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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Fresh salmon is a blank slate
for a good cook. 

I get a lot of first-time salmon fishermen on my boat. Once the cooler starts filling with fish, it’s not long until someone asks, “What’s the best way to cook these?”

“The best way?” You can’t even get people to agree on the best way to cook an egg. Some like scrambled, others over easy or poached. The truth is, there is no “best way,” just different ways.

I’ve had people tell me, “I’d come out fishing with you, but I tried some Great Lakes salmon once and it was awful.”
Salmon are perfect for a
Great Lakes Fish Boil

That really surprised me, but when asked how the fish was cooked, the salmon-haters usually mention grilled, baked or that some “special” recipe was followed.

“Do you bake fish very often?” I ask.

The answer is usually no.

“Maybe you aren’t fond of baked fish,” I’ll reply. “Maybe the cook isn’t a very good baker of fish.”

So I’ve developed a pat answer I use when a newcomer asks for cooking tips. First, I answer their question with a question. “What kind of fish do you usually cook and how do you cook them?” Whether their answer is walleye, crappie, sunfish makes no difference. Neither does their preferred recipe, whether that’s pan fried, sauteed or baked in butter.

Oven baked with a Panko Crust. 
“Cut the salmon fillets into pieces that are about the same size as the fish you normally cook. Use the same breading mix, herbs or seasoning as you would use on your crappie fillets and cook them just as though they are a mess of crappies. The point is, you know how to cook fish that way, you enjoy eating fish cooked that way and I guarantee, you’ll like your salmon just as well or maybe even better. It will give you a basis for comparison. And if you get busy and catch a couple more, you’ll have plenty of meat to try in other, more exotic recipes.”

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I sent Doug Wheelock an email that said this. “Doug: There is some good news in the forecast. In checking the intimate details, the UV Index while you are to be here is to stay near-zero. That will certainly save on sunscreen costs! Looking forward to your visit! Capt. Mike.”

Doug Wheelock is the leader of a loose collection of  friends, relatives and in-laws from or living near Sioux City, Iowa who trek to Indiana every spring for three days of fishing. I call it the Iowegian Attack!

Foul weather has been a frequent participant dating back to the first ever Iowegian Attack, many years ago. I called Doug and told him the weather report was bad - make that horrible - and not the sort of day many would find enjoyable. I suggest we cancel or “reschedule.”

“Nope,” said Doug, “We’re coming and just make the best of it.”

They came and we did make the best of it. I don’t remember the details, but I’m sure we were cold, plenty bounced around - and we caught some salmon.

The Iowgian Attack has taken place in late March, usually in April and once in May. One arrival day coincided with 10-inches of snow and we had to pull the boat with Doug’s 4WD Suburban rather than my then, two-wheel-drive tow vehicle.

White Bass and Stripers
We’ve only stayed off Lake Michigan a few times for safety reasons. Day one forecast this year was for north wind and 20-foot waves.  I used my Captain’s prerogative and cancelled the first scheduled day on Lake Michigan. As an alternative, however, we drove to Monticello, IN to fish the Tippecanoe River below Norway dam. When we arrived the water was gushing through the dam because of the heavy rains. I doubted the fishing would be good. Maybe we could give up early and not fish in the rain all day?

No such luck! A few casts and the first of many white bass bit my Roadrunner jig. Doug caught a catfish. We even caught some hybrid stripers! Well, okay, we had some luck after all, we just had to endure the rain and drizzle to prevail.

On Thursday only three boats left the harbor at East Chicago, me with the Iowegian crew and two other charter boats. After the storm, we suspected tough fishing and agreed to split up in search of fish. If anyone found a concentrated number, we'd each other know. One of us went north, one west and we headed east. No one found appreciable numbers.

Who is that masked man? It's Doug Wheelock dressed for the
typical Iowegian Attack weather. 
We had our first bite, but lost the fish, at 9AM; then we actually caught a salmon at 10:02! The other boats each had a fish or two as well, but no one had found a hotspot. The skies lightened a bit and more fish started finding our lures. In the next couple of hours, 17 fish were dragged close enough to scoop aboard before we called the day over and successful.

 It was snowing on Saturday morning as we suited up in our foul-weather gear. Not the pretty flakes you’d like to see on Christmas Eve. The tiny, almost pellet-like snow that stings on a hard wind. It stung!
 What did I expect? It was the Iowegian Attack, 2013.