Archived Daily Log from 2016
6/30/16 This is the weekend
of Manistee, MI's National Forrest Festival and avoid
using the 1st Street boat launch that will be jammed up
with carnival rides. Leaving little to no room to
park for those with a boat trailer attached to their
Manistee has been holding this long running festival for
about 80 years. There's lots of activities,
Click for schedule and more info
6/29/16 Need to retract
yesterday's commentary about what MDNR Scott Heintzelman
was "supposed" to have said. Seems my "source,"
...a well known sport fisherman in Manistee (who I've
saved from major embarrassment) got it wrong!
Scott H. called me to set the record straight and earned
my respect for doing so. He is in favor of the
planned cut in King Salmon plants to build up further
year classes of alewives. So, now, it's up to
history to prove this right, or wrong.
This is maybe the 3rd, or 4th time in 16 years I've had
to backtrack on news, or info supplied here.
Misinformation is a bunch worse than no information!
6/28/16 Yesterday's pic of
the day, "Mound of Bait" led to today's featured photo
of a plus 20 pound Lk. MI King Salmon caught not too far
from Chicago, IL.
Seeing filled-out girthy large adult Kings like this
kind of blows holes in the theory Lk. MI Kings are
having a hard time finding a meal.
Click 6/27/16 Lk. MI 21# King
Concerning future MI King Plants: "MDNR's Scott
Heintzelman on 6/19 talked about the proposed further
cut of 61% this fall. He told me this was only a
proposal and that we have a chance to stop these cuts.
If we, the angling public, bitch enough & come up with
evidence like my 16.3 average weight and photos of
alewife schools in the lake and harbors. He told me
that if we make enough noise he feels it will make a
difference. I hope you will help get the word out
through your website." Sent in from anon.
Look at the above as smoke and mirrors from a government
organization that has lost the fishing public's trust
with all time low disapproval ratings. Worst part
is there's no "we the people" system in place to remove
failed MDNR hierarchy from office. If there was?
MDNR Fishery Chief, Jim Dexter ...he'd have been voted
off the island a long time ago.
6/27/16 Southern Lk. MI has
bait, as today's featured photo proves. Here's
what my contact for this area said, "The bait is thick
on this end of the lake more than I've seen in the last
two years anyway this is from this morning." Tom M.
I've yet to see any bait off my home port of Manistee,
MI once every 7 to 10 days when I get a chance to off
the dock ...for a few hours. But that doesn't mean
bait isn't off Manistee. I'm not qualified, or an
authority for Manistee's baitfish population. At
one time, when I fished as a charter skipper, had a
better handle on what's going on.
Point is? ...the MDNR is looking at another massive
devastating reduction in the Chinook/King Salmon plant
saying there's not enough bait.
The MDNR flat-out lied/miscalculated natural
reproduction for my area when they agreed with other Lk.
MI states to accept a larger % cut in stocking levels.
Firm science should dictate stocking levels, not based
on estimations, or opinions! The DNR was wrong
about natural reproduction. Are they wrong about
6/26/16 Good day to make
plans for the upcoming week. I'm looking for a
break in the routine to shake things up. My
results out of Manistee, MI this season have left a lot
to be desired. That's why I own a trailer boat and
traveling is what I have in mind. Where will I go?
Honestly, don't have a clue, but it will be to a port I
never fished before.
6/25/16 On the water law
enforcement with be looking for boaters on the sauce
this weekend. It's called Operation Dry Water.
Click here for more info
It's not safe to boat & booze. People that don't
know this are called statistics!
6/23/16 Finally found a few
hours yesterday evening to fish Lk. MI out of the Port
of Manistee, MI. Setup in front of the harbor
(15s) off the shelf. Zigzagged S between 100' to
150' depths for 5-6miles to the 10s off Guerney Creek.
Only marked 3 suspended fish.
Surface temp was 60 and the thermocline was around
40-50' down. N wind pushing 1'-2' seas made for a
comfortable S troll. We never had a bite.
Fishing only occasionally does not put in the position
to rate my home port. Know there are some Lake
Trout around on the bottom, but we fished all lines in
hopes for suspended silver fish. Good sign was
zooplankton is on the build. That's the 1st step
in attracting bait which I've yet to see in 2016.
Lines in the water was 5:30pm thru 8:30pm.
6/22/16 If, and "if" can a
mighty big word at times, might get a chance to wet some
lines this afternoon. It's been about 2 weeks
since I was last afloat and that's way too long!
6/21/16 WI and IN Salmon
fishermen are doing way beyond anything I can expect off
my home port of Manistee, MI (for Coho/Kings).
This is probably the 3rd season in a row, where WI has a
far better early season fishery ...when compared to the
MI side of Lk. MI.
Why? ...can only speculate, but know they have bait
(alewives) off the WI and IN shores while it's hit and
miss on our side of the big pond. Would have added
IL too, but don't have any recent trusted reports to
Hope to get of land soon and see what's going on off
Manistee for myself. Have a suspicion the recent
SW and S wind has improved the situation here.
Hunches and suspicions don't count. What's in the
fish box does!
6/20/16 Today, June 20, the
longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
It's the summer solstice, or the 1st day of
Don't have much for current fishing news from Manistee,
MI. Will do some digging today. Did have one
email that said a few Coho and Lakers are being caught.
News from the extreme S end of Lk. MI down by Chicago
says it's a Salmonfest! Coho are already past 7 pounds,
some high teener Kings, and next year's juvenile Kings
are all part of the mix along with a few Steelhead and
Lakers thrown in.
6/19/16 Happy Father's Day!
6/18/16 Today and tomorrow
is when the long running Budweiser Pro/AM
Tournament happens in Manistee, MI. This is a
tri-port start from Manistee, Onekama, and Arcadia
sponsored by the Manistee County Sport Fishing
Beginning of this contest date back to the 1980s (I
think). Making is one of the longest running
tournaments on the Great Lakes. Monies generated
from the contest go to the MCSFA are reinvested back into
fishing in one way, shape, or form.
6/17/16 Have a great
Father's Day Weekend. Summer 2016 begins this
Monday, but temps in the 80s says it's already here.
