April, May & June 2018

Ludington 5/9/18
Icy Blue & Gold Crush

SB 4.0 Icy Blue
Manistee 5/13/18

5/29/18 Manistee, MI
Skinny Minnie is no joke!

Screen Shot of Trap Nets
6/30/18 Manistee, MI


Archived Updates and Fish Reports

6/30/18  Here's Manistee, MI's trap net locations.  Wind, currents and tribal netters can move these nets at anytime. Use as a guideline ONLY!

13s Lead Net Staff Buoy
44° 12'.979 N
086° 24'.635 W
63' of water

13s Trap Net Pot Staff Buoy
44° 13'.120 N
24'.806 W
92' of water

13s W Anchor Buoy
44° 13'.348 N
086° 24'.935 W

109' of water

17s Lead Net Staff Buoy
44° 17'.676 N
086° 22'.308 W

 72' of water

17s Trap Net Pot Staff Buoy
44° 17'.676 N
086° 22'.549 W
 86' of water

17s W Anchor Buoy
44° 17'.376 N
086° 22'.820 W

98' of water

6/29/18  Have the Manistee, MI's location of the W anchor buoy for the trap net in the 13's off Manistee.  This buoy is 3 laundry detergent bottles tied together & very difficult to see.  W flag staff buoy on this net is laying over & hard to spot too.
44° 13'.348 N & 086° 24'.935 W are the GPS lat/lons for the western most part of the trap net in the 13s a couple miles S of Manistee's harbor.  13s designate the easy to share number by dropping the 44° numbers.  Click actual GPS photo
               Be aware this is Manistee's Forest Festival and there's a carnival setup in the parking area on the 1st Street Launch.  So, boat trailer parking is going to be hard to find.
               This is a work in progress.  All numbers can be found at: Net Locations
This page is under construction to make a printable page with all GPS coordinates.

6/28/18  Possibly might be able to find the W anchor for the net in the 13s S of Manistee this afternoon.  It's been 3 weeks since my last trip and that's far too long.

6/27/18  This is another year of Big Kings.  Meaning fish over 20 pounds are the reel-deal. 
Last weekend's tournament in Kewanee, Wisconsin 10 fish came in at over 200 pounds according to message board member, Steve O.
              Now, that my boat trailer is road ready, trying to come up with an out of town event.  Like to do at least one special trip a year.  Going to the UP  in 2016 and 2017, then fishing out of Manistique (Lk. MI) and Munising (Lk. Superior) were more than worth it!
             Deal on upgrading to an electric hydraulic is a wonderful system made in the USA.  Support at Hydrastar put me in the right track.  I do recommend this system to anyone with an in-cab electric brake controller that are not getting ample stopping power out of their surge brakes.  While pricey, feel like this upgrade was money very well spent!
            The Hydrastar even has a breakaway battery backup in case your trailer becomes unhooked? ...it will lock up your brakes.  Limiting damage to your boat.

6/26/18  Posted a photo of what I've been doing since last Saturday. Over 10 hours in upgrading to electric hydraulic disc on my tandem axel trailer.  This is one of those one-off jobs with a very steep learning curve.  Could probably do another one in 1/2 the time.
             Outcome is fantastic with massive stopping power.  Several times better then the replaced surge brakes that were fraught with issues.  No longer am I landlocked!

6/25/18  This past weekend was Manistee, MI's Bud Pro/Am.  Over 40 boats participated in this event that dates back to the 1980s.  Kings to and past 25 pounds were caught.
               Winning boat with the heaviest catch caught 132 lbs. on day one and 51 lbs. on day 2.  This shows how spotty our fishing is.  Setup in the right spot with a little luck and you'll do just fine.  Miss the magic spot? ...you'll catch just some.
               Fighting fatigue has me wore out.  Installing the components for the new electric hydraulic disc brakes has 4 major parts.  That's done, wiring and bleeding the brakes is today.  Trying to squeeze this in and keep up with orders has me way-way too busy.
              Every hour lost fixing my beached boat trailer is a hour that's not devoted to fishing, production and filling orders.  Looking forward to this job being done!

6/23/18  1st weekend of official summer of 2018.  Be sure to enjoy it!  Mine will be spent curing boat trailer ills.  This is the second go-round in this deal.  Just was not happy with the replacement surge brake master cylinder.  So, bit the bullet for a pricey electric 1600 psi conversion unit that will lock up the tandem axel disc brakes if need be.
               Taking care of yourself and boat on short, or long trips begins with the often overlooked boat trailer that's last on the list to get any love.

6/23/18  1st weekend of official summer of 2018.  Be sure to enjoy it!  Mine will be spent curing boat trailer.  This is the second go-round in this deal.  Just was not happy with the replacement surge brake master cylinder.  So, bit the bullet for a pricey electric 1600 psi conversion unit that will lock up the tandem axels if need be.
               Taking care of yourself and boat on short, or long trips begins with the often overlooked boat trailer that's last on the list to get any love.

6/22/18  Have a great weekend.  My time will be spent upgrading my boat trailer brakes from surge disc to electric disc.  Safety and the grief saved makes this switch cheap when you compared to rear ending the vehicle ahead of you in a panic stop.

6/21/18  Fishing today!  This trip will be a late start, hope to be setting lines by 8am.  Finding and marking the anchor for the net in the 13s is more important than catching fish.
               6am update: orders came in overnight.  Shipping orders this morning means being a landlubber and no fishing for yours truly.   The URL (web address) of the Ludington down temp data buoy 45024 has been problematic for our Great Lakes info page
              Seems to be finally working now: Click to test Ludington Down Temp Buoy

6/20/18  Looks like tomorrow there's a decent window to fish Lk. MI.  Plan is to locate the king anchor on the net in the 13s.  Then, build a printable page.  My guess is we'll have more trap nets in the not too distant future and want to stay on top of this issue.
              I have no high hopes on the fish tomorrow unless there's a temp break over deep water holding fish.  Will look and seek, if the right conditions are there.

