Excerpts from Capt. John's Log during 
November and December 2002

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Dion & Tom 11/9/02

Jim & Stan 11/20/02

Wayne  12/31/02 

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

12/31/02  I fished yesterday with the impressive father-son team of Jeff and Wayne Shooks.  I hit it lucky with these anglers, because Wayne is from the old school of Salmon fishing and we shared many of the same experiences from 60's thru the 80's.  So, the conversation flowed effortlessly and our time on the river seemed all to short.  Wayne's 25 foot Salmon catchin' machine the "Canis Lupis," fishes the waters off Frankfort during July and August and it has for many seasons.  Incidentally, "Canis Lupis" means gray wolf. 
   OK, now for the fishing stuff.  The fishing continues to be slow on the Big Manistee River.  Predicted winds to 25mph meant we'd be plying the waters on the upper third of the big river.  We hit one lonely fish in our fourth hole of the day and thank the fish gods, that fish stayed stuck!  Wayne did a masterful job of rodsmanship in negotiating the bright silver hen pushing 9 pounds, to the net.  This was our only action of the day and all the prime areas were covered.  The water is still extremely low and gin-clear and from what I've seen, almost totally devoid of Steelhead.  Click here for Wayne's bright chrome Steelhead   

12/30/02  In spite of cold, or a touch of the flu I'm going to hit the BMR today if all goes well.  While I don't have my sights set high, we should bump into a few during the course of the day.  If not, I won't beat on a dead horse and will quit early.

12/29/02  One way, or another it looks like I'll be fishing tomorrow.  I guess, I'm suffering from the end of the year blahs.  Partly, because the river has been so darn slow, I'd rather cancel then go.  B.S. and hokey excuses are not my forte. 
   Now, compound in the slowed economy and it's hard to make any headway in the charter business.  Let's all hope, the Washington bureaucrats get a handle on things ASAP. 

12/28/02  Watched it sprinkle on and off most of the day.  In fact, it was warm outside for this time of the year in Manistee County, although damp.

12/27/02  Not much to report from Manistee Country other than I'm "supposed" to be fishing over the next few days.  The fishing reports have been hard to come by, because of the holidays and not much pressure on the river.

12/25/02  Seasons Greetings to all!  Normal updates will resume in a day or two.

12/24/02  Yesterday, I fished with Capt. Bob ("Sarah Ann") on a 4 hour stint on the Big Manistee River in search of the endangered specie, called Steelhead!  No, not and zilch is the best I can come up with for you.  The fishing was totally awesome.  The catching however, sucked big time!  Why such lousy results?  Sustained winds at 20mph and gusts to 36mph prevented us from fishing the extreme lower end of the BMR for the second day in a row. 
    All was not a wasted, when I came up with the grand idea running Bald Eagle and wildlife sight seeing tours for the tree huggers.  Capt. Bob soundly seconded the motion when a big old baldie soared majestically overhead. Click here for Capt. Bob's riverboat photo

12/23/02  It was a reel struggle for me to show Dale and Dennis a quality Steelhead experience on the BMR yesterday.  In our 4th hole, Dale hooked a fought a respectable Steelhead for 3, maybe 4 minutes before the hooks pulled free on that dastardly creature.  Then things went downhill fast and I never found the right combination to pry another strike for the rest of the day!
   The rest story on today's trip is; that we saw 4 Bald Eagles, 5 boats, and a mink.  A gusty wind to plus 25 mph made handling the riverboat very difficult chore.  We covered more river than I'd like to mention for that one bite.  In fact, we fished from High Bridge to below Coho Bend in search of our elusive quarry.

12/22/02  On the first day of winter, I'll be fishing with long-time patron of Kings Charter, Mr. Dale Brown.  The plan is to fish the lower stretch and hope a few fish cooperate. The flow is at 1470 cubic feet per second and the river temp is a chilly 35 degrees up by Tippy Dam.  The weather looks OK for today, with high's in the lower 30's.  Tuned in later to see the outcome of today's event, update by 11pm.

