"Cooler By The Lake"
2013 Lake Superior Fishing Log
Information on tagging. Between 4 and 7 of us local fishermen participated in a Michigan DNR Lake Trout Hooking-Mortality 5-year study being conducted in Marquette (Lake Superior) beginning in 2010. This unique study will attempt to determine hooking-mortality rates of lake trout to help DNR 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.
Click here to see last year's log - 2012 or jump to the 2014 log.
Fishing Synopsis for 2013
Two thousand thirteen was fun, but not quite as productive as last year, when we set a very high bar. As you can see from the statistics, our fish caught per hour rate decreased to 2.63, still well above nearly all prior years. Our late start of 27 April compared to 18 March last year, and weather that wasn't all that good resulted in our number of trips dropping to 64, from 77. We again participated in the DNR Hooking Mortality Study, the last year for that aspect of the study. We will miss that next year as it enabled us to stay out longer and catch more fish. More importantly, we believe the study will produce some very good data for Lake Trout management in the future and we were fortunate to be a part of it.
I have posted our results for this year's Hooking Mortality Study, along with the overall results to date. Note that the study will continue for another two years to provide recapture data. I still find it very interesting that we caught only 4 tagged Lake Trout all summer. How strange is that! Results to date indicate our recapture of Lakers we tagged is slightly over 20%. That includes recaps from commercial, tribal, sportsmen and the DNR.
Note figures may change slightly as I reconcile my two databases and add various data. Have a great winter.
20 Oct 2013 To a good forecast of 5-10 mph winds, Frank and I left in light winds at the launch in 39º air but turning the corner enroute to our favorite spot, mixed waves and rollers made the journey a slow and bumpy one. A glance at the anemometer when we got to our fishing site showed winds at 12-14 mph and we decided to head to another run, roughly 70' of water and closer to shore, so off we went. In that hour and a half run, we caught 2 Lakers (tagged and released both) and questioned whether to head home or go back to our favorite site and run with the wind. Note we hadn't marked a single fish, but that's not a deal-breaker. Anyway, we opted for the latter option to move and as we set up, the winds back down and it got downright nice. As we set up at 140', the marks on the graphs were unbelievable, But the marks must have been of fish that wanted to keep their mouths closed. Well, we did a little whining and it once again, paid off and the action started. This being the last of the tagging season, we had 14 tags left but never thought we would get to use them. Well, we did! We went through so many marks we thought how can we not catch them. as it seems we caught Lakers when we didn't mark them. Strange, but not unusual!
Marks appeared from 130' to 185'. but it appeared the 150' was best, so we tried to stay in that range. Ok, wrapping this up, we had 2 tags left and decided it was time to quit in a short time, all the tags used or not. Well, before long, both riggers produced and as we used the last of our tags, Frank commented, let's hope the Johnson won't hit. But then it did, so we released it and went home, having caught and released 15 Lakers, including one 10#.. Having looked at the forecast for the next 7 days., either or both the words rain or windy are mentioned so this is the last of the season for us. What a great year. Thanks for following our fishing journeys. Please come back for my synopsis in a couple of weeks.
17 Oct Another great day as Frank and I headed out on the Big Pond that was just settling down from high winds yesterday. We fished pretty much where we fished last time and the action was about the same. Winds were pretty calm as were the seas. When we left the launch, it was 38º and frost on the dock. But with no wind to speak of and occasional sunshine, it wasn't long before a couple layers of clothes came off. Besides, when you're catching fish, it seems to warm up anyway. We ended tagging and releasing 14 Lakers, several in the 5-6# size range, one was 10#. We also kept 5 for a tally of 19 Lakers in about 4 1/2 hours. Judging from the long-range forecast, each trip might be our last. My plan is to push to the end of the month or first significant snowfall, whichever comes first.
14 Oct Finally a decent day as Frank and I launched to fairly light winds. We set lines at 112' and at 135' hit our first Laker. Probably half an hour passed before the next Laker, but then the action got pretty wild. Over the 4+ hours we fished, we caught a total of 21 Lakers, tagging 15 and keeping 6. We had 4 single line doubles and rolled 4 nice Lakers just out of reach of the net. We snagged one 6# Laker on the side and had to stop the boat so we could reel it to the net. We then tagged and released it and off it went. While we ranged in depth from 112' to 180', we found most action between 135' and 155' with lots of marks. Conditions were wonderful, the light north wind going to near calm as it slowly clocked around to the east and then picked up to 8 mph. Great day on the Big Pond.
2 Oct Most forecasts indicated decreasing winds but the question was when as it was pretty windy early with whitecaps. So Frank and I delayed launching until 11a to beautiful seas. Action was really slow where we went over an hour without a hit. I think we marked 5 Lakers in the 3+ hours we were out. We did manage to tag and release 9 Lakers and kept none. It was great to be on the Big Pond after several days of wind and several rainy days coming up. Credit where credit is due as today's forecast was right on.
29 Sep Finally a decent forecast, albeit winds decreasing to calm by mid afternoon. So Frank pushed away from the dock at 10a and setting lines found fairly light SSE winds, with 2-3' rollers from the north, 1' waves from the south, and brutal currents heading north. With the kicker motor on idle, we were barely able to get the riggers down at 2.3 mph. But in 5 minutes, the Johnson rod hit and we thought great, another bountiful day. Not much later, we got double hits, but only one went in the box. Slowly the winds built and it took 3/4 power on the auxillary motor when we were heading into the current and breeze. It turned into a pretty slow day, as we boxed 4 Lakers, missed 2, and tagged and released 2, all in 3.5 hours. I don't think we marked 5 fish the whole time, not that it means much to us. But, it was a beautiful, sunny day and a great time on the water. Fishing is indeed a great excuse to spend time on the water. BTW, despite the calming forecast, winds were steady at 14 mph when we quit.
26 Sep Gee, two beautiful days in a row, with calm seas again. Frank and I both had early afternoon appointments so we launched a little earlier than usual, 8am, no comments please. We set lines at 165' and within minutes, a hit and miss on the Johnson rod. But then the port rigger hit and pretty soon all the rods were jumping. In the first hour we had 9 Lakers on, missed a couple, boxed the first 3, and tagged the rest. Action slowed but didn't stop. Once again the currents were brutal, I ran the kicker at 1,650 rpm north, slow as it would go, and without wind we were cruising at 2.2 mph. On the reverse leg, I kicked to 2,600 rpm and were doing 2.1 mph. We're always speculating what the lures are doing. So here's the down and dirty - we ended tagging 12 Lakers, boxing 4, and seeing a couple get off behind the boat, all in slightly over 3 hours. In the last hour the winds kicked to 10-14 mph but it was manageable. Oh, we had 2 single line doubles and 2 triples. Most fish were around 180', one at 145' and another at 205'. Fun time on the water! The next couple of days don't look that good though, but maybe that's good at the home front.
25 Sep The forecast was wonderful, calm winds and fog predicted. With no trace of fog, Frank and I set lines, the breeze was 7 mph from the SW, but slowed died off and I must admit, the forecast was dead on today, sun and all. We set lines at 120' and slowly worked our way deeper. The first action was at 180' and it remained steady thereafter. We passed by a fellow boater and as we waived, one downrigger went off, then the other, then then Johnson. Turned out we had a single-line double on so four fish on. Action stayed pretty steady, most at the 180' level, but we ranged into 145' and caught a lake, then down to 211' for another. OK, ended tagging 12 Lakers and boxing 4, 16 Lakers in shy of 4 hours. The currents were nothing like yesterday. Just a great day. OK, I must confess to yet another goat-rope, an 8# Laker externally hooked and tangled into the other downrigger. This has happened before on foug Bottom line, after much dancing around, unbelievably, we got it in and tagged and released. I then sat down and ate a sandwich I seldom bring. Again, great day on the water.
24 Sep It's been a week of huffing and puffing on the big pond but finally a break today as Frank and I headed out early afternoon. Winds were around 7 mph from the south but the currents were the strongest I've seen this year. The kicker motor was on idle and we were still pushed along at the top end of what we like to troll at. An hour passed without a mark or a hit. Then a triple but after cranking the Johnson rod 3/4 of the way in, that Laker got off. From there more time passed but eventually we boxed the first 4 Lakers and tagged 3. We also lost one right behind the boat. We did have a goat rope with the net, with a Laker in it, got caught in the small motor. We eventually had to kill the motor and raise it up. That took care of about 20 minutes not fishing. Whilst fishing, we could hear a jet aircraft nearby. First looking up and seeing nothing, we looked on the horizon to see two fighter aircraft skimming over the water about a mile away. Neat! When we quite, the wind had increased to 14 mph and clocked to the southeast so we decided to head in. Reeling in the Johnson, there was a lamprey snagged on the lure, which we promptly dispatched.
