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Michigan Fishing Information
Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters:
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With the summer fishing season drawing to a close, my 2001 charter season is finally over. In fact, I just sent my boat to the Lund factory for some refurbishing. The only boat that I currently have access too is my homemade, wooden duck boat that I built a decade ago.
It was an extremely successful 2001 fishing season, for me anyway. I was able to run over 120 charters this year taking hundreds of people on fishing adventures all over Michigan. I may have even fished too much this year. When you start having fishing nightmares, then perhaps it's time to take a break off the water. The reoccurring dream was pretty much the same: I'd wake up in my bed thinking that I was in my boat, lost on the water in the dark. This dream would repeat itself several times every night all the way through the August salmon season. For salmon fishing, I typically start my charters in total predawn darkness hoping to cash in on the early morning bite. Six weeks of day after day salmon fishing simply wore me down physically and mentally.
The salmon fishing at Manistee was fantastic though, especially during late July and Early August. About mid-August though, several cold fronts slowed the lake fishing considerably though, actually sending many of the biggest kings up the rivers. We were forced to fish the harbor and river to get into the big kings. This is combat fishing at its highest level. Hundreds of boats all fishing in a cramped harbor. When we hooked a fish, it was simply a matter of luck whether or not another boat would cut your fish off or not. I lost dozens of big kings when they tangled into other boat's rigger cables. I even had one tangle up and break off under a freighter as we hooked up on a big king as a ship came through the harbor. This year marked a dramatic change in salmon fishing for anglers on the cutting edge including myself. Spiny water fleas, the new invader that entered the Great Lakes a few years ago from the ballast discharge of ocean going freighters, really wreaked havoc on trolling tactics. The fleas would stick to monofilament and Fireline jamming up rod guides making line retrieval nearly impossible. Running sliders was nearly impossible because they simply wouldn't slide. Fortunately, some new, flea resistant line was developed by Cortland called Flea Flicker. I tested the stuff in 30-lbs. test, clear, and it worked miraculously staying flea free. The line was also some of the toughest mono that I've ever used. It would even resist breaking off when tangled in downrigger cables. In fact, I never broke off a fish with the stuff even when fishing in the harbor. There were several instances when big kings tangled around multiple cables and we were still able to bring the fish to net. I also replaced my Fireline Dipsy line with Cabela's new Ripcord SIx in 50-lbs. test. This extra slippery line allowed the fleas to slide down all the way to the diver eliminating the clogged guides syndrome. I also tried all the new cutbait rigs that have been all the rage on Lake Ontario. Quite frankly, my 2001 salmon spread was a completely different looking animal than what was used in years past. The result: more and bigger kings. Stay tuned for more information on hot new salmon fishing concepts. As for now though, I have plans for some late season, stream trout fishing and Little Bay De Noc walleye action in the UP; between hunts of course. I also will go after some fall steelhead in the rivers and who knows what else. Fall is truly a special time.
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Well, I was finally able to send the results of the Michigan Fishing Information Opinion Pole to the DNR for their "official" response. I then wrote an article that currently appears in the September Issue of Woods N' Water News. The article at the end of this newsletter is a reprint of that article. It certainly makes for some good reading.
Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters Information
I'm currently working on a new opinion pole. Any suggestions for
questions would be appreciated.
With my Lake Erie walleye charters wrapped up for 2001, I can honestly proclaim that overall, this spring served up the best walleye fishing that I've ever experienced. My late March and early April trips yielded some unbelievable trophy walleyes. In fact, the good fishing lasted right through April. We took 40 walleyes that surpassed 10 pounds this spring. The amazing thing was the sheer number of those 28-inch(ish) walleyes that we caught. These fish weighted 7-9 lbs. and we caught over 100 of them. We also averaged over 25 fish per trip. I also ran one week of walleye charters on Erie during late May and we limited out with plenty of throw-backs on every trip. My May brown trout trips were a bit disappointing though. For three years in a row, my clients have enjoyed 100% success on browns limiting out on every trip. I fished out of Manistee for browns again this year during the first two weeks of May. There were plenty of browns around, however there is an alewife explosion all the Lake Michigan shoreline from Platt Bay south past Ludington. All the baitfish in the area made the brown fishing tough to say the least. Fortunately, with all the alewives around, the salmon have been doing very well indeed. In fact, most of the brown trout trips turned into salmon charters and we really tore them up taking limits of the biggest kings I've ever seen during May. Most of the kings were in the 15-20 pound class, which for spring salmon are phenomenal. Big kings are being caught all over Lake Michigan. Reports are also coming in about lots of huge cohos being taken in Southern Lake Michigan. The stage is set for perhaps the best salmon fishing ever on Lake Michigan this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if most of my June steelhead charters cash in on lots of salmon. By late July and August, the Manistee area should be teaming with millions of the biggest salmon folks have ever seen in Michigan. I can't wait.
