"Cooler By The Lake"
2008 Lake Superior Fishing Log
Fishing Synopsis for 2008
Early spring and early summer was just plain crappy, weather and fishing wise. Early on I was lucky some days to catch one or two Lakers in several hours. There was a lot of grumbling under my breath. Fishermen are allowed to do that and sometimes it's necessary. Well, the whining paid off as mid summer the action picked up remarkably from the 1 fish per hour to end the season with a record 1.82 fish per hour of trolling. The weather gradually improved somewhat but there were some long stretches where I couldn't get out. My average trolling time was 2.3 hours. I had only 8 single-line doubles (two fish on one line) and I usually average around 15.
It's been a pleasure hearing from those who wrote to me. I look forward to being on the water again in 2009. 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.
Fishing summary for 2008
Trolling Hours (Lake Trout only)
161, (178 last year)
|Lake Trout Caught (not all kept)||266|
69, (73 last year)
Fish per hour
1.82 (record), 1.71 last year
Total fish caught
269 (includes released fish) 296 last year
Skunks trips during year
4 (2 last year) Only counts fishing for Laker trips
Average weight of Lake Trout
3.4 lbs. (3.6 lbs. last year)
Number of Steelhead
Number of Coho
3, (last year 1)
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2008 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, 1.82
|Single-line doubles (two fish on one line)||8 (11 in 2007)|
Well, the 3rd of November was my final run for the season. Without much cooperation from the weather, it was time to put on the black arm band in mourning. My computer switchover is progressing and I hope to get to my final report in the next few weeks.
3 Nov In gentle southerly winds, my guest Tom LaPointe and I headed out for a close run. Just before we left Tom said he had an appointment at noon so we couldn't go to the distant spot I wanted to try. We set lines and within 15 minutes, caught a double - two fairly small Lakers. After that, it was very slow. Eventually, we caught 2 more Lakers. I had put out a surface line on a paddle and near quitting time, the reel clicker started screaming and the line started out. About 100' behind the boat, a beautiful Steelhead came out of the water, and I exaggerate not, clearing the water by at least 4'. Something seemed wrong as the Steelhead did it again but there was nothing on the line, It then jumped out of the water 3 more times, each time 4-5'. At first I thought the lure broke off in its mouth, but it didn't. Much as we'd like to have caught that big Steelhead, it was still a great experience to watch. All indications are today is the last trip of the season. Stay tuned for my final report, which might take a while as I'm changing computers.
1 Nov It's hard to believe the winds could last so many days but today they finally subsided to a light SE wind. However, the rollers were still in the 3-4' range as my guest Gary Gibbs and I headed north. Once or twice there was air under the boat and that's never a good thing so we slowed down a bit and it was fine. We set lines at 118' and plied the 120-140' depths for quite a while, hitting only one Laker which was small and we released. We then varied the depths up to 190' and back to 130', where we slowly picked up 9 Lakers, all around 3 pounds except for the 3 small Lakers we released. It seemed the action was very slow but in retrospect, we did quite well in a little under 3 hours. Best of all, it was a beautiful sunny day and we got out fishing one more time. Tomorrow, more wind predicted.
23 Oct My guest on another bumpy day was Frank Lorsbach. SE winds averaging 12 mph and rollers made standing in the boat a little difficult. We set lines and fished my favorite 160' run and didn't have so much as a hit until nearly an hour. Then the Johnson rod bent over and actually started pulling out line. Frank fought the fish for quite a while and then as it got close, it went into one of the downrigger lines, but somehow stayed on. That was a challenge figuring how to untangle the lines but we did it. It was a 17.5# Laker and we released it as quickly as we could. Unfortunately, we could see it didn't make it and we had to circle the boat with downriggers out and in the winds and waves to net it. Turned out later it was a beautiful lean. We then pulled lines and fish shallow water for another hour without so much as a hit. This might be the last trip of the season what with a stretch of nasty weather schedule in. We'll see.
22 Oct Yup, it's been 10 days of mostly wind to keep me off the lake. The forecast today was decent but I could see from shore the lumps out there. Damn the torpedoes, so out I went, the only one to launch. The winds were around 10 mph from the south the the 2-3' rollers from the NE made for a rock and roll, but not dangerous ride and fish. I set lines at 160' and nothing happened for 20 minutes. Then the starboard rigger then hit so I got that Laker in and noticed the port rigger bell was ringing. I just wanted to get the lines on the port rigger out of the way so I let out my 12' of line and felt a tug. I wondered what that was about and looked back to see a Coho had hit my lure on surface, 12' behind the boat. The Coho came completely out of the water and I could see the lure go one way and the Coho the other. That's my luck with salmon! Anyway, within a minute, the Johnson rod also had a Laker on so I had 3 Lakers in the box in under half an hour. All three were in the 3# range and caught in around 155' of water, two near the bottom, one around 140' down. Sometimes I know how a wasp feels like in the Fall. The air temperature was 32 degrees when I left home, 34 on the water, and the water surface temperature was 52 degrees.
12 Oct The south wind averaging 13 mph kicked up some nice waves so I set the auxiliary motor to just idle and the wind and waves pushed me nicely. I got the Johnson rod out and starboard rigger when the Johnson bounced, shortly followed by the rigger bell sounding. I just left the rigger down as it's usually best to get the fish on the Johnson's steel line in first, which was a nice 3# lean Laker. On the downrigger rod, there was a strong pull, only to discover there were two Lakers on. All this in the first 10 minutes and I was prematurely thinking I could head in with my limit. Unfortunately, one got off about 5' from the net but I got the other one. It then took another hour to catch the last one, but it was on the suspended line and was a fat 7# Laker, which I later had to trash. Depths ranged from 158' to 200', but I wasn't always near bottom in the deeper water.
11 Oct My neighbor Reggie joined me today, with winds out of the south at 10-12 mph and 2 foot rollers, so it was very fishable but bouncy. We set lines and about half an hour passed without a hit. Then the Johnson rod hit, followed by both downriggers. One of the rigger rods had a Laker on one lure and a small Coho on the other. So, within minutes we had 4 fish on and in the box. We figured the Coho hit while reeling in the Laker. We turned to pass through that area again and picked up our last two Lakers, just as the clock struck 1 hour long. Most fish were in the 3# range and within 20' of the average 160' depth we fished. We saw two eagles on white rocks as we returned.
10 Oct Yesterday the wind was ripping but today the seas had settled, albeit a very strong current was very apparent. An ole friend, Gary Hoppe joined me as we headed out in light seas. We didn't go far before setting lines. It wasn't 5 minutes before the Johnson rod hit, producing a small Laker (I call them dinks), which we released. We mistakenly thought it was going to be a a slam-dunk kind of day. We then went over an hour through some great fishing grounds without another hit. I then made a command decision that we were moving, which immediately prompted a hit and a nice 4# Laker. Well, we moved anyway, heading about 5 miles northward. We again set lines and within 5 minutes hit a 5# Laker in 118' of water. Once again, it wasn't the good omen we were thinking. The next hour and a half was slow but gradually we caught a few. The bonus was Gary hit a 17# Laker on the suspended line and that fish did not want to give ground. He did a great job and despite my rather ugly netting job, we got it in the box, lamprey attached to it and all. We ended with 6 lean Lakers, 3 of them around 3# but great fish. Most caught were in waters from 140' to 175'. It was great that Gary shared my philosophy of enjoying time on the water and that catching fish was truly a bonus. The fall shore-line colors were spectacular. Click on the pictures for expanded size and hit your return button to return here. Do you think he looks happy?
