Capt. John's Log
20 Seasons of Archived Daily Great Lakes News
Below images are thumbnails

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7/31/08 Kewaunee, WI

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7/28/08 Manistee, MI
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8/31/08 Manistee
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9/1/08 Manistee, MI

Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log

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

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

6/16/20  Last Sunday's fishing trip was not meant to be.  Invited Wayne J came down with the stomach flu.  So, this was a no-go from the git.
               Here's a tip you might find worthy:  Not being off the dock for a few days from a blow in my charter days (1983-2003) trusted my sonar to tell the reel-story.  If we sat down in a place with no mark and no fish?  ...was careful not to put down a full spread.
              If we didn't get bit in the 1st 10 minutes and nobody around us was catching?  Pull and move 3-4 miles and trust the sonar to mark fish.  Nothing there in spot 2?  We moved again until we found a better area that was marking fish and bait.
              So, before you commit, rely on your sonar before you sit.  Hoping to get lucky did not keep me in the charter business for 20 years.

6/15/20  Strong possibility to sneak away this for a few hours this afternoon for small lake fishing.  Hamlin Lake sits inland from Big Point Sable and is fed by the Sable River that was dammed up.  This place is noted for large Bluegills and they eat as good as perch. 
              There's only 3 hours on the 60 hp 4 stroke Suzuki purchased last winter.  Time to put some break-in hours on it and maybe catch a meal, or two.  Technology of modern outboards is awe inspiring compared to the first OB I owned in 1965, an Evinrude 40 hp.
             Should have some reports how the fleet fared from this past weekend tomorrow.

6/14/20  Plan was to fish today, but work comes first.  Especially, in today's hard hit economy.  Built a reputation on fast shipping and it's going to stay that way.
              I'm in a unique situation with my shop being attached to home.  Used to call in extra help when necessary.  The China virus put a stop to that.
              Manistee for the most part has been spared with only 11 confirmed cases and no fatalities.  That could change in an instant with MI seeing a 25% increase lately.  This disease is a long ways from being conquered.  115k and counting have died from this virus.

6/13/20  Boat prep for tomorrow's Lk. MI trip out of Manistee.

6/12/20  T.G.I.F.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have a hands-on fishing report for you soon.  Lk. MI looks to be on it's best behavior this weekend.

6/11/20  Storms with high winds have kept me on Generac home power system since 4am yesterday.  Storms have effected my internet satellite dish too.  Making it difficult to process orders and print labels.  Getting ready for this weekend to fish Lk. MI.
             There's been over 3000 outages in N MI effecting 160k customers.  So, I'm not in this boat alone.  Consumers Power does not cut-back the tree/forest line where I live.
             Hoping this blow stacked up some bait off my home Port of Manistee.  Without bait, looking for catchable numbers of Kings is next to impossible.  Unless you run into a few lost straggler Kings looking for their next meal.  While I'm looking for them!

6/10/20  Gale warnings on LK. MI today is going to reshuffle the deck for all central Lk. MI ports.  This is the 1st blow with warm water.  S at over 50 mph changing to SW should shift the bait N.  It's going to take awhile to see how this plays out, but calmer winds this weekend should give the fleet more opportunities for Kings.
              Good reports from Leland today.  The charter fleet had 4 to 10 Kings per boat.  This is the best news from this port, during this time frame, in a longtime.
              4:30am Supplemental: wind storm has effected several areas including mine with no electricity.  I'm on my Generac home power system that was a wise investment.

6/9/20  It's not your fault drives home the reel-fact ...when you're not catching Kings is: because there's none under your boat.  Today's electronics and meat that will pull mid-day bites underlines when Kings are scarce.  Seen this last week when there was no bait.
            There are large schools of Alewives still anchored in S Lk. MI.  King Salmon are not going to leave their food source to swim away from it, for no good reason.  Please keep today's chat in mind the next time you come back to the dock with no fish.

6/8/20  "Capt. John, Me and the kids hit East Tawas this time on Saturday we ended getting 2 Lakers on 1 fishin pole.  This is the first for me. We ended up with 7 Lakers using your gold bullet 4" spoons again and 2 walleye's on the white (x-glow) ghost busters 4" spoon.  We had a great time on the water again." Capt. Jack. Click for this photo

Important part of today's guest update is not about the Salmon Buster™ spoons on the good ship, Minnie's Money, skippered by Capt Jack.  It's about making fishing a family affair and having a wonderful time with the youngsters while enjoying our Great Lakes!

6/7/20  Guest update today from Tom M out of E Chicago, IN:

"The Lakers love this spoon.  Caught 5 Lakers on this spoon on a downrigger looking for kings. The kings are few out of E Chicago.  There were a few boats that caught two or more out of the ditch, but I launched out of East Chicago and didn't feel like making that run early this morning. Coho are still hanging around down in 65' foot of water out of E Chicago.  Lots of bait in spots. I'm going to go a little further E tomorrow. Have a good night & like the masks. Thanks Tom M." Click Ghostbuster SB 4.65 Lake Trout

6/6/20  Some take ways not mentioned on my 1st Lk. MI trip of the season begins with as strong N bound current along Manistee's shelf.  Surface temp was 66° with the thermocline that was down around 50'.  If the wind/wave direction was not from the NW? I'd have setup in 50' of water to know I didn't run past the fish.
             Manistee's shelf 100'-150' is either hot, or cold, not much middle ground.  With the Kings being scattered down to St. Joe, it's more luck than skill locating fish.

6/5/20  Fished out of Manistee yesterday early evening from 6pm till 8pm.  This was my first trip of the 2020 season on Lk. MI.  Reason for a short trip? ...wife became ill and there was no need to push her towards seasick misery.
             It's amazing how good a GM 350 V8 runs when all cylinders are firing.  Found a bad spark plug last fall and did a complete tune-up.  Starts a lot easier too.
             Fished from the 16s S to the high 13s in 100'-150' and didn't mark enough fish to feed a hungry barn cat.  Boats that fished the morning shift did decent on Kings.

6/4/20  Out with the old and in with the new as my new 2020 boat launch sticker gets installed in my truck.  Looks like the stars have lined up for an afternoon trip.  1st of the season on Lk. MI out of my home Port of Manistee, MI.  Click launch ramp pass

6/3/20  Bits and pieces on the status of the 2020 early season on Kings says 15 to 20 pound fish are being caught up and down the MI coast.  From St. Joe to central Lk. MI some fish are being caught which is an improvement over last year at this time.
             Still recuperating from yesterday's heavy work load of orders.  Generally, the 1st part of any month tends to be slow with orders picking up in mid month.
             Work is keeping me onshore and that's OK.  Don't relish the idea of solo events with a light 3 rod spread.  Used to running 6 rods that allows for some error.  Cut that in half and you're relying a lot more on luck than skill.

6/2/20  Squashed with tackle orders today.  Catch you tomorrow.

6/1/20  Word has filtered back to me about the floating logs and debris on Lk. MI from the high water causing beach erosion.  Common sense says navigate when you can see what's in front of you.  Traveling in the dark carries a risk. Click Lk MI log
            I got tangled up with a submerged 30' tree last summer that was major grief.  Only thing that was sticking up was a tiny branch and that's not much warning.
            With Wayne J's help we were able to free ourselves in about a hour.  Amazing thing was we never lost a lure, or a cannon ball that snagged our whole spread.

5/31/20  From pushing 90° to last night's frost warning in the matter of a few days shows how messed up the weather is.  Cold fall, fairly mild winter and a cold spring has been a roller coaster ride that's starting to wear thin. Click Tippy Pond scenery
              Scenery photo of Tippy Pond could have been snapped anyplace.  Did see a few off the grid campsites for those who traveled in by boat.  What a wonderful way to get away from it all was my take on the secluded campers enjoying MI woods and waters.

5/30/20  Spent about 3 hours on Tippy Pond yesterday.  Scenery is flat out gorgeous with steep banks and some old growth pines. Click Tippy Pond scenery
               Was looking for panfish in the shallows in vain.  Everything we marked was in 20' to 30' of water and wasn't prepared to fish that deep.  Did test the troll control toggle switch on the Suzuki 60 hp that was extremely impressive.  Couple that, with an outboard motor you hardly can hear run makes last winter's purchase a winner so far.

5/29/20  Fishing today out of my 16 footer someplace.  Manistee Lake is supposed to be good for Bluegills, Crappie and Pike.  Might go there if the Tippy Pond launch is too busy.
               Still fascinated with Tippy Pond, the backwaters behind Tippy Dam.  Fished the Manistee River below Tippy for 20 years plus.  Investigating a new body of water that holds untold surprises is my likely spot for this afternoon.  Lk. MI sometime next week.
               Dropped off some free masks for the staff at Don's Sporting Goods when I purchased some bait.  Still have to visit Instalaunch and Tangled Tackle.
                                    Have a great weekend!

5/28/20  Working on new patterns/color selections to test.  All the stuff is on my Lk. MI boat and all systems are on go for my 1st trip of the season when the stars lineup.
               Been semi boxed in with my tackle business.  For now, until this China virus is behind us, I'm a one man army.  In the past, I'd call in extra help if there was a heavy workload.  This is a no-no now.  Because my shop is attached to my house.  To be safe, no one is entering my residence until there's a vaccine/cure for the virus.
               Business being down about 50% has kept me busy, not overwhelmed.  Orders are going out the door on time.  Enjoy my job, so the extra work is no big deal..

5/27/20  During the 1918 Flu Pandemic that killed 600k in the USA everyone wore masks.  Outdoor activities like baseball everyone in the stands had masks on.
              In this day and age of social media, that's really anti-social where conspiracy theories and mean things are said hiding behind a computer screen is pure B.S.
              Masks are not a political R, or D issue.  It's about showing others you care enough to keep them safe.  Not so in some circles who cite their rights not to wear face coverings.  It's their right not to, but not their right to infect others with the deadly China virus over hyper tribal politics.  If everyone wore masks when around others we could drive this virus into extinction.  This would benefit us all. Click 1918 Flu Pandemic masks
             My quest to get masks took almost 8 weeks.  Wanted to send masks to all that have fished with me aboard my 22' Sea Ray & family members.  Showing people you care carries a lot more weight than saying it.
Click to purchase masks
             I will be donating some of my masks to all tackle shops in Manistee.  Don's, Instalaunch, and Tangled Tackle will be all getting free ones to protect their employees.

5/26/20  Limited fishing info to share with you.  Best I heard on Kings was MI City, IN with Coho in the mix too.  Pentwater was producing Kings according to 3rd hand passed down information.  Manistee, MI is hit and miss with boats struggling to find fish lately.
               Harbor Beach, MI on the Lake Huron side still has decent Lake Trout catches being reported. Click Lk. Huron Lakers Tomorrow the story behind the face masks.

5/25/20  Memorial Day 2020 is the day we set aside to honor our fallen heroes who have served in the armed forces going back to 1775 in Lexington & Concord, MA.
                Plan was to fish the backwaters of Tippy Dam, or Tippy Pond today.  Checked out the boat launch on Robinson Rd. and there was enough people there to make a Moses movie.  Will try again mid week and not on a holiday weekend.  Good news is? ...there wouldn't be that many boats unless they were catching fish.
                Michigan state record Walleye was caught in the Pine River that flows into Tippy Pond in 1951.  This monster 'eye weighed 17.15 pounds and was 35" long.

5/24/20  Vacation day for sure.  Making plans to fish inland with the 16' Grumman soon. Buying bait has been a issue.  Hope Pappy's in Wellston, MI is now open.

5/23/20  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Going to take a few days off, like most of you and finish my garden.  This has been on hold since the 3-4 inches of rain we got that turned my property into a lake.  Rain amount came quickly and was not spread over time.
              This rain kept my boat in the pole barn, because the road out was to soft and didn't feel like repairing ruts.  Enjoy this holiday weekend and stay safe!

