"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 determines 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. Click here for my highlights during the study. The study has been completed and published. I hope to post links to the complete study here soon.
Click here to see last year's log - 2016 or click here choose prior year fishing reports
Fishing Synopsis for 2017
|Fishing Synopsis 2017||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
|Trolling Hours Lake Trout only||279||271||222||155||186||128||111|
|Trips Lake Trout only||73||77||64||53||64||47||41|
|Trolling Hours non-Lake Trout||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Trips non-Lake Trout||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Travel hours to and from fishing grounds||52||62||48||36||45||35||20|
|Skunk Trips Lakers only||0||0||0||0||1||0||2|
|Lake Trout kept||362||429||236||362||373||314||209|
|Lake Trout tagged and released||344||314||332||0||0||0||0|
|Lake Trout released without tagging||34||69||13||21||28||25||18|
|Total fish caught||740||819||584||384||404||346||227|
|Fish per hour (total fish / Lake Trout Hours)||2.66||3.01||2.63||2.47||2.15||2.70||2.05|
|Fish caught with tags||10||4||2||5||1||1|
|Single Line Doubles (2 fish on one line)||33||48||36||9||11||11||8|
|Average depth of water - feet||175||194||175||Unk||Unk||Unk||Unk|
|Average length of trolling - hours||3.8||3.5||3.5||2.9||2.9||2.7||2.7|
|Average fish caught per trip||10.1||10.6||8.9||7.2||6.3||7.4||5.5|
20 Oct I looked at the forecast for the next week and it was bleak so I put the boat up for the season. Above is my report for the season. Catch rate was down considerably for several reasons, which I won't get into. I must say it's been one of the windiest seasons I can remember, and wettest too.
6 Oct Yup! it's been a few days but Frank and I changed hats (fishermen superstition) and launched to great conditions of fairly calm seas and light winds. I was wearing a heavy shirt and winter coat with gloves on the dash if needed. Frank had a more distinguished layered-look. But the sun was out and we set lines in 125' of water. Fifteen minutes passed and finally a hit and after a decent fight, got off 15' back of the boat. So we continued the first hour ranging to 160' with nary a fish mark on the graph or another hit. We headed to one of my favorite way points which is en route to another favorite spot and turning northward, voila, marks up the wazoo! Action suddenly picked up and some nice Lakers came to us, and some swam away. At the 2 hour and 30 minute hack Frank produced a single line double and we had 9 in the box. We pulled the Johnson rod and headed homeward (still trolling) hoping for the last one. Well, the last Laker came to us shy of 3 hour, this whilst I had one at the same time but it fortunately got off. BTW, by the end of the run the winter coat and sweater were off and it was just shirt weather. What a day!
28 Sep I had a late morning meeting and a number of things I wanted to get done in the afternoon but the Big Pond was calling and I thought it a good time for a short run. I met Mike Brissette at the dock and invited him to fish with me. Mike was went through the same horrific storm I did in 1988 when one of the five of us boaters out there died. We plied 50-70' waters for 2 hours with nary a hit but saw considerable fish marks. Conditions were quite good with winds averaging 8 mph from the east but seas were light.
25 Sep I had mixed signals (forecasts) about fishing conditions but finally decided to head out. Turned out conditions were better than expected and I set lines at 115' and rambled various depths thereafter. Finally and hit, and miss. One hour later a double hit and both went into the box. Very few marks. Finally, nearing the end of my usual 3-hour troll, several marks and then a double, getting only one. Pretty slow going as usually this time of the year action picks up. However, it was a beautiful day on the water with a light northerly breeze and near calm seas.
21 Sep 17 The forecast of north winds proved no problem as Frank and I headed out to set lines at 115'. Within 15 minutes we had a tussle with a 10# Laker which we released, a likely spawner. Then the next two hours we were searching and without a hit, going from 110' to 220'. Finally, we decided to troll to another waypoint I had in 120'. En route, we suddenly marked several Lakers and caught 2, both over 5#. I marked the location on the GPS and pulled the Johnson rod and surface rod so we could maneuver better. We circled back and picked up two more Lakers in short order. Quitting at 3 hours we had a pleasant ride back with a nice catch.
