2007 October, November & December
Archived Daily Log

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9/4/07 Manistee, MI
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Like a mirror
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8/18/07 Arcadia, MI
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8/31/07 Manistee, MI

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

12/31/07  Happy New Year!  Here's a great deer hunting story for you:

"Me and Scott were on an evening muzzleloader hunt on railroad land that we found and scouted 3 years ago and never hunter it till yesterday. Walking in I left my gun in its soft Case till we got away from the tracks.  We started seeing some nice buck tracks in the
snow and I got my gun capped and ready.  Click for Tom's Monster IN Buck
       I hid my "gun case" along the trail and we continued to walk in the woods. After 3 hours of seeing nothing and the wind being all wrong.  We decided to walk out early and see if we could see anything sneaking out.  With Scott on point we headed back to the truck.  We were half way back when Scott saw this buck.  We got down and after glassing him I told Scott he was a nice 8 point and he should shoot him.  He wanted me to take the shot since we could get in no closer than 113 yards.  My muzzleloader shooting great at 100 yards, I got ready for the shot.  I set up the camouflage chair that I had hunted out of and took the shot.  This buck dropped in his tracks. 
      We thought the buck was feeding the whole time we were watching him, but when we got to him he was standing over my "gun case" smelling it ...the whole time we were watching him. He is going on my wall and this will be a hunt I will never forget!"  
Tom M ....aka pcoaltrain on our message board

12/30/07  Today's update is for the do-it-yourself anglers.  If you've been thinking about building your own meat rigs, with kits offered at: www.michiganangler.com  Now is the time.  End of January,  meat rig kits will no longer be offered until November 2008.  
     Need a mid-winter activity and you're good with your hands?  Then build your own rigs for about 5 bucks each.  Instead of 11 to 15 dollars! Click for 2008 meat rig kits
      The kits I offer, ...have the Mylar (fringe) to build the exact same rigs we make.  To sweeten up the deal for kits for 2008, there'll be 4 bead chains, 4 barrel swivels & 12 line crimps!  Please keep in mind, this is a limited time offer, that will close on 1/15/08!
      Looking forward to 1/1/08 and the new season.

12/29/07  Big time snow storm in Manistee.  Around where I live, 14 miles from Lake Michigan we got about a foot of the white stuff in 4 hours.  With winter in the north country, you can either fight it with dread, or take an outdoor winter sport. 
      Snowmobiling and cross country skiing are great ways to enjoy the beautiful deep woods as today's featured photo shows.  Click for snow-machine on 12/28/07
       New Years Day update will explain why the larger fish hit meat, according to the experts on the olfactory (sense of smell).  This will put rhyme to the reason of the success with my products in taking the winning fish in several tourneys & derbies.

12/28/07  My get up and go, ...got up and went!   We're stuck in the La-La Land between two major holidays.  Trying to do business at this time of the year?  
Well, ...like Pres. Bush says, "we're working on it hard."
      Rumors of better Steelheading on the Big Manistee River are starting to filter down.  Lower section, from M55 Bridge up to the farm house is said to be best.  This figures, cuz the recent mild weather has probably caused the fish to move in.
      Looking forward to 1/1/08 and the new season.  

12/27/07   Best selling 10" BTI flasher was King Krimson, which surprised even me.  So, much for the myth fish can't see red ...eh?  I'd have thought the Black Mambas, either glow, or regular would have been at the top of the heap.
      Best selling 3 Fly Meat Rig was the X-Glow Yellowtail.  This figures in with my best spoon when I was still in the charter business (1983 thru 2003).  
      The Yellowtail spoon I'm speaking of is a Silver Streak Yellowtail made by my friends, the Cartwright family of Wolverine Tackle fame.
      Tomorrow, photos of the King Krimson BTI and Yellowtail Meat Rig will be posted.  With Christmas being a Tuesday deal, getting excited about a lot of extra work this week just don't fit in with my frame of mind.

12/26/07  For our Swedish and Norwegian visitors, Gott Nytt År.  Which in English is Happy New Year.  In 6 days the doors will open to a brand new season big water fishing season.  My new year's resolution is to fish a bunch more.  This works for me!
       Hope your Christmas went well.  Personally, I feel we need more days like Christmas when everything mostly comes to a screeching halt.  Giving everyone a break from our ever increasing fast paced, pressure cooker society.  Nice to have a break ...eh?
      Tomorrow's update will give you an idea about the best selling products at the webstore located at: www.michiganangler.com.  There consumer votes with his billfold on what's the most popular colors in flashers and meat rigs.  

12/25/07  Merry Christmas!

12/24/07  First off, Merry Christmas to all at this joyous time of the year!  
      Good news, as we've passed the point of days getting shorter.  December 22nd was the Winter Solstice and tomorrow will be 9 seconds longer then today.  9 seconds might not sound like much, but it's a small step in the right direction.  By 5:20pm in Manistee County, MI it's pretty dark and look forward to more daylight as winter progresses.
      Taking tomorrow off from regular updates.  If you access this website on 12/25/07 get ready to hear the Christmassy tune "Jingle Bells," to put you in a festive spirit.
       Wednesday's update will feature a listing 2007's most popular products by sales at the webstore.  Some of the top sellers were surprising!  Stay tuned for more info.

12/23/07  Installed a forum on our message board dedicated to the Flint Steelheaders Fishing Show in Birch Run, MI.  This 3 day show and runs from Feb. 29 thru Mar. 2, 2008.  This new forum will better serve our members who might have questions.

12/22/07  After January 1.2008, the Flint Steelheaders Fishing Show is only 9 weeks out.  This do starts on Feb. 29, 2008.  In the process of setting up the seminar schedule with Greg G.  Lots to get done before the trip to Birch Run, MI.
     Post it note to self: can get you in the Parlberg Room on Saturday at 5:30pm to whatever time you end and on Sunday in the new room at 10-11:30.  These are not 100% firmed up, and Greg G will have the final say.

12/21/07   Today's featured photo is the new Gold and Silver Super Bullet attractor flies soon to be installed on meat rigs.  The gold and silver plated heads on the flies add a high quality touch never before seen.  This is another world debut of trick products we've been working on since last August.  Click for trick flies
      The reflective power of the plated heads goes without saying and the Mylar from WTP is indestructible and will retain it's brand new look for a long, long time.  There's prototype meat rigs we built in 2004 and flies still look like the day we made them.
      Over this coming weekend, the new Super Bullet tackle will be installed at the webstore: www.michiganangler.com   Soon, we'll have meat rigs, along with meat rigs kits for those that prefer to build their own tackle and save.  There's even silver and gold plated beads to take the new stuff to a higher plain in kit form, or complete meat rigs.
      To those leaving early on holiday vacation: Merry Christmas and many thanks for stopping by.  Your visits to this website thru-out the year are much appreciated! 

12/20/07  Ever ask yourself why you fish the Great Lakes?  Are to trying to impress people in competitive events?  Is it a one on one test against the fish?  Is it the food value of several meals and canning fish?  The list of "whys" is one of the philosophic fixations stuck in the gray matter of our brains, ...when you come right down to it.
       For me, a major part of the why is the friends I choose to fish with.  This is a luxury you'll never have in the charter business and still run enough trips to support yourself.
       Buddies make the whole deal more enjoyable, even when they blow fish that should have been caught.  Like who cares if some fish are lost, that's no big thing.  Enjoying the camaraderie, light conversation and some time on the water is!  Click for reel-grin
        Count your blessings ever time you climb aboard any boat with fishermen of your choosing, cuz from the git-go, ...there's gonna be some big fun along the line.
       Today's featured photo is fishing bud, "Roscoe" holding up an OK King, but you can tell by the authentic grin, something special produced that kind of elation!  Too bad the season is so short, cuz I could sure go for some more reel-grins right about now!
       Procrastinators beware, you're running out of time for Christmas shopping!

