July, August & September 2019

Kings and Coho
7/2/19 E Chicago, IN

Atlantic Salmon
Detour, MI Lk. Huron

Evening Kings
8/20/19 Frankfort, MI

X-Glow A.I. SB 4.0
8/24/19 Rogers City, MI

Archived daily log entries for July, August & September 2019

9/30/19  All indoor activities this week with rain predicted thru Thursday.  Weeks like this is where we set the stage for 2020.  Painting tackle to replenish inventory needs attention.
               Things like maintenance is another pressing project.  Oil changes on my 1979 Sea Ray and plow truck will get done.  Along with getting ready for another Lk. MI trip, or two in search of Steelhead before we wrap up the 2019 season.
                Have a new article that will debut later this year called, "Sally the One Eyed Salmon."  She was a gallant female that grew in excess of 23 lbs. being semi blind.  Caught thousands of Kings during my long Great Lakes career.  This is the only one I can remember that was partially blind.  Proving fish don't feed by sight alone.

9/29/19  Rain will probably limit my access to the internet for a while.  Close to 200' underground cable needs replacing.  Not only do we have to have the rain to stop, but the ground have to dry out, as not to provide a ground for the aging coax/cable.  Do have some plans in the works that will be a first for this website ..if it's not too wet?
                                      Have a great Sunday!

9/28/19  September is the month we try to finish up loose ends to get ready for winter.  October is devoted to 2020 production while it's still warm enough to paint tackle and do inventory.  This is prep for ordering tackle.  Meat heads need to be restocked for the 2020 season.  Know we're almost out of certain colors and glow was sold out.
               Purchased a 16' 4k Craig's List special that needed a lot of work.  Rebuilt the trailer bunks, added LED trailer lights, electric anchor winch and installed new fish finder.  This boat is a 1998 Grumman aluminum boat that fine for inland waters.  Perch season is approaching.  Having a small EZ to handle boat means more time on the water.
              Plan on fishing one of the small lakes in Manistee County today for whatever is willing to bite a hook.  Have a great weekend!

9/27/19  Lk. MI is stacked with a lot of warm water at our central Lk. MI ports of Manistee, Ludington and Frankfort.  Today's forecast rain and several rain days ahead of us should bring what's left of the 2019 Salmon run into our rivers and streams.
              Postponed my trip to the the Little Manistee Harvest Weir till next week.  Will check out Pine Creek, a tributary of the Big Manistee River soon.  Been doing a photo documentary on this designated Trout Stream since 2007. Click Pine Creek article

9/26/19  Looking for a window to fish Lk. MI in the near future.  Need a decent day with no rain and calm seas to coax my boat back into action.  Looks like next week is OK.
               My video effort for this year yielded little useable footage.  Bites were so far apart lost interest to even set the cams up.  Maybe the next trip out, Steelhead will be less shy then this past summer's King run that was pitiful for me with a fish, or 2 per trip.

9/25/19  Drone practice day.  Need more time operating the controller in wide open spaces.  Too many trees at my place in Manistee County, MI for long distance flights.
              Have a set of virtual reality goggles that need fine tuning.  This puts me in complete direct command in the first person.  Seeing the landscape from a bird's perspective is highly useful developing top-notch, high quality overhead videos.

9/24/19  Second day of fall 2019.  About time for a quick trip to check out the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir to see how many Kings have arrived.  My guess is not many.  Have not heard any reports from this facility.  Should have some info for you soon.
              Fall is a great time to fish Lk. MI.  Steelhead off the surface (top 30') is about as good as it gets.  While our King fishery is on the skids, Steelhead fishing have remained fairly consistent over the long haul.  Still have more big lake fishing in front of me.

9/23/19  The Platte River flows thru Loon Lake that's about a mile long and a few hundred yards wide.  This is probably the only place in MI where we can document millions of Salmon have returned since 1968.  Early days, heard well over a 100k annual return.
               Loon Lake has a lot of history for yours truly.  This place taught me how to fish Salmon.  Learned the hard way that cheap swivels and poor knots don't hold up.
               This is where I had my 1st double on Coho in fall the of 1969.  Caught my 1st King/Chinook there in the early 1970s.  Click Platte River entering Loon Lk.
               Gained a lot of knowledge fishing this tiny pond that was shared freely with fishing friends developed over the years of 1969 thru 1979.  Being an incredibly crowed place to fish ...developed consideration and tolerance of boat traffic.  No matter how hard the wind blew on the Lk. MI, Loon Lk. was always fishable.  2019 is my 50th anniversary of fishing Loon Lk. that's only a mere shadow of it's former place in MI's rich fishing times past.

9/22/19  Big rain storm is on the way.  It's likely my satellite internet won't be working until these storms blow.  So, I'm fast forwarding to Monday.

9/21/19  Fished Loon Lk. in Benzie County, MI yesterday afternoon aboard Wayne J's boat, the Take Five.  His boat is a 1995 16' Sea Nymph specially rigged as a one man operation.
              Intent was to target Coho the DNR passed up the lower weir earlier that day.  These Coho did not stage, or hold in Loon Lk.  They scooted up the river asap.  Our sonar showed less and less fish as the afternoon progressed. Click for Mr. Whiskers
            All was not lost.  We managed to boat a 4-5 lb. Catfish on an all black 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon down 30' over 40' of water.  This was a first for me.  Seeing a Catfish whack one of my spoons just adds to list of species caught on the SBs. 

9/20/19  Hoping the MDNR passes more fish up the lower weir on the Platte River in Benzie County, MI.  So far, the DNR has allowed 1,736 adult and 124 jack coho salmon were passed above the Lower Platte River Weir this morning. Click hatchery's Facebook page
             This brings the total to 6,453 adult and 666 jack coho salmon passed above the Lower Platte River Weir for the year. The MDNR can pass up to 20k above the lower weir per agreement with the Platte Lake Association.
             If they do allow more fish upriver today?  ...will try to fish Loon Lake aboard Wayne J's boat, the Take Five.  First year I fished Loon Lake was in September of 1969.
            Loon Lake is fed by the Platte River.  This lake is W of the M22 Platte River Bridge.

