"Cooler By The Lake"
2007 Lake Superior Fishing Log
Jump to my 2006 Log Jump to 2008 Log
Overall, it was another good year for fishing and time on the water, especially with guests. Following are some of my statistics and observations for the season. One of the more notable statistics is the 3.6 pound average size of the Lakers, still small but an improvement over last year's average of 2.8 pounds. I don't think it's the Lake Trout growing larger but rather I got into some bigger ones late in the year. Check out the average size table and catch rate graph below for statistics over the years. My 178 trolling hours was a decrease of 28% from the prior year and my number of trips decreased 21%. The trolling hours are down partially because I fished by myself more this year, which tends to make trips shorter. But the biggest influence on reduced hours and trips was the weather, as we had several long periods of high seas and lousy weather. The fish per hour rate of 1.71 I feel was very good. Again, it was a late summer, early fall rebound where we had some super catches. It's also a by-product of my whining mid summer when my cumulative catch rate was around 1.4. One of the more memorable days was on October 1st, when we had 5 Lakers on at one time and the net was broken.
It's been a pleasure hearing from those who wrote to me. I look forward to being on the water again in 2008. In the interim, although I have been remiss in posting my "Joe's Woodshed", I plan to change that so please check that out once in a while, or drop me a note on either this site or the Woodshed. Thanks for joining me. Have a great winter.
|Year||Ave Laker Lbs.|
Fishing summary for 2007
Trolling Hours (Lake Trout only)
178, (249 last year)
|Lake Trout Caught (not all kept)||296|
73, (93 last year)
Fish per hour
1.71, (1.61 last year)
Total fish caught
298 (includes released fish) 389 last year
Skunks trips during year
2 (1 last year) Only counts Fishing for Laker Trips
Average weight of Lake Trout
3.6 lbs. (2.8 lbs. last year)
Number of Steelhead
Number of Coho
1, (last year 5)
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2007 respectively (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, 1.58,1.55,1.60,1.38,1.74,1.51,1.61,171
|Single-line doubles (two fish on one line)||11, (14 in 2006)|
30 Oct 2007 A day of sadness - I put the boat away for the season. The forecast for the next week was in a word, breezy, which means very windy in boating language. Besides that, the Fall harbor fishery has all but disappeared, due mostly I believe to tribal netting during the spawning season. I'll put forth my fishing report in the next several weeks. I changed my database that worked for so many years to where it doesn't work as well as it did before. Smart eh? I'll figure it out eventually. Preliminary indications are a Laker catching rate per hour of trolling of 1.71 and a total of 298 fish caught.
28 Oct The waves were still crashing the shoreline this morning, leftovers from yesterday's blow. I waited until shortly after noon to launch as seas settled somewhat. I was the only boat at the launch. I headed north, but not far and set lines at 120' and planning to stay in the 120' - 140' but as it worked out, I ended in the 140' -160' where I caught 3 Lakers, the largest 8#, releasing a small one, and missing two others in a little under two hours. The 8# Laker hit the stacker line about 7' from the bottom in 130' of water, just as I was quitting Most caught or hooked were near the bottom and my suspended line did nothing.
25 Oct Somehow, the several wind indicators and the forecast showed little wind early and decent winds predicted of 5-10 mph from the south. I knew it'd be nippy as it was 32 degrees at the house when I left. However, looking out from the launch you could see some capping as my guest Rodney Smith and I headed out. It was decent enough to head to my latest and favorite spot so off we went. The auxiliary motor ran well except carb icing made the speed inconsistent for about 15 minutes so I set only one line until the motor warmed and problem went away. Carb icing sometimes causes my auxiliary motor problems when it's under 40 degrees. I then connected the port downrigger ball and neatly watched the ball descend into the lake faster than the line. Right! The snap broke and away went the cannon ball. After an at-sea repair and replacement ball later and we were again fishing. We marked very little and caught less. We finally picked up a 4# Laker on the Johnson rod and missed another nice fish on a rigger. That was it! We finally pulled lines after a little over 2 hours as winds were kissing 15 mph, with gusts to 21 mph. Lest you think it wasn't a fun trip, we can say it was still enjoyable and in a way, not catching or marking much there, will lead me to fish closer to port next time...unless it's a beautiful, calm day.
21 Oct What a beautiful morning as my guest Dale Kleffman and I motored out after launching shortly before 9a. We headed northward and set lines in 120' of water. With only two of the three lines set, a rigger went off and Dale wrestled in a nice 11# Laker. It wasn't long after that, we caught a 7.5# Laker. Action was pretty steady with the next 4 Lakers all around 3#. The first three Lakers were on stacker lines and the Johnson managed only one Laker. When we had 5 in the box, sure enough we got a double and had to release one. We hit 150' of water for a short period but mostly stayed in the 130' range, give or take 10'. When we had a little slack time, it was nice to take in the fall shoreline colors contrasting with the deep blue water. In an hour and a half we were wrapping it up and heading in. Dale commented it was beautiful out there even if we didn't catch any fish, but it's a little better when you do. Hard to argue with that. Here's Dale with some of the catch (of course they're the biggest). Click to enlarge, back button to return here.
17 Oct Today, the seas were really roily, with 3' rollers from the east and waves but not much capping from winds out of the SW at 12 mph, considerably stronger than predicted. We set lines in 120' with a strong crosswind. My guest did fine for a while in the rough water but slowly he looked greenish and you know what that means - seasick. I stalled a little while but finally we pulled lines and I brought him in after an hour of hitless fishing. I was surprised we didn't have as much as a nibble as we marked a ton of fish. Tomorrow, I understand gale warnings are being posted. Gee!
15 Oct With fairly light east winds predicted, guest Frank Lorsbach and I headed into a fairly light north westerly wind and it was easy going. We set lines at 9a, including a surface line on a planner board. Much like yesterday, not much happened for the first 50 minutes except a big hit missed on Frank's downrigger and a miss on the surface line. Then action picked up as we neared the 140' level where we got 6 Lakers in about half an hour and missed still another on the surface line. I'm puzzled about the surface line as I've washed lures on that most of the summer with no action, then two misses today. The stackers didn't produce but no biggie. While we were fishing, you could see the wind slowly clocking around to north and then eastward. It was an easy ride going back but a look at the Lake two hours later showed a stiff east wind and some pretty good whitecaps. We were both glad the action was good and glad to be back. Looks now like east winds the rest of the week but who knows!
14 Oct Waters were a little roily heading out but the wind machine was finally on low as I launched at a frosty ramp. I set lines at 112' but quickly worked to around 130' and nothing happened for 55 minutes, except for marking fish. Then action quickly picked up with a small Laker which I released, then a big Laker I could make little progress on that got off after about two minutes of bent-over rod. In the last 45 minutes I caught a 6 Lakers, the largest 8.5#, next 6#, and next 4#. I released 3, the last one being at least 4# but the box already had my limit. I got as deep as 150' but fish seemed scattered from the bottom to about 25' up. Three of the fish were on the stacker lines. Conditions were great as it was sunny and a beautiful day. I did some boat chores after the last fish to extend my time on the water. Hopefully, the winds will lessen the next few weeks as this is probably the windiest fall I can remember in a long time.
7 Oct I could hear the waves crashing on the shoreline about half a mile away as I stepped out my back door at dark-o-clock and saw that winds were SE at 9 mph, two bad signs. I postponed my planned 8a start and by 9a the Lake didn't sound so bad (denial?) so out I went. The rollers were running about 3', some bigger and there was a cross-chop that made for a safe, but bouncy ride. Down went the Johnson rod in 118' and as I was setting up my rigger, the Johnson rod bounced, producing a nice lean Laker. With both riggers set up, the starboard rigger bell rang with a fish. While that fish was still on, I set the port rigger to 114', a seemingly magic number last time. I had just reeled in the one Laker when the port rigger had both releases pop, and produced a 6.5# Laker. Before I could pull the Johnson rod in, a small Laker hit and I had to release it. The deepest water I hit was 156' but I stayed off the bottom about 20' as I was in 135' or so most of the time. Not bad action with 4 Lakers in 35 minutes. I'm not sure whether to tell Frank (see 5 Oct) that the 114' worked so well.
5 Oct Finally a break in the wind as my guest Frank Lorsbach and I headed out in heavy overcast but light winds. We set lines at 118' and fished briefly as deep as 180', but didn't follow the bottom. Most of our action was between 120' and 140'. Frank decided 114' clicks on the downrigger was about right and darned if he didn't get a nice 6# Laker. I think he caught 3 Lakers running that setting so it warranted a little teasing by asking him how deep I should be running on my rigger. The Johnson rod came through for the last fish. Most of the Lakers were in the 3# range. The surface line once again did absolutely nothing. We did have a couple of sparrows visit us and sit on the back of the boat, then one went up on the dashboard for a while. I was actually able to touch one, hoping it'd jump unto my finger but he liked sitting on the downrigger more. They finally flew off after about 10 minutes of rest. Click on picture to enlarge, back button to return here.
2 Oct The forecast was for slowly increasing southerly winds, finally hitting 15 - 25 mph in the afternoon. I thought I'd head back to fertile grounds with hopes of catching my 3 Lakers and getting off the Lake before the wind kicked. It didn't take too long before the port rigger produced a nice Laker, then the other rigger caught a nice Laker while the Johnson rod was bouncing. By the time I got to the Johnson rod, the fish was reefing pretty hard after about 50 cranks and it got off. Nearing the end of my run, I caught a smaller Laker and I hesitated to release it but did, thinking I could catch a bigger one fishing back. After about 15 minutes without a hit, I wondered how long it would be before the wind came up (it was already at 9 mph but very manageable). Could I get the third and get off the Lake in time? Well, the port rigger bell rang and produce two Lakers, one of which I released, while the Johnson started bouncing. I released the Lakers on the Johnson rod and went to wash my net and off came the yoke and net and it sunk to the bottom. It was like watching a $100 bill go down the drain. The pin I'd made temporarily didn't break but apparently flexed too much and allowed the net to slip off the handle. Feel free to quote me what I said $%*# and %*@$. Anyway, it was time to quit so I started putting away the starboard rigger and about halfway up another Laker hit. I used the backup net I brought this time and released the Laker. Again, all this action was in about one hour, a single-line double, and two triples. The ride back was pleasant and the winds were just cranking up as I got to port. Now, net shopping.
