October, November & December 2016

10/14/16 Deer
Backyard Bucks

11/2/16 Manistee, MI
Salmon Buster™ Spoons

11/30/16 Steelhead
Ludington, MI

New Spoons for 2017
Green & Blue Glow

Click here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

12/31/16  Goodbye 2016!  2016 was good to me in many ways.  Had my heaviest catch on 8/10/16 since I left the charter business in 2003.  Learned the 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoons were fish candy in the right circumstances.  Proved lure design is a 2 way street when the Ghostbuster spoon pattern were cloned into flashers and meat rigs™.
                Having perfectly matching tackle makes sense.  It removes a lot of the guess work when trying to put a program together.  This is a major time saver!
                Looking forward to 2017 with a few out of town events that are in the planning stage now.  Exploring new waters is always challenging and fun!  'till next year.....

12/30/16  My heartfelt condolences to the Weber family for their loss of MI tackle icon, Terry Weber.  Terry died in an ice fishing accident when he fell thru the ice on 12/16/16.
                 First time I met Terry was in the early 1980s at George Richey's Custom Flies booth at the Outdoorama held at the fairgrounds in Detroit.  George had a display with several of Terry's Michigan Stinger spoons.  Terry's silver plated spoons were eye catchy.
                 Over the next many seasons, I'd run into Terry at several sport shows all over MI.  He was a class act, always very friendly, and down to earth.  Stinger treated me good, back when I was in the charter business (1983-2003) and in need of product.

12/29/16  Proposed weir on the Big Manistee River reminds me why I left the river guide & charter business.  After a while, rules and red tape wore me out.
                This weir is going to be a hindrance to boat traffic.  Not to mention the personal required to pass the Steelhead and Walleyes upstream.  Plan says it would be checked twice a day.  Don't believe this for a second.  We all know about the shameful fiasco the Little River Tribal net fishermen caused during the money grab that pillaged MDNR funds.  

12/28/16  Been thinking a lot about the proposed seasonal tribal weir on the Big Manistee River downstream from the Rainbow Bend public access. Click for entire proposal
                 Mother nature is a powerful force and will make this project costly for any barrier installed bank to bank on the big river.  During high water stages, seen this part of the river 2' above the bank ...with water flowing thru the woods.
                  During a cold winter, this area is known to freeze over.  So, the late February install time is in doubt.  Ice breakup with massive sheets of ice a foot thick will plug this weir.  Causing water force that will destroy this already dumb idea.
                   After bow fishing/spearing Salmon on the Little Manistee River it's hard to even faintly understand why the tribe has any interest in conservation what-so-ever!
                  Stuff like this gets gets crammed down the fishing public's throat, because fishermen are not organized like hunters are with the NRA keeping things in check.
                  There's 2 things that come to mind about this weir.  First, is the potential sale of caviar from the Sturgeon roe.  Second, this posturing by the Little River tribe prior to a new 2020 Consent Decree that needs to be negotiated for the fishing/netting rights in Lk. MI.  In i2k, this tribe raped our MDNR with a net scam for millions with criminal intent.

12/27/16  Today's story begins in the 1970s with then, MI US Sen. Phil Hart pushing for the Sleeping Bear Dunes and most of the shoreline N and S to become National Lakeshore.  
                 To be maintained in a "natural state" free from all homes/cottages and commercial development. Then, feds went in and forced land owners to sell for the so called, "greater good," or imminent domain that means a government takeover.
                 This area included the famed Platte River where our Great Lakes Salmon Fishery began with the stocking of Coho Salmon in 1966 that was in high use from fishermen.
                 This created a dilemma for the US Forest Service on how to manage usage and still keep everything in the "natural state." 
                 Main issue (among others)? ...the Platte River, a Coho Salmon hotspot is free flowing into Lk. MI not protected by breakwalls.  So, every late summer/fall a dragline is hired to dredge a channel for the small boat fleet to be able to safely access Lk. MI.
                 Latest word is the US Forest Service no longer wants to dredge the mouth of the Platte River for the many generations of fishermen that use it.
                 Once again our Great Lakes fishery is under assault by a government agency.  If you think this doesn't effect you ...guess again.  Because when we lose any part of our Great lakes fishery, we are all losers in the long run!

12/26/16  New 2017 XGB (xtended-glo blue) meat heads are revealed today.  This addition is a matchup to what's available in my Salmon Buster™ spoons.
                2016 was a total validation of how cloned tackle such as flashers, meat rigs, and spoons work in your benefit.  Days of mis-matched tackle are ancient thinking and do not represent technology that can work in your favor! Click XGB King Smurf heads

12/24/16  Merry Christmas!

12/23/16  Big Christmas weekend looms.  Peace on earth and good will towards men is the theme that needs remembering.  So, with that thought in mind, have great Christmas!

12/22/16  Federal Forest Service and the Little River Tribe are conspiring to install a weir to capture Sturgeon on the Big Manistee River at Rainbow Bend during the spring. 
               This is below 2 major tributaries of Bear Creek and Pine Creek that are naturally reproducing Steelhead.  Not to mention, impede all species all their way up to Tippy dam.  Including a self-sustaining Walleye population.
                Both the feds and the tribe are criminal enterprises as far as I'm concerned.  The feds run a racket that makes guides pay a portion of their guide fees back to them.  Plus, a bunch of hoops for river guides to jump thru when common sense is plenty enough. 
                 At one time, the MDNR had control of the Manistee River.  This was ceded to the Forest Service when the Big Manistee River became part of the National Wild and Scenic River Systems.  Too much government where it don't belong!

12/21/16  Good day to put this website on autopilot.  There's plenty of articles and videos to explore that might expand your knowledge base.
                Having extreme difficulties trying to edit the August 10, 2016 evening trip out of Manistee, MI video.  This is the event that tore the lid off the cooler trying to stuff the last big guy in.  This movie is constant nonstop fish action.  Click broken fish box lid
               Video was shot with the hardtop cam and a hat cam that both present audio issues.  Hardtop cam does has a faint audio track.  Hat cam has a good audio, but picks up the trolling motor too much.  So, there issues trying to make this into a great "tell a story" show.  Footage is there, now all I have to do is assemble it wisely.

12/20/16  Too many requests for the test minnow spoon needs to be addressed.  Caption says, "test" spoon, not for sale.  I don't have a clue about the adhesive and printed image holding up.  Won't know until test phase is complete.  Click real test spoon
                It's wonderful to have the interest and that's much appreciated.  So, let's not put the cart in front of the horse.  Tests and time will tell if these spoons enter production.
               My thinking behind posting the photo was to something new & gaze upon during this early winter arctic blast.  Showing the 2017 season is right around the corner.

