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)

5/12/21  Improving weather will end the freeze warnings we've had in Manistee, MI.  This will brighten my outlook spending some time on Lk. MI.  Hard for me to get motivated when we're averaging 20° below normal.  Wind is going to be down for the next few days.
               Everything is pretty much set with our web based tackle store for 2021.  Added a lot of content here about Strip Teazer herring replacement strips.
               This the time of the year when we run tackle specials to spur sales that are limited time offers that always sell out. Click for 2021 tackle specials

5/11/21  At work installing new Tackle Lockers at our webstore.  These are the popular Plano ProLatch 3731 utility boxes are built to last.  Same as our Leader Lockers™ box, less the inserts.  This is a great way to organize several items in small space (14" x 9-1/8" x 3-1/4").  Special sale price: 3 for 30 bucks, or 10.95 each  Click more info

5/10/21  Best fishing reports I've heard on spring Kings is off Gary, IN in 40' to 50' of water that's holding large schools of Alewives.  Catches are still about 80% Coho with the Kings running from 12 to 17 pounds.  Not much to report on ports further north yet.
              What I noticed is not many Kings over 20 pounds have been caught.  MI City, IN tournament about a week ago only weighed in a King, or 2 over 20.  There were over 60 boats in this event that provides a decent sample size to form a consensus.
              Central Lk. MI ports like Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort should have action on spring Kings in a week, or two.  Until then, the Lake Trout are picking up the slack.

5/8/21  Weather for Mother's Day weekend is going to be OK, compared to this past week.  April and early May temps have been well below long term averages.
             My Thursday fishing trip that turned into a fizzle from the drizzle was a step in the right direction.  Fishing trip prep depends on 3 action cams.  2 GoPros and a Sony that cover all bases like: underwater capture, narration shots and head cam to shoot the fish coming aboard.  Plus, a Nikon P500 for still photos of caught fish and what they ate.
        Have Great Mother's Day.  Be back Monday for regular update/chat sessions.

5/7/21  Planned fishing trip fizzled out with a cold rain that lasted longer then expected.  Decision maker is when I went outside around noon it was chilly 43° in a light drizzle.  Checked the radar at 1pm showed more rain on the way.  This squashed my ambition, want, and need to make my 1st trip of the season.  Want to fish and enjoy the outing.
            Used the time to handle several issues to get our 1st supply of Magnum bait heads for 2021.  Been working with a new company, after my old one went out of business.  SUVs and X-Glow heads were almost out of stock.  Patience won this battle. 
I'm glad to inform you, we will have a supply of heads in all colors for this year & beyond.

5/6/21  Day off for fishing if the forecast stays favorable.  Working on Meat Rigs™ yesterday rigged for Strip Teazers.  3 beads between the hook and tail of the meat head seems perfect.  Plus, it allows for artistic expression coordinating bead colors.
            Hope I can find a spring Salmon or 2 this afternoon.  Reports on LTs have been good, but I don't want to change my last name to Lake Trout.  King sounds a lot better!

5/5/21  Strip Teazer fishing report for you today from Manistee, MI.  Dave V drew first blood with our 2021 Strip Teazer soft plastic herring replacement strips by finishing 3rd in last weekend's MCSFA small boat tournament.  Here's his exact words:

"Sunday May 2nd, 2021  Manistee, MI.   3 fish combo 43.4 lbs. 2 of 3 came on green double glow strip teaser/herring oil."  Dave V.  Click for Dave's catch

Intriguing part is Dave caught this jumbo trio of big Lakers suspended in the water column over 50'-55' of water ...while a Spin N Glo ran tight to the bottom did not produce.  

5/4/21  Tomorrow we will not be shipping orders, unless it's something real simple requiring no assembly.  Want to get my boat out of the pole barn to fish in a few days.  Boat is ace double ready.  Tackle is not.  Must make sure I'm ready to fish everything from spoons to meat rig combos and that means a good selection of Strip Teazers.
            Word from Manistee, MI is some Lakers are being caught.  Heard there were an oddball King being taken every now and then, but don't count on it.  So, this means a wide array of tackle to cover all the bases and that takes time.  Don't get to fish very often and must make sure everything is aboard.  If I try to work and do orders?  There won't be anything left in the tank to hit the pond this Thursday, if the forecast holds true.

