October, November, & December 2009



1st & Last Salmon 2009

Farewell 2009

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

12/31/09  About 365 days ago we entered into the new 2009 season with high hopes and great anticipation.  Same will happen tomorrow as 2010 and a brand new decade bursts onto the scene.  Let's hope 2010 will treat the Great Lakes right.
             Intent was to name the biggest leap over the past 10 years.  A subject this important should be saved for next week.  Besides, I need more time to decide.
             My thanks to all that viewed this website in 2009.  I'm honored that you would invite this website to visit your computer!

12/30/09   Looking back at the last decade, tackle advancements come to mind.  Glow has came a long ways from when the charge would last 15 minutes, or less.  My X-Glow series tackle can glow easily for 8 hours, ...if it's charged with a UV black light.  Normal light, or camera flash will give you a good solid 4 to 5 hours.
            Today's featured photo the top image has a 12" King Kryptonite Flasher sitting on  box of fish.  If you look closely, even in daylight ...you'll see the tinge of green glow.
            The bottom half is a un-retouched natural photo showing the glow properties of my X-Glow line in total darkness.  Click for this X-Glow comparison
            To the best of my knowledge no one has cracked our secret X-Glow formula that looks 100% light pearl uncharged, but glows green when the X-Glow material is activated.
            I'll be the first to admit the X-Glow stuff is expensive, but the best always is!
       Tomorrow's update will focus on biggest leap we've made in the last 10 years!

12/29/09  Right about now with the advent of a new winter season the extra trips to Lake Michigan last September and October are bright shining memories.
            Our late season jaunts were pleasure filled laidback affairs where it was just plain wonderful to be there.  No pressure, no boat traffic, no phone, no rush to fill orders as we wandered over changing depths just to see what was there.  It's magical when all sense of time is lost gazing upon the marvels of nature and the ever distant horizon!
            On today's featured photo ....please look into the background beyond the two fishermen dealing with a double header.  You'll see a calm Lake Michigan on it's very best behavior, no boat traffic, & beautiful shoreline scenery. Click for a priceless view!

12/28/09  According to a study done by the WDNR at the Strawberry Creek Weir close to 97% of returning Salmon are 3 year old fish.  This weir is located east of Sturgeon Bay, WI.  1% was 5 year olds and 1% were 4 year old King Salmon.  This fully explains the large amount of 9 to 12 pound adults we see.
           Our largest Salmon are 5 year fish and can attain weights of 30 pounds, or more.  While we had a few 30 pounders last season, the 2009 tally does not come close to what we had in 2002.  Granted the data from the WDNR was dated from 2003, it does explain the large amount of sub 15 adult Kings we've come to expect.
            In 2002 we had over, or about 70 MDNR Master Angler Kings registered (over 27 lbs).  Largest in 2002 was 37 pounds and change.  By weight in 2009 there were only 3 Master Angler Kings entered in the catch and keep division! Largest being 34 pounds+.  This data on numbers and weight is completely 100% verifiable at the MDNR website.
   My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer now stands at 27"

12/27/09  Seems the barge operators on the Chicago Canal are claiming foul by the loss of 400 jobs to the potential closure of this waterway.  This is a crock of BS and a small price to pay to keep Asian Carp from colonizing the entire Great Lakes watershed.
            Michigan stands to lose a lot more.  Plus, endure financial hardships when community bond ratings are lowered due to infestations of Asian Carp.  Wrecking the resource many costal communities rely on.  That being the big water fishermen who fish the Great Lakes mainly for Salmon and Trout.

12/26/09  Limbo time between Christmas and New Years is a major hindrance if you're trying to conduct business like I am ...ordering products for the 2010 season.
            Left the Dec. 24th update kinda hanging and in need of further clarification.     The 90 seconds I was referring to was the water time on how long it took the HRP 10" BTI flasher to prove itself as a winning new 2009 pattern/color.  Some colors are timeless producers and the HRP ranks at the top of this list.  Click for 2009 red tackle review
            It always risk to bringing a new color onboard my line of tackle.  Especially, considering red is not an accepted fleet-wide color.  My take is?  ...as long as the new product is accepted by the fish, the fishermen will catch on sooner, or later.
            In the mid to late 1960s when Coho were first planted in Michigan, fluorescent red was the rage.  Funny on how things change, but still remain the same. 
            This goes for the lead core, copper and wire diver lines we now use.  These lines were ancient stuff from the 1920s and 1930s resurrected to suit the needs of nowadays.

12/25/09  Merry Christmas and may your holiday season be a safe one!

12/24/09  Tomorrow, Christmas Day will be 8 seconds longer than today.  We have finally turned the corner on these short winter days as we look forward to 2010.
            I got an early Christmas present on 5/5/09 when we fished a short morning out of New Buffalo, MI.  It took less than 90 seconds for a spunky-chunky Coho to inhale the new HRP 10" BTI flasher paired up with a prototype Kelly Krome Mini Fly!
            Hummm ....red and green?  Christmas colors for sure! Click Christmas Coho
                                 To be continued on 12/26/09 .....
   Big ice storm is predicted for the north country.  Drive safe and be careful if traveling.

                 My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer now stands at 25"

12/23/09   Kinda funny since the invasion of Asian Carp made the national news we're finally seeing some action being taken.  Politically motivated is my take on this issue. 
            Let's hope Indiana and Wisconsin and ALL states that own shoreline on the Great Lakes join with Michigan's attempt to have the 2.1 billion gallon a day faucet shut off to the Chicago Drainage Canals.  This would bring Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York onboard.  Let's not forget Canada has a major stake in this problem too!

12/22/09  Yesterday, Michigan Att. General Mike Cox filed a lawsuit with Supreme Court over Asian Carp entering Lk. Michigan.  This is a belated effort by a good 10 years behind the times.  The State of Illinois created the Chicago Drain Canal about a 100 years ago to wash effluent/sewage down the Mississippi River.  Prior to this canal ...disease was rampant due to raw sewage in Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago, IL.
            Illinois owns the second shortest shoreline on Lk. Michigan, but has took the most from our public domain by diverting
2.1 billion gallons per day water from Lk. Michigan. 
            Illinois has not compensated residents of MI, IN and WI for the water they've stolen in any way over the last 100 years.  Nor have they thanks us for their gift.
            Having the Mississippi Basin connected to the Great Lakes has already fostered Zebra/Quagga Mussels spread to most states in the south and west.
            It's my most sincere guess the Bighead and Silver species of Asian Carp have already entered Lk. Michigan.  The question is whether enough Asian Carp are here to establish a viable self sustaining breeding population. 
            Lk. Michigan itself offers very little in the line of food/plankton these fish exist on, but our river systems are full of food this Carp blight thrives on.
            The Asian Carp in the Great Lakes will not be the problem, but the denuding of all forms of plankton/nutrients river systems will further stress our fishery.  Possibly to the point of no return.  Thusly, wiping out a 7 billion dollar a year Great Lakes sport fishery.

12/21/09  Winter season 2009-2010 is formally upon us.  Our fall season has been tolerable with only 24" of the white stuff.  Shocker is at this time last we had 64 inches of snowfall.  Building to 92 inches by year's end on 12/31/08. 
             Winter 2008-2009 we had 179 inches overall from November 2008 thru March 2009.  179" is close to 15' of snow.  Click 12/21/08 white-out from one year ago
             My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer now stands at 24"

12/20/09  Officially the winter season of 2009/2010 begins tomorrow.  Daylight for today is said to be 8h 52m.  Tomorrow will be 2 seconds shorter than today.  Then the days will start getting gradually longer, as we build towards spring.  Less than 9 hours of usable daylight is what I detest most about this time of the year!
            Big lake fishing for me could be a little as 90 days away right here in Manistee, MI.  The earliest I fished Lk. Michigan was around March 20th back in 1999. Unlike last year my lake boat is primed and ultra ready as soon as the ice clears the harbor. 
           Our early April fishery showed a lot of Lake Trout.  In fact, my 1st fish of 2009 turned into a double ...both being Lakers.  Click 4/13/09 pair of Lakers
            Late April 2009 was the best we had for Browns off Manistee in a mighty long time.  I'm hoping this trend continues carries forward in 2010!