17 Sep After mulling over all the various forecasts, most showing around 10 mph from the south, Frank and I decided to go after my early dental appointment. After setting lines, it wasn't 5 minutes before the Johnson bent over and the fish stayed on for about 5 turns of the reel. However, after a short time the port rigger produced a single line double. Trolling with the wind the auxiliary motor was almost at an idle. We managed two more Lakers at depths from 180' to 210' before we decided to head into the increasing wind and waves. We then picked up one more Laker as an occasional glance at the anemometer showed winds averaging 14 mph, gusting to 18 mph. Frank suggested we bunch it and it wasn't difficult to convince me, so we pulled the plug with 5 Lakers in the box after 1 hour.
11 Sep My guest today was Gary Olson from Rapid River, who has fished with me the past several years. We launched in heavy fog and with my radar spinning, we made our way to set lines at 145', working deeper. It wasn't long before action picked up as the Johnson rod bent over and Gary complainingly reeled and reeled, and discovered two Lakers on, but we netted only one of the two. But the action continued and we ran my route further than usual, we then turned and action slowed down. The fog lifted but the calm winds picked up, occasionally hitting 14mph. The seas remained fine and quite fishable. Heading back to quit where we started, we had 10 Lakers in the box and tagged 3. I commented I'd like to catch one more tag to complete a lot sheet. I also commented that there were several ways to catch a Laker, one I won't mention but guys will know, complete my log sheet, put the net away, put other things away. In other words, get ready to quite. Well, we decided to wrap things up with a limit in the box and 3 tagged, I cranked the Johnson rod up to I'm guessing about 100' as the end of our run comes up from 180' to 117'. Then my rigger bell rang and then Gary's. Looking up, we saw the Johnson rod bent over. Scramble, scramble so we tagged and released both Lakers off the riggers. Then, we discovered the Johnson rod had two Lakers, again which we tagged. So we ended the trip thinking we we were done and ended with a quad - four on at once. Quite a day as we boxed 10 Lakers, and tagged 7, and missed 3.How ironic it was of the last trip, finishing up with almost the same number, same location, and topping out at the end with a nice catch. Does it get any better - not!
En route home I could see the US Coast Guard boat veering a course towards us as we neared the end of the breakwater, so I backed off the throttle as they approached. With my permission (as though they needed to ask, but they did), they boarded us and inspected just about everything, safety and compliance-related. Everything checked out fine and I passed, no surprise. I have no problem with such inspections as I think it's good for the boating public. I commented to them that I appreciated their professionalism but did later have one regret, I didn't say "thank you for serving!"
7 Sep Actually, I thought it was not going to be fishable today but last night the forecasts mellowed somewhat and I thought an early start would be best. Despite there being a big fishing contest going on (no, I haven't don't that for quite a few years). launching was a piece of cake as looking out lots of boats were plying the waters for salmon. Frank and I decided to range and avoid the boat traffic and found seas were fantastic, with only one other boat in our area. We set lines at 150' but at 170' action picked up, and stayed up. While there were a few gaps where we wondered where the fish were, suddenly we were busy with rigger bells a-ringing. As time progressed, more boats joined us, presumably those that fished in the contest early for salmon and now wanted Lake Trout. Seas were beautiful, making navigation great. In the last half hour the winds picked up from the north so we thought let's fish back to where we started, having a box of ten Lakers and a limited number of tags. I wanted one more Laker to complete the log sheet when Frank caught a single line double and then the Johnson rod produced another. Without further details we boxed 10 Lakers and tagged and released 8, all in under 3 hours. What a great day fishing and being on the Big Pond. No regrets about not being in the contest as I did that years ago and we probably wouldn't have won anything this time, but have in the past. Most of the action was at 180' or thereabouts, As we left, winds were picking up from the north and our timing getting off was luckily, really good. Fun!
5 Sep Finally a break in the weather as Frank and I headed out to one of our favorite places we haven't fished in a while. We set lines at 150' and it wasn't long before a rigger bell rang and the fist Laker went into the box. I had instructions from home to come back with fish so the plan wasn't to tag until we had several. The action really picked up with doubles and triples, including two single-line doubles. The Johnson rod was working overtime. We usually leave one of the riggers between 50' and 70' whence we put the Johnson rod out so it doesn't tangle into the rigger. Frank set his at 70' and all of a sudden his rigger bell rang and he reeled in a nice 6# Laker which we tagged and released. So we marked lots and caught lots, tagging and releasing 12, boxing 10, and missing 5. We ranged in depths from 150' to 234', catching them all over in between. We talked about trying the 120' depths but that was just talk as we were doing quite well where we were. Talk about a great day on the water, which became near-calm most of the three and a half hours we fished.
31 Aug Yesterday small craft warnings were up but today winds were supposed to be light so out I went. Surprise, as I turned the corner from the breakwater light to 3-5' rollers. I slowed down, put the tabs down, and continued on. It was challenging setting up and maintaining a good speed so I put the Johnson rod out, the starboard rigger to the bottom and suspended the port rigger at various depths so it wouldn't be a bother. Finally after about half an hour a hit on the Johnson so it was crank, crank, crank and finally, I'm guessing about 50' out, it got off. This exact scenario repeated two more times after that, also getting off behind the boat, but I didn't see them. Finally a Laker on the rigger, tagged and released. Then another hour or so passed and this time the Johnson rod came through and that one went into the box. However, I left the Johnson rod out of the water as I had marked on the GPS where there were several fish marks and I wanted to circle that small area. Other than this area, I don't think I marked 5 fish. Anyway, circling didn't pay off and finally I wrapped it up after 3 and a half hours, having caught just two Lakers. The Lake had settled considerably by quitting time. I talked with the fishermen who fished nearby and they caught 5 Lakers. My suspended line produced nothing.
29 Aug My guest today was Greg Gustafson, who periodically joins me fishing. Today conditions were just superb, calm waters and little breeze. We set lines and got all in readiness when the starboard rigger fired up. Big as life, it was a single line double, and whilst looking at both fish in the water, one got off but we tagged and released the other one. This was an omen for missing fish today. Action then really slowed down but taking to my cronies fishing out there, it was the same for them. We plied waters from 170' to 220', slowly tagging and releasing one more Laker and boxing four. Back to missing fish, we missed five, three of which were in sight behind the boat. Slow as it was, we discussed quite a few of the local and worldly problems and may have even come up with solutions to a few. Well, maybe not. Great time on the water!
27 Aug The light rain was just letting up as I rolled out in the fog to set lines. I set my radar to spin up every 5 minutes to detect any other boats around but the visibility slowly improved and I didn't need that after an hour. I got the Johnson rod out and two riggers and quickly got the other gear ready. That was good because after 15 minutes the Johnson rod hit, then a rigger bell rang. Turned out there were two Lakers on the Johnson rod but the rigger Laker got off. I reset the gear and before long, each rigger bell rang. Action remained fairly steady. After about two hours, the Johnson rod again produced a single line double and I got the first one in the box but in the process, the line slipped from where I put it to keep out of the motor, right into the motor. Whack, there went the gear and other Laker to the bottom of the Lake. So I just left the Johnson rod out and fished with the riggers. Between fish I re-rigged the Johnson rod but didn't put it out. About 15 minutes before quitting, a rigger bell went off and the line started peeling out. I wanted to get the riggers up so I just let the rod with the fish on go for a couple of minutes. I then fought the fish for a couple of minutes and then it was gone. So in 3 hours, I boxed 5 Lakers (including a 5# and 6#), tagged and released 3, and missed two. Conditions were great with calm winds and seas. Most of the Lakers were caught between 170' and 200'.
26 Aug Last night I planned to fish today but thought those plans would be dashed when a big thunder and lightning storm rolled through during the night. However, early morning it all cleared off and the seas were calm as I headed out. Action was slow and half an hour passed before my first hit, a really small Laker, I call dinks. The plan was to tag today, which I did. I pretty much stuck to the 180' level, once and a while venturing as deep as 220'. I ran a couple of lures from 60' to 90' but that was just a lure-washing venture, no action there. I finally picked up 4 more Lakers in the 3+ hours, most near the 200' mark. Most were 3-4# Lakers but they hit unusually light and seemed to fight less than usual. Anyway, I tagged and released them all. Conditions remained wonderful, with almost no wind.
