April, May & June 2006

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Winthrop Harbor, IL

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Manistee, MI

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Kewaunee, WI

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Manistee. MI

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

6/30/06  Today's update is courtesy of Craig of Capt. Chucks Tackle in Ludington.  First, let me tell you a little bit about Craig.  He is one of the most highly regarded local fishermen that plies the waters off Ludington.  He won, or been part of a team that's taken first place honors in some of Ludington biggest events.  Once Craig has located and sees what's working, he has an extra gear that shifts into over drive, running numbers that impress most all.......in his home port of Ludington, MI.
     Here's what Craig had to say about fishing yesterday evening,  "we fished north of the Big Point Sable in 120' of water.  Best depth down was 80' to a 100' on the counter.  Our largest King was 16 pounds on the button and a 9.5 Lake Laker too.
We boated 10 fish for 12 hits and had lines in the water for about 4 hours."

     I then asked what was his best set-up?  Craig's reply was, "the X-Glow Yellowtail BTI accompanied with a 2 fly rig."  
     I requested he rate the fishing and in his exact word he said, "decent."
Tomorrow's update will focus on professional tackle shops like Capt. Chucks and Franks Outdoor World in Linwood, MI.

6/29/06  New products are on the agenda today!  I'm proud to announce several new color patterns with the most recognizable being, Blue Bubble.  I took the Blue Bubble the next level, making it in X-Glow and in a standard pearl model. 
Click for X-Glow Blue Bubble BTI   Click for X-Glow Blue Bubble 2 Fly Meat Rig
To make it a perfect match, a new matching 2 Fly Meat Rig in X-Glow Blue Bubble is now available too!  Unless I miss my guess, I'd say we offer the world's most complete and largest line of flashers, meat heads, 2 fly rigs, 3 fly rigs, bullet heads (that all match perfectly) under one roof,....dedicated to pulling cut bait!  Click to purchase

6/28/06  Craig from Capt. Chucks in Ludington called me yesterday to replenish his tackle store with my products that they were low in-stock on.  During the course of our conversation, Craig shared with me how good the catching was at Big Point Sable.
Last Sunday, Craig and his crew boated 17 fish during the afternoon of 6/25/06, after the weekend crowd went home.  Craig's exact words were, "your Mountain Dew flasher was hot!"  Then proceeded to order a bunch more 'Dews more for his store.
     Today, I'm sending X-Glow BTIs (10 inchers) to Capt. Chucks in Ludington along with the highly popular X-Glow 12" Reel Flasher.  This is the first time in the world, I offered any of my X-Glow flashers to a retail outlet.  Included in their order was the new in-demand stuff, like the X-Glow Green Frog BTIs and the Froggie 2 Fly Meat Rigs.
     We shipped X-Glow Froggie BTIs to Franks in Linwood yesterday, so they got 'em too, along with a fresh supply of Magnum Meat Heads.

6/27/06  Lack of consistency was the story from last weekend's fishing according to our message board members.  One day was slow, then...the next day was decent.  The best thing is multi-species catches were reported from both WI and MI.  It's good to see Steelhead and Lakers being mentioned.  Click for WI King & what caught it
     Best report came from Capt. Paul Vantol fishing Ludington, MI.  This past Sunday Paul boated 10 kings, 2 steelhead and 2 lake trout for a body count of 14 fish.  Some of his Kings were in the mid to high teens for icing on the cake.  Paul still has an opening left for this coming Saturday's "on the water" seminar too.  Call 989-860-2932
     Paul crewed for me, some seasons back and has been in on the ground floor with cut meat tactics.  I highly recommend this knowledgeable charter skipper.

6/26/06  Team Zooby Do, comprised of message board members Jeff C. and Mike Z. figured without pre-fishing the Manistee Pro/Am they'd skip the tournament and just go fishing out of Manistee.  As you can see by today's featured photo (click here) they did as well, if not better than those who competed.  Their best rig was a Black Mamba Glow BTI accompanied by a Clear Red 3 Fly Meat Rig.
     Mike Higgs stopped by yesterday afternoon to pick up some meat tackle.  He had volunteered to clean donated fish from the Manistee Pro/Am for the Lions Club annual charity fish boil/fry.  He said of this past Saturday's catch, "out of 350 some fish we cleaned, maybe 8 were in the 18 pound class and most of the tournament fish were all small guys, most running well below 8 pounds."  
So, from the sounds of things, the tourney teams dealt with mostly juvenile Kings.

6/25/06  Shop duties yesterday and today have taken precedence keeping products in-stock.  This leaves no time to snoop around and find out what's happening with our Great Lakes fishery.  Look for a better fishing rundown tomorrow morning.
     Working on building product brought several things to mind about how far our tackle has came in the past couple of years.  Prior to i2k, the big deal was dodgers and if you could crack the right length off the cannonball, hit a .3 speed window your results would be great.  The earlier "glow in the dark" stuff only had a duration of maybe 20 minutes, before it had to be charged up again and pulling a rod to do it!
     Nowadays, attractor's speed is no longer that crucial.  My new 2006 X-Glow flashers, bullets (squid heads) and meat heads will hold a charge will last for at least 5 hours.  These are phenomenal developments, if you look back just a few seasons ago.

6/24/06  Off Shore Challenge in Port Austin/Grindstone City and the Manistee Pro/Am
is this weekend's big deal tournaments.  The best tournament fishermen I know would be good at poker, cuz I've seen a lot of pre-tourney bluffing to take you off your game plan.  Manistee's bigger fish fish came north of the harbor is one of the rumors floating around.  If and when I hear something promising, I'll post it here later today.

6/23/06  Manistee Pro AM tournament anglers are looking for fish and being pretty tight lipped, which is to be expected.  Bath House to the Big Point Sable showed promise last weekend with a few Kings in 15 to 20 pound class.  
     Just where are the fish gonna be this weekend?....Who knows?  I can say with the utmost of confidence: while Manistee has had some decent fishing this week, the bait seems to be on the move.  Find the schools of bait and you'll be into fish.  
     There's more Lakers available this season and amount to bonus point fish in this tournament.  Last year's hush-hush big-secret deal was Steelhead inside of 40' on the beach during this very same tournament.

6/22/06  Spent a goodly portion of yesterday making a round trip from Manistee to south of St. Joe, at Bridgman, MI.  I had to pick up new meat heads, bullet heads, and flashers, both in 10" and 12" sizes.  I did notice the new X-Glow formula isn't as hard to charge as the stuff previously used.  Less then a minute under a regular twin fluorescent light 40 watt shop lighting fixture gave ample charge that lasted for 3 hrs.
    Being gone all day yesterday, means I have to catch up on fishing happenings in
Manistee.  I did hear the Bath House to the Big Point was good in Ludington last weekend, and until lately,.....surpassed what Manistee had to offer.
    If I hear something juicy in the line of fishing info this morning, I'll re-update this website ASAP!

6/21/06  Set lines yesterday afternoon about 4pm.  Hit a fish before all the stuff was in the water on the new BTI X-Glow Green Froggie.  Had a slow bite going until 7pm, then the fish shut off for John J and I.  Click for X-Glow BTI Froggie
     Being only 2 of us onboard we ran 2 riggers, 2 divers and 2 lead core rigs.  2 fish came on the divers (BTI Green Froggie both times), 2 fish on our 70' down rigger and 1 on a full core with a Mountain Dew BTI.  Click for John J's lead core King
      We fished 80 to 150 feet of water and all of our hits came in 110' to 120', tight to structure.  We had 5 interested customers, stuck all 5 and the quintet made it to the net.  Fishing was not fast by any means, but enough to keep things interesting.  It was said the morning bite was better.  Click for our hot rigs & our fish box
      Marked big wads of bait almost continuously and the post mortem on the stomach contents revealed the fish were stuffed full with 2 to 3 inch baby alewives.
      4 Kings and a Laker Trout is a long ways from a big deal.  However, we fished in flat calm slick water, with nary a ripple on the surface.  

6/20/06  Fishing News Flash:  This morning, fishing off Manistee improved in a huge way.  Capt. Dave, who skippers the "Long Necker" took his 3 person, 9 King Salmon limit by 8:30am.  Dave said, "action is coming 70' down and the fish were going nuts!"  Dave's pulling a meat program and probably fishing the shelf, although the rest of details are kinda sketchy.  This is great news for those coming to Manistee to fish the Pro Am scheduled to start soon.
      I was able to re-update this site at 9am to bring you this welcomed news.