12/19/16  Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop will take place from 8:15am until 3:15pm on January 14, 2017 at West Shore Community College in Scottville, MI.  This meeting is where those informed share knowledge about the Lk. MI fishery.
                 Cost to attend is $30 per person and comes with a free lunch.  You must pre-register to attend.  Click here for more info and how to register
                 W Shore Community College is located on 3000 North Stiles Road—Scottville, MI 49454.  Meeting is in the Administration and Conference Building.  Click campus map

12/18/16  Only 7 days left before Christmas and about 2 weeks to the 2017 New Year.  If you're in a pinch for a gift for the fisherman in your family?  I can make you a gift certificate with a code to enter at my webstore for tackle.  Call me at (855) 950 3474 for more details.

12/17/16  It's great to hear positive feedback like what Lew had to say:

"I really like the minnow spoon you have on Facebook. Ship me one and I will post a picture with a Lake Huron fish caught with it in late March :). I was a grim reaper with your HRP on the Steelies over here in the Thumb. I guarantee I caught Steelies 2 to 1 with your spoons. I'm a believer."  ...Capt. Lew J. Click Facebook spoon

12/16/16  Results from my annual poll page are in.  There was a first.  Spoons and meat (cut & whole) tied for the lead with 33% each.  Never had a tie for first before.  Rest of the results echo the past 13 seasons with no big swings.  Just being able to archive data over time shows the worth of computers. Click for this 13 season poll
                With this website being on the bandwagon for meat, look at the tie as a weighted result with spoons probably number 1 overall.  Spoons rank this high, because they're easy to use and a lot more speed forgiving than any attractor program.
                My Salmon Buster™ spoons? ...proven to have caught fish from 1.2 to well over 3 mph and in one instance a Steelhead at a bunch over 4 mph.  So, with a wide speed range, it no wonder why spoons are probably at the top of the list.
                  If you have complete, total control over your boat's trolling speed, the rewards you'll reap will be many with an attractor program.  Problem is boats on their own do not troll slow enough.  Double true in a following sea with the wind at your transom.

12/15/16  Chances are any of the glow tackle you own is not only used in low light conditions.  For glow tackle to be multi purpose and perform in daylight is my goal.
                Having a pearlish white base my 2017 XG-green color is a proven performer in all kinds of light situations.  10 years ago I introduced this extended green glow tackle and it's been in demand ever since. Click 2017 XG Meat Heads

12/14/16  Proud to share with you today's world debut of the new 2017 XG-Blue Magnum Meats Heads.  This probably world first, but I don't have time, nor the interest of what other "late to the meat fishing game" are doing.  Click 2017 XGB Mag Heads
               There's several others selling meat stuff that NEVER heard of it until I brought to the forefront of Lk. MI fishing in 2003.  All the copycats concentrating on the Lk. Michigan market did not exist back then. One thing I have done is to raise the bar in meat tackle & keep leading the less visionary manufacturers who's next original idea ...will be their 1st!

12/13/16  Restocking Magnum and Super Magnum Meat Heads is the task for today.  On hand inventory was very low and must to be replenished.  I'm looking forward to the new 2017 X-Glow Blue meat heads on order.  Have a good idea for a couple of new meat rigs down the line when time allows.  Now, onto precision machining the new heads.

12/12/16  Have about 20% completed on a new written article.  This one is fun to write, because it's about the choices all big water fishermen have to make.
                Installed the long running poll page.  The poll has been ongoing since 2003 about your most productive method to catch adult Kings.  Having data like this can spot trends, but so far ...the results are very static. Click archived poll page

12/11/16  Have a great Sunday!  Going to enjoy today.  Lots on the plate for next week.
While this is considered the off season for fishing, for manufacturers it's the foundation for the 2017 season.  New tackle to debut soon.

12/10/16  It's turning towards hard winter this week in Manistee, MI.  Gone is the extended warm fall that was enjoyed by all in my neck of the woods.  I mean woods, because I live in the Manistee National Forest.  This is a patch work quilt of federal and state lands.  Including the 80 acres my property adjoins.
                Official winter is still 11 days out.  Wednesday, December 21, 2016 is the winter solstice and the official start of winter 2016-2017.  First day of spring 2017 begins Monday, March 20, 2017.  I'm looking forward to the days gradually getting longer after official winter begins.  Loss of daylight seems to curtail a lot of stuff I want to get done. 

12/9/16   Big water fishing/trolling is all about decisions to find fish. It's a daunting choice to search out the zone/depth of water where the fish are.  Compound this hunt with the bazillions of cubic yards of H2O in the Great lakes.
                Sometimes it's pure luck.  Defining luck? ...this is where opportunity meets preparation.  Trolling is a highly efficient method to cover a vast amounts of water.  In 4 hours at 2 mph (attractor speed), you've traveled a path of 8 miles.  At 3 mph (spoon speed) would be 12 miles. So, logic says; fate is on your side to run into some fish.
                Plain & simple, I make deadly tackle.  Made for the all big water anglers.  You don't have to be an expert to figure out how my tackle works. It's designed to be no muss, no fuss, with a zero learning curve, as long as you can dial in the speed of your boat!

12/8/17  Informative article from Sea Grant goes a long ways explaining why stocking cuts are not as detrimental as many think.  Hatchery reared Kings have such a poor survival rate the DNRs would have to plant tons more than they do now to even have the slightest impact on the Lk. MI King Salmon fishery.  Detailed Sea Grant Stocking Info
               Which raises anther point: some ports in 2016 had a banner for Kings like the extreme S end of Lk. MI.  While Manistee was no bed of roses in 2016 it was a huge improvement over 2015 and a reason ...to be very positive about the future!

12/7/16  75 years ago today, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sent the USA on the path to becoming a world super power.  Eventually, Japan found out what happens when the American people come together, united in a common cause.
               Pearl Harbor Day is special to me.  My father was in the Navy.  Surviving 2 ships that were sunk in battle.  Most of my uncles were in the Navy during WWII too.
               Tomorrow? ....encouraging info about the Lk. MI King Salmon fishery!

12/6/16  2016 was a year for me with 2 major boat upgrades.  New pickup bedliner interior came out better than expected.  Lots of work to rip out the old carpet and prep.  But the EZ clean ups from now on makes it worth it.  Carpet has no place in a fishing boat!
              New enclosed cooling system makes winterizing a piece of cake.  Just ran a 50-50 mix of anti freeze thru the motor with a funnel adapted to the earmuffs on the outdrive.  Presto-amazo the entire process took less than 10 minutes.

12/5/16  Snow is on the ground in Manistee, MI.  Yesterday 2 to 3 inches of wet heavy snow accumulated.  Full blown winter is not too far off.
              This the time of the year I begin to look at what were my major achievements in 2016.  New blue glow spoons ranks high.  Developing the daytime pearl appearing into blue glow in the dark took a lot of time before it was acceptable. Click new blue glow
              Upgrading the Combo Deal page to include both 10 and 12 inch flasher/meat rig™ should have been done a long time ago. Click Combo Deal Page

12/4/16  Windows 10 was a free upgrade from Microsoft.  Now, I see why after replacing an old laptop.  Win 10 is like George Orwell's 1984 science fiction novel that said, “Big Brother is Watching You."  Yes, Win 10 is loaded with big brother spyware. 
              10's default settings can use your laptop's webcam and microphone for their own ends.  Not to mention everything you do and touch is an open source free for all.
              You can configure for privacy, but that's not the point.  It's the gall this company has to pull pervasive intrusion into every part of our lives, as the new norm.
               Worst part of my new laptop's Win 10 OS? ...not being able to control when updates were downloaded.  This ate up 3.5 gigs of my 10 gig monthly data cap limit.  Have since learned a work-around with a metered connection setting.   