23 Aug How to describe today's adventure? That's what it was. Special guests were Ron Rabe and his daughter Alex, close friend Dani Simandl, and their visitor from California, Joe Loria. Conditions were wonderful, calm and sunny. Well, sometimes conditions seem to be too nice as we went an hour and a half without a hit when suddenly the Johnson rod bent over. We thought it a snag until it started thrumming. Joe was delegated to reel it in, which wasn't easy. We finally got it netted and on the scale showed 17.5#. We would have released it but could see it was not in good shape so kept it. That Laker came off a suspended lure, probably around 50' - 70' down. Still few marks and we decided to run one rigger up to 71 clicks (sounds scientific eh?) and after 15 minutes, the bell rang and the line started paying out. I said it's got to be a salmon as it was all over the place. Alex was hanging on for dear life but did a fantastic job getting the big Laker, yes, it was a wild Laker, close, but not her fault, it was in the downrigger wire. Undoing that, it crossed over and came too close to the boat so I managed to snag the net, with the Laker in it the net, in the small motor, but not the prop. Finally, I got that loose and lifted the Laker, and I exaggerate not, at least 10# into the box. As I reached down to grab the Laker, it was facing up, two flips of its tail and it sailed out of the box and headed straight down in the water. None of us were upset as it was a beautiful Laker and we had actually talked about releasing the next Laker. Besides it makes a great story and the fish will only grow in time, both in our stories and reality. So two Lakers were all we got (well, we also missed one), and both were suspended.
I have a shirt that says "what happens on the boat stays on the boat" but I'll make an exception this time. Action was really slow so Ron started a conversation about where the water in Lake Superior came from to does the moon rotate? I chimed in that there's never been an intellectual conversation on the boat so far and I'd like that tradition to continue. Overall, it was a fun time with great friends. We marked very few fish and listening to others on the marine radio, it was a very slow day for them too. No complaints here! On the pictures below, click to enlarge and use your back key to return here.
18 Aug Goatus Ropus, Latin for Goat Rope (I made that up but it describes this trip). The best forecast I found was SW 5-10 so out I went, the boat's anemometer showing 12-14 mph. Typical, but I thought why not fish with it for a while so out went the Johnson rod first. It wasn't two minutes later it was bent over and reefing with apparently a pretty big Laker. That ended in less than two minutes as it got off. So I started to rig my downrigger when the Johnson rod bounced again, but I wasn't ready to tag - no net, no camera, not timer so it was scramble, scramble, but I did it. Out went the Johnson again and I was just finishing setting up my downrigger when a powerful gust of wind push me sideways, pulling my lure into the trolling motor. Oh, but it gets better! It also pulled my downrigger fishing rod down and into the motor, neatly snapping the rod in two. The top half is now at the bottom of the Lake. #*#$! So I pressed my backup rod into service and in 15 minutes, the rigger bell rang and just as I was reeling in, the Johnson rod went into action. Turned out I had a single line double and one on the Johnson - three Lakers on at once but I managed to tag and release all three. It was a Chinese fire drill indeed. The port rigger I ran at 55 clicks but it didn't do anything. My trolling speed was 1.5 - 1.6 on the way out but on the return leg, I had to run 2.3 mph just to control the boat into the waves and wind and never got a hit on the return leg. I bunched it after an hour and 45 minutes, even though the wind had died off somewhat. I'm now rigging another rod for next time. I'm guessing there'll be a wrinkle in doing that. Addendum: Rigging another rod required drilling a tiny hole near the reel seat as it was loose. Always something.
16 Aug We couldn't have asked for a nicer day as Frank and I set lines at 165', on our way to deeper waters if need be. Seas and wind were near calm. Nearly an hour passed and nothing, not even a fish mark. We finally hit a Laker at about 190' and into the box it went, our plan was to box the first 4, the tag a few. The second Laker was a dink (small) so we just released it without tagging. Slowly we caught a few, mostly around the 200' level. Then another 45 minutes passed with nothing. Then the Johnson rod hit so I decided to lift my downrigger up to 50' so as not to get the Johnson rod tangled in it. We got the Laker off the Johnson rod in, then one on my rigger. Meantime Frank had one on his rigger and I looked over to see my rigger just going nuts. It had to be a salmon as the line was going all over the place, finally tangling into Frank's rigger wire. Goat rope but we got it out and got a Laker but I know there was a Salmon on the other line. I'm pretty sure we had 4 fish on at once. That's our story. So, we finished boxing 5 Lakers, releasing one, and tagging 3,in a little over 3 hours. We also missed two I call holy rollers, visible but out of reach of the net, roll around and are gone. Conditions remained just about perfect but we both had to get in fairly early. Great day!
15 Aug Good forecast but a little breezy and rocky at first with Frank Lorsbach and my Grandson, Spencer Smith (17) along. However, action was decent, ranging from around 170' to 220', but most of the action was around 180'. The Johnson rod finally awoke and produced a couple of Lakers. A funny thing happened as Spencer was reeling in the Johnson I said I'd bring my rigger up to 50' and lean the Johnson rod away from Frank's rigger. So as I just hit 55 clicks on the rigger counter, my rod went crazy, a nice hit. So we put the Johnson rod and fish in the holder and Spencer then reeled in a nice 5# Laker that put up quite a hassle. He then reeled the Johnson rod the rest of the way and we boxed another Laker. So with 8 Lakers in the box we wrapped it up in under 3 hours. As I was winding up my stacker line though, somehow my lure got caught in the small motor and poof, it was gone. Wouldn't you think I'd know better! Fun day thought and I must mention how the winds and seas subsided too.
12 Aug Today I had good intentions of catching up on a few projects, but it was a beautiful morning with calm winds and well, you guessed it, the Big Pond beckoned. A call to Frank and at 10am out we went. Lines were down in 165' and it wasn't long before our first Laker was on. Today we planned to box Lakers for smoking and not do any tagging. The action remained fairly steady and the size of the Lakers, a little bigger than usual, the largest of the 7 Lakers was a little over 6# but most were between 3 and 4#, all nice leans. After two and a half hours, when we boxed our 7th Laker, Frank commented on the white caps way out on the Lake but it was calm where we were. Frank checked the wind at Granite Island which now showed 25 mph. We decided it was a good time to head in so up came the gear. As we headed in, the skies opened and down came a heavy rain. I put the trim tabs down all the way, going just fast enough to maintain the boat on a plane , with hopes the rain would stop by the time we got to the launch. Voila! Perfect timing as it stopped just as we arrived at the ramp. Heading home, the winds hit and the trees were really bending over. Good timing eh! Tomorrow the Big Pond can beckon away but I'm not going out.
11 Aug My guest today was Bob Bryngelson from Iron Mountain, who fishes with me almost yearly. Having to drive 90 miles makes planning a fishing excursion challenging, given the frequent weather changes. This morning the trees were whipping around and there was a good breeze but I had found enough good forecast to believe it would settle. Well, when we set lines, winds were from the north around 10 mph but it didn't take long for the winds and seas to subside. It also didn't take very long for the first Laker to hit. Our mission, besides enjoying being on the water was to get Bob some Lakers. Action was decent as we plied waters from 165' to 220', the best around 200'. The currents were quite powerful but not as bad as yesterday. Steadily we managed to get his limit and tagged 4, all in a little over 4 hours. We had a few goat-ropes but that's fishing. Nothing lost! Must mention missed Lakers as we had 4, two of which I call "holy rollers" because they just roll over as we're about to net them and away they go. The last Laker had a green tag in it, which I looked up in my records as having tagged on August 8, 2012, in roughly the same spot, with the same rod. Apparently that Laker had a bad memory. Great time! I wished Bob a Merry Christmas as I won't see him again until next year.
10 Aug Rather than complain about the mixed forecast, I'll get right to it. Started a little lumpy with winds from the north at around 10, but not white-caps, mostly rollers. So lines down at 165' and nothing for half an hour, then a twitch and a small Laker to tag and release. Then a couple more to tag. I ran the port rigger at 150 clicks and the rigger bell was ringing. However, I looked up to see the Johnson rod bent over like it was to break. I thought this must be Shamu, the whale. I picked up the rod and slowly made a couple several cranks, but never felt a thrumming. Must have been a big object I tied into. So, I thought best to get the riggers up just enough to slow the boat. Remember, this was when I had a fish on the port rigger. So I slowed the boat down and suddenly, the Johnson rod bent to where I thought it would break and, snap, the tackle and whatever, was gone. Got all my line back but that was all. Fished the next hour with the riggers and eventually, rigged more gear to put the Johnson out again. After a few more passes and fish, the Johnson rod again bent way over and I thought here we go again. This time I could tell it was a big fish, really big as it just bent the Johnson rod down. Then after some 20 cranks, the fish was gone. Would liked to have seen it. Ok, the seas started a little lumpy but slowly settled to near calm. Turned out absolutely fantastic! I tagged the first 7 Lakers and thought if I was lucky, would keep a couple. Then a single line double so I boxed both. Nothing after that. Most productive depths were between 165' and 220'. Finally bunched it, just shy of 5 hours but what a great day!