1 Oct Guest Bob Schmeltzer and I waited until this morning to decide on going, seeing as it's been so windy and it rained during the night. Despite the mist and spotty fog, Bob and I rounded the corner to head north and it wasn't all the bad so we plodded on my last spot. We set out the Johnson rod and put both riggers down and it wasn't two minutes before his rigger bell went off. I hadn't set the net up yet and when I went to assemble it, the button that locks it in place was broken. Then my rigger bell rang. Then the Johnson rod started throbbing. So here we were trying to improvise something to make the net work while all the rods were bouncing. Finally I stuck an allen wrench in the hole and taped it there. As I netted Bob's fish I mentioned to go carefully as there was a second Laker on his line he didn't see right away. We then got to the Johnson rod, and another nice Laker. Then my rod produced two Lakers, one of which was smaller (probably about 3#) than the rest so we released it. We then put Bob's rigger down at 100 clicks, well off the bottom, while we worked on tackle. Just as I suggested he drop to the bottom he caught another Laker. Finally, we circled and dropped our gear down thinking we could BS a little, which Bob said we hadn't time to do. In ten minutes, Bob's rigger went again and again, had two Lakers on, the first of which we had to release as we had 5 Lakers in the box already. Whew, that was exciting. We boxed the last Laker exactly one hour after we set our first line. Thinking back, we had 5 Lakers on at one time (while the net was broken) which is a new record for the boat. Another first was 3 single-line double catches in one day. Showtime! The water and wind behaved well and we didn't get any mist until we returned to the Marina. Lakers ranged from 3# to 5#, all nice leans. Water depths ranged from 120' to 144', with most, but not all fish caught near the bottom.
27 Sep Today with my guest Gary Gibbs, we decided to run a bit further north and try the 120' - 140' depths. Waves were under 1' but it was threatening rain. We set lines in 118' and it wasn't 5 minutes before the Johnson rod bent a little. We tested it and couldn't feel a fish so we didn't reel it in. Two or three minutes later, it again bent and this time there was a nice Laker on it. Our story is, and we're sticking to it, the first fish got off and another hit the lure minutes later. Just after that the downriggers were ringing and we were marking fish and netting them too. We ended with 6 fairly small (around 3#) Lakers in 45 minutes, never going over 140' of water. Only one was on a stacker line. It rained lightly on us most of the time but not enough to dampen our spirits and we really didn't mind it that much.
26 Sep Another day to wait and see how the winds and waves will behave. The Lake was rocking and rolling early morning, with north winds around 9 mph but forecasted to drop off as the day went on. As I launched at noon, there were still 3' rollers and indeed the winds started backing down, but it took the waves a while to figure that out. After getting all three rods in the water, the Johnson rod got a hit that looked weak and I wasn't sure the fish was still on. Reeling it in about 50' I got positive feedback there was a nice Laker on and just as quickly, I felt it get off. The next two hours were nice but unproductive. Then the suspended rigger got a hit and that one got off. Most of the water was from 140' to 190', with 165' being about average. I had made a run north, turned and came down almost precisely where I hadn't much action, questioning myself why I would do that. Well, experience has shown me the second or third pass can be magic. Many a fisherman has suggested the reason fish bite only going one way is that the fish are facing one way, but I doubt any know the answer to that and I love to ask, which way. In the meantime, I missed one more Laker I had nearly to the boat but didn't get a look at. I think I was doing a little whining at this point but then the suspended line hit, then the other downrigger and the Johnson, with two fish on at one time. All of this in the last 10 minutes. Wonder what woke them up? Anyway, they were three nice lean Lakers, just under 4# each. I saw only two other boats fishing, none near me.
25 Sep Last night I had no plans to fish today but despite the northerly wind forecast, not much wind was shaking. I checked all the forecast and picked the best one and headed out in calm seas at 9a. I leaned towards the 140' depths just to try it but there wasn't much action for the first 25 minutes and until I hit 165'. I missed a fish on the suspended line and was resetting it when I heard the bell on my rigger other running near bottom. I didn't rush and continued setting the rigger while the other bell was ringing. I could tell there was a good fish on and sure enough, I had two nice Lakers on one line. No sooner had I boxed them when the Johnson rod bounced and I got my 3rd Laker after 35 minutes of trolling. I finally got a double where I could keep them both. Except for a little mist and some fog in the distance threatening to roll in, it was quite calm with winds from the north around 6 mph. I didn't mark any fish until I got to the area where I caught them. Usually, marking fish to me is just entertainment as it often means little, except they're (I'm) in the area. Today it was a good sign. I was visited by a small bird that stayed mostly on the front of the boat but finally flew around to the back. He (or she) rode most of the way back to shore before flying off. Here're some pix.
23 Sep Finally, another chance to fish, with winds decent from the south but scheduled to really kick by late morning. The winds weren't that bad as I set my first line at 8a, but the seas were bouncy, with waves coming in from two directions. Following my footsteps from the last trip, it was pretty slow with no runs, hits or errors for 45 minutes, and no marks either. Finally the Johnson rod hit a nice lean, followed by another on the downrigger stacker line, running about 8' from the bottom in 170' of water. I made my turn to head into the wind, now building to 15 mph and it was tough to follow bottom as it was getting rough. I stayed on course about 30 minutes and a charter boat cut in front of me from my port side and should have given me slack as he was on a downwind wind leg and by the nautical rules the stand-on boat to starboard has right of way. Oh well, it wasn't a biggie as he passed about 200' in front of me as his passengers got to see me catch a nice 4# Laker right behind them. As they got further away, they probably didn't see the other Laker I caught (I had a double) and had to release as I already had my limit. Oh, and I had two quick hits on the Johnson rod that didn't stick. I was glad to get off the lake as it was really getting bumpy. And we're supposed to have more wind the next few days.
20 Sep Finally after 10 days of blowing, the wind and waves died enough to get out. With the winds clocking around north to east, they became light but there were still some good sized rollers coming in. Finally at noon I decided to head out. I set the Johnson rod out at 125' but where the bottom quickly goes to 150'. I had just set up one of the downriggers when the Johnson rod produced a nice 4# Laker. It wasn't long afterwards a Laker hit the downrigger running near bottom at 165' of water. As I neared the end of my run, I had a chance to use my 12v motor rig I had just devised to wind the Johnson rod in half way to allow me to turn quickly without it dragging bottom. It worked great. I love to make Rube Goldberg stuff. I caught the third Laker on the return leg on the Johnson rod, shortly after another missing another on the the Johnson rod. Of the 3 lures suspended up to 20' from the bottom, no action. I didn't mark many fish but did run through a patch where there were lots of marks near bottom at 165' of water, none of which hit my lures. As I was heading in, the wind started picking up from the east so it really worked out fine. Not so good for the next two days though as high wind warnings are posted again.
10 Sep It'll be a miracle if I ever figure out lake conditions from the forecast. Today was supposed to be light winds with a northerly element and it turned out to be a steady 8 mph from the north and a good 2' seas, but not the breaking kind so Art and I just had to slow down getting to our fishing spot. We set all three lines at around 150' and worked the 165' to 215' depths into the wind. The Johnson rod was first to hit but as it turned out, each rod carried its weight. The Johnson caught 3, the suspended rigger caught 2 and the rigger near the bottom caught 2. Two Lakers were on the stackers and 4 of the Lakers were caught, probably within 30' from the bottom. Again we didn't chase bottom over 190'. We had 5 in the box when wouldn't you know, we got a double and had to release one. Today's catch in 2 hours brings my running fish per hour rate to 1.5, up from a low of 1.39 a few weeks back when I was really whining a lot about the slow fishing.
8 Sep My guest today was Frank Herveat, an avid fisherman in his own right. Because of the high winds yesterday and predicted modest north wind today, we waited until morning to say yea or nay to heading out. As we set lines at 8a in slightly rolling seas and almost no wind, it wasn't two minutes before the Johnson rod bent way over with a fish you could tell was big. Well, with a struggle we got it about half way up but it got off. We then set the other riggers and steadily, we got hits between the Johnson rod, which caught 3 Lakers, and the rigger near the bottom. The biggest fish of 5# came from the suspended line. Frank loves Dipsy Divers so we ran one of those too, and guess what, zip. I'll admit, we might have caught something but we didn't today. This time of year though it's probably a good idea to put one out. We fished waters from 165' to over 200', but didn't always follow the bottom when over 190'. The stacker lines didn't catch anything today but I still think they're good attractors and usually one or two fish come off of them. We caught our 6th Laker at 2.5 hours, which gave us a nice length of time on the water that was so beautiful. The surface water temperature was 59 degrees and the air temperature 66, and the sun was out. Perfect!
5 Sep This morning seas were a little lumpier than I thought they'd be. The forecast of south at 5-10 mph proved a steady 10 mph but the seas were coming from two directions (sometimes referred to a confused seas) in 2-foot rollers. There was considerable walking in place as I set lines in 150' of water. Currents were powerful from the south but I managed to find bottom and the Johnson rod was first to hit with a nice Laker at 170' of water. Shortly afterwards, the suspended rigger bell clanged and both releases popped but there was no fish, just a hit. As I approached the end of my abbreviated run, the downrigger I usually track bottom with but didn't because I was in 205' of water, hit hard and I caught two nice Lakers on the one line. Netting when bouncing around and being alone is sometimes pretty ugly but today it went smoothly. Fifty minutes after setting lines I was heading in, which I didn't mind as the wind was starting to pick up.