12/3/16  Began post production (video editing) of my 8/10/16 trip.  Have some pretty intense action scenes, all excellent when my team was in full battle mode.  Issue is what do I edit and what do I leave on the cutting room floor.  Doubles leading into a triple don't allow for cutting that might spoil the flavor of this Salmon wars epic.
              This was the kind of trip we all live for.  Action became an accepted reel-fact.  We didn't have to pull rods, the fish whacked every rod we had left in the water!
              Best part? ...I have living proof captured in video to share with you.  Santa don't have to bring anything this Christmas.  My Christmas present came last August!

12/2/16  Finished the video from last July 20th when I traveled to MI's UP in search of decent fishing and found it.  My Salmon Buster™ spoons did the trick.  This event was a great confidence builder for my larger 4.65 spoons that had were being neglected.
              Hope share this video, here on this page ...when time allows.  If you have a few minutes to spare and want to view this new video now? click for new video

12/1/16  Ludington, MI's very own, Capt. Kirk is a serious early and late season specialist.  He had a good day yesterday boating 5 respectable Steelhead and a 30 some inch Pike!
               I have lots of history with Kirk.  Going back to when I first started my tackle business in 2004.  Back then, he was my UPS delivery driver and seen him most everyday.  It was natural for us to strike up a relationship, because we both like to fish Lk. MI.
               He's behind my spoons 100%.  But it was a long journey to get him off metal.  Only convinced by performance did he switch.  Click Kirk's 11/30/16 catch
               Presently, he's running a 6 rod surface program and has 6 Salmon Buster™ spoons in the Gold Crushed Orange pattern trailing behind each of his Yellowbirds. 

11/30/16  My big lake trolling season officially ended yesterday when I ran antifreeze thru my motors.  Enclosed cooling system is very-very easy to winterize.  This was a big 2016 upgrade over the old standard freshwater cooling system. Click 11/2/16 boat ramp
                Kept hoping for one more trip, but the weather never cooperated when I had time to go this month.  So, on 11/2/16 is when the curtain came down.  Kind of hate to say goodbye to 2016, because it was a huge leap forward over 2015 fish-wise.
                Had by far, my best box of fish based on weight since 2005 during evening trip on 8/10/16.  Broke the lid off the cooler trying to stuff the last fish in it!
                If I can put all the details together, my webstore could closing next week for a winter vacation.  Time off is good.  Taking a step back puts things in perspective.

11/29/16  Need to skip today's chat for time's sake and play catch-up on orders.  Many thanks to all that have ordered.

11/28/16  Installed the highly successful Ghostbusters as combo deals.  New for 2017 you can now order combo deals (flasher/meat rig™) in both the 10" and 12" flasher sizes.
                 My season turned on a dime when the mostly blue glow Ghostbuster tackle went fishin', then catching!  Gauging productivity can only be done in side by side tests.
                Ghostbuster flashers and matching meat rigs™ performed as good, if not better than the proven old standbys XG Green Frog & Super Silver Bullet slayers. 
               12" XG Ghostbuster flashers are in very short supply and will not installed as stand alone flashers pages at my webstore. Click updated combo page

11/27/16  Lots to do in the next few days.  Have an idea for a good read (article) that ties into last season and will strike a strong note with everyone.
                17 spoons for 2017 is a limited time offer.  Due to the fact the XG Blue and XG Green Krystal Killer spoons were short test runs to see how the base glo material performed.
                The new XG-B (extended glo blue) are the most costly I've ever made, but still sold at the same price as my industry leading standard X-Glow green.
                Retroactive all 17 for 2017 spoons deals will include a 9.95 hook file too.  Bringing the total value of these ground breaking spoons to well over 160 bucks.  Sale price is 125 that includes free shipping and bonus diamond hook file.
                You can be confident when you purchase this offer with 12 extended glo spoons you have my very best effort in modern day tackle technology! Click 17 for 2017 spoon deal

11/26/16  Sneak peek at my 2017 Spoon Deal is the focus for today.    4 are green glow and 8 are the new extended blue glow. 17 spoons loaded with 10 extended glow selections for 125 with free shipping.  Retail would be over 160 bucks.  Click 2017 Spoon Deal
               Rest are my proven best in 2016 that cover a wide range of conditions.  If you think there's room for improvement in your spoon program, please consider.

11/25/16 Today's featured photo of fish boxes on 7/20/16 and 8/10/16 is very important.  It shows the wide speed variance of my spoons.  The 7/20/16 trip was in MI's UP out of the Port of Manistee, on Lk. MI.  This was all spoons hot on speed (2.5 to 3.3) and where I discovered how deadly the Ghostbuster pattern was.
                The bottom photo was a mixed program, spoons and meat from 1.2 to 2.0.  While there's only one 4.65 Ghostbuster spoon, we had 3 out on 300' coppers and a full 10 color lead core.  This spoon accounted for 4 fish in said box.  Including number 3 of a triple in total darkness.  Let's not overlook the reel-fact by then ...I cloned the lethal Ghostbuster pattern onto 10 and 12 inch flashers/meat rigs.  Click 2 boxes of fish pic
                There's 2 vital goals proven here.  First: being my spoons are not speed sensitive.  Second:  when a color works? ...it does so in both spoons and attractors.
                No longer do you have to use a mishmash of different brands of tackle to sort out a workable program.  Yes, this can be done.  But at a huge cost in time. 
               Water time is in short supply for me.  My time on the water cannot be mis-
managed with trial & error sorting out the hot, from what's not, in an effort to catch fish!

11/24/16  Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

11/23/16  Designing a lure to be effective in normal daylight and have it be a killer in the dark, or low light conditions is no easy task.  The new XGB (extended glow blue) Bluetail Salmon Buster™ spoon works in all kinds of light to dark conditions. Click 2017 XGB Bluetail
                The base non-glow is a pearl-ish white in the XGB Bluetail.  Almost the same as my XG standard green glow spoons.  This is an in-house proprietary technical process!
                The glow being molded into the base stock of my tackle means it will never chip, or peel off.  This is lifetime glow will never wear out from too many charge cycles!
                It was surprising to see the blue glow base illuminate the blue painted top edge.  This Bluetail pattern proved itself back to the days with I used 3D printed prototype test spoons.  So, I know it good and and even be better in low light with the blue glow.
               The idea behind the glow blue base came from 4.65 Ghostbuster has a lot of blue glow on it.  This Ghostbuster pattern was my best spoon for adult Kings last summer.  So, it was a given (XGB) extended glow blue needed to be in my 2017 tackle lineup!

