July, August & September 2018

8/15/18 Manistee, MI
Jumbo Adult King!

9/7/18 Ludington, MI
3 Kings & 2 Fat Coho
Photos by Kirk C.


King & Pike on meat
Green Frog Combo
9/18/18 E Chicago, IN


Plump 14 lb. Coho
9/23/18 Kewaunee, WI
Photo by Steve S

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

1/10/18  October starts the last quarter of 2018.  This means website maintenance for the archived past results section that dates back to 2000.  Having logged 18 years of daily updates is an excellent source of reference material.  Can read what happened years ago and compare it to the current state of our fishery.  This keeps postings accurate when I need to look back in time and come up with another reel-story! Click for Past Results

9/30/18  The MDNR is trying to reestablish Arctic Grayling in MI.  MI and Montana are the only 2 states in the lower 48 to have this specie.  The MI strain of Grayling went extinct in the 1930s for a number of reasons.  Probably mostly deforestation and the introduction of other species of river/stream trout. Click for the MDNR article

9/29/18  Self inflicted wounds when it comes to owning a boat are the hardest to take.  Knew my auto float bilge pump switch was iffy.  Neglected this when my boat was at Pier 1 Marina in August.  Heavy rains toward the end on the month flooded the bilge.  Submerging the starter and ruining it.  So, now have to deal with replacing it this weekend.

9/28/18  Spent most of yesterday afternoon doing a thorough scrub on the hull.  It's been the best part of 2 years since this was last done.  Used the toilet bowl cleaner "Works" remove the waterline built up crude and water spots.  Be sure to wear rubber gloves when using this chemical toilet bowl cleaner that contains 9.5% hydrochloric acid.
               Used Soft Scrub on the tough spots.  Then, washed the boat with Dawn.  Used a pressure washer for a squeaky clean rinse and to blast away any stubborn spots.
               It has to be labor of love to keeping your boat clean.  It's a never ending job and you're probably the only one to ever notice the cleanliness.  For me? ...it's the pride of being a boat owner.  My truck/tow vehicle receives much less TLC!

9/27/18  Walleyes in the extreme south end of Lk. MI is something you don't hear about very often.  Local E Chicago, IN angler, Tom M took a 8 lb. plus Walleye on the Frog Meat Rig™ combo while fishing out of Pastrick Marina.  Click S Lk. MI Walleye
               Gained experience in this area in April of 2017.  So, know first hand where Tom is fishing most of the time.  Traveling to new ports creates a broader understanding and sure helps when it comes time to share info with you.

9/26/18  According to Wikipedia: Lake Michigan is 22,404 sq. mi.  Wisconsin has  7,358 square miles.  Michigan has 13,237 square miles of Lk. MI (almost twice as much as WI).
              In 2017 WI planted 779,861 Kings/Chinooks.  In 2017 MI planted 332,133 Kings.  So, my State of Michigan with about twice the surface area of Lk. MI (compared to WI) plants approximately only around 40-45% of what WI stocks.  Click for proof
                       Sounds like the MDNR's strong suit isn't basic math!

9/25/18  Steve S who fishes out of Kewaunee, WI got into some decent fishing yesterday.  They caught 5 fish over 400' feet of water 3 Steelhead, a King and a jumbo Coho that went 14 pounds. Click Steve's personal best Coho
              Good to see fishermen still fishing & thank him for the use of his photo.  My boat is laid up with a bad starter that will be fixed soon and have some late season fishing plans.

9/24/18  2 weeks ago our female AKC/CKC Chocolate Lab, Kat gave birth to 10 Chocolate Labradoodle puppies.  The sire/father was from our CKC Chocolate Standard Poodle, Buster. These are CKC registered dogs and have their litter registration in-hand.
               Kat is one of the smartest, most obedient Labs and has the best cost of all the Labs we've owned since 1983.  So, we know Labs from experience.  Buster is our 1st Standard Poodle and is a fine dog in his own right. Click Kat and Buster's website
               Around the middle of October these pups will be ready for their new homes.  Right now, they weigh about 2 1/2 pounds and all have a stunning shiny Chocolate coat like their mom.  Both parents are DNA tested.  We have 3 males and 6 females left at this time. 

9/22/18  Mentioned back on the 19th about the changing of the guard in MDNR that will probably happen after this November's election when a new governor is sworn in.  Potential incoming new fisheries chief will have his own course of action that might bode well for us.
              I don't have a crystal ball when it comes to the bait population in LK. MI, but do know there's been plenty of it off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Do know increased stocking does not translate into more fish.  Seen this fail in the late 1980's BKD crises. 
              So, I predict we'll see a small increase on the King stocking levels for most MI ports in the next year, or two.

9/21/18  Summer 2018 officially ends tonight as Fall 2018 will be here tomorrow.  Why does summer go by so fast and winter last so long?  This is an unanswerable question, because in Manistee, MI we get 6-7 months of pretty decent weather.  Rest no so much!
                Guess the important thing is we made it thru another hectic summer rush when we get crushed with orders for no worse the wear.  July and August is when we sell the most tackle.  Not quite exceeding what's done in the other 10 months. 
               Seen lots of people not able to handle the increased pressure like deckhands and employees that get a few bucks ahead and decide to get lazy and quit.  Lazy don't work if you're reel serious about fishing business.

9/20/18  Finished a 10 page website that will debut this coming Monday.  While it's on the web now, know more re-writes and proof reading is in order.
              Big S blow on Lk. MI today.  Wind howled all night long at my place.

9/19/18  This fall's election will usher in a new governor in the State of MI.  This probably means a shake up at MDNR with new leadership.  I'm in the hopes a new fishery chief will look more favorably on Lk. MI Salmon fishery and increase the stocking levels some.
              Current MDNR Fisheries Chief, Dexter has cut the Chinook/King plants to all time lows.  Agreeing that the State of MI plants less Salmon than WI according tom the information I read a while back.  Fair is fair, but allowing any state not to share in the pie equally goes against the founding principals of our country!

