July, August, & September 2015

7/2/15 Algoma, WI
Team Blue Rhino
Steelhead & Kings

8/15/15 Manistee
Super Silver Bullet
with same meat rigs

9/4/15 Manistee, MI
4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoon
Kevorkian King

SUV 4.0 Salmon Buster™
Spoon caught Steelhead
9/23/15 Manistee, MI

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

9/30/15  Just when I think I've heard it all, another bug-a-boo rears it's ugly head.  I'm speaking about aqua-farms where they use huge net pens to raise fish.  Lot's of this is going on in Alaska and even Scotland. Click Detroit Free Press article
              Some have traced VHS to when the W. coast began rearing Atlantic Salmon many years ago.  1000s and 1000s of fish all cramped into a small space has it's risks ...bigtime!
     This is just a plain bad, stupid idea that I hope never happens to the Great Lakes!

9/29/15  Making tackle with no learning curve is basically what I do.  Salmon Buster™ spoons work with all variables when it comes to what you attach your spoon to the line with.  Meaning any kind of swivel, i.e. crosslocks, or, coastlocks in a varieties of sizes. 
             Tried light wire, to heavy duty and they all work with no subtraction to the spoon's productiveness.  This is accomplished by the added nose split ring that most spoons do not have.  Besides, the spilt ring makes attaching it to your line one helluva lot easier!
             You can see this for yourself every time there's close-up pic published on this website on a spoon caught fish!  Click close-up 1  Click close-up 2

9/28/15  This is the time of the year when production shifts into high gear for the 2016 season.  I'll save you the boring details about work, being work.
               Looking for a window to fish Lk. MI soon.  I'll feel a lot better about 2016 if we can catch a few of next year's Salmon.  That are a no show aboard my boat thus far.
               Winterizing my boat will be delayed as long as possible while I keep looking for juvenile Kings.  If you've caught any 2 or 3 year olds recently? ...please email the pics.

9/27/15  Notes from 3D printed prototypes from this time last year, said the 4.0 XG Bluetail Salmon Buster spoon was due to start producing.  Click Bluetail 4.0 SB Steelhead
              Sure enough, this spoon color took a Steelhead and a Coho on my last Lk. MI trip out of Manistee, MI on 9/23/15.  This was half of our 4 fish evening catch, the other 2 came on the 4.0 SB in the SUV pattern. Click Bluetail 4.0 SB Coho
               Main issue I've seen with fish off my home port? ...there's a lot of bait in the 200-350' depths, keeping the fish well fed with easy meals.  Worthy of note? ...is we had only 1 hit in 53 degree water, the other 4 bites came up higher in the warmer water.
              Then, there's no surface temp breaks to fence-up the fish, keeping them scattered from 600' to 250' of water.  Please keep in mind, this was last week and heaven only knows where the fish will be located on my next trip!

9/26/15  According to my Salmon Ambassador Program, David Warner, Research Fisheries Biologist for the U.S.G.S, Bloater Chubs have been spotted in the stomach of WI Salmon. 
               If you find stomach contents of a small bait fish, that might be mistaken for Smelt?  Please document this with a clear photo and send the results to me.  I will forward your photo with credit to you.  Then, send it to the appropriate sources.
               This year Chubs have had their best "young of the year" class since 1992 and could be a bright spot in the bait fish population.  Click young Bloater Chubs
               Bloaters are a member of the whitefish family.  "The bloater is found at depths of 30 to 198 meters (98 to 650 ft) There it inhabits underwater slopes, and is tolerant of temperatures between 34.7 to 52.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 11.4 Celsius).  When it is brought to the surface it's gas bladder expands, giving it a swollen appearance." Part of this paragraph is from Wikipedia & more info on chubs can be found by: clicking here

9/25/15  Late September weather continues to be a blessing.  Never in my long memory of fishing Lk. MI since 1968 have I seen as many calm days as this month.  Daytime highs 10 to 12 degrees above average aren't too hard to take either.
               Cannot put a handle on our fall fishery as of yet.  Maybe the weather is holding it back a week, or two.  Do know we should be seeing better catches then we are.
              There's more suspended bait off Manistee, MI right now then we've seen all season, going back to April.

9/24/15  Yesterday evening Todd B and I fished Manistee, MI.  We had 5 hits, 3 made it to the boat.  High flying Steelhead always come with a high loss ratio.
               Best water depth?  200' to 325' of water.  4 of our bites came on Salmon Buster™ spoons, with 1 on a Frog BTI flasher/meat combo.  Temp was 53 degrees at 75' down.  Bluetail and SUV spoons had 2 hits each in the 45' to 60' depth down range.
               Went way out to the 32 line in plus 600' of water that was a waste of gas and time.  Marked lots of bait closer in, which of course ...is very good news!
                Weather and seas are behaving quite nicely.  Click SUV spoon Steelhead

9/23/15  The official fall season is upon us.  Gone are the massive summer crowds of Lk. MI fishermen.  Few boats and wide open spaces makes this my favorite time of the year.
               September 2015 is the warmest on record ...ever.  This extends the growing season for Great Lakes fish of all species.  After two record, or near record cold winter temps that kept. Lk. MI chilly, having warmer ...late season water has to help.
               Hope to fish Lk. MI again very soon.  Have a few notes from this past Monday that should prove beneficial on my next trip.  Do know recent S wind is good news.          

9/22/15  Fished Lk. MI out of the Port of Manistee yesterday morning looking for next year's Kings without any luck.  Did find a few Steelhead and Coho, but no immature, or adult King Salmon.  We did have a brief fishery for juvenile Salmon about this time last year.
              The shelf was absolute Deadsville.  We didn't find any active fish until we moved over 250'-350' of water during the last couple hours of the trip.  Click spoon & Coho
              Then, we (Todd B. & I) had 4 hits, 2 on Salmon Buster™ spoons and 2 on meat.
If the lake had been more conducive to a long offshore run, would have went out deep in the 1st place.  But a stiff E wind was building a bigger chop than I want to deal with.

9/21/15  Recent news from the Little Manistee Harvest Weir says there's maybe 50 to 60 Kings in the hole below the raceway.  So, there's not scads of Salmon there yet.
               Last year there was only 2781 Kings that returned.  2014 set a record for the lowest number of fish since the MDNR began keeping records in the early 1970s.

9/20/15  Have a great Sunday!

9/19/15  Looking forward with great anticipation to fishing Lk. MI soon.  The lake should roll and cool.  Bringing the fish up higher in the water column.  The shallowest fish caught aboard my boat last July and August was 60' on the rigger counter. With that fish hitting a 4.65 Kevorkian Salmon Buster™ spoon.
               Late season fishing will turn back to spoons.

9/18/15  Happy Friday!  Yesterday, Manistee, MI probably seen it's last day with temps in the 80s till next year, as fall approaches, then winter.
               If and when the wind allows, we're entering one of my favorite times of the season.  Fall Steelhead and next year's Salmon will happen soon.  The crowds are long gone and there's plenty of room to troll any direction without dealing with traffic.

9/17/15  Next big sign post when it comes to Lk. MI fishing for 2016 is the amount of juvenile Salmon that will be caught towards the end of this month, going into Oct.
              In 2014 fall fishing for next year's crop Lk. MI Kings was some.  2013 fall fishing for Kings was none, and that's why the adults that ran in the summer 2014 was sparse.
              2015 was a better year for the fleet off the central Lk. MI ports.  But southern ports like St. Joe, MI struggled to locate and catch Kings.
              How much of an improvement 2015 was over 2014?  That answer is going to be in the eye of the beholder and what time of the season they fished.

