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

3/31/04  I subscribe to the Ludington newspaper by mail.  I find I miss too much that is important to me if I do not.  One recent headline was "Pressures continue on the Pere Marquette River" talking about the varied uses and problems on the river.  A huge number of people enjoy the river for canoeing and kayaking, Steelhead and Salmon fishing.  In addition, in many places there are homes and cottages along the river.  Just as back in the lumbering days, the river continues to be a source of income for a great many people.

Of course, people being people, there are conflicts.  The fishermen think the boaters should go away, the boaters think the fishermen should go away and the homeowners wish we would all go away.  Even the Steelhead and King fishermen can't seem to get along.

It is hard to be a fisherman and not be a conservationist.  I imagine that it is much more pleasurable to kayak in a clean, healthy river.  It interests me to see groups with such obvious common goals at odds with each other instead of viewing the other group as more "people power" to protect the river. - Bob Hicks

3/30/04  I received my new registration tags for the "Sarah Ann" today - $115 went to reduce the State's budget deficit.  That got me thinking about the things we need to do to get ready for the season.
    Replace those flashlight batteries on the boat, along with the batteries for the handheld VHF and GPS you keep for emergencies, and of course the boat batteries.  Check the expiration dates on those flares before the CG does!  Check out those trailer tires and wheel bearings, they are a lot easier to deal with at home.  Time to check out the drags on those reels and replace the line.  And of course, next week you can get your new license on-line.
    One Week from Saturday the Sarah Ann launches for the first fishing trip this season!  Time to get ready - Bob Hicks

3/29/04 I would also like to thank all the people who made the symposium a success, the speakers and the helpers, and of course, the attendees. I especially enjoyed meeting some guys who are brand new to this sport. Keep your chin up guys, because if I can learn it, you can learn it. My first year was DISMAL. Fortunately, on practically the last day of the year to fish I hooked a Big Harbor King, which got me coming back for more. Looking back, It's no wonder I struggled so much. My first conversation with John King, I told him I was only going to fish with spoons because attractors don't work!  
                    Click for a photo of our Super Salmon Symposium 3/27/04 
I have a little news also. Any of you who might have looked at my Raymarine prices before and been, shall we say, less than excited, please look again. (Burns unit, that means you!) I have a new supplier who's prices allowed me to drop the price on many items substantially. I am still filling out the site with product, but I am now re-energized to get that done now that I can be happier with the pricing. - Bob Hicks

3/28/04  Thanks to all that attended my Salmon Symposium yesterday in Stronach, Michigan.  I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world to have some many wonderful fishermen to show up.  Never in my life, have I EVER seen such a well informed audience!  I'm totally overwhelmed with the outcome of our event.  
    I debuted for the first time in the world, a new line of flashers that are made entirely in America, by American workers, with all American pieces and parts that will be less expensive then the foreign imports.  I'm ultra-mega proud to say, "we do it better in the USA!" 
                Click here for a fine example of a new American made flasher
   Out of town business will prevent me from doing the daily updates for a few days.
Capt. Bob Hicks will be pinch hitting for me with the updates.  Bob's high-tech visual aids, like a computer projector and an overhead projecting camera made our symposium even more interesting.  My thanks to Bob for his technical aids & skills!

3/27/04   Yep, it's our long awaited symposium day.  Today is the day when I get the wonderful opportunity meet many of you in person.  I have a great line-up of guest speakers willing to share their knowledge with the fishermen attending our do.  I'd like to thank all who lent a hand and helped us set-up tables and chairs for our guests.

3/26/04  I've been way too busy with getting everything together for tomorrow's
our Super Salmon Symposium.....I just don't have a worthwhile update.  
Here's one from Capt. Jay (3/25/04) on Steelheading in the Big Manistee River:
"Report is fishing remains good, Catching, well?....Today Murphy's law took over. I fished with Tom and Norm today who drove up from the Lansing area this  morning to fish today. We started out good, landing our first strike of the day a nice winter fish. Then Murphy took over! The next fish a nice fresh hen, which Tom brought right up to the back of the boat when all of the sudden the lure just came out. The next Strike, the rod doubled over line ran out of the reel and then nothing. The lure was reeled in and it no longer had any hooks? Tom ended up having another fish come off again at the back of the boat. Tom did finally land a nice fresh hen. Still it was a good day. Just keep your heads up, if these fish have figured out how to get the hooks off our plugs, we could all be in trouble"....Capt. Jay 
Click for catch photo

3/25/04  Whew...what a day!  I spent all of yesterday with duties associated with this coming Saturday's Salmon Symposium.  Building stage props took most of the day.  Contacting all the guest speakers and laying down a flexible schedule is almost done.  Please plan on being there between 9 and 9:30am  Speakers start at 9:45am.
   I've been besieged with many E-mails concerning a rumor that Miss December 2003 might be making guest appearance.  Let me assure you, I cannot afford this style of entertainment and still keep our seminar free! Click here for Miss December 2003

3/24/04  The best news in the world for our symposium this Saturday, March 27, 2004 is gonna be warm, sunny and very spring-like with temperatures in the 50s.  I was reel-worried about bad weather.  So, that's no longer a major concern.
    The vast majority of yesterday was spent dealing with readying the upcoming symposium this Saturday (3/27/04).  I'll be in the need of some large coolers and bags of ice.  Please bring what ever you plan to drink, but no alcohol is allowed, because of insurance reasons.  There will be a lunch break from 11:45am to 1:15pm, so you can stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat.  During our 90 minute lunch break there will be tailored work shops on tackle, tips and general "knotsmanship."  If you don't know how to snell?.......you will be able to learn how!  Personal snacks, beverages, small coolers and lunches will be allowed in the building. 

3/23/04  Today's update is gonna be devoted to Lake Michigan's charter fleet catch reports for 2003. The ramification is that we no longer have a balanced fishery if you compare it to 1996.  Steelhead is off by about 60%, Coho is down by at least 50%, and the Brown Trout population is down by 90-some percent.  Lakers have slipped about 50% too.  Kings are the big deal now and the catch rate on Kings is up about 100%.  Please keep in mind, I compared the figures of 1996 to 2003 in the above tabulations.  I suspect the reasons are many for the decline of some species such as lampreys, cormorants, reduced plants and commercial netting operations that all directly impact and deplete a resource severely.
     May, June and early July fishery was poor and lack luster in Manistee 2003.  This is the reason I was desperate and came across a more effective method to produce fish.  Well, to make a long story short, I found and mastered a deadly technique called, "cut-bait" to stay in the charter business.  Case in point?..... During July of 2003 there were only 1,492 Kings caught by the 30 to 40 charters that call Manistee, "their home port."  That is a very skimpy number when all things are considered based over 31 days!  I guess the good news is?.....we still have an August fishery for Kings.
     For you number crunchers there was 10,525 Coho, 57,136 Kings, 9,598 Steelhead, 1,190 Browns, 8,120 Lakers caught by the charter boats (Apr. thru Oct). This comes to the grand total of 86,569 fish recorded in 2003.  If you divide 12,096 charter trips into that number, I came up with the average Lake Michigan charter skipper taking only 7.2 fish per outing.  So, for you guys who think the charter operators are emptying the lake, you'd better think again!

3/22/04  Registration for our symposium will be closed after Wednesday, March 23. 2004.  I have way too much to do this week to OK tardy registrations.  Yes, if you're already registered, bringing a guest is OK. Please, don't waste my time, or yours by asking for last minute for admissions.  Time for me this week is at a premium, so I hope you understand my reasoning about the deadline registration.
     Here's a river report from 3/21/04 on the Big Manistee River from Capt Jay:
The word for today is "improvement." We started out the day at 7:00 am with 25-30 mph wind gusts and me rowing down river, at noon we had for our efforts, three hits.  We then made some adjustments and ended up putting three nice fresh fish in the boat between 1pm and 3pm.  Lure color?.. it doesn't matter as long  has it has a gold stripe on it's back.  I heard of another boat that allegedly went 4 for 9.  I also spoke with to a lot of people that had nothing.........Capt. Jay Frolenko

3/21/04  Jeff and Denny stopped my house today with a dandy Big Manistee River Steelhead.  This was perfect for me, because in all honesty, I was hurting for a timely update.  The weather in the first part of the day was perfect for Jeff and Denny with temperatures pushing 50 degrees.  Then around 3pm it turned windy and got cold in a hurry.   Click here for Jeff & Denny    Click here for their hot lure
    So, "mediocre" continues to be the word from the big river, because for now .....it's about a fish or two per boat.  One or two fish is still a heck of a lot better, then no fish.  Especially, if you're eager to wet a line and tired of being housebound. 