5/3/21  Still working on restocking Magnum Meat heads for this year.  This dates back to last January when my former injection molding company closed up shop.
            Do have a new company ready to roll except for one reason.  They have 16 injection molding machines and only enough employees to run half of them.
            I know their longtime existing accounts have priority over my order.  Labor storage is a big problem for our country, as we awaken from the Covid 19 crisis.
            Factor in unemployment compensation that has a lot to do with this.  I can't find fault with anyone making more money staying at home compared to going to work.
            In time this problem will rectify itself as things get back to normal and unemployment benefits run out.  There's a lot of illegal aliens at our southern border who would scoop up these jobs in a heartbeat, if labor shortages are here to stay.

4/30/21  Going to leave this page as is, and take the weekend off.  We all need time to decompress by getting away from the job.  Internet free weekend for yours truly.

4/29/21  Video update not posted before, because this was a long ways from looking professional.  This fish made Wayne J. and I look like Dumb and Dumber.  This was a case of being too careful to showcase what soft plastic strips are capable of.  It was a heart breaker after a long fight to have 25 pound King get wrapped up in the kicker/trolling motor.  Stay tuned for the ending to see how Frit and Frat (Wayne & I) handled this.

Click for Mid Morning Strip Teazer King Video

4/28/21  Finished the 2021 tackle specials at the webstore.  Creating new pages with balanced symmetry explaining the point is rewarding for me.  Having a enough basic webmaster skills to do this has been a godsend.  I know, it's exactly how I want it to look, less explaining it to a second party who's livelihood does not depend on the format.
              New combo specials is what I rely on, when I absolutely must catch.  That's why the FireDot and XG Frog were part of the birthing process of Strip Teazers.  Last August testing sessions relied on only these 2 selections. Click for combo info

4/27/21  Today's featured photo is a scan from 35mm film.  1999 digital cameras were in their infancy.  This photo is from the Bob L. charter.  I estimated at around 400 pounds of Kings.  Most of these fish hit a "00" Firedot in the harbor pulling a green glow squid.  Kicker is? ...we still had a few Kings in the coolers that never made the photo.
               Fast forward my Strip Teazer test sessions last August out of Frankfort, MI we used this same FireDot pattern with a green glow ST.  It's easy to see the parallel of years prior.  When it's August and I absolutely need fish?  The FireDot always earns it keep.
               FireDots will never win a beauty contest.  They will win the battle of putting fish in the boat and have proven this reel fact over last 50 some years.  Timeless, iconic colors don't come with an expiration date.  Click Firedot test specials

4/26/21  In my 50 some years of chasing Salmon on all 5 of our Great Lakes, only a few colors/patterns have reached iconic status.  Some on this list are Green Glow J-Plugs, Silver Streak Yellowtails and silver/chrome attractors. Click 400lb catch Firedot Kings
              Number 1 is Firedot.  First met this yellow school bus with fluorescent red dots as a Manistee Wobbler spoon in 1969.  By the mid 1970s Firedot pattern came on dodgers. 
              Talk about weird? ...1st dodger I saw, then purchased had more in common with a license plate than anything imaginable for for Salmon.  Turned into reel-believer in dodgers the first time I sent them swimming.  Caught some on dodgers, but was never really dialed in until I choked up the leads to 48" to 42" behind the cannonball. 
             Then, it was a quick limit cities for both Kings and Coho off the Lk. MI Port of Frankfort, MI in the 1970s, 1980s into the 1990s.    To be continued...

4/25/21  Fast moving fronts with big temperature swings usually comes with a lot of wind.  Been looking for a decent day with light winds to no avail.  Don't get to fish much and want a comfortable, enjoyable day on the water.  So, I'm biding my time.
              One of the big reasons this website is skinny on early season fish reports from trusted sources is Covid 19.  Some of my best who I counted on for years are recovering from the virus.  One who got sick last January is still in long term recovery mode.
              This is a nasty illness that can last for a longtime.  Get vaccinated!

4/24/21  Planning ahead is what any business is about.  Our focus lately is increasing Strip Teazer output.  It's slow process.  1st is the color mix.  2nd is the heat the soft plastic.  3rd is to load the injectors.  4th is to inject the mold.  5th cool down period to remove the strips from said mold.  6th trim and hang strips with more scent induction.
             None of this is hard, but it takes time.  My best day on output pushed 80 strips.  Staying around 50-60 is a lot more reasonable with safety precautions in place.
             My biggest concern is once the fleet starts catching ST fish, like Wayne J and I did last August out of Frankfort, MI ...we won't be able to meet demand.
            So far, just keeping all Strip Teazer colors in stock has been pushing our limit.

