July, August & September 2011

7/24/11 Manistee

8/1/11 Manistee

8/19/11 Manistee

8/26/11 Grand Haven, MI


Archived Updates from July, August & September 2011

9/30/11  Deer baiting becomes legal once again tomorrow.  2 gallons of deer food spread over a 10' by 10' area is the rule set forth by the MDNR.  Click 9/28/11 trail cam does
               Banning baiting was a knee jerk over reaction to deadly brain disease by those who do not live in the woods like I do.  If they did? ...they'd see deer eating off the same pine branches in rotation when food is tough to come by in January and February.
               Webstore will be closing tomorrow night at midnight.  For the most part, my journey into selling my business has been a story about leverage tactics designed to work on distressed businesses hanging on by a thread with owners desperate to unload.  
               Needless to say, my tackle business does not fall into the above criteria. 
               Then, there's the question of finding the perfect fit with the right person.  I've had 4 serious offers and still have one under consideration.

9/29/11  NW gale force winds to 40 knots is the reel story for the Port of Manistee, MI today.  Building huge seas making waves from 12' to 18' by tonight.  Surf's up!
              Captured a very interesting photo in direct sunlight (no flash) with the 2012 SUV Smurf flashers and meat heads.  Setup on this photo is Red Label whole bait trimmed on the boat to fit my Super Mag Meat Heads. Click iridescent blue glow Smurf head
              Iridescent daylight blue glow can be seen on the scales of the bait fish that's the exact same bluish UV radiant effect in the head & flasher.  To me? ...it's downright incredible when a un-retouched photo can tell a visual tale that might be overlooked.

9/28/11  Late September is producing excellent fishing for Kings now.  Based on this time frame MI & WI catch rates are ahead of last year's at S. central & central Lk. MI ports. 
              Today's featured photo is 14 Kings from Sheboygan, WI.  Skipper Steve B ran a 6 rod spread: 2 divers, 2 riggers, and 2 coppers.  This proves it's not how many lines you have in the drink, but how the fish respond to each rod. Click 9/24 Sheboygan Kings
              I'm sure you'll agree it's impossible to predict with 100% certainty how the 2012 season will play-out fishwise.  My read says 2012 will be an excellent year for the fleet!

9/27/11  There's multi state movement afoot to quell the threat of Asian Carp building sustainable populations in the Great Lakes thru the Chicago Canal.
Here's a copy/paste excerpt from MI Attorney General, Bill Schuette:
              "16 states joining with Michigan so far:
Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  These states have joined Michigan’s fight to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes because the “open door” at Chicago has allowed invasive species to flow both ways, both into and out of the Great Lakes, reaching far and wide across the United States.

9/26/11  Fishing was OK out of Manistee this past weekend as Lk. MI continues to cooperate with the weekend fleet.  This is a radical departure from what a "normal" late September is like, meaning lots of wind.  Next year's juvenile crop Kings comprised most of the catch off Manistee's shelf, along with a few Steelhead.
               Best news is the big pond looks to remain on the calm side most of this week offering me a faint glimmer of hope I might get a chance to go fishing myself.

9/25/11  The E shore of Lk. MI is playing nice this September so far with waters that are fishable.  Generally, later Sept. brings wind and lots of it.  Received a decent phoned in report this morning from Sheboygan, WI on 2 and 3 year old juvenile Kings.
              5 days left before my webstore/tackle outlet: www.michiganangler.com 
will be closing down.  Many thanks for your patronage.

9/24/11  In 2011 all 2 million Chinook/King Salmon stocked by the MDNR have coded wire tag in their snout along with an adipose fin clip.  This will provide more scientific data on where and when fish were planted.  Having this new crop of tagged fish will better sort out the possible overblown conjecture on "estimated" natural reproducing Kings.
               I lived and guided fulltime during season on the Big Manistee River from 1985 thru the later 1990s and never seen one baby/smolt Chinook dead, or alive.  No doubt this river is making some, but my gut says the naturally free flowing tributaries of the big "M" like Claybank, Pine, and Bear Creek are the biggest contributors.

9/23/11  First day of autumn 2012 and T.G.I.F.

9/22/11  If today's update doesn't frost your cookies?  ...nothing will!  But, first let's explore the facts involved with the member's of the LRB of Indians who have treaty rights guaranteeing super/special citizen status and by tribal law they can spear Salmon.
               Member's of this tribe must have a special permit to spear issued by the tribe. Factor in, the number of tribal law enforcement officers is dreadfully low to make sure all Indians play by the rules and are actually carrying permits to spear.
               Get over this crock of BS, cuz we here in Great Lakes are a lot better off than our brother fishermen on the west coast.  Where gill nets in rivers and streams are allowed by the US federal government with treaties dating back to the 1800s.
               The root cause is our government who fail to remember the words in our July 4th, 1776 Declaration of Independence.  Exact quote goes, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"
               Nothing was said about special privileges for few?
               Our Civil War in the 1860s was fought with more 600,00 from both sides alike to enforce the all powerful truth, we're all created equal! 
               The moral compass of our country needs to be reset with the values set forth by our forefathers who fought & died to make it so! Click trashed Salmon carcasses
               When you boil this whole deal about Indian fishing rights is all comes to down to the revenue/taxes collected at tribal casinos.  While, we sports fishermen get thrown under the bus for the sake of the almighty dollar. Click recent Indian spear fishing
     Photo credits are being withheld to protect our undercover agent.

9/21/11  NOAA wind and wave forecast says 2 days of S at 15 to 25 knots with gusts to 30, then shifting to a W wind about the same intensity.  This will push the thermocline deeper off the Port of Manistee, MI.  In turn, ridding my home port of extended stay of cold water that has kept the fish scattered here to points unknown
               Deeper down temp is good for central Lk. MI ports, because the structure, or deep water drop offs fence and congregate the fish along these barriers.  Deep fish are suckers for attractor/meat/fly programs that have became the fleet standard.
               Going to make a concerted effort to fish this coming Friday ...if the seas stay at 1 to 3s as predicted?  Lk. MI fishing is not over, but the crowds are!

9/20/11  Sketchy info from last weekend's results in Manistee, MI say juvenile Kings in the top 60' on metal.  Dedicated meat fishermen were pulling adult King even at this late stage of the game.  Big and Little Manistee Rivers? ...Kings are on their way upstream.
              Today's featured photo is from 10 days ago when website member, Roger C, and his team poured the concrete floor in my pole barn on 9/10/11.
               About a year ago I began securing the special land use permit for 12' high side walls.  It took close to 3 months for local government to OK this special permit along with standard building permit at a town hall meeting. Click 9/10/11 concrete pour
               If you live in a woodsy rural area larger out buildings are still allowed.  Most building codes in more populated areas mandate side walls of 10', or less.
               Only 10' of headroom/clearance does not suit most boats that have a hardtop with a radar dome and a rocket launcher for rod storage. 
                Most likeable feature in my new pole building? ...the built in light panels I requested designed into the structure.  Using natural daylight is cheaper than electricity.

9/19/11  Let's travel back in time before the era of cell phones in the 1970s thru the later 1990s.  In those bygone days of yesteryear fleet wide communication was done strictly by marine band, or CB radio.  Beauty of CBs was limited range of maybe 3 miles.  So, you knew whoever was over the hotspot ...was fairly close.
              VHS marine radio commercial channels were more closely monitored back then.  This is how the charter boats openly communicated fishing info for all to hear! 
               Nowadays, inside pro caliber info has went underground via cell phones with a buddy-buddy system that can leave the fleet in the dark when fish are coming hard.
               Multichannel marine radios became relatively cheap by the latter 1970s, but were still in the 2 to 3 hundred dollar range.  A healthy chunk of change for those times.

