"Cooler By The Lake"
2014 Lake Superior Fishing Log
Information on tagging. About 5 of us local fishermen participated in a Michigan DNR Lake Trout Hooking-Mortality 6-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. The tagging portion has ended but data will continue to be collected on recaptured Lakers this year and next. Click here to see more information and interim results on the Lake Trout Hooking-Mortality study.
Click here to see last year's log - 2013 or click here to visit prior year fishing reports
Fishing Synopsis for 2014
Two thousand fourteen was the year of the ice age. That ice thwarted the Lake Superior boat traffic into one of the latest season starts in years. Ice breakers led the parade of ore boats to their destinations. Our late start of 6 June 2014 was caused by ice just leaving the harbor days before. Some years we were out in March, but usually in April. Between the late start and bad weather, our trolling hours of 155 was significantly down for our usual number around 250. As a result, our catch of 384 Lakers was down from 584 last year, which we didn't think was all that good. It's a good thing we were no longer participating in the DNR Hooking Mortality Study, or we would have been struggling. On the other hand, there were a few days where we caught our limit and last year would have continued to tag and release. We couldn't do that this year, which is fine. OK, enough of my whining but you might guess I'm not happy the boat is put away for the season and I'm having withdrawal symtoms. Actually, it was a fun summer fishing mostly with Frank, but also taking several guests I hadn't taken out before or for a long time.
I have posted my statistics below for you to peruse. Have a great winter and hope it isn't like last year. Joe
|Fishing Synopsis 2014||2011||2012||2013||2014|
|Trolling Hours Lake Trout only||279||271||222||154.8|
|Trips Lake Trout only||73||77||64||53|
|Trolling Hours non-Lake Trout||0||0||0||0|
|Trips non-Lake Trout||0||0||0||0|
|Travel hours to and from fishing grounds||52||62||48||36|
|Skunk Trips Lakers only||0||0||0||0|
|Lake Trout kept||362||429||236||362|
|Lake Trout tagged and released||344||314||332||0|
|Lake Trout released without tagging||34||69||13||21|
|Total fish caught||740||819||584||384|
|Fish per hour (total fish / Lake Trout Hours)||2.66||3.01||2.63||2.47|
|Lakers caught with tags||10||4||2|
|Single Line Doubles (2 fish on one line)||33||48||36||9|
|Average depth of water - feet||175||194||175||Unk|
|Average length of trolling - hours||3.8||3.5||3.5||2.9|
|Average fish caught per trip||10.1||10.6||8.9||7.2|
16 Oct 14 What forecast to believe eh! Winds were to go to calm in the morning and mist/rain ending by 9am. Frank and I turned the corner of the breakwater to 2' rollers and a steady 9 mph wind from the north. Well, we decided to set lines and see how it goes but it was difficult to hold course between the steady wind and confused seas. We decided to pull lines and run up wind, fish it back, then quit, so we did. Definitely easier fishing with the wind and rollers. The wind didn't back down nor did the mist but still, it was fishable. We managed 6 small Lakers, one of which was a dink we released. Most we caught around the 150- 160' level. We marked very few. We resisted the urge to make another run, which was wise . Gail warnings are posted for tomorrow and it looks bleak weather-wise after that. I've decided this will be the last trip of the season, I'll start working on my synopsis for the fishing season, that'll probably in a week or so.
11 Oct So you might ask me, if you believed the last forecast and got burned, why did you believe today's good forecast? Well, good question but my answer is that they've got to be right sometimes. Today the forecasts was right on as Frank and I left port to 8 mph WNW winds and 1' rollers, pretty nice. The water was 51º surface and air 41º but it was still comfortable, both of us having several layers of clothing on. Down went the gear at 140' and quickly we went to 170', and back up to 135', where we got our first Laker, after 10 minutes. Action thereafter was pretty steady. We stuck to the 145' level with some exception and just as the clock struck exactly 2 hours trolling, we got our 10th Laker. I should mentioned the Lake laid down after the first hour. I mentioned to Frank that if this was our last trip, it was a good one. He then reminded me that I previously had said I felt better if the last trip wasn't very productive so I don't feel so bad wrapping t up. He was right, I did say that. Then again, this may not have been the last of the season. Great day!
7 Oct Let me start with the forecasts from several sources, of 5-10 mph from the west. Even the marine forecast was similar but added waves under 1'. The reality as I headed out - 8 mph and 1' waves. But, I noted from my anemometer the wind slowly kept building, as did the waves as I approached my fishing spot. I thought, it'll settle so I set lines and let the bouncing begin. I caught a Laker on the Johnson rod, and then another on my rigger, whilst the wind and waves increased. The waves and wind kept building to 2-3' waves and a steady 13 mph wind, gusting to 24 mph on a couple of occasions so I turned to run with the waves for a short time, planning to quit shortly. En route I caught my third Laker and decided to wrap it up after a little over an hour. All in all, it was a mixed emotion bunching it after a relatively short time but at least it was pretty productive, the largest Laker being 7#. Depths varied from 105' to over 200' but in those conditiosn, it's hard to tell. When I arrived at the launch, the tribal fisherman was the only boat there and proceeded to unload all his fish and load the boxes into his truck while I had to wait 15 minutes circling until he got his boat out. He tied up the only good launch as I was alone and needed that one good dock to land in the wind. Very, very inconsiderate of him. It's a launch, not a loading dock! How about getting the boat out and then unloading. Apparently, some people don't understand that. *#$%!
2 Oct 14 Hard to believe it's October already. Twix all the windy days, today looked like a relatively good day, cloudy, diminishing threat of rain, and light southerly winds. That all proved true as my guest Jerry Albright and I set lines in 135' of water. Can't complain about the action as we put a 2#+ Laker in the box in 15 minutes. That was followed by a bigger Laker on the Johnson and so it went, well, relatively with some quiet times between hits. The fish we caught got bigger, some 5#. And the fish we missed are still growing! Jerry had a single line double and one of the Lakers got off right before the net. Another time a Laker was right behind the boat and the lure came flying out of its mouth so I ducked as it went over my head. We missed at least 4 Lakers right being the boat but couldn't complain as we had 7 dandies in the box when we quit in a little over 4 hours. OK, so we mumbled a little! The SE breeze was pretty steady at 7 mph but the seas were great, under 1'. However, the currents were a challenge. Great day on the Big Pond!
