"Cooler By The Lake"
2004 Fishing Log
Synopsis for 2004 (Click here to see 2005)
Overall, it was wonderful fishing year. As usual, we were off to a slow start in the Spring and early Summer, for reasons unbeknownst to me. Then fishing picked up and as you may recall, on the 26th of August I officially stopped my whining about how slow it was. As it turned out, my fish per hour rate ended at an all time high of 1.74 fish per hour for the season. The moral of the story might be that whining pays off sometimes but I'd rather think that I just got a little luckier and the fish were hitting a little better. The Fall fishing improved quite a bit this year too. Below are a graph of my fish per hour rates over the years and a table with some statistics. It's interesting to note that I had 23 single line doubles where there were two fish on one rod, one on the main line and one on the stacker line. Usually this happens only around 8 - 10 times per season.
Another factor besides catching fish is the enjoyment of time on the water and all the special guests that joined me. It was a super year in that regards but the frosting on the cake was we seemed to have some great catches whenever I had guests. Thank you for looking in on us and your nice comments. I hope to see you next year. I'll try to update my Woodshed soon. Joe
Fishing summary for 2004
266 (265 last year)
101 (93 last year)
Fish per hour
1.74 (1.38 last year)
Total fish caught
472 (includes released fish) 382 last year
Skunks during year
5 (4 last year)
Number & average weight of Lake Trout
3.5 lbs. (3.2 lbs. last year)
Number of Steelhead
Number & average weight of Coho
11, averaging 2.2# each.
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2004 (Lake Trout only - see above chart)
.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, 1.58,1.55,1.60,1.38,1.74
9 Nov - One more last time! The NWS promise of light winds until late morning were a little off. I launched in 30 degree light winds at 8a but within 15 minutes, winds were 10 to 15 mph, sometimes more. I fished an hour, dodging the 4 sets of DNR nets and one set of Indian nets I could see in the rough water, but nary a hit. Not having a hit is not an all-bad thing and made it just a little easier to put the boat up today. I'm officially in mourning now that the Cooler By The Lake is put away for the season. Stay tuned for my report for the year.
3 Nov - In a light breeze but 36 degree air, John Wells and I started shallow but produced little until we hit a 4# Laker in deeper water. That area produced little else after that so we move to our productive location last trip and picked up a few more Lakers, one of which was quite large and we had to turn the boat to slow down buy running with the wind. Well, the fish promptly caught in the Dipsy Diver line and we lost it. The tally for the day was 5 Lakers hooked, all on the planner board and one of those lost to a Dipsy Diver which gets charged with a minus Laker. Not a hit on the riggers or Dipsy. Conditions were great with bright sunshine. The winds didn't kick until near quitting time. Looks like a bad change in the forecast for the next several days but who knows.
1 Nov - Frank and I were the only boat out for most of the morning. The water and winds were near calm, the air 42 degrees and surface water 49 degrees. We set up and fished one of the more reliable areas but came up with nothing. We decided to move and dodge one of the nets (we didn't think should be there) enroute. As soon as we got to my other favorite spot, we hit a nice Laker off the (it kills me to say this) Dipsy Diver. About an hour later we hit a double. It was slow going after that and we finally boxed our 4th Laker. We thought one more run when we hit a 6 1/4# Steelhead that was absolutely wild. Frank just hung on while the clicker on the reel whined as the Steelhead made several good runs before he was able to bring it in close enough to net. We ended missing a Laker at the last minute but still it was a great day, with 5 nice fish in a little under 5 hours. Didn't seem like that long. Here's some pix.
26 Oct - Frost was in the air as Art and I launched at 9a. Conditions were great and it didn't take long before hitting our first Laker, a little over 7#. That was followed by two more Lakers in the next 2 hours. As we were ready to wrap it up some 4 hours into our mission, we caught our 4th, a nice 8# Laker with a yellow DNR tag, which we called in (doesn't pay anything though.) Winds were decent from the east and at times it was a little rolly polly but talk about beautiful scenery. Whenever the sun showed its face, the leaves with some color still remaining, were beautiful contrasting against the blue water. We're kind of surprised the leaves are still hanging on as much as they are. I thought they had all come down...in our yard.
25 Oct - With the DNR just pulling nets several hundred yards away, Art and I set up in modest winds. It wasn't a minute after setting up the first downrigger before it went off and we had our first Laker. Well, we spent the next few hours searching for more and apparently had caught the only one in the area. We had one other hit, which turned into a miss. The wind in the mean time had built steadily to 15 mph but it was still quite fishable when we got off.
24 Oct - It started out breezy so I didn't go out until 10a when it looked a little more settled. I had just set the second downrigger when it hung bottom and I lost both lures. With the wind running from 18 - 23mph, it had the makings of a challenging day. But I thought, heck, much as I hate Dipsy Divers, they generally work so I should put one out. I did and shortly thereafter, had a hit on my one downrigger in the water. The 6# Laker promptly tangled in the Dipsy line. On top of everything else, the Laker was on the stacker line, making netting even more difficult. After struggling with that mess, surprisingly I boxed the fish after putting the net together while fighting the fish. Pretty ugly netting job, but effective! In came the Dipsy rod! It got quickly better when I got another hit on a downrigger and that one came in without incident. I caught my 3rd Laker within 40 minutes of starting, again on a rigger. Who needs Dipsy Divers? I then put the gear away and just sat down and ate my 3 warm chocolate chip cookies my wife sent with me. It was a forty minute turn-around from goat rope day to a great day.
21 Oct - With high hopes of good water and good fishing, my guest Bob Bryngelson and I headed to shallow water, only to find a quick hit and miss on a Dipsy Diver, the not another hit in shallow. We then fished north as the winds slowly built and hit a 11.5# Laker in 90'. The Laker had a yellow tag, which has no reward but which we called in to the DNR with the length (34.5"), date, and location. We caught 4 other Lakers in roughly 140' of water. The air was 52 degrees and water surface temperature 51 degrees and overall, despite the bumpy water, a beautiful day.
20 Oct - The day started cloudy and a little bumpy but slowly improved. My guest Frank Lorsbach and I headed out of the harbor, but not too far. There were several other boats in the area so we all kind of jockeyed around just fine. We missed our first hit, then shortly after caught a nice 5# Laker. Then we started missing fish, including a very large Laker Frank fought for probably 25 minutes and I finally got a look at right behind the boat. As luck would have it and despite our precautions to move and pull lines, the Laker caught another line and away he went. Frank thought it was "Walter" but my guess was between 15# and 20#. Anyway, we went on to catch only one other Laker and miss a total of 6. We're not sure why. Another boat nearby caught 8, including a Steelhead and Coho. We had a great time but hope do better next time. Some of the other boats were not even as productive as we were.
18 Oct - With the past several days of stormy weather behind us, Art and I thought we'd just hit the shallow water as it looked pretty saw-toothy out deep. The wind was calm per the NWS but in reality, was 13mph from the north. It wasn't long before we caught a nice 4# lean Laker, then in 30 minutes, another, and in just shy of 4 hours, we caught our 6th lean Laker, all almost exactly 4# except for one nearly 7#. We were the only boat to launch and while it started breezy, the winds slowly diminished. Between fish, we watched the US Coast Guard practice a rescue.
13 Oct - Another early start on calm seas. Guest Frank Lorsbach and I had pretty steady action in 150 of water. The one rigger we set about 30' from the bottom did most of the work. We had a double and missed 5 Lakers, 3 of which were quite large as they all broke away from the riggers with a bang and had some real heft. However, we never got a look at them. We ended with 7 Lakers caught, releasing one. The largest was 8# but most were around 4#. The bad news was that two were fats and yucky. I can't complain much though as I haven't had but maybe 4 of these all year. Looks like another stretch of bad weather rolling in. Stay tuned as I'm not done yet. Frank took quite a few digital pictures and given a little time, maybe I'll post a few on my site.
12 Oct - Wanting to get on and off the Lake fairly quickly, Art and I launched a full half hour before sunrise, with cool still air and calm seas. It was only minutes after the sun peeked over the horizon that we had a triple, and landed all three. We stuck pretty much to the 150' depths but didn't always have our lures that close to the bottom. We later got 2 doubles and we ended up releasing a nice Laker. All were leans between 3# and 5#. In a little over 2 hours we were headed in with mixed emotion as conditions were fantastic and having heard the weather down hill slide starting tomorrow afternoon.