6/19/06  Weekend fishing info from my area is gonna be hard to come by.  Last Saturday was lumpy and yesterday it rained buckets in the north country.  Needless to say, with the lousy conditions a fresh report from Manistee is a not.
     Installed the new BTI X-Glow Flashers at: www.michiganangler.com  All models are in stock and priced below what retail will be after this introduction sale is over.
     A long dissertation about the quality characteristics of this product is not necessary.  Those who've used the X-Glow Reel Flashers (12 inchers) already know the glow will last 4 to 6 hours and catch fish at all depths in the water column.  
     If you haven't used my X-Glow flashers?.......think about that the next time your action dies and you haven't had a bite in the last 2 hours.
Click for X-Glow info

6/18/06  Fathers Day and honoring the person that brought you into the world goes without saying.  My father has long since passed and I'd probably give all I own,
to spend a day or two with him, saying all the things I wanted to, but never did.
    Capt. Andy, a port regular from Michigan City, IN was kind enough to sent in today's photo of the day.  This photo is living proof that it's catching in this Indiana port, not fishing.  Click here for Capt. Andy's limit catch

6/17/06  Working on the new X-Glow BTIs and installing them at the webstore: www.michiganangler.com is at hand for today's task.
      If I hear any worthy fishing info worth sharing, then another update will happen later today.  Everything said about the fishing off Manistee is some where's between slow and stopped.  Let's hope the action picks up soon.
       The Wisconsin side of Lk. MI seems to be offering their anglers better chances at good catches of Salmon and Trout for now.

6/16/06  Fishing remains on the slow side in Manistee.  Some are catching 2 to 3, while others aren't getting a hit.  For the record, inshore.....meaning 30' to 300' at this time of the season was always a crap shoot, prior to the last couple of seasons.  In the past June success always required a trip to the depths 500' to 800', working the top 30' with a surface program.  Being spoiled by an overabundance of inshore Kings during 2004 and 2005 has caused the fleet to neglect working the offshore waters.
     Shop duties are focused on building a reasonable inventory of the new X-Glow BTIs before their world unveiling this coming Monday (6/19/06).
      New X-Glow Green Frogs are almost ready. If you'd like to get a sneak peek on the new stuff that's going to premiere on 6/19/06?...... click here 

6/15/06  Recent report from Michigan City, IN said this port is "now on fire."  Looks like the Kings, Coho & Steelhead moved inshore on Monday, 6/12/06 for this port.
     Here's the reel-facts from Manistee and what happened on 6/14/06.  Most of the sports fleet gave up and went in by 9am, with reports on no action.  One of the best charter boats in Manistee, was sitting on 3 fish at 9am.  Now, if the "best" can only muster 3 fish by 9am, you know.....it's got to be tough!
     Last Sunday's reel-deal in Ludington from the sound of things, was slow too.  This port is noted for some of the best skippers on the Michigan side and when they can't locate fish.....there's just not many around. 
     Look for things to be tough for the short term in Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort with catches drastically improving by the 4th of July.  In Manistee, a small early July run of adult Kings seems to key in on the Big & Little Manistee Rivers.
     Best place to start if you're fishing in Manistee in the next day, or two?  Looks like south, towards Guerney Creek in the 9s and 10s from what I heard.

6/14/06  Reports of good Steelhead catches are coming in from Lake Michigan's more southerly ports, like St. Joe & Saugatuck.  Still not much info on the Salmon whackin' action status yet.  Hopefully, the IL, or WI fishermen will send in a report soon.
     BTIs are continually making a name for themselves, both in the USA and aboard.  Here's a report from our overseas friends, Team Extreme in Sweden:
"Last weekend we test fished Lake
Vättern for the first time this season. The BTIs worked for us, catching 6 big chars. I'm sure the BTIs will give us lots of fun in the future".......Capt. Dan/Team Extreme, Sweden  Click for Dan's Swedish Char
     Numerous emails back in January to Team Extreme discussed how hard it was to catch Char, being described as rare. Looks like they have a good Char program now.
     Intended update to highlight the quality features of the new X-Glow BTIs will be shuffled back a day, or two, as time to do a worthy explanation is just not available.

6/13/06  Mediocre best describes the Salmon situation on Lake Michigan from what was said by several sources.  Yes, there were some inshore Salmon caught. 
    However, none of our message board members from MI, IN, WI, NY, or IL posted a rave review on how good the salmon catching was in any port on our Great Lakes.
     Fishing in Michigan City, IN still remains a long ways out, like 12 to 16 miles, then there's only Coho.  In fact, the port of Michigan City, IN has yet to develop a stable fishery for Kings in 06. Haven't heard much from St. Joe to Ludington. Lack of reports generally means slowed action, which is kinda normal for this time of the season.
     Tomorrow's update will focus on the innovative X-Glow BTI Flashers.  X-Glow BTIs glow all night long, so 6 hours isn't a stretch.  The prime glow that I like best, is a good 2 hours long.  Needless to say, I'm very proud of this ground-breaking product upgrade.  Glow stuff always seems to work best on the adult Kings in late July thru early September.  Click for new BTIs in X-Glow   Click here for glow test

6/12/06  Saginaw Bay is going great guns for Walleye, most reports are limits, with crawler harnesses working best.  Some did well with crankbaits after their supply of crawlers were gone.  Walleyes to plus 10 pounds were reported from Augres, MI.
                               Click here for a 10.36 pound Walleye
This past weekend in Manistee most did good to decent on Saturday's Salmon, but Sunday's bite in calmer waters was a tad slower....after the early flurry was over. 
     Capt. Bill from Watta Bite Charters recently took a King over 23 pounds fishing out of a little known place,....out of the mainstream being; Glenn Arbor, MI.  Glenn Arbor is located just slightly north of Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Launching facilities are pretty darn scary in Glenn Arbor!  There's just a ramp leading into Lk. MI with no breakwall protection from the seas or wind.  So, don't get too revved-up about fishing there. 

6/11/06  Recent winds form the north and cool weather warmed-up the fish off Manistee.  Granted, I haven't fished a lot like I use to, but having Kings caught in the  harbor every time the water cools off, is a new one on me for this time of the season.

6/10/06 2:00pm EST fishing took a turn for the better in Manistee, according to Capt, Dave Deforest from Enforcer Charters.  He said, "there was a early harbor bite and the depths of 170' to 220' fish turned on a little later.  Over the deeper waters, the fish were coming 60' to 80' down."  Capt. Dave ended up with good box of 9 Kings to almost 18 lbs.  Best news I've heard in better then a week!
     My weekend will be spent dealing with flasher production.  Click for new Glow BTI

6/9/06  Lake Oahe in South Dakota has been stocked with Kings since 1982.  I've heard of this inland waters fishery before, but it came full circle, as my RFs and 3 Fly Meat Rigs did a job on the Dakota Kings!
     Here's what Don S. had to say, "Thanks for taking the time to call me this morning. Here is a picture of friend's 6 year old, with a Lake Oahe South Dakota salmon taken this week, that she reeled in by herself. Your flashers did pretty well, for the first time I used them and meat. Our fish ran between 7 and 11 lbs. I should be sending in another order this week."  Click for Don's photo

6/8/06  Capt. Dave Deforest is doing an in-store promo at Pilgrim's Village Tackle Store in Cadillac, MI this coming Saturday.  This is a new outlet for my product line and they have a good stock of meat in whole and strips.  If you're looking for tips and ways to improve your meat program, be sure to drop by and speak with Capt. Dave.
      I added a new base color to my 12" Reel Flasher line and it's a Reel-Winner!  I opted for the more costly natural-looking pearl colorant, rather than plain white (which was 3Xs cheaper).  Pearl is Mother Nature's color, and by far better mimics the reflective bottom half of all fish, either predator, or prey species.  Besides, to the best of my knowledge no other manufacturer of flashers is using a pearl as a base color.  
I'm sure the high cost of this special colorant has held them back, but not me!
      There's another brand new RF base color in red.  Those that pull meat already know what devastating color red is, so no further explanation is needed for Mr. Red.
The brand new fishing colors are: Pearl Doub L Glo, Red Doub L Glo and Ruby Red.
      Click for RFs in Pearl and Red Doub L Glos   Click for Ruby Red RFs

6/7/06  Fishing for the sports fleet in Manistee has sure went to hell in a hand basket since this past Memorial Day Weekend.  Reports of 1 to 2 fish per a half day outing from some good fishermen known to catch big time when the fish are there. 
     I'm of the belief that deep water further away from the shelf is holding more fish, but there's a lack of temp breaks normally seen at the time of the season.  If you check the temp chart by clicking here, you'll see the temp is basically the same all the way across Lake Michigan.  In years past, you'd see major fish holding breaks, and not on the Wisconsin line, like the break is now.  Then factor in, for the past 3 springs, Salmon pickins' was pretty easy on Manistee shelf and anglers haven't had to look to the offshore waters for fish, like back in the 1990s & 1980s.
     More decent news from Rogers City on Lake Huron, as there are some Kings hitting in 60 to 90 feet of water.  Not big numbers, but if you're local to the area seeing Salmon this early should be a sign of good things to come.
     Today's featured photo is from Captains Tom and Mary Rasmussen who are traveling Alaska on vacation.  My thanks Tom and Mary for the Halibut photo!

