"Cooler By The Lake"
2001 Fishing Log
2001 Fishing Report and Analysis
18 Dec 01 Analysis. My fish per hour rate dropped slightly from 1.58 last year to 1.55 this year. Spring proved very slow this year but picked up as the year went on. Fall is usually my best time to fish, including the biggest Lakers. However, Fall fishing was pretty much a bust because the weather was really poor for an extended time. Dredging the Presque Isle Marina also help me wrap up the season a little earlier than I might otherwise might have (kind of an excuse).
Check out my fishing summary for 2001 below. In addition, below the summary I added a chart plotting my fish per hour rate over the years. The straight line is a plotted trend line. Hope it's true.
Thank you for looking in on my site and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did keeping it up. I plan to do some ice fishing this winter and may post some results (that ought to be interesting as normally unproductive walleye fishing). Please join me in the future and drop me a note, albeit a short one, letting me know your thoughts. Thanks again. Until fishing starts again in the Spring, and even after, please check on Joe's Woodshed periodically for my latest "bone of contention."
Fishing summary for 2001
Fish per hour
1.55 (1.58 last year)
Total fish caught
387 (includes released fish) 490 last year
Skunks during year
6 (same as last year)
Number & average weight of Lake Trout
3.5 lbs. (3.5 lbs. last year)
Average weight of Lake Trout w/thumb on scale (just kidding)
Number & average weight of Steelhead
2 average 3.1 lbs
Number & average weight of Coho
2 Coho averaging 1.5 lbs.
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2001
.39, .74, .75, .89 1.08, .92, 1.21 1.29, 1.38, 1.21, 1.54, 1.57, 1.63, 1.51, 1.30, 1.67, 1.58,155
6 Nov No more last time. The boat is stored and the day was beautiful and calm. I wish it had been windy or something.
5 Nov One more last time as they say. George Patrick and I launched in the Cinder Pond and fished 50' water in slowly increasing winds. So much for the light wind forecast! We picked up 4 nice Lakers in 3 hours, the last hour going into 20 mph winds. It hurt to say but the anise oil side of the boat got 3 and the WD-40 side got 1. The largest Laker was 8# and smallest 4#. Pssssst! George turned a young 85 years old yesterday. Isn't that great?
A couple of the fish looked spawned out so I suspect most fish around will be moving out to deeper water soon. This was the last trip of the season for the Cooler By The Lake. I'll be grumpy (grumpier?) for a while, wearing my black armband in mourning. We should have our annual fishing report ready to go in a few days.
3 Nov With small craft warnings posted, the lake was just beautiful with practically no wind and just gentle rollers. Tom LaPointe and I headed to Presque Isle Marina, only to find it blocked off due to scheduled dredging. We then launched at the Cinder Pond where we talked to fishermen who just came in claiming to filled with Lakers in 45 minutes in 50' of water. Well I said, that's for us and out we went. Guess what, no hits and not even a single mark. Hmmmmm! We then headed north of white rocks where we picked up 4 small Lakers, releasing one but again, did not mark a single fish. Where were the big ones that usually show up this time of year? Not one to give up easily, we headed shallow and managed to hang bottom several times and even snag a fisherman fishing from shore (I said we were shallow). However, no marks and no hits. We finally quit when I noticed an Indian net about 100 yards ahead of us with a 1' flag that was extremely hard to see and we couldn't find the other end.
30 Oct Foolish me for believing in the "calm to 1 foot" forecast as George and I bounced around in 16mph winds and 3' waves. We stayed in the harbor and caught only one 4# Laker in over 2 hours. I don't think we marked 5 fish. I don't recall such extended windy periods.
24 Oct Supposedly the calm before the storm projected in, George Patrick headed north of white rocks to 140' water in a lot bumpier conditions than predicted. The wind came from the SE at 16 and waves were 2-3'. We saw the only other boat out Laurel and Hardy (Doug and Don). We picked up 5 Lakers in 1 1/2 hours and got off the water. All were near the bottom and we didn't even try to fish suspended.
22 Oct Ok, I was out twice before today but didn't get my log updated. The wind has been terrible. The last two trips were in shallow water and I only caught one Laker each trip. It's apparently too early for shallow fishing for me. Today, Tom LaPointe and I headed to 140' water where we fished near bottom, contrary to reports I heard about fishing about 45' down in deep water. It wasn't long before we hit a triple, and boxed two of the three. We then got a double, released a couple and ended in 2 hours with 6 nice Lakers, including a 10# and 8# lean. Conditions were fantastic and we were the only boat out. Looks like the smoker will be going tomorrow.
13 Oct Yesterday I headed east to the sand hole and hit 3 nice size Lakers in 140' in 45 minutes. Today, Gerry Albright joined me and we struggled to get 3 Lakers but one was 11# and we missed one near the net. The water was a lot bumpier than predicted. We later tried fishing shallow but didn't mark much and didn't even get a hit.
9 Oct Small craft warnings were up early but it looked pretty nice so George Patrick and his visiting brother-in-law Louie Carpinelli and I headed out for a late morning start. We fished shallow for about an hour, hitting two Lakers in 50' of water. We then moved to 140' where we caught 4 more Lakers, releasing a small one. The fishing conditions were wonderful - the wind died off, waves were less than a foot, and it was sunny and warm. George had brought his new "hot" lure and anise oil again. So the contest continued as I used WD-40 on my lures and he used anise oil on his. Guess what - six Lakers on WD-40, zero on anise oil and the new lure. It'll be interesting to see what he uses next time.
2 Oct The weather was beautiful as predicted for once. George Patrick and I headed east to set up in 132' of water. George was dying to try his new bottle of anise oil on his spoons so I declared a contest between anise and WD-40 as to which could catch the most fish. We ended up with 7 Lakers between 3# and 6# in an hour and 15 minutes, 4 Lakers to anise and 3 to WD-40. George interpreted that as victory for anise but that's a narrow and inconclusive victory in my books. Of course, George thinks it was very conclusive. However, it was fun and we'll have to do that again. Three of the Lakers were on stacker lines 15' from the bottom.