8 Oct Two days ago the forecast looked good for today but as we all know, good forecasts often go sour. The morning started with steady rain but the radar show it should slack off and because wind was behaving better than predicted, I launched at 11a with a narrow window to fish before my three afternoon appointments. Turning the corner around the breakwater loomed 2-3' rollers but little wind. I love to fish in rollers. I set all three lines and within minutes, the Johnson rod bounced and I reeled in a nice 3# Laker. I was just setting the Johnson out about 100' back when my port rigger bell rang. I just left the Johnson rod in the holder and while reeling in the 3# Laker, the other rigger went off. Well, I got all three fish in the boat and was about to reel in the Johnson rod to quit when it started to bounce. I could tell from the action it was a Coho, albeit a small one. Whew, that was one of the quicker trips with 4 fish in just under half an hour. I think that was the first Coho in months and I wasn't even trying. Looks like more wind tomorrow, and they'll probably be right.
5 Oct Mercy, another brief opening to get on the big pond! My guest this morning was Frank Lorsbach, who sensed my wasp-in-the-Fall mood of fish whilst you can. We left the launch to a SE wind and somewhat choppy seas and stuck to the 165'ish depths that have worked lately. Today the Johnson rod was on steroids, as it carried the day. The suspended line caught nothing but missed one. Most of the 6 Lakers we caught were near the bottom but the stacker lines, roughly 12' up, worked on two occasion. We also missed a couple of Lakers. We limited in a little under two hours, the biggest Laker over 8#, but most around 3#. Coming off the water it was obviously laying down, only to pick up a lot a few hours later. The next few days don't hold much promise for fishable conditions. Guess it's called Fall.
4 Oct Can you believe it's been 8 days of basically unfishable weather? Well, after attending a midday social event, and seeing the wind was decent, I headed out around 3p in a light north wind and about 2' rollers. I set the Johnson rod first and was lowering the first rigger when the Johnson rod had a nice hit. The Laker didn't stick and stayed on for about 15 seconds so I continued setting lines. In ten minutes, the Johnson rod hit again, this time I boxed a nice 4# Laker. Then a rigger bell rang and the lines released to a good sized Laker but that one didn't stick either. The rigger I run suspend then hit and that produced a 3# Laker. I turned to head back, hoping to catch the last one and sure enough, I caught a nice 5# Laker off the rigger. As soon as it hit, I immediately raised the other lines up to reduce the likelihood of catching a 4th Laker. It didn't work as I caught a double and had to release a Laker. In all, I caught 4 and missed 4 in under 2 hours. Most Lakers were caught or hit within 25' of the bottom in around 175' of water. I'm hoping they'll move in shallower soon...or maybe they have as I haven't tried that recently. It's hard to argue with success.
25 Sep Once again, a windy stretch finally slowed down. Guest Frank Lorsbach and Don Carpenter joined my on a beautiful morning with light winds and light seas. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod hit but the Laker stay on for under a minute. Then the rigger with the lure suspended about 25' over the 165' water really rattled but we ended up finding the split ring on the snap swivel opened. We knew it was a big fish but I also think I'm using too small snap swivels. I prefer small swivels as they don't dampen the lure action but it's time to get bigger ones. After that, action was very slow. We gradually caught some decent Lakers, mostly on the Johnson rod. Go figure as last trip it did nothing. We had 5 Lakers in the box and of course, we got a double and so, had to release one. Best action was at 170' of water, near the bottom. After the initial hit on the suspended line, it had only one other hit. The water was beautiful and we had a great time. It took a little less than 4 hours to catch our limit but we certainly didn't mind with such great conditions and company.
21 Sep My guest today was my neighbor, Reggie Gebo. Conditions were initially cool with a gentle breeze as we set lines. It wasn't a long fishing trip. We had the best action on the suspended line, about 25' over the average 165' depths we plied. There was nary a hit on the Johnson rod. We also had a large Laker on for about 5 minutes and couldn't budge it. We'd like to at least got a look at it. We ended our trip with 6 lean Lakers, the largest 5.5#, all in under 2 hours.
18 Sep Finally a good forecast for fairly light winds as my guests Tom Foster, Ryan Gray, and David Gerhardt joined me. Well, it turned out winds were from the SE at 15 mph and waves and rollers were in the 3 foot range and coming from two directions, making it hard to stand up in the boat. My suggestions that it might be too rough were not well received by these dedicated fishermen so we set lines and bounced our way along one of my favorite routes. It was hard holding course but we hung in the 145' to 180' range and slowly started picking up Lakers. First on the Johnson, then each rigger, including the one running suspended about 25' from the bottom. I believe we had 4 Lakers in the box when we missed the next 3 Lakers, a couple of which actually took line out and felt quite big. Fishing while heading into 15mph winds and big waves and rollers was a challenge, but we did it. We hung in there for 4 hour and ended with 8 nice, lean Lakers, all around 3# each. Here's a shot of the crew. Click to enlarge, use your back button to return here.
13 Sep Following nearly a week of wind, guest Art Beauchamp and Tom LaPointe joined me on a beautiful morning run. Action started slowly and we missed a couple of Lakers just out of reach of the net. We plied the 165' depths and both riggers and the Johnson rod worked to get 4 nice Lakers in the box. We went further on my run than usual and where the depth came up to 150', one rigger bell rang, then the other, and finally the Johnson rod. There was quite a bit of scrambling but we got not 3, but 4 Lakers in, with one line having two Lakers. It's not often we get 4 Lakers on at once. We turned, set a rigger down and picked up our final Laker, before even dropping the other lines. The suspended line working about 20' - 30' off the bottom carried its weight today, catching 3 Lakers. Winds were from the south, averaging 10 mph and around 1' waves. With more windy weather scheduled in, we were glad to get out on such a nice day.
