April, May and June 2022

April Brown Trout|
St. Joe, MI

Dead Alewives
Lk.  MI die off

Harbor Beach, MI
May on Lake Huron

Lk. Superior Laker
Salmon Buster Spoon


Click here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

6/30/22  Non event to pitiful best describes yesterday's evening trip with Chris G.  Raw water pump in the outdrive was failing.  The GM V8 350 temp gauge got as high as 200°.  This is a danger zone considering there's a 140° thermostat in it.
              Lines went in the water around 5:15pm with great anticipation that turned into frustration with only 1 bite 75' down on a new prototype lure.  This trip was like wearing handcuffs.  We were severely limited to fishing close to port with an ailing power plant.  There was no exploration options with the possibility of traveling to port on the kicker.
              Area was straight out in front of Manistee, MI in the 15s and 16s.  Thought it wiser to pull lines and limp back to port at 7:15pm.  While it felt wonderful to being on Lk. MI for the beginning of my 54th season, boat gremlins messed up my 1st trip of 2022.

6/29/22  Out look for the upcoming 4th of July Weekend is fantabulous!  Not too hot, or too cold with temps in the 80° range.  Best part is Lk. MI is going to play nice with fairly calm seas for most of the weekend until Monday when the wind picks up.
              Next question is about fishing off Manistee, MI? ...from past reports this year has been one of the best in recent memory. 
             This weekend is when Manistee holds their Forest City Festival.  Making boat trailer parking a mess with carnival rides taking up almost all of the places to park. 
              Onekama, MI's free 2 boat dock will be busy too.  Stronach, MI on Manistee Lake has a free 2 boat ramp, but it's a long boat 4-5 mile ride to Lk. MI out of Manistee.

6/28/22  Checked out the results from this past weekend's tournament in Manistee, MI.  Looked like a good portion of the boats caught the required number of fish.
               Largest fishing of the event was a King over 30 lbs. pushing 31 lbs.  Next down was a solid 25 and a few 20s.  This is excellent for so early on the season!
               Average winning weight on the pro side was around 11.5 lbs per the allowed 20 fish.  Amateur side was 14.5 lbs. for the allowable 10 fish during the 2 day weigh-in.

6/27/22  Here's a guest update that confirms the productivity our BTI 10" Flasher

              "Hi Capt John, Those silver bullets BTIs with the spin glo is awesome. We limited on our shake down trip yesterday. The biggest was just shy of 14lbs. Big laker for northern Lake Huron. Everyone one of them came on that.  Click Rogers City Lake Trout
               I had a silver dodger and spin glo on my other rigger but higher in the water column.   Presque Isle has been really good for Atlantics few Chinooks few coho better for silver than Rogers City right now."  Jshafto

6/26/22  Fishing has been more than decent off Manistee for the last few days.  Coho, Kings and Lake Trout have been in the mix.  From what I gathered up, best depth have been from 80' to 100' down.  Area is pretty much straight out of port.  Only have morning fish reports.  Have not heard of evening bite compared to mornings.
              We all know about the heat we had thus far this year.  More hot weather is in store for us next week.  Concern is too much warm water that will drive the bait and fish ever deeper.  Deeper is good, if you know how to run an attractor program.
              Summing it all up? ...these are the best reports on Salmon I've posted about in late June in a long-long time.  Let's hope it keeps up!!

6/25/22  Spoke with boat that fished yesterday morning out of Manistee, MI.  Action was decent on 2 year smaller Kings with a few 3 year olds tossed.  Juvenile Kings were down at 85' to 100' and hit a wide variety of lures.  Spoons were said to be best.
              2020 was a good year for King's spawn survival rate.  These 2 year olds are our future that looks brighter and brighter.  Have a safe, great and productive weekend.

6/24/22  On the water later this afternoon to test some important new design concepts.

6/23/22  Sold out of our electro-plated metalized Chrome and Gold Bullet 10" BTI Flashers.  Charter fleet took most of them getting ready for the upcoming tournament in Manistee to target Lake Trout.  Salmon are hit and miss and you need two 5 fish limits for this 10 fish event.  BTIs are an insurance policy to make this happen.
             The pro fleet is running "spin n glos" about 3' behind our BTIs and pounding the bottom to produce limit catches of Lakers that are a safe bet for now.
             Not to fear, we'll be restocked soon.  Those who copied my 10 inchers have fell by the wayside, because most of their 10 inchers were pure junk. 
             We've all borrowed a road map to make our tackle from past semi-functioning designs in need of improvement.  I'm amazed when people copy my our products with no tweaks.  Anything can be upgraded with enough time, research and water testing.

6/22/22  First day of summer 2022.  Today, we'll have almost 17 hours of visible light on the longest day of the year, aka the summer solstice.  This is the exact opposite of what happens in winter.  Extra daylight goes a long ways to help outside tasks done.
              Predicted to be in the mid-90s again.  Not quite 20 degrees above our normal high of 78° for Manistee, MI.  Cools of a little bit, as the week unfolds.

Supply chain shortages?  I'm sure you heard of this.  This not a chain, but a pipeline from China.  My USA suppliers have been spot on.  Experienced a few delays as manufacturers that relied on China had to buy here in the USA
              The above came to mind as we stock-up for the peak time July-August tackle sales.  Spent the last week ordering everything we need to make tackle thru the end of the year.  The 2 months of July and August sales equal, or surpass what we sell in the remaining 10 months and it's just around the corner.

6/17/22  Have a superb Father's Day Weekend.  This is when we honor part of the equation that put us here on on the 3rd rock from the sun.  Began way back 1910, Father's Day did not become an official holiday until 1972.
              Too windy yesterday for any fish reports.  This weekend looks favorable with Sunday seas at 1' if the forecast hold true.  Best part of this weekend is the welcomed cool down after a hot spell.  Have a safe and great well deserved holiday.