While fishing several miles from shore, we were visited by a tiny bird who walked around the dashboard of the boat for quite a while. Having had several birds land on the boat over the years, I decided to wrap him in a soft towel and take him to shore so as to be much safer from the sea gulls and so on. On shore, I put him on the dock and he looked sleepy for a few minutes and then flew off. When I got home, I glanced at the newspaper, only to see a picture of a Magnolia Warbler, and it sure looked similar to me. I took a picture of the warbler and put it on the site for a hopefully more positive ID by one of my readers.
This day was topped of by a flight over the Marquette area in a seaplane owned and piloted by Bob Beams. The weather and scenery were fantastic, including the cruise ship in the harbor. Thanks Bob for a super plane ride.
1 Oct We could use lots more days like today. Sunny and calm, Tom LaPointe and I headed east and dropped our lines in 132' of water, only to promptly box 3 nice Lakers in the first 15 minutes. There wasn't a lot of boat traffic which was surprising. In an hour and 15 minutes we had six nice fish, including a 10# Laker. Stacker lines caught 4. Rumor has it tomorrow is to be nice too before the weather shoe drops on us during the week. Guess where I'm going? Today I got home to be greeted by "why are you home so early as I have projects to do?" I said we got 6 fish. She said you don't have to come home then do you? Tomorrow I'll take my time.
29 Sep Just got off the Lake with 6 small Lakers and a 4# Steelhead caught on the surface. What a treat as I think that's the first Steelhead all summer. George Patrick and I headed east to fish the 140'-155' range and found most on the bottom and none on the stacker lines. The modest wind got even lighter and it turned into a beautiful day. Some boats filled their limits and others couldn't buy one - at least per their comments on the radio. While we were catching a couple of Lakers, I could hear a few boats talking about all the fish marks they were seeing. I asked George if he wanted to move and find better marks of stay where we were. He laughed and said let's stay here as we don't need any more marks.
28 Sep That's the longest siege of windy weather I can remember in a long time. It was supposed to settle today but 3 boats came in, all without fishing due to 3' - 7' rollers and the wind still at 12 mph from the NE. Mid morning I decided to fish the harbor where the water was decent. After an hour with nothing, I pulled two lines to quit and the third line went off the rigger with a nice 6# Laker. So I did the natural thing, I beat that area for the next 1 1/2 hours with no more hits. I later discovered why I didn't do better. I had the wrong hat on. Fishermen will understand that.
One strange thing happened when no more than 20' behind the boat, about a 2# Coho jump clear out of the water, then again, and again. Each time, I kept checking for it to be on one of my lines as something like this has embarrassed me before. Well, it wasn't on my line. I didn't see any nets around the harbor but the Indians were headed out when I was headed in.
17 Sep The morning was under threat of rain and finally at noon I thought I'd take a chance as the wind was very light. I headed to 139' of water and in 10 minutes hit a Laker that just kept taking line out. I pulled the steel line and cranked up the other rigger about 30' from the bottom and slowed the boat down to a crawl. It must have taken 15 minutes to get the 11# Laker in but while that was happening, I noticed the other rigger went off but it had to wait. The moral of the story is that when the fish are hitting and you have a little luck, things go well. In this case the 2nd Laker was at least 30' from the bottom and lure must hardly have been moving as I was nearly stopped and the 4# Laker stayed on for at least 10 minutes before I got to it. It wasn't long before I got another Laker in 150' of water and guess what, a double again so I ended up releasing around a 4# Laker. All this in 40 minutes. Whew! And it didn't rain. Great day again.
16 Sep As I headed east before sunup, the sky was lit a brilliant red while moderate winds put a good chop on the water. I started in 139' of water and in a few minutes, the long, steel-line rod bent way over and as quick as that happened, it went straight so I didn't even haul it is as it was obvious that fish was gone. Then the rigger really rattled for about 10 seconds then when dead. That one was gone too. Missing fish rarely bothers me as I consider that a good sign that they're hitting. Anyway, within the hour I did hit a 9# and two 3# Lakers that were nice and lean. Deepest was 160' of water. Hauling the lines in found a dink hanging on to one rigger which I just held up and he fell off and swam away. Super day!
15 Sep Here with go again with light winds predicted but in reality, 14 MPH from the west. George Patrick and I headed east to 140' water and quickly hit a Laker. We caught 5 Lakers headed east and turned into the waves for a bumpy attempt for our last Laker. We then missed two but finally hit a 4# Laker, only to find a nice Laker on my line when we quit, so we released that. I suspected something the last 10 minutes but didn't check it out. Anyway, we filled in 2 hours amidst complaints on the marine radio that fish were not hitting or "we're marking a lot here." We marked two fish the whole time.
14 Sep There wasn't much wind and not much forecasted. However, the water looked bumpy beyond the breakwater. I was the first boat to launch at 7:40 a.m. With a light SW wind around 6-8 mph, the seas didn't know they shouldn't be lumpy but there were 3' rollers and a kind of cross-chop, but no breakers, my kind of water. As I set up, you had to walk in place as the boat rocked back and forth. If you're getting seasick reading this, you wouldn't like rollers. I love that water. Anyway, I hit the first Laker in 10 minutes at 150' and 20 minutes later got a double. Also missed one too. All this in a half hour. I tried not to be obnoxious when I was headed in and said hi to a few of my fishing cronies just headed out. I'm not sure I was successful.
11 Sep George Patrick and I headed east in bumpy water that progressively got better with time. We worked the 150' range where in 4 hours we picked up 7 Lakers, the last hit naturally, being a double so we released one. Two Lakers were on silver spoons on stackers 20' from the bottom, the rest on green spoons nearer the bottom.
