Joe's boat Cooler By The Lake Welcome to my fishing web site. This is my fifteenth year maintaining this site of my Lake Superior Fishing adventures.  I've synopsized most trips, generally describing my adventures, successes and other details out on the Big Pond.  My boat is appropriately named "Cooler By The Lake". I am just a plain fisherman who loves to fish Lake Superior, mostly for Lake Trout. I do not run a charter. I try to update my reports after each trip. I think of it as a log but some might say it's a BLOG, mox nix. Thank you for following us on our Lake Superior fishing journeys. Please if you have any questions or suggestions on my reports or narratives. Compliments are also welcomed. Don't forget to visit my Joe's Woodshed.

"Cooler By The Lake"

Marquette, Michigan

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Visit my 2011 Log

2010 Lake Superior Fishing Log

Information on tagging. About 7 of us local fishermen are participating in a DNRE Lake Trout Hooking-Mortality 5-year study being conducted in Marquette (Lake Superior) and Alpena (Lake Huron). Our objective is to collectively tag and release 600 Lake Trout each year for 3 years. Once I decide to tag a Laker (done before its caught), I tag it with a green spaghetti tag under the dorsal fin. I then log data for each Laker, including using a timer to record playing time, and handling time, whether its a lean or fat, observe for lamprey marks, whether the fish is bloated, how it was caught (e.g., downrigger, steel line, etc), where hooked (usually lip), location on Lake, and whether blood was present. Before releasing, I take a digital pictures of the fish to show the tag number and fish length, then note the condition of the fish once released. For this I get paid $5 per tagged fish. Its my choice whether to keep or tag fish but that must be done before I see the fish. Anglers who turn in tags from fish they catch will receive a $10 reward from the DNRE and find out where and when the fish was tagged. This unique study will attempt to determine hooking-mortality rates of lake trout to help DNRE biologists evaluate whether certain size limits are having the desired management outcome.

Click here to see more information and interim results on the Lake Trout Hooking-Mortality study.

Fishing Synopsis for 2010

Once again the spring and early summer weather and fishing were lousy. Early on I was lucky some days to catch one or two Lakers in several hours. I did a lot of grumbling! Mid July the action picked up remarkably from the 1 fish per hour to end the season with a record 1.96 fish per hour of trolling (see graph below). Someone must have turned on the fish switch similar to last year. The weather gradually improved mid July and there was stretch of a couple of weeks where the water was flat and fishable nearly every day. Then, late in the summer when the action was fantastic, there were 10+ day stretches where we couldn't get out. Several things changed significantly this past season. The DNR raised the limit from 3 Lakers to 5 Lakers per license, why I'm not sure. Also this season I began a 3-year program to tag and release Lakers for the study mentioned above. I started tracking fish we missed for sure, and not just a guess that it was a hit. My average trolling time was 3.2 hours, vs. 2.5 hours last year.  We had 12 single line doubles (two fish on one line) the same as last year. One of the more memorable days we caught 21 Lakers, and tagged 16 of them.

On the downside, it was a tragic summer to lose two dear friends, Joe December and Neal Green.

It's been a pleasure hearing from those who wrote to me. I look forward to being on the water again in 2011. 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  Synopsis 2010
Trolling Hours Lake Trout only249201
Trips Lake Trout only7780
Trolling Hours non-Lake Trout41
Trips non-Lake Trout31
Travel hours to and from fishing grounds57101
Skunk Trips Lakers only14
Lake Trout kept252334
Lake Trout tagged and released222


Laked Trout released without tagging951
Total fish caught487391
Fish per hour (total fish / Lake Trout Hours)1.961.95
Missed Fish106


Total fish caught and missed593391
Single Line Doubles (2 fish on one line)1212
Fish per hour including missed fish2.41.9
Average length of trolling3.22.5
Average fish caught per trip6.34.9
horizontal rule


1 Nov     Yes, I'm still at it but the weather hasn't been very helpful this past month with almost endless winds. It was a nippy 34 as I launched and the winds were a steady 10 mph from the south with a good chop, as opposed to the forecast of 5 mph, and calming. I thought it a perfect time to fish the harbor, especially for salmon since the past several years haven't been good for Lakers in the harbor like the ole days. There was nothing happening in the harbor so I put my back panel in to keep warm, not a bad idea. Well, that hour wasn't productive so I headed to deeper waters. BTW, I rarely read the fishing report in the local newspaper but did yesterday, which said the Lakers are hitting fairly shallow. Gut feelings sometimes override advice and my  feelings did that today. I set lines again in 160', but set one rigger at 151 clicks as I didn't want to be working it close to the bottom as I had my starboard rigger and Johnson rod to run near bottom singlehanded. You may think the 151 clicks a typo vs. 150 but that's just a fishermen's intuition (superstition?). Ironically, that rigger bell rang before long, and whilst handling that Laker, the other rigger bell rang, a double. I boxed one and tagged and released one. I was able to repeat this scene two more times and ended boxing three Lakers and tagging and releasing three more in under two trolling hours. Two Lakers came off the 151 clicks too. Depths ranged from 160' to 200' but most were around the 165' depth, some suspended of course. I wrapped it up early today, wanting to get in early and start putting the boat to sleep for the wintertime, as it was time. So it's a sad day in some ways and a very satisfying day in other ways.

25 Oct    The forecast was for 5 mph winds from the south and for up to 50 mph with rain tomorrow and Wednesday, a forecast that helped us decide to fish today. The winds were actually closer to 10 mph and with 2-3' rollers coming from the north and light waves from the south, it was a little bouncy, but not uncomfortable as Frank and I set lines. The first Laker hit at 165' but we missed it. Before long we had another hit and that one stuck so in the box it went. Eventually, we boxed 4 more Lakers and then went into tagging and releasing mode. The action continued in spurts, but before wrapping it up in just shy of 4 hours, we tagged and released 5 Lakers. None of the 10 Lakers were of any great size but were all nice leans. We ranged in depths from 160' to nearly 200', but found most around 165', including the 3 we missed. Today might have been the last trip of the season, and then again, maybe not.

22 Oct    Well, today it finally looked like the winds slowed enough to fish showing a forecast of 5-10 mph. So with Frank Lorsbach and our guest Daryl Berthiaume, we launched at 9a. Rounding the corner north of the Island, we discovered winds were a steady 15 mph and the seas quite lumpy, but we pressed on. We set lines at 120' and within 20 minutes had 3 Lakers on, missing one. The action quickly slowed down and we thought because of the wind, we'd head shallower, to a 70' route that used to yield some good-sized Lakers in the Fall. Well, after an hour of that and having picked up only one Laker, albeit a 5# one, we headed back to where we started. The deepest we fished was 150' with the 120' proving the most productive. We ended in a little over 3 hours with 6 Lakers, keeping 5 and tagging and releasing 1. Of course, the wind was just backing down as we quit. Here's a picture of Daryl with a couple of Lakers, click to enlarge.

Daryl Berthiaume with a couple of Lake Trout

12 Oct    The air was a little nippy in the low 40s as Frank and I set lines in 120' of water. Well, we weren't off to a good start in that the Johnson rod had several loops in the steel line and it probably took us 20 minutes to gently get that line out without kinks. Then in the next 20 minutes we missed three Lakers. But then we started to connect and before long we had 4 Lakers in the box, ranging from 4# to 6#. We then shifted into tagging and releasing and the action was steady. The Lakers were all big, several we tagged ranged from 10# to 15# and none were under 5#. At one point, we had all three rods out of the water and for a while we left the Johnson rod out of the water because we couldn't keep up. The winds that were fairly light began to pick up in the last hour to around 12 mph from the SW and we had caught 19 Lakers, with 6 in the box and 13 tagged and released. We decided to go for the 20th and quit. Well, the Johnson rod bent over so I took my rigger up to 50 clicks on the counter (probably 60' down) so it wouldn't be a problem when the rigger bell rang and suddenly we had a double. We ranged in depths up to 190' but mostly stuck to the 130' - 165' range. In summary, we finished catching 21 Lakers in 5 hours and 15 minutes, of which we tagged and released 15 Lakers. Quite a day and a record catch for the boat.

10 Oct    Today was a little different in that it was an earlier start and we wanted to be back for the Packer game. So we didn't go too far, not where we went last time and as a result, we fished a little deeper. Frank, Charles, and I watched and tended to the gear for a very slow start. Finally, the action started picking up and before long, we had three Lakers in the box. Then slowness set in for a while, followed by a couple of hits and goat-ropes of entanglement with lines, which we survived and caught the the Lakers. Well, almost as we did have a really nice Laker get off about 10' from the net, and a coupe of other misses. As usual, action came in spurts, at one point, Charles was reeling in two fish on one line when the the Johnson rod bounced with a Laker, and we caught all three. Nearing the end of our run, whilst Charles was working a Laker on the Johnson rod, I took my downrigger up to 26 clicks getting ready to quit when wham, the rod bent over and not far behind the boat, a beautiful Chinook leapt  repeatedly out of the water. Well, I'd like to say we caught that fish but it earned its freedom. However, we did have a great day with 9 Lakers, 4 in the box and tagging and releasing 5. Conditions were super, and much better than expected. Great day, except the Packers didn't do well.

8 Oct    And today was nicer than our last trip. In light winds and seas, Frank, his nephew Charles Franklin, and I headed out to our fishing grounds where we were quite successful last time. The fall colors were beautiful in the sun and the temperature was nearly 70, perfect. We set lines at 120' and it wasn't long before the Johnson rod was bouncing. Charles reeled that one in and before long, another rigger rang and we boxed another Laker. Our plan was to box 4 then start tagging and releasing. Well, the next rigger hit was a single line double, two Lakers on one line, which Charles handled too. We ranged in depth between 120' and 160', probably doing best at 140'. We ended up keeping 6 Lakers and tagging 8 and not missing any (that's unusual), all in 3 1/2 hours. Here're some pictures of Charles at work. Click to enlarge.