6/6/06  Today's update was gonna be directed at introducing new flasher colors, but I caught on to the triple sixes in today's date.  Then thought wiser of this action
and the spookier implications of 6-6-6.
    So, a more appropriate update would be: are you superstitious?  I always avoided gassing up before fishing, preferring to get fuel the night before.  Bananas on the boat always seemed to bring about a negative fish bite.  Eating greasy morning donuts, then setting lines was another no-no! 

     I changed the poll to see if you're superstitious about certain rituals in your normal routine of attacking the Great Lakes where you can vote your opinion.

6/5/06  Our message board members showed an excellent account of their skills during this past weekend with 4 top ten finishes in 3 separate tournaments.  I'll elaborate on this further later when more info becomes available to me.  This I do know for sure, a 1st place, a 2nd, a 6th and a 10th.  Good job members, my congrats!
      A bunch of people who fished Manistee over this last weekend had some pretty skimpy catches.  The story from the sport fishing fleet was 2, maybe 3 fish a boat for a lot of work!  So, the fishing sucks for the time being in my home port. 
     From the sounds of things, Wisconsin has better fishing on their side of the big pond (Lk. MI), than the Michigan side is showing.  Some WI anglers got into double digit catches of Steelhead, called 'bows in the land of cheese heads (said w/the greatest respect).  Good Kings to 20 pounds were reported in the Milwaukee, Algoma & Kewaunee area,....not in huge numbers, but respectable catches.
     Lake Huron continues to rebound in small steps, as a fair number of Kings in the 10 to 14 pound bracket are showing up in Rogers City fish boxes according the message board member and DNR census taker Julie S.  Some rumors of Kings are coming from Grindstone City, but I've yet to have double verification of this chitchat.

6/4/06  In my neck of the woods (Ludington to Frankfort) many are still working the inshore waters from 60' to 300' in search of Kings.  Their success has been spotty at best, with the mega packs mid-May Kings scattering to parts unknown.  
     Traditionally, at this of the season, long trips to reel-deep water like 400 to 900 feet meant a surface Steelhead/Lake Trout fishery and some juvenile Kings.  The top 30' was always the most productive, with the birds on the surface being best.
     What's happened to our close to port Kings?.....how knows?  But, we've been spoiled from the last couple of unusual seasons of close-in big herds of Salmon.

6/3/06  Best fishing news from the big pond this week was from Steve P who fished Frankfort solo and caught his 3 King limit on 6/1/06.  Solo is a hard row to hoe, having to control the boat, fight the fish and do the net job!  My hat's off to anyone that goes one on one with Mr. King.
     Saginaw Bay is red-hot for Walleyes and many of our message board members are picking on Walleyes, waiting for the Salmon situation to stabilize, before a gas costly trip to the Salmon ports on Lake Michigan.  Click for Bay City Walleyes

6/2/06  In our Great Lakes Fishing Community the word travels pretty darn fast with the internet.  Spreading new ideas, concepts and breaking barriers is what moving forward is about.  Savvy big water anglers are now regularly taking fish from 180' to 250' down.  Also, knowledgeable fishermen know it's a myth that the color red don't work below 50' and rely on red to produce at all depths.
    As promised from yesterday when I introduced the 2 Fly Meat Rig to the world, the exact spacing measurements are 12 inches from the bead chain to the 1st fly, then back 12 more inches the 2nd Fly.  Tie on a barrel swivel, then 14 to 15 inches back to the meat head.  The longer drop is necessary with my Magnum Meat Head to utilize the exceptional kick/spin this meat head has.
    Without further ado, all 2 Fly Meat Rigs are now listed at: www.michiganangler.com
I know you'll like the price of 9.95 on all 2 Fly Rigs including the highly popular Glow and X-Glow series.  That's right, and you'll save 4 bucks over the cost of a standard 3 Fly Yellowtail, or Bluetail Meat Rig during this time sensitive special introductory offer!

6/1/06  Today's special announcement is 2 Fly Meat Rigs that have been in the testing stage for the past month.  Results have been great and the 2 fly thing better suits the divers and my new BTI Flashers.  Click for 2 fly proof
      Back on 5/17/06 I posted a photo of 6 Kings we caught in a short morning in Manistee.  If you'd looked closely, you'd have noticed all the meat rigs were 2 fly jobs.
     2 Fly Meat Rigs have been thoroughly tested on Lake Michigan in the states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and of course Michigan.  Good results were also reported from Lk. Huron.  This new concept has won tournaments and better yet, pounded out limit after limit for the sports fishing fleet that tows meat. Click to check 'em out
     One of the biggest advantages is diver fish are easier to land, with the 2 fly deal being a tad shorter then traditional 3 fly rigs.  Cost of the new rigs is only 9.95 too!
     Without the support of our message board members and their feedback this new product wouldn't have came into being.  So, there, the cats out of the bag now!
     Tomorrow's update will feature the spacing, or dimensions for the do-it-yourself crowd.  I'm not gonna hide this kind of knowledge under a bushel basket and keep it secret any longer.  We did that last month!

5/31/06  As we close out May 2006, the fishing stories from last weekend were less than stellar on all fronts.  None of our message board members stood on the fish (according to their reports).  Reasons could be several, but our spring King season started way early in Manistee (back in late April) and there's only gonna be so many good days, before the inshore waters warm and move the bait.  Look back to a record warmth in January 2006, as part of the cause.
      Stand by for tomorrow's update when I'll introduce a brand new meat fishing concept that's been under wraps for 5 weeks of serious testing.  This new idea has won tournaments and more importantly filled many fish boxes for the sports fleet, as we move our technology to a higher, less costly and easier to use level. 

5/30/06  Near record high temps greeted those that made the trek to my area.  The weather was unseasonably hot.  Fishing did not live up to expectations in many of Michigan's more northerly ports, like it should have.  On 5/27/06 we took 6 fish for 8 hits (out of Manistee).  Our largest fish was a Laker, just slightly short of 12 pounds.  Some did score on Kings in the mid-teen in Manistee, but those quality Kings were in short supply according to an overall consensus fleet catch.  Click for 5/27/06 box
     The word from the more southerly Lk. MI ports sounds pretty much the same, saying a slow go in flat water table-top conditions.
     I did notice tourist traffic was down in Manistee, as the soaring gas prices did keep some at home.  Manistee's First Street City Launch was barely half full, if you want to use that as an indicator.

5/29/06  Spend some time today, thinking of the real meaning of our holiday named, Memorial Day.  It's dedicated to countless brave members of our military that laid it all on the line and died for our country.
      A severe thunderstorm from 3am to 6:30am on 5/28/06 knocked out my phone system, of which.....I am still without.  Use kingscharter@yahoo.com to contact me for the time being if needed.  Full update on the holiday weekend's action will happen tomorrow.  Manistee catching was medium to slow, then progressed from slow to poor, then poor to lousy, as the weekend wore on. 
     Best news was gas remained at $2.72 and did not hit the 3 dollar mark in my neck of the woods. Like I said, more tomorrow........

5/27/06  Much like everyone else, I'm gonna take the next 2 days off before regular updates resume.  Look for a whole nine yards report on Memorial Day on how our holiday day weekend went.  The unofficial start of summer is here!

5/26/06  Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.  Fishing reports from Manistee are hard to come by, as there's a weigh your best 5 fish each day tournament in Onekama this Saturday & Sunday.  Tourney's are known to cause a bad case of lockjaw......when competition enters the picture.
    The weigh-in is at the Onekama Marine with Fred MacDonald officiating this event.  Fred has finally made the right choice for a weigh-in location (in the USA) and not on the tribal grounds of sovereign nation/casino!

