Tuesday, June 30, 2009

House Approves $475 Million for Great Lakes Restoration

The house past legislation last week approving $475 million towards resoring the Great Lakes. This, of course, is good news for all of us that have respect for our great lakes. I couldn't ever see myself living far from its shores and every penny that gets routed into restoration, prevention, and research is a penny well spent in my book.

The money will be broken down as follows:

• $147 million to clean up highly toxic rivers and harbors that feed into the lakes.

• $60 million to prevent and remove invasive species.

• $98 million to refurbish areas near shores and to prevent "non-point" pollution, such as fertilizer and oil run-off.

• $105 million to restore and protect habitat and wildlife.

• $65 million to monitor progress of cleanup.

I find it interesting that the lowest amount of money into invasive species prevention and removal.

Some of the more abbrasive invasives as of now (because I'm sure there are more to come...) are: Rusty Crawfish, Round Goby, Common Carp, Sea Lamprey, Alewife, Rainbow Smelt, and of course the dreaded Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

The money was part of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010. It passed 254-173. -Detroit News

A new Lock at the Soo Locks

Construction just began on a new lock to compliment the Poe Lock at the Soo Locks, connecting Lake Superior to Lake Huron. This new lock will make faster work of moving the 1000 foot class of freighter between the lakes. If anything were to happen to the Poe Lock it would "restrict 85 percent of our business," said Fred Shusterich, president of Superior, Wis.-based Midwest Energy Resources Co.
The Coffer Dams that re-route the river to allow work on the lock will cost $1.9 million. Around 8000 ships make the journey through the Locks each year and this high capacity lock will help keep things running smoothly, and will provide a backup for times that the Poe lock needs maintainence on it's hydrolics or anything else.

This will provide hundreds of jobs for the people of Michigan. More information can be found here at the Detroit News.

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Fish Totals, first half

Well, tomorrow marks the passing of the first half of 2009. It's time to total up my catch for the first part of the year. It's been a great start to 2009 and I can only dream of catching as many quality fish as I did in the waxing part of this year.

Here we go:

Yellow Perch: 499
Brown Trout (inland): 48
Rainbow Trout (inland): 5
Rainbow Trout (steelhead): 6
Brook Trout: 3
Coho Salmon: 4
Chinook Salmon (fingerlings): 3
Largemouth Bass: 10
Smallmouth Bass: 6
Sucker: 3
Sunfish: 2
Bluegill: 5
Rock Bass: 20
Walleye: 2
Northern Pike: 48

Total 664 fish

So all in all, it's been a great 6 months. From here out there will be a lot more bigger game fishing. There will be Bass, Walleye, and Northern Pike in northern Minnesota. Follwed by a shot at the Skamania strain of Steelhead, Brown Trout from Wisconsin harbors, more inland trout fishing in Wisconsin. Then will be a couple of months chasing Kings and Browns in the tributaries in Wisconsin, followed by the later running Steelhead strains in November.

I really can't wait for any of this, it's going to be a ball. Thanks to everyone that's fished with me, brought me to their "secret spot", and actually met me at 4:30 a.m. to get at some perch. I'm blessed to live in such spot so conducive to angling. I will keep at it as long as I'm permitted.

Round 2, here we go... See you on the seawall, the river, the lake, the dock, the pond, the dam, and under the bridge.

Kissing the June Perch Season Goodbye (litterally)

Out to home base on the sea wall this morning by 4:40. I had some equipment malfunctions that were unexpected. My trusty super rooster tail actually snapped in half today, I guess after catching 3 Northerns and close to 60 Jumbo Perch on it the metal gets a little brittle.

This was just fine, I was fishing catch and release today in respect to the great season lake Michigan gave me. I landed a few jumbos and a few smaller little guys that hit much harder than their lighter biting older siblings. The fishing was by no means on fire for me today, but guys using #5 shad raps were doing better than I was.

Upon catching my last jumbo (around 12") today I looked at it right in the eyes, said "see you next year my friend" and gave it a kiss on it's fish lips and tossed him back. I got some funny looks from other anglers, letting go such fine table fare. I'm ok with some funny looks.

I won't be out tomorrow, half the year is done with and I'll have a report coming with my totals from the fish log for the first half of 2009.