28 Sep The forecast was great for today but at 5 AM, the winds were blowing hard but settled to near calm as Frank and I left the launch at 8:30 AM. En route we saw an eagle swoop down and catch a fish with its mate nearby. Breakfast we presume! Down went the lines in 135' of water and for the first hour, no hits and 2 marks. Finally, a rigger bell rang and a 6# Laker came to the net. During the second hour we managed 4 more Lakers. I then suggested we take a shortcut through deeper water to where we usually start and wrap it up after 3 hours. Well, we marked only two fish and had no hits but just like two trips previously, I mumbled we should have caught at least one Laker, but let's wrap it up. Two minutes before we were going to pull lines, the Johnson rod went off and then a rigger. Yeah! That stopped my mumbling and we wrapped it up with 7 Lakers in exactly 3 hours. Water and winds behaved perfectly and it couldn't have been nicer on the Big Pond today. No politics were discussed, only Frank's new Lab puppy.
26 Sep What a beautiful morning with calm seas, sunshine, and calm winds. I set all three lines out in 130' of water, and after about half an hour, the Johnson rod bent over and it was hard reeling so I knew it was a good sized Laker. About half way in the port rigger bell was ringing like crazy. I boxed the first Laker - a nice, lean 7#. The rigger Laker was also about that size because I got it into the net part way and out he swam, the hook catching in the net and away he or she went. Mumble, mumble! I said I won't ever try that again, netting too far out where I can't get a purchase. Well folks, I got another big Laker on and did exactly the same thing. In fairness to myself, it's not easy netting with one hand as the other is busy with the rod. But I did manage 4 more Lakers in a little over 2 hours. It remained calm and sunny the whole time and I enjoyed the ride home too.
25 Sep My guest today was Rick Weesen, skipper of his boat "Summertime" which is stored for the season. Winds and seas were light en route and when we set lines in 130' of water. Once again, the first hour produced only one Laker but then the action picked up. We ranged in depth from 95' to 140'. Rick liked fishing suspended about 20' from the bottom and came up with a couple of 4-6# Lakers. For some reason, it seems suspended Lakers are a little bigger than those nearer the bottom. But all three rods were working. We decided to quit after 3 hours, even though we had 9 in the box. So as I said let's pull the lines, I looked at my rigger and the eleventh hour fish as I call them was on. So we did end with our limit and a most enjoyable time on the water.
23 Sep My guests today were Bob Bryngleston from Iron Mountain and Frank. The forecast was great with 5-10 mph winds predicted. However, at 5am I could hear with winds ripping but they settled down by 9am when we left port. However, the Lake was still lumpy as we motored to our fishing grounds. We plied depths from 105' to 180' but found the 135' on average produced best. As usual we started slowly but action picked up as we ran into patchs of Lakers here and there. We ended catching 11 Lakers, one of which was 10# so we released it. It was a beautiful, sunny day and great to be on the water. After a little over 3 hours we headed back in light seas.
22 Sep Following a week of surfing weather, finally a nice day as Frank and I rolled out, the only boat at the launch. Underway, we experienced 2' rollers but a little trim tab kept the air from under the boat. Winds were light as we set lines in 140'. It didn't take long before the Johnson bent over. This was the beginning of missing a lot of fish, most of which we could actually see as we brought them to the boat. The first Laker was a dink so we released it. The action was pretty steady as we ranged in depths from 116' to 220' (where we also caught a Laker). Best depths were around 145' with a number suspended 10-20' from the bottom. To summarize, we caught 14 Lakers (including a 6# and 7#), releasing 4. We can conservatively say we missed 7 Lakers. But we did get a single line double. All this in a little over 3 hours. Winds remained light for the first leg when we had confused seas and rollers coming from two directions.Standing turning into a dance sometimes. Returning the winds kicked at times to 10 mph and we got some whitecaps, but not a problem. Then it kind of laid down again. It was absolutely beautiful out there and we could see the leaves on shore beginning to turn, a time of mixed emotion. BTW, we were the only trailer at the launch when we came in too.
15 Sep Initially I wasn't planning to fish with a list of things to do and a mediocre weather report for today from yesterday. So I got a few things done and "headquarters" said it's beautiful out, why aren't you fishing. Being amicable, I booked with boat in tow. Seas initially were docile as were the winds, which quickly turned to 2' rollers and a north wind at 10-12'. So that old logic of as long as I'm out here, plod on. It was challenging in that the rollers and wind changed the boat speed and so and it was difficult to follow bottom. Nothing happened the first hour, including no marks. Finally, I got near the end of my run where I got a double, one an 8# Laker on the port rigger set at 135 clicks. I went a little further and passed back through that area and caught another double, including another on the port rigger. Fished it all the way back to where I started without a hit. Whilst putting gear away, I tugged on the port release and bloop, my cannon ball went into the drink. Bad snap swivel. However, I was grateful for 4 Lakers in two hours. Also grateful that I just got the boat put away when it started to rain.
13 Sep Great forecast of 5 mph but the reality was 10-12 mph with 2' rollers coming in from the north. The ride was bumpy but ok and finally my guest Gary Olson and I set lines around 125'. Didn't see a mark or get a hit for an hour as we plied shallower waters. There weren't but two boats in sight, one of which set up along side us, which eventually made maneuvering difficult. At times they were only a couple hundred feet ahead of us, not a good thing. Finally we hit a Laker on the Johnson at 180'. We continued running in 150' to 180' and we suddenly started marking and catching Lakers, some in the 3-4# range. On our last leg towards port, we caught our 10th Laker, minutes before we decided to wrap it up. The seas had settled since we started and the ride home was most enjoyable. Good day!
12 Sep Two days ago was a real ripping storm and yesterday it was still ripping, but not as much. But the forecast for today was around 5 mph from the north so I thought I'd give it a shot. No trailers at the launch but not to be deterred, out I went in fairly light winds and about 2' rollers. The Johnson rod went out first and then the starboard rigger. Before I could get the net ready or other rigger down, the Johnson hit but the Laker got off just behind the boat. OK, got all the gear ready and the Johnson hit again. This time was really weird as the fish got caught in the starboard rigger. Whilst trying to untangle the mess, that Laker got off and somehow a sharp edge on my Johnson rod cut my rigger fishing rod line. It gets better folks as I now can see a Laker on my rigger but the cut line is now trailing 250' back. So I released the fish and because I didn't have a rod, the line when slack and that fish got off. However, I still had the line in my hand so it was hand over hand to the cut end and I could splice it to my reel. The words "goat rope" just don't do it justice but I managed it all. And I didn't lose any tackle. OK, cutting to the chase, 4 Lakers in 3 hours and 4 misses. The Lake settled nicely and it was really nice. Saw only one other boat the whole time and no other trailers at the launch.