3/20/04  Spring has sprung, as we officially enter into the Spring of 2004.  Guess what?....with snow and temps below freezing predicted for today, someone forgot to tell Mother Nature it's time to lighten up a bit.  I am absolutely positive, we're all looking forward to the 2004 big lake trolling season that will be here soon.
   Word from the Big Manistee River still tends to be on the mediocre side.  The lower river, up to Tippy Dam has some Steelhead being caught, but the fish ain't jumping in the boat.  A warm spell is needed to raise the water temp a tad, then it will bust loose big time.  Our average temps in Manistee County have been way below normal for about the last 2 weeks, as Mr. Winter 2004 is dying a slow and prolonged death.

3/19/04   In my travels around northern Michigan a few days ago, I stopped by the Platte River Hatchery.  I knew the hub-bub of the 500,000 dead Salmon would be over and want to pay my little buddies in the rearing pens a social call.  This place always amazes me.  Millions of fish, most named after me.  So, this is kinda like a large family reunion.  Click here for a photo of a bunch of young Salmon, or parr
    The DNR has done a excellent job by keeping this facility open to the public.  This hatchery even boasts a mini-museum of Salmon tackle and aquariums.  I don't often throw accolades to the DNR, but in this case they deserve it.  The Platte River Hatchery is located on US31 a few miles north of Honor Michigan.  If you've never visited this home of millions of my namesakes?..... I highly recommend you do!

3/18/04  I've received some glowing reports on the St. Joe River.  The guide boats are catching between 5 to 9 Steelhead a trip.  Spawn and plugs have been the flavor of the day according to what's been passed on to me.  The St. Joe generally is about 2 weeks ahead of our Big Manistee River when it comes to action.
   The Big Manistee has a good clarity and the water flow down by the M-55 Bridge is manageable.  We've lost 90% of our snow cover, so any high water from now on will happen from rain.  The first slug of high water generally rinses the big river and removes most of the debris from the river banks.  The big river is flowing at tolerable 2000 cubic feet per second and the water temperature is hovering around 36 degrees.  Steelheading will bust loose, once the river warms to and past 38 degrees.

3/17/04  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I have some impressive news about a world class sportsman and outdoor writer that will be a featured guest at our seminar.  
Mr. Dave Richey
will be doing a short presentation about his new internet presence.
This is a major leap forward in arranging the finest lists of luminaries available for our Super Salmon Symposium, being held Mar. 27, 2004 in Stronach, Michigan.
    Dennis Buchner is the technical support arm of www.daverichey.com.  Dennis has one of the best inland fishing reports websites I've ever seen.   More info on his awesome website in the very near future.  By sometime early next week I'll be posting a time schedule of the featured presenters and their targeted subject matter. 
             Click here for the complete list of guest speakers on 3/27/04

3/16/04  Some monster Walleyes are being caught in Muskegon Lake now.  Reports of fish in the 10 to 12 pound bracket are filtering in. I'd like to thank Joel O. for the photo and update from the Muskegon area.  Click here for 12 lb. Muskegon Walleye
Manistee guys are being tight lipped, so this means they're either catching Steelhead to beat the band, or the other end of the scale......fish are hard to come by.
    I'm taking some reel-steps in the right direction and hope to complete my life's work in a book sometime later this year.  I'll be meeting with Kay Richey for some preliminary consultation.  I read Dave Richey's article about our Michigan DNR Officers that have perished in the line of duty.  To access this tragic article click here

3/15/04   It's my great honor and privilege to announce Dave Richey's new website today.  Dave is the standard all other outdoor writers are measured by.  Way back when?...... I had the grand opportunity to take Dave fishing a few times.  He featured me on the Sunday Detroit News Outdoor Page a couple of times during the 1980s, making me look far better then I actually did!  To access Dave's website click here.
    Dave's talent at writing is renowned with 22 books to his credit.  Dave is new to the internet scene with his medium being hard print in newspapers, magazines and books.  So, this is a brand new vista for him.  Although, he's now retired for the Detroit News, he has a lot of timeless and informational articles to share with us in his daily column called, Dave's Outdoor Blog.  I'm hoping ALL of you will support his new adventure into the land of cyberspace.  I started reading his daily web-log and was captured by the vivid, smooth flowing stories he put forth.  Give him a click and I'm sure,....you'll be glad you did!  www.daverichey.com will get you there too.

3/14/04  I'll be spending most of the day working on stage props and my sermon for our upcoming deal on 3/27/04.  It seems to me that everyone wants to over complicate the fishing process with words like mono-chromatic and replicate.  My emphasis will be strictly devoted to simplicity and the basic premise,..... "what we're doin' ain't all that hard!"  Fishing the Great Lakes is not rocket science, building a thermonuclear device or carving on someone's brain.  Rass-ma-tas and fancy sounding words has little to do with a full box of fish.......reel-fact number 1!

3/13/04  Kinda pressed for a meaningful fishing update for today.  The recent winter storm pretty much has kept the fishermen I know at home for the time being.
   I did make some progress on my book I promised "myself" I'd complete in 2004.  I found out from Dave Richey, his wife Kay can help me format my book.  I'll be meeting with the Richey's in the near future to discuss my book project in detail.  In case you don't know Dave Richey?..... he's our area's foremost outdoor writer with 22 books to his credit and 1000s of articles.  He wrote the outdoor page for the Sunday Detroit News for way over 20 years, before he retired.  I'll be debuting and linking to Dave's new website in this Monday's (3/15/04) update. 

3/12/04  I guess the biggest news from Manistee County is that we got whacked with a late season winter storm.  Looks like about 4 to 6 inches at my house.
   Here's the deal on the state of the Big Manistee River from what I've been able to dig up.  Yes, there are fish being caught.  The water is high, but has fairly good clarity for this time of year.  The lower section of the river seems to be producing
the best results for now.  It's my sincere feeling we're a week. or two away from the mother-load of these confrontational pieces of liquid dynamite.  
    Capt. Jay Frolenko is at the Lansing Sport and Fishing Show thru this Sun.  If you plan on going to the Lansing do, stop by his booth and say hi.

3/11/04  Tried of playing games with fish and missing strikes?  I now have in stock the exact hooks I use for April Browns, Spring Kings, Summer Steelhead, Mag Spoons, Meat-Rigs, Trolling Flies, etc.  VMC came thru and received my order from them yesterday.  While I can't make more fish bite for you, I can make sure your hook-up ratio improves by a 100%.  Not missing fish is the reel-deal, not how many you can sore mouth!  Pricing is incomplete at this time and I only have a limited amount of these deadly hog stickers.  Click here for the VMC hooks photo
     Even if you've never considered purchasing from me before?.....please do yourself a favor and order these hooks that are far too important to be overlooked.  I had Terry W. field test some of these hooks last season in Wisc. waters.  Here's what Terry had to say,  "the VMC hooks last year I got from you are the best product I have on my boat.  I am looking to surprise another member of your private message board with a gift.....in quantities of a 100!"