8 Aug Great forecast so a fairly easy decision for Frank and I to head out. We decided not to go far for several reasons, mostly as we'd done well last time, but also two fishing buddies would be in that area, and that's usually more fun .First half hour, no marks, no hits, no errors. Got a call on the marine radio they had 3 on and the other boat a caught a nice one. Ten minutes later, ring went our one rigger, then another, then.we had 4 Lakers on, Frank with a single line double. A sigh of relief. I annotated the catches on the GPS as a "patch" and in general terms, worked it most of the time, but making fairly long runs and then turning back through that area. It was typical that a couple Lakers hit well north but it was an average thing, most were in the area we marked. so, we ended tagging and releasing 9 Lakers, and boxing 5, in a little under 5 hours. Last comment was we rolled and lost 3 Lakers right behind the boat, and lost at least 3 we never saw. Just a superb day!
06 Aug Ah ha, a good forecast of 5-10 mph winds from the south so out Frank and I went. Well, it was that when we set lines but that didn't last long. The first 45 minutes, no marks, no hits, no errors, then a triple but we only got two of them Then another long dry spell and another triple. Huh? Meanwhile, the wind and seas picked up to average 12 mph, plus a little, sometimes with 1-2' seas. The good news was the seas and wind were straight behind our run and when we turned, we took them head on so the wind and seas didn't really bother us much. It was interesting, as I commented similarly before, today my kicker was running at idle (1,450rpm for those of you interested) with the wind and we were doing 2.1 mph. Turning around into the waves and wind, I ran 2,600 rpm and was doing 1.9 mph. Obviously the currents were very powerful again today, it wasn't just the wind and seas causing the changes. OK, results - we had 3 triples and 2 single line doubles and rolled 3 Lakers right behind the boat #*#%. Tally for the session was tagging 10 and keeping one. Wind and seas aside, it was just a great day on the water! Oh, we wanted to fill a log sheet with one more to go and just as we were pulling lines, we got one on...until right behind the boat. We're pretty philosophical about those things.
4 Aug We vacillated on whether to go fishing, as some forecasts changed from windy to benign overnight, some didn't. Picking the best forecasts for the morning, being 5 mph and waves less than 1', Frank and I headed out to somewhat lumpy seas. We set lines and within the first half hour we had 4 fish on, tagging and releasing them all. Then I caught the Johnson rod into my downrigger and the sky and my words were the same color. Actually I was fairly calm but what a mess, all of course when the Lakers were on the bite. After getting re-rigged, action almost came to a standstill. Meanwhile, the north winds slowly built to a steady 10-12 mph from the north, along with 1-2' seas. But we hung in there, eventually catching 8 Lakers and a 2# Chinook. Testing my new PowerPro non-stretch line has proved interesting, but I like it overall. However, I still need to make some changes in the way I rig it. We ranged in depths from 135' (not intended) to 220', with most Lakers around 170'. BTW, I was wearing a shirt someone gave me that said "What happens on the boat, stays on the boat." Well, sometimes it does, but most of the time it doesn't. Another BTW is that the spiny water fleas are starting to show up.
2 August Yesterday, today looked like a good day to fish, even without my rose-colored glasses. Then on TV6 early this morning were comments of very windy, gusts to 30 mph. So I check several of my weather sites and none indicated winds like that. So out Frank and I went in calm conditions. Should I say quiet conditions as in an hour and a half, same location as my last trip, we marked nothing and had no hits in over an hour. Huh? Where'd they go? Finally a hit and miss. Then another hit that produced a Laker that went into the box. I don't recall seeing as powerful currents as we had today, considering there was almost no wind and seas were calm. My auxiliary motor was running at 2,500 rpm heading north and we were barely making 1.8 mph. Normally, it runs 1,950 - 2,050 rpm. We slowly caught a couple of Lakers, and missed a few, but it was slow. So at the end of our run, we turned and of course the currents were going the other way. Aux rpms were 1,750 and we were sailing along at over 2.3 mph. OK, enough boring details. Action picked up a little and we found several of the Lakers we caught were not on the bottom, but likely within 20-40' off the bottom. We wrapped it up tagging 4 Lakers, boxing 4 and getting off the Lake as the north winds ramped up to 12 mph and the seas were 2', well, maybe a little less. TV6 weather vindicated! Overall, great day on the Big Pond.
Addendum - all didn't go smoothly as the wild and fast current wound up our lures and twisted our lines. It's been a while since that's happened. Most Lakers were between 180' and 220'. Gee, I remember when 180' was too deep for me. Apparently not any more. One more thing, a fishing buddy (not Frank) keeps bugging me to run a Dipsy Diver so we did today, for over 3 hours. Can anyone guess how many fish we caught? Right! I must admit all those marks 50-100' are something but whatever they are, they're not hungry. I still haven't seen any spiny water fleas (invasive species) , a sign how cold the water still is.
30 Jul Finally a decent forecast and I thought, why lie in bed thinking about fishing when I can go, so I launched at 6:20a. What a beautiful morning with 7-9 mph winds from the SSE (It was supposed to be calm) but wonderful to fish in. I took a picture of the sunrise which I'll post here later-if I remember. The first tackle I put out is the Johnson rod so at about 15 cranks, it was dancing about. Dang if I didn't catch a Coho firs thing. Of course the net wasn't ready, but despite all, into the net and box. Pretty good start so I re-rigged the Johnson rod and bang, a Laker. So I was off to a good start. Finally i got the other riggers down and things were popping, except I lost the next 3 fish but that was OK, called fishing. I've been down this road where quick action often leads to dry spells, but not today. The action picked up even more and I twice had a double, once a triple. The port rigger I ran at 160 clicks, just so I didn't have to work it up and down with the bottom. As it turned out, it caught 3 Lakers and one lost. Go figure! But then, the stackers were working too. The Johnson rod I thought was heavy and well, two Lakers. Boiling it down, I boxed Lakers to my limit and then turned into tagging and releasing. So in 4 hours, I caught 12 Lakers and a Coho. Conditions were just great and it was a lot of fun, but tiring. Cranking in 800 feet of line on the Johnson rod with a weight and Laker on, is fun...for a while. But after several times., you keep hoping the Lakers leave it alone. Complaining I'm not! However, lest you think this process is pretty smooth, dispel the notion as the last Laker on the Johnson twisted into a downrigger and made a mess of things, so that rod stayed out for the duration.
26 July I awoke early wondering where the predicted winds were so checking the forecast, they had been toned down. The only threat was then those pesky thunderstorms predicted, but it didn't look too risky so a call to Frank and we were on our way, electronics on board to check the weather as best we can. We didn't venture very far because of the weather and social plans mid afternoon. We set our lines at 165' and within two minutes, a rigger bell rang, only to produce a dinky Laker which we tagged and released. It's a wonder it could even ring the bell. Minutes later, another dink, tagged and released. A somewhat fishing dry spell followed but a medium rain made it a wet spell so we tucked under the canvas until it passed. Finally, another two Lakers, this time considerably bigger hit and we tagged them both, also lost two other Lakers right behind the boat. With the skies getting dark and some red in the radar image, we decided to troll back to where we started and head in. So we logged things out, put the camera and tagging gear away, etc. Just as we were going to get the gear up, both rigger bells went off and there was an organized scramble to get things in order for tagging both Lakers, but we did it. All in all, it was really nice on the water, with practically no wind or waves. Besides, 6 Lakers in under 3 hours was a nice treat.
24 July Conditions couldn't have been better as Frank and I headed out. At 9a we set lines and didn't do much the first hour, maybe two Lakers. Then we picked up a pair at around 170' so we had 4 Lakers in the box. Well, the next hour passed without a hit, but there were a fair number of marks. Then, just like someone turned on the spigot, the action picked up. We were busy in tagging and releasing for the next hour, then another lull. At the four hour mark we had 5 Lakers in the box, tagged and released 8 and were trolling our final leg with we hit a triple. So we ended catching 16 Lakers, tagging 11 of them in a little under 5 hours. Winds and seas were great, the winds picking up to around 7 mph from the SE but not a problem. Great day on the water.