9/16/15  Only a few days of official summer 2015 left.  3 days of S wind to 30 knots has the trailer boat fleet shore bound.  How many adult Kings are left, still out in Lk. MI remains to be seen.  Next break in the wind? ...I plan on finding out.

9/15/15  14 year old Dylan proudly hoisting his King pic is from this past Sunday morning. Fishing has brought me plenty of joys in my long career.  Seeing next generation fisher people like Dylan B ranks at the top of my list.  Click Dylan hoisting his King
              His fish pounded a 10" BTI Frog flasher with the same in a 2 Fly Meat Rig™ with 80' of line off the 10' diver roller rod, dialed on 2.
              This would have put the diver right in the 35-40 foot zone with my cupped diver rings.  Need to cover this diver topic more fully: thought for years trying to solve the missed diver hits issues we've all experienced.  Every lost bite is a missed opportunity!
              There's 3 factors to consider in my current string of 10 fish for 11 strikes on my divers.  1st, double snelled trebles on my meat rigs.  2nd, my Super Snubbers™ that out performs all other diver snubbers by a wide margin.  Lastly, is my original cupped diver ring that dive deep without the extreme hard pull associated with traditional mag rings.  Hard pulling diver rings means a tighter drag to prevent line creep ...that results in missed fish!
              All 3 of the above items mentioned are my original ideas. These are not knockoffs, or imitations of anything that came before!

9/14/15  Yesterday morning it was my great honor to fish with the father and son team of Todd and Dylan B.  The seas were mixed up and nasty coming from all directions at once.  That's the reason we cut our trip short and pulled lines at 9am.
               The vitals on conditions of the Port of Manistee, MI begin with N wind raising the temp break, or thermocline up to 30'-35'.  Surface temp was 63°
               This trip was a case of being lucky, rather than good.  Knew we were in for a tough time when we marked a large school of bait that was at least 200' long with nary a good fish mark around it.  Click Dylan working on wire diver King
              We had 2 diver whacks and both stuck.  Extending our bite vs. fish in the net on divers, ...to 10 boated for 11 strikes when our last 3 trips are added up together.
              Fun part was watching young Dylan gain mastery over a decent, hard pulling King on a 10' wire diver rod all by his lonesome.  Then, watching his dad, Todd net the fish.

9/13/15  Stiff N wind is the main story from Manistee, MI.  It remains to be seen what this has done to the adult Salmon off Manistee's drop-off, or shelf.  Hope to hope a full report on what's left in Lk. MI, that hasn't already scooted up the rivers.

9/12/15  Today's featured photo proves homemade old school glow stick spoons still work.  Todd B is holding a King that hit slightly above the temp break at 60' down over 200' of water from about a week ago. Click glow stick Kevorkian Salmon Buster™ spoon
            This photo is a companion pic on the same day aboard another boat with a fish caught by Jake R.  Click Jake R's Kevorkian spoon caught King
            The purple color has been good on adult Kings since the mid 1980s.  This same pattern is a goodie in a flasher/meat rig too! Click Kevorkian flasher/meat King

9/11/15  Any spoon can be turned into a bright long lasting glow with one simple trick. I learned this from another fisherman in 1985 when running spring charters for Kings on Lk. Huron, out of Harbor Beach, MI. This contraction was then, ...on a now defunct ET spoon.  Which I viewed with great amount of skepticism.  Click glow spoon trick
              OK, filed this away until I hit hard times on a summer Salmon trip out of Frankfort, MI a few years later in 1987.  Figured what the heck, and needed to pull a rabbit out of my hat quick.  Adapted this line between the front and rear split rings and used a 1.5" glow stick that had to be snapped in the middle, then shaken to make it glow.  Glow stick is inserted into 2 pieces of plastic tubing on the line strung between the split rings.
             Getting back to the Frankfort trip I was struggling on? ...this method of glowing up a spoon soon turned the trick and we were fast into fish!

9/10/15  Postponed until tomorrow.  Then, I'll debut one of my new 2015 Salmon Buster™ spoon that carries it's own special independent chemiluminescence light source.

9/9/15  Plan was to fish this morning out of Manistee, MI.  Mr. Wind is a blowhard again with wind pushing 20 knots, according to the Ludington offshore data buoy at 6:00am.
             Since 2006, the idea of all matching tackle was stuck in my head.  That's the reason my meat heads, meat rigs, and flashers are precise clones of each other.
             Fast forward to 2015 to my Salmon Buster™ spoons pair up perfectly with all my other selections.  I am proud of this accomplishment that NO other tackle manufacturer is this galaxy has came close to.  That's why I'm me, cuz you can't raise the bar high enough when it comes to our sport of fishing ...that at best, is a hit and miss proposition.  20 years in the guiding & charter business taught me the best hasn't been made yet, but I'm trying!

9/8/15   There's enough favorable in S and W combinations that will work in favor of those fishing the Port of Manistee, MI.  This should keep the Kings in the warmer off-waters.
             Came full circle on Project 2015 that created my Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Having matching tackle all thru your program helps take the guess work out of "what to run."
             Let's face it, Lk. MI is a tough nut to crack & has been for the past few seasons.  Putting odds in your favor with reel-program simplification is what my spoons are about!

9/7/15  Have a great Labor Day!  Everyone gets today off, including me.  Good stuff on the way tomorrow.

9/6/15  A reel-good story for you today that's helped out with photos from Jake R.  Jake stopped by my shop to pickup a few spoons just prior to his Friday evening fishing trip.
             He told me to pick out 6 of the larger 4.65 spoons.  Which I promptly did.
            Knew the Kevorkian and Frog patterns in my flashers were working from earlier in the week.  So, these 2 colors became part of his mix. Click 4.65 SB Frog King
            Told him to make sure these 2 went in the water.  Well, to make a long story short, he took Kings on both of these 4.65 Salmon Busters™. Click 10" BTI Frog King
            Now, here's where common sense comes in, what works in a color, transcends lure type.  It's the color that first attracted the fish, not the form of tackle.  In other words, if it works as a flasher/meat rig™ combo, surely it will work as a spoon.
         This is proven beyond any shadow of doubt by both of Jake's photos today!!

9/5/15  Fished Manistee, MI last evening.  Lines went in the water at 5:30pm and we pulled at 9:00pm.  Todd B and I fished straight out (15s) N to the 18 numbers. 
            Our best depth was over 200'-300'.  Came into 150'-125' for the last hour and that was a complete, total waste of prime fishing time. 
             We hit 2 quality Kings in the teens.  1 on the diver towing a 10" Froggie BTI & matching 2 fly meat rig™.  2nd fish was on tricked-out 4.65 Kevorkian Glo Salmon Buster™ spoon that will be explained/featured tomorrow. Click for our best King
             To sum up this trip?  We were never on good marks from the git-go and darn few fish.  Lk. MI was a smooth as silk and went to flat calm around 7:30pm.

9/4/15  Need to expand on my recent evening fishing trip out of Manistee, MI.  Ran out to 400' of water, cuz going in I didn't have the slightest clue, as where to fish.  It was a good 2 weeks since my last trip on 8/16/15.  200' depths seemed best straight out of port.
            5 hits in 3 hours was tolerable.  Sure, it's not the EZ glory days of yesteryear, but I'm not there to empty the lake anyways.  I accept the challenge of the here ...and now.
            It was glorious to see the thermocline light up with bait that formed a thick red line on my graph just after dark.  8 diver fish in the net for 9 strikes shows my cupped rings divers can get to 100' down with ease with a helluva lot less rod strain that the traditional large hard pulling mag rings.  The 9 bites figure adds in the 8/16/15 trip.
            Depending on how the wind pushed the water around, best advice for those seeking success this weekend is to fish deep with meat.