12/19/07  Received an email from our fishing brothers in Sweden, Team Extreme.  Ove J. was kind enough to inform me that their team member Dan caught the new lake record for Lake Trout on Lake Storsjön.  He was using a Blue-Dolphin BTI with a clean bait fish rigged above the flasher, if I read his post correctly.
       While I do not speak Swedish, the international language of fishing can and will break down verbal barriers.  It has to do with that wondrous mythical bond that that ties all fishermen together on this planet with a common thread called, "catching."
       Tomorrow's update will focus on what do you like more?  The fishing and catching or the friends we choose do it with?  Check out this reel-grin
       Installed the Silver Bullet attractively priced combo deal with a green meat rig at the webstore yesterday.  Click for Silver Bullet combo deal

12/18/07  As the conclusion of 2007 draws near, here's my mental replay of the most memorable events in 2007's recap:  1. seeing about a 100 plus message board members at the Flint Steelheaders show in Birch Run last March was big time fun.
       2. 2007 was the beginning of boat ownership for yours truly again.  The first fish aboard SR1979 with fishing buddy, John J back on July 2nd, 2007 was a big, big deal.  
       3. Enjoyed a few more trips as the summer progressed, but fishing with Roscoe on the evening 8/10/07 ranks up there too!  We had many become un-pegged on that fateful evening and still ended up with one helluva box of fish.
       4. The trip to Leland on 8/30/07 with Capt. Jim "Spanker" Munoz was sheer amazement with another fishing buddy, Capt. Dave Deforest.  We boxed 15 Kings, filled every license on the boat with lines in the water from 1:30pm, until we pulled at 4pm.  Two 1/2 hours during mid-day bite for 15 Kings?  Yep, that's how the reel-story went, but we used only BTIs and flies for another shocking aspect of this tale!  
       The BTI is a tremendous flasher with meat and in a league of it's own, ...for those that prefer to pull flies!  Just go and see what's hung on most every rod in Leland, MI's charter boat fleet Click for archived proof, cuz talk is useless without verification!

12/17/07  According to the news, the 2008 MI fishing licenses will be the same price as what we paid in 2007.  There was a movement afoot to increase in early 2007 to hike fees that went down to defeat before the 2007 licenses went on sale.  I know this sound convoluted, but all things with government agencies always are.
      Seems like several State of Michigan legislators are accusing the big dogs of MDNR of overstating budgetary shortfalls by misrepresenting the money situation.  
      Imagine that ...a government bureaucracy fibbing to get more money?  Could this be the first time in the world something like this has happened Rolling Eyes ...or is it all too common?
      Be sure to check out all the metalized products at the www.michiganangler.com webstore.  Photos posted do not come close to doing these ultra-fine quality products justice.  Ever tried taking a picture of a mirror?  I think you'll get my point.

12/16/07  Today, it's my great pleasure to introduce the 12" Gold Bullet Reel Flashers, gold meat heads and gold bullet heads at the webstore.  For fit, finish and durability these products rank off the scale, all be it may, ...you can decide for yourself. 
      The metalized gold and silver product lines are some of the finest, if not the finest pieces of tackle you'll ever lay paws on.  In fact, it's like handling a superbly polished mirror where you don't want to leave smeary finger prints behind!  If you're interested in these exceptional pieces of fish catching technology click here!
      Silver Bullet 2 and 3 Fly Meat Rigs with reel-silver bullets fly heads are ready to go.  Granted metalized silver/gold fly heads are a small thing, but small things are what adds up to large fish boxes.  Factor in perfectly matching fly heads, meat heads, and flashers for a total attack that no one in the industry offers, ....except me! Click for meat rigs

12/15/07  This coming Monday, all the new 2008 gold plated products will be available at the webstore.  The Gold Bullets will mirror (that's a pun) the same line as the Silver Bullets.  Meaning: meat heads, fly/squid bullet heads, 10" & 12" flashers.  The gold plated stuff compares to the already introduced Silver Bullets.  Looking as good, if not better.  Metalizing company did a fantastic flex-finish job with a fairly short turn around time.
      This is another world first for any fish-shaped flasher and a total overall world first in fly, or squid bullet heads.  Click here for sneak peek at 2008 Gold Bullets

12/14/07  Opening day of muzzleloader begin today.  Not many of my friends have taken deer this past rifle season.  Venison steaks are starting to sound pretty good and got a couple of small bucks scouted on federal land close to Pine Creek.  
      Both of the bucks seen are quite spooky.  Neither animal is a trophy, unless tender venison steaks on the grill ranks high on your award list.  
      Passed on several darn good bucks last season, but won't pass on meat this year.  Let's see if my prediction of butchering a deer next week comes true.

12/13/07  Muzzleloader season for deer in Zone 2 begins tomorrow (12/14/07) and runs thru the 23rd of December.  The second Friday in December might be an easier way to remember this every year.  Zone 2 is the northern half of the lower peninsula, Zone 1 is the southern half and Zone 3 is the UP.  Click for deer on 12/12/07
      Dates for each zone is kinda different, as Zone 1 goes from Dec.7th thru the 16th, and Zone 3 runs from the Dec. 7th thru the Dec. 23rd, if I understand the regulations correctly.  Sounds complicated to me & finding this info on the MDNR website was hard.

12/11/07  The US Government has a long history in curing injustices, pertaining civil rights.  Sooner, or later this status of super citizenship will end for many tribal people.
        Are they sowing the seeds of their own destruction?  By all accounts of anything to do with fair above board play hasn't been the tribal netter's modus operandi.
        The tribal netters that plagued in Manistee 2007 are their own worst enemies.   They overtly misrepresented everything they said, did, or planned to do ...while nodding yes like a bobble head in a low-rider's rear window.  Their dirty tactics included pushing out the Battice nets by Big Point Sable, who was there first.
        Untold vast sums of money from the State of Michigan's Consent Decree has been spent.  If I was a member of the Little River Tribe? ...I'd sure would want to know how was spent and by who.  Audits never hurt those that abide by the laws.
        If they do not want to abide by the laws the rest of us do, then let's push this sovereign nation stuff to the next level where you need a passport to enter tribal casinos, cuz you're leaving US soil behind when you set foot on tribal property.
      Tomorrow's update: why do the tribes push their hunting and fishing rights?

12/10/07  Message board member and all around good guy, Kevin E. known aka FBD was nice enough to send us a photo from this past Saturday's Steelheading adventure on the Kalamazoo River.  His guests were Rev. Steve and son, and from the warm grins on their faces, the 19 degree temps didn't seem to put a chill on the trip! Anytime time you catch a winter Steelhead, consider it a victory!  Click for FBD's Steelie photo
      Another world first for my manufacturing company today, as the new 2008 Gold Bullet BTI Flashers are no longer a secret.  Look for the gold color to produce best in stained harbor/river waters, or on cloudy dark days.  Click for 2008 Gold BTIs
    We'll be shipping orders again today, seeing the new Silver Bullet products are back in stock.  Hope to have a fairly large backlog of orders cleared up by the end of this week.
      Tomorrow's update: sowing seeds of destruction for tribal net fishers!

12/9/07  Posted a photo of the 2008 Silver Bullet fly/squid heads, so you could see a truly strikingly hand crafted trolling fly.  Silver plated bullet heads are another world first for our product endeavors.  Plus, at this point in time, ...the only place in the world these sliver fly/squid heads are available is at: www.michiganangler.com   
      Some tackle just looks fishy from the git-go and that's the case with the with the featured fly with the new silver bullet heads   This deadly fly was made by one of our message board members.  Click for silver bullet trolling fly 
       Raising the standards of the tackle we fish with is an ongoing process and I'm glad to be part of it, bringing you the latest advancements in the gear we use.  I'm proud to break new ground, cuz world firsts are something no one ...can ever take away!

12/8/07  Some people stay awake all night dreaming up ways to cause trouble for other folks.  Where I'm going with this is, some ill meaning person turned me in for having too large a bait pile for deer in February 2007 to the MDNR.  Having Conservation Officers at you place is not gonna be a reason to hold a joyous celebration by any means!  
       This tilly-tattletail knows who he is and that's the reason, deer photos haven't been posted on this website since.  Getting back to the CO thing, ...they carefully inspected what we had laid out for the deer critters and bade us ado with no tickets written.  
       Setting out corn everyday is expensive, and we use a large coffee can to disperse the corn over a wide area.  Well within the guidelines set forth by the MDNR.

12/7/07  December 7th, 1941, always to be remembered to our present day armed forces.  Let's make sure a no future president will never have to say again, to coin the words of Pres. FDR, "a date that will live in infamy." Meaning the Pearl Harbor attack!
     Today's photo of the days is turkeys looking for food beneath the snow covered tundra of Manistee County, MI.  This picture was snapped not far away from my house as a fair sized flock was just starting to disperse.  Click for 12/7/07 snowy turkeys
     A while back, I mentioned other states could have designs on the water from the Great Lakes.  Seems like lobbyists are laying the ground work for pipe lines to steal our water right now. If you'd like more info on this all important subject, please click here     
     This coming Monday will debut another brand new product launch for 2008!

