Results for April thru June 2002

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

June 2002

6/30/02  Lately it seems that I've developed an uncanny knack and ability to be at least 10 miles away from any major concentrations of fish.  The same area that wouldn't produce for me last evening was the place to be this afternoon.  Needless to say, I gave up on the inshore shelf fishery to the south after last evening's very meager results.  Go figure, because I can't stay with the sparse pockets of fish we do have living off Manistee, these fish are on a constant move!
    The bright spot about the afternoon's outing was that Cara, Grant (T-2), Marge, Alex and Jason were a wonderful group to spent time with.  They displayed extreme patience and understanding only experienced anglers possess, as I struggled to box a couple of fish.  Our grand total was a Steelhead and a Lake Trout for our efforts.

6/29/02  Fished with Richard and Lyle on a 4 hour sunset trip.  We had about 7, or 8 hits and boated 5 fish.  Now this sounds a lot better than actually what occurred, because 3 of the fish were Salmon midgets, that were promptly released.
So, we ended up with a halfway decent Laker and a 5 pound juvenal King.  I downgraded the Manistee rating to fair, because it's been tough fishing for me and for most part, of the rest of the fleet too!  

6/28/02  My guests for today's non-event were Lyle and Richard.  I made a bad call and ventured to far north and west to get us into a decent catch.  After about 3 hours of trying to make something out of nothing, I decided to re-schedule the trip for this evening.  The deep water fish I had been working were not there.  Oh, yeah, we did have about 6, or 7 hits and boated 4 fish, all under 6 pounds.

6/27/02  I have a commitment from the legendary "Big Jon" Emory to participate in our upcoming Picnic-Tourney on July the 6th, 2002.  Jon will be there to fish and demonstrate some brand new products for us.  I consider the inventor and former manufacturer  of Big Jon Inc. an extremely welcome addition to our get together.  It's not too late to sign up for the team event either.  For further information on the July the 6th deal, I can be reached in the evenings after 9:00pm at: (800) 552-2009, or E-mail me at: 
   The Port Reports Page is updated from the weekend reports that I received.  This week's reports were slower than normal, as Salmon fishing from the southern ports on Lakes Michigan and Huron has typically diminished during late June.

6/26/02  Gonna be busy today updating  Statewide Port Reports Page, having just returned home from a lengthy trip.  I had forgot what a marvelous parking lots expressways turn into when a large semi, carrying bags of topsoil jackknifes, spills his load and closes off all but one lane on northbound US27 around Plymouth, Michigan late yesterday afternoon.  Man, am I glad I don't live downstate anymore!
   Went to Cabela's in Dundee, MI for the first time yesterday too, the museum idea kinda messes with tackle shopping.  The check-out line there is beyond terrible. 

6/23/02 Big Steelhead was the story over the weekend here in Manistee.  Beautiful chrome silver bullets were there for the taking over 400 to 800 feet of water right on the surface, off the "birds."
    Normally, I have the Statewide Port Updates Page published today, as they come in from the weekend.  But, legal testimony on my part will delay the updates until Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.  Please keep the reports coming in, because of the help they afford all of us in our quest to catch more and larger fish.  Click here for catch photo

6/22/02  Due to T-storms this morning we left the dock at 2pm and headed for deep water with the Earl Houston party.  The anglers for this evenings event were Earl, Aaron, Jay, Harry and Len.  While we didn't exactly set the world on fire we did have 10 hard hits and boated 7 fish.  We had 3 Steelhead, a Laker and a King pushing 14 pounds on a very pleasant afternoon-evening on Lake Michigan. 

6/21/02  Fished the Ladies Day Tournament with Bev, Linda, Kendra, and Kim. We ended up kinda respectable with a 18 fish total for the outing.  Our catch included 5 Kings (3 released) to 12 pounds, 3 Steelhead to 9 pounds and 10 Lake Trout to 16 pounds. Today's tourney is a weigh you best 5 fish deal and our total weight was 45 pounds, as we finished in 16th place out of the 55 boats entered.       Click here for our team's dockside catch photo
All the gals did an mind-boggling job by handling the netting duties flawlessly, hooking their own fish, never missing a strike and landing every fish. 100 per cent is perfect in my book and so were, each and every fun-loving lady that enhanced my day with their exquisite presence.  My team was totally beyond awesome today! Click here for fish tips & report  

6/21/02am  Predicted fairly calm seas and warm temperatures will grace the Ladies Day Tournament at the 6:00am blast off this morning.  The boat is ultra-ready  and the extremely sexy gals (see 1st Mates photo below) are ready to fish in string bikinis, or less!  Check back later this evening for brand new exciting photos, complete results, of how we and the rest of the field did.  

