July, August, & September 2008

7.31.08_Kewaunee_fish_box.jpg (44260 bytes)
7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

7.28.08_Manistee_Hot_Rigs.jpg (90145 bytes)
7/28/08 Manistee, MI
8.31.08_Manistee_016.jpg (115338 bytes)
8/31/08 Manistee
9.1.08_Manistee.jpg (75424 bytes)
9/1/08 Manistee, MI

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

9/30/08  Bow season tomorrow, but here in Manistee County, MI the weather looks wet, cool and dreary.  No acorns to speak of, seeing deer without bait will be challenge.
       Fishing this past weekend in Manistee was so, so.  Manistee Lake towards the mouth of the big river was producing late run Kings.
       Look for Manistee to improve, ...if, and when the Steelhead show up.  Hopefully, that should be soon.  October? ...Lk. MI can be awesome to fish weather permitting.
       Focus of tomorrow's update will be my celebrating my 40th anniversary

9/29/08   Fishing in Manistee is medium.  Reported catches of a few adult Kings and some immature Salmon to 8 pounds.  Hope to supply more first hand info soon.
       Today's feature photo is a eagle's nest about 800' downstream from the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.  This nest is on the far side of the river.  The picture does not do justice to this nest's actual size.   Click for eagle's nest

9/28/08  In a few days the 2008 bow season will begin with a deer baiting ban in effect.  In my area of largely, mostly woods ...natural deer movements don't exist like those hunters using sections of farmland.  Food piles attract deer, mostly does, but where's there's does, bucks won't be far behind.
       Last I heard, there's a court case pending over the baiting issue that looks like a red herring to me.  Cuz, you can't fight city hall, or in this case the MDNR when it comes to setting policy to prevent the chronic wasting disease found on a deer farm in the bottom 1/3 of MI's lower peninsula.

9/27/08 Let's take a look at the action on Lake Huron at Roger City, MI last week.   Julie S, aka "fishsqueezer" on our message board says this area is experiencing some of the best fishing, so far this year.  Her catch included Lake Trout, Kings, Coho and Steelhead to fill out 2 legal Michigan limit catches.  Click RC catch on 9/22/08
       Julie is a DNR census taker and is very dedicated to the sport of big water fishing and is a blessing to have as a member of our website!  Also, Julie has written a complete article available to the public describing her stealthy approach to targeting warmer water fish higher in the water column that most fish.
Click Julie's great article

9/26/08  Fished out of the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday.  Foggy conditions meant a slow ride out to the "shelf" (approx 3 miles offshore).  We found temp deep, like 90' down it was 58 degrees.  At the 100' depth, it got a tad colder. Click 9/25/08 fish box
        We had 4 bites and boxed 3 Kings and one Coho in the time span of 9am thru 2:30pm.  These were not huge fish by any standards, going 4 to 7 pounds.  
        The King Purple Glow BTI produced 3 whacks, resulting in 3 fish boated.  While the "puke" BTI took one fish.  We used trolling flies in X-Glow Sea Green and X-Glow BTI fly.
        Not having fished Lk. MI in about 3 weeks, but ...it sure felt good to be back on the pond again with my number 1 fishin' bud, John J!  Click largest 9/25/08 King 
        We had bites until 1:00pm when the wind organized the seas into 1' to 2' footers directly out of the north.  Our last 90 minutes of effort was a total exercise in futility.

9/25/08  A couple of days ago, John J and I were at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.  This is a big deal place if you're a big water Great Lakes angler and a fascinating place to visit.  When we were there, the barriers to block upstream passage were in the open position.  Allowing full access for the Salmon to migrate upstream & procreate naturally.  
        If you carefully examine today's on subject photo, you'll see a few King Salmon in the Little Manistee river, just below the weir.  Click for 9/23/08 weir photo
       There was only a couple of tanks that had fish in them.  Look for the DNR to close the gates and divert Salmon into the holding pens for the annual harvest of milt and eggs for the MDRN's hatcheries.  Click for holding pen w/a few Kings

9/24/08  Today, Manistee, MI gets a gold star award for the way they maintain their fish cleaning station.  Manistee has a couple city employees thoroughly clean the station every day.   They scrub the tables and floor with soap and disinfect the fish boards with bleach, then wash with soap, and rinse to a spiffy clean condition. 
        For the tonnage of fish entrails processed at this station, it's amazingly in good order.  This station closes on 10/1/08  Click station being cleaned on 9/23/08
        Took a sight seeing trip yesterday morning and check out the south end of Manistee Lake be where the Little Manistee River empties into the lake.  There are DNR no fishing buoys across the mouth running east to west.  I'm sure this closed area is prevent fish poachers from snagging.  Click Little Manistee no fishing zone

9/23/08  In today's featured photo the camera caught something ...I didn't see initially. There's bands of red, green, and blue colors (RGB) reflecting off this King's head.  RGB is the colors our eyes can recognize.  Light is an extremely compound subject for the Einstein all-to-smart crowd.  There are 7 bands of what we call light.  
       Infrared and UV are the closest to what we know as visible light, but we can't see either infrared, or UV.  I suspect evolution has trained a Salmon's eye to see things a whole bunch different than us.  Nothing in a Salmon's diet is green, but they whack this color with absolutely no hesitation what-so-ever!  Click for RGB close-up photo
       The point I'm trying to make: the camera's flash reflected some color from the flasher.  I'm aware of that.  However, these colors were not visible to the naked eye when the image was taken.  RGB only showed up when I expanded (blew-up) the photo.
Some complexities in fishing will never be fully understood.  Especially, when you factor in water can act like a prism, bending light waves into a vast array of many colors.

9/22/08  Reviewing the sales records for 2008 turned up some interesting facts.  Best selling BTI flasher in the glow category and the often featured in photos was the King Purple Glow.  Sometimes you just hit on the right combination for current conditions and that's the reel-story behind the King Purple BTI.  Click for King Purple BTI
        Top sellers earn their ranking on the water, cuz the big water fishing crowd does not buy something that's not working.  More top sellers later this week.
              Autumn is officially here today, good bye to summer 2008!

9/21/08  Fishing is supposed to be pretty good right now in Manistee, MI.  Steelhead in the top 60' of water.  Juvenile and a few adult Kings are coming deeper around bait.
     Yesterday, I mentioned "make work."  While it don't read well, it's my speak for nothing pressing, but looking for tasks that need accomplishing.

9/20/08  As the 2008 season winds down, it's make work to lay the ground work for the 2009 season.  Restocking is part of manufacturing and it's better to get ahead, rather than trying to play catch-up from behind the eight-ball.
        I'm sure you've all heard about the stuff going on with the financial markets where buying and selling debt looks like our national product to the tune of a possible trillion taxpayer dollars.  Maybe, if we made more in the USA, instead of the policy of relying on foreign investment to keep us afloat.  Heck, Budweiser is no longer USA owned?
        You can take this to the bank, if there's one still gonna be open.  I'm proud to ship the products we make in Manistee County, MI to Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, South Dakota, Minnesota, Washington, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, California, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, England and Scotland. 
        Incidentally, I'm still waiting on my first order from Mexico, or China!      

9/19/08  Today's featured photo is a 3 Fly Undertaker Meat Rig.  This exact rig saw limited duty in May-June and was a staple during July, August and early September.  We fished this with a King Kryptonite 12" flasher on our deepest rigger.  Did it produce?  Yes, but the deep rigger with meat is always the most productive, no matter what the color is.  The trick is to get everything working, not just deep rigger.  Click for this rig
      I think we found the solution that last 3 times off the dock leading into late August and early September.  2008 was not a great year to test, cuz you had to be spot on with depth, speed and color selection ...due lessened fish numbers.
      Is the Undertaker a favorite color with me?  No, I have no favorites, but ran it when John J was aboard.  Which was most of the time and he likes this particular pattern.
       Considering this very same rig in the photo took at least 20 fish, it's still in pretty darn good shape.  The hook harness does need replacing before next usage.

9/18/08  Updated the Net Locations Page with info supplied by Capt. Dave Deforest.  While the fleet is a much diminished capacity of a couple, three weeks ago, it's still necessary to keep the diehard big lake fishermen informed. Click Net Locations
        The big question is: if the nets that are fishing now will be pulled before the winter, or left to languish until the '09 season of April & May?  Lake Michigan is a moving body of water with semi-buoyant, or water logged wood drifting across it's bottom.  
        Several tree trunks, boards & limbs were retrieved in a wadded up tangled mess.  This happened Manistee Tribal netters neglected to pull their nets last winter and an outside contractor was hired to clean up the mess the Stone tribal fishers left behind.
Tomorrow's update will be about durability of the meat rigs I sell.  Today's featured photo is a beat-up, chew-on Undertaker meat rig that took well over 20 fish in 2008.

9/17/08  The 2008 season will not be a record setting year.  For about the last 5 seasons we've been riding a crest of easy limits, until this year.  Fishing got tougher and if I could pin down the exact reasons, you'd be the first to know.  This I do know, 2 weeks of cold water in August drew the bait shallow, like 7' to 20' of water on the shore.
Precipitating a early run of fish that would have stayed out in lake longer.
        My recollection of 20 years ago of the 1988 season when the first signs of the BKD aka Bacterial Kidney Disease reared it's ugly head.  Kings were hard to come by in 1988 and next to nonexistent in 1989.  Many gave up Salmon fishing on Lake Michigan until about 1995 when there was a resurgence Kings beginning to happen.
        Is there a 20 year cycle of ups and downs in the Great Lakes?  Who knows?  I sure don't, but even if you factor in the more difficult fishing, 2008 was still a heck of a lot better then 1988 with the roof fell in on our Great Lakes Salmon Fishery!

