Lake Michigan Salmon Fishing Charters plus Big Manistee River for Steelhead, Coho or Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout and Brown Trout
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River Results

3/30/00 Don and his "Fishin' Son" Andy "LIMITED OUT" on Brown Trout On Lake Michigan.  They wisely chose to fish  the Big Lake rather than struggle in the river.  Well, they had a fishing trip they'll long remember!  We had 15 fish up to the back of the boat and 12 great tasting browns hit the box.  The action at first when it was cloudy was fantastic!!  Andy could hardly keep pace with all the hits (at least 20 ).  Fishing stayed steady thru-out Don's Charter at least enough to keep Andy hopping.  We lost the biggest Brown of the day when an 8 pounder threw the hook.  While the fish averaged smaller than usual, the numbers made up for it.  For me it was great, because I didn't have to beat myself up on the river trying to create fish that just aren't there due to a warm February and March.

March the 29th a special "Thanks" goes out to Harry Diener from Royal Oak, MI for being willing to reschedule his trip.  After meeting with Harry and his group at 7:15 am it was wisely decided to postpone his Charter for another day.  In the last 4 out of 5 days it's just been to windy and rough to have an enjoyable time on Lake Michigan. It's highly unusual to have this much wind for this time of the year.  Let's wait for the 30th to see if we can get off the dock.  The good thing is that the combinations of Westerly winds we've been having is setting the Lake up for some fantastic Brown Trout opportunities when we get a break from the wind.  River Steelhead is still poor unless your willing to fish with the hoards at Tippy on the gravel for bedding Steelies on the redds.  The crowd is immense!

3/26/00 I just launched the Cherokee and it's berthed at Fisherman Center just behind the Captains Corner Restaurant.  While River Steelhead is slow, Lake Michigan Brown Trout are good to go.  At least now, if you have a Steelhead Trip booked we'll have the option to fish the  Shoreline for Browns.   March the 26th the Lake Michigan Boat (28' Cherokee) was launched because of slow Steelhead action on the Big Manistee RiverBecause of the bad weather (rough water) and slow fishing I've cancelled the 26, 27 and 28th.  As soon as the wind lays down we'll be on the Big Lake for Browns.  Also, a fresh run of Steelhead is needed  the river.  River results on the 25th were poor with only 1 fish hooked up and enough boats to recreate the D-Day Invasion in WWII.

March 24th Rich Sloan ,Jeff Stafani and young Jeffrey (7 years old) hit the Big "M".  Well today was just one of those days when the fish hit, they didn't get hooked up.  We had only 3 good opportunities and I struck out, no fish hooked up!  They're were a couple of other poor slaps on the rod but the fish weren't in no mood to hook up.  However Jeff and Rick the Mancelona Sportsman were informed of the slow fishing before we left and wanted a day on the river anyway.  Well I couldn't have spent a better day with 2 more understanding fisherman than this great group.  Incidentally, I was impressed by young Jeffrey's patience.  For a slow day this 7 year was well behaved and is welcomed with me any day of the week.  Low water is hurting the fishing.

March 23rd I fished with Tim Jameson and his great stepson Randy While fishing continued to be slow Randy managed to catch his first Steelhead after several runs in fast current he landed a dandy hen about 8 lbs.  We fished a couple of more spots when Tim jumped a "Hot" 10 lb. Chrome Hen.  This fish was hard to handle but with the pro-job in rod handling by Tim steering the Steelie away from obstacles, we finally slid the net under it.  While a couple of hits were missed we found not many fish in the lower river.  But, all in all it was a suburb day on the Manistee with Bald Eagles and Wild Turkeys keeping us company all day.  The saga very low water continues.