3 Sep Last night's forecast for 5-10 mph from the north is what I consider a wait-and-see forecast. So early this morning I drove to the Island and could see it was pretty nice so I made the phone call to Tom Foster and Ryan Gray, fishing acquaintances who were fishing for Perch when I called their cell phone. They joined me around 11a. In the interim, seas had picked up, with winds averaging 13 mph from the north and 2' waves with an occasional 3' one thrown in. Wait and see sometimes means don't wait too long. We set lines in 150' of water and before I could get the third line down, we had a Laker on. Action alternated between the Johnson rod and the rigger running near bottom in 165' to 190' feet of water. We ended with 6 nice Lakers of which 3 were over 5 pounds and the other 3 not much smaller. One was a marginal fat but the rest were beautiful leans. The rigger with the suspended line was on vacation today. Here're some pictures, click on them to enlarge, use your back button to return here.
1 Sep Gee, it's September already. My guests today were Marcus Cairns, Alex Gairabetoff, and John Klein. We couldn't start until noon and paid the price water-wise. It was calm all morning and around 11a, it kicked, right out of the east. We headed north and fished the 150' - 190' depths as best we could. Action was slow, partly because we couldn't manage our speed in the winds averaging 14 mph and 3' - 4' waves. We caught a few Lakers in the first two hours but the the last hour they either shut down or we couldn't hit the right speed and depth. The Johnson rod was the workhorse today. We also missed a real bell-ringer on the suspended line. Our biggest Laker was 5# and the rest were considerably smaller. Experienced as I am, with a strong cross-wind, the motor munched on a couple of my lures as I checked the tackle. We ended with 4 Lakers and despite the weather, got a lot of fishermen talk done and had a good time. Click picture to enlarge, hit back button to return here.
31 Aug Weather and fishing conditions were decent today as my guest Ron and Alex Rabe, and Dani Simandl headed out. Winds were steady around 8 mph from the west but were slowing clocking to the north and building slowly too. We started with a couple of misses, one on the suspended rigger and one on the Johnson rod. Both fish were good sized as they popped the releases immediately. We eventually had action on all the lines. The suspended rigger running probably 30' from the bottom in 165' to 190' did the best while we religiously worked the other rigger along the bottom, along with the Johnson rod. As Dani struggled to reel in her fish, she could see why they pulled so hard, there being two fish on the one line. Four of the 5 Lakers were within a few ounces of 4#, the 5th a small Laker but all were nice leans. We missed 4 Lakers today. We only had 4 in the box and were quitting with only one line left in the water when we caught our last Laker. Here's the crew, click to enlarge picture.
26 Aug Seas had really settled after yesterday's waves and the winds were very light as I was the second boat to launch. I talked with the first guy to launch as he usually does very well and asked how he was doing (about a month ago he was whining about the poor fishing). He said quite well, missing and catching some big Lakers in 165'. I told him I was tired of fishing the same place and I knew his run like the back of my hand and would try it today so we fished pretty much near each other. Before I got my 2nd rigger down, the Johnson rod bent over but I just let it alone as my net wasn't assembled and I wasn't ready for the fish. The rod stopped throbbing and I thought it got off so I lowered down. A few minutes later I could feel pressure on the rod and then knew a nice Laker was on that suddenly started fighting. Continuing on my run, the suspended rigger bell rang and there was a nice 4# Laker on. I made a turn over deep water (195') but didn't follow the bottom. In fact, I cranked up the Johnson during the turn and that's when I caught the 3rd Laker, probably 50' from the bottom, but I'm not sure. Seas stayed nice and the Lakers were all nice leans, between 3# and 4#.
24 Aug Last night north winds were predicted for today but this morning they didn't materialized so I headed out at 9a to gentle seas with almost no wind. I started at 132' and slowly worked towards deeper water. At 145' the bottom quickly dropped to 149' and I saw a big fish mark so I quickly dropped my line down and darned if it didn't hit. Well, that didn't stick and the fish was off before I could get a look at it. I turned my route corner and hit a nice 3.5# Laker on the rigger. The currents today were among the strongest I've seen this year. This follows a couple of days of calm seas, which supports my theory that currents are driven by factors other than wind and waves, e.g., irregular heating of the water by the sun, changing barometric pressures, and the earth's rotation. My kicker engine was nearly idling but the slowest I could go heading southeast was 2.5mph. I made a turn over deep water and had to rev the engine RPMs way up now heading into the current. I edged out over 190' of water and as I came up the bank I picked up another Laker on the downrigger. I was just about to reset the line when the Johnson rod bounced and I caught my third Laker. Usually my netting of fish on the Johnson rod is just plain ugly. After all these years it finally dawned on me to extend the leader to 12' from the previous 5' and what a difference it made. Dah! Why didn't I think of that before? There was no action on the suspended rigger lines today. Not bad work for 1 1/4 hours.
23 Aug Buoyed by the fast action yesterday, guests Frank Lorsbach and Rodney Smith and I headed out in light seas expecting to knock 'um dead. Well that was yesterday. Our opening act was to hang two lures on the bottom and they're still there. We finally got a hit on the Johnson and that one got off probably 100' back of the boat. Then my rigger bell went off and probably nice sized Laker broke my stacker line, not because it was a overly big fish but rather there probably was a nick in the line. Well, after a little over 2 hours we decided to pull lines as we all had things to do. We found not just one, but two small Lakers hanging on. We released both of them.
22 Aug The forecast for today was iffy so Art and I didn't plan to go until this morning. It was hazy but calm as we were the first to launch at 7:30a. I decided to try a little shallower and drop lines before where I usually start so I drop the Johnson line in 130' and before I could do anything else, we had a small Laker on. Although it fought surprisingly well, it was a dink and I intentionally shook the net over the water and the hook came out and it fell through the net and swam away. Perfect! It was minutes later after setting up the rigger it got a hit, a nice 5# Laker. Then the other rigger I was running about 25' from the bottom hit the stacker line. Well, the first hour we caught 6 Lakers, releasing just one. We worked as deep as 160' but the rigger I ran suspended caught 3 of the Lakers as did the Johnson rod which caught our 6th Laker nearly an hour later. Couple of interesting things were I slowed the troll to roughly 1.8 to 2.0 mph and lengthened the leader on the Johnson rod to 12'. Did they make a difference? Who knows?Other than the first dink we released, the Lakers were good sized with two over 5# and two around 4#. I believe 4 of the 6 had lamprey scares and one had a lamprey hanging on when we netted it but it fell off before we could box and kill it. We saw only one other boat the whole time and it was a long way off. However, there were 7 trailers at the launch when we came in. Great morning!
18 Aug After a day of huffing and puffing on the Big Pond yesterday, today was fantastic with gentle rollers and light winds. Launching at 8a, my GPS wouldn't lock on, which it does on rare occasion but having fished more than a few times in the ole haunts of the sand hole, I figured I could get by until the GPS came on-line. My rusty triangulation skills served me well as I set lines in 130' of water, slowly working deeper. The Johnson rod was first to hit with a nice, but lethargic Laker in165' of water. The next hit was on the starboard rigger and it's a good thing I saw the slight rigger movement as the Lakers were not very aggressive today. Both fell off the lure once in the net. The Johnson rod then again bent but that didn't stick and the Laker got off in short order. My GPS finally came on-line and I was surprisingly close to where I wanted to be. I made a slight turn and the rigger I was running somewhat suspended, around 150', rang the bell but that too didn't stick. Finally, nearing an hour of trolling, the suspended line hit, this time with a nice 4# Laker. Conditions were just great so I slowly turned towards the marina and slowly hauled in the gear, in no rush to get in. Pretty good action all in all, and a great day on the water.
15 Aug My morning started as I stood in front of my boat in the yard where I store my boat (on a main street in Marquette), when three deer came strolling along, all three being bucks with pretty decent racks. They just stood about 75 feet away, staring at me, for probably 10 minutes. Wouldn't you know it was the one day I didn't have my camera. The occasional car going by didn't seem to phase them at all and they finally wandered off (probably looking for a garden) about two minutes before my guest Joe List arrived. We headed out in lumpy seas that slowly settled. The first Laker on the Johnson rod was pretty small and in good condition so we released it. We ended catching 3 more Lakers, the largest 5.5#. All were caught near the bottom in roughly 165' of fish. Joe is quite an avid fishermen so I got some good scoop on inland fishing which I don't do much of or well at.
13 Aug The sun was just peeking out on the horizon as I headed out to some roily seas from the north. The 2-3' waves generally weren't capping but with a steady wind averaging 11 mph from the north, I knew it wouldn't be long as the seas increased. It was one of those mornings where one forecast said one thing and another said something completely different. Fishermen are often in denial so I picked the most favorable forecast which proved the wrong choice. I could hardly keep my speed down going with the waves and wind, nearly idling the small motor. I should wear a pedometer to see how far I walk in bouncy seas, just to stand in place. It wasn't dangerous but wasn't for everyone either. On the downward leg I managed a nice 4.5# lean Laker (spelled supper) in 175' of water, but that's all I could muster. Heading into the waves was interesting with the speed sometimes at .5 mph, other times 3.5 mph, which makes it difficult to fish the bottom, where lately they seem to be. I ran a suspended line and again got nothing. Marked a few large fish near the bottom that weren't hungry. Several large marks showed in the 50' - 100' range but I've learned most of the time they're not fish, but rather clouds of spiny water fleas, which form at this time of year. I fished for 2 hours and when I quit, seas were in the 3-4' range but the winds seem to die off after I got off. That's not the first time that's happened.
7 Aug Today was a no excuses day as winds and seas were both manageable as my guest Paul Ringuette, who I've fished with several times on other boats, joined me. The DNR nets were gone and we could fish whatever depths and wherever we wished, although the currents were still a little strong. Apparently the fish didn't know conditions were great as we managed only 3 small lean Lakers in 3 hours, all near the bottom in around 165' of water. We saw the Tribal boat trying to retrieve the ghost net we'd marked and gave them some assistance to find it they asked for. We left after a time while they were still trying to retrieve it. I received a note on 26 August they were unsuccessful in recovering either of the nets.