Charles Franklin reeling in two Lakers on one line  Charles Franklin with two Lakers

5 Oct    Today was even nicer than yesterday as Frank and I headed to a waypoint ironically I named a few years ago as "Neal's Soul", after Neal Green who always fished there, as did Joe December. Their tragic deaths a few weeks ago were on our minds as we set lines in 120'. It wasn't long before we heard a rigger bell and we were off and running. We ran as shallow as 108' and as deep as 180', catching Lakers at varying depths in between. At one point, we marked more fish than the rest of the year combined. However, we didn't seem to catch the fish when we marked them, instead we caught most when we weren't marking any. I had a lapse in netting skills as I had a nice Laker in the net, well kind of as the net was fully extended. Next thing it's out of the net and of course the hook caught the net and away it swam. Stuff happens! We didn't feel badly as we kept 4 Lakers, tagged and released 9, and released one without a tag. We fished 4.5 hours, a little longer than usual as conditions were so great.

4 Oct    Whew! Finally a decent day of fishable waters. All re-rigged after yesterday's goat rope, Frank and I set lines on  one of our favorites routes running 165' to 190'. Action was slow but we resolved to keep the first 4 Lakers, should we be so lucky, and then start tagging and releasing. It was a struggle boxing our first 4 but we slowly did it. And before we could set up for tagging, Frank spotted a twitch on the rigger and not being sure, brought it up only to find a dink (what I call a small Laker) which we released without tagging. The action pretty much shut down the last hour but we managed 2 Lakers to tag and release, the last hitting minutes before we were going to quit. The winds and waves behaved as promised (finally), being light from the SW. What a great day on the water.

3 Oct    Following endless winds, finally a good forecast of 5 mph from the north. De ja vu all over again as Frank and I turned the corner around the breakwater to find winds from the NW at 13mph and 3' waves. All other wind readings available showed little winds, but then we don't have any good wind readings in this area, something I've always complained about and have tried several times with the NWS to get better wind readings. Well, this was just the start of the unpleasant fishing trip. We decided to set lines and fish with the waves and that went well for a while. We spotted an Indian net, the dark red flag laying on its side, probably only a foot off the rough water so we brought up the riggers to avoid getting caught. We couldn't find the other flag, despite looking with binoculars. We were 0.27 miles from the flag when the graph lit up showing what appeared to be a net and suddenly one of the riggers hung into a net. We could not see any net flags and it was in a location where nets are usually not set because of the ore boats coming and going. My guess is it was a break-away after all the wind storms we've had. In any event, we lost all our gear and bent the downrigger arm. Not my idea of a fun day. BTW, the location of the net is N4634.196 / W8721.829.

26 Sep    What a great forecast after days and days of wind. The reality of the calm to 5 mph north wind forecast was in reality 3-4' waves and rollers and winds averaging 12 mph. Frank and I didn't get very far around the breakwater before deciding conditions were not good. We turned around, threw a couple of lines out and fish shallow for about an hour. Of course, nothing happened in the way of catching fish.

22 Sep    Today's fishing trip started late afternoon, as guests Brian Kluger and Joe Heintskill joined me on some lumpy seas with a northeast wind averaging 11 mph, not my favorite direction. Action was slow but we managed 3 doubles, missing 4 hits for whatever reason but eventually tagging one, releasing one without tagging as we weren't ready to tag, and keeping 4 Lakers, most of which were a little smaller than usual. Two were on stackers about 10' from the bottom in about 170' of water, but it was hard to follow bottom closely as it was fairly wavy and breezy. We wrapped it up in under 3 hours, just about the time we were getting our sea legs.

20 Sep   My guest today was Frank Lorsbach. The tragic loss of Joe December and Neal Green yesterday dominated our discourse. We shared concerns for their families and attempted to speculate how something like that could happen. We questioned whether we doing everything as safely as possible. Conditions today were similar to yesterday with southerly winds around 10 mph and 1-2' seas but slowly building. We decided to tag and release today's catch should we be so lucky and lucky we were. Our first Laker was 30"..probably around 12#. We had a couple of others around 7# and the rest more average in size. One of the bigger Lakers was on a single line double (two on one line) and one of them didn't like our looks and got off 15' behind the boat. We concluded catching, tagging, and releasing 8 Lakers in less than 3 hours. Most were in the 160' - 170' range. Winds had increased to about 15 mph as we quit so we didn't mind wrapping it up. Between fish we went over man overboard procedures, including contacting the Coast Guard, cutting all lines, operating the boat, other rescue steps and all safety practices.

 19 Sep    My guests this morning were Frank Lorsbach, Michael Lownds (11), and Cooper Smith (9 - Grandson) as we set lines in a steady 10 mph SW breeze and lumpy 1-2' seas, more rollers than waves that slowly diminished. Action started slowly but before too long, Cooper reeled in a nice Laker, followed by a 7# Laker that Michael reeled in. The young fishermen alternated reeling in the Lakers, including the Johnson rod. We ended with a couple of quick Lakers, giving us a total of 10 Lakers in 3 hours, two of which we tagged and released. Most Lakers were between 160' and 180' with nothing on the stacker lines. It was a lot of fun to see the enthusiasm of these young guys. Click the pictures to enlarge, use your back button to return here.

Michael Lownds (11) reeling a Laker on the Johnson rodMichael Lownds (11) and Cooper Smith (9) with a few of the Lake Trout

Today two very dear friends, Joe December and Neal Green, tragically drown fishing, their wives surviving as their boat overturned about an hour after we got off the Lake. I'm in shock and denial.This is a very sad day.

Here's a press release from The Mining Journal.

15 Sep    Another narrow window to fish with winds finally predicted to be fairly calm before starting up again. My guest today was Rodney Smith, my grandsons' paternal grandfather, who has fished with me quite a few times over the years. We set lines in rollers and a fairly light wind from the south. Our plan was to alternate boxing and tagging and it wasn't too long before Rodney hit into a nice 5# Laker that went into the box. Slowly we hit the Lakers and then Rodney hit a nice 8# Laker that managed to nick my thumb with its sharp teeth as I was getting the hook out. Well, it was about a 1" cut and not very  deep, but bleed I did. Blood was everywhere. In the box, on the downriggers, in the log book, on the stern of the boat...everywhere it seemed. I wasn't concerned as it wasn't serious or deep, just a mess. Finally, I got a band aid on it which lasted until it got wet. Then it started all over again. Ok, enough of that. Winds and waves slowed picked up to a steady 12 mph from the south and we needed to go a little faster than usual going into the wind in order to to maintain control of the boat. But we ended with 8 Lakers, 4 of which we tagged and released. We also missed a Laker about 10' from the net but it wasn't a biggie. All in all, it was a nice day on the water and not bad action for 2 1/2 hours. I think I need to post a picture of Rodney with his big Lakers so the boys can see their other grandfather is a good fisherman. But I think they know that.

Rodney Smith with his Lake Trout Catch. Click to expand picture.

10 Sep    This trip started with a temperamental kicker that wouldn't start for the first 15 minutes but finally ran and ran well. Go figure. Frank and I pretty much fished the 150' - 180'. The action was slow compared to the last trip but we managed 8 Lakers, tagging 5 of them in a little over 3 hours. The wind behaved coming from the SSE at 8 mph and the seas still had rollers left over the the prior day's winds. Still, it turned out to be a very nice day on the Big Pond.

6 Sep    Another narrow window to fish and that we did. My guests today were David and Jerry Roth (visiting from MO), Frank Lorsbach, and my grandson Cooper Smith. Conditions were pretty good with winds averaging 8 mph from north with about 1' seas. Once we set lines it wasn't long before the action started. Both riggers were working, as well as the stacker lines. But the Johnson rod did the heavy lifting, producing several nice Lakers.  Most Lakers were caught in the 170' range but some were from 160' to 195'. We quit after 2 1/2 hours with 8 Lakers in the box and having tagged and released 6 Lakers. The biggest Laker was 5#, next 4#, and the rest around 3#.  Well, we got home only to discover we kept 9 Lakers so we're all taking remedial math next week. In summary, we caught 15 Lakers, with 3 doubles, and missed 2. I looked at the Lake a couple of hours after we got off and could see it was churning up again and is scheduled to continue windy then next few days.

Jerry Roth, Cooper Smith, and David Roth

2 Sep    The winds have been cranking for 8 days. Finally there was a small window this morning before bad weather was predicted in again. I was glad to be able to take out Will,, Alec ( twins 15) and their dad Reed Morrison, visiting here who have joined me several times over the years. Winds were from the SE around 10mph but it was quite fishable. We'd just gotten the first rigger down and it wasn't 15 seconds before the first hit. That was followed by a hit on the Johnson rod...and a miss. The action was  decent on the down wind leg and really slowed on the return leg. However, Will and Alec reeled in 6 nice Lakers, the largest over 7# and two over 4#. The skies were getting dark to the west and we called it quits after 2 1/2 hours with 6 Lakers, two of which we tagged and released.  And we missed 4, maybe 5 so that's not too shoddy. About half an hour after we got off the Lake down came the rains. Great time and great timing.

Alec and Will Morrison with some of their Lake Trout

23 Aug    Today my Grandsons Spencer (14) and Cooper (9) Smith, joined Frank Lorsbach and me on the Big Pond. The winds were supposed to be calm and slowly pick up but instead started and continued at a steady 12 from the south with 2' and sometimes 3' waves. it was bouncy but fishable. Soon the action started and we caught a couple of Lakers and missed a couple. Cooper mentioned we had 4 fish on during the first half hour. Catching fish usually goes in spurts but overall the action was pretty steady. The boys reeled in a couple on the Johnson rod, not an easy task. We got 4 Lakers in the box and decided to tag the next 3 , a couple of which were pretty good sized. Cooper then commented we're tagging the big fish and keeping the smaller ones so I explained the rules of declaring before the fish were seen. Cooper's solution, which made sense from another angle, was to keep the rest, I agreed. Fishing against the wind and waves required us to go a little faster than we liked and it was hard to find bottom. Tagging and releasing was quite difficult. We were on our final leg, about 15 minutes from quitting when my rigger acted goofy, meaning it looked like a Laker was hanging on but I wasn't sure. While I was bringing the rigger up in preparation to give the rod to Spencer, Cooper said the Johnson rod had one, followed by Frank's downrigger bell ringing. Well, Spencer reeled his in, Cooper reeled in the Johnson, and Frank had two fish on, a single line double (two lures on one line - stacker). At that point we had a little goat rope of lines tangled but we worked that out. Wrapping this up, we ended with, according to Cooper, a "record catch" of 12 Lakers. Actually, in the ending frenzy, we weren't sure of the exact count until we weighed and counted them on shore. A couple were in the 4# class, but most under 3#, all leans. Depths ranged from 160' to 190' but I'd probably guess most were around 170' average. Great fun with special people for a wonderful 3 hours of "work." Here's a picture of my Grandsons and me . Click on picture to enlarge, back to return.