9/19/19  Still no lights.  Amazon order messed up by UPS.  New LED lights are in Lansing, MI today, not Manistee as hoped.  Working in dark office for the time being.
              Did manage to piece together a photo of my wiring fix that will be discussed in greater detail tomorrow.  Focus will be on boat trailers that are often over looked.

9/18/19  Office will be closed thru this Friday while we upgrade to new LED lighting.  This was prompted when one of the 4' fluorescent eBallast starter failed. 
                No sense is using old technology that uses a lot my juice than LED fixtures. 
Regular updates will resume after the new lights have been installed.
               Do have a secret surprise trip in the works ...if everything comes together?

9/17/19  Today's featured photo is not what to do when you're re-wiring a boat, or boat trailer.  Quick splice solderless terminals shown in pic is the last thing I'd use.  Soldering means a direct connection that will last the life of the wire.
               We all have different skill sets.  In the age of the internet there's no excuse to crap things together.  Wiring like a pro is just a click away in a search engine.
               Will show the "after" pic when I'm done installing the new 4 prong trailer connector with a wire loom protector.  Rather than the roll of black plastic tape that had to be remove to get to the connection point.  Click before wiring mess

9/16/19  Still some days in the future for me to fish Lk. MI again.  Waiting for the early October run  of Steelhead before the next trip.  Late season fishing is excellent for seeing how much bait there is off my home port of Manistee, MI.
              Plus, it's a great time to showcase what our Salmon Buster™ can do.  I really look forward to fall fishing.  Crowds are gone and the fish usually cooperate.  Only question is when the wind lays down enough to go to target this exciting surface fishery.
              MDNR weekly fishing report painted a pretty rosy picture of the fishing off Manistee that's a
contradiction to everything I've heard as of lately.

9/15/19  The State of MI and the MDNR has a long history of over playing their hand.  They lost the tribal fisheries fight, because our state didn't read the words in the treaty. 
              Same deal when the MDNR was confronted my the Platte Lake Owners Association over the discharge of waste back into the Platte River.  They lost again.
              Now, the MDNR tells me not to feed the deer on my property over CWD concerns with a ban on baiting.  Every oak tree on my property makes a bait pile. 
             Deer for the most part are social creatures that run in herds, large and small.  During winter, seen multiple deer strip pine needles off the same branch from my kitchen window that faces the backyard ...while doing the dishes many times.
             Guess, the only right thing to do is have the MDNR start paying my taxes.  That would enhance their position with the baiting ban. MI's small game season opens today.

9/13/19  Skipping today, Friday the 13th.  Have a great weekend!

9/12/19  Learning aka adjusting to specific area conditions never ceases to amaze me.  Recent Rogers City Lk. Huron trip educated me about how a meat program in warm 66° water in the top 30' trolled at 2.6 mph.  This blows my previous belief that meat works best trolled slow (2 mph, or less) and deep in 44° to 38° cold water.
              Today's featured photo was sent in by Julie S from Rogers City, MI. and confirms that adult warm water Kings in the top 50' will hit attractor/fly combinations too. 
              Here's what Julie had to say:

"Just though I would pass it along but we still have kings floating  around here. We picked these up in 50ft of water off Swan on Monday (9/9/19)  Click Julie's boat record King
            We got these on Monday my personal best 27.5 lbs the other one on the right was 18. 27.5 lbs biggest ever on our boat!  The big one hit your blue green fly (X-G Seagreen) behind a dodger. Love that fly with a white dodger"  Julie S. aka Fish Squeezer

9/11/19  On May 24, 2011 the MDNR planted 200k plus 169,849k (370k) Chinook at the 9 Mile Bridge in the Little Manistee River.  4 Years later in the fall of 2015, the return at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir was a dismal 654 Kings.  There was no DNR public release, outcry, or explanation on why this happened. Click Little Manistee Weir info
              Obliviously, there's something way-wrong with the fish the MDNR is stocking.   
              Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again, but expecting different results.” Click MDNR stocking data
             You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the rut we're stuck in.
             If the Fisheries Division of the MDNR was a Fortune 500 company? ...the entire top echelon of the under performing Bozo management would have been fired a long time ago.

9/10/19  Need to chase down some of my archived charter catch pics for the early i2ks to show you back then and now.  Elephant in the room nobody is talking about?  Serious lack of survival & mortality issues of the Kings being raised at the Platte River Hatchery.
              In the spring 2014 the MDNR planted 300k Chinook smolts at the 9 Mile Bridge in the Little Manistee River.  300k plant yielded only a 1300 King return in 2018.
              What makes the 1300 number sound even worse?  How many of these were naturally spawned Kings?  That could easily cut this number in half.
              The MDNR has spent millions of dollars on the sprawling Platte River Hatchery complex that's been hamstrung by the Platte Lake Association.  They sued the State of Michigan and won on how much effluent could be discharged back into the Platte River.
              So, the Platte Hatchery must recycle their water.  From my layman's view, this just doesn't sound healthy.  Meaning: millions of fish being raised in their own excrement.
              Would you buy bottled water labeled: "Recycled Sparkling Water" from your local sewage treatment plant?  I rest my case.

9/9/19  This website is about fishing news, good, bad or indifferent.  Today's update is from our roving reporter, Wayne J.  Here's his investigative reel-story from yesterday:

Checked launch at 12:30. Mark the fish cleaning guy only did 4 fish. MSU had some people there working for the UFWS taking samples etc. They had been there since 9:30 and only had 4 fish that they studied. Not the same ones as Mark.
             So....8 fish at the cleaning station all morning. Some kind of tournament going on too but they were not going to weigh until after 2 and I had to go. Total trailers...10.
             USFW people were up in TC yesterday. They only had 4 fish all day at the launch ramp. Wayne, aka Take Five

9/8/19  Sunday, took the day off.  Went to Manistee Lk.  Used my sonar the S end where the Little Manistee River enters.  Never marked anything that looked like Salmon.