I just got back from a trout-fishing trip to the U.P. I spent the better part of the week with water up to my knees along some favorite trout streams. I packed all my fly fishing gear and then forgot my fly rod at home, so I was forced to used the telescoping, spinning rod that I always store under the seat of my truck. This Cabela's rod and Shimano reel are actually first class fishing instruments and I wasn't handicapped at all. Even though the weather was a little cold, the fishing was still pretty good. We ate plenty of fish for dinner. Lately, I've been missing trout fishing in the back woods. I plan to pack my fly rod to Manistee during the last two weeks of June. On those "blow days" when I'm forced to cancel charters, I plan to hit many of my old favorite haunts for brookies and brown trout. By the way, for all you U.P. deer hunters, during all my tromping around in Delta and Marquette counties last week, I didn't find one dead deer carcass. Despite the deep snows, it seems like the winter had little impact on U.P. deer numbers in that region. In fact deer were running all over and I almost hit several on the road. I also saw lots of grouse and heard many more drumming. The bird hunting should be good this fall too.
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Boat Launch Debacle - The DNR has really outdone itself this time. With Great Lakes waters levels at or near record low levels, many of the DNR public access sites (boat launches) are in dire need of work. At a time when our public launches are in the worst shape ever, the powers that be in the DNR have decided to rebuild the Bolles Harbor boat launch. This wouldn't be such a bad idea if the launch actually was in need of repair. The launch was built about 10 years ago and was actually in great shape prior to them tearing it up last week. The concrete was not cracked, the docks were in good condition; the launch was still like new. All the ramp needed was additional concrete pads to extend out further to compensate for the low water levels. That's what I originally thought the DNR was planning when they delivered a pile of concrete pads during late March. The pads sat there through the slow season until mid-May (the beginning of the busy season), when the DNR started construction on a totally new launch. When I queried some of the workers about what they were dong and why they were doing it, they said, "We are redoing the whole launch because someone from this area has some clout." The sad part is the shoddy engineering that was being put into the new launch. Instead of a straight slope down to the water like the old ramp, the new design slops down in steps. When the water finally comes back up to normal levels, the new launch will be much more difficult to use because of this. The new ramp will only extend a little ways beyond the current pads and due to all the stone that they are piling up under the pads, boaters will not be gaining anything. In fact the new launch will be worse than the old one. If the water levels drop lower this summer, the new launch may even be unusable before its completed. There were dozens of other launches that could have really used some needed work, but because the DNR boat lunch crew will be stuck at Bolles Harbor all summer, few other project will be completed this year.
Another wonton waste of our public boat launch monies are the fee sites scattered around the state. It kills me to see a DNR attendant sitting in a booth collecting money from a dozen boater during a day. The money collected does not even pay for his or her salary. Better to just open the site up for free use and save everyone some money. I've had occasions at Bolles Harbor during the spring when I'll be the only boat in the parking lot all day and the attendant still sits there all day collecting nothing accept their bloated pay check. For Pete's sake, if they are going to charge money, then the attendant should be stationed at the docks so they can at least help boaters to launch and load their boats along with doing other tasks. Most municipal and state launch facilities were built with public funds. It would make perfect sense to have one season pass to cover all the public boat launches in the state, similar to buying a fishing license. This would eliminate lots of wasted money and would make the boat launch situation much better in Michigan.
Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters Information
With the summer nearing, my charter schedule is tightening up. I still have plenty of open dates for June steelhead and salmon outings. July and August dates are nearly full though. If you want to take a charter with me this summer, then get on the phone (800-305-6988) and make your reservations now. In fact, many of my 2002 dates are filling up already. If you are interested in going on a spring walleye or brown trout trip, then you almost need to book a year in advance to assure a date.
Here are my current open dates:
Saginaw Bay Walleye
DNR NOW SELLS FISHING AND HUNTING LICENCES ON THE INTERNET
Thousands of hunters, anglers, campers and other outdoor users can now use the Internet to do business with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. By clicking on the e-license and campground reservation links on the DNR Web site at www.michigandnr.com, these individuals can make a campground reservation or purchase hunting and fishing licenses, special hunt applications and permits, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. See the Michigan Fishing Information webpage under Hot News for more on this story.
2000 LAKE MICHIGAN FISHING SEASON AWESOME
Lake Michigan anglers enjoyed an outstanding catch rate for trout and salmon last year. The overall catch rate was the highest on record; 30% above the long-term average. See the Michigan Fishing Information webpage under Hot News for more on this story.
I've been busy adding more and more information to the Michigan Fishing Information website. I just completed a new off-shore steelhead fishing article that can be read in the popular Tips section. I plan to finish off a Saginaw Bay walleye article in the next week and then a salmon piece for inclusion in the Tips section. I've also added a brand new forum or message board. Here you can post your own fishing stories or reports and converse with other visitors of the Michigan Fishing Information website. I took the liberty to add the first entries to the forum. I plan to report most of my fishing adventures on the forum including my charters.
In it's first couple weeks on-line the Michigan Fishing Information Opinion Poll has revealed some interesting statistics: 72% favor a statewide slot limit on certain game fish. 88% think anglers got a raw deal on the new consent agreement with the Indians. The DNR job performance rating varies greatly from Rotten to Good. The majority of respondents think that Michigan already has enough waters designated as "flies only." Fully 81% think icefishermen should be allowed to use three lines. 94% believe personal watercraft should be regulated to keep them off the water during peak fishing periods. The majority has indicated that they think Lake Erie and Detroit River limits and seasons should remain as they were during 2000. And quite shockingly 49% of respondents have been harassed by conservation officers. If you haven't already done so, I encourage everyone to take the poll and make your views heard. I plan to pass the survey results along to the DNR on a regular basis to let them know how you feel.
I've added more fishing reports and various other useful tidbits to the Michigan Fishing Information Web Guide Index. During the past two years over 79,000 unique visitors have graced the Michigan Fishing Information webpage. The unique visitors count is much less than the total number of hits that most WebPages report. Since the Michigan Fishing Information page gets lots of repeat visits, the total hit count often surpasses 1000 hits per day.
I've still got a couple openings left for Little Bay De Noc ice fishing charters. The early spring Lake Erie walleye and Lake Michigan Brown trout trips are nearly full however a few dates remain open. Remember if you want a weekend, it pays to book as early as possible. My weekends typically book up 6-months in advance. Following is my charter schedule for the coming year:
Little Bay De Noc Ice Fishing ….2/15 - 2/28
For more information about charters, visit Trophy Specialists Fishing
Charters webpage at http://members.aol.com/tscharters
Little Bay De Noc Winter Walleyes
Little Bay De Noc offers anglers some outstanding yet affordable fishing opportunities during late winter.
Ice fishing in Michigan is usually a hit or
miss proposition. The past three mild winters severely limited the
ice fishing activities for many anglers. A major exception was the
Upper Peninsula and particularly Little Bay De Noc. Safe ice usually
forms on the bay during December and by the end of January, the ice is
typically thick enough to support vehicles (use caution). Little
Bay De Noc annually puts on a consistent, world class winter fishery for
walleye, perch, pike and other species. The walleye action usually
peaks during the last few weeks of February and it's during this period
that it's not uncommon to catch lots of walleyes (including some lunkers),
perch, pike and even trout all using the same tactics.
Good Luck Fishing!
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