12/6/07  The largest officially weighed King caught in the State of Michigan was weighed at 26.90 pounds, taken by the boat "Sloppy Joe" in the Detroit Steelheaders Ladies Day Tournament on 8/4/07.  Capt. Joe V.G. missed a master angler on this fish by a mere 1/10 of a pound.  Further verification for this King was gained, cuz it weighed on certified scales at Capt. Chucks Tackle Store (if my memory serves me correctly).
       Now, for tackle that took this fish & the overall winning big fish in the July Ludington Gander Mountain Tournament: Click for Ludington tourney winner  Both fish were caught with my tackle on the bubble patterns.  Joe's hit the green bubble combo/meat and the Gander Mountain fish whacked a blue bubble combo/meat. Click for largest King in 2007   
       Bragging up my product's accomplishments really don't sit well with me, but if I don't tell you ...nobody else is gonna!  In fact, my stuff won the ever prestigious KD Salmon Tournament in Wisconsin with a overall 24.9# winner at the end of July 2007.
       I'm sure there's still a few nay-sayers out there, but they can not argue with the above reel-facts.  If you're after big fish and not into relying on a one-dimensional early bite program, a wise move would be considering what I offer! 

12/5/07  The largest King caught in Manistee County was 26.20 pounds, taken by Capt. Tom Rasmussen of Sue Lee Charters.  Every year the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association has a big fish derby requiring all fish entered to be weighed on certified scales.  Second place was 25.5 (approx).  The winning fish was caught on a J-Plug type lure, not very far from Manistee's harbor area.
      From info Tom Rozich supplied there were no Master Angler Kings by weight in the entire State of Michigan.  Master Angler awards in the King, or Chinook Salmon division begin at 27 pounds.  There were 2 catch and release Master Angler awards, for a 40 and a 42 incher.  So, the bottom line is no Kings were registered that weighed 27 pounds.
      If you've placed an order at: www.michiganangler.com for tackle, we will not be shipping until next Monday.  We need this time to rebuild inventory.  Silver Bullet 12" Reel Flashers will be re-stocked soon and will be available again at the webstore by tomorrow.

12/4/07  Been sitting on the info for the largest King weighed-in during 2007, who caught it, where it was caught, and what type of lure it was caught on.  This fish was weighed on a certified scale.  I know the person that took this fish and his honor is beyond question.  So, there's be no disputes on this fish, cuz he had witnesses.
      Also, I know the reel-weights on the largest Kings caught in Manistee and Ludington, along with the anglers names who took the largest fish on the mentioned ports.
      All good things come to those that wait, ...and maybe later this week, or possibly tomorrow this info will be part of the public record.  Patience, all will be divulged soon!

12/3/07  On the 11/30/07 update I mentioned a late season angler that's cut from a tough piece of cloth, cuz Ludington's Capn Kirk is still fishing.  He went this past Saturday in cold, bitter weather and fished around Ludville's harbor.  Racking up 6 fish for 12 bites, after thawing out his outboard and breaking ice to launch.
       There's another tough Ludington
Mano e Mano "Ironman," being Chris B.  He accomplishes his mission solo with 2 rods, playing catch and release most of the time.  He even uses the timer on his camera to shoot pictures of his fish by his lonesome.  You can tell by the decoupage of 4 photos Chris is having one helluva big time!  
        My hat's off to any late season diehard that will brave the harsh conditions.  Just the thought of extreme Lk. Michigan fishing in November/December is enough to make me cozy up to the fireplace and put another log on the fire!  Click for "Ironman" Chris!
        Please note the "Ironman" Chris B. pursues the fish from an open boat!

12/2/07  Winter has hit Manistee County ...big time!  Tow below zero readings (-2) in Cadillac, MI and snow driven by high winds reminds me of my total distain for winter.  There's not much relief in sight until next weekend.  Click for temp on 12/1/07
      Plowing snow to clear the driveways is my big joy for this afternoon. If and when the snow stops?  Put the plow on last week when the first major storm of the season was first was predicted.  Me and Mr. Snow Plow will get to be good buddies until next April.
      Looks like another 4 inches last night, 13 inches for total snowfall thus far.
      Tomorrow's update will be about another last season big water fishermen that goes
Mano e Mano (solo) against Ludington's late season fish with just  a couple of rods!

12/1/07  Low water?  Yep, that's the topic for today and it's at epic lows for Manistee.  We've lost better that a 1' of water since last summer and seem to lose more everyday.  
       According to some experts the St. Clair River channel keeps digging it's self deeper, cuz most of it's bottom has a softer variety of silty blue clay.  This means zero resistance to underwater erosion.  Lake Erie has risen or it's holding it's own for water, while the Great Lakes of Huron and Michigan keep losing more water everyday.
       Installing the winter 2007/2008 snow gauge for Manistee County.  We got 4 inches yesterday and probably about 5" prior.  9" for a total thus far.  More snow coming today!

11/30/07  In closing November 2007 out, isn't it lousy on how winter just sneaks up on us?  It's deep winter in Manistee for now and never seen 25 degrees yesterday!
      Today's featured photo is from Capt. Kirk, resident Ludington big water fishermen.  Kirk is cut from one tough piece of cloth, cuz he's still fishing Lake Michigan.  He's been working the bath-house north of Ludington and has been pulling limits like clockwork!
      There's something kinda befuddling about the fish taken aboard his ship, "Enterprise."  His catch has been mostly comprised of Steelhead and all the Steelies are good sized.  Not shrinking violets like our Kings have become over the past 5 seasons.  
       We all tend to shy away from questions that can't be easily answered, but why have our King Salmon shrunk?  ...while Steelhead remained relatively stable size-wise during the same 5 year time span?  Click for Kirk's late season 11/18/07 catch
       My most sincere thank you to all who've purchased the new 2008 Silver Bullet stuff, but I have some bad news for about the next 2 weeks.  We're out of the 12" flashers & squid/fly/bullet heads.  Hope to be restocked by 12/15/07 (if not sooner).

11/29/07  Here's a fairly fresh Manistee, MI report from Capt. Jason Bialik:
"The lower end of the Big Manistee (Below the Farm) has been "Red Hot". All fish are being taken on Spawn. In addition the North End of Manistee Lake has been very good as well. Two man limits were taken on Friday and Saturday within 2 hours. All fish were taken on J11 Jointed Rapalas Orange/White. (Yes not Flatfish). We were pulling a few lines early with X5's and never had a sniff while we could not keep the Rapalas in the water. Also all but one fish was taken on in-line boards." 
Jason Bialik, 
If you're looking for a fishing trip on the Big Manistee, or possibly Manistee Lake why not contact Jason?  He's good at what he does and knows how to use both plugs and spawn with equal success.  His rates are very reasonable for the extra effort he puts into guiding his guests into fish.  Call 231-723-6493 for Bialik Charters, ask for Jason.

11/28/07  Finally dug up the promised photo of the extremely rare Golden Trout of Wisconsin.  The highly sought after specie is a reel-prize winner for Wisconsin Cheeseheads (said with the greatest respect)!  Click for rare WI Golden Trout
     I didn't have the heart to really tell the happy fishermen (you can see his face beaming with pride) holding this fish what it was.  Needless to say, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana big water anglers do not hold the esteem that Wisconsin fishermen do for their favored Golden Trout with fins matching the same hue of cheddar cheese.
     However, here in MI we do not have a pro quarterback near the caliber of Brett Favre who recently threw 20 consecutive completed passes.  This happened when Green Bay Packers soundly whipped the Detroit Lions this past Thanksgiving Day.
      Tomorrow's update will feature favorite recipes from WI anglers for Golden Trout! Yummy Plank Cured Golden Cheese Trout Fricassee should be a big hit with everyone!

11/27/07  Gonna have to wait until later today for the photo promised from yesterday's update.  Correction is need on the Musky photo, as this fish was taken in the Fox River, right near downtown Green Bay, WI.  Awesome to have a fishery like that in a big city!
       Stay tuned, as we try retrieve the rare perfectly composed photo for the pleasure of your viewing, if all goes as planned later today!
       Posted a new photo of the 2008 Silver Bullet stuff, cuz the new 2 and 3 Fly Meat Rigs deserve a front page display.  It was no small miracle to take this photo, cuz the reflection from the flash drove the camera nutso. Click for new 2008 Meat Rigs  
     Having perfectly matching flashers and meat heads is a benefit no one can deny!  

11/26/07  Sales of the newly debuted 2008 Silver Bullet products are beyond any of my expectations.  The way it looks, we'll probably have to send off another batch for plating prior to the Flint Steelheaders Spring Show held at the Expo Center in Birch Run, MI.
       The dates for this show in 2008 are Feb. 29th thru March 2nd in case you want to circle that on your calendar now.  If you'd like to see what the Flint Steelheaders have planned for their 2008 show click here  (it's a pretty lengthy list of attractions).
       A while back, the possibility of selling my websites/tackle business was mentioned.  After deep thought, considering full retirement? ...that idea didn't set well with me.  
       I've since decided to stay the course in 2008 and continue with a journey started on October 1, 1968 when I caught my first Coho Salmon in West Platte Bay, north of Frankfort, MI.  It's easy to stay working if you have a passion for what you do!