6/20/02  Tried to get off the dock this afternoon, but the hawk (wind) was out and that cheezed the grand plan for some pre-tourney research.  Oh well, we'll just have to wing it on Friday, because tournament rules prevent evening fishing, prior to the do.  Can't pre-fish in the morning today, oil change, gas-up, computer duties and book-keeping must be done, before leaving the dock.
     I'm pretty excited about receiving my first shipment of Tiger Braid, as the deep trolling season will soon be upon us.  I haven't found any Spectra "super line" that performs to the standard on this very thin (10 lb. mono diameter) and strong line.  You can get your divers to 100 feet if needed with this stuff.  

6/19/02  Much was accomplished at the marina today.  A new daylight-to-dawn security light, 110V outdoor receptacle, 4 speakers installed, a new horn and an antennae mount was fixed.  Plus, cleaned up where a tree had been cut down last fall and Capt. Mark Pefley cut the grass that Solberg's workers forgot to do.  A  very thorough scrubbing from top to bottom is in the works.  And you thought the charter business was glamorous and all about fishing?  Wrong, the behind the scenes duties are demanding and will keep you on the go.
    Good news, I think most of the work will be done and I'll be able to get off the dock for some research fishing in the late afternoon.  Tune in later for a fresh report and photos. 

6/18/02  The Port Reports from Lake Michigan have been slow to come in, because of all the lumpy water from this past weekend.  Also, in southern Lake Huron the action seemed to have slowed on spring Kings too.  Too busy with "stuff" that words can't describe, trying to get out 800 mailers and the boat ultra-ready for the Ladies Day Huntington Banks Tourney this coming Friday.  
   Plus, I need to make time for an evening, or two for some pre-fishing.  Last year we finished 10th out of 80 some boats and we're hoping to improve in 2002.

6/17/02  According to the reports I received when I was working at my boat dock yesterday, fishing was definitely slow, Sunday morning out of Manistee.  Most boats struggled to catch a fish, or two.  So, the three days of north winds have screwed up the inshore fishing in Manistee temporally. 

6/15/02  I'll be trying to fish Lake Michigan this morning with Dave Draybuck group, although the weather forecast and predicted sea conditions are less than favorable.  This is the second, or maybe third time I've tried to get Dave off the dock, so let's hope for the best today.  Tune in later for fresh updates.
6/15/02 Update  It would have been a great day for flying kites, as I watched 5 foot breakers wash the 5th Avenue Beach this morning at 5am.  My woes continue in trying to get Dave D. off the dock, as a cancellation was necessary for today. 

6/14/02  Yeah Buddy, I've got an excellent fishing report for those of you planning to fish the Manistee-Onekama area this Fathers Day Weekend.  Salmon fishing remains on a tear in Manistee.  Best action was over 110 to 140 feet of water, fishing from 30 to 50 feet down.  Best lures were, bumble bee Pro Kings, blue dolphin DW's and Streaks.  Best area was, straight out of Manistee to Onekama.    Click here for Capt. Tom's website   
    This highly accurate report came the courtesy of Capt. Tom Rasmussen's charter, he had on (6/13/03).  His terrific catch total was, 14 Kings to 17 lbs. and a Lake Trout.  He relayed to me, no one spot out produced another and the action remained steady throughout the trip.  As a side note, it's unusual for Manistee to still be producing this kind of action on Kings this late in June, it just goes to show you, how far behind our spring is really is.   

6/13/02  I'll be working on the lake boat today, because a oil change and a thorough scrub down is in order, charter business remains slow here in Manistee, with most boats not leaving the dock.  While my business has slowed, I know of many who are in worse shape, as the economy in Michigan falters.  No matter what anyone says, Michigan depends on a healthy auto industry.
   I know of a couple of boats fishing today and I should be able to have a fairly accurate new fishing report for you by this evening.  From what I've been able to ascertain from previous reports on Manistee, it still remains that some boats are doing extremely well, with others struggling to get into fish.  What this means to me is, that the fish are in tight pockets and not widely distributed.

6/11/02  Wow!  86 degrees for a high temperature here in Manistee yesterday, makes me think we will have the much awaited summer after all!  The Port Reports are still coming in from both sides of the state.  Lake Huron's thumb region is still producing good Salmon fishing prospects, along with Lake Michigan at Ludington and Manistee.  

6/10/02  I'll be updating the Port Reports page today, as the much welcomed weekend fishing reports filter in.  Still have dock time and maintenance to do, prior to this afternoon's predicted rain and T-storms.  More computer time is in store, because I'm sending out 700 snail mail contact letters to my past charter guests before postage goes up to 37 cents at the end of this month. 

6/9/02  We're finally are having good weekend weather wise, some Steelhead were being taken in 480 to 600 feet of water straight west of Manistee.  Inshore action on spring Salmon is producing some fish in 80 to 200 feet of water on spoons fished from 35 to 65 feet down.  Best bite has been at first light on the Kings. 