Make take on fishing out of the Port of Manistee, MI
depends on where you set up, or throwing darts
blindfolded. If you land in the right area,
there's few fish to be caught. Fleet pressure is
almost nonexistent. Went a week ago and there were
only 3 trailers parked at the 1st Street Public Launch.
6/16/16 The DNRs in 4 states
that own sections of Lk. MI need to step up their game
and see the light. How many of these paper pushers
own boats and fish? Willing to bet not many do!
They, the DNRs make decisions that effect us all at no
cost to them.
Is this a sleeper cell of tree huggers conspiring is to
eliminate all imported exotic species like Salmon,
Steelhead and Brown Trout from the Great Lakes?
Then, to eliminate fishing all together, before turning
their efforts to stop hunting?
Based this on the recent ongoing conversations for MI to
plant only 200k Chinooks/King Salmon. This has to
be a freaking joke!
Maybe, it's time to look at saltwater Striped Bass that
have adapted well to freshwater impoundments all across
the south. Another name for Stripers is Rockfish,
because they feed on the bottom and eat a variety of
Returning Lk. MI to "just" a Lake Trout fishery is not
going to generate enough enthusiasm to maintain a viable
sports fishery. There's not one thing wrong with
Lakers, but after you've caught Kings it's going to be a
hard sell to keep the parking lots at boat ramps packed
with hoards of fishermen.
6/15/16 Congratulations to
Team Streaker for winning the spring LOC Lake Ontario
derby. They took their 26 pound $16,500.00 money
fish on my Magnum Meat head.
Most in the tackle business over publicize tournament
wins when it comes to big fish. The truth is?
...there's a lot of luck involved to take the top fish
in any contest!
So, I don't push sales based on one fish ...in one
contest. My sales strategy is to make the best
tackle possible that will last for years & years.
6/14/16 Rumblings from the
WI DNR suck bigtime! If you're a MI, or a IN Great
Lakes angler you'll see this is totally not fair.
Here's an excerpt from this contact mailer:
"The meetings follow announcement of a proposal by the
Lake Michigan Committee, a multistate organization
charged with managing the Lake Michigan fishery, to
reduce lake-wide stocking of chinook salmon by 61.5
percent from current levels, beginning in 2017.
This proposed reduction would equate to a 56 percent
chinook salmon reduction (from 810,000 to 355,000) for
Wisconsin. The other states that border Lake Michigan
would also take significant chinook salmon stocking
reductions through this proposal. Michigan would go from
560,000 to 200,000, Illinois would go from 230,000 to
90,000 and Indiana would go from 200,000 to 45,000."
Indiana Lk. MI fishermen are getting hosed with a 75%
decline. Michigan's Lk. MI anglers are getting hit
with an approx 65 percent cut. While WI's cut is a
little over 50%. Every state's cut in King plants
should be EXACTLY the same.
The biggest fairytale us Michiganders were fed last year
is the natural reproduction theory jerk around.
Proven not to exist last fall at Manistee's Little River
6/13/16 Here's yesterday's
port report and pic from Kewaunee, WI:
A repeat of the King from last weekend .. again on
the Black Mamba Again fin clip Again 19+
Ended day 10 for 14 or 15 .. fish were not as gorged
this time but the bows had bugs instead of small alewives."
Click 19# plus King
6/12/16 Here's a customer
testimonial about my Salmon Buster™ spoons:
"Tried the 4.0s I bought earlier in one
of the high altitude lakes in Central Oregon for brown
trout. Fishing was tough--unseasonable sunny, hot days
and high barometric pressure. My go-to plugs (MegaBass,
Lucky Craft and Rapalas) weren't producing. But your
spoons were just what they wanted. Got a bunch from 3 to
5 lbs. And that West Coast single hook is perfect for
the catch-and-release fishing I do. And that swivel
takes care of the jumpers. Can't wait to try the larger
size. Thanks so much, Captain!" Vincent C.
6/11/16 This past Thursday, went on a
wild goose chase and the goose won. Setup in 70'
of water and trolled W to the 32 line out of the Port of
Manistee, MI (about a 6 mile troll path) looking for
Steelhead off the surface of Lk. MI.
The NOAA temp chart erroneously showed 53° laying
next to a 39° temp break that didn't exist.
Proving once again, just because you read it on the
internet, doesn't necessarily means it's true!
Click for this lying temp chart
graph lines that show 39° was actually 53°. When
you swing for the fences, sometimes ...you're bound to
6/10/16 June 11th and 12th
is Michigan's free fishing weekend when no license is
required. This is a great time to share your
passion for fishing with a non-fishing friend!
Here's a free fishing event for kids in Manistee County,
Event Name: Annual Bobbie Brown Kids Free Fishing Event
Location: Crystal Lake, Wellston
Date: Saturday, June 11
Time: 8:30 am to 12 pm
Details: This event will provide a prize to all
participating kids. It's hosted by the Wellston Boosters
Here's one for Mason County, Ludington,
Event Name: Summer 2016 Free Fishing Weekend
Location: 217 E. Ludington Avenue, Ludington & 204 E.
State Street, Scottville
Date: Saturday, June 11 & Sunday, June 12
Time: All day, both days
Details: Fishing rods will be available to borrow from
the Mason County District Library.
6/9/16 Need to take today
off. Been working too many hours, too many days in
the tackle business, it's either not enough, or way too
much. There's not such thing as medium and that's
the reel-reason I'm shutting down for today.
approach 70 work output is not high on my list.
Being dedicated to shipping orders with haste is.
And that's the reason it's hard to cut back!
6/8/16 Today's chat is about
Dan O'Keefe from Michigan State University Extension,
Michigan Sea Grant's article. Titled as,
"The Lake Michigan
paradox: Fewer kings but more charter trips" has some
very interesting data about Kings/Chinook Salmon per
charter trip. Dan's informative piece covers both
Lakes MI & Huron.
Click charter trip data
6/7/16 IN, IL, and WI ports
on Lk. MI with baitfish are going great guns.
Central and northern ports in MI has yet to see big
schools of Alewives. In my trips out of Manistee
(about once a week since March), I've never marked any
large bait balls.
will change as summer progresses and the water warms up.
Then, the MI ports of Manistee, Ludington and Frankfort
will be the beneficiaries.
Do know, there's been a lot more Kings caught
in 2016 when compare to last year!