6/19/18   The image of yesterday's trap net is not to scale when it comes to the anchor in the far left of said image.  The lead, or king anchor can set several hundred feet to the west of the west flag staff buoy.  I know from personal experience when I had a diver get stuck in one, back in 2008 ...when we had 10 trap nets off Manistee, MI.
               Need to locate this anchor for the net in the 13s to make a printable page with the GPS coordinates.  Hopefully, this week I'll be able to get on the lake to mark and locate.
              It is of the utmost importance, you know where these nets are!  The cost of getting your fishing gear stuck in one can cost you the long green to replace.

6/18/18  Too busy in the shop this weekend to work on the net locations page.  Posted an image of a trap net in case you haven't seen one yet.  Click trap net image
               There's a lot of net to avoid that involve several hundred feet.  Plus, the floating net going vertical up from the bottom.  Think 30' up from the bottom is the distance.

6/17/18  Have a great Father's day!

6/16/18  Have a great Father's day weekend!  My goal is to complete a printable page of the trap net locations off the Port of Manistee, MI by Monday.
               Today's featured photo is from a while back with bait in Manistee's harbor.  The channel was loaded out to the hole off the south pier. Click Manistee harbor bait

6/15/18  NOAA weather Station for Manistee was MEEM4.  This tower was blown down in the April storm in the mini tsunami (I think).  Have not heard of plans to replace it.
              The offshore Ludington high-tech buoy that displayed water temp down to 70' seems to have been replaced with one from University of MI.  No longer showing down temp, but Station 45024 - Ludington Buoy, MI does give wave heights and surface temp.
              Updated my Great Lakes info page to access this new Ludington buoy.  I use this wealth of information when planning all of my fishing trips and consider it one of the most important pages on this website. Click Great Lakes info page
              For the time being, to access weather for Manistee, use the one at Big Point Sable to see archived and current wind directions.   Click for removed weather station

6/14/18  Being a boat owner comes with maintenance.  Things like changing lubricants are the cheapest insurance policy against costly catastrophic failure. 
              Spent a good part of yesterday changing the oil and lower end lube in my GM small block V8 and 15 hp. 4 stroke trolling motor.  Last week it was changing the lower seals in the kicker that picked up some fishing line & chewed up the seals allowing water egress.
             Granted, when you're pressed for time, boat duties can be a pain.  Only offset with the bigger pain to your billfold, if you neglect them?

6/13/18  Good day to take a break.  Started on a new page for trap net locations off the Port of Manistee, MI.  We have 2 now and expect a few more.  In 2008 there was 10 confirmed trap nets and a mystery one in the 15s.  Ludington during the same time had 5.
              Today's S winds will help the Salmon fishing for all central Lk. MI ports!

6/12/18  Manistee, MI fishing news from my boat is pretty bleak on yesterday's recon mission to locate & mark the new trap net in the 17s two of miles N of the harbor.  Set up in 50' of water in the high 15s before the dropoff.  Trolled out to the 280' depths N & never marked a fish.  Days of E wind has moved the fish and a SW blow will bring them back.
              Did find the net in the 17s that begins in 72' of water at:
44° 17'.676 N and extends out to 86' of water at: 086°22'.549 W.  Click 6/11/18 photo with lat/lons
Critically Important: There is a King anchor due west of the furthest staff marker buoy.  This western most area to avoid is marked by floating jugs is in 98' of water at: 44° 17'.376 N and 086°22'.820 W.  Do not have this info for the net in the 13s.
              This info was intense to gather and see the need for a dedicated page for the Manistee fleet to fish and navigate safely.  Still more work needs to be done.
               My thanks to ace double number 1 fishin' bud, John J for tolerating me avoiding all fish in Lk. MI and maneuvering the boat while I took the photos.

6/11/18  The plan for this morning is to fish for a little while, then locate the trap net in the 17s and record where it's at.  Stay tuned for further developments.

6/10/18  The leads on the trap net in the 13s a couple of miles S of Manistee, MI are marked with floating laundry detergent bottles.  They are brightly colored, but not too easy to see unless your pretty close to them.
               Soon I will get the location of another trap trap in the 17s N of Manistee's harbor.  Can see this will need a dedicated page with full info.

6/9/18  Recon mission for fleet safety yesterday.  Trolled from the 11's to just N of Big Point Sable in the 6s with a watchful eye for commercial trap nets.  None were eyeballed in this fairly long stretch of water.  Click East staff buoy and GPS readout
             Came back to the 13s to clearly identify the trap net that went in recently.
Mis-spoke in yesterday's chat about lack of staff flag buoys, my apologies. 
              This net is clearly marked and begins in 63' of water with a 6' mast with a large orange flag.  GPS coordinates for the W staff buoy are in 92' of water at: 44°13'.120 North & 086° 24'.806 West. Click West staff buoy and GPS readout
             Critically Important: Listed lat/lons are the centerline of the net.  You must allow a 1/3 of a mile north and south to avoid the wing leads to this net.  You navigate at your own risk and absolutely must use the info supplied here as a guideline ONLY!

6/8/18  Gone fishing sign is up for today.  Plan is to fish some and get the exact numbers on the trap net in the 13s.  Know according to 2000 Consent Degree nets are supposed to have staff flags on the buoys.  Which of course, is not being done!

6/7/18  Fishing for spring Kings continues to be decent off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Salmon are being caught on spoons 40' to 60' down over 125' to 250' of water.  Deeper Kings are coming on flasher meat rig combinations.
            June 9th and 10th is the MDNR's free fishing weekend when a license is not required by anyone.  Father's Day 2018 is little more then week away.

6/6/18  According to Lenny V. from my Facebook page, there is another trap net in 17.6 that begins in 60' of water about 2 miles N of the Manistee, MI's harbor.
             My plan is to verify and mark the nets in 13.1 and 17.6 with the leads and the pots marked.  Last I heard there was no staff markers, just floating buoys.
             We've dealt with plenty of trap nets before in Manistee and can do it again once we know the areas and depths to avoid.  Trap nets do promote plankton growth and attract bait fish to the deep water side.  Fishing due W of these nets will put fish in your boat.