19 Sep My guest Rick Sarasien and I left the launch having looked at the forecast of light winds and we vacillated where to go and we finally decided to head east a ways. Powering to the lighthouse was a piece of cake but then we encountered 2-3' rollers and we both agreed we were not going far. So we set lines at 50' and ranged around up to 90', marking a number of fish that weren't hungry. Finally, after an hour, I suggested trolling to deeper water, about an hour away, so off we went. Arriving at one of my favorite starting spots, the Johnson rod went nuts. Short story is we caught a 5# Steelhead on the Johnson rod, 160' down, pure excitement. The last hour of 3 hours produced 3 nice Lakers also, all around 4#. We both agreed it was fun fishing in rollers, wondering where they came from in winds under 3 mph. Probably should have a pedometer on as we did a lot of walking in place with all the rock and roll of the boat. Fun!
18 Sep We were in for a surprise when Frank and I turned the breakwater to 2-3' rollers, despite calm winds, so our plans of where to fish quickly changed. Not a problem so we didn't go far and set lines at 160'. I was fishable but a little rock and roll. I'll condense this to 5 Lakers in 3.5 hours, depths 150' to 209'. Ironic wind was virtually dead on north leg of run and one return leg suddenly kicked to 10-12 mph. But we prevailed and had a good time on the Big, but unpredictable, Pond.
14 Sep It was an early morning decision that Frank and I made to head out under better than expected conditions. We set lines at 112' and before long, a beautiful 4# red fin Laker was in the box. Well, we've been down this road before, thinking we're going to nail 'um and we trolled another 2 and a half hours and finally picked up two more. But we did try different depths, 110' and down to 210'. Marked some but caught none of the marks. Towards the end of run a fishing acquaintance, the only other boat in the area, came by to tell us he had 10. How nice! Actually, we weren't upset as it was such a great day on the water. I believe this is called fishing. Well, OK, we were a little upset! (:>
12 Sep 17 There just are some forecasts you feel good about and today was one as Frank and I left, vowing to try shallow fishing. Conditions were as forecasted and down went out lines at 85'. It wasn't long before my rigger bell went nuts for a couple of minutes, then quiet. Suddenly, nothing but reeling it, the snap swivel and lure were gone. My story is it broke the line. Reality is line was fatigued and broke. Then we ran through a patch of marks but no takers. Then we decided to fish our way out to deeper water, e.g., 120'+ and we finally hit a nice Laker. So we ventured those depths for an probably an hour without another hit or even a mark. Up and down the various depths and speeds. BTW, hit a patch of current that slowed us down by .5 mph. Same place as last time. On with the story. Action picked up as we ran into 135' water, quickly picked up a couple there. Then the surface line, which I rarely run but should more often hit, a Coho that danced repeated out of the water and that was a lot of fun. Finally, on our final leg with 8 fish in the box (+3 misses), I suggested we wrap it up after 3 and a half hours and Frank said he had a single line double. Perfect! So we wrapped it up with our limit and a fantastic day on the water.
9 Sep Guests today were Frank Lorsbach and grandson Spencer Smith (16), as we left in great seas with a light SE wind and less than 1' seas. I don't recall so many boats and such a horrible launch site. Cars and trailers all over the place, including on the lawns. I won't get started now on that topic but will address it later, somehow. We set lines at 120' and worked up and down to 170' but action was slow. Lots of boats! Action was very slow for a place that usually heats up in action this time of year. Slowly we picked up 5 small Lakers, releasing one, in a variety of depths, and missed one. However, it was a beautiful day on the water, with winds from the SE at around 10 mph and occasionally, 1' waves.
3 Sep I got a late mid morning start but under great conditions. Down went the lines in 118' with nary a hit nor a mark for an hour as I varied the depths up to 180'. Trolling at 1.8-2.0 mph I could see seagulls ahead in some turbulent water. As I reached that water, my trolling speed almost instantly decreased to 1.2 mph so I really had to crank up the motor rpms to get my speed up. The turbulence lasted for about half a mile and I gradually ran out of it near one of my favorite waypoints. There I started marking Lakers at 130' and picked up 3, one being 6#. Conditions were great with near-calm seas. As I approached the launch, there was a 12' tied up at the dock and there were two of us boats waiting to get out. The owner of the 12' started for his vehicle but I could see him wandering around the parking lot talking on his cell phone, making no effort to get his car and trailer. This went on for at least 5 minutes. Not very considerate!