9/18/11  I don't have a clue about what happened yesterday in Manistee, MI with the fishing.  Tying up loose ends on outside projects, taking inventory, and working tackle store orders kept me to busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.
              I do know fishing was decent for Manistee port regular and website member Brad P who fished a short Friday evening trip (approx. 2 hours) catching 4 decent Kings.  Brad shares his info which is not the fleet norm nowadays.  He fishes a dedicated meat program and has consistently carried a hot hand all season. Click Brad's pm catch

9/17/11  There's more hills, valleys, twists, and turns every season, then there is on  West Virginia Turnpike.  Take this season for instance.
              After developing a killer deep rigger program (100'-200' down), this year the deepest fish caught aboard my boat was only ...maybe, 60' down.  Even with the 90-100 degree temps in last July's hot spell, the thermocline never stayed deep for very long.
              The usual tradition for central Lk. MI ports says there will be lots of warm water and going deep is the reel-program by August into early September. 
               Not so ...this year.  So, my deep rigger program is in mothballs until 2012.  The only constant with Great Lakes fishing is change.  And that it does every year!
               One of the most pleasant surprises of 2011?  ...is how effective a meat program worked on adult Salmon higher in the water column zone of only 25'-60' down.

9/16/11  Good luck to all fishing today and this weekend. Hope to have more for you by this afternoon.  Rough seas have kept the fleet tied to the dock most of the week.  Making it extra difficult for share a fishing forecast/report from Manistee, MI.
               Here's website member, Steve B's Sheboygan, WI report from last evening:
               "I got out for just and hour tonight and we went 6 for 9......the kings are stacked out 200 feet plus off Sheboygan. Click for 9/15/11 Sheboygan, WI King
                Had one casualty....lost a expensive inline board, 300 feet of copper, smurf mamba BTI and 2 fly rig.   Ran the 12 inch smurf mamba 3 fly deal on a deep rigger and it fired for 3 fish ...I am getting fired up about these rigs!
               Mind you I am a avid water fowler also ...but I am in full fish mode still.   
               Going to try and get out again soon."  ...Steve

9/15/11  Forecast for this coming weekend looks favorable for the fleet.  Predicted seas for central Lk. MI are 1 footers for Saturday with 2 to 3s for Sunday.
               Available numbers of adult Salmon (Kings & Coho) still left in the lake is a tough call for Manistee.  Fishing was spotty last weekend with fish tight pockets.  Those that landed in the right spot did OK, but there was no 5 mile stretches holding fish.
               Combinations of strong N wind direction off Manistee, MI has done zero to improve your chances.  N blows have pushed the warmer water in S. Lk. MI to more southerly ports like St. Joe.  While the N half of Lk. MI is mostly all cold water.

9/14/11  As this Lk. MI season winds down it's exciting to look to forward to next year.  If you were impressed by the size of the King Salmon in 2011? ...hang onto your hat in 2012.  Saying Lk. MI is on an upswing is a gross understatement!
              With this year's crop of big adult Kings? ...just think about the benefits to the sub-adult juvenile future generations of fish feasting on mountains of bait.
              Today's featured photo is a repost of this past Monday's 25.4 pound King taken by Gordon A and crew.  You can plainly see this is a short squat chub-boat of a fish that would have a hard time making 30 inches in length.  Jumbo fatsos like this can only be created by a very abundant forage base of Alewives.  Click for this plump King
              The reel-return of factual plus 20 lb. Kings is the major motivating influence behind my decision to sell my tackle manufacturing company.  In business, timing is everything and now is the time to conquer the new horizon of less work and more fishing!

9/13/11  Last weekend's recount of the Salmon action off the Port of Manistee, MI reveals those who fished straight out did OK.  This is proven with Brad P's double digit catch of Salmon.  He said 300' of copper with the OCS combo was good.
               300' of copper gets down to the 60' to 70'.  Website member, Ed F mentioned another piece of the puzzle.  Being a 12" Black Mamba Glow combo taking fish only 15' down on his riggers in the same general area of due west of Manistee as Brad.
                Ed's results blows holes in the mistaken theory attractors don't work up high.  With fishing there's no rules.  A lesson we all constantly relearn! Click Brad's 9/11 catch

9/12/11  Today's update is courtesy of Gordon A.  A former charter guest of mine & current tackle customer.  My association with Gordon spans about 20 years, or more.
             The title of his Email was "Thanks for Memories." Here what Gordon wrote:
"John, we caught this magnificent King right where you said he would be.
The warmer water past the shelf.  Good to see the return of the Manistee Standard.
Good luck in retirement we've enjoyed the charters & the tackle!  ...Gordon, Bob & Craig
 It's nice to know that I touched people in a positive way in life's journey.  Even better was to see a King pushing 25 lbs they caught! Click for their big King Salmon

9/11/11  This website is closed today to honor and respect the victims in the WTC sneak attack that happened 10 years ago.  Normal updates will resume tomorrow. 

9/10/11  Need to clear up a misconception and eliminate any confusion concerning the future of this website.  This website will not be shutting down on 10/1/11.
On that date tackle orders will no longer be accepted at: www.michiganangler.com
              Mich-Angler tackle/webstore website will stay up, but the shopping cart on every page will be disabled.  The selections will still be visible.  Leaving the webstore pages intact saves a ton of work for the new owner when my tackle business is sold.
              Sales at webstore have remained very solid over the last 7 years in spite of the State of Michigan's dismal floundering economy.  Not many businesses can say that!

9/9/11  Reel-decent weather is what weekend fleet can expect for this Saturday & Sunday with seas in the 1' to 2' range according to this forecast (click).
             The downside is the cold water that ran down the shoreline.  Chilly inshore temps are a direct result of structure (drop-offs) funneling water down the coast.
              Just a few miles to the W of Manistee, MI's shelf there's a temp break towards warmer and probably more active fish.  This vertical thermobar of surface water is close to the 30 N-S line rather than the shelf that tends to wander along the 25 N-S line.
               Wind will be shifting to the SW early next week.  Until then there's lot's of NE wind to keep harbor patrol fleet playing bumper boats for migrating adult Salmon.

9/8/11  Fished Manistee for a few hours yesterday morning.  Water temp on the shelf was 49 to 51 degrees and turned much colder about 20'-25' down .  We did a 3 mile N troll in 70 to 100 fow from the 12s to the 15s.  We had one hit on a rigger 50' down.
             We won the war with one of the most vile cankerous Kings known to mankind.  This was a devil fish that more than earned it's release alive back to the depths.  More details on this epic battle of man against fish in the future.  Click 9/7/1 devil King
             Today is the first sincere meeting to discuss the sale of my tackle manufacturing operation to a potential buyer.  This person is a dedicated fisherman who was interested long before it was listed for sale here.

9/7/11  Last weekend's N blow has moved cold water onshore with surface temps in the high 40s and low 50s.  This makes fishing more challenging with an expanded playground for adult Salmon that could be anywhere.  Click 9/3/11 Arcadia, MI King
             Many thanks to all who've shared their fish photos with us in 2011.  Seeing the many smiles, grins and big fish brings it home why we fish the Great Lakes.
             Please be patient if you placed an order at my webstore.  We're running about day behind.  Orders for the new 2012 Smurf flashers and meat rigs are being filled on a first come, first served basis as fast as we can.

