Fishing Reports
14
Hello,

After a tough week that saw a lot of fishing and minimal catching, things are starting to improve just in time for Salmon Festival. Over the past week and half we've had some minor runs in the river that gave us decent opportunities to catch a few big kings, a couple boats even finding fish that topped the 30 lb mark, but for the most part catches ranged from 2 - 7 fish with a mixture of lake trout, kings and cohos depending on where you set your lines. If you're fishing the big fish tournament tomorrow I suspect there will still be a few kings around and it'll likely take a fish pushing 20 lbs to win. Those kings are widely scattered from the river out to about 150 FOW water and have a lot of space between them. If you stay in close the hot baits have been the Grinch and Chrome/Red Headed JPlugs and the Pearl/Black Dot Tomic. Most of the action has been on the #3 JPlug sized baits but I took several nice fish on #4's also so don't be afraid to try out the big bait, big fish theory. Kings in deeper water have shown no real preference for a particular bait with both spoons and Paddle/Fly combo's working. Plugs in deep water have not been very effective for anyone I've spoken to this fall.

Now, if you're just going fishing and not trying to win a contest, I'd suggest starting out around 100 FOW and going west to as far as 300 FOW. A nice mix of Steelhead, Coho and Lake Trout have been caught the last few days fishing throughout that range. The fish have been the most active in the 40 to 80 foot down range but hugging bottom is still producing a few trout. At the higher end of that range patterns like the Red Pepper, Orange Pepper, 3 Days at Sea, Sexy Veggies and UV Capt. Gary in Super Slim Dreamweaver and standard sized Stingers have been the best. As you move lower in the water column spoons with a little more blue and 8" Spin Dr.'s and Paddles have been the ticket. Attractors in the Green Jeans, Yellow Jeans, White Fish Scale and White with Blue Bubble patterns have been good. Flies to pull behind the attractor have mostly been some shade of green like the Hypnotist, Pickled Sunshine, Illusion or Green Crinkle.

While it may not be a "fill the freezer" kind of weekend coming up it should at least provide you with a couple of good meals and get you ready for the next couple weeks. The arrival of a few steelhead is usually a sign that better fishing is ahead and with all the baitfish around I'm hoping we see some younger salmon start to show up over the next week or so. With that in mind, the forecast this weekend says the weather is going to be way too nice to spend your time indoors waiting for kick off. Go for the trifecta of awesome this weekend! Fish in the morning, a nap in the early afternoon followed by fish for dinner washed down by something ice cold and watching your favorite college football team in the late afternoon! I'm sure your other half will support this plan as well! Mine wouldn't as she's allergic to fish (maybe football too) and Sunday is our anniversary (I remembered!), but yours probably will. If she doesn't please don't tell her it was all my idea.

Good luck,
Matt

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24
Hello,

No, unfortunately that's not a typo, this is a wishing report. I wish I could tell you a pile of hungry kings and coho arrived with the cold water this week but they didn't. I spoke with another captain fishing out Muskegon and their waters are safe (but cold) to swim in too as the large predators we were expecting have not arrived there either. The occasional coho and mature king are still being caught but if this last weather event was not enough to generate a decent run then I would expect a couple more weeks much like the last month where small pockets of kings come in, generate some excitement and then move on or head into the rivers to spawn. There's rain forecast in 8 of the next 10 days which will likely keep fish moving into rivers rather than schooling offshore waiting for the right conditions. Trout will probably continue to be the fish most likely found in coolers for the near future.

Lake trout had been plentiful in waters 100 - 140 feet deep and I suspect after the constantly changing winds finally settle down they'll return to that area. The larger trout will likely be suspended from 10-30 foot off of the bottom if the alewives return so your 450' copper rigs should be effective as well as your shorter wire divers and mid range downriggers. Suspended trout have been actively hitting spoons with the best patterns for me being the Modified MI Dolphins, Flea For All and Blue Mongoose. White with UV tape Paddles and Spin Dr.'s paired with white or chrome Whirly Gigs continue to take the majority of fish near bottom so I finally put my hot Yellow Bikini Bottom in the drawer last week because it cooled off. If Alewives are in short supply run your gear tight to bottom as sculpin will be their primary food source and they like to play in the sand. When the kings are around I've had good luck early in the morning and late in the evening on the Blue and Green Jeans SuperSlims by Dreamweaver. The Crab in the standard size DW has taken some shots too and a lot of guys have hit on a wide assortment of large Moonshine baits.