11 Oct - Art and I launched about 15 minutes before sunrise, with two fellow boaters right behind us. The wind and seas were perfect and it didn't take long before we missed a really big Laker we had halfway to the boat. Action stayed steady and we caught a 5# Laker, then a 12#, 11#, and 2#, when a 15# Laker hit the Johnson rod. With that steel line it was a job that Art had to work at and he was quite shocked that a fish could fight that hard for that long. There was a lamprey attached to the biggest fish so I netted quickly so as to get the lamprey into the box. That lamprey is now resting in lamprey heaven. Needing only one more Laker for our limit, we pulled the Johnson rod and another line, leaving both downriggers and a surface line with that ole overconfidence that we can just kick back and enjoy the beautiful day and catch the last one. Yeah, right. After about 45 minutes of nothingness, slight panic set in but it was all for naught as we caught our last fish, a nice 4# Laker which looked pretty small compared to the others but which would have been my biggest fish on a lot of days this past summer. Great day eh? Here's a picture of Art and the fish.
10 Oct - What a great day on the water with decent temperatures and almost no wind. The leaves have quickly turned into their many colors and the view was quite spectacular. My guest Tom LaPointe and I didn't head very far north and it didn't take long to get our first Laker. However, it was very slow going and we managed to miss several but finally boxed a 3 nice Lakers. Then, after nearly 4 hours we were just pulling in gear to quit when the rigger bell rang and the line started out. It took Tom quite a while to reel in the 19.5# Laker. He had just commented shortly before that we always catch fish but never any big ones. Here's a picture of Tom and his big one.
7 Oct - The forecast was for SW around 12mph. Yeah, right! With my guest Bob Brebner we headed north not too far before starting, hoping to fish with the wind. That was a quick trip and we only dropped 2 lines as the wind was pretty much at 20 mph and waves nearly 3'. Near the end of our quick first leg we hit a 12# Laker which was a challenge for Bob to get in as the wind was pushing us pretty fast. We tried to turn into the wind but quickly found out that it was too rough and we quit after only a half hour of fishing.
6 Oct - Finally with huffing and puffing winds slowed down enough for my guest John Wells and I to head out on a beautiful day. The trees at home were bending over in the wind but all the forecasts (it pays to shop around for good forecasts) showed settling winds. We hung 6 rods over the side in various configurations and hit a nice 3# Laker on the Johnson rod before long. It was slow fishing and well after an hour before John reeled in an 8# and 4# Laker on one line. We later hit into a 7# Laker and other than one one we missed, that was it for the 4 hours. I also hung bottom with a downrigger and lost a ball and lure. Could have been worse and it took a while to rerig. However, it was a beautiful after the water settled down. Looking around and talking to some of the others indicated it was a slow day for them too.
30 Sep - Today I was joined by another longtime friend, Frank Lorsbach. Frank fished with me several years ago on the Big Pond and is now retired from medical practice. We headed north in a cool breeze around 10 mph from the south. I set up the planner board and ran two lines out but had them all pulled it in within a half hour when the action started to pick up on the downriggers. It wasn't long before we hit a 10# Laker on a stacker line which Frank found to be a bit on the wild side for a Laker. That was one fighting Lake Trout. We caught a few more 5# Lakers then a 14# Laker which fought like the the devil. Frank was finally able to get it in netting range where we scaled and released it. We then caught another 5# Laker and then encountered a real downrigger bell ringer, a 22.5# Laker. We had to turn the boat with the wind and cycle the small motor in and out of gear to slow the boat down as the line on the reel was running low. Frank fought that fish for nearly half an hour. Finally, we got it in the net, weighed and released it, so it could spawn and produce more Lakers in the future, and hoping it was good at avoiding the Indian nets nearby. We ended with 5 beautiful lean Lakers in the box, plus having released two nice big Lakers. Most fish were in the 140' range, some near the bottom but 3 were on stacker lines, probably 20-30' off the bottom. I doesn't get much better than this. The bad news is the forecast for then next several days is not good, including the "s" word. Stay tuned.
29 Sep - My guest was longtime friend Phyllis Berg-Pigorsch, a filmmaker who wanted to shoot pictures of the sunrise and her place nearby on Lake Superior. There was frost on cars on our way to the launch and the air was nippy but it couldn't have been a nicer morning on the water. After the picture taking session, we fished north of white rocks where we hit into two nice but small Laker and then a bell ringer, 16# Laker that Phyllis caught all by herself. That was a long battle but she handled that fish very well. Neat too that it was my 400th fish of the season. See picture below. She has bragging rights now to her son Nate and grandsons who I took out on the 6th of July. I went out again late morning and caught a 8, 9, and 3# Laker in a little over an hour. All were in around 140' of water. The 9# Laker had slammed the lure and went over to tangle into the other downrigger, something that almost never happens. It was an ugly sight bringing up all the gear by myself but perseverance paid off. The fish had a yellow DNR tag #5475 which I reported to them to find it was tagged last year near Partridge Island Reef and it was 30" long. Some tags are worth $5, some $100, but this yellow one didn't have a reward. The day was fantastic with clear blue skies and water, a wind that behaved itself, good company and good fishing. We need more of these days.
27 Sep - It was supposed to be windy and the ore dock flag was flying pretty straight but the lake looked calm. I finished some chores and headed out with my backup Johnson rod. I set both riggers in 140' of water and picked up 3 small Lakers in an hour, working to ready the Johnson rod the whole time between fish. Two of the Lakers were on the stacker and the other suspended I'm guessing around 30' from the bottom. Turned out to be a beautiful trip with near-calm seas for the slightly less than one hour trolling. Ran the Johnson rod out for about 10 minutes to see if it'll be ready for the next trip.
26 Sep - It started out pretty rough when guests and friends George Patrick and his brother-in-law Louie Carponelli and I set out to the north. George of course fishes with me often and Louie joins us each summer on his visit from "below the bridge." We slowly bounced around and caught several Lakers, all under 4#, until near quitting time. The water and wind had quieted beautifully during the morning, which is rather unusual. Midway, the Johnson rod hung on the bottom, spun around in the holder and snapped into two pieces. Looks like I've a repair job to do and will have to press my backup rod into service for a while. During our final turn, we tied into a 12# Laker that managed to tangle into a couple of other lines. However, Louie persevered and managed to get the large Laker to the net. It was a great day on the water and we ended with 6 nice Lakers as frosting on the cake. Here's a picture of the crew (double click to enlarge)!
25 Sep - The winds started out gusty but as the day progressed, the winds and lake slowly laid down. I didn't go far north after supper. In 150' of water, I quickly hit a 4# Laker, then a 5# Laker. I thought I'd pass back through that area again so I turned and hit an 18.5# Laker on a stacker line, probably 30' off the bottom. That was a long fight and interesting netting whilst alone but hey, I got 'um. Conditions were fantastic so with mixed emotion, after only an hour of fishing, I headed in. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice too. We'll see.
24 Sep - Art and I went back the next day to fish shallow and it was a lot slower going. We ended with 4 Lakers but it took nearly 4 hours (albeit great water conditions), but nothing of size, just good eaters. We fished deeper towards the last but didn't pick anything up. However, the wind picked up near the end of our fishing route so it was perfect timing to end a good fishing trip.
22 Sep - It was a great forecast of light and variable winds but they forgot to mention fog. With my guest Harry Purvis, we headed out towards one of Harry's favorite shallow water fishing spots and within a mile, we hit fog. For the rest of the trip, we never saw land again until we pulled into the marina. Anyway, we caught 6 nice Lakers, the largest over 7# and all lean. We also had a hanger-on when we pulled our gear, which we released. Water and fishing conditions were super and although it took nearly 4 hours to fill, it was great fishing on calm waters. We also lost 4 nice fish that we just couldn't keep on the line.
21 Sep - The wind blew all night and let up just before my guest Bob Schmeltzer and I set out for north of white rocks. It wasn't 10 minutes before we had one on the Johnson rod and then one on the rigger, suspended. The wind kept building slowly from 10 mph and when we turned into the wind and hooked a couple more Lakers (lost one not far from the net), the wind was a steady 20 mph. That's when I get off as it's too much of a hassle and too many things can go wrong. However, we considered it a pretty successful trip for under 2 hours. Two of the Lakers were 5#.
18 Sep - There wasn't much wind at 8 mph from the south but it was initially bumpy fishing with guests Reidar (8) and his Dad Don Larsen, and my Grandson Spencer Smith. It was slow going with most Lakers around 3#. Again we caught two fish on one line and Spencer reeled them in. We released the small one. Reidar worked the Johnson rod and caught the biggest Laker at nearly 5#. We ended with 6 Lakers in over 3 hours but it couldn't have been a much better day on the water as the wind slowly died off. All were near the bottom and only two were suspended. Nothing again on the planner board. Great time. Here's a picture of the troops. Click to enlarge.