9/6/11  Big news today is the formal announcement to sell my tackle manufacturing business.  I'm looking at 65 in November and can no longer push myself as hard as I did even a few years back.  Lk. MI's resurgence back to the land of 20 pound Kings, some to and past 30 ...says the time is right to sell!  I am keenly aware the reel-net worth of my company is the fishing contacts, friends and customers made over the many seasons.
              Part II of today's headline is my tackle store: www.michiganangler.com
will be closing on October 1, 2011.  By that date no more of my tackle will be available no matter who you are.  Closing the webstore will build demand and the new owner will have a ready made cash flow to get their operation off to a good start.  So, once again:

My tackle company is officially for sale
& the webstore will be closing on 10/1/11

If you have no grandiose ideas about getting rich quick in the tackle business I'm willing to negotiate terms of this sale.  Please consider this as a total turn key business with an existing cash flow without mass marketing to larger outlets, ...lets get serious and talk

9/5/11  Labor Day Weekend fishing in Manistee, MI lasted thru Sat. evening with building seas.  Sunday the wind started to blow around 20 knots from the N & increased to over 30 knots by the evening pushing 5' to 8' waves.  More of the same is on tap for today.
             This season is the only one I can recall where central Lk. MI never had a sustained deep thermocline at and below 80' to 100'.  Reason?  Combinations N and E winds dominated keeping the eastern side of Lk. MI on the cooler side.
             According to my last Manistee report catching was decent, but the fish were in tight pockets and not spread up and down the coast.  Area off Guerney Creek about 5 miles S of Manistee was one of the hotspots mentioned this past Saturday.

9/3/11  Good luck and safe times afloat this Labor Day Weekend.  Recreation is what makes life worth living and refreshes the soul from today's pressure cooker culture.
              Like you, I'm taking some time off.  This website is on hiatus thru Monday unless something really big happening, like landing a 40 pound King Salmon aboard my boat.
                  Hey, if you're gonna dream? ...you might as well dream reel-big!

9/2/11  Manistee, MI's First Street Public Boat Launch is under major construction as of yesterday morning.  The normal exit is blocked.  Just return the same way you came in.
While today's lead story will never make the national news, it's important to the 100s of fishermen & boaters that will use this facility over the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. 
             I'm sure the outfit doing the excavation work is aware of the holiday and this blocked exit might be fixed prior to the Labor Day rush. Click 9/1/11 blocked exit
             Fished for a few hours yesterday morning and went S.  Fished between Guerney Creek to the 7s just N of the humps in 70' -150' deep. Temp was high, like 50 degree water only 25' down.  The action was slow for us and the rest of fleet within eyeshot.

9/1/11  Today I have successfully completed 27 Augusts in the fishing business.  20 as a charter skipper and river guide.  Plus, the last 7 as a tackle manufacturer.  My only regret is not starting sooner in both cases when I was younger.
              Good luck catching this upcoming Labor Day 2011.  All ports on the MI side of the pond are reporting good to phenomenal fishing.  Like many of you, I'm looking forward to a few relaxing days off and a chance to wet a line.
               Lk. MI will behave itself thru this Saturday.  Then a cold front pushes in with 1' to 4' seas predicted for Sunday.  Sunday night waves building to 4' and 5' footers.  

8/31/11  The history book on August 2011 closes today.  We all learned to expect the unexpected with the return to larger Salmon.  Even though, the Lk. MI season started off slow, it's not how it starts? ...it's how a season ends up that counts.
               Seas are favorable going into the upcoming Labor Day Weekend with waves on Saturday predicted at 1s and 2s.  This is 10 times better than last year when we got hit with a solid 2 weeks of wind.  Rendering Lk. MI a miserable rough place to fish.
                An awesome Grand Haven, MI catch grabs center stage as the featured photo.  This meat catch was caught on 8/26/11 by website member, Matt W.  He was pre-fishing the Gold Coast Tourney & finished a strong 3rd. Click Grand Haven catch

8/30/11  Today's update began on the phone with Craig from Capt. Chucks in Ludington ordering more of my tackle for their store yesterday. Click Capt. Chucks tackle store
              That's when I got wowed by the really big news of a XXXL 28.9 lb. Frankfort Coho.  This monster sized Coho was caught by the winners of the Pro Division, Team Hammbone in last weekend's Benzie Frenzy Tournament held in Frankfort, MI.
              Coho pushing 30 pounds is huge considering average weight is more like 8 to 10 pounds.  Is this year only the precursor of jumbo Kings and Coho just like the good old days on Lk. MI, but in future seasons ahead?  Click 28.9 lb. Frankfort Coho
               My congrats to Team Hammbone & Craig for a mission accomplished!
         BTW, I asked Craig how the fishing was in Ludington? ...he said, "phenomenal."

8/29/11  Congratulations to Team Getaway for winning the big deal Benzie Frenzy Tournament held at Frankfort, MI this past weekend.  Capt. Bob K leads his team that includes his dad, Bob Sr. They won the big fish award for this event too.  Along with 2nd place in the tournament within a tournament, the 333. Click Frankfort winning big King
              Getaway Bob is part of brain trust behind the cad design of my flashers & meat heads.  His engineering experience in the auto industry says he's one smart cookie.
              There's so much more I could say about Bob and the wonderful times I've had fishing with him ...aboard my boat, or his ...dating back over the last 11 years.
               It's nice to see fortune smile upon a super good fishing buddy earning a well deserved victory in a strong field of contestants!  Click day 1 brag board catch
               I no longer list tournament wins with my products, seeing this as a cheap way to brag up product.  When in truth, it's the fishermen that deserve all the credit, but I'm pretty sure you can figure out what Team Getaway had on every one of their rods.

8/28/11  Today's headline photo is a 29.9 pound King caught yesterday by Team Getaway in Frankfort's Benzie Frenzy Tournament.  Click 29.9 Frankfort, MI King
               The good old days have returned big time.  Up until this year fish like this were only distant memories from the early i2ks.  What a difference a year makes! 
               Full story on this big fish and weekend Lk. MI fleet fish reports tomorrow. 

8/27/11  NOAA increased the wind and wave forecast a slightly yesterday.  1-3s, then 2 to 4 footers later today.  Tomorrow is 1 to 3s.  Wind is suppose to be 15 to 25 knots.
              Today's tip is how to comfortably troll in 3 to 4 foot seas.  Only troll with the waves will make it a helluva lot easier on you and your crew.  Run a small spread in larger seas, then pull lines to run upwind, reset your lines, & troll downwind again.
              Trolling into 4' heads seas is a lot easier in larger boats.  In the under 28' class the tactics of pull, run, reset, and retrace really works if you're on a wad of fish.
              Landing fish in a following sea cuts down on lost opportunities too.  Surging head sea waves can knock fish off.  Following seas will wash the fish towards the boat, if you time it correctly and gently gain line when you can.

8/26/11  Good news for the Lk. MI fleet.  Hurricane Irene is parked over the E seaboard.  Trapping a stable weather over Michigan for the next several days.  Seas are predicted at 1 to 3 footers.  Then, diminishing to 1 footers by early next week, if all holds true.
               Today's tip will be tighten down your rigger releases.  Adult King & Coho Salmon have a hard mouth and leathery skin ...when compared to early season fish. 
               Keep your hooks sharp.  Over 20 pound Kings have a jaw bone structure that will dull even a new hook.  Fine tuning your hooks and releases will pay huge rewards for those not too broke to pay attention! Click soup to nuts on hook sharpening

8/25/11  This is probably the busiest weekend for the Great Lakes trailer boat fleet.  Please remember ramp etiquette by turning off your headlights if you're launching, or retrieving your boat in the dark.  Have your boat ready to go and splash immediately.
So, others can do the same quickly.  Patience is needed too!
               Good luck to all fishing this weekend's Benzie Frenzy Tournament being held in Frankfort, MI.  Last weekend the Flint Steelheaders had their best outing of the year with several competing boats in double figures.  So, fishing looks to be good at this port!
                Frankfort has a good all around fishery, but it's probably best known for it's world class Coho Fishery baring none.  Frankfort used to be my home port.  I've seen 20 fish boxes by 9am in the morning when I chartered there from 1983 thru 1991.
                Today's featured photo is a big Coho at, or over 12 pounds.  Coho/Silver Salmon size has increased this year too.  Normally, this smaller cousin to Kings have a hard time reaching 10 pounds, but not this season!! Click 8/20/11 big Frankfort Coho

8/24/11  Saying the return of 20 to 30 pound Salmon to Lk. MI is an understatement.  Especially, considering the inshore fishery limping along with small catch numbers thru the 2nd-3rd of July at central Lk. MI ports this season. Click 8/22/11 25# Manistee King
               Lk. MI is back from the days of a teener King being looked at as a good fish.  Now, 30 pounders and Kings to 37 pounds are the daily news makers. 
               The resurgence of tackle busting King/Chinook Salmon is just what the doctor ordered for us dyed in the wool Great Lakes fishermen. Click 27# Ludington hog
               And you know what?  ...nobody seen this coming.  I for one, never in my wildest dreams, thought we'd be reeling hog Salmon with the size 2011 is producing.
               Here's the wonderful part; if the Lk. MI bait population stays robust we could be dealing with even larger Salmon crop for 2012 ...believe it, ...or not?
               Word for the wise is to re-spool with 25-30 pound test on your rigger rods  if you're coming to Ludington, Manistee, or Frankfort.  Anything less will cost you $$$!