Spencer (14), Joe, Cooper (9)

19 Aug    To those of you that checked for my obit this past week whilst I wasn't fishing and didn't see it, I hope you're ok with that as bad weather was the cause for no fishing reports. Today started with a good forecast but two of my Internet wind reading points (early morning)  showed winds from the NE at 16mph, which is not good so it put us in a short holding pattern. However, winds dropped quickly and Frank and I set lines around 8:30a to confused seas that really rock the boat. Action was decent, albeit slow starting, but we were able to control our speed fairly well with the rollers from different directions. There were times when a few big rollers would come by and nearly stop the boat and the rigger bells would clang  as the weights hit the bottom and we'd quickly pull them up to keep from hanging bottom. Winds were light  so that helped. I brought a different GPS today and that helped a lot too. Turns out we caught 11 Lakers, and tagged and released 6 of them, all in under 3 hours. We then went blackberry picking, which was equally productive except I lost a little blood to those defensive picky bushes, but picked several quarts,  which made it worthwhile.  Oh, we fished from 155' to 190' but most seemed on the deeper side of that range. The stackers again didn't work but everything else did. Frank commented we averaged around one Laker every 15 minutes and I hadn't thought of it that way and that's not too shoddy eh? Great day! Tomorrow looks like a bust. I hope not.

12 Aug    Hot best describes conditions - air temperature that is. Frank and I headed out circa 9:30a to calm seas and winds but a hot sun and air temperature in the 80s. The plan was to tag the first 5 Laker but that took a while. It was a day of missing fish too as we each had hits on the rigger and both came up dry. More misses followed. But slowly we caught a few and were tagging and releasing when the GPS again lost signal and that's pretty important to me so before long, we were in 200'+ water. After some coaxing, the GPS came back again, then out, and you get the idea. Then we he a hot stretch and between 106' and 170', we hit several nice Lakers, did a 180 turn, and hit a few more. We ended our 4-hour roasting with 5 Lakers in the box and 7 tagged and released. Lots of fun and great conditions, except a little to warm.  Next time I'll bring a backup GPS.

10 Aug    Today the forecast was wonderful, which proved true, and my guests included Ron Rabe, his daughter Alex, and her friend Dani Simandl who joined me with pressure to produce as we had to get back early. If you read prior logs you'll see this is an annual event and I sensed the usual competiveness - but fun. We started slowly with the Johnson rod first.  We boxed that one as we had committed to keeping the first three. I then reached for the port rod on that rigger and it snapped in half. Not good but hey, those things happen. Action picked up and we soon had a second Laker in the box and were getting close to tagging phase...except Dani had two Lakers one line on this time so we tagged and released the first and kept the second. The action continued and we tagged a couple more and then the GPS went out, and with all the action, we were suddenly in 200'+ of water and I didn't know where my usual route was. When you're out several miles it's hard to tell where the familiar waters are unless that's your usual method of navigating. It's not mine so I thought, I'll head in to where I thought my route was and voila, we were n 235' of water enroute and we caught more Lakers. Ok, we ended with 5 Lakers in the box ( I asked how many we had in the box and all of them said 4) and we tagged 4 so we caught 9 Lakers, had a lot of fun, and wrapped it up in 2 hours so we didn't get in trouble. The Johnson rod was the workhorse of the day and most Lakers were caught between 180' and 225'.

9 Aug    My guest today was Jason Stanczyk, who fished with me earlier this year. The seas and winds were super as we left the dock a little after 7a. We set lines at 150' but quickly got to 160' and 180'. I thought why not put out the Dipsy Diver as long as it was so calm. Mistake! Next thing I was tangled into my rigger line. How'd that happen, mumble, mumble. It wasn't long before the rods started jumping, first the Johnson which hadn't done anything yesterday. We planned to box the first three Lakers, which we did in the first 40 minutes and then a goat rope with Jason's line tangling into the Johnson rod which resulted in all lines up and cutting and splicing lines, including the stainless, so we lost about half an hour with that.  But those things happen and in the process, we drifted considerably off course but were at a good depth so down went the Johnson rod, only to get an immediate hit. We tagged and released the next 6 Lakers before we quit in a little under 3 hours. Most were caught between 160' and 190' and I think the Johnson rod had 4 of the hits. We also lost 2 Lakers. BTW, the Dipsy once again never did anything but aggravate. But, we had fun and were sure kept busy.

8 Aug    Once again the forecast turned around from 60% chance  rain per last night to no rain and 5 mph today. Oh well, Frank and I turned the corner of the breakwater to 3' rollers, but not much wind. That was ok but it took full tabs to keep the nose down as air under my  boat is not a good things. We set lines and the slowness began. Da (sic) plan was to tag the first 3 and keep those thereafter worked but it was slow going. When it's slow many fishing thoughts and philosophies are expressed. We tried a few and in short, we did catch and tag and release 3 and keep 3 but that was over 3 hours, which proves we're a little spoiled after some of our past trips. Note that we did miss 2, maybe 3, but the Johnson rod was on leave today so I had a talk with it afterwards. Next trip it will want to produce. The big rollers made it challenging to walk around but it wasn't a major problem. Winds were light until the last hour on our return leg when we saw whitecaps and 10 mph but that too wasn't difficult. Currents were powerful as I had to run the kicker really fast even though the wind and rollers were behind us. Go figure.

7 Aug    The forecast was for winds from the south around 5 mph. The reality was 18 mph with 2-3' seas as my guest Ron and Alex Rabe joined me. We thought we'd fish a little while with the waves and wind, putting out the Johnson rod and only one rigger. Not 5 minutes passed before the Johnson rod bent over. Ron wrestled with that Laker until we could finally net it. We quickly tagged and released it but without weighing it first. I estimated it to be around 12#. While the Johnson rod was in, we pulled the rigger and punched through some big waves on the way in. Of course Ron thought the Laker weighed more and was telling people at the dock that. So today was probably the shortest trip of the season, being a quarter of an hour and producing the biggest fish so far this year.

4 Aug    Today my guests were Scott Berndtson and his son Eric (17). The morning's forecast had kicked up the winds to 10-15 mph from the west and that's pretty much what we found, with 1-2' seas so we did a little rock and roll action but it was quite fishable. It wasn't long before a rigger bell rang and Eric reeled in a nice 3#+ Laker.  The next hit was on the Johnson and Eric discovered a burning in his arms reeling in 600' of line with a Laker on. We got a break when the winds slowed down on our return leg where winds on the kicker side would have caused a steering problem. Nearing the end of our run with 4 Lakers in the box, I was just mentioning the past several trips we've been lucky catching 11th hour fish when a rigger bell rang and the Johnson rod bent over - a double just before quitting. Eric seemed happy to see his dad reel in the Johnson rod this time. Five of the Lakers were over 3# and nice leans and most were caught in 160' although we ranged up to 190' at times. A rigger we ran 20-30' from the bottom didn't produce much except for one bell ringer which got off. Click on picture to enlarge, back to return.

Scott Berndtson and his son Eric

3 Aug    With the same guests as the last trip, it was a mid morning start with pressure to return home early. Conditions were near perfect with calm winds and seas, but hot. Our plan was to tag and release the first 4 Lakers, then go into keeping mode. We kicked off the plan when the Johnson rod bounced at 167' and Ted reeled that one to be tagged and released. Action was steady after that, the next off a rigger at 192'. We even ventured off my normal route just for something different and we got into waters over 210' where we had two hits and lost them both. We circled and eventually worked our way back to where we got our 4 tags and 4 keepers. Near quitting time, we caught two Lakers we call 11th hour Lakers because they're at the last minute. I must confess mine was a surprise when I was reeling in to quit. It was a great day with 10 Lakers in 3 hours. Sizes were better than usual, a 5# Laker and a couple in the 4# range, the rest smaller, and all leans. I believe it was the second Laker tagged that had a lamprey attached when it came in. That lamprey is no longer with us today. Lots of bantering and fun and good fishing.

1 Aug    My guest today was Ted Lorsbach, son of Frank Lorsbach (also along) and here visiting from California on our third annual excursion for Lake Trout. Conditions were super with light southerly winds and near-calm seas but it was a struggle to catch Lakers. We missed several, 5 to be exact and finally managed to tag 3 Lakers and box 3. Ted manned the Johnson rod to pay his dues as a near rooky and experienced how easy it is to lose a Laker on steel line out 600'+. We had a little goat rope on a rigger without mentioning names that we recovered from just fine. Other than that, it was a fun time Most of the time the Lakers were between 160' and 190', but they sure didn't seem very hungry today. Well, we had a real bell ringer while up around 140' in 170' but that got away too.

31 Jul    The rains had just move out of the area and the seas were calm as I set lines. Conditions were perfect and I had the perfect speed with the perfect lures at the perfect depth. Trouble was the Lakers didn't know that and they were slow to cooperate. Finally after an hour, I had a hit on my rigger, only to lose it. At that moment, the Johnson rod bounced and after lots of reeling, I tagged and released it. Later I missed one on the Johnson, then on my rigger. All was not lost though as I did catch and tag 3 more on the Johnson and one on the rigger. One rigger I ran suspended at various depths and that produce zilch. Most of the Lakers  were around 180'. So, 5 Lakers caught, tagged and released, and 4 missed so all in all, a fun 3 hours.