6 Aug Today was one of those days we really should have known better than to head out. It wasn't too windy when guests Andy Wasilewski and grandsons Alec Nannestad (11) and Andrew Wasilewski (9) and I headed out. In fairness, the forecast was for northerly winds, not that bad, but northerly. Well, winds when we launched were SW and only breezy. However, that's often the case as when winds clock around they sort of calm down, I guess kind of saving themselves for later. Well, it started picking up when we dropped our lines but when you're going with the waves, all is well. Slowly the winds picked up from the north, but it wasn't a problem. The problem was the DNR nets I thought would be gone were off to the north and also south of us, so we had no choice but to lift lines for quite a while. Once we cleared what we thought was the last of several net flags, we were able to lower two lines, with a hit on the Johnson rod not too long afterwards. Alec reeled that one in and no easy feat in building seas. It was a nice 2.5# Laker. We set the line down again and another hit with Andrew reeling this Laker in, the same weight to the ounce. We turned and fished into the steady 15mph winds and 3'+ seas for a while but finally decided to pull the pin for the day.
5 Aug I'm not sure where to start on today's adventures so I'll first mention how breezy it was at the launch, only to be pleasantly surprised at how calm it was a couple miles out where I started fishing. I knew the DNR had set nets yesterday to the north and after looking real hard, I could barely see one of their black flags off to the north. The DNR says their survey nets are usually 3,000 feet long and I wondered where the other end was, or maybe middle marker flag. Finally, I spotted a flag ahead on my port side so I thought I'd be safe. It wasn't long after my graph alarm went off and since I now know to identify nets on my graph, it was controlled panic during which time I got both riggers up, then the Johnson rod, passing over a DNR net. Sure enough, there was another marker off on my starboard side. Then another ahead, all of which confused me because I now could see 4 flags, not just 3, and I didn't know which one was connected to which. Up came the gear again and when I finally felt safe, I dropped my gear down again. I probably wasted three quarters of an hour dodging those nets which were right across one of my favorite runs. Setting nets in the most popular fishing area near here is probably necessary for their research and was scheduled for the 3rd so I guess they were behind schedule. Setting nets there on a weekend I didn't expect. I was an unhappy camper. A red and white boat passed close enough to me so I could shout a warning to them about the nets ahead of them. They said they had just seen them. Well, shortly afterwards I caught 2 Lakers on a rigger and was about run the rigger down again when I heard a distress call on the marine radio from ironically, a red and white boat that was dead in the water near Marquette with stainless downrigger line wrapped up in the prop. The Coast Guard Sault Sector basically told the boat if there no lives in danger to hail someone nearby to tow them in (read that as the CG wasn't going to do it.) There were two adults and two kids on board.
I contacted both the CG and boat in distress and said I was available for assistance. Well, the guy said they'd like some help so I pulled my lines and went over to the red boat near me. Guess what - wrong red boat. I then contacted the stranded boat and asked his location. He gave a vague location of 2-3 miles out in the sand hole but I couldn't see any other red boats or anything close, and I was out further than that. I was then told they were nearer the lower harbor and headed that way, only to again come up empty. I contacted them again and asked for a better fix and he said he didn't know how to work his GPS for coordinates. Gee! I'll shorten this part of the story to where I finally located them about 3 miles ENE of white rocks. They asked to be towed to the lower harbor, probably a 6 or 7 mile tow. Afterward I'd need to run back to the upper harbor where I launched but that wasn't a big deal. Looking for alternatives, I asked if it was possible to remove the stainless steel line from the prop and they said they couldn't reach it. I suggested I try removing their prop with their out-drive tilted up, stern to me, and their crew standing in the bow to get the prop up higher. With bobbing boats, wrench in hand, leaning over my gunwale, I managed to get the locknut, nut and brass insert washer off, but the prop wouldn't budge. I thought this had to work so with one final reef, off came the prop, along with the tangled downrigger wire. I then put it all back together again (and without dropping anything into 180' of water) and they were able to power up their engine and resume fishing. They were quite grateful. One only has to be in that situation once to appreciate how much a little help from a fellow boater can mean. I know because we got such help a few weeks prior while I was on board a friend's boat. The CG called me afterwards to get status on the boat in distress. I told them it was a goat rope finding them but we took care of it and that they were ok.
Last but not least I wanted to again mark the ghost net I marked a few days ago as the marker I put out was now gone. I had put a 5-gallon jug on half a brick but that probably wasn't too smart as I think the 25 mph winds the days before moved it. Anyway, this time I brought a big rock to send down as an anchor, and a smaller jug. Well, try tying plastic twine to a triangle-shaped rock and get it to hold. I must have tried for 25 minutes until finally I used some regular twine. Using my coordinates, I found the ghost net in a few minutes and set a new marker out for the Tribal Law Enforcement folks to find in the next few days. Interesting day on the water eh?
4 Aug Art and I left the launch at 7a to a pretty stiff breeze, considering we were to have light winds today. Still, it was a beautiful morning and we set lines heading eastward. Slow-going describes it best with a long stretch before the Johnson rod finally picked up a small lean Laker. Eventually, we picked up 3 more Lakers, all near the bottom in 150-180' of water. Stacker and the suspended line that worked fairly well before, didn't work today. Finally, after 3 hours and just before quitting, we had a pretty good Laker on the Johnson rod that went its own way after about 30 seconds of tugging. Winds never did let up, with a constant average 11 mph southerly wind and a pretty good chop.
2 Aug It wasn't supposed to be quite so calm as I left the launch early, in calm seas and winds. This is considering I went sailing with a friend yesterday in 25 mph winds. I set up in 140' with the rigger and Johnson rod running near bottom. As I reached for the other rigger to set it up, I could hear the tinkle of the Johnson rod bell ringing and the first Laker was in the box shortly afterwards. I just got the Johnson rod out again when the downrigger jumped and there was another Laker. I thought I would make a turn while putting the rigger down again and wham, the third Laker was on, all of this in slightly under 30 minutes. They weren't that big but they were nice leans and all fought well. Didn't mark much. Deepest fish was near bottom in 160' of water. The suspended rigger line and stacker didn't do anything today, but that's ok as they didn't have much time in the water.
31 Jul Conditions just felt right with practically no wind and the air temperature 74 when we launched with guests Brother-In-Law Art Beauchamp and his Son-In-Law, Dennis Bocklund. We had two missions today, one marking at least one of the nets the Tribal Law Enforcement folks said they needed a physical marker on, e.g., with a milk jug for a buoy, and not just GPS coordinates. The other mission, to catch some Lakers. Enroute to our fishing spot, we stopped at GPS coordinates I provided the Tribe and we immediately found the net, as evidenced by the graph. We dropped a cement block, line, and jug there. We continued on and set lines, with the Johnson and one rigger on the bottom, and one rigger suspended considerably off the bottom Boiling it down, we caught 6 Lakers, two on the suspended rigger, two on the Johnson rod and two on the rigger running bottom, all in 1.5 hours. Depths we fished were generally 150' to 180'. Once we got our 6th Laker, we motored to the other ghost net and after 5 minutes of searching, we marked that one with a big jug too. I have notified Tribal representatives so they can pull those nets now that they have physical markers.
29 Jul Our youngest Grandson Cooper Smith (6) stayed over last evening and I was delighted he decided to go fishing with me today. Yesterday, I received a note that the Lakers were suspending elsewhere on Lake Superior so I thought what the heck and put one downrigger halfway down and the Johnson and other rigger near the bottom. Well, it wasn't 5 minutes before the suspended downrigger went off with a nice 5# Laker. Not only that, but there were quite a few marks in the 50' - 100' range, but some on the bottom too. So I pulled the other rigger up to fish suspended and additionally, staggered the stacker lines to cover a good part of the water column. As time passed and nothing more happened on the suspended lines, I saw a big mark on the bottom so I thought it wise to make sure the Johnson rod lure was close to the bottom. As I grabbed the rod, wham, another 5# Laker that Cooper help reel in. That wasn't the same fish I marked as the lure was probably 500' back from the mark. We circled and again got another, smaller Laker on the Johnson, again near the bottom. During all of this Cooper was talking non-stop and eating snacks non-stop and moving about the boat non-stop. The attention span of a 6-year old is isn't long, so we even played a few hands of crazy eight between fish. After 2 and a half hours it seemed time to wrap it up and when I reached for the Johnson rod, we caught our fourth Laker. In summary, running 4 lures suspended and one on the bottom, we caught 3 of the 4 fish on the bottom lure. Conditions were perfect with light 7 mph winds from the south and light seas. Most fish caught were in 165' to 180' of water. The current was still pretty strong north to south but not as strong as last week. I don't understand why I was exhausted after a relatively short trip. By the way, I got comments that the music I had on was for cowboys and cowgirls. Here are a few pix, click on them to expand, use your back button to return here.
28 Jul Today my guests were Gary Olson and Collin Burklund from Rapid River. Water conditions were really pretty decent with the winds out of the north at around 9 mph and more rollers than waves as we headed eastward. We took a rather long ride before setting lines, hoping to do better than my last few trips nearer to the launch. It took a while but finally, we caught a small lean Laker in 180' of water and at least the threat of a skunk was off. We worked the 145' to 180' pretty hard and we finally caught two more Lakers, one on the 145' depth. We also had a few misses, with the fish actually hooked and on their way in when they got off. We're blaming the winds, albeit decent winds, which slowly clocked to the east as causing the slow action. In reality, it was a beautiful day on the water, with clear skies and only gentle rollers. When we returned to the launch, I saw a fellow fisherman that I know almost always does well and he said he caught one Laker. That's a mixed emotion bag for sure. Here're some pix of these guys.