6/5/18  Found a photo of my departed friend, Dick Boyajian when he was making my aft curtain for my boat in 2008.  Dick reupholstered the interior too.
             Felt like I was kicked in the gut when I had to ship a set of his trolling bags yesterday.  I relied on him for the early history of our Salmon fishery.  Like when the 1st Manistee Wobbler trolling spoon to grab fleet favor in 1969.  Dick was among the 1st to run J-Plugs that became extremely popular by the mid-1970s.
             Dick's demeanor as a sales rep for Luhr Jensen at the sport shows was top notch. But he never came across as a "know it all." Even though he was a walking encyclopedia when it came to catching fish.  Click Dick installing my aft curtain
            Saying the final goodbye to an treasured fishing bud of 30 some years sure grabs your attention to what's really important in life.

6/4/18  With a heavy heart it hurts me to say goodbye to my friend, Dick Boyajian who passed away yesterday.  Dick was the one of the original charter skippers out of Manistee, MI that goes back to the late 1960s.  Upon his shoulders we all benefitted.  He was in on the pioneering ground floor of methods to catch Salmon and Trout.
             From the early 1970s on, Dick was a Luhr Jensen factory rep and did all sport shows in and around the Great Lakes States up until the early 2000s.
             Dick was a true American hero who served in the WWII's Pacific theater as a radioman-gunner on B24s and never sought accolades for his service to our country.
             The high quality sea bags I've sold since 2004 we made by him with the utmost of care.  Dick thrived into his 90s on his own and mentally was sharp as a tack.  With a tear in my eye, any parting words will never did justice for this brave American I miss dearly.

6/3/18  Grapevine says there are more trap nets off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Have the one in the 13s semi marked.  Unverified rumors about another one in the 17s.
             For now avoid the inshore depths of 160' or less, unless you know where the nets are.  If you stay over 200' you should be in the clear.  Back in mid i2ks, never seen the pot, or capture end deeper then 155'. Click commercial net boat
             This time I do not have an inside source like when Dave Deforest kept us posted on exact locations.  So, it's up to all of us to find, locate and share this info.
             My next window to fish Lk. MI is coming mid week.  Will share what I find.

6/1/18  May has been a good fishing month for the central Lk. MI fleet.  Big Kings in catchable numbers is great for our fishery.
             My goal is to get the exact lat/lons for the net I watched being set on last Tuesday's trip.  My guess is there's more nets on the way.  The 2000 Consent Agreement with the Little River tribe is up for renewal in 2020.  I see more new trap nets as posturing for the upcoming negotiations.  Know our mid-i2ks go-round with tribal fishers was a criminal money grab from the MDNR coffers we, as fishermen pay into.  Think the figure was $6 mil.

5/31/18  Wayne J found the net I spoke about yesterday the hard way.  He lost a probe and cannonball when he got hung in it.  North line location is 44.13.090.
              Wayne not to be deterred, pulled his 5 Kings is a couple of hours, using the 1st light bite to put a butt whipping on the Kings.  He used my spoons and a BTI flasher-fly combo during his time on the water.  Click net lat/lon of Wayne's graph
             Going back to last weekend, nobody can complain about the weather or the Salmon fishing off the Port of Manistee, MI.  It was the best Memorial Day weekend we had in recent memory.  Now, the question is how long will the Kings stick around?

5/30/18  Just going to touch on the high points from yesterday's Manistee, MI morning trip with Wayne J and Todd B.  There was a net boat working in the low 13s and high 12s S of Manistee in approx. 120' of water.  More info on this when it becomes available.
               First 90 minutes of our trip was plagued with missed hits on free sliders.  Fish were scattered from 30' to 100' down over 120' to 170' of water.  Best marks for us were in the 13s to the 15s (straight out of port).
               Did manage to turn things around with the Skinny Minnie 12" combo 100' down on the chute rigger boating a mid-teener and an over 20 spring King.  Click Wayne's big King

5/29/18  Guest update today from longtime website member, Wayne J:

I had a wonderful morning on the pond. Lines in at 5:15 and out at 7am on 5/27/18. Two doubles, one double took one of the two fish, other got off. One double, caught both fish. Took Five all together. (Take Five)

Fish were 10 to 18 pounds. Dropped lines just south of the 14's and finished up at the 11 mark. Headed south and never turned around. Started in 85 ft of water and never was deeper than 115. Riggers set at 60 to 75 feet. Free slider took fish too. Dipsey at 130' approx. Click for Wayne's 5 King Limit

Most notable thing that I did was, a diver tripped with a fish while i was working on a double and it got off. I left it out there while I finished fighting fish. Dropped the fish in the box and a reel started screaming. l Only line I had it was the TRIPPED dipsey about 140' back. Another amazing thing about this was, my trolling motor quit while I was fighting and my electric motor was the only thing running. I was at 1.3 speed and the salmon grabbed it.

Anyway here are the picks. All on your GREAT tackle!"  Wayne J aka Take Five

5/25/18  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

5/23/18   Been laid low by a nasty cold for the past week and have no current fishing info from Manistee, or Ludington, MI.  Need some water time and soon.  Forecast for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend looks decent.  Highs in the 70s with showers for Friday evening and Saturday morning.  After that it's clear sailing.

5/22/18  Guest update from Wayne J who helped out with last weekend's Tight Lines for Troops event in Manistee, MI.               Click for some of the fish caught

"While volunteering for Tight Lines for Troops, I had a chance to snap a couple of fish boxes.  They had a larger than usual catch which consisted of approx 70% lake trout.  I also saw several kings pushing 20 pounds.  Good time for our veterans, Wayne J."

5/21/18  Salmon Buster™ spoon have now caught all the major cold water species in MI.  Coho, Pink, King and Atlantic Salmon have been checked off the list.  Along with Browns, Lake Trout and Steelhead have all fell victim to my creation.   As little as I fish nowadays this is quite an accomplishment to be proud of!