9/7/19  1st Street boat launch in Manistee looks like it came from a scene on the Walking Dead TV Show.  Only thing that's missing? ...a few blood thirsty zombies hiding behind the fish cleaning shack.  Now, it's mostly deserted providing a landing pad for seagulls.
             There has to be a reason the King run get shorter every season.  It's been 16 years since I quit chartering in 2003.  King run was peaking right about now.  Back in 2003 it was done around the middle of this month.  Not 2 weeks ago in 2019.

9/6/19  Never made it to Lk. MI yesterday.  Busy in the shop preparing orders got in the way.  Meat Rig™ manufacturers are already ordering meat heads for next season.
             Fishing is supposed to be about fun.  Something that was in short supply this season aboard my boat.  It was an exercise in futility targeting Kings that didn't exist under my boat.  Granted, fishing 1 day a week for 3-4 hours inspired no fear in the fish.
             Getting back to fun.  It was big fun catching an adult King on the "Bite Me" Salmon Buster™ 4.0 A. I. spoon.  Took a Magic Marker and wrote it out. Click Bite Me spoon
             Gary O. aboard, said, "you ruined a perfectly good lure."  Then, was stunned when the "Bite Me" spoon swimming behind a diver took our largest Rogers City, Lk. Huron King.

9/5/19  Fishing today if the weather prediction for calm seas hold true.  Thinking of a trip to Frankfort, MI, but that involves a lot of travel time.  Know there should be some Coho available, but don't want to make the 17 mile run from Frankfort to E Platte Bay.  W Platte Bay is a little closer that's always subject to huge down temp swings.  W Platte Bay is where I caught my first Lk. MI Salmon on October 1, 1968.

9/4/19  Mum is the word on the amount of Salmon caught during the Labor Day Weekend out of the Port of Manistee, MI.  Did hear Steelhead picked up some of the slack in the water depths of 300' and deeper.  Guess our naturally reproducing Salmon pie in the sky is not enough to sustain the once mighty King fishery Manistee used to have. 
            Last week of August and the 1st week of September is when the fishing/catching was easiest during my charter years of 1983-2003.  Just goes to show you nothing stays the same forever.  MDNR needs a swift kick in the ass to assess the baitfish population and manage the Lk. MI correctly where the majority of the plants DO NOT GO to other states!

9/3/19  Lackluster describes what I heard from Manistee and Ludington.  Labor Day Weekend boat traffic out of Manistee should be considered as light for this holiday weekend.  Maybe 35 boat trailers at the 1st public launch for the Sunday evening go-round.
             Back to the daily grind after having a few days off.  Not much time to dig deeper for quality fish reports.  Hopefully, more will filter in today.
             Looking forward to fishing Lk. MI later this week.  Know finding Kings are tough, but there should be a few Coho around.  At least I hope so!

9/2/19  Have a great Labor Day!

9/1/19  Please note in today's top photo, the fillet was laid off with one slice of the 12" Forschner Cimeter.  This keep the fillet perfectly intact.  Plus, all the innards stay inside the rib bones that do not make a big mess on the cleaning table.  Not having the fillet all torn apart that looks like a cat chewed on it, is more appetizing. Click 1 slice quick fillet job
             Takes an extremely sharp blade to do this correctly that angles 45 degrees back from the ribs.  Using all 12" of the blade, as the knife is pulled towards the tail.

8/31/19  Burrr .. a chilly 43° at my place this morning.  Wanted to give Lk. MI another try, but then thought about the crazy, zoo-like conditions.  Listened to my better angels that said, stay home, they'll be plenty of opportunities after the crowds go home.

8/30/19  Have a great and safe Labor Day Weekend, because you deserve it!  Taking a few days off to enjoy the unofficial end of summer 2019.  Might wet a line of two.
               Detroit Area Steelheaders winning catch was 48.25 pounds caught by the boat, Moonshot.  They boated 2 Kings and 4 Lake Trout.  Mix-up on previously listed weight of 102 lbs in 5 fish must have came from the Thunder Bay chapter of Steelheaders.

8/29/19  This remains to be seen: the forecast for Labor Day Weekend is definitely in favor of the central Lk. MI fleet.  What's in question is today's blow from the SW how much warm water will be pushed in.  Hope there's enough to set up the thermocline around a 100' down.  That's when it's in the wheel house of a dedicated attractor/meat program.
               The Pere Marquette, Betsie and Manistee Rivers all had a recent shove of fish.  How many Kings are left in the Lk. MI is anyone's guess.  Do know the MDNR over correction of less plants has hurt angler participation with less boats fishing Lk. MI.

8/28/19  Getting out of my central Lk. MI comfort zone (Ludington, Manistee & Frankfort) by visiting new ports adds to my knowledge base immensely.  Discovered meat fishing is as established in Rogers City on Lk. Huron, as any port on Lk. MI. 
               Shocker was out of temp, warm 67° water Kings will still whack reel-bait.  Where as, prior only fished meat in cold water below 50°.  Proving once again, big water fishing is a lifelong learning experience where nothing is written in stone.

8/27/19  Rain is causing problems with my unreliable Hughes Net satellite internet connection again.  No net, no orders go out the door and that's a major issue for us.
              Mentioned in yesterday's chat, Rogers City, was about on par with my home port of Manistee.  Detroit Steelheaders had a tournament in RC this past Saturday.  5 fish tipping the scales at 102 pounds was the top catch in their event. 
              Good to see Lk. Huron, or the sunrise side is producing big Kings too!  Lk. Huron has always treated me right.  Including the years I chartered out of the thumb at Harbor Beach, Grindstone City and Port Austin.  So, I'm at home on Lk. Huron as much as on Lk. MI.
              Manistee improved last week, but was short lived when N wind pushed the warm water S and cold water came back pushing the Kings toward, or in the harbor.
              As sheer speculation, our late cold spring could extend the Lk. MI King fishing opportunities into September before most all of the fish are up the rivers.