6/6/02  Had the grand opportunity me meet and fish with two over-worked fruit growers from South Haven, Michigan named, Mike and Dan.  These anglers were beyond pro-caliber, because they never lost a hooked-up fish today.  We, as a team boated 15 fish (1 released), including 4 Lakers, and 11 Kings to 18.5 pounds for a fairly heavy box, during our half day sojourn on a very calm Lake Michigan.  Click here for our dockside catch photo   
 It was "reel nice" to have a pleasant day with two very congenial fishermen that enjoyed the outing and battling with Mr. King Salmon, as much as I did!
Click here for Mike's website  

6/4/02  Busy today with posting the many new Port Reports that came in from over the weekend, as our reporters continue to share their experiences with us.
Been busy on an extensive remodeling project and didn't push much for spring lake trips, which was kinda good, because of all the lousy weather. The good news is that I've neared project completion and soon will be able to get fishing once again. Look for my "hands on" reports to pick up from Manistee in the near future.  

6/3/02   Fishing success in Manistee continues to be a hit, or miss proposition with only some boats doing well.  While I hate to say it, Ludington looks like a better choice if you're headed north this week to fish Lake Michigan.  From the sound of the Port Reports, I'd say Lake Huron is on it's way to a record year for Kings.
As Paul  Harvey would say, "click here for the rest of the stories"

6/2/02  Lake Huron is producing excellent angling opportunities, along with most of your southern Lake Michigan ports.  Both Ludington and Manistee are telling of some Kings and the surface fishery for Steelhead is starting to yield success.
Click here for
Port Reports page, it's being updated with fresh info as soon the new reports come in.  Dock duties for me tomorrow hooking up a new CD player, so my Ladies Team will have tunes for the upcoming June 21st Ladies Classic Tourney. 

May 2002

5/31/02  Our port reporters continue to be much welcomed "over-achievers" and have made this year's  Port Reports Page the best ever.  I'll be sending out a E-mail contact letter today as fishing in Manistee is decent, but not earth shattering.
         As Paul  Harvey would say, "click here for the rest of the stories"

5/29/02  I had the great opportunity to fish with Harvey and John today, also we were accompanied Manistee's own living legend, Capt. Bud Raskey.  The weather for the morning charter was very unsettled, with fog, rain and even some thunder.  We had 6 hits and boated 3 Kings to 14 pounds and a couple of Lakers. While we didn't exactly set the world on fire with a super heavy fish box, for the conditions presented to us, we did the best, we could do.  Click here for the catch photo
   We left the dock by 6am and have to concede the best bite was at first light according to what information I was able to gather.  The fish were highly scattered and hard to locate as far as I'm concerned, probably due the the weather.

5/28/02  Customarily the Port Reports Page is updated with results by now, because of the long holiday weekend, the reports won't be posted until tonight.
The weather finally straightened up somewhat yesterday and it was decent.
   Tomorrow's fishing group may include such notables as Larry Elliot (President of the Flint Steelheaders) and Capt. Bud Raskey.  The weather looks to be on our side too, both the seas and daytime high's look favorable.  Wednesday's trip should be a good one and I'll post the results ASAP upon completion.

5/26/02  Went fishing with cut-bait and flashers on today's adventure.  We left the dock after 8:00am, then seas quickly built to an uncomfortable 3 to 6 foot.  In our abbreviated cut-herring study, we hit one right off the bat, missed a diver hit and had a tap on another rigger before we headed for the shelter of the harbor. Click here for Mike's King
   This Memorial Day Weekend has been ruined up by either wind, cold, or rain.    
The weather has to improve soon, because it can't get any worse. 
The reel fact about Manistee's King fishery is the water temperatures have been a cool 39 to 42 degrees, well below the prime activity level of spring fish.  Look for this to change in a big hurry once the lake stabilizes to the 46 to 50 degree mark (my favorite). 

5/24/02  Spent a whole lot of time yesterday accomplishing nothing.  So, I worked on the website adding more content to the Lead Core and Wire Line Diver Rods articles.  On the plus side, the new CD player and sound system is just about ready to be installed in the Cherokee sometime today.  Dock time at the boat is in order for me this afternoon.  
         As Paul  Harvey would say, "click here for the rest of the stories"

5/22/02  The Port Reports page just keeps getting better and better.  Our dedicated reporters have been sending in photos of their hot lures and catch.  It's a wonderful thing to see the exact baits that are working, I know it helps me in my lure selections if I haven't been on the pond for a few days. A big THANK YOU goes out to all of our matchless Port Reporters who are beyond spectacular! 

5/21/02   I went on a  morning research mission on Lake Michigan aboard Capt. Tom Rasmussen's boat, the "Sue Lee."  In spite of a very cold surface temperature (40 degrees) we still managed 3 Lakers to 12 pounds, a Lamprey and a small Salmon.   
    We never found any concentrations of fish willing to strike and there was no pattern to be discerned from the scattered hits we did have. I said earlier today "tune in later, to see who won, us, or the fish." Well, in my estimation it was a tie.  Although, it was chilly morning afloat on Lake Michigan, Capt. Tom easy going personality made it seem a lot warmer and much more pleasant.     Click here for Lamprey photo   Click here for Tom's Laker 

5/20/02  Spent most of  the day taking care of the website by posting the most excellent flood of great reports coming in from all over the state.  Installed 6 roller guides (4 more to go) and completed the other wire-diver rod for the new article I'm working on.  Set a record for page views (3348) on the website and sent out an E-mailer to members of the list with the private addresses to Battle Stations, Lead Core and Wire Rod construction.  Man, I was busy today!   