24 Jul Today was a struggle to catch fish too. Tried the ole dependable spot in the sand hole and finally caught two Lakers so I swung around and tried another route, at about the same depths - 150' to 175'. I finally hit my third Laker, an nice 5.5# one at that. That wasn't too far from where I caught a ghost net a few weeks back so I thought I'd see if I could find it. Well, it took a few passes and about 10 minutes and suddenly, I could see the net on the graph. Here's the corrected Lat/Lon: 46 34.026/87 18.829. Until removed, this ghost net will continue to catch fish, and maybe other fishermen's gear. As I mentioned before, I still must figure out a way to make a buoy, drive my boat to the location, find them again, and mark them with a buoy (milk jug?). After that, I'll again notify the Tribal law enforcement.
23 Jul Art and I headed east hoping to duplicate our last trip but it was a struggle to catch 2 Lakers in 3 hours. We also missed one on the Johnson rod. The three hits were in around 170' of water. I was informed by a tribal representative that in order for their tribal law enforcement to search for the ghost nets I had previously reported to them with GPS coordinates, that was not good enough and they needed physical identification, such as a buoy on the locations. So on my way in, even though I didn't have a buoy, weight and 200' of line, I decided to search for the first ghost net. I circled the area and in less than 5 minutes, my graph lit up from the ghost net. There was not doubt I quickly found it. Now I have to rig a buoy, line, and weight and mark the net, then hope it's still there until they search for it. An updated GPS location is 46 34.229/87 20.682.
17 Jul The morning breeze slowly slowed as Art and I headed out in gentle seas. I again tried starting at 133', again with the same results, nothing until we hit 165'. The Johnson rod carried its weight today, netting 3 Lakers and the bottom-running downrigger doing its share too. Nothing on the suspended line. We finally got 5 Lakers in the box and Art reeled in a single line double, the nearest fish at least a 4# Laker that was about 5' from the net when it got off. We did net the second fish, a much smaller Laker. The fish didn't seem so concentrated today, being in depths from 155' to 190'. Seems ironic that we went nearly an hour without a hit and then got a double. One a fantastic day like today, we could see only two other boats around us, one close and another way off. Guess most everyone went to their own hot spot.
16 Jul Today's report is nearly identical to yesterday's. Same place, same time, caught fish at the same depths. Only difference was after catching a nice 4# Laker on the Johnson, shortly afterwards I caught a single-line double, two Lakers on one line. Netting worked better than usual. Conditions were super and the sunrise was spectacular. As I was wrapping up to go in, 3 fishing boats zipped by me and just kept booking east. Wonder where they were going? When I arrived back at the marina, my vehicle was the only one at the Presque Isle launch. By the way, the sand has finally been removed from the launch there. Still tricky to launch though.
15 Jul Whew! That was quite a huffing and puffing spell by Mother Nature since I was out last and I finally was able to get back on the water today. I left real early, the second boat out on an absolutely beautiful morning with light winds and gentle leftover rollers. I didn't go far before setting the Johnson rod out in 134' of water, slowly working deeper. After about 20 minutes the Johnson rod bounced and I struggled to reel in a fairly small Laker that fought all the way, disproportionate to its size. That one was in 152' of water and before long, the downrigger went of and another small Laker shook and fought all the way in. I finally hit 172' of water and the Johnson rod again hit another Laker, all this in 50 minutes. For some reason, the fish seemed unusually aggressive today. As an aside, I had made some Rube Goldberg mods to my downrigger, hopefully to keep the line from cutting my fingers as I level wind my downrigger. Well, that mod caused a goat rope with problems that have just been eliminated. I've been know to screw with things that generally worked well before. However, I've got a few new ideas I'll try soon. I looked at the Lake around noonish and all I could see were whitecaps caused by a brisk NE wind. Guess I got lucky today. Light winds, the air 56 degrees and surface water 55 degrees. Currents were unusually strong however.
6 Jul Call it determination, call it bull-headedness - I was bound and determined to hit the sand hole again as there had to be fish there. Conditions were fantastic as I set lines at 7a, with calm waters and no wind. I set at 130', just in case fish might be there, instead of the deeper waters I'd been plying. Well, the bottom slowly dropped off and I neither caught nor marked anything after an hour. I finally got to 182' of water and the rigger I ran suspended, probably about 30' from the bottom, rang and it looked like a big fish was reefing on it. I quickly marked the location on my GPS and as I took the rigger up, I could see the fish reefing on the release and suddenly, it was gone. I thought, I'll make another pass through that spot and if nothing happens, I'm going to try somewhere else. I made a 180 degree turn and headed right for the GPS mark. I'll bet it was within 50' of that mark that my suspended line really reefed and the bell rang. I quickly got the other equipment up and slowed the boat down, only to slowly fight and reel in a nice 9.5# lean Laker. What the heck, I went beyond, circled again and this time picked up a 7.5# lean Laker, again almost exactly at the same spot. Well, I thought this won't happen again but why not try so I circled another time and finished with a nice 4# Laker, this time not on the exact spot. It was beautiful on the water so I found a few things to do as I let the auxiliary motor head me in.
5 Jul Neighbor Reggie Gebo and I paraded out (holiday talk) to the sand hole at early-o'clock on an absolutely beautifully, calm morning. We quickly set up our lines, including a planner board with a surface line, one about at 50', and 5 more lures near the bottom. Apparently, we were too quiet as we didn't wake the fish and they were all, presuming they were even there, snoozing. Not a hit or nibble or nuttin'! Marked one fish on the graph and it (looked like zzzzzzz) coming from it. Finally, after an hour and a half of nothingness, we headed out further east to another haunt, that is almost always good for a few Lakers, albeit smaller ones. Reggie was going through his usual routine of Oh, I know what will work and he periodically changed out lures. Finally a 2# suicidal Laker hit his lure at 180' and we got seed for the fish box. Now confident he knew what they wanted, he put an identical lure on the stacker and caught another small Laker. I stood fast and didn't change my old dependable lures. He then caught a 3rd small Laker. All this took place over considerable time as they definitely were not on the feed. I suggested we quit before the 4-hour trolling mark and shortly before that, bang went his rigger. We instantly knew it was a big fish and I reeled in the Johnson line so it wouldn't get in the way or tangled while he wrestled with the fish. It took a while but he finally got it to the net, a 24 pound lean Laker. Beautiful fish. Pictures are below. Click on them to enlarge, back button to return here. It's still a mystery where the fish went.
3 Jul Long time between reports but I was fishing Chinook in Lake Michigan, did well, but there won't be a report and don't ask as I speak primarily Lake Trout (and a few other fish on rare occasion) caught out of Marquette. Reggie Gebo and I, with a great forecast of 5 - 10 mph from the south, headed out in whitecaps pretty early. Well, we were planning to fish shallow so we did and it was a good idea as winds on my anemometer registered an average 18 mph, gusting to 31 mph. It was hard to control the boat but we hung in there hoping winds would die off as promised, and they slowly did. We fished quite a while in the 40' - 60' depths with 7 lures out and got squat! Finally, we fished from shallow water towards the marina in some boring and unproductive waters and still got nothing. Finally, we edged out to a drop off and hit our one Laker at 180'. That was in in nearly 4 hours. Sounds bad? It really wasn't as it was a beautiful day and the waters settled nicely and the temperature was perfect. The politicians should call us some time as we resolved a few issues, and we discussed a few other we couldn't resolve. Always nice to be on the water, and we learned about a few fishing areas that aren't very productive, at least not to us today.
25 Jun Late to bed, early to rise I had the Johnson rod out and one rigger line set at 6:30a when the Johnson rod quickly sprang to life with a 2# Laker that felt like it was dragging a parachute. I then got the other rigger set and after about 45 minutes of not much happening, I heard the fish alarm on the graph. I could see what appeared to be several fish stacked up or to someone paranoid about nets like me, it was probably a net. I quickly raised the rigger that was running near the bottom about 15' and thought I'd leave the Johnson rod out near the bottom, just in case it was fish. The rigger cleared but the Johnson rod got caught and nearly broke in two before I got it out. I lost my lure and weight. Reeling it in I found gill net hanging on the triangle, clear proof of yet another ghost net, this one nearly 3 miles east of the upper breakwater. Of course there are no flags. I punched in the GPS coordinates as 46deg 33.978min and 87deg 18.789min. That may not be exact but it's close on a north/south line. Those fish I marked were probably all dead for a long time as those nets just keep killing. I could tell the moss in the nylon mesh indicated the net had been there for some time. I re-rigged the Johnson rod and later caught a nice 4# Laker on it and a 3# Laker on a rigger. Conditions, other than the net, were fantastic, the air 55 degrees (while it was in the 80s on land) and seas were calm. Most fish caught were at the 165' level. I was better prepared today than yesterday, with my net extended in readiness. I was on my way in by 8:30a.
24 Jun I got a late start and launched at 10:30a, to great seas and almost no wind. About 20 minutes after setting up, one of the riggers began acting funny, not like a fish. I checked it out to see it was a fish, and barely a keeper. Then it got slow for the next hour until a nice Laker slammed the rigger line I run suspended. That was a hassle and I took several precautions, including moving the Johnson rod to the far side so the fish wouldn't get tangled. Well, it was an nice Laker, at least 5# that was on the stacker line. Well, the stacker line is 12' long so I was just grabbing the line (remember I'm alone) and reaching out to net the Laker and it rolled and got off. Feel free to quote me as saying $%*&! Well, I took most precautions, but hadn't extended the net handle because I didn't think I needed to. Wrong thinking! I extended it after I missed that nice Laker. After another hour and a half, I had two more hits, both on the stacker line as they were released but with no fish. Oh well, it was just great out there, even with the sprinkle of rain. Talking to a few fishermen (someone is always there when you come in light), the early boats caught quite a few fish.