8/25/19  Just returned from a wonderful trip to fish Lk. Huron at Rogers City, MI with Wayne J.  Had a great time seeing new water and learned a thing, or two.  Fished Swan and Hammond Bays.  Places I've heard about for 50 years and never had a chance to wet a line.
              Our resident tour guide, savvy big water angler, and gift from God was Gary O.  Seldom do you meet fishermen of his caliber, sense of humor and flatout likeability.  The 3 of us, totaling over 210 years of combined life experience did a lot of laughing and grinning. 
              In fact, the 3 of us are planning a trip to Detour, MI next May for Atlantics.
Oh, how was the fishing?  Fill you in on the reel-story tomorrow.  Click Gary O's big King

8/23/19  Have a great weekend!

8/22/19  Good luck to everyone fishing.  Keep your expectations within reason.  Fish early and late.  Yesterday's 5 hits Frankfort, MI all came after the sun went down.  Last couple bites happened almost in the dark.  Every meat rod (had 4 out) took smacks and new 2020 A.I. 4.65 spoon.  Only thing that did not get bit was a flasher/fly combo.
              Keep in mind, this is the time of the season when temperature means squat.  We had nibbles in 40° to 70° water.  Fish the marks and you'll do fine!

8/21/19  OK enough trip last night out of Frankfort, MI with Wayne J.  Frankfort was my home port when chartered there from 1983 thru 1990.  So, I know this port very well.
               Our 6 rod spread (3 riggers, 2 divers & 150' copper) was set and looking around 6pm.  We rode, and we rode for the next 2 1/2 hours with nary a nibble.  Then, as the sun  slowly sank below the horizon all billy hell broke loose.  Let the games begin!
               Chute rigger, 90' slammed straight down, as a high teener King headed for the bottom in a vertical crash dive on the X-Glow Froggie BTI combo. 
               As Wayne was dealing with the nasty chute fish, our side planer with 150' of copper towing the new 2020 A.I. spoon took a whack and was peeling line.  Then, the 3 rigger 70' down, made another vertical run towards the bottom over 150' of water.  OK, great, my boat's first 3 banger of 2019.  Sadly, the copper rod got tangled around the board and snapped the 20# mono leader.  Click BTI combos and Kings
              By dark both divers hauling meat had fish on out to 270' of water.  The diver Kings came unpegged.  That's 5 good hooked up Kings, pulling line, with a sub par 2 fish, or  40% landing ratio.  Area fished was 2-3 miles N of the harbor over 120' to 250'.

8/20/19  Sometime during the earlier 1980s, the MDNR decided to put all their eggs in one basket.  Making King/Chinook the main focus of their stocking efforts.
               Former MDNR Fisheries Chief, John Robertson in the later 1980s advocated for a more balanced approach with Coho, Browns, Steelhead, & Lake Trout all equal in the mix.  This made sense.  If there was a hiccup with one specie the effect would be less painful.
               Now, in 2019 we're seeing how the leadership of the MDNR has failed across the board.  We've lost our Brown fishery, most of our Kings and the Coho plant is dreadfully low. The Lk. MI DNRs continue to spew out there's no bait & natural reproduction is our savior.
              Question: if there's no bait (alewives) how come Lk. MI is growing so many Kings above 20 lbs, with a few pushing the 40 lb. mark? Future chat topic, the problem is?

8/19/19  Manistee is the tale of 2 kinds of results.  Those that can find a few Kings and those who cannot buy a hit on suspended fish.  Running out deep 550' in hopes of staving off the skunk is a rare occurrence for this time of the year.
               Sure, there are few ginormous monster Kings pushing 40 pounds, but darn few of them.  I know several top-notch Lk. MI fishermen with decades of experience struggling to put a few Kings in the box everyday.  So, while size is up, numbers have fell off a cliff.
              This is a downward spiral.  Less Kings, less natural reproduction of future generations of Salmon.  MDNR's natural reproduction hypothesis is looking pretty darn shaky!

  Lost weekend as far as the internet goes.  Thunderstorms and no satellite connection are beyond my control.  Less than 1/16" of rubber coating my underground sat cable has gave me problems before.  Hope to have this fixed soon.

8/16/19  Keep hearing the MDNR is considering increasing the Chinook/King Salmon plant by around 400 thousand for the 2020 season.  Don't have exact numbers, or if this is even going to happen.  Survival rate on stocked fish to adulthood is pretty low.
             Do know the way the Lk. MI DNRs estimates bait needs to be looked at.  Lk. MI is growing larger Kings than Lk. Ontario this season.  So, the bait has to be there.
             I've not marked, or went thru any large bait balls out of Manistee this year.  A lot of what's being marked is pods of plankton (seen a bunch of that on the lines).  The bait has to be there, or we would not have this kind of growth rate.

8/15/19  Taking a vacation day.  Personal business must be attended to.  Trying to clear the docket for an out of town fishing trip to Rogers City on Lk. Huron next week.  Never fished this part of Lk. Huron.  Closest I ever fished was Harrisville in the later 1970s.
               Do know this is mixed bag fishing.  Need an Atlantic Salmon to round out the 4 species of Salmon I've in MI caught on Salmon Buster™ spoons.  My boat has already caught Coho, King/Chinook & Pink Salmon on my spoons.  That just leaves Mr. Atlantic Salmon to fill out the barrel list, cuz a bucket ain't big enough!

8/14/19  Spotty continues to be the word on Manistee's summer King Salmon fishery.  Hit the right time and area, big King Salmon await.  Nothing has been consistent.
               Light E winds this week have been mostly favorable to the fleet.  Hope to get some free time to escape from the shop and go fishing.   Have a great Wednesday!