7 Sep I counted the trailers at the launch - 14. That seemed unusually high considering the fishing contest yesterday, but then the forecast was good. Art and I headed out at 8:30a to light winds and seas. We set the Johnson rod out and then started the first downrigger down when the Johnson rod had a hit. Stop the rigger, scramble, scramble, to get things ready, e.g., net. Well, we boxed a nice 5# Laker when the rigger I was letting down and stopped at 88 clicks had a hit. Another nice Laker and all this action in the first 10 minutes. Eventually, we got the second downrigger set and before long, we caught a nice Laker on that. We turned to head back and caught our forth Laker. There was a break in the action where I could shed a layer or two of clothing as it was much warmer than I thought it'd be (perhaps all of the action?). Suddenly, the Johnson rod throbbed, then the starboard downrigger. While reeling in the Laker on the Johnson rod, the port downrigger bell rang and we had a triple. Great! We needed two more Lakers for our limit but had three on so we released the last one in, not even netting it or taking it out of the water. Talk about fun! Much of the water we fished was up to 180' but we were not on the bottom most of the time when we caught fish, pretty unusual. When we got in, we asked the DNR fish surveyor how others were doing and she said she didn't know as we were the first ones in. That felt good! I counted the trailers - 14. Good work for an hour and forty minutes trolling. Oh, there was an Eagle on White Rocks on our way out and it was there on our way in. I love that as there wasn't a seagull or cormorant in sight when the Eagle was there. We passed within 150' and the Eagle didn't even fly away. I consider seeing an Eagle an honor and good luck charm.
6 Sep The wind forecast was good but it was raining when I awoke. The radar showed clearing in a while so I headed out at 9:30a, after the rain stopped. It was fishing contest weekend so there were boats all over the place. Fortunately, where I like to fish there wasn't anyone. Winds were light but the seas were rock and roll for some reason. I set the rods and in 10 minutes, I thought I had a light hit and started to bring up the downrigger to check it out. Just then, the bell rang on the other downrigger so while tending to that, the Johnson rod bent over. Eventually, I got two Lakers, the light hit being a no hit. I then turned to fish on the way back and caught my 3rd Laker. Before I could get the other equipment up, I caught a forth Laker, which I had to release. Action all took place in 40 minutes. Three of the four Lakers were on stacker lines, up 20-30' off the bottom in 180' of water. The Lakers were all under 3# but nice leans.
30 Aug I was joined by Art Beauchamp this morning, and a beautiful morning it was. Lots of boat trailers at the launch, kind of like wasps sensing the waning of summer over the 3-day weekend. About 10 minutes after setting lines, the Johnson rod slowly bent over and I thought for sure it was a huge fish. Well, it wasn't as I apparently hooked into a huge something on the bottom so I kissed that lure goodbye. In a way I won't miss that lure as it wasn't a big producer so I put on one of my favorites. That worked out well as the Johnson rod subsequently produced 3 Lakers, albeit fairly small ones. We managed 6 Lakers in all, most near the bottom in around 170' - 180' of water. My suspended rigger apparently had the day off. The winds were near calm and we just had the gentle rollers coming from somewhere so it was just great fishing and being on the water. In two hours we headed in, our last Laker caught exactly where we started. I like that when it happens as it saves fuel on the run in.
29 Aug It was 4 years to the day since my guests Reed Morrison, and his sons William and Alec (each 13) fished with me. Conditions were great with little wind but some of the rollers coming in from the north were a good 3', but were not a problem. We set lines and found the currents very powerful as going into the rollers I had to back the kicker motor speed way down, just the opposite of what one would expect. And when we turned to run with the rollers, the speed had to be boosted considerably. We ran the 150' - 180', leaving one rigger at 136 clicks and didn't vary it. Both riggers and the Johnson rod carried the load and we ended in a little under 3 hours with 9 lean Lakers, the largest 7# and most around 3#. We missed 4 Lakers, but also caught a single line double which Will reeled in. We marked very few fish. It was a beautiful day on the water.
26 Aug My guests this morning were John and Tory Parlin, interested mostly in boating Lake Superior around our area. However, I wasn't about to waste an opportunity to fish while we talked, so I set lines and stuck pretty much to the 160' level. Before long, we hit a small Laker on the starboard downrigger, then another small Laker. The next action was on the Johnson rod, however, it wasn't a fish. Instead, it snagged into a couple hundred feet of lead core line with a planner board on one end and a lure on the other. I spent the next 20 minutes winding that all up. The winds picked up to around 10 mph from the SW but we turned into them and shortly afterwards, the port rigger went off. We knew we had a nice fish on but as it turned out, there were two Lakers on, both around 5#, so we released one. In pulling lines, we hit another 5# Laker which we also released. We returned with 3 nice Lakers in two hours, and were not even fishing that hard. Great day on the water.
25 Aug I headed out at 8a, with light seas and a fairly light wind. The temperature at home when I left was 51 degrees, 57 on the Lake and 61 water (surface). I set up the Johnson rod and both riggers, the port side running at 136 clicks on the counter and I just leave it there. Before long, I hit a small Laker on the starboard rigger near bottom at 158' of water. I ended with 3 Lakers, the largest 4# but the other two around 2#, all in a little over an hour. Nothing hit on the Johnson rod. As I reeled up the port rigger, there was a nice Laker about 4# that somehow I missed seeing hit. Actually, my story is that it hit as I was pulling lines. I didn't net it but rather released it while still in the water so as to improve its chances. I quickly swam down.
23 Aug Talk about mixed wind signals from all the different weather links! One site predicted 15-25 mph winds and another 5-15 mph and another around 8 mph for most of the day. Then the NWS had a small craft advisory posted. I wanted to get on the Big Pond but being safe was number one. I called the NWS and was informed the front causing the advisory wasn't due in until noon or a little later. Sorry to bore you with the tribulations and consternations that sometimes go into a decision whether to fish or not but it's a decision process that happens quite often...and it's important..
So out we went, my guest Scott Wilson and I, northward bound and should the forecast come true, we could have a smooth ride back. Ironically, the Lake was flat when we went out and stayed that way for about an hour. We set lines at 130' and quickly dropped to 160-180'. Actions was slow for the first hour. We finally got a small Laker at 165' and I marked it on the GPS. Shortening up the story, the winds picked up, sometimes to a steady 14 mph but somehow, it was manageable. We turned and worked the area of the first fish and eventually, we caught our 6th Laker in that area, after missing 3. Scott had convinced me (not easy to do, yeah, right) to try for the last one before the front rolled in. Every Laker was on either the Johnson rod or the stacker line, indicating the Lakers were not as tight to the bottom as usual. Our largest fish was a little over 7# but all the rest were 2-3#, all nice eaters. It took a little over 3 hours but it was a most enjoyable time on the Big Pond. Tomorrow looks like a weather bust. Who knows?
20 Aug My brother Ed and I headed out with a breezy south wind and we could see whitecaps ahead. Fortunately, the winds backed down as did the seas, which were really rocking initially. We set lines at 120' and they did nothing for a long time. We finally got into some Lakers at 160', with a double and finally a triple. We also missed a couple on the Johnson rod. The downrigger we ran somewhat suspended around 20' off the bottom caught 3 of the Lakers. Our biggest was 4# and smallest a little under 2#. We ended with 6 Lakers and released a dink (small Laker). It turned out to be a beautiful day on the water and we headed back in just under 3 hours of trolling.
17 Aug Hoping for a repeat of last summer's fishing excursion, my guests were Ron and Alex Rabe, and Dani Simandl. Conditions were great except the fish didn't cooperate very well. We missed three and ended with only one small Laker. If the marine radio was any indication, we weren't alone in the slow fishing, although some did well. Above it all, we had fun.
