"Cooler By The Lake"
2023 Lake Superior Fishing Log
Click here to see last year's log or click here choose prior year fishing reports
22 Sep 23 Great forecast for light to calm winds so Ron Mattson and I headed out to the same spot I was at yesterday. It didn't take long before action picked up with a Laker and then, bang went the downrigger and way back of the boat a Chinook salmon went flying through the air. Then a few more Lakers and still another Chinook, exactly the same 5#+ size and same amount of fun. In the interim, the wind picked up out of the SE and waves 1-2' at times, while it was a pain, it was still fishable. It subsided somewhat as we approached 3 hours but we decided to bunch it with 9 fish in the box. Oh, and Ron got a single line double (SLD). Fun!
21 Sep 23 Finally able to get out. Great water and no wind. Gary McDonnell and I set lines at a different depth and location that I normally fish. I refer to going the same place and fishing the same way, as "Missionary Position Fishing", albeit has been successful. Today, we tried something different and it paid off. We ended with 7 nice Lakers in a little over 4 hours, a little longer run than normal. But time flies when you're having fun and even flies if you're not having fun. Great Day!
14 Sep 23 Another iffy wait 'till morning forecast day but Ron and I decided to head out, albeit on bumpy seas. After setting lines and fishing with the increasing winds and waves, we picked up 3 Lakers. Turning to reverse course we found the periodic white caps and wind difficult so we pulled up and headed to another, more sheltered spot. There we picked up 3 more Lakers, but it took a while. So we ended with 6 Lakers, most on the smaller size but one nearly e7#. We also missed 3, one of which Ron claimed would have been much bigger, and he's sticking by his story. Who's to question eh?
9 Sep 23 My guest today was Dave Sandor as we set out to beautifully calm seas. I went a half mile past my starting waypoint, probably because of too much B.S. in the air. We set lines at 170' and before long a rigger produced a Laker, well almost as it got off right behind the boat. It wasn't long after that the action really picked up. It started with a SLD (single line double) on Dave's rigger followed by three more SLDs on both riggers, including the Johnson. A total of 4 SLDs in one day I believe is a record. Dave got to reel the Johnson rod when one of the SLDs was on. Early on Dave had gotten out the snacks and put them on the doghouse. With all the action, no time to eat, so when we got our last Laker, we had all the gear up and kicked back for some snacks. Here's a picture of Dave reeling a couple Lakers in on the Johnson. Click on picture to expand, back arrow to return here. We finished with 11 Lakers, releasing one in an hour and three-quarters. Great day, great fishing, great guest.
4 Sep 23 Calm but oh so hot as Ron and I patiently waited to launch with all the dilly dalliers at the ramp. But we finally launched and headed out in calm seas to our fishing spot that worked so well early in the year. That was a bust as we marked just a couple and caught only 2 Lakers after a couple of hours so we decided to move and fish suspended, something we rarely do. We set lines in 125' FOW. I set out the Johnson but didn't have a clue where in the water column it was running but it wasn't near the bottom where it usually runs. I ran my rigger at 77 clicks and Ron had one near the bottom and a couple up the column. Short of it is we caught two on the rigger and the biggest on the Johnson. It was one of our longer fishes at over 4 hours but it's hard to pass up a calm day, albeit a hot one but enjoyable one.
27 Aug 23 Here I go again mentioning forecasts issus. Last evening and this morning, the wind forecast could not have been better, showing 2 mph on average from the north. Turning the breakwater corner into open water we were greeted by 2' rollers and a 9 mph wind from the north. We decided to stick it out and set lines at 145' but ranged to 165' at times. It was difficult to follow the bottom because the boat speed varied so much from the seas and steady wind. However, the good news is we picked up 3 decent Lakers but finally decided there would be better, calmer days so we quit after a hour and three quarters.
25 Aug 23 The forecast changed so often last evening that Gary and I decided to wait until morning to decide. Turned out, conditions were pretty good but there was always the warning of possible thunderstorms so we were on guard the whole time. We decided to fish a different area at a shallower depth than lately and set lines at 145', working to 180' and back again. We marked a considerable number of fish and ended with 9 Lakers in 3 hours, when we wrapped it up.The ride to port was nice and it was another great day on the Big Pond.