12/21/02  Good reports from Oscoda and Manistee are coming in from the pier fishermen.  This is welcomed news!  All Steelhead reported were between 3 and 7 pounds, so we're still waiting for the reel big fish to show up.  Should be on the BMR for the next two days, but I'm in a holding pattern waiting for confirmation.
   Tomorrow, the 22nd of December winter officially begins.  3 months of cold and snow awaits us before the 2003 lake season gets underway next March, or April.

12/20/02  According to my rain gauge we received about an half of an inch of rain.  So far, Consumers still has the river running at below normal (5 year averaged) flow at this time.  Looks like I'll be fishing once again this weekend with Mr. Dale Brown, who hails from Tennessee on the Big Manistee River for Steelhead.
     Lately, I would have much preferred fishing over the remodeling project I been stuck with for the past 11 months.  Re-doing all the plumbing, electrical, drywall, floors, bathroom, laundry room, dining room, breezeway and kitchen is not fun.  In fact it's one major pain in the boo-tay, but at last I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or is that the train that's gonna run me over? 

12/18/02  Not much to fresh fishing info to report on, because spent yesterday either on the highway, or indoors.  However, I do have a thought to share with you.  The Coho were very small in 2002 and the Kings averaged 2, or 3 pounds lighter on the average too.  So, I'm thinking the Steelhead in "02" are for the most part, smaller then I'm used to seeing.  I haven't seen one lake-run 'Bow clear the 10 pound mark yet from the Big Manistee River.  Maybe they've downsized too? 

12/17/02  After a morning trip to the Home Depot in Ludington, I'll be spending the day working on Christmas web page gift certificates for those who chose to give a fishing trip, rather than a lame tie.  Successful fishing trip memories last a life time, don't wear out, go out of style or break.  Also, work in earnest begins on the new "Ice Water Steelhead" article too.  So, I'd say, I have a pretty full plate for today, as usual.

12/16/02  Great News!  The Steelhead are on the rebound here in Manistee.  Website regular, Kevin Herman fished off the Manistee pier yesterday (with spawn) and reported a limit catch of Steelies.  So, at long last we have some fish coming our way.  Plans for this week, include a new article about "Ice-Water Ironheads," which covers the tactics I use when the water temperature drops below 35 degrees.  Hopefully, by mid-week I should have an interesting read for you.  Also, an E-mail Updates Letter is on the agenda too.

12/15/02  Fished the Big Manistee River yesterday with Mr. John Johnson, who is a first-rate deckhand for me and friend.  John has pitched in and helped me with the un-glamorous jobs too, like pulling the engines out of the lake boat.  So, needless to say, he deserved a good quality day on the river with me!  Guess what?.....he had one!  
   We hit 6 Steelhead and were lucky enough to land three of the finny critters, in spite of every imaginable dirty trick in Mr. Steel Head's play book.  The best story of the trip was the last fish of the day that cut the line on the backside of a barb on a treble hook.  However, that fish got tangled-up with another rod and in short order that malevolent hen succumbed to our talents.  I'm proud to say the 3 fish we boated, were all released back into the system completely unscathed. Click here for John's mint chrome hen
   Our action was fair, considering we covered over 10 miles of river in our journey and fished only the premier holes.  The fishing pressure was extremely light, as we only seen about 5 boats during our 8 hours on the BMR.  All fish were shiny as a new dime, meaning a small run of fresh fish has came in from Lake Michigan.

12/14/02  Finally heard a semi-encouraging word about the Steelhead today when I was in Wellston yesterday, at Pappy's Bait and Tackle.  The surf fishermen in Manistee reported respectable action with some limits of Ironheads being taken.
   Now, for the huge news of today's update.  Gonna hit the bottom half of BMR in search for the elusive Mr. S. Head.  Hopefully, I'll have a few fresh fish photos at the end of today's outing.  Check back later to see how we fared. 