17 Sep - Finally a day without high winds. My guest cancelled with a bad back so I headed out alone in light winds but 2-3' rollers - my favorite conditions. I fished a nearby area I hadn't fished in 8 weeks because of all the Indian nets that were usually there but I thought it a good time to check it out. I didn't see any nets. Good news. I didn't put out the Johnson rod for the first time this year and instead ran a planner board, still experimenting. It was long before I hit a small 3# Laker and missed another on my first run. I was nearing the end of my return leg when the rigger on my side went nuts ringing, then the other rigger rang like crazy. I could tell there was a big one on my side and it suddenly was off. I hauled in the line, only to see the split ring had literally opened up but my knot had held. Some consolation! I quickly went to the other rigger and could not budge the fish for quite a while so I slowed the trolling motor to a crawl and worked the fish in a few feet at a time. After about 15 minutes, I noticed there were two large Lakers on the one line so this would be interesting netting as I was alone. Well, I got them both in, one being 14# and the other 12 1/4#. To add to my luck, I noticed the snap swivel on the 12# was open but held. Wow! So in short, I had three large Lakers on at once. Now I've got to check my split rings and maybe start soldering them, like I used to do. The planner board didn't do a thing but that was OK. Reggie, if you're reading this, all this happened near your run.
12 Sep - It was a misty morning with a light easterly wind so I didn't launch until nearly 9a. The Johnson rod hadn't been out for 1 minute when a Laker hammered it. My net wasn't even ready and I was scrambling. As it turned out, that Laker fought like a much bigger fish and turned out to be just under 3#. Nearly as quick, I caught another Laker but released it as it was pretty small. I boxed a 2nd Laker about 30 minutes after starting and decided to pull the deep lines and experiment (again) with the planner board with hopes for suspended bigger fish, or even a salmon. I didn't get a chance as the 3rd Laker hit and didn't look like it'd survive being released. Turned out conditions were great with just rollers and no mist. That was this morning's 40 minutes of fame, or should I say fun.
9 Sep - We headed north a little before sunrise on beautiful seas and in cool air. Art and I set up in 112' of water and worked our way to as deep as 170'. The downrigger bells rang mostly around the 145' from lures suspended around 20' up from the bottom. We had two doubles and all the Lakers were around 3#. We caught our 6th Laker in a little under 2 hours and before we could pull the last line, we caught another Laker which we released.
8 Sep - With a decent 5-10 mph wind from the east predicted, guest George Patrick and I pulled into the launch only to hear a fellow boater tell us there were 4 footers out there. Well, we decided to take a look for ourselves and headed to the sand hole where the waves were indeed 3-4'. We didn't go far and set lines 125' while trying to stand up. With only one line down we got our first Laker and before long, we set the riggers and ended with 6 small Lakers (4# biggest, 1# smallest), and missed a few, all in a little over an hour. We were glad to be getting off the lake, not that it was dangerous but just bouncy. However, it seemed to be slowly laying down as we headed in. East winds can be a big pain.
5 Sep - This morning Art and Ed Beauchamp and Darius Provost (5) joined me heading north early, hoping to get some good fishing in before the forecasted winds built too much. We missed a couple of Lakers before we finally boxed the first Laker. We caught 6 Lakers in all, the largest 7# but most in the 3# range. The wind and waves were building and after 2 and a half hours of trolling, we decided to head in, taking our time in the 2-3' waves.
4 Sep - What a difference a day makes. Yesterday morning I could hear the wind in the trees when I got up at 4:30a to smoke fish and get some other chores done. I then got a call from friend on the water around 9a that the lake had settled down. The fish was now done and I thought it was a good time to check out the sand hole again as I had guest joining me the next day. Granted, it was calm but also hot and very slow fishing. I managed 2 small Lakers in nearly 3 hours. I won't even mention the Laker hanging on my line when I quit. My decision was not to go there the next day.
Today, with guests Charlie Gorton and his Father-In-Law Barry Brusseau, we headed north on near-perfect seas. We set up in 112' of water and worked to as deep as 170'. It was initially slow going but then after a half hour, my brand new brass bell on my downrigger rang and much to Charlie's surprise, he hauled in two nice Lakers on one line. That was followed by double, with Lakers on each downrigger. The Johnson rod came through twice too. Charlie worked the Johnson rod hard but after setting it down, it then caught a nice, but smaller Laker. However, he later caught a 4# Laker while holding the rod, which is really fun. The one rigger we followed the bottom closely but the other we just left alone at 130 clicks on the dial and it paid off. We picked up two 10# Lakers and a 7# Laker too. The surprise of the day was when I was resetting the lines and had just connected the line to the breakaway when a 4# Coho hit the lure, 10' behind the boat and we actually saw the Coho hit the lure. Off it ran, jumping out of the water several times. All our jaws dropped but Barry managed to grab the rod and get it in. He discovered it wasn't easy to steer salmon away for the other lines but he did it. We ended in a little over 2 hours with 10 nice fish. On average, we were in 150' of water. Conditions could not have been better with calm seas and a very gentle breeze. My experimenting with the planner board didn't do too hot today. Here's a picture of the great fishermen.
2 Sep - This morning guests Art and George headed with me quite a ways north. Not much fishing traffic but we did see the DNR RV Judy nearby and I called the Judy to see if they had nets around. As luck would have it, they did and right across the best part of my run where I've hit the most fish the past 4 trips up there. Good thing I called as those nets were long and hard to see. We then had to turn around and fish back before we wanted to. Anyway, we hit the first 3 Lakers suspended about 20' from the bottom and one on the Johnson rod. Depths ranged from 110' to 180'. I had my experimental planner board arrangement out again and watched it closely, but it was difficult in the waves. When we quite, with mixed emotions, we discovered a 4# Laker on each of the lines and we didn't know how long they had been on. Both were very lively so probably not that long (rationalization?). The breakaways didn't break away. Guess I'm going to have to make some changes in my setup but at least I know it catches fish. Beautiful day on the water.
1 Sep - It rained during the night and the morning brought mist and some fog so I got a few chores done early, then checked the lake. Well, it looked calm so I got my gear and went out shortly before noon. The mist was still there but a 9mph east wind a some minor waves were now present. I just headed east and dropped lines in 130' of water. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod bounced and then the rigger. After an hour of trolling, I then caught a double and of course, had to release one. Fish weren't big but they were a nice orange. All were near the bottom, even though I had some lures suspended.
31 Aug - Yesterday, Art and I did a bumpy fish in the afternoon, only to catch a couple of small Lakers. This morning, we headed north for quite a way in water that was a little rougher than planned. However, it slowly settled down and we caught some nice sized Lakers in 150' of water, but also a couple suspended 20' - 40' off the bottom. We also missed a couple of real nice Lakers right behind the boat, one that really bent the rod. It was a day for experimenting with my planner board and after getting our 6th Laker, when I hauled in the planner board line, there was a lively 4# Laker on that I then released. I suspect it wasn't on long but in rough water it's sometimes hard to tell. I haven't completely figured out what I'll do when I get a big fish on and I have to work around all those other lines. That'll be interesting!
29 Aug - It was a rolly polly day of rough water as my guest William, Alex (twins 9), and Reed Morrison, and Spencer Smith (8) joined me heading east. Just a couple of miles out we could see the HMS Bounty, a 180 foot 3-mast brigantine leaving Marquette, a pretty sight. It was slow fishing as we picked up only 3 small Lakers and missed a couple. Two were on the bottom and one on the stacker line, all in around 150' of water.
27 Aug - It rained cats and dogs at 5a so an hour later check of the radar showed most had gone through. The forecasts for wind ranged all over so I went with the best one. I started in 120' of water with winds from the south at 11mph but they slowly died. Once again, the Johnson rod hit before anything else was ready but the Laker quickly got off. Five minutes later, the rigger rang and then the Johnson, all at the same time. I'm glad no one saw my ugly netting job but it was successful. I released the one thinking I'd try for a bigger one and spend a little more time on the water. I cranked up both riggers to cover the mid range. I then caught another Laker on the bottom with the Johnson rod and finally, hit a nice 7#+ Laker on one of the suspended riggers. Great day!