9 Sep Today was the first break in the weather and wouldn't you know it conflicted with things I was informed I wanted to do. Getting in trouble would not stand in my way so I headed out early under promise to be home early. I headed east to 145' and hardly had a line down and it was bent over for a nice lean 4# Laker. I then followed my little run along the contour and after about 45 minutes, the rigger bell rattled a little and it looked and felt like a pretty good sized Laker. When it surfaced there was about a 1 1/2# Laker but I didn't think my strength was failing that much so looking closer there was a 6# Laker on the stacker line. Two on one line while netting by myself but it worked. I headed in after an hour fishing and hardly got into any trouble. That's unusual.
4 Sep Today I again proved I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer by listening to not one, but a couple of weather predictor types who were both wrong about light winds and 1'- 2' waves. I bounced in 4' - 5' rollers to 12 mph winds from the NE. I should have known better when I was the only one out of the harbor. I hit an 8# Laker that just didn't want to come up and that was fun. Then I caught a small Laker that I vacillated on releasing or keeping so I decided to keep it but not use the net. Well, I removed the hook and he hit the edge of the cooler and bounced into Lake Superior. Now tonight I have to eat part of the big Laker instead of that little one. Actually the big Laker was very lean and nice. Back to the dull knife thing...
1 Sep Winds finally died somewhat but it was manageably bumpy as Jim Cochran, his son Austin (5), and I headed east from the Cinder Pond to 145' of water. Once again we started with a miss but eventually hit into 6 nice Lakers, the largest 6# and the second largest 5#, the rest considerably smaller. We also had a couple of nice ones on and probably lost 4 or 5 total. Jim said we got the best of them though. When we looked into the fish box on shore, Austin identified each fish as one he caught. Hmmmmm! He going to be a good fisherman.
29 Aug Ah, 'twir a fine day on da lake. Don Rudness and I headed east under threat of increasing winds but they just didn't happen. We were off to a slow start with a couple of shakers (salmon fisherman talk for hits and misses) then we finally hit a 5# Laker, missed another, then caught two. The water and weather was super so we continued east, fishing from 140' to 155'. We then hit a triple and got all three. Most were fairly small but one was nearly 6# and hey, that's not too shoddy. When we got in, Ed the DNR survey man said the 4 previous boats had 5 fish amongst them so we felt pretty good having 6 to add to that total. Great day on the water!
28 Aug I headed out early to Presque Isle Marina, only to find the ramps closed for repairs so I swung by and woke up Bob Turenne and we were off headed east for a change. As usual, it was considerably bumpier than predicted but it wasn't a problem. We started and pretty much stuck with 145' of water and in minutes I missed a Laker, then another. However, we ended with 9 Lakers, returning 3 and probably missing 7. All were small but lean. Two were planters with their fins clipped.
27 Aug It was an iffy night-before forecast so when early in the morning it sounded good, I headed north of white rocks with an 8 mph south wind. There were net buoys without flags right at white rocks so I started further north. Being a nervous nellie I got out the binoculars and would look for nets every few minutes but in the waves, dark overcast, and sun peeking on the horizon, I really wasn't too sure. Then about a mile north I looked again and there was a net about 50' ahead of me. Expletives deleted, needless to say I did a hard starboard with lots of power and managed to inadvertently turn the right way, only losing my one lure in the net. A minute later I looked back and could hardly see the red, perforated flags. There has to be something better. Another boat was headed right towards the nets so I got on the radio and warned him. He didn't see them either and turned away.
Action was slow but I thought it to be a perfect time to try for some suspended fish and look for some structure at some coordinates I logged quite a while back. I poured a cup of coffee and looked up to see my port rod just about double over and line start to peel out, even with the drag on super tight. The downrigger bell didn't even ring. That was my clue to put the coffee down and get going as that was a BIG Laker. I hauled in all the lines and slowed the boat to a crawl and fought that Laker for 15 minutes before gaining any ground. Finally, probably within 30' of the boat, even thought I loosened the drag, he gave a headshake and said his goodbye. Never did see him but guess it was 20# plus. I have caught enough Lakers to know that was big.
I finally hit the first coordinate I was looking for and it was a bust - deeper than the chart showed so I headed to another and there it was shallower than the chart showed so it was scramble time getting up equipment. Then I hit a real nice Laker which neatly broke my line, probably because the line was nicked so he went off with my lure. How ironic, it's almost a guarantee you will not lose lures of which you have several, only one-of-a-kind lures. I did later catch a 5# Laker and returned another and missed a few in between. Then, returning to the marina, my Mercruiser pooped the bed and died. I then had to motor in via the Honda. I later found and fixed the problem. In retrospect, today's plusses still ought weight minuses.
25 Aug We had a great time fishing the Queen City Lake Trout Classic. The "Cooler Crew" was comprised of Dave Smith, John Wells, Mike Reckker, and myself. The weather held out beautifully and we fished from 105' to 170'+. We caught 19 Lakers, all from 3# to 5#+ but couldn't hit any big ones. As it turns out, we were only a few pounds from placing. Most everyone caught lots of fish. Harry Purvis won 2nd largest Laker and largest team weight. I took a picture of the score board and compiled a table of team names, weights, and places. Click here for the table. Our thanks to Dave Brassard and Frank Herveat who honchoed this tournament. Thanks too to the Indians for pulling their nets as they promised. The nets are now back.
24 Aug The forecast was for east winds but not bad so George Patrick and I turned the breakwater corner to face 3' - 4' rollers but not a lot of wind. Rather than face that kind of water for any distance, we started near white rocks and fished north and west, bobbing and weaving. It was water you needed 3 legs to stand up in but still very fishable. Some obviously disagreed as there were few boats out. Fishing was slow and we missed 3 before boxing our first in 145' of water. After 2 hours, we finally got another. I decided to fish towards my old run and we caught one more enroute and one on the run. Then, with 4 fish in the box we got a triple and ended up releasing an 7# Laker. I said it was 6# and George said it was 8# so we negotiated a size we could live with at 7#. We're sticking with that weight.