21 Aug 23 It was a lumpy ride to our destination with somewhere between rollers and waves but comfortable with the tabs down. Ron and I set up in 170' and before long, missed one Laker on the Johnson, and one on a rigger. We marked very few fish compared to prior trips but we eventually managed catching 7 Lakers, two of which we released as dinks (small Lakers). We decided to troll towards port and finally quit after two and a half hours and as the winds were picking up. Great day even if the fish catching was slow.
14 Aug 23 Finally a break in the weather but the forecast didn't change until morning. However, Ron Mattson and I hastily gathered our things and headed out in surprisingly fairly calm water. We set lines at 150' but pointed the bow towards 180' water. In ten minutes the Johnson rod bent over hard, the sizeable fish fought for about 15 seconds, then the line went dead. A miss! Not long after, a rigger brought a Laker to the box. Then the Johnson rod again bent over, this time with an 8# and 2# Laker, on one line. Action remained steady and with 7 fish in the box, Ron pulled in three at one time off his downrigger. That was at the one hour mark and it worked out quite as winds had picked up to 7 mph wind and were pushing us sideways. An occasional whitecap would pop up. Otherwise, a super day. I suspect I'll hear about the single line triple again. 😂
5 Aug 23 It was "Take a Vet Fishing" day and a little crowded at the launch but the launch went quite quickly. But being a Vet I was taking myself out, along with Gary McDonnell, heading to some favorite spots. Boats were scattered all over the place but were we wanted to fish, not crowded. We set lines at 160' and it was off to the races. Shortening the story, we caught 12 Lakers, returning 2. We had 2 single line doubles, one of which we had 9 in the box so obviously, we had to release one. We targeted the 180'ish depths but ranged up and down. Conditions were super with no wind or waves as we rode home after 2 hours of fishing action. Great day and I'm so glad it was nice for all the other Vets who were out fishing.
1 Aug 23 Can't believe it's August already! Another calm but hazy day as guest Randy Johnson and I headed out. Action didn't take long but neither did missing several. However, we managed to box a few small Lakers when Randy hit a SLD (single line double), the Johnson rod (not named after him), and my rigger all had fish on and we got 3 of 4 into the box. So we ended a few minutes after 3 hours of trolling with 9 in the box and releasing 3. Fun day capped by a nice ride to port.
31 Jul 23 We canx fishing yesterday because of winds, hoping today would be much nicer and it couldn't have been better as Cooper and I headed out. Action was steady and we had 8 in the box in 2 hours and decided to troll towards port. We then Cooper caught a nice Laker and I suspended my rigger at 75' while making our turn. The Johnson was hanging out the back when I got a big hit on the lure at 75'. That's the good news as it turned into a dog and pony show as the Laker caught into the Johnson and the line caught in the split-ring. I soldered several split-rings but that wasn't one of them. It will be! Anyway, bye, bye Laker but we caught one more and wrapped it up with 10 Lakers in 2 1/4 hours for a pleasant ride home. Super nice day even though it was smokey and hazy but that didn't bother us.
25 Jul 23 Grandson Cooper Smith joined me on a fairly calm, hazy morning. We followed the pattern of starting at 145' and working to circa 180' Once we hit the 180' depth action was pretty fast. We had two SLDs, missed 2, released 2, and left in 2 hours with 10 nice Lakers. How's that for a synopsis! The slight wind and chop we started with backed down to calm winds and seas. Beautiful ride home. Great day!
24 Jul 23 Because the last trip was quite successful, we both wore the same clothes and hats. Nothing superstitious about that eh! Anyway, action was again steady, including 3 SLD, one of which was a 4.5# Chinook Salmon caught at 172'. At 2 hours we had 8 in the box and pulled the Johnson rod. We caught one more then it dried up the last half hour as we trolled from our action spots towards port. BTW, we also released 3 smaller Lakers so our tally of 12 was great. We again were blessed with calm winds and seas but smokey skies.
