"Cooler By The Lake"
2005 Lake Superior Fishing Log
2005 was a pretty good year. Weather was generally nicer than usual but then we had some long stretches where we couldn't even get out on the Lake. We started slowly in the Spring and early Summer, then fishing picked up in August, so I stopped whining about how slow it was. That didn't last long and the fish catching rate slowed down (and my whining picked up again), with some exceptions. My rate of 1.51 Lakers per hour wasn't what I was hoping for but still it was most enjoyable being on the water. Had some great guests along the way 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 14 single line doubles where there were two fish on one rod, one on the main line and one on the stacker line. I think I have this fishing thing figured out and next year I'm really going to kick butt. Yeah, right! 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.
Fishing summary for 2005
Trolling Hours (Lake Trout only)
250, (266 last year)
|Lake Trout Caught (not all kept)||379|
98, (101 last year)
Fish per hour
1.51, (1.74 last year)
Total fish caught
413 (includes released fish) 472 last year
Skunks trips during year
8 (5 last year)
Number & average weight of Lake Trout
3.1 lbs. (3.5 lbs. last year)
Number of Steelhead
Number & average weight of Coho
zero, (last year 11)
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2005 (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, 1.58,1.55,1.60,1.38,1.74,1.51
|Single-line doubles (two fish on one line)||14, (23 in 2004)|
8 Nov Our last time out this season was a lot of fun as Art and I had good water and light winds. With two fishing cronies Get the Net and Clouseau nearby, there was a lot of bantering on the radio. We hit a couple of nice Lakers on a Dipsy Diver and then we landed a couple Lakers off the riggers and missed another at the net. We also had a couple of hits where we never saw the fish. We fished mostly between 30' and 45' of water. It's now time to put the boat away and summarize our data (fish per hour rate will be down considerable from last year). Tally looks like 380 Lakers (some released) for the Summer. We'll file a report in a few weeks.
7 Nov Like a wasp in the Fall, I had to go fishing for one more last time. No boats were out when I launched at 9a and the breeze at 9mph out of the south wasn't problem. Two passes through what was successful two days ago proved unrewarding. Running a downrigger, planner board, and Dipsy Diver I felt the depths were covered and it wasn't too long before I caught a nice 4# Laker on the rigger. The fisherman that I talked with last time was out again, the only other boat. I picked up two more Lakers in the next hour and a half, both on the Dipsy Diver. The Lakers all were spawned out and running about 4# each, beautiful leans. Winds were a little gusty at times, kissing 17 mph for a few minutes and backing down later to around 10mph, or less. The surface water temperature had dropped to 50.3 degrees, down roughly 3 degrees in two days. When I pulled up the tackle to quit, there was a small Laker hanging on to the planner board line, but it was in good shape and I released it. I'm going to try tomorrow again, weather permitting, then the "Cooler By The Laker" will be put away for the season. Well, probably!
5 Nov I woke up with plans to fish but it was raining and winds, though light, were out of the east. Besides, my ankle I injured a few weeks prior was really hurting. As the morning progressed, the rain stopped and predicted increasing winds didn't increase so early afternoon I mentioned to the Boss (spelled w-i-f-e) I might try fishing the harbor. With a resounding response of "Fine" (inflection of the word fine can change the meaning dramatically), off I went. There was only one trailer in the lot when I arrived and the boat was just coming to the launch. After finding out he caught 3 Lakers, I asked him (read that as grilled) depths, where, and what lures. He showed me the lures he used and of course, I didn't have anything that even faintly resembled them.
Conditions were pretty good, being 43 degrees air temperature, water still a warm 53 degrees, light easterlies at 6 mph, and about 2' rollers. It wasn't long before I had a hit on the rigger and when I finally got the Laker right behind the boat, I could see it had tangled with my planner board line. I then began a goat rope of untangling so I could net the fish. That I did but not the best way, and the Laker got off just before netting time. I got set up again and this time the line (don't tell anyone I'm using these) on the Dipsy Diver went off and it took a long time to get that probably 6# Laker to the back of the boat. Then it shook its head and away it went. The first one was an error on my part but I didn't do anything wrong on the second so the score was 2 hits, one error, and no runs. Then I made some sharp turns and hung bottom. I did this not once, but three times before adjusting lure depths and cutting down turning times. More goat ropes! I lost about half an hour recovering gear but didn't lose any. Then my luck changed and I caught 3 nice Lakers in the next hour, two 4# and one 6#. Finally, some good shallow action and my ankle, for some reason, didn't hurt as much. Fine day!
1 Nov The winds built slowly as my guest Gary Gibbs and I headed to the sand hole, seeing as the shallow fishing hasn't been doing much. We managed one 3# Laker as the winds were averaging 17mph, making it difficult to control the lures near the bottom in the 2-3' waves. We finally worked our way shallower to try the 80' depths and that produced nothing. This has always been one of the better times of the year to fish but it hasn't happened this year, or others we talk to. We're on the fence of whether to put the boat away for the season or not. Nah!
31 Oct Well, changing hats didn't improve the fishing today. Art and I hit the shallow water with six lures out, fishing where we normally find the fish this time of year. Zip, nada! Another fishing crony of mine was also out, and while he invariably out-fishes me, he got skunked too. I don't know what's going on. In just shy of 3 hours, we should have stirred something up.
30 Oct Art and I headed out mid afternoon to try the shallow fishing. We put out 6 lures, including (shhhh, don't tell anyone) Dipsy Divers. Well, nothing worked. No runs, no hits, no errors. Can't blame the water or wind as they were decent. A fishing acquaintance was out the whole time and he did just a notch better, catching a good sized Steelhead. I must have worn the wrong hat. Tomorrow, I'll try a different one. Still, it was nice being out with the temperature nearing 60 degrees. The water surface was still a relatively warm 53 degrees. Maybe that's it. I'll bring ice cubes next time.
28 Oct The day started on a cool but light wind note as my guest Gary White and I headed out around 8:30a. We didn't go all that far and tried the shallow water for a couple of hours, hitting only one nice Laker. We then headed out to the 150' depths and filled our limit, plus one we let slip through the net. The water was beautiful, as was the Fall colors scenery. Temperatures were in the low 60s as we got off the lake and the winds well behaved, usually less than 10 mph. All the fish, except for a couple, came off the bottom. We also missed a few but that was no biggie. The surface water temperature was 53 degrees, seeming a little warm for this time of year. Great day on the water!
27 Oct Boy, that was a long stretch of rain and wind. It's not that I didn't want to get out but Fall weather can be a pain. Finally, I got to fish some shallow water as conditions were fairly decent, with winds out of the NW at 10mph and predictions to decrease as the day went on. Well, the fishing was slow going but the wind wasn't, building slowly to 17mph and a few gusts over 21. I hung in there for a little over two hours and finally caught a nice 6# lean Laker just before quitting. Tomorrow's forecast is pretty good too. We'll see. The scenery this time of the year is super with the changing leaves and all. I took some pictures and hope to post them in the not too distant future.
12 Oct It was misting, borderline raining as I launched and the predicted light winds were out of the SE at around 10 mph, so it was a mite bumpy. I fished starting at 140' and worked to 165', then back to 140' again, going into the waves and wind. Not a hit and only marked a couple of fish. After making my turn after about an hour, I thought it time to check my rigger lures and sure enough, my bread and butter lure was all tangled up, something it does only on rare occasion. I put it back down and immediately got a hit and miss. I then checked the Johnson lure and it was tangled too. On the return leg I headed to deeper water of around 175' and the rigger I run suspended 20' - 30' from the bottom went off and I managed to bring in a nice 8.5# lean Laker. I left my other rigger up high on purpose and it too went off, then the other rigger so I had 3 Lakers in the box and before I could get my last line in, another Laker hit which I released. Strange all the action was in the last 20 minutes and all were suspended, but that happens quite a bit as you run into spots where the fish are. Tomorrow, who knows. Anyway, the wind and mist improved as I got off the Lake. Ironically, with my nice catch there were actually people at the launch when I came in. Usually, people are there only when I get skunked or have dinks.