Thanks Lake Michigan. I'll be moving on to brown trout and skamanias in later July, Brown trout, steelhead, and salmon will be heading my way in a couple of months as well. It's been a great year.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Great Lakes Perch Fishing : 6/28/09

With only 2 days left in the season I arrived at my spot that now feels like home, and will be missed during the month of July. I set up in the dark and tossed my spinner far, I backed my braid with mono yesterday so it won't slip on hook sets. Due to re-spooling the braid that first cast sailed to the horizon.

The first to casts produced very small rock bass. The bite was not on like I had hoped it would be but I had taken 3 and put 3 back by the time the sun rose. It took a lot of moving today, and fighting with currents, the ebb and flow into and out of the harbor was dramatic, like whitewater at times. The night of 10-15 knot northwest blow was stirring the lake up.

At the time when all was said and done there were 8 fish on my stringer. I gave a couple to a fellow who was having trouble getting his fish for the day and took home 6 to add to the freezer stockpile for fish fries of lazy July evenings to come. The fish averaged only 10" or 11" today, smaller than the stringer full of jumbos on friday.

It was nice to get out and I'll miss it when June turns to July.

I'll likely be out for one last hurrah in the next two days, I'll kiss the last perch goodbye and send him out to one of my favorite lakes in the world and hope he brings back his friends next year.

See you on the seawall for one last go at it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grand River Sturgeon Poacher Caught

A few weeks ago I reported that across the lake, in Grand Haven Michigan, a man was caught on camera taking a 5 foot long lake sturgeon which he had snagged in the tail, netted, and then dragged to his truck.

The DNR had offered a $1000 reward to anyone with information leading to his involvement in this crime. Since the reward was offered someone has come forward with information and now a 30 year old grand rapids man will be arraigned on July 9th for taking the sturgeon illegally.

Sturgeon can live to be more than 100 years old, they take 15 or more years to reach sexual maturity, and only spawn every few years.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chicago Perch Limit : 6/26/2009

After all was said and done today, in a short 2 hours 3 stringers had a combined total of 36 jumbos waiting to be filleted. I made it out with friends Mike and Keith, I got my limit of 15 by 6:30 this morning. They were willing to bite anything that swam today, shad raps preceded by bullet weights, flukes on jigs, paddlebugs, raw softshells, and my personal favorite, the spinner tipped with shrimp.

The action was relatively fast starting at first light, and lasting to 6:15. I found the trick today was movement. I see these reports coming out of Montrose harbor that baffle me. People sit there and fish for 4 hours shoulder to shoulder and only take a few fish. Since perch are creatures of a school, why would you sit there and drag your bait through empty water. Every time I moved to a new location today one of two outcomes would transpire, number 1, I'd hook up right away, and take 4-6 perch within a matter of 5 minutes. Number 2, I would get no bites for 4 or 5 casts and move on. I'm not at some secret spot, in fact I'm fishing a spot just like any other in the miles of Chicago lakefront. It just happens to be a spot I go to each day. I know where snags are and where deeper parts are. I start off fishing the shallow areas over rocks before sunrise, and move to deeper water when the sun heads for the empty space above me.

I think if these hundreds of people sitting in one harbor or another moved along down the seawall and found pods of fish, they would be much happier.

My limit consisted of 4 fish over 13", 8 fish between 11"-13" and the rest were smaller due to gut hooking, or just a frantic need to take a limit, no fish were under 8.5".

It was a beautiful morning, a little cooler finally, I was shivering a bit before first light, it felt nice. I'm counting down the days now and will do my best to get out there every dawn. I will not be keeping as many fish now that I have stockpiled a good number. I just want to enjoy the bite before it's gone.

Like I say at the end of every one of these posts... I'll see you at the seawall.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lake Michigan Jumbo Perch Report : 6/25/09

At long last, I had one of those days... One of those days on Lake Michigan that makes up for all those slow sunrises taking home a stringer with a single perch for two or three hours of fishing. I got to my normal spot today and decided to forgo fishing a double jig rig with artificials. I went straight to the super rooster tail (1/4 oz.) white with silver blade. I hooked some shrimp on the double hook and gave her a toss. A hit on the first cast but no take. The next three consecutive casts landed me three decent keepers, two of them being 12". My hopes were starting to get high, but I have been tricked by a burst of perch in the first 10 minutes before and didn't let them climb to any real height.

8 of the 10 keepers, the fattest of those 12" perch had an 8" girth!!

