September & October 

Past Updates, Fishing and Charter Reports

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

October 2002

10/31/02  Being Halloween I decided it was time to stop working on boat projects and spent a partial day on the Big Manistee River with good friends.  Warren Knapp, a regular from Manistee who fishes from the renown Dotti K and John, my recent deck hand for most of this July, August and September 2002.  Check back later to see if the Steelhead gave us a trick (by not biting), or a treat and cooperated! 
    Almost ready to pull both engines from my 28 foot Cherokee Sport Fisherman.  Spent better than 3 hours unbuttoning wires, hardware and hoses, but for lacking 2 two bolts, it's ready to be de-motorized.  Hopefully, I can get Solberg's boom truck to lift the motors tomorrow.  Click here to see what Crusader Inboards look like

10/30/02  The boat went on the trailer yesterday, as I made my final pass thru the channel towards Lake Michigan many thoughts went thru my head.  Recalling the fond memories of arm weary guests by 9 o'clock in the morning last August. Fishing the Ladies Day Tourney with a bunch of fun loving gals.  And just being a small part of the of the wonderful thing we know and love called, Salmon Fishing. 
    Gonna try to un-button the motors today and finalize the rest of the duties required to put a Salmon Machine to rest for a long and well deserved 5 month nap.
   Oh, yeah....I installed Service Pack 1 for the CD Microsoft sent me and everything went like it should.  Not like on 10/22/02 when the downloaded version destroyed this computer and broke my system big time. 

Gonna trailerize my Cherokee for the next 5 months.  Meaning I'm pulling my lake boat today ("if" all goes OK?).  The RiverMaster Jet Boat is clean and ultra-ready to start hunting Steelhead in the BMR. Click here for a clean boat
   By the time I pull the engines out the Cherokee for the re-build job, it should be Steelhead time in the Big Manistee River.  Interested in a weekday trip?  Then call me at: (800) 552-2009, as open dates might be hard to come by soon.

10/28/02  Started off the day right when my Cherokee cooperated and both engines started.  Because, I hadn't used the boat in a while, I believe the boat was looking for some much needed attention and decided to discharge the batteries.     
    So, I'd appreciate what a trouble free vessel I've had for about 16 seasons.  Incidentally, the discharging problem was, because I didn't start the boat for about 4 weeks.  Made tremendous progress with the riverboat clean-up and the RiverMaster is yearning to be chasing Steelhead on the Big Manistee River soon!  Click here for a "clean-up" riverboat
E-mail contact letter goes out later today with clearance sale on 2002 tackle.

10/27/02  Wet, cold and rainy, as we've yet to see an Indian Summer in Manistee.  Factor in a cantankerous 28 foot Cherokee, that wouldn't start, because of dead batteries and you'll see how my day went.
   Some boats were off the dock this morning, because it was foggy and the lake was calm, but I didn't hear what the catching was about.

10/26/02  Not much to report, until I pull my lake boat Monday.  Bunch of stuff to do today, but it's all maintenance orientated.  The big river is 1380 cubic feet a second, which is slightly below our 4 year average.

Great news about Lake Michigan off Manistee, the Steelhead and next years Kings are hitting 30 feet down off the shelf, straight out of Manistee.  The river and surf fishermen continue to struggle to find action, as I ponder this season is running two weeks behind schedule.  2002 has been a delayed action season, because of the extremely cold spring we experienced during April and May.
   I regret to inform you Don Niemic, owner on Don's Sporting Goods has passed on to his greater reward.  Don had the only reel tackle store in Manistee who catered to the bait fisherman.  Most of the time, he had several different kinds of minnows, including the type I used for sewn minnow fishing for April Brown Trout.  Also, season permitting he always had fresh wigglers and his tackle prices were the best in town, he will be sorely missed!

10/24/02   Cleaning the riverboat and installing new rodholder placements is on the agenda for today's chores.  I'm going to try to get out an E-mail contact letter for the members of the mailing list too.  I have a few spoon packs I just found and 5 spools of 20 pound Flea Flicker left.  Look for an outstanding deal on these end of the season closeouts, because I don't want to carry inventory into 2003.  Click here for a messy riverboat!