5/22/20   Fishing off Manistee, MI has been hit and miss.  Yesterday was mostly a miss. Info gathered from 4 boats: one boat had 2 Lakers, other 3 pulled zeros.  Previous day was supposed to be better.  Age old saying of, "you shoulda been here yesterday."
               After better then 6 weeks trying, finally was able to get face masks.  These are not KN95, or N95s that have been in short supply.  Incidentally, both are uncomfortable.
               Masks I'm offering are reusable and come with ten 2.5 parts per million filters.  They are adjustable and have a breathe valve like the medical grade N95s. 
               These are the most comfortable my wife and I have worn.  10 bucks apiece when you purchase 3 of them that's a reel-deal with fast shipping. Click face mask info

5/21/20  Posted a photo from Lake Huron's Port of Harbor Beach.  This is Team Minnie's Money skippered by longtime website member, Capt. Mad Jack.  Click for his team
              You see 3 of the 10 fish they caught, mostly Lake Trout.  What you don't see is the accident prior the trip that required stitches in Capt. Jack's noodle when he slipped off the boarding ladder ...bigtime ouch!  Hurts just thinking about it!!
              The recent word is the fish cleaning station in Manistee, MI is now open.

5/20/20  As of yesterday the fish cleaning station in Manistee, MI was closed.  Bathrooms are locked too.  All the launch docks are in and the kiosk is taking ramp fees.  Don't know if this fish cleaning facility will be open for the Memorial Day Weekend.
              There were only 2 boat trailers in the parking lot when I visited around 11am.
              Windfinder forecast is very favorable for the next week.  Good news for the holiday weekend fleet if they show up.  Click Windfinder forecast

5/19/20  Hit with orders that need to go out the door.  Focus today is to clear up this backlog and then, maybe, just maybe, can Hands Solo fish Lk. MI mid-week, hopefully!
               Enjoyed Capt. Jesse's photo of my White Lightning 12" flasher leading a Pacific Ocean King to the boat.  Jesse fishes out of Soldotna, AK, which the legendary Kenai River region.  While I might never get there? tackle has.  Click for Jesse's pic

5/18/20  Forecast for our upcoming Memorial day Weekend is hard to believe.  High temperatures in the 80s? ...we haven't seen anything close to that in Manistee, MI since last year.  This will be the best weather of 2020 thus far!
              Lk. MI is supposed to play nice with light winds out of the E thru next Saturday when it will shift from the S light and variable into Sunday morning and pick up speed.
              Making plans for mid-week for a solo trip after I get my garden in.  Not being able to buy potatoes at the grocery store is going to fixed by growing my own.  I have about 10-12" of sandy black topsoil that's perfect for growing spuds.

5/17/20  Looked at the surface temp chart off Manistee, MI.  It was nothing special with a lot of 40-42° water on the surface.  For Manistee to have good King fishing in May?  ...there's generally a 6-8° temperature break that runs N to S along the shelf (dropoff).
              This temp brake ranges from 50° on the inside to the lower 40° out deep.
              Hoping this week's predicted warmer temps will raise the water temp.  As the way things currently look? ...I'm not missing much by staying on shore.

5/16/20  Today would have been a great day to fish Lk. MI out of my home port of Manistee.  Believe me, I considered it, but work comes first.  So, I'll be in the shop today.
               All things taken into account, my tackle business is off by about 50%.  That's good, because there's a lot of people in the fishing business not making a dime.
               There's no guarantee that you can sell any tackle with the downturn in the China virus economy.  That's why it's important for me take care of orders before fishing.
               In all honesty, just not to keen on the idea of hermit fishing.  A super big part of fishing is sharing the experience with like minded fishin' buds!

5/15/20  Mid-May and we're finally going to see some decent weather.  Spring 2020 has been chilly with daily high temps off a good 20°.  Next week we're well into the 70s.
               Charter skippers I've spoke with lately are running way behind on 2020 bookings.  This already hard business is being made impossible due to the China virus.
               It's a farce to believe flipping a switch will turn the economy back on.  The deal about opening up the economy is only going work? ...if consumers feel safe and that's hard to accomplish with 90,000 fatalities (and counting) and over a million infected.
               There's plenty of smart people working on a cure/vaccine for the China virus.  Patience, common sense, and science will lead us to a better place in the future!

5/14/20  Today's featured photo is from South Haven, MI of some of the King Salmon Capt. Dan A. took yesterday.  Here's what he had to say about our Ghostbuster spoon:

"Here’s a pic for you. Out of 11 hits your Ghostbuster spoon got 5 hits. 3 nice kings. Plus 5 Lakers and a Coho"  Click for pic verification & his hot spoon

Sounds to me like he needs more Ghostbuster Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Seeing  one Ghostbuster did almost half the damage.  Hummm? ...think I know where he can get some.

5/13/20  Backup cam focused to watch the rods is a noteworthy idea.  Unfortunately, the cam purchased was dirt cheap and only partially up to the job. Click backup cam
               There's no reverse image menu for the monitor.  View is opposite of what it should be, portside is displayed as the starboard side and there's no way to fix this.  The 5" monitor doesn't show a clear picture of what's going is another issue.
               Have another way to accomplish watching the rods with my hardtop GoPro 8 that will Bluetooth to my smart phone screen for a much clearer picture of what's going on behind my back for solo all by my lonesome fishing trips.  I can see the portside rods.  It's the rod, or rods on the starboard side that are hidden from my view.

5/12/20  Video update today on the maiden voyage of the 4 stroke Suzuki 60 hp on the 1997 Grumman tin boat.  Light boat, zero fumes, troll mode and lot's of power: Click water test video

5/11/20  Featured photo is my handheld GoPro 7 rig.  There's a analog to digital sound converter (wires under cam), Vivitar battery handle and a Rode mic.  This compact action cam is state of the art.  Color is perfect and sound system works like a charm.  |
              I used this setup to shoot the Suzuki 60 hp water test on Manistee Lake about a week ago.  The ability to make broadcast worth video is a small package is amazing.
              I'll post this video here in 640 by 360 pixels tomorrow.  For the full effect of how good this footage came out can only be appreciated at 1240 x 720 semi HD.  If you have a very fast connection speed?  Click for Manistee Lk. Suzuki water test

5/10/20  Happy Mother's Day!  More snow is predicted for this morning ...yuck!  This Wednesday is when the switch is turned on again for spring weather in the 60° range.
               In the process of installing a rear view (backup) cam on my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  Don't know if it will workout? ...but it's worth a try.  This for solo lone ranger fishing.  So, I can see behind me when at the helm monitoring position (GPS) and sonar. 
               Purchased this wireless camera off eBay for $31 shipped.  It has a 5" 640x480 color monitor.  Now, to see if it works watching the rods while I watch boat direction and keep an eye on the graph from the captain's chair facing forward.

5/9/20  A little warmer today after yesterday's high of 36° and snow flurries.  Enough to cover the ground at times.  This puts a major crimp in getting anything done outside unless you're part Eskimo.  Middle of next week forward looks a heck of a lot better.
            On 5/7/20 charter and guide fishing restrictions were lifted by MI Gov. Whitmer.  There's still safety measures in place for charter customers like having face shields and masks provided if 6' physical distancing is not possible according to what I read.

5/8/20  Happy Friday!  Better days are coming is what I telling myself about today's high temp in the 30° range.  None to keen about fishing by myself on Lk. MI.  Part of the joy of fishing is sharing the good and bad with fishing buds.  The good is always a little sweeter and the downer of a slow trip is cushioned by great conversation aboard.
            For me to go solo? ...the conditions have to be perfect with a calm Lk. MI.  My boat has a high gunnels up past my waist to limit the chance of falling overboard.  So, for me?'s going to be a wait and sea for the stars to line up for my 1st Lk. MI trip of 2020.

5/7/20  Going into a cold spell that's going to last until next Wednesday with temps about 20° below normal.  Just what we don't need as spring is supposed to be here.
             Hot Salmon fishing they had in the S end of Lk. MI came to an end with a big blow that muddied the waters around Chicago.  Hearing of a few Kings among Lake Trout at Frankfort and Ludington, MI.  This is good news for the early season angler.
             St. Joe and South Haven is producing some Kings and a few LTs.  Traditionally, these southern Lk. MI ports always do well in May.  That's the reason used to run May charters out of South Haven and Saugatuck from the mid 1990s thru 2002.

5/6/20  Major issues uploading new videos to my You Tube account was a waste of time. Trying to post the new video shot last Sunday on Manistee Lk. burned up a lot of the day.
             Did learn uploading is best during off-peak hours.  New video will be posted soon.
             Only people I saw last Sunday smart enough to practice physical distancing were the shore fishermen at Manistee's 9th Street boat launch.  When we arrived 3, or 4 cars were there.  All spaced several yards apart in small family groups.
             If you're looking for a broader understanding of our Lk. MI fishery? ...I highly recommend Sea Grant's recent Zoom meeting.  It's now posted on You Tube.
             I found most interesting was the baitfish and stomach contents study.  It is a lengthy presentation loaded with reel-facts.  Click for SW fisheries workshop

5/5/20  It's going to take an act from God, or a vaccine to save us from the China virus after what I saw last Sunday.  People, crowded standing in line to get ice cream at Manistee, MI Visitor's Center.  No masks, no gloves what-so-ever and only 2' apart?
             Out of the 30-40 people roaming about, only 2 had masks and gloves on.  This guarantees the virus will have a continuing reservoir to infect more people.  Guess the majority of those I saw ...had a choice not to care, or ...were too stupid to.
             Approx. 70,000 victims and counting that have already died from this pandemic no longer have choice, and that's a shame, and a terrible stain upon our USA.
              Far right protestors carrying assault weapons, swastikas, Confederate flags and nooses into our state's capital in Lansing MI last week is shocking and should never be allowed to happen again.  This is not who we are as a country.  We're better than that!

5/4/20  Yesterday, the water test on the 60 hp. went extremely well.  4 stroke Suzuki is very quiet and much more power than the 40 hp 2 cycle Evinrude it replaced.
             Troll mode option is worth every cent spent on it.  Think it was 70 bucks more.  Each bump of the toggle switch adds 50 rpms to control trolling speed.  Troll mode is a lot precise than fiddling with a hard to adjust throttle handle.  Click 60 hp Suzuki
             Did shoot video of this event on Manistee Lake that will be shared with you soon. It felt great to be on the water and enjoyed the boat ride immensely. 

5/3/20  Water testing my 16' Grumman with the new Suzuki 60 hp. 4 stroke today.  This is a state of the art fuel injected motor with a 50 rpm troll mode dial switch.  Will shoot video of this event to share with you.  70° yesterday at my place was flat-out wonderful!

5/2/20  It's a moot point about marinas being not able to operate in several ports.  Today's photo shows South Haven, MI is underwater when the wind blows from the W.
            Even if you can wade to your boat? ...most marina boats rely on shore power.  Which is a definite no-no when the AC wiring is submerged. Click SH underwater
            First fished SH in the late 1970s and ran charters out of there in the early i2ks.  This is an excellent May port for all species when the conditions are right.  Had several 20  fish plus 1/2 days as a charter operator and limit catches as a sport fisherman.
            My SH May program was to setup in 45'-50' and head due W until you hit the fish, mostly Kings (out to 150' or more) Then, turn around and retrace the troll due E.  Look for the marks and spray spoons throughout the water column.  Morning W troll was best.
                Hope this high water shows all Great Lakes States some relief soon.

5/1/20  Beginning May on a positive note with a large spring Coho getting close to 10 lbs. is my guess.  Didn't get a lot of details with the photo, only they were friends of Tom M and were fishing close to him last Wed. Click big spring E Chicago Coho
             Coho this big will easily exceed MI's Master Angler Program of 12 lbs. by later this summer.  All I've seen coming from the S end of Lk. MI are rotund and feeding well.
             Fished this industrial section of Lk. MI about 3 years ago and familiar with some of the landmarks.  That's the best thing for me fishing new places.  This brings a broader understanding to share the reel-stories with you.

4/30/20  Yesterday, Tom M launched early out of Burns Ditch, IN and headed W about 10 to 12 miles to fish off E Chicago, IN.  He was a solo act and caught his 5 fish limit. Consisting of 2 Coho, 2 fatty Kings to 20 lbs. and Brown. Click fatty 2020 King
               Tom's program is pretty much unchanged over the years.  He chokes the fish pulling meat with our X-Glow Green Frog combos.  Click for Tom's 4/29/20 catch
               We all can appreciate the expertise that goes into fishing alone.  Especially, when it comes time to net a wild spring King in the 20s that doesn't know the word quit!
               This corner of Lk. MI has a lot of Kings and Coho that have not moved N yet.
                     Tomorrow, a giant spring Coho from the same area.