5/19/18  Misclassified the fish we caught on 5/16/18.  I was not a Coho, but a small Atlantic Salmon.  Website contributor, fishing friend and DNR census taker Julie S brought this to my attention. Here's what Julie had to say:

John, Was just looking at that fish you caught the other day. You mentioned it was a coho. I looked at it and it’s an Atlantic salmon. That fish came over from Lake Huron one of the planted sites Alpena St Mary’s LSSU plant OSCODA or Lexington.

These fish are moving around. Would you have approx length and also did you see any kind of fin clip. The ad is there so I’m thinking a fish planted from LSSU which would be one of the pectoral fins or ventral fins. Want to send this info in to our biologist. JULIE S

                   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>  My Reply <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Hi Julie, Looked at that fish long and hard, counted anal rays too.
Just did not see the x and y dots I seen on Atlantics caught in the past.
Spots on gill plates were there, but none too circular.

What raised my suspicion as how to classify fish was the scales were tight,
not like spring coho, with scales falling out. Click fish in question 

Ad fin is there, far side pec fin? ....don't remember taking notice of that.
I'd say it was 21-22 inches long. We did release this fish. Thanks for noticing, John

                  >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Julie's Reply <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

John, The coho just don’t have any spots at all as well as on the gill plates like you indicated. Another good observation was this fish wasn’t loosing any scales.
Another thing is that atlantics to me have a long pointy nose and there body is long and streamlined. This is a younger fish so it may not have the x y dots but just looking at the picture  I do see those spots highly indicating it’s an Atlantic to me. I’ll be sending it into our biologist and get confirmation.  But I’m pretty sure it’s an Atlantic.
Thanks for the information. Julie S. 


5/18/18  The new good old days are back for S Lk. MI ports for Kings to and past 20 pounds.  For those of us that fish central Lk. MI ports like Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington one good blow from the S could push that big herd on our doorstep.  Last week of May and 1st of June traditionally best for Manistee according to my past experiences.

5/18/18  The new good old days are back for S Lk. MI ports for Kings to and past 20 pounds.  For those of us that fish central Lk. MI ports like Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington one good blow from the S could push that big herd on our doorstep.  Last week of May and 1st of June traditionally best for Manistee according to my past experiences.

5/17/18  Fished out of my home port of Manistee, Mi yesterday morning.  Lines went in the h2o at 6am and we pulled around 8am.  During this time Todd B and I cut a 5 mile swath thru Lk. MI 200' wide (bird rods).  Our troll path was a loop in the harbor out to 150' deep.
              Never marked any bait and a hardly any fish around the harbor.  Trolled out the the shelf to the 150' depths and it was bare screen on the Raymarine and Simrad.
              3 sonar types being: 50kz (broad beam), 200kz (pin point) and a 455kz (side scan) all showed next to nothing.  So, quitting early looked like the wise choice.
              Did catch a small Coho on the HRP Laser Salmon Buster™ 4.0 that saved us from the dreaded black kitty.  This fish hit a free slider on the port rigger down 50'.
              Please keep in mind, our lack luster results only apply to where we trolled & other boats could have a far better story.  Click 5/16/18 Atlantic HRP Laser 4.0
              Not to fear, a few days of SW wind and Manistee could be rip-city for spring Kings.  Know there was bait around the harbor last Sunday from reliable reports, but recent N winds possibly could have shifted the bait S.  Good news the surface of Lk. MI was 44° on the shelf and lots pollen for bait fish food was present over the deep water.

5/16/18  Today's featured photo cannot be faked by holding out in front of the camera lens to make it look larger.  The spoon is an Icy Blue Salmon Buster™ 4.0 with custom powder blue over holographic ice chips we make in the shop.
               The actual size relationship of a 4" spoon against a Ludington, MI spring King shows how girthy and rotund this year's crop is.  The worrisome part? ...where are the future generations of smaller Kings we need down the road? Click Icy Blue spoon

5/15/18  Focus today will not be on me in the form of a fish report.  Focus will be on a program that works in difficult situations on inshore Kings in water less than 50' deep.
              We all know Kings get touchy after the sun comes up.  Factor in high sun, tabletop flat calm water with Mr. K Salmon in the top 25' in the water column.  Sun penetration makes Kings very wary on lure presentation that slows the bite a lot after the 1st hour of daylight.  Check out the flat-calm water on 5/13/18 trip
             Being this is about inshore spring Kings in the early season, the only thing going for you is more than likely the water will be off-color, or stained.  Line shyness is lessened.
             Found that stretching the rigger leads to 80' to 100' back that big guy Kings will eat my Salmon Busters™ 4.0s in tough conditions at 2.5 mph (plus, or minus .3 tenths).
Most of my trolling time in my Ludington trips has been spent in water 35'-40' deep.
             Water temp is what it is.  Caught good numbers of Kings in 36°-38° water.  Warmer in close is better, because it attracts bait and grows plankton the bait chow on.
             Been using Slide Diver rods on 20# test mono for each side of the boat.  Lead behind the diver has been 40' to 50' with 55' to 65' of line off the reel, dialed on 3.  Worthy to note:  Slide diver rods have taken my 2 largest jumbo Kings (38 & 39 inches).
             In 6 hours of lines in the water we've caught 4 Kings from 15 to over 20 pounds while marking hardly any bait and scant few fish marks. 
             So, this program does work on the small numbers of spooky Kings I've been able to drive over in central Lk. MI not noted usually ...for a good early May spring King fishery.
             Tomorrow? ...today's Icy Blue spoon pic explained: Click 5/13/18 Icy Blue

5/14/18   It was  my great pleasure to fish out of Ludington, MI yesterday morning with longtime fishing bud, John J.  Had lines in the water from around 8am until we pulled at 11:30am.  This reel story will conclude tomorrow after we clear out our workload crush of orders that came in after the weekend.

5/12/18  Have a great Mothers Day Weekend!