26 Aug - Interim Report: So far this season, we've caught 282 fish, mostly Lakers, some released. I've trolled 163 hours in 61 trips for Lakers. My fish per hour rate is 1.73, a really good turn around from earlier this year. I'm officially going to stop my whining about how slow it's been (I do it every year in the beginning). However, I reserve my rights to whine about the weather. I've been skunked 4 times fishing for Lakers but have gone the past 50 consecutive trips without a skunk. Note that I keep separate statistics whilst fishing for salmon than for Lakers, because I do so lousy fishing for salmon.
26 Aug - The forecast was iffy so I made no plans for guests. However, it looked decent and as it turned out as I launched at 8a, I was the first boat there. I headed east and started in 120' of water. Within 5 minutes, I had a nice Laker on the Johnson rod and the riggers weren't even set up yet, nor the net. However, all went well and I picked up my 3rd Laker in just under an hour and before I could get the other riggers up, I caught a nice 4# Laker which I had to release.
25 Aug - When my guest Art Beauchamp and I launched at 8:30, we figured there would be lots of boats in the lot because almost no one got out the past several days due to all the wind. Well, we were the first to go out and conditions were pretty ideal, with gentle 2' rollers and very little wind. We set up in 130' of water and I again experimented with lines off my planner board and again they didn't pay off but I have faith. We picked up 6 smaller Lakers in just under 2 hours, 4 near the bottom and 2 suspended probably 20' up.
21 Aug - The forecast of W5-15 was on the money with 15mph winds from the west and some pretty bumpy water. I fished with the waves and caught 2 small Lakers in 130' and then tried to head into the waves and wind for the last one but my steering was giving me grief. I finally got that under control and picked up my last Laker. All were near the bottom with one on the stacker line about 15' up.
20 Aug - The winds had been ripping for days and as I looked out the window at suppertime, it looked like the wind had died down. This folks is called denial. I thought heck, I can catch a nice evening fish just as the lake lies down. Of course, I was the only boat to launch and as I headed east, my anemometer showed steady winds from 15 to 19 mph from the north west, the 4' waves no surprise. So then I rationalized, as long as I was out there, I'd fish with the wind and waves then bunch it, admitting under my breath that thinking it was calming off was denial at its best. It didn't take long before I hit a small Laker at 120', then another, then the final one, all in under 45 minutes. I was quite grateful for the quick catch so I could head in. No denying I didn't mind.
17 Aug - This morning I headed out with my brother-in-law Art Beauchamp and his granddaughters Jennifer (10) and Kate (9) to the sand hole. Like yesterday, the Johnson rod was just put out and we had a real good-sized Laker on, only to get off a minute later. Again, we missed another about 5 minutes later on the same rod. We finally caught a nice Laker on the downrigger, only to see it get off about one foot from the net. Ironically, I was experimenting again today, running a planner board with a weighted lure and one rigger suspended. Unfortunately, all the action today was on the bottom. Slowly we got into more Lakers in 150' of water, ending with our sixth fish a nice 5# Laker. One of the catches was a single-line double (2 Lakers) which Art reeled in, never having experienced that before.
16 Aug - John Devere and his daughter Kieran (6) joined me as we headed out into some pretty steady southwest winds, averaging 15 mph. We decided to just head east to the sand hole and go with the wind and waves as best we could. I let out line on the Johnson rod and about half way down in 125' of water wham, the rod bent over and I could feel there was a big Laker on. I handed the rod to John and about a minute after some slow and steady reeling, the fish was gone. We dropped the line again and in just a few minutes we had another on, not as big but one that really rattled the rod. Again, that one wasn't on for long. I set up one rigger to run suspended and the other to track the bottom. We rocked and rolled and finally hit a nice 4# Laker of the stacker. We turned and noticed the suspended rigger rod was slowly going back. It was like a dead, throbbing weight and several minutes later, John reeled in an 11# Laker. Seconds after boxing it, the other rigger, which I had also reset suspended, it went off with a nice 6# Laker. We decided to fish part way in and against the waves before wrapping it up, keeping all the lines suspended but we didn't have any more hits after that. John and Kieran fished with me last summer and this was their last day here on vacation before heading home to California.
15 Aug - I had to get home early so it was an early launch. Winds were around 9mph from the SW and it was pretty nice out there. Thought I'd at least milk the sand hole run with the wind and dropped one rigger to 65' with 2 lures, knowing the odds of catching a fish there were less but if I did, it'd be a bigger fish or possibly a salmon. Anyway, down went the Johnson rod and other rigger, near bottom in 135' of water. Ring, ring went the bells as the Johnson rod was jumping and then the bottom rigger. In exactly 15 minutes I had 3 small Lakers in the box (there were two one one line). It's hard to whine about catching fish too fast so I won't, remembering the ultra slow times earlier this spring and summer. I took my time getting the last rigger up hoping for an elusive salmon but no dice.
14 Aug - Today was the Ore-2-Shore race so my guest Paul Morin and I left the dock fairly early on a beautiful morning, but we were by no means the first out. I wanted to be back to watch the racers come in. We headed north and set up in 112' and didn't get our first Laker until sliding down a bank to 145'. Not too long after that we caught another, this time on the Johnson rod. We then experienced nearly an hour without a hit and I was telling Paul about the pattern of catching 2 Lakers in that spot we just got them, then the rest at the end of my run. Well, it happened again. Today I experimented with a 3rd lure on the downrigger to run a little higher in the water column. It paid off as we caught a near-5 pound Laker on it. Had a single line double too (2 fish on one line). Beautiful day! Caught the race too.
13 Aug - Thinking the seas had settled after several days of rain and wind, as I stepped outside I could hear the Lake and that's seldom a good thing for fishing. The forecast of NE 5-15 didn't help but I thought what the heck so out I went to the sand hole. The waves were pretty good sized but not breaking so I set up in 130' of water. Not much happened for quite a while and when I hit 150', within 15 minutes I had 3 Lakers in the box. Two came of stacker lines about 15' off the bottom, the other on the Johnson rod out the back. Not bad work for under 2 hours. I got my exercise too walking around the boat to stand up in the big rollers. The biggest Laker was 5# and smallest 2#.
7 Aug - The winds and seas had finally died after several days of huffing and puffing so George Patrick and his grandson Tom Burtch had a beautiful day to run north. We were greeted by several boats already there and radio chatter about some having caught several Lakers already. We set up fairly shallow and didn't hit anything until we went down a 150' slope. Tom's rigger shook and he reeled in two Lakers on the one line. About 15 minutes after, the other rigger shook and George reeled in two more Lakers on one line. We varied the depths from 130' to 180' but didn't do anything until returning to the 150' depth where we caught our last two after two hours. We decided 6 Lakers were enough for the day.
3 Aug - Gerry Albright, who hasn't fished with me for a couple of years, and I headed up north...again. Wind and water conditions were excellent as we started slowly with a small Laker, lost one, and caught another. Then, like a mirror of yesterday, the action picked up near the end of my run, including a single line double for which we release both fish as they were quite small (dinks I call them). We filled in 2 hours and were really not keen on heading in, but we did. Most fish were near the bottom in 150' of water.
2 Aug - With NWS promises of near-calm but a threat of late morning thunderstorms, guests Ken Osborn, his nephew Sam Alley (7), my Grandson Spencer (8) joined me on perfectly calm waters as we headed northward. Sam did some of the steering enroute so I could rig the equipment whilst we were under way. We started at 113' and worked to 145' where we caught one and missed one. We varied the depths and finally caught another in 150'. That one Ken and I quietly caught while the boys were up front in the cabin playing. I later asked them how many fish were in the box and they both said one. When they looked and saw two, they were shocked and got some teasing that they were not watching the store very well. Fishing action then went quite a while before getting another. Nearing the end of my run and during my turn over deep water, we caught 4 Lakers, the last ones being two Lakers on one line, so we had to release one. How many times has this happened? For entertainment, the boys spent 15 minutes playing with my battery powered hook sharpener, 20 minutes with flyswatters ( I gave each of them one), and another 15 minutes squirting water. The rest of the time was fishing-related. Great day with fantastic conditions. We never saw so much as a weather threat. The biggest fish was just shy of 6#, the next at 4#. All leans.
1 Aug - There were several widely differing forecasts for today so I picked the best and it came true. Winds were light SW so I headed north to try a favorite spot I hadn't tried this year. To my dismay, there were Indian nets sitting right on my run so I worked around them, after taking about 10 minutes to find both ends. I hit a small Laker in 140' of water and then ran deep to 180', then back up to 130'. Nothing further there so I decided to fish it to another run a couple of miles away but with lots of shallow water in between (average 120'). I figured trolling there was quicker than pulling the riggers and Johnson rod, then moving and resetting lines. I wasn't in 126' of water but for a few minutes when one rigger when off, only to have two nice Lakers on one line. I didn't want to go in so for an hour I fine tuned my autopilot for the millionth time.
