"Cooler By The Lake"
2002 Fishing Log
Well friends, I finally got my 2002 fishing report done. Overall, it was a very good year but you could have fooled me last Spring and early Summer. I was really whining then how slow the fishing was but it eventually picked up. Then there was the lousy Fall weather, just when the fishing should have been best I couldn't get out. Putting it all in perspective, it was a lot of fun and I ended up improving my fish-per-hour rate over 2001 so that's good. Even better, it was a great year on the water with a lot of good friends and company and a lot of fun. Thank you for looking in on us and your nice comments.
Fishing summary for 2002
268 (265 last year)
96 (93 last year)
Fish per hour
1.60 (1.55 last year)
Total fish caught
412 (includes released fish) 387 last year
Skunks during year
0 (Pretty good eh? 6 last year)
Number & average weight of Lake Trout
3.4 lbs. (3.5 lbs. last year)
Average weight of Lake Trout w/thumb on scale (just kidding)
Number & average weight of Steelhead
Number & average weight of Coho
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2002
.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, 1.58,1.55,1.60
30 Oct - 9 Nov Yes, I'm still fishing on the 9th of November but this was the final trip for the year. The past several trips have been in or near the harbor in under 60' of water. On 30 October, I caught 2 nice Lakers on a Dipsy. It wasn't a nice day as it poured rain a good portion of the time. On 4 November, I caught 3 nice Lakers, each averaging 7 pounds. On 5 November, Don Anderson fished with me on a bumpy and snow-spitting day. We caught 3 Lakers and a 3# Brown that was wild. On 9 November, I missed 2 really nice sized Lakers and caught and released a smaller one. It started warm and low wind with big rollers coming in. Then the wind kicked to 16 mph and I thought, enough! Although this was a crappy fall weather wise, overall it was a good year and a sad day to hang it up for another year. It'll be a week or two before I compile my yearly fishing report but for now, my records show 91 Laker trips (no skunk trips), 407 fish, and an average 1.59 fish per hour.
27 Oct - My guest Tom LaPointe hadn't fished with me since July and today was expected to be a near-perfect day. We headed to deeper water where we caught 8 Lakers, all very small and releasing 2 of them. The water was perfect and the wind had gone nearly calm so excuses were hard to come by. The only question that kept coming up was where are the larger Fall fish? I talked with a friend on the way in who launched just before us and he had 3 Lakers but complained too they were all very small. We got ours mostly in 150' of water, with 2 suspended about 20' from the bottom I didn't run any lures higher and marks were quite scarce today. It was so good to see the sun out most of the time.
26 Oct - Fished a couple of afternoon hours in the harbor. Caught 2 Lakers in short order but one was so small I released it and the other one was only 3#. That was it.
25 Oct - With a light and variable wind forecast but the threat of rain or snow, I planned to sneak out and get back early for an appointment. Well, the wind was out of the SE at 14mph and it was a mite bumpy but I caught 3 nice Lakers and missed one, all in 45 minutes in 150' of water. The one I missed (naturally) was probably pretty big as I could feel it on the steel line as I reeled it in. It's a feeling I've felt any number of times before where about 2/3 of the way up, there is this sudden increased resistance, then the shaking, followed by little resistance - the fish got off. I'm not sure why that is but it's gotten to where I often know the fish is going bye bye when I'm reeling it in by that sequence. Anyway, it was fun and the Lakers, all in the 3# - 5# range, were nice red leans. One is going to be on our dinner plates tonight. Fortunately, it didn't rain.
24 Oct - Today was supposed to be one of the nicer days during the week and it really was. The ice on the dock was treacherous while launching, but it looked like the sun might make it out given a little time. George Patrick and I headed north of white rocks in breezy and bumpy conditions that slowly settled during our trip. On our way out past white rocks, there was only one bird sitting there - a Bald Eagle. What a sight when he flew as we passed but it landed on the smaller rock, some 100' to the south. Anyway, George and I hit 6 nice Lakers in 3 hours, including a 7# and 9# Laker, all in over 150' with 2 on stacker lines about 20' from the bottom. The sun did make it out, about half the time and it was nice to see it.
23 Oct - As I looked out of the house, one minute the sun was out and the next minute it was snowing. Around 10 a.m., the sun stayed out for half an hour and that I naively interpreted as a sign that the weather would be fine and that I should go fishing. As I warmed the engine at the launch, a car pulled up with an ole friend, Carmen Lullo at the wheel. He said he was going to fish somewhere else but the ramp was froze so he went home. His wife then asked what he was doing home so early so he left. Sound familiar? Anyway, I talked him into joining me fishing the harbor. Carmen is a dedicated fisherman so that wasn't too hard. We headed out in 14 mph winds fish the harbor for a couple of hours, not going far as it got real bumpy outside the breakwater. At times it was snowing so hard we couldn't see the shore or breakwater but we were comfortable behind the plastic curtain and managed to catch up on a lot of fish talk and other things (some might call it BS). However, all we got rewarded for tolling was a small (dink) Laker we discovered one hanging on when we pulled the lines so we released it. I was quite happy though as it saved us from a skunk by the hair of our chinny chin chins.
17 Oct Interim report: I just know some of you are dying for a statistical report on how I've been doing. Ok, so you don't care but here is some stuff anyway. You may have noticed I've stopped whining about the slow fishing this Spring and Summer and have turned to whining about the weather. Well, that's a good sign. So far this year, I've fished 81 trips for Lakers and caught 357, averaging 1.59 Lakers per hour, just about what I usually average. In 81 trips, I have no skunk trips. Not too shoddy, eh! Details to follow at fishing year end.
17 Oct - Yesterday the forecast for today was for light and variable winds. That apparently is NWS terminology for 16 mph from the northwest. George Patrick and I headed out early into some really rough water. I knew it would be a little rough as the Granite Island website showed around 18 mph all night, even though the NWS (at Negaunee) showed calm winds.) I don't like to belabor the weather status and forecast but there is a crying need for us boaters to get accurate or at least somewhat accurate forecasts and wind data. Some good it does us to see winds as calm several miles inland when the Lake wind is cranking up and waves are 3-4'. George and I hit 3 Lakers going into the waves but it just wasn't comfortable fishing like that so we picked up the lines and headed up wind to fish back. We had 5 Lakers in the box and I asked George, who is going to be 86 years old next month, if we should just bunch it seeing as the wind was still strong. He suggested we continue for our limit. You've got to admire that spirit! We did just that and we ended with 6 nice Lakers, all relatively small except for one over 9 lbs. Four were either on stackers or 15' - 30' off the bottom in 150' of water. The air was 34 degrees when we started.
16 Oct - After several windy days, today's forecast was for winds to die as the day went on. One NWS experimental website showed wind predictions hour-by-hour with a significant drop in wind around 2:00 p.m., so I went out at noon. I'm so gullible! Well, winds were still at 16 mph out of the NW and 3' waves. Ironically, right around 2 o'clock, the winds pretty much died, shortly before I quit. That was scary to have a weather forecast come true. Anyway, I caught 4 nice Lakers, all fishing into those rough seas. The last Laker was a surprise when I quit so I released it. I'm still doing best in the 150' area. The surface water temperature was 53 degrees.