3/10/04  Close to 500,000 young Coho Salmon were lost on 3/8/04 at the Platte River hatchery in Honor, Michigan.  According the hatchery manager, Dave Eisch, a pump failed, bypassing some needed safety alarms not in place. The lack of flowing water caused oxygen depletion.  No oxygen in the water means the fish can't breath and suffocate within 15 to 20 minutes.  This hatchery has lost fish like this before! 
    There will to be no statewide Coho plantings in 2004, because of this tragedy.  The remaining 600,000 Coho smolts that survived  are slated to be only released into the Platte River in '04.  This an effort to insure they have enough adults returning to spawn and for their scheduled egg take on 2005. This is not good news, because I know the Coho fishery is already stressed by my low catch rate of them last summer.  Thank the fish gods!....... several million young King Salmon were not effected.  The baby Kings were in another raceway, not effected by the faulty pump.
   Reports that I received from last weekend on the Big Manistee River were not encouraging.  Wayne J. fished the lower end in high water and seen light action on floating spawn bags.  Nick M. fished up by Tippy Dam from a boat during the same time span Wayne did.  Nick reported a boat had one fish and catching was scarce.

3/9/04  The "big buzz" at the Flint Steelheaders Show was the new under-slung level wind reels from Walker.  This reel has a special trigger to apply additional drag if needed. Be care when you torque down on any fish, because line breakage can always occur.  I'll probably have a few of these reels for demonstration purposes at our symposium which is only about 3 weeks away.  Click here for the Walker Reel
   They dropped the water today on the big river from 4000 cubic feet per second to a more manageable 2800 cubic feet per second.  The water is in the 35 degree range up by Tippy Dam and 3 more degrees of water temp and the iron-noggins will begin spawning in earnest.  I'm desperate for river fishing reports on Steelhead.  So, any help would be greatly appreciated.  Your recent Steelhead photos are welcomed.

3/8/04  Out of town business prevents me from doing a daily update for today.
Updates will resume tomorrow upon my return.  I hope to have some river fishing reports from the Steelhead fishermen soon.

3/7/04  The Flint Steelheaders Show concludes today at Birch Run.  If you plan on attending today, please get there no later then 1pm, because most exhibiters have started dismantling their displays by 3pm.  Show hours today are 10pm to 4pm.
    I need river fishing reports from all areas of Michigan.  With the Big Manistee flowing at almost 4000 cubic feet per second, reports of success have been scarce.  Both Bear Creek and Pine Creek add to the flow, so reel-high water is what we have here in Manistee County.  Keep in mind, river fishermen have always been tight lipped about contributing reports.  In a way,.....I don't blame them, because of the massive mega-crowds we have on the rivers and streams now-a-days!

3/6/04  The Flint Steelheaders show continues today at the Birch Run Expo Center.
The show runs today from 10am thru 9pm.  Bob Hicks is there representing our online tackle store at: www.michiganangler.com  Bob's over stocked with rods and looking to move a Luhr Jensen's roller rods.  The Expo Center is located just west within
view of I75 if you're headed north, or just slightly south of the Birch Run exit.
Preparations to go out of state tomorrow looms large on my horizon.

3/5/04  The Flint Steelheaders Show begins at Birch Run today at 4pm.  They've moved their show to the new Expo-Center close to the Birch Run exit off I75.  I think this was wise on their part, because the IMA Arena was showing it's age.  The IMA Arena's heating system could barely bring warmth to the old building.  Capt. Bob Hicks will be there with a general line of tackle, representing our online tackle store.  An important out-of-state meeting scheduled for Monday, means travel for me this weekend.  So, I will not be able to attend this year's Flint shindig.
     Please consult our
No Nets! about what to vendors and products to patronize.  Also, questioning those who have backed and or are advertising for the netting company might prompt a motivating dialog.  I'd like to know how they're gonna defend their untenable position.  Please vote with your billfold when it comes to these Benedict Arnold offenders that want to squat on both sides of the fence!

3/4/04  My UPS driver said Ludington's harbor is open and within a few days, you'll be able to launch a boat.  He mentioned, "the Copeian boat launch was almost clear, but no docks were in the water yet."  So, bring waders if you plan on launching a small boat and chasing those feisty early season Browns.
    Spent most of the day trying to catch up on neglected tasks, because I was out of town on Monday and Tuesday.  If you're waiting on tackle orders?....I'll be shipping most of the spoon deals today.  I'm waiting on VMC (hooks) and Cortland (line) to ship product.  Thanks for your patience.

3/3/04  The lower stretches of the Muskegon, White, Kalamazoo, Pentwater and Pere Marquette Rivers were all at the high water stage.  The Muskegon and the Kazoo looked like chocolate milk, is what I seen on my return trip north to Manistee County yesterday.  The water has not came up the high on the Big Manistee yet, but is will.  This additional flow draws the Steelhead upstream like a magnet to spawn.
    "Getaway" Bob Kietzman's radar arch business has him swamped.  I posted a picture in today's update so you can see the quality of the welding and fine design.
Click here to see a fine example of what a first-rate radar arch looks like.  If you'd like to contact Bob personally....here's his E-mail address: bobkietzman@hotmail.com

3/2/04  A business trip took me to SW corner of Michigan today, by Benton Harbor.  The Muskegon, White and Kalamazoo all had a good flow, looking like high water conditions.  I'm sure these rivers have to be producing some Steelhead.  However, river fishermen as a group can be a tight lipped bunch making info hard to come by.
Rain and temps in the 50s, plus the runoff should turn the Big Manistee River into a top-notch fish producer reel-soon.  Things are looking great for spring Steelheading!

3/1/04   I'm offering a dozen Mini-Streaks in my "go to" colors.  12 minis and 20 special replacement hooks will cost $50 shipped to you door, instructions included.
This is probably a limited time spring offering. E-mail me at: kingscharter@yahoo.com if you're interested.  There will be a color photo posted on our private message board.  Sorry, about the black and white photo, but it keeps my competition from filling their stores with colors I recommend.
By the first of April, my bCentral E-mail Updates list will be no more.  Cost and the fact some porn site is spoofing that address, shipping X-rated images, appearing to be from me.  These random E-mails are not from me!  If I was gonna do a porn site, I'd have done it 4 years ago, and not embarked on down the road of Great Lakes fishing.  My biggest problem in doing an adult site is that I'm way over 50 years old.  I just couldn't find any barely legal teens, or gals in their early 20s willing help me with a project of this nature. Even though, I told 'em,"I was pretty good with a camera!


2/29/04    I was at Tippy Dam this morning as an observer. Fishing pressure was light and a few Steelhead had been out smarted.  Best action on the Big Manistee River still lies in the future.  The water temp up by the dam was 35.2 degrees and it looked like all 3 turbines were running, because the flow was over 2200 cubic feet per second.  If I get some free time over the weekend, I'll do some snooping around on the lower river to see how the the downstream anglers are faring.

2/28/04  Something that I just noticed is that February 2004 is a leap year, cuz this month has has 29 days.  Isn't February only supposed to have 28 days?
   Registration forms for our 3/27/04 Salmon Symposium are coming in at a fairly good clip.  I'm thrilled with the response and I'm looking forward to our event.  We're well over 100 persons registered, with most bring at least one guest, or friend with them.
I'm sure the Stronach Hall can handle more then handle our needs, but I need to call our Twsp. clerk and find out what the code exactly allows for.  There's still time left to register for the time being.  I don't want everyone jam-packed in like sardines. Preferring to preserve the quality aspect and not the quanity of how many people I can stuff in a building.  Still behind in some tackle shipments, boat ads, message board activations, but I'm catching up quickly and hope to have all website tasks up to snuff by Sunday.  My "Dry-wall Thursday" set me back a day or two.

2/27/04  The Flint Steelheaders Show at Birch Run starts a week from today. The show starts 4pm on 3/5/04 and runs thru 3/7/04.  I will not be able to attend, an important out-of-state business meeting needs my complete, focused attention.  I've been doing "sport shows" for over two decades.  I've done the show scene for myself and as a representative for many too tackle manufacturers to mention.  This will be the first time in 23 years I haven't manned a show booth.  I will miss meeting many of you in person, but there's no way to can cancel this ultra-necessary conference.  
     I had a party at my house yesterday.  This was the kind of party you don't want to get invited to!  Capt. Bill Sweet ("Reel Sweet"), John Johnson ("Megan Ann") were in attendance at my dry-wall party and I now have a ceiling in my garage instead of roof trusses, or rafters.  My most sincere thanks goes to both of them for helping swing and lift 4' x 12' sheets of 1/2" wall board way above their heads and install it.