9/19/18  East Chicago, IN is still producing a few Kings according to website member, Tom M.  Know exactly where he fishing and that has to be all warm water.  Catching adult Kings on meat in warm water and Pike is a skill set I've yet to master.  Click for Tom's fish
              My season is on hold for a while.  Plan on more trips in October when Lk. MI Steelhead become more plentiful.  Still plenty of season left for the diehards.

9/18/18  Communication comes in many forms nowadays.  Back in the days of 1968 when I began fishing the Great Lakes, we were all learning how to catch Salmon.  There was no baseline established.  We got our information face to face from fishermen that were successful.  And it was shared openly with great camaraderie.
               In the mid 1970s CB radio were on most boats.  Talking boat to boat was a great step forward.  By the later 1970s marine band radios came down in price a lot.
               By listening to marine radio, channel 10 in Frankfort, forefathers of our fleet like Capt. Mike Bradley Sr. communicated openly with other charter boats.  Pro info being shared with the entire fleet, yes.  Listening the charter skippers handed you the whole ball game.
               What a change from today where good info has went underground thru cell phones.  Marine band radio traffic today does not carry the importance it once did.
               Let's not forget the internet that has a wealth of information when you visit the right sites.  Now, all the tools to be successful are out there to be snatched up.

9/17/18  Postponed until later today if time allows...  Lost most of this day with a visit t my eye doctor here in Manistee.

9/15/18  Have a beautiful weekend.  Don't have many like this left with temps in the 80s.  Be back Monday with the interesting history of communication that goes back to 1968.

9/14/18  Hectic week, lots going on as we look forward to the 2019 season.  Long list of things to do.  Restocking meat heads is the 1st priority.  We're almost out of stock on most colors, so this has to be dealt with between now and Christmas. 
              Happy Friday, enjoy what's left of summer by making time for yourself!

9/13/18  Let's see, in the left border Montana to Canada and points in between are covered with catch photos.  This shows how universal fishing is.  Fishing transcends race, religion, politics, language and gender.  This is a great common denominator for mankind.
               People that passionately like to fish do not attack schools, nightclubs, or outdoor concerts.  So, maybe the greatest benefit of fishing is it keeps us centered on the reel important things in life.  Like where in the heck? ... are we gonna get our next bite?

9/12/18  Today's featured photo is from Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk with a respectable morning catch of 3 Kings and 2 very chunky Coho.  He caught these fish towards Big Point Sable & the bathhouse in a small pocket of cold water down 40'.  His flavor of the day was my 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons in the Icy Blue pattern. Click Capn. Kirk's catch
              Kirk is one of the best in Ludington's sport fleet and is far more effective fishing my spoons that I am.  Guess I need to know where he keeps his rabbit's foot. 
              Just kidding, Kirk catches from years and years of experience at his home port.  Know he's one of the very best early and late season on Lk. MI fishermen too!
              Known Kirk for about 15 years that began with him being my UPS daily driver. 
He always took the extra steps when we had incoming shipments or package pickups.

9/11/18  Counted the photos sent in from website viewers.  There's 12 pics that tell us their reel-story.  Having viewership share their results is what keeps this website fresh.
               This site would be monotonous, if it was just about me.  It's not!  It's about the failures and successes that we, ...the big water fishing fleet face everyday.

9/10/18  Here's the reel-story about trophy Lake Trout.  We pickup the conversation from Darin when he wanted to know what hooks and sizes used on Salmon Buster™ spoons: 

"Thanks for the info. They (Lake Trout) were from Lake Nipigon in Ontario.

We fished on Nipigon in the middle of July. On the cloudy day, your gold/gold spoon was the ticket. We caught four out of five lake trout with that one. Trolling 45 to 60 feet down with speeds of 2.5 to 2.7 mph. Those were all on downriggers. Click Jumbo 20& 30# LTs
              The next day was full of sunshine and the white ghost spoon was the one that caught five out of eight trout.  We also caught fish on the shad minnow spoon (Skinny Minnie), blue/white (XG Bluetail) and orange crush with gold back.  Same trolling speeds but they wanted the Dipsy Diver. Fished about 50 feet down.  Darin "

Best part? ...all the photos today in the left border were sent in by viewers of this website!

9/9/18  Yesterday's strong E wind curtailed a lot of the Manistee fleet's activity to around the pier heads.  Seen a good number of boats on harbor patrol at 10am, but no nets going down. Hope they had a good morning bite, cause what I seen wasn't much.

9/8/18  Have a great weekend.  Did speak with Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk.  He fished N and found a pocket of cold 41° water at 40' down and boxed a nice mixed bag of Coho and Kings.  This is a big improvement over last year's Lk. MI September production.

9/7/18  Finishing out this week with another guest fish report Tom M who was featured yesterday.  He had this to say about his 9/5/18 solo trip out of E Chicago, IN:

            "John, Got out this morning by myself picked up these three on your green frog meat rig. Lost 3 too ...at the back of the boat trying to net them by myself.  Pretty tough to do for me when they're decent fish!"  Click for his jumbo Kings

9/6/18  Truth is stranger than fiction is born out in today's reel-story from Tom M.  Tom fishes out of E Chicago, IN on the S end of Lk. MI.  Known Tom since 2004 when he was the 1st to introduce meat fishing to his port and was a ahead of the rest of his home boys.
            Today's photos from Tom on 9/3/18 shows a Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Sheephead and a King he caught off the "wall" at Pastrick Marina.  These fish all hit the XG-Green Frog 12" combo.  Plus, stomach contents showing a pile of partially digested Alewives.
                                   Click Tom's 5 in 1 mixed bag photos