4/29/20  Boats that did fish close to Manistee yesterday struggled to put a few fish in the boat.  Yesterday's 2nd hand fish report was from last week and does not reflect current conditions.  My sincere apologies for not vetting this info before posting it.
               If you're a boat owner, owning a multimeter is a wise investment that can be purchased on Amazon for around 20 bucks for an entry model (that's all you need).
              This tool reads 12 volt dc output.  If your battery is full of juice and doesn't hold 12 volts, or better after charging?'s time for a new one.
              Be sure to check the rotate date on new batteries.  Some of batteries can sit in a store many months.  Shortening the life expectancy.  Click multimeter output
              This electrical gauge/meter can save you a lot of grief tracing continuity of circuits.  Wiring on boats is very complex.  DIY electrical jobs will save you money.
       Tomorrow? confirmed report from Burns Ditch, IN ...Salmon fishing is good!!

4/28/20  Lk. MI Lake Trout are thicker than bugs on a bumper for the Manistee fleet.  This came thru the grapevine from Wayne J (aka Take Five).  No word on the Browns.
               Ludington is producing 3 fish limits of Lk. Trout and a few Kings are showing up, says longtime local fishermen, Capt. Kirk.  He's been beating up on the LTs south of the harbor in 40' to 60' of water.  Kirk caught his 1st King of 2020 yesterday on the never-failer Gold Orange Crush 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoon. Click for Kirk's 4/27/20 catch
  Great to get back to semblance of normal and share current fishing reports with you!

4/27/20  Spring was in full bloom yesterday at my place in Manistee, MI.  Tee shirt weather at 70° is just a sign of what's to come.  Yard work was a joy under blue sunny skies we all have longed for.  Yep, the spring fishing season is upon us for sure.
              Kings I've seen being caught in S Lk. MI are reel-fatties with a lot of girth.  Great news for what's in store for the big water fishing fleet.
              Installing a new C27 trolling battery in the Grumman today.  Then, get it wet and break in the new 60 hp four stroke purchased last winter will happen soon!!!

4/26/20  Michigan's ranking has slid from 3rd in the nation to 7th place.  Congrats to all Michiganagers for having done by staying home and 6' physical distancing.
              The political hard-right gets the press coverage.  Middle of the road people, like me without a political agenda are not being heard from yet.   That will happen on Nov. 3rd.
              Fishing season is open again.  Hit a snag with the 16' Grumman.  C27 trolling battery is only putting out 10 volts and will be swapped out for a new one tomorrow.
              We have a lot to look forward if we stay apart and use a face mask in public.  Better days are on the way with a warming trend for Manistee, MI this week.

4/25/20  Got a news scoop (1st to break a story) about powerboat fishing being allowed again at 9am yesterday.  This welcome news did not break until around 3pm.
               Thursday evening did the Zoom Sea Grant meeting that was presented extremely well.  Watched Brian Roth's detailed diet/stomach studies and Martin Kornis's presentation concerning the micro-wire fish tagging program. 
               Interesting thing? ...the online audience could ask questions in real time.  Only drawback was the time it took to present the all the data.  After 2 hours of sitting at my computer screen, didn't stick around for the last part.  Kudos to those who put it on!

4/24/20  Asking fishermen not to congregate is like asking water to flow uphill.  Case in point: you're trolling in 200' of water slightly N of Manistee.  You box a double on big Kings over 20 lbs.  In a nano-second, you'll see a pile boats flocking towards you. 
              Not so much the last 2 seasons in Manistee when the weekday crowd has been cut by 50% from slow summer fishing.  Weekends are more crowded still.
             What concerns me? ...boat launches at Ludington, Frankfort and Leland where there not enough ramps to service the fishing public.  There's always boats waiting in line to splash, or retrieve.  Maintaining 6' distance is a physical impossibility.
             Manistee, MI has close to the same number of ramps of the 3 ports mentioned. 
Being much better off than a lot of ports with too many boats for too few ramps.
             We're only in the first inning in a war that gonna last several months.  People are worried about salvaging our economy?  That's way-way too simplistic. 
             I worry about salvaging our society that's going to require relying on our younger generation that's less apt to suffer long term ill effects from the virus in high risk jobs vital to keeping our supply chain flowing.  Not being a medical drain on our system is important!
            9am: Rumor has it, MI Gov. Whitmer will have good news for fishermen SOON!

4/23/20  Chris G and his son were fishing from shore and caught a pretty decent Largemouth Bass showing there is still some fishing going on.
               30° and snow flurries at 11am yesterday kind of takes the edge off the desire to go fishing.  This is not typical late April weather.  Looks like a gradual warming trend is on the way ...finally!  7 days and counting to allow powerboat fishing in Michigan?

4/22/20  Sea Grant's Southwest Michigan Digital Fisheries Workshop is holding a Zoom seminar event on April 23, 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:10 p.m. Click for more info
              Zoom is a conferencing web service that does have a free option of 40 minutes.
I signed up for the free version at:
              You can register for this Sea Grant Workshop by: Clicking Here
              Downloading and signing up for Zoom was no big deal, as I upgrade my internet tool box.  Now, to see if I can get it to work on 4/23/20 at 7pm?

4/21/20  Lk. MI fishermen out of Manistee, MI aren't missing much with the no motorboat regulations.  Weather has been cold and heaps of wind.  Wind messes up the water color, as it did in early April.  Green silty water with less than 2's of visibility is a no-no.
              Guess where you stand on the "shelter in place" mandate depends on how old you are.  My wife, family and friends are all senior citizens, or high risk for the China virus.
              Losing a loved one is the single hardest thing you'll go thru in life.  There's over 43,000 American families mourning loss of loved ones that you really never get over.
              My most sincere wish is we never had this China disease ravage our country.  Opening back up economically is not going to happen in full until you see fans in Comerica Park watching the Detroit Tigers play baseball.  Recovering from our financial crisis will only happen when there's a vaccine available.  So, we're all going to need a lot of patience.

4/20/20  Happy Monday to all.  Suspect in 10 days MI will allow powerboat fishing again.  MI has fell from the 3rd highest China infection rate in the nation to 5th place now.  MI is the 10th most populated state in the USA, but at a much higher infection per capita rate than most other states.  MI ranks 3rd in overall US deaths.
              We've all taken huge a financial hit from China's exported virus.  These losses will never be regained.  Our MI tackle orders? ...expectedly ...fell off a cliff!
              Here a list of states and countries we've recently shipped tackle orders to: Sweden, MT, MI, MN, NJ, NY, MI, Canada, MI, Germany, AK, Canada, Germany, WA.  Interesting to see how international our tackle sales are.  This is what keeps my small tackle business solvent without government funny-money loans at 3.7% interest.
                   Stay at home, stay safe is working for Michiganders!

4/19/20  Today's featured pic of my Grumman 16' tin boat's helm.  Upgraded Raymarine GPS/Sonar, hour meter, marine radio, 3 position auto bilge switch, 12 volt outlet/USB ports, & new 60 hp. 4 stroke Suzuki makes for a sweet rig. Click for helm pic

4/18/20  It's easy to be critical.  Yet, many offer no constructive criticism.  Here's what I emailed, Mark Tonello. Fisheries Biologist at the Cadillac office of the MDNR:

Hi Mark,

Please consider the odd-even numbers of our MC
boat registration numbers, or our boat trailers.

This will cut the crowd by half each day and get
us back to power boat fishing on all Michigan waters

Put some teeth in a fine to get attention.

Hope you and yours are staying safe,

John King

Here's Mark Tonello's email reply:


Interesting suggestion- I’ll pass it along to the Lieutenant. Yes we’re staying healthy so far.
You hang in there too! Hopefully we can get back to fishing soon.

Mark Tonello
Fisheries Management Biologist
Central Lake Management Unit, Cadillac
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

4/17/20  Supplemental: to view the same video I did: Click for news clip
Then, scroll to "Operation Gridlock."  You'll see people dancing to music and no social distancing, or even one face mask.  This not the way we get back to fishing!
              Those of us playing by the rules shouldn't be penalized by those who don't!

4/17/20  You can't fix stupid is the focus of today's chat.  There's a certain percentage of MI residents that are plain ignorant when it comes to the designer China virus.   This disease kills the weak, old, the sick and infirmed.  Perfect for an overpopulated country.
               Operation Gridlock by protesters in Lansing came off badly for this group last Wed.  Sinclair Broadcast Group (Republican leaning) TV station Channel 7 in Traverse City, MI showed protesters milling about like they were partying at a family reunion barbeque.  No masks, no physical distancing in what looked like a pro-Trump campaign rally.
               Governor Whitmer had a lot of input from the MDNR shutting down Tippy Dam due to overcrowding.  Elbow to elbow fishermen spreads the China virus.
               Same thing went on in the Detroit River with boat launches being packed and several boats with many aboard.  This weighed heavily to close motorboat fishing.
              So, here I sit, on land, because a bunch of fishermen acted like idiots with no regard for the spread of the virus that has taken 34,000 plus lives as of today in the USA.
              My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones due to the China virus.  The pain and suffering this caused their families is not be overlooked ...ever!
                     Tomorrow? ...suggestion to allow powerboat fishing

4/16/20  News from the S end of Lk. MI has most boat launches closed.  East Chicago Marina (Pastrick) is shut down.  IN and IL boats are launching out of Burns Ditch, or Hammond Marina.  Burns Ditch to the "wall," Coho hot spot is a run of 12 miles.  Early Coho was good for shore anglers.  S Lk. MI trollers only had about 2 weeks of good Coho fishing.
              Launches in Manistee, MI are all closed with the exception of the DNR Launch in Stronach.  This launch is only for non-motorized vessels according to state mandate.
              Our spring fish are not going to take a beating in the southern ports the way things look for now.  This will be a silver lining for summer fishermen with a few more Salmon for prime time July-August Kings.  Click Manistee's closed 1st St. launch

4/15/20  When restrictions on motor boat fishing is lifted by MI Gov. Whitmer, it will probably be for members of the immediate household. 
               Am I happy about this?  Hell no!  But I'm not self-centered and see defeating the China virus is more important than my desire to go wet a few lines.
               I'm in good shape for a fishing partner this year.  My wife, Merlene of 50 some years has been fishing with me since 1966.  On some of our first dates we went fishing. 
               When I started my fledging charter operation in 1983 she crewed for me on family charters.  This continued thru 1986 until we hired a full time deckhand.
               Criteria for her to go depends on the lake being flat and NO early mornings. She's not big on fishing Kings.  Saying it's too much work, because of their hard fight.
My only issue with her? ...she needs to leave daily trials and tribulations of life on land.
So, we both enjoy a nice time on the water in search of fish. Click my wife catching
                                 Tomorrow? ...the silver lining.

4/14/20  Neglected an important reel-fact about Alexx's Baltic Sea Atlantic Salmon.  This fish came 35 meters down, or a 114' in feet on a 4.0 sized (Лосось Бастер™ ложки), Russian for Salmon Buster™ spoon.  This shows me my preconceived notion formed over the years was dead wrong.  Proving that experience often works against you.
               Never, and I repeat, never ran any of my spoons deeper than 70'.  Opting the flasher/meat rig™, or flasher/fly combinations once I see deeper fish on the graph.
               Alexx showed me I'm missing the boat by not running my spoons deeper and having faith they'll work.  Do know my spoons move a lot of water for the fish to home in on with their lateral line.  Future says; I'll be running my spoons a lot deeper!

4/13/20  Today's chat is being made possible by Alexx V. from the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation.  He fishes the Baltic Sea for Atlantic Salmon.  Last January he bought about 10 Salmon Buster™ spoons to see if they worked on Atlantics.
              Yes, my spoons work on all predatory fish species on our planet.  Knew making a spoon out of Lexan™/plastic had major advantages over it's metal counterparts.  The color is molded in.  Never to chip, peel, or become dull with age.  Saltwater eats up plated metal spoons too.  Plastic fares much better in salt water/ocean environments.
              My thanks to Alexx emailing us a photo of 27.93 lb. Atlantic Salmon caught on the new A.I. X-Glow spoon.  This very same pattern proved itself last season in the Great Lakes of Huron, Michigan, & Ontario.  Click Alexx's jumbo Atlantic Salmon

4/12/20  Happy Easter!  Don't let the coronavirus blot out the sun.  There's plenty of things to look forward after we put this horrific genie back in the bottle.
              Every time the USA has been knocked down, we got back on our feet and knocked the crap out of all enemies.  Not being able to fish Lk. MI is a small price to pay, if it keeps people alive.  Manistee, MI has only 9 cases of the virus.  Let's keep it that way!
                             Better days are ahead for all of us!