7 Sep Today was Veterans Fishing Day. A lot windier than forecast but still wonderful. I'll post more here later. Great Day!
4 Sep It rained overnight but quit as my guest and friend John Wells joined me on pretty calm seas. It's a little unnerving when we're the only boat at the launch wondering what did we miss in the forecast. Once again, the first hour passed without a hit. Finally, we did catch a small Laker which we released. Skunk pressure was off. Slowly, action picked up a little. After 45 minutes of nothingness, a double so I marked the spot and we kind of circled that area. It started looking dark in the west so checking the radar and as John suggested, the weather radar, it's was a good time to wrap things up and head in. The condensed version is 8 Lakers caught, 7 kept, but a little disappointing in that they were not of a little bigger size expected at the end of summer. However, they're premier eating ones so don't take that as a complaint...well, maybe a little. Most action was at the 200'+ range. BTW, got the boat out and home as the thunder started. As John and I joked, great day fishing and besides, nothing went wrong. I said "next time"! Smiley face belongs here.
Item of note. When we came to the launch, the dock was awash. A seethe was happening and 5 minutes later, the water level was down nearly one foot. Interesting! No doubt because of the front rolling in.
2 Sep With a great 5 mph wind forecast, I set lines in 10 mph north wind with 2 rollers, making for some bouncy seas. The currents were brutal as my small motor was on idle going into the waves and wind and still I could barely get the lines down. The port rigger I set at 50 clicks as I marked a few fish at that depth but nothing happened. So after an hour passed with no hits, I lowered it to my arbitrary 135'. Finally the Johnson rod connected and later, the port rigger hit. The wind backed down nicely and it calmed off for a short time. Next I knew, the wind was from the SW at 10 mph, but still quite fishable. That didn't last long and it calmed again. It was a struggle today, with four Lakers in three and a half hours. The Johnson rod doing the heavy lifting with 3 of them. Marked very few fish.
31 Aug My guests today were Frank Lorsbach and his daughter Beth Ann. Conditions were only fair initially, overcast with a little mist, 2' rollers coming in and an 8 mph wind from the north. Still, it was fishable, with a little rock and roll walking about the boat. An hour passed without even a bump, seemingly the patter lately. Finally, the Johnson rod perked up and Beth Ann reeled in a Laker. Relief set in - no skunk! Before long, another Laker, but this time on the rigger. Finally, after a considerable time, a double and so I marked the spot on the GPS and tried our best to stay in that area. That did pay off and we ended with 9 Lakers, nothing over 4# and a few just under 2#, but all nice leans. Great time! Most effective depth was in the 180' - 200' level, with at least 4 coming off stacker lines and indicating they're suspending a little more, at least today. Might present a picture of Beth Ann here later. As an aside, Beth Ann has her own fishing boat in Indiana and fishes quite a bit. I asked how operating the boat is working and has she learned a lot. One thing she said was "don't leave the dock until the motor is running." We all laughed!
28 Aug Another beautiful day with calm seas and sunshine as my guest John Ovink and I set lines. Following the typical pattern lately of not much happening the first hour, nothing happened. Then we got a double, one on the port rigger and one on the Johnson rod. We got both in and I took my rigger up to 50 clicks so I could get the Johnson rod out again without tangling . I just started to put it out when I looked at my rigger bend over and the line pay out. I handed the rod to John who thought it was still connected to the rigger, but it wasn't. We finally got the 10#, 30" Laker to the net. It was in very good condition so we released it. We mostly plied the 180' - 200' depths where we caught 8 more Lakers, including a small one which we also released. Pretty good action in 3 hours and a very enjoyable time.
27 Aug Several forecasts were generally pretty good but as I left the house, the TV said the forecast for Lake Superior was 5-15 mph from the north. Well, 5 is doable, 15 would be nasty, especially from the north. With the thought in mind we'd cancel if not good, my guests today were Ron Rabe and Joe Loria, both visiting from California (pronounced "call e form ya". Turned out, it was beautiful - light northerly breeze and almost no seas. The first hour we enjoyed the scenery, undisturbed by fish, including no marks. Finally, a double, with one on the Johnson rod, which Joe likes. We ended in still settled seas with 5 Lakers (all fairly small) after 2.5 hours and enjoyable times being more important. Joe picked out the lure to run and it caught 2 Lakers so he obviously knows lures and fish. He was very modest when that happened. Put a smiley face here please! Most Lakers were caught between 165 and 200'. Great time!
23 Aug My guests today were Karen Brin, Terry Argall, and Frank Lorsbach. Seas were calm as was the wind, but it was quite hazy. We set lines in 170' and nothing happened the first 45 minutes. Oh yes, we did get one to the back of the boat where it promptly got off. After an hour and 15 minutes, Frank was joking about never having been skunked and soon after that, we got a Laker in the cooler, much to his relief. Karen brought her own pink lure which I referred to as a "Girly Lure." And it produced three Lakers so I had to eat a little crow on that one, but had lots of fun. Action was in flurries with some doubles and dry spells but overall, action picked up and we ended after 3 hours with 10 nice Lakers. One of the Lakers we tagged July 26th last year in that same location. Seas were great and we did get a light sprinkle of rain occasionally, but nothing to cause us to duck under the canvas. When we got the boat put away, the skies opened up and it poured. Lucky timing. Here're pictures of two happy fisherwomen. Click to enlarge, back arrow to return here.
21 Aug The fog was like pea soup when my guest John Wells and I left, but it couldn't have been calmer when we set lines. After about 40 minutes, the port rigger produced a single line double and we missed one right behind the boat on the other rigger. Suddenly, we had 3 bats flying around and into and out of the boat, apparently lost in the fog. The action remained fairly steady and when we wrapped it up with nine Lakers, we notice that two of the bats were snuggled in a plastic wrap and the other was on the floor. We tried not to disturb them and as we pulled into the marina, we gave them a nudge and all three flew off on their own. We were quite pleased about that. Most of the Lakers were still deep, 180' to 220'. The fog was just starting to lift when we came in.