5/19/02pm   Fished today with "Good Luck" Barry Pines and ended up fairly well considering all the recent cool weather.  We had 11, or 12 strikes and boated 3 Lake Trout, a Coho and a couple of Kings to, maybe 13 pounds.  The waters we fished was straight out of Manistee, the water temperature was a chilly 42 degrees where we hit the fish.  I'd say for the conditions we ended up just fine.   Click here for today's reel inside info      
Great News:  It looks like by this Wednesday the weather will finally break for the better (70 to 75 degrees) and the waters warming off Manistee will improve the angling opportunities for those of us eager for some great fishing this coming Memorial Day Weekend!  I have open dates too, due to recent cancellations. Click here to peak into our fish box

5/19/02am  Lumpy seas caused the cancellation of the Barry Pines trip yesterday.  The forecast for today is very much improved and it finally looks like we'll be able to get off the dock.  Tune in later for a "hands on" fishing report from Manistee.
As Paul  Harvey would say, "click here for the rest of the stories"

5/18/02  Looks like I'll finally be able to get off the dock with the Barry Pines charter group.  I have mixed emotions about are chances of a successful outing, because of all the rough water conditions.  Yesterday afternoon's blow was out of the northeast and that doesn't help us at all in Manistee.  Oh well, we'll just have to play it by ear.  Frost and freeze warnings forecast for the next few days too!

5/17/02  Brrrrrrrrr is the word for this morning, unseasonable cold temperatures prevail in Manistee County.  Gonna try a early start to get Mr. Steve Freibert off the dock this morning for at least a couple of hours, before predicted 3 to 5 foot seas make it to uncomfortable to fish.  May in Manistee has been a mess! 
As Paul  Harvey would say, "click here for the rest of the stories"

5/16/02  If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all!  Today's trip with Steve Freibert looks like we won't get off the dock.  Overnight winds from the southwest to 30 knots and scattered thunderstorms today, is what I have to look forward too.  Yep, if it was easy, everyone would be in the charter business.
   Let me add, our average May temperature is averaging about 15 degrees below normal.  So far, this has been one very cool spring, let's hope for an improvement.

5/14/02  Spent what free time I did have today updating the Port Reports section.  My Aftco roller guides arrived today and I will have a step by step instructional article on how to make regular 10 foot dipsy rods, into roller guide models able to handle 30 pound test braided stainless wire.  9 roller guides are needed per rod, and the old diver rods that I'm rebuilding are Wolverine, or Charter's Choice.  Changed the oil in the Cherokee and worked on tackle.
                          Click here to see the Aftco Roller Guides I'm using  

5/13/02  My charter business has been intentionally slowed this May. Compound in the very unpredictable weather, plus remodeling a kitchen and bathroom, I've more that had my hands full.  Well, my mini 2 week vacation is about to come to an end this Thursday.  From then on until the end of the month, I'll be fishing Lake Michigan on a fairly regular basis.  This will afford us the exact "hands on" fishing reports from Manistee.  From what I've seen in the Port Reports section, Ludington's action on tuna-sized Spring Kings is just slightly better than Manistee.  
    I'm going to try to get out an E-mail contact letter today, if all goes according to plan.  Please keep those Port Reports coming in, we all look forward to them, especially those of us who can't be on the water as much as we'd like too.

5/12/02  Predicted rain on Mother's Day caused the cancellation of today's much anticipated event.  Plus, the east wind is not helping our fishery in Manistee.  I'll be using the day off to put the finishing touches on a new article called, "Get the Lead Out."  It's an in-depth study on how to rig, use lead core effectively and when. 

5/9/02  I to cancel today's deal with Dave D.  5 to 8 footers are predicted this morning, and that's not my kind of weather to fish in.  The silver lining in all the wind we've had lately is that, it's been from the southwest.  SW wind usually stacks up the Kings off Manistee in May.  I'll be fishing this Sunday, because a training mission with my "Ladies Day Tournament Angleretts" is in order. They're gorgeous, nude lap-dancers from the Deja Vue downstate, but the weather is gonna be kind of chilly, so they'll probably remained clothed most of the time.

5/9/02  Yesterday's stout southeast blow did nothing to improve the fishing opportunities of Manistee.  The wind is supposed to be up for the next few days out of the south changing to west at 30 knots by tomorrow night.  Gas in both Manistee and Ludington is $1.38 at the pump, marina prices are around $2.00. 

5/8/02  Boat maintenance (changing oil), along with installing a new CD player in the Cherokee looms on the horizon for me.  The good news is that the spring King fishery is alive and well on Lakes, Huron and Michigan.  Every report from Manistee fishery is encouraging, with good sized Kings being taken daily, weather permitting.

