Joe's 2019 Lake Superior Fishing Report and Log Joe's boat Cooler By The Lake Welcome to my fishing web site. This is my twenty-forth 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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2019 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 - 2018  or click here choose prior year fishing reports

16 Jun    Another cold, but finally clam start as my guests were Jim Price and his son, Bryan. Neat Father's Day! So we set lines at 140' and quickly slipped to our comfort zone 180'+. It wasn't long before action picked up. Short of it was, we had 5 Lakers in the box in the first 45 minutes, but of course, things really slowed down. Seas were behaved and we turned to run back in the same track coming out. Then the cold breeze from the NE picked up but we picked cup 3 more Lakers before quitting after 2 1/2 hours. The air was 43 and water 44, time to quit but a great day reigardless.

11 June    My guests today were my Grandson Cooper (18) and his girlfriend, Gloria (17). Seas and winds were calm as we set lines in 180'. Action was really slow but we eventually ended in 2 1/2 hours with 3 nice Lakers.

7 June    I headed in a different direction, so if the wind proved more than the 0-10 mph predicted, I could return with the waves. Missed the first bell ringer but shortly thereafter, landed a nice Laker. Then the Johnson rod barely moved so I thought best to check it out. Sure enough there was a dink Laker on so I just lifted it up to remove the hook and released it. Caught 3 more keepers and by then the winds were at a steady 8-10 mph with 1-2' seas so I fished towards home port for another 45 minutes without a hit. Sound familiar? Some of my netting was ugly but I didn't miss any. Water surface was 41, air temp 47, and returning home it was 77. I put some wear on my coat doffing and donning it several times.

6 Jun    Finally calm seas as Jim and I set lines at 180'. Action was fairly steady and at the 3 hour mark we had 7 nice Lakers in the box, nothing very big. Seeing as it was so nice, we decided to try for another one or two for forty-five minutes. Well, we should have quit at the 3-hour mark. Fun time.

4 Jun    Good forecast for fishing seas but the reality was different as my son-in-law David Smith and I headed out to 10 mph SE winds and 1-2' seas. But it was supposed to calm off but didn't. We had a double but lost one on the down-wind leg. We turned into the waves and wind but found fishing too difficult and bunched it shy of 2 hours. Returning to the launch, the seas and wind had settled significantly. The ramp dock was under water and I had to remove my shoes and socks to get the trailer. Returning, the minor seiche receded and the dock had no water on it.

3 Jun    I awoke to 39 and thought it to be a cold day but the forecast was for calm seas so out Jim and I went. Turned out seas and wind were calm and comfortable to fish. We picked up 8 Lakers in a little under 3 hours. We thought we had 9 but a recount at home proved our math wasn't all that good. Most were caught between 180' and 210', several 10-20' off the bottom, kind of unusual.

1 Jun 2019 Note the date as Jim and I left port with air 44 but a doable ride in rollers to our destination.  Slow day but that what lots of us fishermen say.  Fished mostly 200'ish depths and it was our day of missing Lakers, But we ended 7 for 11. The ones we missed were almost all behind the boat and not the result of my usual netting miss cues. Anyway, the Pond settled over time and was surprisingly calmly to when we left. Fished longer than usual because it was so nice. Water surface was 40 and at the launch when we got in 44. Great day!

27 May    Iffy forecast for rain but great calm forecast so out Jim and I went to sprinkles but in mild rollers. We set lines circa 180' and generally worked that to around 210'. Action was, as usual, sporadic and we had sterile stretches, and then two doubles. Ran across a patch of probably 20 huge marks at around 165' and they all  had lock-jaw. But, we wandered back to the depth we thought best and caught our limit . It sprinkled rain off and on but seas were great, slightly rolling, and no wind - great day!

Items of possible interest:  Just so you know how cold our spring has been, I'm still using the same block of ice that I put in the fish box that I started with first trip and this is after our 7th trip. OMG!

26 May    With my guest Jim Price we thought we'd run to our ole fishing haunts seeing as it was so settling calm after all the wind yesterday. Down went the gear and slowly we managed a Laker here and there, mostly in around 200'. Conditions were excellent until the last 20 minutes when the cold winds kicked from the north, producing small whitecaps, whilst we were looking for our 10th Laker. Well, the starboard rigger hit, then the Johnson rod, then the port rigger. We boxed our first Laker and wonderfully, the other two got off. Perfect timing as we headed to port. Great day!

21 May    My plan was a short time and distance trip. Conditions were excellent with calm winds and seas. The first Laker came off the port rigger which barely moved when the Laker hit. History told me check it out and there it was, a small Laker. At the same time, the starboard rigger bell rang but that one got off. Later, the Johnson rod produced a 5# Laker which by a miracle fought hard and being by myself, did one of my uglier netting jobs but it was successful. The third Laker came off the starboard rigger, at roughly 200' of water, like the others. At the 3 hour mark, I wrapped it up with 3 Lakers in the box and two misses. Just a lot of fun with such wonderful conditions.

13 May     Scary such another fantastic, calm day as Jim Price and I set out to  run a bit when it's so nice. Before we left the launch I mentioned I hadn't seen any skim ice in a few years  but here it is, mid May so there probably won't be any. Well, out we went and within the harbor, the boat started crunching through skim ice. Quite a bit too. Looked at the water temperature which was 43 so go figure how it forms. I was concerned it would damage my transducer, but it didn't. We thought once out in open water, there would be no skim ice. Wrong! Ran into some heavy patches en route where the surface water was 38. But, it was clear when we got to our destination so we set lines at 180' and worked that to 200'. Picked up 6 Lakers in 3 hours. Conditions were perfect with calm winds and water but the air was 45 but with no wind, excellent. Great day!