Joe Lincoln and Rick Brown booked March 21st.  Joe who is a distant relative of Honest Abe has fished with me since 1990 has landed several trophy Steelhead.  Rick who is an accomplished angler in his own right plying the waters of Lake Michigan in his own Salmon Boat.  Well these two fine fisherman deserved much better fishing that I was able to show them.  Consumers Power who controls the flow of Tippy Dam is filling the backwaters and have cut down on the normal flow.  Lack of water contributed to a slow day!  We only had 2 hits, 1 slap and Rick landed a male coming in around 7 lbs.  This slow fishing will continue until we get some rain or they turn lose of some water at Tippy. 

Mar These were 2 great Steel men to fish with.  We had a light rain and mist most of the day.  The Steelies were not pounding on the rod like they usually do.  Light hits made for a long day in my seat and the only bright spot was the company of John and Len.  Half way into the day John boated a bright chrome hen after a long and hard struggle.  Len had 3 light hits on his side of the boat fighting one briefly in the last hole of the day.  Let me stress Len did no wrong!  The fish were not in a aggressive mood to say the least and I wish that I could have done a better job for these fishermen. 

March 14th I had to great opportunity to take Tim Russell and his daughter Catherine in quest of the mighty river Steelhead.  The fish continued the same deal as yesterday with many light hits that didn't hook up.  In fact we had at least 12 hits!  We had 5 fish hooked up but only 3 made it to the net.  Kate did a super job in landing a 8 lb. Brown trout and Tim came close to his limit in boating a couple of hens to 9 lbs.  This father and daughter combination were a pleasure to be with.  The missed fish kept the day exciting to say the least. 

March 13th Bob Tucker and long time friend Ollie Wendt booked me for Steelheading on the Big River.  Bob and Ollie went to EMU together back in the 70's and fished as a team since.  Also Ollie is recognized as a leading expert on Walleye fishing on Lk. Erie and Canada too!  This team was a well oiled machine that worked together with the precision of a Swiss watch.  While to Steelies were not on the hard bite we did manage to boat 2 real decent fish and had 2 more escape thru no fault of Ollie and Bob.  We had about 3 other smacks that didn't hook up either.  Like I said the fish were not on the hard bite.  I'm hoping to see this "Outstanding Duo" back in late July to go to work on the King Salmon with me on Lk. Michigan.

On March 8th and 9th I fished with "Limit Out" Ed Evans.  Ed is a Pro-Caliber Angler that fishes the Big League Tournaments with Kings Charter.  He is noted for his uncanny knack and ability to turn hits into fish in the boat (he don't lose fish!).  He went 5 for 5 in the two days on fish hooked up (100%).  The 8th was super day with highs in the 70's if you can believe that, although the Steelies were not on the bite until the late afternoon.  Ed landed a trophy Steelhead in the 12 to 14 lb. class in our last hole of the day after boating a 8 lb. buck earlier in the day.

The 9th was different story with it being a lot cooler and light rain.  The fish really turned on for "Limit Out" Ed.  After him accusing me of being just lucky rather than good after he boated his first Steelie, I got down to business and showed him that it wasn't luck after all.  I adjusted some lure colors and Ed got into another 3 fish in short order.  Mister Ed's masterful rod handling did the rest and we quit early after he caught his 3 fish limit.   The fish on the 9th were in a savage mood.  They ran line, jumped, tore up and down the Big River like the Fall Steelhead.  We fished from 8 am until 10:30 am (2 1/2 hrs.) and spent 2 truly great days on the Big Manistee River together. 

March the 6th I had the bother team of Jerry and Charlie Veverka.  Fishing was decent we went 3 fish boated for 7 hits.  Jerry who regularly fishes the St. Joseph River out of his Carolina Skiff was sharpening his plug pulling skills.  Charlie's side of the boat had the most hits and lost a male that was at least 12 pounds, when the monster Steelie tore the hooks off the bait and swam free.  Most of the hits in the morning were on gold and in the pm the fish turned onto chrome combinations. We only fished from about 9 am until 3 pm because Jerry was eager to beat traffic home.