6/6/16 Today's fishing
report is a continuation from Tom M's Saturday update.
He says the southern end of Lk. MI is producing
excellent catches of Kings and Coho!
The bait/Alewives moved into 40-50' of water and the
Salmon came right along with them.
Tom's 6/4/16 HRP teener King
6/5/16 size of bait
the bait is a healthy 6" inches. Tom shared,
baitfish are so thick, you need to check your lines
often in case you snagged some of it on your hooks.
Tom's best rigs were 1/2 coppers (150 feet) with HRP
Salmon Buster spoons and riggers riding 5' to 10' off
the bottom with the XG Green Frog combo flasher/meat rig™.
6/5/16 Good news concerning
the Lk. MI Salmon fishery on the way tomorrow!
6/4/16 Today's back-story on
Tom M's port report from southern Lk. MI began in the
fall of 2003. I'd just introduced and proved the
effectiveness of a meat program in July thru Sept and
Tom wanted in. He stopped by my shop and bought
most all of my leftover, or rebuilt 3 fly meat rigs™.
I knew then, I was going to leave chartering and become
a tackle manufacturer.
Click 9/1/03 meat catch
Click archived 2003 meat log
went on to introduce meat to southern Lk. MI the
following spring. He was the 1st to run a
successful meat program out of East Chicago, IN in April
Here's what Tom said about his limit catch results from
"Fishing has really turned on
on this end of the lake starting today I went out by
myself & got 4 Coho and steelhead all on your plastic
spoons, thanks again!"
Click Tom's catch
6/3/16 Closed for a well
deserved day off. Enjoy your weekend!
6/2/16 Today's topic is
baitfish. WI's Lk. MI coast is experiencing some
pretty decent fishing. While it's great to see
ports having good fishing with catches in the 20 fish
range. Even better is understanding why this happens.
pic is from the boat launch in Kewaunee, WI. You
can see for yourself the huge amount of baitfish this
port currently has.
continue to have the best fishing until baitfish show up
in MI in like numbers. Perplexing thing is we had
a lot of bait off Manistee and Ludington last October.
Now, it seems the mother load of baitfish has shifted
all along the WI side.
6/1/16 Today's port report
is from Green Bay, WI's Steve S. He fishes out of
the Port of Kewaunee, WI. Here's what he had to
"Made my first trip on my boat Monday. What I
wanted to show you was the first king of the season on
my boat caught on Black Mamba w/Raging Red 3 fly meat
rig. This 19# King was fin clipped.
Steve's 1st King of 2016
Fishing has been great for the whole port. Lot of
boats going 20 for 30. More salmon seem to be
included in the catch from what I hear, but everyone
says "They quit biting when the sun comes out. " Nice to
see a fair amount of Coho. Been awhile for that in
5/31/16 Worked all weekend
trying to get caught up on must ship asap tackle orders.
Don't clue on what's going on with Manistee, MI other
than sporadic success on Kings. One day there's
some around and the next day they're gone. Hopefully,
some fresh fish reports will come in that I can share
5/30/16 Been watching a
story about Waukesha, WI that wants to divert 8.2
millions gallons a day from Lk. MI. This is a
tough call, because Waukesha is not part of the Great
Lakes basin. It's part of the Mississippi basin.
Click for more info
Cannot comment on this being right, or wrong. Do
know this could set a dangerous precedent where more
Great Lakes water will be siphoned off by water hungry
states not part of the Great Lakes basin.
5/29/16 Have a great Sunday
and enjoy the outdoors!
5/28/16 Here's a 5/22/16
report by Steve S about the fishing in Kewaunee, WI:
"Made it out on a friends boat last Sunday. Went 8 for
17 on Bows and one lake trout. Had a good rip on a deep
Krystal Killer but no fish. Rest came in top 30 feet on
The harbor was
chucked full of 1 1/2" to 2" bait. Looked like mini
Asian Carp. All jumping out of the water behind
the boat. Fish were packed with bait and shrimp. Fish
seem a bit shorter then last year BUT chunky!"
for this catch
5/27/16 By this afternoon,
Tangled Tackle, here in Manistee, Mi will be restocked
with flashers and new Salmon Buster™ spoons. Many
spoons were sold out in 2015 and were needed to
replenish existing stock.
Have a safe and
enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!
5/26/16 Weather for the
upcoming Memorial Day weekend is on of the best I've
seen in a long time. 70s & 80s for the N half of
MI's lower peninsula is rare for this time of the year.
Received 1st hand news about the outstanding Coho
fishery Sheboygan, WI is experiencing right now.
Limit catches are happening. Best news? ...these
May Coho are 5 to 7 pounds. Which is a fantastic
growth rate this early in the season.
Combinations of warm S wind is supposed to last for
Manistee, MI thru Memorial Day. This is exactly
what this port needs to turn on!
5/25/16 Fatty Laker with a
20" girth is today's story. This chubby fish was
caught off Ludington last weekend by website member, Capn
Kirk. The lure was a 4.0 Gold HRP Salmon Buster™
spoon that's earned number 1 ranking on Kirk's boat.
In fact, he knows how to use my spoons better than
Kirk's tubby LT
With Kirk's pic added today, that makes 4 photos in the
left border. All sent in by you, the viewers of
this website. Which I greatly appreciate!
5/24/16 Hallelujah and
praise the fish gods the S Lk. MI fleet is finally
catching Kings and some Coho. You know, fishing
defies logic & timetables. Because St. Joe
is about a month behind the norm. Best news?
...more Kings are being caught when compared to last
year at this time of the season. While not limits
of Kings, but enough to keep it interesting!
Here's what Peter D had to share from last Saturday's
St. Joe fishing trip:
"I took my son Daniel and his friend Jack (a first
timer) fishing Saturday out of St. Joe. We managed to
land seven of ten fish. One lake trout, three coho, and
three kings. The boys nearly did it all out there but
have to improve with the net a little ...Dad got nervous
when the better of the kings went wild at the back of
the boat and I had to help a little. We had a great
Click for Daniel & Jack with part of their catch
5/23/16 Dueling fish reports for today's
"Wanted to let you know that your
Salmon Buster Mtn Dew spoon took the first fish
(13 lb King), in the first 10 min (at 12:31 pm)
this past Thursday (5/19/16) out on the shelf.