4/11/20  I'm in good shape for a fishing partner this year.  My wife of 50 some years has been fishing with me since 1966.  Some of our first dates we went fishing.
               When I started my fledging charter business in 1983 she crewed for me on family charters.  This continued thru 1986 until I had a full time deckhand.
               My only issue with her? ...she needs to leave household problems on land not worthy for discussion, as we enjoy each others company and search for a few fish.

4/10/19  Recent news from the MDNR:

"Boating falls within the outdoor activities permitted under the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order. Any outdoor activity, including boating, must be done in a manner consistent with social distancing, and individuals should use only their own equipment to prevent the transmission of the virus through the touching of shared surfaces. In addition, persons not part of a single household may not boat together."

This means no boat fishing with friends the way I understand it. Click more MDNR info

4/9/20  3 days of high temperatures in the 60s was a brief preview of what's to come.  Been delaying the start of my 2020 big lake season due to the Coronavirus with 9 confirmed cases in Manistee County.  Good news is no fatalities. Click MI virus list
            My first trip might be a solo event due to physical distancing.  Question is who do I high five when the first fish of 2020 comes aboard?  Fishing is always better shared with others that even make the smallest victories seem sweeter.  Click John J's 2018 King
            Lost my best fishing bud, John Johnson about a year ago from a heart attack and I sorely miss him.  Johnny J was my "go to" person that could always solve problems a lot quicker than me.  It was a blessing from God to have him as a friend for 20 years.

4/9/20  3 days of high temperatures in the 60s is a brief preview of what's to come.  Been delaying the start of my 2020 big lake season due to the Coronavirus with 9 confirmed cases in Manistee County.  Good news is no fatalities. Click MI virus list
            My first trip might be a solo event due to physical distancing.  Question is who do I high five when the first fish of 2020 comes aboard.  Fishing is always better shared with others that even make the smallest victories seem sweeter.
            Lost my best fishing bud, John Johnson about a year ago from a heart attack and I sorely miss him.  Johnny J was my "go to" person that could always solve problems a lot quicker than me.  It was a blessing from God to have him as a friend for 20 years.

4/8/20  Right now there's a lot more questions than answers when it comes to MDNR fish stocking plans 2021.  COVID-19 cancelled 2020 Steelhead egg collection at the Little Manistee Weir that going to effect us all down the road.
             It remains to be seen allowing the 2020 entire run of spring Steelhead free range in the Little Manistee River.  Sure there will be additional natural reproduction.  Concerning factor is the spawned out hens/females that eat everything in sight.
            Guiding on the Betsie, Pere Marquette and Big Manistee Rivers (16 years) taught me late April spawned out hens are in attack mode.  Seen these hens gobble up hundreds of earth worms when it looked like they swallowed a football.  Witnessed these fish gorging on sucker spawn too.  That's reel-feat when you see how tiny sucker roe is.
             Brought this up about what toll the April Steelhead will take on naturally reproduced Kings up the Little Manistee River from last fall.

4/7/20  On my 3/21/20 daily entry, mentioned we were using dusk masks.  Now, 2 weeks later the CDC is saying wear a face covering.  My idea of the dust mask was watching the all the China people with medical grade masks.  Now, we're supposed wear a hanky/bandana?  It is 100% clear our federal government from the top down have screwed the American people!!!

4/6/20  Video update for today.  This movie was shot last year about the same time.  It's aboard Wayne J's aka Take Five (16' Sea Nymph).  He caught his 3 Lake Trout limit off the Port of Manistee, MI.  All of his fish came on Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Wayne started with 2 spoons and a jointed Rapala.  Later in his trip he swapped out the Rap for another spoon.  Reason for the switch?  2 spoons both caught, Rapala just rode.  If you'd rather watch this video in HD (1280 x 720) fishing movie: Click Here

4/5/20  City of Manistee, MI has put more docks in the water at their world class 1st Street Public Launch.  This is a good thing and shows there is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.  This probably the best launch on the Great Lakes.
            MDNR planted 60,000 Browns in Manistee last year.  Where are these fish?  To the best of my knowledge they're not making their presence known.
            This nowadays off green silty water on the beach started showing up about 10 years ago.  Prior we had either gin clear water, or dark stained river water that ran all the way down to Ludington.  Days of stained water is when Manistee had the best April Brown Trout catches in MI numbers-wise.  Click greenish water example

4/4/20  The back story on today's chat is from yesterday morning when local Manistee angler Wayne J, aka Take 5 made a major adjustment to his program.
             This was his 3rd time off the dock.  First 2 were exercises in futility trying to catch fish off the beach in green silty/cloudy water not holding any fish.
              Knew he was in for a tough go.  Made him up some Laker food consisting of pair of BTI 10" flashers and Spin n Glo combos to change his luck.  He had never put this kind of Laker tackle in the water before.  So, WJ was placing his trust me this stuff would work.
             Take Five stayed in the river water (44°) straight out from the harbor in 40' of water. He fished 1 rigger close to the bottom and his other rigger up a little higher.
             Wayne ended up with 2 good sized Laker Trout with a method he never used before.  That's a major victory on his part.  These are the 1st 2 Manistee, MI fish of the 2020 season to grace the home page of this website. Click Wayne's 4/3/20 catch

4/3/20  The fishing off Manistee, MI is great.  It's the catching that sucks.  3 boats on the shoreline yesterday, both N and S that all came home with the black kitty.  Water temperature on the beach has increased to almost 40°, but it's still silty with no fish.
             Working on re-wiring my 16' Grumman.  The end is in sight after another day, or two.  Wiring has never been a strong suit for me, but I do understand it. 
             Scrapped the factory wiring that will work out in the end.  Looks like buying the Grumman was a good move last year.  Click for rewiring 16' boat mess
             Easier to launch/retrieve and it looks like I'll have plenty of time to use it this year.  Tackle business is very slow and that's perfectly OK with me.  I'd rather fish than work any day of the year.  Fishing is fun and a heck of a good stress relief valve.
             MDNR has closed 3 public launches in Leelanau County being: Village of Northport, the Village of Suttons Bay, and the State launch at the end of Hilltop Road. 
                         Let's hope most launches in MI stay open!

4/2/20  Today's feature pic is from a video shot in 2019 aboard Wayne J's 16 footer.  I'm editing his 3 hour video down to 10-15 minutes.  This takes a lot of time, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.  Watching a seasoned 50 year veteran of the fish wars off the Port of Manistee, MI is almost as good as actually going fishing. Click WJ weighing a LT
             Yesterday, the MDNR planted 13,000 in Pere Marquette Lk. in Ludington, MI.  More browns are on the way for popular central Lk. MI port today.
             Michigan now ranks 3rd highest for COVID-19 among all states.  Arriving snow birds returning to Manistee from S and SW states please stay at home for 14 days.  Infection rate in Manistee County is relativity low.  Please, let's keep it that way!

3/31/20  March is not going out as a lion with moderate high temperatures today in mid 40s.  Good news is this Friday is predicted to be in the 60° range.  This is the first time the 60s are predicted this year for Manistee, MI.  Yes, spring is on the way ...finally!
              Bad news for today is the MDNR is calling off the Steelhead egg take at the Little Manistee Harvest weir.  This means no 2021 Steelhead plants.  Mike K. was kind enough to share this info with us after he got the news from Tonello, leader of the MDNR office in Cadillac, MI.

3/30/20  Hate doing things halfway.  First "Start Up" video had to be redone to tell a better story about turning the boat key after winter storage.  Click for this video
               Installed new distributer cap, rotor, plugs, plug wires and water separating fuel filter last fall.  So, there's always a doubt is everything was done right.  2020 Start Up REDUX has voice overs and subtitles enhancements to put as much as I can in a 3 minute video.
              First attempt was working thru the transition issues from Windows 7 to WIN 10.  Everything is fine now and have 2 new videos for you I'll be editing this week.

3/29/20  Fishing for now remains as one of the few activities allowed during the COVID-19 crisis.  State of Michigan has cancelled all charters and guided outings.  I feel their pain and find it hard to fathom the economic hit these business are going to have to endure.
              Even before the state shut chartering down, operators were faced with a tough dilemma choosing to run trips and possibly bring the virus into their homes, or cancel.
              MDNR has cancelled all net pen projects.  For now camping at state parks is permitted without any restrooms, or showers.  Hopefully, the dump stations will be open.

3/28/20  Video update for today.  First turn of the key for 2020.  Let's go fishing!

3/27/20  Happy Friday! Have some fishing info for you from Ludington and Manistee, MI today.  Manistee's lackluster report is from last Wednesday morning.  Water temp in the channel was  39°. Just off the beach it was 37° and that's the problem.  Cold water is dense and does not let the fine silty green tinge settle out. 3 boats out, none had fish.
             Ludington is a little better if you want to fish Lakers. From S of the harbor to project  there decent amounts of LTs in 50' of water.  Boats trolling the beach are having not much  success with maybe an odd Coho, possible a Brown, or an LT.  Perch fishing on Pere Marquette Lk. is hit and miss.  There are a few places selling minnows. Call ahead

3/25/20  MDNR has suspended their weekly fishing report. Here's what they had to say:

We usually put out a weekly fishing report to let you know what's biting and where, but the current, global COVID-19 situation means we must share more critical information. Head out to fish only if you're feeling well. Practice social distancing, at least 6 feet away from another person. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer. If driving to or from your nearby fishing spot, roll the windows down a bit for air flow.

There's nothing like time on the water for stress relief, and we all could use that right now. Just do your part to keep yourself and others safe

               Michigan now has 2294 cases of the virus with 43 dead.  7 days ago on 3/18/20 MI had 65 cases and no fatalities.  Posting this to stress empathize how this deadly disease is.  Stay safe, stay home, and be well.

3/24/20  Boat registration alert that expires on the end of this month.  This is easy to overlook, because we only have to do it every 3 years.  Click MI boat sticker
               Mailed my check for $115 to Lansing on 3/9/20.  MI State Treasury cashed my a few days later on 3/12/20.  Still have not received the new sticker.  I do have photo copy of the cashed check I plan on keeping with me if this no sticker runs into April.
               You'll need a new fishing license by the end of this month too.  Purchasing online is wise social distancing.  Besides, it's easy to do.
Purchase MI Fish Licenses
                Michigan now has 1791 cases of the Coronavirus with 25 dead for a 1.4% death rate.  Largest demographic is the age group from 30 to 59 (50%). 

3/23/20  The states of Ohio, New York, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan that have instituted "stay at home" policies.  Suspect Wisconsin is not far behind.   Do I agree with this?  My opinion has no bearing on the big picture of slowing the rampant spread of COVID-19.
              My household has been adhering to "stay at home" for close to 3 weeks.  We've done this out of respect of my fellow Americans.  Residents in nursing homes, child daycare, prisons, on military bases, aboard ship & any closed groups are at risk.      
               Michigan now has 1328 cases of the virus with 15 dead.  5 days ago on 3/18/20 MI had 65 cases and no fatalities.  Stay safe, stay home, and be well.

From Michigan Department of Natural Resources Facebook Page

We've received some questions concerning the activity of fishing following the recent "stay home, stay safe" order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The order given today stated that individuals may still engage in outdoor activities while following proper social distance from those around you.   Fishing is one of those activities that can be done while following social distancing recommendations. We encourage you to spend some time fishing, but please keep your health and the health of others in mind.

