October, November & December 2017

16.95 lb. Coho Salmon

Manistee, MI 9/26/17

East Chicago, IN
Perch on a meat rig!

New 2018 Pattern
Skinny Minnie

Lk. Huron Kayak Laker
12/2/17 Oscoda, MI


Archived Daily Updates from Capt. John's Log

12/31/17  Good bye 2017 and hello to the soon to begin 2018 big lake season!

12/30/17  Today is a good time to look back at my early 2017 season that got off to a great start.  April was decent for Kings out of Manistee & Ludington, MI.  Believe it, or not?
                Todd B and I caught our biggest King of 2017 on 4/25/17.  A fine specimen close to 35" long & pushing 18 pounds on 4/25/17.  This unexpected jumbo spring King whacked the Gold Orange Crush 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon out my home Port of Manistee, MI.
                All of my best producing spoons from 2017 are being offered in a special package deals with 18% off to herald in 2018. Click for selections and pricing

12/29/17  Happy New Year to all!  Have a great and safe holiday weekend too!

12/28/17  Stinging cold Nanook of the North weather continues for MI.  According to recent memory this is going to be our longest cold spell in better then 2 years.  Single digit below average temperatures will continue for at least another week.
                 This is exactly what we do not need if the Lk. MI freezes over.  All the gains in the Alewife population in the last 2 years could be under stress.

12/27/17  Brrrrr ....single digits and about 8" snow is what I have to deal with this morning.  Have to have my driveway clear for UPS to deliver.
                Spent most of yesterday working on Windows 7 updates.  In early December Microsoft put out an update that froze this feature on 3 of my Win 7 boxes.
                Windows 10 is an abhorrent OS I despise with MS taking controls away from users.  Case in point, a recent Win 10 update loaded me with shoppers links. 

12/26/17  Limbo week is here and things won't get back to normal business until a week from today.  Time has taught patience is the best way to handle this.  Enjoy this short delay ...even though I'm in a big hurry to have my 2018 production run meat heads in-house.  This will happen, probably by the middle of January the way it looks.

12/24/17  Merry Merry Christmas!

12/23/17  Winter arrived 2 days ago on the 21st.  This is good, because from now on the days will finally grow longer with each passing day. 
                 20 years in the charter business have me hard wired to wake around 4am.  That's fine until we gain a hour, during the fall-back time switch. 
                 What was 4am Daylight Saving Time is now 3am Eastern Standard Time when I awake.  This throws my whole day off kilter as my internal clock stays stuck on DST.
                Good thing about early rising? ...there's plenty of time to process tackle orders. Making sure your order goes out the door as fast as possible no matter what the workload.

12/22/17  Sent in my order for 2018 Magnum Meat Heads yesterday.  Today we take care of bullet heads and get those on order too.
                 Finally terminated my contract with my former credit card carrier, First Data that is somehow associated with Wells Fargo.  This has been an administrative nightmare to the max.  These blood sucking crooks were over charging me across the board.

12/21/17  At work setting up unit 2 to machine meat heads.  There's just too much precision machine work for one person to keep up with.  Heads must be drilled, then hand trimmed to have a piece of tackle we can be proud of.
                As of today, my injection molding company has all the colorants, including glow to get busy making heads for the 2018 season.  This has been a long process started last September that is finally ready for a production run.  I will be ordering up twice as many mag heads to meet this season's demands.  Pre-orders are looking good.

12/20/17  Wanted this week to be a report on how my season went.  But my week,
thus far, ...has been way too fragmented with a pile of other stuff going on.
                Upgraded my email system at my web-based tackle store.  Along with increasing credit card services to include: Visa, MC, Discover, Amex and PayPal too.  Earned a coveted website security seal that my standards comply, or exceeded what's called for.
                Another upgrade was going from a 10 gig to a 20 gig satellite internet hookup.  All this changes take massive amounts time and that's something usually in short supply.
                Laying the foundation for the 2018 season requires preparation now.  Knew when I went in the tackle business in 2004 the sure road to failure was loaded with potholes of poor management.  So, I continue take major steps to make sure this does not happen!

12/19/17  Swamped today finalizing plans for the 2018 season.  Please browse the Tips and Tricks section if you're need a daily fishing fix.  Plus, there's plenty of content on my YouTube page.  Follow up tomorrow on how I've been able to improve services.