Looking forward I'm hopeful some coho show up later than normal. This spring started late so hopefully they just haven't looked at the calendar and don't realize that they're supposed to be here yet. If you hear they've showed up make sure and get some orange plugs in the water, they can't resist them. The other fish that's not been holding up their end of the deal is the steelhead. Historically September is a great time to fish deep water and find them high in the water column fattening up for the winter ahead. The last two years haven't been very good for them so they're over due for a visit. Immature kings in the 5 - 10 lb class have been scarce all year in my cooler, and I haven't heard of many being taken, but they too will be looking for schools of bait to gorge on before the cool weather settles in. With a little luck Grand Haven will be on their short list of places to visit before the white stuff flies.

Keep your fingers crossed that the salmon, like the steelhead this summer, just decided to delay their visit to our rivers. One thing is for certain though, if you don't go fishing you won't catch any fish! Take advantage of the remaining nice days and enjoy another sunrise or sunset on the big pond.

Good luck!
Matt

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03
Hello,

If you've held off going fishing until the big kings show up in good numbers, now is the time to go!. For better than a week now schools of mature kings have been moving through the area and a number of kings over 25lbs have been taken to the scales. If you're an early riser you'll want to make sure you have your favorite glow spoons charged up and ready to go as they've been good before the sun pops up. Flounder Pounders, Mongolian Beef, Dancing Anchovies and the Bloody Nose Dalmatian patterns have all been good on Moonshine spoons lately. My personal favorite is still the Blue Crab, a simple looking standard sized Dreamweaver that never lets me down. I have been running plugs on at least one copper line each trip but so far the fish haven't been impressed with my selection, I haven't heard of much activity on plugs from others either but they'll warm up to them soon enough. In addition to your spoons you'll want to have your meat rigs on. The kings are showing they have no interest in a vegan diet this past week as the majority of the fish, especially after the sun comes up, have come on a number of different meat set ups. Most of my success has been with 10" Spin Dr.s in the Kevin's Girlfriend, Pink Dots Coho and White Fish Scale UV patterns. I like the Green Mile, UV on Ice and a pink UV rig. I've had success fishing meat on riggers, 300' to 450' coppers and behind braid and wire divers this past week.

Lake trout continue to be a reliable source of action. Recently I have had more luck when running my favorite rigs about 10 - 15' off bottom and about 10 - 15' behind the ball than keeping them tight and in the sand. 8" White paddles with crushed UV tape with a Whirly Gig or Spin'N'Glo with glow tape on the wings has been really good on dark days and a steady producer every day regardless of weather. The 8" Yellow Bikini Bottom Paddle with a chrome and yellow spotted Whirly Gig has been a steady producer for me as well and because I like saying I'm catching fish on a yellow bikini bottom I keep running it. It sounds better than catching them on the Trash Can but it's been working too.

Location is always part of the equation. Check the Port Sheldon and Muskegon buoy's to get an ide of where the temp brakes are and if you're setting up in the dark you'll want to start in the depth where the thermo hits the bottom and work out slowly. For those of us that put a higher value on sleep a solid plan is to start around 80 FOW and work out to about 140 FOW or until you find the fish. The currents and winds over the last week have moved the fish around daily but they've been in that depth range almost every day for the past two months. An added note about that current, make note of the direction the boats waving nets are travelling and match it! Figuring out direction and speed to properly present your baits have been tricky challenges lately. I still rely on the bend in my diver rods to let me know how my speed is even when everything else says I'm going too fast or slow. My brain couldn't accept what I was seeing one morning last week and I had several slow hours until it dawned on me that what I was doing wasn't working and finally put my faith back where it belonged and it worked. It was ugly, but it worked.

Pier fishing on our crowded piers has been spotty as the water has been quite warm this past week. I have seen some nice bass, some catfish and a number of drum caught but that's it recently. Checking the buoy regularly for water temps and current directions will help indicate which days to go. If the water cools and the fish move in live alewives are the bait of choice. If after casting out you find you're using a yellow bikini bottom for bait things are about to get really interesting, get ready to run for your life!