8/23/11  Unlike at this time last year, the weekend warrior fleet is gonna catch a reel-break on upcoming 4, 5, and 6 foot seas predicted for today and tomorrow.  Then, towards the weekend the forecast is much more favorable for the trailer boat fleet. 
Wind and rough seas took it's toll on the 2010 late August early September fishing. 
              This small blow will be from the S and SSW is a good thing.  This direction of wind will drive the Salmon's preferred temp range down to 100', possibly more.
              Salmon are said to prefer 50 to 54 degree water, but can be in warmer and colder temps zones when bait is scarce.  This season there's been no shortage of bait.
              When fish go deeper they get reel-stupid and are easy prey for "on the ball" attractor/meat fishermen.  Big deal on fishing depths at 100' plus is total control of your boat's speed.  Not your boat's speed controlling you.  There never been a boat built over 16' that can't benefit from some kind of speed control device!
               Deep, 100' down and deeper is where super braid line on your rigger rods shine.  Be sure to bloodknot a 30' to 40' shock leader of good quality 25 to 30 pound mono and you're all set.
Click for more info when using super braids on rigger rods

8/22/11  S and SW wind improved the catching at the central Lk. MI ports of Ludington, Manistee, and Frankfort.  Temp was said to have moved down to around the 70' range. 
               The annual Coho run at Frankfort is going strong from increased stocking efforts by the MDNR.  Size on the Coho is reel-good with double digit fish commonplace.
               Success was pretty much across board, with website members getting into a handful, or more.  Big deal is size matters this season with heavyweight Kings to and past the 20 pound mark.  This year's average size King/Chinook looks to be about 5 pounds heavier then the past 3, or 4 seasons.  Click 22 lb. plus Frankfort King

8/21/11  To big water Salmon anglers this time of the season is their birthday, Super Bowl, Christmas and World Series all wrapped up into one!
               The lowdown on Manistee is boats, boats, and more boats spread from Big Point Sable to Onekama.  Fishing is fairly decent to with catches in the double figures for savvy skippers that have crowd control skills and backup programs.
                The shelf is producing some adult Kings, but the numbers fishery is further west on the 28 to 35 E-W line.  Juvenile Kings, Steelhead, Lake Trout, and a few Coho to 10 pounds were being caught over the depths of 300' and deeper.
                 Many thanks to Grant F and Ed K for making today's photo of a Master Angler King over 27 pounds possible.  Details on what caught this big guy?  Our 12" Green Doub L Glow flasher & Silver 3 Fly Meat Rig at 100' down.  Click for this 27 lb. King

8/20/11  5 decades of Great Lakes history has taught me the 20th of August thru September 10th is best for numbers of Salmon.  So, enjoy next 3 weeks.  I know I will!
               Seen enough adult Kings this past week and not one reel-dark mature river runner yet.  Mostly all silver Kings are still being caught.

8/19/11  Recent S & SW wind have pushed the thermocline a little deeper to 50-55'.  This is about 25' deeper then what I saw last Tuesday.
               Yesterday's traffic to the S of Manistee, MI was intense for a weekday.  Look for it to build more as the weekend fleet with Salmon fever approaches.
                Good luck to all if you're fishing the Great Lakes this weekend!

8/18/11  Two days ago, or this past Tuesday ...Grant F and I boated the largest King aboard my boat since probably about 2007.  Click for this Bad Boy Bruiser
               This fish was a mean nasty powerful beast pushing 24 lbs. that took close to a 1/2 hour to land.  Slowly, we regained the 100 yards of line this full-sized adult Salmon peeled and we finally won. This was a memorable fishing victory & will not be soon forgot!
               4 times we had this Mike Tyson of all Salmon almost within netting range ...like it was playing Possum.  Then, our foe would regain it's vigor and instantly take more line against an already firm drag setting on the 10' wire diver rod.
               Fish have different energy levels and this one must have been on steroids!
               Our new line of UV BTI Flashers are renewing my 7confidence level on high fish relating to the thermocline 20' to 50' down. Click for tackle used on 8/16/11
               It's for history to decide where our new line UV and SUV tackle works best.  Personally, I get reel skeptical when bodacious claims ...hard to prove are made.
               Reel-facts say on my last 3 trips 90% of the fish came on our BTI 10" flashers in SUV, Black Mamba SUV and the ground breaking 2012 X-Glow Smurf Mamba BTI.
     After the fact, Grant weighed our Tuesday's 5 fish box that came in at 90 pounds!!

8/17/11  The setup on today's fish tale began yesterday morning a little after 7am 8 miles south on Manistee, MI on Lk. MI.  The seas were glassy calm and the fish were high, due to the temp break being only 25' down.  Click table top 5/16/11 flat seas
              Salmon in the top 50' "were" a weak link in my program.  Especially, when placid seas increases light penetration, ...making adult Aug. Kings extra wary & very boat shy.
              My new SUV models have helped cure my ailing topside 50' Salmon tactics bigtime.  The death toll on our excursion was 5 great big Kings between 7am & 11am. 
               5 Salmon off Manistee used to be no big deal, but now it is ...with the jumbo sized Kings we're dealing with in 2011.  Our smallest fish was 12-14 pounds & our largest was over 20 lbs.  Almost filling a 120 quart cooler. Click our 8am UV double header
               Another 2 Kings would have filled this box completely to the brim.
               My hat's off to longtime former charter guest, website member and fishing buddy, Grant F aka salmongf.  Grant's expert rodsmanship went a perfect 5 for 5!!!!!
               Including one cantankerous villain over 20 lb. brute that took Grant close to 30 minutes to land.  Man, that was a close quarters "off the top rope" slugfest!
                Tomorrow's part II will concentrate on what we're learning with the new 2011 and 2012 SUV tackle.  The BTI Black Mamba SUV with Raging Red UV 2 fly and the newer 2012 X-Glow Smurf Mambas with the 2 fly Smurf meat rigs do a job on high overfed, boat shy, and just plain ornery ...August Kings.  These are must haves for your arsenal!

8/16/11  It's remarkable how a flasher that started out as a joke ended up ruling the roost in Manistee.  Here's an unsolicited  testimonial from Manistee, MI:
              "Only fished on Saturday this weekend.  I had 5 women on the boat and we even went out on Saturday evening and got bounced around.  Will send a few pics of the results, but some are not the best in quality. Click 8/13/11 pm trip OCS on the job
               The moral of the story is we boated 6, lost 5 and missed 7.  All on the OCS. It was working so good I pulled all line and strictly went to this on all 3 rods. ...even  let a friend have one that could not catch any fish.
              This lure has taken every fish the last 3 weekends ...as you can see in this photo you could not stand up for a photo it was so rough."
   Thanks, Brad P

8/15/11  Continuous brisk winds from the N kept the majority of the fleet dockside yesterday at central Lk, MI ports.  Waves were diminishing as of last evening.
              The fleet giving Sunday a rest is a godsend for those fishing today.  My 20 years as a charter operator thought me Monday's were harder to catch big boxes.
               I have a planned update about how important a stable thermocline is to summer big water fishing.  That update is on hold until one forms.  If yesterday's surface temp chart is to be believed? ...there's low 50 degree water temps on the beach now.

