April Brown Trout 2000
239 fish boated in 22 Trips!
4/30/00 Joe, Lloyd, and Mark Lincoln along with Johansson from Germany tried the waters of Lake Michigan off Saugatuck. They did what they came to do, catch a bunch of fish! 19 in total on a 7 hr. trip is not bad in anybodies book. I'm calling the Coho's we boated "vicious villains" for the way a 3 lb. fish savagely attacks the bait and slashes and burns like Gen. Sherman's March to the Sea. The only thing was we had to throw back 8 Lake Trout that were out of season and a way to small King that is now on his way growing up to a 30 pounder. This was a wonderful way to spend the day, with good company and co-operative fish. A special thanks goes out to Mark for helping out with setting the downriggers and keeping everything in ship shape.
4/29/00 Charter with Mark Dye, Terry Rhodes had to be cancelled due to seas running at 8' or better. I found Terry and Mark a boat for the 30th with Capt. Rocky from Best Chance and they did great.
4/28/00 0n the Paul Fuhs, Steven, and the "2 Steves" Charter we had a grand time on the first Saugatuck Charter of the year!! Calm seas and the fish were on the BITE, now that's a hard combination to equal. I had 2 father-son teams as fisherman and everybody won today. Young Steven aged all of 9 years did a fine job in landing several fish, including a 12 to 14 lb. King with assistance from his Dad, Paul. The "other" younger Steve did just great also showing manners and wisdom beyond his 8 years. Now, that's tribute to his Dad, Steve Senior. The body count for today was 17 fish boated although we released 6 Lake Trout (out of season) and 1 small King. Today's trip is what brings joy to me as a Charter Operator with fine Guests and an awesome outing.
4/24/00 Brad, John, Ross and Brad Riemer met me at 7:00am for some Brown Trout fishing on Lake Michigan. At first it was pretty calm and the bite was slow, then as the wind came up so did the action on the Shoreline Browns. The best spot was off Cooper Creek to Big Point Sable with plenty of eager to strike fish, today's body count was 17 Brown Trout and 1 Lake Trout that was released (18 Fish). The Riemers as a group knew how the put'em in the boat! They only missed a couple of hooked up fish and did super on the rods once the initial excitement of the first double header was over. All in all it was a wonderful a Spring Season on Brown Trout and we ended it on a High Note by LIMITING OUT.
4/23/00 Rick Sloan, Gary, Randy, Megan, and young Tim drove down from Mancelona. This was the second time I tried to get Rick into some decent Brown Trout fishing. Today was a bust with calm seas and no Browns willing to take our offerings. After the best part of a 2 hr. troll in prime Brown Trout territory only 1 fish hit our baits and than the line broke. Seeing the hand writing on the wall we decided to regroup for another day rather wasting time and charter money for lack luster results. Bottom line: the fishing was God awful poor. I don't know what I have to do to get Rick into some real fishing, but I promise you I will!
4/22/00 "Big Jeff" Dixon, Carolyn Nylund and "Quick Rick" Pritchard got off the dock around 7:00am finally. To stay clear of the CROWD I ran the boat 13 miles south toward Big Point Sable and in short order we were into the fish, while not fast and furious the action was steady. Carolyn and "Big Jeff" did an excellent job both landed their limit of Browns plus 2 Coho's and a Laker. "Quick Rick" boated 2 Browns, and a Lake Trout but his 3rd Brown is still swimming off Cooper Creek where misfortune caused 2 of "Quick Rick's" Browns to throw the hook. Incidentally the "Quickster" is not noted for losing fish, he's boated several Kings with Kings Charter in excess of 25 lbs. and knows how to handle a fishing rod! Carolyn for being a first timer did great, landing every fish she had hooked including a Lake Trout that she released. All be it may, it was a wonderful day to spend on beautiful Lake Michigan's shoreline and we landed 12 fish, but we DIDN'T LIMIT OUT on brown trout.