22 Jul 23 No confusion about the forecast as it was nice as predicted as Ron Mattson and I left port. We started at 160', again headed to 180' which seems to be working lately. After about 45 minutes we box and missed one Laker. Then things got crazy! We got 3, yes 3 single line doubles (SLD). One SLD had a 6# Laker and a 4.5# Chinook, which was wild but we were able to net both. Once we had 4 fish on at one time. Finally, with 9 fish in the box we pulled the Johnson rod thinking we'd troll towards port when the last Laker hit. Hard to believe we caught 10 fish (most bigger than yesterday's), missed 3, and wrapped it up in 1 hour and 20 minutes. What a great day with near-calm winds and seas...and fish.
21 Jul 23 There were several confusing forecasts, e.g., one said winds decreasing from 10mph to light and variable and seas increasing from 1 to 2 feet. Huh? So Ron Mattson drove to the Island to check the seas and they looked good so out we went in great seas and practically no wind. We set lines at 157' and slowly worked towards our target of 180' (Ron said that's where we'd find them) 😁 Ok, so for an hour we marked two fish and caught one and missed one. Mumble, mumble! We stayed on course to an often good area and the action suddenly picked up with a double and so on. Finally, with 6 in the box Ron reeled in and said the had two fish on. Looking closer, he had 3 fish on and we netted all three. Whilst this was going on, my rigger produced our final Laker so we actually had 4 fish on at once. I logged us out with 10 modestly sized Lakers in one hour and 55 minutes. The seas and winds remained calm and it couldn't have been a more beautiful time on the Big Pond. I suspect I'll be hearing about Ron's trifecta for a while. 😎
15 Jul 23 Another beautiful, calm, but smoky day as Gary McDonnell and I headed out to set lines at 155' and slowly work deeper. Action was good, marking quite a few and catching 11, releasing one, and missing 4. Lots of fun! We wrapped it up with 10 in under 2 hours and headed home in calm seas.
13 Jul 23 Today Ron Mattson and I headed out in a different direction with different hats. 😁 Seas were like glass and we set lines at 165' and ranged to 190'. It didn't take long before the first Laker hit, then another. Then the Johnson hit a single line double (SLD), which is uncommon. Action was steady and we had 8 nice Lakers in the box within 2 hours. We picked up another Laker so with 9 Lakers in the box, the Johnson hit a SLD. The top Laker was not that big so I released it, thinking the bottom Laker was much bigger. Well, the bottom Laker got off right behind the boat. No biggie and we decided to troll towards port trying to pick up the last one. That took a while but we did it with 10 nice Lakers in under 3 hours. Fantastic day with a glass-like ride home.
9 Jul 23 Beautiful morning launch to a little lumpier waters than forecast but still quite nice for Norm and I to travel. We set lines at 165' and it wasn't 5 minutes before Norm put a Laker in the box. Seems we went about half an hour and picked up another Laker. This was after I checked my lures and one was screwed up so I fixed that and sent it down, where a Laker hit within a minute. Then we trolled about two hours without so much as a mark or a hit. We had just turned a corner to head into the occasional white caps and we were thinking of bunching it when suddenly, we got a triple. WTF! So with all the tackle out of the water and winds and waves slowly picking up we decided to head in with 5 Lakers in 2 1/2 hours. Beautiful day indeed!
7 Jul 23 After slow action the last trip it was time to change hats (fisherman's superstitions) and locations. Guests today were Cooper Smith and his friend Josh Wetelainen. We set up in 165' and marked nothing for half an hour, then a double. A half hours passed, again no marks, and a rigger and the Johnson rod hit. I'll post a picture of Josh manning the Johnson rod later. Another half hour and an nice 6#+ Laker went in the box. So with 5 nice Lakers in the box, I asked as were nearing 3 hours trolling if they wanted to bunch it. The answer was yes, in 10 minutes it'll be 3 hours. Then a double hit and at the last minute we ended with 7 nice Lakers and a nice ride in. Still trying to figure out why so few marks...but it's not important. Fun time!
4 Jul 23 Grandson Cooper and I didn't go far as we wanted to make it a short trip on a day too nice to pass up. Well, it wasn't a busy trip, going 1 1/2 hours without a hit and perhaps marking two fish. Then Cooper after reeling up the first Laker said look, there're two Lakers on. Pleasant surprise! We turned around and finally caught a 3rd Laker on the Johnson and wrapped it up just short of 3 hours. The weather was super and it was a great way to spend part of the 4th of July on the Big Pond.