30 Jul    It was another magnificent day, albeit a little breezier than forecasted but I'll take that any time. Frank and I went to the well one more time and ran the run we did yesterday, this time it was a lot slower. Well, that's when fishing philosophy kicks in about speed, depths, and several other things. After an 45 minutes without a hit, introspection (mumbling)  sets in, but fortunately, action then picked up. Currents were again strong but we finally caught and tagged the 5 first Lakers, only to go through a slow period again. So we're on the final leg and in the last half hour, 3 nice Lakers, two off the Johnson rod, which hadn't produced until then (it's ok Mr. Johnson). Fun day and perfect temperatures and seas!  Depths ran from 160' to 185' but next time, we'll run a little deeper, but maybe not. BTW we ran a Dipsey Diver all the time and got ZIP. Surprise!

29 Jul    It was supposed to be a bit calmer than it turned out to be but I can't complain. We set lines going into 1-2' rollers with a steady 10 mph north wind so it was a bit lumpy, by very fishable. We started out with 4 Lakers on and 3 in the box and one 10' from the net in the first 45 minutes. Action came in waves. We passed within 100' of the only boat within miles and he was netting a fish. Well, just then we got a double and I marked the spot. We continued on for 15 minutes, turned and came back there the same spot and got a triple, meaning a single line double and one on the other rigger. Then nearing the end of our run, Frank caught a nice, probably 3-4# (when I said probably you see where this is going) Laker and I said, let's tag and release it. I'll not net it but instead lift it out of the water into the box so the net won't be a problem. Well, that worked fine and the fish started thrashing around so I took up the slack on the line and out jumped the fish into the water. In the process, the split ring on the swivel opened and away the fish swam with Frank's lure. We both agreed that was ugly...but funny. Anyway, we caught 11 Lakers, keeping 6 and tagging 4 and involuntarily releasing one, all in 3 hours. It was a blast!

26 Jul    Another beautiful morning. Frank and I set lines in 160' and ranged to 190'. Little happened the first hour but then the action picked up and we tagged and released 3 Lakers, a couple of which looked between 3# and 4#. All three rods were working. We didn't mark much but at one big mark on the graph, Frank's rigger went off and he reeled in two Lakers at once. One was pretty small so we released it (no tag) and kept the other. The seas were calm the whole 3 hours and we ended catching 10 Lakers, keeping 6. Chores beckon and it looks windy for the next few days so a break from fishing looks in order. The largest Laker was 3.5#, all nice leans, but it appears the bigger Lakers are moving in.

25 Jul    What a great morning with light winds and seas. Frank and I decided not to go too far and actually follow another boater I've known for years to learn his waters as he catches lots of fish (he said that would be fine at the launch), in waters I seldom fish but close to one of my favorite routes. It wasn't long before we had caught and tagged 3 Lakers but we also found ourselves as deep as 230', deeper than we care for so we set a course for our original route. Boiling it down, we had fairly steady action from 160' to 190'. Once we had a triple but one got off but we ended with 7 Lakers in the box and 3 tagged in 3.2 hours. Nearing the end of our route in, we turned  to fish for roughly half an hour when we could see the whitecaps (it was calm at the time) way north and before long, we were in 2-3' waves and winds at 12 mph from the north. Perfect excuse to quit and we did .Still, a great day.

24 Jul    It was an iffy morning with lots of green on the Internet radar screen. It started to sprinkle, then quit, then sprinkle again, and quit. Well, the radar showed the system as largely having gone through so I connected the boat and down came the rain, pretty hard so Frank and I waited about 15 minutes and it finally slowed to a drizzle and out we went at 11a. We had already decided not to go far as the winds were predicted from the north at 5-15 mph, where 5 is great, 15 is not. As it turned out, winds were north about 8 mph and the seas were, well, confused, with 1' rollers coming from different directions, but very fishable. We set lines at 150' and the current towards us was very powerful today and I had to crank up the motor to get any speed. It wasn't long and we caught a double, one on the Johnson rod, one on the rigger at around 170'. We tagged and released the first Laker, probably around 3# but boxed the second and we were not ready with the timer or tag. The action was fairly steady the whole time. Frank noted a big fish mark on the bottom and wham, his rigger went off.That doesn't happen often.  It was a struggle to gain any ground on the Laker and when we saw it behind the boat, we couldn't see the second lure so I immediately knew there had to be a second Laker on, and there was. Unfortunately, the lines tangled in the Johnson line but fortunately, we did a round-about with the rods and miraculously, we got both in the box.  Then there was my not-so-good netting job! I'm a really good netter but today I must have had a lapse and one nice Laker cooperated as it flopped out of the net and the hook caught the net so I had to reverse the net and...well, we got it. As we neared the end of our run we were just putting things away when we caught our last Laker. So as we wrapped it up we felf we did quite well in 2.5 hours with 4 fish tagged and 5 in the box so we headed home Most were caught between 150' and 180' and the speed, probably around 2.0 but there were powerful currents today and it was a guessing game what the lures were doing...but we guessed ok I guess..

22 Jul    Fishing conditions were excellent with a light south wind so Frank and I decided to try a different spot just for a change. We set lines and noted a lot of marks in the 80' range, but I think they're clusters of spiny water fleas, which form around this time of year. We set one rigger at that depth for half an hour but had no hits. In fact we had no hits at all the first hour and marked nothing on the bottom. We were talking about if after reversing our route we didn't have any action, we'd pull lines and go elsewhere. Nearing the end of the reverse route leg, action picked up and we were able to quickly tag and release 3 Lakers. Action remained fairly steady as we ended up tagging 2 more Lakers, kept 7, and released 2 dinks (what I call small Lakers) without tagging them. We also missed 2 good fighters that earned their freedom. We were quite pleased with 14 Lakers in 4.5 hours, mostly around 155', give or take a bit, but we tried from 145' to 180'.

20 Jul    We had great conditions as Frank and I set lines at 135' and slowly worked deeper. Action was considerably slower than yesterday and on top of that, we missed 5 Lakers, one 3' from the net. Most of the 7 Lakers we caught were at roughly 170', one being at 145' and off a stacker. We tagged and released 3 of the 7 Lakers. We were 5 minutes from quitting with 2 in the box when we got a double, one of which had a KBIC tag in it which I'll send in to find out where it was tagged and collect a $5 reward.

19 Jul    The forecasts were for light winds, and early fog. Bingo, they got it right this time,  except the fog was more a heavy haze! Frank and I left around 8a and decided to travel a bit to a spot that's been fairly consistent so we set lines at 115' and marked a few but caught none. As we move deeper, we caught a nice Laker at 155' and from there, action was fairly steady . We tried the 145' level for a while  but on average, we caught most at a depth in the 165' range. As it turned out, we caught 12 Lakers, tagging and releasing 5 of them. The last Laker we caught had a green tag which we later found out was tagged by one of our local fishermen several days earlier. It had traveled roughly 4 miles. BTW, we ran a Dipsy Diver and a surface lure the whole time with nary a hit. The waters were wonderful as the haze/fog drifted in and out but the wind near the end picked up and switched from the east as we were quitting but seas were still great. The clouds to the west looked a little ominous and it was time anyway after 3.5 hours so we had a nice ride in. After we got home the heavens opened with heavy rains so how lucky is that? Great day!

17 Jul    Thinking that following 3 windy days that the wind would finally settle. Wrongo, as Frank and I headed out and into a steady 14mph wind from the NW and 3' seas. We took the waves and wind head on, well, maybe quartering them, and it wasn't long before we caught our first and second Laker whilst the boat rocked and rolled. After that, we covered quite a bit of water, turned to run with the waves and got our third Laker. The wind at our starboard stern forced us into some really deep water we didn't want to go in, as deep as 240'. Ironically, we had a real bell-ringer hit and another Laker lost 10' from the net. We finally bunched it after 3 hours and left the whitecaps out there.

13 Jul    Talk about a beautiful day on the water as Frank and I plied the waters at one of our favorite spots. The action was steady as we ranged in depth from 150' to 200', starting with a double. We tagged and released the first 6 Lakers, then put 8 in the box, all within about 3.5 hours. We then decided to go for our limit but the last two took an hour. We ended with 16 Lakers caught and one bell ringer missed. That's a record catch for the boat. All the Lakers were on the small side, the biggest being 3.5# but all nice leans.

10 Jul    I don't like harping on the weather forecast and weather reporting but it's a real problem sometimes, like today. The forecast for today was calm with winds later at 5-10 mph. Frank and I headed out at 7:30a that winds were a steady 14 mph and waves 2-3', more the latter. I have an accurate anemometer so this isn't guessing. I looked at the Coast Guard Station report for the day and for those hours it showed roughly 9mph. It's a terrible weather-reporting site that even the NWS agrees with me when I mention that. You don't want to know how inaccurate the CG site is when the wind is from the north. OK, I had to get that off my chest. We set lines with strong winds off our port stern and  managed better than I thought we would, but the wind would catch us if we were both in the stern so we adjusted. There were times when the downriggers would dip into the water from all the rock and roll action. In short, we caught a nice 5# Laker on the Johnson. Finally, we agreed it wasn't fun and we pulled lines, only to find a 2# Laker hanging on my rigger. It happens! We then went blueberry picking in the heat, but was fun and productive too.

9 Jul    Winds were supposed to be light and I had a late morning appointment so I headed out circa 6a. Well, I was greeted by 12 mph winds from the NNW and 2-3' seas. I was one of those times where if you knew ahead of time, you wouldn't go but one you're there, you think what the heck. So I set lines at 160' which wasn't easy as the boat was really rocking. One rigger I ran around 70' so I would only have to work the Johnson rod and other rigger. The boat speed changed with the wind and waves so closely following the bottom was out. Surprisingly, it wasn't long before my deep rigger rang the bell and I reeled in a nice 6# Laker, well almost. It was on the stacker line and got tangled into the Johnson steel line and it was pure goat rope as this Laker was about 20' back of the boat. It was ugly and it took about 10 minutes of wrestling with lines before I could net it. I goes to prove sometimes you can do everything wrong and still catch the fish. I got reset and the Johnson line responded. I just got that in when my downrigger went off and I looked over to see the other rigger had a fish on too. I tagged and released two of the three fish Meanwhile, the winds backed down and the seas lightened up so it wasn't nearly as rough as when I started. I then caught another Laker on the Johnson rod. That was at the end of my run so I quickly turned and followed my exact path out, thinking I'll catch and tag several more. Well, I ended catching only one more and missing one. Still, in just under 3 hours, 6 Lakers and a miss was a big improvement over yesterday.