5/7/02  Looks like at least halfway decent weather is here to stay.  On both Lakes Michigan and Huron the action for spring Kings is heating up.  Good to excellent reports predominate the Port Reports Page and please keep those fishing reports coming in.  Busy with a bunch of "stuff" not directly related to the charter business for the time being, but I'll be on Lake Michigan soon looking for the fish named after me. 

5/6/02  Some scattered reports are coming in on Kings off Manistee, but the fishermen that are doing well have lock jaw and won't share any information.  I'll be on Lake Michigan towards the end of this week for the inside and very reel story.  
   I've completed a new article called "Battle Stations" and it covers correct rod handling characteristics.  Members of the E-mail list can view the new page at their private areas.   Please bear with me until I finish proof reading the new piece.    

5/5/02  The action off Manistee this morning was terrible with most boats report skunks, or a fish, or two.  Huge hoards of boats in the shoreline shallows is not conducive for success on the shy ways of Mr. Brown Trout.  Some Salmon were being taken in 15 to 30 feet of water just north of Orchard Beach State Park, but that  was on the wane today also.

5/4/02  Went Brown Trout catching yesterday evening.  From about 6pm to 8pm we had at least 15 strikes and boated 7 chunky Browns from 2 to 5 pounds.  The bite is getting picky and the secret is to be there when the Brown Trout are hungry!  Once they take the feed bucket off, the action is totally non-existent.
     Boat maintenance was accomplished and the auto pilot is now purring like contented kitten.  The wash-down pump is almost back on line too.  Re-lined several rods with new 20 lb. test Ande, so when the spring Kings show up, I'll be more than ready.  A special thanks goes to Anita & Len Mitchell for putting up with me and helping with the auto pilot shake down cruise.  By the way, this highly experienced couple never lost a hooked up fish......................remarkable!

5/3/02  Surprisingly enough the Brown Trout fishery in Manistee is still going.  The bite is early and by mid-day the action shuts down.  The weekday morning crowd has been intense, especially around the harbor.  Good reports from both north and south of the harbor are coming in.       Click here for: Port Reports
   The reel big news is the amount of cormorants that have laid siege to Manistee.  Huge flocks of these migratory deep-diving (to a 100 feet) fish predators are working the harbor and shoreline chowing on alewives and planted Salmonoids.

5/2/02  Spent over 9 hours on working on the website readying the Port Reports
page for 2002 season.  Capt. Al Kendall has come aboard as our Port Austin port reporter and we're all lucky to have the excellent caliber of reporters like the Capt. Janice Deaton (Harbor Beach) and Julie Diani covering northern Lake Huron.  
   Sometimes this web fixation I'm into is a pain in the butt.  However, striving to be the best comes with a thing called, the price of dedication.  Still much to do with straightening the run-on jumble of text on Capt. John's Log and that is waiting for me today.  This whole website deal reminds my of the charter business, you don't make much money, but it's fun to do.  I'll be in Manistee later today and will pick up on some fresh fishing info if it's there, to be gotten. 

5/1/02  I'll be reformatting the Port Reports Page today, removing the material from 2001.  Good News!  Capt. Janice Deaton from Harbor Beach and northern Lake Huron Creel Census DNR employee, Julie Diani will be once again aboard for the 2002 season.  So, I've got my work cut out for me today.  Working on the Cherokee later in the afternoon is on the agenda too! 


4/30/02  Took a few days off to rejuvenate the spirit.  I was on almost a dead git since the 3rd week of February.  The Browns in Manistee are still hitting, which is remarkable for this late in April.  Boat maintenance will take center stage this week, seeing the auto pilot and wash down pump are non-functioning units at this time.
    I need port reporters from Lakes: Huron, Erie and Michigan.  Being a port reporter helps put everyone on the fast track as to what's happening, so please contribute it.  I now have a few days off from chartering and will have time to start up the Port Reports Page for 2002  I can format your own fishing web page with photos too, so you can go one step further than your fishing buddies!

4/26/02   Hockey's All-Star Great, Al Iafrate and George were the anglers on today's do.  Light west winds were forecast, but as we broke the pier heads at 8:10am the seas were running at 3 to 4 foot, with a 5 footer every now and then.  I had moved Al's trip at least 3 times due to nasty weather, so I was forced to tough this one out.  During the course of our morning we hit 11 fish, boated 6 Browns and 2 Cohos.  It was a struggle in the rough seas, but Al and George rose to the occasion and did a fine job on every fish.  So, in spite a late start and poor conditions we did OK!    Click here Al and George's dockside catch photo

4/25/02  A windy and lousy forecast caused postponement of today's Lake Michigan gig.  West wind 15 to 25 knots, becoming partly cloudy.  Waves 4 to 7 feet is predicted for today and there is a small craft advisory in effect also.