When all was said and done I had landed 14 perch from the lake, 10 of which were keepers, 6 were over 12", the rest were close but I try and keep only ones greater than 10". Lake Michigan was good to me this morning, the sun was bright and hot, the lake was clear, I could actually see fish hitting the spinner, and the ones I landed were large and made for a great lunch for myself and two friends.

One thing worth noting is that I picked up most of my perch from the Lake Michigan sea wall right before the sun came up, it then slowed down and after half an hour of slow fishing I decided I'd move into the harbor where things were deeper, darker, and still shaded from trees and the hill that is lake shore drive. I immediately started picking up fish upon doing this.

The perch bite on Lake Michigan is finally heating up, I'd get out there sooner than later... there are only 5 more days to chase these guys before the season closes for a month, to re-open when July turns to August.

I'll be out at the lake Saturday, Sunday, Monday if I can manage, more reports to come.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lake Michigan Water Levels Up This Year

In years past I've found myself walking smooth white sand along quiet beaches in spots that used to be where I might have body surfed in the spring. This year there is a different story.

A friend of mine and I have a beach we tenderly refer to as "the secret beach", it is a place where I have never seen another foot print and it lies where garbage used to be poured into the lake in one fassion or another. We find sea glass, fishing plugs that find there way to shore, and other metalic oddities from the height of the factory days along the lake.

This chart from the NOAA is a great visual representation of their always in depth data.

We got down there for the first time this summer to find half the beach missing. I have since done some research and find that water levels are up somewhere right around a foot from last year at this time. Beaches that slowly slope down to the lake can get eaten up quickly by a foot of extra water.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Evening Perch Bite : 6/23/2009

I got on the bike and headed out into the 90 degree heat and chicago traffic and battled my way to the sea wall. Once I got past wrigly field the temp began to drop, it was something like 15 degrees cooler on the sea wall.

I was only fishing near one other fellow who was later joined by his girlfriend. He was a really nice guy, we exchanged some words, and he helped put some fish on my stringer as he didn't want to keep anything that wasn't a jumbo. I ended up taking home a few fish in the 10-11" range.

The bite was slow, very slow, but turned on for 20 minutes or so, on the front and back end of that the ocasional rock bass was landed.

Tonight I switched things up and fished with that wonderful Super Rooster Tail (1/4 oz.) but this time I attached some shrimp to its double hook. This trailer seemed to entice the perch into biting. I like this bait a lot as it needs not be assisted by any split shot or bullet weights or jig heads or anything of the sort, the blade spins at the slowest of speeds and it can be swung, popped, dragged, or just a nice retrieve that makes it glide just above the bottom flashing and fluttering as it slides through lake Michigan.

I ran into some wonderful asian tourists and answered all the regular skyline questions, as well as a kind vietnamese man who was far more excited than I was about the size, quantity and quality of my fish. He seemed to think they were perfect and asked what kind they were, I told him they were yellow perch and he said "ohhhh very good!", just further reinforcing my understanding of how good life is.

They still aren't around in numbers, and the season draws to a close. 1 week left here, I'll get a few more shots at these guys and then the time for Skamanias comes, along with inland trout and some Minnesotan bass, northerns, walleye, maybe some panfish and who knows... even a musky could be on my horizon.

I can't find a job for the life of me, but I can keep enjoying every morning I can get and any evening I find myself alone in the house I can't keep myself from getting on the bike and heading for the blue wonder of this great lake.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Day Chicago Fishing Report

I arrived at the wall today around 4:30 a.m. there were a handful of others there upon my arival, not as many as yesterday, but still a few other early birds. I had high hopes once again, and today things were a little better than yesterday. As soon as that sun got near the horizon the bite turned on, and stayed on for something like 40 minutes. I landed the first fish out of the other men out there, but was soon put to shame by the guys fishing with softshells.

Myself and the other guys using jigs with flukes were doing poorly so I switched to shad raps and quickly landed a 13" jumbo. The guys using shad raps all took around a half dozen in that 5-6 oclock magic hour. Those using soft shells took 8-10. It looks like the bite is switching over at long last. I knew it would happen but I didn't think it would be so sudden. I found only one softshell in the perch stomachs this morning upon fillet, and found more alewifes than anything else, but it was certainly a softshell bite.

Get those softshells and get out there, the bite has been lasting longer and perch were bigger on average this morning, I'm still looking for a limit at some point...

Good luck out there, and happy fathers day to any father that may happen to stumble upon this report.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Milwaukee Harbor Garbage Problem

So I took a stroll on my old fall salmon stomping grounds today, McKinley Pier in Milwaukee. Half way out, right at the bend I noticed something pretty remarkable on the harbor side of the wall. A tremendous floating island of refuse.