5/25/06  Today's featured photo is from Rogers City, MI on Lake Huron.  Now these are not the skinny, big headed fish I seen in 2004, but fatso-plump looking rascals.  This is simply great news for the fisherpeople that ply the northern waters on Lake Huron, because the forage base is on the mend.  My thanks to Julie S. for sending in her timely catch photo from 5/23/06  Click for fatso good looking Lake Trout
     Manistee's part of Lake Michigan was kinda lumpy yesterday, from what was told to me.  The wind was from the south and that's ideal for this time of the year.  South and southwest will bring warmer water in and stratify the big pond, pushing fish out of the top 30 feet of water, where they're tougher/spookier to catch.
      I don't know about you, but I'm getting fairly exciting about catching for the Memorial Day Weekend with the way conditions are setting up!  Highs in the 80s and spunky spring Kings are an offer too good to pass up! 

5/24/06   Cliff J. from Waukegan, IL sent in a good report on 5/23/06 working a meat program in 30' to 40' of water looking for alternative species for an upcoming contest.  
      Here's his report: 
"Today was a day of experiments. There is a tournament coming up in the first part of June out of Waukegan. The scoring system gives bonus points for every species on both days of the tournament. I have been catching everything but Browns on meat, so today we went shallow targeting them in 30'-40'. Click for catch photo
      The net of the story is that the Browns have no longer escaped the wrath of meat this year. Blue double glow BTI with a blue fly meathead took a 14 pound brown on a half core over 36 fow. The same rig also scored a 7 pound brown in addition to a couple coho. Had one 8 pound King on a green double glow flasher and dark green meathead 75 feet behind the ball, down 25 in 40 fow.
     All in all a great day, finally tally: 2 Browns, 1 King and 7 Coho.
".....Capt. Cliff

5/23/06  Capt. Terry from "Terry's Toy" in Algoma, WI has reported in with fairly good results.  No big time 15 fish limits yet, but Terry's report mentioned healthy Kings just shy of 20 lbs.  110' down over 120' of water was the most productive depths.
     Gas is holding under 3 bucks a gallon so far in Manistee.  Marina gas is around $3.50, so it goes without saying, fill up before launching if you have a trailerable boat.
     Last Sunday's blow has Ludington hemmed-in with cold water once again according to the surface temperature.  Click for the recent temp chart
     Tomorrow's update will be courtesy of Capt. Cliff who fishes Lake Michigan waters out of Waukegan, IL.  His results on working the shallower inshore waters 30' to 40' range will be posted.  He used a BTI/meat program to target Brown Trout on 5/22/06 and did pretty darn good. Click Cliff's Coho, Kings and Browns to 14lbs.

5/22/06  The tone of today's update is a positive one to start things off.  After a windy, rainy and very cold last few days, the weather is on the mend for the kick off of the Memorial Day Weekend.  Highs in the 70s over the holiday means stable weather patterns will enhance success on the more northerly ports.  Look for Frankfort, Ludington and Manistee to catch on fire with the improving conditions.
      Early word is message board member, "Rawhide" won the Lake Huron's Bluewater Classic.  This is a big deal, big money event and one of the most high-status tournaments on our Great Lakes.  Member Bandit took 8th and the largest fish of this tourney was taken by mrymar.  My congratulations to all for such a fine performance!
Yes, they were using my stuff, but products alone do not catch fish without expertise of the crew.  So, unlike other manufacturers that like to beat the drum on how good their products are,
I think it's pretty hollow for me to take any credit for what they did. This I will say, "I built my stuff to outperform the competition & leave it at that!"

5/21/06  Here's the reel-story on I heard from yesterday.  Manistee and Ludington pier heads both produced some fish early, then the bite died.  Fishing in Manistee was better over the deeper 80' to 160' depths of water than Ludington.  St. Joe is still showing excellent catches of Salmon if you can locate the pods of bait.
      South Haven showed good fishing for Kings in 100' to 160' of water.  Fish were coming deep, like 90' to 100' down.  Roscoe is in top third, or 29th place in the amateur division, out of 93 boats non-pro boats entered.
      Heavy seas predicted today will curtail fishing at most Lake Michigan ports and the possibility of canceling of the South Haven tourney.

5/20/06  News from the South Haven tournament will be forthcoming later this morning when I have a complete update.  I like leaving daily updates open ended when we have port reporters on the water.
10:00am  Roscoe reported in his results, thus far in the South Haven money tourney.
He had 5 Kings, averaging 8 pounds and a kicker Lake Trout for a total of 6 fish with about 4 hours left to fish in this contest.  King Kobra was his best flasher, so far.  Trout came off the bottom and 90' down was his best depth on the riggers.
2pm: Roscoe caught 8 Kings and 2 Lakers (10 fish out of a needed 12) for Team Burns Unit in the South Haven tourney.  132 boats are entered in this high stakes event that ends tomorrow.  Stand by for more reports.

5/19/06  Fresh news from South Haven said the Kings were coming 90' down over 140' to 110' with good marks on the bottom.  All the fish were stuffed with alewives according to Steve "Roscoe" Burn's late day phone call to me.
     Got an excellent report from Capt. Cliff who fishes out of the Port of Waukegan, IL.  His reports is loaded with info, but a bit long to use all his subject matter in the space normally allotted to a daily update.  Click here to access Cliff's 5/17/06 info 
      Today's photo of the day is courtesy of Cliff.  His photo truly shows what a great all-around fishery Illinois water has.  Click for a pile of Perch, Coho & Kings

5/18/06  Get bit with BTIs, is no BS! is the title of today's update. It's one thing for me to see the reports and photos of others catching and being successful.  It's another thing to see what BTIs are capable of in the first person, cause on 5/17/06, I got a chance to utilize them.  Until now, all the fish (I seen) caught were on the rough prototypes used 2005 in water tests.....when we sorted thru 4 trying design changes!
     Click the 1st official BTI fish for us   Click for our 5/17/06 Manistee catch 
It's official now, as John J and I caught our limit according to Michigan's DNR stingy 3 King per person policy (when compared to other states).  Our fish averaged a good rock-solid 10 pounds apiece, for a respectable box. Click for HOT BTIs on 5/17/06
     We did not fish the harbor to ding-off the easy one's, instead opting for deeper waters, where we knew...the bite wouldn't be as strong.  We set lines on Manistee's shelf around 9am.  Our first 5 Kings came kinda fast.  Then a 90 minute lull set in, until at 12:35pm,....when our 6th King Salmon (for limit) went looking for lunch. 
     Every fish we caught was on the BTIs, with the Black Mamba/Clear Red doing most of the damage (4 of the 6 fish) on our 2 diver rods.  Both divers produced equal action, as the directional spin did what it was designed to do.  No tangles either!

5/17/06  Capt. Ora Swick, operator of Salmon Nailer Charters sent me a couple of timely photos keying in on the Salmon action in South Haven, MI on 5/16/06.  It's about time this port catches on fire and from the looks of Capt. Ora's photos, it has!
www.salmonnailer.com is Capt. Ora's web address & my thanks for his great photos.
           Click for 14 pounder coming to the net    Click for Salmon Nailer's Box

Got word back from Benny G. in Sweden that the monster Atlantic Salmon was taken of one of my flashers.  Here's Benny's exact words: "The fish was caught with a plastic bait in combination with a reel flasher." 
Click for a big Atlantic Salmon
It kinda amazes me that most the population of Europe is multi-lingual.  Heck, most of us here in the U.S.A. are still struggling trying to conquer English.

5/16/06   Here's an important piece of info you need to file away for future use.  Every time Manistee has had an east wind, thus far, this season, the harbor and mud line has loaded up with Kings.  Those who hit the Manistee pier-heads yesterday boxed out with limits of Salmon to about 15 lbs.  Best depth was said to be 17' down.
    I highly suspect this is the same deal has been going on in Ludington since this past Saturday when Capt. Kirk put a butt whipping on the Ludington harbor Kings.
    Today's featured photo is a beautiful Atlantic Salmon caught in Sweden's Baltic Sea.  Team Extreme are one of the big dogs in the European tournament circuit and supplied the photo.    Click for Team Extreme's Atlantic Salmon
     I'm not sure if this Atlantic was caught with my stuff, and until I know for certain, I'm not going to blow smoke on you about what caught this monster Atlantic.  I do have a reply email in to Benny Gustafsson (yes, they do have Benny's in Sweden too) to get the vitals on their worthy trophy.  No matter what language we speak, fishing will always remain a universal translator between all nations that have fishermen!