11/25/07  Where's the direction of the internet headed in the future?  A tough question for sure, but since it bloomed in the late 1990s, not much has changed.  Spam, which is an estimated 70% of all web traffic goes unchecked, because of ISPs (internet service providers) seem unconscious to the obnoxious garbage that goes in our email box!
      Next subject with the internet is advertising, advertising, and more advertising that plague us with more ads when we frequent many websites, like the weather.
      Some where's down the road, paying for services/info will come into play.  If anyone thinks the internet is free, you'd better check your next billing statement from your ISP.

11/24/07  Inside sources say, seems the Little River Band's tribal council does not trust the tactics of the new tribal fishers that used a Blitzkrieg mentality in setting 18 trap nets during the spring/summer of 2007 off the Port of Manistee, MI.  
      The Little River tribe recently has set aside $50,000.00 of the 2000 Consent Decree monies from the State of Michigan to pull abandoned nets.  
      They (the tribe) should know how expensive it is, cuz they (the tribe) had to hire outside contractors to pull nets in Ludington abandoned a few years back.

11/23/07  Let's go with a bunch of different topics for today's update:
1.  Now is the time to consider new electronics, cuz the devaluation of our dollar means the 2008 imported products will take a price jump.  New sonar and GPS is light years ahead of the products just a few years back.
2.  The flex finish on the 2008 Silver Bullet products is the most thoroughly tested of any tackle I've introduced to the public so far.  Click for an example of the flex plating
3.  The Silver Bullet fly/squid heads sold out in about 3 days at the webstore.  Along with the flex finish on my flashers this is another world first.  I hope to re-stocked by the first of the year on this ground breaking upgrade. Click for Reel-Silver Bullets

11/22/07  Maybe there is something to validate the global warming we've all heard about.  On 11/21/07 petunias leftover from summer landscaping are still growing with a couple of flowers to prove it.  For the climate in Manistee, MI this is highly unusual!
                               Have a Great Thanksgiving!

11/21/07  Falling water levels is a worthy topic for today's update.  This past Monday we used the public launch at Stronach, MI to fish Manistee Lake.  Using this launch ramp back in early July presented no problems for my 22' boat.
      By the looks of things, our water level has dropped around foot since then.  The lowered water level in Manistee Lake caused major problems when we went to put the boat back on the trailer, as the ramp offered less area to float the boat on the trailer.  If we hadn't had a set waders along, the retrieving the boat would have been a lot worse.  Asking someone to wade without waders in 40 some degree water would have likely caused my crew to mutiny!   Have a great turkey day tomorrow!
11/20/07  Steelhead catching on Manistee Lake is at a dead standstill from what I seen firsthand yesterday morning.  Seems like the lake needs to reload with some fresh run fish, cuz for now...the Steelhead there are on the endangered species list!
      Many thanks for the warm reception given to the 2008 Silver Bullet products!  I appreciate your vote of confidence and promise you will not be disappointed.  There's several world firsts involved, but we can discuss this at a later date.
      To those that ordered: we'll be shipping product early next week via UPS, unless specified otherwise.  www.michiganangler.com has the new products listed.

11/19/07  Today is the world debut of the 2008 line of Silver Bullet flashers and meat heads.  These are the most thoroughly tested/proven products to date!  
      Rigorous testing was to make sure the flex polished mirror finish on the flashers and meat heads would exceed anyone's expectations for durability, fish-catchability, fit, and 100% reflect-ability of available light (at any depth).  
      There's brand new 2 pages explaining the whole testing procedure started on 8/17/07 thru early September.  Click for page 1  
      Click here for page 2 which is a timeline and several more photos showing you exactly how these products shined pulling fish in even the most crowed conditions. 
      I'm proud to say 2008 Silver Bullet flashers (both 10" & 12") and meat heads (magnums & super mags) are available now at: www.michiganangler.com 

11/18/07  Steelhead fishing in Manistee Lake is still decent, as late season fishermen extend their season.  Today's featured photo is from message board member, Educator.  He took some fair sized Steelhead on 11/14/07 with a few helpful hints gleaned from our message board.  Click for his Steelhead photo
      Word from Lake Michigan off Ludington's bath-house is fairly easy limits of Steelhead, along with next year's Kings in the top 30' of water.  Be forewarned, only highly experienced anglers should tackle this late season fishery on Lake Michigan.
      You could be the only boat out there and assistance of any kind is always quite a distance away.  Not to mention the heavy seas most of the time.

11/17/07   Kinda shot myself in the foot with our poll.  Southern Lake Michigan ports in Indiana don't have 150' of water close to shore, like the ports leading to the north have.  So, any results gained for our poll are gonna be semi-tainted.
       Suspended fish were the deal around Manistee.  Most consistent action I seen during 2007 was 150' to 250'.  Then again ...this is tainted info, cuz the trap nets prevented working 50' to 160' depths on Manistee's shelf.  
       Personally, in 2007 I felt handcuffed ever time I left the dock, or launch (in Manistee) not being able to fish tighter to structure.  Then what fish that were on the inside, between the net depths of 50' to 160' couldn't be touched anyways!
       Will 2008 be a carbon copy of the antics by the fanatical tribal fishers?  
I highly doubt it, as a large portion of 2000 Consent Decree monies from the State of Michigan doled out to the LRB HAS BEEN SPENT!  Look for these netters to go broke, or siphon more money from the tribe to finance an ongoing money losing proposition.
       One thing I keep forgetting to mention:  there's a trap net fairly close to the pier heads in Manistee.  I do not know the exact location.  Talk was slightly south off the First Street Beach in 30' to 40' of water.  Late season anglers beware!

11/16/07  T.G.I.F. is good way to melt into the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday seasons.  Lots to look forward to in next week's updates including the largest verifiable King Salmon caught in 2007 & who caught it!
       On next week's agenda is the world debut of Prototype 2008.  This project has been under-wraps since 8/17/07.  I've built 2 new pages with many photos attesting to the success seen in the Michigan ports of Ludington, Manistee, Arcadia and Leland last summer.  This product/prototypes went thru extreme durability tests.
       Project Prototype 2008 was made possible mostly thru efforts of message board member, Getaway (aka Bob K.) and I thank him for his wise engineering expertise! 

11/15/07  Michigan's unofficial statewide holiday for firearm deer season begins today.  Keeping with this tradition, my plan is to take the day off too.  While the deer have been skimpy around my place, sitting in the woods, being away from phones, computers, and work of any sort is a mind clearing reprieve from the daily grind.
   As Paul Harvey might say, ........."click here for the rest of the stories

11/14/07 Bunch going on this week!  Headline maker is the start of firearms whitetail deer season tomorrow.  Deer are hard critters to figure out, at least for me they are.
       At this time last year we had several good bucks frequenting my property and adjoining federal land.  This year it's out-n-out slim picking with not many to be found.  What will this coming Thurs. bring? ...a good possibility of snow that will help!
      Semi delayed this week's topic of the many different types of line used for big lake fishing and plan on reverting back to this all important topic when time allows.  Those newer to big water trolling will benefit most in the explanations in the
usages of each line listed.  Understanding whys & wherefores leads to consistent success.

11/13/07   Went fishing yesterday afternoon for a few hours on Manistee Lake by the Little Manistee River.  Capt. Tom Rasmussen was kind enough to invite me.  We did about 3 laps around the south end where the river enters the lake.  
     On the second lap we hit a decent Steelhead that was part bird, cuz it kept flying out the water.  After about 5 skyward leaps and patient/gentle coaxing by me, Capt. Tom slid the net under this villainess in one fell swoop!  Click for 7# hen Steelie
      Big fun to get away from the office and shop for a short afternoon (been working on new 2008 stuff), where even a one fish catch was appreciated ...as much, if not more then 10 limits would have on Lk. MI during last summer. Click for X-5 Flatfish the Steelhead ate!
      Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, and one fish looked pretty darn good to me! 

11/12/07   Took a micrometer and measure the various diameters of the line I use aboard my boat.  All lines have been used, stretched and went thru cycles of wet and drying.  So, these numbers might not be spot-on when the line first comes off the spool.  You'll get a better idea of the point I'm trying to make in this week's updates.
                Click for photo showing the all the fishing lines used

Pound Test of each line Type of lines commonly used Thickness, or Diameter
45 Copper 0.040
27 Lead Core 0.035
30 7 strand S.S. Wire Diver 0.012
35 Cortland Spectron 0.010
50 Mono 0.030
30 Mono 0.022
20 Mono 0.018

11/11/07  Proposed changes to any charter regulations, or service taxes are not need by this industry.  Charter customers drive the economy in towns like Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington during the later part of the summer.  Their money gets spread around to motels, gas stations and restaurants.  Saddling charter operators with anything detrimental in Michigan's shaky business climate is plain outright stupid!