2/26/04  Manistee is starting to free up from winter's grip. The harbor and the entire river system up to Wellston, Michigan is ice free.  Thank God............the ice is gone!
The fishing reports on the lower of the big river are good, Steelhead are being caught.  Weekend temps to and past the 40 degree range are gonna further enhance your chances of success, if you're itching to wet a line?  Click here for harbor photo on 2/25/04
    New members of the message board, I appreciate your patience.  I at least 30 new signed applications for membership, I gonna OK today.  I'm behind on several orders, but good news!  The new Jelly Bean Silver Streaks and a new special pack of Mini Streaks were delivered to my house today by the man in brown.

2/25/04  I was at the High Bridge launch ramp yesterday afternoon to greet Capt. Jay and his guests at 4pm.  Larry and Dave fished the river with Jay and ended up with a Steelhead and lost a dandy right before quitting time.  I spoke with Mark, the DNR's catch-reporter and he said, it was maybe a fish per boat and no Steelhead at all were caught, or recorded at Tippy Dam. Click here for Larry, Bud & Dave
     The ice came off the lower end of the big river, this causes a burst of current downstream, as the bayous empty.  It also, causes the upper river levels to drop.  Falling current, or receding water is something I never had success with.  Look for Manistee Lake's Steelhead to soon find the swifter current more to their liking and start migrating upstream.  Warm spell to continue in Manistee, thru this weekend.
So, more run-off means more fish, the conditions are setting up for good fishing!

2/24/04pm  I have a late season, ice fishing report from Lake St. Clair from Scott O.  Here's his exact words: "Many of my friends are lucky enough to get out on almost a daily basis right now. The action on the U.S. side is slowing down fishing is pretty much even from the spillway (Jefferson between Shook and Crocker south of Metro Beach) all the way up to Fair Haven. The large schools of fish we were seeing earlier this year are thinning out. Still schools of nice sized fish, just not as large as they were before. With all the ice jams all over too, getting out to deeper water has been dangerous. The good news is if your willing to move around a lot you can find fish in real close (4ft of water). The best advice I can give is one, take a decoy and use it to bring the schools in (it also prevents you from having to move around as much). Two take jigging spoons as well as wigglers, and three if you have perch below you and they won't bite either a jigging spoon or your teardrop/wiggler jigged? DROP THE  WIGGLER TO THE BOTTOM!!! There is a 99 percent chance they'll pick it up. If I make it out anytime soon, I'll be sure to send an updated report. Good luck to all!  I can't wait to get back on the big water!.........Scott O." 

2/24/04am  The weather got kinda nasty up here again yesterday, but it stayed at, or around freezing.  I'm gonna be snooping around at the High Bridge Public Access this afternoon for an exact report on what's up?  As hectic as it's been around my house for the past week, it will do me good to see the velvety course of the Big Manistee River. Capt. Bud Raskey and I are both involved in this adventure around 4pm today.   Also, I'm gonna see if the lower river has cleared from being frozen across around the M-55 Bridge. Late breaking word is that the lower river is open! 
Yep, folks the 2004 fishin' season is just about here ....................big time!
The question of the day is, "are you ready for some reel-times in 2004?"

2/23/04  Ken the manufacturer of the KRW Trolling Fly sent me a sample pack of his new products for 2004.  I guess the biggest news is that he's now selling 3 packs of his great fly.  I know his new colors for 04 will be hot too.  KRW's Aqua-Bold is Manistee's number 1 selling trolling fly color.  Click here for the new KRW stuff
    Capt. Jay reports the water temp on the Big Manistee is almost 34 degrees.  A few fresh silver fish are entering the system.  He only fished 4 hours today and hit 3 Steelhead including a dandy bright hen landed by Derek. Click for Derek's Steelie Jay said, "by the way things are looking, a new run of fresh fish will soon be here."  I feel the same way and good things are on the way.  Click here the hot lures on 2/22/04
    As Mr. Paul Harvey would say,
"click here for the rest of the stories." 

2/22/04  The mouth of the Little Manistee River is open and Steelhead anglers there are reporting fair success.  Typical statements like, some days being better then others are being spoken.  I haven't heard much from Manistee Lake on how the guys on the ice are fairing on Steelies thru the ice yet.  Temps slightly above freezing for most of next week are predicted.  This should help thaw the lower end of the Big Manistee.  Once we have open water on the lower end of the big river, I expect the fishing pressure and action to pick up in a large way.
    Always remember this statement when it comes to spring Steelheading, "when the water levels are on the way up, generally so are the Steelhead!"  Right now, water flow is the key that unlocks the annual run spring of metal-heads.

2/21/04  The simple things in life continue fascinate me.  Things like no snow in my driveway's entrance just makes me filled with glee!  Look for this recent melt to start adding flow to the big river in a few days.  Things are starting to look good for those dedicated Steelhead chasers that experience their reel "right of passage" every spring.

2/20/04  I don't have much an update that concerns fishing today.  It's the dull, mundane  behind the scenes stuff that I do with this website.  I spent 14 actual fulltime hours reformatting the navigation structure and enclosing all the articles in a private folder.  Passwords will be required for the tips and tricks section, or as it's also known, "Capt. John's Encyclopedia of Tips and Trix."  Passwords will be posted at our private message.  My security had to be tightened up, because of plagiarism issues.

2 /19/04  Holy Socks, Batman!  It got all the way to 37 degrees yesterday in Manistee County, marking our first reel-day above freezing since 1/4/04.  I can almost see bare ground on my drive's entrance way.  Maybe?...we'll have a spring after all!
   I spent the rest of the day doing E-mails our private message board members.  My E-mail Updates List will be transferred through and to the private board eventually, because of the monthly cost of maintaining separate lists.  In a very lumpy economy, dropping the costly E-mail Updates List will save me about $500 a year.  So, if you're a member of the Updates List now, you might want to consider joining our private board now and avoiding the rush.
                         Click here for the form to join our private board
   I'm running a limited time combined sale on Capt. John's Dirty Dozen and Flea Flicker line.  This spoon pack has all 3 sizes of the custom Lemon-Ice paint job.  This Lemon Ice Streak was my best producing spoon during late July, Aug. and early Sept. when I ran a limited amount of hardware....reel-fact! Click for an 8/15/03 "Hot Lures" photo

2/18/04  Today's update is courtesy of Capt. Jay Frolenko.  Here are his exact words on a 2/17/04 excursion-research mission on the Big Manistee River: 
Hi John, Today the word was, "Versatility!" I fished today with a great guy named Josh.  He has fished with me many times and is a great fisherman. We had a slow start as we used plugs for the first three hours without a bite. Then we switched to bobbers and jigs and went 1 for 3 in about an hour and a half.  Straightened the hooks on three of them. Then we switched back to plugs and within five minutes we had our first plug fish in the boat, we had some other strikes that did not hook up. Click for hot lures on 2/17/04  
      The water temp is barely above the freezing mark, it did warm up about 1/2 a degree by noon and that is when the plugs started working.  With this warmer weather the fishing next week should be fantastic. *Note* The fish where all dark winter hold- overs, no fresh fish as of yet.  We also caught nice one on a T-4 Flatfish in light copper, that lure went right back in the tackle box.  Good fishin'.......Capt. Jay  Click for Josh's Steelhead
    Please consider using Capt. Jay in this upcoming spring Steelheading season.  He knows his stuff and how to catch fish on the big river.  His past credentials include guiding on the St. Joe River for several seasons and I exceedingly recommend him!

