must for fishing in restricted visibility.  If you fish out of a port that has freighters, or a car ferry like Ludington?  Radar lets you know how to stay safely out of the way of large ships.  Fog can roll in anytime, but it's most likely in May and June when warm weather meets a cold lake, causing advection fog.

4/2/18  Yesterday's cruel April Fools joke on Manistee, MI was a return to hard winter and snow.  Forecast for this week is miserable too.  More snow and cold is on the way.
             Without failure there is no success.  Had 4 system failures on my 1st trip of 2018 last week.  Newly installed Fish Hawk down temp and speed was a bust with a faulty readout, or head unit.  More on this soon, ...hopefully, there is a happy ending.
             Remote dual channel wireless sound system didn't work.  Learned both mics cannot be on the same channel due to cross talk interference.  This was not mentioned in the user manual.  Sound tests ran yesterday sound tests and this might be fixed.
             Worst fail was a diver rod in the rocket launcher kept bumping the camera in short choppy 2'-3' seas.  Making the video of our 1st fish in 2018 a reel-test in motion sickness.
             Minor fail was the angle of the new Raymarine that needs less angle.  All fails will be fixed and topics for this week's chat sessions.  Click radar dome angle fail

3/31/18  Have a great Easter Weekend.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

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

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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