9/16/08  You know, there's something overlooked a lot when it comes to our fishery.  It's the food value of the fish that inhabit the Great Lakes.  Think I'm kidding?  Just check the prices in the grocery store for Salmon.  Then get ready for sticker shock when you price Walleye fillets.  I won't stress how much money you're saving by eating what you catch, cuz of the costs associated with catching them.  Never the less, recouping some value back from your catch just makes plain good sense.
        The smoked fish in today's featured photo were caught back on 8/31/08.  Then cleaned, and put in brine the same day.  Having fresh to work with is a bonus, but I've had good results smoking frozen Salmon & Trout too.  Click for smoked Salmon
        Briefly here's a Manistee fish update: a few Coho inside, the shelf was showing some juvenile Kings. Harbor was best over last weekend and Manistee Lake is plenty crowded with those seeking adult Kings off the Big Manistee River.  The south end of Manistee Lake is far less crowded by the mouth of the Little Manistee River.

9/15/08  Today's feature photo is courtesy of message board member, Bob K aka "Getaway."  He was fishing with friends last Saturday on Lake Huron out of Harbor Beach, MI.  What happened next probably belongs in Ripley's "Believe it, or Not!"  They caught a Smallmouth Bass every bit of 4 pounds on a 10" Silver Bullet BTI and Sea Green Fly while fishing 70' down for Lake Trout.  Click 9/13/08 BTI Smallmouth Bass
This past weekend's rainfall will call what remaining Salmon out in the lake to the rivers and streams.  Manistee Lake, Big Manistee River, and the Little Manistee all have Kings in them now.  Fishing for river-run Salmon is medium, cuz we've had fish going up since mid-August in fairly large numbers, instead of a huge push of fish in September.
        Timeline for river Salmon will hold up thru the second weekend of October.  The third week of October generally signals a good run of river Steelhead, if you can put up with the leaf drop that inundate every cubic yard of water.
         Big water fishery can be excellent for next year's Kings in the last couple weeks of September with a few Steelhead mixed in.  First week on October is best for Lk. Michigan with excellent numbers of Steelies.  Only problem is after mid-September the big pond gets too rough to fish.  You might get out 1, or 2 days during a week in tolerable seas.

9/13-14/08  We're closing in on the home stretch of the 2008 season as far as adult Kings are concerned.  This weekend probably signals the end of a viable fishery for adult Kings.  Sure, there'll still be a few Salmon trickling in, but the main herd has migrated into the rivers and streams that surround central Lk. Michigan.  Probably, all of the Great Lakes too, but I can only speak with knowledge about home waters around me.
       Big problems with the weather have combined Saturday's and Sunday's update in one.  My satellite net connection does not function well in the rain, or thick heavy cloud cover.  Fresh fishing news from Manistee will happen on Monday 9/15/08.

9/12/08  This fishing news is from day before yesterday, or last Wednesday 9/10/08.  Boats the fished the shelf did well with the first light bite, taking 4 to 6 fish per vessel.  An hour after the sun came up the deeper water on the shelf bite evaporated.
       Those that stayed in close and fished the harbor to just slightly south of the golf course in water depths less that 30 feet caught about the same numbers.  The charter fleet's catch was a little better, but not much beyond double figures.
       Getting a late start John J and I were out on this very same day doing research for an upcoming article that will debut Thanksgiving Day 2008.  Our focus was mainly gathering data on water temps from the surface down to 60 feet.  
       Our results were lack luster on the fish, but I have neither the want, or where with all to wake any earlier then 6am and leaving my yard any sooner then 7:30am.

9/11/08  Out of respect for the victims and their families of the 9/11 attacks, today's update has been put on hold. 

9/10/08  Going with a guest update today and my thanks to Jim A for emailing it in.
       "Hi John, I am a longtime viewer of your site - customer of your products and wanted to just tell you that we fished the Niagara Bar last week - drove out there from Michigan ...most of the guys were not catching any kings - and I am not a pro, nor do I fish as much as I would like...but - we went 11 for 19 in 2 days with the hottest rig being your B/G 12" mamba - and a pearl squirrel..... Click 28# Lk. Ontario King
&ing research for an upcoming article that will debut Thanksgiving Day 2008.  Our focus was mainly gathering data on water temps from the surface down to 60 feet.  
       Our results were lack luster on the fish, but I have neither the want, or where with all to wake any earlier then 6am and leaving my yard any sooner then 7:30am.

9/11/08  Out of respect for the victims and their families of the 9/11 attacks, today's update has been put on hold. 

9/10/08  Going with a guest update today and my thanks to Jim A for emailing it in.
       "Hi John, I am a longtime viewer of your site - customer of your products and wanted to just tell you that we fished the Niagara Bar last week - drove out there from Michigan ...most of the guys were not catching any kings - and I am not a pro, nor do I fish as much as I would like...but - we went 11 for 19 in 2 days with the hottest rig being your B/G 12" mamba - and a pearl squirrel..... Click 28# Lk. Ontario King
        Fish were all kings - average was 21# - they went from 18# to 28.5#...
We fished it off a wire dipsy - 2.5 setting - 250' back - over 95-120 FOW - it took the majority of rips - and here are some pics of the results - thanks for all the info - and thanks for all the tips - tight lines!"    Jim A. aka Reel Deal

9/9/08   Thanks to Ove J from Sweden's highly regarded tournament crew of anglers named, Team Extreme ...we have a new photo of a Swedish Char.  While this fish does resembles a Lake Trout, it's a separate species in the Char family.  Our Lake Trout and Brook Trout are a members of Char family too. Click for 60 cm Swedish Char
        Then, the next thing that come to mind is what works in our waters transcends oceans.  I'm referring to the King Purple BTI that's been excellent on my divers the last couple of times off the dock out of Manistee, MI.  This pattern/color is very popular for those that prefer to pull flies. Click for King Purple BTI catching in Sweden 
         Last, but not least: the internet has shrunk our world.  Making it possible for the word to spread about the line of tackle I sell.  Prior to the net, getting this kind of info was unheard of.  My products sales are a direct result of "word of mouth" advertising.  I've never paid a cent in print advertising, cuz my view is, "if it works? ...the word will spread fast enough."  Credibility is earned on the water, not thru expensive advertising!

9/8/08  Capt. Chris Bronner from Happy Hooker Outfitters says fishing in the Pere Marquette River for river run Kings has been decent.  Depending on if the fish have been holding in the lower section of the river, or on a direct shot to gravel further upstream.  
        Chris shared there were plenty of fish inside of Ludington, MI's harbor this past Saturday and Sunday.   Click Pere Marquette 9/6/08 river-run King
        I've started on a new article that will debut Thanksgiving Day 2008.  The focus of this piece on catching Salmon during the off-peak, mid-day time frame.  My mental notes from 2008 adds up to not much ...of an early bite.  Best time catch times aboard my boat were past 9am.  The only exception this season took place 7/31/08 where John J and I boated and released 10 Kings by starting early (7am to 9am).
        Here's a tip for you that will pay dividends for the later morning thru the mid-day time periods.  Take an old off-colored diver, ...that never seems to work and spray paint it black on the top and bottom.  Color coding your newly painted diver is recommended to eliminate confusion when first dropping lines.  Click for proof this works

9/7/08  51 pounds of Kings in 2 fish is a plus 25lb average!  Our featured photo of day is from Lake Ontario and these fish were caught in the last week of August 2008.  My thanks goes to Ed C for sharing this picture.  Silver Bullet BTIs with green meat rigs did the damage on these two very impressive Kings. Click 51 lbs of Lk. O King Salmon
         Don't have much info from Manistee, but the harbor was very crowed yesterday morning.  There were some immature, or juvenile Kings being taken in the deeper water on the shelf.  These fish were going from 5 to 10 pounds.  Best depth was said to be down to 110 feet over 120' to 200' of water.  
        Those that did fish Manistee's harbor this past Thursday ....when the lake first turned cold, cleaned house on adult Kings from 15 to 20 pounds.

9/6/08  This season Mother Nature threw all Central Lk. Michigan a curveball in August.  For 21 days we had cold inshore, on the beach water temperatures (55 or less).  While it's not unusual for the lake to roll over to the cold side, never in my almost 40 years has this happened for such an extended ...uninterrupted amount of time.  
        Is the solar engine that drives the big lake broke from ever clearing waters?  Clear water does not absorb heat when compared to stained, or off colored water. 
        The past Labor Day was early. The first Monday in September is set aside for this holiday and it won't come this soon again for 6 years.  This shortened the season drastically as today's featured photo clearly shows.  Last Tuesday (9/2/08) there were hardly any boats fishing.  Most all charter boats were tied to the dock and hardly, any of the sports fleet was to be found.  This photo was taken 2 miles south on Manistee (13s) looking south to Big Point Sable and there's no boats on the horizon what-so-ever!
                             Click for a deserted Lk. MI on 9/2/08

9/5/08  Today's featured photo is John J holding up a good sized Coho pushing 10 pounds.  This fish hit a Monkey Puke BTI with an X-Glow Sea Green Fly.  This was the largest of the 3 Coho we took last Tuesday. Click John J holding 9/2/08 Coho
      Look for the piers and the harbors for the place to fish this weekend.   Wind from the north and an all day cool rain yesterday will draw Salmon to the pier heads like a magnet.  Tomorrow's (Saturday) seas are predicted at 1' or less with daytime temps in the low 70s.  Good luck to all venturing to Salmon waters this weekend!

