April, May and June 2010

Brown Trout
4/1/10 Manistee

5/19/10 Manistee
Spring Salmon

5/26/10 Manistee
Double Header

6/24/10  24 pounds
24 lb. King Salmon


6/30/10  In 2008 one of my riggers become ensnarled in the King anchor off Big Point Sable in one of the trap nets we had in Manistee, MI back then. 
            This was a battle we were not destined to win. The barrel swivel was put thru a severe strain.  Deforming the eyelet and rendering the swivel part useless.  Over time this spun up the cable with unruly curly cues.  Click kinky cable and bad swivel
            My last outing on 6/21/10 website member, Millertime ...not used to the Big Jon off-on switches ...threw slack into the cable.
            In turn, this allowed about 10 kinks.  Putting this rigger effectively out of action. Hey, no problem we were pulling lines to come in anyways.  In fixing this problem, 40' if rigger cable had to be cut off.  No big deal, started 400' on that rigger anyways.
             My eyesight is pushing 63 years old and not improving.  If I'd have closely inspected the 225# test swivel after the trap net tug of war in 2008?  This problem would have never happened.  It did turn a negative in a positive by replacing the Roscoe Coastlock swivel ...no further unruly twists will be, or are in the cable. 
              Most importantly 3 of the 7 strands of cable were broke and down the road this problem the cannonball and release could have broke off.  Moral of this reel story?  Visually check your rigger connections a little more often than I did!

6/29/10  Let's go for a variety of topics today starting with website member, SteveO fishing from 8:30pm until 2:30am and boxing 16 fish.  Reasoning behind SteveO's "in the dark" trip was the full moon.  He said the Green Froggie BTI was best.
             Our WI members never cease to amaze me on their creative ways to catch fish even if it means they don't call the game on account of darkness!
             Ohio has a new 21 pound and change state record Steelhead caught NW of Cleveland on Lake Erie about 17 miles out.  Click for story and 21 lb. fish
             Some decent Kings in the higher teens were caught last week on the north end of North Manitou Island as this fishery gains strength.
             Best fishing in Manistee, MI's recent tournament was way north past Arcadia, or south of Big Point Sable.  Manistee's shelf is like the dead zone for now.  Look for this to change soon with the right winds and surface temperatures.

6/28/10  On, or about 6am yesterday lightening struck the utility pole that feeds juice and phone into my house.  Consumers replaced the transformer and the lightening arrestor.  I have juice, but my landline phone system is on the blink.
             No phone service means there might be a lag in processing credit cards from the webstore.  No order will be delayed more than a day from: www.michiganangler.com
             This coming weekend marks the Manistee National Forest Festival.  Manistee, MI First Street Public Launch will be hosting a carnival with several rides.  So, until this festival is over on 7/4/10 ...parking will be limited at said boat launch area.
             Fireworks are scheduled for 7/4/10 around 10pm in the evening.  Best seen from the First Street, or Fifth Avenue beaches that border Manistee's harbor.

6/27/10  It's déjà vu all over again with Kewaunee, WI back in the news today.  Yesterday, website member Terry W. aka Terry's Toy on our message board went solo and boated a 24 pound plus King Salmon.  Click 6/26/10 Terry's 24 plus pounder
             Any King in the 20s nowadays is a feat.  Let alone doing battle one on one, handling boat control issues, and netting the fish with no help.
             Terry in his own right is quite a fishermen.  Being a pioneer back in 2004/2005 by successfully targeting Kings down to and past the depths of 350' with meat.
             To this date ...this is the largest verifiable King posted on this website from a highly trusted source.  Having Terry as a member of this website is an asset to all!

6/26/10  Today's spotlight is on Kewaunee, WI.  Gregg S has been doing decent with meat on the Kings even though to the consensus is tough for the fleet just pulling artificial.  To the best of my knowledge Gregg is fairly new to fishing meat and that proves the learning curve with reel-bait is very short.   He pulled this pair of respectable Kings in the first hour he was out on 6.24.10 Kewaunee Kings (click)
             Today marks the beginning of Manistee, MI's Bud Pro-Am.  This is one of the longest running Salmon-Trout tournaments on Lk. Michigan.  In the 1990s close to 200 amateur and pro/charter boat teams used to fish this prestigious event. 
             It will be interesting to see this year's number of boats-teams competing.  Target specie in the event used to be Steelhead taken mostly on the surface along surface temp fluctuations.  This has since changed to more of a suspended Salmon quest.

6/25/10  There's two constants involved in all the better catches I've heard of lately.  Close to Big Point Sable and schools bait in 100' to 130' depths.  Since the nets have been pulled down towards the "stick" (local speak for the big point lighthouse) the bait seems to be anchored from the 7s to 5s and even further south to the point.
            Big Point Sable in flat conditions is a good 1/2 and hour cruise from Manistee in a boat that runs a honest 25 mph.  Most of the trailer boat fleet stays closer to home.
            The few times I've been on the drink in May and June, Manistee's shelf has been mostly barren water 5 miles north, or south of port.  No bait means tough sledding.  Find the bait and you'll find the fish.  Something I haven't been able to accomplish yet.

6/24/10  A free ranging Asian Carp weighing about 20 pounds was found a few miles from Lk. Michigan upstream of the ineffective electrical barriers on the Chicago Canal system.
             Having these foreign intruders at our doorstep is a crime against all of us. 
             If the Asian Carp gets a toehold in Lake Michigan, all the other Great Lakes and attached waterways will soon be hosts to this ecological scourge.
             Our federal government's refusal to shut down the Chicago access routes is one of the most asinine dumb-stupid moves of all time. 
             If they found one Carp?  How many more Asian Carp have swam thru the Chicago locks directly into Lk. Michigan already? Click 6/23/10 Chicago Asian Carp
       Tomorrow: the secret of where the big catches in Manistee are coming from!

6/23/10  Today's planned update has been replaced by a far more important topic about loss of spendable revenue for the MDNR.  I make no claim to understand the inner workings of the DNR, but I can read a bar graph in decline. Click for loss of revenue
             Lot of people want to rag on the DNR over various issues.  Most of which I'm not even close to being qualified to comment on. 
Click about MDNR under fire
            This I am qualified to comment on.  In 1985 there was a combined total species captured at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir of 62.3k.  In 1988 the height of the BKD crisis 26.9k total fish were taken.  In 2009 a measly 13k returned to this famed weir?
             It's my most sincere hope that there will be an special fish advocate named to boast the numbers of fish available to the Great Lakes anglers.  It's a little known fact how well Coho plants do in the Little Manistee River.  It's about time we get off the King/Chinook Salmon bandwagon and push for a safer multi species fishery.

6/22/10  After not being on the pond in almost a month ...took steps to rectify that situation by fishing out of the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday afternoon.
             Lines went in the water around 4:30pm and we had lines in the boat by about 8pm due to fast approaching rain squalls and possible predicted thunderstorms.
             We had 3 bites and boated a tolerable 3 Kings.  Size was small, smaller and micro.  We did not have a fish much over 7 pounds.  Thought we were trying to set a new Guinness World Record for length of time between bites.  We hit a fish before 5pm, then didn't have another poke until it was pushing 7pm. Click Ric M and our largest King
             My thanks to message board member, Ric M aka "Millertime" for lending a helping hand with yesterday afternoon's outing and providing excellent company.
Tomorrow's update will feature world class professional excuses why we didn't do better!

6/21/10  First official day of summer 2010 begins today.  From the fish reports posted on our message board, it looks like everyone caught some, but no big catches.  Bay City, MI's Saginaw Bay looks like the popular place to be for the time being.
              It may interest some of you that back in the early to mid 1970s June and July were the months our target species was dense concentrations of Lake Trout.  It wasn't until the later 70s the central Lk. MI fleet switched over to chase Salmon in July.
              Biggest difference now and the supposed "good old days of the 70's & 80s" we now pursue Salmon from the beginning of the season until it ends (Mar-Nov).

6/20/10  Let's go back to the early 1980s when I became a licensed charter skipper to discuss the fishing then.  First off, we had a massive amount of fish if compared to today's standards.  We had a early/late Salmon fishery and in the off hours of mid-day we could beat-up on the Lake Trout for box fillers.  15-20 fish 1/2 days were semi-common.
            After 9am (in our thinking back then) the Chinook/King Salmon bite was pretty much over.  The fleet had an mythical depth barrier where after 140' down the methods we used, even attractors like dodger and fly/squid lost their effectiveness.
            Of course this was prior to the high tech flasher/meat program of today where we employ sight, sound and scent to pull fish easily from 150' to 200' depths.  Breaking the phony too-deep fable by targeting Kings in 38 to 44 degree water the nowadays fleet ...can catch a lot more fish from a far-far smaller herd of 20 some years ago.