12/13/02  I was supposed to be fishing with Pete E. today, but haven't heard from him yet.  It wouldn't hurt my feeling one bit if I didn't go, especially with the "Friday the Thirteenth Jinx."  The river is so uncertain, I'm not into taking paying guests on sight seeing tours.  However, I'll will be on the river this Saturday (tomorrow), come hell, or high water (fat chance of high water).  If I don't fish today, it will allow me some time to replenish my propane and gas cans.
   Now, if and when I do hit the river, I'll be concentrating on the stretch below Pine Creek to the "Mile Run."  For the most part I've been above this area so far, and some new scenery will be welcomed.  Who knows, maybe we'll even find a few kamikaze Steelhead willing to strike!  

12/12/02  Now, for some general fishing knowledge that needs to be shared.  It's no secret to anyone this fall's below average temperatures has been to say the least, harsh.  Bear this in mind, the harder the winter, the better the April Brown Trout Fishery will be.  In April, the fast warming inshore waters will attract more than our share of lunker Browns in Manistee County, if this winter stays as nasty as it been.  Please remember, consecutively, the last 3 State Record Brown Trout have all hailed from Manistee County.
    It's about that time to start thinking about ordering spoon packs for the 2003 season, because I've had several inquiries and no "on hand" tackle packs to ship.  The custom painting takes my friends had Streak little longer to ship, then the "in stock" items.  Look for the launch of the brand new "Black Tail" for 2003 to follow in the same foot steps of 2002's decidedly successful, "Blue Tail" pattern. 

12/11/02  More seasonable temperatures are going to hold right thru this coming weekend.  We've had a very cold, snowy fall here in Manistee County.  I expect to see a Steelhead picture on the milk cartons soon, because they've been missing from the BMR. 

12/10/02  After a couple of days of contemplation about the BMR, I came to the conclusion a long time ago, there's good times and bad times in the charter business.  Fishing can be an humbling experience for anyone, and last Saturday's skimpy results proved that!  Here's something for all of you to remember, the slow days always make the "big catch" days seem more rewarding.
   Now, to break my run of bad luck (as of late), I mustered the courage to invite Ludington's master of good fortune, Capt. Bob from the Sarah Ann to change my luck.  Look for a much improved fishing report soon, as Bob works his reel-magic  

12/9/02  The slow fishing, because of an utter lack of Steelhead on the BMR this fall is starting to take it's toll on my mind-set.  Generally, you can always find a few fish will to cooperate, but not this fall!  While I've been concentrating my efforts from High Bridge to Bear Creek, I'm in the belief you're better off down river.  Let's say, from the farmhouse to the mouth of Manistee Lake has to be holding more fish than where I've been.  It has to get better, because it ain't gonna get any worse!
    Generally late December, into early January we receive a squirt of fresh-run fish from the big lake.  So, we'll just have to wait and see what materializes.  The reel fact is no fish, no catching and I won't go under those circumstances. 

12/8/02 My illustrious guests for yesterday's non-event on the BMR was Ludington's very own "Team Jamie Lynn," comprised of Joe and Jerry.  The only action we experienced was a strong hit in our 4th hole.  While I was dealing with a tanglement, the 3 rod took a violent yank, which I promptly blew!  We fished the best water possible and never took another hit for the rest of the day.  Compound in the factor there was no more than 3 boats on our section of river, I'd say fishing sucked big time.  No improvement is in sight, unless we get some high water.  Click here to see how picked over the Steelhead are in the BMR 
    Now, in my 17 years of guiding on the big river, never have I seen such a prolonged scarcity of Steelhead, as my misery deepens to produce fish!

12/7/02  Gonna test wits with Mr. Iron Noggin today, along my highly esteemed guests, Jerry D and company.  What's in our favor is that Consumers turned the flow up to 1550 cubic feet per second, which is reel close, to at least normal current.  Check back later to see if we got our butts kicked, or visa-versa.
   If the fish gods are in a good mood, fresh Steelhead photos and a "hands on" updated BMR fishing report is on the agenda for later this evening.   