2/17/04  Zikes!.....It was 12 degrees below zero at my house yesterday morning at 6am.  Just about the time I figured I had it bad, and the world was just picking on me?......I seen that Cadillac tied a record at 16 below and Houghton Lake crashed into the 20 below range.  Improving weather for the rest week is forecast.  
    This is gonna be welcome news for those itching to get in on some Steelheading big river action.  I figure in about a week the river will be completely clear of ice. If you're looking for a river event?.....contact me and I'll helpfully set one up for you.
Tom Rozich has cancelled is being able to attend our 3/27/04 do in Stronach, Michigan.  Out of town business has him tied up on that date.  He bowed out gracefully with a promise to help us out in the future, if his appearance is needed.  

2/16/04  Buying or selling your boat in the 2004?  Please consider using the service I provide at: Boaters Guide.  I'm pretty sure every boat I listed less then 10 years old, sold in a timely manner. Small boats move quick and please share the  word when you see someone selling their rig.  Used boats offer tremendous value, compared to purchasing new.  Click here for the late model 18 foot Lund I just listed
    Yep, we're gonna be paying more for our fishing licenses in 2004 when our 2003 licenses expire March 31, 2004.  I can remember when you did not need a license to fish the Great Lakes, or their connecting waters like the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. Inland waters license fee's used to be about 5 bucks in the 60s.  I do see the value in our Michigan Fishing Licenses though.  User fees have became a way of life, as ALL government bureaucracies to continue to grow at the pace of self-feeding perpetual motion machines we have little, or no control of.

2/15/04  The weather according to the past history of Manistee County should be changing for the better.  While we haven't broke freezing officially since the first of the year, it supposed to this week a couple of days.  I look forward to better things ahead.  Trying to do daily updates concerning fishing has been next to impossible.  Using tip-ups for Steelhead isn't a area I've conquered yet!  I did see the lower end of the Little Manistee River has thawed and opened up today and that's a good sign!

2/14/04  This is gonna hit home with many of you fishing the waters in the southern part of our state.  The Miami Native Americans inhabited the areas around the Maumee River, St. Joe, Michigan and northern Indiana.  Their descendents are seeking restoration of their tribal recognition that was terminated in 1897 by our federal government.  The Miami's were one of the most powerful tribes in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  If you're interested in this issue?  For a complete historical record on the Miami Native Americans from 1846 to the present day Click here
   I also learned that the Native American Tribes named the Wyandot, Delaware, Seneca, Shawanoe, Miami, Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatimie sided with the British in the War of 1812 against the USA.  Kinda funny how history repeats itself, because anyone losing a war with the USA has always comes out the big winner in the long run. Click here for the Treaty they signed on Sept. 8, 1815.

2/13/04  T.G.I.F!  Just as I was flapping my gums about the old stuff being better, Murphy's Law entered the picture and burnt me.  My "new" upright freezer of 5 years, 3 months and 2 weeks took a puke!  Freezers used to last long enough to be used for cryogenics, nope....not anymore!  Now, factor in my last course, or row of shingles being torn off, as the ice came down off the roof and you'll see yesterday was not a good day in the King household. Lucky me?...I get to deal with the insurance adjuster this coming Tuesday.  I've already prepared myself for the "Act of God Clause."
    On the bright side it's "supposed" to be 35 degrees today in Manistee County.  I think 35 degrees, is the warmest day we had in 2004 thus far.  Please, let's all hope the weather breaks for the better pretty darn soon.  I'm sick of this recent ice-age!

2/12/04  The topic for today's update is the question; "were things really better in the good old days?"  Personally?....I think they were, because all things were made with a little more heft.  Back then, the cheap stuff was made in Japan.  In the 50s and 60s most overseas products were junk, compared to what the USA made then.
    Have we been lulled to sleep by shoddy products considering it as the norm?  Are we forced to accept less quality, because of the lack of alternatives?  I don't know the answer to these questions.  However, I do have a photo of a Twilley Tip that is at least 30 years old, and one from more modern times.  I'll let you make your mind up by viewing the comparison images.  All be it may, the modern day Twilley Tip is still the best product I found for towing wire.  Click here for the comparison photo

2/11/4  There's a full-page ad in the Steelheader's state-wide newspaper advertising the commercial fishing events to be held in Manistee this July 2004.  There is not one tackle manufacture listed as a sponsor either!  So, don't think popular opinion, our letters and the No-Nets Page does not have an impact!  Archie Martell issuing spearing licenses might have been the wake-up call everyone needed.
     My take on all tournaments is that is long as they're being run by promoters, we're destined to be spinning our wheels and going no place.  Just compare pro Salmon events to Walleye, or Bass tourneys and you'll see what I mean, especially $$$$ wise.
   I'd be much more in favor of tourney events if they did something for the public good.  Like putting a fish entrails walk-in freezer in at Manistee's public fish cleaning station.  That way the stench of decomposing fish in the dumpsters wouldn't gag you.  I'm for the public good and not lining the pockets of some fast talking promoter.

2/10/04  Yesterday was reel-busy.....whew!  I just fished processing and packing most of the orders I received.  After picking up my latest shipment of twink rigs at around 4pm, I stayed on the job until about midnight last night.
    I have good news and bad news about my Jellybean offer.  The bad news is that I'm out of stock once I fill my on-hand orders.  The good news is that I'm ordering more and should have the Jellybeans available by the first part of next week.
    I'm not sure if I'll be able to offer any of the Twinkie cut-baits rigs to the public yet.  My message board members have first shot and I'm about half out of stock as of this morning.  I have more message board orders to fill.  The good news is I got all the good colors in the twink rigs, including my ultimate best from the 2003 season.  If there's any stock left after about Thursday, I'll offer them here to the general public.

2/9/04  I missed my delivery of my shipment of the Twinkie 3 fly cut-bait rigs last Thursday.  So, I'll be hightailing it into Manistee early this morning.  Registered members of the private message board get first shot on what I have in stock.  Now, to compound matters, this shipment isn't that large, but I took what he had in the colors that I know produce.  According to George Metzler (the pioneer in this field), he won't have anymore rigs available for shipment until late May, or June. 
     My Jellybean Streak spoon offer is almost sold out!  Like I said, "this is a limited time deal," because of the special order paint job.  I will be ordering more "Jellybeans" if the demand continues at such a high level.  This was my go-to color in 2003!

2/8/04  The Big Manistee River has only one public access launch ramp open and that's the one at High Bridge.  All the rest are un-useable (except Tippy public access), being iced in.  I also heard Tippy Dam, is starting to become skinny on Steelhead, because of all the ice.  Factor in the water temperature is hovering at, or around  32.5, almost freezing!  So, the fish don't seem to be moving upstream in any noticeable  numbers.  The  large run in the fall of 2003 could mean the spring-run fish might be in smaller numbers.  Only time will tell, is the way I look at it!
   Spent most of the yesterday was spent dealing with snow, clearing my driveway and roof.  Went into town to ship orders and take care of "town" business too.  
I have a very special update for you today on a highly productive spoon offering.

2/7/04  The Boat show starts at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan today.  I did the boat show as an exhibitor for close to 20 years and don't miss downtown Detroit one iota!  Some of my most "unpleasantly cold moments" in Michigan came from here.  The cold wind off the Detroit River and never knowing how close to an entrance you'd be able to park, usually meant you'd halfway freeze to death on the way to, and from your vehicle.  If your looking for more info click on this link: Detroit Boat Show 2004. 