4/21/00 the saga of the wind continues today. First I had to cancel the Big Jeff and Quick Rick am Charter. Then we couldn't get Greg Watson Group out in the afternoon. However it looks like we'll be fishing tomorrow!
4/20/00am & pm Captains Policy: On the evening before I called up Scott Ledger (morning trip) and Rod Vernier (afternoon trip) and cancelled their outings due to predicted weather to ugly to fish in. 30 to 35 knot wind, cold, wet and rainy is not my idea of a good time! Also, it saves these folks a long drive for nothing plus it's still early enough in the season to reschedule. Kings Charter puts a good time ahead of financial gain when it comes to our Guests enjoying themselves!!
4/19/00am Clay "Butch" Polander and David Helka came back for their second serving of Kings Charter after a winter Steelhead Trip last January. Let me tell you fishing was tough and a mean tough! Flat calm water and a East Wind are not conditions to fish for Brown Trout in shallow water, but we pulled the Rabbit out of a Magic Hat and still LIMITED OUT these fine fishermen. We caught only 3 Browns in the first 5 hrs. of the trip, then the fish made up their minds they were hungry and started to hit. In the last hour of the trip we boated 3 more Browns when a 10 to 12 lb. King Salmon decided to mess with Dave. This was a "Red Hot" King Salmon and ran 250 ft. of our 15 lb. test towards Wisconsin with Dave patiently gaining lost line and boating our FIRST DECENT KING of the year. Clay is an excellent Taxidermist and a specialist in freeze drying techniques and can be reached at (313) 388-6266.
4/19/00pm The father-son team of Steve and Irv Bush were on the way out of the harbor at 3pm. After the tough, tough morning I set no store in any fast fishing. So Capt. Lee Bienz and I just put our heads together, bared downed and went fishing. We just got lines set when the first fish we caught made it's last mistake with Irv boating a vividly marked 4 lb. Brown Trout. We made another pass and Steve was into a decent fish in no time with action building to a double header on the largest Browns of the day. Both father and son fighting fish at the same time was the high point of this Charter. My assessment of this afternoons trip; "I rather be lucky than good", fortune was on our side when Steve and Irv LIMITED OUT.
4/18/00am Kelly O'Brien and his bud of 12 years Pat Maynard were informed of the nonexistent Steelhead River Fishery and chose Lake Michigan Brown Trout instead. Today was a tough day for Kings Charter, because the conditions (FLAT CALM) and enough boats to invade the Normandy Beaches! But the LUCK OF THE IRISH smiled on us again with Kelly and Pat catching their limit of Browns. All in all we had only 10 strikes on a 5 hr. south troll and boated 8 fish counting the Lake Trout we threw back. The high point of the Charter is when Kelly broke out his "World Famous Pineapple Upside Down Cake" and believe me this stuff is um um good. Kelly is a Pontiac Fire Fighter who has perfected many recipes with his years in the Firehouse plus he's a good guy to be around.
4/18/00pm John and Glynnis Price were on a make up trip from last January when an extremely low barometer hindered our success. At 2pm the Prices were on their way out into Lake Michigan in quest of Brown Trout. The second line I set at the pier heads went off with a Brown Trout leaping all over the surface. In short order John put the fish in the net when soon after another sprang to life with a Brownie on the other end of it, when Glynnis put the grab on it. Glynnis has the touch when it comes using the rod to pump the fish to the boat and she's a better rod handler than most men I've seen. We boated 6 Browns in about 2 hrs. before it started getting rough and LIMITED OUT!
4/17/00 Ed and Keith Polek along with Phil and James Holst met us at the dock for some Brown Trout "CATCHING" at 7:15am. Today was one of those trips that make my job a pleasure, good company and great LIMIT OUT fishing. The Browns were on the bite as soon as we set lines with Phil landing a dandy 4 pounder before he had a chance to remember what color the boat was. The entire group fought and landed 16 fish with everyone catching a respectable sized Brown Trout. Keith was the luckiest boating a huge 13 pounder that took about 15 minutes to land. This was a grand bunch of sportsman to share a day on Lake Michigan with. Incidentally all of my guests knew how the treat a fishing rod because only a couple of Browns escaped. When we cleaned the fish at my house there were 6 gallon freezer bags stuffed full, with great tasting fillets so the average size was up today. With the good time we had I think just maybe, Kings Charter will be their future again.