9/3/15  Good news, Manistee has Kings and Coho ready and waiting for this Labor Day Weekend!  Here's the vitals:  400' of water, temp break was 85' down last night, closer to shore (220'-155') temp was about 100' down.  Lines in the water from 6pm till 9pm.
             SOG troll surface speed was 2.0mph.  Todd B and I had 5 fish go and boated 2 Kings and 2 Coho.  Figure our fish count could have been much better, but it took us a while to get dialed in. So, if it don't glow? ...it don't go! Click for our best King
            Every hit we had was on glow stuff.  Kevorkian BTI and Frog BTI with matching 2 fly rigs worked on our divers.  220' of 7 strand wire off the reel, dialed on 1 with my cupped diver rings and Super Snubbers.  John J 12" combo down the chute, or center rigger fished 120'-110' down was the rigger flavor of the day with a 10' lead off the ball.

9/2/15  It's hot for September.  Stiff winds from the S keeps the temp break deep.  Adult Kings do not have a easy highway to their river and streams when the inshore water is warm.  For the last 2-3 years, cold water has dominated the fishing, and, or how deep you fish.  This is not the case in 2015.
            2014 could be called the year of the spoon, when spoons took 1st in my long running 8 year poll about your best method that will be featured later this year.  This year, attractors, or meat and attractors should climb to the top spot, if my guess is correct.
            Hope to wet a line soon.  Haven't mentioned it much, but secret Project 2016 is in full R & D mode.  It's challenging and rewarding when a plan comes together.

9/1/15  This website is undergoing maintenance today.  Daily updates will resume tomorrow.

8/31/15  A day before we turn the calendar to September, here's a brief Manistee, MI recap from this past weekends results.  Fishing reports were all over the place. 
             Some catching only fish well below the thermocline, around a 100' to 130' down, to those who said all their action was slightly above the temp break.  Attractors ruled the roost with meat doing most of the damage, but flasher/fly combos were mentioned too.  Catches ranged from 1 to double figures.
               Another commonality? ...was those who live and die by the early bite had the hardest time adjusting to a later morning bite.  While sporadic, best times were past 8am to all parts of the clock, even when the sun was high.
               Next theme was the S and SW that keeps piling up the warm water of central Lk. MI's eastern shore.  BTW, this wind pattern is predicted to hold going into Labor Day.
              As to be expected, for this time of the season ...there's a few Coho in the mix with mostly Kings, plus an occasional Lake Trout.  Didn't hear of many Steelhead.

8/30/15  Have a great Sunday!

8/29/15  Happy Saturday!  S wind has sent the temp break down to 120' the last I heard from Manistee, MI.  Next week is shaping up with a stable barometer and steady temps in the 80s into the Labor day Weekend.  Wind is supposed to calm down too.
                        Have a great weekend, because you deserve it!

8/28/15  Fished out of Manistee, MI for approximately 1 hour yesterday morning.  In fact, we pulled lines at 7:55am in building seas.  Straight out of port there was a lot of marks at 75' to 150' down over 175 feet of water when Todd B and I first setup.  S wind pushed us past this big pod of fish well before we got all our lines in.  Turning around trolling back into the waves was out of the question.  Trolling downhill with the seas was bad enough.
             The seas were all messed up with converging waves from 2 different directions.  While my heavy 22' 1979 Sea Ray cuts the water on plane nicely, it's a miserable platform in mixed up waves.  This due to it's hard cut vee hull that echo rolls in the trough.
             After an hour riding in a nasty 2' to 3' slop, decided I wasn't having one iota of fun.  Knew there were far better ways to spend my time onshore. 

8/27/15  Hanging the "gone fishing" sign on the door for this morning.  Plan is to fish a mini trip.  Then, be in the shop well before noon to get orders all shipped today.  Been almost 2 weeks since I was last out.  It will be interesting to see where the temp is.
              Last night Lk. MI off Big Point Sable was flat calm and we had a very bright, almost full moon.  So, I'm not overly confident about what this morning will do.

8/26/15  Only 5 days left in August as the 2015 season rolls on.  Best news is, 2015 is an improvement when compared to 2014 and 2013 for central Lk. MI ports.
              Here's a guest update from Pete D:

"Thank you for posting a pic of my 14 year old son Daniel in July.  He and I just returned home from our annual two week fishing trip in Manistee with friends who have been coming to this port for 30 plus years and have been mentors to me and now my son.  Your blue mamba glow flasher and meat rig were deadly for us 100 feet down.  I first learned about your tackle and daily posts from them and am now a daily reader and more successful fisherman.  Thank you for all you do and please keep on." Click to view Pete's fish

Pete D.  Extra Credit fishing team       

8/25/15  The central Lk. MI ports of Manistee, Ludington, & Frankfort, MI have the deepest thermocline we've seen in probably the last 3 seasons and that's a good thing.  Finally, Lk. MI is recovering from record, or near record winter ice cover for the last 2 years.
               Warm water produces more plankton that's welcome news for the bait fish population.  Also, having warm water increases the base metabolism and grows larger Salmon and Trout of all species.
               We had a lot of wind from the W & combinations of S the past 4, or 5 days.  Wind is going to come about to the NW.  This should help run some cold water in and raise the existing temp (thermocline) that ranges from 110' to 140' down.  My guess is we'll have temp in the 70-80' range when it calms down this coming Thursday.
               Weather outlook for this weekend looks very promising too with highs in the 80s and winds that look to be calming down.  So, get out and enjoy summer while you still can!

8/24/15  Fishing remains good off the Port of Manistee, MI for those brave enough to to face the stiff winds and big waves.  This past weekend was the Benzie-Frenzy tournament out Frankfort, MI.  Boats that did well in this event ran 20 some miles S to fish Manistee waters.  The thermocline was said to be deep, like 110'-140' down.
              Wind is going to be with us thru mid-week.  Then, the forecast looks a lot more favorable.  If this hold true? ...this Labor Day Weekend's Salmon fishing off Manistee looks to be one of the better ones in recent years ...we all hope!
              Broke the end barrel swivel off my 2008 BJ riggers made in Traverse City, MI last time I was off the dock on 8/15/15.  I can understand parts breaking, no problem with that.
              Cannot understand why Big Jon wanted to charge me 79.57 (including the 15 buck UPS shipping charge) when I bought 4 of the same exact swivels off eBay, shipped to my place for under 30 bucks.  Showing it pays to look before you leap.
              BJ's website claims innovation.  That was true 30 years ago when they switched from 1/2" stainless steel to 5/8" aluminum rod.  Essentially, the junior series (6" spool models) are unchanged since 1985.  I challenge this company to live up to their hype. 
Do something that even shows the smallest piece of innovation, cuz I can't find it.  I've owned several sets of BJ riggers since the late 1970s.  So, I know what I'm talking about!
             I want to see this Michigan, USA company do well.  They make a small compact EZ to fish over rigger with a soft suspension tilt-up arm that's tailor made for small boats.  But you can't be stuck in the past living off accolades earned a long time ago.  They need to update their riggers.  Click BJ 12/0 end swivel about the fail
             A good start would be rounding off all the sharp corners on the rear of the junior base plates and tilt arm locking mechanism that snags your shirt and leaves bruises.
             Next would be revamping the 5/8" aluminum arms that are notorious for snapping at the threads and go to 5/8" stainless steel arms like the one's I custom made for my boat.