I've seen some bad flotsam problems in Milwaukee before but this is like nothing I've ever seen. I wonder what will be done of this floating island of wood, plastic, paper, and other floating debris. I suppose this might be a result of the recent deluge of rain that blew out the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers. The Milwaukee jumped from 400 cfs to over 3000 cfs.

I wonder what will be done, it would be a big job to round up all that floating matter and get it out of the harbor. Boating in the harbor has to be nothing short of a game of dodgeball. I saw trees, 55 gallon drums, spent propane tanks, and kegs floating in the harbor and moving at a good clip through the gaps out into the lake. Be careful out there if you're planning on launching from McKinley, or even from under the hone. I wouldn't want to hit a keg with any kind of boat at any kind of speed...

Chicago Perch Fishing Report, Mid June

Well, we got what we asked for, west winds and warm weather. The sun came up today un-impeded by clouds. The weather was balmy and the air was still thick with moisture from the torrents we got over the last couple of days. I had high hopes as the sky got brighter and suddenly myself and the three fellows next to me hooked into perch. The bite was hot for 10 or 15 minutes, one after another for us all. I ended up tossing back some smaller ones along with the rest of the guys out there. Lots of perch in a short period of time, but smaller average today, a lot in the 9-10" range.
Perch are one of the more beautiful freshwater fish in my opinion.

I hooked another stray later in a small school that went through and produced a handfull of perch down the line, after putting him on the stringer I thought hard about why I kept that first one. It was only when I got home and realized my first one was 10" and that the second one was only a hair over 14"... I'm getting too used to these jumbos where the 9" keepers are looking like the smallest perch I've ever seen.

On the way out a guy fishing on the inside of the harbor had 2 perch in his bucket, they measured something like 5" and 7"... Come on it is jumbo season, forget filleting these things for a fingernail sized piece of meat.
The forecast for the 10 day remainder of the season... I'd say pretty good. Surface temps are dropping, as you'll see in the map above and we're looking at a couple of days of west winds and then a whole week of 80+ degree days. Since the season came in like the most timid of lambs, maybe she'll be a good sport and go out like a lion.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Coldest Chicago June on Record : How it Relates to Perch

Well, we all know it, every time we go outside, not even mentioning a trip to lake Michigan, we wonder to ourselves: is it really June? It certainly seems like the calendar this year went something like : February, March, April, May, April...

50 degree days, something like 2 weeks straight of North/East winds, and constant drizzle and overcast is what we have been dealing with since the beginning of June.

It seems like this should keep the lake cool, but in fact...

The surface water temperature has been rising steadily for a while now. North East Winds have pushed all the warm surface water into the Chicago area.

According to the WGN weather center blog it's been the coldest Chicago June on record (something like 50 years of record keeping). Here is a Link to this article.

So in the last few days, I've seen numbers slow to a crawl. The dawn bite has gone from a strong 4:45-6:00 a.m. bite, dwindling to a 5:15-5:45 bite, and finally this morning to more like a 5:30-5:45 bite.

Further, when the Perch were really stacked in here I took a couple of high noon, heat of the day, direct sunlight trips to the harbor and proceeded to land or see landed one fish after another. It was as if the harbors held a cornucopia of these dinner delicacies.

For now, we'll wait, I've slowed my daily pursuit of perch down to a twice or thrice a week endeavor. This weekend we're due for some west winds (according to the forecasts). If we see this happen we might see the surface water pushed out toward the horizon, the cooler water from deeper, even below the thermocline could be forced to well up and fill the void left by the turbulent extraction of the 60 degree water on the top. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for this, as it will likely bring the perch back into the harbors.

6/17/2009 : A slow, foggy morning on the wall

I got out to the normal spot on the seawall this morning and set up shop on my favorite point above the perch and began fishing. I got a good strong hit right away and pulled up a fighter of a rockbass. Back he went. I fished the next 40 minutes or so without so much as a tap. I then moved further down the wall and picked up one right away. The guys near me got some in their baskets as well.

I rounded up the morning with just a couple of keepers, which had both alewife and softshells in their stomachs. This is the first time that softshells have been in the stomachs of these yellow and gold bandits. My fish were again landed on tiny flukes on 1/16th oz. jigs.