4/16/00 Capt. Kip Carey and Steve Odell were able to fill in for a last minute cancellation I had. Capt. Kip is one of the best Drift Boat Guides in the State who generally fishes the Muskegon River was up to some Lake Michigan Brown action with his buddy Jeff. We started setting lines about 7:30am and in a New York minute they were into to them "Hot and Heavy", unable at first to keep lines in the water! 3' to 4' following seas meant that we missed a bunch of fish in the beginning. Jeff did a fine job in rod handling due to his excellent teacher; Capt. Kip. Although we had heavy seas throughout the trip it was just plain enjoyable fun for everyone. We had a least 16 hits and boated 10 Brown Trout in under 4 hrs. If you're interested in fishing the Muskegon, let me highly recommend Capt. Kip Carey at (231) 937-7426 his pleasant personality is a joy to be around.
4/15/00 Brian McDonald booked a fishing trip for his Father. They showed up with no Fishing Licenses and that delayed the start time by at least an hour. Finally by 8:00am Capt. Lee Bienz and his right hand man Charlie Lott got these fishermen off the dock. Lee and Charlie did a super great job in LIMITING OUT the McDonalds in less than ideal conditions with seas running to plus 4'. Most of the fish they hit were just south of the Manistee Pier Heads. The rough seas led to missing several hooked up Brown Trout. If you have a trip booked with us don't wait for the last minute to get your Fishing License, it's just plain not good planning!
4/14/00 A business commitment prevented Don Tinsley from fishing with me. So he sent up John and Steve for some Lake Michigan Brown Trout action. Well today the fishing started getting tough. We trolled for about 5 hrs. for 11 hits and 8 Browns boated. A strong gusty breeze from the South meant seas running at 1' to 3'. On the first hooked up fish of the day, John landed a 10 to 11 lb. Brown even after he unscrewed the star drag and kept losing line to the fish. Luck was on are side when he boated that big fish. Steve did a fine job in landing his LIMIT of Browns. While today action wasn't the best, John and Steve both LIMITED OUT!
4/13/00 "Walleye Greg" Campau and Steve "Big" Johnson boarded my boat and headed for some fast Brown Trout fishing on Lake Michigan about 7am. Greg first up, got hooked up a battling 10 lb. brute of a Brown in short order, and after 15 minute struggle, the fish was in the net. "Walleye Greg" attacks Lake Erie for Walleye on a regular basis on the professional level and is a well known Marble Eye producer. Now Steve "Big" Johnson is a Fly Fishing Guru who is handy on the West Coast (Idaho), fresh, and salt water techniques with a fly rod. Steve has landed Atlantic Salmon in Quebec and Tarpon in Cancun, Mexico was onto this Brown fishing like an expert. 9 Browns in 2 hrs. LIMITING OUT, is a testament the both of these anglers skills!
4/12/00am Charter was booked by Mr & Mrs. Mike Scott. We started setting lines, when right off the get go, on the first rod out Mike got into a decent Brown Trout. We were trolling just off the Manistee Lighthouse. As we headed South we found lots of clear water a slow fishing for about 1 mile, then the action really picked up when Mike and his wife "Limited Out" by 11:00am. Mike is on the Board of Director on the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the Steelheaders. We boated 10 Browns on a pleasant morning trip with this great duo, FANTASTIC!