5/15/06  This past weekend's rainy weather kinda kept a lot of fishermen home, along with respect for Mothers Day.  So, fresh fishing reports are skimpy for the time being.  I did get first hand news the Kings were smoking red-hot in Ludington and South Haven Kings were coming deep, like 90' down, over a 100' to 110' of water. 
      Here's some recent stuff I was able to dig up this morning: 
1. Saginaw Bay around Charity Island is showing decent catches of Walleyes.
2. Rough water curtailed fishing in Grand Haven lately, blow scattered the fish.
3. Bait came into Ludington's harbor this past Saturday.
4. Recent blow in the more northern ports has dispersed the Kings, down temp is cold.
5. South Haven has Kings, but they're spread out, concentrations are hard to find.

5/14/06  Word from the St. Joe tourney says it was a tough go for most of the participants and did not reflect the great fishing, just a few days prior to the tourney.
Best Chance Too won the pro division with about 75 pounds of fish.  2 days of rough weather preceding the tourney meant notes taken in pre-fishing were useless.
     Capt. Kirk in Ludington has been one of biggest skeptics when it came to using meat.  Working for UPS, he's delivered countless packages to my shop since 2004 and never stuck a meat program in the water until just recently.
      After putting the hurt to the Ludington Kings on 5/13/06, here's what Kirk's had to say, "2 divers (equipped with meat/BTI) produced more fish based on a rod count if compared to the 4 downriggers I was running with spoons.  The 2 divers with meat/BTI were the hottest rods on the boat.  The Monkey Puke BTI was my best diver rod and I landed my largest King since 2004 on it." Capt Kirk, Ludington, MI

5/13/06  Today's update will be a work in progress.  As soon as I hear what the deal is, more updates will follow.  Dealing with tech issues yesterday kinda took me out of the loop temporally. 
      8:15 am:  Spoke with Capt. Larry Buckle who's in the St. Joe/Benton Harbor tournament.  As suspected, day one was cancelled to due huge seas and it's a 1 day shoot out.  Larry said, "it was a struggle for the time being and no pre-fishing for 2 days, cuz of 14 foot waves."  Other pertinent facts stated, he's in 105' of water & the action is slow.  He's headed west and looking.  More updates as the day wears on.
      5:45pm:  Capt. Kirk reports from Ludington, and it's a goodie!  Kirk had a hold of 20 Kings today, boxed a limit and released several smaller Kings.  Also, he boated his largest fish since the 2004 season.  Most productive water was out to 50'.  Best setup was a diver towing a Monkey Puke BTI/field test meat rig. 
                          More on this in tomorrow's update!

5/12/06  Today the St. Joe, MI big money tournament is supposed to start.  Late breaking word is the tourney is on hold for the first 2 hours in the morning due to predicted 3' to 6' seas, after Lk. MI settles down from the 6 to 10 footers last night.  This could be a one day shoot-out is today is cancelled.  Rain is in the forecast for today and tomorrow, so this tourney looks to be a soggy, miserable one.
     Normally, tournaments go on Saturdays and Sundays, because of this Sunday being Mothers Day, it was thought to be wiser to have a Friday-Saturday deal.
     Message board members experiencing problems getting into the board, try hitting refresh, or waiting.  This website crashed from a heavy server load and was unavailable from about noon until 3:00pm.  All tech problems should be cured today.

5/11/06   Latest news on the Kings in Lake Michigan keeps getting better and better!  St. Joe is even better than last weekend.  Grand Haven is getting hot.  Kings have been caught in Manistee's harbor and some Kings were taken yesterday in Ludington in 50' of water.  I haven't heard much from South Haven, Holland, Saugatuck, or Muskegon, but I suspect these ports are good too.  So, your options to pick a fight with Mr. King Salmon look good on all fronts for this weekend.
     Here's an exact words account about my products from Milwaukee, WI: 
" Thanks for the great product!!! Krystal Killer and green double glow helped us take 9 Coho and 1 King in just 1 hour and 39 minutes for our two man limit out of Milwaukee on May 7. We set lines at 6am and put the tenth fish in the box at 739am. Thanks again and cant wait to get my hands on the BTI' s!!!".....

5/10/06  Looking for something that sounds fishy? Well, Manistee is back to showing signs of good fishing again.  Capt. Paul from Riverside Charters has been in double figures on Kings every trip, so far in May.  Paul is a phenomenal skipper and I rate him the best in Manistee County for many reasons, way too numerous to list here.
                 Click for Capt. Paul's 5.3.06 brag board catch photo
Today's featured photos are from last weekend's Detroit Steelheaders tournament in St. Joe.  These photos clearly show the awesome catches "Sloppy Joe" & "Bobby's Toy" had during this event.  Click for 1st place catch  Click for 2nd place catch

5/9/06  Saginaw Bay is pretty decent for Walleyes according to our message board members.  "Getaway" Bob K. said, crawler harnesses were the preferred flavor of the day.  Bob also mentioned he drift fished the harnesses with his 2 sons, future full fledged members of Team Getaway.  No reports from Lake Huron on silver fish chasers, so I'm totally in the dark on that issue.  Click for Saginaw Bay Walleyes
      My sincere congratulations to our message board members who fished in the recent Michigan City, IN and St. Joe, MI tournaments.  "Nail Bender Too" won the 5/6/06 amateur side Michigan City Coho Classic and "mrwilliams" took the third place podium spot in same event.  Capt. Russ P. aka "Fishwhore" had the best 3 fish weight and took a large fish prize in the Michigan City deal.  
     "Zoobydoo" took second in the 5/6/06 Flint Steelheaders Port Sanilac tourney with "Uncle Rich" aboard.  "Sloppy Joe" and "Bobby's Toy" took first and second respectively in the 5/6/06 Detroit Steelheaders St. Joe tournament.  5 podium finishes out of a possible 9 might be better way to put these accomplishments in perspective.
      While you might think, I'd turn their success into an infomercial for my products, I simply refuse this option!  It was their skills adjusting to a variety of circumstances.  Our members would have done well with any form of tackle, from any manufacturer.  Way to go members! & I'm proud to have all of you aboard on our message board. 

5/8/06  The big gun in the Detroit Steelheaders St. Joe tournament was "Sloppy Joe," aka Flint seminar team/message board member Joe V.G. (I'm always hesitant to put last names on the internet).  Joe was field testing a new yet to be announced product and his exact words were, "BTIs and the new ??? rock!"  My congrats to Joe on winning this high-status club event with 63.65 lbs. in the heaviest 8 fish tourney.
     Capt. Russ P aboard the "Fishwhore" took a $1,000.00 big fish prize in the Michigan City Coho Classic this past weekend with a 17.4 King.  This fish was captured with a BTI and I suspect the same new secret weapon (for the time being) product.  Russ also won the side 333 Event, meaning the most weight in 3 fish for this tourney.
     To sum up the action at all Lake Michigan ports including Grand Haven to points north to Ludington and Manistee, all ports were producing some Kings.  The best catching was centered on St. Joe for Kings this past weekend.  Mostly all the Kings being caught so far, were taken below 50' down over deeper waters (120' to 160') than considered normal for this time of the season.
     Those that struggled to catch in St. Joe, South Haven and Saugatuck were not out far enough and fishing way too shallow, keying in a typically normal inshore program pattern that should have worked.  As Horace Greeley said, "so west young man."  Keep this in mind, when heading to the fishing grounds in the next few days if you're targeting southern Lake Michigan Kings.

5/7/06  The action in Manistee yesterday was 2 to 5 fish a boat, with most of the bite coming early.....from what was said.  Yesterday's initial port reports from our message board was on the slow side from St. Joe, South Haven, and Saugatuck. 
      Then, as of this morning the word was St. Joe was hot yesterday, out deep in 130' to 150', fishing down 50' to 120'..  Several limits of 5 to 7 lb. Kings were taken.
      What is worrisome about our Lk. MI spring King season is the fish started coming deep and a lot further offshore, than what's considered traditionally normal.  
      Port Sanilac on Lake Huron had some fair catches yesterday, with the action being over 50 to 60 fow.

5/6/06  Here's some fishing report snippets for Ludington and Manistee I came by in the 1st person, not hear-say.  Ludington is producing 3 to 4 fish a morning to savvy skippers that are dialed in.  Manistee's early week success was said to be, mostly a morning bite.  3 and 5 colors of lead core were on fire, doing heavy destruction.
     BTIs were delivered yesterday to Capt. Chucks in Ludington, Don's Tackle in Manistee and Frank's Great Outdoors in Linwood, MI.  These stores are now stocked with the time-tested, most deadly "hot" BTI colors/patterns,.....sure to please.  
     Today is a milestone in the history of the BTI, as this product enters the bricks and mortar retail tackle market.  Just in time for the promising spring King Salmon season we've all been looking forward to!