6/19/10  If you're lucky enough to be able to fish today ...good luck.  Seas looks tolerable and even better tomorrow.  If the surface temp chart is to be believed, there's no major surface breaks.  Lk. MI ever clearer does not present the vertical thermobars with 8 to 10 degree temp swings like it once did before the mussels took root.
       Title of tomorrow's update will be, "the fleet can do a lot with a little."

6/18/10  Possibly this could be a contributing reason in our sub 20 pound Adult Kings that are spawning at age 2 and 3, instead of 4, or 5.  Our MDNR has struggled to come up with enough eggs in the 2008, or 2009 egg take.  Part of our eggs came from Lk. Huron which are downsized Kings in the first place ...due to diminished bait fish populations.
              In the world of breeding, if you bred good to good ...your outcome has a better chance of being good.  Taking eggs from smaller early maturing stunted 3 year King Salmon in all likelihood just breed more 3 year Kings. 
              It was a grand plan to reduce the Lk. MI King/Chinook Salmon plant by 25%.  Only now our fall returning adult Salmon numbers are below the devastating era of the Bacterial Kidney Disease Salmon decline of the later 1980s/early 1990s.
              Then, there's the reel-fact these younger smaller hen Salmon contain less eggs.
              With our DNR struggling to meet their quota for eggs to rear.  Going to NY for excess eggs would help our King Salmon gene pool.  So far, this season Lk. Ontario has produced several Kings over 30 pounds & a 38 pounder is leading one of their derbies.
             This too opens a can of worms with the current DNR mindset, as Lk. Huron is in a VHS zone.  Yet, it was OK to use these VHS zone eggs for plants in Lk. MI?
             WI's side of Lk. MI is a VHS zone, along with VHS in Lk. Superior.  Yet, the thin strip of water on east side of Lk. MI is a VHS free zone? 
             Something just don't make much sense with the DNR's line of thinking?  The MDNR is certainly not using the rational of deductive reasoning.  Quite possibly a quick glance at a map would show all these bodies of water are all connected.
             Oh, almost forgot to mention Lk. Ontario is a VHS zone too, but this disease has not impacted our cold water species of Salmon and Trout.

6/17/10  There's great news from Lake Ontario.  For the first time in 100 and some years Atlantic Salmon are beginning to reproduce naturally ...again!
             In the famed Salmon River close to Pulaski, New York 41 young wild Atlantics  that were one year old ...sized up to 2.5 inchers were gathered.
             Since 2006 Ontario has reared and planted 2 million Atlantics.  State of NY is trying to re-create Atlantic Salmon population planting 30 to 50k annually.
             However, NY's success does not rival Ontario's efforts.  Reason? ...Ontario has concentrated on river & stream rehabilitation with wiser planting policies.  Like not planting Seagull food in the middle of the day. Click 12# Atlantic I caught in '85
             The biggest deal to the re-establishment of Atlantic Salmon to Lake Ontario?  These fish are native species and were once thriving in Lk. O in huge numbers.  Unlike our transplanted Pacific Salmon (Coho & King/Chinook) that die after spawning Atlantics can survive procreation and live for up to 6 maybe 8 years.

             Will Atlantic Salmon native to at least one of our Great Lakes replace Coho and Kings?  Who knows?  I do know weakened genetics over time from hatchery bred fish cause things like our early maturing stunted 2 and 3 year Lk. MI King/Chinook Salmon.
  In the future the question how native Atlantics are to the entire Great Lakes region?

6/16/10  Past the 1/2 way point in June as prime time big lake Salmon fishing gets ever closer.  Mid July thru the first 2 weeks in August was best for Master Angler Kings aboard my boat when I was a charter operator.  State of Michigan's Master Angler program for sized Salmon are over 27 pounds for Kings and 12 pounds for Coho.
             Better numbers of Salmon from August 15th thru September 10, but most of the big guys we caught were in late July into early August.
             Over 30 pound Kings used to be semi commonplace in Manistee, MI as little as 7 years ago.  Nowadays any King over 20 is considered a respectable fish. 
             Reason? ...partially, is the fact we do not have Kings spawning at 4 and 5 years of age according to a study done by the WI DNR.  While our smaller adult Kings are a result of less forage base/Alewives. 2 and 3 year spawning Kings/Chinooks is the largest part of the equation resulting in sub-twenty pound King Salmon.

6/15/10  MDNR is looking at gear restrictions for certain bodies of water.  This means limiting your choices in the fishing method employed.
            This is blatant robbery from the general fishing public and most often pushed for by fly fishermen.  Segmenting the water with restrictions that limit anyone from fishing their choice of bait, or lure want is morally wrong.  Don't kid yourself otherwise!
             In most cases wet sinking fly line is not used.  The accepted method is "shuck and duck" with lead split shot on the leader in front of the fly. This technique is far removed from anything close to the beauty and art form of fly fishing.
              In the hands of the unscrupulous angler "shuck and duck" is more like glorified snagging used for sight fishing nesting Steelhead and Salmon.  At times these fish are so thick, it's impossible to snag ...or line fish.  Lining fish is where the leader gets washed into a fishes mouth as the fish open and close their mouth to pump water thru their gills.
              This is not Mother England in the 1400s when only the high-born could hunt and fish!  Gear restrictions are purely discrimination against the bait, wiggler, spinner, spawn, night crawler, minnow, and lure fishermen with a capital D.

6/14/10  Here's a series of thumbnail sketches from this past weekend's action.  Sheboygan and Milwaukee, WI was good on Kings with the better fish coming 90' down and deeper.  In Algoma, WI the Steelhead/'bows outnumber the Kings. 
            Muskegon, MI was fair to good with Kings pushing 17 pounds in 90' to 120' feet of water.  South Haven and New Buffalo, MI was slow.
            Murphy's Law has kept me firmly planted in the shop trying to tie up loose ends on several projects.  Hope to have some breathing room & time to go fishing soon!

6/13/10  Lake Michigan's water clarity is a far cry from when I started fishing it back in 1968.  Remember a trip to Ludington in 1969 when the water off Big Point Sable was tinged green with maybe 10' of clearness and floating clumps of scummy looking algae.
            Mandates by the government outlawed high phosphate detergent in the 1970s and other pollutants.  In the 1970s race to ever clearer waters was on.  In the mid 1990s you could see a brightly colored attractor flashing 20' to 30 down'. 
            Now, in the right conditions you can see an attractor working close to 40' down with the additional clarity brought to you by bazillions of Quagga and Zebra Mussels.
            Just keep in mind, the clearer the water ...the less life it can support.    
     Tomorrow's topic will look at how the i2k's gin clear waters is impacting our fishery.

6/12/10  Been in limbo over fishing reports from Manistee.  There's just not that many of our website members fishing to come up with creditable info.  This past week has been the story of fast moving fronts with a lot of "on and off" rain.
            Murphy's law issues and too many loose ends on uncompleted projects have kept me dockside.  Trying to a build a little extra inventory with the rush months of July-Aug. just ahead is another reason Lake Michigan and I are strangers for the last 3 weeks.

6/11/10  Selling my boat trailer with brand new tires and winch.  Replaced the seals and bearings 2 seasons ago.  Hydraulic actuator for the surge brakes is fairly new.
            This trailer will fit any 22' boat with it's adjustable rollers.  Probably work on some 24' models too.  It has a removable drop-tongue if you're short on storage space.
            It's priced to sell at a lowball firm 1695.00!
            This is a heavy duty trailer built from strong 2 x 6 inch channel steel.  It's a 1976 Pamco that's in very good shape as you can clearly see by: Clicking here
            Free fishing weekend allowed by our DNR.  No license fees to fish this weekend.

6/10/10  The BP mess in the Gulf of Mexico is spilling over thru-out the tackle industry.  I found this out when ordering more cross lock swivels from Roscoe a Division of Rome Specialties.  Much of their business relies on the gulf area.  Roscoe is a USA manufacturer that makes a variety of quality terminal tackle.  Like all us USA companies, Roscoe is in the recovery mode from the Great Recession started by greedy Wall St. criminals.
           Will Roscoe survive this loss of business?  Certainly hope so, but most USA businesses are in fragile state with 40 dollar a week China labor ready to take your job!
           My largest beef with this disaster of epic proportions?  Who in the hell was in charge when we let an inept foreign company take control of our environment?  Somebody was surely sleeping at the switch when this happened.
           Incompetent Mother England lost 2 wars to the USA ...then we bailed them out in the last two world wars?  Then we put them in charge of our southern state's coastline?
           My solution for disposing of the oil recovered from our gulf is to ship it over the British Isles.  Maybe some tar balls and oil on the White Cliffs of Dover will send a clear message we will not tolerate this tragedy befalling us, or any other nation.

6/9/10  More rain and cool dampness is the reel-story from Manistee, MI.  Inshore temp chart, if it can be trusted? ...showed cold water inshore and warmer temps out deeper. 
            In all honesty I've had my nose to the grindstone making tackle, processing and filling orders in a timely manner.  The few I have spoke with are all saying Manistee has been a toughie if you don't hit it on the right day.
           Official start of 2010 summer begins on Monday the 21st of June 2010.