11 Oct The forecast for NE winds must have scared a few boats off but I launched to light SW winds and it was sunny with beautiful in gentle 1' rollers, albeit the air was around 40 degrees. I got two lines down at 150' of water and was just setting the third when the first rigger rang, then the Johnson rod, then the second rigger I set. A triple, all in less than 15 minutes. I just let the rods sit as I set up my net and got prepared to do some reeling. The first fish I just lifted into the box without netting, thinking there're two more on the lines and if I miss this one, I'll get to fish longer. The Laker on the Johnson rod was just a fighter all the way up and I expected to see a much bigger fish when I netted it. In half an hour, I was heading in with mixed emotion and some nice, but fairly small leans. As I came off the Lake, I asked one of the Indian fishermen just launching whether that was his net with the jugs on one end. He said yes. I asked him why jugs as he had always used flags on both ends (I knew jugs on one end are legal by treaty agreement). He said someone had recently cut his flags and he had to grapple the nets to retrieve them. We agreed that's a bad situation for everyone with the possibility of lost and drifting nets and making it even worse for fishermen to see both ends of the nets. He said he had more flags and was going to return to marking both ends with flags. I thanked him and said that was a good idea.
10 Oct The winds stayed light for the first hour as I fished east of the harbor. As I drove to my spot, I was looking directly into the sun and all of a sudden I saw milk jugs dead ahead. Knowing those are usually marking the end of an Indian net with lines going straight down, I swerved to avoid them on the off chance they might become tangled in my prop. Action started quickly as the Johnson rod brought in a 3# Laker before my second rigger was set up, or the net. That was interesting. I just let the rod in the holder while I get all in readiness. Once I got the fish in close behind the boat, unfortunately my methodology of netting whilst fishing alone often was and is horrible. It's something I work on each trip and it doesn't seem to get better. I have a master plan but I'm only fairly close to executing it. Yes, I netted a nice 3# lean. Then it slowed down, really slowed down. I watched the ore boat Michipicoton go by which is always enjoyable. Eventually, I hit 4 Lakers, all near the bottom in roughly 140' to 167' of water. The line I usually run about 20' from the bottom didn't do squat today. The last fish released was a dink and swam away in good order. I got off just as the wind was starting to kick. Still, a great day.
9 Oct No doubts about the wind or seas today as I headed east with an eerie mist on the water and almost no wind. The dock at the launch was slippery with frost and the air was 36 degrees. However, the sun was out and the action picked up quickly with a small Laker on the Johnson rod, followed by a double on the riggers. I was quickly shedding clothing layers. One of the Lakers appeared to be fat, looking like a big football. I released it and I don't think it made it, which is fine by me. I ended catching 4 of 5 lean but small Lakers in an hour and a half, releasing a small one. Most were caught in around 140' to 165' with two probably 30' up from the bottom.
8 Oct Winds were supposed to be fairly light from the east but I showed 14 mph from the SE so I decided to ride it out with some shallow fishing near the harbor. After about an hour and no hits, the winds had settled down but it was still rock and roll as I headed for deeper water. I had a nice Laker on the Johnson rod that really fought until about 25' from the boat, then away he ran. For the next two hours there was nothing happening, including no marks. Finally, I hit a nice lean on the Johnson rod, then the starboard rigger rang and that produced a nice Laker too. After rerigging, it wasn't ten minutes and the rigger rang again. As I got the fish close to the boat, I could see two Lakers on the one line but one got off and I caught the other. Now with my limit, before I could get the port rigger up, there was another Laker on, which I had to release and unfortunately, it wasn't in very good shape. Most of the fish were in around 155' of water, near the bottom, except for the last one which was probably 25' up from the bottom. At quitting time, the Lake had settled nicely and with the sunshine on the shoreline, the color of the leaves were really starting to show.
5 Oct This morning I never dreamed the Big Pond would be fishable. However, around noon the winds, despite small craft warnings being posted, had nearly died off. I drove to the Island and enroute, could see huge rollers coming over the rocks and on to Lake Shore Blvd. I could also see them hitting the breakwater and shooting up some 20' straight into the air and I'm not exaggerating. Understandably there were no trailers at the launch but a jet ski came in from beyond the break water so I asked what conditions were like out there. He said nothing breaking, just huge rollers. Well, I got my boat and out I went. Just past the end of the break water, I went up one huge roller and there was air under the boat. That's not a good thing and bang I went down the far side. I should know better. Once I slowed down, the rollers which were huge, were manageable but borderline intimidating. Going into the troughs I couldn't see anything around me, including land. Looking up there were these huge waves I couldn't see over. I estimated average rollers to be around 10', but I know a few were well over that. The good news was winds were under 5 mph so I could fish.
I set up in 175' of water (not easy to do in those big rollers) and quickly had a 5#+ Laker on the Johnson rod, and it fought me all the way. It was a beautiful lean. Of course, I didn't have the net out yet and wasn't prepared but got it anyway. No sooner that that Laker was landed when the port rigger rang and I caught its twin, another beautiful 5# Laker. I staggered around as the huge rollers rocked and rolled the boat. Within 50 minutes, the starboard rigger bent over but the fish didn't release from the downrigger. I powered the rigger up and it was a struggle at times pulling the weight and the fish. I figured, and later it proved right, the line had tangled around the release and wasn't about to let go. During the last 50' coming up, the Laker actually pulled some line off the rigger, something that almost never happens so I know it was a big one. I just got an eye on the Laker when he gave one final reef and away he swam. It looked quite big. Oh well. I circled and could not pick up the third Laker, but had one on for a short time. Eventually, it got foggy and the wind picked up enough that I thought it prudent to head in. I was the only boat out that afternoon which might not be something to boast about. Still, it was fun.
2 Oct My guest today was Brandon Bastar, Captain of the DNR research vessel Judy. Relatively new to our area, Brandon has seen thousands of Lakers on the job but hadn't fished for them in Lake Superior. Today we headed east, setting up in 150' of water. We trolled nearly 1 1/2 hours without so much as a hit. Finally, we had a nice Laker on, only to get off a few feet from the net. Then the action slowly picked up and Brandon landed a nice 5# Laker and we ended catching 7 Lakers, all leans, and releasing one when we had a double when we quit. Conditions were great with a 7 mph SE breeze and 1' seas.
1 Oct The trees were bending in the wind early but around 9a, the wind seemed to settle down so out I went to the Big Pond. At the launch there were only 3 trailers. The skipper of a boat coming in held up 3 fingers and indicated he had his 3 Lakers already, in 180' of water. Conditions were fantastic with winds averaging 6mph and 1-2' rollers. It wasn't 10 minutes before I hit a nice 4# Laker on the rigger in 155' of water. It was on the stacker line about 15' from the bottom. I marked very few fish and had no hits for about 40 minutes when the bell rang on the one rigger, then the other. I reeled the one line in only to see two fairly small Lakers on the one line so I quickly filled the dead well and made it into a live well. I then lifted each fish into the box without using the net, as I planned to release one, preferably the smallest. After catching the 3rd Laker, I then released the one in the best condition and off it swam. The triple was fun and after an hour, I headed in.
27 Sep As you might gather from the lack of recent fishing reports, the weather hasn't been very good for fishing on the Big Pond. Even this morning, it looked like it'd be windy but turned out to be beautiful, with clear skies and a light wind from the SW and 2' rollers from the north. I headed east and set up in 130' of water. It wasn't 5 minutes before I had a small Laker on. I lifted the Laker without netting it as I wanted to release it. However I could see it was bloated so I put it in the box with a lot of lake water. It never came around so I'm glad I didn't let it go. Very shortly after that, I hit a triple, one on each downrigger and one on the Johnson rod. I slowly got each of the small Lakers into the boat without using the net and released all three as they were in good shape. All this happened during the first 20 minutes so I decided to range around looking for bigger Lakers as I was obviously fishing in the Sand Hole Laker Nursery. It took about a hour and a half more to get my last two fish and even then, the largest was 3#. But it was great on the water and I didn't want to go in.