12/18/17  The highlight of my 2017 season? ...set 2 boat records for my 22' Sea Ray purchased about 10 years ago.  Took a Brown out of the Port of Ludington, MI last April that was close to 10 pounds and a 16.95 Coho in September.
                 Traveled to Alabama in mid March to gain some insights on landlocked southern impoundment Striped Bass.  Rating how these fish fight is very similar to Lake Trout in the same size range? ...16-18 Lakers pull hard and so do Stripers.  Biggest different is you're hooking up a lot closer to the boat with double digit Stripers.  Click for Todd's Striper
                2017 started off decent with spring Kings available in Manistee and Ludington.  Know this for sure, because we caught some out of both ports in April & May in 2017.  This was gift from the fish gods, having Kings show up so early at these central Lk. MI ports.

12/17/17  Have a great Sunday.  Getting my thoughts in order on how to share with you my results of last season.  This topic will be the theme of this week's chat.
                2018 tackle specials are close to half way from being sold out.  Much appreciated to all that have seen the value and ordered these deals.

12/16/17  This is the time of the year to correct past ills and upgrade business services for my home office.  New satellite internet connection will double my data usage to 20 gigs for about the same cost to what Dish charged me.
                Changing my credit card vender is a must.  Was getting steamrolled into a $199 charge for their claimed upgrades I had no control over.  Will share this criminal
institution's name that has been in the news for ripping off their customers once I close my account this coming Monday.  This mega bank has had to pay hefty fines and now I see why.  Besides, it's been a nightmare to get anything close to tech support from  this "too big to fail" outfit.

12/15/17  My satellite internet connection is going to be pretty sketchy until this coming Tuesday.  Changing from Dish to Hughes Net Gen 5.  Dish charges 60 bucks for 10 gigs.  10 gigs can be burned up amazing fast once I begin working on, or view video files.
                The internet has revolutionized the way business is conducted and is absolutely necessary in this day and and age.  Cannot imagine doing business without it!

12/14/17  Pushing snow this morning with my plow truck.  There's around a foot of lake effect snow that has to be moved.  First time in the 2017-2018 winter season had to plow.  8° last night will keep the snow fluffy and light.  Mr. Winter has arrived a few days early!

12/13/17  Lost electrical power yesterday morning around 9am for about 20 minutes.  New backup generator came on in 30 seconds.  Then, when the power was restored, the transfer switch shut itself off flawlessly.  So, the 1st time everything worked as it should.
                 Began editing last year's 8/10/16 part 2 video.  There's three 30 minute segments that must be condensed into a 15 minute movie.  That's a total of 10 gigs of data to sort thru.  There's no easy way and requires a lot of uninterrupted time to have a decent end product I can be proud of.  Hope to have this new movie on YouTube next week.

12/12/17  Hard winter has barreled into Manistee, MI, after a long run of above average temperatures this fall.  High temps in the teens today with lake effect snow that can produce several inches when the winds blow across the Lk. MI and Lk. Superior.
                Progress at this time of the year is measured in bits and pieces.  Delays from the holidays happens to all in the manufacturing business.  
                Losing business days for shipping is the biggest holdup.  Have several colorants on order scheduled to arrive before Christmas.  We are in a hurry to restock our meat heads for 2018.  The way it looks, all colors of our meat heads will be available in January.
                Putting some thought into how to sum up my 2017 season that will be shared in the future.  Seen the good, the bad and the ugly going back to March of this year.

12/11/17  Keep forgetting to stress an important point about the 2018 Skinny Minnie aka Alewife SUV combos.  Being: it's a middle of the day producer working long after the early EZ bite is over.  This can be proven by the time-stamped photos. Click for this proof

12/10/17  Updated the trolling flies page at our webstore for 2018.  Design changes does take some creative talent to display tackle in the best possible way.  On the web, I make sure to include several views & not overstate photos. Showing only the reel-thing when customers open their packages. Click 2018 Trolling Fly Page

12/9/17  Restocking my trolling flies is the task at hand.  Sold out of many selections this season that must be replaced.  For me? ...attractor-fly combinations work best when the adult Salmon are hard keyed on a 54 to 58 degree thermocline.
              Colder water in the 50s and below a dedicated meat program is hard to beat.  Everything depends on what the conditions are that fish have found a liking to.

12/8/17  Finishing up a good week with progress on all fronts.  Now is the time inventory must be built for the soon ...to be here 2018 season.
               Yesterday's video is very interesting.  Will be researching the fascinating data collected on Lk. Ontario's King Salmon.  Have a great weekend!