9/5/18  Longtime message board member, going back to the early 2000s, Steve T is an asset to all.  He always shares the straight skinny on his success, or lack thereof. 
             Steve has a Cherokee similar to what used in the charter business docked in Arcadia, MI.  Steve's Labor Day report echoes what I wrote on 9/1/18 with plus 100' to 140' deep fish.  He used flasher/fly combinations to boat Coho not quite 12 pounds off his home port.  Along with catching a nice mixed bag consisting of a Laker, Coho and King Salmon.
                                 Click Steve's Labor Day extra Phat Coho

9/4/18  Whew! Almost made it thru my 35th primetime season in the fishing business that dates back to 1983.  20 years as a Great Lakes and rivers guide/charter skipper and 15 years as a tackle manufacturer has whizzed by way too fast!
             While crunch time is over, this season has a long ways to go.  Fall fishing is a favorite of mine.  The crowds are gone, but not the fish!
            Last year got into some reel-big Coho towards the end of this month.  Largest Coho was around 17 pounds and all were better that 12 pounds.  A 12 lb. Coho is a State of MI Master Angler sized fish.  Steelhead in the big lake happens in Oct/Nov too.

9/3/18  Last day of our less than perfect Labor Day Weekend.  If the wind didn't keep you dockside? ...the thunderstorms did.  Wettest Labor Day in my recent memory.
             Then, to complicate matters even further, a barrage of S wind has driven the thermocline reel-deep.  September is known for wind and the time warm water stacks up in central Lk. MI ports.  Too bad the unofficial end of summer was a bummer!

9/2/18  Customer testimonials are always good to hear.  Today's is from Montana' Fort Peck Reservoir part of the Missouri River system.  Montana plants about 300,000 Kings that are landlocked.  Their main feed supply is ciscoes.  Here's what Levi P. had to say:

"It's been a tough fishing year here in Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana but the 2017 special spoon pack I bought has saved the trip!! Just wanted to say thanks again, it was great buying from you guys.  I tell everyone I can about the spoons!" Click Montana Kings

9/1/18  Unless you're fishing off Ludington's car ferry, chances are, you're probably dockside today from a S blow (to 20 knots) with predicted seas 5' to 6'.
             This changes tomorrow when the wind comes down and 3' seas are on tap.
             With the thermocline already a 100' down this past Thursday, it's entirely possible central Lk. MI ports are stacked with warm water top to bottom inside the 150' depths.     
             Seen this happen before and had to move out to 200' to 300' depths to find anything close to 50° water temp and that will be down reel-deep.
             This is when braid rigger rods and our stealth downrigger cable become valuable tools.  You can fish your downriggers to 200' effectively with far less cable blow-back at 2 mph on a 12 pound cannonball.  Just bloodknot about 30' of 30# test mono leader to the braid and you're good to go!

8/31/18  Happy Friday!  This is your roving fleet reporter from Manistee, MI.  Fished last evening pretty much straight out in front Manistee (16s to 14s) in 130' to 200' of water. 
               Down-temp was 51° at 105'.  Seen lots of bait and good marks, but no takers between the hours of 5 till 7pm when Wayne J and I waved the white flag and quit.
               Seen enough to know there were fish there (90' to 125' down).  With the sun lowering on the horizon, we seen only 1 fish caught.  There were a 20 to 30 boats working this area.  So, it wasn't like I couldn't get a handle on what's going on.  Nor, was I willing to wait them out and place our bets on sunset bite for a fish, or 2
               As fate would have it? ...this was a very-very wise move, because we got hit with a lot of orders last night that had to go out today.

8/30/18  Story from Manistee, MI is weather. According to the wash-down bucket on my boat we've had about 5" of rain in the last few days, as thunderstorms have rolled thru.
               Big seas from the NW buffeted Manistee's north pier today.  No boats launched out of the 1st Street Public Launch from what I could see today about 2pm.
               Alas, there is some good news on the horizon for our Labor Day Weekend.  Sunday going in Monday morning looks very cooperative with 1' to 2' seas.
               Then, wind returns with thunderstorms until late next week.

8/29/18  Unsettled best describes our upcoming Labor Day Weekend.  Saturday has thunderstorms in the am. Then, diminishing wind in the evening.  Sunday looks fine with calm 1' to 2' seas.  Monday is another round of predicted thunderstorms.
              With the pressure on the fish this week lessened, fish should reload at all central Lk. MI ports.  Boat maintenance is my plan for today with cooler temps in the 60s.

8/28/18  Posted a pic of the BTI 10 flasher and fly combo hanging from the jaw of a decent King in the new 2019 White Lightning pattern.  This new generation lure tape is stunning and catches fish.  Downside? ...I've had 2 jumbos take better than a 1000' of line on a 4.65 spoon and nothing to show for it.  Click White Lightning 10" Combo
              Looks like the fish are going to get a break from fleet pressure until this Thursday when it's calm enough (5' to 8' seas) for the boats to get a whack at 'em again!

8/27/18  Fished with Ryan V from Sterling, MI last evening from about 6pm till 8:00pm.  This was a short abbreviated trip due to thunderstorms with plenty of sparks on the horizon.
              Ryan was a gem to fish with.  Gaining most of his expertise on Saginaw Bay wrecking havoc upon the walleyes.  In fact, Ryan recently won a big tournament there.  So, this was easy trip for me with plenty of help setting lines.
             We had 2 hits.  Took an OK King 55' down on the new 2019 White Lightning color shifting pattern on a 10" BTI flasher/fly combo.  Then, we missed a bite on a 300' copper towing meat.  Short trip? ...yes, but 2 hours is better then no hours!
              Report from Manistee this past weekend begins with a very lumpy Saturday morning.  A lot of boats did not get out.  Saturday evening boats on harbor patrol had good action when the sun went down on 20 to 30 lb. class fish. Click Ryan's evening King
              Sunday morning was a heavy fog that held some back too.  Coho moved in with a few boats getting into double figures in fat chunky Coho, a few Kings, and Lakers.

8/26/18  Reports from reliable sources said there was a push of adult Kings in and around the harbor this last Thursday.  Most caught were 20 lbs and above.  Let's hope there's more on the way.  Long range weather for Labor day Weekend is starting to look good.
                                           Have a great Sunday!