20 Aug Today was one of many iffy weather days but it looked decent so albeit a late 10a start, my guest Jerry Albright, who is a great fisherman and fished with me years ago, was a treat to have along. Conditions were not as promised but still manageable with winds from the north at 8-10 mph and 1-2' seas, but not breaking. Short version, we caught 2 Lakers, one over 4# in 2 hours. I made a mess of my downrigger which I fixed tonight in readiness for tomorrow. Currents and waves and wind didn't help today but who needs an excuse whence one is fishing eh! It's late and I'll probably refine this entry tomorrow.
17 Aug After some early morning chores, I set out with a decent forecast of NE 5-10 winds, knowing full well that's usually not a good direction. It was nearly 11:30a when I set lines to 10 mph winds and some 1-2' waves, but no whitecaps. I did the usual when I'm alone, setting out the Johnson and starboard rigger to the bottom and an arbitrary 135 clicks on the port rigger so I wouldn't drag bottom. Not so much as a nibble the first hour but the wind and waves slowly backed down and it wasn't nearly so bouncy. Finally the Johnson rod hit, twice in fact and both times I tangled into the rigger lines but somehow I got untangled and didn't lose either fish. It wasn't pretty but rather just lucky. Also missed one on the Johnson I couldn't get to as I just boxed one off my rigger and I'm guessing the Johnson lure was around 50' off the 200' bottom. Anyway, on my final leg heading home, the port rigger bell rang and so I ran the starboard rigger to 140 clicks as the bottom was coming up and then that bell rang too. This was in 200' of water. This was near the end of my run so I had 5 nice lean Lakers in 2.5 hours. The Big Pond had settled nicely and it had actually gotten quite warm. The surface water temperature was 55.6º, down from 65º last week.
15 Aug My guests today were John Ovink and his son-in-law Tom Carraher. Conditions were forecasted to have light winds but heading out, seas were pretty lumpy and with westerly wind coming in at 12-14 mph. My new graph I was testing wasn't registering the depth but I pretty much knew the depths where we started so we set lines at 165' and gradually worked deeper. I finally figured out the graph situation so that was working and the winds and seas slowly backed down. Little happened the first hour but when we hit the 200' mark, John had a single-line double (SLD) and the action picked up. We fished away from what seemed like the best area and wondered why we were doing that so we turned around and managed another SLD, one of which got off right behind the boat. We put our 10th (John said it was our 9th) Laker in the box as we hit the 4-hour mark and powered in under calm seas.
10 Aug It was a Lunch Bunch day as conditions were too nice to pass up. So out I went at 9:30, in a slight haze (not me silly) and calm seas to set lines at 165'. Got all three lines and 6 lures out and nothing happened for 45 minutes. I had set the port rigger at my arbitrary 135 clicks so I didn't have to worry about that crashing bottom. Then the bells rang on the rigger and soon I had three nice Lakers in the box. I was rigging the Johnson rod and voila, the port rigger with the suspended lures went nuts and that was one of the wildest Lakers I've caught in a while. It was a little over 4# but feisty. Finally, I turned to head in and the last Laker hit. Great, but unexpected action in a hour and a quarter. Most of the action was between 180' and 200'.
9 Aug Today long-time friend Gary Gibbs joined me on a beautiful, calm day on the Big Pond. We set lines at 140' and before long we had our first Laker was a miss. Oh well, we slowly made progress and finally had 8 Lakers in the box and 3 additional misses. We were going to quit but decide to make one more pass to get our limit. That paid off as we got our last two. None were over 3# but all nice leans. Most of the action was around the 160-180'.
8 Aug My special guests today were Ron Rabe and his daughter Alex, and Dani Simandl. All are friend for years and Alex and Ron are annual visitors from California. We set lines at 9:30a and before long the Johnson rod was thrumming. However, that lasted until about 100' behind the boat and it got off. Then we had two more Lakers on, losing both right behind the boat. We weren't pleased at three misses in a row, but on the positive side, we're getting hits. Missing is part of fishing. Enough philosophy, nobody likes to miss a fish and we sure didn't. But the action continued, albeit much at a much slower pace. Conditions were fantastic, almost no wind or seas. With our misses hopefully out of the way, we finally got 5 nice Lakers in the cooler. After a little over 3 hours, we decided to fish towards home and bunch it when we got to the end of our run. Well, we call these "eleventh-hour fish" and suddenly the port rigger bell rang, then the Johnson. Sure enough there was a single-line double on the rigger and one Laker on the Johnson. We got all three for a tally of eight Lakers. Great day with lots of fun. No obvious pattern to the best depths but the 140-170' seemed best. BTW, we caputured a green tag today, a Laker I tagged from in 254' (yup, that deep) on June 28, 2012 in that same area and it was 20" long then. Today it measured 23".
6 Aug Another wonderful, calm day as Frank and I set lines at 140', a little earlier than usual. It wasn't long before the first Laker came on, along with the optimism the fish were ready to rock and roll. Well, they must have rolled over and went back to sleep as it was really slow going as we plodded along on my usual route. Ironically, that first fish was right were I had put icons on for fish caught the past couple of trips. But damn the torpedoes, stay the route and we did get a couple more, including two smaller Lakers (dinks) we released. We were convinced by the slowness to return to our starting point and when we did, the action picked up nicely. We had decided with 8 Lakers in the box, we'd troll towards home port for a bit, then wrap it up. Well, next you know at 150', we hit a double and filled up. Most Lakers were between 140' and 180', but we did try deeper whilst it was slow.
5 Aug I guess these nice days are compensating for the horrible winter and spring we had, but bring 'um on! With my guest John Ovink, we set lines in beautifully, calm seas in 140' feet of water (FOW). Quickly we had a triple and we caught 2 of the 3. Instead of turning to go back through that area, we continued on, periodically picking up a Laker here at depths to 180 FOW. I suggested we fish towards home and pass through our initial triple, which I had marked on my GPS. We now had 7 Lakers in the box and John's rigger went crazy. Whilst he was reeling in those Lakers we looked up to see the Johnson rod bent and then my downrigger. Well, John had another single-line double so that meant we had a quad going. One of John's Lakers was on the smaller side so we released it in good condition. The others came in fine and we wrapped up with 10 nice leans in slightly over 2 hours trolling. Winds and water were fantastic. I even enjoy the ride to and fro.