1. Maintain at least 6 feet between you and another person
2. If driving to & from a fishing spot, keep your vehicle's windows down to allow air flow
3. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol

3/22/20  In yesterday's feature photo of our drop box you'll notice a 98.6° reading on a digital thermometer.  I take my temperature before making tackle and shipping orders.
              COVID-19's shelve life on cardboard is 6 to 24 hours.  This applies to pizza take out boxes and everything that comes in a box.  I leave our incoming shipments sit a good 24 hours before handling them, wear gloves, or immediately wash my paws.
              There's no such thing as overkill with this deadly virus!!!
              When we come out the other side of this crisis there's going to be a pullback on globalization to increase national security.  Badly needed ventilators?  ...I doubt we even make the source parts/computer chips for the monitors.  This will change, it has to.

3/21/20  Posted a photo of our drop box for USPS. UPS and FedEx deliveries.  This eliminates face to face, by having the drivers come inside to leave packages.  This keeps both sides safer from the extremely virulent COVID-19 virus the killed 793 people in Italy during a single day (yesterday).  So, this virus is lethal. Click for drop box
               Can only share with you what my household is doing to prevent sickness.  We all have to shop for groceries.  Gloves and a dust mask is all we have, along with common sense.  Length of time this bug exists in the air, as suspended micro droplets can be 6 hours, or more.  Days, or more on hard surfaces.  After shopping we're washing our coats & clothes.  Then, wiping house and truck door handles with bleach wipes.
               We're on powered milk.  Opting not to make unnecessary shopping trips.  Need produce and will be shopping senior hours 7am-8am at Meijer's (M55 & US31) this Tuesday.

3/20/20  States of Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and California has shut down all non-essential businesses with stay at home guidelines.
               Meaning, unless it has to do with stuff like getting groceries/medicine, they're going to be homebound for an indeterminate amount of time to avoid the spread of
COVID-19.   Tough one to take, but if it means defeating the heebie-jeebies, or at least put a lid on it, that's perfectly OK with me.  Staying at home as much as possible sure as hell beats going your hospital's Coronavirus ward, or the morgue.
              As observations by a untrained layperson, virus density seems to be centered around states with major airport hubs that are proven vectors for this virus.
              Northern MI for now seems to be a little safer by less population.  Manistee County only has around 30,000, or (30k) residents.  A drop in the bucket compared to the SE MI counties of Wayne (1,753k), Macomb County (840k), Oakland (1,202k), Washtenaw (334k) and Grand Rapids' Kent County (188k).  Stay safe and please practice social distancing.  Postponed the Dave Mercer's Facts of Fishing TV show update.

3/20/20  Hoo-rah!  Spring 2020 is officially here.  Gone are the long dark nights and months of cold and snow.  Weather will soon be changing in our favor.
               While the calendar says spring?  Awoke to 2" of snow this morning that's disappointing.  Next week's long range weather forecast is supposed to be 40s and 50s.
               Field in front my pole barn is clear free from snow and firm enough to get my 22' Sea Ray some floatie time on Lk. MI.  It's been about 5 months since feeling the movement of waves under my feet.  Hopefully, this coming week I can stop being a landlubber and rejoin the Great Lakes fleet as early season recon for 2020.
                   Tomorrow? ....Dave Mercer's Facts of Fishing TV show.

3/19/20  Last weekend's conversation with Capt. Dan S. from Soldotna, AK threw me for a loop.  I had to play detective to figure out what he was ordering.  Never hearing "moon jelly" before was a WT_ on my end?  In fact, thought it was kind of funny.
              History of our White Lightning pattern dates to late 2017 when I purchased enough to test in 2018.  Knew beforehand it was going to work and it was brand new.
              Now, a couple-three years later the brain dead copycats are selling the lure tape under the nomenclature of "moon jelly."  Click White Lightning 10" BTI & Fly

3/18/20  Put on my charter thinking hat about this virus that's effecting our USA.
Financially, it's going to be devastating for the Great Lakes charter fleet. 
               Hit at the worst time too!  Charter operators are scrambling to pay dockage, charter insurance and general start up costs for the new season.  My guess is it takes a good 4 grand before you've run your first trip, not factoring in boat payments.
               Those who have trips on the books, look for a lot of early season cancellations.  Especially, by guests that travel and get overnight lodging.  When I left the charter business in 2003, 70% of my customers were out of towners, 50% were from SE MI that's being hard hit with Covid-19.  65 cases in MI now. Over 60% is from SE MI.
               Please keep in mind, there's a 2 to 3 lag week when people got infected.
               If this lasts thru the summer? ...small business charter operators are going to need 0% loans to make thru to the other side of the crisis.  Click MI virus list
                            Tomorrow's topic what is "moon jelly?"

3/17/20  St. Patrick's Day and let's all hope we have the luck of the Irish on our side. 
               Feel the need to explain yesterday's featured photo that might help you survive the COVID-19 outbreak.  Surgical masks are either non existent, or over priced.  Dust masks are available at a decent price and do provide protection. 
Black Nitrile gloves I use for airbrush painting are dirt cheap, like 100 for 14 bucks on Amazon that can be used when you have to shop for groceries/supplies.
                Steps I've taken include a tote under the carport for USPS, UPS and FedEx deliveries.  This keeps the driver safe and us too, from coming inside our tackle shop.
                We will get thru this as a nation by taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of a virus that does not overwhelm our hospitals. Click anti virus gear

3/16/20  COVID-19, a strain from the broad family of Coronaviruses has hit home.  The younger you are is in your favor.  Issue is? can be lethal to older Americans.  I fall in the bracket of 8% mortality from this respiratory disease.  For those over 80 it's double.
               This highly contagious air born virus is shuttering just about all public places, except grocery stores & pharmacies.  It's changing everything we do.
               Fishing the Great Lakes might be one of the safest activities inside a closed circle/social distancing, as long as your crew protects/avoid public areas.
               Have gloves and facemasks ready for Wayne J who makes keel weights, diver diggers, & meat rigs™ when he drops off product this later week. Click WJ's antivirus

3/15/20  Guest update today from Capt. Dan and Capt. Jesse in Soldotna, Alaska:

"This is Captain Jesse and Dan you just talked to him on the phone about your flashers. Here is the 26lb white King from yesterday’s trip on your flasher."
Our phone conversation was to nail the correct flasher/meat rig™ combo they were pulling to catch this King off the Kenai River Area of the Pacific Ocean.
              Concluded they were using the 12" White Lightning combo.  Yes, they do use my 3 Fly Meat Rigs™ & Flashers in AK too!  Click for this Alaska King
            The background in this photo looks amazingly close to the Guerney Creek area S of Manistee by about 4-5 miles.  It's always interesting to see new places the Salmon fleet fishes.  Whether on the ocean, Great Lakes, or any body of water.

3/14/20  A week from today official Spring 2020 begins.  This week's weather forecast is improving at a snail's pace with a lot of 30s and 40s.
              There is a window mid-week that looks tolerable for my 1st trip of 2020, if the ground is firm enough to get my 22' Sea Ray out of the pole barn.  Time will tell.

3/13/20  Best part about yesterday's fishing report from Take 5 aka Wayne J?  No weeds was his answer when I spoke with him on the phone.  With almost record high water levels having inshore water free from debris is a welcomed surprise. 
              My season will start when ground dries out enough to get my boat out of the pole barn.  Until then, I'm in a holding pattern. Click Lk. MI 3/11/20 water temp

3/12/20  1st fishing report of the year from Manistee, MI graces this website today.  Our hero, Take 5, aka Wayne J fished out of Manistee yesterday morning.  His troll path was in close, along the shoreline past Orchard Beach State Park to the Barr Lk. outlet.  Lk. MI water temp on the beach was chilly 37°.  In the harbor, river water temp was only 38°.
               Water color is all wrong.  Green milky water with 2' to 3' of visibility hardly ever produces fish.  WJ went 0 for 0 and that's understandable.  Nice to have some intel for my 2020 maiden voyage with a few ideas how and where to begin.  Click WJ's boat

3/11/20  Ever wonder what a 20 pound King is worth on the commercial market? 
$11.00 a pound is the going rate in Alaska.  Spoke with Derek L from AK that has a rod and reel commercial license to sell his fresh caught Salmon. 
               This license is not cheap.  In fact, it will set you back 9 grand for a lifetime license plus 80 bucks a year that can be passed down in the family.
               Posted a photo of an 18 pound King caught a while back.  This fish is worth $198.00 in AK.  If I could have sold all the Kings I caught over the years and never chartered? ...I'd have a big pile of dough.  Click for a $198 King

3/10/20  Postponing our 5 year birthday party for Salmon Buster™ spoons when the 1st fish of the 2020 season comes aboard.  And, that will be soon hopefully?
               I wasn't sold on SBs for early season fishing in 2015.  What pushed me over the edge the 1st trip of the year we ran 4 Rapalas against 2 Salmon Busters™ on the beach.
              Been running shallow stick baits with great success for shoreline fish since the 1970s and old habits are hard to break.  What opened my eyes at the end of the trip the SB 4.0s caught more fish than the #11 floater Rapalas at a 2 to 1 disadvantage.  Proof was in the pudding and I haven't looked back.  Click 1st Manistee dock is in

3/9/20  Calling in sick today.  Caught a chill while working on projects in the pole barn Saturday that's knocked me down for a few days.
            Tomorrow's topic will be the 5 year anniversary of our Salmon Buster™ spoons and what I've learned and still learning along the way.

3/8/20  High today in the mid 50s is another major signal the 2020 season is almost here.  Great thing about fish is it can turn on a dime.  For the better, or worse. 
             The promise of a new season writes it's own history.  2019 was far from my best year, but that's what fishing is about.  The word "fish" can have several meanings.  Transforming "fish" into the word "catch" takes time, luck, skill and persistence.

3/7/20  Spring forward weekend.  3am Sunday morning is when we're supposed to set our clocks ahead a hour as we usher in Daylight Savings Time.  DTS ends on 11/1/20.

3/6/20  Spoke about Wayne J. yesterday and without asking emailed us today's featured photo.  The harbor and ramp is free from ice from what I see.  It remains to been seen how much floatie ice there on Lk. MI outside the pier heads. Click 3/4/20 harbor pic
            Have no doubt there would have been a few boats out this coming Sunday with the predicted high temps around 50°.  However, Sunday seas are predicted to be from the S at 25 knots with waves 4' to 7'.  This stout breeze will break up/melt any remaining ice.

3/3/20  Today's featured iced-in  aerial photo is from Kat G taken recently.  This shows we need about a week of warm weather to breakup and melt the pancake ice.   This photo was shot above the S pier head looking E up the channel that provided access to lake MI.
             Added some text and arrows to point out Manistee, MI world class launching facility.  Fished most the major ports in MI.  Haven't seen one yet on Lk. MI, or Lk. Huron the rivals what the City of Manistee provides to the public.  Click for this pic

3/2/20  Major news!  10 day long range forecast is all over the 40° mark with some days pushing 50°.  This is a sure sign Mr. Winter is losing his grip on Michigan.
             Purchased my 2020 MI all species fishing license off the MDNR's website.  It was very easy with account setup that has all my information on file.  You can go back to this website, in case you lose you license and need to print out another.  Saved the PDF file to print and make extra copies in my 2020 pictures folder.  Click my 2020 MI Fish license
            My senior license was only 11 bucks.  This is a great bargain that comes with months of adventure, camaraderie, defeat, success, agony and fun all rolled into one!

3/1/20  In like a lamb, out like a lion, or visa versa is March folk lore.  The lamb part is the predicted high temp near 50° today.  Looks like Mr. Winter is on life support.
             Let's hope we don't have to pay for this with a nasty end on March 31st. 
             Seeing the harbor socked in with ice has delayed any ideas of getting out on Lk. MI soon.  Last year for best fishing was when the smelt came in towards the end of April.  My 1st fish in 2019 came on the 4th of April.  Think this year it will be weeks earlier.

2/29/20  Leap year, extra day update.  Today's featured pic is courtesy of Wayne J. who snapped a photo of the Manistee, MI's harbor and launch ramp. Click harbor ice
               You'll notice the strange phenomenon of round pancake ice that looks like lily pads.  Slush builds up in the edges as they bump into one anther. Click ice form info
               Do know it's going to be a while before my maiden voyage of 2020 by the looks of the harbor.  Predicted warm spell is on the way and that can change things fast.  