6/8/10  Not sure if this applies to every port yet.  Ludington has deal where you key the mic on your radio to turn the fog horn on during times of restricted visibility.
            You tune your VHF radio to channel 79 and press on the mic button 5 times in 10 seconds.  By doing so ...the fog horn is activated for 45 minutes.
            Only in the dominion of the MDNR do they come out with a new 3 day license for 21 bucks.  That's exactly what 3 individual 1 day licenses costs.  You'd think with a 3 day volume purchase our DNR would have knocked off a buck, or two.
            The best thing about MDNR one day license fee of 7 bucks is it directly helps the charter fleet by keeping the cost low for MI residents and out of state anglers alike.  7 bucks is a reel-bargain for the types and size of fish that can be caught.

6/7/10  A wet cool weekend does not bode well for a lot port reports.  The few reports from this past weekend I did hear had the common thread of very tough fishing running thru them.  In the near future need free up a few hours to see what's going on with my own eyes ...and soon.  Been dockside for going on 2 weeks and that sucks!
            Our same day shipping policy comes with a heavy price of expediency.  Can't be shipping orders if I'm floating around on Lk. Michigan.  Blazing customer service and reel-support is job 1 with our webstore located at: www.michiganangler.com


6/6/10  Today's photo of the day is courtesy of Mike G.  On his maiden voyage with his new boat ...Mike boated a couple of King Salmon.  What made this 1st trip even more memorable was the off peak time slot of 9am till noon (MI time: 10am-1pm).
            Mike boated a reel-nice teener that looks to be around, or over 15 pounds from his photo.  Unsure of what WI port Mike's featured fish came from, but it was either Sheboygan, Manitowoc, or  Kewaunee. Click for Mike's mid teen WI King
            Great to see a new rig broken in right with respectable fish caught the first time off the dock.  Turning dreams into reality is what owning a boat about.    
           Congratulations to Mike on a successful confidence building first voyage!

6/5/10  Those I spoke with said yesterday morning's results were lackluster out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  Catch numbers here were in the single digits.  Kings above 10 pounds are about ...as "rare as hen's teeth."  Yesterday's best action was over 200'-400'.
            This shouldn't be a shocker to anyone: 2009 recreational catch rates on Lk. Michigan for King Salmon were down.  Sliding from
94,899 in 2008 to 82,396 last year.  Even though in 2009 man hours fished was up.
            Frankfort took the hardest hit.  While Grand Haven saw a several fold increase in Coho boated.  Ludington had a minor uptick in Kings harvested.
            Catch expectations are in the eye of the beholder.  Easy limits of Salmon look to be a thing of the past until numbers recycle upwards in fish available.
            Myself?  I consider a fish a hour a good trip nowadays.  Keeping in mind, as little time as I spend on the water ...each fish we boat is a gift from the water gods.

6/4/10  June was never a big Salmon and Trout charter month before, or after the glory days of offshore deepwater Steelhead fishery disappeared. 
            Heavy boxes of 20 to 30 fish in June used to be the rule, not the exception with this outstanding fishery. Click Wendy's 16 pound plus June Steelhead
            In this photo you'll notice the hazy fog-like conditions.  That's from the air temp being in the low 80s & the water surface temps was in the low 50s, causing the haze.
            In 1980s it took longer to drive the 25 miles west of Frankfort than it did to  limit out.  Steelhead comprised the Lion's share of the catch, but plenty of Lakers and Salmon were caught right along side these 'bows (WI speak for Steelhead).
            One of biggest regrets about June offshore Steelhead is I didn't take more photos in the 1980s to document this fishery.  While you might have been over 600' to 800' of water, all the fish were caught targeting the surface to depths of no more than 30' down.
            On the ball, savvy MI charter skippers now target Walleyes in June.  Either on Lk. Erie, or popular Saginaw Bay.  Once you get your program together these fish are fairly easy to catch.  Walleyes make great table fare and a wonderful way to spend June..

6/3/10  This early in the season and...as predicted the 2010 Monkey Puke Meat Rig has climbed to number one in sales.  This new lethal puker fish killin' machine has leap frogged the former "King of the Mountain" selections like: Clear Red, Sparkler Red, Undertaker Glow, HRP, Sparkler and X-Glow Green Froggie ...which is one amazing feat!
            I've fished this pattern a lot last September into October 2009 and in May 2010.  It always produces fish.  Red, copper over the base sparkler metal flake material is one awesome piece of work.  Deadly best describes this blend of colors.
            One day last September the puker meat rig was the only color the fish would touch.  Run the puker 2 fly behind the BTI flashers & the 3 fly puke version with the larger 12 inch flashers.  Knew this was a winner long before it ever left the shop!
Prototype test puke meat rig went off within 5 minutes of getting wet last fall.
            Some manufacturers like blow their horn about how their tackle works.  Myself? 
proving it with pictures works better!  Click Monkey Puke Meat Rig proof
            Tackle can be quirky, as the fish are fickle.  The Sept, Oct, & May dates in the above photo attests beyond any shadow of doubt this puke meat rig's shelf life does not come with an expiration date and works all season long ...like most all of my stuff!

6/2/10  Here's a testimonial about my tackle from beginning Salmon fisherman, Gregg S from MN. "After seeing our success (14 Kings in 3 days 10-17 pounds) I converted another semi-rookie at the marina.... (Dean B) Hah! Been fishing Michigan for a little over 2 weeks and I'm giving tips! Only the results speak for themselves, and after coming into port with nothing that first week, then loading up the next week proves your meat rig system is foolproof! Here is a picture of me with my first King caught on your tackle"
            The first week when Gregg struggled is when he used tactics and tips from books & DVDs that didn't produce for him.  Click for Gregg's 1st King w/my tackle
            I recognized in 2003 what a simple meat program would do for the average Great Lakes fishermen.  It was a no brainer for me to go into manufacturing in 2004.

6/1/10  Still in the lazy holiday mode waiting for self-motivation to kick-in.  Story from St. Joe, MI is the easy fishing this port has been experiencing ...dried up this past weekend.  Was kinda jealous of the big catches this great port was churning out.
            From the sound of the few port reports on our message board no place was a bed of roses fish-wise during Memorial Day Weekend 2010.
            I'd rate this past holiday 3 day weekend at a 8.7 with small deductions for a little more wind that predicted on Sunday afternoon and a thunderstorm that rolled thru yesterday morning around 8am.  Overall the best Memorial Day Holiday in a long time!
            My rating for Manistee's 2010 May King Salmon fishery is a mediocre 5 out of a possible 10.  Granted fish were caught the 3 times we ventured forth in May, but never seen any large schools of organized bait off Manistee's "shelf."
            Kings approaching 20 pounds seem like a fairy tale with a decent May 2010 fish pulling the scales down to around 15 pounds.  Click double-digit 5/19/10 King

5/31/10  Memorial Day 2010 is the holiday set aside to honor fallen war heroes dating back to our Revolutionary War in the later 1700s.  They've given all to make our way of life possible.  Too bad price of free costs so much!

5/30/10  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Weather continues to be a blessing!  Near-shore Lake Michigan seas for Manistee, MI are predicted around 1' with wind from the south at 10-15 knots.  Any S, or SW wind in May is favorable for this port.

5/29/10  As posted yesterday on Lk. Michigan from the Port of Manistee, Mi to Big Point Sable, ...as things stand we're down to 2 trap nets. 
           This is about 18 less during the height of the run on the 2000 Consent Decree monies given to the Little River Band of Native Americans.  Shrewd, connected tribal members depleted this fund to zero and we're speaking of amounts in the 7 figures the State of Michigan paid to these people.  Click for divesture of these monies
            It's ironic ...even laughable 6 of the fishing boats all came with exactly the same 50k price tag.  Three of these old scows sunk, causing a multitude of problems.  Including diesel fuel being discharged into Ludington, MI's Pere Marquette Lk.
            This con will go down as a black mark in this tribe's fledging history.  While the average law abiding tribal member received absolutely no financial recompense.
            Inshore ...later morning King Salmon bite has been tightening up off Manistee when the lake is fairly calm.  Boats that had catches in double figures on Thursday 5/27 struggled on Friday 5/28 once the Lk. MI laid down and the sun got higher.

5/28/10 Latest Trap Net Info:  Great news!  As of today there are only two trap nets in the water from Manistee to Big Point Sable. Locations as follows:

N44 11.286  W086 25.247 95 FOW
N44 12.353  W086 25.191 101 FOW
The rest have been pulled. Continue to use caution as there is a lot of debris out there. This timely information was made possible and thru the courtesy of Lt. David Deforest from Tribal Law Enforcement. For a printable page and more net info: Click Here

5/28/10  Good luck to everyone fishing the Great Lakes this weekend.  Lk Erie and Saginaw Bay are serving up decent catches of Walleyes.
           All Lk. Michigan ports have a inshore King Salmon fishery with the easiest fishing probably down by St. Joe.  With the clearing of Lk. MI the southern end does warm up as fast as it did before the mussels strained the water to the clarity of gin.  Bait fish are holding all season long in the southern end of the big pond nowadays.
       Recent reports from Leland to St. Joe says now is the time if you're after Kings!