5/11/18  Like flipping a switch, the weather warmed up and so did the fishing.  Lk. MI reports from MI City, IN to South Haven have all been more than decent.  These ports are the ones I have info for.  I expected Saugatuck and Holland will be next on the hit parade.
              Icy Blue Salmon Buster™ 4.0 has proven itself to be a winner in Ludington for Capn. Kirk and myself.  The power blue over ice chips is a custom tape done in-house.
              Did get some excellent video of both of the Kings Todd B and I caught.  Each of our jumbo Kings took better then 20 minutes to land.  So, there's a lot of great action shots that will be shared with you down the road.  Click Icy Blue Salmon Buster™ 4.0

5/10/18  Another fresh on-the-water report from Ludington skipper, Capn Kirk that came in yesterday afternoon.  He had a mixed bag that chowed on the Icy Blue and Gold Crushed Orange (GOC).  Last I spoke to him he was around the harbor and getting ready to pull lines.
              Now, for part II of my 5/8/18 Ludington event.  We had lines in the water from 4:00pm until we pulled at 6:30pm.  Quitting early yes, it was building to 2 and 3 footers and our 2 Slide Diver rods needed to be redone.  Slide Divers are a great tool, but a pain to re-thread in a bouncy-rocking boat going N in a SW cross beam sea.  Click Todd's 38" King
              Total sum output was 2 Kings for the 2 1/2 hours.  Reel-story is size.  A 36" and 38" jumbo spring Kings are quality hard fighting fish that will test you and your tackle.  Do know, we were geared too light.  Upgrading the 15# test mono to 20#!

5/9/18  Part 2 of yesterday's special delivery update is my fish report for Ludington, MI.  Afternoon started off great around 4pm with calm seas our 1st King of the 2018 season. 
            This fish came not too long after lines-in around 5pm.  This was a line ripping devil fish off our 25' down rigger over 40' of water.  This 36" King liked to cross track and tangle into our bird 1/2 cores.  20 minutes was run off the clock to defeat this spunky King.
            Flavor of the day on this fish was Capn Kirk's Icy Blue 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon.  Reel easy for me to figure out to run after Kirk's glowing report.  Click for this King
            Much to my surprise we did find surface temp in the low 50s not that far from the harbor.  This was missed by the satellite map.  Tomorrow? ...fish 2 ...a 38" monster

5/8/18  Yesterday, it was game-on for Ludington's early & late season specialist, Capn. Kirk.  He boated 2 Browns, 2 Kings and 3 Lakers during his morning trip.  Kirk said, "most of my fish came on the Salmon Buster™ 4.0 in the Icy Blue pattern." Click Kirk's catch
             Today's reel story began with a phone call from Capn. Kirk around noon.  He was catching fish on the Icy Blue pattern and needed more.  Seeing I was going to fish Lk. MI, shifted my plan from Manistee to Ludington to make a special delivery to my longtime friend and UPS driver (he's now retired) for over 10 years. Click Capn. Kirk's special delivery

5/7/18  This past weekend's Coho Classic Tournament held in MI City, IN had some very impressive catches of spring Kings to 23 pounds.  Most all pro boats weighed-in their 10 Kings.  This is the good news we've all been waiting for!
             Fishing this afternoon for yours truly.  I see this as a scouting mission with low expectations on fish.  Seeing the main body of Lk. MI off Manistee still stuck in the chilly high 30s.  Plan is to drive around as fast as we can to get a good sonar bounce off bait.  Then, go from there.  Will check out the shelf if the weather plays nice.

5/5/18  Rumblings that spring Kings are beginning to show up in S Lk. MI. 
                                    Have a great weekend!

5/4/18  Gulley washer last night.  Windfinder.com has predicted calm seas for most of next week.  Their link to Manistee no longer exists and have to use the forecast for Big Point Sable.  5 days of flat water, count me in!  Click Windfinder info

5/3/18  Reports on spring Kings are hard to come by.  Heard a few were caught out of St. Joe on Lk. MI, but that report was dated.  Good news is wind and weather is going to be greatly improved thru next week.
            Traditionally, the 3rd week of May in June is when spring Kings become available in good numbers in central Lk. MI.  History awaits to tell this story.

5/2/18  Limbo land for my fishing plans until next week.  We're supposed to get abut 2" of rain by this weekend with enough wind to keep me off the pond.  Forecast for next week looks a lot better.  Still searching for a good report on Kings from trusted sources.
             April weather, failed trailer brakes and  non functioning electric choke have burned up about a month of my season.  Recent warm weather should help improve fishing.

5/1/18  Today's chat is focused on a tech tip that can save you major boat grief.

Case in Point: Four years ago upgraded my boat to an Edelbrock carburetor with an electric choke wired to a terminal in the keyed ignition.  4 years later the blade fuse in the fuse holder corroded just enough to prevent electric contact.  Making the motor run extremely rich and funky.  The choke was not opening.  Trouble shooting led to the blade inline fuse.
             If I had been smart enough to pay heed to today's tech tip: Dielectric Silicon Compound (a waxy grease) should have been used during fuse holder installation.
             12 volt DC current electrical issues are a pain in the butt we can all live without.  Religiously using Dielectric can prevent a lot of them.  Click Dielectric tube/fuses

Date color codes: red above 32°  blue below 32°

4/30/18  Good riddance to April 2018 that was an extension of winter.  Tomorrow, hello May and all the promise of the 2018 big lake season.  Long range sea and wind forecast is looking very favorable towards the end of this week.
               May is usually the Kings show up.  First, in S Lk. MI.  Then, the action moves N at a pace nobody can predict.  Should have all my boat issues taken care of today.  Ready to hit the pond ASAP depending on workload and weather.
               One piece of news I forgot to share about Manistee, MI? ...this year weeds have not been a problem like the past 2, or 3.  Yet to reel in a fouled lure in 5 hrs of troll time. 