2/28/20  Why do we fish with the deck stacked against the Great Lakes fleet?  Rough water keeps us dockside.  Fish are on a constant move as we look for a small patch of water that holds fish.  Then, what kind of hoops do we have to jump thru for a bite?
               We are a special breed that accepts a double-edged challenge of success, or failure.  It's my unwavering belief that all dedicated anglers are eternal optimists with the glass always being 1/2 full.  Proven by, if you thought differently you would never go.
               Think the reasons we chose to fish are many.  For me it's never knowing the outcome.  Will it be agony, or ecstasy?  Zero, or hero?  That's what I like about fishing!

2/27/20  Keeping your boat from becoming a POS means maintaining everything in working order.  If something is not working? ...fix it!  A series of small issues can turn into a major problem, if something big goes down?  Causing loss of interest and a for sale sign in an effort to unload your problems.  Grumman I purchased was a bargain at $4500. 
            Why? ...because there was a bunch of small stuff not working like gauge lights, bad boat winch, bilge pump and running lights.  All easy cheap quick fixes.
            Made sure to post the Grumman photo progress showing the gauge lights working that are a must for early and late fishing.  Click Grumman gauge lights
                    Tomorrow's chat topic?  The eternal question of: why do we fish?

2/26/20  Boats rigged to fish the big water on the Great Lakes are incredibly complex machines.  It was an eye opener for me when I counted all the electric motors that run things.  My 1979 22' Sea Ray has 21 motors that pumping fluids, spinning things like fans.
              Factor in 4-5 months of winter storage, odds are not in your favor when you wake your vessel for a new season.  Not using your boat for months on end can and will cause issues that need to be dealt with.  Keeping your boat right is tomorrow's focus.

Electric Motors On My 1979 22' Sea Ray

Downriggers 3
Bilge Pumps 2
Radar Motor 1
Trim/Tilt pump on motors 2
Auto Pilot 1
Bilge Blower 1
Windshield Wipers 2
Heater/Defroster Blower 1
Windshield Fan 1
Radio CD Player 1
Boat Winch 1
Trim Tabs 1
Electric Brakes (auxiliary trailer pump) 1
350 GM V8 & kicker starter motors 2



2/25/20  As of March 1, 2020 you'll be able to purchase your 2020 fishing licenses.  This year, a new feature is auto re-new.  2019 Fishing licenses are good thru the end of March.  I purchase mine on online at: Online Fish Licenses
              New season is getting closer by the day.  My 22' Sea Ray check list is getting close to complete when I installed the electronics last weekend.  Check thru included 12" Raymarine, 9" Simrad sonar/GPS.  Radar and radio was working too.
              Reel proof tomorrow on how complex Great Lakes fishing boat with some interesting numbers about electrical motors.  Click Sea Ray's transom at ready

2/24/20  Important part of today's chat is about the upcoming early season Manistee fishery that was all Lk. Trout in 2019.  Off the Bar Lake outlet just N of the Orchard Beach State Park had a good run of smelt last year.  This was the hot spot for the early boats.
               Consensus is smelt run in 42° to 45° water.  Will keep you posted on how this plays out.  Guerney Creek S of Manistee had excellent smelt runs in the past.  So, it pays not to overlook this potential hot spot.  60k plant of Browns in 2019 will help Manistee.
                Work on prep is just about done when I installed the electronics back in the 1978 22' Sea Ray yesterday.  Major issues on wiring in the 16' Grumman that will be addressed in the not too distant future.  Bad 12 volt USB adapter caused the problem.

2/23/20  Great news!  Actually seen some snow melt when the thermometer reached past the 40° mark yesterday.  More of the same is on the way for today!!
               Wiring is not my strong suit.  Today's featured photo is the construction zone on the 16' Grumman's helm/dashboard.  This is a work in progress that is shaping up.

               22' Sea Ray is an hour away from test startup in the driveway.  Jobs like this have to be done while it's still the slow season for tackle sales that begins to hit full stride in mid-March.  Spring 2020 is less then 3 weeks away.  Click Grumman's helm

2/22/20  7° yesterday morning delayed work on my boats until it warmed up in the afternoon.  Problem is the stored thermocold in the concrete floor of the pole barn that keeps it very chilly inside no matter how warm it is outside.
              Today it's supposed to be 38° and it never got that cold last night. So, this is a big plus. Did make progress for few hours completing the wiring on the hour meter and marine radio.  Installed new more modern steering wheel in the Grumman too. This boat needs a thorough cleaning from the mess cutting the old steering wheel off.
              Today's efforts will focus on my 1978 22' Sea Ray that has a completely enclosed-heated cabin set up for early season fishing.  Better days are coming!

2/21/20  Getting antsy with the predicted above freezing temps.  The next 4 days the temp ranges from 36° to 44°.  Plenty warm enough to work in my unheated pole barn. 
              This brief warm spell should afford the time to complete all boat projects.  Making sure I'm ultra ready for the upcoming early season shoreline fishery.
              Early season on beach scenic trolling makes it extra enjoyable to be on Lk. MI.  Miles of sand beach and all kinds of wildlife keep it interesting.  Escaping the everyday pressure cooker of life while looking for a few fish is bigtime FUN in all capital letters!

2/20/20  Early season shoreline trolling is, as easy as it gets.  Set your lines and drive up and down the beach until a fish bites, or a producing area is found.  There's no depths, or thermoclines to be concerned with.  Inshore beach fishing requires zero special skills.
              We've had 4 years refining a program proven to work.  Bead chain keel sinker acts a blocker to debris on the line and adds a little depth.  Run our "6 Rod Surface Special" total package deal for early season fish in your cooler! Click 6 rod 2020 specials
              Been selling tackle that works to a higher standard with precise instructions on how to use it, has kept me in business since 2004 ...'nough said!

2/19/20  Goal for this weekend when the weather warms a little is to have my 1978 22' Sea Ray ready for what lays ahead.  Been working on the 16' Grumman installing a new radio/antenna and hour meter.  Hour meter is tested with the hole cut ready for final wiring to the amp gauge that runs only when the key is turned on.  Radio is almost done too.
             Sea Ray just needs a a good cleaning to spiffy it up for 2020.  Rods and reels are ready.  Test fire the V8 GM 350 in the yard and off to Lk. MI we go.  Depending on how the weather breaks could be on the pond in about 2-3 weeks.

2/18/20  This is about the time of the year when winter is getting a bit long in the tooth.  Early onset of winter the 2nd week of November says we've had 4 months of cold and snow.  Even though this winter has been fairly mild, it's still winter with Mr. Winter flexing his muscles lately with snow and single digit low temperatures.
               Looking forward to a warm-up this coming weekend with 40° predicted temps.  Last time it was this warm on a weekend was on Dec. 21 & 22, 2019, or about 10 weeks ago.  So, it's about time we get some decent weather ...please!

2/17/20  Photo of the helm in my 1998 Grumman16' aluminum boat is today's subject.  This is the before pic without the sonar, radio and new hour meter.  Will post the completed project when the weather allows more work to be done in the pole barn.
              This is the important business part of the boat when instrumentation monitors gas level, charge/discharge, trim/tilt, VHF radio, rpms and sonar GPS.  Just because a boat is is borderline vintage, don't mean it can't be nice and up-to-date. Click for helm pic

2/16/20  Everything should have a budget.  Mine for 16' Grumman aluminum was to keep the cost below a 1000 bucks for the electronics.  Bought a Raymarine Element 9" screen late last season on sale.  Raymarine is excellent at upgrades for their operating systems.
              Elements 2019 model had a download to update the OS.  Zip file was opened and transferred to a micro SD card.  Now all that needs to be done is insert the SD card and go to settings to get the most up-to-date OS. Click update files
              GPS VHF marine radio, antenna, and hour meter recently purchased keeps me below budget for topnotch equipment for the eagerly anticipated 2020 season!
              If your sonar/GPS unit has a SD card slot?  Some manufacturer will have updates available for their older models.  So, it pays to check their website.

2/15/20  Posted a photo of one of our 2020 tackle specials listed as "must haves."  You need good monofilament line at a fair price.  Been selling Triple Fish mono for over 10 years with zero complaints.  Boated spring Kings at, or over 20 lbs on 15# Triple Fish mono. 
Everyone needs a top quality line.  Making failure not an option.  Click for this pic
              Diamond hook file that requires 2-3 light touches at shallow angle to turn a hook sticky needle point sharp is a part of the deal too. 
Click for this deal
              Included is a 51 LED UV black light for instant glow lure charges.  Best I've found so far.  A pound spool of mono, hook file and UV light is a heck of a deal all 39.95!

2/14/20  News from the S end of Lk. MI is boats are catching Coho at St. Joe and New Buffalo, MI.  This is the opening shot of the 2020 big lake season and the earliest I've heard boats in action.  This info came to us thru the weekly MDNR Fishing Reports email.
             Long range weather says the end of next week we'll be pushing 40°.  Weather for now is a yoyo with single digit cold snaps and above freezing temps. 
             Do know I'm feeling a sense of urgency to get both my boats ready.  My target launch date is March 15th, or as soon as the City of Manistee puts a few docks in.

2/13/20  Countdown to the 2020 season is on for yours truly.  In about 4 weeks there's a reel possibility we could be fishing of of Manistee, MI.  In 2017 and 2018 there was some early season Kings for the taking at central Lk. MI ports.  None in 2019.
             With this year's mild winter the same thing could happen again with Kings.  Shore and floating ice is not present.  Hopefully, this kept the baitfish around that in-turn keeps the Kings off the river mouths.  Reel-good for Manistee, Frankfort and Ludington!

2/12/20  Great news!  There's only 37 days of official winter left.  Did some research on how average temperatures lead us into spring that begins on March 20th.  Last week of this month is when the average daytime high temp is above 32°.  Third week of March is when the high temperature averages above 40°.  Second week in April the high temps crosses into the 50°s.  We break into the 60° bracket during the first week of May.
              Please keep in mind these are long term averages that can be above, or below the daytime high temps listed in the above paragraph.

2/11/20  The reel important things in life is meeting other fishing friends that share our passion for the sport.  With that in mind, today's featured photo comes to us from Alex V. who fishes the Baltic Sea in the Kaliningrad area of the Russian Federation.
               Fishing is the international translator that breaks down the language barrier.  Alex's recent Atlantic Salmon has loose scales just like our spring Kings and Coho.  Showing that all species of Salmon are pursued around the world. Click for Alex's Salmon

2/10/20  World debut of our 2020 specials.  First up is the 6 Rod King Spread that's an all in one tackle deal.  It includes the best of the best during the course of the last 3 seasons on my boat at the various ports fished. Click 6 Rod King Special
               This 6 Rod tackle special has caught fish in the 3 Great Lakes of Michigan, Huron & Ontario.  Searched my soul to answer this question: what if I was limited to only 3 meat rig combos, 3 trolling flies and 6 spoons?  Sure, you can sort thru any tackle store and over a few seasons with a lots of trial and error come up with something similar.
              Eliminated this grief.  We did it for you in a deeply discounted package deal.  You've seen this tackle before in the featured "photo of the day" as reel-proof!

2/9/20  Safety afloat is always a good conversation.  DSC, or digital selective call on your marine VHF radio could save your life.  Click DSC info
             Good news is marine radios with GPS have came down in price a lot from 200 to less than 140.  Prior to self contained GPS inside the radio you had to run a special transmit cable from your GPS to your radio for DSC to work.
             Maritime Mobile Service Identity, or (MMSI) is an assigned 9 digit number that's entered into your DSC radio for instant distress calls. Click apply for MMSI number

2/8/20  It pays to check Amazon's prices against China's Aliexpress.  Saved about 40% on an hour meter I plan on installing in the Grumman 16' aluminum boat to keep tabs on usage.  Recommended oil changes are at 100 hours in the 4 stroke 60 hp. 
             If I troll at lot with this boat? ...every 50 hours I'll suck out the oil.  Then, at 100 hour intervals replace the oil & filter.  Click Amazon vs. Aliexpress pricing
            This regimen allowed me to get to close to 8000 hours out of both of the original GM 350 V8s in my charter boat.  Even good oil is cheap compared to replacing engines.
            Only drawback with Aliexpress is the wait time that ranges from 1 to 3 weeks. 
So, if you're not in hurry?  The savings is there.  Never been scammed on Aliexpress like I have on eBay.  Besides, most all of this stuff comes from China in the 1st place.

