"Cooler By The Lake"
2009 Lake Superior Fishing Log
Fishing Synopsis for 2009
I thought the spring and early summer weather and fishing last year were were bad but this year made last year look good. It stunk both ways this time, but worse. Early on I was lucky some days to catch one or two Lakers in several hours, when I could get out. I did a lot of grumbling! Fishermen are
allowed expected to do that. Sometimes it's necessary. Well, the whining paid off as mid July the action picked up remarkably from the 1 fish per hour to end the season with a record 1.93 fish per hour of trolling (see graph below). Someone must have turned on the fish switch. The weather gradually improved mid July and there was stretch of a several weeks where it the water was flat and fishable nearly every day. My average trolling time was 2.5 hours. I had 12 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 2010. 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.
Fish per hour table:
Fishing summary for 2009
Trolling Hours (Lake Trout only)
201, (161 last year)
|Lake Trout Caught (not all kept)||384,266 last year|
81, (69 last year)
Fish per hour
1.93 (record), 1.82 last year
Total fish caught
388 (includes released fish) 269 last year
Skunks trips during year
5 (4 last year) Only counts fishing for Laker trips
Average weight of Lake Trout
3.1 lbs. (3.4 lbs. last year)
Number of Steelhead
Number of Chinook
Fish per hour rates 1984 through 2009 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, 1.93
|Single-line doubles (two fish on one line)||12 (8 in 2008)|
30 Oct It's a sad day here as I've decided to put the boat away for the season. I'll be wearing a black arm band in mourning for a while. I had some small motor problems (defective thermostat) which should be fixed by next week but then the weather has been terrible since the 14th anyway and doesn't look good for the next several days. Thanks for looking in and your nice notes. I'll be summarizing my fishing tales in the next few weeks and will publish it here.
14 Oct It was brrrrrer than yesterday. It was 30º when Frank and I left the launch at 8:30a, to 10 mph winds from the SW, not north as predicted. But the winds died off as we fished in near calm waters. We worked the 70-80' level for quite a while but managed only 3 Lakers so we fished over to deeper waters. There at 165' we picked up a couple more. One was on a single line double (two Lakers on one line) where we had one in the net and the considerably bigger Laker on the stacker line promptly swam over to the other downrigger line, tangled into it and swam away in 3.5 seconds. We also had 3 other nice hits that didn't stick. We decided to quit at 1p if we didn't get our last fish. At 12:56 we caught our last Laker. Late morning the winds picked up and clocked around from the east just as we quit.
12 Oct Brrrrrr! It's been huffing and puffing for days and finally, with a forecast for winds around 5 mph from the south, Frank Lorsbach and I launched around 8:30a. I was bound and determined to head north to our more productive fishing grounds a few weeks back. Well, the winds and waves were not exactly as predicted but we plodded on. We set lines at 120' in 1-2' waves with an average 16 mph wind from the SW. Not the easiest to handle but we persevered. We marked a few fish but no hits. Frank suggested we get closer to shore with less waves and maybe even a little less wind. I had a route on my GPS for around 75' that was fairly productive in prior years that wasn't far away so trolling there we went, bouncing in the waves. Near the first waypoint of my route we hit a nice Laker in 80' on the Johnson rod. Slowly we picked up 5 Lakers, all around 4# and the largest 6#. Of course we missed a couple but still, I feel we did well considering the conditions, 5 Lakers in 3 hours. The air was 35º and winds diminished to around 8 mph for a while then kicked just before we headed in. The surface water was 52º. BTW we were the only boat out today. It was snowing lightly when we arrived at the ramp. I'm not sure what that's telling me. I should know I suppose!
8 Oct It was a decent forecast so my guest Frank Herveat and I turned the Island corner to see it wavier than expected and an ominous look of a front rolling in. Small craft warnings were posted but were to come down in the afternoon. As both of us are experienced boaters, we came down on the side of caution and went back to fish the harbor for 2 hours. This resulted in one small Laker, not like the days of old, now that the spawning grounds have been decimated, probably from years of Fall netting the spawning Lake Trout. As it turned out the winds were steady at 11 mph and we probably could have gone where we wanted to but we don't look back on that as a bad decision. Safety first.
6 Oct The winds were forecasted to be around 3-4 mph from the south - that's good. The radar showed a rain cell moving out of the area and various forecasts promised no more rain until noon. So, out I went, setting the Johnson rod out at 8a and within a few minutes, I had a Laker on. I got that rod out again and then got both riggers set up. An hour later I got the second Laker on the Johnson rod. Just like a rerun of the last trip, I turned and fished it in and didn't get another hit. I chose not to take a chance on the rain starting earlier than predicted so I bunched it after 2 hours and the rain started just as I got the boat put away. Oh, the wind was a steady 8 mph with 1-2' waves. The air was 48 degrees and the surface water was 55 degrees.
1 Oct Most weather forecasts showed today with calm winds, our first break in several days, before the wind and rain picks up again tomorrow for the next several days. So Frank Lorsbach and I headed out, turned the corner on the breakwater, only to find 3' waves and confused seas (waves coming from a couple of directions), and winds from the NE at 10 mph. Well we decided to go for it, even though it was hard to stand up (but not dangerous). We managed only 2 Lakers in 2 hours, one being 6#, the other 3#. Both were off the riggers around 165'. The Johnson rod had a hard hit that lasted 10 seconds and got off. We marked almost no fish. The air temperature was 46 degrees and the surface water was 58 degrees.
22 Sep It's kind of scary to get such nice consecutive days in September but we were given another one today. However, that didn't mean the fish were participating in our good weather. The short version is Frank Lorsbach and I slowly caught 5 Lakers in 2.5 hours and although they were not very big, they were nice leans. The best part was the unusually calm waters and comfortable temperatures for late September. We both had chores awaiting us so we bunched it with 5, confident we could have gotten da limit with a little more time.
21 Sep The radar showed rain slowly moving out of the area so Frank Lorsbach and I postponed our 8a launch to 10a. It was just misting with a steady 8 mph wind from the NW. It wasn't long before we had a double, but mine didn't stick and Frank reeled in a nice 6# Laker. The heavy lifting was between the Johnson rod and Frank's rigger, as I didn't carry my weight catchin' today. We had 5 Lakers in the box when Frank's rigger bell really rang. It took a while but he reeled in two 4.5# Lakers on one line, his first single line double. Of course, we only needed one more and so, had to release one. Great action in a little over 2 hours, working the 160-180' level.
20 Sep At dark-o-clock I could hear the wind outside and the various wind stations reported fairly windy conditions, but the forecast wasn't all that bad. Full speed ahead as my guest Jason Stanczyk and I launched to fish the 160-180'. Well, conditions were wonderful with light winds and seas. We started in about half an hours with a double, both nice Lakers around 3# each. Slowly we caught two more on the riggers. Then we had a nice Laker on a stacker line and I swear I had the net under it when the hook pulled out but I ran out of net handle. So much for number five. At almost exactly the 2-hour mark we got another double and landed both. Winds had picked up to around 10 mph from the south and seas were still only around 1-2', more like 1'. Wonderful day!
19 Sep I didn't go very far today before setting lines to fish the 160-180' feet of water (FOW). The Johnson rod must have had the day off as my starboard rigger caught all three Lakers, two on the bottom lure, one on the stacker. However, the other rigger I ran suspended about 25' from the bottom I think had fish on two times that were just quick hit and miss. Winds averaged 8 mph from the south and the seas were around 1' and it was a beautiful sunny day.
15 Sep It pays to search (sometimes) for a favorable forecast. The TV station predicted a windy day (no time frame when this was to happen) with attendant rip tide warnings. Most other sites indicated better conditions, at least early in the day. So it was full speed ahead. Frank Lorsbach and I launched to calm waters and little wind. We passed an eagle sitting on White Rocks. Yesterday there were two eagles sitting there. Gentle rollers were coming in but conditions couldn't have been much better. We fished mostly the 165' depths and in a little over 2 hours, picked up 5 Lakers. We'd have had 6 except I tried a one hand netting job and well, netting is my specialty and I thought the Laker was in the net, but it wasn't. We had time constraints so we couldn't pursue the last one. Wonderful day on the water again. Mid afternoon, it ripped from the NE with big waves, just like it did yesterday afternoon. How lucky can we get eh?
14 Sep This morning fishing conditions were nicer than predicted as Scott Reilly and I set lines around 8a. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod produced a small Laker, which we released. My rigger then produced a nice Laker and the Johnson was next, with a pretty good pull on it. Scott got it to within 40' and off it went, the only fish we lost today. With 3 Lakers in the box, we turned hoping to get 3 more on the way back. Well, we got two before long, and both were on the same rod, a single line double. The last one came off my rigger. Just as we got the Laker in the box, the Johnson rod hit so that one, probably the biggest of the day, we released. Good action for under 2 hours, and beautiful conditions too. Fun trip. The biggest was under 4# and most came from around 170' of water.