11/22/16   World debut photo are prototypes.  So, there's good and bad news for you today.  Bad news is these spoons will not be for sale.  Being a prototype test run, I just don't have that many of them.  Click new blue glow 2017 tackle
                 Good news is? ....these 4 Salmon Buster™ spoons in the 4.0 & 4.65 sizes will be part of a giveaway when I come out with a spoon deal later these week.
                 My 2017 spoon deal will have new XGB (extended glo blue) in the mix of 17 spoons with a huge discount compared to purchasing singles.  XBG spoons will glow for a very long time, 4 to 6 hours with a sweet spot of good glow for at least 2 hours.
                Tomorrow I will start revealing some of the reel production XGB models...

11/21/16  Today is a partial reveal of what I have been working on since last July 19th.  This when Todd, Dylan, & I traveled to MI's UP to fish Lk. MI ...out of the Port of Manistique MI.  Truth is the fish were a hard puzzle to solve & we were getting our butt kicked! 
               It was getting late, the sun was sinking low on the horizon, and what we had in the fish box wouldn't feed a hungry yard cat.  Click for this box of fish
               It wasn't until we grabbed the glowy-ist spoon in my arsenal, the 4.65 XG Ghostbuster, and sank it down to 50' on the chute rigger did things turn around. 
               Within minutes this spoon with a lot of blue glow sprang to life with a good adult teener King.  Then, it was game-on until we pulled lines and headed in with a very respectable catch.  Big clue was the blue glow! Click new blue glow 2017 tackle
               I always wanted a blue glow as a base color in my tackle lineup and now was time to make finally this happen. To be continued tomorrow...

  Burrrr.................!  Mr. Winter 2017 has finally hatched.  I'm thankful for the warm extended Indian summer we had this fall.  Important announcement tomorrow!

11/19/16  Steelhead stomach contents photo supplied by Ludington, MI's Capt. Kirk is our focus for today.  It's fascinating to see the different year classes of bait.  Kirk's intriguing photo shows 2" to 6" alewives all present in the belly of fish caught on 11/17/16.
                Spoon in the pic is a  HRP Laser 4.0 Salmon Buster™.  It's fluorescent red on both sides that's a fleet consensus Steelhead favorite.  Click for this pic
                All the Steelhead I've seen this fall are fat plump fish not suffering from lack of food and that's terrific news for the future of Lk. MI!

11/18/16  Posted a picture of John J's 7 point buck shot on his property in Manistee, MI. 
John is a most wise and dedicated deer hunter.  He puts his time in and always comes up with meat.  This deer will be part of snack trays next season on Lk. MI.  Served with crackers and cheese for a great eating on Lk. MI in 2017.  Click John's deer

11/17/16  Firearms deer season in Manistee, MI has been going pretty good.  Most I know have taken at least one 6 to 8 point buck.
                Production continues for my 2017 tackle lineup.  Trying to clear the 1st part of December for a vacation.  This is a good way for me to hit the reset button and get ready for 2017.  Signs are incremental of an improving King fishery with more bait and an increase in the 2016 vs. the 2015 season.  In 2015 we hit rock bottom and are on the way back.

11/16/16  Major change in the weather this weekend leaves me 3 days to complete all lure painting.  This is a must while the temperature is on my side.  Once it turns cold, like next week? ...this becomes a losing effort trying to keep the shop heated.  The must have exhaust fan that pulls paint fumes from the building takes the heat with it.
                Part of the "yet to debut" reel-amazing new tackle additions for 2017 is in house.  21st century technology is light years ahead of tackle used in 1968 when I caught my first Salmon!  It's incredible to see how far we've come on all fronts.

11/15/16   Have a safe and successful hunt today.

11/14/16  Today's featured Steelhead photo is from John Kr.  He caught his 3 Steelhead limit solo out of Manistee, MI and a Coho on 11/6/16 on stickbaits.  His time frame was in the middle of the day in a 150' of water.  Click John Kr's limit
                 Firearms deer season begins tomorrow.  Have a safe and successful hunt.  Looks like this warm fall comes to an end next weekend with the possibility of our first measureable snowfall for Manistee, MI.

11/13/16  Big deal this week is the firearms deer season that begins this Tuesday the 15th.  Lk. MI looks like it might cooperate for my last trip of 2016 this week. 
There are Lk. MI Steelhead to be caught, but not in huge numbers like you'd expect.

11/12/16  Michigan DNR has decided to cease stocking Chinook/King Salmon in Lk. Superior.  This policy comes from a study that found 99% of Kings caught were naturally reproduced fish.  This says a couple of things. 
                1.  It's good the fish have adapted.  2.  Is there a possibility the MDNR is raising a genetically weak strain of Kings that have next to no chance of survival?
               The MDNR stopped planting Coho Salmon in Lk. Superior in 2007 and still has a decent fishery for this specie of Salmon that are self-sustaining, naturally reproducing fish according to the MDNR in the Detroit News article. 
Click for Detroit News Article

11/11/16  Politics is like religion.  It's what you believe in.  I find anything to do with politics distasteful, crooked, nasty, and loaded with liars.  I live the small village of Stronach, MI with about 400 people that vote.  Click for my anti Smith sign
                 Back 4 years ago Tom Smith was running for drain commissioner.  He stood on my property and flat-out lied about his future intentions.  This pissed me off bigtime.
                 He ended up spending way over 200k building an overkill 48" concrete box drain under a dirt road that might have 30 cars a day using it.  A corrugated steel drain pipe would have done the job at a huge savings to us taxpayers.
                He was soundly defeated in the last election earning only 28% of the vote.  Smith got exactly what he deserved when he lost.  I made a large roadside sign to let every one who drove past my house this person was not trustworthy. 

11/10/16  Plans for 2017 are well on underway for an exciting world 1st reveal.  Enhancing my tackle lineup with products no other tackle company offers is my job!
                 Been at work on a new project since last August.  Mediocre results was our first try.  Outcome better with the 2nd effort, but no cigar.  Third time was a charm.  Turning an idea into a finished product is immense, but worth it!
                 Perseverance paid off with another world first I am truly proud of.  Know you'll see the merit of this fish catchin' tackle when it's debuted later this year.

11/9/16  Congratulations to President Elect Donald Trump who turned the political world upside down.  I'm going to really enjoy phone being quiet today from robo political and pollsters calling.  Dragging on the presidential election for 500-600 days is way too long!

11/8/16  Election Day 2016. Go vote.