21 July With light winds and calm seas forecasted, Frank and I decided to start closer to where we fished last time, instead of spending 45 minutes trolling to our hot spot. Then we decide to set lines about 15 minutes out. We managed to pick up a couple Lakers around the 170' range with few marks seen. Both fish marks and action picked up, but do so did the misses and the NE wind which slowly built to 12 mph when we quit. We fished from 150' to 190', but the best depth was around 170'. We spent a little longer on the water, 5 hours as it was nice, action good, albeit a good chop on the water. One interesting moment occurred when Frank left his downrigger at 50' so we could get the Johnson rod back out without getting tangled. Ring, ring went the rigger bell and he caught a nice4# Laker. Pleasant surpirse. We ended with 14 Lakers, 9 of which we tagged. As to misses, we rolled 3 in sight behind the boat and missed another 4 bell-ringers. Might have missed more but that's fishing. We seldom fish 5 hours but as fishermen will often do, rationalized that if I can't go out tomorrow or the next day, perhaps we'll stay out a little longer today.
17 July Even though the trees were whipping around early, the forecast was for 5-10 mph from the NW, later to clock around to the north. Then there was also the threat of thunderstorms early afternoon but both Frank and I were optimist those wouldn't be a problem and headed out around 8a. Seas and winds were light. We set lines in 155' and trolled for an hour to where we had good luck two days ago. Guess what, no marks and no hits until we got to our hot spot. Should have went right there! Then the marks started and action too. It seemed we never caught the fish we marked, but who knows and who cares! So we kind of circled that area but it was difficult as the bottom ranged from 120' to 190', very quickly. Conditions remained great, initially flat but gradually went from no wind to 9 mph, slowly clocking around from NW to NE, but the seas remained under 1 foot. Oh, as to Lakers we caught a few to tag and release and some to box as I hadn't smoked a batch so far this year. Towards the latter part of our run, we had a double with one on a rigger and one on the Johnson rod. Then the goat rope began when my hat got knocked into the water. I marked the spot on the GPS and we boxed the rigger Laker. We then did a relatively quick turn with Frank handling the Johnson rod which he said was really heavy, but he temporarily put it in a holder and netted my hat. When he continued reeling in the Johnson rod we discovered (he previously said it feels like two Lakers) two Lakers which we promptly netted. In summary, we tagged and released 4 Lakers, and boxed 7 (now smoked and nearly all gone so don't ask) in about 3.5 hours. Great day on the water!
15 July Today Frank and I launched to near perfect conditions and promptly headed to probably one of our favorite haunts. Down with the gear and the waiting began. The first hour saw only one fish mark and one hit and miss on the Johnson rod. It was sunny and calm and getting hot. We finally, or should I say slowly, ran into several marks in a patch and picked up a couple of Lakers at around 150'. But we kept going, sticking to around that depth and got no more hits so we turned and headed back to where we caught a couple of Lakers. Nearing 3 hours we had tagged two Lakers and 4 in the box. It was hot and the ankle biters and a few other flies showed up so we decided to troll back to where we started and quit. Just as we were pulling lines, the 7th Laker came off the Johnson rod.
14 July Last trip was amazing as the Lake settled so quickly. This trip with Frank it was amazing how the fish disappeared. Seas were decent with a SE wind around 8-10 mph and 1' seas as we set lines where last I fished. Hmmmm! An hour and a half passed and we saw one fish mark on the graph and had no hits so we decided to troll towards home. After around 2 1/2 hours of trolling, we saw a few marks and had two rigger hits, losing both fish. Half an hour later we caught a small Laker that kept us from getting skunked. A beautiful day on the water but not very productive for Lakers.
11 July Amazing how a lake can settle overnight. Yesterday it was gusting to 30 mph, today it was mellow. The forecast looked good so I thought an early start would be good, for a couple of reasons I'll mention in a bit. Once again, fishermen have no shortage of philosophies as to the best time to fish. A fishing friend and I were just discussing this and I brought up how way back we launched in the dark and that I eventually discovered often the fish didn't wake up until 8am. His experience last week was they hit early and shut down after an hour or so, hence that renewed discussion. I don't fish early much anymore but when I do, it's usually because the waters are generally calmer before the winds kick and/or I have to get back earlier than usual. Today I had to get back early so I went to an ole fishing haunt (I also changed caps after the last trip) and set lines at 0655 (6:55 am ) in 165' of water. I then trolled for an hour and marked one fish, and had no hits. Just before doubling back on my route, at 0800 I had a double, both of which I tagged and released. Then another Laker after the turn. The graph suddenly was showing any number of hooks. WTF! The action really picked up. There was another boat in the are and they could see how busy I was tossing Lakers (after tagging them but they didn't know that) over the side. They turned and followed me so close I thought they were going to get into my Johnson line, but then the finally veered off. Turns out I caught 11 L:akers, tagging and releasing 8 of them in 4 hours. Most were in the 175' range. I missed one Laker that rattled the rigger and I reeled in the line to find the lure gone. Honesty precludes me from saying it was a huge fish but rather that there was a nick in the line and I hadn't stripped the line and retired it as I should every several trips. The other miss was a real bell-ringer that got off right behind the boat. What a beautiful day on the water, even calmer as I returned with cool temperatures and sunny skies. Fantastic!
9 July Today looked promising with light winds from the SE so out Frank and I went, in 1-2' waves and a steady 12mph SE wind. Oh well, we set gear and were able to manage, albeit a little rocky and rolly. An hour passed with neither a hit or even a fish mark. Where did the go? We turned into the waves and managed to catch about a 4# Laker which we tagged and released. That was it for fish so we bunched it after a little more than 2 hours. Guess one has to have one of those days once and a while eh!
7 July Following a big green blob of rain on the NWS radar roll through, mid morning Frank and I decided to head out. Talk about mixed wind reports but in reality, it was calm, with light rollers and fog. So we set lines in 135' and it got deeper quickly. We trolled for about half an hour when what should appear off our bow port quarter - a net flag. On my last trip that flag wasn't there. Scramble, scramble to get the gear up, not being able to find a second flag nor even see evidence of the floating balls of a trap net. So we lost about 20 minutes trolling by the net with gear up. The first hour produced no hits or even fish marks. Mumble, mumble! Then finally a Laker for the box, as we wanted to keep some before tagging. Gradually another. So with finally 4 Lakers in the box, we thought plying deeper waters might be the solution, seeing as it was calm. Well, I'll interject here that even though it was calm, I could see what I call a sludge line ahead, with bugs, seagulls, and pollen on the surface. As we went through it, the boat slowed by almost a mile per hour due to the current change. Interesting, but I've seen it before After turning, we thought to troll a different path, venturing off our usual route. That brought into some deep water. Suddenly we had a Laker on at 240', then another. But we set a new record with a Laker at 270', tagged and released. Slowly we found more Lakers as the depths got more reasonable. We ended boxing 4 Lakers and tagging 6 in a little over 3 hours. The air was around 67º but it seemed like much hotter at times, but really a great time on the water. The fog had slowly become just a haze.
3 July My guest today was John Peterson, a good friend who has fished with me a couple of times over the years. Traveling over the calm waters was great as the seas and winds were well behaved. We set lines at 135' on a down slope and within 5 minutes our first Laker hit. Of course, the net and other gear wasn't ready so there was a little flying about the cabin. But then again, I'm getting pretty good at not being ready. So we tagged and released that Laker and just having done that, another hit and we tagged that one. The action remained fairly steady with of course the usual fits and spurts. Most of the action was around 170', but we did range on either side of that. So we tagged 4 Lakers and boxed 5 in exactly 3 hours. One of the highlights was to watch John struggle to reel in a single line double, his first experience at that. Nearing the end of our run we toyed with circling for one more pass but the NE winds had slowly kicked with an occasional whitecap so we decided to pull the plug and head home. Oh, when putting away the gear there was a small Laker hanging on but I'm sworn to secrecy not to tell whose it was! I told John it was the first time that ever happened but I don't think he believed me. Good idea eh! Great day!