13 Sep The forecast for light northerly winds and sunny skies was a little different from reality. Launching at 9a in heavy fog, the wind was from the NNE at around 10mph, but slowly died off. With the radar spinning, I set lines in 150' of water, after not traveling too far. It wasn't long before my downrigger produced a small Laker. As I reeled it in, the other downrigger, which I set probably 25' from the bottom, rang several times, the Laker not releasing. I got that one about half way up as the strain was evident, then poof, gone. Twenty minutes later, the same downrigger rang and another nice Laker was on...then off. You can quote me as saying #$*% or words to that effect. Then a second Laker on my rigger. I then turned to fish back and about 45 minutes had passed when my rigger just move a little. I cranked the Johnson rod up so it wouldn't bottom when I reeled in the rigger Laker and the other rigger was suspended so not a concern. Whilst reeling in the Laker, the Johnson had a hit, and a minute later, the other rigger. A triple when I needed one more. Gee! So I released two of the Lakers, both a little under 3# each. Pretty good action for under 2 hours but I didn't mind heading is as the fog now included a mist but still wasn't a problem, except for visibility.
12 Sep The SSFA fishing tournament was on today and there was no shortage of boats as my guest Frank Lorsbach and I set out on a beautiful morning. I haven't participated in the tournament in several years, but I remember invariably when we did, the weather was terrible with high winds and rain. I was glad for them today. We started in 130' of water and before long, we missed a nice Laker off the rigger. Half an hour later, missed another right behind the boat. Other than those, the next hour there was nothing and we marked only a few fish. Slowly we caught our six Lakers, ranging to 170'. Our last two came about 10 minutes before we said we were quitting. Pretty slow going as it took over three and a half hours but conditions were near perfect.
11 Sep Today was somewhat unusual in that I wanted to fish a couple of humps by jigging. The one I found instantly and it showed what appeared to be lots of fish. I put my kicker in reverse and it pretty much held me in position against the 5mph breeze. Perfect as conditions were, my graph didn't tell me the fish had lockjaw and couldn't/wouldn't bite. So I move on to the next spot. That ate up considerable time because my waypoint was converted from an old Loran C coordinate, and they're invariably considerably different from the accurate GPS. I finally found the spot but with much the same results - zip. I ended up a short distance from an ole run so I just used the kicker at full power to get there whilst I rigged all my tackle in readiness. Oh, again conditions were great ending with a sout (sic) wind at 9 mph and seas under 1'.
Down went the Johnson rod at 200', knowing the bottom would come up, and it did. I put both downriggers down, leaving the port side at 111 clicks on the counter (please don't ask why I arbitrarily choose that number) There were not many fish marks but finally one at 165' piqued my interested and I lowered my downrigger a little and wham, a hit. Then the Johnson rod bent back. Then the suspended rigger bell rang. A triple and I'm alone. The solution was easy. I missed the one on my rigger and got the one on the Johnson almost to the boat before it got off so that took care of two of the three. But the port rigger produced a nice 3# Laker. I later managed to miss 3 more Lakers and was pulling up the port rigger to quit when I got my second Laker on my rigger. If Lakers had fingers or clothing, I'd hook them every time. All being said, it was fun to try something different and believe it or not, I'll try again. In the meantime, back to basics.
10 Sep More of this wonderful weather. Yesterday was wonderful too, except a guy has to do some things around the house. Frank Lorsbach and I set lines at 8:30a and struggled to get our 6 Lakers, the first hour and a half being hitless. All were modest in size, and the last a dink (small Laker) we kept so we could head in. Seas were near calm so we really didn't mind the slow fishing. We marked very few compared to prior days. Depths ranged from 130' to 170', more at the latter depths.
8 Sep The string of great weather continued with my guests Joseph Gerbyshak and Tyler Ring launching around 8a. After setting lines in around 120', it was probably half an hour before the Johnson rod bounced, but that only lasted 10 seconds. The next hour was pretty slow but then the port rigger really rang the bell and produced a nice Laker, then the Johnson rod with a nice 7# Laker. There was a little bemoaning how much work it was to real in all that line with a big fish on but no hesitation to do it again. In short, we ended with 5 nice Lakers, averaging 5.5# and they were all nice leans. Depths ranged from 120' to 180' but not many marks as in the past. Click picture to enlarge.
7 Sep And the beat goes on. Another beautiful day with calm seas. My guest Frank Lorsbach and I set lines at 8:30a and pretty much stuck to the 130' level, but hitting 150' for a short time. Action was slow and we went nearly an hour before our first hit...and miss. We marked very few fish during that time, but did later. Slowly we picked up a Laker here and there. We ran a surface line and after a while, wham, a salmon came flying out of the water. We got it to within 5' of the net and we then parted company as it threw the hook. We were ready to cry, but that's fishing. Then we had a Laker on steroids that went nuts. It went across lines and back again, fighting and thrashing and finally we were able to get the net under it. I don't recall any like that in a long time. Frank said that alone made the trip worthwhile and I agreed. With 5 Lakers in the box, we hit our final Laker and were just netting it when the Johnson bent over. Another double that we had to release. What are the odds? So in a little under 3 hours, we caught 7 Lakers, missed 5 fish, maybe 6 and had a great time on the water. These wonderful fishing conditions are unusual for September so they're a real treat and as you may have noticed, capitalized upon at every opportunity.
6 Sep Still another nice day. Wonderful! My guest today was Tom LaPointe, who usually fishes with me a couple time a year. He's some health issues but I thought getting him out on the Lake would be good. Enroute, he informed me he didn't get a fishing license this year. As a result, since we could only catch 3 Lakers, I'd try a much closer spot that I haven't fished in several weeks. The auxiliary motor was giving me fits as it would race and then idle. The problem eventually goes away after about 10 minutes. I think it's a choke issue. I set the three lines and before long, the Johnson rod was thumping. Then, my rigger and once that Laker was in box, I turned to fish back and the other rigger rang. Whilst getting that one in, sure enough the Johnson caught another Laker, which I had to release. Not bad action for 45 minutes. All were under 3# and the depths were 160' for the first two and 145' for the last two. Tom said several times how good it was to get out of the house and on the Lake. That made me feel good too.
5 Sep Another magnificent day of calm waters and perfect temperatures. It got a little crowded with other boats as my friend Frank Lorsbach and I set up to ply the 130' range. The second Laker we released as too small but slowly we picked up a couple bigger ones. The Johnson rod worked well as did Frank's rigger. Mine pretty much had the day off. Frank was quite proud of himself as he took off one of my lures and picked a shinier one and caught the two biggest Lakers on it. Because the water was so nice, I ran the double planner board with a surface lure and another with a 6oz weight that was probably running around 40'. We caught a big zero on them. The stacker lines finally worked after producing nothing the past few trips. When we caught what we thought was our last fish, sure enough we got a double so we released one. After two hours, we had caught 9 Lakers, releasing 3 and missing none. A rather good day eh?
4 Sep It's kind of scary how nice the water has been this week. The Big Pond was flat as a pancake as my guest John Peterson and I headed out. We were delayed in launching by a boater that said it would only take a minute to launch his boat first. What a disaster to watch getting the boat off the trailer. Then he left the plug out so his boat was rapidly filling with water and he had to put it on the trailer and pull it out. His minute turned into ten but he got it out ok. John and I set lines around 8:30a but didn't do much for about half an hour, also marking very few in the 130' range. Then the pace quickened and the Johnson rod really slammed and pulled line out, quite unusual and John fought the Laker until it was about 50' back and then it was bye bye. The downriggers kicked in and before long we had 5 nice Lakers (largest 6#). The next one was pretty small so we released it. The last one came before very long, giving us our limit, all in a little under 2 hours. The Lake was beautiful and calm. Click on the picture to enlarge, hit back to return here.
3 Sep The weather couldn't have been much nicer as neighbor Reggie Gebo and I headed out. There was a light chop with the SW10 but that slowly calmed off. We pretty much stuck to the 130' depths and the Johnson rod was the workhorse today, with 3 Lakers coming off of it and missing 3 that were nearly in. The stackers didn't work at all today but we otherwise had steady action. We had 5 in the box and were locking for the last one when I had a hit on my rigger. As I commented, let's hope we don't get a double, the Johnson rod bounced and then Reggie's rigger. A triple and we only needed one more. Of course we release two of them, both in good shape as they swam away. So in 2 hours and 15 minutes, we caught 8 Lakers, and missed 4. Sizes ranged to an average of 3# with the largest 4#. For what it's worth, the surface water was 60 degrees, a decrease of about 3 degrees over a week ago.
1 Sep Another beautiful day with clear skies and a favorable wind prediction. With my brother Ed and neighbor Bob Schmeltzer, we set lines at 120' and the action was really slow. An acquaintance was there before we got there and he had several Lakers but the bite must have halted as both he and we struggled after we arrived. Sound familiar? We discussed who was to reel in the first fish and Ed said that he couldn't net because he netted a fish for me about 8 years ago and missed it and he's not allowed to net anymore. I don't remember that but it's plausible and we all laughed. The winds were kicking a bit when we started but slowly died off. All but one Laker came off the bottom lures on the riggers, the last on the Johnson rod. We finally bunched it after 3.5 hours but had a smooth ride in. The biggest two were over 4# and the rest, well, around 3#ish. BTW, a lot of worldly problems were solved today between those two whilst I managed most of the gear.