Today I witnessed something fantastic at first light. A large bird that I have yet to identify. Some big prehistoric looking fellow with a white body, black cap to its crest and yellow beak sat staring across the harbor at me for 30 minutes or so. It was perched (no pun intended) on the edge of the wall watching me and watching the water, I would assume for fish. I also saw a beautiful kingfisher soar by right in front of me. I always like to watch the fishing birds cannon into the water in search of their breakfast.

More to come soon, west winds may finally be coming later this week, and my hopes are high that the end of the month could be saved if this is the case.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chicago Jumbo Perch : 6/14/2009

This fishing has slowed greatly. A combination of the coldest june on record, driving north-east winds for the last week, and no sun has slowed the bite to a crawl. The 12 or so guys on the wall couldn't have combined their fish to make a 1 man limit in 3 hours of fishing Sunday Morning. The sunrise was fantastic and more than made up for the lack of perch.

Additionally the water clarity was exemplary. You could see gobies on the bottom in more than 15 feet of water from on the jetties. The clearest I have seen it this year.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicago Fishing Report : 6/13/2009

The driving north and east winds have slowed down perch fishing on the lake front. The bite has been getting earlier and earlier. A week ago, 5:30-6:15 a.m. was when the bite was on, it has slowly backed down to 4:15-5:00. This means the early bird gets the word, the really early bird.

Cold temperatures have not helped things advance and I doubt more perch are being driven in from the depths. What last week was easy morning limits has turned into half a dozen being an average morning session.

Last night when things got calm the lake really died in terms of a perch bite. I didn't hear of anyone getting more than a stray here and there.

Here's hoping that june starts feeling more like june, and less like late april.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing : 6/12/2009

I made the trip to the wall this morning, I arrived at 4:45, still dark I began fishing inside the harbor to see if there was any action inside. I immidiatly starting getting light taps but couldn't connect. After around 5 casts I made the walk out to the lake side.

I noticed all the alewifes swimming right under the wall, I hooked up with a nice 10 1/2" perch on my first cast. Today swinging two 1/16th oz. jigs off a 3 way swivel, with the braid I spooled up last night I was able to feel every bite. I got a handfull by 5:15, at that time the bite shut off almost immidiatly. Upon filleting the fish I learned why.

Those alewifes directly below the pier were what had brought in the perch. I could see them flashing down in the depths and I am sure it was a flurry of feeding activity. In the stomachs of the 5 fish I filleted this morning I took 8 fresh alewifes out of their stomachs, as well as some mostly digested ones. This is a good lesson to take from today, when there are schools of small alewifes and you are fishing with 6cm plastic minnow immitators, you might end up with a fast bite resulting in a full stringer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Great Lakes Restoration : A different view from Detroit

Well, I can't say I agree with everything in this article, I think that the great lakes is one of our nation's most valuable resources and each and every head turned to it helps. This article from Eric Sharp is certainly worth a read.

You can take a look at the article : here.

I think the idea of restoring the great lakes to an arbitrary point is something worth thinking about. We'll never be able to restore them to the way they were when only native americans lived on their shores, or to a point preceding even them. I'd like to think that some progress could be made, or at least regression could be avoided.

There is plenty of good information in the article, enjoy the read!

Lake Michigan Perch Report : a lovely morning

I got my 14" jumbo this morning!! In fact, it was 14.5". It was caught on the lake front using a double jig fishing tiny flukes.

I had a couple others come unbuttoned on the way in but nothing near the size of this one. I'm still learning the artificials but I'm making headway. I'll be out there at the seawall again at 4:00 a.m.!

They are there for the taking, go get 'em!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

13.75" Jumbo Perch, My first chicago jumbo

Well I biked back out to the harbor yesterday and fished for perch, I needed to work on my technique with artificials. I hooked up with a nice 10" perch almost right away. I then took a walk out to the lake side and began fishing in the waves.

My 13.75 inch perch. It was huge, I'm so excited to finally have caught one of these monsters. I'm headed out for the evening bit tonight and will be out at dawn tomorrow morning. Get out there and hammer them readers! They're out there for the taking.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Daily Chicago Perch Fishing Report : 6/9/2009

I got out this morning extra early anticipating a great bite because of the hard west wind blowing yesterday. I arrived at 3:45 a.m. and set up next to a guy named Tommy, the only other angler there. We talked for around an hour without so much as a bite. As the sun started to rise we moved out to the lake from the harbor and immidiatly started getting fish. I only ended up with 2 decent sized perch. A friend of mine got 5 and some others got around 10. The fast action lasted something like 25 minutes. After that it was done for the rest of the morning.