6/16/22  About ready to begin Rip Teezer production again.  Stocked up last fall and we're running low on the XG Frog and XG Green.  Looking forward to cooler weather.  Injection machine is warm to sit in front of.  To make this job go better a nice breeze from my window fan.  I figure 2 days to do what's needed.
              Have some new upgraded replacement parts for the injection machine that needs to be installed.  Simple job I'm looking forward to the improvements.

6/15/22  Blast furnace 90 some degree temps again today with more heat on the way next week.  This works in favor of attractor programs, if these warm temps play out thru this summer.  Deep Kings are the easiest to catch and that includes touchy adults.
              Adult Kings do undergo a transformation as they mature.  That's why the glow colors become a big deal as we get into August.  My plus 50 years of expereince has taught me chromes and white attractors until the end of July.  Then, transition to the glow colors as August approaches.  Mid to late August it's mostly all glow with a few Bozo colors mixed like the FireDot.  It's hard not to get excited with 20-30lb. fish in our futures!

6/14/22  Too hot with temps in the 90s again.  Seen summers in N MI when it was rare to even touch the 90s.  Now? ...it's regular occurrence.
               Bright spot with this heat wave it drives the solar machine that makes all kinds of good things happen in  our Great Lakes.  Promoting plankton growth at the bottom of the food chain is the greatest benefit.  Driving the Kings deeper is another.  Salmon a 100' down, or better become less wary and more eager to hit a trolled bait.

6/13/22  Fresh in from yesterday morning there were good catches of spring Kings, mostly 2 and 3 year olds being taken around Big Sable Point (12 miles S of Manistee).
              Fish were said to be a 100' down over 150' to 250' of water.  With today's E wind, if the fish hold there ...look a little shallower, as colder water wells up.
              Spring Kings can be a crap shoot, if there's no bait.  So, keep an open mind and fish the marks.  Once located spring Kings are not to fussy and willing to hit a variety of methods and lures.  Looks like 2022 is on pace to be a good year!

6/11/22  MDNR's free fishing weekend which is a heck of a good idea.  New people can be introduced to the sport of fishing at no cost.  Click more free weekend info
              Fishing is the largest participator sport in the USA by a wide margin.  Go and enjoy wetting a few lines this free fishing weekend.  We all need recreation!

6/10/22  MDNR weekly fishing report for Lk. MI continues to say Kings are still being caught at all ports listed.  This is great news as we look forward to summer adult Kings in July into early September. Question is will high gas prices keep the fleet at home? 
I hope not, because the self accomplishment of landing over 20 lb. fish is worth it.
              Great Lake States are blessed to have fish of this size that the rest of the nation can only dream of.  Wishes of catching 20-30 lb. Kings used to exist only in the Pacific Ocean.  Now, this is a reality in most of our 5 Great Lakes.

6/9/22  Today's topic will be revisited down the road when the war in Ukraine is over.  Possibly, it's just coincidence with Sea Grant's Lk. MI surface sat. charts went down the end of February of this year when Russia first invaded.  Or? ...this ultra sensitive satellite that track 1° to 10ths gradient with GPS coordinates grid lines can be used to track temperatures of military movements.  Time will tell if my hunch is right.
             While surface temp charts are not as relevant, as they were in the 1980s and 1990s this is still a valuable resource.  Idea behind today's subject is all the tree pollen that collecting on my truck.  Even under a carport.  Pollen is baitfish food that can form lines when cold water thermobars meets warmer water on Lk. MI.

6/8/22  Feels like you have to take a mortgage out on the house to fill up your vehicles.  120 bucks of gas went into the tank of our truck yesterday ...ouch!
            This probably explains why tackle sales are not setting any records.  Slow is good.  Gives my more time to finish honey-do projects.  Plus, extra time to build inventory for the summer crush that begins the 2nd week of July.

6/7/22  Massive rain clouds have us with no internet that's reliable. Hoping for improving conditions.  No net, no nothing, we're shut down for the time being.  Hughes Net satellite service is a joke, but it's our only option.  Published this in a brief window when it was on.

6/6/22  You need to be resilient when it comes to big lake fishing with all the twists and turns thrown at you.  After past 4-5 years King Salmon population is finally on the mend.
             Then, we get kicked in the face with record high gas prices.  The Lk. MI fleet I'm used to seeing has been diminished from a lot of bad press. 
             Number of boats fishing is down, but starting to come back.  5-6 dollar gas will keep a lot of fishing folks home.  Especially, if they're on a tight budget?
            Those that do venture out the odds will be increased with less boat traffic.  My feeling is this year will be one of the best in the past several years.

6/5/22  No problem is beyond fixing.  Do know if mass murders continue there will be a public ground swell to weaken the 2nd amendment.  Effecting the law abiding majority of us gun owners down the road.  Military high capacity magazines would be a good place to start.  Then, treat these depraved criminals, as such ...with summary executions.

6/4/22  In 2018 Forbes.com estimated there were 20 million military grade rifles that could be equipped high capacity magazines (20-30 rounds) in the USA.  So, we're not ever putting this genie back in the bottle.  Sickos that use these weapons to massacre in schools, super markets, churches, and music festivals are not civilized.
            Therefore civil protections of our US Constitution need NOT apply.  Making use of these military weapons comes with an automatic death penalty shown on TV after being beaten to a pulp.  Once seen, public retribution can and will act as a deterrent.
            Both major political parties pay a lot of lip service with nothing getting done.  Going against the gun lobby with end the careers for R members of congress.  Don't look for the any meaningful legislation to limit these rifles.  To be continued tomorrow.....

6/3/22  Yesterday's featured photo was a welcomed sight.  Seeing well fed football shaped Kings is the best thing we could have hoped for. Click chubby spring Kings
             Spring Kings are easy targets once located.  These fish are on the hard feed and not all that fussy.  Trick is being over them with bait mixed in.  That's when it happens.
             Tomorrow? ...a special edition that been on my mind for about a week.

