The 2016 season is off with a bang. Actually, there was no bang, but it was a bang-up start. Unless I’m shooting ducks from a boat, there’s nothing involved that should go bang. Nothing did.
There was a bit of noise in the form of a fog-horn. Early season fishing often entails finding the warmest water possible. These warm oasis areas are fish magnets compared to the ice-water cold liquid in the rest of the lake. The warm water also boosts the metabolism in the salmon and trout making them more likely to strike our lures.
So I headed out from the East Chicago Marina at a comfortable 7AM and headed for the Indiana Harbor where two different steel mills pump heated water to keep the harbor ice free and extend their shipping season. Two miles out of the marina, we hit a fog bank that gave us no more than 50 yards visibility. We slowed and made our way but in the harbor, we had to watch for both other fishermen, the rock-lined walls of the harbor and potentially, giant ore boats hauling taconite pellets from the northern lakes.
That’s when the fog horn sounded. Something was coming so I steered a course to the west (shallow) side of the channel knowing whatever vessel was exiting would stay in the deepest part of the channel. It was a tug, pushing a barge. We were plenty far away by the time the working boat passed and as a salute, the captain waved and then blew his fog horn one last time before heading into the misty, open waters.
The fog horn must have woke up the fish since seconds after that last blast, a rod doubled down with a spunky salmon on the line, then another on the other side. The first fish of the season is always special, starting the season with a double is extra fun. We hadn’t even got the fish out of the landing nets when another salmon bit and so went the fun of late winter/early season action on Indiana’s end of Lake Michigan.
Minutes after the fog horn tooting tug left, the fog disappeared and a welcome, warm sun kept us toasty on board. We didn’t really have time to worry about the cold, anyway. The fish kept us too busy.
It’s the “spring break” time of year but you don’t have to head for a Florida beach to get in on some hot action. Give me a call.