8/23/15  Today's photo of my Super Silver Bullet tackle explains why it's deadly.  The 10" BTI SSB and same in my 2 Fly Meat Rig™ has been my best going back to last season.
              This lethal combination has worked in Wilson, NY, along with Manistee & Onekama, MI.  It's what I consider a natural color that's always right.  Unlike some of the more pronounced colors, the SSB lineup works in all light levels. Click SSB tackle
              SSBs are the only constant in my 2015 program.  On 4 different trips, this is the only pattern that produced results.  With as little as I get a chance to fish, having a money in the bank "go to rig" adds confidence and beats searching the entire color spectrum.
              It's easy to recommend this color, cuz I know it flat-out works!
      You can clearly see how yummy whole herring looks in my Super Mag meat heads!

8/22/15  Too much wind kept me on shore yesterday.  Today decided not to go this morning, because heavy boat traffic,  Traditionally, the last 2 weekends in August are the busiest of the season for central Lk. MI ports (Ludington, Manistee, & Frankfort).
              Wind is going to be an issue for those who like rock and roll on the radio and not underneath their boat.  Seas look to be more manageable next week.  While heavy seas of 15 to 25 knots are no one's favorite, the constant is S and W wind until it shifts to NW this Monday evening.  Hopefully, this will setup Labor Day Weekend for some reel-good fishing!

8/21/15  S, SW, & W winds to plus 30 knots have pushed a lot of warm water in on all central L. MI ports.  There's a 50-50 chance I can fish this morning, but the wind must laydown overnight.  It will be interesting to see how deep the thermocline is.  According to my past experiences, 100' down, or deeper is within the realm of possibility.
              Kings that deep are sitting ducks for attractors and meat.  Deeper you fish, the more effective slower presentations become.

8/20/15  A big thanks to John G for today's pic and his kind words about my efforts!

Capt. John King:

We’ve been using your products for years. I read your log every morning to get the update on the fishing and new techniques. I have been fishing out of Ludington/Manistee for 23 years. Love the august sunrise on the big lake.

I see you posted a pic of my friend Derek the other day. I fish with him and his dad Doug for walleye on lake Erie. He turned me on to your flashers and meat rig’s couple of years ago. They are a proven and part of our deep troll now.

Just wanted to say thank you. Your passion in fishing is appreciated!!!

Thank you, John G.

8/19/15  Fishing of the Port of Manistee, MI continues to be decent for nowadays.  The morning 0-dark 30 gang is doing OK, when they setup in a lucky location.
              Predicted S and SW winds to 30 knots is on the side of all Lk. MI Salmon chasers at central Lk. MI ports.  This drives the temp deeper.  That helps the Kings stage in the deep water instead of scooting up the rivers and streams.
              Only drawback is when it's calm enough for the trailer boat fleet to mount a charge and take advantage of what's there.
              Recent good fishing news is what optimistic anglers always hope for!

8/18/15  My 20 years as a fulltime river guide and charter skipper taught me to how observe and enjoy what you see when it comes to people doing battle with fish.  Last Saturday evening out of Manistee, MI was a momentous occasion for me, watching a young Dylan grow up & become a full fledged member of the adult fishing community. 
               I was first honored to have Dylan aboard in back 2008, when he was just 7. 
He loved turning a reel handle winding in fish.  So, we stuck a copper rod in a rodholder and we had him to crank away.  The "rod in the rodholder trick" works for youngsters and women who do have a lot of upper body strength.
              OK, last Saturday evening, Dylan now 14 years old, is in a big-time scrap with a double digit King on a 10' diver rod.  Then, the port diver rod came to life with a big King ripping line towards Ludington with no signings of stopping! 
              Dylan's dad, Todd promptly rose to the opportunity and we were fast into our 1st Lk. MI double header for adult Kings ...this season.
              As our war wore on, rods were expertly passed back and forth by this awesome, father and son team.  On a 8' beam boat with an I/O dog-house that limits passenger mobility, rods & fish must be kept separated!  Click Dylan & Todd's double
              My fishin' buds, the father and son team of Todd and Dylan B worked in perfect harmony.  Landing a thrilling double on 2 good, decent Kings.  To witness this and see this event unfold? ...well, my word-smithing skills just are not up to task.  Let is suffice for me to say, "I'm was happy to enjoy the show and see a new fisherman join the clan!"

8/17/15  Finally caught enough Lk. MI fish to cover the bottom of 120 quart fish box this past Saturday evening.  We had lines in the water from around 5:30pm, until we pulled after boxing a double header about 9:30ish pm.  Click our 8/15/15 fish box & hot rigs
               Area fished was pretty much straight out of the Port of Manistee, MI in the 16s to the 14s.  Best troll depths was 125'- 200'.  Best troll direction was S at 2 mph, read from speed over ground (SOG) on my GPS.  I measure down speed by rigger wire angle too.
If it's more than 30 degrees, we're going way too fast to pull fish on meat ...the way I rig it.
               Second featured pic of the day shows my plotter screen where you can see how fast the boat was spun around to go back thru good sonar marks.  There's a lot of blank spots off Manistee's shelf.  So, it was imperative to work an area with fish and not wander around looking for something you might not find.  Click plotter screen U-turn
               Quick 180 degree boat swings can only be accomplished with a small compact spread.  This means no 300' to 450' coppers, or 10 colors of lead core (300').
 Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a great human interest story I know all fishermen will like!

8/16/15  Manistee, MI starting acting like Manistee is known for ...producing Kings at this time of the season.  Several days of S and SW pushed some bait on Manistee's shelf (drop-off).  When the bait comes in, ....so do the fish!  Click sonar screen with bait
            Fished with Todd and Dylan B yesterday evening and had a fine time.  We boated 4 Kings from 10 to 16 pounds and a flat-out gorgeous Steelhead pushing 12 pounds.
                Rest of our reel-story will be expanded on in detail tomorrow's.

8/15//15  Going to hang the "gone fishing" sign on the door for today.  If the wind stays down I will be fishing out of Manistee, MI this afternoon.

8/14/15  90s are what's in store for this "peak of the season" time to fish Salmon out of your favorite Great Lakes port.  Heat means S and SW wind that pile in warm water for MI's central and N Lk. MI ports (Ludington to Charlevoix).  In turn, driving the thermocline deeper.  This is a good thing for all attractor fishermen.  Kings have an inclination get reel-stupid when temp pushes them down past the 100' depths.
             For the 0-dark 30 crowd? ...deep Salmon might not go at 1st light.  The angle of the sun has to come up a little before these deep fish really turn on.
             Advice for all this weekend? ...leave you ego at the dock and enjoy what Lk. MI is willing to give you.  You cannot create fish.
                         Have a great weekend, because you deserve it!

8/13/15  Word for today?  Salmon are a easy fish to catch with modern technology.  If you ain't catchin' them?  You're in the wrong place, or quite possibly right place, at the wrong time.  The EZ window for Kings is at 1st and last light.  Coho tend to be far more aggressive and can be cooperative all day.  Same goes for Steelhead.

8/12/15  Salmon and Trout are predators.  They will eat what's available.  This is born out in today's featured photo from Tom M and King Seeker Charters. 
              The stomach contents of the Salmon and Trout they've been catching have been stuffed full of young, very small Yellow Perch.  Click partially digested Perch
               The weirdest chow I've seen in Salmon was a 15" Pike in a 14 pound Coho.  Next was a dandy, beautifully marked 3 lb. river Rainbow, caught out of the Jordan River that had a mouse in it's gut.  Filleted more than 1 Walleye that had a stone in their stomachs.