8/14/11  Stimulus (OCS) flasher pattern introduced last Aug. is still earning it's keep! 
              Today's photo shows a mid-day King just over 20 lbs. that's not even close to 30".  Short heavy fish are an indicator of the future. Click for wide-body 20 lb. King
               Thanks to Capt. Tom R from Sue Lee Charters in Manistee, MI for sharing this photo.  Also, he provided this info: the temp break was 35'-40' down up on top of the drop-off.  The break got progressively deeper the further away from structure.
               Yesterday the crew of the Sue Lee built a 7 box that pushed 100 lbs.
               Grapevine says 16 to 24 miles due W of Manistee is fish-city with limits of Coho & Steelhead.  The 40W line out to the 53W line.  The W53 line is close to WI border.
               This far off-shore is beyond the reach of most recreational fishermen.  Only attempt long runs in a larger boat with twins for safety's sake.

8/13/11  Looking for something out of the ordinary? ...today's story meets that criteria!
Here's a copy and pasted email from a Kayak troller:

               "Well it finally came together Thursday morning about 10:00 AM.  I found a ball of bait and caught enough alewives to get started with.  Rigged up and turned back around for a first trolling run through the same bait ball.
               In my kayak, out of Arcadia, trolling X-Glow King Kryptonite super mag meat head with a 6 inch alewife rigged to spin effectively 18 feet behind a dipsy set on 3 and 15 feet back over 25 feet of water (bait ball was about 10 feet down).  
               Got through the bait ball and BAM.  Now the fun began!!!
               Needless to say, but I did have to unwrap the line from around the second dipsy line several times.  Had to hand line the last 10 feet, or so ...since I had such a long leader, but the fish did finally make it into the kayak.  Must have pulled me quite a ways before coming to the 'yak. FUN!      Click 8/11/11 Arcadia Kayak King
               Took one picture, but managed to get my own forearm in it. Anyway, I think you can appreciate the effort that this took.  See attached for proof that the above is very true.  Couldn't have happened without your fine product."
                Thanks again,  Chuck  ....aka website member Cbull

8/12/11 Central Lk. MI wind begins today WSW, then swinging to SSW.  Saturday's wind direction goes SSE becoming ENE in the afternoon.  Sunday's breeze will be directly from the N going NNE is the evening.  Monday's N wind stabilizes into: light & variable by Tues.
              The above is a prime example of too many wind shifts, in too short a time.  Never establishing a clearly defined thermocline that helps concentrate fish.  These kind of conditions are confusing to both the fish and more importantly ...the fishermen.
               Good luck to all the weekend warriors on the Great Lakes this Sat. & Sun.
               Tomorrow's update will explain the biomass of plankton and what these tiny creatures mean to an established deep thermocline ...that vastly improves the fishery.

8/11/11  Sustained strong NW wind at 20 to 30 knots that lasted thru noon yesterday.  Wind has been going down ever since, but not by much.
             This extended NW blow has surely raised the thermocline.  Not is not good.  Having boat shy spooky adult Kings high in the water column does not make for a easy bite.  Today's wind is supposed to come around to the W, then switch to the SW by Saturday.  The trailer boat sports fleet wisely did not fish yesterday.
              On the home front if fishing the Lk. MI was not in the plans? ...it was a gorgeous day with a good breeze, no humidly, and temps in the low 70s.  After the hot spell a while back cooler temperatures were certainly appreciated.

8/10/11  Check out today's starring photo of a 24 pound King caught off Big Point Sable yesterday morning.  It's not hard to verify the size of this King that's every bit of 36 inches long.  Just use the 12" Mamba for a guesstimation ruler.
              Fish this large were only a distant dream over past few seasons.  Now, 20 pounders are fairly common place.  Only fly in the ointment?  These jumbo Kings and fish in general are not off Michigan's coast in big numbers ...yet!  Click 24 lb. big point King
              Fishing has been on the challenging side.  There's an old adage that says, "when the going gets tough, ...the tough get going." 
             Apply that line of thought to our lineup of Mamba flashers that are presently the "go-to" selections for the big water fleet of Lk. MI fishermen in search of Mr. King Salmon right now!  The cream always rises to the top when fish are being extra selective.

8/9/11  The best part of our Salmon season for the big water fishermen still awaits us with great promise.  Last 10 days of August and first week of September is the pinnacle for numbers.  Look for a few Adult Coho to show up by the August 20th off Manistee, MI.
             Wind after tomorrow's 4' to 6' seas from the NNW will favor the fleet.  W and S combinations of wind should push the thermocline down by this weekend.  Once the temp break is 70' to 80' down ...adult Kings become far less boat shy & a ton easier to catch.
              Last weekend's high temp (20'-30' down) & calm waters made for a tough bite.
              Today's featured image clearly makes the point this year's class of Kings are definitely not suffering from a storage of baitfish.  Click for a healthy 2011 King

8/8/11  Today's photo of the day transcends all ages.  Whether your 6, or 65 we all have the same beaming smug grin on Ethan's face, ...even if it's on the inside  Reel pride comes in when you master a fish to the net and feel in control of your own destiny.  Thanks to Ethan's dad, Jamie G aka "the Luce" for sharing. Click for Ethan's grin
            Sunday's action off Manistee, MI slowed somewhat as the easy fish were picked off on Friday and Saturday.  By the middle of this week look for more adult King Salmon to reload along Manistee's famed "shelf" and improve catch numbers.
             Wind this week favors the fleet to move the thermocline deeper with only Tuesday night and Wednesday showing N & NNW winds.

8/7/11  Reel facts from Manistee, MI begin with the better catches coming from south of port.  Guerney Creek to Big Point Sable produced boxes of 3 to 7 big adult Kings (high end numbers) in the mid-teens to the lower 20 lb. bracket.  Biters are 30' to 60' down range  spread out from the bottom depths of 60' to 300'.  Temp is still high, like 25'-30' down.
             Rigger bite is almost non existent with divers, copper, and lead core doing most of the damage.  If you don't have a good long distance from the boat program, you'd better develop one in a hurry to deal with these boat shy adult Kings!            
             Sea Fleas (fish hook water fleas) are no longer causing issues clogging up the line guides on fishing rods.  Boat traffic was intense yesterday.
             Consensus says those who are pulling meat are doing best on the adult Kings.  Any of our Mambas (including the new Smurf Mamba) & the Silver Bullets are working.  Normally, I never post tips on what to use, but a tough bite commands more help!
             Please, ...above all else, keep in mind the above is fishing report dated info from yesterday on the way it was.  Not the way it might be ...today?

8/6/11  Yesterday spelled tough fishing for the Manistee, MI sports fleet.  Throw in a very high messed up thermocline at only 22' down, glassy flat calm seas, gin clear waters, and it's no small wonder why fish were so hard to come by. 
             Took a few hours off yesterday morning to water test our new 2012 X-Glow lineup of Smurf (blue) colored SUV (super UV) tackle.  John J and I took a respectable King pushing 20 pounds while setting up at 7am and missed another good fish at 8am. 
             Both of our hits came on the new X-Glow Smurf Mamba SUV.  Pulled lines at 9am so I could get home and take care of pressing tackle orders.
             Right now rating Manistee, MI fishing is in the eye of the beholder.  If you can be happy with about bite an hour? ...you'll be all set. Click 8/5/11 Smurf Mamba King
             The silver lining to less fish numbers?  When you do hookup?  ...more than likely you'll be in a battle royal with line screaming bruiser King pushing, or over 20 pounds. 
Salmon  this size were almost nonexistent the past few seasons, but not this year!

