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
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.
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
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 26th the Lake
Michigan Boat (28' Cherokee) was launched because of slow
Steelhead action on the Big Manistee River. Because
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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