11/10/07  32 years ago today the Great Lakes freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a severe storm on Lake Superior with 29 hands aboard.  There were no survivors.  
       Many non-conclusive reasons have been offered for why this ship went down.  Some said the 732' ship scraped bottom at Caribou Shoals and began to leak.  This happed when the Ed. Fitz. took a more northerly route to avoid the huge 35' seas.
       The USCG's official opinion said the hatches were not fastened down properly.  
       Personally, I do not believe either reason.
       To me? ....the biggest clue to the sinking lies in the underwater images of this proud sunken ore freighter.  Click for the Edmund Fitzgerald
       The wheel house was blown out when the taconite pellets crashed forward as a gigantic rouge wave pitch-poled this ship, throwing the freighter like a dart ...bow first to a watery grave 530' beneath the cold surface of Lake Superior.
       The Fitz was further immortalized in a song by Gordon Lightfoot called, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."  This tune was favorite with me back in my charter days (1983 thru 2003).  I played this tune on charters when the seas were nasty (like 6 to 10 footers) to add extra thrills & drama for my guests!
        The Fitz was carrying about 26,000 tons of iron ore/taconite when it sank.     
                                  Click to view taconite pellets
In case your gray matter has more room for semi-useful knowledge, read on.  Taconite is a low grade iron ore mixed with bentonite clay and limestone prior to being processed into steel for the auto factories in Detroit, MI and Cleveland, OH.  This was back in olden times when most of our cars were still being built in the USA!

11/9/07  Let's use government stupidity for today's topic.  There's all kinds of new regulations that might be in the works for charter operators.  One of the most ignorant is a Transportation Worker Identification Credential for maritime workers.  Cost of this card is $139 to $159 for their first TWIC.  Charter skippers are licensed now by the Merchant Marine, do not need stupid stuff like this!
      The Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources wants out of the charter boat inspection business.  Back in 1983 my first charter boat inspection was 25 bucks.  This figure escalated to $250.00 for first time boat inspections in about 1987.  Then every other year is was $125.00 (if you were renewing the same vessel).  
       Other this long duration of time the MDNR has built nearly a spotless record with only one charter boat every sinking (that I know of).  That occurred in the later 1980s off Port Austin, MI, but all passengers were rescued and did not spend more then 3 minutes in the water.  I urge the DNR to continue their fine record and reconsider the proposed changes to a policy that served us well for 30 some years!
      More on other things pertaining to charter operators tomorrow.....

11/8/07  At all costs, like the plague, I try to avoid any political commentary.  Visitors of this website do not come here for spewing propaganda for the Rs or Ds.  
      Then, if you do say something not agreeable to both Republicans and Democrats, you're running the risk of alienating of goodly part of your audience. 
       In this case, 24% of you who are in lockstep with Bush & Cheney are probably gonna get a little ticked off.  Click for Reuter's poll ratings verification
veto of the popular $23 billion water bill could be soon overturned.  House Republicans joined with Democrats for the 361-54 vote, far greater than the two-thirds majority needed to prevail.  Click for Detroit Free article
      What makes this bill of great consequence to Great Lakes anglers? ...funding for an important permanent Asian carp barrier in Chicago, IL, new locks for Great Lakes shipping, and 20 million for Lake St. Clair sewage treatment is included in it.  
      If, and when this veto is overturned, it will be the first time congress has squashed a Bush veto. Click here for real-time cost of the Iraq war
      Solution to make up the 23 billion is to pull our troops out of Iraq 2 months early!
   P.S.  I owe no allegiance to any political party, so do not email me either way!

11/7/07   You've heard this one before:  "You never know what you got, until it's gone."  The recent nasty weather with winds to 50 mph brought back grim memories of my guiding days (1985 thru 2003) on the Big Manistee River. 
      Back in those days, bad weather was endured to get your clients into fish.  We dealt with winds to and past 50 mph, grudgingly fished in below zero temps to -20, and seen 15 inches of snowfall during a 8 hour trip. 
      Needless to say, "I'm glad ...what I had ...is gone!"  

11/6/07  Here's just of few of the meanings of the word fishing:


Fun and frustration that comes with the territory. 
Intensity building before the first bite in the morning.
Simple pleasures in life are often the most rewarding.
Humiliating experiences that levels the playing field for all anglers.
Investing in our peace of mind.
Never being pessimistic, cuz fishermen are born optimists.
Grandiose for the plans we have before leaving the dock/launch.

11/5/07  14 boats were trolling off the mouth of the Little Manistee River on Manistee Lake.  Only 1 fish was caught, so we postponed our trip until sometime later this week.  Fishing seems to be better after a NW blow for Stronach, MI fishermen.
      Spent most of yesterday finishing the first phase of Prototype 2008.  Still a bunch to do before the world premiere this coming turkey day (11/22/07).
      The size of Lake Ontario's Kings are shrinking too.  40 some pounders used to win the big fish derbies.  In 2007, I heard a 32 pounder was the contest winner.

11/4/07  What is fishing about?  Under any circumstances that's not an easy question to answer.  Here's a partial answer: a big part of any fishing trip is time spent with likeable people on the same wave length.  
       By 3pm this afternoon Capt. Tom Rasmussen, John J (former deckhand), and myself will be floating around on Manistee Lake come hell, or high water. 
       Our grand expedition into the unknown won't be asking for much.  A nibble, or two would be just fine.  Fishing trips with buds are a great way to put daily pressure cooker of life on the rear burner. 
       If we luck into a fish or two, releasing it (to fight another day) will rank high on the list.  To me? ....fishing is not about the numbers of fish killed, it's the camaraderie of the other fishermen aboard.  Let's not overlook the enlightening "on the water" conversations that always seem on the fast track to curing the world's many ills!   Besides, the tools aboard are not for nasty 8 letter word: work-work!
     Hope you adjusted your clocks back one hour to standard time last night.

11/3/07  Shop duties working on Prototype 2008 is today's agenda.  These new products will debut soon.  Thanksgiving Day 11/22/07 is the target date for the world announcement.  Hope to find time some time this weekend to wet a line.
     Tonight (early Sunday morning 11/4/07)) at 2:00am we fall back one hour as daylight savings time ends.  On 11/4/07 at 2am changes to 1am local standard time.  

11/2/07  Let's just go with a couple of links for today's update.  First one is about controlling cormorants in Wisconsin.  Click for WI cormorant control  
       Here's a link to CERA, a group organizing to uphold our Constitution with equal rights for all.  I was on this site for good 30 minutes.  Kinda surprising to learn not many tribe members get to share in the wealth of their casinos.  There's lots of good behind the scenes info we usually don't get a chance to see. Click for more info

11/1/07  To anyone misguided individual that thinks Indian gaming casinos are the road to panacea, you'd better wake up and smell the coffee!
       In the year 2000, median income in Manistee, MI (before the casino took hold) was $30,351.  In 2005, median income in Manistee backslid to $30,200.  
     Factoring inflation a lot has been lost by the residents of Manistee, MI. Seeing the Michigan statewide income average is $46,039. 
Click here to verify info
       Casino Factoids:  Manistee held a referendum (prior to the casino being built), or none-binding vote in a general election.  Casino lost by a far margin.
       In the 1980s & 1990s Joyce Waitner and family enlisted support of the non-Indian townspeople in Manistee for getting the Little River Band recognized.  
       Joyce's word back then said, "they wouldn't allow the netting in waters off Manistee."  Local non-Indian townsfolk went to bat and wrote letters to Congress, believing netting wasn't on the LRB agenda.  Joyce Waitner now works at the casino and either has a hard time sleeping, or is suffering from acute amnesia.
       Jim La Port General Manager for the Little River Casino has been fired.  Could the casino be feeling the boycott from Manistee County residents?  The summer travel season is over and lack of local support might be starting to make a difference.

10/31/07  Halloween Update:  The WI big water fishermen are still going. Message board members fished this past Saturday with OK results out of Kewaunee, WI.  Today's photo of the day is a plump well fed juvenile King.  I can't say it's as fat as a pumpkin, but it shows good belly girth.  Click for 10/27/07 WI King
      Inside word says, many of the adult 2007 Kings were only 3 year old fish, with some maturing at 2 years.  I'm sure there were enough micro tagged fished returning to the harvest weirs to verify, or dispel this info.
      Michigan's DNR has dropped the ball on supplying us any kind of statistics which could be easily added to their website.  Standard policy seems to be hiding everything under a bushel basket.  Our MDNR ranks in the top 10 with revenue collected from hunters and fishermen for license fees.  