31 Aug Despite a great forecast of near-calm seas, it was a little bouncy when my friend Frank Lorsbach and I headed out. Despite the success of my last trip, I thought it was time to try a route, albeit not far from the last time, but roughly the same depth. We set lines at 8:30a in 118' and generally stayed between 120 and 145', but went as deep as 170' for a short time. Fish marks and action were slow. I saw a a fishing acquaintance and he is very good at catching fish but didn't seem to be doing much better than us. Our first Laker on was on the Johnson, a small Laker which we released, déjà vu of two trips ago. We gradually picked up 5 Lakers, all nice leans but none of size. We decided to fish back towards the launch, surely to pick up our last Laker. Been there, not done that! So we had really our limit but released one, after 2.5 hours but why not troll back for the last one? Well, after an hour of marking nothing and catching nothing in depths to 80', it was time to defecate or perambulate, s#%t or get off the pot. I suggested diverting to a ole fishing spot, only half a mile off course so we headed that way. Once there, the bottom dropped off and before long, a rigger slammed back and Frank was feeling the line going out. I slowed the motor down and moved the Johnson rod over to minimize catching into it. Well, it kind of caught the steel line but surprisingly, we got it off. In short, it was a 13# Laker and a great way to finish the day. Seas slowly died after we started and it was a great day on the water. We didn't mind it took a little over 3 hours to get our limit. I'll put a picture of Frank and his fish here later.
27 Aug Not the best week of weather but finally, a relatively calm day with a light sout (sic) wind as my guest Jason Stanczyk and I set lines in 120' of water around 9:15a. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod started bouncing and I quickly handed that to Jason as my rigger was bouncing too. We boxed the double and reset lines and the action continued, the stacker lines working well, but the Johnson rod too. With 5 in the box, Jason was reeling a nice Laker off my rigger when I commented, this is usually when we get a double as we need only one more. Sure enough, his rigger rang the bell. Turns out his side was a backup Laker as the one on my side got off about 10' from the net and we boxed the one on his rigger. All this happened in an hour and 15 minutes. We also missed 3 others that we never saw. We ranged in depths from 105' to 145', averaging 130'. We marked lots too. This was Jason's 1st time on Lake Superior even though he's a dedicated fisherman. Here's Jason holding a couple Lakers. Click to enlarge, back to return here.
19 Aug It was 53 degrees at dark-o-clock but the forecast was good for wind, temperatures, and water. However, we decided on a later start as my guest Frank Lorsbach and I set lines at 130', around 9:30a. Today we were going to try fishing a little shallower, which might be interpreted as a little slower. However, it wasn't long before we missed a Laker, then caught a small one on the Johnson rod. By unanimous vote, we released our first fish. Risky! We plied the 125' - 150' range and slowly picked up some nice Lakers. Only one was on a stacker. After we caught a Laker on the Johnson rod, I was trying to thread it between the downriggers when i could feel it hanging up or something. Well, out of the water came a nice Chinook, right behind the boat. Well Frank reeled it in and we boxed it. This is almost identical to 10 August, which Frank witnessed. Fun! We ended catching 8 fish, releasing one and catching a 2# Chinook. Mind you for the millionth time we had a light line on the surface and nothing happened. Our biggest fish was an 8# Laker, and second a 5# Laker. The rest were around 3#. Conditions could not have been better with 69 degree air in a wind that averaged 8 mph and clocked slowly around from SW to N to E but the seas behaved just great. For what it's worth, the surface water was 64 degrees. Great day and not too shoddy for 2.5 hours of "work".
17 Aug I couldn't help but like the forecast for today, well at least the forecast I choose which was for 6 mph winds from the SW, which came true. One forecast was for 6-16 mph which is pretty vague. Six mph is nice, 16 mph is not. Anyway, I decided not to go far today and set lines in 150' FOW. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod was bouncing but that didn't last but a minute before getting off. Ten minutes later it bounced again and this time I was able to box the small lean Laker. Nearing the end of my run after a hour, my starboard rigger bell rang, then the port rigger bounced, then the Johnson rod - a triple. I got both Lakers from the downriggers but the Johnson rod Laker got off, which worked perfectly fine by me. Most hits were in the 170' range, none on the stackers. The port rigger I ran about 20' off the bottom.
15 Aug Today was going to be a warm one, starting with 73 degrees (on land) and light winds. My friend Scott Reilly and I set lines at 9:30a in 120' of water but didn't have any action for nearly half an hour, when we hit the 170' marker. The Johnson rod did its thing as did both riggers. With 5 fish in the box, guess what - a double so we kept one in the water until we could choose the bigger of the two and release one. None of the Lakers were very big but all nice leans. The seas were great with the wind becoming near calm as we headed in after an hour and 45 minutes.
13 Aug My guest today was Brandon Coron (13), who has fished with me in prior years. The wind prediction was for 6 mph but really was SW12 mph and 1-2' seas. Well, we set lines at 8:30a and the wind and waves slowly died off. Initially action was slow and finally we had a good hit on the port downrigger, only to lose it 15' from the net, the Laker probably being in the 5-6# range. We managed a couple more as we plied the depths up to 190'. With 3 Lakers in the box, we turned on our run and after about half an hour of nice fish marks on the graph but no hits, we had bells ringing on both riggers. Brandon reeled in two Lakers on one line and then reeled in the Laker on the other rigger. He did a great job and in a little under 2 hours, we were on our way back with our limit on nice seas.
12 Aug It's only fair to mention that yesterday, we launched with a forecast of NW winds of 6 mph. Reality hit us when we turned the corner of black rocks and were faced with 17 mph winds and 2-3' waves. That was just too much so we bunched it and rescheduled for today. Oh, but for some real-time wind data! My guests both days were Nate, his sons Ben (16), and Mike (14) Pigorsch and their friend Tarek Chamoun (16). Conditions were super as we launched shortly after 8a. We set lines at 118' and slowly dropped in depth. The first hit produced a small Laker. After resetting, we hit a triple, but got only one Laker so we were now batting 500. Misses were hopefully out of our way. We eventually picked up 14 Lakers, mostly from150 -180', with only one from a stacker line. Strange! All in all, it was a beautiful day on the Big Pond and lots of fun. We had two Chinese fire drills (triples), and a few minor goat ropes but we came through it all. We toyed with getting our limit of 15 but the consensus was to head in, which we did. Next year, our mission will be da limit, unless da limit changes to 5 Lakers each as I hear might happen. That I must admit, I don't understand. Here's the crew. Click to expand, back key to return here.
10 Aug My guests today were longtime friends, Frank and Ted Lorsbach. Being a special day, I thought we should head somewhere other than my last several runs, which were good but seemed to be slowing down. There were 4 other boats in the area and I knew them all. I gave my spiel about how well we did last year and they shouldn't expect that much action again. We set 2 lines at 1030 and before setting the third, the rigger hit and from then on, the action was steady. The Johnson rod worked overtime to the point where Ted would tell his Dad it was his turn to reel in the fish and conversely. Two of the more interesting events were when I was just putting the Johnson rod out after catching a Laker, it wasn't back 20' when the rod jumped in my hands. My first thoughts were I was tangled, until a Coho that hit it went wild and kept leaping out of the air, right behind the boat. On steel lines, Cohos are a handful and oh so much fun. With 8 fish in the box, the Johnson again came through and I had kept my downrigger at 82 clicks (I was putting it down when the Johnson hit) in 180' of water. Suddenly, my rigger went off and we boxed the biggest Laker of the day, 5.5#, most being 2#+. Go figure! So that was our 10th fish and time to quit. Good work in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Conditions could not be better with calm winds and seas and the company, even better. So much for my warning about not expecting a lot of action like last year. Now I wonder what to say next year.
9 Aug A big thunderstorm rolled through during the night but the radar looked good to the west so out to the launch I went. My luck some others arrived just before me with a nice boat. However, they knew what they were doing and were quickly in. I just watched. They then backed the boat down the launch to permit me to launch while they rigged their gear. That was a very courteous thing to do and I told them that. I was going going out the marina entrance and they were still setting up. I didn't know them but their boat said Stratus on the side. I set lines at 8:30a. I was watching the starboard rigger when it suddenly jerked and the bell started ringing. Then poof, no fish...mumble, mumble! I re-rigged and started it down again when the Johnson rod hit. This time I got the small Laker in the box. Next were two Lakers that just wouldn't stick, and I'm now one for four. It was quite a long stretch when finally the port rigger went off and sure enough, two fish on one line, both under 3# but nice eaters. Netting in this situation, especially when by oneself, is challenging but it went well this time. This happened in 180' feet of water under calm seas and winds under 5mph. It was a enjoyable 2 hours. I really don't mind missing fish - beats an alternative of no hits. However, I'm having a stretch of misses lately but that's happened before.