5/5/06  Manistee's early spurt of spring Kings sure didn't last long.  I went to the public cleaning station at Manistee's First Street Public Launch.  The hype of late had me kinda excited, so an investigation what was in the gut buckets was in order.  I seen only 2 measly Lake Trout carcasses and a filleted Brown Trout skeleton at 7pm.  This means there was no big catches of Kings taken by the sports fleet on 5/4/06. 
     The Manistee anglers that fished on last Tuesday and Wednesday did OK, but things went downhill fast when the bait left the harbor and headed for parts unknown.
     Congrats to message board member Vision Quest for winning the Lake Ontario Scotty Downriggers Spring Tournament held in St. Catherines, Ontario. Their winning catch averaged a hefty 20.25 pounds per fish.  Click for Vision Quest's catch
68 teams competed in this prestigious two day event.

5/4/06  Manistee's Salmon fishermen are the worst in the world....at keeping secrets!
The bait loaded into the Manistee's harbor on 5/2/05, and along with the bait, here comes the King family ready to put the feedbag on and dine on alewives.  The harbor fish were running from 10 to 15 pounds, with an occasional whopper pushing 20 lbs.
     Yesterday, (5/3/06) Manistee's shelf got hot with most fish coming 50' down over a 100 to 130 fow.  Slow was the speed and the shelf fish are good sized too!
     I suspect the same thing is happening in Ludington, all be it may....they're a little better at keeping secrets compared to the Manistee crowd of fish killers.
     This is a genuine first for me, cuz in my almost 40 years of chasing Great Lakes Salmon & Trout have I ever seen a northern port get hot in the first part of May.  Live and learn, as our as our fishery constantly re-develops itself.  This just goes to show, there's no way to set a clock by what the fish are gonna do from season to season.
                      Yes,...Sir! It's King Time in the Spring Time!!!!!!!!!!!!

5/3/06  Capt. Bill W. from Wattabite_Charters was kind enough to email me a photo of the hog Kings taken on 4/29/06 out of Glen Arbor on Lake Michigan.  Clearly, this shows big,......well fed Chinooks that are super-sized compared to last season's puny pretenders to the throne of Kings.  Capt. Bill used my products exclusively to make this outstanding haul of northern Lk. MI fish.  Click for 4.29.06 hog spring Kings!
     Now, there's more to this story then meets the eye, as Ludington's Capt. Kirk who specializes in late season big water trolling said his November/December 2005 juvenile  Kings were huge.  Capt. Kirk's report was featured here in a late 2005 daily update, keeping you informed on future trends, long before they become accepted fact!

5/2/06  There's a recovery going on, as Lake Huron looks to be rebuilding it's Salmon fishery in small steps.  Port Sanilac has had a decent herd of Cohos in the 2 to 4 pound range.  Kings seem to be running at 6 to 9 pounds when you can find a few willing to cooperate.  2 to 5 silver fish per boat is what I've been hearing for the most part.  Coho have been taken close to shore, feeding on minnows and the Kings are coming from 10' to 40' down over the deeper waters.
     Congrats to Capt. Jason Fletcher from Team Rawhide for winning the recent Salmon Stakes with 4 Kings and a Coho.  They caught several Lakers on his way to victory.  Lake Huron's Kings and Lakers had smelt in their bellies.

5/1/06  Today's update begins with a excellent report from St. Joe, MI.  Capt. Mark from "Team Reel Turner" took a 2 person limit of Kings in rough water conditions on 4/29/06.  The flavor of the day was meat and flashers being trolled slow, like 1.3 to 1.8 mph and fished deep!  Mark's best rig was a Doub L Green Glow BTI w/matching meat rig.  His rigger set was 85', 95' & 105' over 115 to 120 fow. Click for hot rig
     Capt. Bill W. reported in from Glen Arbor with a quick 3 person Kings from 8 to 22 pounds.  Bill was using meat with my stuff and stated the majority of the catch was over 15 lbs.  Glen Arbor was sheltered from this weekend's strong SE winds.
     Sidebar 1:  Never in my many seasons on the Great Lakes have I heard Kings this deep and this far offshore in the early part of our spring King season.  This trend of deep, deep Kings started in about 2004.  Summer anglers now have ply the depths to 250' down to consistently score on the Kings.  I have no rhyme, or reason why this is happening.  Speculation, conjecture, and opinions could be many.  However, let's all revert to the age old saying of, "fish.....are where you find them!"
     Sidebar 2:  By the looks of today's featured catch photo from St. Joe and the big Kings taken off Glen Arbor, our Kings are off to a heck of a lot better start on size in 2006, if compared to last year.  Click for well fed St. Joe Kings taken on 4/29/06
     Tomorrow's report will be focused on recent Lake Huron silver fish action.

4/30/06  As we close out the month of April 2006, Kings are starting to bust loose in southern Lk. Michigan according to yesterday's port reports on our message board.
     Today's photo shows a lilacs getting ready to bloom in South Haven, MI.  In Manistee our growing season a long ways behind when compared to what's happening downstate.  Traditionally, lilacs blooming (click) always coincide when a port gets hot in May for spring Kings in every port I've seen....adjusted to the growing seasons.
     Tomorrow's update will have all the good stuff in fresh weekend fish reports.  

4/29/06  Yesterday's timely reports from southern Lk. Michigan:

4/28/06 South Haven, MI: "Floyd and I went North West this morning out of South Haven dropped lines in 70 fow around 8. First fish came in at 8:50 on a Slide Diver back 125 ft with a BTI Mountain Dew setup in 116 fow. Next fish, a 10.75 Lb. king came at 9:09 on downrigger 80 ft down with a Blue Dolphin Reel Flasher setup in 129 fow.  Last fish came on dipsey with ring and 1# ball back 125' in 153 fow on a BTI Krystal Killer setup. I should have stayed in the 120 fow area and stayed away from the cross current. Went 3 for 7.  Click for catch photo
    However, three of the hits were in a strong North to South current. Only one strip showed a hit. Turned back in and trolled to 70 fow with only two releases to show for it. This is the second trip the BTI's have out produced my down riggers.  Bright sunshine seas were rolling and then laid down nicely around 11am."...Capt. Gene M.

4/28/06 Michigan City, IN: Capt. John,
"Just came off the lake. Fishing was good again today, 12 miles out, at a 330 heading. Which is towards Chicago from MC. Lots of nice coho, and took one nice steelhead. Coho are coming from 80 to 120 down, which is kinda deep for them in this area. No kings at all to speak of.   Love your BTI's".
.........Capt. Andy

4/28/06  This upcoming weekend should tell the reel-story on Salmon, in Lakes Huron and Michigan.  It's great to see the sunrise side is starting to mend, offering an alternative to the long/expensive drive across state for those that live in the eastern side of our state.  I know several reliable fishermen that will be out this weekend, so Monday's update should be a good one.  I say reliable, because the reports will be beyond reproach, not hear-say Chamber of Commerce BS!
     Lake Michigan? Scattered reports on Kings from Holland to Manistee in small numbers.  Look for St. Joe and South Haven to take off like a rocket ship soon.    
    Michigan City, IN action is a long ways offshore, like 12 to 15 miles out from port.  Michigan City's normal inshore King fishery (50' to 60' fow) has yet to materialize.

4/27/06  Supplemental Update from Mike R:
Salmon Stakes Press Day was held April 14th. Several different media writers and radio DJ's joined 5 BWSA boats for a morning trip on lower Lake Huron. A total of 80+ pounds of silver fish were weighed in at the end of the day. Donna Mae, Captain Paul Zimmer, ended the day with 9 silver fish weighing in just over 40 lbs. He fished Cherry Creek which is just north of Port Sanilac.  The Salmon Stakes is a charity event. 
The last 3 weeks see some really good coho action from Port Huron to Port Sanilac (2-8 a trip). Then you mix in 1-4 Kings, the odd steelhead and brown, and it makes for some decent coolers (4-9 silver fish a trip). There have been twice as many silver fish caught on Lake Huron in the spring of 2006, then the springs of 2004 and 2005 combined. We are not up to the good old days yet, but we have definitely seen an improvement, .....Mike R.