5/27/10  Had to take care of some business in Manistee yesterday morning.  So, I hauled my boat into town for a short morning & played a little hooky from work.
            Started out like a house afire, boating 3 Kings in during our first 30 minutes with lines in the water.  Then sun rose higher and our action turned into a trip to zero Hitsville.
            Dead, still, ultra flat calm, & glassy water definitely took it's toll.  I can only offer speculation why fishing gets reel-tough in flat water.  So, I'll leave that issue alone.
            Great thing about our morning was a double header on our 2 wire diver rods.  First 2 banger on Kings in 2010!  Lines went in at 8:30am and we pulled at 11am,
                Click flat calm 5/26/10 water         Click our 1st double in 2010!
Forecast for the holiday weekend in Manistee is plain wonderful.  Plenty of sun and temps in the low 80 to the 70s on Monday, Memorial Day.  There's a lot of pollen on the water in the 40' to 60' depth and bugs out a little deeper.  With the right wind it will be banzai surface Steelhead over the 400' to 600' deep water.  Inshore Salmon isn't all that bad either with 3-5 fish being the norm for the trailer boats per 5-6 hours of effort.

5/26/10  Recently they poisoned the Little Calumet River looking for more Asian Carp.  Thos waterway is where all the controversy centers on this fish blight.  Good news for us is more than 10,000 dead fish have been taken and not one Asian Carp ...yet.
            Bad news for those involved in this kill-test zone is these folks don't have a box to keep their rocks in.  History has proven every open avenue has provided a migratory route for these ecologically wrecking foreign invaders. 
           A little known fact is the government in one way, shape, or form allowed these fish entry into our country in the first place.  Then, ...Obama sides with Illinois instead of staying neutral.  With the power of executive branch of our government backing IL, the states of WI, NY, MI, MN and OH are getting the shaft.
           Even though all the ignored states voted Obama in the last election.  I say ignored, cuz all the states I mentioned are in favor of closing the Chicago ditch and sealing off access to these nasty Carp.

5/25/10  This pains me deeply to report Manistee, MI resident Michael Bachus was identified as the man killed in Manistee County charter boat crash.  2 other people required treatment at Manistee's West Shore Hospital that were involved in this awful accident.
            Michael Bachus 55 was in the Marines for 25 years and a gulf war veteran. He retired last month from the Michigan Department of Corrections.  He loved to fish and was deckhand/first mate on the charter vessel, "Kid a Gin."  My sympathy goes out to all involved.  It always hurts when we lose a fisherman to the great beyond.
            On a lighter note, most Lk. MI ports last weekend reported in with decent fishing.  Last Saturday Muskegon had some Kings & St. Joe, MI is still pounding out good numbers.  Kewaunee, WI had reel-good King fishing too, but the fish were deep.

5/24/10  Heaven forbid, I broke a vow by fishing a Saturday in Manistee, MI.  This departure from a sworn oath comes with a stipulation.  That being it was extremely foggy and that would hold the Sat. traffic back.  Click John N's King in dense fog
            Going in ...I had great expectations.  Having starting notes built on last Thursday afternoon's short shake down cruise.  My flawed strategy forgot to take into account the 1/2 day of stout E wind that plagued Manistee on Friday 5/21 ...the day before John N & I went.  This E wind totally destroyed the favorable down temp on Manistee's shelf.
            Extremely foggy is an understatement.  Fishing in thin broccoli soup might be a better analogy, cuz it never cleared up and actual got a tad worse after 12 noon.
            If I had not shelled out 1500 bucks for a new radar unit, we'd have stayed shore-side.  On 5/22/10 my new radar system started by repaying my investment back by salvaging at least one day of my 2010 season. Click 5/22 sticky trebles in action
            We fished approximately the same area as on 5/20: Click this fishing location

However, the Kings had flown the coup & there wasn't much there in 150'-300' range.
            In fact, the trailer boat fleet as a whole struggled big-time according to the DNR census taker with one, or none mostly reported.  Our results were a marginal 3 bites, 3 fish on a day that honed my navigation skills.  So, often depended on during my 1983 thru 2003 stint as a Great Lakes charter skipper.

5/23/10  Yesterday morning before 5:00am Manistee, MI charter vessel "Kid a Gin" skippered by Capt. Dave Gramza hit the south breakwall. 
            This 29' Baha was hulled and sunk quickly with 1 fatality.  7 people were pulled from the mid to low 50 degree water.  It was said they were suffering from the beginning stages of hypothermia even though they hadn't been in the water very long.
             Millions of safe man hours of charter fishing have taken place in Michigan since 1967.  To the best of my knowledge this is the first death that can be attributed directly to Michigan's charter fleet thru operator error.  My deepest sympathy to all involved.
              Being responsible for people's lives on a daily basis is one of the many reasons I retired from being a Great Lakes charter operator in 2003 and I don't miss it a bit!

5/22/10  Published the surface temp chart from the afternoon of 5/19/10 with the area we fished.  Hope this provides a better insight to where we were trolling. 
            It's one thing to say we fished in the 150' to 400' feet of water, but showing exact sector adds another dimension.  This recent temp chart echoes what I said about surface temp and how valuable these charts are! Click 5/19/10 fishing location
           Good luck to all today hitting the Great Lakes today.  Looks a little damp, maybe foggy in the morning, ...but the seas are supposed to behave reel-nice!

5/21/10  Nobody can ever accuse me of not having raw realism in my photos.  This is proven out with the deeply hooked bleeding King "Miller Time" caught.  Fish that eat reel-meat tend to take the offering to the back of their throats and often get gill hooked.
           Here's something that might help the weekenders plying the waters around Manistee.  75 to 90 feet down was our sweet spot on bites.  We held speed at 2 mph on our aimless wanderlust covering 140' to 400' of water on the evening of 5/19.
       Click King Purple BTI glow & X-Glow BTI Fly       Click 5/19/10 fish box
           Trolling flies, meat rigs and BTIs provided the majority of action.  Monkey Puke 2 fly meat rig was hot.  When I go again, this deadly meat rig will be joined by more identical sick monkeys.  First May Salmon trip was to sort thru what was working and fine tune efforts the next time I go.  Which I hope is soon!

5/20/10  We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to fishing.  One of the weakest parts of my program is fishing spring Salmon in cold ...below 50 degree surface water temps.  This was not the case yesterday at the Port of Manistee, MI. 
            We had surface temps in the 50s out to 400' feet of water.  It was 45 degrees from 25' to 75' down where it fell slightly to 43 degrees at 100'.  All good for spring Kings!
            Not being overly confident I left the experimental stuff out.  Using only my big guns.  Never-failer BTIs in Monkey Puke, King Purple Glow along with the "John J" combo rig (King Kryptonite-Undertaker 3 fly meat rig)  accounted for our action. 
            The BTIs were towing the X-Glow BTI Fly, X-Glow Sea Green, & the money in the bank 2 fly Monkey Puke meat rig. Click our first 2010 King  Click Miller Time's King
            We took 5 prisoners and dealt with 2 crafty Houdini escapees during the off peak hours of 3pm thru 7pm.  For our first 4 hour trek thru Salmonville 2010 we had 2 double digit Kings and 3 box-filler sub-10 pound eaters (5 fish total).
            Need to thank website member, "Miller Time" and Fred G from Bear Lake, MI for being part of yesterday afternoon's veteran crew. More on this event tomorrow....

5/19/10  Manistee, MI had good fishing yesterday.  Heard several reports to that effect.  Fish were coming over 150' to plus 200 feet of water.  Best depths down were said to be 45' to 100' down, with 55' to a 100' mentioned most.  Double digit spring Kings for most part.  Most productive areas was straight out, north, and south of the harbor.  Let's hope yesterday's afternoon/evening semi-stiff NNE wind didn't bust this fishing all up!
           Original plan for this morning was to sneak away from the shop for a few hours to enjoy a peaceful Lk. Michigan in quest of a few bad-boy spring Kings.  Perish that thought, as we're extra-extra busy with orders with the onset of summer-like weather!

5/18/10  Weather is finally showing us a string of days in the 70s.  An overlooked reel-fact is warm nights hold temp in Lk. Michigan.  Noteworthy, considering last night at 9:30pm it was still in the low 60s.
            Warmer water temps helps the plankton grow, feeding the phytoplankton, which in turn feeds the bait fish.  Consequently, attracting predatory Salmon & Trout.  About 5 more degrees of water temp in Manistee & fishing will become a bunch more reliable.
            Info I've been privy to says Holland south on the east shore of Lk. MI had the best action thru last weekend on our side of the pond.
            One reoccurring theme in the fish reports is how deep the fish are coming.  50' down to 120' seems to be the consensus.  This is a radical departure compared to 10-15 years ago when the best fishing was generally in the top 30' at this time of the year.