8 Aug An ole co-worker and friend Randy Carpenter, rolled into town on his motorcycle from Montana (really Washington) so we had to do the fishing thing. All the weather threats were there but I checked the radar and through my rose-colored glasses, saw the big cell was just a few miles to the south and only a few spotty rain cells west. I thought, what the heck, let's do it. Turned out the SE winds around 10mph which usually cause some pretty good waves, but today were more rollers. We set lines at 10:30a and the Johnson rod came to action about 20 minutes later. Well, we missed that one and later missed another on a downrigger. Then the Johnson finally picked up a small Laker. Not long after Randy's downrigger rang the bell hard and he fought the 7# Laker quite a while before we got it in the net. He then asked how many more of these do we have to catch before we can go in? You don't want to know my reply. Of course we were laughing. We had two other hits, including another good-sized Laker on the Johnson rod, which would have been our 3rd before quitting after 2 hours, but it wasn't to be. Super day! Here's Randy on the Johnson and with his 7# Laker. Click to enlarge please.
7 Aug The winds finally died off and switched to the SSE at around 6 mph so seas were light when I set lines at 7:30a. The Johnson rod hit first after half an hour and while I was reeling that in, the rigger went off. The Laker on the Johnson rod struggled all the way up, gave a final lung about 20' back of the boat and away he went. The Laker on the rigger I got to within 10' of the net and away he went. This was all followed by missing a third Laker, but I never saw it. Eventually, I caught my 3 Lakers, two on the Johnson and one on a rigger. It was a beautiful day on the water but I was headed in after an enjoyable 2 hours and a somewhat shaky start. Depths around 165' to 185' still seemed to work.
6 Aug Weather-wise, today was similar to yesterday, but the forecast for wind a little better. My guest Josh Gustafson and I set lines at 9a and pretty much hung around the 165' to 185' depths. The Johnson was the first to hit, Not long after the rigger hit and that Laker we got a good look at before it went the other way. We then missed another one 10' from the net. Oh, about mid way of our trolling, the Johnson rod hung bottom but pulled off without excessive force. 45 minutes later I said next time a rigger comes up, we'll check the Johnson. Well, the Johnson was lure-less so we fixed that and had a hit on it within 5 minutes of putting it back down. It pays to have lures on your lines. Gradually we hit 4 more, giving us 5 in the box after 2 1/2 hours. We went through our ritual of we call the 5th fish the 6th as it's easier to get the 5th than the last. We had just turned, determined to get the last one when my rigger went off. I asked Josh to raise his rigger to at least 20' off the bottom. I mentioned that just because it's up, don't rule out getting a hit. Well, a real bell ringer he got. As luck would have it, mine went I kept in the water and when Josh reeled in, there were two Lakers on his one line, one 7# and the other 4#. So there we were with three Lakers when we needed only one. Obviously we had to release two. Crazy! The winds behaves but were fresh from the north at 10mph and the seas from 1-2', but very fishable and it was just beautiful on the water. Addendum: A couple hours after we returned a strong north wind kicked in and I could see lots of white caps. Lucky timing again.
5 Aug Early morning started out with considerable wind and an unkind wind forecast. Then, the winds started to die off and those fishing thoughts started racing through my pea brain. So I took a ride to the Island to look first hand at the Big Pond and I was convinced, it was doable. Actually, I was anxious to get my annual guests visiting out again. So a little after 10:30a, we set the first line with Lois, Ron, and Alex Rabe (Mother, Son, Granddaughter) and friend Dani Simandl. The winds were around 10 mph from the north with a little bounce in the waves but we were doing fine. The Johnson rod was the first to hit. First they had to play scissors, paper, rock to decide who reeled in the fish. Shortly after a rigger hit. We got those fish in and we had 3 Lakers in the box before we turned to run with the wind. The wind was slowly building but not a problem. We finally got two more Lakers to go and we didn't miss any. Even Lois got into the action reeling one in. Most were caught in 165' of water but two came off the stackers. We decided to quit after two hours which proved wise as the winds over the next several hours really picked up. It was very much a fun trip.
3 Aug Conditions were great with light winds and almost no seas. It was a later start as the lines went down a little after 9a. There were a fair number of fish marks but no takers until the Johnson hit. Because of the strong current, I had most of the line out in order to hit bottom, so there was a lot of reeling to get that Laker to the net. I then put the Johnson rod back out, trying to thread it between the two riggers but I knew it didn't go well. Usually I can do that but not this time so there was some time lost straightening that out. Finally, I got all three lines down and before long, the Johnson rod bounced again. I immediately powered the downrigger up about 20' just so it wouldn't hit bottom when I was reeling in on the Johnson. Well, guess what, that downrigger bell just started ringing in as I reeled the Johnson with a nice 4# Laker. Then I caught a nice 6# Laker on the rigger so I was all done in an hour. The water remained great so it was with mixed emotion, I headed in. And to think I asked where the Lakers were a while back!
30 Jul After a couple days of the winds huffing and puffing, things settled down and I got an early start, setting my first rod at 6:45a. Then the downriggers were set in 165' of water, one I ran about 25' off the bottom. It wasn't 10 minutes before the near-bottom rigger bell rang and then the Johnson rod bounced. I left the Laker on the rigger and reeled in a fairly small Laker on the Johnson rod, which was in good shape and which I released. The rigger Laker was a nice 3#+ lean. I toyed with turning around and going through that spot but thought I'd just plod on. I marked a few fish on the bottom but then these long marks were showing up at about 135', just like the spiny water fleas show up as they cluster about this time of the summer. I chased those marks a whole summer before someone told me what it was. Anyway, there were some hot spots in the long marks so I brought the rigger up to 100' clicks, where the marks were. Now the marks were showing up about 35' below so I lowered it down about that far. Suddenly, the rigger twitched, then the bell rang. I figured it was a good sized fish but instead turned out to be two nice 3.5# Lakers on one line. Netting whilst alone is sometimes a challenge but two on one line can become a dog and pony show. This time it went very smoothly. Ironically, there were a few spiny water fleas on the downrigger cables, the first I've seen this summer. I don't think Lakers eat them. Winds were under 5mph and seas near calm and I was heading in after 45 minutes. I was glad I released the small Laker earlier.
27 Jul It was a few minutes after sunrise whilst I was heading out and the winds and seas were light. I had several projects and appointments on my docket so I was hoping to get lucky quickly and for that reason, didn't go too far. I first set the Johnson rod, then both riggers. It takes a while to figure out the right speed (whatever that might be), what with current and wind. It wasn't 10 minutes before the Johnson rod bounced with a Laker and while reeling that in, the starboard rigger also had a fish on. Well, I caught the first Laker but the one on the rigger got off. I reset both the Johnson and rigger and it wasn't long before the same rigger rang the bell. Much to my pleasant surprise, there were two Lakers on the one line. I should charge admission to see me net two fish on one line but actually it went quite smoothly. Well, it was with mixed emotion to be heading back after half an hour on such beautiful water, only to face chores. Be careful what you wish for eh?
25 Jul The forecast yesterday was for increased wind and rain, neither of which looked likely so I headed out around 9a. After about half an hour, the port rigger bell rang. I didn't see much happening, but knew it was a strike. I decided to raise the other rigger up about 20' so I wouldn't hit bottom when checking the port rigger. Raising the rigger I looked to see the lure right behind the boat and probably a 4# Laker follow the lure, swipe at it, then swim away. Haven't seen that in quite a while. In the meantime, the other rigger went off and that Laker I got in view but not in the net. Action was slow, considering I was fishing exactly the same place as yesterday. I could see a big rain cell to the SW that looked to miss me, and it did. Finally, I reeled in two Lakers and tried for a third when someone on the marine radio said there was a super cell to the west and things were going to get nasty. Well, I'd been out there long enough so I pulled gear and ran in. The threat never did materialize, but that's ok. Seas and winds were very light and it was overall, very nice on the water.
24 Jul The NWS radar showed a fair amount of green to the west, and a few hot spots. Not to be deterred, my guests Gary Olson and Collin Burklund were determined, but only under my assurances that if there were any lightning threats, we were out of there. Off we went in light south winds, but I insisted not to go too far with the weather iffy. We set lines at 150' and surprisingly, the Johnson produced the first Laker in about 10 minutes. I spun up the radar, mostly to watch for rain cells and there were several of those around. We also could see an occasional flash of lightning to the south, but were not overly worrisome. Then a Laker on a rigger, then one on the other rigger. Action picked up and the rains were getting heavy as we got our 5th and 6th Laker in. We were getting pretty wet and we discussed the best way to stop the rain is to put on rain gear, which I did. And the rain stopped, but then so did the fish hitting for the next hour. On our last fishing leg, we hit two Lakers and had 8 in the box. We went through the litany that was the ninth fish and it was easier to find the eight. Well, the bell rang on the starboard rigger and Gary discovered two Lakers on the one line, and we needed only one more for our limit, so we released one. What are the odds eh? Great day and the rains didn't dampen our spirits at all. It was a nice way to celebrate Collin's graduation from NMU and a promotion at his job.