12/6/02  I'll be getting the river boat ready for Jerry D's investigation of the unknown on the BMR tomorrow.  After a re-shuffle of the cards we moved up his date a day early, because the weather is going to be far nicer then on Sunday.
The plan is, to hope like hell there's a few fish willing to tangle with us.  
    On my part, it will feel good to be on the river once again, and neglect the re-modeling of the dining room for at least another day.  Assuming the role of plumber, carpenter, painter and electrician is not my idea of reel-excitement.  Besides, we definitely need some fresh fish pictures on this website! 

12/5/02  Not much to report from Manistee other than it's a lot warmer that the forecast.  Maybe we'll great a brief respite from winter?  Roger, who had this Saturday booked is traveling from West Virginia. Together we decided to postpone his outing to a time when the odds will be a little more in our favor.  Hey, it a 1000 mile round trip and I doubly want to make sure his lengthy journey is not in vain.

12/4/02  Reel Brrrrrrrr............!  Best tells the story from Manistee County, as I awoke a thermometer hovering around zero yesterday morning.  It looks like a nasty, brutal winter has decided to set in early for 2002.  Aren't we lucky? 
   The temperature around the zero mark is not going to enhance this fall's disappointing Steelhead run, although there are a few fish available, but heavy on the word "few."  The BMR temp is either at, or below the 36 degree mark, meaning the high action lures like the highly vaulted T-4 Flatfish lose soon their effectiveness.  I'll be changing over to the smaller-sized Willie Worms, as not to spook the limited amount of Steelhead that are in the system.  I need re-spool with lighter line (10# test) and replacing the 20# test "goat rope" I have on the reels now.  The silver lining to the scarcity of Ironheads now means; we'll have some incredible river fishing ahead of us, sometime between now and next April!

12/3/02  Tension is at a fever pitch concerning the mystery guest scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday's river quest.  Under the threat of great personal harm, I cannot reveal his name for now, but will do so after the fact.
Also, I Received a phone call from Tom Rozich from the Cadillac Office of the DNR.  I chose to stand my ground on the issues put forth in the article about the constant flow catastrophe Of the Big Manistee River.  I disagreed with the DNR's stance of letting Consumers Power dictate the future of the big river.  However, I did find our conversation interesting and invited him to river fish with me in the future.  He is sending me the planting records for Steelhead in all rivers that empty into Lake Michigan, which we will all find enlightening.

12/2/02  The suspense is building about the exact identity of my mystery guest for this Wednesday and Thursday's river adventure.  Do to the tremendous security risks I cannot divulge his name until later this week, but you will recognize him...I'm sure!  Weather here continues to be reel wintry also, as the snow depth builds.  I know, because I received an unwanted refresher course in how to shovel snow. 

12/1/02  Winter and just plain nasty best describes the weather here in Manistee County.  Old man winter has an illegal choke hold on us for now, and was kind enough to dump at least 6 inches of the white stuff too.
   The water temperature in the Big Manistee River is around 37 degrees up towards the dam and colder further downstream.  The flow is still at a substandard rate of 1450 cubic feet per second.  I'll be Steelhead fishing the Big Manistee later this week with a well-known and very savvy mystery guest.  While I consider the river a tough proposition at best, we'll see if we can bend the rod and catch a few of them scarce rascals in gin-clear, low water.  Now, that's beyond reel tough!

11/29/02  Our first severe winter storm is supposed besiege us, starting tonight.  6 to 9 inches with winds to 35 mph is what we're in for. The high temp on Sunday are only to be in the upper teens.  Sounds like fun eh?

11/28/02  Happy Thanksgiving!  Have a grand and glorious long weekend off, normal daily updates will resume by 11/30/02.  I'm in the mood for a few days of rest and relaxation.  I need it after struggling with the BMR lately.