4 Aug Another great forecast but en route with a 7 mph north wind, the ride was a little lumpy. I put the Johnson rod out first as usual and was setting up the starboard rigger when the Johnson rod connected. Well, for about 30 seconds and that fish was gone. Got the rigger down and immediately got a hit, then the Johnson rod. In the first 10 minutes I was 2 for 5 and didn't even have the port rigger set up yet. Instead of turning around and going back through, I held course and slowly picked up two more Lakers. The first Lakers were in 140' and the other two around 180'. So with 4 Lakers in the box, I was determined to get the last one and nearly an hour passed without a hit. Then the starboard rigger bell rang, the port rigger bell rang, and the Johnson rod was bent over with a Laker - a triple. So I netted the first Laker and the other two I pulled along side the boat nd removed the hooks, leaving the Lakers in the water. Both swam away just fine. The wind slowly died off and the seas settled nicely for a great day on the water.
2 August Today's forecast was the kind we don't get often enough. Calm winds and no 20% chance of thunderstorms. My guests were John Ovink and his brother Dennis. John fished with me several times over the years, beginning in 1999 and the last time was 2006. Dennis hadn't fished Lake Supeior before. So with calm seas and a clear sky we powered out about half an hour and set lines at 145'. Within 10 minutes we had a double. Action was its usual burst where nothing would happen but then we had 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 single line double (two on one line.) Finally, with 14 Lakers in the box, we decided to leave the Johnson rod out of the water and troll towards home for the last half hour, but we couldn't get the last one so we bunched it. What a great day! The fish ranged in depth from 145' to 187', but we did hit 256' once on a turn.
1 August 2014 What a great morning as Frank and I launched to calm seas and a clear sky. Even better, the motor purred as we headed to some relatively shallow water that we heard were producing some nice Lakers and some salmon. So we did that in from 25' to 50' of water without a single fish disturbing our lures. Beautiful as it was, after an hour we headed to our nearby favorite spot only 3 miles out. Our high hopes were somewhat dashed after an hour at 180' and only one Laker. We decided to fish towards home and more time passed but finally, the Johnson rod produced a Laker at 190' and about 20 minutes later, another at roughly the same depth. Up to this time we hadn't marked any thing but now and then there were some nice arches on the graph, not that it means much except there are fish in the area. Slow as it was, we then had a double and by the time we wrapped it up, shy of 4 hours trolling, we had 7 Lakers in the box and missed having 8 as the last one was which was inches from the net and didn't like our looks or something and went the other way. None of the Lakers were of any size but oh so good eaters! Fun day!
31 July Today my mission was to find the problem(s) with the motor (please read yesterday's log). Once again, my good friend Rick and probably the best mechanic in the area said, we'll fix it! So we methodically went through checking dwell, continuity, swapping wires, coil, etc. Finally, before swapping distributors, Rick said we should replace the condenser. I said it's brand new and he said sometimes they're bad, even if they're new. I thought this would be the most unlikely problem but he knows his stuff. So he went into his dog's breakfast of backup "stuff" and came out with an old condenser. Once installed, the engine fired right up and ran perfectly. Whodathunkiteh? So we did a short trial run where it ran super and he suggested I go fishing to check things out whilst he went home to work on his own boat. I'll spare the logistics that followed but I went out in beautiful seas for just under 2 hours and all ran well. Got one small Laker and a miss but I was happy, and grateful.
30 July Well, one gets excited to get back on the water after a series of wind and rain events (NWS term) so today looked perfect. Frank and I set out a little earlier than usual in light seas. Cough, cough went the big engine en route. It also died a few times but re-fried quickly too. Too nice to head back in so we plodded onward and set lines. Then an hour and a half passed with nothingness, no runs, no hits, not errors. Radio check with my fishing buddies not far away and it's the same for them - no action. Finally we hit a Laker on the Johnson. Fears of a skunk disappeared. Frank then informed me we would have kept fishing until we caught a Laker as he didn't want to be associated with the word "skunk". Rewind to setting lines, the Johnson rod hung bottom early on and nearly bent in half, then nearly pulled me over before letting go, sans both lures, weights, and all. Then, not once but twice, I tangled the Johnson into my downrigger. Things were not going smoothly.
The currents today were brutal. I don't recall them ever being so intense. I had to run the auxiliary motor at 2,700 RPM to maintain a 1.5 mph speed. Reversing our run, I ran the aux at 1,750 rpm to maintain 2.2 MPH. Who knows what the lures are doing 200' down! Now, on a brighter note, the 9 MPH wind when we started slowly settled and we picked up an occasional Laker, here and there. Over 200' seemed best. After 4 hours, action seemed to pick up, and we finally had 7 Lakers in the box as plans to quit were made. Of course, that's good for an "eleventh hour fish" so a Frank said he had one on. Just quitting, I reeled my rigger up only to find a small Laker. Yeah, don't say it. Anyway, it was our ninth fish. Most Lakers were a decent size but when I weighted them, two small but legal ones would have been released had I thought they'd have been ok.
Upon quitting, the main motor just wouldn't keep running so after trying a few things to keep it going, we decided to head to port with the auxiliary motor. Arriving at the marina there were 3 personal watercraft launching and they tied up the dock for 15 minutes whilst I circled, waiting for the only good dock. Finally, we made it in, manually steering the aux motor. Our thanks to our fishing companion Mike (Roughneck) for following us in.
25 July Good forecast, no rain threat, winds predicted at 5-10 mph so out I went to set lines at 7am. However, winds were 12-14 mph but I used the classic fisherman rationale is that I wouldn't go out if it's that breezy but now that I'm here, might as well fish. I put the Johnson rod out first at 190'. The port rigger I set at 135 clicks on the counter as I didn't want to follow the bottom with three rods. Don't ask me why I choose 135 clicks. My starboard rigger I sent to the bottom. It wasn't 10 minutes before the Johnson rod hit and then of all things, the port rigger hit, a double. Slowly the wind died off and after an hour and a half, there were 4 Lakers in the box. So I thought it's so nice I'll try for the my last one. It took a while but finally the Johnson rod came through and whilst reeling it in, the port rod went off again so I caught that one and released the Laker on the Johnson. Most of the action was around the 200' but one was at 187' and another 225'. Of course I only have a good guess how deep 135 clicks is running. Fun! Just at quitting time, the wind kicked again.