It was my first time out in my new-to-me boat on
my brand new wire line dipsy rig...made my year
on the first day...in the middle of the day!
Snubbers are working great too."
Thanks, Brad B. Wast'n Tyme Too, Manistee, MI
Click for Brad's King
"Went fishing Friday the
20th out of the E Chicago and it was
laker city. This is my friend and
mechanic Jeff G. He works for
Cabelas and is a big user of your
product. Would love to see his
picture on your webpage. This is
just one of the Bigger Lakers we caught
on your green frog meat rig bouncing the
bottom. It was the only pole we
had bouncing the bottom. No
Silvers for us. They (Lake trout) are
still fun to catch, but we don't keep
Tom M. Home port: E Chicago, IN
Click for Jeff's big Laker
5/22/16 What a great weekend to
get out and enjoy the outdoors!
5/21/16 Here's a copy/paste on a
new pesticide for zebra and quagga mussels:
"This new pesticide has been in development for years
and one of a newer class of biopesticides. Zequanox works
by tricking the mussels, Michigan Live explained.
Whereas chorine- or chemical-based pesticides would be
sensed by the mussels who could close their bodies, the
new pesticide is built using dead microbe cells and
therefore the mussels siphon them into their body. They
eat the pesticide as food where it then kills them
through the digestive system. It can take up to a month
before they die."
Click full article
5/20/16 Fished out of my
home port of Manistee, MI yesterday from 7am thru
11:30am. Started in 50' of water 2 miles N of port
(17s). Trolled due W out to the 30 line (about
600' of water) about 7 miles offshore. Water temp inside the harbor was
57°. Where we set up in 50' of water, it was 47°
that slowly dropped to 42° over 580' of water.
Took a small Steelhead (3 to 4 lbs.) off the surface on the 400' to 450'
dropoff on a Salmon Buster™ 4.0 spoon on the GOC (gold
orange crush) pattern with a 2 oz bead chain keel
sinker. That was the total sum of our action.
Click for fish & spoon
Don't take what I did as an consensus report from
Manistee. I fish so little and
infrequently, my skimpy fish take, probably does not reflect fleet
wide results. There was not many fish on
the trolling path Todd B. & I chose. We were looking for
Did notice towards the end of the trip best marks we
seen all day ...straight out from the harbor in 150' to
200' depths. These fish were suspended 80' to a 100' down.
5/19/16 The lighthouse in
Manistee, MI is getting a new paint job. There's a
tarp and scaffolding surrounding it in today's featured
Click for lighthouse work
At one time, lighthouses were extremely important for
navigation. Providing sight and sound signals to
the mariners on the Great Lakes. The beacon in
these lighthouses would shine for miles, calling vessels
to port. These lights have since dimmed a lot.
During foggy weather, or restricted visibility ...the
fog horn is how we found the entrance to the harbor in
the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.
The fleet began migrating to Loran C for navigation in
about 1983. Early Lorans were quite expensive,
like 3k in 1982. That's about 6k in today's money.
I got my first Loran in 1985 for my charter boat.
Surprisingly, most charter vessels did not have Lorans
and relied on seat of the pants navigation thru the mid
Modern day GPS units are inexpensive and everyone who
fishes the Great Lakes probably has one. There was
a time when lighthouses is all we had & were not
5/18/16 Link to take the
MDNR survey has been fixed after a faulty hyperlink was
posted. Hyperlinks is what you click to travel the
Click MDNR fishing survey
If the wind lays down going to try to escape the shop
today. Hopefully, there's a couple of hours to
sneak away and fish Lk. MI after all orders are filled.
5/17/16 The MDNR asked for
our opinion about fishing. Only issue is their
webmaster made a rookie mistake and gave us a bad URL,
or a broken link that don't work! Here's the page
with a broken link to their survey:
Click this broken page
Hopefully, this mistake will be rectified soon and I can
leave my opinion.
If you're a MI resident, or a just interested in fishing
There is an email page I do highly recommend. You
can sign up for weekly news sent to your email box from
the MDNR at:
Click sign up for MDNR news
5/16/16 Today's featured
picture could have came from several Great Lakes Salmon
ports. It's not. This photo came from the Pacific
Ocean's Columbia Bar. This is a world famous
Chinook/King Salmon fishery. Both in the ocean and
in the Columbia River too.
Tom G, who uses my tackle was kind enough to send in his
great photo. This shows how much we have common in
the universal unspoken language of fishing. We're
all brothers & sisters of the same sport. No
matter where you live.
Click Tom G's
5/15/16 Burrrr.... woke this
morning to temps in the low 30s and a dusting of snow in
Manistee, MI. Warming trend begins tomorrow with
temp in the 70s by next weekend.
After careful consideration need to soften my words from
a few days ago about the MDNR running the risk of
looking stupid. We, the Great Lakes Salmon and
Trout fishing public do not expect miracles and there's
always at least 2 sides to any issue.
It's entirely possible, everything is working in favor
of our fishery management where the reduced Salmon
numbers are allowing the baitfish population rebuild.
5/14/16 A 9 year old female
bear that attacked a 13 year old girl in 2013 has been
killed. Since then, this bear killed 2 dogs and
was shot in self defense. Raising the question,
are there too many bears living in close proximity to
When there's a 500-600 pound black bear that's 2' from
your backdoor like me, stories like this gain a lot more
meaning. Bears that have lost their fear of man
are dangerous. I'm no longer the top of the food
my property. Random bear visits have changed the
way I live in Manistee, MI and how protect my dogs.
5/13/16 Yesterday, Dave B
caught a 23 lb. King off the Port of Manistee, MI.
This brings into question the MDNR's lowball bait fish
5/12/16 big King
Sure I know, our harbors are no longer being choked with
zillions of Alewives. But you don't grow a May
King that's 36 inches long and 23 pounds without a lot
of bait fish. A 23 lb. May King could be a 26-27
pounder by August, maybe more.
So, I'm stuck in a big-time quandary about what to
believe. I know what the DNRs are telling us.