6/2/22  Josh A sent in an above average spring King report from Onekama, MI about his success last weekend.  On a 2 hour short search mission Friday evening he located a decent school of Kings off Manistee's Orchard Beach State Park. 
             So, Josh fished S of Onekama.  Body count was 11 Kings in the 2 trips.  Size went from shakers to Kings over 20 lbs.  He said, everything they put in the water took hits.  These fish were chowing on small Alewives.  Top 50' over 120"-150' was best.
             Launch out of Onekama is a 2 boat dock that's free.  Finding this launch in the dark is reel difficult.  Been there, done that! Click some of Josh's spring Kings

6/1/22  Please note in today's featured photo of the Salmon Buster 4.65 spoon in the XG Green Hornet pattern the split ring on the nose of the bait.  This is to insure all swivels work with our spoons.  Most spoons do not have this added, because manufacturers don't want to go spend the additional time. Click Salmon Buster front spilt ring
             In the design process, made triple sure the water flow dynamics did not depend on a pricey ball bearing nose swivel.  Some spoons in the past demanded a costly Sampo ball bearing swivels such as: the Lucky Lures, Fin Weavers, Sutton and Luhr Jensen Flutter Spoons.  Some nowadays spoons from other manufactures still need this.

5/31/22  Guest update from Top 40 charters:

"Hey John, Hope you're doing well.  I thought you might want a pic for the site.  
I had a trip up on Superior Saturday, and we ran about 30 miles offshore to fish.  Surface temp was still only 37° out there.  But of course, my old faithful laker-taker still delivered!Take care, Capt Steve from Top 40 charters."  Click for Lk Superior Laker

5/30/22  Wrapping up the holiday weekend that was mostly all work.  Cut the grass (good 3 hours), put the garden in, installed more rod holders (16' tin boat), power washed the trucks, started cleaning the pole barn, kept up webstore orders, and installed new vertical air conditioner (slider windows) in the shop to get ready for 90° summer heat.
              Just about time to begin production on our Rip Teezers.  Hence, the need for the pole barn transition for storage to production facility.  Enjoy the whole process of start to finish in-house manufacturing of soft plastic herring replacement strips.
              Rushing the chores to make time to go fishing this coming week (hopefully).  Wind looks like it play nice this coming Wednesday and Thursday.  Haven't heard much about the fishing out of Manistee lately.  It's a given Lake Trout are being caught.

5/27-28-29/22  Have a safe and great holiday weekend.  I'm sure you more than deserve it!  Please don't lose sight of the reason behind Memorial Day dedicated our brave armed service men and women who gave all ...'nough said!

5/26/22  Kick in the gut on gas prices for boats that burn a lot of fuel.  Marina gas will probably hit 5.50 a gallon, or more.  That's dreadful if you're running charters.
              My Cherokee with twin GM V8s got 1.2 miles a gallon.  Less, if was in heavy seas.  If we fished close to Manistee when the fish were there? ...3 trips on a 100 gallons. Take that to 2 if I had to run S towards Big Point Sable.  The Cherokee made several long trips.  Longest was Harbor Beach, MI to Monroe, MI.  Lots of trips from Manistee to Saugatuck and S Haven. So, I had exact figures on fuel consumption.
              Charters being cheap on gas? ...experienced charter customers will know.  My mindset was it's better to burn gas then burn your chances on repeat customers.

5/26/22  Kick in the gut on gas prices for boats that burn a lot of fuel.  Marina gas will probably hit 5.50 a gallon, or more.  That's dreadful if you're running charters.
              My Cherokee with twin GM V8s got 1.2 miles a gallon.  Less, if was in heavy seas.  If we fished close to Manistee when the fish were there? ...3 trips on a 100 gallons. 
              Take that to 2 if I had to run S towards Big Point Sable.  The Cherokee made several long trips.  Longest was Harbor Beach, MI to Monroe, MI.  Lots of trips from Manistee to Saugatuck and S Haven. So, I had exact figures on fuel consumption.
              Charters being cheap on gas? ...experienced charter customers will know.  My mindset was it's better to burn gas then burn your chances on repeat customers.

5/25/22  Wind and wave forecast from Windfinder.Com is good this coming Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend.  Then, more wind as the weekend progresses.
               Not much info from Manistee, MI from those looking for suspended fish.  Last I heard they were still looking without much success finding bait.  Once this week's unsettled cooler weather stabilizes next week, look for improving conditions.
    Fishing folks needs to have an optimistic attitude, things will get better, but when?

5/24/22  Kustomers and Kings make a good starting point for today's chat.  Charter customers preferred specie is King Salmon.  Everybody wants big fish.  That's easy to understand.  Truth is many don't know what they're getting into with a King over 25 lbs.
              My charter career of 20 years estimate a good 100 MI master angler Kings (over 27 lbs.) went in the box.  Nothing special here. Time on the water makes this happen.
             Most of the time, really big Kings become a community fish with 2-3 persons sharing rod time.  It's critical to keep the line tight when you're pulling attractors.
             In the charter business be prepared to lose 50% of hooks ups.  A good charter crew can do over 75%.  I looked at all the lost fish: if my guests knew what they were doing? ...I'd be out of a job and never get hired.