24 July Finally a break from the winds. On a beautiful, calm morning, Frank, Cooper (Grandson) and I set out mid morning and ran a little further than usual. We set lines at 140' after hearing some fishermen were doing fairly well at 70' to 140'. Well, an hour passed without a hit as we plied different depths. Finally we hit a nice Laker at 190'. Then half an hour later, a triple. Then an hour without a hit, then a double. Strange! We decided to put out a surface line and voila, a nice 2# Coho, which Cooper had a lot of fun with. So we ended with 10 Lakers and a Coho in three and a half hours. Cooper was pretty busy reeling. Oh, we had a couple of goat ropes, but they were my fault. Wouldn't be fishing without one of those once in a while. Most fish we caught were around 200'+.
17 July What a beautiful day with partly cloudy skies and a light SE breeze around 7 mph as Frank and I headed out to a different location, looking to see if that's where the Lakers went. About half way there, boooogggg went the big motor and it died and wouldn't restart. Looking under the engine dog house, I finally found a clamp on the gas line came loose and the engine was sucking air. In my goodie box I found another hose clamp and it seemed an easy fix. Seemed is a key word as the engine still wouldn't fire. OK, time to fess up that yesterday I replaced the distributor and coil, the former having a tighter shaft. I then cleaned the wire connectors at the coil and the engine came to life so off we went with all cylinders firing, only to hear a blaaaahhhhh and it died after about two minutes running. But it fired right back up and went about 3 minutes this time before the same result. Very confusing but I never felt in trouble and was in touch with my fishing buddy on the Summertime. Well, when I called him, he had troubles too as did a mutual friend who was under power on his auxiliary power when the big engine on his 24' boat pooped the bed. I then declared today as "Gremlin Day".
Enough of the less fun side of fishing. We powered back to where we've been recently fishing as help was nearby if needed. Lowered the Johnson rod down in 154' of water and in less that a minute, it bent over and then up, fish on, fish off. Thoughts of sugar plums went through our heads, misleading it was. Things were very slow...again. Gradually, we picked up a couple of Lakers at around 200'+. At the 3 hour mark with 3 Lakers in the box, we were ready to quit when we had a triple, the Johnson rod greatly bent over. Well, we caught the two off the riggers and halfway up with the Johnson rod, that Laker got off. It was a dandy too. The big motor took us flawlessly to the dock. Go figure! I so dislike intermittent problems! Tomorrow I will address maintenance things I'm not completely sure about.
12 July Early this morning I thought fishing weather looks great, contrary to the yesterday's forecast so I took a ride to the launch where two boats were going out in light seas. Next thought was this could be me. Quick note to Frank and before long, we were setting lines at 180'. Conditions were near perfect, except the Lakers didn't seem to know that. We went over an hour without a hit. Finally, a fairly small Laker hit a rigger - on Frank's sardine can homemade lure, the first of three on that lure. We plied waters from 155' to 220' and didn't see a pattern of location nor depths or speed. We ended with six small but nice Lakers in just under 4 hours. I asked Frank if he planned on having sardines for lunch and he indicated he was, from a can with a silver and gold lid that will make another good lure. This might be a long fishing season.
10 July Conditions for fishing could not have been much better, that is only if you consider the seas and weather. My guest today were Ian Devere (9) from California and my friend Frank. Ian fished with me two years ago. Well, today is probably best described as a struggle to catch fish. We caught only 2 Lakers, both of which Ian reeled in on the Johnson rod, not an easy task. We kept asking if he needed a break but that was out of the question. We also had 3 Lakers on, which are still out there. We were looking for sympathy on the slowness so because the radio was pretty quiet and the little were heard, we got the impression it was slow going elsewhere too. Comforting - a little. We did hang bottom on one rigger, very unexpectedly, and lost some, but less gear than expected. On the bright side, Ian was a joy with Ian onboard with constant energy that everything on the graph was a fish and every movement of the downrigger was a fish. Delightful day despite its slowness. Here're a few pictures of Ian. Click to enlarge, back button to return here.
9 July After several wind and rain cancelations over the past several days, today looked fairly decent, with 5-10 mph winds predicted from the north. I figured it might be a little lumpy and it was. So with my Grandson Cooper Smith (13) and his friend Alex Oysti (13), and Frank, we headed out after 10a to lumpy, but fishable seas. Before long the first Laker came of the rigger stacker line (difficult in good conditions) which Alex handled well for his first time on the Big Pond, and into the box the Laker went. Then the Johnson rod was really bent over and after 50 cranks, off the Laker went. Enthusiasm remained high and we picked up a couple more Lakers, excluding probably the biggest one right behind the boat. Then Frank's rigger bell rang and it was Cooper's turn and he worked hard to reel in the fish only to discover there were two Lakers on, a single line double, his first and the boat first of the year. Shortly thereafter we turned and headed to where we started, with the wind and seas increasing to 15 mph and seas to 2-3', but still comfortable as we now were going with them. Still, experience told us this would be the final leg. So with 5 Lakers in the box and prepared to quit shortly, we got a double and wrapped it up with 7 keepers and two misses in a little over 2 hours, so we were all pretty happy. Turns out the Lake unexpectedly kicked even more later so our timing to get off was great. Not many boats out. My friend's boat "Summertime" was not far off and told me he caught a green tag. I looked up the number and it was one I tagged in October 2010. How about that! Now for a word about my two young guests and what a pleasure it was to have them along. Both appreciative gentlemen, showing great sportsmanship with a sense of humor, and a little bit of competiveness. Great day and I hope for a repeat! Here're some pix. Click to enlarge, hit your back button to return here please. BTW, Frank was using his lure made from a sardine can. Unfortunately, he caught two Lakers on it. :)
4 July What a glorious day to celebrate so many things. Following our rededication of the Veterans Memorial at 11am, I thought hmmmm, what a great day, it's calm and supposed to be windy, rainy, and who knows what the next couple days so maybe I should go fishing this afternoon. So I did. I got the word from the boss (wife) not to worry about supper. And I didn't, mostly because that could be taken more than one way. I set lines at 12:40p in beautiful, calm waters. Five minutes later I had a double, one on my rigger side (starboard) and one on the Johnson rod. With everything set up again, I hit into a triple with both riggers jumping and the Johnson rod bouncing - got two of three. The funny part of this was when the bottom dropped to 208', the port rigger was set at 166 clicks and the Johnson rod I hadn't re-touched to bottom in several minutes. Go figure! At this point I thought why not head towards home to pick up the last one. Well, it was indeed a good day as I hit a double, one on my rigger and one on the Johnson rod. So now with 4 Lakers in the box I had two fish on but I took a chance on shaking the Laker off the Johnson rod right behind the boat so I didn't need to net it. The Laker on my rigger went into the box as I looked at the clock, tick tock, - exactly one hour with 7 Lakers on and 5 going home with me. Oh, a great supper at home on top of everything. She jokingly says I'm so unworthy! That's probably true!