23 Jul As my guest Gary Gibbs and I pulled up to the launch, the sun was out and winds were light. However, we could see a big fog bank out a ways. Well, we spun up the radar and ran in the fog for quite a ways. We set lines about 9a in 120' where we had no hits and then spent the rest of the time in around 165' feet of water. The Johnson rod was the first to hit a nice lean Laker. After that, action was pretty steady. We ended with 6 Lakers, missing 5. The fog never did lift. A scary moment occurred on the return trip when we rounded black rocks and saw a kayak directly ahead of us...in the heavy fog. Of course, we easily avoided him but he may have needed to change his underwear after that.
22 Jul The wind finally settled but the NWS radar showed a fair amount of green on the edge of where we wanted to go. With only a few sprinkles, guest Rodney Smith and I headed out in a light southerly breeze and great seas. We set the Johnson rod first and as it hit bottom in 137' of water, wham, our first Laker. We quickly hit 165' - 175' and before long, another Laker, then another. One small one in good shape we released. We turned the boat around in a short time, all three rods were jumping - a triple. So we ended with 7 Lakers in 70 minutes. We just slowly put gear away and had a relaxing cup of coffee before heading in. Never did get more than a light sprinkle. Great day!
20 Jul When I eventually create my fishing dictionary on my web site, there will be a section dedicated to weather forecasts. Yesterday, the forecast was for pretty windy. This morning, most forecasts indicated a mild 5-10 mph from the south so ole naive me thought, what the heck, I'll go. But at the launch, I could see the wind kicking, with some white caps in view. It actually wasn't very rough heading out and I strapped down the steering wheel whilst I set up some of the equipment. The boat holds a great course without holding on to the wheel but when I'm alone and in the back, the last thing I need is something to cause the wheel to shift, causing me to go over the side. Not! Anyway, I got the equipment set in readiness and took back the helm. Then I saw two boats, both of whom I know, fishing well ahead of my waypoint. Well, guess who had the wrong waypoint loaded? I put on the brakes and set lines quickly. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod sprung to action. Ok, I'll shorten the story. I caught 6 Lakers in 1 hours and 15 minutes, releasing 3, reluctantly because I'm not a big fan of catch and release. The three I kept were all just shy of 4# each. Winds stayed steady at 11 mph from the south and the seas manageable at 1-2'. I put the trim tabs down on the return trip and it made life even better. The last Laker I caught had a lamprey attached and I tried to net and box it quickly but the darn lamprey got off and fell back into the Lake. That was the only downer for the day. My whining about no Lakers seems to be paying off...again.
19 Jul My question was answered today of where the Lakers are, at least for today. With my guests Greg and Josh Gustafson, we headed northward into a light chop and decided to run a distance to a pretty dependable spot. The winds picked up from the NW, averaging around 13 mph as we set lines. We took the wind head on but the auxiliary motor worked considerably harder than usual. It wasn't long before we had our first Laker at 165' of water. Action was pretty steady, with the riggers doing their job and the Johnson rod bringing in 4 of the 10 Lakers (we released a small one). Josh was surprised when he had a single line double of two Lakers on one line. We tried the 150' level for a while but found most between 165' and 180'. The stackers also produced a couple of Lakers too. We wrapped up our last fish in just under 4 hours. Great day but it's been the season of seemingly endless winds.
14 Jul The winds this summer don't seem to let up. My guests today were Tom Foster and Guy Cookesy. Winds were from the SE around 10 with around 1' waves so we decided to run against them a considerable distance to one of my favorite spots. The winds picked up to a steady 13 mph and clocked more easterly but we were able to fish into the wind and waves for an hour. Well, we got nary a hit in that area and so decided to fish all the way back to the sand hole. We were just shy of 4 hours and finally ended with two Lakers. Where have all the Lakers gone?
9 Jul Got a late start for no good reason, and didn't set lines until 10a. Conditions were great with a SE breeze at 6mph which gradually swung easterly and picked up later, but seas were calm. The first hour and a half produced nary a hit so I thought, I'd turn and fish it back to where I started, then quit. The currents were strong again today and I had to speed up the kicker even going with the wind. With my lure near bottom in 175' of water, my starboard rigger rang and shook but that was all I got. While fooling with that rigger, the other, which I was running at 150 counter clicks, rang and produced a 3# Laker. I set it up again and 10 minutes, another hit on the same rigger, which got off 10' back of the net. My last hit produced nothing so it wasn't an overly productive day for catching fish, but it was a good day for the Lake Trout that got away, and nice for me to be out on the Lake.
8 Jul Today was a day to be philosophical. The air was near calm as were the seas, and the sun was shining. So the fish had to be hitting eh? Not necessarily. I didn't need any excuses that I couldn't fish where and how I wanted to, even if that powerful easterly current was still present. I set lines going east and it was an easy fish, uninterrupted by hits for nearly three hours. I just kept going on and on to one of my hot spots which didn't prove too hot once I got there, except I eventually caught 3 Lakers, all dinks (small). I marked very few fish until the last hour. One Laker was on the rigger suspended about 20' over 175', one near the bottom on the rigger and the final one, on the Johnson rod. It took three and three quarter hours to catch these Lakers. I don't know if it's the cold temperatures or what. My fish per hour rate so far is 1.30, pretty bad. And the fish are small on average. And now the DNR want to up the limit to 5 Lakers per day. Might just as well make it 100 per day. Ok, enough whining. I think the catching will improve considerably as the water warms. It has in past years. Above all, how could you not enjoy a sunny day on the Big Pond in calm seas? I sure can and did, but a little more action would help.
6 Jul I had some real mixed emotions about going out. Forecasts ranged from 5-10 mph to 10-20 mph. Actually I looked at several forecasts and a few real-time wind readings, which looked decent. I then picked the best forecast, headed out, and set lines in winds from the NW at 12 mph. Within 10 minutes, winds were a steady 18 mph with 2' waves. I was able to fish head on into the wind and waves but it wasn't much fun so after half an hour of trolling, I pulled the lines and headed in. Ah, but the day wasn't lost. A few days ago, I modified my net handle to extend further (the job was much like a 10-minute plumbing job - took lots longer) and plugged the net handle to hopefully cause the net to float should it fall overboard until I could turn and retrieve it. So when I got to the dock, I tossed it in the water and it floated for several minutes. Yea, but I hope I lose another net but if so, at least I have a chance to recover it.
5 Jul I was set to launch at 6:30a but had to wait about 10 minutes for a boat tied up to the launch while they diddled around. Finally, I headed out, going east this time, to set lines in pretty settled water at 145' of water. The rigger I ran at 136 clicks on the counter suddenly started ringing madly and I knew it wasn't bottom. However, I quickly knew too the Laker, which must have been of a pretty decent size, was no longer on the line. Rats! Conditions were great with little wind and almost no seas. Gradually, I picked up a Laker on each rigger and the Johnson rod. The currents were so powerful, just like yesterday, that I had all the line out on the Johnson, about 700' so there was a lot or cranking to get that Laker in. Just as I was wrapping it up, the winds slowly picked up from the NW and the waves started building. Looking at the whitecaps on the Laker about two hours later, I was pretty lucky in my timing.
4 Jul What a long spell of just plain crappy weather this past week but finally a reprieve. Reggie and I headed out on calm seas and set up in 120' of water but didn't stay there very long. Once we hit 165', we had a double, with a Laker on each rigger. The next action was around an hour later where we picked up two more Lakers, again pretty deep at 175'. We'd turned to troll towards port but didn't get anything on that leg so we went back again, and finally got another double. Conditions remained near perfect and the time of just over 3 hours was just right too. Great day on the water.
26 Jun My neighbor Reggie and I launched at 7a to calm winds and seas. We headed north, or "nort" as some of us Yoopers might say. We set lines at 118' but moved deeper before long. The wind gradually picked up to around 9 mph from the NW but the fishing action didn't pick up. Talk about slow going! Our first Laker was over 7# but the ones to follow were all around 3#. Seeing as it was such a beautiful day and we had nothing to do at home (according to us), we were determined to get our limit of 6 Lakers. After 3 hours we had only 3 Lakers, and missed a couple that just didn't stick. We circled, tried to stay with the 165' range and eventually, after 5 1/2 hours, got our 6th Laker - actually a double when we had 4. We got the feeling the action was slow for others too, based on what was said and what wasn't said on the marine radio. To make an even better day, the auxiliary motor ran flawlessly after I made some adjustments yesterday on the carburetor linkage (I deserve credit for that), and a few other things. What a grand stretch of flat water we've had...but we deserve it, and more after the lousy Spring we've had. Tomorrow it looks like the weather is going "sout" (south - my term for not good) with rain and wind. I see a honey-do list in my future.
25 Jun Today wasn't a very good day on the water. I had a project to do early and couldn't launch until 11:30a. The wind was decent, around 8 mph from the SW so I didn't go far to set up. An hour passed without a hit or even marking a fish. A boater friend passed me and I asked about nets ahead and he said there were some he went around, quite a way back. Well, I looked and looked and guess what, I hooked into one. At first I thought it was a ghost net but after the goat rope of trying to recover my equipment, I got out my binoculars and finally was able to see the south net, a white dot that looked like a seagull and I couldn't even see the flag. After searching to the north, I finally spotted that net, again, nearly impossible to see with the naked eye (my vision is very good too). It's another classic case of these Indian nets being extremely hard to see, and now they're running them longer than ever. Luckily I was able, after much effort, to recover my downrigger equipment but lost several lures. I reset lines to fish back but after about 15 minutes I decided to just quit, take a skunk, fill my gas tank, work on the auxiliary motor that has been acting irregular, and change the oil its oil. So I did.