21 Sep There were promises of another nice day, but that the wind would be increasing by noon so my brother Ed and brother-in-law Art and I headed out shortly after sunrise to some nice seas and light winds. We started in 132' of water and had just got the last rigger down when the first rigger rang, followed in seconds by the Johnson rod jumping. When Art reeled in the rigger rod, there were two Lakers on his line while Ed cranked in a Laker on the Johnson rod. Starting with 3 fish in the box within 15 minutes was nice. Before long, we caught another on the Johnson and then one on the suspended line. Action was pretty steady as we picked up nine Lakers, the largest 6# and smallest, shy of 2#. They were all fun and good lean eaters. Most of the action was at around 170', with some on the bottom but a few suspended. Didn't really mark that many though. The wind was light the whole time, as were the seas. In two hours, we were headed in, having a great day on the water.
20Sep What a blast! The Lake looked rough from shore but the winds seemed manageable (again from shore) so after vacillating a while whilst remembering my last rough trip out, I headed east and set up in 132' of water. The wind behaved, averaging 7mph from the SW and with water was rolling with 4' - 5' rollers from the NW. I love water like that and although it sounds terrible, it was great. I was one of only a couple of boats to launch all day (and the first of the morning) and I didn't see anyone around me except a charter (whose net I didn't see waving the whole time.)
It wasn't five minutes before the Johnson rod rattled but I could tell it wasn't big so I finished putting the net together and getting the other rigger set up. Picking up the rod, I could feel a small fish there and just like that, I I felt it get off. I set the rod down and no less than 10 seconds later, the rod bent way down with a big fish that nailed it. Well, that didn't last either and also got off. I headed for deeper water to make a turn and come back shallow when the rigger I had about 20' up from the bottom hit. It was a single line double with two Lakers on it. That was interesting netting by myself but I got them both, the largest nearly 5#. The last fish came off the suspended line too, being nearly 9# and a nice lean. The Johnson missed a 3rd fish near the end that nearly bent the rod 90 degrees, then snapped up seconds later, fishless. I know that wasn't bottom as I had cranked it up just recently. That was a fun hour and 15 minutes.
18 Sep Something told me that it wasn't as calm as it looked from shore but not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, out I went. Shoulda listened to that little voice as winds were a steady 15 mph from the SW and I made one pass on my run and didn't mark a fish and didn't have so much as a bump. So home I went, waiting for another day with better water and wind.
17 Sep Guest Harry Purvis and I headed east for the area that produced fairly well yesterday. We started in 130' worked as deep as 200'. It was slow going, netting mostly small Lakers, and a nice 5# lean at various depths, in a little over 3 hours. Listening to the marine radio, it was slow for several others too.
16 Sep It was another nice day on the water as Frank Lorsbach and I headed east to relatively new territory. I was getting a little tired of the old spot and wanted to try some areas actually not to far from another run I seldom varied from in the past. We set up in 132' of water and within 20 minutes, we had 3 Lakers in the box and missed another. We fished water as deep as 200' but didn't attempt to fish the bottom, which worked just fine as several of the fish were suspended between 20' to 50' up from the bottom. It was a great day with light winds and I got a feel for the drop-offs and structure in that area. In a couple of hours, we ended with 8 Lakers, returning two small ones.
15 Sep 'Twas a beautiful morning with light winds (finally) of 5 mph from the south and light seas as Reggie Gebo and I headed out early. It didn't take long before the Johnson rod caught 2 dinks (around 2# Lakers) off the bottom in around 170' of water. Then another off the rigger, again a small one. In an effort to try for bigger fish, I raised my downrigger about 20' from the bottom and caught an 8# Laker and missed another one. In the process, we had raised the other rigger about the same from the bottom and caught our last Laker on it. Not bad work for under two hours. We had mixed emotions about heading in so soon with such nice conditions. I always consider it just as important to note what didn't happen as did happen. For example, I ran a planner board with a 1# weight and a surface line, neither of which produced so much as a hit. However, I'll not give up on that idea. Besides, it keeps me busy. Buy the way, the frosting on the cake was seeing one Bald Eagle sitting on white rocks on the way out and two of them on the way in. Beautiful!
13 Sep It's been a windy late summer and today was no exception. However, wind indications started looking decent for a short period tonight so out I went after supper. It was 5:50p when I set the first rigger in pretty bumpy water, with winds at a steady 10mph from the north. However, it was fairly comfortable and fishable so into the wind I went, starting at 130' and working as deep as 185'. For an hour and a quarter, I didn't mark a fish or have a hit and the skies to the west were looking rainy. Then, as I was coming up to 178', I had a hit on the rigger and shortly afterwards, another on the Johnson rod. Both were nice lean Lakers and into the box they went. I then turned to reverse my run and off the downrigger went. The fish seemed really big and then I figured it was two Lakers on one line. That took a little doing and I boxed the first Laker which was in good condition and looked to be just under 5#, then the second, which weighed out at 6#, so I released the first which was in good shape. Sometime I'll have to count up the times I catch doubles when I only need one more. However, I'm not complaining, even if it sounds like it. It really proved a good night as I was the only one to launch and I didn't see a single other boat out. I got home and put everything away and then it started to rain. Lucky eh? By the way, my suspended rigger caught nothing.
9 Sep I headed out early to calm seas and set up north of white rocks. Within a few minutes I had a Laker on each downrigger. I then lost a nice Laker (they're always nice when you miss them) on the Johnson rod. At the end of my run as I was turning, I again got a double so I had to release one, which was in great shape. That one hour trips was one of my quicker ones. A couple of hours later, my neighbor Reggie Gebo and I headed north in water that had picked up. We missed 3 Lakers, including one that broke the stacker line (probably just a nick in the line) and we finally picked up a 3# lean. We cut the trip short with the wind building and other things to do.
8 Sep With guests Charlie Gorton and Eric Wikman, we headed north late afternoon on great water. We fished depths starting at 140' but did best in 160'+. We missed 5 fish but also caught 4 nice Lakers, two small ones and a 14# Laker Eric landed and a 5# Laker Charlie caught suspended about 20' from the bottom. It took a while but conditions were good so we didn't get off the lake until after we saw the sun go down.
4 Sep The wind just keeps up once it starts. Thought there was a break yesterday and I fished the sand hole and it kept building from the NW at 14 mph and 3-4' seas. I fished it with the seas and did not so much as mark a fish or have a hit. I cut the run short and pulled the plug on the day as it just wasn't enjoyable or productive. Today, it was to have been considerably calmer, and it was but not by much. I fished north going with the waves and hit 3 nice leans, all right around 5# each. However, the winds were again in the teens and it was getting to be a hassle as I got off. Two of the Lakers were suspended about 20' from the bottom, and the last one I suspect was considerably off the bottom too but I was going so fast to control the boat, I know I wasn't near the bottom.
30 Aug Finally a decent forecast of light winds so my Brother Ed and Brother-In-Law Art joined me heading north, into 3' seas and winds from the north at 10-13mph. Another great forecast! Well, we slugged it out, heading directly into the wind and waves. It was tough fishing but fishable nonetheless. We caught 7 Lakers, albeit 2 right before we quit, including a 14# Laker reeled in by Ed. We also missed 4 Lakers. At times the wind would back off a little but not the seas. We were not the only ones fooled by the forecast as there were a few boats out there I wouldn't have felt comfortable in with those conditions. However, I see it all the time (including me) that "well, we're out here and it's rough but we might as well fish." Sound familiar?