1 Sep The air temperature at launch was 45º so Jim and I both had on winter jackets. Winds were fairly breezy from the south so we decided to run with the wind and waves and not go far. We set lines at 160' and within 20 minutes, a nice 4# Laker was in the box. Today's the day...yeah right. We plied the waters from 150' to 225' and finally picked up two more Lakers before we quit after just under 3 hours. Surprisingly, the winds and waves backed down quite a bit and we were able to fish up wind. Turned out a beautiful day on the water with kind of a hazy sunshine and temperatures around 65º so the winter garb was put off to the side...for another time. Oh, we missed one 5 minutes before we said we were quitting. Even got a look at it and it's growing is size as we speak.
29 Aug With another good forecast except for some spotty fog. Jim and I headed out in calm seas and clear skies. We set lines in 125' and worked as deep as 180', action the first hour included one miss. In the meantime, the fog bank we could see at a distance was now over us so I spun up the radar to track the only other boat that was around us. Slowly we picked up 6 Lakers and missed two more in the three hours trolling. None of any size. The ride home was still in heavy fog, all the way to the marina. Still, winds and seas were calm so it still was a great day to be on the Big Pond despite the fog.
28 Aug 17 I hit the throttle after launch to discover 2' rollers despite a great forecast of light winds. Not unusual! So it was throttle back and trim tabs down to prevent air under the boat (boaters will get my drift). After a few miles I set two lines near the bottom in 140' and one I ran at 100'. After an hour and a half, nary a hit or mark on the graph as I varied the depth up to 200', then back to 170'. Finally, a hit but it wasn't much and it got off. Fifteen minutes later, a much stronger hit on the Johnson rod that hung on until out about 100', then gone. Gee! (Actually, that's not what I said!) Having gone in a near-straight line I wasn't about to turn around so I headed to a favorite spot a few miles away, easy peasy troll, rock and roll with the rollers not withstanding. Finally, in the third hour action picked up with 4 Lakers in the box, all small but good eaters. I never turned with thoughts of getting the last one when the Johnson rod hit and the port rigger bell rang. A double when I only needed one so I released one. Murphy's Law! Winds were generally less than 5 mph but there were a few short periods where winds kicked to 14 mph from the SE with rollers from the NE, so there were times I should have had a pedometer walking in place. All in all though, great time on the water!
25 Aug After hearing various reports of nice-sized Lakers being caught in shallow waters and by some, early in the morning, I decided to hit the water at 7am, and my guest Jim Price went along with that. We set lines in 80' and it wasn't 10 minutes that passed before my rigger went nuts and my guess was a salmon. I'm guessing as it only was on about 20 seconds. Shortly after that, Jim's rigger produced a nice 5# Laker. We thought with two quick hits and marks all over the graph, today is the day. Wrong! We plied those 70-80' waters for another 1 1/2 hours without a hit so a decision was made to head to deeper waters about 2 miles away. Down went the Johnson rod in 80' en route to deeper waters, and seconds later a thrummer Laker was on...for about a minute. Mumble, mumble! Sent it to the bottom and a couple of minutes later, another hit which this time produced a nice 4# Laker. So we worked that area thinking it must the Laker patch but that didn't prove out so we roved around, deep as 140'. Boiling it down, we got 6 Lakers, all nicely sized and feisty fighters in 4 hours. Tons of boats out scouting their fishing grounds in preparation the fishing derby tomorrow, which I won't be in. Another great day on the water with calm seas and winds and fish as a bonus.
21 Aug Another good forecast that materialized with calm waters and winds as my guest Rick Sarasien and I headed out. We set lines at 120' and stayed under 140' for half an hour with no action. We then worked deeper and finally found 7 Lakers between 160' and 180', none of any size. The last half hour we went back to the 140' and saw some great fish marks on the graph but no takers. We wrapped it up after 3 hours to head in and observe the eclipse.