4/24/02   Two reel fishermen named, David and Doug showed up for today's Brown Trout voyage on Lake Michigan.  Strong winds from the southeast, changing to south meant we missed more than we caught.  In about a 3 hour troll, we had over 20 strikes and boated a 3 person limit of 9 Browns.  Both anglers helped keep lines in the water, due to the fast action. 
    The heart breaker was that missed 3 extremely large fish, loosing one right behind the back of the boat.  To sum up our success, David and Doug were reel assets to have aboard.  Thanks to Capt. Len for the quality help on the trip, he stayed on the go throughout the entire charter and everyone did a great job! Click here for David & Doug's catch 

4/23/02  Al Smarta and Ben Nietubitz were my expert fishing partners for today's Lake Michigan adventure in seek of Brown Trout.  We boated a 4 person limit in about 3 hours of trying.  Catch this, we had 12 strikes and boated 12 Browns to the plus 8 pound class.  12 for 12 is a phenomenal average due to proper hooks, technique and proficiency with a fishing rod.  The average speaks for the quality of fishermen aboard today, and yes, I landed fish after the "experts" boxed their limits.  Click here for Al & Ben's catch photo 
Capt. Len Mitchell was my guest 1st mate and preformed all duties beyond compare, but don't tell him I said so, he might want a pay raise!  Click here to peak inside our fish box   

4/22/02  The "Jim & Don Show" was on today.  Jim wanted to fish the river for Steelhead even after I informed him, it might be a tough go.  High water was a problem, with plenty of debris that kept fouling our lures.  However, the biggest problem from what I saw today was, the spring run of Steelhead is over.  While there'll be some available at Tippy Dam until the end of the month, take it from me the "parties over."  Last week's warm spell cause a premature end to good fishing.  Click here for winter-spring 2002 Steelhead synopsis
   Now, for the lowdown on how we did.  During the 9 hours we spent on the BMR, we missed two half hearted tugs, and boated a spawning hen in the 6 lb. class.  Don's fast reaction time, coupled with his great rod expertise made sure we didn't get skunked.  The river was completely deserted from the swarms of a few weeks ago, and both Don and Jim were very congenial and a pleasure to fish with.    Click here for Don's fish   

4/21/02  I'll be readying the riverboat on the for tomorrow's BMR adventure with Jim H.  A day off from the lake is maybe what I need, because I haven't been able to put together a reel good day on the Brown Trout thing yet.  Murphy's law has been in effect all during March and April thus far, I'm hoping for an improvement.
   The way things stand I've lost a minimum of 5 charters due to either super high water on the BMR, or miserable conditions on Lake Michigan.  It's often been said, "into each life, a little rain must fall," but why does it have to be a gully washer? 

4/20/02  Had to scrub this morning's mission with the Greg Barry group, because the launching platform called, Lake Michigan was heaving at 2 to 4 footers breaking right on shore.  It was decided by Greg and his group to fish another day rather than toughing it out in marginal conditions.  So far this Brown Trout season, we've yet to have a favorable wind from any westerly direction.  The best thing about today's north blow is that it might cool the inshore water down and move the alewives back into the deeper water.  The wretched wind and weather is ruining the results on our April Brown Trout fishery.  It's disheartening to say the least!

4/19/02  Cancelled today's deal, because the lake forecast is lousy and with the recent rain that's not gonna improve the Steelheading BMR.  I've been running way too much since the mid-February Steelheaders Show and I'm gonna slow myself down to a tolerable level this season.  I want to enjoy the fishing too!
   As of midnight 40 mph winds are pounding Manistee County, plus thunderstorms all night made the cancellation a wise call.  It's good to be right once in a while.

4/18/02pm  I fished Lake Michigan today with Henry and AJ (8 years old).  During the course of a storm-shortened trip, we hit 4 Browns and 3 smaller ones made it to the cooler.  Which was just perfect for AJ, because he landed 2 of them.  Strong off-shore winds from the east changed to the west just as a severe thunderstorm hit shore.  We seen 2 waterspouts and safety of the harbor was sought ASAP, as winds increased to at least 30 knots.  We were dockside around 10am, because of threatening skies all morning long and never ventured more than a mile, or two from the shelter of the harbor.  Click here for AJ & Henry
    The rapid warming of the inshore waters to almost 50 degrees has loaded Manistee's Harbor with huge schools of soon to spawn alewives.  This unseasonable warm spell is hurting our Brown Trout fishery in a big way, because hit's hard to get a fish to hit a trolled lure when it's belly is stuffed full of bait fish.   

4/18/02am  I'll be fishing Lake Michigan with Henry K. after Brown Trout.  I'm more than looking forward to my guests, but today marks the first time this season I'll be reunited with long time friend and favorite deckhand, Mark Pefley.  Mark has worked with me for about 10 years, so we should be able to put a reel program together.  Tune in later this evening for the "behind the scenes" straight skinny. 

