"Cooler By The Lake"
2017 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 in 2013 but data was collected on recaptured Lakers through 2015. Then I'll be anxious to see the final study. Click here to see more information and interim results on the Lake Trout Hooking-Mortality study.
Click here to see last year's log - 2016 or click here choose prior year fishing reports
11 July Well, another beautiful, calm day as I was the first at the launch. I ran about 20 minutes to one of my favorite spots and just motoring there was fun. Set lines at 160' and everything was going fine, a few cougfs from the kicker and all seemed good. Ten minutes later, the kicker died and the autopilot, died too, despite there being no direct electrical connection between the two. So I fired up the big engine and trolled with that against a powerful current so the speed was ok in one direction. Can't say my steering skills were that good as I had to operate the downrigger and Johnson line whist alone. I marked a number of fish, all apparently it was after their breakfast so no takers. In short, 2 hours (well maybe a little less) and not a hit. Like it or not, a skunk is a skunk! So, for the last half hour I dreaded thoughts of catching one Laker and releasing it as I don't like cleaning just one fish and cranked both lines up higher than normal. It's decision time in that I'm going to replace my Yamaha kicker. The autopilot is another issue but I'm hoping to resolve it. I won't bore you with all the complications this will cause. I tell everyone that if I ever get another boat it'll be named "Always Something". But there won't be another boat as despite all, I love the one I have and I love my time on the water.
9 July Finally light winds were forecasted but no mention of fog. Well, as I got near the Big Pond, a huge fog bank had rolled in. Not to be deterred, I launched at 6 a.m. (I had to be home early), spun up the radar and headed out. I set out only two lines as I was alone and before long, the first Laker came in meek and mild. Depths ran from 180' to 240'. The next Laker was a real scrapper and being alone, presented a challenge to net. The net-job wasn't pretty but it was successful. Two of the next Lakers were dinks (small), one of which was in good condition I released and the other one badly bloated . In short, I ended with 5 Lakers in 2 hours, heading in with the fog still heavy.
27 June The data buoy near Granite Island early showed 15.9 kts so I had some doubts the forecast for light north winds would happen. However, my guest Rick Sarasien and I had big hopes and found the waters and air quite calm. There were several other boats in the area and we set lines in 175' of water. I looked at our GPS speed and we were barely moving because of the current so I really had to speed up the motor. It wasn't long before the first Laker hit on the Johnson rod but got off halfway up. Then a Laker off a rigger. Then the wheels came off the bus with the autopilot quitting, then the kicker motor . Not good! As a result we trolled using the big motor. Even with the big motor we would only do .7mph in one direction but going the opposite direction, we were doing 2.8 mph with no change in RPMs. I haven't seen a current like that in years. It only proves what I've been saying that warnings are given to swimmers when it's windy and rough but the fact is there are sometimes powerful currents when it's calm like today. Anyway, we ended with 4 Lakers in a little over 2 hours. I hope they calibrate that data buoy sometime. I also hope I can resolve the kicker and autopilot issues soon.
21 June Another beautiful day as my long-time friend John Wells visiting her joined me for an early fishing expedition on calm waters and in calm air. We set lines in 150' and it wasn't long before we had our first Laker on. Action was fairly steady and when we put the 5th Laker in the box in 1 1/2 hours, we decided to pull the pin as we both had things to do. We must have hit the right spot at the right time as talking with a few other fishermen, they kind of struggled later in the day. We stuck with the 150' - 160' depths as that seemed to work for us and it was nice not to be in the 200'+ water.
19 June My fishing partners were all busy so I hitched up the boat and headed out. There wasn't a single trailer in the launch parking lot which I found very strange as the wind and water were near calm. I sent two lines to the bottom and left the other rigger set at 150'. I worked waters from 180' to 240' and slowly picked up 4 small Lakers. When I was ready to quit I was reaching to the Johnson rod the fifth Laker hit so I thought this couldn't have worked better. Well, the Laker didn't fight much on the way in but went wild right behind the boat and with my line in one hand and the net in the other, off it swam about 2 feet from the net. Mumble, mumble! However, it was great out there. No action on the suspended line but no surprise either. Arriving at the launch, no other vehicles. Huh?
13 June With a light NE wind forecasted, I was a little hesitant to head out but Gary Gibbs and I did in calm seas. We set lines at 180' and worked at times to 260' briefly. It didn't take long before we had the first Laker in the box. Shortly thereafter, the next Laker was 5' from the net and got off. Action was steady and included a single line double on the Johnson rod, pretty unusual. So we ended with 10 Lakers in 2 hours and 20 minutes, so we were quite pleased. Seas were calm the whole time. Coming to the dock, it was again under water and I couldn't jump far enough and got a wet foot getting to my vehicle. I don't recall the water levels fluctuating like they have lately.