8 Jul    Another day of heavy fog, and calm seas as my guest John Devere and I headed out radar spinning. Having received a super fishing report (I saw the fish) from a fishing buddy yesterday, I knew we had to go there. Well, It was a "shudda been here yesterday" day for us. We had decided to tag two and keep the rest. Well, it wasn't 10 minutes before the first Laker got on, tagged and released. Then John's rigger went off 5 minutes later and he reeled a probably 5 or 6# Laker to within 10' of the net and then they parted company. The next Laker we tagged and released and after about an hour stretch, we got another Laker up to the boat, almost to the net and away it went. Well, we went the next  2.5 hours without a hit or nibble. Bummer! But except for about half an hour of breeze from the north, it was beautifully calm. It was funny how many times we said well, the fog is finally burning off when another bunch would roll in. About half an hour before quitting it did finally lift and it was a smooth but long ride back to the launch.

5 Jul    Yup, more wind lately but today was so nice I played hooky when I had other chores to do. I was going to try a short trip but when it's that nice I decided to go the distance to one of my favorite spots. The first hour and a half were quite productive, netting (so to speak) 4 Lakers, 3 in the box and the 4th when  I went into tagging mode. Well, tagging was strange in a couple of senses. The Laker I tagged and released looked good but as soon as put in the water, I could see it was bloated and struggling. Fortunately, there were no seagulls around. That's happened only twice. About 45 minutes later, a friend went by in his boat and I mentioned to watch for a tagged fish on the surface. Well, he called me 15 minutes later and said he saw it and it was still alive, and trying to swim down, which it finally did and he didn't see it again. How great is that eh? I would like nothing more than for someone to catch that Laker later and confirm it made it...well, for a while at least. Most Lakers were between 145' and 170' but I fished from 135' to 190'. Currents were strong even though it was calm but talk about nice on the Big Pond. Anyway, my aspirations of tagging the next 2 were dashed as I didn't get so much as a hit the last 1.5 hours, but that's ok too.

1 Jul    The winds have been huffing and puffing for several days, not to mention all the rain. Yesterday we thought the winds would be manageable and got as far as White Rocks where the winds were cranking in from the north around 15 mph and the seas were 2-3' so we turned around and headed home. Today was a whole new day with practically no wind and calm seas. I ran several miles to one of my favorite spots and set lines in 160' of water. There were plenty of fish marks on the graph but they sure weren't pictures of hungry fish. The first hour and a half passed without so much as a hit. Finally, the action picked up when  the Johnson rod rod picked up a Laker, then a rigger. About 3 hours into trolling the small motor quit without notice so I cranked up the big motor and also cranked up the downriggers to about 100' while I tried to restart the small motor. In the process, I noticed my rigger was bouncing and sure enough, there was a nice 3# Chinook on the line. The small motor finally restarted and ran well the rest of the time. Still, another thing to work on.  In short, I ended tagging and releasing 5 Lakers, and keeping the Chinook and Laker. This was in 4 hours, what I considered slow going but still lots of fun.

26 Jun    I took an early morning ride to check out the Lake as the forecast was for NE winds around 10mph. The Lake looked calm through the haze so I went home for breakfast and headed to the launch at 8a. Some guy had his boat at my usual launch (only good launch I can use) while his partner wandered about, went back to his vehicle twice for about 5 minutes to find his lunch and thermos ad nauseam. After about 10 minutes, they finally left. A little courtesy to do that stuff before launching? Anyway, I could see past the breakwater a couple of boats splashing against the waves and indeed, I found 2-3' waves from the NE with a steady 10 mph wind. It was bumpy and not a lot of fun. As a result, I just ran one rigger and the Johnson on my run out. The boat speed got a little wild at times in those waves, ranging from 3.5mph to 0.5mph, so I do an average on the GPS. Still, you can't work the bottom well under those conditions. However, at 135' I saw the rigger rod jump and I was able to box a nice 4# Laker that was so lightly hooked, I pulled on the lure and it came right out. I got lucky on that one. I had planned to tag a couple of fish but it was so rough I didn't want to do that. Once I turned on my return run, I was more comfortable running the second rigger too, but that didn't help as I just caught the one Laker in 2.5 hours. My year-to-date average for Lakers is a sad 1.08/hour. I'm hoping the action picks up soon.

25 Jun    There was a 60% chance for showers and thunderstorms but the weather radar didn't look bad so I headed out at 7a, but not too far. Today I hoped to keep the first two Lakers and tag the rest. The Johnson rod produced first with a nice 5# Laker that didn't look very lean. Then about an hour later, I noticed the rigger I was running suspended was just twitching then went dead. I thought it best to check it out and sure enough, there was a 3# Laker going for a ride. Apparently it saved all its energy until it got to the surface, then it thrashed about madly. So that's it folks, two Lakers caught and none tagged. Both were around 170' of water. I did get a 5-minute sprinkle but it was very light. Winds were a steady 7 from the SE and waves under 1'. Best of all, the kicker ran like a dream today.

22 Jun    Lots of foggy days this year, today being one of them. When Frank and I launched at 8:30a, there were no other trailers in the lot. The fog was not a problem for us so we spun up the radar and headed east in beautifully calm seas. We set lines at 165' and it wasn't but a few minutes before the Johnson rod bent over...a little. We had already decided to tag the first several fish. Great, as the first Laker was pretty small. The action picked up as we quickly caught, tagged, and released 3 more. I told Frank he did the heavy lifting catching the Lakers but it was really light lifting as none of the Lakers had any heft. Lots of actions the first hour but then nothing on our return pass. So we decided to go shallow and catch some bigger fish. Well, we trolled a couple of miles to 40' of water and caught nothing. But that's ok as it was as calm as could be and pleasant fishing. Next time we'll get some bigger ones.

21 Jun  With orders from headquarters to be back by noon, I launched at 6a to beautiful seas and a sunrise. This time I headed east, starting at 135'. It wasn't 15 minutes before the Johnson rod started pounding. I like to get the riggers up so they're not hitting bottom when reeling in other lines but 30 seconds of heavy reeling on the Johnson, the line went dead Rats! About an hour later I saw a huge mark on the graph (I usually only see a few of those each trip) so I lowered my rigger down and wham, it sprung to action and put up quite a fight. When I finally got it in the boat, it probably wasn't even 3# but if that was the same fish, he left a mark like Shamu the whale. I tagged that one. The action was so slow, I pulled lines and drove to a favorite spot about 2 miles further. It didn't take long before I caught another 3 Lakers, and missed two more. I then started to troll homeward and didn't get another hit after I left my favorite spot. Just before quitting, I saw what appeared to be a red balloon on the water which threw me into a panic mode, thinking it might be a net. I pulled lines, only to find it was a Happy Birthday balloon that apparently got away from someone. Well it was time to quit anyway but it was tough with great water, albeit, slow fishing.

20 Jun    Frank and I had great thoughts of this being a catching day as we launched at 8:30a, the time we think Lakers sometimes wake up...but who knows. The calm seas and small rollers were great and we set lines at 120' and plied waters to 190', with slowness being the operative word. Not a lot of talk on the marine radio, but a few reported some success in the 135' area. Well, after well over an hour of nothingness we tried that, with little success.  Well, we did finally have an heavy strike on the Johnson rod, only to lose it after about 2 minutes. I should mention the the seas and wind were mostly calm, and conditions were great, but the fish didn't seem to know they should be hitting our lures. In time we caught a 4# Laker and a smaller one which we boxed. I then asked Frank if his wife minded him staying out a little longer than usual (it was Father's Day too) and he said no.  He then asked if my wife minded fishing a little longer and I replied no. So we fished an hour and a half after that. But that was good in that we picked up two more Lakers which we and tagged and released. The past few trips the new kicker, which runs great, now has another issue, the autopilot, which also has a kicker speed control tat sometimes will speed up but not slow down. The currents today were very strong, and I had to rev the kicker up a lot going north, but going south, the opposite was true.  There I was leaning over the back of the boat on manual steer and throttle for a couple of minutes while the autopilot reset and Frank noted the Dipsey Diver rod bent over. I couldn't help as I was busy but he finessed a nice Coho through the rigger lines and we netted a nice 3# Coho.

17 Jun    What a beautiful, calm morning as my guest Dan Traynor and I launched at  7:30a. We set lines at 118' but it didn't take long to hit the 150-190' range where it didn't make much difference in the slow action. I knew all the other boats around us and their action wasn't much better. We finally caught 3 Lakers, the first two we tagged and released which was good as they were small. But then so was the last one we caught. We did have 4 other Lakers on that just didn't stick. But it was most enjoyable and the winds, predicted to pick up quite a bit, hadn't yet before we got off the Lake. Where I caught 9 Lakers the last time on this same exact run, produced only the 3 today but that's fishing eh?

14 Jun    The heavy fog when I launched I didn't mind. The northerly winds around 10 and 2' waves I minded, so I didn't go very far. I took the waves and wind head on but it's hard to play the bottom when one minute you're going 1.2mph and the next 2.7mph. So the leg out was most unproductive with not hits. As I turned on the reverse leg, the wind died off by a few mph and with the waves behind me, that helped me control my depths considerably. Before long I noticed my rigger twitched and my suspicions  were it was a fish instead of bottom. But then nothing happened until about 10 minutes later when the rigger again made a slight motion. I decided to take it up and found a 3-4# Laker going along for the ride. He didn't fight until he saw the boat. I tagged that one and suddenly, there was a hit on the other rigger which was suspended, probably 20-30' from the bottom. That Laker did a disappearing act after ringing the bell a few times. I later caught another Laker off the rigger and tagged that one too. The fog never did lift and after two hours, I decided it was time as the wind was again picking up. Had the wind behaved a little better, I'd have stayed a little longer than 2 hours. Still, it was fun and I was glad to have radar too. 