8/11/15  Saturday 8/8/15 Manistee, MI evening trip part 2: stayed out extra late, didn't pull rods until after it was pitch dark after 11pm.  Wanted to see if bait would rise up off the bottom and blot the sonar screen at last light, like in year's past.  No such luck.  Seen a little and I mean a little come up 10' off the bottom at last light. Click our 8/8/15 King
               Inshore depths off 80 to 120' were pretty barren when it comes to bait and the only 2 bites (Laker and a 1 King) for Todd B & I came over 130-150'.  Although, the majority of my troll was in the 100' depths with good temp from 80-100' that should have held more.
               Fishing meat at 1.8-2mph does not allow for covering a lot of territory, but know meat at this speed will prevent skunks.  We were in a strictly "prevent skunk" defense.
               Scuttle butt at the 1st Street public launch before we left was 1-3 fish per 1/2 day trip, with most scoring at least 1 good King in the mid to high teens.
               I can only report on what I see and what's heard from trusted sources.  Have no doubt some boats did better.  But N of the harbor were we fished was unproductive with only an occasionally mark and not many takers. We were the last boat in ...and the last boat to leave the launch around midnight this past Saturday evening. 

8/10/15  Saturday 8/8/15 Manistee, MI evening trip part 1: launched around 6:30pm and traveled N of the pack in the 19s.  Surface was 70° and the thermocline was about 80' down where it broke to 53° ...until it tapered off to 47 degrees at 100' down. 
               Started in the 80' of water, nothing there.  Moved to 100' on a N troll and had a few marks in the 80-100' down, no hits, no runs, no errors.
               Headed W and took a Laker 130' down over 150' of water.  Then, at 8:30pm had a 10-12lb. King smack my Super Silver Bullet 10" BTI flasher that's been Boss Hog on my boat going back to May ...when I fished Lk. O out of Wilson, NY. Click to see this rig
         Didn't pull lines until 11pm and that part of this reel-story will be told tomorrow.

8/9/15  Today is a continuation of yesterday's chat that focuses on the extreme S part of Lk. MI.  I've been very mindful in checking out the size vs. girth in this year's crop of Kings. 
S Lk. MI seems to have more bait ...then, what I've seen off my home port of Manistee, MI. 
            I have to go back to early July to that last time I've been suspended pods of bait and that was off Onekama, MI, a few miles N of Manistee.  Click S Lk. MI Kings
            In today's pic, supplied by King Seeker Charters you can clearly see his Kings, while not huge are well-fed and healthy looking.  Size vs. growth rates are tied to water temp.  For the last 2 winters Lk. MI has had a lot of ice cover from record, or near record cold winters.  This has to effect growth rates.  Not to mention, filtering out the sun's solar power that is nature's heat pump.  Lot hope for more normal winters and less ice for Lk. MI.

8/8/15  Today's 15 pound Brown Trout pic is from E Chicago, IN sent in by Tom M caught aboard the charterboat, King Seeker yesterday.  This dandy Brown was accompanied by 4 high teener Kings, 2 Lake Trout and what looked like 3 Coho.  Have the entire catch photo that will be posted tomorrow. Click S Lk. MI 16 lb. Brown
             Being busy when you're in business sure beats the alternative.
 Hopefully, I can find some time this weekend to test potential tackle ideas for 2016.  It's been difficult for me to find, or stay over fish this season.  This can lead to false test results when  you're plowing new ground that's 100% dependent on fickle Mr. Fish. 

8/7/15  Delayed until later this morning.  Swamped with work that must be done.
Shipping tackle orders takes precedence.

8/6/15  Fished out of the Port of Manistee, MI yesterday morning.  Started slightly S of the harbor in 75-80' of water, with lines going in about 6:45am.  First 1/2 hour was a totally, 100% experimental program that netted zero results.
            Changed over to attractors, flies & meat around 7:30am.  Then, moved out over deeper water (150-200') and began seeing deep marks, a 100' down and deeper.  Finally, ran the goofy BTI discussed yesterday with meat down to 110' and almost immediately took a fish.  By then, we were in the low 12s fighting choppy 3' seas getting further and further away from the harbor.  Meaning a slow go to the harbor there was no time for.
            Began pulling lines a little after 8am and cut a trail thru a lumpy 3' NE seas to be in the shop filling orders a little after 9:30am.  Click goofy BTI & juvenile King
            From what I saw, if you fished a dedicated meat program a 100' down and deeper, outside the pack, it's my sincere opinion you'd have a good chance at 5 to 6 fish box.

8/5/15 Going to try for a mini 2 hour trip this morning out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  Need to be home well before 10am to fill and ship orders.

8/4/15  First off, a big word of thanks to Mike S for sending in today's featured photo.  Mike fishes out of Fairport, MI.  Fairport in in MI's far western UP close to WI on Lk. MI.
             Mike's been putting the hammer down on some pretty decent catches lately.  He's a firm believer in meat and is quite accomplished at running it.
             As you can see in his pic, that's one healthy, fat girthed King in the 20s.  The flasher is a 10" BTI and by size relationship this chub boat of King is easily over 30" long.
             Interesting fact about the flasher in the image? ...it's a mis-match that was never intended.  It was supposed to be a clear double glo on a clear blank.  Instead, the help mistakenly taped over the Smurf, daylight blue glo blades. Click Mike's jumbo Lk. MI King
             These weird semi-Smurfs had green glo tape.  Not the industry leading blue X-Glow tape that's matched up with the very popular Smurfie blades.
             Incidentally, these goofed flashers have been bonus free-bees and on the clearance corner page where I couldn't hardly give them away, ...even if I stood in the street in front of my house.  While this off-matched blade was not a commercial success, it's a proven winner when you let the fish pick what they prefer!

8/3/15  Cold front pushed thru Manistee, MI yesterday.  Most of the day, it rained.  Thunderstorms and high winds caused a lot of damage in some areas.  Leelanau County was the hardest hit.  We got the best part of 2" of rain at my place.  Perfect for my garden.
            Carrot on a stick best describes my weekend.  With the carrot being a chance to get a morning off sometime this week.  That's why I put a lot of hours in this past weekend.
            Best catches on Lk. MI I've seen reported are from MI's UP on the WI's border.  Manistee for me has been very hit and miss.  Set down in the right place, you'll do OK.  While 2 miles in another direction yields little.
             Good thing about this season? ...all the trailer boats I've spoken with at Manistee's 1st Street Public Launch have had at least some fish.  This was not the case in 2014 when skunks were quite commonplace, as the small boat fleet struggled.

8/2/15  Happy 1st Sunday in August!

8/1/15  Big deal month for all Great Lakes Salmon fishermen has arrived.  My plan for today and tomorrow is to make inventory.  So, I don't feel guilty when I take a morning off this coming week.  After a steady diet of S and W winds, tilting the biomass of warm water toward the MI shore, NW is predicted for Monday.  This should put some Kings in Manistee, MI's harbor and within easy reach of the small boat fishermen.