12/19/09  Today's featured photo has a caption saying, "why do we fish?"  I think the grins on my fishing bud, "Roscoe" aka Steve S. face answer this question fully. 
           Fish this large are always a handful.   Adult King Salmon in the 20 pound class are challenging and patience must exercised.
 Click our 2 largest Kings on 8/5/09 
           Prior to these two big King Salmon being photographed, there was a good solid 20 minutes of behind the scenes ...organized confusion on the evening of 8/5/09!

12/18/09  Smaller returns of Salmon at our weirs, BKD, VHS, trap nets, high gas prices, windfarms, rough water, fog, Asian Carp, Zebra, Quagga Mussels ...etc.
           There's only one fix to the above mentioned ills.  That's when you see the first inkling of a hit and your excitement level instantly ratchets up.  Then ...all is better!
     My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer is now at 22"

12/17/09  My lip might have shot from my hip about the windmills in the planning stages for Mason and Oceana Counties.   Upon closer investigation I found these power generating wind powered turbines can float.  Distance above the water to the hub of the blades on the windmill would be about 260'.  Rotor diameter pegs out close to 400'.
           Massive would be an understatement, but the best part is these floating concrete structures can be towed way out towards the middle of Lk. Michigan.  Where they wouldn't bother anyone ...if this project is done right?  Click floating windmills 

12/16/09  There's a storm brewing on the horizon for Great Lakes anglers.  In the planning stages, ...there's planned aquatic theme park of 100 to 200 power generating windmills planned for the waters of Mason and Oceana Counties. 
            These wind driven power generators are said to be 3.7 miles offshore in Mason County and much closer to the beach in Oceana County.
            This is a dumb idea who's time has not come for marine navigational safety reasons.  Common cents fact 1 says: marine offshore construction costs 2 to 3 times higher than traditional land built sites.  Common cents fact 2 says: underwater power cables carrying mega watts of electric power is not a foolproof strategy.
            I'm all for alternative energy, but land built wind farms on higher elevations closer to Lake Michigan makes far more sense!
            Personally, I see this as a 3 billion dollar tax money grab by the unscrupulous Charlatan developers of
Havgul and Scandia.
            Please say it ain't so, ...but the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers are in charge of the permits for projects like this.  These 2 reckless government agencies are the ones directly responsible for the Asian Carp fiasco swimming up the Chicago Drainage Canal into Lk. Michigan!
    My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer is now at 22"

12/15/09  Today's a good day to put this website on autopilot and recommend visiting the vast Encyclopedia of Tip and Tricks.  Most of the Tips and Tricks section is built on the back of my 4 decades of fishing the Great Lakes.  Click for Tips and Tricks
               My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer is now at 19"

12/14/09   Here's some enlightening reel-facts from my 2009 fishing log: 
My boat, SR1979 took 86 fish in 16 trips.  Never averaging no more than 4 hours with lines in the water.  This breaks down to a 5.4 fish a trip average, or 1.35 fish per hour.  In my quest to boat these fish the overall distance traveled close to 140 miles.  Counting both miles trolled & miles on plane to ...and from the fishing grounds.
         Majority of the days logged were rarely in prime time due to work demands.  Most of the days fished were in September after the mother lode of Kings scooted up the river.  Species count was
14 Coho, 48 Kings, 8 Brown Trout, 4 Steelhead  & 12 Lake Trout.
         Our 5.4 fish boxes were built after 9am in the off peak bite timeframe with a small 5 rod spread 90% of the time (3 riggers-2 divers).  Never did we have lines in the water at first light and only fished to dark once in 2009. 
Click 2009 average box
        Our average man hour per Chinook/King was .33  Per all species it was close to .60.  King Salmon catch rates aboard charter boats in 2009
was .256 per man hour.  Man hours are per each angler aboard.  Like 3 fishermen fishing for 4 hours, equals 12 man hours.

12/13/09  Only 12 days left until Christmas as 2009 continues to zoom by.  Looking forward to the first day of winter on the 21st.  Not for the joy of season, but the winter solstice when the days will finally start getting gradually longer.  The dark stuff at 5:30pm makes our days seem way too short!
                    My Manistee 2009-2010 winter snowometer is now at 18"

12/11/09  The official start of winter is exactly 10 days away, beginning on Dec. 21st.  Mother Nature was behaving herself quite nicely up until 2 days ago, but not now!
          Our first real taste of winter has besieged Manistee County, MI.  This last system snow that began this past Tuesday and along with lake effect has piled up a better foot than a foot white stuff at my place.  Yesterday was particularly miserable once I figured out this is a preview of what's to come for the next 3 months!  Click 12/10/09 snow

12/10/09  Dating back to 5/12/09 our MDNR planted 444,401 King/Chinook Salmon in Manistee County, MI.  Of that number 69,300 King Salmon went to the local net pen project.  The remaining 375,101 King Salmon were planted in the Little Manistee River at the 8 Mile Bridge & 9 Mile Bridge crossings.
          No Kings planted in the Big Manistee River what-so-ever.  However, there were 120,042 Coho Salmon planted at Tippy Dam on 9/9/09 in 2 separate loads of approx 60k.
           On Apr. 17th & 30th, 2009 ...50,901 Michigan strain Steelhead were planted at Tippy Dam.  On 4/21/09 another 35,394 Skamania were dumped in at Tippy too.
           If you'd like to research your county's planting records that archive back to 1979 please use this link: Click MDNR Fish Stocking Data Base

           To me?  ...stuff like this is beyond fascinating!
My Manistee 2009-2010 snowometer is now 12"
(got whacked with a good 7" yesterday)

12/9/09  Crunched some more numbers for the years of 1999-2007 concerning the King return to the Little Manistee weir.  That average figured out to be 14,905 fish per year.
          MDNR cut the plants on King, or Chinook Salmon by 25%.  Targeted reduction of 75% to the 14,905 averaged returning Salmon would amount to 11,179.
          Instead we get back numbers of fish the past 2 seasons that are 3 to 6 thousand below averaged-out numbers with reduction numbers set forth by our DNR.
          This just goes to show managing these fish is much like playing "pin the tail on the donkey" ...blindfolded!  There is no written in stone formula to control numbers of fish.  
          Now, here's the kick in the seat of pants.  Personally, I had easier days in 2008, if compared to 2009, but there was smaller return in 2008? 
          So, a lot of factors on how you view success is directly related to a certain timeframe (days you went) ...if you fished off the Port of Manistee, MI in 08, or 09.
          Please do not see this, as I'm saying plant more fish.  There was a bill introduced in 1991 by MI State Representative Margaret O'Connor to allow use of the Grass Carp in Michigan.  Politics leading the way in favor of the Grass Carp?  This bill never passed, but it shows lay people, or politics should never attempt to set policy for any DNR!
                     My Manistee snow gauge now sits at 5" so far this fall

12/8/09  The below table is the return numbers of Chinook Salmon with info supplied by our MDNR.  It shows the last 11 seasons of Salmon captured at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.  If you average the 11 years, it comes 13,417 per year average. 
          The eye opening reel-fact is adding the return numbers for 2008 and 2009 it comes to 13,441.  An average return for 2008 & 2009 that number would be 26,834.  Instead we get 1/2 that amount with the shocking revelation? ...took 2 years to get it!
          Basically, something is way wrong with our Salmon plants that have been cut by 25%, but in truth this reduction has led to 50%, or less Chinooks than just a few years ago.  Another way to look at this is based on 2008 and 2009 ...it takes 2 seasons to get back the same amount we used to get in one year not all that long ago.
          Factoring in lessened fishing pressure from an ailing Michigan economy.  So, it's not like this giant fleet harvested all the fish before they got to the Little Manistee River.