2/6/04  I spent a major portion of yesterday fine tuning my public address system for our upcoming symposium on 3/27/04 in Stronach, MI.  The sound quality from the wireless microphones is first-rate and my 300 watt amp should be adequate. I worked on solving feed-back issues, as the mic's pick up their own signal from the speakers. The Stronach Twsp. hall is a fairly good-sized building and there's no way someone can do a presentation and be easily heard without some kind of voice amplification. 
   And yes, just like you would have.......I did put on a personal Karaoke show!  Man, was I glad there wasn't anyone here, listening to my disgusting vocals.  However, my rendition the "Duke of Earl" did sound kinda OK,......if you're from the older set and remember that tune from the early 60s.  I sucked at the "Lion Sleeps Tonight," but my weam-a-wacks were almost tolerable. Thanks to Capt. Jay for the recent river photo

2/5/04  Yeah buddy!, back to the low single digits and lots of snow in our forecast thru this Saturday.  It's impossible for me to get a report on the big river, when hardly anyone is fishing.  I suspect the river is frozen up to Bear Creek at least.  I know the lower end is frozen up tighter than a drum by the M-55 bridge.
    I'm gonna be testing the Public Address system today for our symposium on 3/27/04. Click for sign-up form  Also, there is absolutely no truth in the wildly rampant rumor about our half-time festivities.  No one will be allowed to expose their breast, jugs, bosoms or taters in a publicity stunt, unless her name is Miss December 2003

2/4/04   Capt. John Milbourne (click here for John's website) and  "Purple Taco" Curt will be lending a hand at our 3/27/04 symposium in Stronach, Michigan.  I know both these informed anglers very well, they will be a definite asset at our do!  If you're considering attending, be sure to fill out and mail the registration form.  There is a limit to what the building's seating arrangement can hold comfortably Click for info!

2/3/04  According to Punxsutawney Phil , America's official groundhog saw his shadow yesterday and we have only 6 more weeks of winter left.  Ol' Phil would have seen his shadow in Manistee County this morning too, because it was partly sunny.  And if wonders will never cease?.....it reached 34 degrees and my place yesterday!  Could it be there will be a spring in 2004 after all?  Maybe, winter's grip is gonna loosen slightly, because I see long range temps in at least the 20s for the rest of this week.  While I know January 2004 is past history, the white-outs, blizzards and dreadful below zero cold still haunt me.   May the fish-gods bring us an early spring!

2/2/04  The list of luminaries grows for Capt. John's Salmon Symposium being held in Stronach, MI on 3/27/04.  Tom Rozich for the DNR in Cadillac has consented to doing a talk on our fishery.  Tom is on the inside and has all the details on what's up and we'll all learn the exact facts and figures from him. Click here for symposium info!
    Rick Balabon, current President of the Michigan Steelheaders is almost sure he can make it too.  He'll be a wonderful asset informing us on the political issues in Lansing.  Pay extra close attention to what he has to say, because Michigan is facing a billion dollar budget deficient and there are bottlenecks in Lansing.  Having high profile guest speakers of this caliber makes our gathering in Stronach a must attend deal! 

2/1/04  Finished up my Michigan 6% Sales Tax stuff yesterday.  Today work continues on my federal returns.  Also, a note worthy fact is that today it's supposed to be the warmest day we've had in about 28 days, a whopping 27 degrees!  Tomorrow it might hit 32.  Yep, we're experiencing a torrid heat wave in Manistee county.  Bitterly cold and a very harsh winter is what we've dealt with!

1/31/04  Today is a reel-special update, because tomorrow begins my 5th year with this website.  I've done 1440 daily updates and never even had a clue this site would become so well accepted.  For the number crunchers, since Feb. 14, 2003 we've had 7,875,973 "hits," 894,790 html page requests, served to 98,211 different computers and shipped 52,761,542,309 bytes of information (that last number boggles my mind).
I have kept commercialism down to a bare minimum and don't plague you with BS ads! 
   I have shared any and all techniques that catch fish in many articles in "Capt. John's Encyclopedia" of Tips and Trix.  I post results from my fishing adventures exactly as they occur, and if I sucked at catching?...you hear that too, with no sugar coating.  I have tackled the extremely hard-hitting issues and let everyone precisely know where I stand.  I never pushed product for the sake of advertising a product, it better work reel-good, or you won't see me running my lip about it!  Profit for profit's sake is a policy I never have, or will embrace.
    I've made more new friends then you can shake a fishing rod at, and I'm sure I pissed off more then just a few people along the way too!  I welcome your continued visitation and promise to uphold the highest standards you've come to expect over the past 4 seasons!  My sincere gratitude goes to all of you for visiting this website.
    Us, as a user group are still learning how to use the internet and we've learned that the spread of information is much faster now.   Accountability to the public is at a much higher level then pre-internet times on all fronts.  While the enormity of the internet is still in it's mystical infancy, we're all much before off for having the world wide web at our finger tips.  Happy birthday to my 4 year baby, this website!

1/30/04  I figured we all needed a light hearted update after yesterday's shocking revelation.  Mike D. supplied me with a outstanding photo of a big-pig, super-hog Brown Trout a friend of his landed in the Milwaukee Harbor.  Wisconsin is a known producer of Browns, but the fish defies description.  32 pounds, and over 41 inches, this trophy male "spawned out" Brown Trout that was photographed by someone who knew what they were doing with a camera too. Click here for a reel-trophy Brown.
   Also, in keeping with a lighter vein, I managed to invite three good friends over and have a card game, plus suck down a few beers in the deep freeze called, Manistee.  
In case you wonder what I look like, click here for me and my cronies playing cards!

1/29/04  Friends, I come to you with a very somber heart.  This is something that is gonna piss all of us off....BIG TIME!  It's confirmed by Archie Martell, the biologist for
the commercial netters that "about" 100 Salmon were speared on a tributary of the Big Manistee River.  Federal land was used in this calamity too, according to Martell.  Anyone who thinks the netting company is not playing hardball, better think again!
    I feel like calling for all DNR personal responsible for our area who have lost control of this situation to resign immediately.  However, I'm not completely aware of all the facts.  This I do know, the state was contacted in 2002 that the netting firm would be licensing spear-fishermen in 2003.  Letting things like this go on is only a worsening prelude of issues to yet come.  Also, this should stiffen our extremely firm resolve to more closely examine the companies that supported the netting events in 2003.  My source for this information is the Ludington Daily News on 1/13/04. Click for No-Nets!

1/28/04  While it slipped my mind for a while, the first freighter of the 2004 season entered the channel in Manistee on 1/23/04.  I've never seen one this early and a tug must have broken the ice, because for a while, the "Ralph Tucker" looked to be stuck in the ice out by the Coast Guard Station.  The ice this ship broke loose, is not gonna do any good for the marinas in the channel, or the ice fishermen on Manistee Lake. 
    In the first week of operation with our new private message board, things are going quite smoothly.  We have registered well over 60 members with more signing up everyday.  The response on my article on successful cut-bait tactics has been sizable at the "Reel Meat Fish Killers Society" forum on  our message board.  With the tighter security the conditions are just way more healthy for the entire membership.

1/27/04  Winter is damn rough in Manistee County! There is no improvement on the long term horizon either.  It's been a struggle to see 20 degrees and night-time lows are single digits, or below zero.  This what we don't need, if we expect to maintain a decent deer herd.  Snow in my backyard is up to my crotch and I have a 30 inch inseam.  I'd be spreading hay, but snow depth has been preventing lugging a bale of hay to my deer feeder area.  For the next 6 days, there are no temps predicted to be much above 20 degrees.  So, 2004 has not offered us a January thaw up here in the North Country!

1/26/04  I have a small boat article that Capt. Grant Fry contributed most of the content. It's under construction for now, but can be accessed by clicking here.
    Capt. Dave German from the Northport Nailer company called, Magna Dyne will be another guest speakers for our 3/27/04 symposium.  Dave also is a huge supporter of our efforts not to aid the commercial netters. Click here for Dave's website .  In case you didn't know?...the Northport Nailer is the forefather of our spoons used the Great Lakes.  He will be a huge asset to our do, because he charters out of Pentwater too. 
The weather is supposed to be brutal once again today, but more on the tomorrow.

1/25/04  I don't have much of an update for you today, because yesterday, I just kicked-back and took it easy.  Several long days this past week took it's toll and a rest was necessitated.  I have to sequester myself today and devote total attention to getting a firm start on the 2003 taxes.  I'll have a far better update for tomorrow.