2 days ago John J and I fished the mid-day shift again in Manistee.  About 9:00am lines went in the water and we pulled after we took our last fish around 2:30pm.  During our middle of the day journey we pulled 6 Kings, 3 Coho and a Laker.  Our program was a mix of 12" Flashers with 3 Fly Meat Rigs and 10" BTI flashers in Monkey Puke and King Purple.  Best flies were the X-Glow series Sea Green and BTI Fly. All fish were released after a quick photo session.  Click for BTI Puke w/Sea Green Fly
       We ran a 3 rigger, 2 diver spread and the rods stayed active throughout our time on the water.  It wasn't fast fishing, but a steady pick where we'd hit a couple, 3 fish in a row, then ride for 30 minutes, or so.  The "John J Special:" King Kryptonite Flasher with the Undertaker 3 Fly was productive at a 100' to 115' down on our chute, or center rigger.   I estimate we trolled 10 to 12 miles of water for about 14 nibbles.  Water depth we fished was from 90' to 170' with no one place, or said bottom depth being superior.
       Our second photo of the day is from Ed C who recently fished the New York side of Lake Ontario from Sodus Point to Oswego.  Ed reported catch numbers were down slightly from past years. Our their last day, the 10" Silver Bullet BTIs towing green flies took a couple of Kings over 25 pounds.  Click for 25# Lake Ontario King

9/3/08 Here's a recent product testimonial from a charter skipper from Manistee, MI:
"A slow day became productive with your flashers and rigs. On Labor day we caught 7 kings, including a 20 pounder, 2 coho, 2 lake trout & a steelhead. The lake trout didn't get in the brag board picture. We trolled North just past Onekama. 80' to 100' down in 130 feet of water was our best." ...Capt. Len Mitchell Click for this box of fish
Our second featured Labor Day photo is from Lake Huron's Port of Harbor Beach, MI with a heck of a nice catch of Steelhead. Plus, some Walleyes & Lakers that were not photographed. Good to see Lake Huron silver fish! Click HB Steelhead
Kewaunee, WI reported in with fair fishing, not fast, but some decent catches for this season. More on WI soon with new King Salmon pictures.
John J and I fished the mid-day shift Manistee yesterday with even better results
than last Sunday. 9/2/08 was one of those kinda days that makes living in Manistee County a joy, cuz the summer crowds have went home and the lake was deserted! 

9/2/08  Fished banker's hours this past Sunday with OK results. Lines went in the water at 9:15am and we pulled by 4pm.  We had 10 bites & boxed 5 Kings and 1 Coho.  
      Area fished was just south of Manistee's Guerney Creek to avoid Labor Day Weekend traffic.  We started in 100' and worked out to 180', with the best being 120 to 140 fow.
      Temp was down about 70 feet.  Our rigger bites came at 87' to 125' down on the counters.  Fished a very easy 4 rod spread for the most part, being 2 riggers & 2 divers. 
       Best on the riggers was 12 inchers in King Kryptonite w/3 fly Undertaker and Clear Doub L Glow w/the new matching 2009 3 fly meat rig. Click 8/31/08 fish box
      Our last 4 strikes came on our divers, but we missed 3 of these fish.  On the divers, King Purple BTI with the X-Glow BTI Fly provided action from noon until about 3:30pm.  Losing 75% of the diver whacks is unacceptable. Click BTI King Purple & BTI fly
       Is 10 hits and 6 fish during the middle of the day considered good?  Well, you can be the judge of that.  I do not rank fishing trips on numbers killed.  Instead, I use the grief factor, like no tangles, good company and fairly tolerable seas.  Fished is not supposed to be w-o-r-k, it's about fun and relaxation! Click 8/31/08 largest King

9/1/08   Labor Day Weekend in Manistee, MI continues with splendiferous weather.  Temps in the 80s & fairly cooperative seas (1' to 2') are not hard to take. This is the least trafficked Labor Day I've seen on the Lake Michigan, possibly ever!  Undoubtedly, gas pushing 4 bucks a gallon kept many home. Click Manistee's S pier
      John J and I fished about 6 miles south of Manistee and seen maybe 10 boats in our vicinity all day.  We fished bankers hours, 9:15 to 4:00pm to avoid the rush at the boat launch in the morning.  How'd we do? ...tune in tomorrow for the reel-story!

8/31/08   Today's weather and wave forecast for Manistee, MI is too good to turn down.  So, I'll be fishing today.  The plan is to get later ...8am start.  Then fish behind the crowd thru mid-afternoon.  Look for the crowd to thin by tomorrow morning.  Leland was said to be hot-hot and Arcadia is offering decent fishing for Kings too.

8/30/08  Good luck to all fishing today, on day one of our 3 day holiday weekend!

8/29/08  Let's start the Labor Day Weekend with a forecast for nice weather and tolerable seas.  Wind direction is predicted to be from the south.  In Manistee look to the depths of 80' to 150' down over 150 to 250 fow of water for the best action.  It's likely conditions will stay the same.  Your best bet for deep fish is attractors with meat/flies.  
       The high cost of fuel will keep many at home.  Resulting in slightly less fishing pressure.  Unless you're a greedy fish-hog that demands limit catches, all ports are producing Kings.  Just not in the numbers of previous seasons.
       While it seems there's less adult Salmon this year, a lot of this could be from the steady diet of north blows & cold 50 degree water on the beach.  Then, on the other hand, we might not have seen the main run of fish yet.  Keeping in mind. the delayed early May Salmon Fishery in southern Lake Michigan ports ...like St. Joe.
       2 years ago the DNR's in IL, IN, WI and MI reduced the Lk. MI King Salmon plant by 25% to lessen the burden on a stressed/dwindling forage base.  Trying prevent what happened Lk. Huron from repeating itself on Lk. MI.  If we have to deal with lower catch numbers, so be it!  I'm all in ...for preserving the future of our Great Lakes Fishery!

8/28/08  Today's featured photos are from Steve E aka "Chaos" on our message board.
Team Chaos recently fished the Port of Pentwater, MI for the first time ...and did well.  Steve's go-to rig: 12" Black Mamba Glow with the X-Glow BTI Fly and Silver Bullet BTI/matching fly did most of the damage. Click Steve's hot rigs  Click Steve's catch
       I fished 3 miles north of Manistee last evening from 5:00pm until 8:30pm.  The trip started off good, with 3 hits before 7pm on a new test meat rig for 2009.  Unfortunately, we couldn't buy another strike, ...as the sun sank lower into the horizon.  
       Been out 3 evenings and have yet to see a late bite, or the success that rivals morning trips.  Most promising happening was all 3 strikes came on the new Clear Doub L Glow meat rig that will go into production for 2009. Click for new meat rig

8/27/08  Today's featured photo is from Terry's Toy who fishes out of Kewaunee, WI.
What's most interesting in this photo is both a regular trolling fly (X-Glow Sea Green) and BTI Blue Bubble flasher with a meat rig went off at the same time, ...resulting in a double header.  Proving the versatility of the tackle I make!  Click Kewaunee 2 Banger
Long range weather forecast for Labor Day Weekend is for excellent.  Highs in the mid 70s to low 80s with no rain.  South wind is predicted for Friday and this should keep the fish in the deeper waters and not scattered in the shallow stuff.  Look for less traffic this Labor Day and decent fishing for those making the trip to all Salmon ports.
       Updated the net page to reflect the latest net movements by the tribal netters.  Please print out this page if you're fishing Manistee, or Onekama, MI:
                    Click here for current 8/26/08 trap net locations   
       According to inside sources, south in the 11s was the hot spot for yesterday's morning action off Manistee, MI.  Hopefully, more info will follow later today.

8/26/08   Big buzz on our message board is marking fish and piles of bait with little, to no action.  Some things in fishing will never be understood, ...this is a prime example.  Seen this happen myself and have no explanation what-so-ever!  It's one thing to not mark fish and not get bites, then it's another to see fish, ...that won't hit?
     Late August has been traditionally "limit city."  2008 is contrary, very few limits caught since late July by our website members. Seems like everyone is doing about the same numbers (2 to 7).  This goes for all ports on the MI side from Charlevoix down to St. Joe and the WI reports on our message board.

8/25/08  State of MI certified scales at Instalaunch Campground in Manistee, MI says we have Master Angler King coming in at 27.8 pounds.  This fish was brought over to my place yesterday afternoon by John & Tom.  Michigan DNR Master Angler Awards go to Chinook, aka King Salmon that weigh over 27 pounds on certified legal scales.  This fish was caught with a 12" King Kobra Reel Flasher with a glow 3 fly meat rig.  My thanks to John and Tom for letting me photograph their trophy. Click for John's 27 pounder
        Best numbers I heard on yesterday's results came from Capt. Len Mitchell's Lucky Charm Charters.  They took 9 fish in the morning on 12" Clear Double Glow Reel Flashers and 10" BTIs in the Blue Bubble pattern.  Click Capt. Len's 8/24/09 catch 
        With the Salmon going deep again my products and meat are more than earning their keep big-time.  Fishing off Manistee for adult Kings will stay sound thru about the 15th of September.  Didn't hear a ton of big catches, but everyone I spoke this past weekend caught from 2 to 9 fish per 1/2 days in the mornings, or evenings.  
       The condensed version of August thus far: not as many fish as past seasons, but the Salmon are definitely running larger.  So, now it's a question of quantity, or quality? Personally, I like the quality larger fish that my line of tackle will produce!