I got some interesting information yesterday that the DNR was considering upping the limit of Lake Trout from 3 to 5 next year. I have serious doubts about this as I think a lot of fishermen are struggling to catch 3. On the other hand, what's the difference if in general fishermen are not catching their limit consistently? I just don't get the logic. On top of that, the DNR plants no Lake Trout.
24 Jun I just had to go for it again, taking advantage of these rare, successive flat-water days. My thoughts were to return to where we did ok yesterday and the water was great so off I went, setting my lines at 8:30a. It took quite a while for the first Laker, which hit at around 170' near the bottom. I marked plenty of fish between 170' and 180', seemingly never catching any of the marks. At the end of the stretch, I did a 180 and started back when the other rigger produced a nice Laker, probably about 25' off the bottom in 180'. The next action was a real bell-ringer on the starboard rigger that took line out and was only on for about 10 seconds. That one I would like to have seen. My last fish came off the Johnson rod and although it was a little under 4#, it fought me all the way so I was tired of reeling in all that line. On the return leg, the north wind suddenly kicked and we had a few white caps, but I was going south anyway and it mattered not. It was a great day, wrapping it up in 2 hours with 3 nice leans.
23 Jun The string of beautiful water days continued today, with calm seas but pretty good fog and haze so I ran the radar most of the time. My guest today was by brother Ed. We set lines at 118' and hit our first Laker about 15 minutes later, at 147' feet. Action wasn't fast but it was steady. We caught 6 Lakers, all looking like 3# lean clones. We fished as deep as 180', catching two on stacker lines, three on bottom lines, and one on the Johnson rod. We finished up in under 3 hours and headed back on still glassy seas. Oh, we washed a surface lure the whole time with the usual results - zip! Beautiful day.
22 Jun I should have slept in as apparently the Lake Trout did. Lines were down at 6:45a on an absolutely beautiful and calm morning. In two hours I had one small Laker on a line suspended about 25' from the bottom and that was it. I went by some heavy pollen lines with lots of seagulls there. However, my temperature gauge showed little change and there wasn't the churning action and temperature shift I've seen in similar lines before. Seeing as I wasn't doing much good deep, I pulled all my lines and put out surface lures on a planner board to go through the pollen lines. Guess what, nothing there either. Well, it was absolutely beautiful on the water and I even fired up my boom box with some oldies. Came in with one small Laker. I'm not sure what's going on but I hope it picks up soon.
21 Jun Today I got an early start on a magnificent day. Only problem was it took quite a while. Conditions were near perfect but apparently the Lakers didn't know that. I set at 130' and worked deeper. Before the end of my coffee cup, I had the second Laker in the box. So I thought I'd raise one rigger to 60', where I had marked some baitfish and a few hooks earlier, then fish it back. Nothing! So I made a few more passes and finally decided to quit. Guess what, one of the riggers had a Laker on it so my story is that it hit on the way up.
20 Jun My guest to day was Mike Paluda. We launched in a heavy fog. We fished a run I hadn't fished in a couple of years that used to be excellent. We set lines in about 120' and worked our way there. Got a big goose egg on that run. We pulled lines and reset some 2 miles further, still in the fog. Slowly we started hitting Lakers. We reversed our track and the fog lifted and the wind kicked pretty good from the north. We fished a way back and the ride in wasn't bad at all. We ended with 5 Lakers but it took around 4 hours.
18 Jun My guest today was John Devere, visiting here from California as he does each summer. He hasn't fished with me for a couple of years. We headed east but with the wind forecasted to kick from the south, we didn't go quite as far as we might have otherwise. It was beautifully calm as we set lines in 145' of water. John noted it's never been that calm in prior years. It wasn't long before the rigger hit a nice 3# Laker at 155' on the stacker line. We followed the ridge at various depths, ranging up to 180' and after an hour passed, hit another Laker on the rigger. But then the winds were picking up from the south, averaging 13 mph, gusting to 20 mph. We decided to fish it back to where we started and about 10 minutes before quitting time, John commented the Johnson rod had always caught something in the past. Not long afterwards, the Johnson rod produced our 3rd and final Laker at the last minute.
17 Jun Even though the action has been very slow lately, I couldn't resist the calling of a great marine forecast. I thought I'd travel to still a different spot, some distance north where I set lines at 118' and worked as deep as 190'. Another boat was there before I got there. Before long, I hit a nice 5# Laker at 172'. Then there was a long span and a variety of depths but nothing. At the end of my route, I backtracked but stayed a little deeper. Suddenly on the graph was a huge blob, probably baitfish, at 75'. I was wishing I had lures at that depth but didn't. I considered cranking both riggers up and circling when suddenly, I got a nice Laker at 180', right under the blob. A very short time later, the Johnson rod hit and since it's probably some 600' back, was also under or a little past the blob. What the connection was I don't understand but I was happy. I talked with the skipper of the other boat who said they got 3 Lakers and were there a couple of hours before me. Theirs were around 180' down too.
16 Jun An ole schoolmate Dick Normand joined me on a beautiful day as we headed eastward to set up in 40' of water. Well, we pulled all the stops, putting out a paddle, planner board, dipsy diver, and two riggers. Nothing in two hours so we headed to deeper water. We finally hit a small Chinook on the surface line and a Laker at quitting time. We did miss a Laker about 30' behind the boat. We marked some fish but they obviously weren't hitting. The 53-degree wind was generally around 5-10mph from the east but it was very comfortable with the full sunshine and seas were comfortable. There was plenty of time for old stories and joking.
15 Jun Due to an early appointment, I didn't launch until 10a, to another calm day with a good forecast. I headed north and set lines at 160' and after about half an hour, the graph screen lit up like it does going over a gill net. I quickly pulled the bottom rigger up and in the process, a 7.5# Laker hit. That was a pleasant surprise. You only need to catch those nets once with downriggers to know expense and grief. Another hour or more passed before I got my second and last Laker. In the mean time, the winds picked up from the east, averaging 13 mph and waves 1-2'. Listening to NOAA weather, they were talking about calm winds elsewhere and winds out of the south at the Coast Guard Station at 2 mph. I wonder if we boaters are ever going to get good weather data. I once suggested to the NWS to give me a cell phone and I'll call in reports to them when I'm out there. We virtually have nothing accurate now. The bigger Laker was on a stacker line in 180' of water, the 3# Laker, on the bottom lure. BTW, as I looked towards shore far off I could still see some snow on Mt. Marquette ski hill.
14 Jun Another flat, but cool day. I set up in 150' of water and as I hit 165', I caught a nice 5# Laker on the Johnson rod. Later, I missed two decent Lakers off the downrigger right behind the boat but not even close to netting. I then caught 2 dinks (what I call a small Laker) and released them both. Then one Laker on the Johnson rod which I boxed. So, once again I thought I could catch my last Laker trolling in - not! Anyway, I really didn't care. Most action was between 165 - 180', one on the stacker line and one on the rigger I run about 25' from the bottom. To have 6 fish on in 3 hours was fine by me. Beautiful day!
13 Jun What a beautiful day, with clear skies and only a trace of a breeze. My Grandson Cooper Smith (8) joined me, much to my delight. The world would not have an energy shortage if we could harness his. Anyway, we first set up in 70' of water, fished to 40' and back out again. Nuttin'. We then pulled lines and reset to fish the 160' - 180' depths. It was slow, slow, slow as we managed only two Lakers in 4 hours, and Cooper reeled them both in, unassisted. It was so easy fishing I put out a Dipsey Diver, which of course produced nothing. Great day.
12 Jun The nice fishing weather continues. Guests Gary Gibbs, Dave Johnson, and I headed east on a clear, cool, and calm morning, setting lines at 174'. It wasn't 15 minutes before we had a triple, one of which was pretty small and we released. In the first 3 hours we had 2 triples, 2 doubles, and missed 2 Lakers. With 8 in the box, we decided to troll back a ways to pick up the last one. Well, I've been down that road before and we stretched our cutoff time to quit by an over an hour, and we never picked up the last one. No biggie though as conditions were great. Most fish were between 150' and 175'. We marked a fair number with a couple huge marks, which we didn't catch.
11 Jun With my guest Rodney Smith, we headed out around 7a in calm seas and initially, spotty fog, which became heavy as the morning progressed. I was very glad to have radar to watch for other boats, of which there were a few. Enroute we saw another apparently illegal gill net at N46 34.004, W87 20.794, some 1,700+ feet into non-tribal waters. We set lines at 180' but it was slow going and we worked to 160' and back and forth. Finally action picked up somewhat but the fish were running small. The fog remained thick and we never saw shore the whole time, but did see two other boats which we recognized. In a little over 3 hours we caught 10 Lakers, and released 4. All were on the small side but nice leans, caught mostly from 160' to 180'. We also missed 3, one of which was a real bell-ringer.