8/25/18  Added a new link to the page I use most on this site: Great Lakes Info
Info on this page has a lot of wind and sea condition links to plan/figure out your next trip.
               New page shows how the Great Lakes windstream is funneled by large bodies of water.  On this page there's check boxes for a lot of other info pertinent to your safety & planning. Only drawback is it takes a longtime to load. Click Great  Lakes Windstream
              Presently, I am not aware of any resource on the internet that offers as much wind, sea, radar and weather forecasts/conditions as my Great Lakes Info page does!

8/24/18  It's going to be a new ball game for central Lk. MI soon.  We've got a S and SW blow on the way for tonight.  Then, the lake lays down and the starts pumping again on this coming Monday and Tuesday.  This should set up Lk. MI with a lot better down temp, or thermocline to stratify the Salmon for the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
             Good luck to all fishing Frankfort's Benzie Frenzy event this weekend!

8/23/18  Fished the harbor last night out of Manistee from 7pm till past dark.  Right at sunset Wayne J and I hooked up on a runaway beer truck headed towards Ludington.  Soon, this drag screaming, wicked adult King was almost 500' away from the boat. 
              Not good, considering we were on the outside of the scrum of boats on harbor patrol.  Fought this bad boy within 75' of the boat only to have the hook pull free and lament about all work reeling on this jumbo was for nothing!
             We stayed on the outside of the pack in 40' of water.  Never seen another boat with a fish on.  Hope those closer to the pier heads got into some fish.
             Missing ingredient was lack of gulls.  When there's bait around the harbor that attracts fish you'll see flocks of birds dive-bombing for dinner.  There were no gulls at all!
             Plain and simple, central Lk. MI needs another push of fish.  Lk. MI rolled over, cold water on top.  This scattered what we had to parts unknown.  Hopefully, fishing will stabilize/improve after the predicted stout S blow (to 30 knots) that begins tomorrow.

8/22/18  Central Lk. MI has 40° water on the surface according to the Ludington temp buoy from recent strong N and NW wind.  This means it's going to be a crap shoot where the fish are.  From the beach out to the 700' depths is a pretty big playground.
              To mix things up even more? ...next week a big S blow will bring in a lot of warm water continuing the yo-yo effect on Lk. Mi and the fish we all seek.
              Wind and big seas continues to dominate the scene going into the weekend.  Saturday afternoon the winds lighten up.  Sunday looks OK with 2 footers.
              Many thanks to Kevin D aka Chummer for supplying today's featured pic of a double on adult Kings they landed late last week. Click Chummer's double

8/21/18  Here's how you save a fishing trip from Randy R:

"Good Morning John: Since I had the double kings using the X-Glow Mean Green and Pearl fly combo I have not caught another salmon up here in East Bay.
               So, I went to Frankfort Saturday morning to try the big lake. Well we got out and then turned around due to big swells.  Put the boat back on the trailer & headed back .
                Passed Crystal lake launch site turned around and launched the boat to try for some of the landlocked Coho I heard about.  Click Crystal Lk. Coho
Well, I did not have small gear for this little fish nor any info them as far as what to use so I put on the smallest spoons and baits I had with me.  Low and behold I got 2 of them on the X-Glow Mean Green Flasher and Pearl Fly combo on the dipsy with six rods out both were caught on the same setup."  Randy R.

8/20/18  Yesterday, Lk. MI off the Port of Manistee, MI was like a frog in a blender, a mixed up mess.  Lk. Trout, Browns and Kings were caught in waters less than 35' deep. 
               Those that got out early, before the fog set-in did get into some fish in 50' to 150' depths before that bite dried up.  Inside and shallow probably produced better.
               My efforts were a non-event, but it did give me time to spend with long time and former deckhand/1st mate, John J.  Big N blow coming mid week, Kings will be in the harbor.
                   Hoping we get another push of fish for the last week of August!

8/19/18  Planning on fishing today and quick glimpse at my horoscope said: "Going deep is one of your specialties, but returning to shallow waters requires a set of skills you still are learning to master. You look beyond the veil of illusion into the depth of your being and ..."
              So, plan 1 is to fish spoons in 50' to 80' of water and only mosey out deeper if plan 1 does not work.  Tune into tomorrow for today's results.
              If we suck at catching? ...at least it can be blamed on a phony baloney  horoscope for leading us astray.  Nice to have an excuse already lined up!

8/18/18  Question for you today: how many Kings over 20 lbs. do you have to catch to consider your efforts a good fishing trip?  ....my answer is 1 or 2.
              Bass, panfish, trout, & walleye anglers go fishing all the time without the remotest chance of catching a 20 pounder, & do so happily.  W Coast anglers limit might be 1 a day.
              By sheer volume, Great Lakes King Salmon have diminished their value.  So, it's my contention we've spoiled ourselves with over-expectations of 200-300 pounds of boxes of Kings.  Yes, I've had boxes well over 300 lbs. in the charter business.
              This I can tell you with careful observation from 20 years as a charter skipper (1983-2003).  Average charter customers are good for maybe landing 50 pounds of Kings.  Whether is be five at 10 pounds, or two 25 pounders.  Then, they're shot and you'll lose a lot of fish from them not keeping the line tight.  Tomorrow's topic? ...rebuilding the fleet.