22 Jun With guest and neighbor Reggie Gebo, we headed out in calm seas and quickly set lines. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod hit a small Laker at 165' and it was slow going from there. We worked the usual route, then ventured out to waters I haven't fished before. A fishing acquaintance, who invariable gets his limit, stopped by on his way in to say he caught only one of six hits. We worked waters from 150' to 205', and set lines at various depths fairly near the bottom, except for the deepest. We also had hits and fish a various depths so we saw no real patterns emerging. We ended after nearly 5 hours catching 6 Lakers, one of which we released. The last hour or two the winds slowly built from the east and we got a chop and a cold, 50 degree wind. Still and all, we didn't do all that badly and we discussed some serious and not so serious world and local issues (some might refer to that as BS).
21 Jun Early this morning the wind was whipping the trees and it didn't look to promising but I could seen it was settling slowing (famous last words). My guest was Brandon Coron (11) who joined me, almost exactly a year ago. We launched at 8:30a in nice waters, that only got nicer. Setting up in 138', we dropped quickly and stayed around 170' for a while. Brandon asked why the Johnson rod didn't catch anything as last year it didn't. I said it usual does and it wasn't but a few minutes later when a Laker hit the Johnson rod and he slowly reeled it in - all 500' of steel line but he did a great job and it was a nice Laker. I noted the bottom would be coming up rapidly and started my downrigger up when the lures hung bottom, not the rigger and I lost a lot of line and both lures. Not a good start. However, the water was super and the wind died off almost completely. I suggested throwing a surface line out on a planner board with one of the ugliest lures I have, one with every color in the spectrum, apparently for those that can't make up their mind. Well, it wasn't ten minutes when a 5# Steelhead nailed that lure and kept breaking water and dancing on its tail as Brandon fought it. What a great sight and he finally got it to the net and it was a beauty. First Steelhead of the year. We kept going and caught another Laker on a rigger, then another after a while. We got near the south end of my run and for some reason I looked up, only to see a net with a black flag right in front of us. Scramble, scramble, we did a quick turn. I could tell it was a DNR net. After turning, I looked back to see the other end through binoculars, which looked to me around 1,000 or 2,000 feet to the south. Slowly we caught a few more Lakers, a couple on each rod. Most were in 160', a couple near bottom but some probably 20' - 40' from the bottom. One was in 200' as we made a turn but I didn't attempt to follow bottom. In short, we caught 7 fish in 4 hours and in great conditions. Brandon did a super job on each fish he caught. We also missed 4 fish that just wouldn't hang on. The surface water had cooled off to 45 degrees and the air was a cool 53 degrees, but it still seemed so warm we ditched our sweaters. Fantastic day on the water. Here're some pix:
17 Jun Another calm and beautiful morning as I launched early, the 2nd boat out. It wasn't ten minutes out before I set lines at 135' where it drops quickly to 170'. I was busy sharpening some hooks when I heard the Johnson rod bouncing and I reeled in a 4.5# Laker that dragged and fought all the way. I just kept on my run and after about 45 minutes, caught a nice Laker near the bottom in 170' of water. Again I kept going and gradually made a turn over some 180'+ water where I picked up my last Laker on the rigger I run suspended. Good thing I saw it hit the downrigger as it didn't fight for beans. I netted it and once in the box, went nuts spinning and thrashing and messing my lines up. Kind of reminded me of Northern Pike. Each line caught a fish so that was nice. The water was so calm that I ran on the small motor towards the marina for about 20 minutes while I finished sharpening hooks and tidying things up a bit.
15 Jun Struggling best describes hunting for Lakers lately. With guest Frank Lorsbach, we headed out in light SE winds and tried the shallow waters. Couldn't get a thing to go and marked nothing. Fished all the way to my favorite spot, then made several passes and managed only two Lakers, about 20' off the 180' bottom. That was it for 5 hours of serious effort. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable though. I'm at a loss where to try next time but I've got a good idea where not to try for a while. Surface water warmed to 53 degrees and has a ton of pollen on it.
14 Jun Art and I headed eastward on another beautiful day with great seas. We didn't go far before setting lines past the nets. It's a route I fished a lot, before I hit the ghost net a while back. The bottom starts at 135' and slowly drops to 180' and gradually comes up to 158', where it levels for a while then quickly comes up to 136' on a rocky bottom. My knowing this route helps, so in anticipation, I cranked up the riggers and Johnson rod to avoid the rocks. Well, we hit a fair-sized Laker on the suspended line and just after getting it into the box, the other rigger hit. Having marked both fish on the GPS, I circled and went almost exactly through that area again. Nothing! I suggested we'd go back one more time and if nothing, we'd just continue on. Well, we hit our third Laker but it was pretty small (what I call a dink) so we kept going. It was slow city after that and we finally caught another Laker, the biggest under 4#. Conditions were super and we finally bunched it after 4+ hours. Art has gotten into the fishing mode and thought for sure we could catch those last two. Not today I said and we quit. Great day on the water, even if not overly productive fishing-wise.
12 Jun My fishing partner today was my Brother-in-law, Art Beauchamp. We headed out in great conditions, first to ply the shallower waters. We were running 7 lures and I thought we should run a surface lure so I put an ugly body bait out on a planner board and viola, we hooked into a 7# Laker, which Art fought like a real trooper. Shortly afterwards, we hit another Laker, this time on a downrigger. Naturally, we had to circle the area for a while but that was all we could do. Finally, I suggested trolling out to one of my favorite deep spots and that way, we could try different depths enroute. Well, we hit a nice Laker at 94', and another at 124'. So instead of turning around and going back through that area, noooooooo, I insisted on heading deeper, where we did squat. Finally, we decided to troll towards home and picked up one more Laker. Conditions were super and we had a great time. The Lakers were some of the best this year, with one 7#+, 3 were 5#, and 1 was 3#. Super, even if it took 5 hours.
11 Jun Today my special guest was George Patrick, a young 90-year old friend, out with me for the first time this year. We launched to great conditions and so, decided to run some miles to fish shallow waters as the waters were warming up, but not as much as expected. After trying some of my best spots, we hit some rock beds and finally got a 5# and 4# Laker to go, which George fought and reeled in just great. Of course, we then stayed there quite a while longer and finally, after no further action, headed to deeper water where we couldn't buy a hit. It's hard to figure out but we had a good time nonetheless. Seas were well behaved but did kick a little from the east at around 9 mph for the last few hours and the air dropped to 53 degrees. Hitting land was the usual shock as temperatures shot up.
10 Jun I had to go back where I got skunked yesterday, with the idea if there wasn't any action, I'd just keep trolling until I found them. I used the same lures and same exact run as yesterday, but today I hit 3 Lakers in 160' of water, all within an hour. Go figure! Two were on my suspended rigger and the third near the bottom. Conditions were beautiful, with winds at 6 mph from the SSE and seas very light.
9 Jun Seeing as the last 4 trips were quite productive, filling each time in a little over an hour, naturally that's where I went today again. Well, I got no hits and marked only a few. I continued on a long run in search of the Lakers but none were found that would hit. Very few marks. I wasn't alone in not having much action. I understand of 18 boats surveyed, the biggest catch was 3 Lakers, and that took quite a while. Strange how that is. Condition were not bad with a 12 mph south wind and at least 1' waves. I fished depths from 135' to 180'. No matter how you spell it, that's a skunkeroo!
6 Jun Finally, it appeared we were getting a short break in our windy spell. Before heading out, I checked several of the weather stations to see what the winds, scheduled to be fairly light early, were doing. The NOAA site wind data was at least 2 hours late. The NMU site was down. The NWS at Negaunee was showing calm when I could see the trees moving here. Predictions varied but the winds were supposed to be fairly light early and kick mid day. Silly me! My anemometer on my boat sitting on the trailer at the launch showed 12 mph and I could see it was lumpy out there. So much for the lousy real-time wind data available to Marquette boaters. Well, I went out anyway and found a pretty steady wind from the south at 13 mph and 1-2' seas so I thought what the heck and slowly set each line, while pretty much quartering the winds and waves. My speed was pretty fast, often at 2.5 mph but necessary to control the boat. Almost a mirror image of my last trip, I made my turn on the second leg, directly into the wind and got a double. That was at 158' of water. My netting was ugly but effective on both Lakers, the biggest 4.5#. I then turned 180 degrees and went back through the same spot and caught the last Laker. Winds had settled a little by then but I was glad to head in. They're usually correct when they predict more wind.
3 Jun At 0545, there was no fog, only a haze on the Lake. At 0615 when I launched, it was like pea soup. This is the fourth consecutive day of fog. Once again with the radar spinning, I headed out a few miles and set up in 136', working towards 160'. It was about 20 minutes before one downrigger showed movement and fortunately, I saw it because that was the most lethargic Laker I've caught in a while. I completed one leg of my route and it wasn't too long before I caught a decently sized lean Laker on the Johnson rod, and that one fought quite well. I set up my radar with an alarm zone so any boats entering the zone around me would set off an alarm. Well, the alarm went off and I could see a blip that looked to be on a course towards me. After hitting the radar trail button it was clear its course was across my starboard bow. I finally could make out it was a rather large sailboat so I contacted it via marine radio and after several tries, was able to inform them I was changing course to avoid them, something I was required to do. It was a good time to turn around anyway. On my way back, I hit my last Laker on the line I set and leave at 135 clicks on the counter. Lakers caught were between 145' to 165' of water. It was a mite cool with the air 48 degrees and surface water 51 degrees. With the threat of rain promised by noon, I didn't mind getting off the water sooner, rather than later.