12 May    Short version is guest Jim Price and I headed out, not too far and before long a nice Laker was in the box off the Johnson rod. Forty-five minutes later the starboard rigger bounced and another Laker showed up. Finally, the port rigger produced another nice Laker. Well, that's slow spring fishing for me, but wonderful to be on the calm but cool waters again. Took my winter coat off for a short time enough to keep it in arms-length. Yup, back with the winter coat ten minutes later. Not to complain as winds were under 6 mph but when it's 45, wind chill still happens. Anyway, great time on the water. Wrapped it up after3 hours with 3 nice Lakers in the box. Marked 2 fish the whole time.

11 May 19    Finally a decent forecast and as it turned out, the forecast to <10 mph winds was true. My special guest was my Grandson Cooper Smith (17), whose enthusiasm was wonderful. We set out the Johnson and then his downrigger. Shortly after that, the Johnson rod was bouncing. Cooper reeled that one in and we thought we were going to be there for the bite. I didn't even have time to get my rigger down but did shortly thereafter. As usual, considerable time passed as we marked more than usual but they all had lock-jaw. Eventually, we picked up two more Lakers, all being very close to 4# each, nice! Winds behaved and were steady around 8 mph from the SE. We bunched it after 2.5 hours, quite please with our excursion.

28 Apr 19    Great calm, but cold forecast as guest Jim Price and I arrived at the marina. Shocking, but only two vehicles in the lot. First we struggled to get both motors fired up, but eventually they did. So we travelled a bit and set lines at 150', venturing to 240+' with nary a mark or hit for 1 1/2 hours. Water was 36, air 37 but slowly the light north breeze picked up and clocked to NE at10 mph. Then the port rigger hit and then the starboard. The port rigger came up dry but the starboard rigger had a single line double, two nice Lakers on one line. Short of it is the second one got off right behind the boat so we ended with one for three in 2 1/2 hours but everything worked, a good shakedown run. Not overly productive but we got out of the house and didn't get skunked and no goat ropes.

7 Apr 19    Setting up the log for the coming season. Boat's not ready yet and either am I until it gets warmer.

The following is copied from my fishing-related comments in March 2000. I was going through some of my tackle and remembered that experience. Some of you might relate.

17 Mar 00 Two-Tackle Box Syndrome. It all started about a week ago when I was rigging a few rods to fish the breakwater for whitefish and Coho. I bought a few small hooks at a local tackle shop, then tied up a small swivel and tested the line, which promptly snapped. The line seemed bad so my idea was to change reel spools with a better line. Now where was that spool? It must be in my other tackle box in the basement. Well it wasn't there but I did see some things in it that I forgot I had, some duplicate of those in my main tackle box, whichever was my "main tackle box." Thinking I should consolidate some of this stuff I opened the two boxes and started. Then I remembered the box of miscellaneous stuff in my other attic tackle box. I also had a box of stuff on the top of a shelf...and a drawer of loose gear. Pretty soon, I had fishing gear strewn all over the place. I found I had hooks exactly like the ones I just bought. I rarely fish for Walleye but had enough tackle to start a small store. Ironically, when I fish Walleye, I usually use only a couple of the same lures but I'm always prepared with other lures. It's the same for fishing on Lake Superior - a couple of spoons is all I use. This I refer to as the Missionary Fishing Position -- if something works well, why change? Ironically, it doesn't often work for Walleye.

My attention span was about the same as my 4-year old grandson. I would get to working on some of this tackle and soon get sidetracked. Before long, I was working on something completely different. At this point I still had not located my spool but did discover another reel that would probably work. With 5 tackle boxes, boxes of gear, drawers open and gear cast about, it took about 4 days to consolidate my gear. In the process I eliminated only one small tackle box but now will always know where my stuff is when I need'll still be in one of my tackle boxes that I don't have with me.

When looking for things, I often think, "where would a logical person put that item?" My seemingly logical concept is often anything but logical. I seem to remember things best that were originally put in stupid places. When I move items to a "logical" place, the litany of "now where did I put that" inevitably starts weeks or months later when I'm looking for them. When I ask myself the question where I probably "logically" put them, my current logic usually says the items are somewhere else. So much for logic!

Nearing the end of this tackle consolidation saga, all of a sudden a light came on that there was yet another drawer of mostly miscellaneous items containing some tackle items. Guess what, at the bottom of the drawer was the spool that started this whole adventure even though I stopped looking for it. No logical reason it was there. I didn't do much to straighten that drawer because everyone needs a drawer or box to just throw things in as a "holding area" until or should I say if one decides to "get organized" someday. OK, so I had more than one of these drawers and tackle boxes.

So what have I learned from all this? Really there are several principles involved here. The first is an axiom that can apply to anything from organizing tackle to computer files - the more you break things down or store things "logically" the more complicated it becomes and the harder to find. The second axiom is what I refer to as the "Mushroom Effect." This effect normally starts as an innocuously small project (such as this one) where in order to accomplish the one small thing you wanted to do soon leads to another project, usually more complicated and expensive, and soon the whole project mushrooms out of control. Plumbing jobs are excellent examples of the mushroom effect. The third axiom is not to stop buying fishing gear even if it's unlikely you'll need it because you really can't be sure you won't. That's assuming you can find it when you need it. This last axiom may cycle one back to the two tackle box syndrome as if you buy several of the same items, you can put one in each tackle box (hopefully not all in one) or put them in different locations. This principle also applies to house tools kept on the boat.

Now that the goat rope exercise with tackle is largely behind me, I moved on to the supposedly simple task of putting new line on my downrigger rods. However, that's another story for another time.


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