15 Aug My guest today was A.J. Deeds and his son Elliot (10). The plan was to head north a ways but turning the corner into 12 mph north winds and 1-2' waves, made us rethink that option. Instead, we chose to set lines and head directly into the waves and winds, not easy but doable. Once again, the 165' depth worked best as we picked up 4 nice Lakers, the largest 7# and 5#. We made one run out, turned and decided to call it a day just shy of 2 hours. Still and all, pretty good fishing.
14 Aug After checking the various wind instruments on the Internet (none of which I put much faith in to reflect what's really happening on Lake Superior), most read little wind so out I headed for a short run. The reality was winds were from the north at 12 mph and the ride was a mite woolly. Because of that, I decided to run the Johnson rod and just one downrigger. It wasn't 10 minutes before I caught a small Laker at 165' off the rigger. I put it back down, only to get a real good hit on the bank that runs to 145', but I missed it. Back to the 165' depth, I again caught another Laker. Nearing the end of my run and as I started to turn, I caught my third Laker, weighing 4#. Not bad work considering conditions and it took only 45 minutes. The wind was backing down just as I pulled my lines but the waves didn't realize it.
13 Aug It gets scary to get several nice days in a row but today was another one, with my guest Frank Lorsbach and his visiting son Ted. Again, not much action until we got over 160' of water. We were marking a lot of fish, all near the bottom. I've learned to ignore all the beautiful marks between 50' and 100' as they're clouds of spiny water fleas, not fish. Quickly action picked up as we got the first Laker almost to the net when it got off. Fortunately, much to Ted's surprise, there was another Laker on the stacker line. We picked up a few more Lakers and then Frank's downrigger rang and the line started out so we knew it was a big fish. Turns out there must have been a big fish that got off the stacker line as when he reeled it in, it was around a 3# Laker on the bottom lure. We headed in with 6 Lakers in a little over an hour, the biggest 5# but the rest around 3# each. The wind had picked up to 10 mph from the north and a chop was building as we motored home.
12 Aug I was joined today by Art Beauchamp and Tom LaPointe as we headed north in gentle rollers. We set lines at 118' and didn't do much for the first hour, plying waters to 150' Once we went deeper to 165' or so, we started picking up Lakers. In just shy of 4 hours we ended with 9 Lakers, the largest 17 3/4# and two 6#. We picked up a 6mph NNW wind but waves never got over 1'.
11 Aug What a beautiful day - great forecast without the usually cautionary 20% chance of thunderstorms or NE wind prediction. Perfect for my guests of Andy Wasilewski and his grand children of Andrew (10), Emily (7), Britni (18), and Alec (12). It was crowded in the boat and action was slow after we set lines at 118' and plied the 118' - 135' for about an hour with zero hits. I was dipping into my excuse list when we got into deeper water and finally got a hit, an small Laker but seed for the box. Suddenly, action picked up as Emily caught a single line double (two Lakers on one line), Andy missed a big fish, only to redeem himself later with a 15.5# Laker. All took turns reeling as we caught 8 Lakers, the three largest 15.5#, 11#, and 9#. The waters were beautiful with near-calm winds. We ended with 8 Lakers in 3 hours. Two fish were on the stackers but the rest were near the bottom in from 135' to 180' of water. Oh, we missed a few but no biggie. Here's a picture of the crew and some of their fish. Click to enlarge, use back button to return here.
8 Aug One might refer to this fishing trip as down and dirty. I thought I'd try one of my favorite haunts north of White Rocks as I hadn't fished there in several trips. I set lines at 120' and quickly went to the deeper water. It wasn't long before I hit the 170' water where I hit one - then two and three Lakers, all small but beautiful leans. In 45 minutes I was headed in. Winds were light north with gentle 2' rollers a piece of cake to fish in. I believe I marked only 4 fish, but who cares when there're fish in the box.
6 Aug We lucked out with another nice day, as my guest Tom LaPointe and I headed north in 1' seas. This time the 120'ish waters didn't produce but once in 145-165' waters, we picked up 7 nice Lakers. I say 7 because we had 5 in the box and got a double, of which we had to release and fortunately, the smallest one we caught. The winds remained light as did the seas. I ran the usual surface line with the usual ziltch results. The stacker lines haven't been producing the past several trips but perhaps they're enticing hits on the main line. Looks like the next few days will be windy, but never say never. Oh, we had another bat visit us and attach itself to the boat. I finally scared it off and it headed towards land, some 3 miles away. We were speculating what it was doing out there in the bright sunlight and wondered if it was awakened on another boat but the nearest boat was two miles away. Strange!
5 Aug It was dead calm as my Brother Ed and I left the ramp. We set lines at 120' and worked to 175'. We caught 6 nice Lakers over 2 and a half hours at various depths, and missed 3 more. All were near the bottom except for the ones we missed. Nothing came in on the stacker lines. Two of the Lakers were 6 pounds and all leans. The wind picked up from the north just as we were on our final leg.
3 Aug Finally not threat of thunderstorms and a decent wind forecast as my guests Nate, Ben (15), Mike (13), and Wendy Pigorsch headed out. We set lines at 118' and the rigger just touched bottom and we had a Laker on. We plied depths as deep as 175' where we caught another Laker then back up and down. We ended with 7 Lakers in 3.5 hours of trolling, the last Laker weighing 9.2# in 118' of water. We also missed 3 Lakers. All three rods showed action but nothing was caught on the stacker lines. One of the Lakers came in with a lamprey attached and another Laker was tagged. Winds averaged 10 mph from the south but died down periodically for an all-in-all beautiful and fun day. We also caught 7 Lakers in 2006 when they last fished with me. Click to enlarge picture below, then use the back button to return here.
1 Aug Conditions were wonderful - calm winds and water as my guest Tom LaPointe and I headed out and up nort (sic). Of course, there was a forecast for isolated thunderstorms so I was particularly watchful. We set up in 120' and worked to as deep as 180'. It took a while before we finally hit Lakers in depths from 130' to 170'. We eventually caught 5, all of a great 3#ish size and missed two more. We just couldn't get the last one in the boat so we quit after 3 hours. I kept the radar on the 16 mile range the whole time, watching for storm cells in the dark clouds to the north and watching for any distant flashes of the lightening type. We heard distant thunder on two occasions but the ominous cloud formations were to the north and were likely to bypass us. A couple of hours after we got home a powerful thunderstorm hit our area so we were glad to be home, with 5 nice Lakers no less.
31 Jul Due to an early morning appointment, I didn't get started until after 10a. Seas were a little lumpy with an 8mph north wind that slowly died off. I headed east to the sand hole, someplace that has been fairly steady over the years but not this year. I was hoping that would change. I set lines at 130' and headed east. After about half an hour, I noticed DNR net flags right across from my run so I had to pull lines for quite a while to get over the net. I finally picked up a Laker on the Johnson rod in 167' feet of water and another on a downrigger. It was really slow fishing as that's all I caught in 3 hours. I won't go back there for a while. BTW the nets were pulled while I was out there but will be there again for a day in early September.