1 Jun The forecast was super - mild with light winds, except for fog. The forecast was right on all counts as my guest Tom LaPointe and I launched in fog so heavy we couldn't see the marina opening from the launch. Tom hadn't been out with me since 2005. I spun up the radar and with one eye out ahead, one eye on the GPS, and one eye on the radar (you need at least 3 eyes navigating in the fog), out we went. Tom didn't have a fishing license so I set everything up. It wasn't 10 minutes before the Johnson rod bounced and we caught a nice Laker, a little over 3#. As we worked from 135' of water towards 150', we hit another, this time a 7# Laker off a rigger. That was followed by our last Laker on the stacker line off the other rigger. The fog didn't lift while we were out and it was still pretty thick after our hour of trolling as we headed in. Seas were still calm and the temperature comfortable.
31 May I got word from Higher Headquarters (da wife) that I wanted to be back from fishing early so I launched early. Winds were light at 7mph from the SE and I set my first line at 0620. After getting the third line set, the Johnson rod jumped and I caught a nice Laker near the bottom in 137' of water. Not long afterwards, a nice Laker hit at 147'. My final Laker hit in 156' of water on the other rigger, about 50 minutes after the first. Before reeling it in, I took the other rigger up to 122' so it wouldn't drag bottom while reeling in the Laker. Well, darned if I a Laker didn't hit that one too, which I released without netting and leaving in the water. It was hazy but very nice on the water, and I left my radar running, but probably didn't need to. I looked at it once and thought I saw a storm cell approaching but look up to see it was picking up a flock of geese heading North. I got home early and didn't get in trouble Headquarters, at least not for being late.
30 May I woke early to the leaves rustling and even took a ride to the Lake to see how it looked. The sun wasn't up yet but I thought what the heck and headed out in a stiff southeasterly breeze that got lighter and lighter. Enroute I notice an net, probably an illegal gill net, which I noted the latitude at 46 32.356 and longitude at 87 19.042. I calculated this net was 1.73 miles east of the treaty line, where Indian netting is not allowed. I looked closely at the one end and saw no markings on it. I can't imagine it's a the commercial net as they use trap nets, not gill nets. This was not a trap net to my knowledge.
Anyway, in calm waters I set up in 160' of water and it wasn't long before the Johnson rod bent, then both downrigger bells rang. Well, I got one of the three Lakers. Action was pretty steady and in a short while I had another double, getting one of them. The water was so nice I hated to quite so early and released a couple smaller Lakers. In about 2 and half hours, I caught 6 Lakers, released 3, and missed 3. All the Lakers were within 20' of the bottom but none were caught on my stacker lines, kind of strange.
28 May Sea conditions were super as my guest Rodney Smith and I launched and headed eastward. We set up the Johnson rod first, then Rodney's downrigger. I then set up my downrigger and at about 50 clicks on the counter I saw the line was wrapped around the tip of my rod so I decided to bring it all up and reset everything. Well, when the lure got just behind the boat, both of us looked down to see a no less than 10# Laker following my lure. Mind you, this was 12' behind the boat, near the surface. It was a big Laker and he made somewhat of a pass at the lure but didn't hit it. It then swam away and about 30 seconds later showed up again, right behind the lure. Well, it never hit but it was fun to see. The beautiful water produced some nice fish, the biggest a 6# Laker, then a couple of 4#. We struggled to get our 6th Laker but never did. However, if we had caught any of the 4 solid hits we had, but missed, we'd have limited. Actually, it was perfect on the water with virtually no wind or bumpy seas. We fished the 160' area most of the time but one we caught was at 182' during a turn.
26 May I launched before sunrise based on the forecast for light winds early but building as the day went on. It was calm and clear as the sun rose, heading to my favorite haunt of late. The air was 41.7 degrees, and surface water temperature 41.3 degrees. I set up in 160' of water, near a friend who was fishing the same area. There weren't many marks and a half hour passed when one downrigger rang and while reeling that Laker in, the Johnson rod hit, as did the other rigger. Three fish on while fishing alone is often challenge enough, but no, I had to be talking on the marine radio whilst reeling the Johnson rod. Well, serves me right as that one got off but I got the other two Lakers. Having marked that area on my GPS, I went through there several times trying to get my last one but to no avail. Finally, I thought I'd just fish a ridge towards the marina and since it was so nice, maybe I'd get lucky and save some fuel too. It wasn't about 45 minutes when both downriggers had hits, but one got off so that worked out. Most hits were around the 160' level, with two hits on a line suspended at 135 clicks on the counter, whatever depth that turns out to be. The biggest Laker was 4.5# and next one 3.5#. Beautiful leans.
21 May It was another early start as my guest Frank Lorsbach and I headed out in lightly lumpy seas and a fairly light SE wind. There was the threat of possible showers and the TV radar showed some green to the west but we thought we'd head to my favorite place anyway. We set up in 160' of water and it wasn't long before one rigger rang, but the Laker got off. Then the Johnson rod had a fish on which also got off. We knew we were in the zone as we were also marking fish and it wasn't long before the rods and riggers were producing. We soon had 4 nice lean Lakers in the box. Finally, Frank was reeling in a fish and said he thought it was a good sized one. I commented either that or there were two on one line. I was right and we boxed the two biggest Lakers to finish off our limit. Four of the six Lakers were near the bottom in 165' and the other two were about 25' from the bottom. We were headed home in a little under an hour and a half. The water and breeze had both backed off for the ride back. However, it wasn't but a few hours after we got back before the wind picked up and rain started, so we were very lucky. The air temperature was 41 degrees on our return and surface water 43 degrees. It's supposed to be windy and in the 80s tomorrow but we'll see about that. I'm ready!
18 May Guest Gary Gibbs joined me on a very cool morning, launching at near dark-o-clock. We wanted to try shallow water which we did for some time with no success. The water was 43 degrees as was the air. We finally moved to deeper water as the winds built to 14 mph as predicted, and we finally caught a couple of Lakers in 160' of water. Very slow going. It was a pretty lumpy ride back but we did just fine.
17 May I fished with a friend on the 13th and we struggled to get 3 Lakers at one of my best spots. Lousy weather set in the next few days and finally today I headed out to the sand hole as conditions were cool, and the water good. I was the only boat to to launch at the upper harbor which was hard to figure as it was a nice day. I worked hard keeping two lines near the bottom, trying from 140' to 180', and running one line suspended. I had one brief hit in 3 hours and don't think I marked a fish the whole time. Write this trip up as a skunk. I did find out that the only other boat out in the area got 6 Lakers but I know the guy and not only is he a good fisherman, he has no qualms about going over 200' of water to get them. That looked like about where he was and I just don't like fishing that deep. Maybe I'll have to rethink that.
Enroute to fishing, I noted a couple of Indian nets apparently illegally set. One was at 46deg 33.941, 87deg 20.803. The treaty agreement as I understand it says no nets may be set east of a line drawn from the Chocolay river mouth northward. By putting a waypoint on my GPS at the mouth and looking at the degrees bearing, if it's over 180 degrees, the nets should not be there. This one was over the line by .28 miles, nearly a third of a mile. I understand if nets are set out of treaty waters, it should be handled by the DNR. If they're drift nets or unmarked, then the Tribal unit should be contacted. I've tried but not gotten any good contacts from the DNR so if you know the number for me to call or email to write, please drop me a line.
10 May I couldn't resist the urge to try for salmon again, so at dark-o-clock, I began washing lures with the usual results - no runs, hits or errors. After a couple of hours of nothingness, I headed to deeper waters for Lakers. For a change, I went to my old haunt, a run north of white rocks I've made many times over the years, but not recently. Knowing it was Indian net country, I turned on my radar to help me watch for nets, even though the waters were calm. Just as I was about to put lines down, I spotted a net and then held off until until I could spot the other end. They were extremely hard to spot with just a pole and not a flag. I got past the first net and about half an hour was lucky enough to spot a second net, also right across my route. I cautiously went around that net and again set lines near the bottom. Watching all the times for more nets, about 45 minutes later while checking the graph, a daunting image of a net showed on the screen and within a few seconds, I hung into it with a downrigger and Johnson rod. Disaster! Scrambling to save whatever I could, I lost most of my new downrigger line, weights, releases, lures, bent my downrigger up, and so on - probably lost $100 of gear. After it was all over (I marked it with my GPS), I again looked around with binoculars and saw no net flags, leaving me to think this is another ghost or breakaway net. As I headed in, I thought how sad it is that these nets, both marked and unmarked, have changed sport fishing for me. What used to be a relaxing sport has turned into a nerve wracking test trying to avoid nets (not that there are not other hazards on the bottom), both marked and unmarked. That doesn't even speak to these ghost nets that keep on killing fish that will never be harvested, as well as causing the loss of fishermen's gear. I'll report its location (N46 37.417,W87 21.820) to the authorities but have no great expectations of its quick recovery.
8 May If there was a day to just kick back and enjoy the sunshine and perfectly calm water (albeit cool air initially), today was the day. Guest Frank Lorsbach and I left fairly early and headed east to hit my favorite spot of late. Well, the spot wasn't very productive as we hit only two Lakers in about an hour and a half. The water was like glass so we decided to hit some shallower water where we caught only one Laker in the same length of time. No complaints though as the fish were nice leans and better yet, it was just beautiful on the water. Good conversations, good company, and a few fish as a bonus. Sounds good to me.
4 May Today was one of those days we might say, if only. I launched around 8a, planning to head to deep water and the last good area I fished. Surprising, just out of the harbor were small ice floes, which didn't concern me much. Well, a fishing buddy called me on the radio and said he'd just caught a couple of salmon in the harbor and suggested I should try it. I knew better, but did it anyway. Silly me, I got nothing so after an hour of washing lures I trolled to deeper water. The air and water were cool and calm and it was beautiful on the water. I trolled to my nearest deep water route and at 168' of water, I saw big marks on my graph, looking much like fish. The bad news was marks were an Indian net where it shouldn't be. Being alone, it was a scramble to get the other two lines up without catching the net, all the while not doing severe damage to the downrigger that got hung up. Note that it was quite calm and there were absolutely no flags or milk jugs or whatever marking nets there. I know it was either an illegal or breakaway net as it was .39 miles east of the Indian treaty line where Indian netting is not allowed. When I finally got some gear back, gill netting was hanging from it. I could see from traces of moss or the like indicating it'd been there a while. Pretty good proof.