10 Oct - Gary Gibbs, Mr. Yoopernet.com himself, joined me on a breezy and cool morning as we headed out past white rocks. I saw where one set of nets were moved to between white and black rocks but we couldn't see anymore, but that we knew would be difficult in the rough water. We decided to fish northward and just watch for nets. As it turned out, we didn't see any on our whole run, which for once was with the wind and waves most of the time. Gary had been an advocate of fishing off the bottom as he often does on his boat so he set his rigger up at 150 clicks while I played the bottom closer. It wasn't long before we had a double, then caught 2 more nice lean Lakers, lost one on the steel line, then with 5 Lakers in the box, naturally caught one one each rigger, so we released the smaller of the two. I believe 3 of the Lakers came off the stacker lines. All this in an hour and 45 minutes so we were pretty happy.
5 Oct - There was no fishing this morning due to all the wind and waves so Mike Westrich and I thought if it settled, we'd head out early afternoon, which we did. Turning the breakwater corner northward was a roller coaster ride with 3' - 4' rollers and occasional white caps. We vacillated on fishing and finally thought we'd go for it. We fished right into the waves and after about half an hour, I spotted a net flag but neither of us could see the other end so our only choice was to turn back. As we did, we picked up two nice Lakers, both on one line. We then decided to pull the lines and head out past the nets. In the process we never did see the other end so we just went a safe distance past and started fishing the 150' area. With winds averaging 12-16mph but slowly decreasing, we netted 4 more Lakers, I believe 3 off the stackers. All ready to quit, before we could get the last downrigger up, we hit another Laker which we released. The largest Laker was 8# and all were beautiful leans. As we came in, my vehicle and trailer looked lonesome as the only one in the lot. I wonder why?
3 Oct - George Patrick (soon to be 86 years young) and I headed out in fairly light NE winds but rock and roll 3'+ rollers. It wasn't too long before we had our first Laker on but then the dog and pony show began. The steel line came off track and was damaged so I had to splice that while the fish was still pulling on the rod. It only got better when a good-sized Laker really rattled my downrigger. Later while hauling it in, it tangled into the steel line which coiled the wire into a mess you wouldn't believe. Of course, the Laker got off. Pretty soon we had most of the equipment out of the water doing repairs, while trying to spot and steer around the nets, while standing up in rock and roll seas, etc. Not pretty! We finally got all the equipment in the water again and picked up a few more Lakers, nice leans. Then the action slowed for a bit and George asked if I was ready for a fish and as he said that, my rigger went off and after 10 minutes, George hauled in a 9# and 4# Laker on the one line. While putting the fish in the cooler, the stacker line got caught in the motor but we didn't lose any tackle but it tore the line all up. After that, we were quite relieved to put the 6th Laker in the box and head in. Did I mention George's downrigger stacker was wrapped around the downrigger cable when we checked it? Hmmmmm, what else?
1 Oct - I don't mean to harp on the NWS but the marine forecast was for N10-20 and other forecasts not consistent with that. So I called the NWS and the forecaster was as nice as could be. He seemed to be speaking English but after 5 minutes, I'm not sure what his spin on the wind was so I decided to go out anyway. As it turned out, there was only one boat trailer at the launch and the water and wind could not have behaved better. It was beautiful with calm water and almost no wind. I headed north and fished by the Indians who were pulling fish from their nets. I was able to spot all three nets in the calm water and two of them had been moved since I last went out and were not on my run nor a problem for me. As I moved around the net furthest out, I hit a 9# Laker in 157 feet of water. Another half hour passed and I caught a 3#, then a 10+# Laker. The last fish probably took 10 minutes or more to get in as it just kept peeling line off and it was on the stacker line, making netting difficult. Talk about fun! Well, it happened again that as I was fighting that fish, I got another Laker on which I had to release.
28 Sep - With a forecast for calming winds, guest Mike Westrich and I fish north with the SE winds that finally increased to 16 mph and remained quite steady. I thought I knew from yesterday were the north Indian net was I could see only one end as we fished out and kept it on the port side. Finally I spotted the east end and it was on the starboard side. Not good! Obviously, it had been moved so there was some scrambling and quick turning but we were able to avoid the net. However, it took us out over 190' water where it's unusual to see nets. Up to this point we hadn't had a hit but one we got around the net to where I wanted to go, we started picking up Lakers, and missed a few. Sizes ranged from 3# to 5# and were generally in the 150' range, with 3 caught off stackers around 15' from the bottom. Guess what, we had 5 Lakers in the box and we hit a double on one line so we had to release one. We marked quite a few fish near the bottom. The boat Loose Cannon was near us and they caught their limit too.
27 Sep - Last night I roved through several forecasts looking for a few consistently good ones for today. There weren't any so it was an early morning call when George Patrick and I decided to go out. We headed north in rolling seas but not much wind. The air was 48 degrees, and surface water of 60 degrees, the latter being important only when you have to wash your hands. We didn't have a hit on the first leg of the run but talked on the marine radio to Tom and Gary in nearby boats. They had some luck but not a whole lot. We worked our way around both Indian nets, turned westward on my route leg, and hit a nice 5# Laker. Then we caught another on the steel line and had it within 1 foot of the net and well, you can guess the rest. Anyway, we ended with 6 Lakers, all lean but 4 were small. During the 2 and a half hours, the water became beautiful with gentle rollers and a warm sun above. When we got to the launch, Ed the DNR survey man asked if we released any Lakers and I asked if we could count the big one we almost caught, he said no. Obviously, he's dealt with rule-bending fishermen before.
I had been wondering why by graph was not marking many fish lately so I decided to change back from my fish symbol and depth display to my old fashioned straight graphics which I usually run. Voila! I was suddenly marking fish again. And I know better. We started to mark quite a few fish near the bottom. Eh, eh!
24 Sep - Usually mornings start calm and it gets windy as the day progresses. Lately, it's just the opposite. Today was again such an opposite day. I launched early afternoon as the second trailer in the lot, the other boat coming in as I went out. The wind had dropped to about 5 mph from the west but the 3' - 4' rollers kept on rolling. That's my type of water. Sure you have to walk around just to stand up but it's not unsafe or uncomfortable, unless you're prone to seasickness, and I'm not. It was time for a change and somewhat frustrated by the nets up north yesterday, I thought why not try east to the sand hole where netting isn't allowed east of a line north of the Chocolay River. Well, I went by two Indian nets on the way but neither were where I wanted to fish so no problem. Many years ago we referred to the sand hole as the nursery, noted for its small Lakers. Today was no exception as I caught 3 dinks and I do mean dinks. They weighed within one ounce of each other. Don't ask what that weight was. I'm trying to get away from releasing as I don't think Laker survival is very good on release so I kept them. Here's the ironic part. I pulled up my last rigger to quit and there was another dink and I had to release it. Eh, eh! The good news is no one was at the dock to see my fish when I came in.
23 Sep - Started at noon because the morning winds had slowly settled. As I set up, I noticed the Indians were placing a net directly across my usual run north of white rocks so I got around that OK. Then about a mile further out, I noticed a net pole with an antifreeze jug on it. This net it was probably 1,500 feet long as I had to use binoculars to see the other end which did have a flag. It too was right across my usual run so I had to travel way around it, choosing the shallower 130' water side. I didn't even get a bump until I got way past the nets where I finally hit a double (two on one line), releasing a small Laker. I was able to pick up two more Lakers in the next half hour, both around the 150' depth. By quitting time, the wind had pretty much died off and the Lake settled.