11/27/02  The severe lack of Steelhead in the BMR lately has caused me to cancel any scheduled events for about the next week.  I'm just tried of beating my head against the wall for little, or no results.  The charter thing only works for me if we're catching fish.  I'm not very good at handing out excuses when I know how slim our chances for a successful outing are extremely poor going in.  Besides, a week away from the river will re-new my enthusiasm for Steelhead catching. Click here for an article on the constant flow ruination of the BMR

11/26/02  The BMR is flowing at 1340 cubic feet per second.  The flow was increased to about 1600 cubic feet for 24 hours, which is closer to normal flow. This brief flush of water might have brought a few Steelhead into the system.   Brrrr is the word for the low temperatures we're experiencing, as old man winter tightens his grip on Manistee County. 

11/25/02  I'll be sending out an E-mail Updates Letter sometime today,
as the weather has took a turn for the chilly here in Manistee County.  I was supposed to be fishing the Big Manistee River this week, but I'm plain tried of beating my head again the wall in lousy gin-clear, low water conditions. I'm averaging a strike for about 3 hours fishing and count myself lucky to get off the river with a fish, or two.  Plus, I've yet to see a darker hold-over Steelhead.

11/24/02  Just not much on the horizon to report on, as the Steelhead action in the BMR crawls along at a snail's pace.  So, there's not much need in expanding on a non-issue!  

11/23/02  Fished the river yesterday with George and Don and we had a heck of a good time!  While the fishing continues to be a little on the slow side, the company was very warm and friendly.  Many laughs were shared by all, as the time on the trip flew by.  Hey, we even managed to catch a couple of fish too!  With Don doing the honors on both.  The reel story is the 9, maybe 10 pound Steelhead that gave Don a fierce tussle in close quarters, that he won't soon forget. Click for Don's fish
   Then upon returning home I found out Warren Knapp had filled his doe tag on the back side of my property.  The doe he harvested was a goodly-sized critter, exceeding a 125 pounds.  Now to sum it all up, it was a good day for Don, George, Warren and myself, because we all did what we set out to do! Click for deer pic

11/22/02  Yesterday, I fished 6 well-known Steelhead producing holes on the BMR with longtime friend, Warren Knapp aka (Dottie "K") and we never had a sniff!  So, we put the boat back on the trailer around noon.  I'll be fishing the river tomorrow with George C. and I pray a few fish will be suicidal enough to yank on our rods.  Incidentally, George C. was one of my very first charter guests in 1983.  Needless to say, "I don't have anything to prove to him, but a few fish would be nice." 

11/21/02  After much discussion between Joe Z. and myself, it was decided to cancel his outing today and move it to a time in 2003 when the conditions will be more favorable.  Joe and Carrie (his wife) haven't fished with me before and I especially hate, to struggle in front of first time guests trying to produce action.  
   So, I'm gonna hit the river anyways with long time friend and fishing regular in the Manistee area, Warren Knapp aka "Dottie K."  Our plan is to only fish for a few hours, so Warren can concentrate on deer hunting in the afternoon.  Check back later for the results on the outcome of our brief river adventure. 

11/20/02 Fishing Update:   I enjoyed myself yesterday on the BMR with two very wise anglers named, Jim and Stan.  Knowing going in, it wasn't going to be easy deal, our overall results were much better than I expected.  We had a total of 5 strikes, missing 2 of the softer hits and boating 3 Steelhead, with one strikingly colored silver male, maybe pushing the 9 pound mark. 
    It was a sheer joy for me to watch Jim, who put a masterful, world-caliber clinic of rodsmanship, by whipping the 2 largest fish of the day in short order.  While Stan, being a avid sportsman released a smaller fish to fight another day.  Both Steelhead fishermen today earned Jedi status in my book. Click here for Jim & Stan with a Manistee River Steelhead
    It stayed cloudy for the most part and that was a definitive advantage for us, considering the river isn't loaded with fish.  Low, extremely clear water continues to be a major a problem. 