Year Chinooks Year Chinooks
1999 18,621 2005 11,075
2000 13,029 2006 12,772
2001 18,279 2007 10,946
2002 19,385 2008 5,169
2003 14,419 2009 8,274
2004 15,618 Total


Average Chinook/King Salmon return over the past 11 seasons is 13,417 per year

12/7/09  With me, seeing is believing.  That's the reason I posted a side by side ...3 year comparison time-delayed photo of Salmon spawning in Manistee County, MI.
           The setup on this image is from the same stretch of spawning gravel on Pine Creek.  Pine Creek is a designated Trout Stream by the MDNR.  Meaning by October this body of water is closed to fishing.  Except for poachers looking for a ticket and loss of fishing tackle, or unsporting Native American spearing enthusiasts. 
           All 3 photos were taken in the same window of time ...on, or around October 5th.
           BTW, numbers of fish in Pine Creek correlate closely to MDNR fish return records at the Little Manistee River Weir. Click time delayed 2007, 2008, & 2009 photos

           Be sure to visit tomorrow when enlightening Salmon numbers & averages will be exposed!   My Manistee snow gauge now sits at 3" so far this fall

12/6/09  Need to thank Mother Nature for her kind behavior.  Last year at this time we were locked into a major blizzard as today's featured comparison photo clearly shows. 
          2008 was snowy and by the middle of this month we had 30 inches on the level.
          So far, this fall has been more than tolerable with September being one of the best in recent memory.  Let's hope Mother Nature continues playing nice! Click 08 vs. 09

            My Manistee snow gauge sits at 2" so far this fall

12/5/09  This is about the time of the year I starting looking back and recalling the memorable episodes of the year slipping by.  One of my fondest 2009 recollections was a spur of the moment trip to New Buffalo, MI back on 5/5/09. 
          Test session was the mission, but it soon ended up being a Salmon slaughter with the then, new HRP BTI's ...being the grim reapers.   Click for 5/5/09 triple
          This trip is where we scored our only bonafided triple header of 2009 with 3 fish on at the same time.  Landing 2 Coho and the first King Salmon of the then ...new season!
          Stuff like is big fun for my ace fishin' bud, John J and I!  It took longer to launch and retrieve the boat, than it did for us to catch our 10 fish limit. 
          Fishing this easy soon loses it's appeal.  After seeing we had no more to prove, we cut a trail back to Manistee early after a very short morning event in New Buffalo, MI.

12/4/09  Poisoning the Chicago Canal below the electrical barrier has begun.  So far, only one Asian Carp has been captured dead on the surface.  This electric barrier is a lot of smoke and mirrors, cuz at best it's only rated at 95 to 98 percent effective.
          Today's photo is of Frank Avila, Commissioner of Metro. Water Reclamation Dist. of Greater Chicago holding the lone single Carp they found. Click 12/3/09 Asian Carp

          This story is very complex and not suited for the format of daily updates in 3, or 4 short paragraphs.  The
crux is not to let the Asian Carp into the Great Lakes. 
          Asian Carp have over run  the Mississippi basin and have displaced native species. Plus, making boating hazardous to your health.  Why? ...Silver Carp have a tendency to fly out of the water when a boat disturbs them.  Knocking people silly from Carp collisions!

12/3/09  Kinda like to finish Carp College today, but there's more and more info I've ran across in my research about these Asian invaders.   So, let's dig deeper into these members of the minnow family, the Grass Carp & Black Carp.  Click Grass Carp.
           Grass Carp can live for 15 years and reach well over 100 pounds in the right conditions.  According to what I read, Grass Carp have been imported illegally in MI. 
           The Black Carp is one scary critter that feeds on mollusks, meaning snails and mussels.  Black Carp actually have a set of molars to grind up the hard outer shell.  Then, they suck in the soft nutritious tissue of the clam, or snail.  Spitting out pieces of the chewed up shell in the process.  Black Carp can live up to 15 years & grow to 150 lbs.
            These Asian Carp species of the Black, Grass, Bighead and Silver are known as the big 4 and have farmed by Chinese aquaculture for 100s of years. Click Black Carp

12/2/09   Figured I'd better hold Asian Carp Class today.  So, we'd all would gain a little knowledge of this threat to our Great Lakes ...being the Silver and Bighead Carp.
   It's a distinct possibility these fish have already entered Lk. Michigan via the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.  Poisoning by rotenone is underway, or will be soon.
             Posted a photos of the Carp species of the Asian Bighead and Sliver Carp.  Silver Carp are the ones that fly out of the water. Click Bighead Carp  Click Silver Carp
          Both of these fish are filter feeders.  Straining minute creatures (phytoplankton) from the water.  They were introduced for that reason ...to clean up/control algae growth in aquaculture and municipal wastewater treatment facilities.
          Silver Carp can grow to 60 pounds. Bighead "carposuars" can reach robust 110lbs.
          Here's a fact I found next to unbelievable: these filter feeders can strain nutrients from the water as small as 4
µm (µm is one millionth of a meter).
A strand of human hair is around 100 (µm) i.e. micrometers, or microns wide/thick.  Both of these Carp have a sponge-like membrane in their gill rakers that does this.

           One thing that does not bode well for us is the extreme prolific nature of these Carp.  Females in the right conditions can spawn up to 3 times a year.
           Now, if the Bighead and Silver Carp is not enough frosting on the cake?   There's Black Carp grows to 150 lbs and main line of chow is mollusks.  Like unlimited smorgasbord of Zebra and Quagga Mussels that cover the bottom of our Great Lakes.  The Black Carp is often called the snail carp too.  Then, there's the Grass Carp, but that story can wait!

12/1/09  Please don't view today's update with a knee jerk "sky is falling" overreaction, cuz it was bound to happen.  It's been proven undesirable Asian Carp have breached the electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.   Click Bighead Carp
           Asian Carp have been found upstream above the barrier and poisoning efforts are said to be underway.  Been watching this circus of errors unfold over the past 3 weeks.
           As little 10,000 years ago the Laurentide ice sheet, i.e. glacier was forming watershed we know as the Great Lakes of: Erie, Huron Michigan, Ontario and Superior.
           This was a solid chunk of ice, 8000' to possibly to more than 10,000' thick.  Mother nature on her own established a vast eco system.  Including several varieties of fish in large inland seas formerly devoid of all aquatic life. Click Silver Carp
           Transmigration of fertilized fish eggs can happen naturally via airmail in short hops on birds, waterfowl & gulls.  How else can landlocked lakes with identical species of fish be explained?  Eggs/baby fish can stick to feet and feathers, not to mention regurgitation.
Tomorrow's important update is about the hard cold reel-facts of 2009 Salmon season!

11/30/09  Probably like some of you, I did most the major Christmas shopping online.  Living in Manistee County, MI leave you with very few choices, or selections.
           In shopped around ...I found the reel-savings is in free shipping.  Purchased a 106 pound electrical generator from Home Depot and got free shipping. 
           Bought an oversized 84 inch set of oars, a printer and some other items that will remain secret till Christmas Day.  In every case I paid no shipping and saved on sales tax, except for the Home Depot one.

11/29/09  24.95 Meat Rig Storage Cases are on sale for 18.70 ...a price slashing 25% discount!  As much as flies & meat rigs cost?  It's wise & cost effective to organize them. 
          Especially, when protecting just 2 meat rigs, or 3 trolling flies pays in full for your investment.  Click Meat Rig & Trolling Fly case sale    Click Storage Case usage
           Not to mention the convenience factor of having everything sorted your finger tips for quick & EZ access when on the pond.  Not in tangled up wads of Mylar & twisted mono!
           I won't insult your intelligence by saying you'll save money, cuz the only reel-way to save is not to spend in the first place.  Honestly, over the long haul these worthwhile fly/meat rig storage cases will pay for themselves several times over.
           Purchase 100.00 worth of tackle at the webstore: www.michiganangler.com
and you'll receive a 19.95 split set of Sparkler and HRP BTI 10" flashers at no charge. This amounts to 20% off and when figured with the free shipping the total cost saving is 25%.
The HRP and Sparkler BTIs have been featured in many photos throughout 2009.