21 Sep - I cancelled fishing earlier because small craft warnings were posted. However, I was surprised to see several small boat trailers in the launch lot and the wind didn't seem too bad so I squeezed in a noon trip. Well, it was windy, pushing 18 mph and the boat was often going sideways. I caught a 5# Laker after about a half hour and with the relief I wasn't skunked, quickly pulled my lines and headed to fish the harbor for an hour. Didn't mark or catch anything there but it was fishable, even with the windy conditions.
20 Sep - I could see from the Doppler radar rain was headed our way but with an early start, we might be able to do some fish damage before it got here. My guest this morning was Don Alimenti, a newbie to Lake Trout fishing but one with no shortage of enthusiasm for fishing and learning. Don has a 14' boat he's rigging mostly for Laker fishing. We started setting up and didn't have both riggers down when Don caught his first Laker, about 5 pounds on a lure around 30' from the bottom. In two hours, we caught 6 nice Lakers, the largest 8# and missed two. We mostly fished the 150' depth but 4 of the 6 fish probably were 20' - 40' from the bottom. On our way in a beautiful Bald Eagle flew right in front of the boat and landed on White Rocks. We even made it home in time to beat the rain. Great day and good water too.
18 Sep - Today it was a little bumpier than expected but not a problem as Bob Turenne and I fished with the wind, which was pretty steady at 14 mph from the SE. It wasn't 5 minutes before we had one on the steel line and 5 seconds before we lost it. I mentioned to Bob if he didn't want to work his rigger following the bottom, he might set it for 150 clicks, which usually results in the lure being off the bottom 10' - 30'. He agreed and added he didn't want to stack as it was too complicated. As it turned out, Bob got 3 nice Lakers while I got two steadily working my rigger along the bottom with two lures on. I think he said something to the effect that it wasn't that much work catching fish so I just glared at him. Anyway, we ended with 6 Lakers, one of which was a Fat and went into the trash. The others were great. We missed 3 fish today but no biggie. We ranged 140' - 160' of water.
17Sep - Today the water and wind were near perfect...and finally as predicted. Guest Bob Bryngelson and I didn't go far as we set up just as the sun was cracking the horizon. About 15 minutes elapsed when we got our first hit and as it turned out, there were two fish on one line, both leans around 4#. Shortly after that Bob caught another nice Laker while I took my rigger up to 110' in 150' of water so I could slow the boat down. As we netted Bob's fish, my downrigger went off and we caught another double on one line. As we neared an hour and a half trolling time on the water, we boxed the last and smallest Laker, about a 2#er. All the fish appeared to be leans. Most were at 150' but obviously, some were suspended. We got no hits on the steel line running bottom, but I did lose a weight and a lure which I'd like to say were lost on a fish but they weren't. Talk about a beautiful day on the water!
There is an addendum here. Bob is from Niagara, Wisconsin and has a beautiful Lund boat. He's getting new windows for his house and he said his wife told the delivery driver to place all the new windows in front of his boat. I think I saw more humor in that than Bob did.
15Sep - More bouncy water like the last time with a slowly dying north wind as my guest Tony Elliot and I set up. We had only 2 lines in the water when we caught our first Laker and it wasn't long before we caught our second. Things were hopping as we caught 6 Lakers, 2 of which were on one line to finish up in an hour and 15 minutes. Three of the Lakers were around 15' from the 150' bottom, and one around 40' up, the rest near the bottom as best we could hold the lures there with the rough water. Only one of the Lakers was what I consider a lean. Our catch included an 8# and 6#, and couple of 4# Lakers.
13Sep - More north winds but they were letting up as Duane Lietha and I headed north only a short distance in 2-3' rollers. One of the few other boats out was Minerva, whose owner Dave was finally able to get repaired and back into the water after being out of commission for a over a year. Dave and I haven't met but do communicate periodically through email and on the marine radio. We used to talk about his "Oh Mannnnnnn!" expression when something went wrong. Today being Friday the 13th, I fully expected at least some little glitch. Well, the Minerva was nearby and I could see all three guys jumping around and cranking the downriggers and lines up. Then Dave got on the marine radio to tell me to he was dead in the water and they have 3 fish on. I steered around him and later got the report from Dave that their net had caught in the gas line and pulled it off. I was a little surprised not to hear Oh Mannnnnn! from Dave but that's not to say it wasn't said. Back to our fishing, Duane and I caught 6 lean Lakers, in a little over 2 hours but they weren't very big. Most were at the 150' level.
11Sep - It started out pretty rough with NW winds at 12 mph and 3' seas as my guest Bob Bryngelson and I fished directly into it. Slowly, the winds lessened but the fish were slow to hit. Finally, we caught a dink which in desperation, we tossed into the box. After about an hour, we finally hit into a couple of nice Lakers which I marked for location. However, we continued northward and when we swung back through that area, Bob had a real big Laker on that immediately broke off from the rigger. He wasn't making much progress against the fish but the line had an experimental stacker on it that was tangled and had to be removed. While Bob kept fighting the fish, in one of my less intelligent moments, I tried to remove the stacker by breaking the line. Unfortunately, I broke the main line instead so off went the fish, 150' of line, two lures, and a partridge in a pear tree. Not very bright on my part. Ah, but I wasn't done screwing up yet. Shortly thereafter, I was fooling with that same stacker when the lure got sucked into the small motor. Another stroke of genius. Don't quote me but I think I said $#%& or words to that effect.
After rerigging, we turned to pass through our hot spot, we managed to hit a 13# and 8# Laker and a couple more. Having our limit of 6 in the box, we were ready to wrap up with the equipment, only to get two Lakers on one rod and one on the other rod, all three of which we released and appeared in good shape. By then the wind and lake had settled considerably. Great day and now I know a few more not-to-do things.
9Sep - It looked like another go-for-it morning so I did with hopes the wind would not become unmanageable as predicted for later in the day. I didn't rove far and before I got my third line in, I caught a dink Laker that I considered releasing but didn't. The waves made the boat a little rocky but it was still very comfortable as I turned on my corner waypoint. Just then the rigger jumped and I caught a small but nice Laker. Dropping the line down again, it was about 100' on its way to 145' when another Laker hit, a nice 5#+ size. All that in 45 minutes so that was a blast.
8Sep - Yesterday, I fished on another boat and we caught 6 Laker and 2 Chinook, all in about 2 1/2 hours. Today, after hearing the forecast of 10-20 mph from the SW and seeing the trees bent half over, I debated going out several times, when the wind suddenly let up so I thought what the heck - go for it. Of course I went where I fished yesterday (actually an area I frequently fish) and tried the 140' water. After about an hour of nothingness, I hit a nice Laker on the steel wire line and got it nearly to the boat when it got off. I dropped the line down again, only to lose another. Then the rigger's both jiggled and I picked up a 2# and 4# Laker. I made the turn and was going into the wind when I remembered I hadn't set my stacker line out at 50' should there be any Chinook around so I started the rigger up to set it. I suspect it was around 40' from the bottom when it went off and I caught a 15.2# Laker after a long fight. I would have released it but it was exhausted and bloated and would not have survived. As it turned out, it was some of the finest, red and lean meat one could ever ask for. The DNR surveyor Brian looked at it and guessed it weighted 12#. I got home and put it on a digital scale where it weighed 15.2#. Wait until I see him next time. Fishermen should never underestimate the weight of their fish!
6Sep -We had quite a windy spell and I got out only once the past week, and that was with someone else where we caught 6 nice Lakers but I won't give details on that as it wasn't on my boat. This morning it was beautiful so I didn't head far north before starting. It was really slow fishing but I managed 3 small Lakers in a couple of hours. Action was spotty as the DNR survey guy said few fish were reported.