8/5/11  Captain's Log Supplemental:  Fished from 7am to 9am this morning. Took a goodie on the New 2012 Smurf Mamba at 7am, and missed another fish on this same rig at 8am.  Pulled lines at 9am and was home by 10:30am.  Click 2012 Smurf Mamba King
                Today it's my great pleasure to debut our 2012 lineup of X-Glow Smurf SUV tackle.  Big deal on the new tackle is the lure tape that goes blue for 6 hours.  Blue "glow in the dark" coupled with the daylight blue SUV glow makes this a match made in heaven.
             The original plan was to save this glow pattern for next year, but with Salmon catch numbers down, we need all the help we can right now.  Besides, the color blue has been a fleet favorite thus far this year.  Click for 4 kinds of revealing photos
This new deadly blue tackle will listed by tonight at: www.michiganangler.com
             Moving on to the recent fishing report frpm Manistee, MI ...yesterday was tough go, as the fleet struggle to adjust to a high thermocline 25' to 30' down.  Wednesday was better for those with larger boats who fished down towards Big Point Sable.

8/4/11  Recent happenings from Manistee, MI is big Kings at, pushing, or over 20 pounds.  Sports fleet catch numbers are from 1 to 3 fish a boat per morning, or evening trip.  Dialed in charter boats are doing somewhat better, ...if they land in the right spot.
             Hard to tell what yesterday's blow from the N did to the fish, other then shove more adult darker Kings towards the harbor. 
             Been deeply involved on bringing a brand new line up fishing weapons to market.  Original plan was to break loose this new tackle for 2012, but with numbers down we need all the help we can get now.  This new tackle truly fits in the 21st century.  Back in 1967 when Salmon fishing began in MI we never dreamt of the advances in fishing gear.
             Congratulations to website member, SteveO for his 8th place King in the KD Derby.  His fish paid 750 bucks. Not to shabby for 8th.  $750 will buy a lot of boat gas!

8/3/11  Today, central Lk. MI is supposed to be lumpy with strong winds from the N pushing 4'-6' seas.  Tomorrow the waves will little more tolerable at 2s and 3s according to NOAA.  These N winds will shake up the Salmon fishery and raise the thermocline.
             The higher the temp?  The larger the playground for Salmon.  The fencing aspect of structure to concentrate fish along a drop-off is lost.  Making fishing more challenging.
             Thanks to all that have emailed me their photos, but for now I have a good problem.  That is too many photos.  So, I'm saving all images for a later date and will post them down the road. Click Grand Haven squid rig King   Click Lk. Ontario Whopper
              Our new 2 & 3 squid rigs introduced last August are finding fleet favor on Lk. MI and Lk. Ontario.  Squid rigs were made to pick a fight with Mr. King Salmon ...& they do!

8/2/11  Big Kings have returned to WI's KD big fish contest.  32 pounder is leading and it takes a 27 and change to make the top 10 on the leader board. Wasn't that many years back when a mid 20s King was a winner.  One thing I can share with you about the KD WI bite is riggers are slow, but wire divers and copper are producing.
            Today's featured photo of a glowing UV blue flasher in the mid day sun is our new SUV BTI.  This pattern has earned a super solid reputation as a full sun winner.
            The SUV BTI 10" flasher with the backdrop of a Lake Trout's mottled maze of white, grey & silver markings is fascinating in my book. Click SUV BTI & Laker
            A word of note about our website members.  Not all of them pull meat and my tackle.  Those that do? ...and fish competitive events? ...and learn the minor nuances of an attractor program are rewarded with more major wins then those that do not!

8/1/11  August, the big time Salmon fishing and it's here!  This is the month all dyed in the wool Salmon fishermen wait for.  As the run of returning fish build, you won't have to look for them.  The fish return to parenting streams and planting sites near you!
            Numbers were not the reel-deal last weekend, size was ...with several Kings to, and past 20 pounds.  One of today's featured photos, the Manistique, MI tournament winner is a fatso King for only 36 inches!  Click for this fish
            Congrats to our winning website members who use meat & my tackle:
1. jerryriggin for the tournament win in the recent big deal Manistee event!
Lil' Bugger who won a boat is this same event!!
Tokenfinn for winning the 2 day big fish Manistique, MI Derby with meat AGAIN!!!

7/31/11  Here's a quote from Mike G about his 7/28/11 fishing trip out of the Port of Kewanee, WI, "Ran other stuff til 7:30 am then dropped 3 meat rigs and caught one on each with in a hour. Out of Kewaunee harbor" click for Mike's WI catch
             7:30am WI time is 8:30am in MI.  Taking 3 fish after the easy early morning bite is over ...kept the black kitty with the white stripes away!

7/30/11  Yesterday we put over 50 scenic miles on my boat out of Port of Leland, MI. Started at N Manitou Island, then traveled S Manitou Island before calling it quits around 1pm.  Main reason for leaving the north island?  ...we were amongst a pack of 10-15 boats and never seen a net go down.  Click Leland Puke BTI King
              Temp was 75-80' down prime territory for our attractor program.  Our action was limited to a good eater Lake Trout and an immature King off S. Manitou.
              Most exciting part of our journey was running out of gas returning to the pier heads with the wind blowing us towards the rocks.  The original plastic fuel pickup tube was warped and bent from E10-gas the government has unwisely forced upon us.  The deformity in this tube was just enough to not reach the last 18 gallons in the tank.
    Did we get washed up on the rocks, or reach the dock safely? ...to be continued!

7/29/11  Posted one of the best photos ever taken with the tackle we make courtesy of Lk. Ontario's Capt. Ryan Hare.  A monster King with our 12" King Kryptonite flasher pointed at the camera is one helluva amazing photo!  Click for this truly awesome picture!
              Been hitting pretty hard this week with tackle manufacturing and shipping orders.  So, this morning I'm calling in sick (please don't tell my boss) and I'm...
    There's a reel possibility I'll have a hands-on fishing report for you by this evening!

7/28/11  Today's top featured photo proves Salmon with hit more that just green trolling flies.  Our Black Mamba Glow has been hot in Frankfort lately.  I have a photo of 27.25 pound Master Angler King caught on the Mamba Fly, but the photo was shot in very low resolution and not suitable for publishing.  Click Black Mamba Fly proof
               Our second featured image is a fatso girthed out chub-boat King that kinda reminds me of Salmon we see from Lake Ontario. Click Sheboygan, WI 2011 King
               It's no secret that fish are coming harder this season, but we're seeing much heavier Salmon that have been obviously well fed. 
               In around 2007 the Lk. MI DNR's (IN, WI, IL, & MI) agreed to a 25% reduction in the Chinook/King Salmon plant.  At the cost of less available Kings to us our DNRs have averted an alewife crash that totally devastated the Lk. Huron Kings in the early i2ks.

7/27/11  Yesterday N & NW wind was the deal in Manistee, MI.  Tonight the wind is supposed to shift to the E.  Generally, these conditions are favorable for Kings caught in and around the pier heads.  Time will tell if this plays out today. Click 7/24/11 King
               While the harbor fishing heats up, fish running the river subtracts the staging Kings in the deeper water at the drop-off, or Manistee's shelf.  End result is tougher fishing for those not wanting to deal with the traffic at the piers & fish more open waters.
               Posted a new photo of adding an assist to prevent diver creep. 
               Don't have the exact poundage on the pull of a mag diver with the large ring and flasher ...best guess is 5 pounds, or more?  Tightly cinched rubber bands can take some of the pressure of the reel's drag.  Hopefully, resulting better bite vs. hookup ratios.  This idea will be revisited the future when it's proven workable. Click drag assist

7/26/11  The story of central Lk. MI last weekend was definitely hit and miss.  Some of our members did 5 to 8 fish with some good sized Kings.  Others struggled to buy a bite.  The reoccurring common theme on the better King catches? ...the good boxes were taken inside the 100' depths working structure ...just slightly below, or at the thermocline.
              Recent tournaments in Manistee, MI Lake Trout were a targeted species for some of the higher placing boats with the knowledge to outthink their competition.
              If you're were trolling with anything thinner than 25 pound test mono you're going to have issues with the fish-hook water flea known for clogging up reel guides.
              Hoping to schedule a pull test and see what a mag diver and flasher and fly exert on the drag system of the diver rods and reels.  Working on an assist system to take some of the pressure off the reel and help raise the ratio of diver strikes.  That ...I'll share with you soon when the exact figures come in and have time to explain this better.