12 June Visibility was clear at my house early but when Frank and I left the launch, the fog was a hundred yards out, and heavy. BTW, the water was far down from the dock, considerably more than a foot. Pretty unusual! Radar spinning, out we went to set lines at 180', working what I call the camel humps with lots of ups and downs, some of the downs 263'. Waters were near calm with no wind but heavy fog. Saw one boat on the radar but never got close enough to put an eyeball on it. Action was relatively steady and my side had 4 Lakers (not that we're counting) when Frank said his was acting funny, our term for maybe a Laker. He brought it up and voila, he said there were two Lakers on. Upon further looking, he had three on at one time. Not much I could say except way to go. So with 7 Lakers in the box (none big), we gave it 15 minutes to quitting so when we quit, we both were dragging small Lakers. We're no longer embarrassed about doing that...well, a little. So 9 Lakers in 2 3/4 hours, fun day. Never saw land the whole time because of the fog until pulling into the launch. BTW when we came in the dock was under water and I had to jump over the water. Must have been a mini seich. Very interesting!
11 June After yesterday's howling winds, today the Lake laid down overnight but today there was a threat of thunderstorms starting between 1-4pm. So Frank and I didn't go very far before setting lines in 178'. We wen up and down, getting into some 230' water where we caught our first Laker after an hour of trolling. Then a double after half an hour which was nice. Oh, not to mention missing two. Frank didn't mind quitting a little earlier as he had things do as did I. So we said let's fish another 15 minutes and we'll pull the pin. Suddenly, the rigger bells were ringing and wouldn't you know, we had 4 Lakers on a once but we released an undersized one. Summary: 2 1/2 hours 7 Lakers. BTW, at noon the NWS updated the thunderstorms to hit here at 2:15p (I love that implied precision) but they were wrong as they hit at 2:19p.m. Seriously, that's pretty accurate.
7 June Gee, another beautiful, calm, sunny day so Jim Price and I headed out for fishing ground very familiar to both of us. We plied 170' to 265' and in a hour and a half we had two Lakers. Finally we worked over to a spot we both like and had gone through an hour previously and suddenly we had 4 Lakers one at once. Seems we hit into a patch of Lakers between 140' and 160' so we passed through there a couple of times and ended up with 8 fish in a little over 3 hours. Jim was running two lures on one line and near the end, he was reeling in to see a Laker on the bottom lure with the stacker lure at the surface, 12' behind the boat. Suddenly, we saw a Coho hit the surface lure right behind the boat so we netted that one but the Laker on the bottom got off.
4 June Today's forecast for light winds (was true) and early (was all day) fog were somewhat on as Frank and I headed to a spot we seldom fish. With the radar spinning, we finally arrived to set lines in 175' of water. It wasn't long before the first Laker was on when the dog and pony show began with the line in the small motor. Most of the reel line was gone when the line finally broke and away went the fish. Not the way to start the day. However, whence boating and fishing, backup is key and we were back in business in a short time. Action was fairly stead as we plied depths from 165' to 250', so we working the gear steadily. We wrapped it up after 3 hours with 8 Lakers, the fog still heavy all the way to the launch, but the seas remained calm. Fun day!
3 June Frank and I decided to try some shallow (40'ish feet fishing which has produced some, but not a lot, of nice Lakers in past years). So off we went in relatively calm seas and winds. Well, it was a bust for fishing resulting in a skunk but it's a relaxing way to fish. I never used to go there until the surface waters were 50º. Considering surface temperatures were 44º today that becomes my excuse. Actually, I don't know temperature has that big of an influence. There were 4 other boats in the area and we never saw another net flash, not to say they weren't catching some. But then they all scattered a long way which told me they weren't doing much as most fishermen stick to areas where they catch fish. Winds increasingly kicked to 15-19 mph at times so we booked. Fun boat ride! Sure it a skunk but not unexpected. Last one in 2015.
2 June Yeah, I know, another week passed with crappy weather but today was golden. Jim Price and I set out on beautifully calm seas which are fun to run on. We set lines at 145' and worked (I love saying "work" when one is fishing) following the bottom for an hour+ without a nibble. But we mumbled and kept going, finally turning on a different course and finally the fist Laker went in the box. That was 195'. Once we hit 262' and Jim seemed in shock at the depth but the bottom came up gradually and suddenly we had three one at once, Jim with a single line double. So we ended with 6 Lakers, in shy of 4 hours on beautiful waters. The fish were a bonus to being out the Big Pond on a day like today. We did miss 4 bell-ringers but mox nix on a nice day like today.