8/24/08   Fishing was decent yesterday morning before a thunderstorm rolled thru about 9am and curtailed most the fleet's efforts.  Heard from trusted sources Salmon were being taken from 50' to 120' down over 150' to 250' of water.  Flashers and meat were doing most of the damage according to those I spoke with. This coming week's topics will include "Sonar Shyness," & how to catch a 30 pound King Salmon w/less than $ 150 in Salmon tackle.  Plus, everyday fish reports. Click 8/23/08 Manistee fish

8/23/08  South wind for now has driven the thermocline to 90' down.  This will help Manistee's shelf reload with adult Kings.  Having deeper temp concentrates the fish and structure tends to fence fish along the drop off.  Manistee catch rates for the sports fleet has been between 1 to 5 a trip this past week when the Salmon were in shallow water, harbor & vastly dispersed all over hell's 1/2 acre.  Good luck to all this weekend!

8/22/08   Fished Manistee last evening to see if things were improving in the deeper water.  We caught fish, missed a few bites and come back in well before the dusk bite.  We fished the 15s & 16s in a 100' to 125' of water.  Click 8/22/08 John's King
       Temp has improved on Manistee's shelf.  It was 64 degrees on the surface until about 45 feet, then the temp dropped to 54 and stayed that way to 100' down.
       We marked a few piles of bait, something unseen in the deeper stuff last weekend.  The shelf it starting to look like it's going be productive this weekend, but the "if" word comes into play.  "If" we get no more wind from the north!  Click for graph w/bait

8/21/08  Please take a moment, or two and study the latest satellite surface temp chart.  It shows the colder water inshore, tight to the beach.  These are about the same conditions as last weekend when a pile of adult Kings were caught in shallow 7' to 20' depths.  What helped last Sat/Sun was W winds rolling 2 to 3 foot seas on the beach.  This kept the water stirred up & the fish active. Click 8/20/08 temp chart
Waves help mask boat noise & keep the Salmon on the bite.  Flat calm seas means tougher conditions when targeting shallow "on the beach" adult King Salmon.
        If you're new to this website, all pertinent info from weather, temp charts, general informational links, etc. can be found on the Great Lakes Info Page
        With the ever-clearing Lake Michigan waters from the zebra & quagga mussels we'd better get used to more days in close, cuz the main body of the lake, off the shelf (drop off) has been too cold to hold fish ...lacking a discernable thermocline.
        Ludington: charter boats there have been fishing the deep water (300' or more) surface temperature breaks to catch some Steelhead, Lake Trout, juvenile Salmon and a few adult Kings.  Good numbers, like double figures were coming from their deepwater fishery.  Ludington's harbor was producing, if you can stand the zoo-like conditions?
        Manistee: heard a lot of 3 to 8 fish boxes coming from mostly shallow water.  Manistee's harbor has been a decent action thru the middle of the day when the crowd lessens.  I hope there's boats doing better than 8 fish a trip, but can only report on what's known from trusted sources.  Look for little improvement until we get a 2 or 3 day blow from the S, or SW & get a thermocline that sets up 60' down, or deeper!

8/20/08  If you examine today's featured photo you'll see bait jumping in the prop wash of Capt. Jack's boat the "Minnie's Money" as he navigates a south troll on the shoreline, N of Manistee's harbor on 8/16/08.  This is probably the best news we all can hear. 
       Been a lot of doom and gloom written concerning the future of Lk. Michigan's bait fish population.  Hopefully, seeing the shoreline out to 15 to 20 feet deep stacked with alewives contradicts the troubled prophesies. Click for Alewives in prop wash
       Not catching what you have for the past 3 to 5 years?  
       Has your catch rate per hour declined?  
       Well, you're not in this boat alone if you fish central Lk. MI on either side (MI, or WI).  August fishing has not set up well, with any of several combinations of constant north wind, or worse: east wind after a north blow.
      This has prevented a stable thermocline, or the total lack of one like it is now.  60 degree water on the surface, then almost an instant drop into the low 40 degree range provides no comfort zone temps for the Salmon seeking more moderate 50 degree stuff.  Thermocline's do another thing.  The colder denser water suspends the dead biomass of many forms of the plankton.  Plankton is minnow food and that's normally where the bait fish congregates. Thusly, attracting the predatory fish, like Salmon & Trout.

8/19/08  Kewaunee and Algoma, WI have fishing, not fast, but decent catches.  Temp
was said to be down deep, like 90' with warm water stacked above that depth.  That's the exact opposite of what's going on in Ludington, Manistee, and Frankfort where it's mostly all cold water.  WI's fishing, while not huge numbers is more stable than the MI side. Many thanks to Steve S. for today's photo. Click 8/17/08 20# WI King
        Kinda betwixt a rock and a hard place to report the reel-truth about catching shoreline August Kings, cuz it's so far from normal, most people might not believe it anyways!  Then, as soon as the word spreads throughout the fleet, it will become way too crowded to make trolling in 10' of water with planer boards a viable option.  
       Shoreline summer adult Kings are taken with the same methods used in April for Brown Trout, just replace the Rapalas with 15 Long A Bombers & J-Plugs.  Long leads, a 100' or more off planer boards, or the inline planers are the tools.  Similar to trolling for Walleyes on Saginaw Bay, or Lake Erie is another analogy well suited.  Meat is proven to work in the shallow water, as the 1st and 3rd place boats from our recent tourney did.
        Now, for the reel-truth about fishing Manistee, probably Ludington too.  It's been a tough go for the charter & sports fleet, cuz we've had 10 days wind from the north out of the last 2 weeks.  Deep water fishery, where trolling down 100' and deeper has almost been a complete waste of time.  Cold water has pushed the bait on the beach and the Salmon are just looking for a meal ...don't care how deep the water is!
    Tomorrow's update will continue with when to hit the shoreline for summer Kings.

8/18/08  Most important business today is to issue a strong warning about skirting the nets.  While the pot set-depth is listed on the Net Location Page ...to completely avoid problems watch for the king anchor's white float and steer clear.  The king anchor float might be as far away as a 1/2 mile west, as we found out last Saturday and donated a cannon ball, rigger release & lure to the LR tribal net fishers.  Safety first, please!
        To rehash our successful outing for website members this past Saturday, all who took podium finishes in first, second, or third used meat in one way, shape, or form.  1st and 3rd places fished skinny water within sight of Manistee's pier heads.  
        2nd place put an open water deep program together in the middle of the day with time running out using Krystal Killer BTIs.  A wise choice for the middle of the day!
        My thanks to all members that braved the high fuel prices and participated in the Second Annual 2008 Getaway Challenge. Click for the winning catch
 Tomorrow, I'll have a fishing report from Kewaunee, WI along with more fresh photos! 

8/17/08   We concluded our second annual tournament for message board members yesterday.  Our tourney format for the 2008 Getaway Challenge was simple, 6 rods, weigh your best 3 fish.  Congratulations to a very resourceful Team Getaway who took first place honors with 41.7 pounds in their best 3 Kings. Click Bob K weighing in fish 
      Second went to Mike B, and his crew aboard the Busy B with 40.6 lbs.  Busy B had the largest King at 17.8 pounds caught on a BTI Krystal Killer w/matching meat rig. 
     Third place went to Kevin E (aka FBD, or Far Beyond Driven), with his fine team aboard the his ship, Twilight Zone at 39.9 pounds  Kevin's outstanding 3rd place was fresh off the trailer and he never fished Manistee before. Click weigh-in line up
      Now, for the fishing report: plain and simple, Manistee was a toughie.  Recent west winds only pushed the Salmon tighter to shore. Getaway's winning catch came on planer boards in 20' to 7' of water right on the beach north of Manistee's harbor.
      Shallow water is not the place to showcase the line of tackle I offer.  While this might be unbelievable to some, but Getaway's largest King (plus 17#) came on a BTI Flasher and meat while trolling in the skinny water. Click Getaway's winning catch
      After seeing the results, less than 2 pounds separated the top 3 boats! 

8/16/08  Updated current trap net locations off Manistee yesterday afternoon in a printable form to keep onboard.  Please do so!  
      Today marks the second annual website members get-together/tournament for Salmon (we had one last June on Saginaw Bay). Results to be posted tomorrow.
       Next week? ...the fishing looks better, cuz lot's of SW wind is predicted.  This will help form a stable deeper thermocline and move the fish off the beach and make the harbors far less attractive. Good luck to all fishing today.