11/20/02  Stan Akey is my esteemed fishing partner for today's Steelhead quest on the Big Manistee River.  My plan is to run-n-gun and hit as many of the best producing holes on the river as possible.  If that don't work, we can always punt.
Also, there was at least 10 deer in my backyard yesterday evening (5:00pm) munching on the sugar beets and shelled corn.  Being able to watch deer for extended periods of time has taught me deer have a hierarchy and dominate does do tend to raise up and fight with one another.  The was a small spike, or fork-horn in that group too, but I won't allow, or believe in shooting them off my feed pile.  
   To me it's akin to sight fishing spawning Steelhead, or Salmon on the redds (gravel fish beds).  I know the last statement isn't going to gain me any popularity in the "chuck-n-duck" community of the nowadays fly fisherman, but I'm not trying to win a popularity contest.  The only goal here is to only speak the reel-truth! 

11/19/02  I'll be readying everything for the journey into the unknown with Stan Akey tomorrow.  While I'm not overly confident about Stan's event, a 150% effort will be put forth on my part to find the Steelhead.  Will the catching suck?  If it does, I won't beat a dead horse to death and I'll re-schedule Stan's trip.
   Yesterday was one of those days it was hard to see what I accomplished.  I had to travel to Ludington, because my name was pulled for the random drug testing program I'm enrolled in.  Then unloaded a good amount of sugar beets and filled the corn-spreader to the top for the Deer Cam.  While most mornings and evenings I have the deer chewing on my groceries, the webcam doesn't capture low light images very well.

11/18/02  I just received a very reliable report from Tippy Dam and it wasn't good.  Complete lack of Steelhead (one fish was caught in 2 days by the entire crowd) and the infestation of the zebra mussels has worsened to epidemic proportions.  Also, there's late run of small Coho in the 3 to 4 pound range is at, and above the coffer dam.  Some of the undersized Coho are being caught.
Reel concern is building on my part and it's time for me to ponder whether to start canceling this week's scheduled events on the big river.  While I don't feel confident about the tough conditions, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
This I can say, "I'll be re-spooling with 10 test mono (or less) and running much smaller presentations like Wee Warts and Willies Worms for now.  There are some fish in the river, but not near as many, as I'm accustomed to picking on.  So, for now it's a waiting game to see if the BMR Steelheading will improve in the near future.

11/17/02  The interest in the Photo Contest for 2002 is building, as we now have at least outstanding 15 photos entered.  Never got quite as cold as predicted last night, but did see the mid-teens at my place.  Click for contest photos so far 
    With the hard freeze last night is was easy to hear the deer coming.  6 does leisurely strolled on crunchy-frosty leaves right past my blind, barely a 100 yards behind my house.  No trophy rack, or horn's were sighted, so I'll just have to wait for another chance for fresh venison steaks. 

11/15/02  Firearm Deer Season opener is today's big news.  Had a trip scheduled for today, but the low-clear water and no fish, caused me to cancel John and Alf Colvin's do.  While low water and scarcity of Steelhead are a problem for us now, the silver lining is; when they show up, the catching will be tremendous!  Our substandard flow is the result of almost no rain during October and November, so far.  As I said on 10/31/02 be forewarned about exposed sand bars and logs you wouldn't normally hit.  I know about the logs, because I whacked a good one hard, the last time out and I know the river intimately.

11/13/02  Man, the Steelhead were so thick today you could have walked across the Big Manistee River on them without your feet getting wet.  Gigantic Steelhead in the 18 to 24 pound class slashed at our lures and gave us more than we could ask for.  The Steelies destroyed 3 rods and blew the gears out of two SG47H Diawa Line Counter reels.  To top things off, the handles on the cooler tore off, just as we unloaded a 3 person, 9 fish limit that weighed well in excess 180 pounds.  As we were admiring our gleaming fresh-run silver-bullets, my alarm went off at 5:15am! 
    So, I met Matt and Jason around 7:00am and we fished the BMR diligently for about 5 hours without a strike, so I re-scheduled their trip and put the boat back on the trailer around 1:00pm.  I seen no fish caught today and from what I could discern there was no fish caught on the section of river I chose to fish.  Extremely low-clear water, a lack of fish, plus I believe they dropped the water today while we were fishing.  Still had more fun than dealing with the problems I had yesterday.  We need a major rain to bring some fish in, until then it's gonna be reel tough!