5/23/22   While we've had alewife die-offs over the years, 1996 was the largest I seen on Lk. MI.  There were windrows of dead Alewives the length & width of Lk. MI.  You could not troll thru these lines of dead bait.  If you did? ...it was pull and clean all the rods.
               Remember 1996 well.  This was the only year when Steelhead outnumbered King, or Chinook Salmon according to creel census charter boat data .  Fishing was beyond incredible with well over 20 fish per charter most days.
               Underneath the thick rows of dead Alewives was quad-zillions of tiny minnow looking bait fish feeding on the decomposing bait.  Showing in carbon based life forms, when something dies, it provides life someplace along the food chain.
               Posted an archived charter catch from 1996 with over 20 fish hung.  Mostly Steelhead and Lk. Trout with a few Kings caught off the surface. Click 1996 catch   

5/22/22  Fresh in from a highly trusted source who shared there was a decent bite on spring Kings to 25 lbs. off Big Point Sable yesterday morning.  Heard fish were caught down to 70' deep.  Catch was slightly less than a handful, but 9 Kings and size was giants!
              The lilacs are blooming and the cottonwoods shedding their cottony seed structures that allow them to be blown long ways.  S Lk. MI has a lot more cottonwoods that makes an entwined fibrous glob on your lines.  If possible? ...clean off when still wet.
              Perfect timing for spring Kings to show up.  Only time well tell if this is the best spring King fishing we've had in many years of central Lk. MI ports.

5/21/22  Have a great today and tomorrow.  Best of luck if you're blessed enough to fish the Great Lakes.  Was going to take 2 days off for home projects that need doing, but a hot tip on spring Kings this afternoon needed to be shared tomorrow, 
              Be back Monday with 1st hand knowledge of what I witnessed as a charter skipper during Alewife die-offs from 1983 thru 2003.

5/20/22   The current Alewife die-off is it good, or bad?  I'd say good, because there's a surplus of bait.  Alewives are an invasive saltwater specie.  Their kidneys don't adjust well in big temperature swings.  Hence, the cyclical die offs. Click TC die-off article
               This is a long ways from the scare tactics the MDNR used a few years back.  Wrongfully, foreseeing a collapse of bait like on Lk. Huron in the early i2ks.  Then, the MDNR got took to the cleaners by the WI DNR on allotted planting numbers.
               Spoke with the Godfather of the Leland charter fleet Capt. Jim "Spanky" Munoz and there Alewives spawning in the short Leland river that runs thru Fishtown.  Capt. Jim said, "it's been a longtime since happened."  So, everything is good side of up and up.

5/19/22  Long time friend of this website Capt. Jack sent in today's featured photo.  It's a nice mix of spring Coho, Steelhead and Lake Trout caught out of Lake Huron's Port of Harbor beach, MI last weekend.  Click HB mixed bag
               This is a good spring port I know well having chartered out of there in my early career in the mid to late 1980s.  Back then it was mostly spring Kings with 5 fish limits.
                Limit has been changed for Lk. Huron ports to 2 Lake Trout from Rogers City N. by MI's DNR to conform to the 2000 Consent Decree.  Click for MDNR article
               There's an Alewife die-off happening on Central Lk. MI ports to and past Leland, to Traverse City, MI.  Made the TC's channel 7 news that will be covered tomorrow.

5/18/22  Super star DNR Creel Census Clerk for Rogers City, MI Julie S forward us a link after seeing mention of the surface temp charts being offline.  Click for Julie's link
               This site is called Seagull with access to current flows and how they converge. There's a color coded graph for a rough idea of surface temps.
               Need to update this website's Great Lakes info page where everything is devoted to weather and sea conditions.  Ludington's down temp buoy link needs a new URL address.  So, I need to research and update this new link off Seagull.
              We all like a hint on where to start.  Using 21st century internet tech to point us in the right direction beats playing "pin the tail on the donkey" blindfolded.

5/17/22  Posted an archived temp chart photo that shows a big temp break off Manistee, MI.  This the cold side is vertical structure just like the shelf (drop off).  This works to concentrate the fish and gives us a place to start.  Click archived chart
              Not having the technology makes starting point a lot more luck than skill.  Not having these charts after watching them for 20 plus years is a big loss.
              Did find something close and a way to get data off Ludington, MI's down temp buoy that will be tomorrow's focus.

5/16/22  Just about time for a short road trip if want to get some action on spring Kings.  This is prompted by Saturday's small boat tournament with lackluster results.  In a little over 2 hours can trailer to Saugatuck, MI.  I'm completely familiar with this port having chartered there before for 3-4 years in the later 1990s. 
              Just a few small details on the boat and a short test run out of Manistee, MI to make sure all systems are a go.  I'd rather spent 4 hours on the road, there and back.  Then, try to make a silk purse out of sow's ear beating my home waters.  Alternative is closer like Muskegon, or just wait until spring Kings show up in Manistee.
             Biggest issue choosing where to fish is the complete lack of surface temperature charts.  This system is down and has been going back to February.  This is a toughie, having relied on the technology for the last 20 some years. Click chart down error

5/15/22  Yesterday's small boat tournament out of Manistee, MI results were less then stellar.  25 boats entered.  Winner caught a 15 lb. Lake Trout. 
              There was one 8 lb. King entered, rest was downhill with 9 of the 25 boats not registering a fish.  Including some well known to the area captains.  Water temp is way behind, I'd say were 10 days away from better action depending on weather.
              Those I spoke with out of St. Joe, a more southerly port told me this a week ago.  Manistee's spring fishing will improve for those willing to wait a tad longer.

5/14/22  Dated U.S.C.G flares are required on boats under 16' if used at night.  Boats over 16' to 65' are required for day, or night time use.  Click for regulations
               These flares are dated and only last for 3 years as today's featured photo shows.  This is easy to overlook.  So, check to make sure you're legal.  I'm sure a ticket for this is over a 100 bucks and you'll still have to buy flares. Click dated flares
               Hopefully, this website will keep you on the right path.  My 20 years in the charter business taught me to be able to pass any boat inspection, at any time.