28 Jul Today my guests were Tom Foster (fished with me last year) and Guy Cooksey. We had great conditions and decided to run a ways with thoughts that fishing might be better than locally. We just got one downrigger set when we instantly caught a small Laker. We ranged in depths from 120' to 180' but in the 4 hours, we caught 7 nice lean Lakers, a couple of which were nearly 6#, the rest fairly small. We also missed one at the net that went bye bye with the lure. We didn't have a hit in the last hour and they just seemed to shut down. Still, it was a great day on the water.
24 Jul Everything about the forecast for light winds and seas came true. With my guest Frank Lorsbach we headed north, to what I felt would be better fishing waters. We started at 118' and stayed under 145' for about 40 minutes, without any hits. We worked deeper and suddenly we were into the Lakers, with all three rods producing. Not all the fish were on the bottom as we caught a couple on the rigger running at 136 clicks and the stacker lines. On occasion we were in 180' of water. We ended with 6 lean Lakers, ranging from 2-3#. There was hardly a ripple on the water. We also ran a surface line and a Dipsy Diver. You guessed it - nothing on either of them. When we got our sixth Laker in the box, we sat back and had a couple pieces of my pickled fish before heading in. Super day!
23 Jul After a mixed up start, my Grandson Cooper Smith and his other Grandfather Rodney Smith and I headed out in rollers and a fair north wind. It wasn't difficult fishing except they didn't cooperate. Cooper was up in the cabin much of the time and the rollers got to him so we came in early. The boat pulling out at the launch when we returned came back because the young person got sick too. We had only one hit, and it was a real good one but it didn't stay on.
22 Jul At early dark-o-clock I was wondering if I could squeeze in a fishing trip before my 10a appointment. Had to try is so at 7a, I had three lines out. In about half an hour the Johnson rod started bouncing and I reeled in a nice 3# Lean from the bottom at 170' of water. It wasn't long after the downrigger when off, same depth, same size Laker. I continued my leg about half a mile, turned and retraced my track, picking up my last Laker near where I started and in plenty of time for my appointment. Great morning. Winds were from the NW averaging 9 mph and the seas were light with gentle 1' waves. I was the only boat to launch at the marina and I'm not sure why. I was lucky to see the Indian nets as they changed locations to almost exactly where I set lines, so I went a little beyond before starting.
19 Jul It's often scary to have a good forecast but that's what we had as guests Gary Olson and Collin Burklund (guests last year in July too) and I headed north early in fairly calm seas, with a 5 mph north wind. We set up in 118' and trolled quite a while before our first fish at 145'. As it turned out, we caught 9 Lakers and missed 4, a couple right behind the boat, most in the 145' - 165' range. Some were near the bottom but some on stackers and the one rigger set on 136 clicks and we didn't change, did quite well, as did the Johnson rod. We also ran a surface line which did its usually diddly squat zero. Most importantly, we had a good time with some great stories swapped. Talking to the DNR fish survey woman, we were not the only ones to do well today.
18 Jul Today my guest was Marv Ranta, a native Yooper here visiting. For various reasons, we got a late start, nearly noon. It was foggy but relatively calm. We didn't go far north before setting lines, radar running. Fortunately, I knew where the Indian nets were and we set up close to them. The winds were from the NNE around 10 mph, but backed down slowly. We finally hit a good sized Laker on the Johnson rod and lost it about 50' back of the boat. Our only other hit was a 2# Laker on a rigger. We finally bunched it after two hours and headed in through the fog that never lifted.
17 Jul Rain and thunderstorms rolled through the area early morning but a look at the radar indicated by 8a, it had all largely gone through so out I went. I didn't go very far as the slight risk of thunderstorms was still present and I dislike being the high point on the water when lightening is present. The lake level seemed unusually high when I launched, probably nearly 2' higher than the Spring of 2007. As I motored out of the marina, I could see the tremendous currents at the opening, swirling and buffeting my boat around. Mind you, there was no wind yesterday and none today. I thought of the TV weatherman who ironically commented this morning that riptides shouldn't be a problem. I think that's a mistake to say as the currents are probably caused more by the rotation of the earth, moon's gravitational pull, and uneven heating of the water by the sun, than by the wind. I oftentimes see these powerful currents even after several days of calm and I think there's a danger to swimmers who think they're present only on windy days. There, I've said my piece.
I set lines at 130', quickly going to 170' and for an hour, nothing. Then the Johnson rod bounced with a Laker and just as soon as I got it in the box, both downriggers rang, but I only caught the one. I made a circle and came back to the same exact spot, only to miss another one off the rigger. It was decision time - stay in that area or work back and hope to pick up another on the way in. I choose the latter and just as I approached where I started, I caught my third Laker at 171'. I know a few fishermen that won't go fishing after a thunderstorm as they won't bite. Yeah, right. All three Lakers were right around 3# each and nice leans.
16 Jul Today was a wonderful change from my last trip. My guest was Jim Humphrey, an experienced boater in his own right. We headed out at 7a, going north quite a way and setting lines at around 120'. We fished 120' to 150' for a while and didn't hit our first Laker until we hit 160', so we worked the 150' - 180' where we caught 7 Lakers, releasing one of the doubles at the end. The largest was a little over 3# but all were beautiful leans. Best of all was the calm water and sunny sky. The air was 62 degrees and surface water 57 degrees and it doesn't get a lot better.
14 Jul When will I learn? Running through my mind is if you listened to the NWS you'd never go fishing. The forecast, best I could pick, was 5-10 mph from the WNW. So out I went, already at 8 mph and going with the waves, a few breaking, it was pretty easy. I was being pushed by both current and wind and it was hard to slow down enough but I did. Gradually, the whitecaps grew as the wind picked up to a pretty steady 14 mph. After an hour of nothingness (no runs, hits, or errors), I decided to turn and head back. Part way through the turn in 2-3' seas, with an occasional 4' wave, I thought what am I doing out here so I pulled lines and headed in. I don't recall an unsettled July, or Spring for that matter, like this year. However, I'm confident it'll all work out. Last year was pretty bad fishing for a while and then like magic, things picked up great. Hope springs eternal.
10 Jul Most wind reports were for 5-10mph as my guest Ron Tervo and I launched in a brisk breeze. We headed north, but not too far as the forecast threw in the usual caveat of 40% chance of thunderstorms. Well, we had a strong wind from the SE, and it just slowly kept building. We finally hit one 4# Laker at 165' of water and turned to head into the waves and winds. By then the winds were averaging 16 mph, with gusts over 20 mph and 2-3' waves. Finally, we pulled the pin after 2 hours and ended with just the one Laker. July is usually a pretty settled month wind wise but this has been one windy season so far, and lousy fishing too. I even change my hat in hopes our luck would change.