8/15/08  Big news? ...there's a freshly set net in the 11.2 to 11.4 area.  We seen the shoreward marker in about 60' of water.  This net will extend out to approximately 150'.  Exact location will be furnished in tomorrow's update, maybe sooner.
      Did a whole lot of fishing and not much catching yesterday.  Best action was on the 60' to 100' drop off about 5 miles south of the harbor in the 10s.  Best place to catch is probably around the harbor, all be it may ...it's combat harbor patrol.
      I have to take issue with the Sea Grant's Coastwatch temp chart.  It's way wrong!  It was 51 degrees in the 30' to 35' depths on the beach and never above 54 degrees on the outside in deeper waters to 220'.  Chart was 6-9 degrees on the warm side.
      Manistee for mid-August has not been showing the catch rates in the previous seasons.  Cold water has slowed the deep water fishery.  Adult Kings have been squirting up the Big and Little Manistee Rivers.  Normally, these adults will stage out in the deeper waters for a week or two. Not so this year!  Problem is there's no warm water to stratify Lk. MI, preventing the Kings from seeking parental streams and rivers.
       Thanks to Julie D we have a recent photo of Rogers City, MI Kings from Lk. Huron.  She's been doing good on warm water Kings.   Julie D. aka fishsqueezer on our message board was kind enough to write a "how to" article on catching these fish.  Warm water Kings kinda goes against traditional wisdom developed on the Great Lakes since the inception of our fishery in 1966. Click 8/13/08 Lk. Huron Kings  Click for Julie's article

8/14/08  Manistee boats fishing the skinny water (less than 35'), in close to shore are getting limits working the early bite.  There "was" a wad of bait of the south pier in what locals call, "the Meat Hole."  Seen this bait myself last Tuesday.  Manistee's pier heads continues to be a crowed zoo, but they're pulling good catches of adult Kings!
      Fishing the structure on the outside, over the depths of 100' to 200' was said to have picked yesterday.  Can't totally verify, but the info came from a trusted source.
      I'll be fishing this morning to research areas and all depths for our upcoming website member's tournament this Saturday.  So, I should have a complete hands-on fishing report to share with all tomorrow.  

8/13/08  Please note today's featured photo showing the correct bend on how to insert the hook thru the baitfish.  Drawing this slight curve is absolutely necessary to have the meat roll in an enticing looping circle that destroys fish.  Click properly rigged bait
       The toothpick at the rear of the meat head acts as a tensioning device, as not to over-bend, or pull a sharper curve that causes a spin, way too fast like a Mepps spinner.
Anchoring the first hook thru the bait ensures proper hook placement when a fish does decide to chomp.  This works with either whole bait, or hand-cut homemade fillets.
        Manistee, MI's action slowed to a crawl yesterday with the onset of flat calm seas.  Early bird, first light fishermen did OK, then the bite evaporated, as more boats hit the pond.  Most of the damage was done on the Salmon in close before 8am.
       Deep waters 150' to 220'  bite off Manistee's shelf was ugly with a whole lot of fishing going on and not much catching.  Temp is high, 53 degrees on the surface to 20' down, then it drops rapidly into the low 40s to 80' and deeper.   John J and I were out from 7:30 until about 10:30am.  Besides our 5 bites, we seen 2 other fish netted and there was no shortage of boats, not to be aware of what's going on around you.
       Best report from yesterday was just off Leland, MI's first drop-off according to website member, "chaos" aka Steve E.  Steve and his son, Warren got sore arms from fast action on Kings and released triples on Lake Trout.  Click 8/12/08 Leland catch
       What helps Leland is lack of a sizeable fishing fleet, cuz there's only a single boat launch ramp, limited parking and other than the public docks inside of an extremely small harbor, there's just not much to chose from.  If you can put up with lack of facilities that cater to Salmon anglers, Leland's a gold mine for excellent catching/fishing.  

8/12/08  Fishing remains sound in Manistee, MI as of yesterday.  The harbor was hot, with several limits reported before 9am.  Open water, ...off structure, or the "shelf," as it's known in Manistee was a slower bite, but produced limits just the same on 8/11/08.
       One today's featured photos is Jillian's Lake Trout out of Leland, MI.  With the younger set, a fish doesn't have to be huge for them to enjoy the outing.  It's nice to see fishing as a family sport where all partake. Click for Jillian's fish 
       Glen Arbor, close to Leland reported in yesterday morning with decent fishing.  Heard good things about Frankfort too.  Ice water off Ludington has slowed the bite, but Michigan's number one port is still catching.  Just not on the same pace of Manistee, or Frankfort.  Most of the fish caught were in the top 50', or shallower by the harbors.
       Kewaunee, MI was socked in with a load of warm water down to a 100 plus feet and rougher than a cob this past weekend.  Some WI Kings were caught never the less.

8/11/08   Big news from this past weekend is a blow from the north.  Friday afternoon Manistee's harbor loaded with fish and good harbor fishing continued into Saturday morning.  Sunday? ...I doubt if many fished at all, due to seas running to six footers.
      Surface temp close to shore is now in the 50 degree range.  With a major temp change like what we've just had, comes hardships in locating the mother lode of fish.  
      The fish can be 300' down, over 600 fow, or inshore in 40' of water and be happy as a clam. 
What works in our favor is mature Kings are eager to strike, but can be spooked by boat noise, or an overloaded spread with too many offerings.  Especially, when the Kings are in the top 50' of water.  Click for a rough Lk. MI on 8/10/08
       Remember the 100' rule mentioned on the 8/8/08 to combat skittish fish!  This could turn the tide in your favor, or ...at least increase the odds for success!

8/10/08  If you're fishing Lake Michigan this week, you'd better be able to adapt tactics to targeting Kings in the top 50' of water, possibly shallower.  N, NE and E are in the long range weather forecast thru this coming Thursday (yeah, like we needed more N).   
       For salvation look to full and 1/2 lead core outfits, if the lake cools down as much as past history has shown.  Long leads from the riggers and divers with smaller, or no rings.  Slide Divers are good choice for high fish too. This will helps get you're lures further away from the boat. Keep these tips in mind when the surface temp is in the 50s.
       North blows followed by east wind will pull Kings in and around the harbors.  Only problem?  All we've had is pretty much north winds and Manistee's shelf needs to reload with adult Kings before we get into super-easy catching again.

8/9/08  Good luck to all today.  Hoping to get out this weekend too, but the weather
says otherwise with 3' to 6' seas.  Next stretch of flat seas looks to be this coming Monday.  Let's hope the big seas prediction is wrong and the weekenders get on the pond.  Reports on Kings over 20 to 23 pounds are coming from Manistee, MI now!

8/8/08   Here's something that might be noteworthy to you and concerns what's long been called the 100' rule.  It refers to adjusting leading on the riggers to let's say 50' down with a 50' lead from the cannonball, or 70' down, 30' lead from the ball ...etc.
      I know from my limited time on the water best action has been approximated to this rule.  Factoring in Clear water and adult Kings that can be every bit as wary as any Brown Trout, close to my boat has not been working.  Divers out a 100' yes, lead core and copper have been working.  Even when we had the hot action in Manistee about a week ago, our highest rigger bite was 66' down, 30' to 40' back from the ball.  Keeping in mind, so-called prime temp (54 degrees) was about 40' down.
      Don't take this as absolute gospel, as I'm limited to averaging maybe 4 hours a week on the pond.  I do know, high fish have not been hitting my stuff, except for the divers, which are ....once again a 100' from my boat.

8/7/08   Here's a tip for the weekend warriors soon to descend on their favorite Salmon ports.  More north wind is predicted thru this Saturday.  When this happens, look for the bait to load up around the harbors, as it's done in Manistee and Ludington this passing week.  With the bait comes the Salmon.  So, look in close first before spending the long green on gas with a lengthy boat ride to fish the deeper waters.
       Today's featured photo is one of Tony C's creations from Eyefull Custom Rods.  It's a 10' roll-over rod, where the guides transition to the bottom side of the rod. Kinda like a spinning rod where the line guides are on the bottom of the stick.  This  lessens the pressure on the rods guides and let's the rod blank soften up.  The photo demonstrates how 45# test copper line is working with a good sized King.  Previously used 9' Shimano Talora rod for copper & consider the Eyefull rod a major step up. Click roll-over rod 
       Word on Manistee's latest hot spot has been the 12s to the 7s over deeper water depths 150'+.  Look for this to change fast with the onset of a predicted north blow.
 Tomorrow, I'll explain the 100' rule. This seems to be working on spooky adult Kings.

8/6/08   3 generations of Team Getaway fished Manistee last Sunday and Monday.  It's great to see grandpa, dad and kids on a family outing.  Bob K. is Getaway on our message board.  He's a very savvy skipper and found a good pod of bait holding Kings in the low to mid teens near Manistee's harbor.  Click Team Getaway younger set
      This past Monday they took 6 fish in short order working the outside of the pack in 30' to 40' of water fishing 25' down with flashers & meat rigs.  Lead lengths off the cannonball were said to be around 50' behind the ball. Click 8/4/08 harbor hot rigs
There's more to this story than meets the eye, cuz when the temp is high (like it's been) the bait will often load on the edges of the color plume of the Big Manistee River where it enters Lk. Michigan.  None of the harbor caught fish were ready to run the river yet.  These Kings were still about 3 to 4 weeks away from full mature adulthood.  
Here's a tackle testimonial about my stuff from Steve E:
"Capt John,  See attached picture of 22# Leland king (weighed on Carlson's scale) after being in the cooler all morning with the rig that has been hottest for me this year CJRF glow black mamba and 30" leader to a x-glow BTI fly." Click Steve's 22# King & rig

8/5/08  Good news is most all ports in MI and WI have fair fishing.  Limits have not been easy.  From the sound of things, the sports fleet boats are catching 3 to 6 Kings per outing.  Some of these fish are over 20, but not many hogs. Click for hot rigs
      Kewaunee, WI has been decent, but Kings over 20 have been scarce.  WI anglers are seeing a few more Steelhead than their counter parts in MI. Click WI brag board
      Now, for the not so good news: 5 out of the next 6 days in the long range forecast are saying more wind from the north.  North seems to move the bait to the more southerly ports.  Good news for them, but it sucks to be us in the central Lk. MI area.
     Word from Ludington's Big Point Sable last evening was dreadfully slow.  Like reel-slow with not many nets going down.  Blame this on the north winds.
     Here's what I noticed fishing 3 days last week.  Kings will hit divers 100' away from the boat.  Salmon will take 300' of copper, or lead core.  The problem is riggers set 40 to 70 feet are not taking a ton of fish.  Adult Kings are wary spooky creatures and gin clear water is holding back the up high rigger bite back.  Click for a good WI King
     Now, when you sink your riggers to 100' and deeper, the rigger bite picks up dramatically. Look for me to explain the 100' rule tomorrow, it might help your program.
     Many thanks to Nick and Steve for the use of their great WI fishery photos!