11/28/09  Thanksgiving night Manistee County, MI received is first trace amounts of snow this fall.  All be in may, official winter doesn't begin on Dec. 21, 2009. 
          Just seeing the glorious white stuff filled me with glee knowing I get to deal with about 150 inches of the white stuff every winter.  Click 1st fall 2009 snow
           Harkening back to the many joyous hours spent clearing my driveway with my old buddy, Mr. Plow Truck aka 1996 Ford F150.  Seeing yesterday morning's mini snowfall started endless loop of the Christmas carol, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," that kept annoyingly recycling itself in my head ...endlessly!
           If you even remotely believe any of the above storyline ...there's a bridge in Brooklyn NY ...I can sell you at a mighty good price!

11/27/09  Read the new article about fish and the color red yet?  I know it's not a fleet-wide accepted color, but that actually works in your favor.  Click new article part 1
            Conditioned response to color has to come into play.  By the time a King Salmon grows to over 20 pounds how many lures/colors do you think this fish has seen over it's lifetime?  There's just no way a Lk. MI King/Chinook Salmon can reach adulthood without seeing hoards of tackle drug in front of it snout.  Click new article about red part II

Looking for reading material on current tackle, or methods? Click tips & tricks section

11/26/09  Wanted come up with a catchy preface to a Thanksgiving greeting.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving, or have Great Thanksgiving just don't have the right fit. 
           Then, I remembered back when a person was complaining about what they wanted and couldn't afford, because our economy was tanking about this time last year.
            Me, not known for being a deep thinker ...came up with the perfect reply. 
I said, "you'd better be thankful for what you have.  Life based on the blessings you already have ...not future wants and desires."
                         So, have a thankful Thanksgiving Day 2009!

11/25/09  King Puke Glow BTI is officially introduced today. This is a spin-off of the hot Leland Puke (copper-red) pattern combined with #1 selling BTI, King Purple Glow.
             Leland Puke was available at a few select tackle stores late last summer.   Never was brave enough to list it at the webstore.  Reason? ...we were already swamped with orders for this new deadly Puke design from "word of mouth" sales.
             I have a love-hate relationship with the Leland Puke.  Love the way it sticks fish, but hate the extra work in painting to get the right effect. Click King Puke Glo BTI

11/24/09  Today, it's my great pleasure to introduce the 2010 lethal Leland Puke BTI 10" flasher.  In this photo Click Leland Puke BTI it's the red and copper one.
              Have doubts about fishing tackle that's red?  Have you been hoodwinked into believing fish cannot see red below 50'.  Click my new article saying otherwise

              Both of these subjects will be expanded upon in the future.  At update time around midnight last night, my get up and go, ...got up and went.

11/23/09   Great week in store for this website.  Have a new article that might debut later today, or tomorrow for sure.  It's in the final stages and just needs minor re-writes.
            Supposed to turn cold toward the end of this week.  I'm sure those still hunting deer will appreciate the possibly of snow.  Yes, it's the dreaded the snow word.
             Message board members, please check the the Capt. John's Fishing Products forum.  It has links to the new articles and the yet to debut 2010 Leland Puke BTI flasher. 

11/22/09  Today's update was partially supplied by Tom LB with a nice catch of Saginaw Bay Walleyes.  Great way to extend the season and catch some yummy fillets.
            2nd part was sent in by Bruce S of his nice opening day an impressive tall rack on his buck.  My thanks goes Tom and Bruce for taking the time to share their photos with us.
         Click Tom's late season bay Walleyes      Click Bruce's big boned rack

11/21/09  Congrats to John J on his respectable 8 point Manistee County, MI buck.  John is a dedicated deer hunter who puts his time in.  He hunts his property that's close to state/fed land.  This area sees a lot of pressure from mostly local hunters. 
           John J turns this negative into a positive by studying routes the deer are using and which way they travel in certain wind directions.  Then, adjusting his stand to whatever conditions mother nature throws at him.  Click John J's 8 pointer

11/20/09  Need to thank Saginaw River Walleye guru, Steve E for his kindness in sharing his catch photo with us. Click 11/18/09 Saginaw River 'eyes
           While Steve gladly shares what he catches, he's tight lipped about the zone on the river where he been pulling nighttime limits.  Tip lipped is OK with me.  Cuz sharing your honey hole leads to no hole at all when the word spreads, ...like it always does!

11/19/09  Thanksgiving is one week away and that's when the new deadly 2010 Leland Puke BTI and Monkey Puke meat rigs will be unveiled.
           Sparkler Red Meat Rig is today's featured photo hanging from the jaw of good mid-teen King taken on 8/12/09.  It was hitched to a Black Mamba BTI for the rest of last season.  I am very proud of the 2009 Sparkler metal flake series of tackle and the the hot red HRPs that earned their way into my program by catching fish!
           I've stockpiled a huge photographic record from last season to share with you one week from today, or Thanksgiving Day 2009. Click Sparkler Red Meat Rig

11/18/09  Today's featured photo is on the cutting edge of instant onboard bait usage.  4 scissor snips and you're good to go.  This eliminates bait prep at home, but you will need brine aboard for used hand-cut filets when you're done.  Click 4 snip meat method
          This "how-to" method needs to be revisited in the future and this photo was my 1st attempt.  Look for a new enhanced photo with step by step instructions before the 2010 season begins.  I know many like the commercial prepared strips and that's fine.  Knowing other ways to use reel-bait effectively is wise on your part. 
          Besides, it's been proven whole Red Label bait is more productive in side by side, "on the water" test sessions vs. store bought strips with neutral observers aboard. 
          So, I'm no advocate of the 6 strips in a tub.  Availability is always a serious question.  Making your own is more cost effective.  More on this tomorrow....

11/17/09  Dyed in the wool Lk. Michigan fishermen, Steve and Terry hit the big pond yesterday.  These late season WI anglers took 5 hits and one of the most handsome male Steelhead, or 'bow shown on this website this year. Click 11/16/09 WI Silver Bullet!
           Steelhead of this size is what I've been looking for in the Big Manistee River on our 11/3 & 11/12 outings.  Our best fish so far is about 1/2 the size of Terry's 11/16/09 fish.
     4 scissor snip onboard fast bait processing has been delayed. Click instant bait prep

11/16/09  Hunting pressure is medium to light around where I live and hunt.  While there seems to be an abundance of does with this year's fawn crop, horns are scarce. 
            With the onset of a hard winter in late fall in 2008, it's quite possible we lost a lot of mature bucks due to winter kill.  Last winter was a tough one in Manistee!
            Wintery weather began in early December 08 for Manistee County.  I recall a major blizzard when we got over 2' of snow on, or around 12/5/08. 
            2008's early deep snows might have prevented last year's mature breeding bucks from regaining weight lost during the rut.  Leading to a large winter die-off.
Tomorrow's topic will zoom-in on fast whole bait preparation. Done with 4 scissor snips!

11/15/09  Good luck to all taking to the woods today in search of the elusive whitetail deer.  Have a safe and enjoyable Michigan firearms deer season.

11/14/09  Count down is at 1 for Michigan's firearm season for whitetail deer.  With that thought in mind, today's featured photo of John M's monster buck fits right in.  John took his deer in Carson City, MI that's located NW of St. Johns, MI. Click John's trophy buck

11/13/09  Fished the Big Manistee River with Fred G from Bear Lake, MI yesterday.  Wanted to show him a decent day and that didn't happen.  Our time frame on the river was from 8am thru 1pm, just like a couple of days ago.  That being last Tuesday.
            We fished 9 runs/holes and were rewarded with only one kinda small 4lb. hen Steelhead ...that had been in the river for a while.  This was our only bite.  Good thing she stuck, or we'd have pulled a skunk.  Our lone fish was released after a quick photo session.
            We fished from High Bridge down to the "narrows" and saw only one other fish hooked up other than the one we caught.  Click our 11/12/09 small hen
            Plain truth; there's just not enough Steelhead in this upper section of river to absorb the punishment of the 20 some boat trailers we seen last Tuesday ...upon our departure from the High Bridge parking lot around 1:30pm
            Near as I can ascertain ...there was 3 fish caught in the 4 miles of river we used.  This shows an under utilization of a great fall resource that has driven local businesses into near bankruptcy.  More on how government is toxic to the fishing business next week!
      If you're leaving today for firearms deer season have a safe and successful hunt.