12/7/17  Video update for you today from Lk. Ontario on how they track Kings.
                                      Click here for this fascinating video

12/6/17  Late season fishing report fort you today.  Kayak big water troller, Chuck B. had a short trip in Oscoda, MI on Lk. Huron.  Here's what he had to say:

"Sunday noon I hit a decent Lake Huron laker just outside the Oscoda pier heads in 18 fow while pulling a single 4.0” Gold Orange Crush Salmon Buster spoon 12 feet behind a clear S Diver with your cupped Black ring firmly attached, in the weird mid-day thick fog.
               I was the only boat out there and saw only one other boat trailer in the public dock parking lot (and that boat must have gone upriver). Only fished for one hour.
               Winds were practically non-existent and air temps were quite enjoyable for this time of year, surface water temp was 39 F." Click for Chuck's December LT

12/5/17  Yesterday was probably the last time Manistee, MI has temps in the high 50s.  This fall going back to late September has been nothing to complain about.
               Disconnected the batteries in my boat for winter lay-up.  Since I went to using battery maintainers, life of my batteries has drastically increased.  Used to pull the batteries, put them in the shop & charge them a 2-3 times over the course of winter.  Now, I just leave the batteries disconnected with a $17 trickle charger keeping them charged. With the price of batteries, 17 bucks is cheap, when you can get extra years of service.

12/4/17  Today's featured photo is a glow test we are currently working on.  This material that looks like gooey toothpaste was extruded from an injection molding machine to get an idea of the extended glow properties.  Do know, this prototype material glows all night, or at least 5-6 hours.  So, we're on the right track.  Click glow in the dark test
               Once this extended glow formula is perfected? ...new meat heads for the 2018 is about 3 weeks away.  Been working on this since last summer to find a supplier that would make a custom blended colorant to meet my specifications.

12/3/17  Wrapping up the story of the whys and wherefores of my home generator today.  Power outages shut my tackle sales down completely.  In rare emergencies even ran 110 extension cords to run my satellite internet, router & computer to ship orders.  Next is the food and bait we keep in 2 freezers.  This stuff has to stay frozen! Click home generator
              Last power outage we had about 2 months ago was the straw that broke the camels back.  Power was out about 15 hours.  This was not from high wind either.  Our aging electric infrastructure where monopolized power companies do not reinvest profits back into the power grid only lends to more and longer future power outages.

12/2/17  Have you ever considered a dedicated home electrical backup generator? 
There's several moving entities that have to all come together. 
              1st is the power company to shut the juice down while a licensed electrician installs the auto transfer switch.  (2) Then, the power company has to turn the main juice back on after said switch is installed.  This switch is activated when a power outage happens. This switch/power transfer box auto-starts the backup generator. 
              (3) Pulling a costly electrical permit.  So, an inspector can make sure everything is up to code.  This includes pounding three 7' grounding rods into the soil.
              4th is the gas company.  In my case, the propane outfit out of Wellston, MI.  They ran a service line that feeds the generator.  (5) Pressure test all service pipes into the house to make sure there's no leaks & the furnace/stove comes back on.
              Ordered my generator on 10/25/17.  Was delivered 2 days later.  My home power system became workable on 12/1/17 and is on duty.  So, this was no overnight quick fix.
              Purchased a 22kw model that runs my house/pole barn with zero strain on the V-twin Generac air cooled motor that is made in the USA!  Total cost was around 6k for this system, materials, electrician, propane hookup, permit and comes with a 5 year warranty.

12/1/17  Going off the reservation today with a subject remotely tied to my tackle manufacturing business.  It's something we all need and have, most of the time until weather takes down the power grid.  Click home generator
             Living in the boonies has it's drawbacks.  We lose electrical power 4 to 6 times a year.  Most of the power used at my place is tied to Tippy Dam power generating facility that dates to the 1930s.  Power is unreliable for all who live along a 12 mile stretch of electrical lines that run thru the Manistee National Forest.  This situation is being made worse by the oak wilt disease, causing a lot of trees/branches to disrupt service.
             Tomorrow I'll explain the ins and outs of installing our new Generac home power station that was a lot more involved then I was prepared for.

11/29/17  In response to the 1, or 2 emails been receiving daily, our meat heads are on track for total restocking by January.  In fact, we're running color test shots this week.  There's no room for error when it comes to colorants due to the high cost. 
                 Issue is?  when special colorants are purchased, enough is bought to do several 100 pounds of tackle that might take years to use up.  Then, 10 years later we're faced with matching a custom color.  Our meat heads were 1st introduced in 2005.  Now, 13 years later we're hard at work making sure there's continuity in exact color matches.

11/28/17  2018 is a little over a month away.  To get a jump on our holiday season, already have my New Years resolution.  Work less, fish more.  I pretty sure a 100% of you can agree with the afore mentioned 4 words, or work less & fish more!
                Thanks to all who've purchased my Christmas season tackle deals that goes back to 2005.  Every one of them has sold out.  Only question is how fast this will happen?