8/4/08  Manistee catching cooled off to just fishing with the strong north wind last Saturday.  Scattered, all over the place Salmon is what Manistee is about ...until we get some SW wind to concentrate the King Salmon back on the drop-off, or shelf.

                       Manistee Fish Report from Last Evening
Hours fished: 5:30pm thru 7:00pm. Got chased in early by an unwanted thunderstorm before we could take advantage of the grand finale last-light bite.
Temperature: 68 degrees to 45', then it dropped to 55 degrees.  70' to 110' it was in mid to low 40 degree range.
Lure Speed: 1.7 to 2.2, strong under currents, meant it was hard to troll any slower.
Fish Take: 2 fish, one on 300' of copper w/X-Glow BTI combo, one at 105' on a rigger.  Rigger fish hit a 12" King Kryptonite with an Undertaker 3 Fly Meat Rig w/20' lead.
     Should have a more wide ranging Lk. MI commentary for you by tomorrow.

8/3/08  Winds from the north plagued central Lake Michigan yesterday.  While I'm sure everyone caught some fish, more cold water is not what we need.  Reports from Ludington, MI says bath-house to north of Big Point Sable is where some of the better fishing has been.  This morning this wind has come full circle and it's out of the east now.  I have no doubts there's fish in and around Manistee & Ludington' harbors.
     Here's a another interesting fact from 2008, colder down temps along structure seem to have tended to push the Kings to suspend over the 200' to 300' depths.  Not tighter to structure, conflicting with traditional wisdom where the opposite is generally true.

8/2/08  Fishing in Manistee is called catching.  Hope to get out this weekend for further testing and avoid that dreaded, nasty word of "work!"   Good luck to everyone today.

8/1/08  Devoting the whole space of updates to just one subject: yesterday morning in Manistee, MI.  It's nearly impossible to touch on the key details in 2, or 3 paragraphs.
        Manistee is good and only getting better from what I've personally witnessed.  Yesterday morning we got into a pile of Kings, 2.5 miles south of the harbor on the shelf.

7.28.08_Manistee_meat_dimentions.jpg (92416 bytes) <<<< ---- IMPORTANT Measurements
Make sure your bait is not too large, the heads will not work as well.  
Trim to dimensions shown in the image.  The head has to rotate, or spin.  If it goes thru the water like a dead stick, it will not produce!
Put a hook in the bait, pull a very slight bend if necessary.

The below program should work, producing excellent results in Ludington & Frankfort too.

Yesterday's Exact Program:
1. Time with lines in the water was about 7am until 9am.  No first light bite needs to be mentioned.  Boats there by dawn's early light did well in 50' to 80' of water.

2. Two riggers, 12' to 20' leads of the cannonball.  Started riggers at 70' and 100' feet down, towards the 8am we moved the spread down to 100' to 120' and that was the ticket.  Fished 150' to 190' overall depth of water.  Our deepest rigger had was pulling the "John J Special," that being a 12" King Kryptonite flasher and Undertaker 3 fly meat rig.  Second rigger we fished was carrying a 12" X-Glow Frog with matching 3 fly meat rig.  We maintained a 20' separation between the 2 riggers.  Let's say one rigger at 80' and the other at 100' to more clearly define this point.  Deepest rigger was best, as it always is, ... when you're meat fishing.  12 pound cannonballs were used.
For continued info, click here

3. Two divers (regular Dipsys dialed on 2 with big ring) 5' to 6' foot leaders to flashers.  Divers were towing X-Glow Green Frog BTIs with matching 2 fly meat rigs.

4. Temperature, 69 degrees to about 50' then it broke into the mid 50 degree range.  100' down it was 42-38 degrees and that's the temp where we took most of out bites.

5. Speed was darn slow, like 1.2 to 1.4 mph.  I kinda think the slow-whoa speed helped, cuz the water was nearly flat calm, with only a slight ripple (see photos for verification).

6. Fish take was around double figures.  All fish were released.  Learned by spearing the fish hard head first into the water, they took off like nothing happened at all.  If we'd have kept fish, we'd have been done with 2 measly MI licenses in about one hour (6 fish).  Hate to admit it, but our bite vs. boated fish ratio was maybe only around 50%.  Most of the missed villainess critters occurred on the divers, like usual.

I hope all website visitors have the same ideal trip me and my ace number one fishin' bud, John J, experienced ...soon.  It was wild, crazy and big fun for the two of us!

7/31/08  Today's featured photo is from the recent Alpena, MI tournament on Lake Huron, courtesy of website member, "Codfish."  Click good looking Lake Trout
      Hope to play more hooky reel soon, if and when the lake cooperates.  Right now, the
X-Glow Frog pattern in all sizes has the hot hand.  As adult Kings mature, they start keying in on the glow stuff more and more.  Can't give you a convoluted stand on a soap box answer why glow gets hot now.  Let it suffice that it does, and go with the glow!
Manistee is hot with scads of Kings now!  Full update tomorrow, read about then.

7/30/08  While the temp has been all over the place on Michigan's side of Lk. MI, the WI anglers have had it even worse with lots of cold water.  The happens from west wind, shoving the warm water to the east shore of the big pond.
      It's far from any secret the high fuel prices have hurt the economy and discretionary spending is at an all time low.  So, please keep in mind, Great Lakes charter fleet still remains one of the best bargains there is.  Based on a per person split, it's highly cost effective to charter and a lot better than a boat payment in January.
      As we get more comfortable fishing plus 150' down, I spotted something that might help you lessen the problems with tangles.  When a good King whacks your offering with a 160' of cable off the rigger spool, these fish can go sideways under the divers.  We had 3 fish do this last Monday.  Mag Dipsy Divers on setting 2 cost us a fish, or two when our chute (center) rigger biter stitched itself around said divers.  Mag divers get down deeper, quicker and closer to the boat.  To me, Mag Dipsys are problematic.
       Once you start targeting depths below 80 feet, shorten up your rigger leads.  10' back worked just peachy keen at depths of 100' and deeper last time out.
   Too many frogs? ...topic tomorrow's update, as adult kings are keying on glow now.

7/29/08   Played hooky from work yesterday morning.  Yes, being owner and your own boss, does have it's advantages (once in a while).  Teamed up with message board members, Megan Ann aka John J & Tony C. aka Eyeful, who makes custom fishing rods.
       Lines in the water from 7am until 11am. We took fish from 35' to 160' down.  For these weird conditions we did OK, not great, ...but still ended up with a fair box.
      North winds have raised the temp up high again, instead of concentrating the fish deep.  For now, the fish have a pretty huge neighborhood in the depth column to roam.
      Motivation of today's trip was to prove to you and myself the new 2008 Red Label sized herring from Fish On Company works: Click for the new 2008 Red Label
      Our best rigs by far: the X-Glow Frogs, 10" and 12" with matching 2 & 3 fly meat rigs.  Plus, the 12" King Kryptonite X-Glow and Undertaker 3 fly meat rig deserves an honorable mentioned fished on our deepest rigger. Click 7/28/08 hot rigs 
       I have a small amount of the exact Red Label featured in today's photo available at my shop for sale to the public.  Call me at 231 723-1130 beforehand, cuz I do not have a 24/7 tackle shop, not do I want the hassle of one. Click for Eyeful's King  
  Tomorrow's topic will be called Capt. Nemo Kings and the problems deep fish present.

7/28/08  Bait for 08:  Shipwatch Marina in Manistee (231 723-9314), Capt. Chuck's in Ludington (231) 843-4458, & Frankfort's East Shore Marina (231 352-7511) have been recently stocked with fresh frozen bait.  I've seen this stuff and the scale retention (excellent) and firmness is OK.  All 3 of these places carry my line of tackle too.
     I have some bait at my shop available to the public, as long as prior arrangements can be made.  I do not have an open door, stop-in policy.  Call ahead (231 723-1130) and make an approximated appointment time, ...so I know when you're coming.
      Temp off Manistee has been like a yo-yo with big swings in where the thermocline has been.  From 25-30' on Friday, down to 75-80' last evening.  More fishing news soon.

7/27/08  Capt. Bruce Nicholson and message board member "FBD" said Whitehall, MI is producing excellent catches.  Yesterday morning in Manistee was very lumpy withseas in the 4 to 5' range.  Manistee catch rates were not on par with the ports south of Little Point Sable, like Muskegon.  No word from Ludington, or our WI anglers yet.  Expect to hear more from around Lake Michigan soon.
       Not too much in the way of offering theories, but the north wind we had last week has set back the central Lake Michigan ports, while offering the more southerly ports some of the best fishing so far in 2008.  