10/30/07  Last Saturday's Detroit News in an article written by Frank Donnelly titled,
"Anglers, tribe clash of fish: Conflict has led to boycotts, charges of racism."  
       This led to a direct quote from my 7/17/07 daily update saying, "this ain't the OJ trial and Johnnie Cockran is dead."  Concerning the race card being played in a response directly from the casino. Click for the 10/27/07 Detroit News article
       Racism is not any part of the netting controversy.  Commercial and sport fishing goals are, and have been two diametrically opposed forces from the git go!
       The Manistee nets are the issue of who controls our fishery, as the Native American fishermen have made all to clear.  They suffocated Manistee with 18 nets in the prime areas where the sports fleet caught most of their fish.  Rendering 75% of inshore waters off the Port of Manistee, MI inaccessible to the hook and line anglers. 

10/29/07  Readying my riverboat for November Steelheading on the Big Manistee River discovered a problem with the anchor winch.  Disassembling the faulty winch, showed a Chinese made winch motor.  This is a prime example Chinese junk and I'm not talking about a Chinese sailboat. Click for proof of Chinese junk
      To the outside, this $150 marvel was used maybe 10 times.  So, this wasn't beat on over a long period of time, or ever saw hard usage.
      Chinese products exported to our country are shoddy, with lead paint in children's toys, and whatever cheap products they can pawn off on us.  For now China's craftsmanship is behind in our in many areas.  Much like the imported stuff from Japan during the 1950s, when "Made in Japan" was laughed at.  China will certainly raise their manufacturing standards, as we continue to finance their technologies to do so. 
      Good deal for them, but it sucks to be us!
      Future update will focus on the ever growing sandbars in Manistee Lake and how constant flow policy (started in the early 1990s) a contributing factor.

10/28/07  Leaves in the Big Manistee River often dictate the way you can fish.  When there's a lot of leaves coming down the river, generally ...plugs, or crankbaits are totally 100% out of the question.  Constantly dealing with fouled plugs from leaf debris gets old in a big hurry! 
      Presently, in my neck of the woods the trees are still holding about 40% of their leaves.  Maple trees are clean, but the oaks are still shedding big time.
      The flow of the Big Manistee River is about average for this time of the year.  The stats from Tippy Dam says 1500 cubic feet of water per second.  
      These stats are gathered from a link on the "Great Lakes Info" page.  If you're a river angler, you'll want to check this page out. Click for Manistee River flow data

10/27/07  Late season trollers on Manistee Lake are catching some fish. The catch seems to be mostly comprised of Coho.  Heard the Coho were running small, like 1.5 to 5 pounds.  Some Steelhead starting to show up.  Crowded is another word that should be brought into the conversation, cuz 12 boats doing laps around the Little Manistee River mouth is a pretty good sized pack for a small 1/3 mile area.
        Been fixing the anchor winch on my riverboat. Fishing the Big Manistee River is a definite for the not to far off future.  The big river could use a 3 day gulley washer to make it prime for this November.  Although, the water flow has been above normal.
        When the weather turns nasty and keeps the open, or tin boat fishermen home, SR 1779 will prowl Manistee Lake, during mid-week in less traffic conditions.

10/26/07   The Flint Steelheaders website is number one in my book.  It's packed with info on all fronts.  I found the tournament results very interesting.  
      The largest overall King taken in 2007 during 8 events pointed towards Salmon and Trout, the biggest King for the entire season was 19.1 pounds. 
      I spotted another trend with more tournaments closer to home in 2008.  Their calendar has 4 dates on Lake Huron, not too far from the Flint, MI area.  It's a fact the price gas is cutting into fishing budgets as our last poll plainly displayed.
      My hats off to webmaster Greg G for the fine job he's done in assembling great info in a easy to use manner  Click for Flint Steelheaders website

10/25/07  Installed a new poll concerning where you had your best luck in 2007.
This idea came from popular discussion on our message board, many members did there best over deeper water, working mostly suspended fish last summer.
      This is almost the exact opposite from 1990s & early i2ks, when you had to fish tight to structure, within 10 of the bottom to consistently score limit catches.
      Personally, my best action was in 125' to 250' of water.  In hindsight, abandoning my habit of working the inshore, 50' to 70' drop-off might have been a better program.  Then again, less time on the water is not what I'm after at this stage of my Great Lakes fishing career.  Savoring every minute on the water is!
      I'm willing to bet, every viewer of this website wished they have fished more last summer when the opportunity was there.

10/24/07  With the bow season for whitetails well underway and the firearm season about 3 weeks out, here's what's going on in my neck of the woods:
      Since just after Labor Day it's been slim pickins around my place.  While there was a fair mix of buck (6 pointers) and does in August, since the acorns dropped, the whitetails have not made their presence known to me.
     2007 racks are on the scrawny side, when compared to the trophies I seen last year.  I figured we'd be in hog-heaven this season with monster horns, after passing several times on a decent 10 pointer last season.  There were bigger deer about as the archived photo from 2006 proves. Click for 2006 bucks

10/23/07  What did I gain from viewing the five years of polls?  Fan based popularity have remained the about same, fluctuations in spoons rose slightly.  The big news is 51% of the fishermen polled used some kind of an attractor.
       The great news for me is 49% of those questioned pulled the clean stuff like spoons and J-Plugs.  Half a market is still untapped! 
       It's my concrete belief the crowd of non-users of attractors are more successful with spoons/J-Plugs, because they're not under full control of boat their boat's speed.  Controlling your vessel's trolling momentum is critical after the easy, dumb first light bite is over.  Full, well-fed fish, not looking for a meal will not run down a lure traveling too fast.  If you're action is mostly over after after the sun comes up, take a good hard look at how fast you're trolling.
       If you walk down any charter dock in Ludington, Manistee, Leland, or Frankfort, MI during late July, August, or September you'll see mostly attractors hung on the rods resting dockside.  This is reel-fact can be verified with a quick stroll down the charter docks.  Seeing first hand what the pros use might cause you to rethink your program for the better!  Click for poll verification (you do the math)

10/22/07   For the fifth consecutive season our annual poll with the asking the question of what was your best method for adult Salmon?  Computers are excellent at complying data and this is a fine example of that. 
      After holding the top spot in 2004. 2005, and 2006 meat fishing relinquished the top spot to spoons by about 3 percentage points.  Click here for our poll page
      I'm kinda surprised the margin was so slim in the poll comparing methods.  I say, "surprised," cuz of the dirty underhanded rumors spread during this year's spring show season.  I know of a few unscrupulous vendors selling some off-brand spoons at the Flint Steelheaders show ...they said,
"bait killed off the fish."  Then tried to reinforce this falsehood/rumor on message boards when Lk. MI got off to a slow start in May.
      These unprincipled low-class ne'er-do-wells were proved wrong by June.
July, August, and September 2007 went on to be another banner year for Salmon!
     "The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it." Joseph Paul Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda for the National Socialist Workers Party, more infamously known as the Nazi party. 
More on the reel facts of our poll tomorrow....

10/21/07   In mentioning the biomass of Lake Michigan, this fact came to mind: most of the fish I caught last summer were over depths of 150 to 225 feet.  
     Always starting in the shallow stuff first, still most the bites tended to be suspended hits over the deeper water.  This is contrary to what I remember in the earlier i2ks when I fished most ever day as a charter skipper.
     Then, I put 2 and 2 together.  Zebra mussels have expanded into large colonies. Using shallower depths, limiting the availability of plankton (food for bait fish).  
     Same deal with the October Lake Michigan fishing, cuz according to the last I heard, the best action was over 500' plus of water.  Zebra mussels can not filter out the plankton over this deep water, cuz they anchor themselves to the bottom.
      Zebra mussels have spread to many states east of the Mississippi River and are now traveling westward.  Click for zebra mussels  

10/20/07  What makes the Port of Ludington, MI so good?  Just saying Ludville is a hot port does little in understanding the whys & wherefores.  Let's dig a little deeper to the bathymetry (bottom features) chart.  Click here for depth Lk. MI chart
     The Two Rivers Ridge runs east to west across Lk. MI.  The deep water structure called the Ludington Basin is fed from the south by the Muskegon Basin.  Currents are constantly reloading from the northern deeper part, keeping the biomass alive with plankton that attracts bait fish.  No big deal if you look at the big picture!