30Aug - Bob Turenne and I started the same place as I did yesterday. However, it was a lot slower and we fished for at least two hours before we even had a hit. An acquaintance called me on the marine radio and said he was killing them and I could see his boat less than a mile ahead, in the direction we were already going. As best I could figure, he had 4 Lakers in the box. We slowly picked up 4 Lakers but missed an added 3 right behind the boat and 2 more we didn't get to see. Finally, after 4 hours I suggested we quit and when I started the downrigger up, the other downrigger hit, then mine so we caught our 6 Lakers after all, albeit at the last minute. I believe the guy who was killing them caught his 6th a half hour before us.
28-29Aug - On Wednesday, my guests were Reed Morrison (the Dad), and his twins William (7) and Alec. My grandson Spencer Smith (6) was along as we encountered bumpy and windy conditions up north. We managed 2 nice Lakers but after two hours of those conditions, I suggested on our return trip we swing by an active eagle's nest where we got to view a beautiful eagle sitting nearby in a tree. We then swung by their Grandmother's camp where the boys shouted boastful comments to her about catching some nice Lakers. On Thursday, Reed, William, and Alec joined me on a beautiful, calm morning where we didn't travel nearly as far as the day before. We hit 10 Lakers, releasing one, and thoroughly enjoyed the nice water and great fishing. The boys learned teamwork, with one cranking the reel and the other holding up the rod. One Laker had a lamprey attached and I got it in the fish box but somehow it escaped. Don't know how that happened. Reed, William, and Alec had fished briefly with me two years previous, when it was so rough we couldn't leave the harbor and wetted a line only long enough to hook big Laker and lose it behind the boat.
26Aug - With several meetings and appointments today starting late morning, I planned a quick fishing trip. As I rounded the breakwater at 7:00 a.m., the a beautiful red sun was just breaking on the perfectly calm water. I didn't go far and set the steel line out and one downrigger. The other downrigger had a fray in the line I wanted to repair so I went to work on that. It wasn't 10 minutes and the rigger rattled and the 4# Laker gave me a heck of a fight. Another 20 minutes and I hit a smaller Laker, while still fixing the wire on the one. Finishing the repairs, I lowered the 2nd rigger and promptly got a 6# Laker on. While starting the one rigger up so I wouldn't get a fourth now that I had 3 Lakers in the box, wouldn't you know I hit another Laker so I took it to 50' so the Laker could equalize the pressure and I put all my other gear away. When I got the Laker up, it was about 4# and quite lively so I removed the hook while the fish was still in the water and he swam away in great condition. All the Lakers were in around 150' water and near the bottom. None of the stackers caught fish. As I headed in after a one hour fish, I saw a few familiar boats headed out. Man, I love to see that sun break on calm water! Fish are a great bonus.
24Aug - Today was our Queen City Lake Trout Classic contest. The weather was fantastic with calm winds and seas for most of the day. With my Cooler Crew of Mike Reckker and John Wells, we managed to take 4th place in the Lake Trout division. Of course those guys wanted to enter the salmon contest too, just in case. As I recall there were only 3 salmon taken during the contest and we weren't one of them. We didn't have any major goat ropes and had a real great time. Our hats off in appreciation to Frank Herveat and Dave Brassard for organizing the contest. Congratulations to Team Bird's Nest for taking 1st place.
23Aug - Ah yes, back fishing in the comfort zone, i.e., the last place we caught fish. My guest today was Robert Toutant, a master fisherman of Lake Superior fishing in his own right. When we launched at 7:30 a.m., there were 10 trailers in the lot so someone has been blabbing that fishing is picking up. We headed north on calm water with overcast skies. I could see an occasional rise on the calm water so I thought I'd run a surface line but with no great expectations. Good thing as once again we got diddly on the surface. I'd bet that was 30 trips where I ran a surface line with no results. Anyway, the Lake Trout action was good and we caught 6 nice Lakers in a little over 2 hours. Two of them were on one line, one being my experimental clipper being around 50' from the 140' bottom. More about that later. All in all, super day.
20Aug - Yes, we had a late afternoon run too, with our guests Dave Smith, Kurt Bedore, and Joe Cappello, the latter two being from the former Bomber Squadron at K I Sawyer, here visiting friends. Fishing conditions were near perfect as we headed north again. Between reminiscing about all the places they remembered when stationed here, e.g., pasties places, Great Hunan, Sugarloaf Mountain, Vangos, Little Presque Isle, etc., we caught 5 nice size Lakers in the 4# - 6# range, and probably missed as many. Of course there was the mandatory huge one lost right behind the boat, whose description is growing in size daily. Fish ranged in depth from 115' to 170'.
20Aug - Our guests this morning were Jessica 7, Emily 11, Lindsey 12, and Robert Blotter (the Dad). We headed north on a beautiful, sunny day. There was no shortage of fishing action as we caught 11 nice Lakers, released one, and must have missed 15 or so that were on for a while but we couldn't boat. We did set a boat record in that on three separate occasions, there were two fish on one line, the last ones being an 8# and 4# Laker. These charming and well-mannered young ladies were a pleasure to have on board and they worked hard reeling in the fish. However, it seemed they might have another side to them as they all wanted to "whack" the fish when we boxed them. I referred to them as the Wicked Whacking Women. Click here for their picture and use your back button when done viewing.
19Aug - With showers and light and variable winds predicted, Don Zalewski and I headed north in 12 mph north winds and 2-3'' seas and not a cloud in the sky. However, the lumpy water was quite fishable and we hit 3 nice Lakers and missed another going into the wind, turned and hit another 3 Lakers and missed another going down wind. The Lakers all ran around 4#, the largest was over 6# and all Leans. Three of our hits were approximately 30' from the 140' bottom we averaged. In two hours we were heading back, the wind still not backing down. Great day!
16Aug - Our guest today was Louie Carpinelli, George Patrick's (also with) brother-in-law, who fished with us last October. Talk about rough on the Big Pond, with westerly winds at 16 mph and 3' waves, predicted to settle of course. We headed a considerable distance north to one of my favorite spots where we fished into rough water and wind for nearly an hour and a half with nary a hit or mark on the graph. It was quite frustrating as a couple of other boats reportedly had several fish. Of course, you don't hear anyone bragging on the radio about not catching anything. I suggested to the crew that we not continue to beat our brains out, swing around, and just have a leisurely fish with the wind and waves as I could follow a ridge back for several miles. Action picked up quickly as we hit several Lakers in the last hour, ending with 8 in the box, one released as too small, and missed a couple. We caught two separate single line doubles with two fish on one line. Most fish were in the 130-140' range, with a couple caught about 25' from the bottom.
13Aug - The weather forecast called for showers in the morning and clearing around noon. I held off fishing until noon but it didn't rain all morning. George Patrick and I launched at noon with the rain starting. It rained the entire time we fished until we got back to the dock, when the sun came out. On leaving the dock, I talked with an acquaintance who had fished from 6:00 to noon fishing north and got only 3 Lakers so that's slooooow fishing. We decided to head east and ended with 4 Lakers, 3 of which were dinks (small) and the biggest, a 4# Laker, was caught about 40' from the bottom in 150' of water. I'm experimenting with stacking lines again so hopefully, more on this later.