7/26/08  First good shot of adult Kings came into Manistee and Ludington harbor's on the evening of the 25th.  Let's look at this as the opening curtain on Act 1.  
      Strong winds from the north pushed in a lot of cold water, causing the Salmon to home in on their parenting rivers. This is just preview of coming attractions, not the big show.  Not to fear, there's still plenty of season left!
       This weekend is Manistee's time to host tournaments, coming right on the heels of last weekend's Ludington Gander Mountain events.  Let's hope structure off Manistee called, the "shelf" reloads quickly with more Kings, as it always does.

7/25/08  To keep semi-sane, went fishing yesterday morning with Todd and his 7 year old son, Dillon.  We had lines in the water for 3 hours (7-10am) and was a slow go.  The recent north winds has raised temp big time.  It was 42 degrees at 40 down. We hit 2 fish, with young Dillon landing a small King, by himself.  Click for Dillon's Salmon
     Now, factor in Dillon brought the fish in on a 300' copper line rig.  So, this was a worthy accomplishment for any 7 year old!  The broad beaming smile on this young lad's face is worth more to me, than a 20 fish box! Click for Dillon's grin winding in copper  
      In hindsight ...which cures all the world's ills, we should have stayed in the 50' to 80' depths where we marked at least a few fish.  We marked no fish once past 100' and never seen anything out to 350'.  No bait fish in shallower, or out deep either.

7/24/08  Today's featured photo is Nick's King Salmon tipping the scale at 22 pounds and change. This picture is courtesy of  seabeesportfishingcharters.com  This fish was caught in Muskegon, MI last weekend. Click for Nick's 22.5# Salmon
       Latest fish info from Ludington is lots cold water tucked in behind Big Point Sable.  Look for Ludville's fishing to take off once the temp gets stabilized a little deeper.
       Best Report I heard yesterday was from the south tip of South Manitou Island.  Figures, cuz it's plus 30 miles from Frankfort and about 20 from Leland, MI.  Boats fishing out of Glen Arbor can get there in around 10 miles, but the launch is in open water.  Meaning no harbor, or breakwall to limit the incoming seas during boat launching.

 7/23/08  Shipwatch Marina in Manistee, MI now has a good selection of my products.  East Shore Marina in Frankfort, MI will be stocked with my line of tackle by this Friday.
Both stores mentioned will have bait this Thursday, if all goes according to plan.
      Here's something interesting: website member "No Fish Nick" fished Manitowoc, WI from dusk to 3am EST and did well in the dark with glow baits.  Shocker was most of his catch was taken within 10' of the surface. Seems like the Salmon will rise up from the depths to feed off the surface during the night. Click for graveyard shift Kings

7/22/08  After sorting thru several recent port reports, here's the summation:
Fishing off Manistee is leading Frankfort and Ludington presently.  Last weekend's top Gander Mountain tournament boats traveled from Ludington to Manistee and fished the 12s to the 16s (pretty much straight out of Manistee).  Boat traffic in the afore mentioned ports is semi light, but increasing every weekend.
      Kings are averaging about 3 pounds heavier than the 2007 crop.  This was bore out with the big King in the Ludington Gander Mountain event.  The 08 winner was on the other side of 23 pounds, compared to last season's almost 20 pounders that won.
      Here's a copy and paste job from the 7/21/08 Ludington Daily News:
The Dreamweaver Big Fish for the weekend was a 23.3-pound king caught by the team Tickle Pink II. The fish, worth $3,000, came on a blue John King flasher pulling a blue John King meat rig head, according to Eric Hutchinson of Port Huron. 
    “Fishing’s good,” Hutchinson said when asked why he fished the Ludington event. “It’s well-organized, good money, good tournament. Usually everybody catches some fish.
My products top honors in this prestigious tourney in 2004, overall big fish in 2007 & top spot again this year.  My hat's off to Roger Bogner, owner of Dreamweaver Tackle Co. who makes Spin Doctors, spoons, flies, & J-Plugs for putting up the prize money. 

7/21/08  Many thanks to website members, No Fish Nick and Tokenfinn for sharing their big fish photos with us.  Kinda interesting to see both meat and artificial flies work behind my flashers.  Capt. Rob Presson from Seabee Sport Fishing Charters in Muskegon reported a 22.5 lb. King on the new 2008 Silver Bullet series.  Over 22 is the largest I've heard thus far.  Look for bigger as the season progresses.
      Full report on this weekend's fish activities tomorrow once we can sort out conjecture from the reel-facts.  This I do know, most all ports are catching and the pressure off Manistee is slowly on the build.

7/20/08  Last I heard fishing was still the reel-deal off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Was kinda hoping to get out this weekend, but swamped with orders.  Taking care of business always comes first and there'll be time for fishing later this week.
      The downside on being a tackle manufacturer is the better the fishing, the less time personal time there is.  Should have current fishing news for you tomorrow.

7/18/08  Early morning thunderstorm hit a fisherman off Ludington, MI.  Details are sketchy, but it was said, "he survived the strike."  You know, Mother Nature isn't playing any games with weather.  Whether it's big seas or bolts from the sky.  I was always terrified of lightening on the water, over my Great Lakes career dating back to 1968.
      Here's a fact I'd rather not discuss, but June floods have made outside activities nearly impossible.  Mosquitoes populations herald biblical proportions like the plagues sent to Egypt back in Moses days.  They are thick and the worst I've ever seen, ...ever!  Was lucky enough to find a fogger at Ludington's Home Depot yesterday. If you're coming north and considering camping, bring the Deep Woods Off, cuz you're gonna need it! 

7/17/08  It's "game on" for adult Kings in Lk. Michigan, as today's featured photos plainly illustrate.  Manistee is good and getting better!  Click 7/16/08  Kings  Depth of the Salmon is said to be about 100' down.  Kings to almost 20lbs are in my home port now!
      First Street Beach in Manistee has been closed, cuz of all the debris that has washed ashore.  12 yards of trash was scooped up off this small section of beach.  A lot of the flotsam came from the recent flash floods in WI along with a dead body that was found in a more southerly Lk. MI port.  I think the corpse was found near Muskegon, MI.
      Need to thank website members "Just Enough" & "jlar"s for keeping this website vibrant with up-to-date fresh fish pictures.  Click 7/15/08 Marinette, WI King

7/16/08  If there's any doubters about what my products are capable of doing, today's featured photos should quell any uncertainty.  Capt. Mark W. took top honors in the recent Detroit Area Steelheaders Tournament with my stuff.  Click for Mark's hot rigs
      I've known Mark since 2003 and he's blossomed into one of the better fisherman I know.  His accomplishments are only outdone by his passion for big water fishing.  Plus, he's one heck of a nice guy.  Mark is known on our message board as "mrwilliams."
      Mark took heaviest fish, along with first place.  Hat's off to "Bobbys Toy" for a strong podium finish in last weekend's DAS contest too.  Click Mark's winning catch
      Recent fish news from Ludington says the fishing got harder with more south wind.  Fishing is easy in East Chicago, IN, but larger Kings in the mid-teen are hard to come by.  WI anglers are socked in with cold water off Kewaunee with medium results.

7/15/08  According to my personal timeline calendar, we've now entered prime time for adult King Salmon.  Today's featured photo proves that point.  All be it may, it's from last Friday.  I need to thank Joe VG for sharing his afternoon's catch photo with us.  
       It's one thing to tell you fishing is improving in Manistee, MI.  Showing you with proof adds one helluva lot more credence.  Click Team Sloppy Joe's 7/11/08 Kings
       Best news, is the majority of the Salmon caught recently are running from 15 to 18 lbs.  Not huge by yesteryear's standards, but we're in the here and now.  Kings in the mid to high teens are dandy fish for 2008.  If there's one draw back, it's the fish are deep to 100', to reel-deep like 190'.  This is attractor territory plain and simple.  
       Those using my products: meat fishermen are doing best on Black Mamba, X-Glow Frog, & Green Doub L Glo with 2-3 meat rigs.  Those preferring artificials are getting the job done with 10" BTI Flashers in the Gold Bullet, or Pearl Glows 

7/14/08  Fishing reports from this past Friday and Saturday were very encouraging for Manistee, MI.  Several limit catches were mentioned, with the Kings going from the mid to high teens.  Yesterday morning (Sunday) was pretty lumpy, so look for recent reports to be a day, or two old.  When I hear more, so will you ASAP.
       Visitors to Manistee: the First Street Public Launch fees are automated and collected by a machine.  You'll see this work of art upon leaving the launch to park.  Failure to get a daily 5 dollar pass will result in a 40 buck fine.  This was already mentioned on this website back in May when this machine was first installed when Manistee did away with a person to collect gate receipts.  

7/13/08  Special treat for all dedicated big water fishermen today with photos from our brother Salmon anglers on the west coast of the USA.  Thanks to DJ, or DJFISHS2XS (on our message board) we have images showing a King weighing in at over 21lbs  caught in waters adjoining the Pacific Ocean's Puget Sound. Click west coast 21lb. King  
       West coast techniques approximate ours, but generally they use longer leaders behind their attractors.  Today's featured fish is currently sets in 4th place in a WA Salmon derby.  It never ceases to amaze me at how small the world has shrunk with the advent of the internet.  Plus, the huge amount of information we can now share!
       Here's an obvious reel-fact that still needs to be stated: from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean's Baltic Sea and many bodies of water in between, my products have proven themselves  ...'nough said!   Click for close-up of 21lb. King 

7/12/08  As an ambassador for the town of Manistee, MI, I was invited to give a short presentation on what's up in my home town for the Detroit Area Steelheaders.  This group is having a tournament today, weather permitting.  
       On behalf of Manistee, let's thank them for choosing our town for their contest.  Let's face it, the hype from the 20 some trap nets in last year's fiasco did not help the Port of Manistee one bit in attracting the big water fishing public.
       This has since changed in 2008 with less nets.  We only have 9 trap nets now spread over a wide area of plus 20 miles.  So, there's plenty of room to fish tight to structure with no fear of getting tangled up in nets, or losing costly gear.
        Mark W. had an awesome box of Kings yesterday, when he was pre-fishing for today's DAS tournament.  By the looks of things, they boxed out within 4 miles of the pier heads using structure as a key for success. Let's hope this keeps up for today!