13 Jun    It was a little hazy but calm as I launched at 7:30a. Seeing as it was so nice, I decided  to head out a bit. I set lines at 120' and slowly worked towards the 150' - 170'. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the replacement kicker running so steady. The first hour showed nary a mark nor a hit. It was my plan to tag some fish, should I be so lucky. Well, finally my downrigger produced a nice Laker which I tagged and released. Barely done with that, the other rigger produced a Laker to tag. Barely done, the Johnson rod produced a Laker to tag, and then a downrigger again. I had just tagged 4 Lakers in short order so I determined to keep the next two (I don't like to clean just one fish). Lo and behold, my rigger produced a single line double, two Lakers on one line. Interestingly, being by myself the netting went fairly well. I then caught and kept one more Laker, then tagged the next two. So this was quite a turnaround from my last trip, a skunk, today tagging 6 Lakers and keeping 3, all three kept being under 3#. Of the 3 hours, 45 minutes trolling, there was no action the first hour, and only one Laker in the last. But that's fishing. Talk about fun and the seas held calm with almost no wind.

10 Jun    Yup, I got a skunk today. I wanted to test my new throttle linkage and it was a good excuse to fish for a couple of hours early afternoon. It was pretty rock and roll but fishable. On my leg out I plied the 150' - 190' and didn't mark anything or get a hit. On the return leg it was pretty much the same except for a heavy hit on the Johnson rod that nearly bent it over. What a slam and after about 20 seconds, it was gone. Ten minutes later when I quit, the lure on the Johnson was gone. I haven't lost a lure in over a year. But the throttle worked as hoped.

8 Jun    Time for a change from the usual deep fishing. The forecast for increasing southerly winds, prompted my guest Frank and me to a different location and shallower fishing. Getting there, out went the planner board and all kinds of stuff as it was calm and nice and my kicker was running great, except at times, I could increase the speed but not decrease it. Another problem to deal with but more electronic than mechanical. Ok, on with the fishing report. After about an hour, the rod on the paddle snapped back and Frank reeled in, not easily I might add, a nice 7# Laker. BTW, our plan today, unlike most other days, was to not tag any fish today. Good decision eh? Well, we plied the waters for nearly 4 hours and got one other Laker in the box, a nice 6# fish and then a pleasant surprise of a Coho. We also lost one right behind the boat and a couple more that didn't stick. It sounds productive but it took 4 hours. Productivity is a bonus when it was such a beautiful day. Winds slowly picked up and were averaging 13 mph when we pulled the plug. Pure therapy. Hey, that could be the name of someone's boat! 

7 Jun    Well my Yamaha kicker finally got to me so I spent nearly 7 hours yesterday removing it and installing a replacement. You might think it's just a matter of swapping motors but there's a lot of electronic and mechanical and hydraulic stuff to transfer, mostly associated with the autopilot. And of course there were a few glitches that called on my Rube Goldberg skills. So it wasn't without some apprehension that it would work ok when Frank Lorsbach and I left around 8a on the beautiful and relatively calm morning. It was most wonderful the motor instantly started and ran like a kitten all day. We set lines at 120' and went as deep as 190', but slow was the word of the day. In 4 hours we managed only 5 Lakers, 2 of which we tagged and released, including the largest of the day. Ironically, we kept a semi-fat Laker. Oh, we did miss one on the Johnson rod probably 50' behind the boat. However, the good news is the motor ran great and we had a great time on the water. Most of the time it was fairly calm but it kicked to about 10 mph from the NE the last hour, but not a problem. So the motor running good takes away one of my excuses. For a while there when it was so slow, we changed hats and questioned the phase of the moon. But that's not unusual for us mature fishermen to do.

5 Jun    The fog had largely lifted as I launched with my guests Irv Horton (91 years young), his Grandson Brian Horton, and Marcus Cairns. Winds were near calm as I fired up the auxiliary motor, only to have it give me grief. After about 10 minutes of my mumbling, we were in business and before long, we had a Laker on a rigger, which Irv reeled in. Irv is a long-time and former boat owner and Lake Trout fisherman so he was back in his element. Just as that one was coming to the net, the other rigger jumped and he reeled that one in too. We thought today was our lucky day, which it was but not for catching fish. We then went nearly another 3 hours during which we missed two. However, fishing tales very much filled in the time. I think the most memorable comment was made by Irv when hw said he didn't sleep tha t well the night before as he was so excited about fishing today. Isn't that great! On our final leg, the Johnson rod produced a nice Laker which I tagged and released. The auxiliary motor was again a pain, surging and slowing down at random. I've some big decisions ahead as this can't go on as is. Here're some pictures from today, click to enlarge, hit back to return here.

Irv Horton, Marcus Cairns, Brian Horton  Irv Horton, Marcus Cairns Brian Horton handling the Johnson rod

3 Jun    It's always a good feeling when the forecast is good and you know it's going to be nice. Today was one of those days. I launched at 7:30a to calm seas and winds. I set lines at 118" and it wasn't long before I caught a nice 5# Laker on the Johnson rod in 128' of water. Probably half an hour later I caught a 4# Laker on a rigger in 148'. With a couple of nice Lakers in the box, I plied the various depth hoping to tag a few. The next Laker was at 171' and I tagged and just as I released it, the Johnson rod bent over and I reset my timer and tag and all and that one I released. The next Laker hit the stacker on the rigger and fought like the dickens, only to get off about 20' back of the boat, and it looked like the same size as the 5# Laker in the box...but then all fish that get away look big. I eventually caught and tagged two more Lakers but what sounds like a lot of action took shy of 5 hours, considerably longer than my usually trips. However, when the forecast for the next few days isn't good and the current conditions are fantastic, well, why not enjoy. Oh, the last two Lakers were at 190' and 164'.

1 Jun    The forecast was for breezy conditions and gusts to 20mph. Despite a questionable forecast, I launched at 6:30a to a steady 8 mph wind from the south but fairly calm but confused seas so even though it looked calm, the small waves were from a couple of directions and the boat was doing a lot of rocking and rolling. It was slow going but I finally got a hit on the Johnson rod after about an hour but that Laker was off in about 10 seconds. The next hit was on a rigger and it really slammed the lure and rang the rigger bell but again, that didn't last but a minute.   Finally, I could see my rigger acting funny and in checking it out, there was a small Laker hanging on which I tagged and released. Not a lot of action for 3 hours but conditions were really great and the predicted winds didn't kick until after I was off the Lake.

30 May    The forecast for winds was decent but the trees were whipping around at home. I thought what the heck and out I went. Before I launched, I took the kicker motor cover off so I could observe if something was causing its erratic speed changes. Ironically, today a new problem popped up as it now wouldn't idle.  Well, I dinked around with that for about 20 minutes and finally spotted the cause of problem. I was going to head in to shore to fix the remote speed control but was able to repair it at sea. I naively thought ah ha, the other problem will now be fixed too. Wrongo! It fixed one problem but the erratic speed problems still gave me fits. I finally set lines in a bug hatch with these tiny flies all over the boat that don't bite, just annoy. As I got further from land they were less of an annoyance. I decided if I was lucky, I'd keep the first two Lakers and tag the next two. It wasn't too long before a 5# Laker hit the rigger I was running somewhat suspended, probably 20-30' from the bottom. I just leave it there. Well, the Laker had hit on a spring brass lure I once had put on a buffing wheel and polished it so smooth and shiny, you could comb your hair in it. I then clear coated it and it was a beauty. Ironically, I hardly caught anything on it but ran it several times. Well, it's now all tarnished and crappy looking and it now out-catches the other lures. Go figure. The other rigger later hit and I boxed that Laker. Turning for my reverse leg, my suspended rigger bell rang while the rigger bent down, then sprung up so I knew it was a pretty good size Laker, again on the tarnished lure. Well, it took 12 minutes to get that one in (remember we time ones we tag), which I promptly tagged, took a picture, and released. It was 29" long so probably about 6-7# though I didn't weigh it.  It wasn't two minutes later when the Johnson sprung to life so I tagged and released that one too. Nearing the end of my run, the bugs were back and it was a good time to wrap up a 2.5 hour fishing trip, with my hopes of keeping two and tagging two Lakers perfectly filled.

29 May    The launch lot was nearly full so it took a while to launch. Today we had a plan to run a bit as the seas were calm with almost no wind. Guests Tom Foster and Guy Cooksey fished with me last year. It was almost 9a when we set lines and we worked various depths from 120' to 190' and for the first 3 hours, we got one Laker. But listening to others on the radio it didn't sound much better for them. On our return leg, roughly following our route out, we turned to another ridge and we soon had another Laker. That was followed by a double, one on the Johnson rod and one on the rigger. Resetting a rigger at 50' so we could get the steel line back down, the rigger rod bounced and we caught a nice Coho on that one. In short, the last hour we caught 4 Lakers and a Coho, kind of making up for lost time. There was a little whining by both Tom and Guy as each commented on how much line was out on the Johnson rod when they reeled in their Lakers, but quickly added how much fun it was. Great day on the water. If Tom sends me some pictures, I'll post them here later. We did have two minor goat ropes with lines tangled whilst fish were one but we managed to untangle somehow with no problems and no lost fish. Maybe I'm just getting good at un-goat roping eh? Here's a picture to Tom and Guy with the catch.

Tom Foster and Guy Cooksey with the catch o' the day

28 May    My guests today were Josh and Jeremy Gustafson. We set out in pretty rough 3' seas with NNW winds averaging 13mph so we did considerable bobbing but it was fishable. Well, the fish didn't know that as we made a long run with the waves and never got a hit. The winds subsided to closer to 9mph and on our return leg, the seas were a little better. Finally about 45 minutes before quitting, the Johnson rod really bent over and Jeremy reeled and reeled as there was so much line out. It was a pretty big Laker and about 45' back of the boat gave a lunge and away it went. I had just commented how often you can go a long way and two fish will hit, questioning if they communicate a feeding message. Well, minutes later we got a double on the riggers and the guys reeled in a 3# and 6# Laker. Slow action but a beautiful day. Here're some pictures-click to enlarge.

