Excerpts from Capt. John's
November and December 2002
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 system. I'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.
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.