30 Jul - Almost too nice might have been the case as my Brother Ed and mutual friend Roy McGeorge joined me heading north. Conditions were super for us but apparently the fish didn't know that. I was super slow and we missed a few which didn't help. We varied depths and finally picked up 7 small Lakers in a little over 4 hours, the largest a little over 3#. However, we did that in less time than a fellow fisherman did to catch his 6 Lakers and he usually knocks 'em dead. He was doing a little whining about the slow fishing too. The wind and water were just great and we had a good time.
28 Jul - It was another beautiful morning as my guest Bob Schmeltzer and I glided north on calm seas. The thinking was we'd go back to where we did fairly well yesterday. Well, it wasn't quite the same. It took a long time before we hit our first Laker, missed four fish, and after 3 hours, slowly picked up 4 more. We were nearly ready to quit when Bob's rigger rang and he reeled in a single line double. Just as we're about to release one of them, the Johnson rod rang and mine was jiggling. In short, minutes before we quit we had a quadruple on and released 3 Lakers, all in good condition. It was kind of crazy in a nice way. The winds were near calm and air temperature was perfect the whole time. Most of the fish were near the bottom in 150' of water.
27 Jul - Only two boat trailers were at the launch at 7:00a when my Brother-In-Law Art Beauchamp and I launched on a beautiful and calm morning. I was tired of fishing east and decided to try way up north on a couple of runs I like. I knew from one of the trailers who would be there and I was right. We were the only two boats for quite a while. It wasn't long before we hit a nice Laker at 140', then another at 170'. It went quiet for quite a while and I drifted again into 135' of water where the action picked up nicely and we filled up at roughly that depth. We ended with 6 decently sized Lakers in 2 hours. The conditions could not have been better.
25 Jul - I checked the NWS early and noted winds were showing as calm but when I looked out to see the trees bending in the wind, it was a good guess it wouldn't be as calm as predicted. The winds were at 12mph from the SW with some minor bumps as I headed east. I just received an email from a friend he was doing extremely well in 110' water so it was a perfect time to try it here. I don't like to experiment when I have guests as I want them to have a better chance of catching fish but alone, it was a good time. Well, that might work on other parts of Lake Superior and for other fishermen but it didn't work for me this morning. I trolled straight towards my 150' waypoint and just when I got there, I got a double, both fairly small. I reeled up one rigger to 90' hopping for salmon and cranked up the other rigger way off the bottom, starting a turn towards the marina when I got my last Laker, probably 25' from the bottom. It was with mixed emotion as I headed in on such a beautiful day. So nice in fact that I didn't use the net on any of the fish hoping they'd fall off so I could continue fishing. They didn't.
24 Jul - Having returned from fishing Chinook in Lake Michigan for a few days, I hosted Evan (5, soon to be 6), Austin (9), Jim (Dad), and Phil Cochran (Grandpa) as we headed east on a beautiful, but a little cool morning. Before all the lines were in, the Johnson rod had a nice Laker and the crew took turns reeling the day's catch. We caught 9 fish, 7 Lakers and 2 Coho, all near the bottom in roughly 150' of water. Highlights, besides catching the Coho, were the 2 single-line doubles where we caught two fish at one time on one line. That doesn't happen often. We also missed 4 fish, including a third Coho right behind the boat. Super day! Here's the crew, click to enlarge. Comment of the day goes to Austin who said at one point "...but we only have 8 fish!"
19 Jul - A couple of commitments and appointments delayed my getting on the Lake until mid afternoon. The threat of thundershowers was present all day and I'm not sure I would have gone earlier anyway. I had made some changes in my equipment and also wanted to fine tune my autopilot so out I went, one eye on my gear and one to the south west, watching for thunderbumpers. I ran only one line for a while, checking things out. I tuned in the NWS weather channel which drones on and on and I'm not sure I got much information for it. Most of the storm was to go south of me...then boom, I could hear thunder to the south but the skies didn't look that bad and didn't seem to be very threatening. Finally, I saw the downrigger wiggle and then nothing. Having been down that road before, I hauled it up to find a near-four pound Laker that thought it was a Northern Pike, fighting in the boat. I didn't even use the net but lifted it into the box thinking if it fell off, fine, I wouldn't have to clean it. It didn't. Suddenly, the skies got black and I quickly, and I mean quickly, hauled in the Johnson rod which I had since put out, only to have another Laker hit as soon as I picked it up. Next, up came the other rigger and I was on my way in minutes. I got in to shore, only to see the skies clear off. However, I'll do the same thing next time.
17-18 Jul - Headed out early yesterday and caught 3 small Lakers in 45 minutes. Ah ha! I said, good time to take my Grandson Spencer (8) out so home I went to pick him up. It must have slowed down a lot in that short period of time as I maintained the fishing gear while he played his hand-held game player. Well, once action picked up, Spencer reeled in a nice Coho on the Johnson rod. Not often catching Coho in 170' of water. Later on two separate times, he caught tow single line doubles. One got of the one time right behind the boat but that quickly filled our quota. On Sunday, I headed out for roughly the same spot and again it started out slowly. However, I released two dinks and finally when I had my 3 Lakers, before I could haul up the riggers, I hit a single line double and had to release them both. The water was like glass and I hated to get off the Laker. Fun! Most of the fish were between 150' and 170'.
15 Jul - It huffed and puffed yesterday but could not have been nicer today when guest Bob Toutant and I headed to try some 70' of water that we heard was still good. Well, it wasn't good for us (as Martha might say) and after a couple of hours of nothing, we trolled to deeper water where we caught 5 nice Lakers in 160' of water and a Coho on top. It was my lucky day as my downrigger wire snapped when we were bringing the line up and the line flew out until a splice wrapped around the tip pulley. Can you believe it? We gingerly pulled in the line and tied it off while replacing the splice so I got all my tackle back. Lucky break eh? Beautiful day on the water.
12 Jul - At 5:30 a.m., I took a bike ride to the Island instead of using my incredibly boring treadmill, only to be greeted by boring fog on my ride. Not to be deterred, guest Tom LaPointe and I headed east in heavy fog at 7:00 a.m., radar spinning, helping me look out for the ore boat that had announced he was headed in. We eventually saw the ore boat only on the radar and wisely kept out of its path by a little less than half mile distance. We set up in 130' and fished for an hour before catching the first of several dinks. The only other radar blip we saw was very close and I decided to take evasive turns to avoid what I thought was a fellow fisherman. That proved interesting as the other boat apparently had radar too and our avoidance moves proved counterproductive and we came close but never saw each other in the heavy fog. Other than that to keep one on one's toes, we ended with 6 Lakers, all dinks, and a Coho around 2# that danced and danced on the calm waters and proved so much fun. Although I refer to small Lakers as dinks, they're the kind you like to eat, right after the Coho.
11 Jul - I spent the past few days fishing Chinook in Lake Michigan and had a really good time. The largest was 23.5#, followed by 22#, several in the mid teens and so on. Great time and great company. Back home to Lake Trout reality, Marc Soetaert and I headed east this morning from the Presque Isle Marina. It wasn't long before we caught a dink (small Laker) which we released. The wind had built to 15 mph despite the calm forecast so it was bumpy and a little hard to control the boat. However, we slowly picked up a couple of Lakers at 160' and Marc caught a single line double. We quit in under 3 hours with 6 Lakers and released 3. All were under 3# but nice leans. At the launch, we talked with two friends who caught Chinook near the bottom in around 120' of water.
6 Jul - The weather radar show a big green blob headed our way but it looked slow moving so my guests Nate and his sons Ben (11) and Mike (9) Pigorsch joined me as we headed out early, hoping to beat out the rain. It didn't take long before the Johnson rod bent over and Ben wrestled a near-8# Laker to the net. The boys alternated turns as we caught 6 more Lakers, albeit a little smaller, mostly in 130' - 170' of water. We also missed several. They were bugging me to catch one but I said when I have guests, I don't reel them in. When we quit, guess what, I had one hanging on my line so I ended up reeling one in anyway. We beat the rain, getting only a few drops before we quit and the wind and seas were great. Ben is on the left, Mike on the right. Click picture to enlarge.