Jeremy Gustafson  Josh and Jeremy Gustafson

26 May    The time-honored question of why do do you fish came to mind today. I set out at  8:30a and ran the exact route I did yesterday, which was great, but the results today were not good. I had no runs, hits, or errors on the leg out. The haze (I love haze and fog)  and calm winds didn't help my excuses (but I'm still plagued by aux motor erratic speed changes). So when a buddy of mine went further nort (sic), I did too. I set lines at 118' and when I hit 165', Seas were calm as was the wind. I caught a lively Laker which I promptly tagged and released. Well, that was my only hit for the duration of my run. As I got out to the last leg of my northerly run, the wind came up and after I turned, soon there were 3' waves splashing on my stern. OK, I thought, it was time anyway and the fish weren't biting so I headed back. As I approached the Island, I saw a boat heading where I left and I thought "WTF?", but suddenly the seas calmed as did the wind. Strange, but I've seen it before. I just new those northerly winds would eventually hit the entire area. And they did but not for a while. Tomorrow looks like a bust wind wise but who know? So, you've read through this to learn I caught 1 Laker in 3.5 hours. Stay with me as I can do better.

25 May    I had a mid day appointment so I headed out at 6:30a to pretty heavy fog. It was 66 when I left my house and out there it was 52, so I reached for a sweater. The winds were from the south averaging 11mph and my auxiliary motor gave me fits changing speeds but I was fishing. I had the radar going and noticed a big blob on the screen and was surprised another boat was out there. Well, I looked up and saw a huge flock of geese flying north and the radar was picking them up. I decided to tag the first two Lakers and it wasn't long before I had a hit on my rigger. Well, just as I was dealing with that one, the Johnson rod was bouncing with a Laker. I tagged the first fish then started reeling in the Johnson, only to have the Laker get off about 50' behind the boat. I put the rigger down and Johnson out and before long, another Laker on my rigger. I netted it and put it in the cradle in preparation for tagging, reached back to get the net out of the way, and flop, flop, there goes the Laker out of the cradle and over the side. I could only laugh. To shorted the story, in 2 1/4 hours I had 8 fish on, tagging 2, keeping 4, unplanned release of 1 and 1 miss. The fog mostly lifted and winds subsided somewhat as I got off. And the temperature was starting to climb quickly. Lots of fun!

20 May    Another great day with light winds and near calm seas as my guest Kevin Tillison and I launched around 6:30a. It wasn't long before the Johnson rod bounced and Kevin reeled in a nice #5 Laker. The next Laker we tagged and released. Then the Johnson hit again but produced a small Laker (dink) and we released it. We ended up catching two more, tagging and releasing one of them. All in all, we didn't do badly with 5 Lakers in 3 hours. We did have a goat rope with Kevin's downrigger and wouldn't you know it, that's when a strong wind came up and nearly turned us around. But by the time we got the rigger fixed, the wind backed down to near calm again. How does the weather know how to time things like that? Or is that another of Murphy's Laws? Here's Kevin reeling the Johnson rod -click to enlarge.

Kevin Tillison

19May    A "Bluebird Day", which I'll define later. I launched at 8a in beautifully calm seas and a bright sun. I only went a couple of miles and set lines at 130'. It wasn't 10 minutes before my 2nd downrigger I just put down hit. Well, it was a dink, my term for a small Laker and I should have released it but didn't. However, I considered a good omen catching one that quickly but that was a mistake. I didn't have another hit in the remaining 3 hours. But then, there were several boats in the area and there was no radio chatter and I never saw another net flash. I know of one boat getting skunked and another several miles away got 4. BTW, a Bluebird day is when it's too nice to catch fish. But on the other hand, gee it was nice out there. In retrospect I had a different hat on and perhaps that was the problem. I'll change hats next time. Also BTW, I plied the depths from 130' to 180' with no good results.

18May    This morning the lead inmate in charge of the asylum (me) launched at 6:30a to calm winds and seas. The sun was shining brightly whilst I set lines at 118' and varied depths to 160' for an hour or better, I fought the auxiliary motor erratically changing speeds on ts own, making it hard fishing and that's my excuse for not getting a hit the first hour and a half. Finally a hit on the Johnson rod that didn't stick, then another 3# Laker that felt like 6# reeling in, but that's fun. Eventually I caught 2 more Lakers, the last of which I tagged and released. Seas and winds were near calm most of the time but the last hour of the of my run, the winds picked up to about 9mph and the temperature dropped to 45.  There is a wind chill at 45 by the way and the coat I doffed half an hour before and placed within arm's length quickly was dawned. Slow action for a little over 3 hours but that fishin'. When I returned to port, winds and seas were calm but I've seen that before. All in all, except for my auxiliary motor problems, an pretty nice day fishing.

17 May      It was a beautifully calm day when Frank and I  launched, and surprisingly, it stayed that way. Not so surprisingly, we went back to where we did so well yesterday except the fish weren't hungry today. Conditions were great, except the fish didn't care. We  struggled to catch 4 Lakers (we tagged and released one) and caught and kept a nice Chinook in nearly 4 hours. However, it a beautiful day on the water and we explored many theories on why fish bite and don't bite. Most of our theories were good but it often boiled down to wearing the right hat as the most significant factor. Some of you will understand that conclusion, some not. Hats aside, it was a great day on the Big Pond.

16 May    The weather forecast was for light SW winds but they were out of the SE when Frank and I launched around 8:30a. We set lines at 120' and stayed that depth for a while but gradually hit 150', when we caught a single line double, two fish on one line and we got them both in. Not long afterwards, another Laker on a rigger. We put out a Dipsy Diver thinking it was going to calm off. Before long, we heard the Dipsy line going out and it was a struggle to get the 8# Laker to the net. It was badly lamprey scared but a nice lean. Action slowed down and gradually caught 6 more, tagging and releasing 3 of them. So we pushed to a little over 4 hours hoping to catch our limit under the new regulations but we came up one shy. We missed only one Laker but we had a dandy of a goat rope tangling the Johnson rod into a rigger. But we got the fish and untangled the lines with no harm done. The wind never did settle, coming in from the ESE at an average 11 mph. So much for the SW forecast but it was still very nice and it didn't cause us any problems.

12 May    As I drove along the Big Pond on my way to a meeting, the water looked calm and very fishable. It looked the same on my return trip so I hooked up the boat and out I went. Bad timing as the wind from the NE quickly built to 15 mph and the waves 2-3'. I fished into those conditions for about 15 minutes of stumbling and finally decided I'd turn and fish 15 minutes heading back and quit. I was then speeded up by waves and wind to considerably faster than I like to troll. About 5 minutes before quitting time I caught a nice Laker on my rigger and scrambled to get my timer going, cradle ready, etc., but it all went smoothly. The Laker hit in 128' of water. Beats a skunk eh?

10 May    Well we just finished five days of lousy weather with more to follow after today. But it's still a much better Spring than last year. Frank and I set out this crispy but sunny morning in fairly light winds and seas. The plan was to try something different so we headed to shallower waters, namely around 40'. We set out 7 lures amongst the riggers, paddle, and planner board. It wasn't long before a Laker hit the line off the planner board and it took Frank all he could do to wrestle the 7# Laker to the net. Great fight! Not too long after another Laker hit, a nice four pound lean Laker. We were excited to be at the right place at the right time, or so we thought. The winds picked up to 15-20mph, then eventually backed off and almost became calm. Reality set in as we fished three more hours and didn't get another hit. However, catching isn't what it's all about as it couldn't have been more comfortable fishing.  The air temperature rose to 52 but as we quit and headed in, the wind picked up and switched from the east and the temperature quickly dropped to 41. The surface water temperature was 44. Good timing for once.

4 May    It's been either appointments or wind, much more of the latter, keeping me off the Lake so in order to make my appointment today, Frank and I launched at 6:40a to calm seas and nippy air. The light rain had move on shortly before launching. We set lines at 120' and tried all kinds of depths up to 180', getting no hits or marks for the first hour. Eventually, we caught 4 Lakers, tagging and releasing 2 and keeping 2, and missing 2 on the Johnson. While it sounds like good action, it was slow going and it took just shy of 4 hours. But, conditions were great with no wind or waves and mostly sunny skies. For a while it was so slow that I ran a Dipsy Diver and lo and behold, we hit a nice 3# Laker on it. The surface line we had out too probably has about 3,000 miles on it (so I exaggerate) and nothing ever seems to hit it. Back home in time for my appointment.

28 Apr    Finally, a break in the weather and wind. Granted, it was 32 when Frank and I left the launch at 8:30a but the winds were calm with sun shining brightly, making a big a difference in not noticing the cold air. We motored nort (SIC) and set lines at 117'. It was probably half an hour before we caught a probably 3# Laker, tagged and released it. And maybe an hour later before our next hit which was on a rigger, followed by a Johnson rod hit about a minute later. We tagged and released the Johnson Laker, then reeled  in the third Laker, a nice 4# lean and that went into the box. Wait a minute as I need to tell you what an  ugly a job I did getting that 3rd Laker in. I brought  a video camera along and asked Frank to record me catching a fish as though I was alone. Well, I reeled the fish too close before putting the rod in a holder and before you know it, the Laker was tangled into the small motor handle. I tried to net it but being tangled, that took what seemed forever. What a mess! I finally was able to get the Laker into the net and the box. That video will never be viewed by anyone but me.  Bad, bad, bad! But it proves you can sometimes do everything right and you'll not get the fish but sometimes, you can do everything wrong and still get the fish. I think it has a lot to do with the hat you're wearing and I changed mine right after that. That's a story for another time. Perhaps you get the idea I like doing this fishing duty. You'd be right! Fish caught at 135', 155', and 180' so you figure out the best depths and let me know please. Great time on the water! Winds averaged SE at 5 mph. Bring on more of the same. Water was 39 and air 41 but it felt much warmer. Fishing time was 3.75 hours and 5 Lakers, but who's counting?

23 Apr    Today's forecast was for decent winds from the south but it turned out they were averaging 12 mph, with lumpy seas as my guest Frank Lorsbach and I set lines at 120',  the beginning of our shallow run of 115' to 145'. If we'd have caught the marks, we'd have a lot of fish. However, we ended tagging only  two Lakers and missing one in a little over 3 hours. Very  slow fishing! True to form, as we ended the SE run to turn around, the wind died off and it was almost calm. But that didn't make the fish bite. Still, it was a beautiful day on the Big Pond. Oh, on our way out I noted an Indian net I that appeared over the boundary waters, to the east. I marked its location as latitude 46 33.748 and longitude 87 20.897. That's roughly a quarter of a mile or .243 miles over the line to to what I understand is a line due north of the mouth of the Chocolay River. So fellow fishermen, we watchful.