8/17/18  S of Manistee, MI the 10s starting in 75' of water there is a DNR "test" net running SW for 3/8 0f a mile.  Same thing at the 9.5 numbers. 
               My understanding of "test" nets? ...test nets are deadly gill nets that kills everything that gets stuck in them depending on mesh size.  These nets are scheduled to be pulled this morning at 9:30am.  So, beware of this area in the morning!
              A huge thank you goes out to Capt. Brad Peterson from Angler Management Charters in Manistee for calling in with this info.  Click Angler Management website
              Kevin D aka Chummer had a good morning yesterday.  Nice 5 fish box on meat.  Know he was using 350 coppers and pulls a lot of meat.  Many thanks to Kevin for the high quality photos he shares with us!  Click Chummer's 8/16/18 catch

8/16/18  Fished Manistee, MI last evening from 7 till 9pm.  Setup in the 13s and trolled S to the 10s.  Hit 3 fish all on the same rigger 75' down over 80' to 88' of water.  Temp break was 55' down.  Salmon my wife, Merlene & I caught came out of 48-50° water. 
              Troll speed was 2 mph.  Flavor of the day was the 12" Ghostbuster combo.  All 3 bites came on this rig.  Seas were a nice 1' chop that made for a pleasant evening.
              This is the 3rd day in a row I've fished.  Haven't done that since leaving the charter business in 2003 (15 years ago).  Caught our 1st adult Coho in 2018.
                  Big fish, big fun!  Go get 'em!  Click wife's too big to hold fish

Important 1pm supplemental update:  In the 9.5 numbers S of Manistee, MI there is a new net going in according to Capt. Brad from Angler Management Charters.  No further info.  Could be a test net, or a long term trap net.  Will investigate for more info ASAP!

8/15/18  Fished a very lumpy Lk. MI out of Arcadia, MI with Capt. Steve B. aboard his battleship, a 35' Cabo.  3 to 4s from the SW that grew into 5s when we pulled lines. 
              There was some fish in the Steeple Hole, but as we got closer to the Herring Hole it was pretty grim.  Temp dropped by 10' from the stout SW wind.
              News for all: even a 35' boat in sloppy seas is not a pleasant way to fish. 
So, buying bigger will not flatten out the boat ride during trolling, or on the way in.

8/14/18  Yesterday morning it was my great pleasure with fish Lk. MI off Manistee, MI with Wayne J from 6:30 am till almost noon.  Wayne has been a significant asset to my tackle manufacturing business since 2005.  Plus, manning the my show booth some years back.
               Today's reel story begins with water temp and a narrow playground for Kings with a sharp break at 55' down where it was 51°.  Then falling off rapidly to the 40s.
               We hit 2 adult  Kings on Salmon Buster™ spoons (Yellowtail & Super Gold Bullet) about 40' down in 60° water at 2.2 mph.  We had 2 bites on meat running about 65' down in the colder 40° water at the same troll speed.  Click Wayne J's biggie
               Heartbreaker was when Wayne masterfully coaxed a big King within 25' of the boat.  Only have the hook pop-out when the rascal porpoised.  Then, we had a screamer running line off the diver rod on the new White Lightning 10" Combo that mysteriously cut the line between the 1st and 2nd fly.  So, we dealt with Houdini fish on our first 2 tries.
              Good news is we took a goodie, probably in the low 20s on the Super Gold Bullet 4.65 spoon and smaller guy fall prey to a Ghostbuster 10" Combo on the diver stick.
              Should we be disappointed with a 2 fish box?  Hell no!  It was a great morning doing battle with the hardest fighting, most majestic fish in our Great Lakes, Mr. King Salmon.  Lk. MI played nice with flat calm seas on a gorgeous sunny summer day.

8/13/18  Here's the reel story on today's featured photo:

Took a 28lb 5 oz fish John on the new white lightning meat rig i got from you when i visited the shop Thursday using the meat prep straight from the package as we discussed. 62 ft down in 145 fow just of Arcadia south Nr golf course.  Click for this fish
              I'll send you some nice pics of the fish/lure later this morning. From the time i set up the rig and put it in the water I was confident that this lure was going to produce and it didn't disappoint me. At first hook up the fish seemed smaller as it came to the surface very quickly but once it realized it was hooked it was game on and it almost spooled the entire reel with 650' of line! Some 25 mins later we got the fish to the net & the battle was over.
             Thanks once again for giving me the opportunity to try out this new lure, the reflections of light color in strong sunshine are dazzling. Talk more soon, Steve"

8/12/18  Successful fish report from Derek L who fished Manistee yesterday:

"Capt. King, Started skinny away from the circus at the shelf. It paid off big time. Lots of bait and fish in tight. Big fish went 39.5. 2nd master angler (over 27lbs.) of the week and 5th in 5 years using your meat rigs.  Dredging buoys at the pier heads are making travel in the dark interesting. It looked like a charter caught a poly ball the other night and was getting assistance from the DNR. Thanks, Derek"  Click Derek's catch pic

39.5 is a ginormous big dad King!  Will be contacting Derek for more photos.  He emailed me thumbnails of his catch, not full file size.  Checked the temp off Manistee, MI last evening in short abbreviated trip due to water rougher than I wanted to fish (1 to 3s going to 4s).
            55' down was 54° and a good comfort level down to 70' with 44° in the 11 numbers over 190'.  This is a better temp range then what the Ludington temp buoy was saying.

8/11/18  Have a great summer weekend!  Yesterday's results are sketchy at best seeing I only spoke with one fisherman.  Looks like a handful or less fish per boat unless you hit the mother lode.  Good news is there are adult Kings in Manistee, MI for the taking.

8/10/18  From what I've been able to piece together, Frankfort is leading the way among central LK. MI ports such as Manistee and Ludington for big Kings.  Know boats from Arcadia are running N to fish Frankfort waters and doing decent.
              Forecast Lk. MI wind and seas are not bad for this weekend.  Was at Manistee's 1st Street Launch on this past Wednesday.  Parking lot was half full and that was for a weekday.  Look for even more of the fleet to show up this weekend!
              Remember courtesy goes a long ways, we all have the same goal in mind! 