4/29/18  The outlook to fish Manistee's part of  Lk. MI this week is not good.  Best day to go is this coming Thursday, but there's predicted thunderstorms & rain to contend with.
              Been looking at a trip to S Lk. Huron.  This is a wind sheltered coast (mostly).  Port Sanilac and Lexington still have decent opportunities for spring fishing.  Until my boat is in perfect mechanical condition? ...long cross-state road trips are out of the question.

4/28/18  This season is off to a slow start.  Winter extending into April has been a big setback.  This should change quick with Lk. MI gaining water temp.  Wide ranging reports on spring Kings has been almost non existent ...yet?  Lots of questions only time will answer.
              My deal is to be 100% ready by conquering all boat issues this week.  So, when the Kings finally do show up I won't be missing days on the drink.  Great Lakes fishing boats have a lot of complex systems to keep in tip top shape.  Ignoring them is not an option!

4/27/18   Boat issues are to be expected and always unwelcomed.  Electric choke on my boat's GM small block's carburetor needs some major adjustment.  So far, this spring had trailer brake's surge master cylinder fail.  Now, the carburetor is acting goofy?  Guess this is one of the many reasons carburetors are no longer used in the auto industry.
              There are some fish to be caught in Manistee, MI.  This will only get better as our weather has finally warmed up.  70s next week has been a long time in coming.
               Know my 4/24/18 program missed the mark.  5 colors of lead core (5 x 30' =150') should have been in the program.  3 hits, 2 at 19' down and 1 at 15' down off our riggers on long 100' leads at 2.5 mph troll speed is right in the zone of 1/2 cores.
                                      Have a great weekend!

4/26/18  When fishing is tough, the cream rises to the top.  Once again the Gold Crushed Orange Salmon Buster 4.0 proved to be our anti-skunk devise.  Click for LT & spoon
              All 3 of our bites on this past Tuesday's Manistee trip came on this deadly spoon.  Had 4 other patterns in the mix with our 6 rod spread, but the fish only want to hit this one certain color.  Need to try harder to find more colors/patterns when time allows.
              Several new boat upgrades were tested and refined.  New operating system in my Raymarine C127 is spectacular with more options in sonar, radar and GPS.  I'd rank this is one of my best marine electronics purchases ever.  To have a machine that's 6 years old brought up to present day standards without costing a dime is wonderful!

4/25/18  Yesterday, Todd B and I did not get skunked out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  That in itself is a victory considering the small amount of fish and bait we marked.  A Lone Ranger Lake Trout saved us from the dreaded black kitty!
               Did have 2 other nibbles, but you can't count swings and misses!
               Water temp inside the harbor was 46°.  Main body of Lk. MI was 39° once you cleared the stained harbor water.  Did not fish on the beach.  Opted for 30'-50' depths and stayed fairly close to the harbor.  Had lines in the water from 8:15am thru 11:30am.  Would have fished a little longer, but only marked 2 very small pockets of bait in 30' of water.
                Knew when we launched the boat is was going to be a tough go.  There were zero sea gulls about.  Usually, if the harbor is loaded with bait? ...gulls are there in force.
                Today's featured pic of Todd B holding a lake trout that can be improved with fill flash on a cloudy day.  Photo on the left is auto setting.  Photo on the right has fill flash to get rid of dark shadows and enhance said picture.  Click side by side LT photo

4/24/18  Gone Fishin' sign is back up today.  Several video systems and boat upgrades will be tested.  Foresee a tough trip and hope for a fish, or 2.  Even no fish can be tolerated after 4 weeks of cold snowy April that kept the fleet off the water.

4/23/18  Finally hit over 60° at may place in Manistee, MI.  Yesterday was the warmest we've seen since late last October (6 months).  My warm stuff ahead too.
              Holding back until tomorrow to fish Lk. MI out of Manistee.  Cloud cover, calm seas and rest from the weekenders makes waiting an extra day a safe bet.  I have no illusions of grandeur of easy, fast fishing.  I foresee a struggle till we get warmer water.
             This will be a month since my last trip.  New boat upgrades and fixing boat trailer brakes has been the holdup.  Better to have issues now and not primetime summer!  

4/22/18   Not quite tee-shirt weather for Manistee, MI (58°).  Playing the waiting game and letting Lk. MI's temp build.  Last year we had some decent sized schools of Alewives come close to the pier heads in Manistee and Ludington.  This bait brought fair numbers of hungry Kings with them last April and May.  Hoping this happens again this year.
               New Raymarine operating system is like having a brand new machine.  Lot's of new features and adjustability the 2012 OS did not have.  Minor downside is having to learn how to use all the new settings and configure them.  Upgrade was more than worth it considering this multi function display (MFD) was 6 years old.  Being able to extend the service life of our marine electronics is a technologic marvel for all.

4/21/18  2018 boat upgrades seem to be done for now.  Tested the Fish Hawk probe to transducer connection and it passed the test on dry land.
               Installing the Raymarine's new V 19.03 Light House operating system in my C127 MFD came off without a hitch.  Rewriting any OS can be scary.
               Ok, now it's time to bear down on fishing.  Checked Manistee's harbor cams yesterday.  Seen zero boats trolling in the vicinity of the pier heads.  You could surmise fishing is slow, or the home town fleet would have been out in force.
               My deal with fishing is waiting on the water temp to come up.  Even checked the S end of Lk. Huron and the main body came in at 36°.  Lk. MI. is 37°-38°.
               Will be fishing soon now that all the boat gremlins have been chased off.

4/20/18  Today is the unofficial reboot of Spring Part II 2018.  1st month of spring part I was an extension of winter weather.  So, let's look forward to warmer days ahead.
               Going to try updating my C127 Raymarine multi function display today.  Been researching the dos and don'ts, including 2 calls to tech support.
               Being able to bring a 2012 machine to current day standards shows Raymarine is not playing the planned obsolescence game.  Making this a wise purchase by sheer luck.
               If the Lk. MI fishing wasn't so touchy, I'd have left well enough alone and not bothering to go down the road of updating/rewriting Raymarine's operating code.