2/7/20  Posted a photo of our soon to debut "6 Rod Special" at the webstore.  3 Combo deals are: 10" BTIs in XG Frog, Super Silver Bullet and Firedot with 2 fly meat rigs™.
             Spoons will include the 2020 XG A.I in 4.0 and 4.65 sizes.  Same with the XG Ghostbuster pattern.  Last 2 are the 4.65 Gold Bullet and the 4.0 Gold Orange Crush.
             These selections are proven to work all season long and have for many years in most cases.  Excluding the brand new 2020 A.I. spoons.  Click 6 rod spread pic
              My tackle is made to perform as a team at speeds from 1.5 to 3.0 mph.  The 3 combos are the best of the best.  The 6 spoons are my go to baits on the Great Lakes of: Huron, MI, and Ontario.  Tomorrow, the debut of our best 3 trolling flies on my boat.

2/6/20  Working on building tackle for the soon to debut specials.  Asked myself a question if I was limited to 3 flashers, 3 meat rigs™, 3 flies and 6 spoons to cover all parts of the big lake season?  Came up with the best of the best.  Proven fish catchers on the Great Lakes of Huron, MI and Ontario and have the photos from years gone by to prove it. 
             Went with the 10" flashers that present more options that can be run on riggers, divers, core, and copper.  Over the past few seasons caught more fish on the 10" BTI flashers.  Productivity influenced the selections in the "6 Rod Spread Special."

2/5/20  Past experience often is a hindrance.  Case in point: my Rogers City trip last August.  All warm water inshore, no temp break inside a 100' and some feet.  Yet, I still ran most of the spread deep, mistakenly looking for cold deepwater Kings that have done me well ...since I started fishing meat in 2003.  Old habit are reel-hard to break.
            Finally, figured out the adult Kings were all in the top 30' the second time off the dock, when it was time to head for home.  These warm water Kings 68° still hit meat along with the new 2020 A.I. X-Glow spoons on divers, 1/2 lead cores and 150' copper.
           Deceptive thing about high, top 30' Kings? you usually don't mark them!
           Knowing what I know now?  Absolutely positive we'd have increased our fish take.  This was my 1st trip to Rogers City on Lk. Huron.  About the same longitude as my 2017 trip to Manistique, MI on Lk. MI when there was no cold water.  Our fish came out of 60° water.  Hindsight is always 20/20 and these are good lessons to relearn for 2020.

2/4/20  Manistee, MI's 1st Street boat launch is in better shape than the photos posted about a week ago.  Damage was done to the top coarse, where high water/ice peeled away the top 2 inches.  This was most severe on the far E ramp.  All ramps look useable for now and that's reel-good news for all. Click E boat ramp
            Posted a photo of our male Labradoodle Scruffy yesterday as a stand-in for a groundhog.  We bred and raised this dog and might be a little biased.  Labradooles are a tick smarter than Labs and easy to make into a fine companion.  Scruffy weighs close to 80 pounds and is smart, obedient and don't shed like a Lab. Click for Scruffy

2/3/20  Had to use our chocolate Labradoodle, Scruffy for a stand-in for Mr. Groundhog.  Scruffy did not see his shadow.  Signaling another 6 weeks of winter according to folk lore.  Yesterday was a typical gray winter day in Manistee.  High temp was balmy 42° day for the 2nd day of February.  Above average temps have been a blessing this winter.
            Have some new photos of Manistee's launch ramp since the melt.  Lot looks decent with only the top coat of asphalt peeled back.  All ramps look useable.

2/2/2020  Four deuces update.  Check back later for the outcome of Groundhog Day.  Did find a surprise stand-in for Mr. G. Hog that will be revealed soon.  Worse outcome is only 6 more weeks of winter and that's perfectly OK by me.

2/1/20  T.G.I.S. Computer/digital free weekend for yours truly.  Let you know how Manistee fared on Groundhog Day tomorrow.

1/31/20  Goodbye January 2020!  gone is the darkest, longest and usually our coldest month of winter.  Excluding this year.  Predicted daytime high temps are all above freezing thru February 8th.  So, for the time, being our mild 2020 winter continues.
              February in 2020 is a leap year with 29 instead of 28 days that will still go by quickly. This month unfolds with Groundhog Day, then Valentine's Day.  Interest will slowly build in the 2020 fishing season the closer we get to spring. 
             In the near future will debut some tackle specials.  One I'm most excited about will be called: 6 Rod Spread package deal that targets summer King.  Everything in the 6 Rod Spread, 6 spoons and 3 meat rig™ combos that you've seen here in photo proof.
            This eliminates sorting thru countless hours of trail and error.

1/30/20  Hope to wrap up boat prep on my 16' and 22' by Monday.  It's well within reason we could get a jump on the Lk. MI season out of Manistee, in about 6 weeks. 
               Being ready ASAP allows for fine tuning all details.  The fishing business since 1983 has taught me personal time for boat jobs becomes scarce once the season is here. Tackle sales can keep me shore bound unless I'm ready at the drop of a hat.
              The way the harbor looks and the lure of no floatie ice on Lk. MI, I'm half-temped to roll out the 16 footer this coming Sunday when predicted temps are in the 40s.

1/29/20  Posted a photo of Manistee's Public Launch looking upriver towards Manistee Lk.  Please notice the drop-off in the parking lot asphalt compared to the concrete ramp.  The concrete is higher than the lot.  This could have happened from frost/freeze heave, or waves undermining the asphalt. Click for this 1/24/20 picture
              Checked the January 2020 history and there's only been 6 days Manistee has not broke the 32° freezing mark for the daily high.  This has been a warm January compared past years ...when it was the other way around.  Click for this data

1/28/20  Being a boat owner for over 50 years means I have no excuse to accept lower standards.  Cleaned up the spaghetti wiring from the previous owner. 
             Put the wires inside a loom that protects and looks a helluva lot better.  Needed the next size up on the loom, but worked with what I had. 
             These wires are covered up by the rear deck and no one will probably see them.  Know we're judged by the quality of our work.  Click wiring before and after
           Did some research on Grumman boats.  In the mid 1990s OMC owned the company.  The parent company, Grumman made the Wildcat fighters in WWII.  They built the bodies on UPS trucks.  NASA's Lunar Lander for the moon shot too.
            Checked the thickness on the aluminum in my Grumman 16 footer.  Anything structural is .125" (1/8").  Hull looks like it's .080 in the area where I could get mic on it.

1/27/20  Today's feature photo of Lk. MI was taken S of the harbor off 12th Street.  Making this the S boundary of the golf course.  Please note there's no ice.  No build up of high mounds of stacked shore ice.  Highly unusual for this time of the year.
               Open water should help deteriorate the debris washed into Lk. MI from high water.  Inshore floating root systems and weeds can make the beach unfishable.
               Thanks to Manistee, MI local, Wayne J for sending in his pic to share with you.  Generally, this is how the end of March looks.  Click 1/24/20 ice-free Lk. MI

1/26/20  On my 1/19/20 update I mentioned how high the water was at Manistee's pubic launch.  This high water has caused some damage with the asphalt breaking up above the inclined concrete ramp.   Ice broke the ends off a few docks too.  It remains to be seen how much damage there is until there's a complete melt off.            
               Early season fishermen have 4 places to launch on Manistee Lake.  Stronach is probably the best and furthest away from Lk. MI.  There's a nice boat launch at Penny Park in East Lake.  Another is the E side US31 known as Arthur St. a little S of Manchinos.
               One I like most is the hard to find 9th Street.  It's a small boat single ramp that's used mostly by locals.  So, no matter what happens there's plenty of alternatives for the early season (March-April) Lk. MI Manistee fleet.

1/25/20  Working the whole story about ice damage to Manistee, MI's 1st Street Public Launch.  Asphalt above the ramps has been broken & pulled away above the concrete ramp incline.  More melting is needed to see how bad this is. Click  ramp ice damage
              A great big thank you from all of us goes out to Wayne J. aka "Take Five" for taking the time for the photo shoot and emailing in the picture.
Undoubtedly, this will effect all early season fishermen.  The City of Manistee is proud of their facilities and will fix this ASAP.  This, I'm ultra sure of!

1/24/20  T.G.I.F!  This weekend's focus is boat prep.  There's some spaghetti wiring issues on the 16 footer that needs to be addressed.  Will photo before and after.
              22' Sea Ray is almost ready awaiting a quick interior clean and some tackle sorting.  Oil change and tune up was done last fall along with fixing a tire with a slow leak.
              Being ready now well before our busy season comes with the territory.  Looking forward to getting a lot done with above freezing daytime temps predicted to last thru Ground Hog Day, February 2, 2020.  High 30s are a blessing for this time of the year.

1/23/20  Can't wait for T.G.I.F.  Digital free weekend coming up for yours truly.  I've had all I can stomach of Windows 10.  This OS has removed a lot of former user functions and installed Microsoft Store to send us suggestive ads.  Knew Windows 10 was nasty when they gave it away free.  Newly SSD 1TB cloned C: drive is working as it should.
              Going to work on boats this weekend in case the weather breaks early like it has before and we'll be fishing Lk. MI by mid-March.  Click 3/16/12 1st launch
              Working with my hands is a joy compared to pulling mental IT brain levers.  It's therapy not to be sitting in the office staring into a computer screen.  Have plenty boat ready work in the pole barn.  Temp is supposed to be pushing 40 the rest of this week.

1/22/20   Outstanding news!  There's only 59 days of official winter left.  Spring 2020 begins March 20, 2020.  Taking into account, March, with it's longer days can break either way.  Thus far, winter 2020 has been on the mild side.  Only had to plow snow 5 times and that goes back to October.  Predicted weather for the next 7 days says we'll be above freezing in the low 30s.  Not bad, considering this is supposed to be the coldest of winter!

1/21/20  Spoon production continues today.  Yesterday was able to restock the popular Gold Orange Crush.  Ladder-back spoons, Green Hornet & Gold and Black were added too.
              Round 3 of computer wars took up most of yesterday afternoon when I cloned a new 1TB SSD from the existing 500GB SSD in our main office computer. 
              SSDs, or solid state drives have no moving parts, are more reliable and a bunch faster then the older style spinning multiple disk drives. Click cloning a SSD
             WIN 10 Disk Management system leaves a lot to be desired.  Had to use Partition Master 13.8  program to expand the C: drive disk space.
             Cloning a disk with Acronis is a piece of cake.  Takes about 2 to 3 hours to clone a 500GB drive.  Been using Crucial SSDs for about 10 years.  They've came down in a price a lot.  This is the offseason and can get time consuming computer jobs like this done.

1/20/20  Hope to debut a couple of preseason tackle specials for 2020 on, or around Super Bowl Sunday.  Specials will include what I run  on my boat for summer Kings that you've seen proven here in 2018 and 2019, or in my videos.
              Windows 10 with our Zebra thermo printers has been a fight.  This printers were state of the art in 2004 and still are in my opinion.  There's no easy fix, because Zebra has discontinued support for these printers/shipping label makers.  Finally, some hours later got them up and running perfectly like they were before the Win 10 OS switch.

1/19/20  My last Lk. MI trip of 2019 was on October 30th.  Noticed the high water at Manistee's 1st Street public boat launch.  Click Manistee launch March 2019
               Water was maybe 8" from flooding above/over the ramp into the lot.  Normally, water levels are the lowest of the season in the fall.  Not so last year.
              It remains to be seen where we're at with Lk. MI water levels this spring.  What brought this to mind? ....was Kewaunee, WI closed their launch to high water last year.
         Backyard snowometer guesstimation is at 52" for the 2019-2020 season.

1/18/20  Dodged a big bullet when I found the free upgrade tool link that I shared yesterday.  Was prepared for a clean Win 10 OS install, or start from scratch, then stuff existing programs into each of my network's 4 computers ...not a fun task!
              Some programs that are only available as downloads like my video editor and 3D printing software would have been a big hassle.  This would have required reactivation emails and reentering product keys. Click free Win 10 download tool
              It will be nice to get back to making tackle.  Good riddance to computer hell week that's took up the last 3 days, including 2 all-nighters.  2am till 8am my satellite internet does not count towards the metered monthly 20GB usage.

                     Not having to buy 4 licenses of Win 10 Pro is a godsend.