  Today's featured pic is from UP charter skipper, Capt. Steve S.  It shows for all to see the honest grin on Michael's (holding the fish) face.  Even better is the big guy King tipped the scales at 26 pounds.  Here's the reel-story from Capt. Steve:

Here's the pic of last night's big fish. Michael caught this one on a 10" Ghostbuster bti/meat rig combo. As usual, the fish completely inhaled the meat and was hooked deep in the gills.
          Weight was 26 lbs and was caught off Fairport. Michael thought that pattern had the best name of them all and was convinced it was going to catch a big fish. He was right, and very excited. Steve"  Click for Michael's 26 pounder

8/8/18  Been testing a new pattern for 2019 that shows great promise.  This is a cornucopia of dazzling shifting blue, pink, turquoise and silver all at once.  This is the most advanced lure tape I seen come down the pike.  Click White Lightning color
             When it takes the only fish caught it means I'm onto something good.  Have this color in a spoon that's caught Steelhead and Salmon.  More testing is needed.

8/7/18  Yesterday, spoke with Frankfort, MI charter skipper, Capt. Brian Murphy and owner of the Frankfort Tackle Box across from the public launch.  Brian said fishing was good from Grace Rd. to Point Betsie with 6 to 9 Kings per boat (did not ask if this was the sports fleet, or the charter guys).  He echoed my 8/5/18 update with the bite coming later in the morning around 9am.  So, this is good news for all who frequent this port!

8/6/18  Right now finding temp 40° to 50° range is the key to success.  Recent S and SW wind has pushed a lot of warm water in at all central Lk. MI ports.  Be prepared to fish 70' and deeper when you find the thermocline.  Ludington temp buoy said 71° at 69' down. 
             So, there is a possibility inshore depths down to 100' or better could be all warm water.  If that's the case? ...move out deeper until you find the colder water.
            Posted an interesting photo of how far summer Kings inhale meat.  The 2 trebles were stuck way down in the throat at the opening of the stomach. Click inhaled meat

8/5/18  S and SW wind have drove the temp down past where the Ludington, Mi temp buoy can read it.  64° at 69' is what the temp buoy read at midnight.
            Here's a tip you can file away for future use.  Learned during my 20 years as a charter boat skipper, deep summer Salmon usually don't offer much of an early bite.  When the sun is coming up, low angle light rays from the sun do not penetrate the depths down to 100' and deeper.  Give it time, those deep fish will take off once the sun rises a little.

8/4/18  Have a great weekend.  Strong wind from the S and SW this weekend is going to move the fish deeper.  How much? ...only time will tell.  Deep is good for meat fishermen!

8/3/18  Feel good story to me posting Randy R's solo fishing trip with a double header on big summer adult Kings.  Here's Randy's E Grand Traverse Bay reel-fish tale:
John just thought I would send you a picture from this morning’s catch  with a Solo Double header using your 10” X-Glow Mean Green flasher & Pearl fly combos off dipseys.  I just bought these a week ago and BOOM 2 Kings on at the same time!  1 - 17# female and 1 - 21# Male quite a battle I wont forget.  Click for Randy's fish
             Thanks for the great products  More to come for sure." Randy R.

8/2/18  Posted a photo the flasher/meat rig™ combos we used on this past Tuesday's trip.  12" Ghostbuster was the best with 3 solid rigger hits with Kings pulling drag.  Unfortunately, 2 of these fish became unbuttoned.  This was completely our fault from lack of time on the water.  Seldom do we lose rigger fish. Click 7/13/18 fish box
            Being a short evening trip with lines in the water for 3 1/2 hours the 5 hits made the time fly by.  Granted it's not my big catches from yesteryear, but it was still fun! 

8/1/18  Yesterday, stumbled into a few fish S of Manistee in the 9s with the father-son duo of Todd and Dylan B. Fished the evening from 6 until almost 9:30pm.  Lost 2 dandies from ring rust.  All on meat.  Temp was on our side for a change.  54° at 65 down and stayed in the high to mid 40s down to a 105'.  Lk. MI played nice with seas around 1'.
             Marked lots of bait, some suspended, most bait piles were on the bottom.  GhostBuster, Skinny Minnie and Super Silver Bullet combos all took hits.  Ended up with 2 adult Kings and a juvenile.  One went over 20 lbs.  Click for our biggest King
            Weird thing was the fish that hit best were in 60° water down about 50'.  Meat generally don't do well on warm water Kings.  This was an anomaly for us.

7/31/18  Fishing was great out of Manistee yesterday.  It's the catching part the left a lot to be desired.  Most boats struggled to get into a fish, or 2 in the area from straight out to 4-5 miles S.  Pepé Le Pew, the loveable Looney Tunes skunk hitched a ride on more than one boat.  Monday's are always tough after a tournament weekend.
              Do know some ports on the WI side of Lk. MI are going gangbusters on adult Kings.  MI side not so much.  But this can change in a heartbeat with the right wind.
              Good news, the thermocline is finally going deeper.  Remember, it not your fault, or lack of skills when fishing is dreadfully slow.  You can't create what's not there!     

7/30/18  I have no info on the fishing out of Manistee, MI.  Just haven't had the time to splash the boat with the summer rush in full swing.
              Do know there's good news on the way for this week prompted by warmer weather that means wind for the S.  This will drive the temp down & improve the fishing. 

7/29/18  Promo tackle sale starts today with bonus offers.

7/28/18  New 2018 X-Glow 12" flashers are in-house and being built.  Continuity in color was accomplished old stock versus new.  Glow properties has been doubled in the new blades.  This exclusive colorant mix is a proprietary blend I have not seen on other glow tackle.  Improving tackle is a goal we met.  Click old vs. new flashers  All 12" flashers & 12" combo deals have been restocked & are available now at: www.michiganangler.com

7/27/18  Good luck to all fishing this weekend.  Keep an open mind to fish and water temperature.  In 2012 out of my home port of Manistee, MI caught early season (April) Manistee Kings down a 155' in 35-36° over 250'-300'. Click for these fish
              In July 2016 had a nice catch of Kings, some Steelhead out of the Port of Manistique, MI in MI's upper peninsula that came out of 60-62° water.  Water depth was 50'-60' of water with the fish coming 35' to 50' down. 
              Then, factor in all the late season adult harbor patrol adult Kings we caught in the charter business (1983-2003) in 70, up 72° water temp.
              So, there are no rules written in stone about preferred temp.  Only educated guesses that messes with your mind.  Especially, if you're not catching fish!