26 May Surprise, another calm day as Gary Gibbs and I left the launch, but not after I donned my boots to get on the partially submerged dock. We ran on near calm seas with no wind to set lines at 145' but finally working as deep as 252'. An hour passed producing nothing, as seems usual lately. Finally we picked up 3 Lakers over the next 45 minutes. In the interim, the sun would peek out and the cool breezes would start and stop, so our coats were off and on. Then we had 4 real bell ringers on with nice sized fish that just didn't stick, so we lost all four. As the cold east wind picked up a little again, it didn't take much to talk Gary into bunching it at the 3-hour mark.
23 May Finally, a fishable day after another long stretch of bad weather. Pulling up to the launch, I saw the dock was put in too far and the first 10 feet were under water. I then had to put on my boots to launch, something I've never had to do before. Seas were like glass as I lit the fire in the V-6 motor. I think I enjoy the boat ride as much as fishing. I set 2 lines at 145' and the one rigger I set at varying depths. Nothing happened the first hour as I worked as deep as 252' - Yikes! Finally the first Laker came on the Johnson rod which had my arm burning with all that cranking. Then a double at 170'. In the mean time, there was a lot of doffing and donning of my winter coat as the sun came out, then shortly disappeared. At 2 1/2 hours I decided to wrap it up with 3 Lakers. When I reached to take in one of the rods , I got a hit and my forth Laker. The Lake was still like glass and a very light rain sprinkle started, then stopped, on an enjoyable ride home.
13 May Another cold fishing day as Gary Gibbs and I headed out in near calm seas. At 145' we sent Gary's downrigger down and about half way, the rigger started bouncing. We knew it wasn't bottom so up it came with a 5# Laker. It caught us off guard as the net wasn't ready or anything else. Good way to start! We plied waters from 145' to 240', catching 6 more Lakers, all of a nice size and one was probably 30-40' off the bottom. We decided to quit after 2 1/2 hours as the cold 40º wind was picking up from the NE.
12 May Today was long awaited calm and sunny, albeit cool start as my guest Jim Price and I headed out for parts known, well maybe known. We set lines at 145' and weaved in and out water, as deep as 180'. Yup, zilch hits for the first hour so the "go deeper" syndrome kicked in, which we did. Then first action at 223' but another hour lapsed. The phone rang from a friend who I have told repeatedly when he calls I get a fish on. Well, it happened again, a triple on. I marked the spot and we worked it back and forth, albeit 245' deep. Boiling it down, we ended with 7 Lakers and 3 misses in 4 hours but a great time on the Big Pond.
9 May 17 Finally a decent day as Frank and I headed out at 9:30am, a little later than usual with hopes it would warm somewhat from the early morning 28º. We set lines at 165' and worked as deep as 245'. An hour passed without so much as a hit. Then the first Laker came in after we had done a little whining about how slow it was. Then about half an hour later, Frank said he had one on and next thing you know, we discovered we had 5 fish on all at once. That was interesting but we didn't miss any. Two of the 5 were pretty small so we released them. Seas were mostly calm with a light wind. We headed in after 3 hours with 6 nice Lakers. Fun time! BTW, surface water was 35.5º, air temperature in the low 40ºs.
13 Apr 17 Shakedown trip today with Rick Sarasien. Still there's only the north dock in at the launch so I had to do a little reconnoitering launching as I'm geared up to use the south dock. Anyway, the launch went smoothly and we headed out in near calm seas to set lines in 180' FOW. Action was very slow and we marked no fish. No surprise for early spring fishing. We worked deeper and finally a hit on the Johnson rod in 226', which went into the box. We stayed deep and plied water as deep as 262' - ouch. The second Laker came off a rigger at 250'. Finally, shy of 3 hours we were pulling lines only to discover a nice Laker on one of the riggers. I'm sure we're the only ones to have that happen...yeah, right! But it was a beautiful day with full sunshine and calm winds and seas and no goat ropes. Surface water was 35.5º and the air 47º. Good way to start the season.
8 April 2017 Today was a get the boat in the water and test a few things day. Last season on the last run the drive wouldn't shift into forward so we made some adjustments this spring. Today I cleverly left the boat on the trailer, lowered the I/O and started the big engine. Ah ha, shifted great. Hopefully, that problem is solved. So I let the engine run a bit just to warm it up so it would idle better but I wondered what that whooshing sound was. Pulled back the engine dog house and viola, none of the petcocks were closed even though they were checked off on my extensive checklist. Well, that water was really filling the bilge fast so I turned off the motor and put the bilge pump on. First time I used it in 20 years so we'll consider that maneuver a bilge pump test. But I think I'm ready for the Big Pond soon.
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