5/13/22  Friday the 13th, or baker's dozen update.  No big deal on the 13th, because I was born on the 13th with a life long passion for fishing.  I'd say that's lucky!
               Record and near record heat wave is done and over with today.  Plus side is the heat will raise Lk. MI temps that have been lagging behind the norm.  Best spring King fishing is when there's defined temp break along Manistee's dropoff, or shelf.
               Suspect best chance for spring Kings off all central Lk. MI ports will be around Memorial Day Weekend.  It's wait and see on how the sea conditions unfold.
               My schedule works for night time fishing for Kings this August.  No one yet has came up with a predictable pattern that can work fleet wide.  Hope to be the 1st!

5/12/22  Part 3 of 3.  Just because it gets dark does not mean adult Kings stop moving.  In the late 1970s caught Kings off Frankfort, MI pushing midnight making sure the launch ramp was clear.  Took Kings in the Betsie River well after 2am.  Click 10:22pm King
              This year's plan is to stay out in the deep water until most of the boats have pulled lines.  Then, move in close and fish the pier heads, if the water is 70° or lower.
              Spent months of my life in Manistee, MI's harbor learning above 70° it's tougher to get a bite.  Pier anglers cast all night & catch Kings in the right conditions.
              Safety comes into play in the dark.  Majority of the fleet is not that experienced and I don't want to get hit.  My rear deck lights provide ample identification.  Night time trolling is our least explored horizon and will revisit today's chat this coming August.       

5/11/22  Part 2 of 3.  Late evening into night is our least explored part of Kings during August prime time.  Fishing late means a crowed boat ramp.  Central MI ports of Ludington has 4 ramps, just like Frankfort.  Manistee has 8 which is the best launch I know of.
               Frankfort is the worst with a smaller parking area and not much room to swing a trailer around.  Manistee and Ludington have massive boat trailer parking lots.
               This means you're just as well off to fish extra time in the dark, rather then wasting it in a long holding pattern to pull your boat.  This depends on your schedule that does not include the next morning's outing at zero-dark 30.
              Tomorrow, a new twist on how turn this extra time into fish, hopefully....

5/10/22  Part 1 of 3.  Let's fast forward to late evening August prime time Kings.  This is as much for myself, as it is to share tactics that made me a living in the charter business.
              Need to remind myself, as the clock closes in on dark, the in-temp fish that's been the target, this all spins on a dime, as the sun goes down, the fish come up! 
             Adult King Salmon tend to rise in the water column.  If depth was 100' down, "in the dark" 50' down, or higher is more likely to produce action. 
             Especially, with the big leap forward in our X-Glow Rip Teezers that provide a highly visible target for the Kings ...no matter what depth they are lurking?
             Staying out late has it's advantages. To be continued tomorrow.... 

5/9/22  Last Tuesday my wife and I received our 2nd booster shot of the Moderna vaccine.  1. shot we got was J and J.  No problem, no ill side effects.  2.  shot was booster Moderna with no issues other than the injection site (arms) were a little sore.
             3. second shot of Moderna booster left us both with side effects.  My wife had cold chills and stayed in bed most of the day after.  Me? ...I just got ultra fatigued.  Like I hadn't slept in 3 days.  This tiredness carried over to day 2 and a little into day 3.
             If you're in the group that a 2nd booster is recommended, clear out the next day with nothing important on your schedule.  Suffered thru day 2, because we had a rush order.  Tackle stores do this & it's the last time I consent to rush store orders.  No more!

5/8/22  Have a happy Mother's Day, hopefully with friends and family.  Have 2 important topics that will be featured tomorrow and Tuesday.  Don't want this info to get lost in the this weekend shuffle.  Monday is about our 2nd Covid 19 Moderna booster.  Tuesday is an important tip that should be worth a few more Kings this summer.

5/7/22  Mother's Day Weekend when we show our love to the person responsible for putting us on this earth.  Remember her tomorrow for sure!
             Flip the switch from a wet chilly March and April to full blown summer with temps in the mid-80s for Manistee, MI next week.  This should kick start the big lake fishing in all ports providing the wind plays nice.  With high temps usually come with high winds.
            With nice weather comes outside jobs like yard work and putting in a garden.  We have enough outside projects going on to fill up most of next week.
       Tomorrow?  ....a report on our 2nd booster of Moderna last Tuesday. lines up.

5/6/22  Almost is a good title for today's chat.  My boat is near and ready as it gets for it's 1st bath in the 2022 season.  Took special care in battery maintenance.  Found loose terminals and topped off the cells with distilled water.  Installed the new dated 2021 fire extinguisher that fit into the old one's holder like a glove.
             Could have called this job complete, but my vacuum's sucker wasn't sucking.  Just need to grease the axels, get marine gas at the BP station, then splash at Manistee's launch.  Have high hopes of no black kitty ...aka Mr. Skunk.  But you never know? 
Not knowing the outcome is what makes fishing the magnificent eternal challenge.
   I'll cover this in greater detail for those over 55 going for their 2nd booster shot soon.

5/5/22  Encouraging report from the DNR said there were a few spring King being caught in and around Manistee, MI's harbor.  Mixed bag was also mentioned.
            This makes sense, because there were juvenile Kings off the waters of Manistee last fall.  Look at this as scouts for the main herd with the best yet to come.
            Jumping thru all the MDNR and Coast Guard hoops for the 20 years as a charter operator makes me a stickler for details.  New fire extinguisher arrived today and the bottom is stamped with a date.  Next is to check expiration date on flares required by the U.S.C.G.  Diligence on required marine safety equipment will save you a costly ticket.  Safety rules are in place to keep you and your passengers protected.  So, use them!

5/4/22  Off day for yours truly, caused by way too much work.  Tackle stores that order close to a 100 flashers, then want product shipped in 1 day tests my patience.
             Injected in the right arm is sore from the vaccine and feel fatigued.  Always seem to get sleepy from any injections.  Sleepy is good, if there's time to nap?