10 Jun It was calm but a cool 44 degrees as Reggie and I set out eastward bound. In noted the Indian net at N46 33.969 W87 20.717 still some 2,840 feet east into non-tribal waters. The other end was even further out. It was there our last trip too. We set lines at 168' and before long, things started jumping. Before long, we had 4 fish on at the same time. My rigger had two Lakers on one line, the Johnson rod was bouncing and Reggie had one on. We released a small Laker and I lowered my rigger to about 25' just to get it out of the way when wham, a 5.5# Steelhead nailed it and came dancing out of the water. We certainly didn't feel the cool weather then. In 45 minutes we had caught 7 fish so we decided not to put the Johnson rod out and just fish riggers, heading home. Well, half an hour passed and nothing happened so I said maybe we should put the Johnson rod out again. I got it out about 50' when my rigger went off with our last fish. As I recall, two of the fish were on Reggie's rigger set at 137 clicks (I prefer 136) on the counter. The fishing was wonderful and the lride back was pleasant. Need I say more?
7 Jun It's hard to believe it's June 7th with this cold weather. My guest today was Frank Herveat, a fishing acquaintance of several years who has his own boat, bigger than mine in fact. We headed out at 8:15a with only one other trailer at the launch. The winds were from the NE at 9 mph and seas probably under 1' or what I call lumpy. Surface water was 44 degrees and the air 40.5 degrees. After running a considerable distance, we set lines at 150' and within 15 minutes, caught a small Laker, almost exactly where we were yesterday. We reset lines and guess what, another triple. The magical depth seemed to be around 165'. A few Lakers were dinks (what I call small Lakers) and we kept them in a live well (normally it's a dead well) fish box and we upgraded a few times to larger fish. We ended with 11 Lakers on, 10 to the boat, and released 4, all in a under 3 hours. We never saw another boat on the high seas and the boat trailer next to me was still there when we came in. Now I must listen to Frank continue to tell me how wonderful he is picking the lure from my tackle box that caught 4 of the 11 Lakers we had on. By the way, when we first lowered the port downrigger, the splice somehow got hung up, line went slack, let go with a violent shock, and the downrigger wire broke. With unusually luck and for reasons I don't understand, a splice got tangled in the rigger end roller and I gingerly pulled the rigger in and grabbed the wire with the weight and lures attached some 80' down. Frank then held the wire while I did the surgery and re-spliced the rigger cable. Lucky, lucky! Once in a while things go right. On another note, it seems the consensus of fishermen seems to be fishing is not good with a NE wind. I beg to differ.
6 Jun Another crisp morning at 46 degrees but it was calm, and that makes a big difference. Neighbor Reggie Gebo and I set lines in 40' at 7:30a. Action was slow and in 2 hours, we managed to pick up a nice lean and that was it. We saw 3 other boats but didn't see any of their nets flash, not that it means anything. However, they were ranging all over and I like to think if they're catching fish, they'd stay in the area - they didn't. We decided to head out to deeper water and enroute, thought we'd set up at 120' and fish deeper. Well, at 133', we hit an 8# Laker that really gave us a hassle, and it was on a stacker line, probably 25' off the bottom. As we approached 155', action picked up with the Johnson rod hitting, then the port rigger, then the starboard rigger - a triple. With all lines up, we did a 180 degree turn to , reset lines. It wasn't 10 minutes before we had our last Laker. The ride back was nice. Tomorrow, they're talking ENE winds, and they're usually cold and often bumpy. Hopefully, we'll see you here tomorrow.
3 Jun After checking several forecasts and sampling the few wind indicators we have available, I started a little late, setting lines around 9a after a half hour run. The first hour was very slow, the Johnson rod producing a fairly small Laker. The next hit on the Johnson was a good size Laker that fought all the way, only to get off 50' behind the boat. It was a day to miss fish I guess, the starboard rigger next proving there's no guarantees as a likely 5# Laker was about10' back and as I reached for the net, swam the other way. Later, I got another nice sized Laker to the back of the boat, just out of reach of the net and away it went. I'd marked where the hits were and circled the area, generally 160' of water. At about 4 hours into the 5-hour session, the starboard rigger went off and the line peeled out, even with quite a bit of drag set. I knew it was a big Laker so I just set the rod down and reeled in the Johnson rod to prevent the fish from tangling into it. When I returned to the rod, it felt lighter and sure enough, there was a 4# Laker on but one of the two lures was missing and the snap swivel was opened. In short, there were two fish on the one line, one a big Laker. I did end with 3 Laker in 5 hours, the last hour producing nothing but a quick hit and miss. The water was super and winds light from the north. Surface water and air were both 44 degrees but the sunshine made it feel warmer. I may mumble some gray words when I miss a fish but get over it quickly when it's such a beautiful day out there. I seldom go for 5 hours but couldn't resist today. I saw only one other boat in the area with one person and he was there a long time so it apparently was slow for him too.
2 Jun Another long stretch of unfishable weather. With guest John Peterson, we launched at 7a, only to have dead boat batteries because I'd left a switch on. I drove home to get a battery and jumper cables and that delayed us about 15 minutes. We moved the boat back on the dock while I was gone so as not to tie up the launch. Winds were out of the south at 6 mph and seas light as we headed out. Enroute, we noted still another Indian gill net in non-treaty water N46 33.454, W87 20.296). That's .72 miles (almost 3/4 mile) east of the treaty waters line.
To try something different, we set lines at 80' and quickly had a big fish on the Johnson rod, but that was off in about 15 seconds. Slowly the winds built and the waves too and we worked to deeper water but with only one other hit and the waves increasing, we decided to wrap it up. Fun, but not overly productive.
26 May It was with mixed emotion to head out with predictions of SSE winds 5-15 mph and rain starting at 10a. Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, out I went and conditions were actually pretty decent with rolling seas, but not waves, and winds from the SSE averaging 9 mph. I started at 6a hoping to be off the water quickly but managed only one small Laker before the rain started around 8:30a. That's when I pulled the pin.
25 May It's kind of scary to have several back-to-back calm days but I'll take 'um gladly. With my guest Mike Paluda, we headed east on my recent run and it was pretty slow for a while. Eventually, the riggers worked a little and the Johnson rod also came through. We never backtracked and in 3 hours, picked up 6 lean Lakers, ending with a double at the end. Most were from 165' to 175' with the stacker lines producing 3. The water remained calm and conditions were near perfect.
24 May Today's weather was a near clone of the last trip, but I launched considerably earlier. When I arrived at the ramp, there was a big (probably 26') boat tied up and a man had the dog house open and was working on the engine. I asked that he move his boat as I wanted to launch. He said there were 3 other ramps for me to use to which I replied they're not serviceable ramps and I can't use them. He then said he'd move the boat as soon as he got the engine going. I said that's not going to work as this is a launching ramp, not a repair dock. He said when he tied up as there was nobody there, to which I pointed out, I'm here and I wish to launch. The conversation went downhill from there and he finally moved his boat and I launched, roughly 15 minutes after I got there. That's not the way to start what should be a pleasant fishing trip. What an inconsiderate boater!
The seas were near calm and there was virtually no wind as I headed back to my last haunt. Enroute, I noted an Indian net 867 feet to the east of tribal waters, where it shouldn't be. Both ends were quite visible as it was calm even though the flags are probably less than 2' above the waterline. However, they're hard to see when there are waves. Anyway, I set up well beyond the nets, in 140' and worked as deep as 190'. The first Laker came on the Johnson rod and put up a good fight for a 3# fish. Half an hour later, a Laker hit my downrigger so I boxed that one, even though my netting job was pretty ugly. I turned and started back, hoping to catch my third, which didn't take too long, again on the Johnson rod and the 5# Laker gave me a real hassle. All three Lakers were in about 160' feet of water, and near the bottom. Other than the unpleasant start of the fishing trip, it was a great day out on the Big Pond.
22 May Well, it's been 9 windy and mostly miserable days since last out but today made up for it a little bit. Seas were flat and winds calm as I headed eastward, not wanting to see any nets. My mind was made up I wasn't returning until I had at least one but preferably three Lakers in the box. I set lines in 139' at 8a and worked slowly to the 160-170' range. Around 9a, the starboard downrigger moved a few times but didn't ring the bell. Turned out there was a decent Laker on it but it didn't have a lot of fight. About 10 minutes later, the port rigger bell started ringing and then the starboard rigger - a double and my limit. I took my time putting stuff away, not wanting to head in so soon. The surface water temperature was 39.4 degrees and the air 44 degrees, but it seemed a lot warmer with no wind and bright sunshine. The port rigger was running at 136 clicks the whole time and the starboard I ran near bottom, which was 155' of water when the double hit. Nothing on the Johnson rod. The Lakers were full of sticklebacks.
12 May I launched early (5:30a) to try for salmon thinking if that didn't work, I'd head to deeper water. Well, it was a wonderful, calm, moonlight morning and I was the first boat out. It wasn't 15 minutes before I caught a decent Chinook (under 3#) and the sun wasn't scheduled to make an appearance for another half hour. Several other boats eventually entered the fishing arena and as I tend to shy from boat traffic, pulled lines to move and caught a Coho.