29 Aug At dark-o-clock this morning, I could hear the wind swirling outside but that slowly died off and I thought I'd take a chance the predicted northerly winds wouldn't be a problem. Turns out it was beautiful on the water so I set up in 120' and worked deeper and deeper. On my first leg of my route, I marked one small fish and had no hits. The currents had done a 180 degree switch from a few days prior and I now had to rev up the motor to maintain an adequate trolling speed going north. As I made my turn, I caught a nice 4# Laker and in the second hour, heading back, I picked up 4 more Lakers, releasing a small one and still another one that I caught whilst fighting my 7# Laker. Three of the Lakers came off my suspended rigger about 30' off the bottom in water ranging up to 180'. Unusual! So the tally was two 4# Lakers and a 7# Laker in a little over 2 hours. Conditions held great. It's good to see that all my complaining earlier this year about the slow fishing is finally paying off. Just like last year...at least so far.
27 Aug The rain rolled through the area last night and had left the area early this morning, along with leaving very light winds. That's especially great for the fishing contest today. Yesterday, Art and I went out for a short time, only to encounter SE winds up to 15mph so we bagged it in a little over an hour without so much as a hit. The current was so strong that it was hard to get our gear near the bottom and running into the 3' waves was a pain. Today was different as I headed out after most of the contest boats had launched. As I went by white rocks, I noted there were no Seagulls or Cormorants. On closer inspection, I noted a beautiful Eagle sitting on the big rock. No question there who was boss. Fishing conditions were perfect and I just got the third line set up and the rigger bell rang. It wasn't long after that I had my 2nd and 3rd Laker, all in a little under 45 minutes. The strong currents present the past several trips were gone overnight. There was a lot of chatter (read that as BS) on the radio with the contest going on.
25 Aug It just felt like a good fishing day when Art and I launched early to light winds and seas. Without traveling far, we set up the Johnson rod, then the port rigger, then...as I lowered the starboard rigger, at 122 clicks on the counter, I could see the rigger jump. We caught our first feisty Laker in just a few minutes after starting. That was a clue which reminded me of last year when the suspended rigger performed well. We then followed bottom with the Johnson rod and one rigger and left the other one suspend. Boiling it down, we caught 4 of our 7 Lakers on the suspended line today. The last came on the Johnson rod, after we caught our sixth Laker so we released it in fine shape. Our largest fish was 10#, with the rest between 3 and 4#. Art said not just once that it was a great day on the water. I couldn't imagine anyone that would argue with that. Seven Lakers in 2 hours. And he added, it was a great day even if we hadn't caught that many. No argument here.
24 Aug I didn't launch until 9:30 but the water was beautiful with winds light from the south. I headed north and fished from 145' to 180'. The first Laker came on the Johnson rod in 165' and it pulled like the devil all the way, even though it wasn't that big. The second came on a stacker line about 10' from the bottom. The final Laker was on a stacker on the rigger I just set at 135 clicks on the counter so I don't have to follow the bottom when I'm fishing alone. My guess is the lure was about 35' over 170' of water. In an hour I was headed back in with mixed emotion about leaving all that nice fishing water.
23 Aug It's been huffing and puffing for days so finally we got a decent forecast for light and variable winds. In real life today that meant 10mph straight from the north with 3'+ waves...a little rough. Art and I bounced around for a little over 2 hours with just a couple of hits and misses, and judging from the marine radio, it wasn't much better for others. On our final pass, we hit two Lakers on one line, missing the first just a few feet from the net but getting the one on the stacker line. Shortly after that, we hit a nearly 5# Laker about 20' off the bottom in 150' of water. We did see some pretty huge fish marks near the bottom but they weren't very cooperative for biting what we offered.
17 Aug What a great morning with relatively flat seas and light winds from the south. My guest Dr. Michael Cardoni and I headed north to set up in 160' of water. We just had the 2nd rigger set up when the Johnson rod bent over like it was stuck on the bottom, but we knew it wasn't. Mike wrestled with the big Laker for over 15 minutes, which wasn't easy with steel line. We quickly weighed the 24# Laker and tried to release it but we could see that wouldn't be successful. This is the 4th largest Laker to be caught on the boat. We then caught 6 more Lakers, all small but great leans, releasing one because we had a double at the end when we needed only one more. Most fish were in water over 160', even though we tried shallower.
15 Aug Today I had a special guest and ole friend, Joe December, who also has his own boat Somethin' Fishy! Water and winds started a little bumpy but ironically leveled out slowly. We worked the bottom in 180' and connected on the Johnson rod a couple of times and Joe also landed a single line double with two Lakers on one rod. The Lakers were all leans and 3 of them were right around 4# - perfect. We filled up after 3 great hours of fishing and reminiscing.
14 Aug With a good forecast of light winds, supposedly to increase to only 5 - 10 mph, it was a typical 12mph from the NW and it was lumpy on the water. However, it wasn't as bad as yesterday where winds were 14 - 16 mph and 2-3' with the same forecast. We bunched it yesterday after half an hour, but fortunately, we had two small Lakers so we didn't get skunked. Today my guest was Marc Soetaert. We headed north and it wasn't long before the Johnson rod was jumping, the that only lasted a few minutes until it got off so we lowered the line back down. Marc then hit one on the rigger and the Johnson rod went again, for a double. Then, my rigger went ringing and we caught two Lakers on one line, my eighth single line double this year. We turned back and fourth, finally picking up another Laker, then a double at the end so we had to release one. We spent a little over 2 and a half hours and the wind backed off slightly so it was fishable. There were very few other boats out. We didn't bother fishing suspended even though we saw some huge marks between 50' and 100'. All the Lakers caught were between 160' and 180', with a couple on stacker lines about 15' from the bottom.
12 Aug I got an early start this morning because winds were predicted to kick midday. Well, for once that proved a good decision as winds were light from the south with one foot seas as I set up north of white rocks. I wasn't long before I had a real nice Laker on the Johnson rod but about half way up, I could feel it shaking hard and then I knew it was gone. I stayed in the 170' range and in about half an hour, two Lakers, about 15 minutes apart hit, one on a stacker. I had that old feeling that needing just one more, I'd get a double. The feeling was right as I fought a Laker on the Johnson rod, the downrigger bell started ringing. Well, I boxed the first one and although the one on the rigger was a real fighter, I released it with confidence it was in good shape. By the way, winds kicked midday. Great morning fishing and I was back home by 9a.
11 Aug I missed the 4-hour window of fishing yesterday before the wind came up but today, the conditions were near ideal as guests John and Mike Ovink joined me fishing north of white rocks. I had talked to a few fishermen recently who said they were still in 180'+ so that's where we tried. In a little over 3 hours, we caught 9 Lakers, none over 3.5# but all lean. One was a planter. We also missed 6 more. All were between 160' and 180', with 3 on the stacker lines. Our last came as John was hanging onto the Johnson rod when the Laker hit.
7 Aug Fishing in the sand hole was slow as my friend John Wells and I started in 135' of water and slowly worked up to 160'. It was a day for missing fish as we had 7 fish on that we couldn't keep on, caught 4 Lakers and released two of them. We marked a lot of fish around the 50' level and several times put lures in that area but couldn't get any to go. Some of those marks were really big but whether they were salmon or Lakers, we didn't know.
6 Aug The forecasted 5-15 SW winds sounded good and there was a somewhat steady breeze as my guest Harry Purvis and I launched. On our way out of the marina, two 24' boats were returning at 7a. One indicated it was very rough but out we went anyway. Well, it might have been a little breezy and lumpy but it was very fishable so we dropped our lines in 130' and fished with the wind, the wind which slowly died off as we fished. It wasn't long before we caught a small Laker on the Johnson rod, which we released. From then on, it was slow going but we eventually caught 6 nice lean Lakers, the largest a little over 3.5#. Depths ranged from 130' to 160' with only one fish caught on a stacker line about 15' off the bottom. We could tell from the trailers when we returned that it was slow going for most everyone. However, the water was beautiful and it was a great day on the Pond. Never did figure out why those other guys gave up so soon.