1/24/04  At the risk of life and limb, did manage to get a photo of the Big Manistee River yesterday.  The roads were just plain terrible and just as I snapped this photo, a car spun out of control on the other side of the M-55 Bridge.  Yep, the roads up here are that bad, so don't even think of traveling north, unless you have too!
    There's been so many positive things happening lately, I can't list them all.  We're looking better and better for our symposium on 3/27/04 as I added another guest speaker (more on him in Monday's Update).  Also, I received the confirmed contract for the hall at Stronach.  I seem to have solved the problem of a reasonably priced public address system with 2 wireless microphones and a receiver that will plug into my existing 300 watt amplifier.  The hall is a good sized building and we need to hear!
   Our migration as a group towards the new "private" members only board has been a seamless integration from most members so far.
Click here for new board 

1/23/04  Since I finished and published the update for yesterday, we got hit with better then a foot of new snow.  So, my trip into Manistee had to be cancelled as I dug out from the blizzard that besieged me yesterday.  Maybe today?....I'll get the promised photo of the iced over and very frozen Big Manistee River at M-55.
    Brian from GLPAA is tentatively gonna be part of our symposium.  Brian helps run the pro-tourneys on Lake Huron.  This will insure both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron will receive equal billing in our upcoming do.  While I'm no fan of Flash when it comes to websites, you'll get a kick of their home page. Click for Brian's website
   Click here for a list of guest speakers and our symposium layout on 3/27/04

1/22/04 11am  I turned on Capt. John's Blizzard Cam so you could see who nasty it is in the "Great White North," called Manistee County! Click here for my blizzard cam
1/22/04  The lower end of the Big Manistee River is completely frozen over by the M-55 bridge and further up.  Winter's grip on Manistee County is worst from mid-Jan. until about the second week of Feb, so we still have a couple, 3 weeks of very vicious weather still left.  I have to go into Manistee today, so a photo of the frozen big river should be posted in tomorrow's update.  Manistee River temp is only 32.9 degrees!
    Yesterday, I spent one helluva lot of time formatting our new private message board.  Activating memberships and processing paper work was a lengthy, but highly necessary task.  I love the feeling the new board has and several new forums are in the process of being added. 
Click here to preview our new "private" board

1/21/04  Website work was my endeavor for yesterday.  I'm in the process of opening a "new private members only" board.   Click here for printable form to join
I can no longer tolerate all the problems a public board means.  Fake usernames and multiple memberships will be a thing of the past.  Private, now means private!
   Getting any type of fishing info has been next to impossible, because the weather here in Manistee County has been so brutal.  The best I could come up with, is that they're a few pike being taken off East Lake's section of Manistee Lake on tip-ups and a few being speared thru the ice.  It's reel-tough to get a report, when no one is fishing.

1/20/04  I spent a goodly portion of yesterday re-formatting the Site Map page.  This page hadn't been updated for about 2 years and was in sad shape for the standards I demand. The page looks a helluva lot better then it did too.
    I'm also working on the list of the guest speakers we're gonna have at our 23/27/04 symposium.  There will be more speakers added to the 5 we have so far. Like this website, I look to outdo anything you've seen so far!

1/19/04   We have gained more support from a couple of great tackle manufacturers named, Jerry Bechhold and Randy Even for our No-Nets! page.  Jerry makes the ever popular Bechhold  Attractors (Hootchies)Randy manufactures the fish catching diver called the Slide Diver.  Both of these excellent products are a mainstay of my Great Lakes trolling program throughout the entire season.
    A strong message is being sent to all tackle manufacturers.  They're not gonna be able to help the firm that runs commercial netting from Frankfort to way south of Ludington any longer!  I'm sure the reasons are more then obvious enough, especially after the 2003 concerted year-long effort in Ludington.  The "sport show" season in Michigan is coming up.  Soon you'll able to question the offending companies in person.

1/18/04   Yesterday, I spent time working on the website, concentrating the who's supporting the commercial netting in the area from Frankfort to past Ludington, MI.  I've installed a updated color code and added a YELLOW WARNING BACKGROUND to companies who are, have or might be sustaining the netting enterprise in Manistee.  Getting someone to commit that they're going to be in collaboration with the netting outfit has been next to impossible.  Click for our updated No-Nets! page
    We had one company that was firmly committed and was listed in RED.  However, wise move was made on their part, and they withdrew support.  That business is no longer listed in RED, but on BLUE.  Companies that are completely safe to do business with are listed in GREEN, meaning I've received personal contact from them they're not aiding the commercial netting firm in Manistee.  We need to see the 2004 tourney flyers!

1/17/03  I'm in the process of deleted all gambling banners off my website.  These gaming banners advertised for internet gaming.  In return I got a free stats program
to track my website traffic stats.  Well, I want no one to misunderstand where I stand on the commercial fishing, so these banners are going extinct on this site.  Also, this company was collecting our stats by looking at what websites we had visited.  There is no tracking features on my this website any longer, nor in the future.

1/16/04  Yesterday was one of those days you just dread.  I built and published 4 new pages for the website.  Nov & Dec 2003 results, Symposium & Message Board Info, Symposium Sign-Up Form, and  Message Board Registration Form were my website efforts on 1/15/04.  The hard part was making sure the sign-up forms would be very printer friendly.  These pages had to be done, because they concern our free Salmon Symposium on March 27, 2004 in Stronach, Michigan.  Also, an open to the public message board is something that I will no longer tolerate.  Registration and complete verification of identity is something that I will require from now on.  Click here to access to both sign-up pages I posted yesterday

1/15/04  On my trip into Manistee yesterday afternoon I noticed the lower Big Manistee River is almost unfishable.  Ice flows jammed the river and if this cold spell
continues, the lower end will be frozen completely over.  Manistee Lake is froze all over except by the "sand docks."  Winter is here and we're getting rocked with snow, just like the rest of the state.  I'm glad winter does not last any longer then it does!
   It came me, that the internet is a wonderful tool, if used correctly!  Rumors can be started and not stopped unless special care is taken to stay on top of every issue.  Leaving out one word can damage the entire context of someone's comments.  I've apologized to Tom Rozich (DNR Fisheries leader in my area) for my gaff about his comments on BKD.  I've requested that he sends me some photos to post...so, you
can see a healthy Salmon kidney, from one infected with Bacterial Kidney Disease.

1 /14/04  1pm Special Update concerning Tom Rozich:  I installed the poll wrongfully believing he was gonna recommend cutting King Salmon plant.  Being out of town and not privy to exactly what was said, I goofed-up by misnaming the poll (which I have deleted).  His position is, if BKD continues to build, cutting the planting levels "MIGHT" have to be considered.  My most humble apologies to Tom for not being completely aware of all the facts.  I will install another poll later today. 
Yep, I'm back as of 12 noon on 1/14/04 from out-of-town.  My many thanks goes to Bob Hicks for taking over the reins for a few days. I applaud his efforts...Capt. John.

1/14/2004  I see they were Ice fishing Lake St. Claire today.  The reports showed several fishermen being rescued, but they failed to get the important stuff, like what they were catching and what they were catching them on!  For those of you not familiar with it, Lake St. Clair is a part of the Great Lakes Chain and is close to urban Detroit.  Because it is relatively shallow, it ices over easily and it is a popular ice fishing spot.  Unfortunately today some recent warm weather and a change in wind direction sent some of our fishermen toward Canada on an ice flow.  This happens enough that the Coast Guard has a special hovercraft just for this job.

I think this is my last update for a while, John should be back tomorrow.  I have a new appreciation for how hard it is to keep this site fresh and interesting.  From now on, if I have anything of interest I will email it to John.  If any of you have a fishing report, or if you got rescued today by the Coast Guard today, drop John a line so we all can read about it. - Captain Bob

1/13/2004   I read today in the Ludington Daily News some items of interest.

First, “A recent study revealed that each charter trip results in about $700 in ancillary monies being spent in the local community”.  Second, DNR Fisheries Biologist Manager Tom Rozich recommends that Chinook plantings be cut in response to increased numbers of fish testing positive for BKD (bacterial kidney disease).

     I was supposed to move the oldest update off of the site today, but I will leave the names of those companies who have pledged to support our no nets cause.  I think they deserve a little more "Front Page" time for stepping right up for us.  Next time you are at the store, vote with your wallet and let these guys know you appreciate it.- Captain Bob


1/12/2004   I spent most of Sunday trying once again to configure a network with the computers in my house.  Sounds easy, but I’ll tell you it’s not.  Have to put it down again and get working on organizing for taxes. 