3 Jul 23 Today was special with guests long-time friend John Wells and his friend Tutt Mrasek. Conditions could not have been better with virtually no wind or waves. Although we fished seriously, most of the time was spent reliving old times and experiences, including many of the goat-ropes we've personally experienced over the years and remembering each other had. We spared no one with our stories, with much laughter. There won't be any fish pictures as action couldn't have been slower. We marked very few and caught 1 Laker to save us from a skunk. Still, a great time on the water and time spent with friends. John insisted on fishing a certain way and here's a picture of the mess of lines he created and was trying to untangle. Second picture is Tutt manning the Johnson rod. Click to enlarge, back button to return here.
2 Jul 23 Yup, another nice day, albeit a little foggy so with radar spinning, guest Norman Dill and I left on calm seas. We weren't off to a good start going nearly 2 hours with very few marks and no hits. Gradually, working between 140' and 190', we picked up 5 modestly sized Lakers and hung it up shy of 4 hours. Beautiful day and a calm ride back to port.
30 Jun 23 We can't believe tomorrow is the 1st of July. Ron Mattson and Gary McDonnell joined me on a beautiful morning of calm seas and winds. Heading back to our usual spot we set lines at 140' and varied depths thereafter. Action was slow for an hour when we got a single line double and another on the opposite rigger. Short story is we ended with 8 Lakers, missing 4, a couple just out of reach of the net. Near the end, Gary was wrestling with a big Laker when suddenly he knew it was off. Reeling in to check gear was a smelt on the hook, apparently pulled out of the Laker. We took a picture of Gary and the smelt but will spare him the raspberries with a picture of the small catch. We wrapped it up in 3+ hours and headed back in beautifully calm water. Great day!
28 Jun 23 Finally the winds settled somewhat and the forecast, as I read it, provided SE 5-10 mph and possible thunderstorms late afternoon. Gary McDonnell and I set lines at 145' and within 20 minutes, we had 3 Lakers in the box. Whilst the sky's darkened, the Johnson bent over and Gary wrestled to within 50' of the boat before it thrashed wildly and got off. Before long we missed another just beyond the net. Then the sky's opened up and down came a heavy rain and we got soaked. We hung in there for a while, missing what we thought was a third Laker and bunched it after two hours. The rain had abated somewhat but the radar showed more to come. In retrospect I paid too much attention to the winds and not enough to the rain/radar forecasts, but at least we got out and caught some fish.
23 Jun 23 The string of calm days surprisingly continued as Ron Mattson and I headed out to set lines at 125', slowly working towards deeper waters. Again, it was hazy (smokey) and the winds didn't show up. We managed 7 nice Lakers in shy of 4 hours, going a little longer than usual as it was so nice, albeit, hot at times. We missed a few Lakers behind the boat but the last one we netted, biggest Laker of the trip, didn't have the lure in its mouth. It seems the hook got separated off the split ring after netting and was still in the Laker's mouth with no lure attached. How lucky was that! I have been eliminating split rings wherever I can but some you need. Some I solder closed but hesitate to do that one split rings with hooks that might need to be changed. However, when I got home I soldered this one! 😃
22 Jun 23 Norm Dill and I headed out in beautiful seas, on a hazy morning. Action was slow but we slowly picked up 4 nice Lakers in roughly 165' of water. Lots of fish marks but you can't eat marks. Great day!
19Jun 23 Cooper and I headed out to again, beautifully calm seas. Action started slowly with a single line double followed by two more in the first hour and forty minutes. Than slowness set in, despite marking big clouds of baitfish and fish hooks. Finally, at the 3 hour mark we decided to fish another half hour and viola, a double at the end so we quite with 6 nice Lakers and headed home it calm waters.
17 Jun 23 Ron and I set out on beautifully, calm water and it stayed that way the whole time. Once again a slow start and for 40 minutes, no runs, hits, errors, or marks. Then we got a double as the fish gods felt sorry for us. Slowly we picked one up here and there, ranging from 125' to 185'. Periodically, there were marks that covered the whole graph, probably mostly bait fish with a few Laker arches in the mix. A couple of times we thought we had a hit when we were really hitting bottom. My saying is when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail and when it's perfectly calm, everything looks like a hit. Short report is in 4 hours we ended with 10 Lakers, averaging slightly under 3# and all nice leans. Beautiful day! Beautiful ride back to port!