7/26/18  This week's MDNR weekly fishing report was not a glowing review on any MI ports.  Right now, Manistee, MI is a crap shoot with spotty King Salmon fishing. 
               This due mostly to a high temp break.  Lack of a deep thermocline means the fish can be anywhere from the beach to the middle of Lk. MI.  This morning's W wind has moved the temp break a little deeper, but not by much (36' down) according to Ludington's down temp buoy.  Prior 50° water temp was only 15' down.
               Trusted source, Wayne J. who fished this past Tuesday relayed inside of 50' it was wall to wall bait.  Most he's seen is several years.  Bait balls out deeper too!
              The best 4, maybe ...5 weeks of the summer Salmon season are in front of us.  Let's hope for some S & SW wind to push the fish deeper and it happens soon!

7/25/18  "John, Just wanted to pass along a good word on your tackle. This fly has caught 18 fish on it between last year and this year.  Still in great shape even though a few pieces of missing tinsel." Julie S. Northern Lk. Huron  Click Silver Seagreen Glo Fly
              Good to hear positive feedback on my tackle.  Our trolling flies are made with adhesives that get stronger over time.  Ever try to remove an old decal?  Bet you have!

7/24/18  Lack a defined thermocline with info gleaned from the Ludington down temp buoy changed my mind about fishing this afternoon.  Ludington Down Temp Buoy
              10' down is 51° with 61° on the surface.  This means the Kings could be anywhere and I don't have time to look for the proverbial, "needle in the haystack."  Factor in the water is in the 40s at 26' down says working structure could be a hard go.
              Even back when I was a paid pro fish assassin in the charter business struggled on high Kings at this time of the season.  My fish assassin skills have long since left the building and know my time will be better spent in the shop today.
              Do know out deeper the temp will be a lot deeper and more in your favor.  But for a short 3-4 hour evening fish time is not on my side.

7/23/18  Shop bound building tackle and shipping orders makes me the least informed fisherman around my parts.  Did sneak a peek at results of this weekend's Ludington Offshore Classic and saw a 28 pounder and change was the big King for this 2 day event.  The winning boat caught 23 of the 24 allowed and averaged around 10 pounds per fish.
              Should have some fish reports from trusted sources soon.  Hope to get out this week when the workload lessens.  This summer is going by too fast for me.
              All X-Glow white 12" flashers are sold out.  Should have a new shipment in this week.  New 12" flashers will be improved with even more glow properties.

7/21/18  Have a great weekend!

7/20/18  Good luck to all the weekend warriors.  Saturday is going to be touch and go with thunderstorms predicted.  2' to 3' seas look to be tolerable except for fast moving storms coming across Lk. MI.  Staying close to port is a good idea tomorrow.
              As Manistee, MI welcomes the summer Salmon fleet, please note at the 1st launch the city has a chart down by the ramps with commercial trap net locations.  Did not verify the info, so beware and careful. Click Manistee traps printable page

7/19/18  Had the great pleasure to fish with Wayne J and Todd B last evening out of the Port of Manistee, MI for a few hours.  Fished pretty much straight out in 125' to 225' of water.  Just didn't mark that many fish in this area.  Marked a few pods of bait.
              Did see one boat when we came in with 6, or 7 fish that included 2 decent adult Kings.  So, there are fish to be caught if you hit the right area.  We ended up with one small Steelhead and a good time on flat, calm seas.  There were no fish in the harbor last night.

7/18/18  Explaining the the mechanics of our meat heads today that begins with the all important toothpick.  Keep it simple stupid (KISS) works for me.  Said pick works to hold the bait inside the head, that's obvious.  Click toothpick & meat head
               Mechanically pegging the toothpick in the rear of the head to 2 purposes. 
1. To hold tension on how far back you want to the hook to be from the head.
2. Plus, it's a jettison device to free up the head when a fish eats your bait sliding up the leader/line.  This means your foe cannot use the head against you and pry out the hook.
               Best part of the pick in the rear hole?  You can tune bend in the fillet/strip/whole bait to control the rate of spin, adjusted to your trolling speed. 

7/17/18  Let's leadoff today with Zack's 31.7 King Salmon caught this past Saturday morning while fishing with his dad, Mike K.  Mike shared the fish take was 2 to 4 fish a boat with some doing better numbers targeting Lake Trout.  He also mention he marked a lot of bait, most he's seen in a long time.  Click Zack's 31.7 lb. jumbo King

7/16/18  Mid-July and King fishing is beginning to perk up.  Today's chat exposes the myth of hooks supposed to be sharp out of the package, or box.  This is total BS.  Hooks are packed tightly in 1000 counts.  Every bump, or jar these hooks take during travel?  Common sense says the fact of rubbing together is going to knock off some of the point.
              Hook files were invented for a reason to put the finishing touch on a hook.  So, use them.  Reason behind hooks 101 today?  King Salmon as they mature their skin turns into leather.  In fact, billfolds are being made from Salmon hide.  That's why it's important to make the most of your opportunities and not miss bites!  Click hook packaging

7/15/18  Have a great Sunday!