10Aug - At 7:00 a.m., I headed east for a hopefully quick trip, before the wind kicked as predicted. Already the wind was at 12 mph out of the SSE. Only two boats launched before me. I started fishing in 130' and quickly hit a small Laker. Then I followed the bottom ridge along the 150' ridge for quite a ways before the long steel line hammered hard, then quickly lifted, indicating the fish got off before I could botch it myself. It wasn't but a minute and the downrigger went off and I hit a 6# Laker. Having marked both hits in the GPS, I circled and lowered the steel line to the bottom, only to have a Laker hit as I was letting the line down. Then a downrigger went off so there I was with a double when I already had two in the box. Murphy's Law once again so I released one. In a little over 1 1/2 hours I was headed in with three nice Lakers but ironically, the wind was dying, not picking up. I could hardly complain! Great time on the Big Pond!
8 Aug - Another beautiful day, with light winds out of the south east. George Patrick headed no more than a couple miles from white rocks, starting around 165' of water. We caught 4 Lakers if fairly short order and then they quit biting. We then figured it was the slight change in wind direction (yeah, right) but it was fun nonetheless. We talked with two other experienced boaters that came in when we did and one had 12 Lakers, one had one. Go figure.
7 Aug - After fishing Lake Michigan for Chinook for several days (don't ask for details but we had a great time), we're back in the Laker grove. Headed not too far out north in the afternoon and quickly hit 3 nice Lakers in 45 minutes, all in around 160' of water. The last two were a double and all weighed nearly 4#. Water was great with only light winds. Hope this is a good omen.
27 Jul - Today we had as our guest James Vanbeynen, a Marquette native home visiting home before returning to med school. Water conditions couldn't have been nicer and we quickly hit a small Laker. Then it got slow. We wandered into deep water and finally came up to 135' where we hit a double, one 7#. We ended with 5 Lakers in 4 hours and had the 6th one right behind the boat when it got off. My smoker is going as I type this.
26 Jul - Nort...again. at 8:00 a.m., I set up lines and worked deeper to the 150'+ where I religiously followed the bottom with 2 of the 3 lines. Eventually, I got a lean 7# Laker, but on the rigger set about 25' from the bottom, then a 4# Laker on that line. I did have a lamprey attached to the Laker which I put into the box, where he'll never see Lake Superior again. I resisted the urge to raise the other lines and finally got my last Laker near the bottom. The calm water and winds were perfect. I was really quite glad it took 3 hours.
24Jul - As I sit here entering my fishing log, I feel exhausted after taking as my guest, my friend and master of the goat rope and dog and pony show, no other than John Wells, the man whose own boat is aptly named the "Loose Cannon." We headed way up north, hoping to try the 150' or less water, even though it has been lousy for me this year so far. Well, I caught two small Lakers while John was untangling his Dipsy Diver from the downrigger, which was wrapped around the stacker line. It wasn't pretty! Things finally settled down and we boated 6 nice Lakers, all in around 150' of water. In talking with several other boaters later, all did quite well too. The water was super as was the temperature...and the entertainment!
23Jul - Today I had as a guest Adam Hall (15), who fished with me early July, last year. Then we caught 6 Lakers in 2 hours. This trip was a bit bouncy, even with little wind and we had to fish quite a bit deeper than a year ago. We had steering problems with the small engine so we quit after landing 4 nice Lakers, the largest 7 pounds. That fish was lassoed somehow, with the line wrapped around its head and the lure trailing behind by about 3'. It was a challenge fishing with a powerful current, big rollers, and temperamental steering but we still had a good fishing trip.
22Jul - Another day with a windy forecast but no evidence of wind. Not being too bright, I went out anyway, the winds building to only around 10mph from the west. I didn't get a hit or anything in the 165' range for a couple of hours so I decided to troll to a 200' area I had been to recently. In the meantime, the wind died off and it got hot. When I got to my spot, almost 3 hours after I started, I immediately caught two nice Lakers, the largest 6#. Then wham, the wind roared in from the west and turned the boat around. I got the hint and untangled the modest mess of lines and called it a day. I was the only boat out from either harbor except for the Indians setting nets.
19Jul - After a day of non-fishable water, Ross (Tony) N. Pearson Jr. and I headed north. Water conditions were perfect. We worked from the usual 110' and picked up two Lakers around 150'. The next 4 Lakers were all in around 200' of water. All the Lakers were on the small side. I dragged a lure on the surface - again, but caught nothing. I think that's at least 15 trips using a surface line that provides only entertainment, but no fish. However, if one doesn't have a line in the water, chances are good one won't catch a fish. Maybe the fish don't know I have it in the water? Perhaps next time I'll tell them.
17Jul - With my guest John Ovink, we headed north in slightly roily seas, despite there being almost no wind. We fished from 120' to 180' and managed only one Laker. I knew moving over only a hundred yards we could try the 200' water and we caught a double. We circled that spot and picked up one more Laker which came off right behind the boat but was floating on the surface. It was no small feat to quickly haul in the other downrigger and lines and turn the boat but we did and were able to net the fish. The water conditions were super and although the air temperature got a little warm at times, it still beat being on shore.
16Jul - Tried way up north again, only to hit one Laker at 137', while ranging from 112' to 200'. I noticed two boats about a mile east working back and fourth and looking as they knew what they were doing. However, I also knew it was 200'+ of water but I fished over there to see if it was better than where I was. I eventually picked up two decent sized Lakers there, the one boat who I recognized, had his limit and took off. The other boat still had two Lakers when I left and was quite frustrated when he saw the big boat with 3 Lakers on at one time. I pointed out to him that boat fishes directly off the downriggers, no fishing rods and overall, that's more productive. Fishing with releases in deep water as we were doing is difficult. I fished one downrigger suspended the whole time and moved it constantly hoping for a hit. Zippo!
15Jul - Today was a mixed emotion day with super nice water to fish but some tackle misfortune to let us know fishing isn't always smooth. I headed north early on a beautiful, calm morning, the second boat to launch. Before setting up, I ran an electronic temperature device down to near 100', just for curiosity. I have listed the temperatures every 5', click here to see the schedule. I was hoping to see a nice temperature break but didn't so I varied one rigger up and down as I fished, hoping to hit some suspended Lakers. The short story is I didn't get anything suspended, but over time hit two small Lakers near the bottom in 170' of water. While running the one rigger out to touch bottom, I watch helplessly as the line snapped at the spool and all the line, lead weight, and two releases disappeared to the bottom. It appeared the line had caught on a splice and broke, even though the splice held. Bummer! While trying to fix the downrigger, I noticed the steel line out the back nearly bent in two and my first thoughts were it was hung up. It didn't take long to see it was a fish, and a very large one as I couldn't even crank the reel. I slowed the boat to a crawl and I had all I could do just to keep the rod up. This went on for about one minute, then a surge, then the rod became lighter. Rats! The fish got off. Time to head in for maintenance.
13Jul - I headed out early on a beautiful morning so I could get back early. Well, I headed east for a change of pace. It was no change from the slow pace. I went nearly 3 hours without even a hit, even though there were some huge marks on the graphs. If the graph could show zzzzzzz for the sleepy Lakers that's what would have showed up. While waiting for the fishing action to pick up, I went through all the boat compartments refreshing my memory what was in them. There were a few surprises. Then I listened to the radio for a while. Looked for some snacks but discovered they were all gone so I settled for a couple more cups of coffee. Finally, when it was nearly time to quit, I caught a small Laker (dink) which I shook off at the boat thinking it was pretty small and in good shape and I didn't want to clean just one small fish. Guess what, when I started up with the downrigger, I caught another Laker, this time a little bigger and one that wouldn't have made it if returned so in the box he went and home I went. A snoozer of a day but talk about beautiful on the water!
