October 6, 2007 this time study began
Manistee County, MI
By Capt. John King
Then, updated every year
You Tube video taken
on Oct. 7, 2012
Understanding just how
to catch fish on the Great Lakes is only one part of the life cycle of our
Great Lakes fish. The salmon leave Lake Michigan and
enter the rivers, or streams to come full circle. Procreating the
future generations. Some things are too important for being
buried in my Captain's Log entries and this is one of them. That's
the motive behind this page.
If you compare photo number 5 (shot with flash on) and photo number 6, you'll see how nature protects these fish. This would be more self evident if the Salmon were in a undercut deep bank in 5 feet of water. As the salmon age, some type of fungus starting growing on the fish in case you were wondering what the white splotches were. Steelhead in the spring will exhibit this same type of markings after spawning, just like the Salmon do.
Movies 1 & 2 are better suited for dialup users. I recommend movies 3 & 4 for high speed connections, ...unless you have a lot of patience with dial up. Please keep in mind, I am not a Steven Spielberg, or George Lucus, but you will capture the natural flavor of being in the creek with waders on, sloshing around amidst naturally reproducing Salmon.
things in the first person can give a better handle on what goes on during the spawning
process. The movies should give you a pretty good idea. You'll see fish
spawning in less than a foot of water and in most cases, the fish will be on
gravel. Left undisturbed, spawning Salmon are loud from the
thrashing around. They do this splashing stuff in an effort to bury/anchor the eggs under
gravel. That way the water flow provides oxygen to the fertilized eggs.
In photo numbers 7 and 8 you'll see free floating eggs that drifted into slack water. With the tons of eggs being dropped, a large amount will not get buried under gravel.
whole spawning ritual is directed propagation of the species. The
number of eggs in a female is a number higher than anyone would want to count
(thousands). Natural spawning is highly
Kinda between a rock and a hard place about making location public due to slob
litterbugs. There's proof the stream fishermen do not respect this place like
they should. The location is the Huff Road Bridge. It's
about 4 to 5 miles east of Wellston, MI. Huff Road is tee road
that runs off the north of M55. If you do visit this place, or any
other stream, please
pack your junk out with you. That one spawn bottle left behind
gives all fishermen a bad name.
Since this page was completed 3-4 years ago the Salmon run
in the natural Trout Stream has fell off a cliff. DNR cut the
Chinook/King Salmon plant by 25% with all states surrounding Lk. MI doing
the same. Visual record from 2007 thru 2010 shows a 75% decline in
Salmon returning to this stream. Not a 25% decline like our DNRs had
planned for. Here's some photos to prove my point:
All below photos were taken in early October show a shrinking Salmon run on the same exact gravel bar on Pine Creek. 2010 had noticeably smaller Salmon and the run came later than the previous 3 seasons with less fish. 2011 shows in a definite increase in fish, but didn't see the jumbo over 20 pounders we caught during the July, August, and September big lake season.
2014 thru 2018 fish numbers have stabilized. 2018
had more and a little larger year class of Kings spawning. 2019
might had a fewer Kings, but the water was high and stained.
Making it difficult to get a reel-count. These
are visual observations and a long ways from a rock-solid scientific
study. 2020 had a marked increase in spawning Kings all 36" of
less. This is a mystery stream, because the over 20 pounders on
Lk. MI are seldom seen here.
It's been a pleasure to share this page, photos and movies with you. Majority of fishing articles are written by all are designed with underlying motive to sell you some kind of product. Pages like this break with that tradition and are a super reel-pleasure for me to do.
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