Putting themselves in a dangerous position of looking like
reel-liars, or extremely stupid. Especially, if the 2016 crop of fish keeps proving them
5/12/16 Thanks to Dave B
who's leading the way to show everyone Kings can be
caught off the Port of Manistee, MI. Here's what
he shared about yesterday:
"Wednesday morning salmon:
30" , 12.0#
29" , 10.9 #
Caught in... 113' to 160' of water.
These fish were shorter than the fish on
Friday, but they were filled out well for their length.
5/11/16 Look for fishing to
improve for Manistee, MI once we get a blow from the S.
E wind has been the story lately and that only pushes
the biomass Lk. MI further away from shore. While
Manistee is hit and a lot of miss for now, better days
are on the way!
Do know for a reel-fact, proven in recent photos fish
caught off Manistee, while not numerous, are fat healthy
creatures. They are not starving from lack of
baitfish, like we're led to believe by the DNRs that set
policy. I have not doubt we have smart, gifted
people working at our DNRs. But so was General
Custer at the Little Big Horn!
One common thread I seen with the really bright people I
know? ...that's over confidence. Because they
think they're always right. Us with average
intelligence (like me) have a different approach
...where both sides of any issue can go either way!
5/10/16 Today's feature
Steelhead pic from yesterday is a reel-anomaly.
This short, squat, fat 23" Steelhead weighed 9.5 lbs.
That's a whole lot of fish packed into a frame that's
under 2' with a deep girth unlike any Steelhead I've
seen going back to the 1970s!
This fish hit my GOC (gold orange crush) Salmon Buster™
spoon with a 2 oz bead chain keel weight on a 100' lead
behind the inline board.
Click ultra fatso Steelhead
Guesstimated depth the 2 oz weights attain at 2 mph is
about 15' down.
I'd rate fishing off Manistee, MI as very slow.
There are fish here, but finding biters is a task.
2 other boats I knew that were fishing each had 1 fish
Thanks to my crew of John J and Todd B it was a very
enjoyable morning even though we could crack the code
for more action. Lk. MI went to almost flat by
5/9/16 My thanks to Dave B
sending in today featured photo. It's 2 of the 3
Kings he caught last Friday out of the Port of Manistee,
MI. All nice, fat healthy fish that look like they
came from Lk. Ontario. These 3 fish respectively were
15, 16, & 18 pounds.
According to Dave, this was his best outing thus far.
His location was in 150'-200' of water from straight out
to a few miles S of Manistee.
Click 2016 15 & 16 lb. Kings
5/8/16 Happy Mother's Day!
Good news on the way for tomorrow!!
5/7/16 Mid 70s yesterday in
Manistee, MI was much appreciated. Especially,
after a cold April that didn't help the fishery off
Manistee. Finally, inshore water temp is warming
a great Saturday and an awesome Mother's Day tomorrow!
5/6/16 Today's pic is a
perfect example of what politically motivated government
mandated Ethanol does to rubber carburetor gaskets over
time. This deteriorating gasket came off my 2006
OMC 4 stroke 15 hp kicker.
Click deteriorating gasket
content is labeled at the pump to be 10%. Found
actual alcohol content was closer to 7-8% in the
Manistee, MI gas stations I tested with a kit purchased
online. Why? ...cuz pure alcohol is a lot more
expensive than gas.
the town of Manistee on US31 there's a BP station that
sells "rec" (short for recreational) gas free from any
use causes major issues. Even on motors claiming it's
OK to run it.
Another why? ...because outboard manufacturers
know exactly how long it will take for the Ethanol to
cause issues. By then, their motors will be out of
5/5/16 Good day to change
the date and get ready to go fishing. Warming
weather after yesterday's damp chilly conditions are
something to look forward to. Hope to hit the
water this afternoon, or tomorrow morning. Been
onshore too long.
5/4/16 There are too many
black bears in Manistee, MI. Black bears kill
people, or if you're lucky? ...just munch on you for a
while. Frank Devereaux was MI's last known
fatality. He was killed in Cheboygan, MI in 1883.
Click bear fatalities 2010-1830
dealing with a giant black bear with a pawprint a bunch
bigger than my hand. This critter got in my
garbage once. Moved the garbage cans inside.
Much to the dismay of this big bruin that came back the
following night for seconds.
on bears in my neighborhood? ...young healthy bears that
can forage on their own are not to attack you.
It's when they get old an can no longer feed
successfully the odds of homo sapiens becoming a happy
meal increase drastically.
seen a huge increase in bears over the past 10 years.
Everyone I know that lives here, has seen them in their
yard, bait pile, or bird feeders.
MI bears in
the wild have long 20 to 30 year life span. So,
it's easy to see how a few bears can turn into many.
Click more MI bear info
5/3/16 Enhancing daily
updates with links to expand the subject matter makes
the topic far reaching and more interesting. The
wonder of the internet is a simple mouse click that
transports you into the world's knowledge base.
There's only so much 8 to 10 lines of my written text
can do. Hyperlinks are a big help explaining the
rest of the reel story!
for Lk. MI off the Port of Manistee, MI to build
temperature. It's like we're stuck in limbo with
the same temp of the main body (5 miles offshore) since
5/2/16 In the April issue of
Reel in Michigan's
Fisheries, there was some good info on Green Lake up by
Traverse City, MI.
Click for this issue
I know of
this lake in the second person. Heard of it from
my departed fishing friends, George Richey and
Freshwater Hall of Fame charter skipper, Bud Raskey.
Know they both fished this lake for Browns many years
Click Green Lk article
Trout are no longer being stocked in Green Lake, Lake
MDNR fishery chief for my area wrote an excellent report
with historical facts I found fascinating.
Click 2013 Green Lk report
with cold water species of Trout and Salmon is where I
hope to focus my efforts soon. Best part? ...wind
is not usually a factor on inland lakes.
5/1/16 Here's a
customer testimonial from the State of Washington on our
west coast. Especially, enjoy feedback from
parts unknown to me that I've never fished. Here's
what Tom G. had to say about my tackle:
"John I have to tell you I have made
believers with your tackle. Rods on my whaler using
your tackle consistently out fish other methods. Matter
of fact my rod caught the biggest (plural) chinook all
season. I fish out of the Port of Ilwaco into the
Columbia and over the bar into the ocean."