22 Apr    My guest today was Jason Stanczyk, who fished with me a few times last year. When we launched it was 26 but with few clouds and little wind, it didn't feel that cold. Having talked  to some other fishermen recently and just feeling a need to get out of my comfort zone, I thought it was time to try a little different route and not so deep water and so we set lines at 125' FOW, with a goal to stay in the 120' to 140' range. It wasn't too long before the Johnson rod had a hit that quickly got off, then another about 10 minutes later, which we tagged and released. Half an hour later the rigger produce another Laker, also tagged and released. We stuck to the depths of 120' to 155' and caught 3 more Lakers, all around 5# and nice leans. The winds remained calm as did the seas, except for some gentle rollers. We wrapped it up at noon and the air was still only 35.7 and the surface water 39, but with the sun it felt very comfortable. A very enjoyable day on the water.

20 Apr    Today my guest was Andy Jasonowicz,  the DNRE coordinator for our Lake Trout Mortality Study. Conditions as we set lines were considerably better than predicted - flat calm. The air was a cool 43 but with calm winds, great! It wasn't too long before the suspended rigger hit and we caught and  tagged a nice Laker and released it. Within minutes, the Johnson rod hit and Andy reeled that Laker in and got introduced  to the tagging process, releasing that one too. We caught and released one more Laker  and missed a real bell ringer on the downrigger before we wrapped it up. So we ended with 3 Lakers caught and all three tagged and released, and missing one. All in 3 hours. Slow, but what beautiful conditions and a learning day! I'll put a picture of Andy here later. Fish were between 150' and 170'. One on  the stacker was suspended so I suspect it was probably 25' off 170' FOW (feet of water). The forecast for tomorrow is for wind so don't look for a report.

19 Apr    Well, the Big Pond finally settled down after several days of huffing and puffing. I didn't get too early a start as it was 30 at 8:30a when I launched. It was calm as glass when I set up in 140' (surface water 39). With the sun, it didn't feel so cold and without any wind, it felt warm enough to shed some layers of clothing as time went by. I worked the Starboard (mine when with others) rigger hard to keep it tight  to the bottom and the Port rigger I suspended, probably 20' from the bottom, which ranged from 150' to 180'. After a while my rigger bell rang and then went dead. I pulled it to check and sure enough, the stacker line was off so I knew it was a Laker. Later when I was dinking around with some small project, the Port rigger hit and I caught a nice 4# Laker.  And probably 45 minutes later, the port rigger hit again, this time I tagged and released the Laker. I made a circle to fish back and just approaching the end of my run and 3 hours, the port rigger again hit and I boxed my second and last Laker. Great water to fish and enjoy, even it it was a little slow going with 3 Lakers and a miss in 3 hours, but who's counting? Me!

12 Apr    Today was a special day in that my guest was Shawn Sitar, DNRE Marine Biologist, who specializes in Lake Trout research. This was kind of a test phase for a Lake Trout Hooking Mortality Study just beginning whereby several local fishermen will be tagging and releasing Lake Trout. Based on return rates from fishermen and DNRE surveys, they can determine survival rates. Our objective today was to see how it all works as tagging a flopping Lake Trout isn't easy, plus recording all the data, such as depth, bloating factor, and so on. The water was calm and winds very light as we set lines. For the first 45 minutes we marked one fish and then it became  a Tagging goat rope. My rigger rang the bell at 178' of water and bringing the fish in showed two Lakers on the one line. That went fairly well, one being dead on arrival (DOA) and while tagging the other one, the Johnson rod hit. We got that Laker to the back of the boat and it got off about 5' from the net. Then the other rigger went off. One 4# Laker we tagged didn't make it so we had to circle and net it. In short, the action was pretty fast for a while, then it went dead until just before we quit when my brand new hat blew of in the wind while we were tagging our last fish. I marked the spot on my GPS and was able to steer back to it. It was a birthday gift from my daughter and if I'd lost it I could never go home again. We ended catching 6 Lakers, and tagging 4, and missing 2. We learned a lot and the last two tags went fairly smoothly. The DNRE will probably put out some publicity about the study in the next month or two. Here's a picture of Shawn reeling in one of the Lakers you may click to enlarge.

Shawn Sitar reeling in a Lake Trout You can read more about the tagging report if you click here.

11 Apr    Here I go again on forecasts but my favorite weather site said winds would be reasonable  but lessen as the day went on so I launched at 9a with that in mind. I headed east in calm seas on the same route as the last time. I marked almost nothing. Finally after an hour, I got a hit on the Johnson rod. This was followed by lot of cranking and by the way he fought, I thought much bigger. I finally boxed the Laker (3#+)  and continued on my route. BTW, my comments of 29 March that the auxiliary motor problems noted last Fall were fixed were  premature. The last few trips the  motor raced and slowed for the first hour and was very difficult to deal with. It's unpredictable but after an hour,  it settles down beautifully. Anyway, the seas were perfectly calm for the first two hours and the aux motor was great. I had a bell-ringer on my downrigger but  the Laker didn't stick to the the stacker lure, which released so I reset that. Off to the north i could see the wind and seas building. This was just when I was getting to one of my favorite spots. Soon winds were averaging 14mph but not a major problem. My GPS arrival alarm went off and within seconds, I got another Laker on the Johnson. Another goat-rope like last time that tangled into a rigger rod  but again I got it in. At this point, it could see a rough ride home so up came the lines. True enough, it was a wet and wolly ride home. The boat got its first bath of the season and I hope there aren't any more like that for a while. Yeah, I know, forecasts are just forecasts, not guarantees. Still, it was a pretty good day on the water. Beats a lot of other things.

6 Apr    Yesterday's forecast for today wasn't all that good but it was considerable better when I got up. My plan was to try a third area, to the east seeing as I hadn't done all that well the prior two trips. My launching is usually a work of art...but not today as my winch rope got hung up and well, it wasn't pretty but I recovered well. I set lines in a light westerly breeze and light seas. It was breezier on shore than a few miles out, this being caused by the ice cold water dampening the winds. It happens every year. Down went the gear and off to a slow start. No marks or hits for over an hour through some normally good fishing grounds. A fishing friend always tells me if you're not catching anything, don't look back so I kept going. The wind completely calmed off, as did the already light seas and I thought now would be a good idea to get out my junk box (know anyone that doesn't have one or more of those?) and find out what's in it - maybe organize it. So with my boom box playing the Beach Boys, and stuff flying out of the junk box, I heard the tinkle of the Johnson rod and the clang of the rigger - a double. First I had to get the junk box stuff reboxed and off the dog house  I planned to get the fish on the Johnson rod in first so let the cranking begin. About half way in I noticed when I pulled up on the rod, the rigger rod would twitch. That's usually not a good thing and in this case, it wasn't either. The two got tangled, something that seldom happens. However, Murphy's Law says when it happens, you'll be fishing alone. I won't bore you with details but I unroped the goat rope and got both fish in by some miracle. Like my launch, it wasn't pretty. Oh, I did have time to mark the spot (plain bottom 176' deep).

I fished another mile, then returned to the location where I caught those Lakers, only to have another double, within 1,000 feet of my marks. This time it went smoother, well a little smoother. Now it's time for my fishing observation that I think fish communicate a feeding frenzy to other fish. I've seen this time and again as the Johnson rod lure and rigger lure are probably 400' apart, yet both doubles occurred within seconds of each other. Conditions were great and without wind or seas, it was most peaceful. Approaching my starting point, I began to get ready to haul in the gear when my port rigger, which I had probably 30' from the bottom hit, and I got my 5th Laker. So I got my limit for the first time since the limit changed back from 3 to 5 Lakers. I felt like I'd snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, well almost. That'll stop me from whining about the slow fishing for a little while. My junk box is pretty much like I found it but I did discover a few treasures I'd forgotten about. Next trip...

5 Apr 10    Luckily, a rain front rolled through around an hour before my guest Frank Lorsbach and I launched. Winds were supposed to be fairly light from the south but in reality, we had 7mph winds from the north, with 2' rollers. That wasn't troublesome so off we went, at a little slower pace. We set lines at 118' and worked our way to 180' and then 140', marking nothing and catching the same. Finally, the Johnson rod bounced and after boating that Laker, Frank's downrigger produced another nice 4# lean. We then turned and trolled back to where we started, the only other action was a big hit on Frank's rigger that just shook it and bounced it good. That didn't last too long and the fish was off before we could see it. So in a little over 3 hours, we caught  2 Lakers. I'm grateful for that and we didn't get skunked either. Conditions were great, as the sun was out, the air was42, the surface water 38, and the wind gradually went calm and the seas settled nicely.

29 Mar 10    Well, I'm back. BTW, looking through my records, this is the earliest launch since 1996, but it might be longer than that. I have records before that but don't feel like digging them out. The early morning temperature was 27 so I waited until 10a to launch. Both engines fired up after a long winter's sleep. I headed north to try deeper water and make sure all the equipment worked ok. Turning the corner around the breakwater, I was greeted by 2' rollers so back came the throttle and I went a little slower to my starting spot. I set up in 120' but quickly hit 165'. With the rollers it was sometimes difficult to walk a straight line, but it wasn't dangerous. I fished for 2 hours and saw 3 fish marks and might have had a fish on briefly. The wind settled from a northerly 8 mph to light and variable and the seas settled too. I don't count this as a skunk as it's a shakedown, the equivalent to a Mulligan in golf. I was most happy that the Yamaha kicker ran so well. Last Fall I had endless grief that it would change speeds for the 1st hour. All of a sudden it dawned on my that my thermostat was probably bad and the engine was running too cool, and kicking the heat-operated choke on and off. So I tried to remove the thermostat cover, only to find one of the stainless steel bolts corroded in the aluminum. It finally snapped off and then the fun began drilling out the remaining bolt. Once I got that done (read that as expletives deleted) , I installed a new thermostat and put a bolt with a nut where the bolt had broken. Well, it all worked and about that, I'm real happy. I didn't make any mistakes the first time out but somehow compiled a list of things I'd forgotten to do. Looks windy so maybe tomorrow I can get those things done. I'm glad to see you back too.



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