4/27/06  Today's featured photo is from last week when Capt. Kirk went 3 for 5 on good sized Ludington Brown Trout.  Kirk's secret to success on these April bruiser Brown Trout is Mini-Streaks with a 1/2 oz. of lead,....60' to 100' behind inline boards.  
     After being on a 5 week forced march, a few days of light duty is in order.  Finally have a reasonable inventory of BTIs built.  Sometime in the first part of May, we hope to be shipping the new BTIs to Frank's Great Outdoors in Linwood, Don's in Manistee and Capt. Chuck's in Ludington, (tackle stores in Michigan). Click for Kirk's Browns

4/26/06  Spent a bunch of time adding new BTI flashers to the webstore yesterday.
There's 23 BTIs in the most popular patterns installed on two separate pages.
      I went the extra mile in creating the new Glow BTI Series page.  This page shows the level of finish on both sides of the glow flashers, with back-side contrasting lure tape for a super deadly presentation.  The Glow BTI Series page features 11 of the well accepted regular glow fish killers and be accessed by clicking here.  X-Glow BTIs are on the drawing board will be available by the end of June 2006.
     12 of the best selling BTIs including Black Ice, Black Mamba, Mountain Dew...etc can be accessed by clicking here.  Every one of the colors is proven to produce results.  All BTIs are at special introductory pricing until the 1st of May 2006.
      For the "do-it-yourself" crowd?.....more Cortland 50# test and a brand new Hard Mono 50# test Cortland leader material has been added to the webstore.  These are the exact products used in the manufacturing of our 3 Fly Meat Rigs. Click for info

4/25/06  Here's what was reported to me from last weekend.  Algoma, WI and Manistee, MI a few Kings were taken, with a heavy emphasis on the word "few."
     The better fishing on Lk. MI was reported from St. Joe and South Haven, where port regulars all said the Kings seemed to be heavier this season, if compared to 2005.
     No one from Lake Huron sent me a report, so do not think I'm neglecting the sunrise side intentionally.  If you have a Lk. Huron report? kingscharter@yahoo.com is the place to email them.  Photos are especially welcomed!
     Later today, new BTIs selections of: King Kobra, King Krimson and Black Ice should installed at the webstore: www.michiganangler.com   These are tried, true and proven colors from past seasons, so popularity/productivity is absolutely not in question.  Kinda a no-brainer when it comes to enhancing the BTI line with the good stuff!

4/24/06  Much like you, I'm waiting for favorable bell ringer reports from our southern ports on Lake Michigan.  This I did find out, while some did and some didn't in St. Joe this past weekend, the size might look a tad better then last season.  Fair amounts Kings in the 12 to 15 pound range were caught in St. Joe on 4/22/06.
     Posted a picture today of my inexpensive Manistee Salmon Prognosticator that has been right-on since the 1970s.  I plan on updating the "M.S.P." as our Spring Salmon Season unfolds in Manistee and Ludington in May.  Click for the

4/23/06  King Salmon are just beginning to show at St. Joe and South Haven, MI.  I look at these early fish as scouts for the main herd, about 2 weeks away.  Since the 1970s, I've used Lilac bushes as an indicator.  Generally, if the Lilacs are in full bloom, you can count on some pretty decent Chinook, or King Salmon action.  Sure, you can take Kings before and after the main bloom, but the mother load always seems to coincide when the purple, or white blossoms are in full flower on the Lilacs.
      Manistee is 3 weeks away (at least) from prime time on Spring Kings, as the Lilacs bloom much later here in Manistee, when compared to our more southerly ports.

4/22/06  My thanks goes to Henry Nabors from the Metro West Steelheaders in Detroit, MI. for forwarding me today's featured photos. The images are from a few days ago when the DNR planted 22,000 Steelhead in the Clinton River.  If you've never seen a Steelhead smolt click here.  Another interesting photo is the fish truck the MDNR uses to haul fish from the hatcheries to the planting site. Click for DNR truck
    I'm waiting for the fishing reports to come in and hope everyone does well today fishing the Great Lakes.  Shop/production means work and no fishing for while.

4/21/06  To download a video to see the wide looping action of the new BTI Flashers featured on this website click here.  To Terry and Wayne J for a excellent job of editing down a 10 meg file down into a .86 meg, my most gracious thanks.
     The newly revised video is about 12 seconds long and shows the BTI snapping the first fly of a 3 Fly Meat Rig in a natural side-to-side swimming motion.  Spin, flash and water disturbance adds to any meat presentation in a big way.  BTIs will show results at the fish cleaning tables during the 2006 season.
     The lessened water drag of the 10 inchers means divers (Slide Divers & Dipsys), full, and half cores will be much easier wind in when you pull lines and head in.

4/20/06  Yesterday afternoon was spent on Lake Michigan aboard John J's "Megan Ann."  Our resident specialist in Ludington and message board member Capn Kirk was along for the ride too.  I did a QuickTime movie on the spin rate of the BTI, so those of you new to my line of tackle could see the tremendous action in the water.
     The 31 second movie file came out way too large for dial-up users at almost 10 megabytes.  The 10 meg movie file needs to be shrunk to a more manageable size.
     Did a pull test with my BTI (10") flasher with a digital scale against the original slanted fin 8" flasher (hooch).  The drag of the BTI was less, like 20 to 30% less pull but I need a more accurate measurement, before I can stand behind those numbers.
     Our efforts at trying to catch a fish were pretty fruitless, although we did miss a decent bite on the starboard diver rod with a Doub L Green Glo BTI.  70 some degrees and being on the big water for the first time 2006?...........was splendiferous!

4/19/06  Today's featured photo is a dandy Steelhead taken last weekend at Port Sanilac on Lake Huron by Capt. Doug.  Good to see there's some silver- fish life returning to the sunrise side.  Click for Doug's Steelhead
      For the first time I purchased my "all species" MI fishing online yesterday.  All in all, it was easy.  Keep in mind, once your online license is paid for, your computer's printer will print the license on regular paper.  
      This means a pretty fragile document, especially if your billfold gets wet.  May I suggest?.....print out extra copies in case the one you're carrying gets ruined from getting wet and the ink runs.   Click to purchase  MI fish license online
      The DNR recommends incasing your online license in plastic, but not all of us have access to this.  Better yet, make sure to save the receipt and you can do a reprint of your license off the MDNR website.  Be sure to keep the exact pertinent info in the online receipt form in a safe place.

4/18/06  Minnies Money caught a 14# Brown during last week's Good Friday message board get-together.   Click Mad Jack's 14# Brown This event took place on Lake Huron out of the Port of Augres, MI.  Most boats reported in with slower fishing, except for one boat and they fished during the night shift, ending up pretty darn decent.   Mark W. took several Walleyes, a few Browns and even released some Lakers, with the best action coming around the midnight hour.  All this in complete darkness?
     Night fishing is pretty much new to many big water trollers and it's interesting, cuz it's something you don't hear much about.  I do know Mark's action was much better then those who fished the same waters in the daytime.

4/17/06  The new BTI Flashers had a fantastic opening weekend debut on Lakes Michigan and Huron, scoring Salmon and Trout on both of these Great Lakes.

Here's a report from our private message board member, Nail Bender:

"We fished out of North Point, IL yesterday (sat.) 4/15. The fish were down 100 to 120'. We fished a spoon presentation for an hour with just a couple of fish. Switched over to meat rigs, the new black mamba on the port dipsy with green head and frog flies and a Krystal Killer on the starboard dipsy with a red meat rig. 
     The starboard wire dipsy on a 1 1/2 setting with 220 feet on the counter went off with in 3 minuets after we set it. The port dipsy set on 1 1/2 190 on the counter went next . The new flashers are Awesome and they will catch Cohos. We started at 8am returned at noon with 15 Cohos. Once we went to a meat rig presentation the action was steady. 
     This is the first time I have fished an all meat rig presentation!"....Capt. Jim M.

More message board members had good things to say too! Roscoe took 5 fish out of Port Sanilac on 4/14/06, with most coming on meat and the BTIs. Click for his photo
     Capt. Cliff from Waukegan, IL whacked 13 Cohos and a 12 pound King first time off the dock with the new 2006 BTI Flashers.  Click for Cliff's 4/15/06 catch photo

4/16/06  Have an enjoyable Easter, regular updates to resume tomorrow.

4/15/06  Capt. Cliff J. who plies the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, just slightly north of Chicago, did well a couple of days ago.  He fishes a sound meat program almost exclusively and drew blood on Cohos and Kings to 15 pounds.  
     Cliff's Lake Michigan voyage began with bankers hours from 11am until 2pm.  
The list of fatalities was 6 Coho and 2 Kings in a mid-day timeframe!  The Coho came higher up in the water column, but the Kings were taken deeper (to 80' down), over 150' to 200' feet of water.  Click for Capt. Cliff's catch on 4/13/06
    I surely appreciate his timely report and photo to keep this website current.  If you have photos and a port report?....please email them to: kingscharter@yahoo.com

4/14/06  Good luck to all those who got Good Friday off and an early start to the Easter Weekend.  Several of our message board members are having their 3rd annual Lake Huron spring get-together in Augres, MI today.  Click for Augres, MI catch photo
     BTI production demands prevent me from attending this year's event.  Hopefully, in the very near future an afternoon on Lake Michigan should loom large on the horizon.  Just wish the situation on the Browns were better here in Manistee, cuz everything I've heard says two chances for my area.  The 1st one is slim, & the 2nd one is none.