22 Aug How wonderful - another beautiful day. Tom LaPointe and I headed north or "nort" as some might say. The usual other boats were there, some fishing deeper and some nearer the 100' depths where we started. In short, we ranged from 110' to 170' but hit all six Lakers under 145'. On our way back, we talked with "Bob" who hadn't had a hit so we suggested he head shallower. He sent me an email that he caught 3 Lakers in the next 45 minutes after we left. I'm afraid he might now think I know what I'm doing. Nothing spectacular in fish sizes.
21 Aug Guest Jeff Smith from Three Lakes, Wisconsin joined me for a fishing trip north under initially breezy conditions. We started in 112' of water but again, didn't do much damage until we hit around 165'. We missed 3 Lakers along the way but slowly caught 3 nice keepers. Near the end of our run we hit a triple and got all three. Fish ranged from 2# to 7#, but mostly around 3#. Weather and water were great and the wind slowly died off as we wrapped things up.
20 Aug We got our guest Bob Turenne out of bed early to head out on a super day. Although winds were around 10 mph from the north and there were 2' rollers and a few boats were complaining about trouble handling their boats, we found conditions ideal. We started at a location of Little Presque Isle I haven't fished in two months. We fished from 115' to 170' but caught nearly all our 6 Lakers at around 145'. We had 5 in the box and I said we're quitting in 15 minutes and with 5 minutes left to go, we got our last one. Sizes ranged from 2# to 7#. Ed, the DNR survey guy, said 11 boats that came in before us had 40 fish.
18 Aug Here it is 0900 and I'm home from the Lake with 3 nice Lakers, or so I thought. One Laker was a "fat", my first so far this year. That went into the trash but the other two were bright orange. I thought I'd check out some water I hadn't fished in a while and that wasn't kind to me so far this year. I started a little north of white rocks and managed to miss the first 3 hits while in 145' of water. However, it wasn't long after when I caught a 3# Laker then the other rigger went off with two Lakers on one line. The fog was thick but the water great as was the fishing.
On my way in I asked the local Indian fishermen whether that was their milk jug at the end of the breakwater. They said it was. I asked why no flag and they said "someone had broken them off and they had more on order." I noted there was a fishing contest this weekend and asked if they had any plans to pull their nets as that would be a real nice gesture. They said they were planning to do that so I thanked them.
17 Aug I milled around the marina parking lot talking to a few other boaters that were waiting for the high winds to die as predicted. Finally, I decided to get my boat and fish the harbor as it was unfishable outside. The winds didn't die but instead increased. I was fighting 20 mph winds about 500 feet east of the Presque Isle breakwater and suddenly noticed a plastic jug floating dead ahead. I quickly turned figuring it was a net, having no indication of where the other end was. About 20 minutes later, I saw a DNR law enforcement boat so I called them on the marine radio and asked them to check out the milk jug which they did. They confirmed they were tribal nets and stated flags were not required by treaty agreements. They looked for the other end of the net but didn't indicate they had located it. I didn't have a hit by the way. The NWS changed their forecast from decreasing winds to posting small craft warnings. Eh, eh!
In life there are lots of nice things and lots of nasty things people can do that are perfectly legal. I think it would be nice if the Indians put flags on their nets so they could be seen from more than a couple hundred feet (if you're lucky) away. If they can't afford flags, I support the DNR buying them for the Indians. Fishermen tangling into Indian nets because they're poorly marked works to no one's advantage.
14 Aug Again, great predictions of light winds and just the opposite. "Rat" and I bounce around and slowly picked up our first Laker at 112' then nothing until we worked deeper where after around 2 1/2 hours we caught our 6th Laker. Lakers ranged between 3# and 6#, a respectable catch. Wouldn't you know, the winds started dying off as we headed in. Other than the windy conditions, it was a beautiful and sunny day on the "Big Pond."
13 Aug I resisted the urge to try for salmon near the harbor as reports on salmon have been poor so far and headed out to the sand hole, starting around 150' of water. I finally caught a dink (my definition of a small Laker) and then hit a double but caught only one. The seas built with a brisk north wind at around 15 mph and around 3' waves so I didn't mind catching my last Laker in around 165' of water and headed in. It was a wet ride punching holes in those waves and creating small rainbows so I took it fairly slow. It was more fun going with the waves than against them.
11 Aug With winds not nearly so light as predicted, George Patrick and I headed north in some bumpy water, starting in around 115' of water. There weren't many boats present but those that were, caused us problems maneuvering because of the winds and rough water. However, we managed to pick up 6 Lakers, all small, caught in around 160' of water. In fact, we got a triple and boxed all three. My normally accomplished netting skills were not evident as I bumbled the net on two occasions, one catching the hook in the net and I had to reverse the net to get the fish. Netting wasn't pretty but we didn't miss any. My excuse today was that seas were rough...which it was. Remember, always have an excuse handy.
7 Aug Another fantastic, calm day. My Brother Ed and I headed past Little Presque Isle to start in 115' of water and work towards 165'. We must have missed 4 fish enroute to boxing our first keeper. Listening to the radio, most other boats were doing well and in a little over 3 hours, we had our 6 Lakers. I heard one boat had filled their limit at 12 fish and were into "catch and release". I think catch and release is often "catch and kill" as the survival rate for Lakers brought up from often over 150' is probably pretty low. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
6 Aug I was initially fooled by a windy NWS forecast but not for long. About 10 a.m. the wind still hadn't kicked as promised so I took along Steve Peterson (16) visiting from Oklahoma, as we headed east to the sand hole for a change of pace. Not many boats out, probably because it was HOT, 84 degrees, no wind, and the sun baking from above and off the water.! I was roasting and sweating and Steve didn't have a drop of perspiration on him. I asked what he thought of our Marquette weather and he said it was comfortable and cool. He's used to 95 - 100 degrees so I guess it's all relative. We caught 4 small Lakers in around 165' of water. The last was on the steel long line and I handed the rod to Steve and suggested just to crank steadily. After a minute it appeared he was pumping the rod so I reminded pumping wasn't necessary. He said he wasn't pumping but rather jumping to keep the black flies from biting his legs. Oh, I said, flies know when you're busy.