Rather than give in to anger, I replaced the lost gear and fished on. There were almost no fish marks and I trolled a long way through the sand hole with no hits or marks. Finally, I caught a 4# Laker on my line I set about 30'from the bottom. How strange. I continued on as the east winds picked up and I trolled homeward. Just before quitting, the suspended line again sounded the bell. This time I could tell it was a big fish. There was a lot of clanging of the bell until the fish broke away from the releases and then the line went dead, so I knew the fish got off. My guess it was a Chinook, not a Laker. The action was otherwise slow, as you might gather, so I caught up on some fishing chores whilst out there enjoying myself. All in all, not the best, but then again, not the worst day on the water.
3 May It was another crisp morning, even though my guest Rodney Smith and I got a mid morning start. Winds and seas were again calm and the air and surface water stayed a steady 38 degrees but it was sunny and nice, nonetheless. Enroute we ran through a couple miles of heavy skim ice but were fortunate to run out of it just before setting up. We caught 5 nice Lakers in around 165' of water and missed a couple, all in about an hour and a half. We decided to troll back for the last one, which wasn't too wise. We went another hour and a half without a hit or mark. I kept saying we just have to go a little further and finally, I said let's pull lines. I reached for my downrigger and wham, we caught a nice 5.5# Laker. Several of the Lakers ran between 4# and 5#.
1May With guest Bob Schmeltzer, who hasn't fished with me for a couple of years, we headed east in fairly calm water and the temperature in the low 40s. We set up on my favorite run and my lure wasn't down for 2 minutes when we had our first Laker. It was pretty small so we had mixed emotion about releasing our first fish, but we did. A minute later Bob caught a Laker, then the Johnson rod bounced and in the first 20 minutes we had 4 Lakers on, releasing 2 and missing one. However, the action continued and we steadily caught our limit of 6 Lakers in an hour and 40 minutes, most being caught between 150' and 170', some on stackers, some not. Conditions were near perfect as we headed home, catching a light sprinkle coming into the marina, quickly followed by the sun. Great day!
30 Apr Yesterday winds were ripping to 40 mph and temperatures were in the 80s. Today as I headed out, winds and seas were calm, both 37 degrees. I set up in 136' of water and fished to 180' and an hour without a hit. Finally, I started my turn and got into 190' of water and got a hit and a miss. Shortly after, I caught a decent Laker in 188', then another at 176'. This being deeper water than I like, I thought I'd fish an ole run in for my final Laker. Well, that didn't happen. I did get another good bell ringer on the suspended line but couldn't hang on to it. Saw a few nice markers too but they're not much for eating.
28 Apr With guests Marc Soetaert and his friend Dee, we headed east in a pretty good chop that gradually settled down and the winds and seas calmed right off. We set lines in 165' of water and worked a run between 150' and 180'. We steadily picked up a Laker here and there, mostly on the bottom lures, but a few on the stackers. We fished along side the boat "Get the Net". Our boats were close together when the Coast Guard boat pulled up to inspect both of us. We got through that fine and they were very accommodating but to do that, we have to pull up all the gear. We had 7 Lakers in the box and all the gear up after inspection but we thought we'd fish a bit more so we reset lines. It wasn't ten minutes when we filled up with our 9th Laker. The Lakers were running a decent size with a couple of 4# and most around 3#, all leans. We earlier missed a single-line double (two Lakers on one line) when the stacker line broke (I think I did it accidentally with my pliers). The calm waters held the whole time and we had a smooth ride most of the way to port. Great day on the water and good work in a little under 3 hours.
26 Apr It was a little warmer than yesterday at 37 degrees when my guest Brian Jung and I left the dock and headed east on calm waters. We didn't hit any skim ice which was surprising considering how calm it was. However, it was cool enough the auxiliary motor carburetor was icing up so the speed was hard to control for the first 15 minutes. We set lines at 165' and worked between 150' and 180'. It wasn't long before we missed a couple, then Brian boxed a nice lean Laker. He took a picture with his phone and sent it to his buddies in Ohio. I questioned whether that was a nice thing to do and he said they were telling him he'd jinx our trip. We then got a single-line double that Brian reeled in and I netted the first Laker and when we went to net the second one, the empty lure caught in the Johnson rod we had to untangle all that while the other Laker was still thrashing about in the Lake. We we just about to net it when it got off, after going through all that. Brian then took a picture again when we had 4 Lakers in the box and sent it to his buddies. Shortly after he got a text message to the effect that they saw that I caught 4 Lakers but that Brian should hang in there and he'll eventually catch one. Aren't guys nice to each other! As it turns out, we caught our 6 Lakers in a little over 2 hours in beautiful, calm seas. Most of the Lakers ranged in size between 2# and 4#, perfect eating size.
25 Apr Today stood out as I had a special guest, Capt. Bob Meyers, a great fisherman (and has his own charter boat in the Copper Country) and friend, who joined me to fish the cold waters of Lake Superior today. I knew I could learn things with this guy on board so that was great. It was 32 degrees at my house when we left but winds were calm. We decided to skip the harbor fishing and try for Lakers. We headed east past some Indian nets obviously illegally set east of the treaty zone, which I determined from my GPS. Anyway, waters were calm and it wasn't long before we were running through skim ice crunching under the boat. Eventually, we ran out of the ice and set our lines in 158' of water. Before long, Bob had a hit and miss, then I had a hit and miss. Some might get upset when that happens but to me, that's encouraging because at least they're hitting. Well, about 15 minutes passed and Bob's rigger jumped with action. I looked over and the Johnson rod was bouncing, and then my downrigger bell rang. We had a triple and got all three nice, lean Lakers. While the lines were up, I did a 180 degree turn and we reset lines.
Bob then hit another Laker, which we boxed and while he was resetting, I hit a single-line double, two Lakers on one line, which we boxed. We then had our limit but before we could get Bob's line up (which he'd stopped at 115' over 170' of water), he caught a beautiful Laker which we carefully released. We fished the harbor for salmon on the way back with my usual results of zero. However, I got some good lessons on tuning body baits. Great day!
24 Apr Gary Gibbs and I headed out to calm seas in calm, but cool air. Not many boats out so we fished the harbor for a while, marking lots of what appeared to be fish, but apparently the graph showed only fish with lock-jaw. So, after not getting any salmon to go in the harbor , we headed to deeper water. Enroute, we spied a net to port, then another to starboard. Nets in sight always puts me in a light panic until I see both net ends. They weren't easy to spot so we jacked up the downriggers until we cleared the 3 nets we finally identified. Then we got a serious about fishing. We caught a nice Laker on the Johnson rod and while processing that, we had another hit, which we lost. So logically, we circled the area and coming through the same spot I had marked on the GPS, I commented jokingly, we should have a hit any time, and almost instantly we did. That got us our 2nd Laker in the box and after several more circles, that was it. Despite the low catching rate, we still had a great time on the water.
20 Apr It was shaping up to be a beautiful day and I thought - it's time. I launched around noon to super low water and super high docks but that part went fairly well. However, when I started backing out, I could feel the prop digging in the sand and rocks, so I quickly tilted the out-drive up. I didn't do much damage to my prop but the City should get their sign up (I suggested that to them a few months ago) about the low water warning. I plied the harbor looking for Chinook and Coho and hung in there for about an hour and a half, with nothing to go. I started to head to deeper water when I caught a nice Coho on the Dipsy Diver. Well, of course I had to circle the area a few times but nothing else happened. I then trolled out to a dependable run where I caught a nice 4# Laker at 159'. The only other hit was just before I quit, on a suspended line at at 135'. I got that Laker all the way up to where I could see it and while reaching for the net, it went wild and the fish and lure parted company. It was a shakedown cruise so I happy I was caught a few fish. I also had to retrain myself on some of the equipment and found one of my reels had suddenly become unusable. How that happened over the wintertime, I have no clue. Ah, what a great feeling to be back on the water, which by the way was 35 degrees, and the air 45 degrees, both of which sound cold but it was toasty warm in the sunlight and even warmer in the sun-warmed cabin. Besides, catching fish always warms a body.
19 Apr I've been measuring the launch depths weekly and they haven't increased much, last week being 34" at the deepest. I decided to pull my boat to the launch and see how feasible it would be to launch, as well as light the fire on both engines. Not only did both motors start well, launching will not be a problem. The biggest obstacle will be the distance from the waterline to the dock is so great that the boat can slip under the dock and do serious damage to the downrigger or cabin. That part will be tricky. I didn't fish but it won't be long now.
8 Apr 07 For those of you who are wondering what's happening on my fishing scene, well, here's the scoop. Our snow was basically gone by the end of March and I got my boat out and ready to go. Then came a couple of glitches, one being I had shoulder surgery for which I'm pretty much recovered now. A more troublesome issue is the low water level of Lake Superior and the troubles some boaters were having to launch at the Presque Isle Marina. I measured the depth of the launch pad from the only good launch of the 4 launches and the depth was 32". I'm not sure I can float my boat in that shallow water. To go deeper would result in the wheels dropping off the ramp and possibly ripping the axle off pulling out. I've heard this has happened to one boater already. I'm anxious to try launching just to see if I can do it. If not, it'll require pulling my boat to the lower harbor Cinder Pond, the launch of which is deeper but is so narrow, it's hard to turn a boat around, especially in the wind. Not only that, but then the distance to my fishing spots is several miles further so at today's gas prices, that won't make me happy. Lastly, we got dumped with snow from 3 - 7 April that broke 3 records for snowfall, maybe more. The weather this coming week doesn't sound very warm so until most of the snow goes, I won't be launching for a while. I'm thinking about the 20th of April as my target date, but that's not up to me. Stay tuned.
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