7/14/18  In late 2013 developed a new way to snell our hooks for meat rigs™.  Prior we were bending up the hook eyes.  We broke a lot of hooks doing this.
              Having a straight pull on the main part of the hook is where good things begin to happen.  Having hooks kinked off to the side, due to an off kilter knot will lose bites.
             This is not the same snell knot I taught at sport shows, seminars, or MI Steelheader meetings.  I consider this knot solely proprietary and it stays a company secret.
              You can see in today's pic this is a dead straight line pull on the shank of a 1/0 VMC treble used on our single hook version meat rigs™.  Works even better on our super deadly dual treble-double snelled hooks.  Click meat rig™ snell knot

7/13/18  With the adult big King season right around the corner ...let's look at a tip today that will save you lost fish and the frustration that goes with it.
               First off, Kings that hit meat tend to take it deeply.  This chaffs the line to the hook bigtime.  As Kings mature their gums shrink exposing more teeth to nick the line.  So, keep an watchful eye on the condition of the leader to the hook.
               Swap this out at the first signs of wear.  That's why my 2nd generation meat rigs™ were designed to have replaceable leaders to the hook.  I was the 1st to do this.

7/12/18  Approaching crunch time for the Great Lakes tackle business.  Been extra busy orders out the door.  Surprise best selling this week is our Super Snubbers™ developed to increase "fish in the net ratio" for wire, or super braid no stretch lines.
              I can only speak for myself, but 80% of diver hits come to the net. These snubbers that have 2-3 times the amount give other snubbers have.  In the tackle business the word does spread overtime.  When you have a superior product, this product advertises itself when results are shared among the fleet!  Click for Super Snubber™ info

7/11/18  Continuity, meaning making identical tackle is one of the hardest things I've ran across in the manufacturing/tackle business I started in 2004.  One of the biggest issues is colorants, or masterbatch used for injection molding.  My suppliers seem to never have the exact same colorant a few years down the road when we need to order more.
              Know how spooky fishermen are about colors and even a subtle change in colors will be noticed.  I know, because I belong to this crowd too!

7/10/18  Today's featured pic of an adult 22 lb. King is from Fairport in MI's upper peninsula sent in by Capt. Steve Sager from Top 40 Charters.  My thanks to Steve, a transplant from Manistee to Escanaba, MI where his boat docked now.
               Interesting to note, this King is turning darker on it's way to a river spawner.  Full blown adults have a preference for anything that glows.  I'm sure you've heard, "go with the glow."  This fish hit a 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoon in the Ghostbuster pattern.
               Saw firsthand how deadly the Ghostbuster was in 2016 when we fished out of Manistique in the upper.  You can see this too at: 8/10/16 Salmon 1 & 8/10/16 Salmon 2

7/9/18  Tomorrow and Wednesday central Lk. MI of Manistee is going to play nice with calm seas.  Hope to find time to go test some new tackle that has shown potential.
             Making something out of nothing was accomplished last week by message board member, Sean L. out of Pentwater, MI.  His search for Salmon was a no go.  So, he worked higher in the water column and caught some decent Steelhead to 16 pounds.
             Even though preferred temp was 80' to 115' down Sean ran a good portion of his spread high, from 10' to 40' down in the 60
° water that sat on top of the thermocline.

7/7/18  Cooler weather has been perfect to catch up on painted tackle.  Too warm and the paint starts drying in the tip unless you use additives.
              Fishing out of Manistee, MI is so-so according to the few reports I've heard.  In about 3 weeks prime time for adult Kings will be here.  No longer will you have to look for them, because these fish are homing in on rivers and streams.
              Plus, the Salmon go on a feeding binge transitioning to a spawning river fish.  Good times on the water is what we all have to look forward to!

7/6/18  Fishing news for anything to do with central Lk. MI are hard to come by.  Do know some Kings to and over 20 pounds have been caught.  But not in great numbers.
             Methods used have been scattershot.  From 3 colors of lead core to 140' down says we're not in the glory days ...yet.  Spoons to meat have all be mentioned.
             My struggle with Lk. MI has been locating suspended bait that make fishing for King Salmon a heck of a lot easier.  Good news is the warm push of water that has increased plankton growth that will attract the bait sooner, or later.
            Trying to run a day ahead on my updates to save time for production.  Dreadfully low on spoons and any tackle that requires air brush art work.

7/5/18  Here's the GPS coordinates for the net in the 20 numbers up by Onekama, MI: 

20s  Net Staff Buoy
44° 20'.905 N
086° 20'.102 W
86' of water

20s Trap Net Pot Staff Buoy?
44° 20'.974 N
086° 20'.427 W
103' of water

20s W King Anchor Buoy?
44° 20'.984 N
086° 20'.666 W

114' of water

Use at your own risk: We never found both flag staff buoys, nor could confirm the King anchor.  Seas were choppy on 7/2/18 and locating/seeing anything was difficult!

7/4/18  It's going to be a wait and see if the tribal netters remove the 3 trap nets off Manistee and Onekama, MI according to a very trusted source.
                                   Have a great 4th of July Holiday!

7/3/18  Trap net about 1 mile N of Onekama, MI's harbor is very sketchy.  Found only one staff maker buoy in the 20.9 numbers.  Lk. MI was kinda lumpy and evening sun reflection off the water made it hard to spot anything. Click for GPS & Staff Buoy
              Inside word from a trusted source who spoke with the tribal fishermen from the Soo, they said they'd be pulling their nets shortly.  So, let's hope my all work is for nothing.
              Figure the BM on the flag staff buoys stands for the Bay Mills tribe.  This is the same tribe that completely wiped out the Lake Trout population in Little Traverse Bay with gill nets in the early 1970s.  I witnessed this with my own eyes back then.
              Did not fish.  Only there to gather net intel.  Ran the probe down, 60
° at 100' down and 56° at 115' down.  2 day blow from the S has really lowered the thermocline.

7/2/18  Found out there was another trap net close to Onekama, MI.  Rough estimated numbers is 20.5 and begins in 70-80 feet of water.  Going to try to locate and record the lat/lons this afternoon depending on work load.  Stay tuned for more info...

7/1/18  Finally, put together a printable page with the GPS coordinates gathered over the past few weeks.  Put a lot of time into editing the trap net image with full explanations everyone can understand.  Heat wave continues! Click for printable page

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!  Click for printable page

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 King 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 King 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.

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

2015 Results
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April, May & June
July, August & September

2014 Results
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January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

2013 Results
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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
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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