3 Aug We invited as our guest David Finkbeiner (15) on a perfect day. David is a Boy Scout, a merit badge and a project from becoming an Eagle Scout and this fishing trip would help with the former. We headed past Little Presque Isle to 112' water where we saw several familiar boats. It wasn't long before we had a double on but got only one nice Laker. Minutes later, we got another double and got them both. It was David's first exposure to downrigger fishing with stacking lines and all that and I asked if he thought fishing could be so complicated. He said everything is complicated compared to his style of fishing from a dock. Good point. We filled with 6 nice Lakers within 2 hours but couldn't find an excuse to stay out any longer on a fantastic, calm day.
2 Aug Back for a wonderful fishing trip elsewhere, Bob Turenne and I headed "nort" in a light but building north wind. Surface water was 55 degrees and the air 59 degrees - beautiful. We caught 6 small Lakers in from 145' - 170'. One was pretty small and I asked Bob if we should release it and he said - "Yeah, into the box. That supper!"
27 Jul With winds finally predicted to lighten up and turn southward, George Patrick and I headed north to start in 115' of water. We worked deeper and missed 3 consecutive fish but then finally connected and boxed a 4# Laker. Action picked up along with the wind and we caught 6 nice Lakers, the largest 8#. By then, the winds were at 14 mph from the East so we didn't mind heading off. We stopped to see the boat I call "Loose Canon" who were wrestling with their fishing gear. It wasn't pretty!
23 Jul Could it be a more beautiful day as we headed north with guests John Ovink and Ray Fairbanks, past Little Presque Isle? It wasn't long before we caught a fairly small Laker, then another. Ray had never been out on the Big Pond before and video taped over an hour of our trip so he show his 92-year old dad when he got home. We ended with 9 Lakers, the largest 7#, in a little under 3 hours. Conditions were near perfect. We stopped to visit Something Fishy when we left. Joe and Evelyn had 3 Lakers at the time and Joe said it was so beautiful out there he didn't care if he caught any more. I told him that was absolute BS and he had to laugh.
22 Jul On Sunday, Hank Bertagnoli and I headed north on a late morning run after I got home from picking blueberries. It was another calm day and we caught 4 nice Lakers, including one 14#, in under 3 hours. Hank hadn't fished with me for a couple of years.
21-22 Jul Saturday, George Patrick and I headed into heavy fog, only to see quite a few blips of other boats nearby on the radar. It was calm and really very nice. We laughed as we listened on the marine radio to comments to the effect that "We're catching fish but we don't know where we are." We were visited by a little sparrow who sat on the downrigger and walked all over the boat for about an hour before he flew off. He was obviously disoriented in the fog. The fog slowly lifted and it turned out a beautiful day. We struggled to catch 5 Lakers in 5 hours but the snacks, company, and water were great so why rush back?
18 Jul A early morning downpour finally moved through and the NWS said we had about a 5-hour gap to fish before the next system rolled in. I invited a Jordan Bail (9) who is here from Wisconsin visiting his grandmother and Tom LaPointe. We headed north, followed by another boat who was curious where I was fishing, having read this web site. We caught 4 Lakers with Jordan reeling in each of them. For his first trip on the Big Pond, he seemed to really enjoy the fishing experience and said it really beat watching TV. We agreed.
14 Jul Bob Turenne and I were the Lunch Bunch - starting at noon and discussing why you can catch Lakers any time of day, and not catch them any time of day. It was flat as a pancake and we gradually picked up 5 nice Lakers, 2 as deep as 170'. There were very few boats around but I saw my old boat "For Play" close by.
13 Jul Guests Mike, Butch, and Alysse (7) Rinaldi and I headed north about 8 miles to start in 112' of water. It was slow going but listening to nearby charter boats and a couple of others, they were struggling too. Finally, we got a small Laker, then another. Alysse reeled in those on the starboard side, while her Uncle Butch got the port side. The score was Alysse 4 Lakers and Butch none. She was starting to gloat - just a little when Butch hit one, then another. We were close to quitting when Butch got another but upon a closer look, saw two Lakers on one line. That's the way it ended, a tie with Alysse 4 and Butch 4. Can't beat that. We found the Lakers from 110' to 170', 3 were on sliders about 15' from the bottom. We didn't gloat on the radio but knew we did better than the charters. When we quit, the waves were really kicking at over 3' from the north but were at our back heading in. Perfect timing.
9 Jul By my lonesome I fished north in 115' of water on a calm morning. Shortly after starting I wiped the tears from my face as I missed a nice, big Laker a foot from the net. Something Fishy filled nearby and left. Later with two Lakers in the box, Murphy's Law took over and I got a double on, having to release one. I didn't go into water over 132'.
8 Jul It was an early start with my nephew Ed Beauchamp and his stepson, Marc (14). We had beautiful fishing conditions. With 6 Lakers in the box, 4 by Marc, I suggested we start trolling back as we had to go in shortly. When we hit 98' of water, Marc hooked into a #15 Laker. Now that's what we call "Marc-ing Fish". We headed in with 7 nice Lakers and hated to quit but didn't mind leaving the big pack of boats fishing the area.
7 Jul Someone has been blabbing about where we have been fishing as there were several boats where I'd been successfully fishing lately...maybe it was me. Anyway, Rat and I just put our lines down in 112' water when Rat went for to set up the net. I asked if he was going to play with the net or catch the fish on his rigger which he didn't notice was bouncing like crazy. He then hauled in a nice 6# Laker and I assembled the net and netted the fish. We then varied the fishing depths and in a little over 2 1/2 hours, caught our last Laker, with 3 of them over 5# each. Water and wind couldn't have been better. Two boats near us filled their limits before us but bully for them. They had to head in while we got to enjoy more time on a fantastically calm day on the Big Pond and caught some nice fish as frosting on the cake. Three of the Lakers were caught in under 130' of water and were on trot lines set 15' up from the weight.