1/17/20  Pressed for computer time today.  On the 14th of this month, Microsoft discontinued support for Windows 7.  In the process of upgrading this box to the dreaded Windows 10 ...I thoroughly dislike.  If you're in a pinch to go to Windows 10, you can still download it for free according to PC Matic's newsletter.  I'm testing this now and it has downloaded Win 10 Pro OS with zero grief!  Click free Win 10 download tool
             Win 10 is a 5.6GB download that will take a long time.  Be sure to backup all files before attempting this upgrade.  Other than fish, computers are the most important part of my business.  Everything is controlled by the love-it, or hate-it box.
             Found a shell program that can turn Win 10 into Win 7 start screen that I like a lot.  For me, it made transitioning easier. Click Win 10 to Win 7 screen program
             Like within all things in computerville, you do so your own risk.
       Backyard snowometer guesstimation is at 42" for the 2019-2020 season.

1/16/20  Personal attainable goals? ...this gives us something to strive for that can be accomplished.  Then, we all can say, "yep, I did that."
              In my case, catching Trout and Salmon out of all 5 of the Great Lakes, being: Lakes Superior. Erie, MI, Huron and Ontario is a heck of an accomplishment.
              Scratched off the list of the 7 major species of Salmon and Trout when a Lake Superior State expert visually identify/confirm an Lk MI Atlantic Salmon John J and I caught back on May, 17 2018 off the beach, close to shore, just N of Big Point Sable.
              Species of fish that I've seen taken on our Salmon Buster spoons include, Catfish, Pike, Whitefish, Spotted Bass, Coho, Chinook/King, Brown Trout, Lk. Trout, Pink Salmon, Steelhead, plus a Rainbow Trout from Crystal Lake in Benzie County, MI.
              That's 11 different species of fish on Salmon Buster™ spoons & more to come!

1/15/20  New 60 hp 4 stroke Suzuki outboard is installed and in-house waiting for spring.  Knowing both my boats are ready well before season is a good thing. 
              16' Grumman aluminum boat is rated for a 60. Weight of this 60 is the same as the 40 hp model.  Cost wasn't that much more over the 40, or 50.  I like the older tin boats, because the gauge of the aluminum is thicker.
              This small boat opens up a lot of advantages with a lot less grief to launch and retrieve my 1979 22' Sea Ray.  On the right day, this boat can troll down the Lk. MI shoreline.  Ice-out Lk. MI perch season is coming too. Click new 60 hp
             The Boat House in Irons, MI sold and installed the motor.  Prices are fair and I trust their work.  There's a lot of new tech with a 50 rpm increase troll mode switch and a tach that tells the hours on the motor when you first turn the key on.
             One of my goals for 2020 is to catch a smallmouth and a largemouth bass on our Salmon Buster™ spoons.  Already caught a spotted bass and this will round out the big 3.  More on the species our spoons have caught tomorrow.

1/14/20  Picking up my 16' Grumman aluminum boat today with a brand new 2020 60 hp. Suzuki 4 stroke.  Used to think Suzuki were the less desirable brand outboards until I purchased a Suzuki fuel injected 15 hp 4 stroke kicker that starts and runs flawlessly.
              Specifications on the DF60 Suzuki have a leg up on Honda, Yamaha and Mercury with a higher rpm range and a larger output alternator (except Honda).
              If Suzuki stats are to be believed? ...this 60 trolls on .1 to .2 gallons and hour.  This is a 57.4 cubic inch 3 cylinder motor with 12 valves.
             Weight is 229 lbs. vs. 197 lbs. on the 40 hp 2 stroke Evinrude it's replacing.  This swap is a lot closer to even when you figure the Evinrude 1.8 gallon 2 cycle oil tank full of oil is pushing close to 20 lbs.  Click for stat sheet comparison

1/13/20  Great news!  There's only 65 days of winter left.  Days are getting longer too.  We're gaining the best part of 2 minutes of daylight everyday.
              In the process of re-powering my 16' Grumman tin boat.  Evinrude 2 stroke 40 hp. was over 20 years old.  Know most their next boat to be larger. 
              Had a big boat with  twin GM 350 V8s and an 11' beam that could be tailered if you got the route and paid $25 for the permit issued from the MDOT. 
             Cost to operate includes a seasonal dock and filling up the 150 gallon gas tank on the water could easily exceed $400.  Fuel mileage on the water was 1.2 miles per gallon on a good day with a flat sea and a little chop to break surface tension.
              Last weekend's rain, snow and ice storm fizzled out.  Only ended up with 4 inches of snow.  Not the foot that was predicted.  Which is fine by me.
               Backyard snowometer estimation is at 38" for the 2019-2020 season.

1/11/20  Good weekend to take a break.  Rain, ice and snow storms will take out my satellite dish for most of the weekend.  Be back Monday when the storms are done.

1/10/20  It's entirely possible could be fishing Lk. MI out of my home port of Manistee in about 9 weeks.  Looking forward to April after checking the 2019 stocking records for Brown Trout (60k).  Last season, April was all Lake Trout & my boat never caught a Brown.
              Spring Browns on the beach are not a hard fish to catch.  Young, 1st year Browns are eating machines.  They'll eat spawn, smelt, alewives and chow down on gobies.  Growth rate on yearlings in late March is around 1.5 lbs.  By the end of April they've grown to chunky footballs pushing 4 lbs. Click gobies in a Brown
             Only worry is our current state of high water that causes beach erosion and washes in a lot of weeds along the beach that makes trolling impossible.

1/9/20  Checked the MDNR stocking data base in Manistee for Brown Trout.  In 2018 the DNR did plant 33k in the Manistee River at (21N 17W 11).  My sketchy decipher of the lat/lons put this stocking site inland from Lk. MI and N by a good distance.
            2019 shows a hefty increase in Browns to 60k at the same above location.  These were good sized stocked Brown Trout ranging from 6 to 7 inches.  
            In the 1990s thru about 2001 April Brown Trout fishing in Manistee was world class with several state records being broke. Click Michigan stocking data base
             2020 looks like it could be a promising season for Brown Trout that used to provide an excellent small boat and charter shoreline fishery. 

1/8/20  Saturday, February 1, 2020 is the annual Sea Grant Meeting held at Ludington's West Shore Community College.  Click for agenda & registration
             This meeting is where you're fed propaganda about the state of our Lk. Michigan Fishery.  MDNR and Sea Grant lost me when they relayed a mis-fact about Steelhead's diet.  Saying it was mostly alewife based.  Caught 1000s of Steelhead out of Lk. MI.  Seldom, if ever are Steelhead packed full of just alewives.  Most of the time it's a mix of lot of bugs (both terrestrial and aquatic). Click Steelhead Stomach Contents
             Charge is 30 bucks for what should be free.  Especially, if the any of the speakers are getting paid.  Remember above all else, these are the policy setters with full responsibly for our current D-minus MI King Salmon fishery.  In fact, the MDNR must be ashamed and has stopped publishing the 2019 number of Salmon captured from the Little Manistee Harvest Weir that goes back 52 years to 1968. Click for missing weir 2019 data

1/7/20  Mentioned the lack of anything close to safe ice on inland lakes around my place for the hard-water fishermen.  Open water on Lk. MI is a good thing that let's light penetrate to keep the food chain moving.  Lk. Huron lost their alewife population after it froze over for 2 consecutive years.  So, to we need Lk. MI to stay ice free.
             Did run across a good, in-depth article about winter ice cover on all 5 Great Lakes with graphs and long-term ice averages.  Click Great Lakes Ice info

1/6/20  First full week of January 2020 after the holidays.  This is when business gets back to normal and industry moves forward full swing.
             Moderate temperatures is the reel-story from Manistee, MI.  Above freezing temps has has kept what little ice there is unsafe.  Lakes I've drove by close to home look treacherous.  Still open water on Manistee Lake.
            Saga of this website continues when I purchased top level Michiganangler and MichiganSportsman domains in .com during the winter of 1999.  This was just after buying my first computer that was plagued by the Windows 98.  This OS was highly unstable and would crash with blue screen of death often.  This was a handicap for any newbie.

1/5/19  Touched briefly of Sport and Fishing shows that will be happening in the next two, or three months.  Used to be, these shows is where new tackle débuted.  The internet has changed that with the loss of much needed personal contact.
            Did these shows for about 25 years.  Some as a factory rep for Big Jon when BJ had their Pro Team representing their products.
            Most of the shows I did for myself to book charters & river trips.  It's a lot easier to catch fish than it is customers.  Goal was to book 200 plus days a year.
            Did shows in the SE MI/Detroit area at the Cobo Hall, State Fair Grounds, Novi, Flat Rock and Warren MI.   Statewide in MI was at Grand Rapids, Flint, Birch Run & Lansing MI.  Out of state shows include Louisville KY, South Bend IN, Cleveland OH, & Erie PA.
            Worst thing about shows is living out of motels and tear-down when the show closes.  Everybody rushes to load-up and clear the building to get on the road home.

1/4/20  Posted a photo that shows just a part of my show booth that consisted of four 4' by 7' panels, a 9' light bar over the top and twenty, or more 24" by 36" pictures to display our charter results/catches.  Enough stuff to fill up a pickup with a 8' box.
            Got lucky with this photo when friends, Chuck Cartwright, aka Mr. Silver Streak was visiting with Capt. Bud Raskey at my booth.  Bud has his back to the camera with the red hat.  We were at Flint Steelheaders Show in March of 2001. Click for this photo
            This was back when dialup internet speed was around 50k, if you had a good phone line?  That's why the resolution on the pic is only 640 x 480 to load quicker.
            Both Bud and Chuck passed a away several years ago.  They were icons of the Great Lakes fishing fleet.  Bud would go on to be inducted in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Chuck's legendary Silver Streak spoon is still catching fish nowadays.
            Took the long way around to explain what went into hauling my show booth to 30 days of sport shows a year.  That's why I bought my 1st computer in 1999 and was dumber than a stump when it came to running one.

1/3/20  Keeping with the theme of our 20 year celebration, the genesis (motivating factor) behind my involvement with the internet began back in 1996.
             Was doing the Grand Rapids sport show to book Lk. MI charters and Manistee river trips.  My booth was next to Randy Even and got to know him very well in the 4 day show run.  Randy, the inventor of the Slide Diver told me he had just booked a couple of charters on this thing called the internet?  Randy passed away about 5 years ago.
             Needless to say, this "internet" word peaked my interest, because I had to drag my dog and pony show a 100 and some miles to GR, set up a booth, pay about 1200 bucks for the show, out of town meals, and lodging. Click for my show booth
             Needed to learn more about the thing called, "the internet."  Even though I had yet to even own, or know how to operate a computer.  All I knew this the "internet" thingy could book trips right from your home base.  Eliminating a heck of a lot of hassle.

1/2/20  Great news!  There's only 78 days of winter left before the 2020 Great Lakes season begins.  In less than 3 months it's forward into the yet to be written future.
            It's a big deal to celebrate 2 decades with this website.  1st 3 years (2000-2003) was still a full time skipper/river guide in the charter business. 
Click Past Results
            That's how this site began.  Seen this website as a useful tool to keep track of my charter's names and results.  Posted every trip too.  Not just the glory days that do not show a reel picture of what goes on every day throughout April thru October.
            Sure, we had some 4, or 5 fish charter catches back on Lk. MI during the early i2ks, but most of them were heavy boxes and happy charter cliental.

1/1/20  Happy New Year!  Today, it's my joy to officially announce our 20 year website anniversary that celebrates 7300 daily updates and counting. 
             Also, the 2020 season marks my 52nd year on our 5 magnificent Great Lakes.  Fished all five, being Lakes: MI, Huron, Superior, Ontario and Erie.  Now, that's the ultimate definition of reel-fun to the highest degree and there's more on the way!
            Posted a photo titled "Kid's Day" by Derek L with a respectable Manistee, MI King Salmon from last August.  This pic of his son and big King gets this website off on the right foot and sets a positive tone for for 2020.  Click for Derek's photo
          Snowometer backyard estimation is at 38" for this snow season thus far.

Continued below back to the year 2000:

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


For complete results of all fishing trips, fishing reports & general info
and a peek into my archived log for the past seasons, 
click the below link:

Past Results

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