10/23/02   I was in a serious computer hell for about 5 hours with tech support at Microsoft yesterday.  I tried downloading Service Pack 1 for XP on a dial-up connection.  This is a huge 38 meg download and I ended up with corrupted files.  This meant, I had to f-disk and reformat this computer.   Plus, partition the hard drive, install two operating systems and the multitude of programs I use to bring you this website every day. 
   Finished the wheel bearing project and installed low-rider floatation tires on the riverboat trailer.  I lowered the boat about 4 inches and this should be a definite advantage when it comes to launching and retrieving the river boat this fall and winter.  I'm getting antsy to get things ultra-ready for this fall's Steelheading.  Click here for wheel height comparison    

10/22/02   Rain and overcast was the big story for yesterday.  Snow was scattered in with the showers, but not enough to stick to the warm ground.  Rain means the water in the Big Manistee will be rising.  The rush of a stronger current flow will premiere fall's greatest gamester called Mr. Steel Head entering the big river system.  I worked on trying to finish the replacing the wheel bearing seals on the riverboat trailer yesterday, until a hard, driving rain shut that project down.
   I'm more than ready to match wits with my worthy adversary, Mr. S. Head this November.  Plus, I need a fishing fix soon.  So, most of my efforts this week will be dedicated into readying the riverboat and river tackle purchases and sorting.  

Not many updates were available to me for this past weekend on the fishing scene out of Manistee.  Nasty weather was the problem, meaning chilly and scattered rain showers.  But, I just heard a few Steelhead were being taken on the lower stretch (M-55 Bridge to the farmhouse) of the Big Manistee River on spawn.

10/18/02  Today I seen it try to snow this morning for the first time this fall.  Then around noon it turned to all rain.  Nasty and dreary best describes the conditions in Manistee County I endured, while outside pulling the wheel bearings.

10/16/02  Going to wake the riverboat from it's long summer's nap, as Steelhead season is fast approaching!  Much to do, and storing lake tackle is on the agenda too.  I'm starting to get the bug for river fishing.  Fall fishing for unruly Steelhead in the river with plugs is a personal favorite with me and always will be.  It's more than fun!

10/15/02  I was going pull the Cherokee today, but by the way the weather looks it's going to be nasty the remainder of this week.  I'll be better off waiting for this spell of cold weather to clear out and I won't have issues with freezing with the boat still sitting in the water.  Besides, I'm pulling the engines for a complete overhaul and don't want to contend with high temps in the mid-40's for that job.

10/14/02  We got our first hard freeze of the fall season this morning with a low temperature of 28 degrees.  There's some surface temperatures in the mid-50's off the Port of Manistee, meaning some decent action on skyrocketing Steelhead, but many folks fail to take advantage of this superb late season fishery.  
My internet connection was down, so I couldn't update this website for this past Sat. & Sun. 
The majestic beauty of fall 2002 is definitely upon us now! 

10/11/02  Good fishing was found today off Manistee on the 30 line, 80 to 90 feet down.  Steelhead and 3 year old Kings, while not overly abundant were being caught.  This report came from Shipwatch Marina's very own Capt. Larry Scharich, who was pulling dock duty when the promising reports came in on channel 7. 

10/10/02  Not much to report on the status of Lake Michigan, because there just hasn't been many good opportunities to get off the dock.  Couple this with extremely poor surface temps and you'll see why, "there's not much happening."
   Spent most of the day resolving computer program installation issues (Partition Magic 7.01).  I now have a dual boot system, where I can boot into ME, or XP.  Also, I now have a 3 computer home network to back up files, mainly this website.  Computers pose their own unique problems akin to fish that can't be located, or cooperate! 

10/9/02  The down temp is still riding at, or below the depth of a 100 feet.  Wind, gales and nasty weather is what we have at Manistee lately.  Can't seem to get a break for a northwest blow to bring the temperature up on the surface.  I'd like to get one more crack at the big lake before I pull the lake boat for 2002.

10/7/02  Sunday's weather was even rougher than Saturday's.  This week's "to do" list includes, pulling the lake boat, yanking the engines to rebuild (7500 hours on them) and installing new wheel bearings on the riverboat trailer.  So, I've got a pretty full plate for the near future.

10/5/02  Here's the deal for this morning's cancellation.  Pay attention the the very low barometer, it's always a good indication of rough weather.  Also, wind gusts in excess of 40mph when you convert knots into mph.  