7/31/15  Good luck to everyone fishing this weekend.  1-3' seas are what's predicted.
               Been miserable all this week.  This past Monday had to put my big guy Lab down.  It's just pitiful to say goodbye to your K9 friend that takes a piece of your heart with them when they pass.  For a 100,000 years dogs have been part of human history.  They help provide food, security, and companionship like no other animal on this planet.
              I've had a Lab in my household since 1986 and couldn't tolerate being without a doggie buddy.  So, added a lovely new family member yesterday.  A 7 week old beautiful chocolate Lab female we pickup next week.  Haven't decided a name yet.  Cocoa and Molly Brown are topping the list.  Click for my new girlfriend

7/30/15  NOAA Wind and sea forecast for Manistee, MI:

West winds to 30 knots this morning...diminishing to 10 to 20 kt this afternoon. Waves 4 to 6 ft occasionally to 8 ft subsiding to 2 to 4 ft.
            W and SW stack up warm water on Lk. MI's eastern shore.  This will drive the thermocline deeper.  If you're fishing central Lk. MI ports on the MI side this weekend? 
Be prepared to fish deep and use attractors to increase your chances at success.
Wise words for today:  You don't grow old fishing.  Your grow old when you stop fishing!

7/29/15  Fishing in Manistee, MI? ...I'm probably not the one to ask.  This is our extra busy time of the season and even a few hours to go fishing is hard to come.
               Here's what I know, the trailer boat fleet is doing 1 to 4, may be 5 fish a trip.  With 5 being considered a big deal.  Size of this year's crop of Kings? ...if you have anything close to 20 pounds, you got a goodie.
               Fished way S yesterday morning out of Manistee.  Had lines in the water for about 90 minutes (7am-8:30am).  Took one hit on an almost, all experimental program with new 2016 test stuff.  Lk. MI taught me another important lesson of humility again. 
              Cuz what we had the water? ...the fish weren't buying.  I'm OK with this.  I'm there to test, & when you swing for the fences, you're bound to strike out every now & then.  If I was there to catch? ...there'd had been 5 meat rigs™ in the water.  My job is to make tackle that catches fish for you. Tackle improvements happens thru trail & error.

7/28/15  My last 3 trips out, 80% of the hits have came within 5 to 15 feet of the bottom.  Mid strata in temp riggers have been a dud.  Close to the bottom is the only place I'm getting bit.  The trio  Kings we've cleaned are chuck full of 3 to 5 inch alewives.  Even though we've never marked a pod of suspended bait.  I can only surmise there's bait on the bottom and that's where the fish are finding their chow.
              With the surface of Lk. MI climbing in the 70 degree range, get ready for a zoo plankton bloom that gunk's up the fishing lines, especially braid.

7/27/15  Lead off story today concerns Microsoft giving away their new operating system, Windows 10.  Chances are, the major majority of you are using a Windows based machine to view this website.  Computing now days is broken down in a couple ways. 
               Regular laptops-desktops for people like me, that need a powerful workstation box that performs all tasks to run a business.  Then, mobile devices like cell phones and tablets that do little else, but provide access to the internet.
               Windows 10 is an upgrade and the way I understand it, does not need to be done with a clean install: meaning saving all files, then reinstalling all your programs.  This says it's not all far off from the base code of Windows XP.  You'll have a year from Windows 10 introduction for this free upgrade.  Upgrade will be in the same version as you have now. 
               I use Windows 7 Pro, therefore my upgrade will be Windows 10 Pro.  
               Giving stuff away for free? ...I get real skeptical, cuz nothing in this world is for free.  There has to be a major benefit back to Microsoft in some way, shape, or form.  Probably in the amount of control they gain over your entire computing system.
               My plan is to get the free 3 gig Win 10 download and do a clean install on a new solid state hard drive.  Saving my used hard drive in case this all blows up in my face. 
               New 500 gig SSDs are now under $200 & major to boost computing performance.
               Microsoft has a dismal track record when it comes to new operating systems. Citing Vista & Windows 8 as their recent flops.  Windows SE & Widows ME were flops too!
      Tomorrow?  ...complete data on where I've been get my bites for my last 10 fish!

7/26/15  Been fishing all BTIs & flies in my last 3, two hour mini-morning trips.  2 hours is lines in the water time, add an hour for "to & fro" the fishing grounds (half hour each way).
              This puts me at home by 10am and that's plenty of time to get orders received by 8am MI time out the door and on the way.  Tackle ordered must be shipped ASAP!  Any outfit that sits on, or delays orders is not going to work in internet sales.  Just look at Amazon & they don't dilly dally.  BTW, Amazon recently surpassed Walmart's net worth.
              BTIs and flies are a deadly combination.  My 10" BTIs accomplish everything a dodger does (and more) without the critical speed sensitivity issues presented by dodgers.  Fly leader length behind my BTIs is not touchy.  18" works as good as 24 inches.
              1st light now in Manistee, MI is about 6am and that's the easiest time to catch aggressive King Salmon.  I'm losing out on this 1st crucial hour and still having a steady catch from 7am thru 9am.  That's why there's a time stamp on all fishing pictures I take.
              Main reason behind me using all artificials? ...I can set up/tear down in 1/2 the time compared to a dedicated all meat program.

7/25/15  Just take a gander at Kennedy's Lk. MI Kings she's holding in today's fish pic. 
               The larger of the 2 is a full blown, girthed-out adult King that looks like it came from Lk. Ontario.   Obviously, this fish spent it's life where there was no shortage of bait fish.  These fish where caught in Michigan's far western UP close to Green Bay, WI
                My thanks to Mike B for sending in today's featured photo.  He shared my Smurf Mamba has been his hot color lately.  Click Kennedy's 7/23/15 Kings

7/24/15  Fished another mini short trip yesterday morning from 7am till 9am.  Todd B and I setup off Guerney Creek in the 10s S off the Port of Manistee, MI.  In 80' to 120' of water marks were decent, down 55' to 80'.  Took an OK King about 8 lbs. almost immediately. 
              Then, about 45 minutes later did a double on a feisty low-teener King and an anorexic long skinny Steelhead, right before 8am.  Click for our morning's action
              That was the total sum of our action.  Being a short trip, we traveled N back up towards Manistee in water cleaned out by the charterboat fleet's vacuum cleaners.
               Lures used? ...my 10" BTI flashers in the Super Silver Bullet and the new 2015 Silver King Mamba and George Richey's green Sparkle Flies.  I'm gaining more respect for this Silver King flasher, cuz this pattern pulls fish every time it's put in the drink.
               Charter fleet all headed S towards the Big Point Sable in the 100' to 150' depths.
               If I was fishing today, or tomorrow? ...I'd start in the 10s again at 1st light and keep going S to the big point, trying to stay ahead of most the charter fleet.  After the pro fish killers plow a trail, there's just not much left.  Some adult Kings are beginning to show.  But there's not giant herds of them ...yet.
               If and "if" is a mighty big word!  If I was forced to rate this season?  ...it's a tad better at this time of the season, when compared to 2013-2014.  "Tad" is not the glory days that produced limit catches of Kings in seasons gone by.  Still, if you set your expectations within reason, Lk. MI will probably reward you.

7/23/15  Today's chat begins in 1982 when I first met and fished with the Godfather of ALL Great Lakes trolling flies, my cherished departed friend, George Richey.
               George is probably well known to many you, if ever attended a spring fishing trade show? ...up until 2003 before he went to the big pond in the sky.
               In the 1970s we used a lot of deer hair, or bucktail flies behind dodgers.  George was allergic to deer hair and concentrated his efforts on his Michigan Squids.  Then, in the later 1970s he introduced his ground breaking Mylar Sparkle Fly. 
              The Sparkle Fly was hot stuff for Kings and Coho in George's home port of Frankfort, MI & all other central MI ports.  Click 5 in 1 pic of fish taken on 7/22/15
               Around 1978 Rich Lowenthal, former owner of the Frankfort Tackle Box gave me my first green Sparkle Fly, he said, "try this."  I soon returned to port and bought several more after we came in with a box of Kings no one person was going to unload.
               So, today is my homage to George Richey's and his green Sparkle Fly that took 5 fish (1 King, 4 Lakers) for my crew of John J and Todd B yesterday.  Every fish we caught came on a green Sparkle Fly behind a Super Silver Bullet, or Silver King BTI 10" flasher.  Time fished was a short 2 hours (7am till 9am), because there were orders to fill & ship.
              I make a lot of tackle that catches fish.  It was fun to step back in time and use a timeless classic that still works almost 40 years after it's introduction.  Thanks Georgie!