4/12/00pm The Chickys from Hell, (Cara & Brad) LIMIT OUT again with Kings Charter. Although Cara is from Hell, Michigan this Lady is really an Angel that knows how to fish. The Chickys' fished we us last August and boated plus 200 lbs. of Salmon (live weight) with Cara landing several Kings (Chinooks) over 20 lbs. LIMITING OUT on 8/25/99. We did well on this afternoon trip as they boated 10 browns and 1 Coho with Lady Luck smiling on them again. Brad did a great job on the fish also, and hasn't lost a hooked up fish with us yet, INCREDIBLE!
4/11/00 We got off the dock finally with Paul Austin and Gary Sr. and Gary Curzinski Jr. on Lake Michigan today. We started setting lines about 8:00am on the Big Lake when the first strike of the day put Paul Austin into a dandy 10 to 11 lb. strong and determined Brown Trout. After a long struggle and the fish diving under the boat, Paul was able to land the biggest fish of the trip. Both Gary's were busy tending rods and netting fish until we "LIMITED OUT" at 11:15am. My crew today knew how to fish, 12 on, 12 in the boat. This group of excellent fishermen are Tippy Dam Steelhead Specialists and according to their report on the Big Manistee River they've spent 57 man hours in boating only 4 fish. So they were a little disappointed in the river action until today's Brown Trout outing.
4/10/00 Rick Sloan Brown Trout Charter was cancelled due to 30 knot winds out of the northwest. Rick is a excellent pier fisherman and drove up from Benton Harbor, where in the past 2 days he's only been able to get in 4 hrs. of fishing . High winds and rough seas continue to be a problem up and down Lake Michigan. The bright spot here is that Rick is willing to rebook for another day when conditions are on our side.
4/9/00 Cancelled the Curzenski Charter it was rough and snowing. If it's not going to be fun why go? The conditions offered to us today were awful, besides the Curzenski's are going to be in Manistee Area for the rest of the week and we'll wait for better weather!
4/8/00 Cancelled the Gary Bishop and Barry Pines Trip due to Gale Force wind from the North.
4/7/00am the Adams Family consisting of Richard (Dad), Michael and Patrick booked a river trip, but with poor results on Steelhead lately they chose to fish the Brown Trout on Lake Michigan. I missed this Charter due to a severe cold and Capt. Lee Bienz upheld the "LIMIT OUT" tradition of Kings Charter. This group landed 12 Browns plus lost a dandy King (10 to 12 lb. Chinook) not far from the boat. While building seas were cause concern, the Charter was concluded successfully. The Browns taken today were on the smaller side, but that means great eating size. In retrospect I wish I didn't have this darn cold so I could have gone fishing today, rather than sitting at this computer. Besides that, the Adams' looked like they'd be a great group to fish with.
4/7/00pm Dave Bradley and 2 of his Guests hit Lake Michigan for Brown Trout in the afternoon. They landed 11 Browns and threw back a Lake Trout in about 2 hrs. of fishing. Good thing too, because building seas from a stiff north blow would have cut the trip short if they hadn't LIMITED OUT! Fishing continues to be incredible with limits on Browns the norm, however the high winds and snow we just got were not needed at all. I sat this trip out with bad cold and Capt. Lee Bienz and Charlie Lott his 1st mate did a great and well appreciated job on this charter in marginal conditions. Also, we'll be fishing with the Bradley's again in August.
4/6/00 was cancelled due to gale force wind and high seas on the Derrick Gress Charter.
4/5/00 I fished with Roger Mellerowicz and the Infamous "MELLONHEAD" LIMIT OUT on Lake Michigan for Brown Trout. Originally they had a River Steelhead Trip in mind, but poor results in the Big Manistee pointed us towards the Lake. This TEAM knows how to Fish! Mellon Man and Roger are recognized experts on Salmon fishing out of Oscoda on Lake Huron, had 10 hits and put 9 fish in the boat, INCREDIBLE! This Team has won numerous Tournaments in the past and it's easy to see why. The nice thing about today was that we had good sized Football Browns that ranged in size from 3 to about 9 pounds and the fantastic company of Roger and Mellon.