5/3/22  This morning is when my wife and I get our 2nd booster of Moderna Covid 19 vaccination.  These are supposed to be free, but we have to bring our proof of insurance plans.  So, how this works is beyond me?
            Posted a photo of Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk with a jumbo over 15" perch.  He was sketchy about what lake.  Perch fishermen travel in flocks and understand why.

5/2/22  Manistee, MI public boat launch is part of Douglas Park.  There's covered picnic tables and a pavilion to make this probably the best boat launching facility in the State of MI.  I know of no other ramp that has 8, or 9 docks with fast access to Lk. MI.  Trailer parking area is huge. The City of Manistee did their homework in design and function.
             Back some years ago Manistee did a launch re-design and went to a "no arm bandit" (kiosk) to collect launching fees.  I call this the 1st Street launch, because if you go to the W end of 1st Street? ....you're at the launch. Click Manistee kiosk

5/1/22  New U.S.C.G regulations for onboard fire extinguishers is complicated.  Boats over 26' have more stringent rules on sizes and types?.  Only thing that was clear to me is all onboard fire extinguishers must have a date stamped on them. Click more info
             Best advice I can offer is for you to make sense of the legalize rules and do what's necessary to be legal.   Make sure your running lights are all up to snuff & obey no wake zones.  CG gives boat inspections when you're pulled over. Click stamped date

4/30/22  Inland Trout season opener.  It's always the last Saturday in April.  Inland Walleyes in some areas have opened too.  As luck would have it, registered a 12 lb. Big Manistee Walleye on this opener many years ago.
               With the trout stream opener, used to know a few fishermen that targeted Steelhead in Pine Creek featured on the website many times. This was when I was guiding on the Big Manistee River (1985-2003).  Used to save Steelhead eggs for them.
               U.S.C.G. has some new regulations pertaining to boat fire extinguishers.  Need to research this a little further and give you the complete facts tomorrow.

4/29/22  Some of the must diehard early fishermen I know have been held back by the near record low temps, or accompanying wind that have kept the water stirred up.  Colder water tends to stay murky from silt.  Warmer water the silt doesn't stay suspended.
              I have purchased non lethal bear detriments.  Bear spray for my wife who had the "you know what" shocked out of her going face to face with Mrs. Bear.
              Bought five 12 gauge non lethal bean bag shells to send the message: you're not welcomed here.  Want to avoid have these animals destroyed at all costs.  Scary part is they paid no mind to dogs barking in the house while they went porch shopping.
             If by chance, a bear goes after my dogs, Mr. Smith and Wesson's .357 will have a say ...heaven forbid and pray this does not happen.

4/28/22  Scruffy has recovered from his gunshot wound incredibly well.  While is hock, or dog's rear knee is twice the size of normal, he can run and jump with no problems.
              Scruff was missing for only 15 minutes when I seen him on the road N of my place by a 1/3 of mile.  He was soaking wet and hell bent for parts unknown.  Came to find out he got into it with what had to be a Coyote.  Click for Scruffy
              Male Coyotes can weigh up to 50 lbs. and have no issues attacking pets for an easy meal.  Found out this by 2 bare patches of fur on Scruff's neck and front shoulder when we cut his hair.  Wife's has been a pro groomer.  So, we do this at home.
             Any dog that can smell a bear inside a closed up house to alert us of danger can smell his way home.  This didn't work out, because a snow plow cleared the road he traveled a 1/2 mile on, blowing his scent away when he went missing on day 1.
             Dogs do cost time and money that I'm repaid 100s of times with a 100% pure devotion.  Not having a home security system, being a dog, or dogs is not wise when you live in the boonies.  Scruffy is a beautiful animal that has shown no interest in venturing into the woods since we recovered him after MIA for 8 days last December. 
             This dog survived Coyotes, being shot and near starvation which is amazing for an pampered house pooch.  Scruff learned the hard way, things in the woods could kill him!

4/27/22  Around 10pm Monday evening told my wife, "there's a bear," after hearing our Labradoodle, Scruffy growl.  She thought I was joking and went to the window to look.
              Terrified, she yelled, OMG, because the bear was looking in the same window staring at her 3' away.  Hurriedly, she yanked the shade and scooted into the next room.
              We had a large sow (maybe 300 lbs.) with a yearly cub foraging in our garbage can.  Ha! Ha! ...Mrs. Bear, there was only used cat litter inside.  Not to be deterred, the large cub walked on the porch and was sniffing the grill.  Click for Scruffy
               Called Manistee DNR CO, Scott McNeil and told him about these bears having no fear of humans, or our dogs barking.  This not good and can lead to the destruction of 2 fine animals.  Never feed a bear.  Some do and that's a tragic mistake.
    Update on Scruffy's gunshot recovery and his 8 day MIA Dec. vacation tomorrow.

4/26/22  Surface temp off the Port of Manistee, MI is now in the 40s.  Smelt are said to run around 44°.  Smelt runs have been iffy, but if they do come in this year? ...the Trout and Salmon will come right along with them.  No bait equals = not many fish on the beach.
              Hot spot from a few years ago was the Bar Lake outlet N. of Orchard Beach State Park when the smelt came in N of Manistee.  Creeks to the S include Magoon, Guerney, and Cooper.  Caught plenty of fish off these feeder streams into Lk. MI. 
              Buy a chart, or look online to see where these locations are.  You can see them on a S troll to Big Point Sable that about 15 miles S of Manistee, if you're on the beach.
            Major excitement at my house last night with 2 bears, scoop tomorrow!

4/25/22  Michigan Steelhead could be classified as it's own specie.  Roots of the fish are said to go back to 1893 when some were set free into Lk. MI from the Chicago Worlds Fair. 
              There's more to this story, as there was some interbreeding with fish imported from the west coast.  Steelhead are a highly aggressive mean fish that will hit all day long, when you're in the right area.  They are the Tarpon of freshwater with their jumps. 
             Only out done by what I rank 1st as the most aggressive fish on the Great Lakes that is, Coho that hit all day long too.  Spring Kings will hit all day.  This changes the older they get, when it turns into an early and late/low light fishery during the summer adult run.