11Jul - Today we headed north as conditions were super - no wind and just a gentle rolling action on the water. Our guests were George Patrick and his Grandson, Tom Birtch (16). We started at 112' of water and went about an hour before we hit our first Laker at around 170'. Then shortly after that we hit a triple - two on one line and one on the other. Then it got quiet for fishing. We didn't get another fish but had two shakers on my downrigger. Final tally was 4 nice Lakers in 3 hours. Still what I consider to be really slow, but talk about nice out on the water.
7 Jul - Nephew Ed Beauchamp and I headed north in calm waters thinking positive fishing thoughts. The marine radio silence was deafening from the lack of good fishing reports. Our positive fishing thoughts were tested by the super-slow fishing, resulting in only two small Lakers in over 3 hours. We missed a third behind the boat. Fish marks were equally scarce. Another boat near us that usually does very well was there the whole time so I doubt they did much better. Fishing conditions? Oh, they were wonderful for us. Fish too as they're still out there.
5 Jul - Another calm day so I thought I'd jig a while. Last time was great fun. I found my structure and fished for over an hour without a single hit. I then moved a couple of miles and set up trolling deeper water. In less than an hour I caught 3 nice Lakers, all well off the bottom - probably 40' off in 170' of water. I don't normally fish those depths but when alone, I sometimes keep one rigger higher so I don't have to mess with it going up and down.
3Jul - I headed quite a way north and fished what I call the black hole, as if you wander off the ridge, it gets to well over 250' of water. Once again the water was calm and only one other boat around. His motion to me was he wasn't doing much better than the two Lakers I had at the time. After he passed, I caught a double, releasing one. Depths ranged from 118' to 170' so no pattern there. However, two were on stacker lines some 20' from the bottom.
2Jul - Tom LaPointe, who hadn't fished with me this year yet, and I headed past white rocks in the evening. The water was calm but the clouds looked iffy so we didn't stay but over an hour and a half. I suggested heading in as it got progressively darker. We had caught two dinks so we weren't skunked. We weren't home half an hour and the lightening flashed and rain poured.
1Jul- It was another beautiful fishing day to head nort, past Little Presque. Nort (Yooper-speak for North) worked yesterday for me so George Patrick and I thought it might work again. It did. Today there were no goat ropes or dog and pony shows, just a great fishing trip where we caught 6 nice Laker in just over 3 hours, all around 170' of water. Didn't miss a one. We did roast a little when the wind was completely dead but the temperature was under 75 degrees most of the time so we didn't complain.
30Jun - Once again we had a wind forecast for 15-25mph so I didn't plan to go fishing. At 6 a.m., 7, and 8 there wasn't a leaf moving. I tried to call the NWS to see when the wind was to pick up but I got a busy tone. Finally, at 9 a.m., I launched my boat and headed north with the plan to fish until it got too breezy. The water was calm and the air was 64 degrees with a gentle breeze. I quickly hit a small Laker at 118' and another at 177' half an hour later. I noted some marks at the 90' level so I fished the whole time with one rigger set to about that depth. I hooked the 3rd Laker on the bottom and fought it right to the boat, only to get off. I really didn't mind as it was beautiful on the water, especially knowing the prediction on land was for the upper 90s.
Nearing the two hour mark, I hit a nice Laker on the steel line. While reeling that in, I raised my starboard rigger to at least 50' off the bottom so I could slow the boat down and not drag bottom. Also to reduce the likelihood of catching another Laker as the one I had on would fill my limit. Well, guess what...I looked over only to see the raised rigger jumping, and then the other rigger, which was already raised, jumping. A triple! I had to release 2 nice Lakers. I thought of yesterday when I had guests along and we struggled to get a couple of Lakers. As I pulled up to the launch, a blast of hot air hit me and I knew what I wasn't missing.
29Jun - Guests John and Charlene (13) Simonian from California joined me as we fished from the sand hole east to Shot Point. The conditions were perfect - for us. However, the Lakers were not in a feeding mode. A super fisherman friend stopped by before we left and said he'd been doing well in 190'+ water north but nooooooo, I went east and fished 150+ where we got squat! We worked to deeper water and saw some huge marks at 180' of water but didn't link up. Results: Two small Lakers in the box and missed one right behind the boat. Super day on the water. Hey, when it's 67 degrees air temp and above 80 degrees on shore, what's not to like?
27Jun - Got up at dark-o'clock hoping to get out and back in time before an appointment. The mist and wind were both worse than I was led to believe so I cancelled. By mid afternoon, after my appointment, conditions were excellent with no wind and clear skies. I fished the sand hole for 2 hours and managed a couple of Lakers in 155' of water. Didn't mark a single fish on the bottom but marked several from 70' to 95'. I fished suspended at that depth for a while but didn't do any good.
25Jun - It was calm but hazy as Bob Turenne and I headed north towards Little Presque Isle. More slow fishing was our style as we went nearly 2 hours before we had a hit. We did see a couple caught in nearby boats but not many. Then, in short order, we had 3 Lakers in the box and missed a fourth. The flies were thicker than I can ever recall but at least they didn't bite - just annoy. We thought the fly problem was just on the water but when we returned, many people were complaining. We're still wondering what they're doing several miles from shore.
22Jun - Back to slow fishing. Rod Smith and I headed north for a planned short trip and came up with two small Lakers in just under 3 hours. That's not very good. The water was calm but the fog was thick. I don't recall marking a single fish, for whatever that's worth. We stuck pretty much to the 140' - 160' water. Even with the slow fishing, it was a nice day on the water, clearing off as we came in.
21Jun - Today was a blast. I was fishing alone so I thought why not try jigging, seeing as it was so calm. I headed to a spot I found last year where the bottom came up to 53' from 250' around it. There weren't any marks on the graph so I jigged right off the bottom, the usual place to catch Lakers. Then I noticed a fish on the graph at 56' while I was in 100' water at the time. I quickly reeled up to 56' on my line counter reel and voila, much to my surprise I got a quick hit and caught a nice 3# Laker. Couldn't believe it! About 15 minutes later, I saw large mark on the bottom, the kind I sometimes see a while trolling and wondered how big the fish was that made that big a mark. Well, that mark caught me off guard and really hit hard, turning into a 5# Laker. After those two fish, a man and a woman in a small boat came trolling close by and caught a fish. I have never seen anyone troll so slowly in my life. He must have had one blade on his motor. Hey, they caught a fish! After two hours of no other action, I decided to troll for my last Laker.
I ran a couple of miles and set up near a friend who launched when I did. He teased me about how hard it was to catch the last fish. He only had two Lakers at the time too. After about half an hour of trolling, one downrigger bounced and I reeled in two Lakers on one line. I released the second one just as a boat went by with 4 guys in it. I don't think they saw any humor in that. Just as I released that fish, I caught another before I could haul up the lines and had to release that. I'll stretch my imagination and say that was a triple. What a fun day.