As I was backing my boat into the driveway, Rick said "deer" and there, 50' away was a doe in the boulevard, just watching traffic. Amazingly, some traffic didn't slow down and passed the deer within a few feet. Had the doe bolted into the street, it could have been ugly. The doe did cross the street after a few minutes without incident.
19 Aug My new throttle control came in yesterday so I thought I'd get that installed and head out as conditions were great. Well, the installation went well initially but then the motor cover wouldn't fit on. Grrrrr! I'll spare you the details of grinding and fitting but finally, it fit, but not easily. So, I invited an acquaintance from where I keep my boat, Joe Arntsen, to join me as he has not been on the Big Pond before. We set lines at 170' and it wasn't 10 minutes before the starboard rigger rang and Joe reeled in a nice 5# Laker. Don't get many of those these days! This was somewhat of shakedown testing the new equipment so we were pleased to catch 5 nice Lakers in just under 2 hours on beautiful seas. A surprisingly fun time!
14 Aug Another good forecast with near calm seas as Frank and I departed the launch. Slowly the wind picked up as did the waves and as we set lines, the winds were10-12 mph from the south with 1' waves. However, it was still manageable as we got the Johnson line in an two minutes later, a Laker hit. Action was fairly steady as we plied 150' to 180' and in two and a half hours we had 10 Lakers, none of any size but excellent eaters. In the last half hour, the wind and waves laid down and it was near calm as we returned to port. Fun time!
Addendum: Coming home pulling the boat there was a mother duck leading her clutch of 8 ducklings as she, not her ducklings, crossed the road to water. We stopped with 4-way flashers on as did opposing traffic. Well, mommy was on one side and the ducklings didn't seem to care so Frank got out of my car and herded the ducklings across the road. Neat!
13 Aug It was a beautiful day but we didn't have a good start. My guest today was Dave Peterson, retired CO and originally my neighbor of many years ago. We launched rather quickly (I usually do) as someone was behind us and the launch went ok but wasn't pretty. Then backing away from the dock a light wind pushed the stern into the last F*#%ing post and swung me around and dang if the autopilot piston hose connection didn't get snapped off. Well, I volunteered to wait for the next person to launch which they did but their engine wouldn't run right so they tied up the dock for 10 minutes before I could get out. Finally, they moved their boat to the reverse side (I wish more people would do that when they're delayed) and I got the boat on the trailer and drove home for repairs. Fortunately, I had the exact part needed and in 10 minutes it was repaired and we back to the launch. This time, it went much smoother. There are many lessons in boating and today was one I know better - don't rush! If someone is with you who doesn't know your routines, slow down and walk through it methodically. Guess i should practice what I peach!
We powered to one of my favorite spots and set lines at 115' and went probably 45 minutes with just one hit which was a nice 4# Laker that got off 2' from the net. After an hour we had zero in the box and one of my fishing cronies nearby had 4, but he found them deeper. I think this is called fishing. Well, I mumbled a few things but also Dave and I did agree it was a fantastic day on the water, calm and warm. Anyway, in the next 2 hours and 15 minutes we picked up 6 Lakers at around 180' and were just pulling lines when Dave's downrigger started thrumming. Dang if he didn't have a single line double so we wrapped it up with 8 nice Lakers and a really good day on the Big Pond.
9 Aug Quite a SE chop in the marina as Jim Price and I left with a good forecast which actually turned out very good. We set lines at 125' and marked quite a few fish but found few takers. We wandered around various depths up to 180' and finally picked up 8 averaged-sized Lakers in 3 hours, releasing a dink (small) one. However, Jim and I talked about how great it was to be on the water, especially with wonderful conditions like that. Fish are a bonus. BTW, marked some arches on the graph around 75' - 125' but I chased those in prior years with no results. Seems they show up this time of year and are clusters of spinney water fleas. I think that's true as they were coming up attached to our lines.