8/13/19  Might have a semi-solution for dealing with water flea buildup on rigger mono less than 30# test and super braid divers.  These lines cut thru the water vertically and are magnets for water bugs.  Message board member, Codfish Craig has been running a rubber band installed with a half-hitch as a line wiper below the rod tip. 
               Stopping the band at the rod tip that helps wipe away the water fleas.  Have not tested this out yet, but it sounds like it should work.

8/12/19   Fished Lk. MI since 1968 and NEVER seen this much cold water inshore.  Temp break (thermocline) has been 20' to 50' for most of this season.  Deeper temp (70' and below) concentrates the fish.  Eliminating the top 50' when warm water stacks in increases  the odds more in your favor.  Instead of fish scattered up and down the water column.
                Boats that I'm aware of the fished this past weekend had 1 to 9 fish.  Average was more like 3, or 4.  Catch was 50% Kings & Coho.  50% Lakers and Steelhead.  Size on Kings is most all are above 20 pounds.  Click 8/10/19 Manistee catch
                I have no doubt there were few boats that exceeded the catch numbers mentioned.  But can only share with you what I know are reel-facts from trusted sources.

8/11/19  Longtime friend, Capn. Kirk, aka proud Papa Kirk took his grandchildren fishing yesterday morning out of his hometown of Ludington, MI.  7 year old Micah caught his first Great Lakes Coho Salmon.  Hope this is the 1st of many more to come for Micah.
               Pictures like this are priceless.  Capturing moments in time that engraves memories of fishing that last a lifetime.  Click Kirk & Micah's 1st Coho

8/10/19  Lk. MI is in favor of the fleet today and tomorrow with winds on the light side.  Perfect conditions for boats of all sizes.  Go enjoy it and good luck! 

8/9/19  Know several excellent fishermen and none of them are setting the world on fire.  Hearing of Kings and a few Coho being caught in water depths from 650' to 150'.  So, the best I can come up with is a very-very scattered 2019 summer Salmon fishery.
             Personally, this is my worst season since 1968.  If it wasn't for bad luck, I would have any luck at all chasing Kings.  Know these are easy fish to catch. 
             King Salmon do not drive cars, they don't text on cell phones, mow lawns, pay bills, shop on Amazon, surf the internet, or watch TV.  These fish swim around 24/7 looking for something to munch on.  Even when their stomach atrophies upon maturing into full adulthood and can no longer swallow bait fish, they still lash out and attack lures.
            You have to be an optimist to be a fisherman.  Hoping, my next trip (when time allows) to turn things around for the better.  Have a great weekend!

8/8/19  Sea flea zooplankton buildup gunk on any fishing line that goes thru the water vertically (rigger rods & divers) is a pain in the butt, by collecting on you rod's tip. If this problem happens with a fish-on? ...you're up $%~^ creek without a paddle.  Later summer is when this occurs when Lk. MI is at it's warmest.
             Good news is by increasing your rigger rods monofilament pound test to 30# (.022" line diameter") will cure most of this problem.  According to website sales, 20# mono (.018" diameter) seems to be the sport fleet's favorite.  Just by upsizing to a little thicker line will keep this problem in check.  Click sea fleas collecting on line
            Braid divers are another story.  Here the only fix is to pull and clean the sea flea mess off the line every 1/2 hour or so. 7 strand wire divers stay clean.
            All forms of plankton have a very short life span.  The warmer the water? ...the more of this stuff increases.  When this plankton dies, it filters down in the warm water and  suspends at the thermocline and that attracts bait, then the Trout and Salmon.

8/7/19  Just not much to report.  Please keep in mind my estimates on catch rates come from the sports fleet fishing for suspended Salmon, not Lake Trout.  Not charter boats.  Charters have a tremendous advantage from time on the water.
            Do know S Lk. MI Salmon action has slowed a lot down by Chicago.  Central Lk. MI Coho will be showing up soon.  Tomorrow?  ...sea flea rigger rods buildup cure.

8/6/19  Sonar marks fish, plankton and baitfish.  Fly in the ointment is it does not tell you what specie the marks are.  Don't think for minute everything you're marking is Trout, or Salmon.  Yes, bottom marks can be Lake Trout, but it's not a given.  Burbot, Whitefish and Longnose Suckers can be on the bottom too.  Suspended marks can be anything.  Meaning Carp, Sheephead, Walleyes, even Pike and Muskie that are non-cold species.
             Fishing reports that I'm hearing from our message board and personal contacts is 3, or 4 mixed bag of Salmon is considered good half day effort. 
             Deal on Salmon out of Manistee thus far? ...not many, but when you hit an adult King? ...it's going to be above 20 pounds.  This the year when Lk. MI Kings outweigh their counterparts in Lk. Ontario and that hasn't happened in a longtime.

8/5/19  Interpreting sonar marks is not an exact science.  Clues to what the marks means comes with experience.  After careful examination of my rigger rods, noticed a lot of water flea build up.  So, what I called bait last week, was probably large concentrations of water fleas, i.e. zooplankton.  The grayish-brownish-purple clumps that accumulate at your rod tips are fish hook water fleas.  BC zooplankton was more whitish, but haven't seen BC in 20 years. Zooplankton supports the baitfish population and that's a good thing.
            Main clue about bait balls? ...when you go thru them, your downrigger rods will all twinkle, or dance from running thru a big pile of bait as the bait bounces off your line.

8/4/19  Here's a Manistee report from longtime friend of this website, Craig C who supplied today's photo: "The frog combo produced big fish all week, just in small numbers of 1/trip. 28 pounds & 24.5 pounds  were 2 of them. Click for the biggest King
            My 12 year old nephew brought the big one to the boat." Regards, Craig C.