There's an interesting "aside" to this story. A few days ago I was in a sports store I seldom get to and found the exact spoon I had not seen in years but was what I was looking for. I bought two of them at $5 each. I was so excited to get those spoons and I dragged them around for 3 fishing trips and caught one fish on them, all the other fish being caught on my usual spoons. Now let me see...did I say lures are made to sell to fish or to fishermen?
6 Jul It was a historical event - my 5-year old grandson Spencer fished with me for the first time, accompanied by his Dad Dave Smith. Five year old boys are not noted for their long attention spans so Dave was a wonderful entertainer for the first hour and fifteen minutes we didn't have any action. Then, we got a triple which suddenly made things much more interesting to Spencer, especially since the first Laker was 10 pounds. We landed all 3 Lakers and called it a day although now Spencer didn't want to quit. However, I felt it best to not push the issue so we headed in. It was a great trip.
When we got to the dock, Rat was there so he and I headed out for a short trip north of white rocks and only caught a 4# Laker in a little over an hour. The flies started nipping us so we bailed out. Weather was otherwise beautiful.
3 Jul Rat and I returned to yesterday's productive spot, with "Something Fishy" nearby. The water and wind behaved themselves and we quickly caught two Lakers on one line, followed by a miss so we had 3 on at once. We then caught a couple more, returned a few, and ended up with a double, all in around 2 hours. Something Fishy caught a 12# Laker and was working the same 140 - 170' water we were.
2 Jul Our guest was Adam Hall (14) from Appleton, on vacation here to visit his grandparents and folks. We had only a short time frame to fish so we were the first to launch at 6:30 on a nice but cool morning. We headed north for a change, past Little Presque Isle where we started in 133' of water. It wasn't 5 minutes before Adam had a fish and then another hit in 10 minutes. He was surprised when I pointed out he had two fish on one rod at a time. That's the first single line double this year. We were in the strongest current I've seen in years. The motor was revved up and the downrigger lines were nearly straight down. We got out 5 Laker in short order and made a turn where the rigger lines were so far back we could hardly hit bottom, even with the engine slowed way down. We got our 6th fish in one hour and 15 minutes after starting and were on our way. Great day. I think Adam enjoyed it. The deepest water we ran was 170'.
30 Jun Too darn nice must have been the reason for our slow fishing day. Guests Jim and Austin (6) Cochran were treated to a beautifully calm day but we could only catch a couple of small Lakers in 165' of water. We did lose a couple though. We first tried the shallow water and marked lots of bait fish which is usually a good sign but that didn't seem to make any difference. Finally around noon the flies, which seem worse this year than I can remember, were on the bite much better than the fish. Radio talk supported they were a major problem on other boats too.
28 Jun Another day with heavy fog, Doug LaMora and Don Constance were my guests as we left the Cinder Pond early depending a lot on the radar. We set up in 40' of water and slowly managed a nice Laker and Coho so we later moved to 160' of water where we caught 5 more Lakers, one on the surface. With only 6 fish in the box, we couldn't agree on the fish count and had to recount them. How do you loss track of how many fish you have? Easy!
27 Jun With predictions today of temperatures in the mid nineties like yesterday, but without the wind, Gary Gibbs and I headed out on a beautiful, calm morning from the Cinder Pond. We set up in 40' of water where we caught zip after a couple hours of fishing. I noted it looked like a fog bank headed our way but Gary said nah! Fifteen minutes later we went from 75 degrees to 52 degrees and the fog so thick we had to run radar.
Duane in his boat "Seaclusion" reported he was doing well in 150' water so we moved to deeper water. There we caught 4 nice eating-size Lakers. We also missed a couple which Gary said were larger than the ones we caught. You could tell Gary was an experienced fisherman knowing that.
24 Jun As I had social obligations before and after the best fishing times, Tom LaPointe and I headed north of white rocks for a short run on a relatively flat day. We fished mostly 160' and in under 2 hours, succeeded to catch one and release two. Pretty slow but then Ed from the DNR said that was typical for most boaters.
23 Jun Finally flat water and a beautiful day. Bob Turenne and I started in shallow water but could only get one Laker in the box there, the other Laker was inches from the net, but got off and is still out there. We then fished all the way to 180' where we slowly picked up 3 more Lakers, all around 150' of water. It was kind of eerie in that each fish we caught was when we touched a rigger or rod to make a depth adjustment. Three of the four were on sliders up from the bottom and one Laker was probably 75' off the bottom. Strange. Water temperature was 45.7 degrees.
22 Jun Shallow water bound George and I launched when some die hard fisherman were coming in because it was too rough. We found the water quite lumpy but very fishable and we picked up 4 nice Lakers. It was another situation of going for 2 hours with nary a hit then 3 fish in 10 minutes from a small area.
20 Jun After the lake was huffing and puffing for a couple of days, I headed back to where I did well last time. It was calm and beautiful, water was 46.5 degrees and air only a few degrees higher. I spent over an hour with not a touch and started ranging and soon found a 6# Laker. I immediately loaded the spot in the GPS and circled to find another around 200' from the first. The next Laker was almost within reach of the net when we parted company. However, I did manage the third Laker in the nearby company of Harry in his boat and Doug in his.
17 Jun Last evening the wind settled somewhat with nearly all reports showing westerly winds around 10-15mph and forecast showing improving conditions but scattered rain to the south. I set up in east winds and didn't fish an hour before a huge blob of rain to my north showing on my radar kept getting closer so I packed it in and booked out for home with just to hits and two misses. Today was different as it was perfectly calm when I left early. I headed for my shallow water and hit 3 nice Lakers in a little over an hour. Brian, the DNR survey person, said I was always the second person in. I asked who what the first and he said some guy with a 16' boat almost always fills before I do. I wonder who that is and where he goes?