11/12/09  Today's photo of the day is courtesy of Rob H ...aka Steelhead Stalker fishing out of Goulais River on the E end of Lk. Superior near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
           There are some good sized Steelhead in our northernmost Great Lake.  Rob's photo clearly shows a 'bow pushing 10 pounds Click Rob's Lk. Superior Steelie

  Mental note to self: Rod requested I send him a photo of my riverboat anchor system.
                Tomorrow is Friday the 13th ...if you're of superstitious sort?

11/11/09  Fished the Big Manistee River from about 8am thru 1pm with John J yesterday.  Our chosen stretch of water was the upper section of the big river. 
           Now, I caution you, this report is going to sound a lot better than it is. 
           We fished 5 holes, or runs, ...having 5 slam-dunk hard pounding hits.  Four of the strikes got hooked-up & 3 made it to the boat. Click John J's Manistee River Steelie
           Downside to this report is most of the fish we hit were skippers.  Skippers are precocious early maturing small adult Steelhead in the sub 3 pound category   My guess is; skippers are 2 year old fish with full size adult Steelies being around 4.

           The second photo of the day shows a war-weary, beat-up, and scarred Gold & Black Flatfish all wadded
up in the net with 4 gang hooks. Click for this photo
           It's the height of ambition to witness a small skipper tackle a 4" T-4 Flatfish.  All fish were released back into the Big Manistee River unharmed and quite frisky!

11/10/09  With the advent of firearms deer season only 5 days away, today's photo is a perfect fit.  Last Saturday, Tom M took a moose of a deer with his bow.  Unless I miss my guess, this huge deer is from SE Michigan down towards Brighton, MI ...where Tom lives.
           It's rare for deer in Manistee County, MI where I live to exceed 180 pounds.  With 120# to 150# being more in the normal category. Click Tom's recent trophy whitetail

           For comparisons sake, I posted a photo of a 10 pointer we took off my property last November. You can plainly see the size difference. Click 2008 Manistee 10 pointer
           Skipped over planned update today about what was your best way to catch Great Lakes fish, mainly Salmon & Trout?  This topic will be discussed in great length soon.

11/9/09  Today's featured photo is a time-lapse image stated on 9/20/09 thru 11/2/09 
(7 weeks to complete).  The theme behind the picture is how long it takes for the trees to shed their leaves.  For me ...time is impossible to explain, as it only exists in the instant of now and is impossible to gauge once it's gone by.  Click for 4 photo decoupage
         Tomorrow's topic will be what was your most productive method to catch fish.  Was it lead core, copper, riggers, wire divers, mono divers, or super braid divers? 

11/8/09  I have no regrets about anything to do with this website.  Except in the early years when everyone was on dialup internet connections.  Most of the early digital photos shown on this website were in the 640x480 pixel range.  This was to facilitate load time.
          That was fine for the years of 2000 thru 2005, but monitor resolutions increased from a standard 800x600 (back then) to 1024x768 and even 1280x1024 nowadays.  While many of you are still on dialup, over 60% have some sort of high speed net connection.

11/7/09  Last Week's Monday thru Friday regular daily updates lightly touched on good 15 different topics.  All pertinent to the hunters and fishermen that live around the Great Lakes.   884 words were used in this Mon.-Fri. time span to relay information.  Without the internet ...breaking sportsmen news would have never been shared with the public.
           On deck for today's chores is getting my 14' riverboat shipshape for some November Steelheading on the Big Manistee River before the weather turns reel-nasty.

11/6/09  Walleyes are moving up the Saginaw River from the bay according to website member, Chaos aka Steve E.  He's been beating up on the Walleyes with a late afternoon and night bite.  Steve said the fish he's been working are a good 20 miles upstream from Saginaw Bay in the Saginaw River. Click Saginaw River Walleyes
          There something afoot with Michigan's DNR.  MDNR is combining with Department of Environmental Quality and will be known as DNRE. 
          This is bad news for the sportsman the way I see it.  Our fish and game departments should be stand alone agencies where we don't get lost in a fast shuffle.  Let's hope this is not another sneaky ploy to raid our license fee monies. 
          A few years back we voted on and passed a bill saying all money collected from fishing and hunting licenses must be spent on hunting and fishing.  Not put in the State of Michigan's "general fund" where it's diverted to other government spending.
          After years of unconfirmed sightings, the MDNR has finally confirmed there are mountain lions, or cougars in Michigan's UP according to TV 7/4 in TC.  No doubt, seeing these apex predators are in the UP ...they're probably already in the lower peninsula too.

11/5/09   Revamped an article about Michigan ports and landmarks first completed back in 2003.  This page has most of the State of Michigan's side of Lk. MI ports.  Other points of interest included; the "spark plug" in Saginaw Bay and North Manitou Island off Leland.
            This piece is a favorite of mine.  It's fun reminiscing about the varied ports I've visited over the past 41 years on the Great Lakes.  Click MI Ports & Landmarks
            Some anglers are homebound, being chained to a certain favored port.  Not interested in venturing to new areas?  Possibly lacking confidence to fish new waters?
            Big time news to the homebodies, the fish off your port today migrate up and down the coast ...from port to port.  Never being anchored in one place for too long.  Unless, they're adult Salmon are staging for spawning runs off major rivers.
            Hope you enjoy this page that's normally reserved for website members only.  The wonders of the internet make this article possible.  Traditional print media does not have room for the 26 full size color photos.  Great Lakes market is a small one & is often ignored by TV for the most part.  Out of the mainstream photo journalism like ports & landmarks is tailor made for the internet ...and it's my pleasure to bring it to you!

11/4/09  My lake boat SR1979 is finally 100% winterized & is put to bed for winter's long 5 month, 150 some days of boat sleep.  Here's my check list used to winterize:
1. drain, then refill cooling system with 50/50 antifreeze mix
2. change Mercrusier outdrive 80/90 weight gear lube with new
3. fog engine on final shut down with Marvel Mystery Oil
4. change oil in 305 GM V8 and install new oil filer.
5. change oil in OMC 4 stroke 15 hp. trolling motor
6. drain and replace 80/90 weight gear lube in OMC trolling motor
7. put the boat trailer on blocks to take the weight off the tires & springs
8. please remember, buying oil and gear lube is cheaper than new parts & repair bills

Completing the above tasks means a boat ultra ready for April 2010.  Hate dealing with boat issues at the beginning of new big lake season.  If you're handy with a wrench, doing it yourself will $ave you big buck$.  I live by; "if you want it done right? ...do it yourself!"
     Tomorrow's update will focus on Lk MI ports & landmarks. Click for sneak peek

11/3/09  Hats off to "Getaway" Bob K for scoring on a 4 point with an amphibious tactic.  He kayaked across a river, hunted and took his deer with a bow.  Then had to load the carcass in a spare kayak to transport it back across the river to where he started.
           Hard to believe firearms whitetail season is only a couple of weeks away.  Normally, from mid-Sept. thru Thanksgiving is time off, or vacation time from making tackle.  Not so this year.  While we haven't been over-run with orders, fall sales are way ahead of the past 3 seasons.  Click Getaway's 4 pt. river buck

11/2/09  In my travels yesterday, seen the High Bridge Public Access to the Big Manistee River.  To the outside, there were maybe 10 boat trailers.  Surprisingly light for this time of the fall Steelhead season.  Factoring in most of the recent reports have been decent.
            October 2009 has been a fairly wet month where Consumers Power had to run stages of high water from Tippy Dam.  Currently the water flow is 2500 cubic feet of water per second.  Normal average for this time in November is about 1500. 
            Increased water flow does a couple of things.  First, it draws fish in for Lk. Michigan.  Second, it pulls fish upstream.  Distributing the sought after Steelhead throughout the entire Big Manistee River system all the way up to Tippy Dam.
            No rain? ...the fish hangout in the bottom third of the river, more down towards the M55 bridge.  Making it difficult for those that prefer the upper sections.