7 Aug I got an early start as it was a beautiful, clear, and calm morning. I set lines at 115' working to 140' and in the first half hour had two nice 5# Lakers in the box. Then nothing for an hour. Then picked up three Lakers at 165' and managed to knock one off with my net. Gee! So with 4 in the box I hit a double, the first was pretty small so I released it. The other was a beauty and gave me my limit of 5 in shy of 3 hours. Oh, whilst fighting one fish, I managed to cross lines with a fishing acquaintance, the only other boat in the area. I was on autopilot and going straight as an arrow so I still haven't figured out how that happened. But we got successively untangled. BTW, the autopilot is still working perfectly with the flow valve unplugged.
6 August Headed out with Frank in calm seas and winds. Set lines at 115' and slowly worked deeper. The first Laker came aboard in 150' after 15 minutes so we figured that's a good depth. The current was very strong and I had to really rev up the kicker going north. Acton was slow and we varied depths and hit a double, one of which got off. We ran past one of my favorite spots and picked up another Laker at 180'. At the end of the run, there's a deep patch which I didn't bother to lower my rigger but Frank did at 225' and he hit one too. Mind you at each depth we caught a fish, we figured that was the best depth. Yup! We decided to fish back to where we started and with 5 Lakers in the box I suggested at the end of the run where the bottom comes up rapidly, we would just quit. Just then the Johnson rod hit and the port rigger went off. The Johnson produced a nice lean 6# Laker but the rigger Laker got off. So we wrapped it up in less than 3 hours with 6 Lakers and 3 misses but with a most enjoyable time on the water.
5 August Tested my autopilot fix and it seem to work, plus broke in new kicker for which I needed to vary the speeds so I stuck to the harbor or a little outside. I decided to put out two lines on the off chance of catching something. So there I am reading my manual of codes when I heard a rigger bell ringer. Short story but big fight, got a nice 6# Laker of which I was not ready for. I wasn't planning to log today as a fishing trip but did because I inadvertently caught a Laker.
4 August Here's the scoop on the autopilot issue. My friend Rick said let's see what we can do about your autopilot. Seeing as I have a complete duplicate system in a box for backup we started swapping parts and analyzing, or should I say perhaps over analyzing what worked and what didn't. As I have said before, intermittent is the worst kind of problem. Most marine electronic stuff is built to resist moisture so I had faith in the backup unit which was once immersed under water.
The unit has an enclosed motherboard with inputs from a compass, RPM sensor on the motor, and push button control. Our thinking was that the motor and hydraulic pump ran one way only and the "thingy" next to it controlled a valve that switched directions of the fluid to steer. We had no schematics! So after all this and a few other tests going nowhere we decided to do a cold boot, disconnecting power and booting the autopilot. It worked. Huh? Then we put it in standby and it didn't work. So we rebooted again and when it worked, we then disconnected the "thingy" and it still worked. WTF! So, we have now theorized the "thingy" does not reverse the hydraulic flow as the motor and pump do that, but rather it is a flow constrictor, to smooth and slow reactions times of the autopilot to varying seas as programmed by me. Apparently, when the autopilot wasn't working and the motor was running, the "thingy" had shut off the pump flow completely. So today, after booting with the wires connected, we then disconnected to the "thingy" and it worked fine, albeit a little jumpy whence waves were rocking the boat from the side. But it did that before to some degree. I do have a plan B and C to deal with that but it's just another theory. This is a sophisticated autopilot by Nautamatic with around 27 different code settings, many of which I'm familiar with. Nautamatic was bought out by Garmin a few years back. The new version of the TR-1 by Garmin is very similar to the Nautamatic but designed so you can't plug in Nautamatic components. Huh? I'm waiting for an autopilot driven by Android and Bluetooth. Heck, that should be easy project for an engineer.
2 August Update for my followers. I finally got the part I needed but now the autopilot works intermittently. Nothing worse than trying to fix an intermittent. I've checked a few things but have more tests to do. Meantime, I can't go fishing.
28 July I'm kind of back in business with a brand new shiney Merc kicker. However, they sent the wrong conversion kit for my autopilot so I didn't have any steering. With a 12mph north wind I just ran out a couple of miles with the big motor and fished with the wind and 1' waves with the kicker. Near the end of the run I caught two dinks at once on the Johnson rod and I released them both and quit after 1 hour.
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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