4/23/21  We're a couple of weeks from ports like South Haven, MI showing good opportunities for spring Kings.  Manistee, MI can happen anytime, but the last part of May is more traditional.  Been saving my time up for spring Kings when the fish arrive.
              Can't wait to use color keyed long producing combs like the Black Mamba 10" with matching meat rig™.  Same for the Black Mamba Glo combos with cloned Strip Teazers.  This is styling in my book when everything matches.  Is it necessary?  Probably not, but having options like this are confidence building weapons to have in your arsenal.

4/22/21  In the process of replenishing strontium aluminate, Boron oxide, Europium oxide, Yttria, ect.  In simpler terms, glow colorants used in our tackle.  Those big fancy sounding names comes with a high cost.  China has the world market cornered on anything to do with rare earths that make this 21st century extended glow material.
              Our Strip Teazer herring replacement strips use massive amounts, because we're casting a solid piece with glow throughout.  Painted metal spoons only need a small amount, a few thousandths thick to cover the surface.  Our usage exceeds 0.250, or a 1/4".  To me? ...it's worth it to have a spectrum of glow colors.  STs feature red, blue, green, and yellow (chartreuse) X-Glows that raises our strips to a whole new level.

4/21/21  It's going to take a while to decompress from the Covid 19 crisis.  We've been under the cloud of avoiding crowds/people and staying home was the best option.
               This is why my early season usual contacts that send in reports are MIA.  Fishing reports that I've relied on for years are nonexistent.  This makes my job to share fishing info with you next to impossible.  I don't like pulling fluff out of the air for a chat.
               Over 30% of MI has been vaccinated.  The shocker is we (MI) leads the nation, our USA in new infections.  There's no shortage of ignorant people not willing to heed what the medical experts have been preaching.  Seen this myself last April when a crowd lined up shoulder without masks waiting in line to buy ice cream.  During a statewide lock-down.
               There's 22k residents of Manistee County, MI.  We're at almost a 1000 confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus.  Multiply that 7 to 10 times for the actual number.  My guess is about 50% of Manistee County have been infected.  Symptoms, or not. 

4/20/21  It's my great pleasure to post the 1st verifiable 2021 King caught on my tackle.  Know this high teener King came on a XG-Frog Meat head by Team JZ that fishes out of Burns Ditch, IN a lot.  They're known for putting fish in the boat.
               Fishing in the part of S Lk. MI has the same vibe of when I used to charter down on Lk. Erie in the late 1990s out of the Raison River (Monroe, MI) by the coal fired Detroit Edison power plant.  Indiana waters is urban fishing with a lot of smoke stacks that's radically different the further N you travel on Lk. MI. Click 1st 2021 King

4/19/21  Work continues on 2021 tackle specials that will be done sometime today.  Having massive web server issues, so like Arnold, "I'll be back" when everything is fixed.

4/18/21  Have a great Sunday!  Working on some tackle specials to kick off the 2021 season.  3 Leader Lockers™ with quick stow wrap around line protectors for 79.95 is a great way to store 72 meat rigs™ and flies in a compact 14" by 12" by 10" space..
             Deal 2 will be two 4 packs of assorted Strip Teazers for a total of 8 strips.  4 will be extended glow and 4 will be sure-fire regular colors with a bottle of Re-Scent.  Haven't done the pricing, but have 8 strips aboard means you'll never run out of bait ...priceless!

4/17/21  According to Sea Grant's Dan O'Keefe the average charter operator lost over 10 grand in 2020 due COVID.  That translates in to about 20 trips in round numbers.  Charter skippers might get some relief for the Cares Act, but that's a wait and see deal.
              Being a charter skipper is a tough go.  Loss of 20 trips in 2020 means less trips on the books in 2021.  I used to run about a 70% repeat charter groups.  Some that I'm still in touch with to this day. Click 2020 charter revenue loss article
              Missing 20 charters last year, right off the bat, means you'll have 15 open days to fill this year in a business that darn near impossible to turn a buck in nowadays.

4/16/21  T.G.I.F.  Trying to stay positive in a negative world can be done.  Don't have the total solution, but I'm working on it.  Been looking at the small victories and staying away from news as much as possible.  Disappointed in myself for not making time to escape into the land of reel-fishing.  This will change and soon too, I hope.
              60 hp Suzuki, purchased January of 2020 has 3 of the 10 hours on the break-in oil before the 1st oil change.  My 16' Grumman saw little use in the era of the pandemic.  Next warm decent day? ... Project 2022 testing is on the schedule with my 16 footer.
           Tax day April 15th has been extended to May 17th to file personal taxes.