7 Jul With winds out of the north averaging 13 mph, you just knew the waves would be 3'+, and the were. Still, with guest John Wells, we tried my latest run and managed only one 3# Laker in shy of 3 hours. Granted, it was a bit difficult to fish but that's not an excuse. In fact, we were able to fish going directly into the waves as the winds had dropped to 9 mph but apparently the waves didn't know that. Still it was fun as John and I relived a few of the goat rope fishing events we've had in the past.
4 Jul Well, finally back on the water after other priorities were met and windy conditions avoided. Today was another day I had to be back early so I headed out shortly before 6a, to be greeted by a beautiful sunrise on relatively calm waters. I went a little further than last before setting lines but still 140' of water. After half an hour the Johnson rod bent over and I felt the tug of a nice Laker as I reeled all that line in. Well, as I reached for the net, the Laker began thrashing wildly and it paid off, as away he or she swam, only about 2 feet out of reach. Shortly after that my downrigger rang and that came up empty - a miss. With lines set again, the downrigger hit as soon as it was down and that provided a fairly small Laker - off the stacker line. Then another shortly after setting it up, this time on the bottom lure. Then the Johnson rod hit and as I reeled that in, the other Johnson rod bounced. I released the Laker on the Johnson and kept the rigger Laker. Whew! All this took place within an hour. Several minutes before I saw a sailboat way off in the distance heading in my general direction but didn't think much about it. As I put lines away, I looked forward only to see a very large sailboat heading towards me on a collision course across my port bow. It was close. I thought WTF and immediately hit the steering hard to port and the sailboat passed within 50' of my bow, passing each other starboard to starboard. Without turning, I'd otherwise probably have been cut in half. There was no one on deck but I could see a person in the enclosed cabin. It was very obvious no one was on watch in the sailboat. I always yield to sailboats (under sail) but at the same time I was fishing with limited maneuverability. We were the only two boats within several miles and I was shocked that with a slight course correction, that sailboat could have easily passed by without endangering us both. That scared the hell out of me. Other than that, conditions were great with light seas, a south wind at 7 mph and sunny skies. And I easily got home in time with 3 smaller but lean Lakers.
22 Jun This morning I decided to head out a little earlier, given it was quite calm and there were no signs of the forecasted isolated thundershowers in the area. So at 6:30a, I headed east and dropped lines at my usual spot of 140' and again caught nothing for the next mile. As I turned at my favorite waypoint and the bottom dropped from 155' to 180', two big marks showed up on the graph. Eternally optimistic that one would hit, nothing happened so I grabbed the Johnson rod thinking that would catch something. Then two minutes later the rigger rang and I caught a nearly 5# Laker. I continued along the ridge and I again marked a couple of fish on the bottom and the rigger again jumped with a fish, but then so did the Johnson rod. I left the rigger alone and started reeling the Johnson, knowing it'd be a long haul as I had probably 600' of line out. I felt the pull of the Laker until about 2/3 of the way up, then I felt a few head shakes and that one was gone, so I just put the line down again and caught the Laker on the rigger. I just got the equipment squared away and was making the turn to head back when a bat flew onto my boat and was all over the place. I was jumping and dodging the bat with a fear it would bite me, as it seemed to be acting funny (not that I know how bats normally act.) Anyway, I finally swatted the bat away and out of the boat where he flew a ways before falling to the water. I did pick up my third Laker on the return leg, another nice lean. I got lucky on the last fish as I netted it, the split ring on the ball bearing snap swivel opened up and left the lure in the fish in the net. I think perhaps I use too small of snap swivels but I like small as it doesn't dampen the action of the lure as much as bigger ones. In the interim, I think I'll solder my remaining split rings. It started to rain just as I put my gear away so that couldn't have worked any better. Conditions were super, with no wind it was most pleasant. even with the air 52 degrees, and surface water 49 degrees. Today's catch brings my fish per hour rate up to a pathetic 1.02 fish per hour, so I've a lot of work to do to bring that figure up.
21 Jun I felt like the lunch bunch heading out at 8:30a as I could see several boats already fishing to the east, in beautifully calm seas. I touched base with a few on the marine radio and got reports that action was pretty slow. Shrewd fishermen always say stuff like that. I set up at 140' thinking one of these days they'll be at that level. After about an hour I went by one of my fishing cronies while he was catching a nice Laker. Not to be deterred, I kept plodding on, thinking of another fishing friend's comments that when the fish are hard to find, don't look back - just keep going, so I did. I varied depths from 150' to 185' and finally caught a nice lean at 170'. Then several minutes later the Johnson rod hit, very subtly as I had nearly all the line out in 185' of water. I thought my arm was going to fall off reeling in all that line with a fish on. In the interest of fuel economy I turned slowly, only to see the other rigger, which I was running suspended 20' - 40' from the bottom, start ringing the bell so I caught my third Laker in a little under 2 hours. I was glad to catch my limit fairly quickly, with much to do at home...well, maybe not that glad. What I was glad about was to be off the Laker when the NE winds started really kicking a couple hours later, with lots of whitecaps. Great day! Lucky timing!
20 Jun What a magnificent day - only problem was I was unable to fish in the morning (I can hear your unsympathetic sounds from here) so I finally launched a little after noon. Seas were dead flat and there was virtually no wind. I broke my pattern of fishing (well somewhat) and headed east instead of north. I set up in 140' and fished religiously (I think that means you pray for a fish), following the bottom on one of my favorite runs. Well, nothing happened for nearly an hour and a half. Just about the time I was considering turning to head back, I caught a small, but nice Laker on the Johnson rod. That was at 170' and dropping. As an aside, with the price of gas I like to finish fishing as close to port as possible. Therefore, I usually look at how many fish I have, what time I want to quit, weather, and so on and try to end up where I started. Wishful thinking some of the time but part of the fun. Anyway, on my return leg, I finally picked up another Laker at 175'. In the meantime, I marked several huge marks around 50' down, but nothing on the bottom, so I cranked up one rigger to 50', mostly for grins. As I got fairly close to where I started, the Johnson rod bent over and it felt like a good size fish. I could tell by the fight all the way up, especially on steel line that doesn't flex, it was a good size fish. That fish fought me hard all the way. Well, turns out it was a 5# Chinook salmon. What was a Chinook doing 160' down I don't know but I'm pretty lucky to get that one. Well folks, that's my salmon for the year so I won't have to worry about that the rest of the season.
19 Jun Finally a break in the wind and cold, well, at least wind. I headed out early in nearly flat seas just north of white rocks. I kicked in the autopilot but auto didn't work but I immediately knew what the problem was. A clevis pin holding the piston came out. Never liked that design. Anyway, raising the kicker, I could get at the piston so I fashioned a temporary pin and in 15 minutes I was back in business. Apparently it wasn't the business of catching fish. For the first 2 and a half hours there was nary a hit or miss. I was trying to conjure up a good excuse if I got skunked but couldn't think of a good one. I could troll where I wanted at whatever speed I wanted. However, the current was the strongest I've seen this year. Anyway, nearing the 3 hour mark and thinking about wrapping it up, I got a dink ( small Laker) on the suspended rigger and shortly after another Laker, slightly bigger on the other rigger. I know of two boats that did better than I did but that's the way it goes. Still and all, it was beautifully calm and a nice day to be on the water.