4/30/16 Have a great
4/29/16 Ludington, MI is
showing some late April success when you can find clean
water without the weeds. Today's info is from
website member, Capt. Kirk a Ludington local and an
expert on early and late season fish. He caught a
big Steelhead (over 10 lbs.), a 5 lb. Brown and a fair sized spring
Click for Kirk's 4/28/16 catch
Capt. Kirk ran 6 rods. 2 with body baits, 2 with metal
spoons and 2 with my HRP Salmon Buster™ spoons.
The 2 Salmon Busters took all 3 fish! While 3 fish
is not going to set any records. For this year's
fish is a heck of a good catch!
4/28/16 Inland Walleye and
the stream Trout season opens soon. Both of these
seasons openers are on April 30th. For all the MDNR 2016
fishing license regulations
Did some checking myself on legal limits for inland
lakes holding Trout and Salmon like Crystal and Torch
Lakes. Both of these lakes are a Type E.
According to what I read, it's a 3 fish limit per
license. Guess this means combined species.
4/27/16 Here's a great heads
up that will save you money if you ever get boarded by
the U.S.C.G. or other law enforcement agencies.
Make sure your flares have not expired. All Great
Lakes boats are required to have approved dated flares.
Click for regs.
Coast Guard can board you anytime they wish. This
has happened to me on the water, and then transferred to
dockside in Harbor Beach, MI. Been boarded at boat
ramp in Manistee, MI too when the coasties were working
the time the Coast Guard in not on the muscle.
They're only there to do a job that promotes safety
Visual Distress Signals (flares)
4/26/16 Too busy with tackle
shop duties to do any research for a meaningful topic.
Being busy making tackle and shipping order is job 1.
But it sure cuts into time to steal an afternoon to
going fishing. Looks like Friday-Saturday might
Want to do some underwater filming with my inline Water
Wolf action cam. This unit goes on the fishing
line to the lure to capture the bite. Then, all
the action as you fight the fish back to the boat.
Worry is the big blob of black plastic might spook fish
So, it will have to be used on a day when the fish are
on a hard kamikaze bite.
4/25/16 Reports of a few
April Kings are filtering in from the Great Lakes of MI
and Huron. Not many, but it's a good sign ...never
the less. Traditionally, May is the month for King
Salmon and how many will be caught has yet to be
Click April King
Do know there were a lot of yearling Kings in the fall
of 2015 from central and southern Lk. MI ports.
That makes 2018 a year to look forward to. If not
4/24/16 OK, you wait all
winter and look forward to the once best in the state,
Manistee, MI's Brown Trout fishery that broke and held
more state records than any other port.
Then, winter makes a strong last ditch appearance.
Cools the water down to the consistency of Jell-O that
suspends weeds in a cloudy green silty colored soup.
Making the chances at a good catch of Browns out of
Manistee ...like hitting the lotto.
Now, it's all about attitude and keeping a good one.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself, most fishermen are
the best optimists in the world. Sure, we'll have
some good fishing in Manistee this spring and I'll be
here to report on it!
4/23/16 Good day to go chase
some fish. I'm in a holding pattern until Lk. MI
sets up better off my home port of Manistee, MI.
Plans are in the works for some inland lake fishing this
week. Looking at Crystal Lk. in Benzie County for
Have a great weekend, because you deserve it!
4/22/16 Added some useful
links to include satellite views of all Great Lakes and
access to surface temps charts for Lk. Huron fishermen.
Click for Great Lakes link
Water to the N of my home port of Manistee, MI has
cleared from weeds. But there's very few fish in
the shallow, off the beach waters.
Weather has to be the reason Manistee is seeing it
slowest spring fishery, possibly ever. Fishing is
not good. Thus far, in 2016, catching is a rare
This year we lost water temp in the first 2 weeks of April
when winter-like conditions came back. There has
to be an inducement for the fish to move onshore.
Normally, there's a 5°-10° differential of warmer water
onshore compared to the main body of Lk. MI. This has
not happened, even with the mild winter of 2015-2016.
4/21/16 This past Monday
afternoon did a quick trip to the Port of Holland, MI
with a favorable wind and sea forecast for a few days.
Holland channel to Lk. MI
Drove out to 175' of water to explore and have the sun
at our back on a E troll that's always better in the
afternoon. W troll direction wins in the morning.
Learned this when I used to charter out of South Haven
and Saugatuck, MI from 1996 thru 2002 for spring Salmon
during May and into early June.
Headed out around 2pm lake was perfect. Flat calm
afternoon and it was nice. Todd B and I changed the boat
over to fish Salmon-Steelhead from shoreline Browns.
Took Coho on a inline planer over 110' of water and
missed some too.
Gold HRP Coho
Decided to concentrate on this area in morning.
Cut our pm trip short to grab a decent dinner and get a
good night's rest before the morning fish.
Well, the morning trip never happened. Wind came
up around 3:30am and it was plain nasty by 7am.
3-4' SW rollers with 20-25 knot E winds meant a evil
cross slop in no way was I going to deal with. So,
we put the boat on the trailer and headed home.
My takeaway from Holland is that it's a huge boating
port. There were several big marinas on Lk.
Macatawa with more boat slips than Manistee & Ludington
Figure we'd have done respectable on the morning trip
that never happened. But the way things worked
out? ...we'll never know. Do know it was nice to
troll for a few hours without our lures fouled with
weeds like we had in Manistee, MI.
4/20/16 When you sign on to
become a Great Lakes fishermen there's an unspoken
contract to accept the bitter with the sweet.
There's so many ways for fishing trips to go wrong and
very few ways, for them to go right!
Without defeat there no victory. That's why a good
catch always clears the slate. Conditions off
Manistee, Mi this spring have been horrendous with
inshore murky water and in certain spots? ...loads of
weeds to foul your baits.
Bead Chain Keel Weights have saved the day when it comes
to the weeds by deflecting a lot of them. Not to
mention, the saved fishing line that could have became a
twisted up mess. Have not cut off any line, other
than the original tie-on. My reels are all still
full like the day I put new line on all of the them.
Thank you ...Mr. Keel Sinker!
So, this past Monday cut a trail to Holland, MI after
good inside info fishing out of Saugatuck was decent for
Coho with a few Browns and Steelhead....
To be continued tomorrow, or sooner!