11/1/09  Should have my lake boat fully winterized today.  Changing the oil in the 4 stroke OMC 15 hp. and 305 V8 GM is all that remains. SR 1979 is 100% shipshape and is ultra ready for the big lake trolling season in April 2010!  Click fogging GM V8
           Today looks like the best day out of the next 5 to complete outdoor tasks.  Will be readying the 14' riverboat for Steelheading the Big Manistee River this week too.

10/31/09  Halloween themed question: Was the 2009 season a trick, or a treat in your book?  Mine was a little of both and learned I need more time on the water.
           It's that time of the year again when daylight saving time falls back 1 hour tonight.  Technically, it shifts on 2am November 1, or in the wee hours this Sunday.

10/30/09  Been haunted by an article I read a long time ago.  It was about some off the wall environmental group that were pushing for only native fish to the Great Lakes.
            Meaning the elimination of all Trout and Salmon plants.  With the exception of Lake Trout, cuz these fish are native to the Great Lakes.
            The white elephant St. Lawrence seaway was supposed to be a boon.  Opening the Great Lakes ports to world-wide shipping.  However, this expensive outdated boondoggle has never lived up to expectations.  Shipping us nasty foreign invaders like the spiny water flea, guagga, and zebra mussels instead.
            It's my firm belief our Salmon fishery is safe.  There are problems associated with California's dwindling Chinook Salmon fishery with closures, catch and release rules. 
            It makes sense to maintain spare brood stocks of Coho, or Chinook/King Salmon in the Great Lakes to prevent an extinction of a species ...if worse came to worse.

10/29/09  Been dragging my feet about winterizing my big lake boat.  Hoping to get out a time, or two more until mechanical failure shut me down for the last 2 weeks.
            The power trim/tilt manifold distribution at the bottom of the my Mercrusier outdrive was badly eroded & the inside hose had small leak.  Click faulty  parts
            Could have stored my boat as is, but wanted my vessel ultra shipshape.  In less then 5 months Lake Michigan April Brown Trout off the Port of Manistee, MI will be calling.  Kicking off a brand new season with lengthy boat chores sucks big time.
            Problems owning an older boat are going to happen just like they would with a newer model.  To make a long story short, replaced the leaky hose, manifold and the power trim/tilt pump (from eBay) all for less than 200 bucks by turning the wrenches myself.          Tomorrow's Halloween update is what haunts me about our fishery & fishing in general?

10/28/09  King Salmon catch rates aboard charter boats in 2009 was .256 per man hour.  Kinda convoluted to explain.  But, a party of 4 fishermen off the dock for 6 hours amounts to 24 man hours of effort ...equaling 4 hours per boated fish.  So, average was 6 Kings per a 6 hour charter excursion with 4 people aboard. 
            Taking this in account for the entire season and not just the months when average catch rates would have shown higher numbers ...like May & August.
            Knowing what I know about the charter business cuz I was in it for 20 years.  You can figure at least 3 fish were not boated due to customer error using the above figures.  Charter guests lose fish for a multitude of reasons, but that's what they pay you for.
            Rough math aboard my boat in 2009 says we boated .75 fish per hour based on a average group of 2.5 people off the dock for 4 hours.  My numbers deserve to be better, as almost all of my guests are experienced fisher people. 
           Keeping in mind, we fished mostly off peak times like afternoons & later mornings.

10/27/09  Recent scuttlebutt from our MDNR points to 2010 being a continuation of 5 Salmon of the same species.  Like 5 Kings, or Coho per license.  Not the 3 of each specie rule from 1990 thru 2008.  Hard to tell exactly what the DNR's actions are until the 2010 MI fishing regulation book comes out.  All the other sates surrounding the Lk. MI have a 5 King, or Coho limit.  So, why should we the residents of MI ...be dealt less?
            My only beef with the MDNR is there's no vision for the future.  Nothing like new programs for triploid Steelhead/Rainbow let's say.  I'm sure a pilot program from private funds could & would get the ball rolling.  Click for 48# world record rainbow
            Recent world record 48 pound Rainbow caught on 9/16/09 is probably a triploid with engineered chromosomes that prevents fish from reaching sexual maturity.  This is the second world record 'bow from Lk. Diefenbaker in
Saskatchewan, Canada.  It's said that 9 years ago triploid Rainbow Trout being raised at a fish farm escaped into this lake.
            The triploid experiment didn't workout our King Salmon.  Our DNR tried back in the early 1990s and later 1980s.  However, it's now proven to work with Rainbows!  Steelhead and 'bows should be related close enough to make this work! 

10/26/09  Looking back on the 2009 season Sparkler and HRP Super Mag Meat Heads came to mind.  These new colors earned their way into my program.  Towards the end of this season these productive selections stayed welded on certain rods.  Going into the water every time out. Click 2009 Super Mag HRP & Sparkler Meat Heads
             If you follow this website you see the exact photos of what was used.  My catch numbers are not inflated, or overstated just to make myself look good.  There's a bunch of folks that will tell you their stuff works. I hold myself to a much higher standard & prefer prove it with photos:  Click 7/31/09 Sparkler Proof!   Click 9/2/09 HRP Proof!
             My fish catch rate average was 5.8 fish per outing based on 4 hours in always non-peak bite times.  Factoring in when fish was reel-good? ...getting away from the shop and making tackle was an impossibility.  Never in 2009 did we have lines in the water before 8am and only once fished till dark.   More on this subject in the future.
Bunch of outstanding topics on deck for this week's updates:
1.  Will there be a 5 Salmon of one specie per person in MI during 2010?
2.  Are exotics like Salmon and Trout in danger of being discontinued in the Great Lakes?
3.  What was the average fish per man hour rating during 2009 aboard charter vessels?
4.  Was the ability fish essential for the survival of the human species?
            Tuned in this week for more discussion on the above related topics.
A big thank you to new website member, Lip Ripper for the custom priest (fish club) to perform last rites on recently boated fish.  Click for custom fish knocker

10/25/09  You know it's easy to overlook things.  Like my time on the waters relating to this website.  To clarify, caught my first Coho Salmon on 10/1/68.  As an avid sport fisherman thru 1982 up to 500 Salmon & Trout were caught a season as a non pro.
          In June of 1983 began charter career out of La Salle, MI for Walleyes on Lake Erie.  By July of that year the boat was moved to Jacobsons Marina in Frankfort, MI.  Various other dockages in Frankfort thru 1988 including East Shore and Betsie Bay marinas.
          In 1984 I began my spring big lake Salmon trips out of Harbor Beach, MI.  Then moved the boat in late May to River Front Marina on the Raison River in Monroe, MI thru mid-July.  Then finishing the rest of the seasons out of the Port of Frankfort, MI thru 1988. 1989 was my last season on Lk. Erie for Walleyes & my first spring/summer fishing out of Port Austin on Lk. Huron due to the BKD fiasco on Lk Michigan.
          There a bunch more to come as the 10th anniversary of this website in January 2010 draws closer.  Here's the credentials of my life's fishing history:

 Lk. Erie

Lk. Huron

Lk. Michigan

Big Manistee River

1983 thru 1989
Late May thru June as a charter

1977-1994 Late April & May
1989 & 1990 May thru Sept.

1968 to present
1983-2003 as a charter skipper

1985 thru 2003
Sept. thru April
(as a guide)

10/24/09  Here's some trivia about this website that wowed me.  Since January 2000 11,203 photos have been published in the last 3590 days (approx).  I highly doubt that any fishing website on this planet has a Great Lakes fish photo library that comes close!
           Updated an article I wrote in 2002 named "Battle Stations."  It concerns rod handling techniques and other useful tips. 
While this piece was written about 7 years ago, it was becoming dated and was in need of re-writes. Click Battle Stations article

10/23/09  Even with cross bow usage for deer for 2009, not many are bow hunting in Manistee County.  DNR's ban on baiting has taken it's toll.  Granted areas that have fields and patches of woods, runways can bring a deer within bow range.  Most of Manistee County is all dense woods with little topography funnel deer in any one direction.
           Acorns around my place are light compared to years past.  Was hoping for a bumper crop of acorns to lessen the winter deer damage.  My smaller wind-break pine trees got chewed to a nub last winter.  Fall leaf drop is in full swing now.