7/11/08  Seven come eleven, as the countdown to prime Salmon season nears.  Third week of July thru the weekend past Labor Day is the best time for adult Kings.
       Today's featured photo is a goodie and comes from Jason F, skipper of the Rawhide Fishing Team. It shows a King just shy of 20lbs, an attractive young lady & "sumptuously tempting" Silver Bullet 10" BTI with a fly combo (OK, so I might of laid it on kinda thick).  It's hard to tell which is the prettiest and most dear to my heart.  You can be the judge by clicking here to view which of the 3 ...rates number 1 in your book.
       Manistee continues to be a frustrating hit and miss situation.  Spoke to the DNR creel census taker yesterday and the sports fleet (17'-25' boats) had a hard morning.  One or none was the deal.  Don't despair, this is the transitional time of the season when the Salmon will soon start looking for home and come inshore. Look for Manistee to do complete turn around in the next 10 to 14 days.  Also, slow days make the good ones seem that much more enjoyable!

7/10/08  Here's an outstanding report emailed to me with the reel-facts from Ludington:
Hey John,  "Sorry was out of town, should got the pics to you sooner. Screwed up and didn't put the flashers in the pics, will not happen this weekend. The pics are from last Sat. morning at the point. 12 kings, 9 were 12lbs to 17lbs. Hot baits were BTI x-glow frog on riggers, and 12in x-glow king kryptonite on divers. 12 Kings by 8:30am. just in time to get breakfast."  Thanks,  Chris S.  Chris's Reel Meat Catch 7/5/08

7/9/08  As you can plainly see in today's featured photos, the Kings are getting larger as the season continues.  Capt. Russ P. fished out of Alpena, MI on Lake Huron by the wreck of the Nordmeer and did well on Kings with limits of Lakers.  Good to see Lk. Huron beginning to recover some of it's former glory! 7/6/08 Lake Huron Kings
       Southern Lk. Michigan ports from St. Joe, MI to East Chicago, IN are doing well on Salmon, cuz there's  bait available.  Question is when will the bait move N in mass?
       Kewaunee, WI is producing respectable catches of Kings in the low to high teens.  WI side seems to have a very stable fishery.   7/5/08 Kewaunee, WI King
       Manistee is good one day, then a struggle the next.  Look for this to improve once a thermocline deeper than 50' develops.  Last Saturday, the temp break was 40' down.  A deeper thermocline will concentrate the bait right on Manistee's shelf. Not all over hell's 1/2 acre like it is right now. It's still early in the season & the best has yet to come!   

7/8/08  Let's discuss the art of keeping a good fishing buddy.  One you can always count to be on-time and not a pain in the butt while onboard complaining about slow fishing.   John J, aka Megan Ann (on our message board) has fished with me dating back to early i2ks when I was still in the charter business, as a first mate, or deckhand.
       Secret to keeping everything on a even keel is to allow leeway in your program if you're the skipper.  Let your fishing partner run a few of his favorites.  
      That way you don't have to shoulder the full burden of productivity issues.  Besides, you'll have someone to blame if the box isn't full and still share a few laughs.  Friendly jabs about why is stuff is not working is allowed.  Just keep in mind, that's a 2 way street.  So, be prepared to give credit, where credit due in case your program sucks big time and you're getting out-fished. John J's go-to flasher & meat Rig
       John J's not like me, as he has a favorite rig (I don't) he runs everyday throughout the season.  That rig is a 12" X-Glow King Kryptonite Flasher with a 3 Fly Undertaker Glow Meat Rig.  He runs this combo on his deepest rigger, day in, day out with success!

7/7/08  Generally, we're besieged with not-so-good news with our Great Lakes Fishery when it comes to the cold water species of Salmon and Trout.  Things like diminishing bait fish populations, shrinking Salmon, problems with mussels, viruses ...etc.
     Well, here's a welcome change of pace and good news.  The water fleas are on the increase and the size of the bait fish, or Alewives is much larger in 2008.  Stuff like this indicates the biomass is healthy and growing the basic building blocks of the food chain.
           Water fleas on diver rod             Stomach contents w/6" Alewife
I suspect the recent torrential rainfall has washed in additional nutrients to jump start the food chain, cuz this is the most water bugs I seen on my lines since the early i2ks!

7/6/08  It was my great pleasure to fish yesterday morning with John J and his grandson Kris L.  We set lines at 8am and fished to a little past lunchtime.  Our fish take was couple Kings in double digits.  First fish was on 300' of 45# test copper and the second was 180' down our chute rigger.  Click for Kris L's King
       With the off/on again fishing in Manistee it's imperative is get a early start and have lines going in the water at first light.  Myself? ...I no longer have the want to rise at 4am.  Been there, done that in the charter business for 20 seasons ...'nough said!
        Tomorrow, I'll have first hand proof of what I perceive as extremely important good news concerning the overall health of our great, Great Lakes Fishery!

7/5/08  Heard lots of 1 to 3 fish per vessel out of Manistee yesterday.  A few boats in double figures at the first light bite, then action slowed to a crawl.  Flat seas and low fishing pressure, as not many boats were on the water for the Fourth of July.

7/4/08  Have a great 4th of July Holiday, cuz you deserve it!  I'll post the latest fishing report good, bad, or indifferent ASAP this info becomes available to me.
      You know, now's the time the MDNR could come to the aid of the smaller boat fishermen and drop the 3 of one species of Salmon.  Raising it to 5 right now would afford those boats with 1 to 3 anglers some relief on the sky-high fuel prices.
      The MDNR has proven they do what they want, when they want, by flushing our constitutional rights down the crapper in 2008 ...by allowing us to be stopped by agents of an external government (Indian Tribal Police) for fishing license checks.
       Many of the original signers of this celebrated Fourth of July Holiday's Declaration of Independence help frame our constitution.  I'm absolutely 1000% positively sure these signatories never envisioned giving any rights to an foreign police force over US citizens!

7/3/08  Fish report from Craig at Capt. Chuck's in Ludington, MI was decent.  Craig said the fish were north towards Big Point Sable and tight to structure in 90 to 110 FOW.
Capt. Dick Donovan from Adventure One Charters had a good report too.  They had a respectable catch this past Tuesday in Manistee, south of the harbor in 95 FOW. 80% of Capt. Dick's action has off lead core, as the rigger and diver bite was very slow.
        From the U.P.
"Just thought I would send a picture of what we are doing up on Goulais Bay, Canada.  Goulais is the first bay on Superior just north of Sault Ste Marie, the colder than normal water temps are really keeping our normal Spring only fishery continuing.  This picture shows the Goulais Grand Slam: Salmon, Laker & Steelhead.  Lake Superior Salmon tend to be smaller than your fish, but the fights are sensational!!
Loyal reader of your site"…Rob H.  Click Rob's Lk. Superior Fish
      I'd like to thank Rob for sharing his photo with us.  I welcome all Lake Superior fish photos and it breaks up the
sameness of posting mostly just Lk. Michigan fish.

7/2/08  Today's featured photo is courtesy of WI website member, jlars.  It's a world first, as far as my product line is concerned!  It's shows the 12" Reel Flasher Silver Bullet with the Pearl Glow Fly offered at: www.michiganangler.com with a hefty Salmon.
      This is the first King seen by me, taken on a 12 incher with a fly combo.  In late August 2007, out of the Port of Leland, MI, Capt. Jim Munoz took the very first King on a prototype 10" Silver Bullet & Fly: 1st King 10" BTI Silver Bullet 8/30/07 
      Well, that feat was equaled yesterday with experimentation and open minds the WI fleet has!  Our esteemed, savvy WI members cracked the plus 300' barrier, as far as catching deep-deep fish 2, or 3 years ago & they're a blessing to have at this website!
7/2/08 Fish News:  Craig at Capt. Chucks said Ludington was picking up, will find out where today. Charter Reel Pleasure out of Manistee took double figures yesterday.

7/1/08  Waiting for a good report from Manistee, MI?  Well, you're gonna have to keep waiting, cuz last weekend's catches were no big deal.  Many struggled to get into a fish, or two.  Water temp is way behind what we used to have.  Gin clear water does not absorb heat well and the water seems to be clearing more every season.  The bottom line is the fishing off the Port of Manistee this season has been hit and miss thus far.
      Best game on Lake Michigan seems to be coming from the WI side of the pond, as today's featured photo from Kewaunee shows: 6/29/08 King in mid-teens That fish whacked a 12" Krystal Killer with the X-Glow Frog 3 Fly Meat Rig.  Team No Fish Nick ended up with 6 Kings for their efforts on 6/29/08 from 8 to 15 pounds.
      Hope to get out later this week and rid myself of empty net fever when the lake is behaving itself.  Weather for the Fourth of July Holiday is looking good!