I then headed to deeper water and trolled a couple of hours in roughly 160' of water. It was expectedly slow but I managed two nice lean Lakers on the leg out. As I neared the end of my route, I spotted several nets dead ahead, never expecting any there. That gets the heart pumping as I took evasive action. If I could have done an all engines reverse, I would have, but I managed a brisk turn and didn't get tangled. I picked my third Laker on the Johnson rod, just minutes before I was planning to quit. Seas remained calm and the 38 degree air felt warmer in the sun and with little wind. One thing about fishing this time of year is that the ice in my fish cooler lasts and lasts. A pretty good day on the water I'd say.
11 May Finally a decent day, albeit cool. It was an 8:30a start as my guest Frank Herveat and I headed out easterly to calm seas. The air and water were both 38 degrees as we set lines in150' of water. Slow describes fishing action best as in three hours we hit only two Lakers, one 4.5# and the other 3.5# in 3 hours. Both were up off the bottom, one on a stacker line, the other probably 25' up in 165' of water. Typical slow spring fishing. Mumble, mumble! But, it was still a great day on the Big Pond!
4 May The day was as predicted, sunny, calm, and cool. My guest Reggie and I started out at 7a, heading north. The Merc I/O was still running rough at lower speeds but settled somewhat at cruising speed. We turned the corner at black rocks to find patches of skim ice of the thinner variety. It was flat as a pancake and we ran for nearly half an hour. The Merc would start sucking more fuel but simultaneously, slow down a mile or two an hour so I figured it must have been carb icing. We set lines at 118' and gradually worked the depths to as deep as 180'. Initially, the skim didn't present any problems but we hit a patch with the thicker variety so the downriggers were jumping and we had to pull in the light lines for quite a while until we could turn. The air was 38 degrees and water 35 degrees. We thought the sun would burn off the ice soon but it was a slow process with traces still present when we left. We caught only 4 Lakers in 3.5 hours, mostly around 150'. Cold as it was, we were warm in the sun and calm and it was really very comfortable. I commented it beats 85 degrees and no breeze and Reggie agreed. The Merc ran great on the return trip so there's hope the motor gremlins are waning.
Here's a picture of our downriggers cutting through the skim ice. Click to expand, back button to return here.
29 Apr As you can see, it's been a while since I've been out, mostly due to lousy weather. Today was sunny and cold, but not too breezy with winds expected to pick up as the day went on. I didn't launch until 10:30. When I got to the launch, a certain individual was at the only decent ramp, cleaning stuff from his boat which was still on his trailer. I waited for 6 or 7 minutes before he finally put his boat in. Talk about inconsiderate! Anyway, the Merc I/O ran better than the past few times and at least idled. I'm hoping it'll improve over time and I'll make a fine adjustment on the idle mixture. I headed out in a NE light wind and clear skies. At 11a, the air temperature was 33.8 degrees and water 36.8 degrees. I just arrived at my fishing spot to discover skim ice as far as I could see in the direction I wanted to fish. I just turned around and trolled to the harbor with lures staggered at different depths. In the 45 minutes of trolling, I got a few boat chores done and was not interrupted by a single fish.
17 Apr Today was a big difference from yesterday in a couple ways. First it was a lot warmer, starting out around 55 degrees as I launched at 9:30a. It was breezy near shore but calmed off to virtually no wind about 3 miles from shore, this being caused by the cold water dampening the winds. It was beautiful out there, with thousands of geese heading north in huge flocks. It must have been too nice and the Lakers slept in as I had nary a hit in 2 hours. Tried from 135' to 185'. On wrapping it up, the winds picked up to 15mph so my timing was right to get off the Lake. The big engine didn't run all that well and died as I came to the dock. That's never good so we'll be working on that first chance.
23 Apr Maintenance notes: The problem with the Merc 3.0L motor was it wouldn't idle and when I put the throttle down, it would balk, cough, and usually rev up and run fine at cruising speed. I removed the spark plugs and they were all pure white, usually an indication of a lean mixture and burning very hot. Suspicions were water in the carburetor jets (this can happen even with a fuel-water separator as I have), or a burned valve, or who knows what. I bought new plugs and gapped them to .035". However, before installing them, I ran a compression check on each cylinder. I got 135psi in cylinders 1,2, and 4. Number 3 registered 125#, still within tolerance and not that unusual. I put new plugs in and fired it up. It ran for crap and still wouldn't idle. The temptation was to remove the valve cover to see the valves were all operating as you can have good compression with a valve that isn't working. However, a crackerjack mechanic friend said to first try several hard throttle plunges and it will sometime force water from the jets. So I did that and viola, it fired right up and ran like a charm. At least in the driveway. Next stop will be the Big Pond, but that won't be for a few days as more bad weather and wind is scheduled in. I'm greatly encouraged as it's doesn't seem anything mechanical. I'll pour several Heet into the gas as a precaution there's excess water in the tank. Checking the fuel-water separator last Fall didn't indicate the presence of any water. Sorry to bore you with the details but some of you might be interested.
16 Apr It was 28 degrees at dark-o-clock this morning so I didn't launch until nearly 9a. It was a beautiful day with a clear sky and nearly calm winds. Heading out of the harbor, about half a mile from the launch, I hit a lot of skim ice and was forced to go slow. Lots of noise from the crunching ice. So I shut down the big motor and started the kicker. I was headed about 3 miles out so I was hoping to run out of ice. En route, I saw an Indian net and noted its location as east of the treaty line as 46 deg 34.032 min north by 87 deg 20.949 min west. I did my calculations and that's .2023 miles or 1,068 feet into non-treaty water. In short, it appeared to be an illegally set net.
I went about a mile and thought I would set the Johnson rod out the back to run in the ice-free path the boat cleared. That didn't work well as the line would occasionally catch in the ice and jerk and jump so I couldn't control the depth or even know if a fish was on. I kept on going easterly, hoping for the ice to either clear from the light easterly breeze or the sun to burn it off. Eventually I saw a clear patch of water ahead and finally I was able to set all three lines down, at around 135'. I later ran from 160' to 170'.
After about 45 minutes, the rigger I set at 130 clicks on the counter started ringing the bell and it produced a very lively 4.5# Laker. It was on the stacker line in 145' of water. For what it's worth, the surface water temperature was 34.4 degrees and the air was 37 degrees, which stayed the same until I quit. During the quiet time between fish, the emergency flare issue (see previous posting) kept haunting me so I dumped all the flares out and sure enough, my new flares were in the very bottom, expiring 3 years from now so I was legal all along. Forty-five minutes later, the deep downrigger hit my second Laker at 160'. I turned and caught my third Laker on the Johnson. So much for cold water taking the spunk out of them as all three gave me a good hassle. Here's a picture of the fish, something I don't normally do but these were beauties, 2 over 4# and one at 3.5#. The skim ice was all gone when I headed in, just under 2 hours of trolling.
15 Apr Well, today was the day. Launched around 9:30a to calm seas and sunny skies. Both motors fired up perfectly so out I went to ply for those Lakers some say are so easy to catch. Well, let me say this about that. 'Taint so! I set up in 160' of water and generally stayed at that depth, running the Johnson rod and one rigger near bottom, the other at 135 clicks on the counter. Most everything went so smoothly but it's scary when there's no goat rope or two on the shakedown cruise. I knew if I didn't do well fishing and catch anything, it would just be considered a shakedown where I check out my gear and not get a ding for not catching anything. It's analogous to a mulligan in golf.
It was typical, slow Spring fishing day with nary a hit for an hour and a half. Finally, a hit on the suspended rigger. I got the fish up to where I could barely see it and away it went. So I re-rigged and continued my mission of checking my gear. I checked the voltage on my auxiliary motor alternator with all my electronics running - 13.7 volts. Fantastic! Later a hit on the deep downrigger that stayed on about a minute and never saw it. Re-rigged and more checking of gear. I had a note my flares expired in December 2008 and I could have sworn I bought some over the wintertime, but they weren't on the boat. I must have 30 expired flares on board that would work just fine but the Coast Guard doesn't buy that. Don't tell anyone but mine aren't up to speed yet but will be soon. Radar checked out as did the other electronics and stuff. BTW, I marked very few fish but the graph screen lit up in about the same are I hit a ghost Indian net a few years back so I quickly raised the gear and didn't hit anything. I marked it on my GPS for future reference.
On my return leg, about 15 minutes before quitting, another Laker hit on the stacker line and I got it to about 30' behind the boat and away it went. I really didn't mind as I really didn't care to clean just one Laker when I got home. I told a few people later that I'd of had a couple of Lakers if I'd had a 30' net. Anyway, it was great to be back on the water. Seas were calm as were the winds. The air was cold but it was warm in the bright sun. Always great to be out there. We're back!
6 April 2009 Thanks for stopping by. The weather has been slow to break but the good news is most of the ice cover is gone. I'm just getting my web site set up for the coming year. Check back once and a while and I'll throw up some stuff that might be of interest. Here's a satellite shot taken 14 April 2009. Looks pretty good to me. My boat is basically ready and I expect to be out in the next few days!
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