4/18-19/16 Mike P was kind
enough to call me with the details from E Chicago, IN.
The Secret One pattern in the 4.0 Salmon Buster™ was his
best. Not the Gold HRP I reported yesterday.
Mike's catch was a big deal when the other boats were
doing 2-3 fish.
Need to take some time off for some serious RR and will
miss a few days of updates. Daily chat sessions
will resume after a mini vacation that's been long
All orders received while I take a break will
be shipped before the end of this week.
4/17/16 Been holding today's
featured photo to confirm this mixed bag catch was
caught with my spoons. It was verified today by
website member, Tom M. Best color in my Salmon
Buster™ spoons was the 4.0 Gold HRP. They caught 5
Coho, a Brown Trout, a Laker, and a 15# King. This
was the 1st good King weighed in at Pastrick Marina in E
Chicago, IN of the 2016 season. Don't have much info to
go on. If you know the names of all the fishermen,
please forward them to me.
Click 4/15/16 Salmon Buster™ catch
After careful consideration, came to the conclusion the
only thing that going to perk up the fishing in
Manistee, MI ...is time. I've gave up on my home
port until the water clears and warms up. I don't
like fighting with weeds, cuz you're never gonna win!
If this taste of spring weather in the 70s doesn't make you think
fishing? ...nothing will!
4/16/16 Manistee, MI is in
dire need of a big dose of Ortho's Weeds Be Gone.
Murky green water with 2' of visibility is what lays S
of port to Big Point Sable. Then, you can see
bottom plain as day in 22' where the water is ultra
Click Manistee's weeds
So, there's no middle ground with stained water that
favors the fishermen! Weeds are nasty on the beach in 5
to 10 feet of water, where we normally fish. Temp
ranges from 44° in the murky stuff to 40° in the
unproductive deeper clear water.
4/15/16 T.G.I.F. Let's
hope the warm weather is here to stay. Next on the
"hope" list is Lk. MI begins to finally warm up.
This has been a weird spring when we actually lost temp
that shut the fish down. Last on the "hope" list
is the suspended weeds that fouled my spoons on 4/13/16
go away. Never caught a fish on a lure fouled with
4/14/16 Was lucky enough to
get a couple of hours of water time yesterday.
Trolled N from the harbor in Manistee, MI, past Orchard
Beach State Park, and to the Bar Lk. outlet. Water was 40°.
That's 1, or 2° colder, then my previous 3/22/16
Had nary a nibble in this 4-5 miles of water from 5' to
15' deep. Water clarity
has improved to 4' to 5'. But there are weeds in it.
Pulled the spread after a 1 N hour troll and 5 of our 6
rods were carrying debris. Water color N has a
slight green tinge.
water temp gauge worked mint. New heater was OK pushing
air out at 88-100°. This will improve when we step up
the 140° thermostat to 160° later today.
4/13/16 First few trips of
the season is time well spent to work out any boat
gremlins, if you're installed new hardware, or
electronics on your boat. In my case, the new
cooling system was a big job. Further
complicated by the installation heater/defroster unit.
Well, today is trip #2. Decided on Manistee, MI
for a couple of reasons. It's 12 miles to the
launch from my house and need to check and see if the
inshore water clarity has improved. Until
the water clears at my home port, it's going to be a
I have no illusions of being the scourge of the Great
Lakes, but a fish, or 2 would be nice. Heck, even
a skunk would be an improvement over being onshore for
last 3 weeks!
Inclement weather has held my season back a lot.
Today is the first time it's predicted to hit 50° in the
last 2 weeks. Cold weather means wind from the N.
That's not a favorable wind direction for early season calm seas. Without
shoreline trolling causes too many issues. Such
as: the big boards flipping over, or inlines/birds,
jumping over each other, causing major tangles.
4/12/16 Posted a satellite
view of Lk. MI taken a few days ago. By enlarging
the pic, it's pretty easy to see the rich, fertile green
water in the S end of Lk. MI. This is why recent
Coho reports from E Chicago, IN are on the build.
satellite view Lk. MI
Today is when part II of my 2016 season begins by
readying everything for tomorrow's afternoon's 2nd launch
of this season.
Need to check out all fittings and hose clamps on my new
heater that runs off the enclosed cooling system
My job running this website gets a heck of a lot easier
with new fish photos. Something that has been
lacking due to the bad weather that's kept the fleet
4/11/16 It's going to be a
great week. Lots of E wind is predicted for my
home port of Manistee, MI. This will allow the
water to clear up. We will be picking up inshore
water temp to set things in motion at improving the odds
to catch fish!
The last 3 weeks of cold weather and wind has kept me
onshore. Look for that to change soon. I
look forward to resetting my 2016 season. My
outlook is loaded with anticipation of good things to
come. I'm ready ...how about you?
4/10/16 Big-time warm-up
begins this coming Wednesday when it finally hits 50°.
The main body of Lk. MI off the Manistee, MI area is
38°. About same temp as 3 weeks ago.
Soon to be warming inshore waters will be on the way to
clearing up. Lack of water clarity that has held
back the catching off my home port of Manistee.
One thing that I keep forgetting to mention? ...there
was a fair amount of suspended weeds that fouled lures
during my shakedown trip back in March. If you do
fish central MI ports go thru and reset your spread
often to make sure you're not pulling weeds.
4/9/16 2 + 2 = 4 in the
business world. This simple math answer is done by
one person. In the land of government to solve
this basic addition? ...the propensity would be to call
a meeting, assign departmental responsibility, do an
environmental study and mix in plenty of CYA. So,
you can shift blame to someone else that don't deserve
comments by the MDNR at the 50th anniversary of the Coho
stocking program in MI are trying to sell us a false
bill of goods about King/Chinook Salmon not feeding on
the bottom. While overlooking an important tangent
say, Kings have not shifted their diet to gobies and
prefer Alewives. OK, this can be explained by eons
of generations of west coast Salmon eating herring,
sardines and anchovies. All these baitfish have
one thing in common. That being: these species
have silvery scales that reflect light. Great
Lakes gobies are in darker, almost camouflaged color.
Never let anyone misrepresent the facts to you about
Salmon not feeding on the bottom. Any dimwit
ignorant enough to spread this load pure BS, obviously
never earned their living as a charter operator for 20
years like I have.