4/15/21  Here's some info that needs expanding.  M55 bridge over the Big Manistee River by Meijer's is closed until November.  There is a detour (Stronach Rd.) where you go into Stronach and around S end of Manistee Lake, turn W by PCA boxboard plant and come out at the BP gas station on US31, on the far S end of Manistee, MI.
             This is fine for now, but this will be a major choke point when summer traffic hits.  I'll be avoiding the US31 BP way and going thru Filer City, if the MDOT don't install a traffic light on US31.  Look for a map later this year to steer clear of this traffic snarl.
                           Posted for this summer's visitors to Manistee.

4/14/21  Today's pic shows how a fishing trip turns into a catches trip when there's lots of bait around.  Area this photo was taken was probably someplace between Gary and Burn Ditch, IN by John Z.  Team Z caught a helluva box of fish with 3 anglers punching their 5 fish per ticket/license.  Click sonar data and bait balls
               I can only dream of what it's like to be on the water again.  Busy doing orders as the Lone ranger without Tonto.  Better days are coming for yours truly.

4/13/21  My tackle business has been about solving issues lately that I have little control over.  USPS Priority Mail, once rock solid, is a joke when we ship anything to New York.
               Shipping delays of 2 weeks when it should have been a 3 day delivery.  Spoke to an post office insider and his exact words were, "I've never seen it so bad."  Delayed shipments eat up a lot of my time that could be better spent going forward, not backtracking/retracing and contacting post office branches.
               Big deal on our list is increasing production on our 2021 Strip Teazers that are a huge hit at my webstore.  Hand injection is dreadfully slow with a lot of risk to get seriously burned.  Soft plastics we work with range in temps from 360° to 320°.  Not to mention the wasted material from the runners/sprue during the injection process. 

4/12/21  Not many boats have been fishing Lk. MI in my circle.  Most have been beating up on the resident Perch in Manistee Lk waiting for the Lk. MI Perch to come in the harbor.
              Best thing about Perch is how good they are as table fish.  It's a time consuming chore to clean a good mess of them.  Click recent Manistee Lk. Perch
              S end of Lk. MI has good reports with large schools of bait and limit Coho catches out to 50' of water off Gary, IN.  A few Kings & Lakers have been caught too.

4/11/21  Today we have a guest update from Wayne J sharing the history of the lumber boom that built Manistee, MI in the later 1800s.  There we a number of major saw mills in Manistee Lake processing lumber and cedar shake shingles.  Billions of feet of lumber were floated down the Manistee Rivers to the many saw mills operating on Manistee Lake. 
If you fish Manistee Lake you'll hear a lot about the old "slab docks."

"This piece of wood is probably close to 150 years old. It was part of a “slab” dock that had been used for processing wood.  Slabs were wood that were produced while processing good wood.  Click piece of 18th century slab dock
             They threw away the small pieces into a crib type structure and that formed a dock.  The schooners would pull up to the side of the dock and load lumber for city’s that were in need for building.  Lots of history here." WJ

4/10/21  Have a great weekend.  A future topic will be about my Past Results page where I've archived 21 years of daily updates and how I use them. Click Past Results

4/9/21  Summertime record and near record high temperatures are going to turn more normal in the next few days with rain predicted.  We need the rain, the forest is parched.
             Working on a new deal for 3 Leader Lockers™ with EZ stow protectors (cut-up pool noodles) for 79.95.  There will be 2 sizes of EZ protectors that's a big step up from wrapping flies and meat rigs™ around any style attractor.  When mono dries is shrinks a little.  Leaving kinks in the leader line that's not helping longevity. Click EZ stows
             Of course you can make these yourself.  Electric knife is the best way to slice up the noodles.  I cut 2 half moons, think just a single cut will work better.
             For the approx. price of 3 meat rigs™ you can protect and stow 72 rigs, or flies that fit in a tight compact space.  Get the most out of your tackle dollar by organizing and protecting your tackle.  Been using these since 2005 and have rigs 15 years old. 