11/7/16  Warm fall continues in Manistee, MI.  Ludington, MI's Capt. Kirk C. fished Lk. MI for Steelhead yesterday.  His results were decent with most of his fish coming in 150' of water, or deeper on 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Top 30' is best.
               These fish are feeding on very small Alewives.  Size is a  2 1/2 to 4 inches.  Kirk's photo bait shows a standard key for size relationship. Click for 11/6/16 bait

11/6/16  Pulled a major "duh" my last trip out.  Forgot a long learned lesson: when it's bright, full-sun chrome usually works better.  Darker days, gold is the way to go. 
              So, on my 10/25/16 trip it was bright, almost full sun.  Memory from this trip said chrome Silver Orange Crush SB 4.0 spoon got bit most often. Click 10/25/16 hot spoons
               Loaded the spread with chrome on 11/2/16.  Just wasn't thinking to to adjust for the dark, gloomy day conditions and overlook the silver stuff & go with gold.
               Lost a good part of last Wednesday pulling chrome, or silver spoons when the fish's flavor of the day, by far ...was gold.  Click 11/2/19 hot spoons
                      Believe it, or not?  400 pound Salmon with dagger teeth

11/5/16  This past Wednesday's fishing trip slowed drastically once Lk. MI went to no wind and the surface slicked up around noontime.   Talley was 3 Steelhead to 8 pounds and a chunky hen Coho.  The HRP 4.0 Laser Salmon Buster took the most hits.  This spoon is completely fluorescent red (both sides).  Click slick water Lk. MI
               This was the 1st time I fished Lk. MI into November since the mid 1980s.  The good news fall has been on the warm side.  This should help the Lk. MI bank warm water so we don't get a solid freeze-over like 2013 and 2014.  In turn, helping the bait fish population.  Did see plenty of water fleas collect on the rigger and diver rods.
               Late season fishing has been made possible by my boat's new enclosed cooling system that was installed earlier this year.  So, this is a major plus that extends my season!
         It's the time of the year we adjust our clocks and fall back a hour tonight.

11/4/16  What makes a good fishing trip even better? ...it's the company aboard that enhances the whole experience.  I'm lucky, because I have two long term fishin' buds to share my passion with.  I've fished with Todd B. for the last 11 years and 16 years with John J.  They both own boats & know exactly what to do! Click Todd B. & John J.
              My bond with John J goes back to when I ran charters and he was my deckhand/1st mate in the early i2ks.  John J. is a very savvy heads-up fisherman.
              Todd B. aka "Todd the Rod" earned this nickname, because he does not lose many fish.  I can just about count on one hand how many fish he's dropped over last 11 years.
               OK, now for the fishing report: this past Wednesday's Lk. MI fishing trip out of Manistee, MI started out OK with bite every 1/2 hour.  We started 3 miles S of port in 125' of water in the 12s and began marking big bait piles in 3' swells.  Surface temp was 55°.
               Todd took 9-10 lb. Coho right of the bat on a 4.0 Gold HRP Salmon Buster™ on a Slide Diver up high.  Missed a few hits before John J tied into a decent Steelhead off a planer board rod with a HRP Laser 4.0 SB in tow. Click SB 4.0 HRP Laser Steelhead

11/3/16  Best news I can possibly give you from the Port of Manistee, MI? ...marked more Lk. MI bait yesterday then I seen all season long!! Click 11/2/16 Lk. MI bait
              Mound after mound of bait happened from the 11s to the 9s (Guerney Creek area) in 100-125' of water.  Then, about every 1/2 mile thereafter all the way to Big Point Sable.
             Fish report tomorrow.  Breaking the bait story took precedence today!!

11/2/16  Updated final 2016 totals for the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir:

Chinook harvested: 1,379 (twice as many Kings compared 2015)
Coho passed: 528
Steelhead passed: 310
Brown Trout passed: 44

Thanks to the MDNR's Mark Tonello, Fisheries Management Biologist in the Cadillac, MI for emailing me the correct counts.  Info I posted was 2 weeks old and not current.
            My math totals yesterday were way off.  These numbers are fixed now.
       Tomorrow the focus will be on the number Manistee Kings caught out in LK. MI.

11/1/16  Please closely examine the Pine Creek dead spawned out Kings photo. You can easily see 4 to 5 Kings that have completed their circle of life. 
              This is in a distance of a few yards.  Straight line Pine Creek runs 6 miles from it's head waters to the Big Manistee River.  Click Pine Creek dead fish
              Being very conservative ...let's say there's 1.5 spawned out King per 100' of creek.  6 miles is 31680' not counting switchbacks and "S" turns as this stream meanders thru the forest.  Math says 474 Kings.  Let's add to that figure and make 1k for "S" turns.
              Don't think for an instant only 889 Kings returned the Port of Manistee.  That number is for the Little Manistee River only that does not count the Big Manistee River.
              There's 2 more major tributaries the enter the Big Manistee River.  Claybank Creek and Bear Creek both have decent runs Kings that return every fall.  In fact, Bear Creek was one of the original stocking sites for Great Lakes Salmon in 1966.
              As a low estimation and I mean low: Manistee comes in way over 5k for a 2016 total.  Probably closer to 10k, but let's stay away from speculation for now.
              Going back to the 10k 2016 number, reason fishing is considered off? ...is not too many years ago 30k Kings returning to this port was probably a given.

10/31/16  King Salmon news from WI's Strawberry Creek capture weir is better than the info I have from MI's Little Manistee River Harvest Weir.  Please let me stress, these are not the final numbers from the Little Manistee facility: WI 2,895 vs. MI's 889.
Strawberry Creek Weir Report for October 20, 2016: ..."Hatchery goals to spawn 100 female Chinooks and to collect roughly 500,000 eggs for the day were met, and these eggs were collected for MI DNR."  Click for full WI report
                WI supplying MI with Chinook/King Salmon eggs is a good sign for state to state cooperation.  MI having to go to another state for eggs is not!

10/30/16  Updated the Pine Creek page/article for last 10 years with a short road trip yesterday.  This was probably the latest trip to this Salmon spawning tributary of the Big Manistee River.  Seen several dead Salmon with a few Kings still working the gravel.
                Do know this is the least amount of live fish I've seen going back to 2007 which can be attributed by the late date of this visit.  Click Pine Creek 10 year article
                My annual pilgrimage to the birthing stream bed of future generations of MI's hardest fighting gamefish, King Salmon is always a rewarding event for yours truly!

  Today's featured photo is from Ludington, MI's Capt Kirk.  He is an early and late season stalwart when it come to producing fish in marginal conditions.
                 Kirk's Steelhead were caught from 15' to 50' down over 125' water.  This echo's my success last Tuesday for depths.  Having Steelhead scattered up and down a 50' water column makes for a challenging outing.  Click Capt. Kirk's Steelhead
                His photo shows a Salmon Buster™ spoon in the Gold with orange crushed tape.  This has been an excellent producer for my boat in 2016 too.