Enjoy the rest of Coast Guard Festival and go fishing!

Matt

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20

 The Kings are coming! The Kings are coming and we're  happy to be back on the water fishing for them. The strong North winds this past week cooled the water and scattered the fish, but mature Kings were still caught in water depths ranging from the piers to 130 feet. Fish were caught from 10 to 60 feet down on a variety of lures. Bright spoons such as the Red and Orange Pepper Dreamweavers and the Jawbreaker Stinger worked well. With the cold water, short lead cores of 2 to 5 colors were effective. Some fish were also taken on plugs and meat rigs. If you prefer Steelhead, try fishing the river water near the pierheads early in the day. Fish the top 15 feet with oranges and pinks and don't be afraid to pick up your speed to 3.5 mph or more. Lake Trout remain active near bottom in 100 to 140 feet of water and can be caught on the usual 8 inch Spin Doctors and Spin-n-Glows or Whirligigs. The changing water temperatures this past week point out the importance of being aware of changes. Temperatures dropped almost 20 degrees in one day! The Grand Haven Steelheaders website provides links to local buoys which can provide important information on currents and temperatures both on the surface and at various depths. Good Fishing, Rich

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13
Hello!

The weather has been all over lately with hot and cool days but overall the fishing has remained very good for this time of year. Double digit catches that include a healthy dose of lake trout with a few salmon and steelhead mixed in are fairly common with more salmon and steelhead being caught on morning trips. Kings up to 27 lbs have been caught in the past week and that's creating a lot of speculation about how many big kings over 30 lbs will be caught over the next couple of months. The fishing from the end of July and during the month of August are likely to generate some pretty exciting stories!

The cold water that arrived after Tuesdays blow seemed to scatter some of the smaller trout and catch numbers dipped a little but size increased. The 110 - 140 FOW range has continued to be the most active area to fish but fish have been taken from 70 - 190 FOW. Most of the trout continue to come from the bottom 20 foot of the water column, the steelhead are mostly being taken from offerings in the 30 - 60 foot range and kings have been found throughout that range. White with UV Crush tape on an 8" Dreamweaver Paddle with what was once a shiny chrome Whirly Gig, but is now a chewed up mess of chrome and white plastic, has been the hot ticket on my center downrigger for 3 weeks. I've been running this combo about 5' behind the ball on calm days and 10' - 15' on bouncier days. The conditions have not made much of a difference as it's been equally as productive on sunny days as it has been during cloudy periods. The 8" Yellow Bikini Bottom Paddle with a chrome and yellow spotted Whirly Gig has been another go to bait on a wire diver fished suspended about 10 to 15' off of bottom. This rig has been good for both kings and trout. My leader length from the paddle to the Whirly Gig is about 20 inches on my center rigger and 45 inches on the wire diver set up. I've had days where the fish have favored one over the other but generally they both create a fair amount of action.

Copper lines have had some pretty good days recently as well. My most consistent has been a 325 with the Gold Watermelon Stinger blade. Right behind that has been a 270 with a Stingray UV Michigan Dolphin and up high on a 150 copper the Capt Gary Dreamweaver has taken a number of kings and Steelhead. Another pattern that has worked well on my higher coppers has been the Wrecking Ball in both the SuperSlim and standard sized Dreamweaver spoons. Jager Bombs, NBK's and UV Mixed Veggies have all taken fish for me recently too. Meat rigs have worked sporadically but I haven't heard of anyone consistently taking fish on them yet. Warmer water creating a deeper thermo, in my experience, would help.

Pier fisherman have not had the success that one would suspect lately given the water temps and time of the year. My personal theory is that someone sent an email to the Skamania strain of steelhead and explained just how much it would cost to raise several thousand kids so they're boycotting the spawning run this summer. We've been finding fair numbers offshore and they seem to be pretty content to stay there. Getting them to accept a boat ride up the river as our guest has not even been possible without a pretty spirited battle. I haven't heard if this is the case up and down the coast but I suspect the cold weather we had in April may have as much to do with their late arrival as the eye opening email they received but only time will tell.

Good luck,
Matt

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