11/27/17  New 2018 tackle deals are available now.  18% is off with free shipping makes this year's deals the most attractively priced ever.  Did my utmost best in explaining the 2018 deals at my webstore.  Posted several photos proving this tackle works.  Will not be shipping the new offers until later this week. Click for the new 2018 tackle specials.

11/26/17  More intensive web work today takes stage front and center.  Design phase must have everything clearly laid out.  Working with php, html and java, all computer scripting codes is a load.  Can only do about an hour at a time before I must take a break.
                What differentiates from all the other tackle manufactures? ...doing all the web work involved with a personal touch.  In the way, I like seeing ...fishing & tackle displayed.
                New 2018 tackle specials as soon as I have a finished product.  In a departure from the past where we offered only 1 special, this year there will be 4 that covers both meat and spoon programs and 2 price points. All with 18% off and includes free shipping.

11/25/17  Day 2 of doing a yearly overhaul of my webstore (michiganangler.com).  11 pages were in need of updating that ate up most of yesterday.  Having the web skills to do this myself saves a lot of money and time by not hiring this job out.
                Today will be spent on four soon to debut 2018 tackle deals.  Good thing about this web work is once it's done, it's done for the rest of 2018.

11/24/17  Nose to the grindstone for yours truly today.  It's a fairly large task to work with images and install the code for shopping cart technology at my webstore.
                Webstore has a code generator once the parameters are entered, but it's in a raw line code and needs to be formatted for editable regions for drop-down menus.
                Goal is to have 4 special tackle deals around 18% below list.  This fits with the 2018 season that will be here ...before you know it.  With the shocking rebound in big Kings this year, our Great Lakes fishing future looks very promising. 

11/23/17  Happy Turkey Day!  Working on new 2018 tackle specials that will be posted before this coming weekend.  Today is the world reveal on my new article, Phat Results that took place on 9/26/17.  Click Phat Results article

11/22/17  Have a great Thanksgiving.  New 2018 tackle pattern has debuted today.  A new companion article with several new photos that will be posted by tomorrow.

11/21/17  Soon to debut new article is loaded with about 20 photos.  Many not posted before.  Hope to have this new piece available by Thanksgiving Day.
                Oak wilt disease has added a pile of extra work for me this fall.  Had to take down about 15 trees.  Oak wilt hits the red oaks the hardest.  White oaks do survive longer, but are doomed in the long run.  Long term outlook? ...we'll lose all our oak trees in N MI.

11/20/17  2017 was the 10th year with my 1979 Sea Ray 22' trailer boat.  Made a lot of upgrades to a top notch fishing machine for pennies on the dollar compared to new.  Enclosed cooling was worth every cent not having to winterize.
                 Thanksgiving week is upon us.  Showing just how fast 2017 came and gone.  Hope to debut a new article before the end of this week.  It's 90% done waiting on proof reading and minor re-write clarifications.  Photos with a proven new 2018 secret color too!

11/17/17  There is no instant gratification in tackle manufacturing.  There's not one project (flashers, meat-heads, & spoons) I've completed that has not taken at least 6 months, or longer.  1000s of dollars are involved, so you have to triple check everything.
                 The colorants we use come from 3 different continents.  Some are known as, rare earths and are very expensive.  Communicating across the world is a slow day, by day process.  Where each question takes a day, maybe 2 for a reply.  There's where I am now, pushing slowly ahead, but making progress.  Click rare earth explanations

11/16/17  Cold wet and windy as we get closer to full blown winter.  Busy with get materials in-house for the 2018 season.  The close of my 2017 season has been anticlimactic.  Not ending as I hoped.  Still a slim chance I'll get one more whack at the fish before I hang it up.  Not having a last/ending trip is frustrating.

11/15/17  Firearms deer season is today.  This opener has lost some of it's glory to bow hunting.  Everyone I know, who owns a crossbow has already got their buck.  Crossbows are deadly accurate out to 40 yards, maybe more.  Click John J's 6pt

11/14/17  Good luck and have a safe hunt for tomorrow's opening day for firearms deer season in MI.  Successive mild winters have helped the deer herds around my place.
                 Was hoping to have all colors of meat heads back in stock by December 1st.  Delays in getting colorants have pushed this back till early next year.  Some of the colorant we use are special order and that takes time.