2 July What a beautiful, calm morning cruising out with the sun just coming up. It was in the low 50s but very comfortable as I set lines at 150'. In less than 10 minutes, the first Laker hit and some of the gear was not yet prepared, i.e., the net, camera, etc. But I got it together and tagged and released the first Laker. Minutes later, the other rigger went off and so it went, lots of action. Pretty soon off came my jacket and sweater after hopping around the boat. In the first 2 and a half hours I tagged and released 8 Lakers and the temperature seemed to climb. Then I decided to box a few and of course, action slowed down, way down. Well, I had pulled the Johnson rod out so I could turn easier and thinking, action was good so I didn't need it. Wrong! But that was fine as iit was just as calm and so nice that seriously, I didn't care if action slowed down. Eventually, I picked up 3 Lakers, all under 3# to take home. But I also missed at least 3 Lakers, one of which fought hard and hit in 130' of water when I misjudged how quickly I was turning near the drop-off. Most of the time depths ranged from 160' to 190'.
1 July This morning my guests were Paul and Bobby Geraghty, visiting from Ireland. We set lines at 150' and worked as deep as 215' but action was very slow, going the first hour without a mark or hit. It picked up and we were getting a Laker her and there. Paul did reel in a single-line double, two Lakers on one line. We were just wrapping it up having tagged and released 8 Lakers when the final Laker was caught, having a green tag in it, but it wasn't one of mine. The seas were fairly well behaved with a steady 10mph wind from the north and about 1' seas. Both the water and air temperature were steady at 55º so the bright sun helped keep us comfortable.
30 June Well, it all started with the forecast indicating 10 mph from the north (normally not good). I took a ride to the Island to not only check on the marina project and see its availability which rumor has it will be tomorrow, and the seas. Both looked good. So a call to Frank and off we wernt, launching from the newly dredged harbor, a day early. Frank said it's like being home and I agreed! A drive to our fishing hole and lines set at 160' . Slow action pursued until we got a double. It seems strange how we go for an hour with nothing, then a double. Best explanation is the Lakers are in patches. We plied mostly 160-180' depths, marked a few but whatever we caught were at different depths and doubles. So we ended with 8 Lakers tagged and released in about 3.5 hours. Conditions were great as the air temperature was a perfect mid 50s, a slowly decreasing breeze, clear skies, and life was good. Amen!
27 June The seemingly ever-present threat of thunderstorms was pushed to the back of our minds as the sun was shining and the Big Pond was flat as a pancake as Rick Weesen and I headed out. Action was really slow as we plied the 170'ish levels. Finally, a Laker on a rigger broke the ice. However, it swam away just out of reach of the net. After about an hour, both riggers hit, then the Johnson rod, the latter really straining for about the 20 seconds, then it was gone, but the two riggers both produced. Seas remained unusually calm and action slow as we swapped old fishing stories. We ended up after 3 hours with 5 Lakers and two misses. We periodically checked the radar for rain and thunderstorms but didn't see anything. However, we finally thought not to press our luck and headed in. Half an hour after we got home, the skies opened up and lightning flashed. Guess we got lucky or was it just listening to that gut feeling telling us something was going to happen. BTW the black flies that were so bad the last trip were not to be seen. Wonderful!
25 June It was another beautifully, calm day as Frank and I headed out. Slow best describes the fishing as we went an hour before even a hit. Turns out we caught 5 Lakers in a little over 3 hours, tagging and releasing them all. Oh, but the black flies, AKA ankle biters, were really bad. So we didn't mine a shortened trip with fishing so slow and flies so bad. They have a way of ruining the otherwise nice conditions.
24 June The big, full moon in the west and the sun just popping up in the east on calm waters were a wonderful sight as I pulled away from the dock at 6a, a pretty early start. I set lines in 160' and pretty much stayed around the 170' depths the whole time. It wasn't long before the first Laker hit. That went smoothly but the next Laker was thrashing about right out of reach of the net. But the action remained fairly steady. The next action turned out to be a single line double, two Lakers on one line and I got them both, though my netting job wasn't pretty. I pretty much worked an area about a mile long as that seemed best and there were considerable fish marks too. Once the Johnson rod started bouncing so whilst reeling that in lots of cranks, both riggers went off and it turned out another single line double on one side, single on the other and the Johnson rod had Lakers. So I got the Johnson rod all the way to the back of the boat and could see the Laker but off it went. Having 4 Lakers on at one busy, but it's fun. So in the first 3 hours I caught 9 Lakers and missed 3 right behind the boat. In the next hour and a half, only two more Lakers hit. Of the 11 Lakers, 5 went into the box and 6 were tagged and released. Great day with great water.
22 June Heavy fog and a light north breeze and gentle rollers set the stage as Frank and I headed out with the radar spinning. We set lines and slowly picked up a couple of Lakers, which we tagged and released. We marked very few until we hit the corner of our route where it turns and then the graph screen lit up with fish marks. Apparently we were marking "un-hungry" Lakers as we managed to catch only 3 more. By the time the last one hit, the winds had picked up to 13 mph from the north and it was getting difficult to fish, and cold. The air was 49º and the surface water 48º and still heavy fog. Usually it's calm in the fog but not today. So we thought enough of this and headed in after 2 hours.
21 June Today Frank and I planned an early start at 7a, to beat the predicted rain and thundershowers early afternoon. So off we went in rolly polly seas we thought, and were predicted to be, calm. We set lines and it was at least 45 minutes before a hit, a Laker from around 190' of water. We kept checking the radar and the green clutter showed to be about 70 miles to the west. We thought since it's coming, let's turn and head back and bunch it as the fish aren't here or aren't hungry so we turned homeward. We looked again at the radar and suddenly the green stuff was much closer so it was a no-brainer we'd pull lines and head in after an hour of trolling. The seas actually settled and the return trip was good, but, a flash of lightening in our direction was a little stimulating. But it all worked out as it started to rain lightly as we docked and poured after the boat was put away. So much for playing games with Mother Nature! Note this all happened a little earlier than forecasted but hey, that's forecasting! We won't do that again...yeah, right! Watch for tomorrow's log!
19 Jun The plan today was to try some shallow fishing (30-60'), then move out to deeper water if that wasn't productive. The forecast was for south winds around 10 mph. Well, we set up as planned, only to have winds averaging 18mph (this was per my anemometer, not guessing), making it difficult to fish even shallow and ruling out fishing deep. So we slugged it out for 2 hours and managed one suicidal Laker that didn't put up much of a fight for some reason.
18 June On a beautifully, calm morning, Frank, my Grandson Cooper Smith (12), and I headed out to set lines in 160' of water. Well, my start was questionable when I put the lure and leader for the Johnson rod in the water without connecting it and watched it drift away and sink. But before long, we had a double, Frank's Laker breaking his leader and on my side, the lure came out about 10' back of the boat. We did redeem ourselves by finally catching (Cooper did the reeling) 4 Lakers, 2 kept and 2 tagged. For reasons I won't get into, we headed in after an hour and 45 minutes, so I think we did quite well. Cooper's enthusiasm is quite contagious.
15 June 2013 Today my special guests were Jarmo Huttunen, Erkki Kahkonen, and Veli Vihonen, visiting from our Sister City Kajaani in Finland. Starting yesterday, the weather forecast switched from 5 mph to 10-15 mph, and back again to 10 mph, with a 20% chance of rain, I questioned the low rain likelihood as the radar showed considerable green coming our way. And the wind, who knew! As fishermen from a similar climate, they all sported several layers of clothing. Thinking a light rain wouldn't hurt us, off we went to dark skies but almost no wind. We set lines at 165' and in honor of my guests, put Finn spoons on the port rigger. I thought, why not run the rigger a little off the bottom, choose an arbitrary 167 clicks on the counter, and concentrate on keeping the starboard rigger and Johnson rod close to the bottom. Well, in minutes port rigger hit and a nice Laker came to the net in 185' of water. I really don't know how far off the bottom it was but intuition sometimes is a good thing. Before long, that same rigger hit and then the starboard rigger hit,a double, but he latter got off. It rained lightly on and off but remained mostly calm. We then picked up our third Laker on the Johnson rod which Veli reeled in. Having a short fuse on our trip, we circled an managed to catch two more Lakers, both of which we tagged and released. So we ended with 5 Lakers and a miss in 2.5 hours and a most enjoyable time. I offered to fillet the Lakers but all three being dedicated fishermen in their own right, did their own at the fish cleaning station when we got in. Fishing is indeed a universal language. Below are a few shots of my guests, click to enlarge and click your back button to return here. Below is a Google translation to Finnish.