5 Jul - The Big Pond roared all day with lots of wind and waves but laid down suddenly late afternoon. It presented a good chance to take my grandson Spencer Smith (8) and his visiting cousin Sean Hieftje (11) for some fishing. We headed east in 3' rollers but little wind and quickly hit a nice Laker in 130' of water. The boys took turns reeling in all 5 Lakers we caught, in depths up to 160'. We had one double where Sean cranked on a nice Laker on a surface line at the same time Spencer caught one on the downrigger. It was a pleasure to see all that enthusiasm and a lot of fun. The cheering section (relatives) were there to greet us at the dock when we came in.
3 Jul - Today I was finally able to host Scott Fox and his friend Laurie, after trying to get them out fishing for a couple of years. We set out with a pretty stiff breeze from the south, which slowly built to an average 17 mph. Figuring that might happen, we headed south to shallow water and hit into 4 nice Lakers, 3 off the downrigger and one off the planner board. We managed fine in the wind and had a good time.
2 Jul - I do fairly well in shallow but my friend Harry Purvis invariably does better in his boat. I invited Harry (again as he's fished with me several times before). We headed to shallow water at 7:30 a.m., with Harry saying it's too early. I call Harry and his boat "Crack of Dawn" because whenever I asked what time he was going out, he'd say that. The name of his 22' Starcraft is really Harry's Hideaway. Then he'd show up at 10 a.m. and tell me that is the crack of dawn. Then he'd kick my butt on shallow fishing. Better to have the competition under close observation I thought so I asked him lots of questions as we fished. We caught 6 Lakers in a little over 4 hours, all off downriggers and a couple off stackers. The wind kicked from the east but we caught 2 during those winds and makes one wonder about the saying about when the wind is from the east and fish bite the least. Great day and I a pleasure to have Harry along.
1 Jul - The day was calm in the morning and kicking wind in the afternoon but my feelings were that it would lay down again so I could take out some guest I'd been trying to get out for 3 years. Luckily, it laid down beautifully as Bill Ferns, his son Andy (NMU student), and I headed to Shot Point on a beautiful evening. We were after some fish and not particular how big they were, although we hoped for a big one or two. We started around 160' and after about 15 minutes, Andy's rigger hit into a double...on one line, and he did a good job of reeling them in, a little surprised to see two fish on one line. Not long after we had a triple on but only landed two of them. We ended with 9 Lakers, albeit all on the smaller side but all lean, in 2 1/2 hours. Andy enjoyed, but not as much as Bill and I watching him, reel in two Lakers on the pumper (Johnson) rod.
29 Jun - With the excuse that it was forecast to be windy tomorrow, Reggie and I headed out after supper to the sand hole. There we picked up 6 nice but small Lakers in about 3 hours on just a super nice evening with calm winds and water. Best luck was in around 160' of water. We only marked a few fish but those marks were huge. Ironically, we caught fish at those marks and the fish were small so if the fish we caught were making those huge marks, it's a mystery to us why.
28 Jun - For once we knew it was going to be a great day as George Patrick and I headed to try some shallow water. That produced two nice Lakers in a little over 2 hours. We then moved to deeper water where we picked up 4 more nice Lakers, all under 4# in around 160' of water. One we had within inches of the net and it got off but was bloated and floating. I turned the boat as fast as I could with riggers down and we were close to the fish when it somehow shed its air and swam neatly away. Of course, that was one of the bigger Lakers of the day. Actually, we didn't care as we caught more and the fishing conditions were about as nice as the snacks George brought. Beautiful day on the water.
27 Jun - It was going to be rough by one forecast and not bad by another. I chose the latter and that was the correct one as it was a beautiful morning as I headed to the sand hole with decent winds and 1' seas. Didn't get a nibble at the 130 -150' but when the depth hit 160', I got a single line double, followed by another Laker I lost just behind the boat. Before long I caught my third Laker and when wrapping it up, the rigger I was running at 40' had a nice 4# Laker hanging on, bigger than any of the fish in the box but it was in good shape and quickly swam away when I released it. I was headed in after a little over an hour with smoking fish on my mind. (That doesn't sound too good of a mind.)
26 Jun - Northward bound, Reggie and I turned the corner around black rocks and found some lumps in the water as we headed to some 70' water. The wind kept slowly building and was averaging 14 mph from the NNW - lumpy and bumpy. Once set up, we did have a fairly quick hit and a nice 4# Laker before hitting another aggressive Laker over 5# about an hour later. We stayed the course and eventually ended with 5 beautiful Lakers, all in the 4# range. The bonus was a shy-of-2# Coho on the surface. Most Lakers were on the stacker lines, about 10 - 15 from the bottom. I nearly wore our my winter coat doffing and donning it as we changed directions in the 55 degree air, brisk winds, in quickly changing cloudy and sunny skies. I'm should check my calendar for its calibration with reality!
23 Jun - Neighbor Reggie Gebo and I headed out early to try some shallow fishing and we hit a 7# Laker within 5 minutes. Nearly 3 hours later, we caught a 4# Laker so the decision was made to head to my ole honey spot a couple of miles out. There we caught 5 fair-sized Lakers in 45 minutes, including a single line double, the 4th of the year. It had rained most of the night and cleared off just before we went out, so we considered ourselves very lucky for the cloudless and windless conditions. Excellent!
22 Jun - The forecast sounded good but as I called Marc Soetaert to go fishing, the wind was whipping the trees around so I cancelled and ran some errands. A drive by the Lake and and hour later, somehow it looked much better. A quick phone call and out we went to the east where we caught 6 small Lakers, most around 170' of water. Fishing conditions were great and the Lake nearly flat. We had a Coho surprise when we quite, hanging on to a stacker line but we both felt it wasn't on there long. Yeah, right!
21 Jun - The thunderstorms rolled through late afternoon and were pretty much to the east of us, forming a rainbow, as Reggie Gebo and I headed out after supper. The winds had completely died off and fishing conditions were perfect for us, but apparently not the fish. We managed only one Laker in the couple of hours, and that was near the surface. The fog got pretty thick at quitting time and we fired up the radar for our run back.
18 Jun - Today was a no excuse day with near perfect conditions. I picked the best forecast (which came true) I could find and Tom LaPointe and I headed north to Thoney Point. We set up in 120' and quickly hit a nice Laker. Well, it was a long wait for the second and third Laker, missing one in there somewhere. We ranged in depths from 110' to 180' and even graphed a few huge fish marks. I also hung my lures on the sandy bottom (apparently not sand in certain places) and lost them but not my rigger weight. The wind never came up the whole time and it was just beautiful on the water. However, the ankle-biter flies did at times, dampen the otherwise super nice day.
17 Jun - Guest George Patrick and Adam Hall joined me as we headed for some shallow water fishing. Water conditions were great even if the water and air were both 48 degrees. We got zip in the shallow water, not even a hit in 2 hours. We then headed out deep where we caught 4 small Lakers. Once we had a triple, which included a single double (two fish on one line) and one on the pumper rod, but then we lost 2 of the 3. All four fish were on the stacker lines, placed about 10' from the bottom. The wind had slowly increased to 12 mph from the NNE and the water got a little lumpy in time, including some whitecaps. However, we enjoyed the day and George's snacks.
15 Jun - I fished for walleye in the morning and had a good time but no walleye. Late afternoon conditions still looked good so guest Adam Hall and I headed to the sand hole after supper. It wasn't exactly calm as the wind was from the east at 10mph and seas were a little choppy with 1' - 2' waves. We set up in 130' and we caught 4 nice Lakers, with a double at the end. The surface water and air temperature were both a warm 47 degrees.
14 Jun - Guests Reggie Gebo and Adam Hall (17, visiting here from Wisconsin, who has fished with me the past several years) and I headed out fairly early on a beautiful, calm morning. We fished shallow for over 3 hours and could only catch 2 Lakers, however one was over 7#. We then moved to deeper water and did nothing for about an hour, then action quickly picked up when we caught a couple and missed a couple of Lakers. Finally, we hit two single line doubles (two fish on one line) and ended up releasing a Laker because we had our limit. Reggie got both single line doubles and so I'll hear about that for a while. Those fish were all in around 160' of water. Great day on the water with super water and pleasant temperatures. It rained on the way in but stopped just before we arrived at the launch. We got home and it rained cats and dogs. How much luckier can you get?
11 Jun - The forecast was for SE winds, initially to be light but increasing quite a bit during the day. As a result, guest Reggie Gebo and I headed for some shallow fishing at early-o-clock. On advice from a good fishing friend who said set the lines, go, and don't look back until you find 'um, we did just that. Took about 2 hours then we hit into a nice 6# Laker. We circled the area and ended with 3 more Lakers, 2 of which were 6# also. It was calm as glass most of the time and then the wind hit, quickly averaging 20 mph with gusts to 28 mph. We turned to run with the wind and decided to fish for about 15 more minutes when just before quitting, I hit into a big Laker I couldn't turn. By the way he ripped off the rigger, it might well have been a Chinook. Don't know because just like that, away we went with both my lures. I had shortly before stripped some line and retied gear so I'm sure the line was good. My guess is he (or she) rolled and the hook nicked the line. It happens. Great day.