11/13/17  In about 11 months, I'll be celebrating my 50th anniversary of being a Great Lakes Salmon and Trout fisherman.  Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s seen 1000s of Coho on the surface ...porpoise all over E Platte Bay N of Frankfort, MI. 
               These were the days when the MDNR invested heavily in this new fishery.  Back then, they used to stock/plant the Platte River with a 1,000,000 or more Coho.
               Great Lakes Salmon fishing has provided me with a lifetime rich with memories of the glory days.  Good thing? ...you never know, if these days are going return again!

11/11/17  Veterans Day that carries a special meaning to those of us when family members served on the armed forced like my father did in WWII.  The courage to put your life on the line to serve our country should never be forgotten.  Have a great weekend!

11/10/17  Something happened when I wasn't paying attention.  It turned into hard winter with snow and temps in the high teens.  Click 1st snow of 2017-2018 winter

11/9/17  Meat won this year by 2 percentage points in the recent poll over spoons that tied last year.  Spoons won in 2014 and 2015.  Eye opener is how stable the rest of the methods have remained since I started this poll back in 2003. Click poll page
             Please keep in mind, in 2002 meat fishing on Lk. MI was not very popular.  It wasn't until 2003 when I proved what a fine tuned meat program is capable of.  Now, meat is a mainstay on Lk. MI and has reached prominence again on Lk. Ontario.

11/8/17  Currently, our poll shows only a slight shift again.  Will end this poll tomorrow and post the results.  This poll is a prime example of computers are good at.  That being keeping track of data over long, or short periods of time. 
               Besides, having the same poll running since 2003 shows the dedication and help the viewers of the website are willing to lend. Click poll page that goes back to 2003

11/7/17  Rating my 2017 season?  ...at this point in time, incomplete is the only word I can come up with.  Wanted to finish on a high note with Lk. MI Steelhead. 
              So far, that's not even close to happening.  Called the best early and late season fisherman I know, Capt. Kirk down in Ludington.  He said, fall Lk. MI fishing has been a non-issue and PM Lake was not producing either.
              Still have few weeks before the docks are pulled.  Let's hope I can turn my incomplete rating into a strong bookend from a decent start back in April of this year.

11/6/17  Today my long running poll about your best method to catch adult Kings is waiting for your vote.  This poll dates back to 2003 and has shown not major shifts in what the Great Lakes fleet prefers. Click poll page

11/4/17  Have a great weekend and don't forget to turn back the clocks tonight.

11/3/17  Did some detective work to trying to find out why there was twice as many Coho that ran in the Little Manistee River, then there was Kings?  After tracing the Coho Plants from 2014 for Manistee County, MI, found out the MDNR has been stocking the Big Manistee River with 100k Coho a year.  Onekama's Portage Lake receives a 30k to 50k plant yearly.
               No mention was made about the Little Manistee River getting any Coho plants whatsoever.  From here, it turns into speculation about where all the Coho came from.  Obvious 1st choice is natural reproduction that might be the dates when the MDNR opens and closes the weir allowing fish passage upstream.  Click MI statewide fish plants

11/2/17  Below are the fish returns to the Little Manistee Harvest Weir for the past 3 years.  Brightest spot for this season was the Coho return that had the best numbers since 1994.  If you like data and crunching numbers? Click 1968 thru 2017 numbers


Spring Steelhead Chinook Coho Fall Steelhead Fall Brown Trout
2015 2,857 654 259 51 65
2016 1,834 1,379 528 310 44
2017 2,827 1,768 3,606 478 44

11/1/17  Busy with production related issues.  Been holding off on ordering heads for the 2018 season to check out new base colors.  Unfortunately, the new colorants are not suited for Lexan™ plastic that has a high melting point for injection molding.
              Working on the idea of DIY tackle kits for those that like arts and crafts to make their own tackle.  With a long winter in front of us? ...spending a little time making tackle is a worthy pass time.  Especially, on tackle the world has yet to see.
              Know you'll see the merit on my efforts for the 2018 season when the new items to debut on, or around this Thanksgiving.

10/31/17  Happy Halloween is about scary stuff.  Things like the line breaking just as a plus 30 pound King is inches away from the net.  That's a terrifying moment!
                Which bring us to another point, emotion is a big part of fishing.  The highs and lows can offer a lifetime of challenges that never grow old.  Without defeat, there'd be no victory.  Remember that on both ends of the scale during the best and worst of times.

10/30/17  On January 13th, Sea Grant's 2018 Regional Workshop with take place at:

West Shore Community College
Administration and Conference Building
3000 North Stiles Road—Scottville, MI 49454

Hours are from 9am thru 3pm.  These long running workshops are a direct connection with those in the know on our Great lakes Salmon Fishery.  Registration plans are being worked out and are not open yet.  When registration is finalized, I will post the signup link.