4/19/18  Up until the 2015 season a shotgun approach to your Salmon program was probably going to work OK.  By "shotgun" I mean to spray everything in sight in a broad pattern.  That all changed in the dreadful 2015 season on Lk. MI with diminished numbers of Kings available.  Nowadays, you need a focused clear sniper program with precision targeting in depth and trolling speed.
               Eliminating reliance on luck to fill your box with every advantage that comes with awareness of the clues you have to work it.  Sonar/fish finders require constant monitoring.
               That's why this season I'm working to update my 2012 Raymarine C127 12" multi function display with the latest updates.  My 12" C127 is running version 3.15 and does not support the Raymarine newest apps for Bluetooth.  Updating will be done in 2 steps.  1st is to update to version 13.  Then to step it up to V19 in another update.  I've never done this before and very concerned about the outcome.
              If I can get the updates successfully installed, there will be a tablet for the crew to monitor at arms reach so they can see what I see (in case something in missed).  Besides, this brings the crew into total participation at at all times as it should.
              Know this is a great idea for charter operations, because customers always want to see the sonar and have it explained to them.  With Bluetooth connectivity  they can have their own display and feel more in the loop.

4/18/18  Today's featured photo is Blue Tooth connection of my Android cell photo to Fish Hawk's X4D depth, down-temp and speed unit. Click side by side Bluetooth photo
               This was the easiest device to date to hookup BT with.  No passwords, or usernames to enter.  Just download the app from Fish Hawk to your tablet, or cell phone and it's a done deal.  Presto-amazo, no muss, no fuss!
               Having a display in your pocket makes finding temp a stay in place and run the rigger until you find the temp you're looking for.  What a tremendous advantage this is to be done right at the rigger and not having to look forward to read the main display!
               I can foresee in the future a heads-up display info transferring all fishing info into wearable eyeglasses.  Thusly, eliminating for cell phone and tablet displays.  It took me a while to catch on to how valuable Bluetooth remote functioning is.

4/17/18  Last Friday a 5' to 8' storm surge, or seiche pushed the water over the breakwalls in Manistee and Ludington, MI.  This seiche was a reverse water (mini sunami) flow that did a lot of damage during the onset of last Friday's thunderstorm.
              Manistee's City Marina lost a lot of their docks.  Manistee's Riverwalk was closed too.  Traverse City's Channel 7 news said the MDOT was inspecting Manistee's US31 and Washington Street drawbridges for damage.  Click more Manistee Marina info
             Will find out today if Manistee's 1st Street Launch is in full operation.  During the storm the U.S.C.G closed Manistee's harbor to all navigation. Click seiche explained

4/16/18  Lots to look forward to with the delayed start of the 2018 season for central MI ports.  Colder than normal water temps has put fishing on hold.  The future is bright for this year, because whatever fish are there, haven't been beat on yet.
              Nasty snow, sleet, rain and ice storm missed Manistee, MI for the most part.  Snow accumulation was several inches N of M72.  Heard Green Bay, WI got close to 2' of snow as this winter-like storm threw the last punch will have to take from Mr. Winter.
             Best news is towards the end of this week we'll actually see temps in the 50s.  My first trip in March (3 weeks ago) exposed failed boat upgrades that are fixed now.  So, I'm more then ready and look forward to get fishing again.

4/15/18  Railing against lousy tech support from manufacturers doesn't solve any problems.  Sharing with you an item to check before purchasing any boat trailer is a much better road.  Search engines will pick this and help others in the future.
               Safety on the road begins with your trailer's braking system in an emergency accident avoiding panic stop.  Click PDF of discontinued LP 80 actuator
               My Trailmaster boat trailer used an actuator from Tiedown to activate the dual axel disk brakes.  This master cylinder blew out and was informed by tech support from both companys there was no replacement .  Tech support at Tiedown used Google to say as much ...with zero hands-on experience, or complete mastery of what they sold.
               Was able to cross reference a replacement master cylinder and do a fix after I was told to cut the old one off and weld a new one on from Trailermaster, or J. Q. Tex Inc.
              Welding a new nose on would have meant I'd have a painted trailer.  Exactly, what was avoided when I paid extra for a galvanized trailer.  Painted trailers look fine for a year, or 2.  Then, road chips from gravel dings the paint off and starts a constant cycle
of repainting.  Guess it a matter of pride with me not having a rusty weather beaten trailer.

4/14/18  Rain changing to freezing rain, then 3" of snow is on tap for Manistee, MI today. 
               Been battling surge brake issues with poor advice from Trailmaster, the manufacturer of my trailer and TieDown the company that made the brake actuator, then discontinued it when Tiedown was purchased by another outfit.
               Their solution was to cut the broken system off and re-weld a brand new hydraulic disk brake actuator back on.  This is pure total BS, because I have a galvanized trailer and it's going to stay that way.  Photos & full story tomorrow....

4/13/18  Friday the 13th update is about the onslaught of an April winter storm.  Rain, freezing rain, snow and high winds are on the way for this weekend.  This storm will likely disable my satellite internet connection.  So, this could be my last chat until Monday.
              Thanks to all that purchased the 2018 reel-deals with 18% off.  Both flasher deals are very close to being sold out.  There are more spoon deals left.  Click 2018 specials

4/12/18  Fishing out of Manistee has been no big deal when boats can get out.  Weather and wind has kept the local fleet dockside for the most part.  I'm hearing maybe a fish for every 2-3 hours of trolling time.  This should improve when the water warms up even a little.  Bright spot is few reports of King Salmon being caught around the harbor with rarity.