10/19/07  Some Steelhead are in the Manistee River system.  For now, it's a spawn dunker's paradise, cuz the water has been low and clear for this time of the year.
       Steelhead out deep in Lk. Michigan?  That's a story of good catching on the second 450' to 500' drop off, or at least it had been.  The biomass on the first drop off, Manistee's shelf (about 3 miles off shore) has not been all that hot in October. 
       Understanding the bathometry (bottom features) and how it effects underlying current movement is an unproven science.  Currents freshen up the food source (plankton), attracting bait.  Find the bait and you'll always find the predatory fish.
       Concluded our annual poll, running since 2003.  Some shifts are noteworthy.  51% of the fishing public remain firmly entrenched as attractor users of some sort.  49% of angler viewing this website are into clean stuff (spoons/J-Plugs).  More on this Monday, or click here for a sneak peek  5 seasons of poll stats is pretty neat!

10/18/07  Today's big news is the poll that's pointed at your best method for catching adult Salmon.  This is the exact same poll I've ran every year since 2003.  There's four years of archived records that will be shared once our 2007 poll has a fair sampling number of voters.  Please vote for your favorite method.
       Today's featured photo is a Pacific Ocean Silver Salmon (Coho) caught in the Skagit River in the State of Washington (out on the west coast).  It's kinda amazing, all Salmon anglers share the same passion in the pursuit of our sport.  Many of the techniques we use are very close, cuz the Coho was caught on a plug (Kwikfish) similar to the Flatfish used on the Big Manistee River.   Click for WA Coho 

10/17/07  Today's featured photo is from last Monday when I was making movies of the yet unannounced Prototype 2008s.  It's far easier to show, then trying explain product characteristics.  Click for 10/15/07 harbor bait photo
      There was a large amount of bait present in Manistee's harbor, but not many fish.  Any fish that were there, only had to open their mouth to eat and wouldn't chase a meal down.  My graph clearly shows too much bait for a change!
      Kinda amazes me how far the quality of color sonar has come.  From an under 500 dollar economical graph, it does a good job  This graph can be clearly read in full sun.  Depth, speed, temp, voltage are being displayed in the customizable left border.
Message Board Members: Click here to access discussion board

10/16/07  It's that time of the year again to run our annual poll page directed at your most productive method of catching adult Kings.  Was it spoons, J-Plugs, flasher/fly, dodger squid, meat, etcetera?  This poll will be posted later today.
      Thanks to message board member SteveO (Photodynamix) we have a new photo of a freshly caught Kewaunee, WI Steelhead.   It was a long run to the fish, like 17 miles to get to 600' of water.  Their better fish were caught deep on meat.
Click for 10/14/07 WI Steelhead

10/15/07  Are you into the complete life cycle of Michigan's freshwater Salmon?  Then, there's a special treat for you today, as the 10/6/07 Pine Creek article has reached completion.  Added another large file size movie too.  Along with some never seen before photos taken at Pine Creek recently.
       Just by a click, you can be magically transported (via internet), experiencing what it's like to get up close and personal.   Capture the essence of the fall Salmon spawning ritual and the best part is: you never have leave your chair!
       It was a total pleasure to slosh around, with the waders on, taking these photos and movies for you. Click for the new Pine Creek page  
       May I suggest, visiting my
Encyclopedia of Tips and Tricks?  It's loaded many articles at improving you skills, or provide a better understanding to a full-framed landscape of Great Lakes fishing knowledge.  Click for Encyclopedia Page
       Seems like most everything today is being directed at blatant commercialism. Case in point: we pay for satellite, or cable TV only to be rewarded with 25% of programming to be saturated with commercials.  So, we even pay for the advertising air time that invades our homes.  Good for deal for them ...eh?
       That's the reason many of my articles contain no product advertising whatsoever.  If your stuff's is state of the art, you don't have to! 

10/14/07  Ever wonder why your hook-up vs. landing ratio on Steelhead isn't like with Salmon?  Please closely examine today's featured photo.  You'll see what almost looks like a second row of teeth, just inside the obvious jaw teeth.  Then, further down the throat there's another boney patch.  Trying to get a hook into these areas is next to impossible!  That's why after a couple of jumps your much respected adversary escapes. Click for a Steelhead's boney jaw areas
     Hooking and holding fish is a baffling science, cuz what penetrates best is a thinner diameter hook.  Lighter wire hooks work better, but if you're into Bill Joe Bob, or Roland Martin hook-sets ...you're gonna straighten hooks.  
      It's a delicate balance when choosing the right hook, cuz they do not come on stock "off the shelf lures." Round bend VMC 9649 is what I used in the number 2 & 4 sizes when I used to be in the river guide business.  Number 2s in the same number were good to go on Lk. Michigan anytime we were targeting Steelhead.

10/13/07  Continuing our mini-series on Steelhead, let's discuss length vs. weight issues.  It's takes 32 inches for 12 pounds, and 36 inches to make a legit 16 pounder.  Michigan's master angler for Steelhead is 17 lbs.  So, master angler Steelies are hard to come.  Over the years in my career both as a charter boat skipper and a river guide, I seen a lot of 16s caught, but very few over 17. 
      Largest caught Big Manistee Steelhead I saw was 19 lbs. (taken by another guide).  Click for 16 lbs of Steelhead we caught on 11/01/01
       Largest Steelhead ever boated on my vessel was a 20 pounder taken many years ago, spring fishing out of Saugatuck, MI on Lk. Michigan.
      Overall leading Steelhead I seen caught was on the Betsie River's Homestead Dam on 2/14/85. That fish weighed a whopping 24 pounds and change (not far off Michigan's state record).  I remember that fish well, cuz, a photo I took made it, ....in the then Michigan Fisherman magazine.
      Tomorrow's update will key in on why Steelhead are hard to hook

10/12/07   There's been enough talk of fall Steelhead over 12 pounds, it kinda makes you wonder why our Kings are shrinking away like they did with 2007 crop?
      According John Robertson, the head MDNR's fisheries in the late 1980s ...he said Steelhead used a different part of Lake Michigan's forage base.
      Steelhead over 12 pounds might prove this point.  A 12 lb. Iron Noggin equates to an over 20 lb. King in my book.  Average size on the Steelies I've seen over the last 20 some years probably tilts the scale some where's around 8 lbs.  So, when you do catch a honest 12 pounder, you can claim bragging rights to a worthy fish!
      Today's featured photo is from 12/10/01 when I was still in the guide business on the Big Manistee River.  This fish weighed right at 12 pounds and looks bigger to most people.  Steelhead as a rule do not carry a wide girth like Kings.  Hence the reason they all look a heavier than they are.  Click for archived Steelie pic
     World economics is way beyond my understanding.  With the our US dollar being devalued, we're shipping more tackle (from my company) to Sweden and Norway lately. I guess the products we produce in the USA are starting to look like a bargain overseas anglers who don't mind paying the international shipping bill.

10/11/07  Not much to go on for a fishing update, except broad generalities learned thru guiding experience on the Big Manistee River for close 20 years.  River Steelheading will be the big game from now until the end of March 2008.  Fall Steelhead start trickling in the river by mid-September.  In October the run builds and we seemed to get a good push of fish by the 3rd week of October, with a bigger run at the end of the month going into weeks 1 & 2 of November.  
     Cold weather and rain (like we've had) can act like a magnet to draw fresh fish into the system.  Manistee Lake and the lower section of the big river will soon be producing great fishing opportunities for fall silver-bullet Steelhead. 
       Next week I'll give Manistee Lake a closer look with my boat, SR 1979.  Late season fishing in comfort was one of the ideas behind the purchase.  New backdrop to keep the wind off us will be a pleasure & extend fishing time.  Click for re-fit

10/10/07  On the water safety involves more than just life jackets.  It means protecting yourself from long term exposure to the sun.  As our first generation big water fishermen age (those that started in the late 1960s), several things are worthy of note.  Like taking extremely good care of your eyes while afloat!
      15 to 20 per cent of anglers that are over 55 are now having to deal with macular degeneration.  This condition effects the macula located behind your retina and controls blood flow.  Beginning symptoms are tiny black spots that grow larger with time, as you slowly lose your vision.  Especially, the center part.
      Make sure you have a good set of polarized sunglasses that offer first-rate UV protection.  Sunlight bouncing off the waves at weird angles can go directly into the retina.  Almost like staring into the sun.  I'm sure you've all seen that twinkling.
      With all things in life, there's the obvious reason, then the reason real reason.  With the potential sale of my websites/tackle manufacturing the obvious reason was retirement.  The real reason is I've been diagnosed with the early stages of the dry type macular degeneration, but still have sound 20/20 vision.
       At first, I was hesitant to mention this.  Thinking this would provide leverage to a potential buyer, but it's far more important that you learn about taking the best care of your vision, both on the water and onshore....NOW!