14 Jun I took an early morning ride to the launch as the trees where whipping around home at dark-o-clock. It wasn't bad at the launch so I picked up Reggie and out we went. It was beautifully calm. However we could only muster one Laker in the first hour and a half. We could see a wind line approaching from the south but we thought it wouldn't materialize too much so we decided to head several miles further north. We just got the first rod down when a Laker hit at 122'. Of course, we thought this was it, we're into 'um. Not true as we continued on hitless as the winds slowly built from the SW. For a while, winds were averaging 17 mph, pretty much pushing us as we turned on my route to the north. Finally, a hit on the Johnson, then a rigger. Twenty minutes later, we hit a double on the riggers but by then, the wind was averaging 20 mph, with one gust to 36 mph. We considered fishing into the wind and waves in an effort to get the last one but decided it wasn't worth it. However, it was still a nice day, a little lumpy water returning, but catching 5 Lakers isn't too bad.
10 Jun Last night it was kind of an iffy forecast but this morning, things looked fairly calm so I headed out, only to run into heavy fog a little way out The seas were fairly calm, just rolling, and the wind was flat. I set the Johnson rod up, then my rigger. As soon as the rigger touched bottom, bang, a nice Laker hit it. Of course, the net wasn't ready and a few other things had to be done before reeling it in. I sent the rigger back down and at about half way, the Johnson rod was bouncing so I reeled in that Laker. This was within the first 10 minutes. Two things come to mind here. First, I wore my gray hat instead of the blue one I wore yesterday, when I couldn't catch my third Laker. Fisherman reading this can appreciated how important it is to chose the right hat. Secondly, I mentally considered my second fish to be my third fish and would then continue to fish for my second fish. The reason for that is it's often really hard to catch the last fish so if that's already done, catching the second is easier. With the radar spinning in the fog I started wondering why I didn't turn and go back through that area so I did. Shortly after turning, my rigger rang with a nice Laker but it didn't stay on for long. Meantime, the temperature dropped to 41.7 degrees but it was nice because there was no wind. Shortly after missing that Laker, the suspended rigger hit and I had my second (final) Laker in the box. I worked the depths of 145' to 165', with the suspended rigger about 25' from the bottom. About an hour after getting home, the north winds picked up and my guess is it got lumpy out there. Lucky day!
9 Jun It was a mixed forecast, supposedly to clear up and decent winds. When I launched, the fog was so heavy I could barely see the marina opening and it was misting. Not to be deterred, I headed out around the breakwater in soup, with my radar on. Seas were confused and so it was very bouncy as I set up, but no white caps. I just got the Johnson rod down and was setting the first rigger when the Johnson rod bent way over. Well, I wasn't prepared for that, no net, things left undone and by the time I got ready, the fish was gone. It wasn't a half hour later I caught a Laker on the rigger in 167' of water and I thought action was going to be good. Well, I only got one Laker after that. It was a weird day with the air temperature at 48, slowly creeping to 59. The fog eventually lifted and mist stopped. Then, I could see the wind line and quickly winds were 25 mph. That didn't last long but quickly backed down to around 15mph, still a hassle I didn't need so I pulled my gear and went home. Couldn't get the third Laker.
8 Jun The radar showed a lot of green to the south but the air was calm and I thought, why not go for it. I launched at 6:30a, the 3rd boat to launch. I didn't want to go far with the threat of rain and thundershowers. After about half an hour of setting lines I hit a nice Laker at 145', on the upslope. I continued on my run, usually at depths of around 160' but where I turn, it's over 180' so during the turn, I lowered my rigger and while going down, bang, another nice Laker. On the return leg, the graph showed a very big fish mark about 6' up from the bottom so I ran my rigger up and down near the bottom (a little desperate wouldn't you say?) and while I'm doing that, the other rigger bell rang, and I know that lure was at least 20' above. It was a nice 5# Laker and 2' from the net, away it swam. It was on the stacker line and so it's a mystery if that was even the same fish I marked. I had one other quick hit on the suspended line but it was off immediately. I finished with my last Laker at 165'. Waters remained calm and it started to sprinkle just as I got home. Great morning.
4 Jun The forecast said SE winds so I didn't plan on fishing. Looked out the window and nothing was moving so I thought, what the heck and out I went at 9a. Seas were flat and winds averaged 3.4mph. I can handle that. Ran the same run (like a security blanket I guess) but it was calm and nice. My hands got a little cold and I looked at the thermometer, which showed the air temperature at 41.9 degrees. Hellllllllooo! It's the 4th of June. Ok, it went up to a heat wave of 48 shortly afterwards. I plied the waters for 2 hours before the first hit. Ironically, I marked one of the first fish near the bottom at 165" of water, only to have a fish hit the "no-brainer rigger" which set at 136 clicks (rigger counter). Meantime, I'm working the downrigger and Johnson rod to follow the bottom. Then, another Laker hit the no-brainer" rigger so I caught and boxed that one. That was it in 3 hours. Very slow indeed.
3 Jun I really didn't plan to go as the forecast was for NE winds, not all that strong, but that's usually a rough direction. Obviously, I went and was the only boat to launch. The air was a cold 43.5 degrees and surface water 39.5 degrees with a NNW wind at 8 mph, making me glad I dressed warmly. Slowly with wind died and it was near calm and very comfortable. I was holding a perfect course at the perfect depth at the perfect speed with the perfect lures. Unfortunately, the Lakers didn't know or appreciate that so for nearly 2 hours, none were interested in what I had to offer. Then I dropped off a 145' ledge to 162' and bang, a Laker hit, followed by a bell ringer on the other riggers. I was reaching for the net when the first Laker got off so I started reeling the second Laker when it gave a good tug and got off. Gee! I reset the second rigger first (I was running it about 30 off the bottom) and swung back to where I missed those two (I marked the spot with the GPS) and got another bell ringer on the suspended rigger and managed to lose that one. Finally I made a long run, turned with plans to go through the action spot when just minutes before quitting, I caught a 4# Laker on the stacker line. The Lake was still calm on my run in and my vehicle the only one at the launch. Go figure.
2 Jun Today, with my guest was Mike Paluda, we headed out in near calm seas, in denial of the forecast for northerly winds of 10 - 15 mph. We set lines and before long and a double, one on the Johnson, one on the rigger. Unfortunately, the Johnson Laker got off, but was a pretty good sized Laker. Buy the time we neared the northern leg of our run, winds on the anemometer were kissing 20 mph and waves had built to 3'. We turned and fished part way back but it was too hard to hold course and speed so we wisely quit after about an hour and a half.