15 kesäkuu 2013 Tänään minun erityinen vieraat olivat Jarmo Huttunen, Erkki Kähkönen ja Veli Vihonen, vierailevat meidän sisar Kaupunki Kajaani Suomessa. Alkaen eilen, sääennuste siirtyi 5 mph 10-15 mph, ja takaisin 10 mph, jossa 20% sateen mahdollisuus, kysyin pieni sateen todennäköisyys kuin tutka osoitti huomattavaa vihreä tulossa tiemme. Ja tuuli, jotka tiesivät! Kuten kalastajat samanlainen ilmasto, ne kaikki sported useita kerroksia vaatteita. Thinking poutaa satuttaisi meitä pois menimme tumma taivas, mutta lähes tyyntä. Asetimme linjat 165 "ja kunniaksi minun vieraita, laittaa Finn lusikat portin rigger. Ajattelin, miksi ei toimi rigger hieman pois pohjasta, valitse mielivaltainen 167 napsauttaa laskuri, ja keskittyä pitämään oikealle rigger ja Johnson tangon lähellä pohjaa. No, minuutteina satama rigger osuma ja mukavaa Laker tuli nettona 185 "vettä. En todellakaan tiedä, miten kaukana alhaalla se oli, mutta intuitio joskus on hyvä asia. Ennen pitkää saman rigger osuma ja sitten oikealle rigger osuma, kaksinkertainen, mutta jälkimmäinen lähti. Satoi kevyesti päälle ja pois, mutta pysyivät pääosin rauhallinen. Sitten hakemassa kolmannen Laker on Johnson sauva, joka Veli kelataan sisään ottaa lyhyt sulake meidän retkellä kiersi ehtivät kaksi Lakers, jotka molemmat olemme koodattu ja vapautuu. Joten me päättyi 5 Lakers ja miss 2,5 tuntia ja kaikkein nautittavaa aikaa. Tarjosin filee Lakers mutta kaikki kolme on omistettu kalastajien omissa nimissään, tekivät omia klo kala puhdistus asemalle, kun tulimme sisään Kalastus on todellakin universaali kieli. Alla on muutamia laukauksia minun vieraita, klikkaa suuremmaksi ja klikkaa Takaisin-painiketta palata tänne.
14 June This morning started with installing the engraved bricks at the Veterans Memorial, courtesy of Kelly Pavers. Then Frank and I headed out circa 10a in 1' rollers and set lines at 165' into an 8 mph breeze from the NNE. It was sunny but cold, water was 46º and air dropped to 42º. Yes, that's not a typo. There's slow and then there's SLOW, today was the latter. After about an hour we caught one Laker, which we tagged. Well, for the rest of the venture, we had one rigger hit and the Laker was in sight and then gone. We plied waters from 160' to 250'. Half an hour before we were planning to quit, my rigger went nuts, then dead. As a fisherman, my story is it was a huge fish that broke the line and took my lure. I won't rule out the line had a nick in it but my first observation sounds much better. So, we caught one Laker today and marked maybe 3. Now I'm concerned where to take my Finn guests tomorrow. Hopefully we'll do better, but I suspect they'll appreciate time on the water even when fishing is slow, as I do. Today was enjoyable even if the fish didn't "cooperate." And we've kept a good record lately of not getting skunked.
12 June What a beautifully calm morning. Seeing as the past couple of trips were slow, I changed my cap (fishermen understand the importance of what caps and hats mean whence fishing) and went to a different area. My plan was to tag and not take any Lakers home. Out went the Johnson rod in 170' of water. One minute later, there was a Laker on. However, nothing was ready, timer, net, camera, log, etc., so I put the Johnson in the holder and got things together. After tagging and releasing the Laker, out went the Johnson again and another hit, but I was better prepared. I stopped only to take off my sweater as the Johnson rod had about 700' of line out and it's a little work cranking it in. Well, after all that reeling, I got a glimpse of the Laker right behind the boat and it got off. Mind you, neither rigger was set up yet. I thought OMG, they're really hitting today. Well, I did get all the gear out and then went an hour before the next hit. My starboard rigger I ran near the bottom but the port rigger, I set at an arbitrary 144 clicks, just so I didn't have to monitor it. Well, danged if I didn't get a Laker on it, probably 20-30' off the bottom. So, not to give the impression it was all action, in 4 hours, I tagged 4 Lakers and missed 2 a couple feet from my net, really pretty slow. The last Laker was 5# and caught at 216', but most of my fishing was in the 160' - 180' depths. That last Laker was on the Johnson and I was tired after cranking in probably 900' of line. Not to complain though as it was a lot of fun and a beautiful day.
11 June Today my guests were Tom Foster and Guy Cooksey, who have periodically fished with me for quite a few years. Conditions were pretty ideal with calm seas and winds as we headed out. Action was very slow, netting us 5 small Lakers, the smallest of which we released. And we missed a real bell ringer we never did see. Three of the Lakers came off the stacker lines between 160' and 190' of water. An easterly breeze around 8 mph came up but wasn't a problem, other than we were doffing and dawning jackets as the air was 53º. The surface water is still a cool 48º.
10 June Those darn ole chores didn't let me get on the water until noonish where conditions were fairly good, albeit an east wind around 8 mph. It was at least an hour before I either marked or caught a Laker. My plan was to tag and not take any home which resulted in 3 Lakers, none all that big tagged and a decent Laker that got off around 5' back from the net. Perhaps I might have done better but one of the riggers hung bottom, then the Johnson rod. It was a goat rope but I lost the tackle and about 500 feet of line on the Johnson. Fortunately, was able to turn and back over the rigger and got that tackle back. The Lakers were all between 160' and 180' of water, but then I didn't try the real deep water for long. As I trolled home, I remembered a commercial net not far ahead so I wrapped it up after 2.5 hours.
8 June Thanks for waiting for this report. It was mostly because of bad weather but I was also out of town a few days. Anyway, Frank and I launched this morning at the Cinder Pond Marina with probably 40 trailers and almost no parking left, but we were lucky we didn't need to wait to launch. Seas were calm and remained that way the whole trip. Today was a classic example of too many distracting electronics. Running two GPS, one kept cutting out but the other was fine. So fooling with the electronics, I overshot my starting point but it was more an eye opener than a problem as it really put us closer to our favorite spot which we usually troll to. Down went the gear in 192’, deepest of the day and a Laker on the line at 160’ in 10 minutes. Action remained steady and we alternated tagging and boxing Lakers. Most were between 150’ and 180’. We marked more fish than we have in a long time. Finally, heading homeward with 5 Lakers in the box and having tagged 6, one downrigger went wild and we figured it wasn’t a Laker. A goat-rope followed with the Chinook getting into the Johnson rod line for a mess. After that, luck took charge and we landed a 6# Chinook. That was cool! So we thought best not to press our luck anymore and head home. Great day on the Big Pond.
29 May 2013 Launching Starship "Cooler By The Lake", with Frank and I aboard, we were looking at some great conditions, with super flat seas. We talked about trying another spot but some cronies of ours were fishing our favorite spot so that's where we went. It's always nice to have friends in the area to look after you, and conversely, and to harass. We heard reports Lakers were deeper than we've been fishing, over 200'. This was shades of last year where we eventually found them really deep. But being a little stubborn and remembering we hadn't done that badly the past couple of trips, we hit the 150' level and gradually picked up 4 Lakers, one of which was over 9# that we tagged and released. But the lure of trying the over 200' lever caused us to veer course to deeper water and we found some Lakers there too. Overall we had 4 hits that were real bell-ringers that got off but we also had a triple, getting two into the net. We also had 2 single line doubles. It was funny how we'd go 25 minutes then get a double. OK, bottom line was we caught 14 Lakers in 4 hours, the water was superb, and we had a great time. Sorry to say I've some other commitments so please don't expect any reports for about another week. Oh, interestingly, our cronies caught a Laker we tagged last July. That's always fun! Frosting on the cake was that I fixed the speed control problem on the autopilot that for the past several trips would allow speeding up but not slowing down. Turns out it was a tiny, and I mean tiny, micro switch that just needed some special lubricant. Well, never say never but I hope that problem doesn't recur. You don't suppose something else will happen, do you? Yeah, right!
26 May Today was another early start with intentions to get back early for other commitments. Frank and I launched at 0715 and diverted to an old run not that far out of the way to where we've been fishing. We set lines and for the next hour had no hits and no marks. We then decided to pull lines and head to our old haunts. So we did, and then went another 45 minutes before our first hit. Slowly action picked up, mostly at the 180' level and we even had a single line double. Ironic we trolled for over an hour with no action, then wham, a double. We pulled the Johnson rod for better than half the time to give us better maneuverability. Bottom line was 9 Lakers tagged and released and none in the box. Perfect! We had a few technical issues but none we didn't resolve. Beautiful day!