7/25/11  The company that made the inserts for our popular Meat Rigs & Flasher Storage Cases has went out of business.  Not from having a great product, but probably from poor management.  It was always a chore to contact them, or so it seemed.
               We're liquating our current inventory of about 60 well constructed Plano Utility Boxes sold in sets of 3 for only 29.95.  Click to order Plano boxes
               3 of these boxes will store a lot of tackle.  You can pack about 25 of my 12 inchers in one box minus the inserts we were using.  The latches on the Plano boxes do not break and the hinges hook together separately (not the living hinge stuff that breaks).
               Planned update about developing a cure for missing diver bites been postponed a day.  Weekend fishing results in detail will be discussed tomorrow too.

7/24/11  Website members with smart phones are posting reel-time port reports on our message board.  To someone of my generation (I'm pushing 65) this form of communications is far beyond anything in our wildest dreams.
              Me? ...I'm just not a cell phone person, believing it deprives us of what little privacy we have nowadays.  Besides, I spend plenty of time on the phone already taking care of quartermaster issues keeping in pieces and parts to make a finished product.  Providing customer support and taking phoned-in tackle orders keeps me reel-busy too.
              So, I see a phone much like a laborer does when he looks at his shovel. 
That being, it's strictly a work tool and more work ...never leads to more fishing!
            Tomorrow's update will focus on trying to cure missed wire diver bites.

7/23/11  Posted a new photo of a very respectable 5 fish box for this season taken off Arcadia, MI by Team Chummer.  Chummer is hitting his fish early and late, saying the bite was done by 8am on morning outings.  Click 7/22/11 Chummer's Arcadia catch
              The fleet pressure off Manistee, MI has been very light so far this year. 
Manistee's sport fishing fleet is catching some fish, but not at the pace of previous seasons.  Look for the number of boats fishing to gain intensity with August approaching.

7/22/11  This is tournament week at my home port of Manistee, MI.  Shared info has tightened up and rightfully so.  Tournament competitors spend 100s of dollars in entry fees.  Their good info should remain on the QT for the time being.
               Posted another photo from Capt. Ryan that showed a better size relationship of what plus 30 pound Kings look like when somebody is holding one.  Please note the attractor squid down by the tail.  Click 30 lb. Lk. Ontario 7/20/11 King
                      Good luck to all fishing the Great Lakes this weekend!

7/21/11  Yesterday's plus 20 knot wind from the S and today's predicted W wind will drive the thermocline deeper off Manistee, MI. 
               These wind combinations are going 1 of 3 things.  First is fishing will improve.  Second the fishing will stay the same. Third the fishing will get worse.  It's far safer to cover all the bases when trying to prophesize crystal ball events like fishing!
               Today's highlight photo comes from Canadian Skipper Ryan Hare who runs
"We Pound Em Charters."  I'll let his words say the rest:
"....I was out today and managed to get you a few photos of some good Lake Ontario Kings I took on you rigs. We started out with one around 18-20lbs and then took a 30.02 and a 31.30. The rod was hot all day :)"  Click 7/20/11 Lk. Ontario 30 pounders!

7/20/11  There's a new leader atop the Lake Trout division in Alpena, MI's 37th Annual  Brown Trout Festival/Tournament caught by Team "4 C's."  This hog Laker tipped the scales at 20.65 pounds and is currently 5 pounds ahead of second place!
               My thanks to website member, Craig skipper of "4C's" for sharing a truly great photo that captures a special moment in time. Click Lk. Huron 20.65 Lk. Trout
               I know a lot of fishermen are struggling to catch with tactics from the past 5, or 6 seasons.  The year's crop of bait has changed everything.  Focus your program on the 50-54 degree down temps.  Close to bait & structure as possible. 
               Best Manistee double figure catches have came in water depths of 55' to 110' since last weekend.   Lead core and 150' of 45# test copper have been the hot "go-to" the rods as of lately. The business of wandering around for suspended Kings over deep water has not been working.  The Kings are on bait and structure.  Treat it as such.

7/19/11  The top 3 amateur boats scored more points then the top pro fishermen in the recent Ludington Offshore Classic held last weekend.  This proves there is absolutely no such thing as amateurs when it comes to fishing money tournaments!
              Neglected part of the fishing report from last weekend.  Those I spoke with said the morning bite was very slow during the full moon conditions on Sat. & Sun.
              Big thunderstorm storm roared thru night before last and kicked up winds to 50 mph off Manistee, MI.  Even worse up towards Charlevoix, MI with gusts to 65 mph.  These high winds demasted & capsized sailboats in the Chicago to Mackinaw Lk. MI race.  There were 2 fatalities and several were pulled from the water by the USCG.

7/18/11  There's a grand feeling that goes into planning a trip on the Great Lakes.  Kinda like when you're a kid waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve.  Anticipation has a hold on me, cuz I know I will be going fishing this week come hell, or high water!
               Please refer to yesterday's update for details about the current conditions in my home port of Manistee, MI.  This past weekend showed an upswing over the previous weekend, but not by leaps & bounds.  Look for the catching part of fishing gain steam this week and perk up from here thru early September.
               Here's today's sweat box forecast for Manistee: mostly cloudy.  Chance of showers and thunderstorms early...then numerous showers & thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Highs in the upper 80s.  West winds up to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.  Heat index readings around 105.

7/17/11  Big story is the 90 some degree heat wave we'll be enduring this week thru next Saturday.  Last year we had just a couple of 90 degree days in Manistee County, MI.  This year we're going to have several days with the thermometer reaching into 90s. 
              If the heat by itself isn't bad enough?  The heat index with humidity factored is plain terrible at, or over 100 degrees.  This is not anything close to normal for northern and central Michigan lower peninsula weather!  Click 92 degrees in the shade!
              Yesterday, fishing out of the Port of Manistee was hit and miss.  6 to 8 fish were the top charter catches according to what I heard.  The thermocline was 25-35 feet down off Manistee's "shelf."  Better boxes came over the depths of 50-55 feet of water.
              Lately, sea fleas were said to be causing a lot of problems for Manistee fishermen too.  Storing super braid rods until the sea fleas lighten up is a good idea.  Fleas are not as prone to collect on 30# monofilament, or wire diver rods.
              Today wraps up the big deal Ludington, MI Offshore Classic Tournament.  Competing boats were spread out from Little Point Sable (Pentwater) to Onekama in search of scattered pockets of fish.  Heard Big Point Sable was slow.

7/16/11  The Little Manistee River received a small run of Kings last week.  Normally, this happens around the 4th of July when the first fish of the season begin showing up.
              We as fishermen are only one user group of the Great Lakes.  Every port Lk. MI has beaches and beach goers that don't like swimming with floating dead bait fish. 
              In fact, that's what spurred the Salmon program back in 1966.
              2 years ago was the lowest stocking numbers for Coho.  Which has since been rectified with a major increase by the MDNR.  Are lowered stocking numbers of Kings and Coho part of the equation with the over abundance of Alewives this year?
              The a question above my pay scale for the experts to answer!

7/15/11  The heat wave that's been sweltering the mid section of our country is moving north.  By Sunday going into Monday temps in the central portion of Lk. MI will be in the 90s.  Long range forecast says 90s are going to be with us most of next week.
              This means you'd better have a strong deep water attractor program (100' to 200' down), as the main body of LK. MI heats up ...driving the fish ever deeper. 
              1988 was the hottest summer for the northern part of MI's lower peninsula according to my memory.  1988 was the height of the BKD (Bacterial Kidney Disease) crisis that killed off a lot of Kings too.  That year what Kings we did catch were all plus a 100'.
              Good luck to all venturing out on the big ponds this weekend!