18Jun - The forecast for wind backed way down overnight so at 0630, I headed to fish shallow, where I did very well a week earlier. Obviously, that was a week earlier and I didn't even get a bump so I moved to deep water. I was getting bummed as after 3 hours, as I hadn't had even a hit. The marine radio was abuzz with whining about how slow it was fishing. Finally, I got a double and then after deciding to quit, I walked over to the downrigger only to watch it start bouncing. Perfect timing with my third Laker, a nice 4#. What a super day on the water, even if it was slow. There wasn't a ripple on the water the whole time.
17Jun - With guests Don Anderson, a former salmon fisherman and now a master bluegiller, and his friend Donna, we headed north on a beautiful, calm morning. Fishing was slow but we managed 3 Lakers in a couple of hours. We saw the usual boats in the area but didn't talk with any of them. Donna said she had the largest fish but then she caught two of the three so odds were good she would. On our return trip we took pictures of an eagle sitting on a tree a 100' from its nest.
14Jun - Fished the sand hole in the evening and marked several big fish but the graph showed they all had their mouths locked closed (fishermen have good imaginations). Brother Ed and I only managed one 2# Laker in over 2 hours. We both agreed fishing conditions were perfect but apparently the fish didn't know that.
13Jun - I didn't go far with the threat of rain but it was calm so I got an early start. Fished from 100' to 170' but mostly in the 150' range. In two hours I could only shake loose one 4# Laker, but also lost one. I quit when the weather started to look threatening. The surface water temperature was 43 degrees and the air 44 degrees.
9Jun - Yesterday's forecast for today was windy. I woke up this morning and the trees were not moving at all. The forecast had changed to light winds so off I went. Instead of returning to either of the spots we had luck the last times, I tried shallow where we got skunked previously and voila, I hit 3 nice Lakers, each around 6 pounds. The water was perfect and the Lakers really put up a great fight. What a nice treat!
8Jun - We took a chance the thunderstorms and rain during the night would move out by early morning and it worked. Guest Don Zalewski and I headed out in heavy fog but calm water to head north. With one eye on the radar and the other out the windshield, we didn't see any boats enroute. It wasn't long after we set up that we caught a Laker, then a double. Within 2 hours we caught 5 Lakers and then the usual struggle to get the last one. However, it was just beautiful on the water, fog or no fog. Finally, after a considerable time we tied into a 7#+ Laker and wrapped it up.
Later in the day I ran across and old friend Dave Gossett and invited him out to fish in the evening. After all, it was free fishing weekend so away we went. It was still clear and calm and Dave caught 3 nice Lakers in an hour and a half. We talked with Ed, our friendly DNR fish surveyor and he said he checked 12 boats for 27 fish (included three Coho) so I guess we didn't do that badly.
6Jun - 'Twas calm and cool when 'Rat' Radtke and I left early to head east and shallow water. Well, just because you caught a few there the day before doesn't mean a thing. We didn't get a hit so we headed for #13 (some of you will know where that is) off shot point. Well, that spot is almost always good for a fish but even that was slow and produced only two small Lakers but we missed 3, if that's any consolation. Rat commented several times, as did I, that we couldn't have conditions much better, but we weren't sure the fish new that. It was a great day on the water but not the best fishing for us. We heard of several other boats that did much better than us.
5Jun - George Patrick and I headed east to fish a little shallower than usual. Not much boat traffic but we did run across Harry 'Crack 'o dawn' Purvis who had 3 Lakers. George and I didn't get a hit for nearly 2 hours. I mentioned to George that sometimes you have to mention we're going somewhere else to fish and that's when you catch a fish. Guess what? It worked twice today. It took nearly 4 hours to catch 3 Lakers but it didn't matter as the water was super, if not still cold at 48 degrees, the air 43 degrees. George commented it was great just to be on the water. Two of the Lakers approached 5# and one was over that.
4Jun - Today I launched at noon, the only boat to launch midday and perhaps all day. The waves were under 1' but the north breeze was cold. The water was 40.5 degrees and the air 40.6 degrees at 2:00 p.m., on 4 June. That's not cool, that's cold for this time of year. Folks, as I recall the water temperature is well into the 50s in other years and air temperature at least 60. Anyway, I caught 3 dinks (what I call small Lakers) in 160' and I think they were part Lake Trout and part Lethargic. Not much fight. Perhaps they're waiting for the water to warm too.
3Jun - At 0655, I was only the second boat to launch. The owner of the first boat managed to park his boat trailer and vehicle across two parking places so I gave him latitude when I parked mine. The water was flat after churning all day yesterday. The water temperature was 41.6 degrees and the air was 40 degrees. I started at 90' and worked up to 170'. After only ten minutes, I hit a nice Laker, only to lose it half way up. However, while rigging that, I caught two fish on the other downrigger on one line. One was quite small so I released it. I then caught two more Lakers, the largest 4#, all within an hour's time. For once there were people at the launch when I came in with my limit. Usually people only show up when I have just one or two or none.
Interim Update: Thirteen trips, 59 fish in 43 hours for a catch rate of 1.3 fish per hour. No skunks yet this year.
1Jun - The NWS called for winds of 15 - 25 by noon so I didn't head out. Noon came and went and it was still calm. By late afternoon, I called the NWS and asked if the wind was coming or not and meteorologist told me to go fishing. I did, right after supper and it was a beautiful, calm evening. After about 45 minutes, I lost two Lakers, one right behind the boat. After getting set up again, I caught a 4# Laker, then a 3# one. Once again, as luck would have it, when I got the 3rd one on, the downrigger I had cranked high off the bottom started bouncing with a fish. I intentionally shook off the smaller Laker and kept the one on the downrigger. In under 2 hours of fun, I headed in. No sign of wind around. All the fish were in 155' and were all within a few hundred feet of each other as I circled the hot spot. Two were probably 30' or more off the bottom, someplace I seldom fish.
30May -With yet another threat for rain by noon, my Brother Ed and I headed out early in the fog, north of white rocks. At that point the wind wasn't strong but would increase steadily. After an hour of no hits or marks, we caught a 10 1/2# Laker, followed quickly by a dink. We ended with 5 Lakers, mostly 3# and hurried off the Lake as the dark clouds formed and the wind really picked up. It was 48 degrees on the Lake and probably near 70 when we got to the ramp. Ed Barr, the friendly fish survey taker was there to greet us.
29May - The forecast was for rain by noon (didn't happen) so at 6:30 a.m., I headed north of white rocks to stay somewhat close should I need to make a run for it. I set my long steel line out in 90' of water and had just reached to set up my rigger when the steel line started throbbing. It wasn't a minute before that fish hit - a nice 5 1/2# Laker too. Caught two dinks (my definition of Lake Trout under 2#) in the next 2 hours. I had just boxed the last and was about to pull up the other downrigger when a fish hit it. I raised the downrigger (the breakaway didn't break away) 50' at a time while I put my other gear away so as to let the fish adjust to the change in pressure as I planned to release it. It was around 4# and I just kept it in the water without netting with hopes it would get off. It did after fighting for a minute, then quickly swam away. I'm not a fan of catch and release for Lake Trout as I don't think their survival rate is all that good coming from deep water. However, I had no choice here. The water was flat as a pancake, albeit 39 degrees, but it was also sunny. What a beautiful day! On my way in I noticed very near white rocks an apparently unmarked Indian net with 6 floats tangled together but no flag. I could see the dead fish in the net and it was my guess it was adrift. I'll notify the DNR.