5/17/10  Today's featured photo is courtesy of website member, "Reel Addiction." His fish are from Kenosha, WI's awesome spring Salmon fishery.  WI Coho are showing excellent growth and there's enough Kings in the mix to keep it interesting.
           This was the first time "Reel Time" ran the 2010 Monkey Puke meat rig.  Boating a good double digit King in the process.  I ran a prototype Puke meat rig last Sept into October and know it's a winner big-time! Click 5/15/10 Monkey Puke combo WI King
           Don't be surprised if the Monkey Puke meat rig is ranked number 1 by the end of the 2010 season by sales.  This best bet pattern combines copper, metallic sparkles & red.
           Please make note of yesterday's topic of currently dated flares.  It's easy to overlook this U.S.C.G requirement.  Only to pay a hefty fine if the CG boards your vessel.

5/16/10  Let's go with a public service announcement for boaters.  Check the dates on your flares.  Boats over 16' are required by the CG to carry special dated flares.  Date will expire every 3 years, just like your boat's MC numbers, or registration.
            Visual distress signals of flares, orange smoke, large orange flag with a black square and a black ball means render assistance immediately.  Fresh up-to-date flares at any cost are cheap  ...if and when serious trouble says you need them!
            Manistee was no big deal for the sports fleet yesterday.  The trailer boat anglers racked up a fish, or 2 per boat.  Cold surface temps of 42 degrees from Fridays N blow is holding back Manistee's May King Salmon fishery for now.
             Central southern Lake Michigan from Holland to St. Joe all reported in with very respectable multi specie catches.

5/15/10  Good luck to all fishing the Great Lakes today.  May finally got it's act together with a warming trend in the 70s on the way.  First half of May 2010 left a lot to be desired.  Stable temps improve fishing and helps the fleet zero in on the best water.
             Fishing reports from St. Joe to Manistee have been very encouraging!

5/14/10  Finished a new photographic "how to" page pointed at whole bait and my Super Mag Meat Heads.  There's 12 photos with instructional captions to take any mystery out of rigging whole bait in a matter of seconds.   This new informative piece is short on words and long on visual media.  Click here for Fine Tuning Reel-Bait        
           Word from up and down the coast of central Lk. Michigan is improving with Kings in the 10 to 12 lb. bracket, along with some mid-teeners. 
           Stable weather starts this Sat. with temps in the 60s for several days with no cold fronts moving thru. Fast moving cold fronts always bring high winds & foster in cooler water temps.  Not conducive for good fishing when the pond is still chilly from last winter.
          Good luck to all this weekend & let's hope the seas are calm ...as predicted!

5/13/10  With the season fast approaching in earnest a light refresher course in rigging whole bait is in order.  Started on a new 12 photo "how to" article focused on rigging whole red, or green label bait.  This article will debut sometime soon.
          There's 2 videos pertinent to running bait.  Showing exactly what the bait should look like in a wide looping roll that have made my Super Magnums the gold standard in meat heads.  Preferred by the Lk. Michigan fleet by a wide margin over the competition.
          To the best of my knowledge there is no piece of metal known to mankind that will dart, loop, arc & dive to the same extent shown in these videos ...suitable for dial-up, or high speed connection users. Click 4 meg dialup video  Click 7 meg video high speed
      I am proud of the mesmerizing action built into my line of Super Mag Meat Heads!

5/12/10  36 hours of wind puffing hard (gale force) from the east is good news for WI big water fishermen.  What's delaying prime time May Salmon of the central Lk. MI ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort is a godsend for the "Land of Cheese."  
           E keeps the Michigan side bathed in colder water.  While the warmer productive surface temp with a more active biomass slides E towards WI. 
           Having daytime high temps in the 40s is a good 20 degrees cooler than what's considered average for this time of the year.
           Look for May fishing to improve towards the end of this week.  Stable temps in the 60s is predicted from this coming Friday thru at least next Tuesday.
           Seems the researchers at Cornell University are of the opinion that VHS has been in the Great Lakes for a lot longer than we've been led to believe.  Only to be brought on by stress & gobies to spread it.  To read more about this point of view click here

Tomorrow's update: 2 videos of the correct roll of whole bait with my Super Mag Heads.

5/13/10  With the season fast approaching in earnest a light refresher course in rigging whole bait is in order.  Started on a new 12 photo "how to" article focused on rigging whole red, or green label bait.  This article will debut sometime soon.
          There's 2 videos pertinent to running bait.  Showing exactly what the bait should look like in a wide looping roll that have made my Super Magnums the gold standard in meat heads.  Preferred by the Lk. Michigan fleet by a wide margin over the competition.
          To the best of my knowledge there is no piece of metal known to mankind that will dart, loop, arc & dive to the same extent shown in these videos suitable for dial-up, or high speed connection iusers. Click 4 meg dialup video  Click 7 meg video high speed
      I am proud of the mesmerizing action built into my line of Super Mag Meat Heads!

5/12/10  36 hours of wind puffing hard (gale force) from the east is good news for WI big water fishermen.  What's delaying prime time May Salmon of the central Lk. MI ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort is a godsend for the "Land of Cheese."  
           E keeps the Michigan side bathed in colder water.  While the warmer productive surface temp with a more active biomass slides E towards WI. 
           Having daytime high temps in the 40s is a good 20 degrees cooler than what's considered average for this time of the year.
           Look for May fishing to improve towards the end of this week.  Stable temps in the 60s is predicted from this coming Friday thru at least next Tuesday.
           Seems the researchers at Cornell University are of the opinion that VHS has been in the Great Lakes for a lot longer than we've been led to believe.  Only to be brought on by stress & gobies to spread it.  To read more about this point of view click here

Tomorrow's update: 2 videos of the correct roll of whole bait with my Super Mag Heads.

5/11/10  I'm reel-careful with fishing info shared with you.  In 10 years of everyday 365 updates a year, maybe to the outside ...5 retractions have been printed. 
           That's quite a track record considering at this point in time over 3870 separate daily updates have been published. There's a longstanding trust and a bond built between the visitors of this website looking for reel-honest info.
           I cannot offer this as a reel-fact, but common sense says May NW blows on Lake Michigan create a backwash that pushes the warmer water up the coasts of IL & WI.
           This is evidenced in today's featured photo from Kenosha, WI with a 15 fish 3 person Salmon limit caught close to the state line of IL according to website member, "Reel Addiction."  Kenosha is about 20 miles north of Waukegan, IL that always has a strong early season Salmon fishery. Click "Reel Addiction's 5/9/10 limit catch
           Surprises come in all shapes and forms with the HRP BTI in the florescent red color producing so well in May.  Best thing about this flasher besides it being a fish killer?  10 years from now the HRP BTI 10" flasher it will still look new & provide a long service life. 
          Yesterday's word from Muskegon, MI said scattered fish all over the place.  Just a odd fish here & there for anglers who fished this port.  St. Joe continues to show good action in the over 100' depths for Salmon, along with mixed bag of Lakers & Steelhead.   

5/10/10  Today Lake Michigan will play nice today for a change.  Only to get ugly again tomorrow with east gales blowing to 35 knots.  During May 2010 Lk. Michigan has been showing it's nasty side with seas not fit for man, nor beast.
           Average daytime highs for Manistee, MI at this time of the year is 64 degrees.  Yesterday it was 49 at my place & colder the previous day.  Let's hope May straightens out before our first major summer holiday weekend in 3 weeks, ...Memorial Day 2010.
          Just on a holding pattern until I get some fresh fishing news to share with you!

5/8/10   Today with seas predicted at or over 10' if the St. Joe tournament committee decides it was a go, boats would leave the harbor to compete.  St. Joe-Benton Harbor is hosting a fairly large money event this weekend ...to clarify the point I'm trying to make.
           I seen this for myself in the then big deal Lowrance Ludington Tournament in 1988.  When we left the harbor seas were huge, over 6' and building. 
           My pro division team was in a 28' boat.  Safety was not in question, but with the amateur sports fleet trailer boats it was way too rough, but the event went on.  Only to be cancelled by about 10am later that morning.
           Until there's an opt out rule concerning white water over 3 footers participation in tourneys catering to the amateur side will lag.  If fact, tourneys are stuck in a time warp on payouts and the number of boats participating has dwindled at most events.
           Having to deal with rough water, because the tournament decision makers says so is one of the biggest reasons I no longer even consider competing these events.