Conditions at 45002 as of
(10:00 pm EDT on 10/04/2002)
0200 GMT on 10/05/2002:

Wind Direction (WDIR):

WNW ( 300 deg )

Wind Speed (WSPD):

31.1 kts

Wind Gust (GST):

36.9 kts

Wave Height (WVHT):

8.2 ft

Dominant Wave Period (DPD):

7 sec

Atmospheric Pressure (PRES):

29.38 in

Pressure Tendency (PTDY):

+0.20 in ( Rising Rapidly )

Air Temperature (ATMP):

56.5 °F

Water Temperature (WTMP):


10/4/02  Looks like my last 2 charters of 2002 on Lake Michigan will be cancelled, because of a less than a favorable forecast.  Here's what I'm faced with:
                                         Whitehall To Manistee
                                         Gale Warning in effect!
Southeast winds under 10 knots increasing to 10 to 20 knots. Scattered showers. Waves 1 to 3 feet.
South gales to 35 knots. Showers and thunderstorms likely. Waves building to 6 to 9 feet.
Friday Night Southwest winds to 30 knots becoming northwest. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the evening. Waves 5 to 8 feet.
Northwest winds 15 to 25 knots. Partly cloudy. Waves 4 to 7 feet

10/3/03  Kinda have the website on autopilot, because this is limbo season for me.  I'll finish up the last 2 lake trips of the year this weekend.  Then waiting for the leaves to come down and the Steelheading in the Big Manistee River will become my focus until Lake Michigan starts for me in April 03 at BrownTroutville.

10/2/02  Not much to report other than strong south winds for the past two days have kept Lake Michigan at Manistee immerged in much too warm water.  Lack of a discernable thermocline is making the fishing "challenging" to say the least.

10/1/02  Took a picture of 4 of the 5 Commercial Indian net tugs now drydocked at Solberg's Marina.  So, for those of you who don't think the Little River Band are serious about commercial netting in Lake Michigan from north of Frankfort to Muskegon, you'd better think again!  Solberg's is not to be harassed over this hotly debated issue, because of discrimination problems they could be facing if dockage was denied.  Right, wrong or indifference to netting, shows that control of Lake Michigan now rests in the hands of the LRB of Native Americans.  
    We, as a user group have absolutely NO jurisdiction over the fishery our fishing licenses pay to maintain.  Please, boycott All Indian sponsored tournaments and send a strong message against the netting policies that WE are ALL now faced with! Click Here for Net Tugs

September 2002

9/29/02  Fished a half day event this morning with a good team today comprised of Andy, Torrey, Brian and Andy Jr.  Our catch photo doesn't reflect the action we experienced.  Mr. Wily J. Steelhead (the J stands for jumper) won more times than we did, because he knew exactly how to escape!  "Wild" best describes the explosive surface antics of our shrewd adversary, as many lived to fight another day.  We ended up with 3 Steelhead, a small King and a Laker that was tossed back.  We could have had 3 times as many Steelhead, if luck was on our side.  Click here for tips, techniques and area fished on 9/29/02  
Never the less, it was a good time for all on a fairly placid Lake Michigan for this time of the year.  

9/28/02  Andy S. and 3 young boys were my guests for today's cancelled trip on Lake Michigan.  35 degrees at 7am with a 20 mph wind, plus the youngsters had no heavy winter coats, so I put this trip off until tomorrow.  Three frozen "kidsickles" isn't my idea of how to win friends and influence people!  Made it over to the net pens at the Little Manistee, and they were crammed full of adult Kings, or Chinooks

9/27/02  Never made much beyond the pier heads this morning, as 2 to 4 seas (and building) dashed any hopes of a trip to deeper waters.  So, we made a lap around the harbor without any takers and put the boat back on the dock.

9/26/02  Mr. Don Van Stoyk was my guest for today's Lake Michigan semi-fruitless search for Steelhead.  Lack of any decent water temperature is the problem off Manistee now (too warm, 63 degrees to a 100 feet).  Even over 700 feet of water, down temp is over a 100 feet down.  Also, it didn't help our box much, when we missed the first 4 opportunities and we only ended up with one Steelhead.  I got a better plan for tomorrow's effort, check back to see if I figured out what needed to be done?   

9/25/02  Going to ready the boat for tomorrow's mission with Don Stoyk and do general late season maintenance.  Adjusting to a surface (top 30 foot) fishery means, stowing all the flashers, J-Plugs, dodgers and flies.  Spoons will be the food of choice if I can located the mother lode of Steelhead.

9/24/02   If the weather allows, I'll be fishing on Lake Michigan this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Steelhead and next year's Salmon will be the name of the game.  If the fish can be located, the catching can be beyond fantastic.  A few years back, we boated 28 fish in less than 3 hours, dock to dock!   

9/22/02   A severe cold has me laid pretty low, so low, I'd need a step ladder to crawl over a dime.  No updates for yesterday, or today are available.  Hope to feel better soon, because I'll be fishing this week.