4/11/18  On April 19, 2018  Sea Grant is hosting a meeting at 7:00pm till 9:20pm at the Moose Lodge in South Haven, MI.  The Moose Lodge is located at 1025 Wells Street, South Haven, MI 49090.  Know several of our website members fish this part of Lk. MI.  Being held on a Thursday evening makes this event easy to attend.  Lake-wide management plan and stocking options are topics to be covered.  Click Sea Grant Meeting info

4/10/18  Going to muster the courage today to work on my boat.  It's sat since 3/28 when the weather got nasty.  Temperature for Manistee is running 20°-25° below the norm.
              Keep looking without success for a window to fish Lk. MI again.  Issue is when the wind's not blowing, there's rain, freezing rain and snow in the forecast.
              Expanding on yesterday's talk on temp for Kings.  Wrote a 2 part article in 2008 more, or less dedicated to this subject.  Click Eaters, or Biters
             In the later 1970s, thru the 1980s, until the mid-later 1990s the fleet keyed in on 54° religiously.  Then, more and more catches of Kings came in colder water as these fish adapted.  Now, it's no big deal to pull Kings out of 38° water.  Prior to the mid 1990s this  was unheard of.  A few years back, in April caught Kings 150'-200' down in 36° water out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  These deep fish were very lethargic, but still hit meat.

4/9/18  7° at my place in Manistee at daybreak this past Sunday shows the chokehold the extended version of winter has on MI.  Maybe, spring 2018 will really happen this week?
             Speaking of temp I see Fish Hawk's X4D's preferred temperature for Kings is now 44°.  This is a 10° lower then their old handheld temp gauge said.
              The round circular gauge in today's featured photo was introduced in the later 1970s.  This old style is probe is on a 200' cable with rock solid in performance & longevity.
                            Click old vs. new Fish Hawk recommend temp guides
             It cannot be overstated on the importance of down-temp and how Salmon relate to it.  My findings? ...cold water (38°-44°) is best for a dedicated meat program.  Salmon hanging around 54° water are more apt to hit flasher/fly and all types of artificial lures.

4/8/18  Marine electronic manufacturers who stand behind their products are to be judged by the way warranty issues are handled with no muss, no fuss.
            My 1st trip of 2018 was a test run on the new XD4 purchased last winter.  Upon start the unit flashed, then shut off and restarted on it's own.  Came to find out display ser. #8282 was defective from the factory by running tech support tests dockside.
            Karen from Fish Hawk said she'd have a replacement X4D (ser. #13405) out the door ASAP with a return label to their company address in Brainerd, MN. 
           Making this the best tech/replace marine electronics dealer I've ever dealt! 
           Hope this later model head/display 5000 units later will work as supposed to.  
           It's not necessary to have rigger down temp and speed the catch Great lakes fish.  Caught 1000s without a probe.  It's is worthy if you lack confidence, or experienced enough to read the angle of your rigger cables. Click replacement X4D (D is for depth)
           My main reason and only reason was to see the depth at the ball where the temp is compared to where the break shows up on the sonar.  Sonar readings only mark accurate distance from the transducer and do not allow for rigger angle, carry-back, or sway.
                                (tomorrow 54 to 44 degree Kings?)

4/7/18  Salmon Ambassadors program data from 2014 to 2017 in a brief report has been made available to the public.  Over 8000 Kings have been tallied.  Naturally reproduced Kings is skewed against planted Kings, because of the very low stocking numbers.
             Do know we have fewer Kings.  But the size is larger.  Also, the run is mostly over by Labor Day.  That's a good 2 weeks earlier then is used to be.  Click S-A data

4/6/18  Good news for next week as a gradual warming trend begins mid week 
                                      Have a great weekend!

4/5/18   Donating to a good cause for the Great Lakes fishing public doesn't come around very often.  In my Sea Grant's Fish Notes page found that MSU was recruiting college students to analyze stomach contents from Great Lakes fish and need $8500 for this study.  Presently, this study is about only about 1/2 funded.  Click for more info
             This is a huge win-win situation by helping our fishery and college students. 
If everyone that visits this website donates 10 bucks we can help meet their goal. 
I donated 10 bucks and believe many of you will after reading the MSU info page. 
        Results from this study will directly help our fishery with more knowledge gained!

4/4/18  The 2018 season has hit the pause button in Manistee, MI from a return of Mr. Winter who refuses to fade away into the sunset.  Do know whatever the temperature of LK. MI is, wind blowing across makes daytime highs more, or less meaningless.
             Next window I see that presents an opportunity to fish again is about a week from today when the wind shift to the south and conditions improve.
             Tomorrow a good story about a marine electronics manufacturer that stands behind their product with no questions asked.

4/3/18   Bright spot on my trip last week?  Being able to record video for up to 8 hours with a 128 Micro SD card continuously.  Camera never runs out of power, because it's on a direct feed from a USB outlet installed some weeks back. Click radar dome angle
              Radar angle has to be tweaked slightly.  I do not want to shoot over smaller, low profile vessels.   Radar allows for fishing in the fog.  This is good due to the low light that helps  keep the fish active.  Radar is a must for fishing in restricted visibility.  If you fish out of a port that has freighters, or a car ferry like Ludington?  Radar lets you know how to stay safely out of the way of large ships.  Fog can roll in anytime, but it's most likely in May and June when warm weather meets a cold lake, causing advection fog.

4/2/18  Yesterday's cruel April Fools joke on Manistee, MI was a return to hard winter and snow.  Forecast for this week is miserable too.  More snow and cold is on the way.
             Without failure there is no success.  Had 4 system failures on my 1st trip of 2018 last week.  Newly installed Fish Hawk down temp and speed was a bust with a faulty readout, or head unit.  More on this soon, ...hopefully, there is a happy ending.
             Remote dual channel wireless sound system didn't work.  Learned both mics cannot be on the same channel due to cross talk interference.  This was not mentioned in the user manual.  Sound tests ran yesterday sound tests and this might be fixed.
             Worst fail was a diver rod in the rocket launcher kept bumping the camera in short choppy 2'-3' seas.  Making the video of our 1st fish in 2018 a reel-test in motion sickness.
             Minor fail was the angle of the new Raymarine that needs less angle.  All fails will be fixed and topics for this week's chat sessions.  Click radar dome angle fail

3/31/18  Have a great Easter Weekend.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2018 Results
January, February & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September

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


For complete results of all fishing trips, fishing reports & general info
and a peek into my archived log for the past seasons, 
click the below link:

Past Results