5 Aug Headed east for a change, with mixed emotion of the 5 - 15mph wind predictions. Well, it was 15 and a bit bumpy so I fished with the wind and with the small motor running just fast enough to steer, I was still moving at nearly 3 mph, considerably faster than I like. However, I hit a Laker minutes after I started, in 138' of water but quickly lost it. I reset and quickly caught a 5# Laker, then missed 2 more, then caught a 4# Laker. One Laker had a 12" Herring hanging out of its mouth, and apparently, was still on a feeing rampage. All this happened in a little over an hour but it was a bit bumpy with 3-4' waves so I bailed out with my two fish.
2 Aug Today we had two fishing trips. In the morning, I was joined by my Grandson Spencer Smith (9) and his other Grandfather, Rodney Smith. We fished in calm water and warm air, picking up 3 nice Lakers in a little over 2 hours. Most were near the bottom and in around 160' of water. We dragged a few lures suspended between 70' and 100' but got nothing there. In the evening, I was joined by a fishing acquaintance Marcus Cairns as we headed a little north of white rocks. The water had a nice roll but winds were still light on a beautiful evening. We picked up 3 Lakers and missed another, again all near the bottom in 160' of water, with nothing suspended.
1 Aug Fishing conditions were great as my guest George Patrick and I left in hazy, boarder line foggy conditions. The seas were calm and it just felt like a good fishing day. We headed north pretty much targeted the 170' level most of the time. It wasn't long before we boated a nice Laker then missed one. We got a couple more, this time on the Johnson rod. Then we hit two Lakers on stacker lines, only to lose them both 20' from the net. We had 4 in the box so I was cranking up the Johnson rod so it didn't drag on the bottom too heavily when wham, a Chinook hit the lure and nearly pulled the rod from my hands. Fighting that fish with steel line and no drag was a challenge. I handed it off to George who did a great job getting it to the boat where we weighted it at 6.5#. Talk about fun! We then trolled about another 15 minutes and we hit a double, with a Laker on the downrigger, and one on the Johnson rod. Great day.
31 Jul Another strange weather day as my guests Gene and Jon Arntsen and I wrestled with 17mph winds early and then suddenly, the wind waves calmed within a matter of 10 minutes. We caught 4 nice Lakers in between 135' and 170' of water, two on stacker lines. Nothing showed up on the 70' down rigger we ran. We also missed a couple.
30 Jul As my guest Frank Sciotto and I headed to the launch, we were talking about the good forecast of 5-10 mph winds. Arriving, we could clearly see they were well over 10 to start with. We headed north with plans to fish with the 2' waves and maybe it would settle. I set one rigger to 70 clicks (over 160' of water) so we wouldn't have to worry about both riggers in rough water. Well, we looked at the graph and I commented we're marking a fish right about the same depth as we have the rigger at. Two seconds later, we had a 6# Laker on and somehow it managed to tangle in the other line, but we got it in. By then the wind was pretty steady at 17 mph so we turned and headed into it, with considerable difficulty. Surprisingly, we hit another Laker, this time near the bottom (I think). After getting that one in the boat, we quit after an hour, rather than fight the wind and 2-3' waves. The wind later died off considerably.
29 Jul Another rolly polly day, with NNE winds at 10mph and 2-3' seas. I headed north of white rocks and fished a 150' run that has proven pretty good over the years. Nothing, including no marks so I move to the 140' level with the same results. Finally, after nearly 3 hours of bouncing around (it's hard to fish close to the bottom like that), I moved to 180' where I hit a small Laker. The whole time I left one rigger up between 50' and 100'. As I hauled up the other rods to quit, I notice the upper rigger bouncing and I reeled in 2 Lakers on one line, mere minutes before I quit. That stopped me from whining for the day about how slow the fishing is.
27 Jul The Lake was rockin' early but by noon, the winds and waves became manageable so out I headed east. Well, in a little over two hours, I managed no runs, no hits, no errors and marked two fish. First skunk of the season. That not withstanding, it was beautiful on the water, with 62 temperature and nice sun on the dark blue water. The wind switched to around 9 mph from the east and the 2'+ rollers kept the boat and me in motion.
25 Jul Been off the "Big Pond" for a while and had great fun fishing for Chinook in Lake Michigan (don't bother asking me about how it went). However, back to my good ole Lake Superior as my California friend Ron Rabe and I headed out north early in the morning. Action was slow but we finally hit a nice 6# Laker. Whilst Ron was fighting the fish on the Johnson rod, with its steel line, he was having a hassle. He said if it breaches, we're not bringing it in the boat. I agreed but found it quite manageable. Great day on a little roily seas Missed another Laker just as we quit. All the hits were around the 150' level.
17Jul At 6a, it was 74 degrees and predicted to go to mid 90s so I headed out east with hopes of early success. I started in 132' of water and finally hit a small Laker, a dink (real small), which I released. Then a miss on the Johnson rod and then I caught a couple of small Lakers. Then, as luck would have it, I got a triple, but needed only one for the limit so I had to release two of them. Most action was in 150' of water, with nothing on the stackers. Didn't mark many either. The temperature was climbing and I didn't mind getting off the Lake as for once, as it wasn't cooler out there.
16Jul This morning we headed north several miles with guests Chuck Gorton and his father Charlie. Action wasn't fast but fairly steady and we picked up 6 nice Lakers, all fairly small and lean, in about 150' of water. We started in 116' and worked as deep as 190' for a short time. Conditions were warm but the Lake was flat and it was a great day on the water. We also missed a couple that really rang the rigger bell but they're still out there.
14Jul The forecast was for NE 5-10 and calm to 2' seas. Well, my guest George Patrick and I arrived as one of the veteran fishermen returned with his crew, complaining there were 4' seas out there. A charter boat also returned. Despite those ominous signs and against advice, we headed east, around an ore boat leaving, and into some 3-4' rollers, but very few breaking waves. We were actually able to make good time and set up in 130' of water and fished both with and against the 10' east wind and rollers. When the water is lumpy like that, you do a fair amount of walking in place. The boat held perfect course so we had no excuses about not being able to fish the way we wanted to. We managed to land only one of the 4 Lakers we had on but it was slow going, considering it took nearly 3 hours to do so.
11Jul Today I had some special friends out, Terry and Chip O'Neill. We didn't leave until mid morning but the water was like glass and it was quite warm. We headed east and set up in 140' of water, just past where two ore boats were coming in, and we wanted to make sure we weren't in their way. We caught 3 nice lean Lakers in a little over an hour, as well as missed another. Two were on the stacker lines, about 15' off the bottom.
10Jul A fishing acquaintance mentioned fishing was fairly good north so with my guest Harry Purvis, we headed that way. I had two lines down and a Laker on before Harry got set up. He got some ribbing about that. Anyway, we thought we would nail 'um, but that didn't prove out at all. We caught only one more in the 3 hours and finally were glad to quit as the temperature was very hot and the flies were brutal, biting our ankles and so on.
9Jul Talk about a slow start. Headed east early and didn't get a hit for over an hour. Marked almost nothing. Started and stayed around 130' for quite a while but that wasn't the magic depth. Finally, at 160' I hit a small Laker on the stacker line. Then another on the Johnson pumper rod which felt huge so I pulled up the riggers so I could slow the boat a little. That fish must have had a parachute on his butt as when I got it up, it looked to be around 4-5# at best. Then, following one of my ugliest netting jobs, I managed to lose it. No more details will follow on that. Then, finally I picked up another nice 4# Laker as I was quitting. I tracked the big thunderstorm 4 miles to the north on my radar and it didn't seem to move for over an hour. I watched as an ore boat came right through it. Even though the storm didn't appear to be a threat, I didn't mind getting off the lake when there's lightning around.