11/12/02  Some days you're better off staying in bed, than what happened to me today in transit to the Big Manistee River.  At 6:50am and about half way there, a tire blew-out on the boat trailer.  Hey, no problem right?  Just return home and pick up the spare, jack and change it, wrong!  In an effort of personal safety, I pulled to far off the side of M-55 and buried the boat trailer beyond it's axle.  
   Seeing the major dilemma first thing morning, I sent my guests home at 7:45am, saying, " this wasn't going to be an easily fixed deal."  In leaving Gene C. (today's guest) added severe insult to injury, by stating, "well, we probably wouldn't have caught any fish today,........anyways."  With a substandard attitude like that, why'd he come north to fish in the first place? Click here for a very stuck trailer
   Now, the reel grueling work started with the digging and jacking up the trailer to extricate it from the very loose and problematic sand that had me stuck big-time.   After roughly 3 hours of much sweat and toil, I was on firm ground with good tires on the trailer again. This was the first time in 16 seasons of guiding on the big river I ever had a problem with tires, or being hopelessly stuck.  The way that I viewed this morning's catastrophe, "some days are diamonds, some days are coal and some days are meant to try your soul," as I freed the trailer completely by my lonesome. 

11/11/02  I'll be readying the riverboat for tomorrow's adventure into the unknown on the BMR with Gene and Syl.  I'll be on the river at least 3 days this week, so stay tuned for the latest and greatest happenings from the Big Manistee River.  While lately we've received less than a 1/3 of an inch of rain, the drainage area of the BMR is plus 1400 square miles.  So, we're up to an almost normal flow, running around 1500 cubic feet of water a second.  This should help our Steelhead Fishery.
    Today, I'm not gonna work much, because I need a day's rest from my self induced overly busy schedule.  Accomplished several goals on the web yesterday by starting on the 2002 Photo Contest Page and fixed that run-on jumble of text at Capt. John's Log by publishing archived results for Sept and Oct 2002 on their own separate page. 

11/10/02  Hauled the lake boat home from the marina after taking care of business that needed to be done in Manistee yesterday.  I witnessed trollers off the mouth of the BMR catching a few Steelhead, as the annual fall migration starts to kick into high gear.  Predicted rain for today and tonight should improve our odds in the BMR this week, as the fire arm opener for Deer Season draws close.
   I adjusted the hit counter to more accurately reflect the amount of traffic that frequents this site.  Most sites inflate their traffic numbers with hit counters that can be set to any number.   Me? I furnish complete verification with the statistics kept by my stats program.  Counting only 50k home page views for 2000, the rest can be found by clicking on the: 
Hit Box Stats Program
.  Be sure to click the back arrow on 2002 to see overall 2001 traffic numbers. When I started this website I never thought that it would garner the attention that it has.............REEL FACT!

11/9/02  I had a grand time yesterday with the father-son duo of Dion and Tom Richter on the Big Manistee River.  Plus, we even caught a couple of Steelhead to 8 pounds and small hen Coho Salmon (full of fresh spawn), as an added bonus!  The Richter's easy going outlook allowed me to relax and enjoy the company of 2 excellent anglers that displayed first-rate rodsmanship and never lost a hooked-up fish.  The weather was very kind to us with high temperatures in the 50 degree range.  The only negative aspect of our outing was the brisk winds that made boat handling difficult for me.  Click here for Dion & Tom's catch photo
    Let me add, while we didn't empty the river of Steelhead our results were fantastic considering low, gin-clear water.  Both Ironheads were gleaming "sliver bullets," fresh-run recent migrants just in from Lake Michigan.

11/8/02  Tom Richter and son are my guests for today's do on the Big Manistee River.  I hope the fish are more cooperative than the last time I was on the big river.  Check back later to see how we did, and if the fish gods are on our side for some brand new Steelhead pictures.
   Many thanks for all the positive feedback back on the new article I completed for the members of the E-mail Updates List.  The article is an in-depth look at what it takes to start, run and maintain a charter service.  The secret link for it was in the last E-mailer I just sent out.