      I am making my list of winter improvements to my boat.  A canvas aft curtain to cover back deck and new rocket launchers (at least 9 across the top, not 5) are on the menu.  The canvas is needed because the steamship "Badger" is turning my white boat black.  The historic coal-fired "Badger" is the last remaining car-ferry on the Great Lakes and runs out of Ludington, Michigan to Wisconsin.  The nasty coal dust washes off of the rest of the boat OK, but tends to collect and get ground in the deck.  Less work for the bilge pumps won’t hurt either. - Captain Bob 


1/11/2004    Wow, I have the reins today and John does not even have a computer to check up on me!  How tempting it is to set the record straight about cannonballs and Lake Trout and going 6 for 6.  
     I met with John yesterday and some other people and all I can tell you is we have a lot in store for you all in 2004, both in products and in knowledge and fish catching power.
              Click here for my first King I caught in Ludington's harbor in 2000

    If you don’t already know, the Flint Steelheader’s Spring Show will NOT be in the IMA in Flint as in past years, but will be held in the Birch Run Expo Center, just off I-75.  I have not been inside, but the outside looks real nice.  I will be at the membership meeting there next week and I will give a preview on the facilities.  It looks to be a vast improvement.

    Today’s picture is the first King I ever caught on my very own, not on a Charter and in my own boat.  That 26 lb fish was reel close to more than I could handle at the time.  I pulled that fish in the harbor in Ludington by following precisely a program laid out by Captain Brian Schlaack of the Outdoorsman, a reel fine gentleman out of Pentwater where I was on a charter the week before.  I still owe him a big one. I was one happy camper that night!................Captain Bob 

1/10/04  Our Plan of Action Gains Support:   I was personally contacted by Clarence White who represents Walker and Luhr Jensen and they would not support commercial fishing.  Larry Hartwick from Rivera-Off shore has made their intentions perfectly clear, they're not doing business with the netters.  Chip Cartwright from Silver Streak is on our side too.             Click here for our Concerned Citizens page
Capt. Dave German from Magna-Dyne (Northport Nailer) called me and will not support any event sponsored by the commercial fishermen.  I've installed a color coding to see what companies choose not to promote commercial fishing enterprises in our area.  Capt. Dave fishes Pentwater and has personally seen what's going on!

1/9/04  We've entered into what I call, "limbo land" when it comes to fishing any type of open water.  The Big Manistee during this week's cold-snap with single digit temperatures has brought slush, shelf and flow ice into the picture.  This almost renders the river unfishable, especially from High Bridge down.  Factor in water temperatures barely above freezing, activities levels of Steelhead will be next to dormant.  So, you've got your work cut out for you if plan on being successful.
Something else needs to be mentioned also, we had a lot of fish enter last fall and fresh winter-run fish are gonna be scarce according to my past experiences.

1/8/04  Most of yesterday was spent dealing with the initial 30 companies contacted about sponsoring events connected to the commercial fishing operations.  The letters were sent US Priority Mail with confirmation of delivery.  If I'd have sent certified, or registered (11 bucks) they can decline to accept delivery. Click here to read the letters that went out today
      US Priority does not afford them that luxury, because of the 30 confirmation tickets I'm holding.  The numbers on these tickets are easily checked on the USPS website for delivery.   No can say, they were not contacted.  I know several of the companies I sent the letter to, already know they're coming, because they check this website too!

1/7/04  Ah, yes...6 inches of snow everyday and temperatures in the single digits, or below zero.  Welcome to beautiful Manistee County in the blustery month January!  
     If I didn't know better, I'd say the 2004 season is already here.  I answered at least 20 E-mails and about the same number of personal messages, from our message board yesterday.  Interest in the 2004 "catching season" is building, to say the least!
     OK, I spoke with the Flint Steelheaders Show Chairman (Joe P.) and he said, "we'd be welcome to use the Birch Run facility room."  I will be doing a short, but to the point presentation on, "Successful Strategies Using Cut Bait."  I'll be posting the dates and times, once the scheduling is a little further along.

1/6/04  I've had several inquiries about ice conditions on the lakes around Manistee.  Here's what I know.  Manistee Lake is not frozen yet.  Hamlin Lake was producing limits of good-sized bluegills.  Portage lake (good for perch) might be a toss-up for safe ice.  I think by next weekend all the inland lakes will have at least 4 inches of good ice, with maybe the exception being Manistee Lake.
I spent the vast portion of the day working on a undisclosed project I've yet to announce.  The team that I'm working with said, "it's going to be another 5 to 6 weeks until completion."  Hopefully, by the middle of February, I'll have some outstanding news that will rock your socks.  This I do know, it will make your time on the water more productive, therefore more enjoyable.......REEL-FACT!

1/5/04  The Holidays are over and it's back to the daily grind of making a living.  I'm loaded with projects that must be completed and starting on the 2003 federal tax returns looms large on my horizon.  Plans for 2004 must be looked at closely, because in about 100 days the 2004 big lake season will be here!

1/4/04  "Getaway" Bob and his wife "got-away" for some Steelhead fishing on the Au Gres River recently. He managed to "hook" two birds with one stone, by catching Steelhead and getting his wife hooked on river fishing too!  Bob is a highly
knowledge fisherman from the "Sunrise Side" and a respected moderator of our
message board.  Click here to see Mrs. Getaway with her 1st river Iron Noggin
Today, I'll be composing a letter that I will be sending by registered mail to all the 
tackle and businesses associated with Great Lakes fishing.  More on this tomorrow
when I have more time to devote to this hotly debated topic about nets.

1/3/04   The Boaters Guide  sold another boat and I need more boat listings.
The boat buying and selling season is almost here, so if you're in the market to
to sell your present boat, Email me at: kingscharter@yahoo.com.
   I had a slow day on the big river.  I talked Capt. Jay Frolenko into fishing the lower
end of the Big Manistee River.  I promised to show him all my secret spots.  Well, to make a long story short, my spots were so secret the fish didn't know about them.

       As Mr. Paul Harvey would say,
"click here for the rest of the stories." 

1/2/04  Capt. Jay Frolenko was kind enough to invite me to hit the Big Manistee River today in a downstream research mission.  Full update on my return home this afternoon.  And if lucks on our side?......the first fish photos of 2004 season.

1/1/04  I was kinda scratchin' my "you-know-where" for an update that would be worthy of your interest and I wanted to kick off the 2004 season in a big way!  Well, a trip to Dick Boyajian's house brought my wishes into action when he showed me one of the few existing photos of the World Record Coho.  Yep, that's correct....the World Record and you heard it right!  This fish was taken at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir on 10/27/73.  Mort Neff the original host of Michigan Outdoors TV Show back in the 60s and 70s was there to snap this photo for Dick: Click here for World Record Coho
     Capt. Dick, being one of the original charter operators in Manistee, spotted this fish and knew it wasn't a King.  He hurriedly grabbed the fish out of one of the harvesting boxes and got it to a scale.  This monster Coho tipped the scales at 39 lbs & 2 ozs, being 42 1/2 inches long.  This pig Coho had a girth of well over 26 inches.  While this is not the rod and reel record for Coho, or Silver Salmon, never the less Manistee, Michigan to this day, still holds the overall World Record on Coho on size.
      The reason I was visiting with Capt. Dick (79 years young), he's now attacking the world of computers and needed just a little bit of my personal "hands on" tech support.  Dick is the fabric this country is made of, having served in the Pacific Theater during WWII.  He was the radio-man/gunner and flew on B-24's.  Incidentally, he's been a manufacturer's representative for Luhr Jensen for at least 25 years and if you've been at any spring sport fishing shows, you'll probably either, seen, met, or spoke with him.  I count myself lucky to know this first-class gentleman and call him a friend.  He's the same man that makes the quality-built "Slo-Poke" seas bags for us too!