10/22/09  Cooler water than normal for October has chilled the Musky action on Lake St. Clair according to website Mike R.  I've said this before, but it warrants saying again, Mike is probably our very best cross platform fisherman on our message board.  Salmon, Trout, Sturgeon and Musky are all on his target specie list.  Click recent 27# LSC Musky
          Steve E, aka Chaos was back out again Wednesday evening harassing the Saginaw Bay Walleyes ...taking his 5 fish limit.  Need to thank both Steve and Mike for use of their pho
tos.  Fresh fish pictures make my job a lot easier. Click 10/21/09 marble eyes

10/21/09  Steve E aka Chaos on our message board has been doing well on Saginaw Bay Walleyes as of lately.  Steve shared about Bay City, MI, "working the flats off the channel jigging twisters tipped w/ crawlers." has been his method of choice. 
            Chaos has racked up some pretty impressive numbers by fishing later afternoons into early evening as his photo plainly shows.  He said the 'eye's have been up to 5 pounds with not many undersized throwbacks.  Click 10/18/09 Sag Bay Walleyes

10/20/09  Today's featured photo is courtesy of Rob H aka Steelhead Stalker.  Rob lives about 20 miles from Sault Ste Marie in Goulais Bay, Ontario and got into some good late season action on Lake Superior for fall  Coho. Click for Rob's Coho
            The first 2 weeks in October 2009 are the coldest on record since 1950 with many days struggling to reach the mid-40s for daytime highs.  It's been a miserable month so far.
            For every good report I get from Lk. Michigan, or the Manistee River Steelhead situation, there's a slow one.  Size of Steelhead this fall isn't anything to write home about.  5 to 7 pounds has been the norm, with fish over 9 pounds extremely rare.

10/19/09   Today's photo of the day is a dead female King Salmon taken about a week ago on the banks of Pine Creek.  If you look closely you'll notice a caved-in, shrunken belly that was once bulging and ripe with eggs. Click for expired hen King Salmon
            Also, there's a lot fungus towards the tail.  This fungus in not unique with just Salmon, cuz I've seen the same stuff on river Brown Trout and Steelhead too.
            Another gender tip-off is the mouth that does not hinge back are far as a male.  Nor is the mouth showing a more pronounced hooked jaw (trait of males).
           To me it's kinda sad to see Salmon die during the spawn, but it completes the circle of life by creating future generations of fish to fill our dreams with.

10/18/09  Realized the need for personal bio page after posting website accomplishments yesterday.  Look for the reel-story about me in the near future.
          There are Steelhead being caught in the Big Manistee River.  You can bet the lower section (bottom 1/3) is probably your best bet.  Due to the nature of river fishing anything close to a timely reliable report is wishful thinking. 
           Why, you might ask? ...there's about 20 miles of the Big Manistee River below Tippy Dam before it ends at Manistee Lake.  This amounts to less than 2 square miles of water when you average in the width. 
           Then subtract 1 1/2 miles as transitional water.  Leaving a prime 1/2 square mile is where all the pressure is.  Sharing exactly where the fish are means you won't have a spot to fish after the word gets out.

10/17/09  Did a little average word checking since I began archiving all daily updates dating back to January 2000.  According to my rough Jethro Bodine math, there's close to a 1/2 million words pertaining to our Great Lakes Fishery. 
          In 2 months 3650 updates will have been accrued.  That's a lot of history concerning our fishery!  Click archived 2000-2009 Past Results
          While there's several fishing websites similar to this one, no one rivals my efforts when it comes to content.  I supply 99% of the written content and 95% of the photos. Good, bad, or in different there's an abundance of information in my past results section. 

10/16/09  Yesterday the Michigan DNR certified a 50.5 pound Great Lakes Musky as the official new state record.  This 55 inch behemoth was caught on Torch Lake by Kyle Anderson from Rapid City, MI on Sept. 27, 2009.  Click new MDNR record Musky
          Probably like you, ...at first ...I suspected this image was a Photo Shop special until further research said this was a reel-photo of the actual 50 pound monster.
          Official world record Musky according to the IGFA was 1 ounce short of the 70 lb. mark. This giant Musky was caught back in 1957 on the St. Lawrence River by Art Lawton. 

10/15/09  After being spoiled by a balmy September that was one of the best ever, October is another story.  We've been locked into daytime highs in the 40s and won't see the 50s again until next week.  Contrary to September, October has been very windy.
          I misspoke last week when I said Manistee's First Street Public Launch had 7 docks.  After a careful recount, come to find out ...this launch has 8 docks & 16 boats at one time can use this world class facility. Click 10/12/09 Manistee boat launch

10/14/09  Last Saturday a couple of our website members got in a brief morning of fishing in before the waves got too bad off the Port of Manistee.  Mike C and Tom M boated an mix of juvenile Kings to 9 pounds and Steelhead for a total of 7 fish by 10am.  Depths targeted was 60' to the surface.  The water temp was in the mid to low 50s down to 60'.
          What a great way to close out the season with a memorable trip the last time out, as Tom has now stored his boat for the season.  Click Mike D's 10/10/09 Steelhead
          I'd like to get out a time, or 2 more, but my power trim/tilt pump is on the blink and won't be fixed until sometime next week. 

10/13/09  One of the rising stars in the custom rod building business is website member Tony C who specializes in boat trolling rods for Walleye & Salmon.
           Barring none, nobody builds a finer 10' roller rod for 7 strand 30# test wire divers!  I'm proud to say I lent tech support to perfect this totally remarkable fishing stick.  This rod can only described as power steering, cuz your arms do not get fatigued from dealing with Salmon in the 20 pound and above class. Click Eyefull 10' wire diver roller rod
         Most of this is from the extra large cushioned fore-grip and firm backbone that easily handles mag divers with the largest ring ...towing flashers without bowing over too much!
           I count myself as lucky to know Tony, who's an asset to our message board.  My two 10' Eyefull Custom Roller rods are among my most cherished boat treasures!
Tony's taking orders for 2010 & can be contacted at: www.eyefullcustomrods.com

10/12/09  The setup on today's photo is from my annual October Salmon watching trip to Pine Creek. This stream is a tributary of the Big Manistee River our Salmon spawn in. 
          News this year is a helluva lot better than what I seen last year.  This exact same gravel bar held only one fish in 2008.  Click for this 2008 photo
          While it's not the mother lode of the years leading up to and preceding 2007, but if you look hard enough ...4 Salmon are in today's featured  photo.
          The 2009 crop of spawning fish seen were not giants, being in the mid to low teens for the most part.  Click 10/11/09 Pine Creek spawning Salmon

As a disclaimer none of Salmon swimming around in the photos ever saw my fishin' tackle. Cuz, if they'd have seen my stuff? ...these fish would have been caught a long time ago!

10/11/09  My most successful upgrades to my boat, SR1979 in 2009 was in 3 stages.  1st was reorganizing my planer board rod holders from 3 to 4 to chase April Browns.  Spacing was wrong, along with the angles to prevent tangles when a fish hits.  Adjusting the angles in the clamp-on rod holders made it a pleasure to pursue Brown Trout last April.
          Switching to super braid 35# test Spectron for my deep rigger rods was number 2.  3rd and the single best improvement was the Garmin TR1 auto-pilot for my 15 hp 4-stroke kicker.  2 and 3 are being saved future updates when I'm pressed for a worthy topic. 
          Improvements to your boat pay rewards by keeping the grief ratings low.  In our Great Lakes trolling fishery there's a bunch of hidden technology on how your vessels fishes to reach maximum effectiveness.  Generally, boats are a constant work in progress.