7/22/15  Mini fishing trip this morning is the plan to see what lurks off the Lk. MI waters at Manistee, MI.  Need to be home by 10am to make sure today's orders are shipped in timely fashion.  Make a lot of stuff that catches fish, making time to do it is another story.

7/21/15  Today this website in on autopilot and a good chance for you to visit the Tips and Tricks section.  I recommend anything concerning hooks, releases and hook sharpening.  The most important piece of tackle on your boat should be a quality hook like I sell.  The sharper a hook is, the more it will need attention.  Especially, after digging into bone on a good sized adult King Salmon.  Take the time to make sure your hooks are sticky need-point sharp.  You take care of your hooks and your hooks will ...then, take care of you.

7/20/15  Surface of Lk. MI is finally beginning to warm up after being stuck in the 30s & 40s most of this year.  This makes the deepwater temp breaks much less attractive and helps drive the bait and fish closer to shore.  Fishing in Manistee, MI is on the uptick for Steelhead and Lake Trout.  Haven't heard a lot about adult Kings yet, but sure I soon will.

7/19/15  Seldom when I purchase pricey gear for my boat, do I feel like I got my money's worth.  This is not the case with my Garmin TR1 Gold autopilot.  It's worth every cent I paid for it!  Adapting it to my 2015 fuel injected Suzuki kicker took a lot of backyard engineering.
               Had to modify the bracket with homemade threaded rod U-bolts covered with 3/8" rubber gas line.  Used a hard rubber spacer behind the bracket to provide adequate clearance too, as not to scratch up my new motor.  Click adapter bracket
              Garmin has not yet made a kit for this motor yet.
              Review of the 2015 fuel injection on my new kicker is a reel-thumbs up.  This 15 hp Suzuki 4 stroke starts instantly and idles smoother then my 2008 OMC Johnson made by Suzuki.  Which I didn't know in 2008, or I would have never bought it.  Cuz I'm no fan of anything made overseas that stole jobs from the American work force.  Truth is, Corporate America no longer chooses to make any clamp-on small motors in the USA. 
             History says Ole Evinrude invented the 1st commercially successful outboard motor in 1907 that set the beginnings for Harley Motorcycles.  Click for this story

7/18/15  Unless you've owned what's considered a large boat, like my former 28' Cherokee, you might think bigger is better.  28' Cherokees are the same as 30' model, less the bow pulpit.  You have to have deep pockets to tolerate 1.1 miles per gallon from the twin 350 GM V8s.  That's all my former 28' got on a good day in favorable 1' to 2' seas. 
              Know 1.1 is correct on the long trips made where you could get an good handle by GPS on water mileage.  Harbor Beach, MI on Lake Huron to Monroe, MI on Lk. Erie was the longest trip I did by water and that took all day.  Several trips from Manistee to Saugatuck, or South Haven on Lk. MI where logged too at 6 to 8 hours, depending on seas.
             Trailering the Cherokee was a cheaper option, but that requires dealing with the State on MI for an oversize load permit.  Then, accepting the route the state makes you travel around construction zones.  Often putting you on secondary, less traveled roads.
             Cost to operate dictates where you fish, if you're on a tight budget.  It was the norm to put in a 100 gallons on every third day, cuz when I ran charters ...short-changing customers for gas consumption never happened.  I ran to the fish, and gas pump too!
             Knowing the exact cost to own a large boat with maintenance/dockage is the reason I'm perfectly happy with my older 1977 22' Sea Ray that has a new 350 GM V8 and all the modern upgrades.  This boat runs on chump change at 6-8 gallons averaged out per trip over the course of a season.  Plus, it trailers like a dream with no size restrictions.
            I'm a lot happier now since I retired from running charters in 2003.  Gone are the "push yourself to the edge" responsibility having to pull rabbits out of a hat to produce fish.
            I still enjoy dealing with the Great Lakes fishing public, but now I do it in a different way with a top-notch line of tackle and product support that's always raising the bar!

7/17/15  It was deja vu all over again when we pulled into the 1st Street Public Boat Launch in Manistee, MI yesterday morning around 6:30am.  Sitting in ramp 1 was my old charter boat, a 28' Cherokee I owned from 1988 thru 2004. Click today's 4 in 1 photo
               Motivation behind this trip was to test out the new kicker/trolling motor just purchased.  I hate to give a thumbs up on any product that used to be made in the USA. But all smaller 4 stroke outboards I know of ....are all made overseas. 
              The 2015 Suzuki 15hp is the only small motor made with fuel injection.  Features include a 12 amp alternator, power trim/tilt, better fuel economy, and the lightest weight in the class of this size motor.  This is a lot better setup than my 2008 OMC 15 kicker.
              Lines went in the water around 7am and we pulled lines at 9am.  Action was OK.  Todd B and I had 4 hits, 3 up to the boat, with 2 Lakers we played catch and release with.
              Super Bullet BTI with our Monkey Puke Fly took 3 hits 90' down over a 100' of h2o in the 14s.  SSB BTI and Silver King BTI/same fly is producing at least a fish an hour. 
              This is a good working down deep combination where Lakers will come up a good 10' off the bottom to eat it.  Did see some good suspended marks in the 12s S of the harbor.  Best area for bites was in the 14s inside of 110' to 100' of water

7/17/15  It was deja vu all over again when we pulled into the 1st Street Public Boat Launch in Manistee, MI yesterday morning around 6:30am.  Sitting in ramp 1 was my old charter boat, a 28' Cherokee I owned from 1988 thru 2004. Click today's 4 in 1 photo
               Motivation behind this trip was to test out the new kicker/trolling motor just purchased.  I hate to give a thumbs up on any product that used to be made in the USA. But all smaller 4 stroke outboards I know of ....are all made overseas. 
              The 2015 Suzuki 15hp is the only small motor made with fuel injection.  Features include a 12 amp alternator, power trim/tilt, better fuel economy, and the lightest weight in the class of this size motor.  This is a lot better setup than my 2008 OMC 15 kicker.
              Lines went in the water around 7am and we pulled lines at 9am.  Action was OK.  Todd B and I had 4 hits, 3 up to the boat, with 2 Lakers we played catch and release with.
              Super Bullet BTI with our Monkey Puke Fly took 3 hits 90' down over a 100' of h2o in the 14s.  SSB BTI and Silver King BTI/same fly is producing at least a fish an hour. 
              This is a good working down deep combination where Lakers will come up a good 10' off the bottom to eat it.  Did see some good suspended marks in the 12s S of the harbor.  Best area for bites was in the 14s inside of 110' to 100' of water.

7/16/15  My thanks goes to Brad B for today's pic and email in the title bar said, "All King Tackle Night."  Here's what Brad reported:

7/15/15  Tackle bonus ends today at midnight.  Cancelled my plans to fish Lk. Ontario this July.  Reason for no Lk. O? ...just too busy to leave my tackle shop for a day, let alone a 4 day jaunt to Canada.  I'm already making plans to return to Wilson, NY next May for 5 days, including the 2 days of travel. 
               Decided to upgrade a piece of equipment on my trolling system that will be revealed tomorrow.  Lot's of custom backyard engineering went this project.