8/3/19  Omitted important info in yesterday's chat.  Forgot to mention what area Chris G and I fished.  In 2 hours we covered about a 4 mile troll path.  We were N of Manistee's harbor in the 16 to 18 numbers.  Water depth varied, from 60' to 120' for the most part.
            Posted a pic from Wayne J. aka Take 5.  He marked a lot of bait S of Manistee in the 11s as his photo shows.  Disheartening factor of there were no marks around the bait.  Hopefully, this means the fish haven't found it yet and better days are ahead for the central Lk. MI fleet.  Because bites have been hard to come by.  Click for Wayne bait pic

8/2/19  Best fishing reports I've heard, came from Ludington, MI.  South of the project has been producing the best number of silver fish with suspended Lake Trout.
             Bright spot is bait has showed up in Manistee, MI full force.  Inside of 60' huge schools of bait has massed.  There is some scattered bait balls out to 120', but it thins out the deeper you go.  Know this is a reel-fact.  Was out of Manistee for a couple of hours last evening (6pm-8pm).  This is, by far, the most bait I've marked all season!!
            Mindset was? ...if Chris G and I didn't box a fish before 8pm, we'd head for the barn and not drag this trip out to getting home at 11pm, or later.

8/1/19  August the big deal month for adult Kings is here.  2019 probably offers the best chance to set your personal best on weight.  While 30 pounders are rare, there's more of them this year in Lk. MI.  Increased size is from the gutted stocking level of Kings.
            This is proven to be an over-correction from the MDNR's failed natural reproduction policy would sustain Lk. MI's multi million/billion dollar fishery.
            Do know it takes large plants (due to mortality) when it comes to both the Big and Little Manistee Rivers.  These Salmon smolts have to run the gauntlet of many predatory species long before ...they even get the chance to reach the main body of Lk. MI.           

7/31/19  Background on WI's KD Tournament which is really a big fish derby, dates back to this event's beginning 37 years ago. This year the KD had their 4th the largest King at 36.7 lbs. since this tourney began. Only beaten by 3 giants in the 1990s.  Second place was over 34 pounds.  Good to see big fish.  Just wish we had more of them.  Click KD reel story
              I've seen my fair share of big Kings and it takes a massive fish to clear the 30 pound mark.  Kings this size/weight starts in the over 40" range.

7/30/19  "Steve S from WI shared the KD Tournament big fish thus far.  Here's his email:

John, Thought you might be interested ... unofficial results of the K/Tournament.
I only fished the first Sunday due to work and we only got 3 bows NO kings.
There was a great bite from Washington Island down to Bailey's Harbor and then it really dropped off. Buddy said the bait was thick and the fish we BIG." Click for more info

              Top 13 fish all cleared 30 pounds with the biggest over 36 pounds.

7/29/19  This past weekend's fishing reports will filter in as today wears on.  Hopefully, I'll have some good fishing news to share with you by tomorrow.
               Yesterday, was a good day to fish my home port Manistee, MI.  Wind seemed tolerable.  S and SW pushed the temp break down to the 50'-60' range from a stout wind last Saturday.  This had to be better than it was last week when down temp was up high.
              Only hint I can give you about what's working?  Lk. MI fleet on all sides of the pond is ordering a lot more blue then usual.  Maybe, a little more blue in your spread?

7/28/19  Safety is always a good topic.  With the high water on Lk. MI be on the lookout for floating logs.  The one's you can see can be avoided.  Those that are semi submerged are the problem child.  If we would have hit the tree Wayne J and I got tangled up with last Wednesday? ....know there would have been damage to my lower unit and prop.
              99.999% of the tree from hell was completed submerged.  There was to tinny-tiny twigs about 4" to 6" long that were visible.  Please navigate the Great Lakes with extreme care this year and be safe above all else.  This will $ave you money in the long run!

7/27/19  Have a great weekend.  Hats off to Onekama, MI's Gary W. for landing a 29 and a 30 pounder last Wednesday.  He ran S of Manistee about 5 miles.  Then, trolled N for about 15 miles back to Onekama.  His big fish were mid-day biters on a blue 3 fly meat rig™.  Think he said 10am and 2pm when the biggies bit.  Not sure, but think he was fishing solo.

7/26/19  Happy Friday!  Good news is on the way for Manistee, MI fishermen.  There's a blow coming this weekend from the S & SW.  This should reload the Manistee's drop-off, or shelf with bait and some Kings.  Know this from past experience.
              This has been a slow week for Manistee.  Unless you dragged bottom for LTs.  Our money fish, King Salmon has been scarcer than hen's teeth.  Fishing tightened up when the temp/thermocline came up high 15'-20' down and scattered the fish.
              This past Wednesday, maybe had my worst day on Lk. MI in 50 years.  That's quite a milestone.  Disaster struck when Wayne J and I had to deal with a complete semi submerged 30' deadhead 6" tree with most of the root system still intact. 
              With Wayne's patience and help was able to free 2 downriggers, 2 downrigger rods, 2 divers, 2 planer boards that made a mess from hell.  Never lost any tackle, but shot the best part of an hour clearing this jumble. 

7/25/19  Safety afloat begins with common sense first and means you need to know what you need to travel/fish large bodies of water.  My charter background (1983-2003) there are a lot of requirements to have onboard to run a commercial vessel safely.
               Last Tuesday  had to tow a boat back to the launch.  The boat that I was towing did not have a 150' of anchor line.  Had to tow him on a short line.  Longer is better. Because the stretch of the tow rope helps soften/cushion wave surge.  Making matters worse, the boat under tow was a large than mine (25' vs. 22')
              From what I saw, he was drifting sideways, or in a beam sea.  A sea bag deployed out of the front, or bow would kept the broken down boat's nose into the seas that were 3' or better. Click last Tuesday's tow job

7/24/19  Fishing is supposed about being fun.  Once it turns into more grief than it's worth? ...have plenty of work to keep me busy in my tackle shop.  That's why we quit early yesterday morning.  Surprising thing was even with the temp coming up to 15-20' the good marks were still 80'-100' down.  Showing 38-40° water is plenty comfortable to the Kings.