7/14/11  Full moon is tomorrow night and I'm seriously considering fishing the evening till about midnight, then head in.  Seas are on my side, but thunderstorms are predicted.
              My boat is rigged & ready.  Just need to make sure the navigational lights are in working order to make this happen.  Been a landlubber way too long anyways.
              Fishing last year's July full moon on 7/26/11 we did OK, including a hectic fire-drill 4 banger with just Matt B and I aboard.  Click last year's July full moon box

7/13/11  Yesterday, spoke with a charter skipper from Ludington who I respect greatly.  He said charter boats were averaging about 2 to 4 fish a trip.  Withholding his name, so no one to accuse him of painting a bleak picture that might hold charter customers back.
              The middle weeks of July is limbo-land that have always been a crap shoot on Salmon with some years good ...and some years ...not so good. 
              Generally, Salmon fishing really picks up around the 20th of July and is wide open throttle by the last week July thru early September.
              Need to thank Brad P. for his recent photos that speak louder than words. 
His stomach contents image with 62 small Alewives in one King was fascinating. 
              According to Brad, he boated 14 fish the last 2 weekends.  Not too shabby seeing the fleet consensus was a bunch less.  He uses my tackle and meat.  In fact, the only flashers he owns came for me! Click stomach contents of 62 bait fish!

7/12/11  Last weekend Lk. MI  ports of Leland to Pentwater showed what a humbling sport chasing fish on the Great Lakes can be. Click 7/10/11 Manistee King
               Inshore Salmon over the depths of 100' to 250' were hard to come by.  Some made long boat runs offshore to target surface Steelhead in hopes of better catches.  
               This deal of fishing inshore Salmon all season is relatively new and has only been around since the later 1990s.  From the 1970s thru the mid 1990s it was normal to pound the bottom for Lake Trout during June and early July.  Back then, another option was to travel offshore and fish to top 30' for Steelhead.
                The current Lk. MI alewife die off is a reoccurring event.  In 1996 is was far worse with dense wind rows of floating dead baitfish 100s of feet wide.

7/11/11  Sketchy details at best means I'm better off delaying today's discussion until I have something rock-solid to report.  Limited info says Michigan waters of Lk. Mi was no bed of roses.  Saginaw Bay was decent if you were in the right area to pull keepers?
              Stand by for a more complete fishing rundown tomorrow when our website members have posted more port details on our private message board.
              Today's featured photo proves what eating machines Salmon are!  62 immature, or small alewives were in the gut of one fairly good sized King.  Down the road we'll all reap dividends with larger sized more girthed-out fish. Click 62 bait fish!
              Another reel-fact that is proved beyond any shadow of a doubt, even negative Kings with a filled-up stuffed stomach will still eat a meat rig when presented correctly!!

7/10/11  Haven't heard anything too hot about this weekend's fishing off Manistee, or Ludington, MI yet.  Preliminary reports from our website members say it's been tough and all mention heavy concentrations of bait on the inshore fishery.
              My goal is to tie up all loose ends and be extra ready to fish by 7/15/11.  Then, I'll have first hand reports to share with you ...and hopefully soon!  

7/9/11  Owning a boat comes with a responsibility to make sure everything is shipshape before venturing out on the Great Lakes.  You owe it to yourself and crew.
             Ran my new motor on Manistee Lake on 7/7/11 and noticed it was running warmer than normal.  Found 2 issues, 1st the thermostat rated to open at 140 did not reach full open until 170-175 degrees.  Next was to rebuild the lower end water pump before major problems were encountered and was sure glad I did! Click torn impeller
            The impellers were worn and one of the vanes had a tear.  If you bust off a vane it can plug waterways.  Not to mention the downtime to can hamper a prime time trip. 
             Seloc's Mercrusier repair manual explains how to fix just about anything that can happen to the outdrive.  Would it have been easier for a marine mechanic to handle this chore?  Yeah, but it's the busy boat season & I'm not gonna wait 2 weeks!

7/8/11  Prime time for summer Salmon begins in about 10 days, then builds thru August into early September.  One of the biggest fears all Lk. MI fishermen have is a bait fish crash like what happened in Lk. Huron during the early i2ks.
             Belay your fears, cuz the Salmon I've seen are all fat and sassy with girthed out bellies.  Especially, our summer Coho that are going thru a growth spurt from 3 pounders in April to fish pushing 6 to 7 pounds now.  There's a reel-possibility we will see some double digit 'hos in later Aug.  So, relax ...the greatest part of our season is yet to come!

7/7/11  Two reel-stories for you today.  First one kinda explains why recent Manistee, MI fishing has been hit, or miss.  It's water temperature is goofed up.  From top to bottom on Manistee's shelf is locked in with all warm water.  Meaning no thermocline to speak of. This defies explanation to have this much warm water so early in the season in spite of the cold ...delayed spring.  For a 4th weekend 11:30am Manistee King click here.
                Second is extra savvy WI big water fishermen are running a dual program on the deeper waters of 500' to 800'.  They're working the top 30' with metal targeting good sized Steelhead/bows & dropping the riggers with meat to 150' for Salmon.  Thanks to website members Terry W. & Steve S. for their photos. Click for WI Kings & bows

Today's featured photo is courtesy of Jim R skipper of the Blue Rhino docked in Algoma, WI.  Interesting reel-fact about this image is the Yellowtail BTI and cloned matching Yellowtail trolling fly.  Click cloned colors with 18.5 pounds of proof!
            Having your color combinations working together as a team just makes sense.  Plus, it eliminates the endless mishmash of what color to run? ...with what?
            As this season progresses you'll see more verification about duplicating flashers & flies.  This idea came from our matched-up combo deals on flashers & meat rigs.
            Our pro quality trolling flies are labor intensive with up to 5 different colors blended to pair up exactly with many the flashers we proudly manufacture.  Plus, there's 3 hook style options to suit your preference. Click for our industry leading trolling flies
            Overall, last weekend WI big water anglers had a better fishing than those on the MI side of the pond.  Chicago area of S Lk. MI was very decent too!

7/5/11  Northern Michigan had a beautiful 4th of July Weekend.  Not too hot, or too cold, just right with blue skies & temps in the low 80s. Click teener 7/4/11 Manistee King
             Sports fishing fleet at Manistee, Onekama, and Frankfort reported had a tough go finding Kings close to structure at depths less than 250'.  Catch average was 0 to 2 fish on the high end.  Haven't spoke to charter contacts yet, but will soon.
              Alewife die-off is happening at Manistee.  Their kidney system is prone to problems when there's large water temp fluctuations.  I know many will be concerned about the bait dying, but this happened on a vast scale in 1996 with no ill effects to the fishery.  In fact, 1996 was one of my best charter years for numbers per trip.

7/4/11  Weather for the 4th of July weekend in Manistee, MI has been great, but the big lake fishing has left a lot to be desired.  Those fishing S of port to a few miles north of Big Point Sable are not finding much on the inside of the 200' depths.
             This is the weekend Manistee holds it's Forest Festival with carnival rides and a big tent at the First Street Public Boat Launch, making parking a boat trailer a challenge.
              Fishing on the inland lakes of Manistee County has slowed somewhat too.  A recent mayfly hatch might be part of this puzzle.

7/1/11  Have a safe and very enjoyable 4th of July Holiday Weekend.  Like you I'm going to take some time off from my normal daily duties including updates.  Need a break to put some distance between myself and any form of work, ...to go fishing!
             Unless the sky falls in, or we're attacked by aliens, the next time you will hear from me will be this coming Monday.  In 11 years running, never taken 2 whole days off from this website. Guess it's about time ...eh?  Click 28" Saginaw Bay Walleye
              The good news for the 4th weekend is Lk. MI seas are going to be very fleet friendly and the weather forecast is excellent with temps around the low 80s.