4/16/02  Lake Michigan Brown Trout are being caught out of Manistee and the fishing for them is good, but not "red hot."  If you plan on heading south out of Manistee the Browns down toward Big Point Sable are hitting the red-gold, and brighter shades of the S-11 Rapalas.  To the north of Manistee the fish have a definite preference for the S-11's in darker patterns like the vampire, silver shiner, and black-silver original.  From what I've seen both directions are producing about the same, but most charter vessels are choosing north for the time being.  

4/15/02  Phil, Keith, George and Ed comprised my outstanding group of anglers for today's episode.  During the course of our half day outing we boxed 6 Browns and only missed a couple of strikes....remarkable!  Flat calm bluebird conditions prevailed throughout the morning, making fishing tough side.  Never the less, we still ended up more than happy, because Phil put a masterful whipping on a massive 15.4 pound trophy Brown Trout.  All men performed the line setting duties admirably and handled every thing in a very skilled manner.  Plus, I get to have fun with them all over again this August 19th.   
                   Click here for Phil's whopper 15.4 lb. Brown Trout
I'd like to thank Phil, Keith, George and Ed for allowing me to cut their scheduled full day charter to a half day, due to a death in my immediate family.  Funerals and the grieving process is a long way from anything to do with reel happiness.

4/14/02  Curt, Randy and Reg were my esteemed angling guests for today's outing on Lake Michigan.  During the course of our half day trip, we boxed 6 Brown Trout, including one behemoth 10 to 12 pounder.  While the action didn't compare to yesterday's fast pace, we still ended up kinda respectable.  It was an enjoyable day for me, because the hordes of boats that plagued the entire shoreline yesterday thinned out considerably.   The sum it all up, it was a good time with a terrific and sensible fishing team. Click here for dockside photo

4/13/02  George, Don, Mark (B-1), and Chuck (B-2)  were the anglers for today's Lake Michigan Brown Trout fishing extravaganza.  Even though the curse of the "13th" smacked us pretty hard, a great time was had by all.  Getting back to the curse part, the Brown Trout today were vile, contemptuous creatures that were named "Houdini."  Our action was superb, but boxing the wily Browns was a horse of different color.  We ended up with 7 fish, had at least 14 hooked up and missed too many strikes to keep track of.  Hilarity filled the air, as Mr. B. Trout kicked our butt, by escaping.  Hey, the fish are supposed to win once in a while!
                                Click here for the George Cashmore group 

4/12/02  Gene and Tom came back today for a second helping after yesterday's success on Lake Michigan.  In spite of my warnings about the high water on the BMR, they wanted to fish for Steelhead.  Well, the outcome as I expected wasn't so hot, because we caught 1 fairly decent Steelhead and had a micro Trout interested.  I explained in great detail that our chances were sparse before heading down river in the morning, but it fell on deaf ears. 
    Why? Because, you got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them.  Meaning, my style of fishing the BMR doesn't lend itself to extremely high water and heavy current flow.  High water expands the Steelhead's play ground and the entire river becomes attractive to them, just not the holes, or runs!  Click here for Gene's fish

4/11/02  Tom Davenport and Gene were the fishermen for today's maiden voyage on Lake Michigan in quest of Brown Trout.  Both men were more than handy to have aboard, and I consider them Great Lakes prodigies by the way they handled 9 rods with no problems.  I believe it was a baptizism by fire, because my autopilot went down and the rigging duties fell to them. Click here for Tom & Gene's catch
   OK, now for the report, for a strong offshore breeze (which usually shuts the fish down) we had 11 hits from about 8:30am to 2:00pm (including 3 doubles), boated a 2 person limit of Browns (6 Browns), landed a Steelhead, tossed back a robust Laker and lost a "Moby" Lake Trout.  So, for my first cold turkey attempt at fishing Lake Michigan this season, I was glad I remembered how and the fish cooperated.

4/10/02  Joy, Joy.....Joy!  The lake boat is in the water at my slip (A-32) in Solberg's Marina here in Manistee.  4 to 6 foot seas prevented me from fishing with Ben and Al yesterday, because it was reel nasty at the boat launch.  The howling winds cut right thru you, making it foolishness to consider Lake Michigan.  The river came way-up with high water (3000 cubic feet per second), or I'd have taken them on the BMR.  Plans for tomorrow have been cancelled, because Al I. wanted to fish the river and I'm not sure of how we'd do fishing the high water conditions.  Also, my marina is now home to one of the illegal Indian commercial tugs, at least for the time being.  I say illegal, because I can't even BUY the same rights that were ceded to them by Treaty.  Double standard for the super

  I'll be at the marina tomorrow and I'll photograph the fish tug for you!


General fishing tips and updates

5/29/02  The situation on our so-called spring Salmon fishery has been a up and down struggle most days.  Some boats hit 'em good, while others are experiencing mediocre success.  There's been no consistent huge numbers of Salmon available.  Some days have been diamonds and some days are coal.  Reason for the spotty fishing?  Look at how messed up the weather has been. 