9 Jun - Another day of rock and roll seas but backing off enough in the evening to give it a try, which I did. Hit the sand hole in 3' rollers and a 10 mph wind from the north and air temperatures at 45 degrees. It wasn't long before a small, and I mean small as in a dink, Laker was on and I thought why use the net as I lifted it towards the box and it fell back into the water. It proved a "dink night", catching 7 small Lakers of which I released 4 and didn't use the net on any of them.
8 Jun - Small craft warnings flew all day but it calmed off after supper so neighbor Reggie Gebo and I headed out for a quick fishing trip. The water was great but the only Laker we got in a little under 2 hours was on a surface line.
6 Jun - The fog was in and out but didn't present any problems as I set out to the east in pretty calm waters with the radar running. I set up in 130' and had three 3# Lakers and one dink released in a little under an hour and a half. In the afternoon, it was still pretty calm but the fog had gotten much heavier. My guest was my brother-in-law Art Beauchamp. Of course we headed to the same spot I fished in the morning and in just over 2 hours got 3 nice Lakers, all in around 130' of water. The last two were a double just before quitting. We couldn't see land at all and had to be continually alert for other boats in the fog.
4 Jun - Last night a fishing acquaintance called and said he was headed for shallow water at dark-o-clock. I mentioned I had the same idea. I pulled out of the Presque Isle Marina a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. on a beautiful morning with a great sunrise. I could see his boat heading out about a mile ahead. As it turned out, the shallow water fishing was a bust, not graphing any bait fish or fish or getting any hookups. Surface water was only 45 degrees which couldn't help. He had roughly the same results but did catch a small Laker. When I hung my lure up on the bottom and got it off after a controlled goat rope, I radioed him I was headed for deeper waters. At 140', I hit a decently-sized Laker. Unfortunately, 14" (it sounds so impressive to be so precise) from my net, away he went. Then an exact repeat shortly thereafter. Hmmmmmm! Finally, I caught some small (3#) Lakers and ended up catching my 3 Lakers and releasing 4 Lakers, 2 of which were on one line and fairly small. I normally don't like to release Lakers because I'm not sure of their survival rate but these were in good shape. Nothing of size but always fun and good eating.
3 Jun - Guest Tom LaPointe and I headed out early to a light north wind and a few rollers. We started at 130' and netted a dink (what I call a small Laker) after about half an hour. I turned around to answer Tom and when I looked at the net, the fish was gone. It had slipped through the net and into the drink. Super! We continued east for about an hour and picked up a keeper. Finally, with no more hits or marks, we turned towards the marina with the idea of quitting in mind. About 15 minutes before Q-time, Tom's rigger set up a clang, clang, from the bell resulting in a nice 7# Laker. Whilst he was reeling that in, the pumper rod jumped and within ten minutes, we had two more nice Lakers. As we quit shortly afterwards, the wind had picked up and there were lumps developing on the water. Great day. Tom caught 3 nice Lakers!
3 Jun - Evening - The weather was just beautiful and the breeze had calmed off. After supper I decided to dink around on the Pond. Shortly after launching, I got a call on the marine radio from a fellow boater (we'll spare him by citing no names here) asking if I could tow him and his 3 guests from white rocks to the lower harbor. His motor had pooped the bed. No problem as I enjoy boat rides almost as much as fishing. I quickly found them and I hooked up a line and towed them back. Fortunately, it was calm as glass which helped towing. One thing that bothered us was he said he had his big red distress flag up ( I could see it a mile away) and a few boats actually went by without heeding his distress. That's pretty bad. The tow was quite uneventful. I later fished in the 60' range for a couple of hours, based on some decent reports of catches at those depths. Well, that was a bust as it was for some of the others fishing that area.
2 June - After several days of wind and rain, the forecast didn't sound all that bad (ole naive me) with 10 - 15 mph winds from the north. I launched at 7:30 and was the only boat in the lot. Well, I'm probably the dullest knife in the drawer because out I went. Calm to the end of the breakwater, to the east was much different with 3' - '5 breaking rollers and winds averaging 14 mph. However, it was still fishable so down went the lines. It didn't take too long to hit into a small Laker in 130' of water. Then the slows set in and with the rock and roll and walking in place, I finally hit another. Well, I fished it quite a way east and before turning around, pulled up all the lines because I wanted to make sure my settings on my autopilot would handle the wind and waves. Well, it didn't so I again began the process of fine tuning it...for almost an hour. Finally, it looked really good so I dropped 2 of the 3 lines as I came from 170' to 130'. After about 3 hours of fishing, the downrigger went off and the line started paying out and I couldn't stop it. It obviously was a very big Laker as I never did control that fish, only fell the unsteady tug of the line going out as the rod was double over. After about 5 minutes of slowly losing line, the line suddenly went dead and the fish was gone. Expletives deleted! About a minute after that, the pumper rod hammered down and that fish lasted only about two minutes and went dead. A few more expletives. I again set up the downrigger and it quickly hit another Laker, this time it was a much smaller 3# Laker. Funny, all that time trolling and the fish all seemed concentrated in that one spot. I shortly after motored into marina, with only my trailer in the lot. Wonder why? By the way, surface water temperature was 41 degrees, the air 44 degrees most of the time.
26May - The forecast was pretty good and even though I had a cold, you have to go fishing when you can go. Launching at 6:45 a.m. there was nary a soul around. I headed to the sand hole, passing an apparently illegally placed Indian net, east of their treaty line per my GPS. I set 2 lines at 130' and the second downrigger I left around 100' just in case there were fish there but more importantly, I wouldn't have to dink with it. It wasn't long after setting up and I was thinking best to get the net out when the pumper rod bent over. I raise the one downrigger that was near the bottom around 30' so I wouldn't be dragging whilst I was getting the Laker in. As I slowly cranked a constantly fighting almost 9# Laker, the downrigger I just raised up hit and that had a nice 4# Laker. Resetting, I got my 3rd Laker around 45 minutes after starting. I was looking away from the rods and heard the tinkle of a bell. I then carefully watched all the lines for probably 5 minutes before determining there was a Laker on the pumper rod again. Once I picked the rod up to pull it in, I think he discovered he was hooked and fought all the way up. The surface water was 40 degrees and air 47 degrees, and the cold water had a dampening effect on the wind, which was near calm. As I pulled to the launch, the wind was 12 - 14 mph, often the case this time of year. Still no boats in the parking lot. A friend came by while right after I pulled in and he asked if I was just going out. I said no, coming in. Once he found out I was successful, he high-tailed it for his fishing buddy to head out and try their luck.
25May - So some of you may have wondered what is happening on the fishing scene...and then again, maybe not. Anyway, anyone around here largely knows this has been the worst Spring for fishing in many years. Rain, cold, and lots of wind, mostly from the east. However, since the last fishing report I was able to get out a few times for inland walleye fishing. That proved a ton of hammer-handle Northern but no walleye. Today the weather finally was halfway decent and I was the guest of friend John Wells, skipper of the "Loose Cannon." We launched into Lake Superior at dark-o-clock and it proved a slow start but picked up slowly. Our mission was salmon but Lakers were in the plan too. It seemed every time we were busy, we'd get a hit and that proved a good secret weapon. We fished the 25' - 50' depths and hit into 6 Chinook and 3 Lakers, missing 2 Chinook and 1 Laker. Near quiting time we had a triple and had to release a Chinook. A ton of fun. As we left, winds were nearing 20 mph and it started to rain after we were loaded and headed home. Here's a picture of our catch you can click on to enlarge.
18May - The morning was cool but calm, better than the NE winds predicted and the seas were just gentle 2' rollers. I headed east to the sand hole and out past the two sets of nets I could see, starting in 130' of water. It wasn't long before I caught a nice 3# Laker but that was the only action I had the whole trip. I tried up to 170' and as shallow as 110' but nothing shaking. I didn't mark anything on the bottom but saw several marks at 60' so I dragged a few lures around at that depth but that wasn't productive either. Anyway, it was beautiful on the water. I brought an old radio along but it was a piece of crap and just made a lot of noise so I took it home and put it on the street for Spring pickup. I should threaten a few of my unproductive lures with being trashed so maybe they'd produce a little better.