10/28/17  Probably like many of you? ...I'm in a hurry to complete all outside projects before hard winter sets in.  Had our 1st frost/freeze at my place 2 days ago.
                My goal to fish fall Steelhead on Lk. MI is on hold until the end of the coming week for more favorable conditions.  Meaning light winds that are tolerable.
                Do know Lk. MI has cooled to 51 degrees on the surface.  This increases the chances of success when I can get (maybe?) my last Lk. MI trip of the year in.
                                         Have a great weekend!

10/27/17  Fished a secret location yesterday afternoon for what I consider the best table fish in MI, Perch.  Fished from about noon until 3pm and kept better than a dozen keeper sized Perch to 12 inches.  Click 1 Perch in-hand is worth 2 in the water
                According to my fishing bud and local expert Steve, he said they really weren't biting all that good.  I thought it was pretty decent to catch enough for a dinner with some of the finest table fare MI has to offer!

10/26/17  Going to a secret lake today and try to catch some Perch.  Hopefully, I'll have photos to share with you tomorrow.  Do know this hush-hush body of water has been producing some giant Perch over 14 inches recently.  Click for proof 

10/25/17  No chat today.  Was of out electricity from 5pm yesterday till about 8am this morning.  Have a meeting with Generac power installer this morning.  Our electrical grid is ancient that dates back to the mid 1930s when Tippy Dam was built.  Consumers Power will gladly take 2-3k from me a year, but do nothing in updating their aging infrastructure.

10/24/17  Boat records? ...that's where we keep track of the biggest fish caught aboard our boats.  My current 1979 22' Sea Ray's big fish are: Kings to 28 lbs, Coho 16.95 lbs, Steelhead is around 14 lbs, a Brown pushing 10 lbs, and a Lake Trout over 14 pounds. 
                These are only the biggest fish from my present day trailer boat.  Not when I chartered (1983-2003).  Boat records from my charter operator days are quite a bit larger.  Except for the Coho which is about the same.  In fact, going back to 1968, my largest Coho Salmon just cleared 17 pounder in 1999 and the recent 16.95 caught this year.
                The great thing about your big fish boat records is they require no special talent.  It takes as much effort to entice a 10 lb. King into biting as is does a over 30 pounder.  Big fish are a matter of the luck across all species.  No brag, just a reel-fact!

10/23/17  Spent part of yesterday rigging surface rods for October/November Lk. MI fishing.  Seen the first indications of Asian Beetles (they look like a ladybug) beginning to swarm outside my pole barn.  These are nasty bugs looking for any inside nook and cranny out of the weather.  So, they can avoid harsh outside winter conditions.
                Only good thing about these bugs is they become surface food for Steelhead when the wind blows them onto the surface of our Great Lakes. Click stomach contents

10/21/17  Enjoy the nice weather this weekend.  We've been on a roll thru September well in October with above average temperatures.  Still have not had a frost, or freeze at my place in Manistee County, MI.  Beginning this Tuesday more seasonal cooler temps move in.
                This is exactly what I'm waiting for.  That being: Lk. MI to chill down with surface temps in the 50° degree range.  My big lake season is not over yet!

10/20/17  My Lk. MI season is still on hold until we get surface temps in the 50s.  Next week it starts to turn cooler.  This should open up the Steelhead trolling a lot.
                Since I went to an enclosed cooling system, winterizing is a thing of the past.  Don't ask me how it does it? ...but the raw water drains back down thru like an outboard.  This could extend on my season well into December with the right weather.  Even have a car heater installed to defrost the windows, or rid the condensation that lessens vision.
                Making plans for the 2018 season is where I'm at.  There's new colorants coming on the market everyday that I need to consider.

10/19/17  From 2007 to 2017 photographed Manistee, MI's same gravel bar in Pine Creek that flows into the Big Manistee River ...about 12 miles downstream of Tippy Dam.  There's been no noticeable change to the banks of this Trout Stream.
                Watched a log, fresh in 2007 deteriorate.  Now, swollen with dry rot soon to vanish from this creek.  This log is on the left side of the 11 photos located mid-picture.
                It's always a special treat for me to visit Pine Creek in the fall.  Watching Salmon spawning is totally engrossing when minutes can turn into hours, as these fish move to and fro endlessly.  1 thing the pics cannot do is to tell you how noisy these fish during the spawning process, as they work the gravel with their tails. Click 11 Pine Creek pics