5/19/02  Finally after about 2 weeks of trying I was able to get off the dock in search of action on Spring Salmon.  Fast moving weather front and more wind that needs description was major problem.  
   OK, now for the reel deal inside scoop:  A few boats were trolling around the harbor as we cleared the pier heads at 7am, and were report skimpy action.  So we headed for the deeper waters offshore about 2.5 miles to Manistee's famed "shelf."  I had absolutely no faith in the 41 to 43 degree water that awaited us.  Much to my surprise we found 11, or 12 fish willing to strike.  Best results were on the riggers 24 to 28 foot down.  Divers were hot. but our hook-up ratio on the dipseys was terrible.  Best diver setting was 90 foot out, dialed on 2 with no ring.  Best lures were Fishlander Mag's in the sister sledge and lemon ice, both off the riggers and divers.  Our largest King might pushed 14 pounds.  Lead was dead.

5/4/02   The action off Manistee this morning was terrible with most boats report skunks, or a fish, or two.  Huge hoards of boats in the shoreline shallows is not conducive for success on the shy ways of Mr. Brown Trout.  Some Salmon were being taken in 15 to 30 feet of water just north of Orchard Beach State Park, but that  was on the wane today also.  To put it bluntly, fishing sucked today.  Don't even consider fishing Manistee's Browns on the weekend if you intend on doing well.

4/24/02  East wind does something to these Brown Trout, factoid!  East in any direction generally means poor fishing, or poor hook ups.  We landed 9 fish today for about 30 strikes.  On our first 1 mile of trolling we were 1 fish boated for 6 hits.  I wasn't the only one with missitis.  Capt. Bob of the "BBJ" reported one fish for 8 bites about 10am this morning.  So, I created a new saying, "wind for the east, fish stay stuck the least."  100 foot leads of the regular boards generated our action.  Click here for today's hot lures

4/22/02  The 2002 season got off to a extremely slow start, because there just wasn't many fish entering the system during January and February.  In March the action picked up a tolerable pace and 5 to 7 hits was the norm throughout the month.  Flatfish in the T-4 size was my overall best producing lure, day in and day out (copper being best).
  If you can call 5 to 7 strikes good, the best action ended about the first week of April, then downriver fishing got "reel tough."  During March and April all river events were successful with fish landed on every trip, except one (1st Sat. in March), but those anglers had five opportunities and a reel case of bad luck.  My overall assessment is that the run was skimpy compared to 5 or 6 years ago.  The winter-spring 2002 BMR season did not rival the success of fall 2001..........reel fact!  While I'm glad to be done with the river until fall, I'll surely miss the breathtakingly, gorgeous panorama it offers to those willing to appreciate it.

4/18/02   Since launching the boat I've yet to have a reel favorable wind for shoreline Brown Trout fishing.  Offshore wind generally scoots the Browns towards deeper water and don't congregate then on the beach.  Now. the rapid warming of the inshore waters to almost 50 degrees has loaded Manistee's Harbor with huge schools of soon to spawn alewives.  This unseasonable warm spell is hurting our Brown Trout fishery in a big way, because hit's hard to get a fish to hit a trolled lure when it's belly is stuffed full of bait fish.   

4/11/02  Fished south in cloudy murky water, which generally means poor results.  Hit 11 or 12 fish on 120 foot leads off the planer boards.  No one spot was better and the fish were very scattered, plus it was windier than hell with offshore direction.  Inshore water was 38 to 40 degrees out to about the 15 feet depth, or just off the beach.  S-11 Rapalas were the fish food.  Click here for the "Hot Lures"  Fish were on the small side when compared to 2001.

4/5/02  Had 5 strikes in about 5 hours on the BMR, keying in on the slower water is still working for me.  I caught a loose hen earlier this week, but all the females I've seen are getting ready to drop eggs.  This is about 2 to 3 weeks way behind the last 2 seasons.  Flatfish shown in the above photos are the day-in, and day-out fish food choice.  Feeder streams to the Big Manistee, like Bear and Pine Creek areas are producing best for me.  Weekend pressure make the option of staying at home, a exceedingly wise one!

4/2/02  Here's the deal on the status of launching the lake boat.  Forecast for this week include temperatures in the low 20's at night and high's only in the mid-30's.  Well, that's not my idea of appropriate conditions to fish Lake Michigan for Brown Trout.  So, I've put off the launch date for a while, even though the Cherokee is reel ready to splash.  I am anxious to fish the "big lake," but I'm prudent enough to wait for the right circumstances.  Plus, the eggs in the hens that we've been catching in the BMR are still tightly skiened up, prolonging the BMR season.  Caught 2 yesterday on flatfish in 4 hours, which in all reality isn't bad.

3/29/02  Fishing pressure today was atrocious, discourteous boat fishermen running helter skelter up and down shut the fish way down.  Being Easter Weekend everything that can float is launched on the Big Manistee River.  I seen no other fish caught than the 3 we had.  Most boats were skunked, or close to it.  Why?  Buttheads zooming through the holes wide open on full plane.  Slow water was still the way to go for me. Click here for the "hot lures.