7/23/19  Fished for about a hour this morning out of Manistee, MI with Wayne J.   Miserable W seas on a N-S troll direction does not make a fun trip.  Wayne & my 150 years of combined life experience said we were better off onshore.  More on this tomorrow....
              Then, got a call from a fishing bud that was broke down and needed a tow back to the dock.  Was on the trailer and happily headed home by 9:15am.
              We're running close to a day behind on tackle orders.  Hope to have this backlog cleared up later today.  Happy-happy Tuesday!

7/22/19  Fishing is getting better at my home port of Manistee, MI.  Chris G had a decent morning yesterday.  2 Kings (15 & 20 lbs.) and 2 Lake Trout along with a few misses is a great catch by a dedicated weekend warrior.  Click 7/21/19 Chris's catch
              There was 8 Kings ....all over 30 pounds weighed in at the Ludington Offshore Classic.  Going back to the mid 1980s when I fished in the then, Lowrance Ludington Tournament, never were there that many Kings weighed in over 30 lbs.
              Winning pro catch on day 2 was a 50/50 mix Lake Trout and Kings.  Good to see the return of the 30 pounders.  Click info and pics from the Ludington event

7/21/19  Yesterday, close to 8" of rain fell on my place in Manistee, MI during a few short hours.  Know 8" is pretty close, because I have to empty my rain gauge that only holds 5".  This means I'm flooded and no fishing until the field/road in front of the pole barn dries out.
              There's been 4 Kings over 30 pounds weighed in during the ongoing Ludington Offshore Classic.  Two at over 32 lbs, one at 33.9 lb. and the big guy at 37.35 lbs.
               Fish do not get this big from lack of baitfish that the DNRs portrays.  There's something going on that's hard to understand (at least for me) is where is all this bait at? 
               I've yet to see much bait off Manistee this season.  Did get a good report on bait from last weekend according to Chris G.

7/20/19  Looking for a window to fish Lk. MI again.  My season is playing out as normal when time is at a premium.  During the offseason, I come up with grandiose ideas like using a drone to capture aerial footage.  Then, the realities of running a tackle business set in and that comes first.  Wishin' ...I was fishin'!

7/19/19  Hot, hot and more hot as a heat wave settles in over MI.  90° temps are a rarity in N MI.  This year already hit that mark twice at my place in Manistee, MI.
               Fishing was hot yesterday in Ludington, MI for big Kings.  According to Wayne J, Capt. Chuck's Tackle Store weighed in 3 Kings over 30 pounds.  Including one Goliath that went 36 pounds and change.  Stay cool and enjoy weekend!

7/18/19  Frankfort, MI's popular Benzie Frenzy tournament has been moved a month ahead.  Dates on this year's events are July 26, 2019 - July 28, 2019.  Years past, this contest was always won with Salmon, mostly Kings.
              Being earlier this year? ...Lake Trout might be needed to fill in the gaps in case the Kings are not there in force.  This could be a game changer.
              Frankfort is one of the most scenic ports on the Great Lakes.  It's surrounded by high sand bluffs that lead up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes off Empire, MI.

7/17/19  In 2014 the MDNR planted 149,978 2.99" Chinook/King Salmon at the 9 mile bridge in the Little Manistee River.  4 years later in 2018 the return at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir was 1300 Kings.  This is less than a 1% return/survival rate.  It's even a bunch worse when you consider the amount of naturally spawned/reproduced Kings factored in.
              Fish taken at this weir is the overage that was not caught by the fleet.  It's a tricky number, but it's the only hard data available to us.  Click for this data
              Is this enough to maintain a viable fishery?  Do know central Lk. MI ports like Manistee and Frankfort get lot of money is pumped into the local economies from the summer Lk. MI Salmon fishery.  Charters, marinas, campgrounds, gas stations, tackle stores depend on a viable fishery.  Meaning a fair chance at decent catch.  Not onesies & twosies.

7/16/19  Parity among Lk. MI ports has never been as out of whack as it is now.  Ports with big schools of bait have big schools of Coho and Kings.  This we cannot control.  It's how Lk. MI's weather patterns, winds, and currents set up.
              Do know our MDNR's policy that rely on natural King reproduction while other states with less Lk. MI surface area get a lot bigger stocking numbers.  This is not RIGHT!
              In 2018 we got around 1400 King return to the Manistee, MI's Little Manistee River harvest weir.  If you tie that 1400 fish to the amount that was stocked?  ...think this can be extrapolated to the same return vs. planted fish over the past 10-15 years.  Leaving in doubt the natural reproduction strategy to maintain a viable fishery for MI fisherman.
              Viable to be expanded on tomorrow....

7/15/19   Changes bait and fish migration is clearly evident.  Lk. MI is red hot in the SW corner with Kings and Coho from E Chicago, IN to Kenosha, WI.  There's plenty of bait there too.  This area has benefitted from the cold spring.
               Manistee, MI is limping along waiting for the Salmon to find this port in numbers.  Here's what Chris G had to say about last evening's Manistee fishing:

"Fished Manistee evening. Pulled a whitefish on the XG Bluetail SB 4.0. And a Laker on meat on a 300 copper. Had a hard rip on a blue bubble fly. Very slow night. Fished north and on way back south in the 14s started marking bait. And seen it rising on the surface. Only one big splash we saw on top it was like glass. Maybe 10 boats out tonight"  Chris G.

7/14/19  Work the dreaded 4 letter word that keeps me form fishing.  Extra busy in the shop with tackle orders that have us working weekends to keep up.  In the tackle business (from my experience) there's too much, or not enough.  Seems to be no middle ground.
              Look forward to sharing the latest fish reports with you tomorrow. 