9 Jun 23 Grandson Cooper Smith and his friend Max Stevens joined me on a beautifully, calm morning. It didn't take long to get the gear down but it took an hour before we saw any action. But the action then was good, getting a triple, followed by a single, all within 15 minutes. We've learned not to think it was going to be wild thereafter as it wasn't. We picked one up here and there and had 7 in the box when Cooper's rigger went nuts, bending the rod down considerable. The action continued most of the way up and suddenly the line went dead. Oh well, we would only liked to have seen the Laker as we previously agreed if over 10# and in good condition, we'd release it. But it was fun anyway. We headed back, still in calm seas in a little less than 4 hours. Another great day!
3 Jun 23 Another beautiful, calm day albeit a little smokey and hazy from fires in Canada. Ron and I set lines at 145' and pretty much ranged between that and 180'. Nothing the first hour but then one here and there. I missed several as did Ron. Ron had a SLD and the bottom one got off and I managed to knock off the top one whilst netting it so that was unproductive. But we did pick up 8 Lakers in a little under 4 hours. Just before quitting, I hung my rigger and it was a scramble to turn the boat while Ron got his rigger up. Doing a 180º I got behind the snag and fortunately got everything back in tackle, but lost a lot of rod line. No biggie there! Great day!
2 Jun 23 No windy conditions at the crack of dawn and the forecast still looked good so Cooper and I headed out under calm seas and winds. The first hour was a bust, hardly marked anything and caught zip. Mumble, mumble. Then slowly we ran into marks and better yet, hits and scores. The mumbling stopped. With 7 Lakers in the box we thought we'd go a bit longer to 3 hours tdhen quit when wouldn't know, a quad, a single line double on Cooper's rigger and one on mine and one on the Johnson. We need only 3 but had 4 on so we released the first Laker as it was in good condition. We took the chance we'd box the other three and we did. BTW, this is the worst year for mosquitoes I can remember for a long time. They even found us on the boat, miles out from shore. How do they do that?
1 Jun 23 Here it is June already. I don't like to repeat myself but I again awoke to windy conditions but a favorable forecast. That being said, Grandson Cooper and I left, fished and returned in beautifully, calm seas. Action started slowly, marking a few and getting no hits. Then, things picked up, sort of, I missed 3 bell ringers but Cooper did the heavy lifting catching some nice Lakers. Highlights were Cooper caught a single line double and both fish were tangled together and it was pure luck I was able to get both of them in the net at the same time. That was a first! He later got another SLD and I picked up a couple. When quitting, we pulled the Johnson rod and the lures were a tangled mess. No wonder it didn't produce and fish. Tons of marks and we ranged from 135' to 190'. We ended in 3 hours with 10 modestly-sized Lakers and a fun trip.
28 May 23 Today started much like yesterday with lots of wind early but a good forecast. Well, Ron Mattson and I launch to perfectly calm seas and winds. It was a pleasant ride to our favorite place where we set lines in 160' of water. Action was steady and we started with a triple and netted only one. It was a day of misses - 6 misses, maybe more but we didn't care as it was beautiful out there. I think I put my light jacket on and off 5 times. We marked more fish than I've seen in years. Hits were steady and we ended with 10 modestly-sized (that means nothing over 4#) Lakers in 2 hours and 15 minutes. What a great time, and the ride home was smooth as glass. BTW, we had a guest bird for an hour or so. We should have taken a picture but we were busy. We think it was a warbler.
26 May 23 I awoke to windy conditions at home, trees bending and my flag straight out. Mumble, mumble! But checking the forecast, it still was good. So Grandson Cooper and I launched to calm seas and winds and off we went. Although the air was 53º and water 43º, there being no wind and mostly sunny, the winter jackets came off but placed within arm's reached. After about half an hour, the Johnson hit followed by both riggers. That was the first of 2 triples. Tons of fish marks! Then Cooper hit with a single line double and with 9 Lakers in the box, we decided to troll towards home and where we first dropped lines. Then Cooper's rigger bell really rang and our first thought it was a single line double but it turned out to be an 11# Laker, a nice lean. So we headed homeward in 2 1/2 hours with our limit on still-calm waters for a great day on the Big Pond.