12 Jun Another flat day too nice to believe. Spotty fog buy no problem. Rat and I headed north after hearing reports fish were hitting from 120' to 240'. Some advice eh? We started at 140' and before long had a nice Laker, then another. Depths varied where we caught the fish, up to 175' and the last at 120'. My brilliant perception of the obvious from all this is that you have to go fishing to catch fish. Anyway, we ended with 6 perfect Lakers. One trailer story is the Laker we didn't get on the steel line that bent the rod like I haven't seen in a long time. That was a BIG FISH but he's still out there folks.
11 Jun I launched in a heavy fog as the only vehicle in the lot. I flipped on the radar and headed for the shallow water. As I approached my area, I noted a blip on the radar and was surprised anyone else was around. I turned off my engine to listen and blew my horn (required) but no response and I couldn't hear another engine. Finally, I thought I'd better see what was out there (might have been a net) and came within a stone throw of a big boat with no radar or lights. I whistled to let them know I was there too and I think they all stained their shorts. Boy, were they surprised. I fished for two hours and didn't get a hit. I then figured to try 10 feet shallower. Since action was slow, I went into the cabin to look for something and then heard the rigger bell. Jumping up, I whacked my head on the door but ended with a nice 7# Laker and a welt on my head. Not 5 minutes later after circling that area, I hit another, then another but lost the last. Guess sometimes you just have to find them. Guess sometimes you shouldn't use your head.
10 Jun Foggy night after supper hit the deeper water and got rained on after the weather radar showed rain to the east and moving out. So much for that. Finally bunched it with zippo in the hit category.
8 Jun We couldn't believe another super day on the water with no wind and comfortable temperatures. Tony Pearson and I tried the shallow water and hit 3 5# Lakers in 40' - 50' of water in 4 hours - slow but fun. One Laker was on a short stacker line that you could sometimes see the lure under the boat. So much for spooking fish when you go over them. Another fisherman said he filled the prior day but in 240' of water.
7 Jun George Patrick and I set up just yards beyond the DNR nets in the sand hole. Racing over to us was another boater who wanted to warn us of the nets, in case we didn't see them. We told him we had and thanked him. He was not happy about those nets where he usually fishes. We soon got two decent Lakers at 160' and a Coho on the surface, a pleasant surprise. We then moved to shallower water where we hit some nice size Lakers and filled our limits. It could not have been nicer on the Big Pond. There was hardly a ripple on the water. What a day!
6 Jun A beautiful, calm, and cool day but very slow fishing. Rat and I struggled to get one Laker at 150' in several hours. Marked only a couple of fish. Something Fishy got three Lakers but it took a while and they were over 200' water, deeper than I care to fish. Later in the day, Rodney Smith and I headed east to the sand hole and marked lots of huge marks. We caught a 4# and 13# Laker on a beautiful evening. We also had a double with both riggers pounding but lost them both. Unusual. Then it happened...we hung into the DNR survey gill nets strung across the sand hole. First time I'd ever seen nets out there and wasn't expecting any nor watching that closely. They were marked though. Very unpleasant experience. I can't help but think they could lay nets somewhere other than one of the most popular fishing spots near Marquette.
5 Jun Off to an early start Rat and I headed for the shallow 40' water and beat it to death with nary a hit. We then headed to deeper water where we slowly picked up 3 Lakers and missed two. What a fantastically calm and beautiful day. The surface water was 40.3 degrees and the air the same - 40.3 degrees but with no wind it was very comfortable. Still mighty slow though. Talked with Neil upon our return and he got 9 Lakers but "had to work for them" and got them all over 195' deep. Ouch!
4 Jun Woke up thinking it would be a great day with a good forecast but after taking a ride to check it out, the north wind at 16 mph was a bit much. Later in the afternoon, I noticed it had improved considerably so I launched as the only boat in the lot. As it turned out, the water was just laying down and the sun came out. Fantastic! Hit the 140' depth and picked up a Laker, then worked to the 160' where I caught another. Then it happened! A double when I needed only one but it could not have worked out better as it got off right behind the boat. I call that an "involuntary non-catch and release." My faith in my fishing skills (and luck) was restored. Alleluia!
31May Both George and I had to a limited time to fish so we started nearby, just north of white rocks. We heard from "Something Fishy" considerably further north who got 6 Lakers and headed in after about two hours. Tom in his "Power ..." boat quickly hit his limit but George and I struggled to get one Laker and a Steelhead in the boat, although we missed two. Actually, we didn't mind it being slow as the water slowly laid down and except for the cold temperatures, it was very nice on the water. Oh, and one excuse thrown in. I was experimenting with Spiderwire line and when we quit, my lure had crept up to the release where you're not going to catch many like that. Off with that line tonight.
26May Following several days of fog, rain, cold, wind, and who knows what, after supper I asked how upset the "better half" would be if I were to try a little fishing. She said she was pretty upset to have the TV remote to herself, spend a quiet few hours alone, play Bridge on the computer without interruption, etc. I hated to leave her like that but when she asked why I hadn't left yet 5 minutes later, it appeared she could adjust to me being gone for a few hours. I headed to the sand hole after the fog lifted into NE winds around 12mph with the air temperature 41 degrees and water 44 degrees. Conditions have been a little better but hey, that's fishing. Anyway, in the sand hole all I could shake up was one 3# Laker at 150' after 2 hours. When I got home I could tell I was missed but had to read between the lines when she asked why I was home early.
23May This spinning low over us for several days hasn't produced many opportunities to fish but today looked the best in a while. Rat (Jim Radtke) and I launched at the Presque Isle marina, the only trailer in the lot. We headed east and eventually picked up a small Laker in 159 feet of water while Rat was working the steel line. We finally worked into shallower water where we picked up a 5#+ Laker but that was it for 4 hours fishing. The rain cells were passing all around us and winds clocked at 18mph so we pulled the pin and we were still the only vehicle in the lot. This it the slowest Spring fishing I can remember in quite a while.