7/14/15  In all likelihood, there is no coldwater species of Great Lakes fish that has a revered following like Steelhead.  River fishermen often mistakenly blame the big lake fishermen for slaughtering too many Steelhead.  Hence, less numbers of Steelhead, or "bows" in the rivers, where bank fishermen get their shot at these beautiful fish.
             In 1996 Lk. MI produced record numbers of Steelhead documented by charterboat catch data sheets.  This population carried over into the rivers too.  In the fall of 1996, into the spring of 1997 (in my river guiding days), my guests took their MI 3 fish per person limit too.  So, this blows the theory, the boat guys are killing all the fish.
             There is a difference between the river fishermen and the boat fishermen.  I know that, being both.  River fishermen are more prone to release fish.  But, none the less, sight fishing Steelhead on the beds is what leads to unknown repercussions.
              I seen too many dead hens, (which are highly aggressive when nesting) floating down the Big Manistee River belly up, from the do-gooder crowd of river fishermen who think releasing their spawning hens is actually preserving this specie and doing no harm!

7/13/15  Guest update today is from Algoma, WI's Jim R aka Blue Rhino.  On 7/2/15 Team Blue Rhino found an area of 38 degree water 25 miles offshore.  He what he shared:

"This 4 man limit of 7 kings, 12 Bows, and one LT (still in the cooler) was taken by using  meat, Salmon Buster spoons, flies and various other spoons from 50 FOW early on, then ranging to 837 FOW 25.5 miles from harbor where we found a large pocket of surface water at 38 degrees. There we found a large school of Bows mixed 50/50 with Lake Trout. Successfully released several fish along the way." Click Jim's brag board photo

7/12/15  Fresh fish being caught sure makes this website perk up.  Visitors that send in their pics is greatly appreciated.  Many thanks to Ken M for the Lk. Erie Walleye photo taken on one of my Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Click spoon fed Lk. Erie Walleye
               Finally, figured out why the call the fish we seek, "gamefish."  It's the cruel game fish play on us with preferred colors that can change from day to day in a endless cycle of perplexing choices.  Trying to outwit a fish is not as EZ, ...as some might think!

7/11/15  It's amazing how much fun you can have in 2 hours on the satin sheet calm waters Lk. MI provided this past Wednesday.  Goal was to track dive-depth performance on my exclusive cupped diver rings.  I posted 1000's of photos on this site, but checkout the darling silky smooth waters in the background.  It was joy made even better when a good sized Laker tugged on on the port diver rod. Click 7/8/15 goodie Lk. Trout

7/10/15  A big thank you goes out to the skipper of the Extra Credit fishing team.  Pete D was kind enough to share a photo of his son, Dan with a nice King (caught out of S. Haven, MI).  It's wonderful to see fishing as a family sport with new young anglers. 
             Pete's favorite "go to" rig is our Super Silver Bullet BTI 10" flasher with a 2 fly green meat rig™.  Click Dan D's 7/8/15 S Haven, MI King
             Today's planned chat about what I saw in my head-clearing Onekama mini trip 2 days ago is postponed until tomorrow.  It was a pure joy to be afloat again, if only briefly!

7/9/15  Yesterday morning, fished for 2 hours (7am-9am) off the splendid port of Onekama, MI.  This town, located on Portage Lk. is neaty-wheaty that's extra clean & well cared for!
             Goal was to gather dive depth hard data on my cupped diver rings performance.  Dialed on 2, 225' of line off 7 strand wire-diver reel will get down to about 90' at 2.5 mph.
             Learned it's all about water resistance due to troll speed.  Slow the boat to 1.5 and my cupped rings on regular size 1 Dipsys (again dialed on 2) will hit bottom with a helluva lot less line off the reel.  Faster does not add depth, as the forces of water resistance against the line skew any idea of one-size fits all speed chart. 
             Test was performed with a BTI 10" flasher-fly combo on the port diver and a Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon on the starboard diver.
              Did catch a good sized Lake Trout on the new Silver King Mamba BTI with one of my multi-color Monkey Puke flies. Click to see this combination
              More observations on this mini trip tomorrow...

7/8/15  All work and no play ends today.  Plan is to fish a short morning, be in the shop around 11am to process orders.  Need to try some stuff out and gather depth data.

7/7/15  The 3rd week of July, adult Kings start showing up in the central Lk. MI ports.  My largest Kings of the season were always caught in the last week of July and the 1st week of August in my charter years of 1983 thru 2003.  Last week of August going into the 1st week of September generally produced the best numbers.
             That was then, and this is now.  Hard to believe we still have surface temps in the main body of Lk. MI in the 40 degree range.  I can only offer conjecture, which I dislike doing.  But ever clearer waters cuts down on the amount of heat from the sun has to be part of the reason.  And of course, cold winters 2 years in a row.  Cooler water translates to below base metabolism/growth rates for Lk. MI fish too.
            Tackle bonus giveaway will end on 7/15/15.  This is a 2 week extension.  Thanks to all who've purchased tackle to qualify for the extra 20 bucks in free-bees.

7/6/15  This past 4th of July weekend was flat-out gorgeous in Manistee, MI.  High 70s to mid 80s shows that summer is here.
              Spent most of my 3 day weekend doing chores.  Sorted out my lake trolls, or cowbells that goes back to the 1970s.  When I went into the charter business in 1983 charter skippers had to be good at catching Lk. MI's bread and butter fish, Lake Trout.
              There's 3 kinds of shapes cowbell blades, being Indiana, Colorado, and willow leaf.  Indiana and Colorado are more slow speed and work from 1.2 to 1.8 best.  Willow leaf blades are more speed tolerant that you can run faster to slightly over 2mph.
               Nowadays elitists wrongfully snub their nose at Lake Trout.  This is and was Lk. MI's original charter fish that goes back to the 1930s.  Click vintage cowbells

7/2/15  Have a great and safe 4th of July Holiday Weekend.  Going to take a few days off and enjoy where I live.  Summer in N Michigan is to be appreciated and now's the time to do it.  Still lots to do on the water.  Cupped diver ring data needs to be collected and verified.

7/1/15  If you plan on fishing out of the Port of Manistee, MI now thru the 4th of July Weekend be aware of the Forest Festival the City of Manistee hosts every year at this time.
            The spacious 1st Street boat trailer parking lot will be taken up by carnival rides with not much room to park, let alone with a boat trailer hooked to a vehicle.
            There are 2 boat launches on Manistee Lake.  The launch in Stronach, MI on the south end of Manistee Lk is first-class, but it's a long ride to Lk. MI.
            I've extended the June Tackle Bonus thru July 15th for procrastinators.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2015 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
June, July, & August

2014 Results
October, November, & December
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

2013 Results
January, February, & March

April, May, & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2012 Results
January, February, & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2011 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
 October, November, & December

2010 Results
January, February, & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2009 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August, & September
October, November, & December

2008 Results
October, November & December

July, August, & September
April, May & June
January, February & March


2007 Results
October November & December
July, August & September

April, May & June
January, February & March

2006 Results
October, November & December
July, August & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2005 Results
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March

2004 Results
October, November & December
August & September 
June & July  April & May
January, February & March

2003 Results
Jan Feb  Mar  April & May
June & July  Aug & Sept

Nov & Dec

2002 Results
Nov & Dec  Oct  Sept  
Aug   July   June  May  
April  March  Feb  Jan


2001 Results
April Brown Trout  
May & June
July Salmon
Aug. Tuna Time

2000 Results
Dec. Nov.
   Oct.  Sept.
July   June
May  March & April
January  February