10/28/16  Need to tie up a few loose ends from this past Tuesday's Lk. MI fishing trip out of Manistee, MI.  Point that sticks out most? ...is there was no clear pattern.  Being slider hit, rigger hit, 10 lead core whack, a surface strike and a 5 color hookup.
                Most of the time was spent trying to locate fish.  Then, dial in on the 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons, cuz the Steelhead didn't want the larger 4.65 size.  Only thing close to a pattern was chrome/silver spoons out-fished the gold.
                Been waiting all year to use the new 2016 fluorescent orange base colored spoons.  Knew this color would work, but needed absolute proof and that only happens when a fish yanks on it!  Click Salmon Buster™ spoons used on 10/25/16
                Going to fish Lk. MI a time, or 2 before storing my boat for the winter.  There's fish there.  Just not in huge numbers.  Silver lining is the size with an average Steelhead in the 7-8 lb. range, catching 11-12 pounders is above the curve. Click 12 pounder
               Camera battery died and had to use the photo feature in an action cam.  The pic of the 12.35 pounder is barely passable at best.  But you can see the hog size of the fish.

10/27/16  Last Tuesday's fishing trip out of Manistee, MI begins with a long ride in uncomfortable 2'-4' rollers in a miserable E wind cross chop.  Intension was to head S.  Big N seas said otherwise.  Setup in 200' of water & angled westerly in search mode out to 400'.
                S troll took a good 2 hours to reach the 10s and that was out first action.  Took Steelhead over 12 lbs. This fish hit a free slider with a 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon in the Firedot 2 pattern.  Troll speed was 2.7 to 3.0 mph.  Click for this fish & spoon
               Hit number 2 came within minutes when 5 colors of lead off a planer board accounted for a 11 lb. hen Steelie.  She whacked a 2016 Silver Crushed Orange 4.0 SB. 
               Then, it was Deadsville for next hour until we hit the 8 numbers S of Guerney Creek in 125' of water.  Doubled with 10 colors of lead SB 4.0 XG Yellowtail spoon.  Part II of the double hit surface spoon with a with a 1/2 oz. bead chain keel weight towing a 4.0 SB Sliver Orange Crush.  Missed a drive-by rigger bite at 35' down on the new 2016 SB 4.0 CFO-silver (crushed fluorescent orange) spoon. Click for exact lures used on 10/25/16
               Be sure watch PBS TV at 10pm tonight for another episode of the Great Lakes documentary that explains in impressive detail invasive species impact on several fronts.

10/26/16  For now, let it suffice to say the Steelhead were in small pockets and not present in big numbers.  When Todd B and I finally got over fish? ...we took 12.35 and an 11 pounder fish in a half hour, rode an hour looking for another bite. 
              Then, took a double and missed a 50' down rigger fish in another span of 30 minutes.  3 of bites were 15' to 20' down.  Not on the surface as you'd expect. 
              Water temp surface ranged from 53 to 58 degrees.  30' down is was in the low 50s, at 50' down water broke to 42 degrees and stayed that way to a 100'.  Best depth to be over was a 100' to 125'.  Explored out to almost 400' and that was a massive mistake of 2-3 hours.  S down by Guerney Creek in the 10s and 8s were best.
        Full update about yesterday's trip out of Manistee, MI will happen tomorrow.

10/25/16  Going to try to fish Lk. MI out of the Port of Manistee today.  Reports from the WI side say they have bait.  Need to find out what's on our side.  Last year at this time there was plenty of bait down towards Big Point Sable.  Hope it's there today!

10/24/16  If and when Lk. MI cooperates another fishing trip could happen this week. 
Yet to hear anything good from Lk. MI out of Manistee.  Big Manistee River has been producing some fish on the right days.  Lower end was said to be decent.
                Brown Trout return at the Little Manistee River Weir confirms what a lousy April Lk. MI season we had this year out of Manistee, MI.  Pitiful best describes my 3 April trips on Lk. MI didn't yield a single strike, let alone a fish.  Hope improves in 2017!
                Fall Steelhead returns at the LMR weir have fell off a cliff, or the conditions that pull these fish into the river systems has not materialized ...due to a very warm fall. 
Have not had a frost, or a hard freeze at my place in Manistee this October so far.

10/23/16  Info from the Little Manistee River Weir shows the largest King at 22.5 lbs.  While this might sound small, I'll willing to bet this 22 and change King was in the 40 inch class.  King Salmon lose a lot weight as they mature into full blown spawners.
                In the later 1980s, took a King from the Big Manistee River that was 46 inches long and this fish struggled to make 22 pounds.  If this same 46" King was caught in Lk. MI
it would have been in the 34-35 pound bracket, maybe more. Click LMRW info

10/22/16  Little Manistee harvest Weir King/Chinook Salmon count is 889 fish thus far for this season.  This is a 20% plus increase over 2015's dismal return on 672.  And this might not be the final tally for current 2016 operations at the Little River Weir.
                Alarming count is the low 68 fall Steelhead that have been passed upstream.  This could be attributed to the warm fall we've had and warm Lk. MI water temperatures.
                While 889 Kings is nothing to rejoice about, any improvement is good news.
                Today's whiteboard photo was provided by Kim. A and our thanks goes out for his willingness to share this very important info.  Click LMRW white board tally

10/21/16  I'm suffering from bad case of election burnout.  Plain tired of the many, many robo calls that plague us all.  Solicitation phone calls of any kind I'm against.  What gives these people the right to interrupt our lives with BS scams that want money?
                 If you're over 60 (like me) you can have a no questions asked absentee ballot mailed to you.  I chose this option and voted a split ticket last week.
                 I'm just not into this day and age of extreme polarized politics.  Always remember the motto: united stand, divided we fall! 
                This slogan dates back to 1768 patriotic ballad, The Liberty Song, by John Dickinson.  It has been used in the Civil War, WWII and most recently, the 9/11 crisis.

10/20/16  Met Lil' Sammy Salmon yesterday around 10am.  He was a young beautiful 8" toddler full of spunk that latched onto a 4.0 Gold HRP Salmon Buster™ spoon.  Lil' Sammy  was unhooked him very carefully, then returned Lk. MI.  I told him, "I'll see you again in 3, or 4 years when you're an over 20 lb. big bruiser called, Big Sam!" Click Lil" Sammy Salmon
                The factual part of yesterday's Manistee trip starts with a building W 2' to 3' chop with whitewater.  Making the best option to fish the harbor.  Water temp in the channel and Lk. MI was both 60 degrees.  Did not mark any bait and fish marks were very skimpy.  Did see one medium sized Steelhead caught off the N pier.
                 By noon the seas had built to a steady diet of 2 to 4 footers with a 1' surge at the boat launch.  Hopefully, Lk. MI with offer up a few calm days before October is over.
                 Manistee is a unique port where the channel to Lk. MI runs parallel on the backside of main street with 2 draw bridges and plenty to see. Click Manistee channel

10/19/16  Postponed for a fishing trip today out of Manistee, MI.

10/18/16  Here's the why fishing tomorrow is a reel-possibility:

Overnight: SSW wind 25 to 30 kt. A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1am. Waves 7' building to 10'.

Tuesday: WNW wind 10 to 15 kt. Mostly cloudy, gradually becoming sunny. Waves 4' -6'.

