My business is to provide people the opportunity to sample the exciting and challenging fishing available at the southern end of Lake Michigan. This page is dedicated to showing a bit of the behind-the-scenes work it takes to do that and to highlight the trips and fun my customers are able to experience.
KING SALMON ARE THE BIGGEST,
MEANEST, TOUGHEST FISH IN FRESHWATER
It can be the most rewarding time of year and because of that, it’s usually the most frustrating time of year. In late summer, Lake Michigan’s mature king salmon head back to the locations where they were stocked to go on their spawning runs. Those locations are public records so finding the fish is a simple matter. The records show exactly how many baby kings were stocked at Michigan City, Portage or over in Lake County.
The creel counts give an indication of how many of the fish were caught by fishermen, as well. A relatively small percent. Of course, some of the fish may have been caught elsewhere, or failed to survive their 3 ½ years in the lake, but statistically, there are a lot of salmon left and in September, they are mature and it’s game on for Lake Michigan anglers.
The problem is the fish are no longer feeding. Their goal is simply find the stream they need to swim up to spawn, wait until they are acclimated to fresh water, then wait for the right tide and continue their run.
Okay, there’s no salt water and no tides, but the fish don’t know that. They are a scant few generations away from ancestors who did swim the oceans and migrate to Pacific Coast streams and they still have western fish instincts.
A SONAR SHOT OF SALMON
STAGING TO MAKE THEIR '
After spending 3 ½ years at sea or in Lake Michigan, they are accustomed to snapping at any baitfish that comes within "mouth-shot." If your lure gets subbed in for a baitfish, lucky you!
That’s some days. Other days you can show your best baits to a thousand fish and only one or two will try to bite it. That’s the frustration.
You know where the fish will be, you know there will be lots of them but you don’t know when or if they will bite. That’s why you keep trying. For when it all comes together, you are hooked to one of the largest, meanest and most tenacious fish that exists in North America. That makes the frustration worth it!
For all of you old enough to remember the old Peter, Paul and Mary song, “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” here are some alternate lyrics to the tune.
Hopefully, Doug will catch a bunch of these, while I sit back and smile!
My bags are packed, I’m ready to go
The boat is hitched and ready to tow
It’s loaded up with beer and fishing gear!
So many fish are waiting for me
But will they bite, we’ll wait and see
All I know is we will surely try.
I’m leaving on a road trip
To Ludington in Michigan
Okay, so maybe I’m a bit ebullient (as well as a poor lyricist) but in a few minutes Peggy and I will be out the door and heading for a week’s vacation. She needs it from her work at the hospital, I need it from my work on Lake Michigan.
You may think it odd that after spending much of the last several months on my boat on Lake Michigan that I’d take my boat and fish Lake Michigan as a vacation. When I have paying customers on the boat, I’m working to keep them safe, entertained and happy with the amount of fish they are catching. It’s not bad work, but it’s work, none the less.
I’ll be fishing with Doug Wheelock, a long-time fishing friend and Bob Simpson, a retired charter captain from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Both guys are familiar with boats, fishing and the gear we will be using. I won’t be doing all the work and I might even get to reel in a fish. Actually, I don’t care if I don’t reel one in, as long as I can just be out there without the pressure to put fish on the line.
So I’m still humming: “leaving on a road trip, leaving on a road trip.......”