28May - Wow, another great day. I was just about to back away from the dock when Doug LaMora pulled up with his boat in tow. I suggested Doug fish with me so he parked his vehicle and boat in the lot and off we went. We headed to the sand hole and continued southeast in 140' to 170'. Talk about slow fishing! We finally got a nice Laker after better than a hour and while that one was on, we had one on the other rigger for a few minutes but which got off. The wind was only 8 mph from the northeast but was only 44 degrees. The surface water was 41 degrees. For fish, we finally caught 4 lean Lakers, all nearly identical around the 3 pound range and we missed a total of 4. Doug and I solved 4 major world problems, all between catching fish. In the 5 hours, we had plenty of time for that. However, there's more work to be done out there. We got in to the marina completely over-dressed as the temperature there was in the 70s. Eh, eh!
27May - Following 6 days of more wind, George Patrick and I headed several miles north on a cool, calm morning. We were surrounded by several other boats where we stopped, some of whom we knew. I think we went 2 1/2 hours before we got a hit. The water was calm and the air crisp but comfortable with almost no wind. We then picked up a second Laker and in the 4 hours we fished, we got 5 nice lean Lakers. All were tight to the bottom. We started at the 110' depth and varied it up to 180' but most were caught at 150'. The only person we talked with got his 5 in deep water which I interpreted as 200'+. We also heard a few other boat that didn't have any or only one. We are due lots more of these calm days after this crappy winter and spring. It is particularly noteworthy that the ice I take with to put in the cooler has lasted for 6 trips. That's a clue it's not been warm.
21May - Gee, it's only been 10 days since the wind stopped enough to fish but it finally happened. Jim 'Rat' Radtke and I headed 'nort' on a beautifully clear and calm morning. Disregard it was 42 degrees and the surface water 39 degrees, just 2 degrees warmer than the 23 of April. As we neared Little Presque Isle, we could see Polar Star and Geneal, two boats that have their own groove worn in the bottom from fishing there so much. Within a half hour we had two hits, and promptly lost them both within seconds. We heard on the marine radio others were not doing well either, including two frustrated charter boats that had caught zip. Rat worked hard on the steel line rod, pumping it constantly. We then got a double on the downriggers. Back to pumping the steel line. Finally, we caught one more at 153' of water and I found it was right about where the others were caught per the GPS. We circled to pass through the hot area and Rat kept working the steel line. We hit a couple more Lakers on the downriggers and after a while I suggested he set the rod down. It wasn't 1 minute after putting it in the rod holder that the rod jumped and he caught an 8# Laker. After all our talk about how productive it was to 'work' the lures by pumping, so much for putting in the rod holder. We laughed about that for quite a while but that wasn't the first time that happened. As it turned out, we caught 6 Lakers, all around 3# each except for the big one, 5 of which were within a single area we marked with the GPS and mostly 155' - 170' of water. It took us 4 1/2 hours but that was perfect.
11May - I think we were the first to use the Presque Isle Marina since it reopened. George and I headed out early, expecting it to be calm but we started with SE winds at 12 and a fair chop to the water. The air was 37 degrees and surface water 39 degrees, the latter only one degree warmer than a couple of weeks previous. We set up in 150' feet of water and varied between 140' and 160' where we slowly caught 5 Lakers, the largest 4#. George opted not to use anise oil on his lures and caught 2 Lakers. We probably marked only 10 fish on the graph but they were huge marks, apparently of fish that were not hungry.
We saw a vehicle pull up in the marina lot as we were heading out. Ironically, it was someone I've communicated with and who has his own fishing web site. Click here to see pictures of us as we left.
5May - I launched at the Cinder Pond as the Presque Isle Marina is still closed. The air was 38 degrees, same as the water temperature but it was finally calm. I set up in 150' of water when the steel line started jumping and the bell ringing. It wasn't a fish but rather skim ice that had formed overnight and was hitting the lines. After 45 minutes of nothing, I got two Lakers on at once and boxed them both. There were very few marks on the graph. After better than an hour or more passed, one downrigger really rocked and I found there were two Lakers on one line (one lure being on a stacker line) and while I was releasing one Laker, the other downrigger went off so I actually had a triple. As luck would have it, I had to release that one too. Although the air was cold, there wasn't so much as a ripple on the water and it was quite comfortable and great fishing.
1 May - This being one of the suckiest springs I can recall in a while, it seemed a ray of sunshine when we got the NWS word that the Lake Superior surf would be down today and it wouldn't be raining...and they were right this time. As a result, George Patrick and I headed east on a beautifully calm morning, even though the temperature was 38 degrees. It looked like George took his whole closet of clothes with him, not counting what he was wearing. As we set up in 150' of water, George innocently produced a small bottle of anise oil for putting on his lures. He claimed it was in his coat pocket since last year. This of course rekindled last year's discussions of the most effective lure-scenting techniques - WD-40, nothing, or anise oil. Well, George used the oil and out of principle, I used WD-40 on my lures (whereas I lately have been using nothing).
Perhaps it was coincidence or perhaps the 6 Lakers we caught in 150' of water were all spooked to my side of the boat by the anise oil. Maybe I have George to thank for that. What will be interesting is to see what George uses on his lures next time. As to fishing conditions, it was a fantastic day to be on the water and not at all cold. We had a great time.
23Apr - The forecast was good so Lampinen and I headed nearby to the sand hole as wind predictions were for 10-20mph, but they didn't say when. We started at 135' and ended with 3 Lakers, the largest 4.5lbs. They were in 165' of water and two were on stacker lines about 15' off the bottom. The wind didn't materialize while we were out there but the warmest it got was 38 degrees. Still, it was great fishing water. Looks like the next few days will be a washout per the NWS but who knows.
22Apr -The wind slowed to what I felt was enough to try the sand hole. Turning the break water corner there were 2-3' waves with the wind from the NE at 12mph. So much for slowing. On top of that, the air was 37 degrees as was the water temperature. Anyway, I fished from 100' to 160' depths and hit 2 Lakers in 3 hours. Not too impressive but hey, fun. Both were at 150' depths.
19Apr - Thought I'd temporarily post an acquaintance's 16apr02 letter to The Mining Journal on local fishing. Please use your back key to return here.
15Apr - With guest Dave Lampinen, we launched at the Cinder Pond, as the Presque Isle Marina is currently closed. This was our shakedown trip and it could not have gone smoother. The equipment worked perfectly. The water was flat as a pancake with virtually no wind. Even though the water temperature was 36 degrees and the air 42 degrees, it was very comfortable. We fished eastward from 140' to 160' of water almost to Shot Point and it took forever to catch our first Laker. Dave is an old salt at working the steel line and he worked hard at it the whole time. The one Laker that hit his line gave a couple of big reefs and took the propeller lure right off behind the dodger. Embarrassingly for me, not only was the line on the propeller lure probably 10 years old, I didn't have any more peanuts or flies on board, seeing as I don't normally use them. We ended with 3 Lakers, the largest 3 1/2 pounds, and missed two. The one I missed broke the line, not because it was a big fish but because I suspect because there was a nick in the line. I guess I have to refer to my list of more creative excuses and maybe strip and replace a little line here and there too. We're baaaaaccccckkkkk folks!
6Apr - Here we are in early April and the snow hasn't gone much. I'm waiting! People mention how anxious I must be to get out on the Big Pond. I mention to them that I'm not as anxious as is my wife for me to go out on the Big Pond.
6Mar02 - Here we are in early March with snow up to our butts but does that stop us from thinking about fishing? Noooooooooo! Warm weather? Nooooooooooooo! Stay tuned.
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