10/18/17  Today's featured photo is spawning Kings in Manistee County, MI's Pine Creek.  Pine Creek is a fast flowing MDNR designated Trout Stream with regulated season.  This tributary of the Big Manistee River is a pristine and beautiful sight to behold!
                 Been doing a 10 year photo study where I photograph the same section, standing in the same place to view October spawner King Salmon (Chinook).
                What I noticed this year was the Kings appeared to be a little larger overall and in about the same numbers as past years.
                 Know today's photo is not all that clear.  But is does captured the amazing "s" turn/curve on how flexible these fish become during their last cycle of life.  With the water moving, and the fish in a constant swimming action this pic is the best I could do from distance with no flash to speed up the lens.  Click for this live action photo
                Possibly could have got closer, but it's not for me to disturb these fish with their offspring rod and reel ready in 3, 4, or 5 years.

10/17/17  My annual pilgrimage to Pine Creek, a tributary of the Big Manistee River is scheduled for this morning.  This year is my 10th anniversary of archiving photos of spawning Kings in this designated MDNR Trout Stream since 2007.  
                It's fascinating to watch these fish as they usher in new generation of King Salmon to be reel-ready in about 3, or 4 years!  Click Pine Creek article

10/16/17  Most of the time during the season there's time to work on new color combinations for potential new tackle selections.  Not so this season.  Tackle orders took off like a rocket in mid July and stayed that way thru Labor Day weekend.
                Challenge for the offseason is just to rebuild inventory that sold out this year.  Hardest hit was our meat heads that flew out the door like hotcakes.  2017 marks the first time we sold out of meat heads in most colors.
               This week we'll start process of ordering more heads to have in the machining stage by early November.  The nose and tail holes must be drilled by hand in a custom jig.

10/14/17  Have a great weekend!

10/13/17  Lk. MI fishing from Big Point Sable to Manistee, MI is some where's between pitiful and non existent in the depths of 50' to 200'.  Normally, at this time of the year, there should be decent numbers of Steelhead.  This season, thus far, these fish are a no-show.
                Surface temp on yesterday's trip was 61°.  Thermocline was sharply defined at 40' around 52° that gradually declined to 42° at 80' down.
                I've watched over the course of the last 3 weeks the bait thin out and sonar fish evaporate.  I have no doubt there's a pile of fish offshore.  The question is: how many miles?  There's a lot of water to sort out and I prefer to have the fish come in closer.
                Until we get surface temps in the 50s, my big lake season is on hold.  No sense in chasing fish that have yet to materialize.

10/12/17  Taking the day off from the normal routine for new product testing in the design and refine stage.  It took about 5 years in the thought stage to start on my spoons.  Then, close to a year to refine and double/triple check the design before production made possible with the new technology of 3D fused filament printing.
                New tackle concept is where I test myself the most to bring your original tackle.  Trying as it is, this is the fun stuff enjoyed most!
                Mark today: 10/12/17 as first stage in this product's infancy.

10/11/17  The idea behind new tackle is to raise the bar with better products that make sense.  Today's featured photo is the new for 2018, Steelhead (Florescent) Orange Cupped Diver Rings.  I am proud of this original product with increased diver depth with less rod strain over the mega-rings that pull like a Budweiser draft horse.
                 My 2 divers account for close to 50% of my yearly fish take in a limited 6 rod spread.  When you have 2 rods keeping up with the other 4? ...this speaks volumes!  This is why I've devoted a lot of my efforts fine tuning my diver program.  Cupped diver rings and my trick Super Snubbers™ out perform the competition.  Click new 2018 ring color

  New one for me today.  Add Perch to the list of fish that will eat meat rigs™.  This was confirmed by a photo by Tom M who fishes out of E Chicago, IN in southern L. MI.
                Said this before, if it looks like food to one specie there's no doubt it will across the spectrum of all predatory fish willing to strike.  Believe it, or not? Click for proof

10/9/17  Prototype secret project is in the works.  Looks like this coming Thursday will be a good time to test out my original creation.  If the basic concept works, design will be tweaked on my 3D printer until it meets my high standards.
              New stuff is the fun part of what I do.  New, never seen before tackle is a head game to the max until all issues are conquered.

10/8/17  Continued warm spell with warmer than normal LK. MI temp is extending the growing season for the bio mass of Lk. MI.  This should be helpful in continuing the rebound of the Alewife population and all species that depend on them for food.
              Lots of things in fishing are perplexing.  10 days apart between my last 2 fishing trips had better bait and marks way-south of Manistee both times.  By the time we got within a mile or 2 of port, on the shelf, the sonar was showing zelch.