5/7/10  Seems like the sports fleet cannot catch a break weather-wise.  Another Saturday in Manistee, MI and NW gale force wind to 40 knots are predicted for Lake Michigan.  Wind in that range will easily build 7' to 11' seas.  Way beyond the comfort zone of all trailer boats.  Most charter boats too!
           While huge waves are not good, the worst part is the NW will only run more cold water down the shoreline.  More cold water in early May does not improve fishing.
           I've been trying for almost 2 weeks to get off the dock.  Work duties, or rough seas have kept me shore bound for much too long!
           Yesterday, in spite of cold surface temps (40 to 43 degrees) and lumpy seas there were Kings caught off the nets in Muskegon.  Meat and flashers were turning the trick.  There was some action off Manistee too.  Down in the 6s towards the big point.

5/6/10  For now, there's 3 confirmed trap net locations for Manistee, MI.  Save the 2009 info and keep those locations in mind.  I speculate last year's nets that are not confirmed could be on the bottom full of tree trunks and junk like in 2008. 
          Unlike 2008 there is no floating poly line hindering safe navigation off the Port of Manistee.  Just use common sense & use all numbers listed on: Net Locations Page
          Here are the trap nets confirmed locations from Lt. Deforest on 5/5/10:

N 44-12.414  W 086-25.192  127 FOW
N 44-11.267  W 086-25.219  100 FOW
N 44-07.046  W 086-28.992  125 FOW
Please remember these nets are still marked with only ice poles.

5/5/10  Read today's update very carefully with the utmost of safety in mind.  From the 6s to Big Point Sable the Manistee/Ludington anglers beat on the spring Kings yesterday.
            These spring Salmon are running in the 10-15 pound range and are about 2 to 3 weeks ahead of what's considered normal for central Lake Michigan.  The magic depth was the top 50' over 170' of water.  This 170' depth and area is almost on top of trap net number 1 from last season. Click for last known & confirmed 2009 net locations
            Confirmed 2010 net locations are not available yet.  I have a meeting planned later this week with Tribal Law Enforcement Officer Lt. Dave Deforest who knowledgeable  on this issue.  Hope to have more info on trap nets off Manistee to the big point soon.

5/4/10  Today I have good news and OK news.  For the good news our Lk. Michigan Salmon went on a tear over this past weekend north of New Buffalo MI to Benton Harbor.  Several limits were reported. The heavy boxes were sporting mostly Kings along with a few Coho.  Best depth was the other side of 80' to past 100' working the top 50' of water.
            It's not hard to see why fishing exploded in southern Lk. MI according to the 5/1/10 Sea Grant surface temp chart.  Last week's warm breezes from the south pushed in warmer water in the 50 degree range.  Click for 5/1/10 temp chart
            The OK news is spring King Salmon over the 15 pound range are a rarity. I've yet to hear of a bonafided 17 pounder on certified scales thus far.  Not to worry, there's plenty of season in front of us to tie into those honest over 20 pound beasts!

5/3/10  Letting the dust settle from this past weekend's fishing reports will help homogenize the info better.  Looks like all Lk. MI ports caught some and WI is showing great promise.  Hope to be able to describe in full the latest happening afloat tomorrow.
            Today's feature photo is a 3 image trilogy of teak hatches that were neglected on my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Figure it was time to refinish these hidden treasures. 
            New boats will never rival the older models.  Not with teak veneer marine grade 1/2" plywood going for 170 bucks.  Most of SR1979's interior is constructed of teak. 
            To make my point about older boats ...how many new 2010 boats will still be in service in 2040?  Better yet ...how many will still be running the original power-plant like my small block GM V8 305? Click for refinished deck hatches

5/2/10  Yesterday, some pretty impressive boxes of fish were brought in on day 1 of the Coho Classic being held this weekend in Michigan City, IN.  Leaders had a stout 8.5 pound average in 12 fish.  So, there had to be King Salmon caught, cuz Coho at this time of the year are mostly sub 4 pound fish as a rule.
            Michigan City is only about 10 miles south of where we unsuccessfully tried to fish in New Buffalo, MI last Wednesday.  Never made it off the trailer due to rough seas!

5/1/10  Learned some valuable lessons about southern Lk. Michigan.  Due to the length and breadth of this lake, NW wind has a straight shot for hundreds of miles. 
            As the crow flies, Manistee to New Buffalo is around 190 miles.  When the wind lays down in Manistee and let's say it's blowing 20 knots  ...it could be another 8 hours before the wind lays down in the southern end of the pond.
            This is exactly what happened last Wednesday when we tried to fish New Buffalo.  At 1am we still had a breeze pushing 20 knots.  The lake never laid down until later in the day.  Well past the tight time frame allotted for this trip.
            I'll never make another long distance trip with just one morning to fish.  If there's not 2 days available with a decent forecast?  It's far wiser to stay home and build tackle!

4/30/10  Fishing reports I've been privy to from southern Lake Michigan all say about the same thing.  Fish are not that easy to come by. 
            Even the spring Coho bite is not what it should be.  King Salmon in the southern end have been sparse.  Being viewed as a kicker fish, rather than box fillers.  Waukegan, IL was said to be the only bright spot according to my sources in Indiana.  Keeping in mind, that word was from last weekend before this week's barrage of north wind.
            If you expand the featured thumbnail photo of New Buffalo's harbor ...you'll see several Seagulls circling & ready to dive on their next "happy meal."  This image is from last season when it was limit catchville out of New Buffalo.  No such luck this year, cuz this harbor is not loaded with schools of alewives from what I saw on 4/28/10.
            The MDNR has put all of our eggs in one basket.  With that being the King Salmon.  Having Kings as the predominate species in Lk. Michigan means when this specie isn't around?  Fishing tends to fall off big-time! Click NB 2009 Seagulls
            Considering the MDNR is working with an austerity budget & no increase in license fees in several years, in my opinion they're doing a great job.  However, banking on just Kings is not a very diverse portfolio. Click 5/5/09 New Buffalo EZ limit catch!
 There's a silver lining to the Kings not getting whooped on in the early part of the season.  Common sense says more King Salmon will be available later this year!

4/29/10  We are besieged with many forms overblown modern technology that still ...in the end leaves our judgment calls a little shaky.  This happened to me yesterday on my ill fated trip to New Buffalo, MI.  Our lack of a reel-story begins with us traveling there this past Tuesday evening.  Hoping to successfully test fish new tackle yesterday morning.
          I carefully studied the weather maps.  Covering all bases on Great Lakes wind from the usually reliable NOAA wind and wave forecast for 1 to 2 footers for yesterday. 
          Contrary to the wind & wave forecast we were greeted by seas splashing over the New Buffalo's north breakwall.  Moral of this story? ...we never launched the boat. 
          Probably like the majority of the visitors of this website I'm getting impatient.  Possibly, trying to push the season.  Reason? ...we've got some brand new yet unseen killer tackle that needs to prove itself on the water.  Click New Buffalo, MI harbor

4/28/10  We're looking at May this weekend and building interest on our Great Lakes Fishery.  My most sincere thank you to all that participated in the pre-season specially priced deals.  Early season tackle shoppers are much appreciated, cuz it takes the heat off us during the prime time months of July and August.
           Today's featured photo shows the new dual boards we've been working on in action towing 3 rods and tracking beautifully.  The design for our collapsible EZ Boards is far superior for storage & performance! Click for this board in service

4/27/10  Congratulations to Capt. Chris S & Team Fray'd Knot for their 2nd place overall finish in last weekend's Lk. Huron Salmon Stakes.  They took the largest King Salmon (pushing 13 pounds) in this event too.  Click Team Fray'd Knot
           Capt. Chris's weight was close to the recent Pro/Am in Michigan City, IN with 36 pounds of silver fish (Lk. Huron nomenclature, or slang for non-Lake Trout).
           Been perfecting planer boards out of necessity not having electric planer reels any longer.  Now I have manual Big Jon reels and got tired of struggling to pull in unruly boards.  We've refined a design that pulls to the side and runs true.  Not waddling along side-saddle like most boards do.  Look to sell a few of these in kit form soon.
           In the future I'll elaborate more on these fully collapsible EZ boards that run like a dream with only 5 to 5 1/2 pounds of pull on the tow string.  This photo shows how well these boards ride high in water in a light chop. Click for prototype board

The story about Slide Divers is more akin to a movable mini downrigger that will fish outside of riggers attached to your vessel.  You can shorten up the leads on these divers, or you can run leads back a 100' ...if you think the fish are that spooky?
           Capt. Randy Even who charters out of Sheboygan, WI invented this diver and as far as I know, his product is made entirely in the USA.  Capt. Randy was the first to come up with a larger magnum ring that everyone uses now on the Luhr Jensen Dipsy Diver.
           Met Capt. Randy back the later 1990s while doing the Grand Rapids Sport and Fishing Show held around the 3rd week of March (approx) every year. 
           He's a straight shooter and I fully endorse his product.  Back in my chartering days (1983-2003), ...most days a pair Slide Diver Rods out produced any other 4 rods on my boat during May & June.  Once you get the adjustable lead lengths dialed in, you'll become a Slide Diver devotee like me!
           Note on Manistee fishing: this constant barrage of N wind does little to enhance the fishing off this port.  N just pushes more cold water down the coast.  As a rule do not expect to see dependable fishing for May Kings until we get surface temps in the low 50 degree range off Manistee's famed shelf.  Our shelf is the drop-off 2 to 3 miles off shore.