3 July Amazing how the winds can howl for several days and suddenly quit and provide a great day on the water, like today. I got an early start setting lines at 6:30a to flat seas and clear skies. It wasn't but 10 minutes and I had a double, albeit two modest-sized Lakers but nice leans. I reset both lines and before long the Johnson rod bent over to where I thought it would break in two, but I knew it wasn't a fish because it was coming with me. So I slowed the aux motor to idle and pulled both downriggers out of the water, no small feat alone. Then I could hardly crank the Johnson rod but a few minutes, then rest. OK, Finally I could see the wad of fishing line and 8# lead ball it was attached to but the line was cutting into my fingers and slipping and there was blood on my hands and it wasn't fish blood. So I dug out my leather gloves and was finally able to bring the mess into the boat. This is what I call a "goatus ropeus", that's Joe Latin for Goat Rope. The good news, I not only didn't lose tackle, I got a small Dodger (don't use 'um though) and 8# weight. The bad news was I lost 45 minutes wrestling with this stuff.
So, once rerigged it wasn't long before I caught two more Lakers, then a double, with one getting off. So in about an hour and a half, excluding goatus ropeus, I had 5 Lakers in the box but it was flat calm, early, water temperature 43.8º and air 49º but sunny so I thought I'd jig for the fun of it. So I did for about 45 minutes in about 180-190' water. Finally, when I didn't have any action, I reeled up and noted the hook had somehow went through the tine swivel so I couldn't have caught anything anyway. No regrets as there seems to be a lesson in most trips, this being another. All in all, a great time on the Big Pond. Enjoy the 4th of July tomorrow!
27 June Well, it couldn't have been nicer when we launched and set lines in 158', shallowest of the day. After a fairly quick start with a nice Laker, slowness set in and I mean sloooow. We tried everything, changing speeds and depths from 165' to 250'. Whined a lot, which usually works. OMG do we sound desperate? We finally got 4 Lakers in the box. After 4+ hours we trolled to where we started and when I reeled up, there was a Laker on my line. My story is that it hit on the way up. Yup, that's my story! Initially the surface water was 39.8º and the air 49º. Winds remained in the 8-10 mph from the south mostly, still jacket weather and Frank had a hoddie on for a while. In the last half hour the winds slowly increase but it was weird with pretty good sized rollers were coming from the south, no whitecaps. It justs seemed strange. It was perfect timing to get off. Despite being slow, it was a great day on the water. Oh when we hit the launch, it was in the 70s and we quickly had to lose a couple layers of clothing.
26 June What a beautiful,calm morning as Frank and I set lines. The bonus was the sunshine, which has been scarce lately. Action was fairlly slow with the usual lulls . At 2 hours and 45 minutes we boxed our last Laker and thought, let's wrap it up for the day with 8 Lakers, not to shoddy. Got home and counted 7 Lakers. Counted again and the same. So we've come up with our story that one opened the lid of the cooler and jumped out en route to the dock. A poor excuse of a bad count is better than none. I only wish this was the first time I miscounted. Having put in a new thermostat yesterday only caused other issues.The temperature gauge cycled from normal to hot every 15 secoods. Looks like a defective new thermostat. Always something! Guess if I got another boat that's might be a good name. Strike that comment as I can't complain, my boat having been super dependable, considering all the use it gets...but then I do maintain it well. Enought rambling! Most of the fish were between 180' and 220'. Yup, deep.
25 June My guest today was John Cromwell from Mitchell, IN, a relation to a long time friend. John tried to get a fishing license for today and went to several places, only to find the Michigan Internet licenscing site down so licenses were not available because the web site was down for maintenance. I suggested he come along as planned and watch me fish (wink, wink). Seas were a little rocking and rolling with a pretty steady wind from the north but no white caps, just 1-2' rollers. Sea legs necessary. Air temperature was 41º and water had warmed to 42º. I suggested if our hands were cold, put them in the water, which was warmer. Yeah, right!I set lines at 170', depths John hadn'd experienced before. Action was slow initially but finally the startboard rigger bell rang and produced a nice Laker. Things seemed a little slow as we plied 180-220' waters. Then at the far end of my out-bound leg, action suddenly picked up with a double. We turned the corner and started heading back with 3 nice Lakers in the box when I got a triple. It worked out one got off so I ended with 5 nice Lakers, missing one in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Lots of fun! There wasn't another trailer at the launch when we left and none when we returned. Huh? I must comment on how much I enjoyed John's enthusiasm as a dedicated fishermen enjoying a different fishing experince. Here's John reeling in a Laker on the Johnson rod.
22 June Another foggy day as I headed out at 6:30a with the radar spinning. I set the Johnson out, then the starboard rigger. I didn't have a chance to get the net ready nor port rigger down before the starboard rigger bell rang and within a minute the Johnson rod was bouncing with a Laker, a double. The rigger Laker got off right behind the boat and out of reach of the net, but the Johnson fish went into the box. I took a break to get a few other loose ends done before sending down the second rigger. The fog was heavy but seemed to be lifting somewhat. A check of the air temperature showed 40.6º and the surface water at 38.8º. My break didn't last long as the Laker action continued steady. In an hour and a half I had 7 Lakers on, kept 5, and released one. Meanwhile the fog rolled in heavier than I've seen in years. Even with GPS and radar, it was hard to find the marina opening and once inside, I couldn't even see the launch (but of course I knew where it was.) A later start today might have been better but then I might have missed the "bite".