4/13/06  Today at www.michiganangler.com the brand new Big 10" Flashers are now available to all.  This product is directed at those that want a highly refined diver, lead core, drop weight and copper line program.  Introductory pricing per set ranges from $19.95 to $21.95. A set means 1 port and 1 starboard rotational flasher.  This brings the cost to less than $10 apiece for many models, including the popular Mamba Series.  Glow taped models are a buck more per flasher. Click here to purchase BTIs
     Many thanks to my dedicated staff consisting of: John J, Wayne J and Bob B for making this possible.  All backlogged message board orders will be shipped by today.
     If you do plan on ordering BTIs?......please be advised our existing inventory is low!  Normally, on all in-stock items I offer same day shipping, but there will delays with the BTIs.  We're building more 10 inch flashers everyday in an effort to keep up.

4/12/06  Here's Andy's recent fishing report:  "4/9/06 Michigan City, IN. Surface Temp was 42.9, but water is very dirty from a week of north winds. We caught 14 coho and the brown pictured this morning. That was our 3 man limit, it took us about 3.5 hours. 
Click for Andy's MI City, Indiana Brown Trout
     All fish were caught in 30 to 45 feet of water, right in the dirty stuff. All hits came from the surface down to 12 feet. The big brown was caught on a yellow and blue thin fin.  Also, we lost a king at the boat on the same lure that was about 15 pounds. The other hot lure was a orange J-11 Rapala on the boards."....Capt. Andy S.

      Last weekend the Indiana State Record for Brown Trout was broken with 29 pounder.  It's good to see there's some Browns someplace, cuz they sure ain't around Manistee, or Ludington like they used to be.....skimpy might be an overstatement! 
     Shipping 6 plus 6 BTI deals to our private message board members has been at the front of all my duties.  More shipping BTIs today and tomorrow means the backlog of orders will soon be cleared up.  Click to see Americans building a 100% USA product

4/11/06  My trip yesterday to slightly south of Benton Harbor to Bridgeman, MI to pick-up BTI flasher blanks went beyond well.  Kruger Plastics spokesperson, Pat Brandsatter even loaded my truck for me....now that's service!  Click for Pat B
    In case, you're interested in seeing what the actual injection molding tool that produces the BTI click here.  Busy with shop duties and BTI manufacturing for now.
    Hopefully, towards the end of this week, I'll hear some encouraging words on our Great Lakes Fishery, cuz for now, the byword from Augres, Ludington, Manistee is slow.  I do predict, with the warming trend,...St. Joe/Benton Harbor will get hot soon.

4/10/06  Not much good to report on the Lk. MI fishing scene with the exception of Michigan City, IN producing limit catch action on Coho.  Ludington Brown Trout is still on the slow side.  Southern Lake Huron anglers are struggling and it seems many have turned towards Walleye in Saginaw Bay.  Detroit River Walleyes are good.
     Today is a travel day for me to pick up the rest of the production run of BTI flashers in Benton Harbor, MI (Bridgeman) area.  If you're interested in seeing what models we've built so far and what the special introductory pricing is click here.  All existing message board BTI orders are scheduled for shipping later this week.  One week from today, the 10 inchers will be available at: www.michiganangler.com to all.

4/9/06  What is fishing?  I guess today's featured photo (click here)  pretty much explains that, when 3 generations of the Bob K's family went perch fishing on Saginaw Bay 3 days ago.  Fishing is not just something to brag about when you have a heavy box.  Done right, fishing is a family activity, an escape from daily pressures and a good way to spend quality time with friends.  I guess that sums it up pretty well!
     BTI production continues to move forward.  By this Tuesday (4/11/06), the best part 1000 flashers will be completed and ready for shipping later this week.

4/8/06  Our esteemed message board member, "No Fish Nick" showed how his message board handle is an obvious misnomer, when he landed a 70" Sturgeon.  Now, that's a serious reel-fish. The whopper was caught of the Fox River in Wisconsin while in search of early spring Walleyes.  What makes the tale of the Sturgeon even better? ....it was landed on 10# Fireline!  Click for "No Fish Nick's" monster Sturgeon
     The following morning, Nick backed up his previous night's Sturgeon success story by landing a 2 person Brown Trout limit on Lake Michigan. Click for 2 largest Browns

4/7/06  Today's featured photo is courtesy of message board member, Nomas.  He was kind enough to share his photo of a stocky, thick shouldered Lake Huron Brown Trout caught out of the Port of Tawas last weekend.  Early shoreline Browns do not require a large boat, as you can clearly see in Nomas's pic. Click for Nomas's Brown
    Black Mamba BTIs were in the birthing process yesterday, as production continues to press forward.  Click for Black Mamba BTIs on the drying racks.

4/6/06  Today's update is courtesy of Capt. Chris B. with a great, highly detailed photo of Coho and a Brown Trout caught last weekend out of St. Joe, MI.  If you have problems telling the difference between spring Kings (on the smaller side) and Coho, please note, Coho's have no tail spots, loose scales and a grey mouth,.... is another dead give away.  The Brown Trout (while appearing silver) being held on the right, is a chunky looking, well-fed rascal!  Click for Chris's 4/2/06 St. Joe photo 
    Progress continues to go nicely on the BTIs.  I introduced the very popular Mountain Dew BTI version today. Click here to see the 2006 Mountain Dew Big 10"

4/5/06  According to our last poll, there's been a big shift in the line of thinking, with less, being more.  Smaller spreads (less rods) means your boat will be easier to stay on the fish, rather than a large cumbersome spread, dictating which way you have to go,....to avoid trouble.  This signifies no full lead cores in high traffic areas, like off the Big Sable Point and such.  Concentrating on fewer rods, means less tangles and more room to land a brutal 20 some pound King that will not give up!
     The staff at WTP did a heck of a job in getting my lure tape to me in a timely fashion.  My appreciation to Ronda, Jennifer and Ron for a job well done!  BTIs are in have entered into the production phase now.  Click for a sneak peek at new BTIs

4/4/06  The early birds that fished Michigan's most southerly Lk. MI ports reported in with poor to fair results from this past weekend.  Normally productive inshore waters were said to be on the milky side, offering poor lure visibility.  
     A group of Canadians Emailed me about their lack of success at Tippy Dam this past weekend and it read poorly concerning the fishing.  Back in the "used the to be" days of the mid 1990s, Tippy Dam would be on fire during early April.
     I changed the poll where you can voice your opinion about the state of our Brown Trout and Steelhead Fisheries.  Just scroll down a bit, and it's in the left borders.
     Tomorrow's update will focus on the big change in the number of rods ran by the big water Great Lakes fleet.  Maybe, a better way to say this, would be, how large a spread you're carrying when in search of wrecking havoc on Great Lakes fish.

4/3/06  Lower stretches of the Big Manistee is slow, look to the gravel if spring Steelhead is on your menu.  Brown fishing out of Ludington was tough as of lately.
    Michigan's highly regarded Dick Swan recently sent me an article about the DNR and our lack of a multi-species fishery.  His remarks towards the current hierarchy of the MDNR cites several interesting points. Click for Dick Swan's New Article
    My most sincere hope concerning the DNR is someday they recognize the need for a well balanced multi-species fishery, where Coho, Steelhead, Lakers, Brown Trout and Chinooks (Kings) are all equal parts of the same big picture, like it used to be! 
    During a 1988 question and answer session I had with John Robertson, then Chief of the Fisheries Division of MDNR, he stressed the call for a healthy population of our Big 5.  Robertson stated something we all can understand, of not having all of our eggs in one basket.   This idea seems to have went by the wayside!

4/2/06  Slow continues to be the word fishing the lower stretches of the Big Manistee River.  Many reported a goose egg the fished between the Bear Creek and Rainbow Bend Public Access.  Much as I suspected, this January's outstanding results are subtracting from our spring Steelhead run.
     More to come later today from Michigan's well-known Dick Swan about what he sees lacking in the current DNR policies.  Dick does not mince any words when it comes to trying to increase the plants for Steelhead in under utilized rivers like the Big Manistee and Muskegon with only 50k plants.