8Jul The forecasted nice day came true as my guest Art Beauchamp and I headed east early on a beautiful morning. We got off to a slow start but gradually picked up 6 decent sized Lakers, all leans. Three were on stackers and two were on the rigger that was probably 20' off the bottom. I'm not sure why that worked as Lakers are generally near the bottom. Most were in from 140' - 160', although we tried shallower and a little deeper. One Laker was all wrapped up with Indian net. We were back to the Marina by 10a.
4Jul The Big Pond finally settled after several days of windy huffing and puffing so my guest Scott Fox and I headed out early. We marked a few fish before we had lines in so that always gets one pumped. The water was great as we fished from 138' to 160', hitting two doubles and catching 7 small Lakers, releasing a really small one. We marked several other fish but never seemed to catch the marks, not that it matters.
28Jun After a mid morning appointment, I headed out in the heavy fog and calm waters, hoping to get lucky before an afternoon appointment. Other than the fog, which didn't bother me much, it was beautiful on the water. I had about a 2-hour window to fish and I was about 1 hour and 50 minutes into it without a single hit. I was actually reading a computer magazine nearing quitting time when both downriggers rang. I reeled in one Laker then when I got the other line up, I had 2 Lakers on the one line. The one fish looked to be hooked well so I thought I would just heft it into the box without netting it. Wrong thing to do as it dropped off into the water about 6" shy of the box. I netted the other one. This is not the first time I've done that dumb trick. It'll go in my record books as an involuntary release. The Lakers were in 150' of water, close to the bottom.
26Jun Seeing as yesterday was pretty successful, with guests John and Mike Ovink, we headed back. We fished from 115' to 180' and marked some big fish in between. We caught 6 nice Lakers, the largest nearly 6# but it was still fairly slow going. Two Lakers came off stacker lines, probably 15' from the bottom. Most Lakers were in around 150'. Winds behaved with 10mph breeze out of the SE.
25Jun Today we headed north towards Thoney Point with the water calm and only a light breeze as guests Charlie Gorton, George and Shane Mohr joined me. We started in 119' and went as deep as 180' with a slow start. Action slowly picked up and we ended with 6 nice Lakers, the largest over 5lbs. There were also 11 other boats in the area, kind of unusual. Most fish were around the 155' level and we marked a few huge fish, but they didn't go for the lures. It was a beautiful day on the water.
22Jun Super nice day on the water as my guest Harry Purvis and I headed north to try some shallow fishing. We slugged it out for a couple of hours and move a couple of times, finally hitting one 5# Laker in 70' of water. Our final move was to 150' where we caught one more. A couple of fishing buddies were catching Lakers in 250' of water, too deep for me. Hopefully, they'll move in to shallower water before long and things will pick up. I'm not really complaining (fooled you eh?) as it was such a great day, with the air calm and temperatures in the low 60s and upper 50s. It was near perfect.
20Jun With things to do all day and the Lake calm late afternoon, I headed out after supper and didn't go far north before setting up. After about 10 minutes I looked again out the windshield, only to see an Indian net dead ahead. Looking west I could see another flag so I veered out over deeper water to avoid the net. I hit a small Laker and as I looked ahead again, there was another end, the end to the first one I saw. Luckily, I didn't lose any gear but it couldn't have been closer. I steered back to my usual run, only to see another net so it was difficult fishing where I wanted to and not in the super deep water. I hit another Laker on the rigger I had suspended about 30' from the bottom as I didn't want to be bothered with it hitting bottom as I manuevered. That was a nice 5# Laker. Before I even started to reel it in, I took the other rigger up about the same so I wouldn't hit bottom and caught another 5# Laker on that. That's unusual for me to hit suspended Lakers this early in the year. In an hour I was headed in with my limit. The water was beautiful and the 63 degree air would be missed as it was still in the 80s at home.
19Jun Today was to be a change, albeit give up on the east fishing and head north. Well, I managed one small Laker at 150' in an hour and the south wind and waves were slowly building. I thought, maybe the shallow fishing would finally be happening and fishing close to the shore would make the wind less of a problem. So I pulled the equipment and headed several miles to my favorite spot. I was wrong on both counts, fish weren't in and the wind was steady at 18mph, gusting to 25 and I finally picked up a 5# Laker just as I quit. I honestly didn't see it hit but when I pulled the rigger, that fish was on and really was lively and gave me a hassle to get in. My story then is that it hit when I pulled the rigger. Not my finest hour on the Big Pond but there're worse things to be doing.
18Jun It was too nice a day to not head out and try the shallow thing - again. Well, I probably didn't give it much of a chance as my guest George Patrick and I tried for only about an hour before heading to deeper water. in around 160' of water, we slowly hit 3 dinks (my term for small Lakers), despite marking some big fish (that never bothered be one way or the other.) The surface water temperature had dropped to 49 degrees and the air was 56 degrees, but with sunny skies and no wind, it was great. I'm now entering my power whine phase about the slow fishing.
13Jun I just had to try fishing shallow again as my guest Art Beauchamp and I headed out on a beautifully calm morning. Well, so much for shallow fishing as we didn't get a hit and marked very little. We then moved to deeper water and struggled to catch 2 Lakers the whole time. Ironically, we got both at once and that was it. A perfect day on the water but the action was pretty lousy.
11Jun In calm seas and spotty fog, guest Frank Lorsbach and I headed east to try fishing in shallower water, seeing the surface water temperature was above 50 degrees. Well, so much for that idea so after an hour of no runs, hits, or errors, we headed to deeper water where we gradually picked up 4 nice lean Lakers. Heading back I could see the rain on the radar screen and it hit us pretty hard but there was no lightning and it didn't last long. Fun day! Most fish were in the 170' range with two on stackers and one on the Johnson rod.
9Jun Guest Gary Gibbs and I headed east in rougher than expected water, with considerable fog thrown in. It wasn't long before Gary had a real bell ringer on but that didn't last long. We later picked up two nice Lakers at 168', one on the stacker line. Our third fish was a toughie to haul in and Gary fought it for probably 15 minutes. Just when we could see it right behind the boat, it got off but was floating on the surface. I quicky marked the spot in the GPS and Gary hauled in 600' of the steel line so we could make a quick turn. That was interesting but we did it and circled to net the 7# Laker. We later picked up one more and missed another. The wind slowed, then switched from the north and the temperature dropped to 45 degrees just as we headed in. However, all in all, it was really pleasant and the confused seas with 2-3' rollers were not all that bad.
3Jun It was the first time this season I could get my friend George Patrick (soon to be 89 years old) out and it was another great day on the water, with calm seas and very light winds. It started much like the day before with little action for the first hour and then it picked up. Most of the action was on George's rigger and once he reeled in two Lakers on the one line. Most of the fish were in 160' of water and two were on stackers, about 15' off the bottom. We ended with 6 fairly small Lakers in two hours and marked very few. The surface water temperature, for whatever that's worth, shot up to 48 degrees.
2Jun It was another great day on the water as Art and I headed east on a mildly choppy sea. However, as we headed out, the chop soon disappeared as Bob B, a friend who was to fish along side of us, followed along. We set up in near-calm waters and fished for at least 45 minutes before we even got a hit. After that, hits were quite steady as we found the right depth at between 160' and 170'. In a little over 2 hours, Art and I were headed back with our limit, having experience some pretty good action, including a double on the 3rd and 4th Laker. One Laker was on the stacker and another on the Johnson rod, and it fought a lot more than its 4# size would have indicated. Super day!
1Jun Yesterday was super day on the Big Pond. Action was slow but who cares when it's flat and sunny? I had two Lakers in the box after a couple of hours. I was ready to quit when I spotted Doug (don't tell any one but he's 86 years old) with his fishing buddies Don and Charlie fishing nearby I know those guys fish deep water so I fished over towards them to say howdy before I quit and see just how deep they fish. As I approached, the crew hollered for me to note their "GPS", pointing to a milk jug ahead of them, marking where they'd been catching fish. Obviously, I was getting a little dig for having a fair amount of electronics on my boat. As I quit near them, I hauled in the Johnson rod and it was quite heavy and surprise- a nice Laker was on. Of course, I acted like I knew it was on all along. They were in 215' of water. Too deep for me.