1 Jun Admittedly, I was fooled by the wind in the trees during the night and when I awoke. Having been fooled so many times before, I recalled (and double checked in the morning) that generally the forecast was good so I headed out in near-calm seas. Same ole run - hey, it worked the last few trips! It was beautiful on the water and after about 45 minutes, the bottom came up from 165' to around 145' and the Johnson rod bent with a Laker. I could see a couple of miles to the NW a change in the water indicated some wind was enroute. However, I didn't see any white so that was good. After about 30 minutes, the wind picked up from near calm to around 10 mph, very manageable, and it later slowly backed down. It was a mild cold front rolling in and the temperature quickly dropped from 52 degrees to 46. I slowly picked up a couple of Lakers on the stacker lines, the last was in the box and once again, before I could get the last rigger up, I caught another Laker. I lifted it up without netting, and released it. It was a fairly small Laker and didn't look boated but it had trouble diving down. As I motored one, I think it shed the bladder air and was fine. I hope so. That's why I don't think much of catch and release of Lakers. Enough serious talk. I was a beautiful day on the water. As I approached the launch with my layered-clothing look, it was a lot warmer on land.
29 May Another beautiful day, a little warmer, sunny, and calm. Guest Josh and I set lines same as yesterday and pretty much stuck to the 160' depths. Josh hit the first Laker, his rigger set on 142 clicks, fairly close to the bottom but the Laker his the stacker line. I worked my side to follow the bottom. The Johnson rod hit and at the same time, Josh's rigger bell rang - a double. We ended with 5 Lakers in 3 hours, couldn't get the 6th.
28 May Today my guests were Greg Gustafson and his son Josh. Greg last fished with me in 1996 but Josh was out two years ago. We headed out in crisp but calm air, heading north. Same run as my last trip. The sun felt good. Our first Laker came off the downrigger that wasn't running real close to the bottom. The next two were on the Johnson rod, and our fourth and final was on my downrigger. All the Lakers were nice leans, two over 5#. It took 3 hours but the time flew as we had some good reminiscing and story telling between fish. We could see the Indians setting nets a little south of White Rocks and then heading up north a couple of miles. The DNR was also setting up two nets, but out in the sand hole where they'll remain until Friday.
23 May Finally a decent day to hit the Big Pond. After doing a few early morning chores (I didn't mind waiting for it to warm as it was still 38 degrees early morning), I launched around 8:30a and headed north. I set up in 120' but quickly went to 170' and back to 150' The Johnson rod finally went into action and I reeled in a nice 7# lean Laker that fought me all the way. Before long, a Laker hit my downrigger at 157' and that too was a nice Laker. I got the Johnson rod down again and caught another nice Laker. With 3 nice Lakers in the box I was ready to head home when before I could get the downriggers up, I caught another Laker which I released. What a turnaround in action after the prior trips, doing the same thing, were so unproductive. All the fish were near the bottom, with the stackers and one rigger I leave up a ways, not doing anything. So in 45 minutes, I got a 7#, and two 5# Lakers, now destined for supper. Conditions were wonderful, calm and sunny and when you're catching fish, temperature usually isn't a big factor.
15 May Should have gone walleye fishing. We left the launch at 6a and headed east, plying waters from 10' to 190' and got one Laker at 182' deep, and it took over 4 hours to do that. Reggie and I worked at it, even changing lures several times. We really had no excuses other than we didn't know where the Lakers were. The water was nearly calm, but the air remained crisp. We marked almost nothing. On our return, we noted 2 long Indian nets, apparently illegally placed in non-treaty waters. I recorded their locations on my GPS and gave the coordinates to the DNR. Note that on 30 Apr when I contacted the DNR, then tribal officials that nets were still in roughly the same location.
5 May The cold weather just hangs in there. Reggie and I headed north in a pretty steady 10mph north wind and 2-3' seas, a little bouncier than expected. We pretty much plied the 160' depths and finally caught a 3# Laker at 170'. That was it for 2 hours and we finally bunched it. The air stayed at 36 degrees and surface water at 37 degrees. One of these days we're going to find those Lakers.
30 Apr It was a touch nippy, 37 degrees to be exact, when Reggie and I left the launch to head east, still in search of Lakers. Enroute, we saw an Indian net set in .6 of a mile into non-treaty waters, where it doesn't belong. We contacted the DNR who told us to call the Tribe in Wisconsin, which we did. The water was great for traveling and that we did. We tried from 140' to 180' with nary a hit. We then tried 70' for quite a while, working into 40' and still nothing. After nearly 4 hours, we pulled our gear and wrote off the day as a skunk. All was not lost as it was sunny day and quite comfortable, until the NE wind came up. Surface water was 39 degrees and the air temperature stayed steady at 37.
23 Apr Weather forecasts were pretty good, despite waking to 38 degree temperatures. My guest today was Reggie Gebo, a man of many lures (and I tell him that). We headed north in a slight chop. It was too nice not to run a few miles to a successful area last fall (like it's still going to be good fishing there?). I first set the Johnson rod and then my rigger and it wasn't a minute before the downrigger bell rang and you could tell it was a nice Laker. Well, that nice Laker got to the net and decided to go the other way. However, we then had high hopes it was going to be a good day fishing. Well it was - for enjoying the beautiful, calm water and sunshine. We went two hours with nary a hit, then a double at 153'. We turned, went back through that area and nothing. We decided to fish back to where the first one got off and within a 100' of my GPS mark I had placed there, we got a nice 3# Laker. What's the message there? In short, we caught 3 Lakers, all a little over 3#, missed two others, one of which Reggie swears what substantial, and best of all, enjoyed a calm and relaxing 4 hours fishing.
22 Apr 08 With guest Gary Gibbs, we headed out at 8a into a 10mph SE wind in hazy conditions. It was a good test for the radar which checked out fine but really wasn't needed. The radar did show an Indian net flag due east, the other end was nearly impossible to see, they were milk jugs, that flag laying flat on the water. It took a few minutes longer to set up than usual but it wasn't long before we had 5 lures near the bottom in 145' of water. We mostly stayed in roughly 155' but with nothing happening, we ventured out to 180' where still more nothing happened. It was a little chilly with 46 degree air in a wind out of the SE that slowly clocked around to the SW. The surface water was 36 degrees. In a little over 3 hours we caught one Laker, a nice 3.5# Lean. We probably marked only 3 fish the whole time. Well, at least we didn't get skunked and everything worked fine. And now we know where not to go on the next trip. I'm always learning something.
21 Apr 08 Well, it took a while but I'm back. It was a lousy Spring, with one snow storm after another, and it never seemed to warm up. A week ago I decided to remove the outdrive, check the alignment, and replace the water pump impeller, all as a part of routine and preventative maintenance. Doing that job isn't pleasant, especially when the temperature is under 40 degrees so I didn't rush it. Fired both engines right away and took a test spin in the harbor, no fishing.
13 Mar 08 Thanks for stopping by but I don't think I'll have any fishing to report for a while as I look out the window and see all the snow we've got. And the Big Pond has a lot of ice cover too, the most in several years. I'm just getting my web site set up for the coming year. Good news it the Lake level should be up considerably from last year's record low.
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