4/24/10  Slide Diver attributes are many.  This diver is a great fit for spring and early summer fishing when distance from the boat is more important than depth.  This tool comes into it's own from April thru early July. Click for May Slide Diver King
           Slide Divers work with braid, but shine with mono.  Reason? ...you can run this diver without a snubber.  Being able to run long distance leads of 15' to 50' away from this diving planer helps your cause, if the fish are spooky.  With the Luhr Jensen and Walker divers you're at a set distance of 10' feet, or less. Click for Slide Diver
           One thing that not many consider is that the fish cannot use this diver against you.  Meaning? ...when a fish goes on a long run, the Slide Diver is not stationary and allows the line to slip thru it.  Tomorrow part II in a 3 part series.
           Was out on Lk. Michigan briefly yesterday morning out of Manistee, MI to test new planer boards we're working on.  Seen lots and lots of people fishing and nobody catching.  E wind killed the bite.  Shallow 6' to 12' depths were not holding fish.

4/23/10   Scattered reports up and down the coast are saying Kings, Lake Trout and a few Browns are being caught at most major harbors.  The constant here is; when the bait moves onshore, good numbers of King Salmon (Chinooks) in the 10 to 16 pound bracket are mixed in with large schools of alewives.
          Depths mentioned for the most part are on the inside of 30'.  This is a good 3 to 5 weeks early for Manistee, Ludington, Onekama, and Frankfort.  With spring Kings being dispersed at several ports ...traditional hot May ports like MI City, St. Joe, South Haven etc. might suffer with less fish.  Let's hope not & fishing is good for all, ...everywhere!
           Postponing my update concerning Slide Diver tips until tomorrow.  Thought is was more important to share the late breaking Salmon news from central MI ports.

4/22/10  2 days of fishing on 7.52 gallons of gas? ...equating to 3 3/4 gallons per 6 hour outing.  Not bad when you consider there's 12 to 15 miles of my boat, SR-1979 running on full plane.  Meager fuel consumption like this can only be accomplished with a 4 stroke kicker motor that seems to run on fumes.  Click for receipt proving fuel usage
           Over the years being docked at marinas from Harbor Beach-Port Austin on Lake Huron &  Lk. MI ports of New Buffalo-Leland ...seen most always staying close to port. 
           Being too cheap to run the distance to the fish saves you nothing at the end of the season when you total up cost per fish, as a private boat owner. 
           It's my contention you're better off with a smaller more economical rig than a gas hog that gets 1 to 1.5 miles a gallon.  Any boat with twin V8s will never see 2 miles a gallon.  Granted larger ships afford more comfort, but at an extremely uncomfortable price!
         Tomorrow will focus on a early season fish killing tool, aka the Slide Diver!

4/21/10  Posted a combined photo of Magoon & Guerney Creeks where they enter Lk. Michigan.  If you fish south from Manistee's harbor ...Magoon Creek is located about 5 miles and Guerney is a bit further, like 8 to 9 miles.  Both of these streams are known producers of April shoreline Brown Trout.  Click combined creeks photo
          In years past these Lk. Michigan tributaries hosted huge runs of smelt when the water temp inched up over the 40 degree mark. 
          Nowadays the smelt runs has diminished, but if you see gulls on the beach off Magoon, or Guerney?  You can figure the bait is close to shore acting like a magnet to draw predator species to these areas.

4/20/10  Manistee, MI's new remote weather station is sheltered from east winds, as today's featured photo clearly shows.  East wind numbers are going read slightly lower from sitting at a lower protected elevation.  Click for this weather tower
           This is a small price to pay to have this wonderful data at our finger tips 24/7 all season long.  I shot today's photo up in the shallow water by the S pier.  Right where our new Station MEEM4 is located. Click for 24/7 weather station real time data
         This is the only live broadcasting weather module between Manistee and Northport, MI.  A distance of about 80 miles.  This means Onekama, Arcadia and Frankfort fishermen will all be relying this information for safe days afloat on Lake Michigan.

4/19/10  Frank Martin from Calumet Marine sent in a promising fish report about the East Chicago, IN fishery.  Kings with Coho are being caught close to the East Chicago Marina.  Frank was out for 2 hours and boated 2 Kings (10 & 13 pounders).  Along with 5 Coho for a 7 fish total on a short outing. Click Frank's double digit 4/17/10 King
           Also, he had good things to say about the brand new 2010 War-Frog Mamba 12 inch Reel Flasher, as this pattern gains in popularity.         
           The kicker here is fishing is even supposed to be better 7 miles west towards Calumet City.  This is the area where the Asian Carp plague/controversy is centered.
           My guess is more King Salmon reports will filter in from Lk. Michigan as this week progresses.  Figure it was too windy in Manistee over the weekend for the sports fleet to venture forth.  Going out on a limb & predicting Kings will be in Manistee within 3 weeks!

4/18/10  Vessels suitable for big water fishing are highly complex fishing machines.  My boat, SR1979 has a dozen 12 volt DC motors (riggers, bilge pumps, etc.).   Then there's sonar, GPS, autopilots and radar that must be kept in working order.  Odds are against you that everything will stay working throughout the season.
           Early season trips are a great way to work out potential problems.  More importantly getting a feel for the boat after winter's layup takes time too.  There's a silent awareness concerning trolling speed issues that can only be settled on the water!
          With me ...boats are a constant work in progress.  Why? ...cuz our type of fishing the boat is doing it all.  Improving the way your boat fishes pays dividends with more action.  Covering the bases on all safety issues makes you a better sailor too.
           So far, I've been on Lk. MI three times this season.  Each time there were small issues that needed attention to cure would-be problems long before they ever happened.  Getting everything shipshape now means less grief this summer during primetime Salmon season.  Lost days due to shoddy overlooked maintenance can never be recovered.
           Note to self & everyone else: check the U.S.C.G expiration date on boat flares required by law to have aboard.  Co$tly ticket if you're caught with expired flares.

4/17/10  Strong winds from the N will prevent fishing in Manistee today for our sports fleet.  Wind is supposed to lighten up tomorrow and be kind to us by Monday.  Lack of stable weather and blows are not helping our central Lake Michigan Fishery.
          Next week looks to be a string of sunny days with temps pushing 60 degrees.  Maybe this will let the fine silt settle out of the bluish-green water I spoke of yesterday!
          Tomorrow's update will take a look at early season big lake tune-up trips.  Focusing on how that benefits you down the road in both fish caught and piece of mind.

4/16/10   To summate our action on 4/14/10 the fishing was absolutely super fantastic, but the catching part was sorely lacking.  We had 2 nibbles.  Boating a Laker pushing 10 pounds & small Brown that had the tail of large Alewife hanging out it's chops.
           Our major snarl mentioned yesterday?  We came out of that wad of tangled mono, planer board tow line, & lures ...fairly OK.  All lines & lures were retrieved, as we pulled that mess apart with a lot of care. Click 4/14/01 Brown & regurgitated bait
          Manistee's shoreline water is in disarray.  Colder clearer water lays to the S towards Guerney Creek.  N had bluish-green milky water with better temp, but no fish! 
         You can see this tinge of color in the water for yourself displayed in the background with my fishing bud, Fred G. holding up our lonesome Brown Trout. Click for this photo
          I know not what's going to improve the fishing off Manistee.  Losing the inshore stained water has messed up our April shoreline Brown Trout fishery for now.

4/15/10  The planets were in alignment for me to get time on the water yesterday.  To be able to go fishing?  1st ...it has to be a weekday.  2nd ...work load in the shop is cleared out.  3rd ...the seas have to be fairly cooperative, or under 3 footers.
           The story with yesterday's trip begins with checking the remote Manistee weather station at 6am.  It says under 10 knots and from the E.  By the time we get the boat
launched and ready to fish it's pushing 9am.  Click 9 lb 15 oz Lake Trout
           By then, the wind has built from the ESE to pushing 25 knots and it's a handful maintaining a straight N & S skirting course.  Click Mr. Natural Rapala lip ornament
           The reel-story about 4/14/10 begins with how the strong wind spun the boat on a dime and we had 6 lines with 2 planer boards on the same side of the boat.  Planer board string and 15# mono was stitched thru the outdrive and kicker trolling motor.  This was a major a cluster!  More on this tomorrow and how we fared on Manistee April Browns.