4/4/00 I called Dave Bradley and cancelled his Charter on Lake Michigan for Brown Trout. Dave is a long time patron of Kings Charter and is was a good move to postpone this Trip. According to the Great Lakes Weather Station from Straights of Mackinaw to Manistee, they're calling for plus 30 knot winds to Gale Force. This link is available on the home page of MichiganSportsman.Com. Waves in the 7' to 9' range are not conditions to fish in under any circumstances. Besides, it saves Dave a long ride for no fishing.
4/3/00 Mike Laskus and Jim Mockerman booked a Steelhead Trip in the Big Manistee. After they saw the report on this page they wisely chose to fish for Browns on Lake Michigan. Also accompanying Mike and Jim were their gracious wives Peggy and Sandy, the real authority on how to land Fish! These women carefully coached their husbands on every fish, and with the gals help, the guys put every fish in the boat. They caught their "LIMIT OF BROWNS" by 11:00 am and we threw back 3 small Kings. Also, Mike and Jim run a "Top Notch" booking service for Hunting Outfitters. I'm considering the Labrador Hunt for Black Bear, Moose and Woodland Caribou in 2001. The name of the booking agency they run is: "IN THE BUSH WITH MIKE AND JIM" and believe me these guys know their stuff because they've been there to rate the quality of the Outfitter! E-mail me for the details on how to contact Mike and Jim.
4/2/00 I had to honor to "Limit Out" 3 generations of the Laughery family on Brown Trout fishing. We had a super charter event on Lake Michigan with 2 Bobs, Tom, Steve and Kevin. Also, as usual, "The Fishing Gods" smiled upon this group again. These folks always do well with Kings Charter, fishing with me about 4 times a year. Incidentally, they limited on Adult Kings last August with me too! Although we had to work for them, we boated 16 Brown Trout and 4 small Kings (20 fish!) on the full day Charter. All in all we had at least 30 strikes. I suggested a $5.00 bet for a BIGGEST FISH TOURNAMENT for a competition between the Laughery Clan. Well, until the very end of the charter Bob Senior held the lead until Bob Junior pulled a dirty trick on the very last fish of the day and beat out his Dad, taking an extra $20.00 home with him. I'll be fishing with this wonderful group again in August.
4/1/00 I fished with Sonny Afelt and Les Jump on the Big Manistee River. We did a lot of fishing and no catching. I tried to talk these gentleman into a Brown Trip on Lake Michigan but they were as determined to hit the river for Steelhead. Well we had 3 good hits, 2 briefly hooked up and no fish boated! Today was the last Saturday I'll ever fish on that river with the inconsiderate weekend fisherman. They'll set up just below you and cut you off from reaching the fish. Incidentally, If you're hiring a guide unlike today's group listen to the Guides recommendation. He's there to make sure you have a successful outing and above all catch fish!
3/31/00 Char and Andy Grendzi, long time friends and 6 year veterans of Kings Charter Wars, chose (wisely) to fish Lake Michigan for Browns and "LIMIT OUT" rather than struggle in the river. Andy in past years has landed Steelhead in the 16 lb. range with me. We had another awesome day boating a 4 man limit of Browns (12 fish). While it was quite frosty in the morning the "ACTION" was "HOT". Char did a great job in landing the biggest Brown of the day, A dandy 10 pounder that didn't want to give up. We had 14 "ON" and missed some light hits but the Grendzis put a whipping on the Fish! Also, Andy and Char manufacture the Deadly Dragon Lure Perch Rig. They're Lake Erie Experts on Walleyes and especially the Great Tasting Perch.
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 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.
3/24/00 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.
3/23/04 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.
3/21/00 Joe Lincoln and Rick Brown booked today. 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.
3/17/04 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.
3/14/00 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.
3/13/00 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.
3/8-9/00 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.
3/9/00 Today 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.
3/6/00 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.
2/28/00 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.
3/ 26/00 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.
2/25/00 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.
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.
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.
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.
1/17/00 Rod and Mark Vernier spent today 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.
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.
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.