10/9/07  From the movies I took this past Saturday, up close and personal I seen no fish that were near 20 pounds, or better.   Seen several spawning Kings on 10/6/07 that would have a hard time going 12 pounds.  This is an alarming situation!
       Scads of Kings, kinda looking like stunted bluegills ....in a farm pond could be a likely comparison.  Naturally reproduced fish, like what Pine Creek contributes to Lk. Michigan is unknown factor with increased numbers that seems to lessen overall size.  Will we ever see 30 pound Kings again?  Click for 31 pounder taken in 02
       Natural reproduction?  Well, our fish have had close to 40 generations to refine their skills at adapting procreation in our Great Lakes watershed.  My take is, natural fish start off smaller due to availability of a limited food source.  Hatchery fish do not suffer from this problem and have plenty of feed 24/7.
       Another thing worthy of mention, is cross breeding between species (Coho & Kings).  This was semi verified in Honor, MI's Coho Tournament several years ago when Capt. Del Parson had a fish disallowed when they counted the fin anal rays, the count didn't match either specie.  This fish appeared to be 100% Coho for all intents and purposes.  There was talk back then of inter-specie breeding.  Could the fish we catch today be mixed breed of 3 year old Kinghos?
       I'd say it's about time Michigan DNR gives back what it took away in 1989 and reinstitute the 5 King daily creel limit, just like we used to have.  All other states that border Lk. Michigan allows a 5 King daily limit.  Why our we short changed?

10/8/07  Internet connection problems prevents work on the new page about spawning Kings in Pine Creek.  Managed to get another movie uploaded for high speed users.  Click to download:  Movie 3 about spawning salmon (16.3 megs). 
      Until my satellite internet is back up and running the new Pine Creek page is on hold.  I did get some great photos and look forward to sharing them with you.
      Capt. Len Mitchell from Lucky Charm Charters posted a good report on our message board about Kings and Steelhead in 500' fow off Manistee, MI.  Capt. Len said the fish were feeding in tiny alewives about 2 inches long.
       October presents good fishing when the weather cooperates.  SR 1979 is not winterized and I plan on using my boat several times this month.  Manistee Lake should be good in another week, or so for Steelhead/Salmon

10/7/07   Today's update is mostly deferred.  I took several photos and 4 movies of Salmon spawning in Pine Creek yesterday and have enough material to do a new article on the spawning process.  Hopefully, this new piece will debut tomorrow.
Click to download: Movie 1 (5.6 megs)    Movie 2 (8.5 megs)    

10/6/07  We all have different notions that spark our interest.  One of mine is watching Salmon spawn in the fall.  To me? ...it's just plain fascinating to seeing nature go full circle with the life cycle of our much cherished freshwater Salmon.  
      We all spend thousands of dollars in pursuit of Coho and Kings!  Spurred on by the thrill of having a rod, or several rods going off at once. For some reason this is a mystical connection none of us will probably never fully understand.
      Today's featured photo is from Pine Creek, a major tributary of the Big Manistee River.  Pine Creek enters the Big Manistee about 12 miles downstream of Tippy Dam and flushes into the big river from the south side.  
      If you're looking for directions to the Pine? Take M55 five or six miles west of Wellston, MI.  Turn north on Huff Road and drive until you hit a bridge that crosses the Pine Creek.  My plan is to do some more photo/movie work there today.
       Mixed emotions about giving directions, as Pine Creek is a listed trout stream and presently closed to fishing until the last Saturday in April 2008.  Beware if you're a snagger, or a poacher, cuz the tribal police and the DNR guard this place like it's Fort Knox. 
  Click for spawning Salmon in Pine Creek  on 10/5/07

10/5/07  It's impossible to encapsulate the 2007 big lake trolling season in 4 days in about 16 paragraphs.  Simple things did stand out, like bait was not in abundance from what I seen in Manistee, Arcadia and Leland, MI.  Small isolated pockets of what were probably alewives, but no huge massive schools.  
      Also, the bait was smaller, when compared to size in 2006.  This took me a while to catch onto.  Green Label (6 to 7 inches) whole bait was not near as productive in 2007, as it was in 2006.  Once we downsized to whole Orange Label (4 to 5 inches) bait our meat program really took off like a rocket.
      There's a lesson to be learned from this, cuz what worked in the past has not one single thing to do with what works in the here and now.  Stay opened minded and adjust is sound advice!  Hopefully, MDNR with take this into account when the total the catch numbers over the past 3 seasons.  The fleet has improved, along with the tackle and better, more productive fishermen means more fish will be caught!

10/4/07   To continue the recap of the 2007, late May was not good news for Manistee fishermen.  Tribal netters came to this port with little regard for the sport fishing public.  Between the last part of May into July, they plastered 18 trap nets from Big Point Sable to Onekama.  This left little room for structure fishing, as the nets run from 50' to 70' out to 140' to 160'. Click for 7/2/07 Manistee King
       Everything these netters promised to do, never came to fruition.  Having this amount of trap nets, caused grief and severely restricted where you could fish.  
      There was an opening in the 15.5 to 19.5 numbers (approx. 4miles), but fishing this zone in August became a nightmare.  Never in my almost 40 years of fishing Lake Michigan did I see the amount of boats concentrated in such a small area, with the exception of trolling around the harbor.   This was a joke!
       I remember 8/31/07 when we pulled lines at 9am, preferring not to keep fishing due to traffic jam boat pressure.  Fishing is supposed to be fun, but tangling gear with other boats is not.  So, we quit early and headed in after a few fish photos.

10/3/07  Let's change the pace from reviewing the 2007 season to the many different options offered with divers.  There's 4 ways to fish divers, without a ring for high fish, like June deep-water Steelhead.  Then there's a small stock ring, a magnum ring, and a jumbo mag ring to add extra depth to reach plus 100'.  Learn what works best for you and when you need what size to reach the targeted depth.
       Depths reached?  A very common question with no absolute answer that's 100% satisfactory.  Line diameter and what kind of line, such as 7 stand wire, Spectra, Fireline and mono all dive differently.  You need to make you own depth chart with varied offerings, cuz clean spoons and attractors effect how deep you're gonna get.  
       Do this where there's a stable bottom and let line out until you hit bottom, then write this info down.  Use different settings from 1 to 3 and you'll soon be able to formulate your own accurate diver depth chart.  There's plenty of time for this.  Slow days are reel-fact.  So, why not use this water time to your benefit?
       With directional divers like Luhr Jensen's Dipsy Diver, making sure the divers are dialed properly is a must.  Learn starboard and port, cuz right and left does not work on a boat.  Steering wheel on nowadays vessels is almost always on the starboard.
       Color coding rod holders and your divers can help from making mistakes.  Divers dialed wrong tangle stuff up (big time), cutting into your lure time efficiency.  
Mark the rod holders with tape if needed. Click for marked starboard/port rod holders

10/2/07   The continuing saga of season 2007 continues with almost non existent April Brown Trout fishing in the central to northern Lk. Michigan ports (Lud. to Frankfort).  The only bright spot in the Brown picture is that Casey Richey caught a new state record in Frankfort, MI.  This record Brown Trout came in at over 35 lbs.
       Manistee's normally good spring King catches never started to happen until almost Memorial Day, then it wasn't all that consistent due to cold water.  The alarming thing is: not many alewives ever showed up in Manistee's harbor during May.  This is a radical departure from what's considered normal when compared to the past 30, or 40 years.  Some bait did finally come in, but not until into June.
       Lake Huron showed promise in late April and May with silver fish being caught.  Port Sanilac to Harbor Beach is where the best reports were listed on our message board.  Click for early 2007 season Lake Huron silver fish  (non-Lake Trout).  Early fishing in Lake Huron was better than what most Michigan anglers experienced.

10/1/07  This week, I thought a recap of the 2007 season would be in order.  After looking at April & May, focus will shift to Manistee for the rest of the season.
      Late April into mid May 2007 will not go down as a barn burner for spring Salmon in southern Lake Michigan and had many scratching their heads.  Ports like St. Joe, MI did not have much going.  Tournament boats ran to IL in search of fish.  
      I'm of the opinion the miserable cold/snowy April 2007 held the temperature of Lake Michigan back.   This would effect the rest of the season no matter what port you fished.   According to archived port reports from our message board, it wasn't until 5/5/07 when the Kings in St. Joe were starting to be caught in fair, but not great numbers. 
                        Click for 5/5/07 spring Kings in St. Joe. MI
Tomorrow we'll take a look at Lk. Huron in May, which actually had some good early fishing from Harbor Beach to Port Sanilac and then the reel-deal in Manistee.
Good luck to all bow hunters in quest of whitetails.  Their season starts today.