Tuesday Night: WSW wind around 10 kt. Mostly clear. Waves 2'-3'.

Wednesday: Variable winds 5 kt or less. Mostly sunny. Waves around 2'.

10/17/16  Tackle production for the 2017 season begins this week for my shop.  Took the best part of a month off for the new boat floor/interior and outside projects.
                 After coming off the terrible 2015 season, last year it was difficult to stay on focus for new exciting tackle.  Not so this year, ...the fire has been stoked again with decent catches 2016 produced for me the few times I was able to get afloat.
                 Big Lk. MI S winds today and tomorrow.  This Wednesday morning looks like it might be OK in the morning.  Don't care too much about what's caught.  This trip is to see what the sonar marks for bait.  S wind pushes the bait deeper where it will mark better.       

10/16/16  All dressed up and no place to go is the reel-story about my efforts to fish Lk. MI this past week.  Wind, or rain, then a combination of both kept me dockside.
                October fishing says volumes about what to expect in 2017.  If 2017 is going to be a good year for Lk. MI Kings?  October answers that question.
               Last October there was a good amount of bait around the Point Point Sable area.  But no bait (alewives) showed up at the Port of Manistee, MI until later July.  Then, it was in isolated pockets scattered up and down the coast.

10/15/16  Backyard bucks is today's topic.  Living in a target rich environment, could kill lots of deer, if I wanted to? ...but I don't don't.  Whitetails are voracious critters will eat everything in sight that's not protected.  Click 10/14/16 backyard bucks
                In 2 days since I took the garden fence was removed, the deer have mowed the garden down to stubble.  Surprising thing? ...deer eat jalapeno peppers like candy.
                Warm as it's been (no killing frost as of yet), the rut has to be a ways off, or bucks would not be hanging out together.

10/14/16  It seems WI has broke with the MI policy of reducing the amount of Kings in Lk. MI recently by NOT cutting their WI King plants in 2017.
                Before MI anglers dream of King fishing the way it once was, we need bait to have predator species.  Fisheries leader of the MDNR, Dexter is fully committed to to Lk. Trout restoration.  But not so much to the King/Chinook fishery by dumping millions of LTs in Lk. MI the sport fishing fleet does NOT want as their primary target species.
               While there's nothing wrong with Lakers.  The bad part is the nowadays condition of the bottom in Lk. MI that's covered with mussels & green algae slime.  This was not the case 20 some years ago  The out of control infestation of mussels has to be the reason. This gunk fouls lures and is horrendous to deal with. 
               Naturally reproducing Lake Trout are said to be contributing to the biomass of Lk. MI.  Planting more LTs only causes further stress on the already diminished Alewife population.  It's a dim-witted pipe dream to ever think Lakers will ever replace Salmon to maintain a viable reel-sports fishery in Lk. MI.  This just ain't never gonna happen!

10/13/16  Posted the entire WI DNR email Steve S. sent in from Green Bay, WI:

"DNR strikes a balance in its decision to maintain chinook salmon stocking levels

MADISON - Following a series of public meetings and review of comments submitted by stakeholders, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will preserve Lake Michigan chinook salmon stocking at current levels while maintaining a diverse and robust fishery. This will be accomplished by reducing stocking levels of other species.

DNR Sec. Cathy Stepp said the decision highlights the importance of Lake Michigan's world class fishery to communities throughout the region and Wisconsin's economy as a whole. Each year, Wisconsin's Great Lakes anglers including those on Lake Michigan contribute $114.3 million to the economy through direct retail expenditures while generating more than $12.5 million in state and local taxes.

"We listened closely to our stakeholders and applied the best science available to develop a balanced stocking approach that will maintain exceptional Lake Michigan fishing," Stepp said. "Sustainable angling opportunities work hand in hand with tourism and long-term economic development. We believe this decision represents another step forward to ensure accountability in our decision making and support for great local jobs."

Todd Kalish, DNR fisheries bureau deputy director, said the department put extensive effort into using input from stakeholders to develop an innovative and balanced plan that maintains the recreational, economic and biological benefits of the chinook fishery. The overall plan also includes stakeholder supported collaborative efforts such as increased use of net pens to boost survival; enhanced marketing of the Lake Michigan fishery; and more involvement of stakeholders in data collection.

"We appreciate the public's engagement in the process and for 2017, we intend to again stock some 812,000 chinook in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan," Kalish said. "In the years ahead, we look forward to putting a variety of groundbreaking initiatives in place that build on the input we received."

In addition to maintaining current stocking levels of chinook, for 2017 the department will increase hatchery space for steelhead production but reduce stocking of other species such as lake trout and brown trout.

For 2017, Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters will see the stocking of: 812,270 chinook (same as 2016); 452,867 coho (same as 2016); 300,000 lake trout (712,377 actual in 2016); 340,000 steelhead trout (269,512 in 2016); and 362,000 brown trout (727,014 in 2016). Stakeholders who track the numbers closely should be advised that the actual yield from hatchery production may vary from year to year by approximately 10 percent.

The department's decision fits within the parameters agreed on by the Lake Michigan Committee, a group composed of fisheries managers from states and tribes bordering the lake, said Brad Eggold, DNR Great Lakes fisheries supervisor. Wisconsin's brown trout stocking cuts will be made in areas where stocked fish are not contributing to good fishing while increased steelhead stocking should enhance diverse Lake Michigan and river fishing experiences.

In addition to preserving chinook stocking at near current levels, numerous stakeholders expressed a strong desire to reduce lake trout stocking. As reflected in Wisconsin's final stocking plans, Lake Michigan Committee members have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to eliminate stocking of yearling lake trout at secondary priority sites in southern Lake Michigan and reduce stocking on Wisconsin's portion of the mid-lake reef to 300,000 for 2017. The result is that about 412,000 fewer lake trout will be stocked in Wisconsin waters starting in 2017.

Meanwhile, a Lake Michigan Technical Committee working group has been tasked to review lake wide lake trout stocking as it relates to individual jurisdictional and multi-jurisdictional management goals."

10/12/16  Breaking news:  WI will not follow MI's lead by reducing their King Salmon stocking in 2017.  WI DNR will stock/plant the same number of Kings in 2017 as they did in 2016.  While MI slashes their King Salmon stocking plans by major cuts in 2017.  Going back to 1999 this is the 4th time MI has cut their King Salmon program.

For 2017, Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters will see the stocking of: 812,270 chinook (same as 2016); 452,867 coho (same as 2016); 300,000 lake trout (712,377 actual in 2016); 340,000 steelhead trout (269,512 in 2016); and 362,000 brown trout (727,014 in 2016). Stakeholders who track the numbers closely should be advised that the actual yield from hatchery production may vary from year to year by approximately 10 percent."