Kings might not chow on bottom dwelling gobies, but
caught many Salmon off the bottom that were stuffed with
Click all bottom caught Lakers & King
Now, the next question: what food source have round
gobies used to colonized the Great Lakes? But the larger
question: what are the fry gobies eating the fry Salmon
& Alewives do not eat? Baby gobies survive.
Why not small Salmon and Alewives? I see lots of
questions and zero answers from those getting a free
ride off our fishing license fees.
Has our MDNR looked inward to see what's wrong with
their Chinook rearing, or planting policies? Have
they even considered BKD ...like in the late 80s is
Is wire tagging all Kings causing survival rate issues
down the road? Do know for a reel-fact, since the
MDNR started inserting a coded wire tag in snout of
every King planted, our Lk. MI King fishery has gotten
progressively tougher and tougher.
4/8/16 T.G.I.F. Good day for
a mental reboot for my yet to begin 2016 season.
Next week's long awaited improving weather should get
4/7/16 Keep looking for a
weather window to put together a successful trip to S
Lk. MI. Criteria is tolerable winds 10 knots, or
less. Wind messes with the sound track big-time.
Not to mention, capturing video in rolling seas.
back to the 16th of March, 2016, we've only had 3 days
with temps in the low 50s. Even though 50s is
considered about average for this time of the year.
day forecast to hit 50 in Manistee, MI is a week from
today. Our current daytime highs are running
10-20° below normal. If there is such a thing in
drastic falloff in temperature has prevented the inshore
waters in Manistee from warming up. Surface water
temp on the beach is less, or about the same as 3 weeks
ago during my 3/22/16 shakedown cruise.
4/6/16 Ageless Firedot
pattern is today's topic with a photo sent in by savvy E
Chicago, IN angler, Tom M. This color first took
off in 1969 on Luhr Jensen's Manistee Wobbler spoon with
scads of Coho eager to whack this color.
caught thousands of Kings and Coho on this design over
the past 48 seasons. Yes, that's why I have this
very same color in my flashers, meat heads, and spoons.
Some things never wear out and this is one of them!
4/5/16 Expanded the lineup
on Bead Chain Keel weights to include 1.5 and 2.0 ounce
sizes. First reports on the 2 oz is 20' plus feet
at 2.5 mph on 15# test with a 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon.
This needs further testing to be confirmed.
have keel weights in 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 1, 1.5, and 2 oz
sizes. This means a fine tuned depth control for
pulling spoons off the boards. Will have all 6 sizes of these game changing weights installed at the
Click for all 6 sizes
to fish this afternoon out of Manistee, MI. A
burst of early April business means we're too busy in
the shop making tackle and shipping orders to neglect
4/4/16 Posted a pic of the
recently installed new heater. Would much rather
show you a nice box of fish, but that's not going happen
for a while.
Click new heater
spot for improving warmer weather is next weekend.
Tuesday looks OK to fish out of my home port of
Manistee, MI. Will be trying the color line about
a mile offshore and sewn minnows in the harbor.
Sewn minnows and cowbells are an old school deadly
technique and worthy of a "how to video."
4/3/16 Average daytime high
temps for the coming week are up to 20 degrees below the
norm. So, cold & snow froze out any ideas about
fishing Manistee, MI in the near future.
better spent finishing the heater project.
Installed a new temp gauge too. The new one reads in
numbers, not the stock idiot gauge.
onboard heater is just like what's in your vehicle made
possible by the closed cooling system installed recently
on my GM V8 Mercruiser outdrive.
for the heater, hoses and fittings was quite reasonable.
Coming in at way less than 200 bucks. With Todd
B's help, total install time for heater install was
around 3 hours. Mounted this compact heater
directly underneath the starboard driver's side
windshield. Hopefully, it will act like defrosters
to help with morning fogging issues.
Have a add-on defroster kit in case the stand alone
heater doesn't clear the windshield.
4/2/16 Called the Cadillac,
MI District Office of the MDNR to find out when the
launch ramp in Benzie County, MI's Crystal Lk. ramp will
be put in?
Jessie and he went the extra mile to call me back with the
info. He said, the goal is to have all DNR ramps installed by
4/8/16, or by next Friday.
inland lakes like Crystal and Torch are a great
alternatives, because wind and waves don't present
problems. Both of these lakes have a tough
reputations to fish. Locals that do have the
knowledge to catch ...don't share squat.
So, it's up
to me to crack the code to catch fish out of these
unique bodies of water that have Rainbow Trout and
Atlantic Salmon. Then, share the methodology with
you. Just in case, fishing new bodies of water
fascinates you? ...like it does me.
4/1/16 Today is national
holiday for jokesters with stuff that's only funny to
them with outlandish claims. So, beware,
there are people out to make us look stupid today.
You can win by not being gullible & not taking anything
too serious. Don't be an April fool!
My plans to
travel and fish out of E Chicago, IN just got squashed.
Main contact, Tom M said the water turned to a silty gray and
fishing has been very tough lately.
OK, I want to
go and catch. To make this happen in the next
week, plans include sewn minnows in Manistee, MI's
harbor. I gleaned firsthand knowledge of this
deadly technique from a departed Hall of Fame Fishermen
and my friend, Capt. Bud Raskey.
Last I heard,
from website member, Wayne J, the launch ramp was not in
at Benzie County, MI's Crystal Lake. Need to call
the Cadillac MDNR to see when it's going in.
all else fails, a trip to Torch Lake N of Traverse City,
MI is doable.
Continued below back to the year 2000:
February & March
April, May & June
April, May & June
July, August &
November, & December
April, May, & June
August, & September
February, & March
April, May, & June
July, August &
October, November &
February, & March
April, May & June
July, August &
October, November &
February, & March
April, May, & June
July, August &
November, & December
February, & March
April, May & June
August & September
October, November & December
February & March
April, May & June
July, August, &
October, November, &
November & December
July, August, &
April, May & June
February & March
November & December
July, August & September
May & June
February & March
November & December
July, August &
April, May &
February & March
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March
October, November &
August & September
June & July
April & May
January, February & March
Feb Mar April
June & July
Aug & Sept
Nov & Dec
April Brown Trout
May & June
Aug. Tuna Time
March & April