Feb.28th I was part of a 3 boat 6 man Tournament for Allor and Soloman Plumbing in SE Michigan.  Lee Bienz (RiverMaster Guide Service) had the "Hot Hand" boating 3 Steelies for 8 hits.  Mark Chmura (Pier Pressure Charters) did a good job with 3 hits but none stayed stuck.  I only had 2 hits and lucked out winning the Big Fish end of the Tournament with Dan Allor (America's Master Plumber) bringing to the net a perfectly marked bright Steelhead male.  His dad Dan also boated a 10 lb. hen on my boat.  This was a tough day to hit the river with the water being over its banks.  This was a great group to fish with and they did a super job considering they never fished Steelhead.  

On Feb. 25th and 26th I had the wonderful opportunity to fish with Quick Rick Pritchard and Big Jeff Dixon.  Let me tell you we had a great time!  The 25th brought us incredible success with Big Jeffrey wrestling with a 20 King (Chinook) out of the river.  The King ran up river around the anchor rope and down through a fallen tree trunk.  Jeff did  the extremely skillful job of steering the 20 pounder through all the tanglements on 12 lb. test line so I could net it for him.  Jeff is a World Renowned Angler and has boated Largemouth Bass over 15 pounds and  Sturgeon to over 6' in length on light tackle.  

The next hole we hit "Quick Rick" lived up to his well deserved nickname by boating a truly beautiful 13 lb. hook jawed male Steelhead, after a major battle in fast current.  Rick was all over this fish, and that big male didn't stand a chance with "Quickman" on the rod!  Although  Jeff caught another Steelie (female) it was anticlimactic compared to these trophies.  Our success was held down with high stained water on the 26th and the Saturday crowds, but we hit 3 fish and Mr. Pritchard whipped the two of the three.  The weather also was fantastic both days with highs in the 50 to 60 degree range.  Both Rick and Jeff are Home Depot Store Managers in SE Michigan and we had a super time both days.

2/21/00 Jim Nuebacher and Al Nordhenden fished the Big Manistee.  In the second hole we hit, Al with Super Expert Rodsmanship boated a decent male Steelhead after a dogged and determined battle.  We fished a lot of empty holes until late in the day when the Steelies turned on for a little while.  Jim boated a small Steelhead that was perfect for the dinner table.  Also, Al caught his first Brown Trout that put on quite an aerial show for us.  Right the end we missed a savage strike that got away.  Jim who fishes out of Grand Haven on Lake Michigan and is quite an accomplished fisherman (I can tell a good one) will be tentatively crewing for me on some Brown Trout Charters.  Although we only boated 3 fish it was a superb day with a high in the mid-forties and many Bald Eagle sightings.  Maybe  we'll get a Spring after all! 

2/20/00   Clay Polander and his buddy David fished the river with Kings Charter.  Although the temperature was in the high 20's the wind made it seem much colder.  In 4 hours we hit 3 fish with Clay landing a hen in the 8 lb. class.  But she was loaded with eggs, just what these guys wanted.   We decided  to quit around 1:30 pm and attack the fish again on another day.  By the way Clay is a Taxidermist in Lincoln Park.  If you're looking for a good one contact me and I'll give you his phone number.

On the 2/19/00 Vernon and Loretta Holbrook had the day booked.  It was cold and windy and the Steelhead were not in any mood to yank on our plugs rods so we cut to day short.  I'll be seeing Vern and Loretta in Saugatuck for Spring Salmon in late May with warmer conditions guaranteed! Me and Tim Jamison could not fish on the 17th, way to much flow ice in the lower river.  However Tim is scheduled for another date in March.

2/14/00 the team of Gerard Primo and  "Tuxedo Scott" fished the Big Manistee with me.  These are two great guys that were  fun to be with, not to mention they had a firm knowledge and grasp of what Steelhead fishing is about.  The Valentines Day Steelhead acted liked they took the day off.  We only had 3 hits with Scott whipping a beautiful double red striped male in the 10 to 12 lb. range.  Gerard landed a small Brown Trout earlier.  I wished I could had done a better job for these folks but the action was real slow today. 