To me? ...this looks like a major break in policy from the states that border Lk. MI that were onboard as a coalition the last couple of years. Please note WI's increase in Steelhead plants for 2017.  Today's important news supersedes planned topic about luck that will be discussed in the future.  Click 10/9/16 fat healthy WI juvi Kings

10/11/16  Pride of boat ownership comes with the big financial outlay Great Lakes fishing boats cost and maintenance.  Having a topnotch fishing rig is a blessing at this stage of my life.  Being able to take an old beat-up 1979 22' boat I purchased in 2006 and turn it into was it is now is a work in progress.  Click new floor done
                Total cash in my rig doesn't amount to the interest I'd have to pay, if this 1979 Sea Rig could purchased new today ...for a boat of the same quality.  But, that's conundrum, because manufacturers will not build a boat like this nowadays due to cost.
                New floor is a winner.  Making all the work that went into it worthwhile.  This was a job from hell that will pay dividends in the future with simple damp mop clean-ups.
              Tomorrow what is luck? ...how does it affect your fishing outcome?

10/10/16  WI and MI Salmon returns at harvest weirs are exact opposites.  WI's Strawberry Creek had 6k in 2015.  Little Manistee Harvest Weir had 672, or 10% of what history proved in WI in last year. Click for WI weir data
                To compare WI vs. MI on returning Kings to capture facilities here's a link to the Little Manistee Harvest Weir: Click for MI's Little River data

10/9/16  There's one important reel-fact that needs to be brought up.  There were no juvenile Kings caught at this time last season out of Manistee.  This year some have been reported and even made it into the MDNR weekly fishing report for Manistee.
              Next time the weather is one my side, I will be on Lk. MI to see what the fishing and bait situation is.  End of this week looks like there might a window to go.

10/8/16  2.4 million Lake Trout versus a vastly curtailed plant of Kings is the agenda chosen by the powers to be for Lk. MI in 2017.  Not sure where the fault is, but something is way out of kilter with the mindset for a viable Lk. MI fishery.
               MI's 40 some years of an outstanding Lk. MI Chinook/King Salmon is a long ways from what it once was.  2016 was a good year of Lakers in my home port of Manistee, MI. 
              Yet, the 1st Street public launch was a ghost town most of the season until August.  Point I'm trying to make? ...it's a tough sell to change the fleet's attitude towards Lake Trout as the preferred target species.
              When I was in the UP out of the Port of Manistique in on 7/19/16 there were far more boats then out of Manistee during the same time span.  Only difference was Manistique had Kings & bait while Manistee was limping along with Lake Trout & no bait.

10/7/16  By the end of today, my boat will be ready to fish again.  New floor bedliner project took about 50 man hours.  Fixed a leaky power trim pump and took care of a few minor cosmetic issues.  New floor/interior is a luxury that can be pressure washed.
               According to the MDNR weekly fish report for Manistee, MI there a smaller Kings and a few Steelhead being caught on the other side of 200' depths.  I expect this is mostly down rigger, core and diver fishing and not off the surface.
              Surface Steelhead in October is my favorite and hope the right conditions happen soon.  Need surface temps in the 50s, not in the mid 60s like it is now.

10/6/16  Out of the 19 Kings I turned for the Salmon Ambassador Program, only 4 were planted fish with adipose fin intact.  2 of those were juveniles caught on the N end of Lk. MI out of the Port of Manistique in MI's UP.  There was scads of bait in this port.
              Should be buttoning up the rest of the interior with the new bedliner floor installed today.  This project has been delayed waiting for the coating to cure.
              Now, I'll be able to use a pressure washer washer to clean off dirt and fish slime.  This probably never would have happened if we didn't luck into big catch on 8/10/16.
              Doubles and triple coming aboard got the boat nasty in hurry.  Then, in a few days the summer heat took over cooking the stinky fish smell into the rug.

10/5/16  Questionnaire I had to fill out for the Salmon Ambassador Program run by Dan O'Keefe asked for my opinions.  Tough call when there's 5-6 levels on how to answer.  Used the neutral answer probably more times that I should have.
               Do know since becoming a member of this program, I'm far more aware of planted versus naturally reproduced fish.  Naturals are a big part of the Lk. MI King fishery.  Yet there's no safe guards in place to protect Kings during the spawning season.
              Alaska on the other hand has several different zones and rivers boundaries closed to fishing altogether.  While our DNRs do nothing to protect spawning Salmon!

10/4/16  Posted a close up pic of what the texture looks like on my new boat floor.  To me it looks like a pro-job I can be proud of. Click new boat floor texture
               In filling out my Salmon Ambassador catch data reports it became painfully clear how little get out to fish.  Only went 6 times after the 4th of July.  On 7/19, 7/28, and 8/11 boated 19 Kings to 28 pounds.  Other species were in the mix.  Total fish count was 25 when the Lakers and Steelhead are added up.  8.3 fish per trip is about 2 fish an hour.

10/3/16  4th quarter of 2016 means bookkeeping chores for today closing out the 3rd quarter.  Know this season went by in a blink for me.
              2016 provided us with a glimmer of hope after the lousy 2015 Salmon season.  While this year won't set any records, had my heaviest box of Kings in a very long time!
              Best thing I learned in 2016? ...just how deadly the 4.65 Salmon Buster spoons were at 2.5 to 3 mph with the 100' rule.  100' rule means 30' down, 70' back, or 50' down, 50' back, etc.  4.65s were reel-producers on Slide Divers with long leads too.
              Began reassembling my boat yesterday.  Texture on new floor seems to provide plenty of grip.  Sprayed on bedliner is a winner.  Now, to see how it holds up over time.

10/2/16  By the end of this week my boat will be ready to chase fall Steelhead on Lk. MI.  Checked the surface temp off my home port of Manistee, MI & what I saw was the surface temp of the main body of Lk. MI was in the 66 degree range.  Too warm to get me excited about this awesome October Steelhead fishery.  So, I'm in the wait & see mode for now.
              Do know this is when my high action Salmon Buster™ spoons kick into high gear.  Looking forward to using the new custom fluorescent orange base color that debuted last winter.  Red and orange for reasons beyond explanation are very attractive to Steelhead.

10/1/16  Reasons I own and fish out of a boat pushing 40 years old is many.  Sea Ray boats from this era were top of the line.  Maybe the best built from this time frame (1970s).
              Layout of my 22' boat is excellent for 2 to 3 persons with comfortable dinette seating.  A hardtop with a full enclosure means a warm boat even on the coldest days.
              Cost to operate is chicken feed compared to my charter boat with twin GM 350 V8s.  Older Sea Rays are purchased for pennies on the dollar over new boats.  No boat payment means you can make reel-upgrades ...not in debt laden with interest.
              Then, there's the several ports I've been able to trailer to.  Top of the list was Wilson, NY on Lk. Ontario.  Made it to the MI ports of: Pentwater, Ludington, Frankfort, Leland, New Buffalo, Manistique, Traverse City, Crystal Lk. and Holland.  A trailer boat offers up tremendous opportunities.  All you have to do is take advantage of them!

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2016 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

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

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