Today, Art and I headed east on calm waters and a rising sun. I always think of calm water as an opportunity to try more distant spots and we did. We were not disappointed as we caught 6 nice Lakers and missed one in a little over 2 hours. Another fantastic, calm day. Most Lakers were around 170' but two were on stackers about 15' off the bottom.
29May For a change I headed a short way north and set up in 120' feet of water, but where it drops off quickly. With two rods in I was dropping the second rigger and a nice #4 Laker hit on the way down. That doesn't happen often. The water was flat and it was a cool but sunny morning. I fished quite a while and decided it was time to try something different so I veered off my usual run and fished to a 50' hump a few miles away, where I jigged for a while. Enroute I hit another Laker that was suspended, but I didn't get to see it. The jigging didn't pay off and I fished back, hitting some 200'+ water on the way. I didn't bother going to the bottom but managed to pick up my limit, including a dink Laker which I released. The Johnson rod must be on sabbatical as it hasn't contributed to putting fish in the boat the past few trips, but it will soon. It almost always comes through with at least one or two.
28May Guest Harry Purvis and I headed easterly to one of Harry's and my favorite spots. It was a cool 45 degrees but calm and beautiful. We set up the riggers and it wasn't 10 minutes before Harry wrestled a nice 7# Laker in. We of course thought we were going to hit it big time but we were wrong. After better than an hour and a half, nothing more so we move to a favorite place of mine where we finally caught 3 Lakers, and missed a 4th, but it was slow going. We had to go to 170' for them but it wasn't a problem. As we headed in, the air was 43 degrees at 1p and the surface water 40 degrees. However, we couldn't have asked for a better day (well ok, a little warmer) than this.
25May Another great water day as guest Tom LaPointe and I headed way up north, a change after fishing east the past several trips. It was as slow as it gets as we started in 112' and worked our way as deep as 180'. We finally caught two nice Lakers, and missed another in a little over 3 hours. Conditions were great with little wind and lots of sunshine. However, the air was 45 so even when the wind did breeze up a little, it was chilly. We saw fellow boater Neil Green and our mutual friend Joe December as his guest and they filled up with 9 Lakers.
24May I thought, ah, ha!, today will be the day as conditions were cool, but otherwise near perfect. I then discovered near perfect was for me and not the fish. I started in 125' and just kept heading east. Marked two fish and had no runs, hits or errors until over 3 hours later when I missed one that really rattled the downrigger. At this point I was several miles from where I started but very close to a favorite spot of mine and wouldn't you know, I caught 3 nice Lakers once I got there, all in 175' of water. The surface water was 40 degrees and the air 43, but with no wind, it was great. Don't tell anyone but I even caught up on some reading whilst listening to the radio. Most of the time I stayed under in 155' of water but the last hour I went up to 180'.
18May One forecast was for winds SE 10-20 but another was for 5-10, so I chose to believe the latter. There was a pretty good breeze when we launched and I commented that when the water is cold this time of year, it is often fairly calm away from land, and it turned out that way. Art and I headed east and started at 125'. Before long, we had one rigger just shaking but we never got to see that fish. Action was really slow for the next two hours, missing a couple more as we worked our way out to where there were two other boats, one right on my route. We could see the one boat working back and forth and when we got to that area, we hit a couple of Lakers. I thought we'd circle back so we turned and quickly one rigger went off, with Art reeling in two Lakers on the one line. We just barely got that line reset and the other rigger went off, with two Lakers on that single line. That was Art's first time to see a single line double, let alone two on one day. Ironic we went 2 and a half hours with two Lakers and then caught 4 within 5 minutes. That's fishing! The other boat was still working that area when we left. Most of the Lakers were in 150' of water.
17May Today I had to be in early so I left at dark-o-clock, 6 a.m., a little before sunrise. It was a cool 38 degrees but calm. Fished the same area as yesterday but the action was considerably slower. Caught 3 Lakers (and missed one) in a little over 2 hours, all in around 150' of water. A fishing buddy stopped on his way in and said he had 6 Lakers, all in around 200' of water. Of course, I had only one fish when he stopped by and I caught the last two within ten minutes after he left. Beautiful day on the Big Pond. It had warmed up to 43 degrees when I got off.
16May After 9 days of crappy weather, it finally calmed off and the sun came out. I couldn't get an early start because of other obligations but around 1p, I thought I'd at least get back on the water and give it a shot. I set up in 140' of water and as I got the 3rd line down, one rigger rattled, then the other, then the Johnson rod started bouncing. I didn't even have the net assembled yet but I got that done and boxed the first Laker. On the other downrigger, I finally got that up behind the boat and noticed there were two Lakers on the one line, one on the main line, one on the stacker. I was about to net the first and it rolled over and swam away so I just netted the one. On the steel line, I got that to within 50' of the boat and there was the usual jerk and the line went dead so I just let the line back out again knowing the fish got off. Nothing like starting off with 4 fish on at once. It wasn't long before I caught 3 more Lakers, releasing 2 small ones. The air was 41 degrees and water 38.8 degrees on the surface, but it seemed a lot warmer jumping around the boat fighting the fish and rerigging. In 1 hour and 5 minutes I had 7 fish on and that was a very pleasant and enjoyable surprise. Guess I'm an official member of the lunch bunch fisherman's group.
7May05 Back to cloudy and cold as guest Art Beauchamp and I headed out early, both with commitments to get back at a set time. We hit the first Laker on the Johnson rod and promptly lost it. However, we worked the 135' - 155' bottom and in just under 3 hours, managed 5 nice Lakers, all around the 3# range. One came off the stacker, the rest near the bottom. We also missed another one.
6May05 It was raining early but the radar showed most had gone through so I promised to do my chores later and headed out at 11a. I was the only car at the launch and I couldn't figure out why. Winds were very light and the the overall forecast wasn't that bad. I didn't go far before setting up. The ore carrier Saginaw was just passing close by and as I reached for my camera, wham the downrigger rang once and I could see the line spooling out and hear the reel clicker screaming. In five seconds I knew it had to be a Chinook or Steelhead, and a big one at that. I also knew if I didn't get my Johnson steel line out of the water quickly, I was almost guaranteed to lose that fish if it got tangled in it so I cranked all 600' of line in record time. Sure enough, the fish line wrapped the steel line but I got that out. I also pulled up the other rigger enough so I could slow the boat down. It took about 15 minutes of fighting the fish to finally get it in sight, only to see there was also a Laker hanging on to the stacker line. That's when I thought netting would be a nightmare but I successfully landed the 10# Chinook and 3# Laker on the one rod. Twenty minutes later I hit another Laker with the rigger still up quite a bit from the bottom, then another. They weren't big Lakers but beautiful leans. In an hour I had four nice fish in the box and didn't mark a single fish the whole time with my graph. That's ironic, but not unusual! What a change from just two days before. When I came in to the marina with those fish, there wasn't a soul to be seen to greet me. I thought I'd better take a picture for evidence and bragging rights later.
4May05 Another cool morning but sunny and flat as guest Frank Lorsbach and I tried the lower harbor area to the Chocolay River mouth. We had no runs, hits, or errors so we headed to shot point and one of my favorite spots. Well, it took a couple of hours to shake 4 small Lakers out of that spot as we ranged around. We probably marked less than 5 fish the whole day. Still, it was beautiful on the water and the wind behaved well, even if it was 38 degrees and the water 37 degrees.
30Apr05 Guest Gary Gibbs and I didn't notice the cool 38 degree morning air as there was no wind when we started. However, a couple hours later when we quit after one Laker and missing two, the NE wind had picked up and it was cold. Slow but enjoyable trip.