10/10/09  Broke a line-out clicker spring on my Okuma Catalina 45D LC.  Please do not look at this as an endorsement for this China special, but the frame is CNC machined out of solid aluminum.  An extremely expensive way to make a reel to say the least. The screws holding the side plate on had some type of thread locker (like Loctite) was used.  Nice touch and never seen this on any reels before.  Click for line-out clicker spring
         This reel was purchased in 2007 and it sees heavy usage my 10' wire-diver roller rods.  My wire reels always have the clickers on.  Why, if not?  ...spool over-run will happen.  Ruining expensive 30# seven strand wire that costs about 40 bucks per 1000'.
          These Okuma clicker springs are less than 2 bucks each.  So, I bought 5 anticipating more breakage down the road.
  When you store your reels for the winter, make sure to back the drags off completely to extend the service life of your reel's drag system.

10/9/09  Today's featured photo is probably the last Salmon of my season.  Long range open waters forecast for Lk. MI is for strong winds thru Tuesday of next week.  Later September and October are great months to fish the open water on Lake Michigan.
          However, gale force winds and huge seas can keep you shore bound for weeks.  Stout wind is the not-so-pleasant reel-deal when it comes to later season fishing.
          At least I'll have the picture to tide me over until next season in what could be my last Salmon of 2009?  Click for possibly my last 2009 Salmon?
         This juvenile King whacked a 1/2 core towing a 10" BTI Monkey Puke flasher with the new 2010 Monkey Puke 2 fly meat rig on 10/1/09 around 3pm over 400' feet of water.

10/8/09  About a week ago I snapped a photo of Manistee's world class Public Launch Facilities at the end of First Street.  Manistee's city fathers did the sport fishermen a favor when they built this launch.  I know at least 14 boats can be launched and retrieved at one time with 7 docks.  Then, it's only minutes from Lk. Michigan's open waters.
          I've seen most Lake Michigan public launches from Petosky to New Buffalo and no place rivals Manistee's public boat launch. Click to view Manistee launch

10/7/09  Looking into yesterday's poll results warrants further discussion.  I'll try to break down some of the data.  37% prefer clean lines, meaning J-Plugs (12%) and spoons (25%). This group opts for the lures that are extremely easy to pull ...plugs and spoons. 
           Clean lures requires less attention to critical speed issues.  Those favoring clean presentations tend rely on the first/last light bite and tend struggle when fish are deeper than 100'.  Clean lures equates no attractors of any kind, such as flashers.
           55% of the fleet uses some form of attractors when flasher-fly (22%), whole Bait (8%), and cut-bait/meat (25%) are lumped together.  Generally, this crowd is a little more savvy with precision trolling speeds and can do well all day long to depths exceeding 200'.
           Any type of Great Lakes trolling over 100' deep necessitates some way to control boat speed like trolling plates, or sea bags.  Sea bags go under the names of drift socks, sea anchors, & trolling bags too.  Bags act water parachutes to slow the boat down. 
           Deeper trolling speeds in mph range from the low end of 1.5 to 1.8 to 2.2 on GPS SOG (speed over ground).  I've found keeping speed below 2 mph with a meat presentation will entice negative fish to hit decently in the off peak-bite hours of 9am thru 6pm.

10/6/09  2009 Poll about your favorite method is now complete after a fair sampling of 156 votes.  I ran this poll without notice to prevent pile-on voting that would skew the results for, or against any one certain way to catch adult Salmon
           First off there is no winners, or losers in the listed methods.  As long as your happy with your catch totals to remain a fisherman in the Great Lakes, ...we all win. 
           Our Great Lakes big water fishing strength is in huge numbers of us pursuing Salmon & Trout.  The tackle used to target Salmon and Trout is almost incidental to the big picture focused on overall numbers in the fleet.   Click 2003-2009 Poll results
            Fact is there's been little movement since I first ran this poll back in 2003, except for cut, or whole bait that reached 40% in 2006.  If cut bait, plus whole bait are added together ...it's a respectable 1/3 of all votes this year.
            Data shows I have my work cut out for this winter to bring more than 8% into the fold of whole bait users, as cut bait was 25% on it's own merit.  More tomorrow....

10/5/09  Computer are great for compiling data and that's what I'm doing with today's poll that first ran back in 2003.  In 2003 meat fishing had yet to show it's full impact. 
            In fact, prior to 2003 bait/meat fishing found little favor with the Great Lakes fishing crowd until I talked it up on this website.  In 6 years bait either whole, or cut has become the standard of the fleet in several Lake Michigan ports.
            This poll was run every season with the exception of last year 2008.  When I plain forgot about.  You get a pass on forgetfulness when you're over 60, which I am. 
            Please take the poll and vote for your favorite method to catch adult Salmon in the poll just left of this paragraph in the gray box. Click for archived poll results
            After a fair sample of votes between 130 and 200 this poll will be shut down, data compiled and installed on the archived polls page.

10/4/09  In concluding yesterday's update about my personal grief meter, here's the answers: 1 thru 3 were no, 4 behaved itself, 5 was "just right" & 6 thru 10 were yes.  This adds up to a perfect 10.  Especially, the part about saying I enjoyed myself the next day. 
            It will be hard to top 10/1/09 trip.  Even if I do get a chance to fish Lk. MI again before I put my boat to sleep for winter's long nap.  Extending the season as long as possible makes sense/cent$ & owning a boat worthwhile.  Click my 1979 22' Sea Ray
            Looks like I'll get about 6 months of usage out of my vessel in 2009.  First trip this season was 4/12/09 for April Browns out of Manistee.
            Please vote in the poll for your favorite method for catching adult Salmon in the left borders adjacent to this paragraph.  Ran this very same poll dating back to 2003 for trends in tackle choices as our Great Lakes Fishery continuously evolves.  It's fascinating to have archived data over the seasons.  Click for archived poll results

10/3/09  How do you measure the success of a fishing trip?  If it's by the sheer number of fish killed, your thinking is flawed.  To me, rating a fishing trip starts with a personal grief scale of what minor problems were endured.  Here's my rating system questionnaire:


Nagging friction with boats that didn't have a clue where they were going? 
Was there a pile of tangles? 
Were there irritating insects to contend with?
Did the lake behave itself, or was it rough? 
Too hot, too cold, raining, or just right?
Did you lose track of time and the hours flew by without knowing it?
Was everyone onboard easy to get along with? 
Did you enjoy the sonar/GPS screen more than your computer monitor screen?
Was there just enough fish action to stave off boredom?
Can you say the next day, "man, that was a good time ...I really enjoyed myself?"

                 Tomorrow, my personal grief meter answers for the 10/1/09 trip.

10/2/09  Fished out of the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday and it was extra nice for a late season trip.  Conditions were gorgeous with flat seas and high temps in the low 60s. 
         Worst part of my whole day was starting my pickup at 6:45am when it was 23 degrees with the first hard killing frost/freeze of this fall.  Then, we had a dense fog to deal with until we got a couple of miles offshore.
         Never had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid anther boat, as we had Lk. Michigan ALL to ourselves.  This in itself is worth 25 fish after dealing with the hoards of August.  Our fish take did not even come close to rivaling the enjoyment factor, but still hit enough fish (5) to keep it more than interesting.  Click flat-calm water
         Fished from 80' out to 540' and never found one area better that another.  Scattered silvery-chrome juvenile Kings from 7 to11 pounds full of fight & magnificent to gaze upon, in what might have been my ...last trip of the season? Click Fred's King  

10/1/09  More than 1/2 of the docks at Manistee, MI's 1st Street Public Launch have been pulled.  There was still 3 docks left in the water for the late season Lk. MI fishermen.
          Today's featured photo is a Pink Salmon that was recently caught in Manistee County's Cedar Creek.  Pinks were never planted intentionally and 21,000 escaped back in 1956.  These Salmon have since spread to all of our Great Lakes.  Being far more plentiful in Lake Huron from my personal experience.  Click for adult male Pink Salmon
          Pinks, or Humpies do not grow very large.  The last I knew a 3 pounder qualified for a Michigan Master Angler Award.  Males will develop a large hump in front of their dorsal fin.  Hence, the nickname humpy, or humpback.  Fish in today's photo was over 20" long.