9/20/02  The party is pretty much past over, as far as the Salmon for the 2002 Lake Michigan season is concerned.  I'll be fishing next week (weather permitting), and the main focus will be Steelhead.  Late September and early October offer some of the best fishing of the year when adult silver bullet Steelhead begin their annual fall run.  Look intense limit catch action near the surface (top 40 feet of water) over depths ranging from 400 to 600 feet.

9/19/02  Made stupendous progress in my quest to conquer Adobe's PageMaker 7.0 today, but I cheated.  How did I cheat?  I bought a 3 DVD, 10 hour instructional tutorial and I watched my first 4 lessons.  These DVD's were pricey at $240 and worth every penny of it so far, because of the time saving short cuts.  Plus, I won't have my face stuck in an instruction manual for hours on end.
    Interest is starting to build in the fall-winter Steelhead season on the Big Manistee, as a booked some river events today.  Also, I received an excellent report on Salmon in 12 feet of water off the Sable River north of Ludington from my UPS driver when he brought me my DVD Tutorials. 

9/18/02  I'm waiting for the Steelhead to pick-up next week, because I sitting on a few charter guests wanting to go.  Hopefully, the deep water Steelheading will improve and we'll be into fish big time, like usual for this time of year.

9/17/02  Thanks to Captains, Derek and FBD for the photos and keeping this website fresh.  It's kinda hard for me to come up with noteworthy info, if I'm not fishing.  However, I did my time on Lake Michigan this season and it feels ultra good not having the pressure to fill the box everyday.  I've put myself in a tough position with this website.  Because, there was almost 15,000 individuals that visited this site during the month of August, and I hate to suck at "catching" in a front of a audience that huge. My everyday charter guests don't see the difference, but you do! 

9/16/02 8am, News Flash:  Wow, it's only 37 degrees in Manistee County this morning.  The chill of autumn is in the air and it's time to think about the outstanding fall river Steelheading that will soon be upon us! 
9/16/02  Most reports that I received yesterday said adult Salmon were scarce, although a few were being taken in Manistee Lake and in the harbor entrance.  A few Steelies are being taken on the shelf and depths over 400 feet deep, is better.
   I'll be back teaching myself a new software program.  It's an overdone-geeky Adobe PageMaker 7.0 program and it's extremely complicated, compared to putting together this website with a html editor.  But, the way I see it, a little over 3 years ago I didn't even know about, or own a computer!  I will learn PageMaker 7.0. 

9/15/02  The high winds predicted for yesterday morning never hit us, but the breeze did pick up in the afternoon.  I need a fishing report from a Manistee fishermen, because I never made it to the marina yesterday.

9/14/02  All's quiet on the western front, I'm happy to report. Spent all of yesterday trying to learn a new software program called, Adobe PageMaker 7.0.  This program is necessary for me to format my book covering all methods and tackle required to be successful in your Great Lake quest of cold water gamefish.  I hope to have my own book for ready for sale by early 2003. 

9/13/02  Friday the 13th?  Superstitious or not, we don't need the rough weather forecast for this weekend.  Here's the weekend open water forecast. 
Southwest winds 10 to 20 knots increasing to 15 to 25 knots early...then shifting to northwest late. Showers and thunderstorms likely. Waves building to 4 to 6 feet. 
Saturday Night:
Northwest winds to 30 knots becoming north and increasing to gales to 40 knots. Chance of showers early. Waves building to 7 to 10 feet. Sunday: North gales to 40 knots diminishing to 15 to 25 knots. Chance of showers. Waves subsiding to 4 to 6 feet.
    I'm still on a self-induced hiatus and it will feel good to be home on a Saturday for a change.  Plenty of Salmon in the Big Manistee River for those willing to brave the intense fishing pressure and crowd.

Last night's very strong blow from the NNW, probably sounds the death knell of the 2002 open water Salmon season.  As Lake Michigan turns over and brings the cooler water towards the surface.  This will load the harbors with huge amounts of fish.  Planning on fishing this weekend?  Be sure to concentrate your efforts on the rivers that empty into our Great Lakes.  We'll still have plenty of good fishing ahead of us.  Now, is the time to start thinking about the outstanding surface fishery for Steelhead, and enjoy some of the best fishing of the year.
9am Update:  Cold surface temps off the ports of Frankfort and Ludington means, they're probably producing good action.  Warm water off Manistee isn't helping the harbor fishery, but it might help hold some Salmon out in the lake a little longer.
 Be sure to set aside a silent moment, or two for the 3000-plus Americans who lost their lives in the 9/11/01 attack on our homeland.  We will not forget!

9/10/02  A cold front moving in, means northwest winds and that should load our harbor up with Salmon in the next day, or two.  Hope to put a deal together with the Producers people, because they make the Willies Worm (river steelie lure) and a Flatfish copy.  After several tries with trying to secure Helin's T-4 Flatfish, no distributor would even deal with me.  So, I'll find someone who will!