4/14/10  One thing I forgot to mention in yesterday's summary of MI & IN Great Lakes fishing?  There were double digit Kings to 17 lbs. caught in St. Joe last weekend.
           Today's featured photo is courtesy of Julie S and shows her respectable Atlantic Salmon caught in the Lake Huron waters off Rogers City, MI on 4/13/10.  Julie is a tremendous asset to our message board with the best reports from her neck of the woods.
           I truly appreciate her dedication to our Great Lakes fishery & proven willingness to share honest reports most every week during season.  Click 4/13/10 Julie's Atlantic

4/13/10  Reports from Indiana ports of East Chicago and Michigan City said they were catching fish, but cold water and lack of water clarity slowed fishing down.
          Michigan Ports of New Buffalo and St. Joe echoed about the same thing.  No big numbers of fish caught and they were working for what fish they did box.
          Saginaw Bay was decent for Walleyes.  Lake Huron ports of Lexington and Port Sanilac had sporadic results on silver fish.  As usual, Lake Huron's Lake Trout were biting too.  Comprising about 50% of the sunrise side's fish boated.
          Over this past weekend strong winds made fishing tough Manistee.  Don't have a reliable report to share with you at this time concerning April Brown fishing in Manistee.

4/12/10  Past couple of days our topic has been deep, 100' to 200' down fish.  Plain and simple this is attractor territory.  Flasher-meat and flasher-fly act like calling cards.  Luring in the fish in from undetermined distances. 
           I know on our mid-day fish, if we mark one ...we'll generally get a bite.  However, 75 to 80 percent of the fish we box are never marked.  Could it be these unmarked biters have their minds made up to hit well before we see them?
           April sale at the webstore is a new 2010 BTI flasher that has not been revealed to the public yet.  This hush-hush flasher will debut sometime later this season.
          Left the lowball pricing on the new 2010 War-Frog Mambas in the 12 and 10 inch sizes.  You'll get 15% off with 100 dollar purchases with free shipping & bonus 2010 BTI. 
          This does not take into account the discounts offered on the War-Frog Mambas.  Combo deals in the Leland Puke and X-Glow John J Rig are presently a good 10% below normal list in season prices too.  For more info click: www.michiganangler.com

4/11/10  To rehash every season since 2004 from mid-May on ...most of the Kings we've boated have been at, or deeper than 100' down.  I don't know if this is due to the off peak bankers hours we fish, starting at: 8:30-9am and concluding around 2pm?
          Possible reasons could be due water clarity i.e. light penetration.  Maybe the deeper fish at depths exceeding 100' are less molested ...therefore bite better?
          I do know in today's big water fishery you'd better be reel-comfortable targeting depths of 100' to 200'.  Adjusting the diameter of the rigger cable and line used on your reels can keep carry-back, or rigger blow back issues at bay.  Putting up to 200' down within range of 12 pound cannon balls. Click over 20 lbs. 140' down on 8/12/09
          This topic of deep fish has been refined since about 2005 with our esteemed website members in Wisconsin blazing this trail on the water and on our message board.

4/10/10   Special deep fishing alert.  The Great Lakes are way ahead on water temps already.  This coming week's above average temperature might be a trend for 2010.
          1988 was the warmest summer on record for N MI.  Late July, Aug. & Sept. fishing was at depths exceeding 100' regularly.  The foundation for today's wire divers was laid in 1988 ...as we dealt with fish constantly deeper than the century mark.
          If you're not comfortable fishing down from 120' to 200' deep you might want to develop skills to do so with a new mindset.  Our private message board can help!
                        More information on this timely topic tomorrow...

4/9/10  Weather is supposed to improve today.  Then just get better and better all next week.  Wind and wave forecast for this tomorrow is questionable, but Sunday is tolerable.
           Look for more and more anglers as our new season builds.  Encouraging Walleye reports from Saginaw Bay and Lk. MI in general means the 2010 season is alive and well.  Good luck and tight lines to all fishing this weekend!
           Got hit with a light dusting of snow last night and freezing temperatures.  After tonight there's a big warm up on the way  Click snow dusting on 1/9/10

4/8/10  Today's featured photo is from last week's Brown Trout excursion out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  Just as I was snapping the image our largest Brown of the day scooted across the surface with an unexpected burst of energy.
           In doing so, the camera caught this fish throwing a wake with bubbles and pushing a pressure wave just like the bow of a boat.
           Upon closer examination you can see the Blue-Silver 11 Rapala, but the line is off angle.  It's tangled behind on last hook furthest from the nose of the lure.  This is dangerous, because the exposed barb is like a razor and could have sliced our 15# mono.
           The line getting wrapped inside the bend of the hook happened when this fish first hit and was skying out of the water during several jumps. Click for this revealing photo

4/7/10  Original plan to start this week off was to go chasing Manistee's Brown Trout this past Monday.  Predicted winds were a gentle 5 to 10 knots.  So, I worked thru the weekend on tackle production to clear out a time slot for Monday's am Brown trip.
           Upon checking Manistee's new 24/7 weather station Monday morning early it was soon determined the wind was puffing at a good 15 knots with gusts pushing 25 knots. 
           Having a new tool in Manistee's harbor saved a trip to the launch only stare at whitewater.  Sure ...I was kinda bummed about not fishing.  Especially, seeing I burnt up Saturday with work, but happy about eliminating a worthless trip to town for no reason.
           Predicted wind and wave reports are more guidelines than gospel, but the info at the remote weather station is in actual real time.  Click Manistee's weather station
           What makes this even a better find is the archived data on sustained wind, gusts and atmospheric pressure.  You can plainly see how much wind has hindered fishing efforts out of Manistee for a goodly while.  Click for this archived data chart

4/6/10 Wind and lots of it curtailed fishing on Lk. MI this past weekend.  East Chicago, IN is a fish a hour mostly Coho and a few Browns.  This is considered slow to medium for this normally hot April port.  Michigan City, IN  to St. Joe, MI  is showing better fishing with Coho to 23 inches caught inside of 30' feet of water.  Water temp inshore is in the high 40s in this area and limits of Coho are common place.
            Original plan for today was to hit the pond again in another Brown Trout quest here in Manistee, MI.  Wind was wrongfully predicted to be 5 to 10 knots.
            Which in reality was more like 15 to 25 knots.  Far to much wind to have an enjoyable time.  Although, the April shoreline Brown Trout bite better when it rougher.

4/5/10  Right, wrong, or indifferent our MDNR has a rule about releasing out of season Lake Trout.  Common sense says if the LT is fine this is a good rule.  However, this rule does not take into effect if the Laker is bleeding and not likely to survive.
            I understand the futility of starting fights there's no chance in winning.  This is that kind of scenario.  So, getting all huffy over this a waste of time.  Never the less, I'm sure you'll all agree throwing back a dead floater Lake Trout is kinda stupid.
            MDNR's rule could be circumvented by those less honorable, ...lying about the LT being harmed, but in truth ...was not! Click 4/1/10 mortally wounded Laker

4/4/10  Easter greetings.  Have a safe and happy holiday!

4/3/10  Way too much wind yesterday to fish Lk. MI (gusts to almost 50 mph), or I've have went back for second helpings for the action we had on 4/1/10.
            Today's welcome predicted rain showers will help alleviate the severe fire danger in Manistee County.  The forest is kindling wood dry.  
            Posted a photo with Capt. Dick holding the largest fish we caught on 4/1/10.  Jokingly, calling it a Mud Chicken which sounds one helluva lot better than a greaser!
            Many have demeaned the Lake Trout.  Much of this is due to the smaller average size of 5 to 8 pounds in Lk. MI.  You hook a LT in shallow water pushing 10 pounds on 15# test line the myth of Lakers not fighting is exposed as a lie! Click Dick's 4/1/10 Laker

4/2/10  Hit the pond yesterday from about 9am thru 3pm and got into double figures.  We boated 8 Browns & 2 Mud Chickens (Lake Trout). 4/1/10 Box of Browns
           Our Brown Trout went from 2 to pushing 7 pounds on a gorgeous day until the wind kicked from the SW & dropped the temp 20 degrees. Capt. Dick's chucky Brown
           We pulled lines with whitewater building 3 footers in quest of our 9th & final fish for a 3 person, 3 Brown MI limit.  Which is still roaming free in Lake Michigan.
           Yesterday my team was made up with highly experienced savvy Capt. Dick Donovan and Mr. Nice Guy, Fred G,  With Capt. Dick's expertise I had a reel-easy day!
           10 fish on the 1st day of April shows the fish didn't make fools' out of us!

4/1/10  April Fools' Day!  Be sure to watch out for fake news, pranks, hoaxes and practical jokes from those trying to be cute at your expense.  I always get burned when my gullible side swallows hook, line, and sinker ...some phony story.  Then, have some joker laugh like hell at his feeble efforts of merriment.  The dreaded words of "April Fools" is when you know ...you've been had!  So, just grin and bear it today!
            High temps today reaching towards 80 in Manistee, MI.  Yesterday was beautiful with temps in the 70s and beautiful sunny blue skies at my place.  If splendid weather like this doesn't give you a bad case of spring fishing fever, nothing will!