10/7/17  Yesterday's trip went about as expected.  Seas were tolerable with air temperatures on the mid to low 60s.  Surface temp of Lk. MI was 64° and the thermocline was around 60' down.  We had a heartbreaker when our only bite, a big silver King came unpegged 40' behind the boat.  We lose so fish, it's going to happen once in a while.
              Best water was S of Guerney Creek.  The closer we got to Manistee the bait and fish marks thinned out drastically.  Water is too warm for surface Steelhead action that's running later this year then normal.

10/6/17  Lk. MI is supposed to be fairly calm today that good news for me.  Hope to get another late season trip in.  This time of the year tackle sales slow down and afford me the time to go and not feel like I have to rush home.  Hope the fish cooperate just a little in less than ideal conditions for Steelhead that would be my first choice.

10/5/17  In the later 1960s when our Great Lakes Salmon fishery began, the 1st popular diver was the Pink Lady.  This was a crude miserable device.  Next to impossible to trip.  This meant a long hard pull back to the boat with the diver digging water non stop.
              Deep Sixes soon replaced the Pink Lady and held favor to about 1985 when the first purpose built long 9-10' diver rods began hit the market.
              Dipsy Divers started to rule in 1986, because the were directional.  Eliminating the need for outriggers almost all charter boats had back then.  Dipsys always have and still have stock flawed add-on ring.  Flimsy, breakaway tabs causes problems.  The ring can come off when fishing.  Rings are not needed all the time, when the fish are high, top 40' no rings are needed.  So, over time, the rings tabs do break.  I can remember gluing rings on diver to have a more reliable product back when I chartered (1983-2003).
              This is why I designed a cupped easy-on, easy-off diver ring with 4 moveable screwed-in tabs that never break and will last a lifetime when used properly.  Bonus is the additional depth the cupped part gives without the hard pull of the mega rings that waste water flow energy instead of capturing it.

10/4/17  There's no such thing as the offseason for tackle production.  Now is when and how I lay the groundwork for the 2018 season.  Besides, not having to heat the shop in the coldest part of winter to paint, cut lure tape, etc. is a good move.
              Finished the upgrade to my 3D printer to dual extruders.  Had the kit to do this for 2 years, but looked overly complicated to me.  So, I kept putting it off.
              Making more 3D printed diver rings to replenish sold out colors.  This is a slow process, because it takes about an hour to print each ring. More on this tomorrow...

10/3/17  This is a very sad time for America ...AGAIN!  Mass murder by a deranged evil individual bent on rising to the top of this list of the worst killers in the USA cannot go on.
               The genie of easy access to assault weapons with high capacity magazines has been let out of the bottle.  I see no way this can be stopped with big money special interests ruling our country and jeopardizing our everyday lives.
              President Trump promised to throw out Washington elites and end “American carnage.”  It's time he put his actions where his mouth is!
              Under President Reagan (the gold standard for Republicans) he condemned assault weapons on 2/6/1989.  In 1994 Reagan helped Pres. Clinton pass the time stamped Assault Weapons Ban by 2 votes that expired in 2004.
              I am a gun owner and hold the values of the 2nd amendment dear, but not at the cost of having innocent lives slaughtered that will surely lead to living in an armed military camp to protect us from ourselves. Click info on Federal Assault Weapons Ban law

10/2/17  We need more fish plain and simple.  How many is open to debate?  But a modest increase would generate a lot of positive publicly for the DNRs.
              It's easy to see why the Kings and Coho this year are jumbos.  This is from the abundance of bait.  How else are you going to get 30 pounders and Coho over 16?
              The 16 pounds and change Coho taken aboard my boat last week shows a phenomenal growth rate of for the 18 months this fish grew in Lk. MI.
              The MDNR has made token Manistee Coho plants over 30 years.  Best was in 1993, or 1994 when the DNR dumped in 400k Coho (think number is close to correct).  Discounting the late 1960s and early 1970s Coho stocking levels.
              Back then, Manistee had awesome charter catches 20 to 30 Coho per trip. There was enough Kings mixed in to keep it excitement level high for the sports fleet too.
              From the charter fleet's perspective Coho are actually a better fish.  While everyone wants whopper Kings over 30, truth is 75% of charter customers are over matched when it comes to big guy tunas.  Not to mention, summer Coho are more aggressive and easier to catch at all times of the day when compared to Kings.
             Frankfort, MI is probably considered MI's number 1 Coho port, because of the Platte River hatchery system.  With the majority of the Coho returning to the Platte river there are close no ports that can take advantage to the N of the Platte to zero in.  Unless you count the Manitou Island's Glen Arbor and Leland.  A good  20-30 miles away!

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June
July, August, & September

October, November & December

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