25 May Launch time was 0700, and the launch parking lot was nearly full. Of course, it wouldn't have been if some boaters realized the parking lines are to park between and not use as a center-line. Lots of wasted parking spaces. OK, enough grumbling about that. Beautiful calm conditions, but cool, some might say cold, at 36º. For certain reasons we started early as to get back early. Frank and I set lines at 160' but went nearly an hour before anything. We finally caught a few Lakers. Depths ranged between 150' and 190' so then we weren't sure which depths to fish. Short of it is, we caught 8 Lakers, tagging 4 and boxing 4 in shy of 4 hours. The last hour saw a NE wind pickup to around 8 MPH and it was cold and bumpy as we quit. Overall, a good day but I'll be glad when it's not 39º air and 39º surface water temperature. Oh, two single-line doubles today.
24May Hard to believe that yesterday, winds were gusting to 35mph but this morning, it all laid down, well relatively to light winds and 2' rollers. Sea-legs were needed, It was crisp at 40º but sunny as Frank and I set lines at 150'. Minutes later, the Johnson rod bent and after ay couple minutes, that Laker was history. I was the beginning of a number of misses. Typical fishermen we might be as we sometimes accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive. Well, here's the scenario - we missed 4 Lakers right be behind the boat, one of which had a tag like we use and it too got off about 5' from the net. And no, I didn't say #*$&%. Worse! We accept missing fish is what fishermen do so we must be fishermen. More importantly, we enjoyed the day as we caught 13 Lakers, tagging 7 and keeping 6. Typical crazy day of going an hour with nothing, then a triple. Funny how it warms up when catching fish. Air temperature was pretty steady at 42º whilst the surface water was 40º. Absolutely beautiful day!
13 May The winds have been unbelievable lately. Yesterday the Lake was ripping with gusts to 35 mph so Frank and I being weather forecast skeptics were suspect of the 5 mph forecast for today, but it actually laid down overnight and off we went. The air and water were the same temperature, 39º and there were gentle rollers but otherwise, a nice morning and great seas. We set lines at 165' and trolled our familiar route. For the next hour, not a hit, nor a mark, so we mumbled and thought let's troll to our last relatively hot-spot, which we did. Once there, Voila! A nice Laker, which we tagged and released. Then another tagged. Frank convinced me to leave the Johnson rod out of the water and keep circling, which we did. We set icons on the GPS for most Lakers and just worked the area. Action was pretty steady, the most being in 145' - 150'. We were just about to wrap it up when we commented not having any single line doubles so far this year. Then it happened and we got our first one of the season. In just shy of 5 hours we had tagged and released 17 Lakers and kept 3. Great day! Amazing it didn't seem all that cold when we were catching fish!
8 May Gee, another beautiful day and a little warmer as Frank and I launched at the Cinder Pond Marina. Winds were near calm as we set lines at 158'. It wasn't 20 minutes before the Johnson rod bent back with a hit, albeit a short one that got off in a minutes. However, we thought that to be encouraging. However, an hour passed before the next hit, a 4# Laker that went in the box. We marked almost no fish. Another hour or so passed and we caught 2 more Lakers, but they too were all nice-sized, between 3# and 5#. Between fish we saw on the chart a depth reading of 120' so we thought why not troll over there, maybe that's where they are. So we did, only to be disappointed, finding no marks or hits. We decided to fish back to our usual route and the words "that'll cure us of going there" were barely out of our mouths when we got to 135' and the graph screen showed all kinds of fish and bait fish in a small area. Bang, a triple, again all nice sized. Ah ah, let's troll back and forth and get some more. We did and we didn't, meaning a couple of passes showing marks but not another hit. But that was ok as it was calm and the air temperature switched back, cold and warm as it was 42º at times and 60º at other times. My coat was getting warn from doffing and donning.
7 May Yesterday, I looked at the Lake and it was flat, and fishable, except I had shift problems and couldn't' go fishing. Grrrr! I might have gone fishing jury-rigging my throttle but not...not on that Lake. It's not my style to take chances, let alone out on the Big Pond..In short, yesterday was spent fixing the shift mechanism with friend Rick, best mechanic I know.
Today was cool but the calmest I can remember in a long time. Frank and I launched from the Cinder Pond, something I haven't done in a while. That went fairly smoothly so out we went. En route, I noticed my fuel meter wasn't right so next time, another project. But we're upbeat so we got to our fishing site and set lines at 150'. About 10 minutes later, a 5# Laker. After that action slowed much. We ended with 9 Lakers in 5 hours but that was fine. Most were between 155' and 180'. One of the Lakers had a green Mortality Study tag, we later found to have been tagged by the DNR at the Chocolay River on June 10, 2010. The air was 39º and surface water 36º, but comfortable it was without wind or even a breeze. Great day.
5 May 13 So here's the usual whiney story about how windy it's been. For the first time in a while, the forecast was for 5-10 from the north. Well, dawning my rose-colored glasses, I thought that sounds pretty good. So I drove to the Island to look first hand at the waves. Hmmmm, those are some pretty big rollers coming in but my fishing pea-brain told me I usually can handle rollers, I've done it before many times. So I called Frank and he was willing to go (he wears similar glasses). When I got home and announced I was going fishing, "Yeah!" was the response.
So out Frank and I went, and really, it wasn't all that bad, but our sea-legs had to be retrained. But then, slowly the winds increased to 13-15 mph and seas with some 3-4" waves and rollers coming, but we held course, 92% of the time. Finally, we decided it wasn't fun so we turned and trolled back, the motor at a crawl speed but still we were moving faster than we'd like. At this point we discussed our "fishing mulligan" where might be considered was a shakedown run of sorts, and therefore, no skunk. However, Frank caught a Laker minutes before we were about to quit so now we at least didn't have a skunk! At that point we decided to quit after 1.5 hours. Then I started the big motor and couldn't back down the RPMs to shift. Linkage problems. We worked around that to make it in OK but it looks like maintenance-day tomorrow, and it's supposed to be nice. Bummer!
29 Apr 13 At dark-o-clock in the early morning, I could hear a light rain. The NWS radar showed a line of showers moving through, hopefully exiting before we launched, and it did. Seas were calm but the haze turned to fog enroute and so we fired the radar up. Frank and I set lines at 120' and went nearly 45 minutes without a nibble, then a triple at 170', but we missed one. Then another hour passed and we caught a double. Turned out we had 3 doubles, eventually catching 8 Lakers, releasing 4 of them. We haven't been provided with tags yet so none were tagged. We did get to see a Loon swimming by us, what a great sight and sound. Seas remained calm the whole time and the fog came and went but was heavy on our way home. Great day on the water.
27 Apr 13 Well, Frank Lorsbach and I were finally able to get on the water for the first time this season. The air was a cool 35º at the launch but with no wind and calm seas, no problem. For the shakedown trip we decided to run a ways to make sure the motors were up to speed, so to speak, and they were. We set lines at 118' at 9am and slowly worked deeper. It wasn't 15 minutes before the Johnson rod bent over for a nice 5# Laker at 127', near the bottom. And 15 minutes later the next Laker was at 160'. After a lull, the next Laker was at 180' so now what should our preferred fishing depth be? Well, like wise ole fishermen, we varied all over the place. The pace was fairly steady when with 5 Lakers in the box and having just turned on our return run, a triple. Just as we were near the spot where we started, we got our 10th Laker. What a way to start the year but maybe that set the bar pretty high for what follows. Conditions were wonderful, even though the air got up to 44º and surface water 37º. We never felt cold, except yelping when washing our hands in the Lake. I wonder if we get a fishing mulligan later as our shakedown went so smoothly. Maybe some time when it doesn't go so well? Good work in 3.25 hours.
25 Apr 13 What a snowy and cold spring. It snowed lightly overnight and there was snow on the ground this morning. But turned out decent enough to get the boat ready, which I did. Haven't started the motors yet but will likely do that tomorrow. Some ice has moved in and out of the harbors and shoreline ice is still present. Hopefully ice won't present a problem until it melts, but no guarantees there.
17 Mar 13 Looking out at the big pond and seeing nothing but ice, I think it's going to be a while before I'm on the water. Unlike last year with the earliest start ever (18 Mar 12), perhaps it'll be more like the year before with one of the later starts (4 May 11). Below is a list of stating dates over the years. Below too is a picture of ice cover looking out of Marquette. Most is not locked in and a couple of days of south winds can send most out. However, the harbors will remain ice-covered for a while.
26 Jan 13 Just setting up this year's log, albeit a little early. You didn't really think I'd be fishing yet eh?
Reminisce with me in last year's 2012 Lake Superior fishing log. Visit other prior year fishing reports
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