22 May 23 Yet another forecast got awry. Expecting calm to 5 mph from the SE and high mid 70ºs (I knew it wouldn't be 70ºs) to the reality of ending with 13 mph and 1-2' seas. The high temperature was 45º (water 38º). That being said, Gary McConnell and I started slowly but marked quite a few, which is always encouraging. Action, along with the wind picked up and the first hour and a half we picked up 7 nice Lakers. Turning into the wind we picked up two more before the wind spun us around and that was a message to bunch it. Still, a very good day with a nice catch in 3 hours.
17 May 23 Here I go again with the forecast. Last night and early this morning the forecast was for light and variable winds, turning east at 5 mph in the afternoon. Great I thought! So Grandson Cooper and I hooked up the boat and down we went to the boat launch. En route the Lake looked a little rough in the harbor and I though with that forecast it might be decent enough to fish. Pulling into the launch there were no trailers which was a clue it wasn't a good day to go our. Then, we looked out to sea, only to see big waves crashing over the breakwater. Well, that was an easy decision and home we went, quite disappointed of course. So much for light and variable! Here we are in a big boating community and we don't even have a data buoy nearby showing wind and wave heights. Gee!
14 May 23 The forecast was for NE 5mph and that's seldom good but Ron and I decided to try it anyway. We left the launch into calm seas behind the breakwater and then turned the corner around the lighthouse to 1-3' rollers. After a couple of quick boat bangs, down went the speed and trim tabs. A new plan suddenly developed for fishing closer than planned. But there was very little wind but the rollers forced our rusty sea legs into action. Action was quick with the Johnson rod picking a nice Lake up within the first 10 minutes, followed by one on Ron's rigger. About 45 minutes later the Johnson rod again produced a Laker. Then the doldrums set in without another hit until we were pulling lines to quit after a little over 3 hours. It wasn't difficult fishing into the rollers but the motor worked hard going into them, plus we could tell there was a strong current. Thank goodness winds were very light as the air was 41º and the water 38º. No coats came off today. Good trip!
11 May 23 Another beautiful day with grandson Cooper Smith joining me. Seas were beautifully calm as we set lines, of course same place as last time, in 125' of water. Expectations were high but the first hour went without any runs, hits, or errors, only a few fish marks. Finally, the Johnson rod connected with a single line double and slowly the other lines produced some nice Lakers. We had one major goat rope with the Johnson tangling into a rigger with a fish on. After lots of work cutting and untangling lines and a few blue words, we didn't lose any tackle and landed the fish. The air temperatures varied from 45º to 55º so off with the coat, on with the coat. It was perfectly calm when suddenly a wind came out of the north at 14 mph and it made steering very difficult. Gradually it back off, it just that it caught us off guard. Hardly any action the last hour and we wrapped it up with 9 Lakers in just shy of 4 hours. Pretty good work eh!
9 May 23 Finally, our shakedown trip happened. Ron Mattson and I were purposefully going slowly connecting the boat to the vehicle and launching. First trip of the season something usually is forgotten but not this time. The big motor started with a little patience but the kicker motor just didn't want to fire. Well, someone forgot to pump the fuel bulb. Once done it started right away. Off we went on beautifully calm seas and a hazy sun. The air was 43º and water 37º. I had just commented to Ron why there wasn't any skim ice after a calm night? Well, about halfway to our destination, we ran into a couple of mile-long patches of skim ice but it wasn't a problem, just a little noisy. We set lines at 125' and quickly moved to deeper water. It wasn't 10 minutes before the Johnson rod bounced and produced a nice Laker. Ron commented that was a sign we were going to do very well. Having been down this road, I cautioned him against interpreting a quick fish as a good omen. Well, once again I was proved wrong as the action picked up and remained fairly steady. Ron caught a single line double and did most of the heavy lifting as I think my side of the boat was just along for the ride. The good news is we finished up with 10 nice-sized Lakers in a little over 3 hours and no goat ropes. Conditions couldn't have been better, including the smooth ride home. Great day and great way to launch our fishing season. Stay tuned!
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