4/24/22  78° yesterday, T-shirt weather that was beyond nice.  Let's hope for more in the near future.  Extended cold spring was not fun.
               Mixed reports from Manistee on the inshore, on the beach fishery.  Surface temp is 40° that way behind the norm.  Hearing more Laker Trout than other species.

4/23/22  The Trout of Michigan book by Harold Hinsdill Smedley published in 1938 is one of my most cherished possessions.  The publish date of 1938 shows this book was written as the early Trout history of MI evolved. 
              This book is a short read only 49 pages devoted to the ground floor the goes back to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair that was said to birth part of MI's fishery.  Other history I have came from Bud Raskey who guided on Manistee Lk. going back to the 1940s.
So, what specie can MI lay claim to that's about 140 years old? ...answer Monday.

4/22/22  The fish gods have blessed MI residents with access to 4 of the 5 Great Lakes.  The other state is even close to the loads of opportunities we have in MI.
               I could only dream about catching the Salmon and Trout I read about in the Outdoor Life and Field and Stream magazines, as a kid in the 1950s.  Now, we have this world class fishery on our doorstep.  Living in MI you're never more then about 2 hours from any Great Lake.  Not to mention the inland lakes that are countless.
         Tomorrow? ...what specie can MI lay claim to that's about 140 years old?

4/21/22  Sold close to 4k Rip Teezers.  Nary a complaint or any reports of strips being torn up by the fish.  Better yet? ...re-orders from those that purchased them last year.
               Have a test strip from 2020 hand poured that has sat in my windowsill 24/7 for 2 years and the glow is still strong.  So, I did my homework before putting these into production.  We all have a niche, mine is designing ground breaking tackle that lasts.
              I'm a stickler for longevity, because I bought so much junk when I was in the charter business.  If you bought a meat head of ours back in 2005? ...bet it's still good to go after 12 years.  Know you can drive a truck over them with little to no damage.

4/20/22  Lack of usual fishing reports (due to weather) has me scrambling for interesting topics.  Found a subject where the MDNR is implanting transmitters into Saginaw Bay Walleyes to capture vital movement and spawning data. Click MDNR article
              While that's all fine and good, why are they neglecting this same opportunity with MI's King Salmon?  Kings are the money fish that drives the Lk. MI fishing industry.  Showing MI King Salmon the same technology is only fair.

4/19/22  Today's storyline is three 2s in search of my 1st Lk. MI trip of 2022.  1.  It's been far too wet.  2.  It's been far too windy.  3.  It's been far too cold.  Number 3 is the fact we've been running 15° to 20° below normal daytime high temperatures.
              Yesterday and today would be rated great if this was February with 1" of snow on the ground yesterday morning.  Know this can't last, because July is on the way.
     My Manistee snowometer now reads a combined 80" (79 + 1) total for this winter.

4/18/22  In 2003 six frozen premium cut herring strips were 3.95 buck a tub.  Price per strip was .66 cents.  Adjusted for inflation that's a $1.03 in today's 2022 money.
              So, there's been a massive jump in prices for strips over the last 19 years, way over inflation.  Sorry part is the strips I seen were not near the quality.  Bluntly, junk I wouldn't fish with no matter the cost, or given away free. Click good mid-i2k strips
             Now, the flip side in cost? ...if it means a successful trip 3 bucks a strip is cheap when you consider the short window of time and all expenses involved.
             Today's chat is a carry over from last Saturday that needed expanding.

4/17/22  Have a safe and excellent Easter.

4/16/22  28.00 Canadian Dollars is a tad steep for 10 herring strips, as told to me by a fisherman from Toronto, CA.  Know there was some price gouging in the US too, when strips were scarce, or non-existent last summer. Click whole grn label herring
              Before Rip Teezers, I turned away from strips probably in 2008 and went with whole herring that much easier to get and more cost effective.  But, I'm not the fleet and they (fleet) preferred to keep chasing strips.  Even though supplies were always spotty.
              Do know the bait business has been a mess from the git with some dealers losing a lot of money.  Frozen bait is a perishable high risk product.
              Some of the above mentioned is why I came up with a viable alternative that works for me (Rip Teezers) and turned my back on frozen herring altogether.

4/15/22  Dreaded tax deadline day.  Posted a screen shot of Manistee, MI's 1st Street beach.  Big wind means big waves, as you can clearly see.  There 2 webcams, the other is of the 5th Avenue Beach that's N view of the harbor.
              This photo came off my Great Lakes Info page that's a great resource with all links devoted to wind, weather and sea conditions.
              The link I rely for surface temperatures: Sea Grant's Coast Watch page has been down since 2/26/22.  Says they're working to fix it.  Click Great Lakes Info

4/14/22  Tee shirt weather yesterday that gave us a brief glimpse of what to expect when our weather breaks toward full spring, not a carry over of March.
              I was stuck in the shop most of yesterday cutting lure tape, but did make it outside a few times.  Seen some good reports out of Lexington and Port Sanilac, MI on Lk. Huron in close to shore (inside 30').  In the later 1970s Lexington was a favorite port when I lived in SW MI.  King fishing there was awesome in early to mid May.

4/13/22  Today is predicted to be the warmest day of the year with high temps approaching 70°.  Bummer is the thunderstorms that will hinder outdoor activities.
              Big wind from the SW is on tap for tomorrow.  This will help bring up the water temps that have been chilly this year.  SW will stir up more silt S of Manistee, MI,  Making any gains in water temp for naught, because what a fish can't see? ...they can't  hit.
              Yesterday ended up being a marathon of office drudgery with tax deadlines that included personal, business, MI sales tax, 1st QTR 10% excise tax on tackle.  A nonstop 4 hours later, was able to file 3 days before April 15th, when the ___ hits the fan!