4/8/21  Administrative is a fancy word to describe dealing with the everyday issues that comes with running any business.  Unfortunately, this has kept me on the dock until things smooth out.  This the same scenario just like last year I was hoping to avoid.
            What little I have heard about LK. MI fishing off Manistee, MI is not all that thrilling with the wind handicapping the small boat fleet.
            Those targeting Perch in Manistee Lk are catching some.  Wigglers and wax worms are out producing minnows by a long ways as Perch bait.

4/7/21  Hallelujah, removed the snow plow off my Ford F250.  This my out of town rig when I put the camper on with the extended hitch to accommodate the boat.  Considering South Haven in May for a 2 night getaway.  Chartered there in the late 1990s-early i2ks. 
             So, like Saugatuck I'm very familiar with this port.  Plus, I do have a contact person, Dan A. to advise on when the 1st signs of Kings are showing up.  Big deal is to avoid the tournament time when port becomes crowded.
            The bait Wayne J and I marked last mid-August of Frankfort, MI was an encouraging sign.  N rim of the Herring Hole was wall to wall bait.

4/6/21  Fishing report from the S end of Lk. MI courtesy of Tom M:

"Fishing is very sporadic on this end with very few boats getting limits but there has been a few nice kings caught.  I'll be letting you know when I get out and put the New teaser strip Froggie down.  Maybe next week if my back is feeling better hope everything is good with you and your family." Tom M from E Chicago, IN

4/5/21  Probably the nicest Easter Weekend in recent memory,  Temps around 70° are welcomed, as we crawl our way out of long winter.
             Perch spawn in the spring and are a target for the small boat fishermen.  Perch are the best eating fish we have in MI.  Best Perch fishing I witnessed was off Harbor Beach, MI wall in the mid to late 1980s with 5 gallon buckets full of tasty fish.
             The "not so secret" place many fish for Perch in Manistee, MI is off Penny Park located on the NE corner of Manistee Lk.  Click good sized MI Perch
             It's not unusual to see over 20 boats fishing.  Action there was sparse there last week that will pick up with warming waters soon.
         Finally seen no below freezing temps for the nighttime low for the next 10 days

4/3 - 4/21  Easter weekend update shows part of the process to infuse more scent into our 2021 ground breaking Strip Teazers that are a viable replacement over frozen herring.
                 There was no roadmap, no instructions and we had no previous experience with soft plastics that dominate the Bass tackle scene.  Click scent being infused
                  It's taken several months of hard dedicated work to make sure we are the reel-leaders in this technology.  A long journey that's been fascinating for yours truly.  Learning is a life long process that has it's own rewards for a job well done.

4/2/21  Mother Nature pulled her own fast one for April Fools with an inch of snow and temps last night in the mid teens.  Not exactly spring-like conditions.  Much improved forecast for next week with warming temperatures this weekend.
             Purchased my 2021 Senior Fishing License off the MDNR's website for 11 bucks.  This is the best $11 I'll spend this year to experience the agonies of success and failure.  Online purchase comes with a file you can print copies of.
Online Fish Licenses
             I'm ready to fish.  Fish is a risk word with many definitions.  Hope to change fish into catching soon.  Have a great Easter Weekend.  Be back Monday

4/1/21  Not into foolish April fool's pranks.  Seems I always fall to somebody acting like a smart #%s with nothing better to do, then think they're funny.  Those are the real fools!
            Seen the 1st Robin Redbreast in the yard a few days ago.  This is a sure sign of spring is actually being here.  Opening day for the Detroit Tigers is another strong hint.
            Something that I looked forward to since last November when I can shut my wood stove fireplace down Saturday.  Wood heat is a lot of work, but it's the most comfortable the way, as convection circulates the heat thru every room.  Costs less than propane too.

Continued below back to the year 2000:
 

2021 Results
January, February & March

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

October, November & December

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

2018 Results
January, February & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
October, November & December

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June
July, August, & September
October, November & December

2016 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2015 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

2014 Results
October, November, & December
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

2013 Results
January, February, & March

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

2012 Results
January, February, & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2011 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
 October, November, & December

 


2010 Results
January, February, & March

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

2009 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August, & September
October, November, & December

2008 Results
October, November & December

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

2007 Results
October November & December
July, August & September

April, May & June
January, February & March

2006 Results
October, November & December
July, August & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2005 Results
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March

2004 Results
October, November & December
August & September 
June & July  April & May
January, February & March

2003 Results
Jan Feb  Mar  April & May
June & July  Aug & Sept
October

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.
Aug. 
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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