18 June Today might be best described as a "double hoodie day". My guests today were Tom Foster and Guy Cooksey from Illinois, both of whom have fished with me over quite a few years. It didn't look that foggy when we left but that changed en-route. Not forecast either so it was nice to have the radar to spin up. Conditions were otherwise decent, even with a NW wind aroound 9mph and seas with 1-2 rollers, I was totally surprised there weren't whitecaps, given the long fetch. Who knws eh? We set lines at 170' and generally stayed in the 200' range where we slowly picked up 5 Lakers, and missed one. The fog didn't lift until the end of our nearly 3-hour run and as we approached the ramp. We were the only boat to launch and return at the ramp. Great excursion, with a little BS nostalgia thrown in. BTW, the air droped a little to 41º and with a slow breeze, hence the double hoodie by Tom. Here's a picture. Click to enlarge, use your back button to return here.
17 June Calm winds and heavy fog best describe today's trip. With the radar spinning we were the only boat at the launch. Frank and I set lines at 165' and it wasn't long before be had a double, but one got off about 40' behind the boat. If there was an "Ugly Netting Contest", I would have won hands-down today. But remarkably, Someone was looking out for us as neither of the two we missed were at the net. In 3 hours we had 8 nice Lakers and decided that we had talked about jigging many times and with it so calm, it was a good time to do it. Well, that lasted 40 minutes and nary a hit. But then, that's not our niche. But too, we'll try again sometime. The fog remained heavy and we never saw land the whole time. When we quit, the gear shift wouldn't go in gear so after about 20 minutes, we figured out the cause and were able to fix it. The air temperature was 63º starting out, then next I looked it was 43º. Still, with no wind and the sun periodically shining, it was very nice. The surface water was 37º. As I recall, it's normally in the mid 50s this time of year.
14 June The winds settled after a few days, but so did the temperatures. Frank and I launched to calm winds and winds generaly stayed that way. Air temperature was 42º, surface water 38.5º whence we set lines. Action was slow, but we eventually we picked up 7 Lakers, in waters ranging from 165' to 210', but we didn't see a patten of location or depth. It's so nice to be back to wearing a winter coat! Yeah, right! The big block of ice for the fish cooler I started with has now lasted 7 trips.
11 June This morning we didn't set out until 9am, which worked out fine as we had a double within 10 minutes of setting lines. Conditions were perfect with a slight "Walleye Chop" (which Frank prefers) and near-calm winds. Apparently the Lakers had just awakened and as the action remained fairly steady. We plied waters mostly around 200' and were even marking fish. So we ended after 2 1/2 hours with 10 nice Lakers, nothing of any size but averaging around 3#. I could see the smoker going in my mind (there's got to be a better way to say that). Great day on the water.
10 June Today we ran to another location today, a few miles further than the past couple of trips. The water was beautifully calm but the air was a crispy 41º. After setting lines, for the next hour we had no hits and marked no fish, not that the latter means much. Finally, after wandering into deeper water we caught our first Laker. It was slow after that but the goat rope tangled lines after our turn kept us busy. With obligations early afternoon, we decided to pull the pin circa noon. Well, we were about ready to quit when we got a triple, missing one but ending with 7 Lakers in the box. Most were smaller than they've been running - around or under 3#, but beautiful leans. Most were in the 200' range. Not all that shoddy for under 3 hours "work." The water remained calm but most of the time the air was 42º and with even a 5mph breeze, we were reaching for our coats, then taking them off again. Great day!
9 June Frank and I started early at 7a because I had an afternoon commitment. Slow action on a beautiful, but cool morning. The air was 46º and water 36.5º but virtually no wind. We slowly picked up 7 Lakers in just under 4 hours. Hits were very light and the fish seemed lethargic, except for a few right behind the boat. But we didn't lose any, quite unusual. Most were caught between 180 and 200'. Great day!
6 June With the broken downrigger removed and my old backup rigger in place, Frank and I headed out to calm seas. We managed 4 Lakers in the first two hours and the action went dead the next two hours. They just shut down. However, we did some scouting of relatively new waters in hopes of trying our hand at jigging sometime. Our timing to get off the Lake was good as it started to sprinkle a little but once home, the skies opened up to a hard downpour. We ranged in depths from 160' to 230'.
5 June Another beautiful, calm day as Frank and I headed out. Action was pretty slow but we managed 4 Lakers in just less than 4 hours. Typical slow Spring fishing. One Laker though was just under 6#, the rest around 3#. The biggest Laker tangled into the opposite rigger and it was a real goat rope getting it to the net. It was more luck than skill but we got it. As we approached quitting time, my downrigger gears stripped and I had to install a handle to crank it up. Seems like it's always something. The air temperature was 41º and surface water 37º, but it was sunny and nice.
4 June 2014 Yup! It finally happened. Yesterday I could see just a few bergs but today as Frank Lorsbach and I launched this morning, none were in sight. It was cool but calm, perfect for our shakedown fishing excursion. It's a little scary when the first trip goes so smoothly. Usually we forget or screw up something but not today. Even better, we caught 10 nice Lakers, all in the 3# range and most around 180'. Conditions were great with calm winds, the air 56º and water surface 36º and sunny. Good start and great to be back on the water.
2 June 2014 Well, I still haven't been able to get out due to ice, which is now mostly, but not completely gone. It has been a cold and long winter with the Big Pond freezing over by 90%. I took some pictures this foggy morning so excuse the quality, but you'll get the idea. Pass your mouse over the image for text, click on image to enlarge, use your back button to return here. I hope to get out this week.
Chunk of ice near the lower harbor. Ice at Coast Guard Station. Note their boat in the distance. It was surrounded by ice yesterday. Lastly, ice at the Presque Isle Marina launch, south side.
15 April 2014 Had to click anyway eh! What a snowy, long, and cold winter. Here I am trying to launch early. 6" snow yesterday, warnings for up for 6" more tomorrow. I suggest avoiding me where possible. Lots of reports on Lake Superior ice status, but looking out that's all I see. Right now it's 25º and dropping. got 6" snow yesterday and a storm watch is out for tomorrow with another 6"-12". Interpret this F*#%! if you dare. Seriously, I'm ok but it's getting old.
4 May 14 We've had 2 nice days, the rest not nice. Forecast is for slow warming, lucky to hit the 50ºs. Lots of ice on the Big Pond yet and marina is still frozen in.
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