July, August & September 2019
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Click hatchery's Facebook page
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.
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'
eBallast starter failed.
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.
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.
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
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°
"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
Click Julie's boat record King
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
slice quick fillet job
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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....
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
Click 7/21/19 Chris's catch
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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
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
fluorescent red, green & yellow painted on a clear
spoon with an interesting 3D holographic effect
that's in the works for 2020, or sooner.
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
in this day and age.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Continued below back to the year 2000: