Joe's 2018 Lake Superior Fishing Report and Log Joe's boat Cooler By The Lake Welcome to my fishing web site. This is my twenty-third year of logging my Lake Superior Fishing adventures.  I synopsize most trips, generally describing my adventures, successes and other details out on the Big Pond.  My boat is appropriately named "Cooler By The Lake". I am just a plain fisherman who loves to fish Lake Superior, mostly for Lake Trout. I do not run a charter. I try to update my reports after each trip. I think of it as a log but some might say it's a BLOG, mox nix. Thank you for following us on our Lake Superior fishing journeys. Please if you have any questions or suggestions on my reports or narratives. Compliments are also welcomed. 

"Cooler By The Lake"

Marquette, Michigan

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2018 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 - 2017  or click here choose prior year fishing reports

15 Jul 18    My guest for the second time this season was Tyler Bell (14) as we set out in calm seas and light winds. We set lines at 170' and pretty and much stuck to the 160' - 190' depths. Action was slow but each Laker we caught was fiesty. It was getting very hot with no wind and after two hours and 4 Lakers in the box, we pointed the bow homeward hoping to get one more, which we did. We pulled the pin at 2 hours and 45 minutes to head in. It wasn't any cooler on land.

14 July 2018    Gee, another fantastic forecast. When we arrived, a fisherman had his boat launched and tied up to the dock. He then drove and parked his vehicle at the far end of the parking lot.  He then walked back to the sign/pay box and completed his paperwork. He then walked back to his truck to put the ticket on his dash, do some other stuff, and get his dog. Meanwhile, I'm waiting to launch whilst he could have done all that stuff before launching and tying up the dock. Where is the thinking and courtesy of some boaters? This is not an isolated incident. Recently, after a fisherman launched, he started fixing up his downriggers and other gear several minutes before going out. All while I'm waiting to launch. OK, enough venting for now.

So Frank and I headed out on calm seas to set lines at 165' of water. It wasn't long before our first hit. In a hour and a half we had 6 in the box and then the usual slowness set in. We worked the 160' - 190' depths and picked up 3 more in the next hour and a half. I commented let's head home and Frank said there's only 9 in the box. So I counted them 3 times and yes, there were 9 so we pointed the boat trolling homeward and finally picked up our last Laker. Conditions were excellent but it was hot at times with no wind.

 Frank and I headed out in calm seas and winds to set lines where last we went.

10 Jul 18 Struggling was the word for the day. Frank and I fished depths from 130' to 230' and ended with 4 Lakers in 4 hours. OK, we had 3 real thurmmers but saw only one. Great day on the water otherwise. I don't think we marked 20 fish. Talked with several other fishermen later to find their luck was similar.

6 Jul 18    What a super day with a great forecast that came true. Frank and I headed out under clear skies and calm winds and seas to set lines at 170'. We pretty much stuck to the 170' - 200' depths where we picked up 9 Lakers in a little over 4 hours. When we had 5 in the box we decided to point the boat towards the launch and fish another hour and managed to pick up 4 nice Lakers. That worked well.

2 Jul 18 We had a somewhat sticky decision with winds predicted from south 5-15 mph where 5 is great, 15 not good. But Frank and I headed out with the understanding we'd bunch it if it wasn't  pleasant. Turned out winds and seas were near calm as we set lines in 190'. We plied waters from 160' - 220' and eventually picked up 4 Lakers in 2 1/2 hours. We were checked by the DNR which went well. The winds and seas slowly built and we decided to quit when winds gusted to 18mph in 2' seas with white caps. Still, it was great to be back on the Big Pond. Getting off the water was a challenge with 3 Michigan National Guard huge water vessels around the launch and a boater trying to get his boat on his trailer for 15 minutes. I exaggerate not!

25 June 2018    After our slow fishing the last trip, Frank and I agreed we should change hats (no fishermen superstition here eh) and we headed out in pretty calm seas. I talked Frank into fishing a place that usually produces a few nice-sized Lakers this time of year. Well, after an hour and a half of nothingness, we decided to move a couple of miles to another favorite spot. We set lines at 190' and it wasn't long before the Johnson rod produced a small Laker. Not long after that, we had a triple and quickly reset one of the lines only to get another Laker. Almost a quad! After a couple more Lakers making 7 in the box, we hit a quad with a single line double on Franks rigger, the Johnson bouncing and I had one. We only needed 3 for our limit but it worked out as one got off. As we wrapped it up after 2 hours. Seas that had been relatively calm, were now being stirred to some whitecaps by a 10 mph NE, cold wind so our timing to get off was excellent.

22 Jun    Frank and I were not planning to run far but conditions were so good we thought why not enjoy a boat ride. We set lines in 130' and slowly worked deeper. Marks were scarce and Lakers more so. We ranged waters over 220' but only briefly. There were places we saw multiple marks but no takers. Finally, we boxed two nice Lakers and continued on another hour with no more hits. So we agreed to quit after a little over 3 trolling hours, putting away the net and some other gear. As I reached for my rigger to bring it up, a hit and the final Laker came to us. We call them 11th hour Lakers and this has happened any number of times in the past. Fun day!

21 June    Another beautiful day as my guest Tyler Bell (14) and I headed out in calm seas and winds. We set lines at 160' and worked as deep as 230'. About half an hour passed before the first Laker hit. Then an hour passed without a hit but then a triple. We didn't mark many fish but it seems we never catch the marks anyway. We wrapped it up with 5 Lakers in two and a half hours. Surface water temperature was 47 and the air 53. The Johnson rod finally produced after being on sabbatical for a few trips. Below is a picture of Tyler reeling in a Laker.

Tyler Bell reeling in a Laker

20 Jun    Redemption, just kidding. Today my special guests were Frank Lorsbach his son Ted, and granddaughter Miranda (14). Super conditions with calm seas and winds as we set lines at 175'. It wasn't 10 minutes before the first Laker hit and went into the box. Slowly, we picked up 4 more Lakers, one on Frank's home-made sardine can lure. It's so flimsy that it gets all bent up and he has to reshape it. We had a minor goat rope where I tried to break the release loose by pulling on the line but the line broke. Good news, the line stayed into the release and we hand lined the Laker into the box. Miranda midway wanted to operate the downrigger and was amazing how quickly she grasped how it all worked. With 5 lakers in the box and ready to quit, she caught a Coho, boat's  first of the year. We ranged in depths from 165' to 220' but didn't see a pattern of what depth was most productive. Didn't mark a whole lot. Average speed was 1.8 mph but that varied with the current. Here's a picture I finally got posted. Click on it to expand, back button to return here.

Ted, Miranda, Frank Lorsbach

19 Jun 18    My guest today was Gary Gibbs and the both of us had high expectations as we headed out under beautiful, calm and sunny, conditions. Down went the gear in 145' but nothing happened for an hour and a half when we finally boxed a Laker to allay our fears of a skunk. Then another hour and a half of marks but no more takers. So after plying waters from145' to 220' for 3 hours plus, we were quite philosophical thinking what a beautiful day on the Big Pond. I believe it's called fishing.

14 Jun 18    I doesn't get much better than today where the forecast for light and variable winds came true. Today my guests were Steve Kroll and Edna Swiger from Bruce Crossing and where they refer their place as Hermitsville. We set lines at 175' and patiently waited for over an hour without a hit. Finally, of all things, a double and two nice Lakers went in the box. Then we then ran into several patches of big fish marks but they apparently were not interested in our lures. We plied water from 145' to over 220' and eventually caught 4 more nice-sized Lakers in a little over 3 hours. A most enjoyable time on the water with lots of tales and stories told. Here's a picture of Steve and Edna. Click on the picture to expand, hit back to return here.

Steve Knoll and Edna Swiger

10 Jun 18    Another beautiful, calm day so I headed out for a short trip because of other obligations. I set lines at 165' and in 20 minutes the first Laker came on board. I didn't mark vary many fish but that doesn't mean you can catch them when you do mark them. A second Laker was boxed after 30 minutes. The port rigger was dragging bottom so I decided to raise it to my superstitious but often effective 136 clicks. Danged if I got my third Laker on it, probably 40 feet off the bottom. With that third Laker, I wrapped it up in less than an hour and a half. Fun!

9 Jun 18    With guest Joe Arntsen along we set out on a calm ride where we set lines at 150'. We ran the same track as yesterday when it was so productive. Today we marked only a few and had no hits the first hour. Then as we moved to deeper water we started to mark and catch some nice ones but we considered the action as being quite slow. We ended with 4 nice Lakers in under 3 hours. Winds remained fairly light, but was pretty cool.

8 June Finally a calm day. All my fishing buddies were busy so out I headed in beautifully calm seas just after the crack of dawn. I think I enjoy the ride almost as much as fishing. I started in 150' of water with the Johnson rod, then my rigger. Before I could get the 2nd rigger out, the starboard rigger produced a nice Laker. I've never seen so many fish marks and it wasn't long before the Johnson rod bent over and produced a nice Laker. In an hour and a half I had 4 Lakers in the box when the port rigger hit, then the starboard rigger, a double when I could only keep one more. Following my ugly netting job, I released the sixth Laker. Most Lakers caught and marks seen were between 150' and 170'. Ironic this is where on the previous trip here we struggled to catch 3 Lakers in 3 hours. That's fishing eh!

30 May 18    The abbreviation OMG (like another word we won't mention), can mean any number of things. Today OMG stands for struggle to catch Lakers. Jim Price and I headed out in somewhat hazy conditions and a 1' lumpy seas, but still decent to motor to plane and fish. With a SE wind it was a cold 47 with considerable rock and roll to the boat. Well, an hour passed and we marked 2 fish but nary a hit. Finally a nice 4# Laker, then another dry period before another 3# Laker. Surprisingly, the winds died off from a steady SE 10 mph to about 3-5 mph but the seas didn't know that as we were on a long fetch. Shortening this unexciting story up we caught our last Laker just before quitting at the 3 hour mark. This is the Spring fishing I'm used to, but hey, fun nonetheless as Jim has stories beyond. Not only that but he says when we're in the right place lining up this point and that on land whilst I'm an electronics guy with 3 GPS, etc. 😁

26 May 18    OMG! Another calm day with only patchy fog predicted Well, one out of two isn't bad so Frank and I headed out in calm seas and clear skies with radar spinning, in calm seas. We could see we would be quickly running into fog  And there it was. Our original plan was not to go far because of a slight chance of rain and possibly a quick thunderstorm around noon. So we set lines at 180' and I don't recall why I stopped my rigger at 139 clicks but it went off, ending with a nice 4.5# Laker in the box. Huh? Anyway, the fog hug in there the whole time and we managed two more nice sized Lakers and missed two more in the three hours when it was the end of our usual trip length. Besides, it suddenly looked ominous to the west so off we went. with 3 great Lakers. We plied 165' to 220' and didn't see a pattern of where they were. Marked some big marks but there're still there. Got home and the skies opened up so we timed that right. Once and a while you get lucky.

24 May 18    I wasn't planning to fish today but my friend Jim Price was off work and conditions were pretty ideal. Yeah, it didn't take much to talk me into heading out. We went in a different direction, to both of our favorite spots. Seas and wind were perfect. We set lines at 180' and nothing happened for 45 minutes, then a dandy 4# Laker visited our cooler. Steadily action happened about every 20 minutes, one of which was a single line double on Jim's rigger. Nearing the 3-hour mark we could see dark skies and obvious rain to the west so up came the lines. On our way to port, with radar spinning just in case we needed it, down came heavy rains and briefly fog and a burst of wind. The air temperature had dropped to 41.6. Rounding the breakwater, the rain and wind turned benign and we pulled up to the launch in calm winds and only a drizzle. Sweet! Suddenly, with 7 nice Lakers in the box, the temperature shot up to 65 and all was good. Fun day!

23 May 2018    Surprise, still another great day, condition-wise. Frank and I headed out and set lines at 195' and went an hour with nothingness. Finally the Johnson rod produced a 5# Laker that fought all the way. Then more quiet but it was beautifully calm. Eventually, we picked up 3 more Lakers. One coughed up a big Smelt so I tossed the smelt over the side and there wasn't a Sea Gull in sight. It wasn't two minutes before one came by and scooped it up. How do they do that? Anyway, nearing the end of our run the breeze picked up and I looked at my thermometer at 41, What! We got to shore and it was 75 just before we got in the marina. Albeit a slow day but a good one.

22 May 2018    Another beautiful day with calm seas and winds with an ole friend Gary Gibbs who joined me. We set lines in the place that's been productive lately, Of course with the understanding that can change by the minute or hour. We set lines at 200' in beautiful seas and weren't interrupted by any hits for an hour. Then finally a nice Laker on the Johnson rod and a little later one the port rigger. After about 45 minutes of nothingness, a triple of which we got 2 of 3. In short, we wrapped it up after 2 1/2 hours with 7 niced-Lakers in the box. Can't say which depth was best but perhaps 200' would be a good stab. Another wonerful day on the Big Pond!

21 May 18    Seas and winds were calm as Frank and I headed out, setting lines at 195'. It wasn't 5 minutes later that Frank said he had 2 Lakers on, a single line double. Good start! Typically, action was in fits and spurts. We plied waters from 160' to 220' catching some at various depths. We both had to get in early so after 2 1/2 hours we pulled the pin, catching 9 Lakers and releasing two dinks (small Lakers). Conditions remained great the whole time. Fun trip!

20 May 18    The past evening forecast's was for small craft warnings overnight  to be dropped at 5 a.m. Angst! So I drove to the Lake to look for my self early morning and saw more rollers than waves. So this Captain suggested we head out and if it wasn't comfortable, back home we'd go. Well, with much enthusiasm, out we went into some nice 3-4' rollers, but at a decent angle and with a little trim tab down, not a bad ride.  My guests Joe Arntsen and Luke Bourdage were so pumped they didn't care about the lumps on the high seas. Out went the gear, starting at 195'. Nothing happened for the first hour then slowly action picked up. We plied depths from 160' to 235', with the best depth around 195'. After 3 hours we had 5 nice Lakers in the box and we were planning to head in shortly. Then Joe said he had something going on his rigger and sure enough, there were two Lakers on one line, a single line double as I call them. Conditions steadily improved as the wind died off and the rollers slowly decreased so sea legs were in order most of the time. Joe and Luke are ole buddies and the bantering as to who caught the biggest or did best or whatever was a lot of fun to hear. So we wrapped it up after 3 1/2 hours with 7 nice Lakers and a good time. Click on the picture to expand and use the back button to return here.

 Joe Arntsen left, Luke Bourdage

19 May 18    Well, it finally happened - Frank and I got out for our shakedown cruise and maiden voyage for the season. The wind and seas were a little dicey at the shoreline but settled the further out we went. Part of that effect is the cold water tends to dampen the colder air and slow things down. I've experienced this many times early in the season. Finally, in relatively calm conditions we set lines, the Johnson rod going down first at 192'. It wasn't 5 minutes before the first Laker, and a nice 6.5# one went in the box and I didn't even have my rigger down yet. Not long afterwards, Frank had one on. Action was fairly steady as we plied depths from 155' to 236'. We had two doubles, each double producing only one Laker but that's OK. Nearing the two hour point the winds picked up from the East, not to mention a drizzle on occasion, I suggested we bunch it and got a quick concurrence from Frank. As I reached for the Johnson rod it bent over and we boxed our sixth Laker and headed in. No major issues during our initial trip and the Lakers were a gift. Missed two Lakers but they will be there whence I go back again. Surface water was 37 and air 40. Things are looking up!

13 May 18    Seems the ice won't leave. Here are pictures I took yesterday from Hawley Street and Presque Isle Marina. Hoping for a South wind and some warmer weather. Click on pictures to expand. Use back button to return here.

30 Apr 18    Still lots of ice on the Big Pond. Looks like another week or so. This will be the latest start since 2014 when it was 4 June, again, because of ice.

5 Mar 18    Setting up the log for the coming season.



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