7/13/19  Gearing up for adult Kings that often exceed 20 pounds is not an afterthought.  It's part of the overall plan to have your tackle prepared for these bruisers.  The line on your reels is direct drive to King Salmon that can flat-out bust you up.  Now is not the time for old monofilament line that hasn't been changed in a couple of seasons.
              The Triple Fish mono line we sell is not made in China.  This is a premium line bargained priced at only 24.95 for a one pound spool. Click for this line
              In my 50 some years on the Great Lakes? ...I've found none better.  The majority of the other brands offer far less strength and performance for a lot more money.
              This year we're carrying charter preferred pro-grade 45# copper (300' & 600') and 7 strand 30# test stainless steel wire diver line (600' & 1000') competitively priced.

7/12/19  Webstore is back up and running.  Brief shutdown did help a little  Was able to build a supply of Mamba flashers that take a longtime to paint.
               Meat heads are so-so.  Since Lk. Ontario rediscovered meat fishing, this increase demand has been hard to handle.  Have plenty of machined heads.  It's the taped decorated selections that have been hard to keep in-stock.  Click Mich-Angler Tackle Store
               Have a great weekend and get ready for the best part of the season!

7/11/19  We're about 2-3 weeks away from primetime Kings.  The Ludington Offshore Classic that offers 6 days of events begins on July 19 and ends on July 24.  There's always plenty of Kings caught during this time frame of multi-tournament contests.
              Yesterday it briefly hit 94° around 5pm.  Today's going to be 20° cooler.  Next week there's a warming trend with more predicted temps the high 80s.  This will help stratify Lk. MI and concentrate the fish deeper.  Prefect for a dedicated meat program.

7/10/19  Today's pic is a test version Salmon Buster™ spoon that caught a juvenile King yesterday morning of of Manistee.  The SB 4.0 is in the mixed veggie pattern was a special request by Wayne J.  The veggie is a blend of fluorescent red, green & yellow painted on a clear spoon with an interesting 3D holographic effect that's in the works for 2020, or sooner.
              Wayne and Mark H. fished a little to the S of port in 100'-150' of water.  They also took a small Laker.  That was their total sum effort for a 5:15am dock leave.  If there had been more fish around?  This duo of local Manistee anglers would have caught 'em.
              The good news for our current state of Lk. MI King Salmon fishery? ...more smaller juvi Kings, then there's been in the past few years.  Click new veg spoon & King

7/9/19  Not privy to any weekend reports from Manistee, MI.  This could be? ...because fishermen at less likely to post/share a slow report.  Falsely, holding themselves responsible to a slow day on the water.  Since there's reduced number of Kings available? ...it's not what you know.  It's the luck of draw on what area/depths you chose to troll.  Kings are not hard to catch, but darned difficult to locate in this day and age.
            Making some big strides in our restocking efforts and will be reopening the webstore a day or two ahead of schedule.  Keeping finished/decorated/taped meat heads in stock has been our single biggest issue that we're close to conquering.

7/8/19  Brad M. was kind enough to send in today's featured photo of a Lk. Huron Atlantic Salmon caught recently.  His fish hit a 4.0  Salmon Buster spoon in the HRP  Laser Glow pattern.  No fish reports to share  with you on how the central Lk. MI fleet did over the weekend yet.  Hoping some come in soon.  Click for Brad's Atlantic Salmon

7/7/19  Have a great Sunday.  Mich-Angler webstore is closed until Friday, July 12, 2019.  We will not be shipping any  orders this week.

7/6/19  Whole bait is going to be hard to come by this year from what I've heard for MI fishermen.  Looking for an alternative source that meets the MDNR requirements.
            We will not be accepting orders until Friday of next week.  This time is needed to build and replace inventory.  This has been a year when every month has been a little busier then the previous month and not allowed us to get ahead on certain items.
            Besides, we all need a break and this will be ours.  Hope to find some time for fishing and drone practice.  Aerial views makes video more interesting!

7/5/19  Some Kings and a few Steelhead were caught out of the Port of Manistee, MI this morning.  I'd say less than a handful numbers-wise per boat.  Word is there's lots of bait around the harbor, but not much out deep.
             Frankfort, MI was producing a lot of suspended Lake Trout, along with a few Kings.  That's all I have for you today.

7/4/19  Happy a safe and great 4th of July.  It's full summer in Manistee, MI now.  Reached 90° yesterday afternoon. This warmth will help central Lk. MI by jump starting the food chain and attract more sorely needed bait to my home port.

7/3/19  Today's featured photo shows how good fishing can be when there's bait around.  This mix of King, Coho and Steelhead is from the extreme S end of Lk. MI that's loaded with bait.  These fish were taken in about 2 hours on Tom M's boat out in 70' of water.
             Know the WI and IL side is loaded with bait down in the S end.  When this bait moves N is anybody's guess.  My skill set at catching scattered 1/2 mile between fish marks has never been good.  That's not the way I learned how to Salmon.  Click Tom's catch

7/2/19  Manistee, MI boats that get in on the first light early bite are catching suspended fish in 150' to 300' of water.  It's a mix of Lake Trout and Kings.
            This means a dock leave around 4:30 am with first light coming a little after 5am.  Results vary and fishing is very spotty.  Land in the right area and there's fish to be caught.
            Will be closing the webstore on, of before next weekend.  Need to restock tackle we're dreadfully short on.  The only way this can happen is not by filling orders most of the morning.  Need to devote entire days to build tackle.

7/1/19  Was out of my home port of Manistee, MI yesterday morning.  Lines in the water from about 8am till 11:45am.  Went out deep to 650' of water looking for surface fish on the temp breaks.  29-30 west line had a 7° drop (56° to 49° differential).  Missed a hard rip setting up and that's all she wrote out in the deep water.
            Came back in closer to shore at 11am and set up in 300' of water.  Trolled E into 150' with notta nibble.  Did mark 2 fish on the inside with lockjaw.
            My hour, or so on Lk. MI average a week does not put me a in place to provide an overall assessment of what the reel-picture is.  Do know, I've yet to mark a lump of bait in 2019.  Our extended cold spring has not been in favor of the fleet the way Lk. MI has setup.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2019 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June

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

July, August & September
October, November & December

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