11May - According to various weather forecasts, easterly winds were either light or 15 to 25. I looked at several forecast and chose the one I liked best so I headed out at 6:30, the first boat out. Although it was only 42 degrees, there wasn't a ripple on the Lake so I headed east to fish, just in case the wind did kick, giving me a decent ride back. It wasn't long after setting up in 130' of water, I caught a 3# Laker about 20' from the bottom. Not too long after that, I caught a 5# Laker on the pumper rod, fighting all the way up. In a little over a hour, I caught the 3rd Laker in 150' of water. It was still calm when I headed in. I needed that!
9May - There were 6 boats at the Carp when Marc Soetaert and I launched. Despite more recent good salmon reports, an individual coming in after fishing 3 hours said he didn't have a hit there nor see any fish caught. We decided to head down the shoreline for some shallow fishing, running 7 lures in as shallow as 6 feet of water and as deep as 30 feet. Nothing, not a single hit in 3 hours. The water and air were both 42 degrees but it was still nice and we couldn't use the weather as an excuse. Too bad. This isn't a pretty start to my fishing year.
7May - During the week there were all kinds of reports of salmon and the like being caught in the lower harbor so I thought I'd give it a shot a the crack of dawn. The predicted light winds averaged 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph but still it wasn't a problem fishing. The real problem was the fish weren't interested in hitting anything I had to offer. I hit the spots that were reported to be hot...but they weren't today. The good news is that the ice chunk I take for the fish cooler is the same one I've used on the past several trips. Heck, it doesn't melt much when the temperatures are in the 40s. Someone's got to show me how to catch salmon one of these days. When I quit, one of my favorite lures was spun up and missing a hook. It was the lure that I thought I had a fish on shortly after I started but I just felt the line and it felt empty so I continued to drag it around. Wasn't that special?
3May - Guest Don Anderson and I launched at 8:30, hoping it would warm a little after a cold evening. Well, it was 33 degrees at launch and the predicted light winds were 10 mph from the north, with 2' - 3' rollers and occasional whitecaps. It was about as slow fishing as it gets, hitting only two Lakers in 4 hours, all the time trying different depths. The good news was it was enjoyable on the water, cold as it was. When we got off early afternoon, it was still only 36 degrees and the water temperature 38 temperature. One of these days it's going to warm up and the water settle down.
30Apr - Finally a break in the weather. Winds were calm versus the NE winds predicted and the rain stopped versus the showers predicted and the air was 39 degrees, about what was predicted. Guest Marc Soetaert and I headed to the sand hole, setting up in 140' of water. In under 5 minutes we had one on which quickly got off. We worked mostly the 150' - 170' depths were we slowly caught a few and missed a few. After nearly 4 hours we decided to hit shallower water of around 130' and there we picked up the balance of our limit. Not counted in the 5 fish we missed, some right behind the boat, was a Laker Marc had on and quickly got off. He kept working the pumper rod and sure enough, we believe the same 4# Laker hit again, a few seconds later. Great day!
23Apr - Fished the Marquette Lower Harbor for a couple of early and cold hours. Guest John Wells and I can safely conclude there were no fish present there during that time because we didn't have a hit and we really know what we're doing. We tried near the Chocolay, Carp, and in the harbor. Now you know.
14Apr04 - Normally I don't post when I fish with someone else but today I would like to share a nice catch of Browns. Fishing with "Loose Cannon" John Wells, we hit into four nice browns, the largest 9 pounds and the smallest 4.25 pounds. It really kills me to admit the Dipsy Divers did all the work. If you read my logs, you'll know I'm not a big fan of them. Here's a picture of the fish. It was a blast. I think you can tell by the look on John's face. Click on the images to enlarge, hit back to return.
13Apr - Finally a calm day. Neighbor and guest Matt Jones joined me fishing on a calm but cool day. The water couldn't have been better but the fishing could have been. We had a hit and miss within the first 5 minutes. After that, almost nothing until we finally hit into a 3# lean Laker in 150' of water. Still, it was a beautiful day and we tried the harbor for about an hour but to no avail.
12Apr - Another cold day so I didn't launch until 1:00. Talked to the one remaining fisherman and he said he caught 3 Coho, all jigging. So naturally, I decided to troll and further fine tune my steering. The wind was around 7 mph from the north and the water was really nice so I just worked the harbor. After about 2 1/2 hours, I pulled up the gear, only to be pleasantly surprised by a 2 1/2 pound Coho on the end of one of the lines. I was shocked I didn't see it hit and especially a salmon that size. That's the first time that's happened to me. Yeah, right!
7Apr - Tried again for salmon and picked up a small coho and that was it. Later I headed to the sand hole for a few Lakers and that's what I got, very few. None in fact and not even a hit. Didn't mark anything either. However, it calmed off and was very nice on the water.
6Apr04 It wasn't supposed to be nice today so I installed my new hot water heater at my house. Well, it was calm as glass when I made my obligatory plumbing run so I listened to the forecast which was for 5-10 mph, turning NW and calming. I finished my project and headed to the launch where the guy recovering his boat in the next ramp reminded me we met last year. He had caught 3 Coho's and released 3 more, some just before I got there at noon. He told me what he used and it sounded unusual but what the heck. I was going to the sand hole but now fishing closer sounded pretty good. Winds were light when I launched but slowly increase, not decreased as forecasted. I ran 3 lines, 5 lures and it wasn't long before a 4+# Chinook came flying out of the water, providing a lot of fun. However, it was caught on one of my traditional "Lake Trout Lures", about 20' down and 12' back. So much for long lining! That guy told be to go as slow as I could so I was moving around 1.5 mph with the wind progressively starting to push me faster. Fifteen minutes later, I caught a 5# Steelhead with a hook jaw that nailed the same lure. Click on image to enlarge. Return with back button. An hour later, I caught a small Coho but on a Rapala. Anyway, the winds built to around 16 mph so it was hard to control my trolling speed. Bottom line - it was my day as I rarely catch any salmon but three in one day... I checked my pulse just in case. By the way, not a soul was around when I came in with those fish. Now if I had been skunked...
5 Apr 04 We're baaaaccccckkkkk! Actually, I'd been out a couple of times previously to check and calibrate my new Nautamatic autopilot but (don't tell anyone), I didn't wet a line. Today, I launched under calm but cold conditions. I knew it was cold because my reverse gear was froze and I couldn't pull away from the dock for almost 25 minutes. It was supposed to be calm but it wasn't, but it was a lot nicer than it's been. I did some more autopilot calibration and eventually got tired of that so I headed north of white rocks. There I fished 90' to 140' and couldn't buy a hit. I then headed just a little east and hit a nice 5# Laker in 150'. Winds were around 12mph from the SE but the thermometer showed the air temperature as 33.8 degrees, the water 35 degrees. Not exactly the temperatures you stick your hands into the water to warm them.
I fished a couple miles out, then reversed my course to pass east of white rocks. One downrigger I kept at 60' just in case there was a fish at that level but mostly because I didn't want to hassle with it while I was still fine tuning my steering. On my reverse leg, after 3 hours, and approaching the Indian nets east of the upper harbor, I had the second downrigger at 120' in 160' of water and it went off. Not long after, the steel line rod hit one and quickly, I had my 3 Lakers, albeit, the last two not too big. As Murphy's Law would prevail, it had calmed off nicely just as I quit, but I didn't care. Not a bad start eh?
25 Mar 04 I've been down with a cold for the past few days and the temperature outside was kissing 60 degrees. I couldn't stand being cooped up anymore so I went out to where I store my boat and jockeyed my stuff so the boat would be closer to being ready to go. Well, I didn't know that many people were waiting for me to do that as harbinger of Spring because there was a steady stream of visitors that stopped to chit chat when they saw my boat out. It was great and out came the fish stories of years past. Of course, I just listened, yeah, right! My two hour project turned into a four hour project. My snowmobile is now put away and I don't care if we get dumped with snow again, I'm not going snowmobiling and I'm not shoveling the snow except pushing it to the edge of the driveway. I have a major upgrade in boat equipment to do but I may go out a few times before I undertake it. The launch ramp is now open but could jam up with ice again quickly with a SE wind. Stay tuned. We're making progress.
25 Feb 04 It's time to get the web site set up for the coming fishing season. We've got snow up the kazoo but the sun is creeping higher each day and I'm getting fired up. Over the winter, I've been doing some ice fishing, mostly for bluegills. Had a few productive trips and as many that produced nothing but good lunches.
Reminisce with me in my 2003 fishing log.
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