28Apr After a morning appointment, I was the only boat to launch on a beautifully calm, but cool morning. The sun was shining but that didn't last long. I set up in 132' of water and quickly caught a small Laker, of course before I had the net or anything else ready. It wasn't long before it started to snizzle, little snow pellets that would land on the motor housing. However, none of that mattered as it was calm and the 39 degrees felt much warmer with no wind. I finally caught another Laker, this time in 152' of water so I thought it was a good day to just putts around in shallower waters where I normally don't fish. Well, I didn't catch or mark anything so now I know why I don't fish there often, but it was a super day on the water anyway.
27Apr Ok, so I was a little anxious to get back on the water after the stretch of bad weather. The forecast called for light winds and sprinkles so I thought, what the heck and headed not too far east. Before I got a line down, the graph lit up with several big fish marks in 132' of water. In slowly building wind and seas, I didn't mark or catch a thing for nearly the next hour but did fight the auxiliary motor which was having carburetor icing problems and would bog down and then speed up. That kept me busy for half an hour. That sometimes happens in temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees. My cure is usually to warm the motor, then shut it off for a few minutes so heat will transfer to the carburetor, but I couldn't do that with all the lines down.
I talked to the only other boat out there, the DNR boat RV Judy, that was lifting their survey nets and would have been directly in my path. About half way on the downwind leg, it started to snow where I couldn't see land, and the wind was now at 15mph with 2' - 3' seas. I turned on the return leg and hooked a Laker, bringing it to within a few feet of my net and away it went. With that, I felt the Lord was telling me, hey stupid, you're not supposed to be out here in this stuff. With that, I pulled in all the lines, only to look down at the graph and see several huge fish marks. On top of that, the Johnson rod lure that I reeled in on quitting was all tangled up. Eh, eh I said, or words to that effect and home I went. I'll be back soon though.
19Apr It was relatively calm with the threat of thundershowers when I headed east, not wanting to go too far. I started in 135' of water and hit a 5# Laker on the stacker line in 142' of water after 15 minutes . Then the wind slowly built to 15 mph but it was still nice and I went the next couple of hours without a hit, but did mark a few big marks. I worked as deep as 180' but finally came back to the 140' level. Gradually the winds dropped off and I was about to quit when I started to take up one downrigger and I could see the Laker hit as I was taking it up. At the same time, the Johnson rod started dancing so I got the first Laker in fine but the one on the Johnson rod was about 3/4 of the way up when it started the heavy throbbing and I just knew it was bye bye. Well, it was bye bye. Steel line can be a challenge sometimes. Great day though.
17Apr Today started as deja vu all over again from our last trip as Gary Gibbs and I headed to the east. We caught 3 respectable Lakers within 45 minutes and we decided not to look back and keep on trolling to a favorite spot of mine, a couple of miles east. Well, the next hour and a half produced diddly squat. Finally, we reached my long-time favorite and we quickly hit 4 rigger shakers and netted 3. I was redeemed! Three of the Lakers were on the stacker, about 12' off the bottom. Most were around 150' to 185' of water. Conditions could not have been better, with winds light and calm conditions. No one was at the launch when we came in with our catch. Surprise!
16Apr The day started windier than predicted so I held off a little before heading out to the sand hole and believe it or not, it actually settled somewhat. It was still around 10 mph from the SSE but winds and water were manageable . The air was cool (43 degrees) so I reluctantly put on my insulated coveralls. I marked a huge fish after about 45 minutes and when I dropped the rigger down to make sure I was in the zone, wham, that rigger just jumped and rang the bell. That didn't last long as when I brought it all up, the lure was gone, along with the fish. That doesn't happen often. Caught the first Laker about 15 minutes later on the Johnson rod and it fought all the way, even though it was shy of 4#. I marked a fish at 70' so I pulled up one rigger just in case there were more at that level and I left it there the duration of the trip. Picked up another Laker on the bottom off the stacker line. When I quit, slightly over 3 hours after starting, I pulled the shallow rigger, only to see a nice, lively 3# Laker on. I'm assuming it just hit as I was quitting. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. By the way, I have never seen so many geese fly over in my life. I counted 16 separate formations at one time, all huge groups. And the waves of geese just kept coming and coming. It was a beautiful sight.
14Apr Guest Gary Gibbs and I headed north in a light but cold north wind. We hit our first Laker on the Johnson rod within minutes and of course, the thoughts of a bountiful trip crossed our minds. Well, we hit two more fairly small Lakers and thought we'd just keep trolling north to see what we could find. After 4 hours of trolling and way up north, we didn't get but one hit and no more fish. There, that run is out of my system for a while. We dodged Indian nets just north of white rocks and again way up past one stack. Air temperature was 38 degrees.
13Apr After running a few chores and seeing how beautifully flat the Lake was, Art Beauchamp and I headed out in bumpy water and winds from the northeast, all of which came up quickly. We headed to the sand hole and managed only 2 Lakers, both a little over 3# each. The air was a cool 38 degrees and with the wind, felt a lot colder. Both fish were in 140' to 160' and we marked very few. We also missed two fish but had no way to tell how big they were as they weren't on for very long.
10Apr I was determined to hit the Sand Hole again as the last time there I wasn't well prepared on my shakedown trip. I hit my first Laker, one over 4#, in 155' of water on the Johnson rod and what a scrapper it was. Fought all the way up. The next one not a whole lot later was a dink (under 2#). It was beautiful on the calm water, even though the air was cold. I made a turn to return and hit my last Laker at the same spot as the first, just as the wind kicked to 15 from the NE. Timing was great. Upon arrival at the dock, I got checked by one of the two DNR Conservation Officer. It would have been nice if the CO offered to give me a hand in the wind at the dock while I was alone. He went on my boat, to which I have no objection and checked a number of things out, all of which were OK. Actually, I'm glad to see the COs there once and a while.
8 Apr Guest Gary Gibbs and I fished a couple of morning hours in my 14' boat, catching only a nice Coho. It was cool but calm so we decided to switch boats and try for Lakers. We then headed north of white rocks and fished the 150' waters. It took a couple of hours but we finally caught 3 nice Lakers. The air was a crisp 38 degrees and it got progressively colder as the wind and water slowly built from the northeast. After all, it's still early April and some years we'd have been lucky just to be out on the water.
4Apr Fished in the morning for salmon with a friend and it was so nice on the Lake that I headed out in my boat at noon. Rounding the breakwater, there was a lot of floating ice to dodge. Eventually I got around the ice field and headed north of white rocks where it was pretty clear. I forgot my Johnson rod again so I just fished with one downrigger near the bottom and the other around 100', guessing it would be a gift to catch something on the upper one. I marked very few fish but caught 3 nice lean Lakers around 150' of water, 2 near the bottom and 1 on a stacker line about 15' up. No gifts! Coming back to the harbor was interesting as the ice field had blocked the entrance and I had to power though the ice, clunking and being shoved side to side through about 50' of ice. Ice aside, not a bad start.
3 Apr Well, we finally got on the water to shake down our equipment. The good news is that everything I remembered to bring worked. Read between the lines if you wish. The water was a calm 34 degrees and the air a calm 38 degrees but it could not have been nicer. Tried the harbor for a couple of quick passes then moved out to the the sand hole. I marked but two fish the whole time and didn't have a bump on the lines. Only downrigger action was floating skim ice hitting the downrigger lines and falsely ringing the bells. Had to retrain myself on the electronics as usual.
13 Feb 05 It's time to get the web site set up for the coming fishing season. There's not a lot of snow on the ground and the sun is creeping higher each day and I'm getting fired up. However, I'm somewhat a realist knowing winter isn't over yet. I've been ice fishing during the winter, some for walleye but mostly for bluegills. I've had a few productive trips and as many that produced sparse returns but great times on the ice and real good lunches. Don't bother asking my advice on ice fishing - please.
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