On 2/13/00 I fished with Bob & Terry Laughery.  We hit 6 fish and had 3 hooked up from 12:30 am until 3:00 pm.  But luck was against us.  On the first fish to hooks just pulled out, the second we boated with Bob doing the honors.  The third fish hit in a log jam and broke us off.  The action was decent for the cold and snowy conditions.  Bob will be fishing the river this fall, he booked Dec. 3rd.  Bob is also employed at Ford Stamping in Wayne, Michigan.

2/11/00 The Dynamic Duo of Ben Nietubisz and Al Smarda had a chance to sample the Steelhead action  on the Big Manistee River. Both of these guys knew how to fish like Pro's.  They only missed one hit and got hooked up on 4 fish, boating 3 with skill and know how that is appreciated at the Ford Stamping Plant in Wayne, Michigan.  Ben landed a BIG male that is on the way to the taxidermists right now.  All in all it was a super day with the Bald Eagles watching over us.

2/7/00 Carl Chase and his long time fishing friend Doug attacked the river with me to see what kind of mood the Steelhead would be in.  In the second hole Doug dealt with a flashy 8 lb. hen before she opened up the snap ring and broke the hook off.  Later in the pm Carl did a super job on a brilliant Rainbow colored 12 lb. male that though it was part Squirrel because the fish want to climb up a tree.  A Pearl Willies Worm (crank bait) was responsible for that Steelies demise.

2/6/00 Bryron Mc Lain and Rea Robinson from Dewitt, Michigan fished a short day with Kings Charter on the Big Manistee.  It was only 5 degrees at 7:00 am so we were not in any big hurry.  We got going around 11:00 am.  In our third hole Bryon fought a  beautiful double striped male to the net after a clearing the fish from a log jam.  We had boated a 26" Pike just minutes before.  It started to chill down so we quit at 3 pm.

On 2/1/00 Lee Bienz and myself took the "The Outdoor Guy" writer for the Manistee News Advocate to gain some favorable ink for our businesses.  Both of us being concerned about the long cold snap knew things would be tough going in.  We hit and boated one Steelhead.  Guy Ellis wrote a great article making us both look better than we deserved for only one fish.  I liked the way Guy put it in his words; "well being on the river seeing Bald Eagles and great scenery sure beats being in the office today" 

1/29/00 Ed Van Etten and his Friend Chad Fished a short afternoon with Kings Charter on the Big "M".  Ice flows below High Bridge made their trip a tough one.  In our second "hole" Chad landed a dark colored male Steelhead after a short but determined battle.  We didn't launch until 1:00 pm and quit at about 4:00.  Conditions were absolutely against us with the morning temperature coming in at 5 below zero at 8:00, and that's why we waited until the afternoon. I gave Ed the option of moving his trip to later date but he wanted to hit the River anyway.  Right now he's planning on what date he wants in April.   

Rod and Mark Vernier spent 1/17/00 with me on the Big River.  The weather was cold (21 degrees for the high) and very snowy.   We hit a nice 7-8 pound hen right in the beginning.  Mark did an extremely masterful job in landing his first River Steelhead.  Well into the day Mark got his chance at his first Brown Trout too, coming  to the net in the  5 to 6 pound class.  While we did a whole lot more fishing than catching we managed to land 2 fish for 5 hits in extremely frigid conditions.  They have booked in April for a Lk. Michigan Brown trip and a August Salmon Bad Boy charter.  I promised them better weather and  more catching than Fishing!  Today was a major burrrrr!........and we were lucky to get those 2 fish aboard.