4/12/22  Fluid checks during preseason boat prep is a must.  Obvious things like checking the oil are easy.  If you have enclosed cooling like I do on my 350 GM V8, add antifreeze if necessary.  Make sure your batteries charged are fill with distilled water if low.
               Important is lower end gear lube on outdrives and outboards.  Be sure to check the fluid in the trim and tilt pump.  You're in deep-doo, if this don't work
               Don't be too broke to pay attention to today's topic.  Neglecting any one of these can cost you large.  Avoiding costly self-inflected damage is the wise thing to do.

4/11/22  Finally, a stretch of warmer weather.  Time to get my boat buttoned up and ready to fish out of Manistee, MI.  Boat insurance is is paid, new MC stickers, 2022 fishing license, rods are ready and my launch ramp permit is all in order. 
              Like you, I'm getting antsy to feel the surge of waves and wet lines.  Now, to look for a window for my 1st trip of 2022, if all goes as planned today.
              Looking forward to running the new 2022 Sliver Bullet Blue and Green Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Designed these selections for mid day/full sun.  Click 2022 spoons

4/10/22  Seen the first robin of the year yesterday bouncing around on a light dusting of snow.  We have a lot of robins nesting.  These are not hardy birds.  Back a few years ago we had several freeze to death when the temp dropped down to zero and single digits.
              Bright spot is we'll have temps in the 50s and 60s thru Thursday.  Then, it drops into the low 40s and more freezing temps at night.  Sounds all-too familiar!
              Have cut some wood today.  Early and extended winter made us burn thru almost 15 face-cords of wood.  Normal usage around 12. Click Robin in snow
     My Manistee snowometer now reads a combined 79" (78 + 1) total for this winter.

4/9/22  Updated the Past Results section where every daily entry since 2000 is archived.  This a great reference source when I need to look back and confirm a log update.
            Capt. John's Log existed 3 years prior to the word blog, which I just don't like.  Slog & bog come to mind where most people to realize this is not a short term piece of communication.  Know I hold the world record for the longest-continuous fish log on the web.  Probably one of my finest accomplishments.
Click for Past Results

4/8/22  Personal taxes deadline in a few days.  Have a handle on that with our bookkeeper that has already filed our business taxes.  Making tackle is easy, it's dealing with the sideshows that get in the way.
            Shaping up to be a productive week and still have a day of 2 left to build more spoon inventory.  Salmon Buster™ spoons are always in demand early in the season.
            Predicting may 60° next week.  Not going to jinx myself, but must devote a few hours to get my boat ready that sitting in parts and pieces as things stand.

4/7/22  Today's featured photo is from Linda M.  She sent in a pic from St. Joe with a worthy 10 Brown Trout and a spring Coho.  Word was unclear on how many Coho was caught, but I believe it was more than a few.  Click St. Joe Brown
             It's extra great to see fishing folks out on the water enjoying themselves.  We've all been there, waiting for the hit, then ...all hell breaks loose when a rod goes off!

4/6/22  A year ago today we were in the 70s in Manistee, MI.  No such luck this year when we might be lucky and break 50°.  The cold water Wayne J shared with us from his last trip says you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
            Been in Manistee since the early 1990s and never seen inshore water this cold this many days into April.  Silver lining is rain today should heat the water up some.
            Manistee's harbor is windswept by anything from the N, or S.  Ludington, MI gets some protection from N wind with Big Point Sable keeping the stained river water from the Pere Marquette closer to, in and around the harbor area.

4/5/22  1st fishing report from Manistee, MI courtesy of Wayne J.  He fished the harbor N to Orchard Beach State Park in less than ideal conditions.  Water was a chilly 34.4° on the beach with a green tint.  Cold water is dense water and keeps sediment suspended limiting lure visibility.  Factor in the cold water and you can see why Wayne didn't have a hit.
             Good news if the water is clear from weeds once you leave the harbor.  City of Manistee is replacing some of their docks that appear narrower than the existing docks.

4/4/22  Great Lakes fishing for Salmon and Trout is an equal opportunity sport.  Age, sex don't matter, or what your religion is.  Open water fishing is an immense challenge.
The deck is pretty much stacked against you until you locate fish in a vast sea of water with 99.9% of it not worth a fiddler's fart.
            The main ingredient in our favor is Salmon and Trout are voracious feeders on the prowl for their next meal.  Failure is baked in.  So is success, when a rod finally goes off.

4/3/22  An over used word in today's vocabulary is, crazy.  Words have different meaning to all of us.  In the 1950s when I was a kid, was raised around a few crazy people.  Since, this word has been replaced with mentally ill.  The crazy people I knew were scary.  You didn't know whether you were going to get a Hersey Bar from them, or stabbed in the neck with a pointed shovel.  So, every time I hear the word crazy, it harkens back to my childhood in 1950s and the difficult situations I had to deal with.

4/2/22  Completed a successful week.  Major progress in ordering supplies for the rest of this season.  Only 1 small glitch was with Roscoe Swivels that have us on a 4 week wait for the coast lock swivels we use on our 12" flashers.  All other items are on the way.
            With lows down to 10° last week, it's amazing winter refuses to let go.  Only good thing about it being cold it's kept the tornadoes away.  In 2022 the US set a record for the most tornadoes in the month of March.

4/1/22  April 1st when some folks want to be comedians at your expense.  I've been bamboozled more times then I wish to admit from outlandish stories from smart -----s
 So, be careful today and ignore an onslaught of BS from those with nothing better to do.
            One thing that's not joke is the extended winter-like weather with average temperatures 20° below the norm.  More snow the last 2 days too.
     My Manistee snowometer now reads a combined 78" (76 + 2) total for this winter.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2022 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

2021 Results
January, February & March

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

2020 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

October, November & December

2019 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

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