9/9/02  As the 2002 Salmon Season winds down and a slow Michigan economy has taken it's toll on everyone's charter business, I'll have a few days off.  I need to do many things for the 2003 season and the ground work has to be laid right now.  
    Fishing for Salmon out all northern Lake Michigan ports remains terrific for those willing to venture to Lake Michigan.  I'd like to say thank you to all that have visited this website, so far this year and I hope you gained an extra insight in "OUR" fishery!  

9/8/02  Len, Kevin, Tim & Chad were my prized guests on today's Lake Michigan Salmon search.  Now, this team was a fine group of fisherman that knew how to have fun and still be serious enough to put fish in the boat.  Len had the "hot hand" landing most everything that touched his rod (unlike his luck yesterday!) and shared his vast wisdom and knowledge with the rest of his fellow anglers.  The bottom line on today's outing was gratifying, as several entertaining circumstances presented "ALL" of us a good quality time and a bunch of laughs.
    Oh yeah, we had a fairly sizeable box containing 11 fish, meaning 7 good sized Kings to the 20 some pound range and 4 chubby Cohos.  Several fish were missed, because of a flat-calm water, very soft bite and one dastardly King we finally killed!
                Click here for today's catch and great charter guests!

9/7/02  Fished with Barry, Gary, Berto and Frank on Lake Michigan today.  We had a superlative trip with a massively substantial 200 lb. box.  The dead fish count was 10 Kings to 27 pounds and 5 spunky Coho.  We accomplished this feat by 11:30am and headed back to Manistee contented in the fact, there was more fish in the box than needed, to call incredible fishing expedition!
      Click here for Frank's 26lb.+ Tuna      Click here for a meat catch from hell 

9/6/02  Bill and his father Karl were my guests for this morning's half day Lake Michigan Salmon quest.  Sloppy water to the north meant, we moved the boat 8 miles south for calmer conditions.  Quality was the focus of our catch.  We boxed 4 worthy adult Kings to about 20 pounds and a Coho.  The interesting thing about today's sojourn was that Bill flew his private Cessna up from Toledo, Ohio in less than 2 hours. Both fishermen did fine on the rods for the action we experienced in an extra-strong east wind this morning.  Click here for Bill & Karl's catch photo

9/5/02  Catch'em quick is the theme of today's report from the Port of Manistee.  After an unproductive lap around the harbor, we yanked rods and headed for the shelf at 7am.  We almost had our full compliment of 5 rods set, when the 5 rigger was being attacked by a spirited Coho.  Then a couple more went into the fish box when a good-sized King smacked a diver rod.  Capt. Bob Hicks (aka Sarah Ann from Lud-town) put on masterful show of his angling expertise, whipping the largest fish of the day in short order.  So, after about an hour we boxed our 10 fish limit and headed back to the dock around 8:20AM.  The body count for today's effort was 4 Kings (2 smaller ones) and 6 chunky Cohos.  I've watched Capt. Bob's complete metamorphosis into an adept, proficient angler this year, good job......Capt. Bob!
                      Click for today's dockside catch photo

9/2/02  I'll be taking a few days off from the overly-hectic grind, having been at the boat around the last 45 consecutive days.  R and R is needed and welcomed after an exceedingly heavy August schedule (30 trips in 31 days).  Besides, the weather radar shows rain and storms approaching at 7am this morning.  I'll still have daily updates and fishing reports for you, as the come in from other captains fishing Manistee waters.  Need to catch up on much neglected office and home duties.  Lots to do, but I'll probably research fish on Wednesday, or this Thursday. 

9/1/02  I had a 2 groups of remarkable hard-fishing, father-son teams of Mike Jr. and Mike, Dave Jr. and Dave, plus Jerry was along too, on today's early morning Salmon slaughter.  This team got with the program and boxed 10 lunker Kings, by around 8am.  Not being greedy, we pulled lines by 9am and headed back towards the dock.
    All anglers are to be congratulated on the superb job they did on the sticks (rods), boxing 10 Kings to past 20 pounds and missing none!  They paid careful attention and heeded all tips and controlled most fish like seasoned pros.  Even young Mike did battle and whipped what I consider, the largest fish of the day. Click for today's truly awesome 2 hr. catch rampage
All members of today's team are welcomed back aboard my boat anytime! Incidentally, this was the 5th time I tried to get Dave off the dock (weather problems).  All motels were booked and I this group stay with me, at my place.