20May I'm getting some heat from not updating my web site but my excuse is I was walleye fishing for a few days but I won't talk about that. On the 16th, I heard some good reports Laker fishing shallow so I went by myself and hit 3 nice Lakers in 40' of water. Can't say where I was. Ah ha, I said to myself so on the 19th, George Patrick tried the same shallow spot and got zip. We then fished in 150' of water and had 3 Laker in the box when I said "watch us get a hit when I put the net away." Yup, that happened so we ended with 4. Next day, I tried shallow and again got nothing. Talked with the boat "Red Sunset" who also caught no fish shallow. I then fished 155' of water heading home and got a double after putting the net away. I wonder what's going on. Anyway, weather had been beautiful but looks to be in a downspin for a few days.
Speaking of heat or lack thereof, I notice my cooler ice has lasted for 6 trips but in the summer is usually good for only one or two. Me thinks it's cooler on the lake!
14May It was supposed to be rain-free but...nephew Tony Pace and I headed east in calm waters that quickly changed to SE winds at 15mph, along with the rain starting up. We caught 2 Lakers in the hour, then bunched the trip.
12-13May Yesterday we headed north of white rocks with Tony Pearson on a fairly calm morning. Guess it was too nice as Mr. Skunk visited us. I said to Tony our speed was perfect as was the depth and other conditions but I didn't think the fish knew that. He suggested sending a note down the 'rigger to the fish telling the fish that everything was right. Good idea. Today, I headed east by my lonesome in cool (air temperature was 41, but flat conditions. I quickly hit and missed a Laker, boxed a 4 pounder, then missed a real "throbber" that stayed on for only about 10 seconds. Later caught 2 more Lakers and quit, all in a little over 2 hours. I just got the boat out of the water when the non-predicted rain started. Once and a while you get lucky. Beautiful day. All the Lakers were in 150' and 155' of water.
9May Tom LaPointe and I got an early start north of white rocks. We were joined later by Doug and Don (Laurel and Hardy I call them) on their shakedown trip, along with Something Fishy, fishing further north. Winds picked up then laid right back down again. We ended with 2 nice size Lakers and Something Fishy started his year filling up. Laurel and Hardy ended with 4 I later found out. We had to quit early or I know we could have gotten more. Strange we didn't mark a single fish.
8May Should have know better with winds predicted in late morning, George Patrick and I headed nearby White Rocks. Nary a fish marked or caught until we got a small Laker after 2 hours and winds hit 16 mph. Then it happened, the net caught in a rigger line and while bouncing around the net was pulled over the side and is now at the bottom of Lake Superior. I took that and building winds as signs we shouldn't be out there anymore so we quit. Goat Rope#1.
5 May More Brrrr but not as bad as yesterday. Rodney Smith and I headed quite a way up north on a calm but cool morning, fishing near the boat Geneal. It took quite a while but we ended up with 4 Lakers, the largest 5# and I won't mention the smallest. Started in 120' but found all nearer to 170' of water.
4 May Brrrr! Although a light wind was promised, a warm wind wasn't. Doug LaMora, with snowmobile suit on, and I headed into a cold (38 degrees) north wind. Going against the wind wasn't bad but with the wind it was cold and the steady wind pushed us along pretty fast. However, the sun came out and helped warm us a little. We caught 4 small Lakers and I let out a yelp each time I washed my hands in the cold Lake. All the fish were in around 170' of water.
3 May Jim Radtke (Rat) and I headed north or white rocks in relative calm while the wind slowly built some nice waves, then it laid down again. We caught 6 small Lakers in from 165' to 175' of water, but it was slow going. We saw only one other boat out. The launch at Presque Isle was not bad as I measured the depth at the launch and it appears the Lake has come up several inches in the past two weeks. Rat's neat to take with as he doesn't have to be retrained in the Spring (like I do) and remembers all the little boat and fishing details to do.
1 May Following still more work on the engine (carburetor rebuild kit), I headed out to get a few hours on the engine. Conditions were pretty good but grew progressively more windy as time when on. However, I managed a 4# Laker in 147' of water. The engine could not have run better. Now for some good weather.
19Apr Guest Bob Schmeltzer and I headed out of the Cinder Pond and tried the Shot Point area for a change. Conditions were cool but the water was great. We slowly caught 4 small Lakers in 170' of water, after trying shallower earlier. We then trolled back and just at quitting time, we had 3 hits and landed our last two Lakers, again in 170' of water. Lots of geese were heading north overhead.
18Apr Shakedown and 1st fishing trip of the season. Roughest part was launching at Presque Isle Marina. It's shallow and wicked and even with the outdrive tilted, sand was churning. I circled the harbor a few times to test my rebuilt motor and when convinced things were fine, headed north of white rocks. We fished 140' - 180' and after two hours, had two nice 3# Lakers to show for it. Water was 37 degrees and air was 38 degrees but it was beautiful. After filleting the fish, I called my neighbor (his 80th Birthday is in a few days) to give him the first fresh laker of the year. He asked how he made it to the top of the list so quick. I replied that I accidentally was holding my list of people to give fish to upside down. He liked that - and the fish.
24Mar01 Reminiscing, I was recalling that last week I attended a function during the day where I was "forced" by my wife to change my clothes, then change into a completely new set that evening for another event. That's 3 sets of clothes in one day or the equivalent of 3 weeks of fishing clothes changes during fishing season. I'm burned out and can't wait for fishing to start.
24Mar01 Here I sit looking out the window at the snow piled up and more coming down, mumbling $#&% - when will it go? Looking back at happenings since last fishing season:
Last Fall I rebuilt my Mercruiser, boring the cylinders, installing new pistons and cam and so on. My friend who did most of the work refers to this as "freshening it up." Don't you love that term? Earlier in the year I pulled the heads and did a valve job.
Deer season was good to me, having shot a nice 7-point buck on the second day.
Ice fishing just wasn't to be as I got out very few times. I found my excuses needed to not go ice fishing were getting weaker and weaker.
Snowmobiling was excellent. Our trail lunches were the best ever.
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