On 1/15/00 I had the opportunity to spend a truly wonderful day with Colleen and George Brazitis.  We hit the fish pretty hard also!  We took 2 fish out of the first 3 holes in the morning.  In the afternoon the Steelies really turned on.  From 1 pm. until 4 pm. Colleen and George got into another 8 strong slam dunk hits Steelhead are famous for.  Colleen landed a beautiful 8-9 lb. Brown Trout and George caught a male Steelhead coming in around 8 lbs.  Our largest fish was a hen pushing 9 to 10 lbs.  We went 4 for 10 and had 5 hooked up.  What made this day great is the weather was on our side (38 degrees) and Brazitis enjoy the outdoors as much as me.  I hope to see these great folks back in the future so I can see "Catchin' Colleen" battle with even bigger Fish!!!!

1/14/00 Jeff Stafani & Rick Sloan drove down from Elmira, MI to find some Steelhead action in the Big Manistee River.  In our first hole we hit 2 fish immediately, but neither one stayed on the hook.  We fished for about another 2 hrs before another fish would strike---missed that one too!  Went back to the original first spot and Jeff got one hooked up at once,  we fought that fish to almost netting range and it fell off the hook.  Re-set and Rick Sloan handled a dandy 10 pound buck that put on a wild show.  Rick being the Mancelona-Sportsman that he is released his fish back to the river.  We decided to quit early and they rebooked for Friday Mar. 24th.

On 1/12/00 I hit the River with Lee Bienz for some research and lure testing.  Fishing was decent, we boated 3 Steelhead to 15 lbs.  Found some new color patterns that really do work!  We caught these fish in "short day". Fishing over the weekend was good.    On the John & Glynnis Price Charter on 1/11/00 we found the fishing to be slow because of an extremely low barometer.  While it was great weather for Steelhead Fishing and there was no crowds on the river the fish were not overly aggressive to say the least. 

Dec. 30th and January 1st were the next trips on the Big Man.  The water temperature has dropped into the 33 degree range and the Steelhead are  developing into their winter slow water patterns.  Fishing has slowed for the most part but there is still action available.  We hit fish on both trips but never caught any really bright Fish (just richly colored dark hold-overs)  The action is due to pick up soon.  Warm spell we're experiencing right now should be bringing a fresh run of fish up.  The water level continues to be extremely and dangerously low.  The next cold snap will start building shelf ice.  

On December 12 Capt. Lee Bienz hit the River for a Busman's Holiday. During the course of the day we had 8 hits, hooked up 5 and boated 3.  The largest was a dandy Steelhead pushing an honest 15 pounds.  I had the sheer pleasure to fight, land and release to trophy fish back into the river system!  The current water temperature is around 34 degrees and there seems to be plenty of fish available to the angler willing to venture out in the cold snap we're experiencing right now. 

On 11/28/99 Scott Jason and his son Kevin fished a short day with me.  First up was Kevin, and after a lengthy struggle he caught a dandy 8 pounder (he's only 11 years old) with a cast on his left arm.  The next hole it was his dads turn (Scott) to boat one between 10 and 12 pounds after several jumps.  They wanted to quit early because of the Holiday Traffic, so around 11:00 am we put the boat on the trailer.   If you're interested in some river fishing I can be reached at (800) 552-2009.  Odds are that Fishing will be good with less pressure and it's decent right now. 

With the advent of the Thanksgiving Holiday fishing pressure on the Big River was heavy.  Gary Bishop and World Renowned Angler Barry Pines fished with me on Nov. 25th and 26th.  Low extremely clear water made for some tough fishing, compounded by the large numbers of fisherman on the river.  We managed to land a couple of hard fighting Steelhead both days.  The highs in the 50's made it a great time for all.    Another redeeming factor is that the fish that were brought to the net continued to average above 10 pounds.

11/19/99 I had a one person for the days outing.  Gerry Dixon boated his 3 fish limit by 11:30 am, plus he missed 3 other hits.   While fishing is fair, some rain will make it even better.  The great thing about this River Charter was that Gary had never dealt with those bad boys lurking in the Big Manistee River called Steelhead.



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