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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


    There’s a saying among salmon fishermen: “A coho is a silver, the chinook is a king.”  It’s partly a maxim to ease the confusion between the Native American names for the two species of salmon and the names Europeans have given these fish. What Indians call coho salmon, English-speaking people call silver salmon. The Indian’s chinook salmon is the Anglo’s king salmon.

Nathan Eaton boated the first king
of the year on the Brother Nature
 But it’s more than that. The chinooks (or kings) are truly the kings of the salmon world. Both for size – the world record king is over 90 pounds, the world record coho is barely a third that size - and also for fighting ability.

  It’s easy math to say a larger fish fights harder than a smaller fish. But what if you were to hook a 7-pound king salmon to a 7-pound coho salmon?

The answer is subjective; since, to my knowledge, no one has ever done the experiment. But I’ve caught plenty of 7-pound coho and equally sized chinooks. The chinooks are much stronger. I think in the above “species to species” tug-o-war, the winner (you could say the “king” of the competition) would be the chinook.

   That’s not to say the cohos aren’t spunky and deserving of the “silver” medal in the contest. The two species react completely different when hooked to a lure, fishing line, rod, reel and fisherman. Cohos are more prone to jumping during their struggle, less prone to making long reel-torturing runs and very prone to spinning like a dervish when brought to the surface and into the landing net. The kings do make long runs - repeatedly - and are tough to wear down.

King salmon will bring a smile to
any angler's face. 
    It’s the way kings fight that bring a smile to knowing Great Lakes anglers when they hear good numbers of chinook salmon are being caught. Just whisper “the kings are in” and watch a salmon fisherman’s eyes glaze as he ponders his immediate (non-fishing) schedule, the weather forecast and other factors that stand between going toe to toe (hand to fin?) with some Great Lakes kings.

     Kings don’t usually get active until the water temperature in the lake warms solidly past 40 degrees and they kick into their spring feeding frenzy when the alewives move close to shore to spawn. That’s now!

    I told my fishermen yesterday it looked good on the sonar when huge schools of alewives showed close to the shoreline. I set some likely lures just above the swarms of spawners. Before the day was done, each of my guests had tangled with one or more of the king-chinooks, as well as a bevy of coho-silvers.

    As they left they told me, “Be sure to let us know next spring when ‘the kings are in’!”

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