11/7/02   Spent most of yesterday cleaning the garage and putting together the cherry-picker lifting device I bought.  After about 4 hours of work, I had managed to sit my boat motors safely on the garage floor.  Now, I'm ready to strip off all the engine accessories like starters, manifolds, alternators, fuel pumps, trannies and water pumps.  I plan on using 4 bolt 350 blocks for the rebuild job, but I'll need all the afore mentioned items to install on the new motors.  Click here to see the motors on the cherry-picker
   OK, enough mechanical lecture and let's get back to the fishing scene on the Big Manistee River.  I'll be on the river tomorrow, hoping a few Steelhead have wandered into my territory during the rain we got on 11/5/02.  It's my belief we still need more rain to bring the majority of our fall Steelhead into the system.

11/5/02  Today we elect our crooks that will run the State government for the few years.  I don't care who you vote for, but make sure you vote.  Don't think your vote counts?  Then just look at the mess they called, the Florida Presidential Election 2000.
   Got an encouraging report from the extreme lower end of the Big Manistee River.  From the M-55 Bridge to where the river empties into Manistee Lake, the action is starting to heat up.  Spawn was the fish food of choice by M-55.

11/4/02  Now, that I have 2 Crusader Inboards in the back of my truck, I need a cherry-picker to remove them.  Gonna buy the picker today.  I'll be fishing towards the end of the week and we are in severe need of a gully-washer to bring some fish into the BMR systemI'll be sending out another E-mail contact letter tomorrow about the 2002 Photo Contest where you can win a free trip, but the voting format will be different from the 2001 contest.  This time the judging will be done will the members at the message board, where they can vote only once.  It's my personal belief that the best photo didn't win last year's deal, so I've taken steps to cure that. 

11/3/02  Not much has changed with the status with the BMR Steelhead situation (I'm praying for a decent rain myself), although, I did see several boats fishing of the mouth of the river where it empties into Manistee Lake.  Leaf drop is way behind schedule, because on my trip to town today I noticed most trees were still carrying their fall foliage along M-55.

11/2/02  Removed both of the engines from my Cherokee yesterday.  Time involved in removing the motors was around 4 hours from start to finish.  Rented the boom truck from Solberg's Marina and the whole operation went very smoothly.
15 seasons and over 14000 hours of total service was the reason for this winter's rebuild job.  I'd say I got my money's worth out of my 270 Crusader Inboards, because I never had the heads off and only replaced two water pumps and one starter since 1987.
                             Click here to see port engine being lifted
   Got a report from the lower end of the BMR and the leaves down towards the M-55 Bridge were atrocious.  From what I heard the lower end isn't producing much either. 

11/1/02   Spent yesterday on the Big Manistee River with friends, Warren Knapp (aka Dotti K) and John.  As fall's majesty fades toward winter, the conditions in the BMR are not favoring the Steelhead fisherman for now.  Extremely low, gin-clear water with a minimal flow has not enhanced the fishery A-At-All!  In reality, the river is; so very low, I recommend unless you have a jet-drive, think twice before trekking to the big river.  Clear water?  Yep, so clear you can see the bottom reasonably good, even in holes where the water is 10 feet deep, or better.
   Our action consisted of a decent strike on a good fish that didn't hook up!  We didn't feel defeated, because of the tough conditions.  In fact, it was a highly pleasurable outing, as we swapped stories and re-hashed the 2002 lake season.  I was glad this was a research trip, shake down cruise and not a trip where I had paying guests.  While the Steelhead might have won round 1, the battle is far from being over.  We will have a awesome fall Steelhead Fishery, but not until we get a good amount of rain to raise the current flow levels.  Then it will happen big-time! Click here for good friends and dedicated fisherman, Warren and John
      Later I'll be posting photos of boom truck lifting the motors from the Cherokee.