Pretty dissapointing. The action has been very on and off and the on times sometimes only last 15 minutes or so. Limits are attainable but the fishing gods have not been kind to me so far this June. 9 or 10 hours of perching done, 5 keepers.

I'll hit it right one of these mornings!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chicago Shore Fishing Report, Jumbo Perch, 6/8/2009

I couldn't leave the lake alone... Not even for a day. I am craving a stringer full of jumbos, and I really wanted to try out the new rigs I tied up last night. I got to my favorite spot at around 4:15 in the afternoon, I only fished for an hour but it was pretty steady. Every 4 or 5 minutes someone would pull one in. I got a large rock bass which I released along with a few other small perch. I kept one 10 1/4" perch which had a large emerald shiner in it's stomach.

Heading out in the morning bright (actually proably still very dark), and early.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jumbo Perch Fishing in Chicago 6/7/2009

Jumbo's were practically jumping on stringers this morning, unfortunatly it was everone elses stringers... not mine. My tactics from Navy Pier in the dead of winter using crappie rigs and shrimp pieces is not working now. I just picked up some jig heads and artificials so tomorrow morning I'm going to try and repeat the performances of everyone else with limits of 12-14 inch fish.

There is always a new way to fish that works better than the way you are fishing now it would seem.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing Report, Early June

Got out to the wall this morning at around 4:45. The bite turned on very strong around 5:15, lasted until just before 6:00. A couple of the gentleman to my south had easy limits, I had trouble getting on them for some reason, the smaller shad-raps they were using must have just been the ticket this morning.

Gave my couple keepers to a friend of mine to add to his stringer. I saw a couple of 14" jumbos landed with huge shoulders. They almost looked like walleye (in size and proportion) really incredible. I'd love to get a couple like that for photographs.

Wind is looking unfavorable again for the next few days. Anytime the wind is south-west, west, or west-northwest get out there and get them while they're here. It would be nice to get a good week of west winds so we could all get out there and tackle them before the season closes at the end of the month.

See you on the sea wall!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Grand River Michigan, Sturgeon Poacher

Some news from just across lake Michigan for you this afternoon. Earlier this week a man in Michigan snagged a 5-foot lake sturgeon, a photo from a bystander shows him with it on a blue stringer, he is also holding a large net.

He snagged the sturgeon in the tail, got it to shore, and proceeded to haul it to his truck and drive away, despite calls to release it. Sturgeon are endangered and may not be kept save a few waters in the mid-west. Many live to be over 100 years old and due to the size of this one, it can be determined that this was no young sturgeon.

Being a photographer my favorite part of this photo is that you can see the guy's blackberry taking a photo of the guy too. You can read the full story by clicking on the photo.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing Report, Shore Fishing

Anglers from shore should have a good shot this weekend at some great jumbo perch action. Wind's have been driving from the North East most of the week, making conditions lousy for perch.

It appears the winds of change are on their way though.
This map from, like most good things, NOAA animates forecasted surface winds. Click the photo to visit the site. This can be a valuable tool to figure out when water might clear up or when waves will be favorable, although they have a wave forecast too that is normally very accurate. In this case it will help me decide when to head out to the walls because I'll know when that warm surface water will take off toward Ludington and I can get back on top of perch without a boat.

I was out yetserday around noon when it was still overcast here in Chicago and was able to land a few smaller perch, this gives me hope that even while conditions were absolutly aweful there were still perch to be found. My freezer needs stocking and I'm in search of at least a 14" perch, just for a personal best.

See you on the sea wall this weekend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Super Rooster Tail, a new favorite

I've done a LOT of fishing with spinners... both in-line and the kind with the skirts. For a long time I've liked roster tails for a couple of reasons, I like how you can run them deeper, making casting in lakes and deep holes a possibility, as well as that hackle pulse that seems to land fish.
I do, however, like panther martins for their ability to keep spinning at such low speeds, I can hover this lure in the lightest of currents or in the slowest of retrieves
Another thing I enjoy about both of these spinners is something that makes them very different. The classic panther martin comes in very few colors, and to tell you the truth I rarely buy anything but the yellow with black dots or the black with yellow dots. I've tried one of the new iridescent hologram bladed ones and have landed a couple of little browns with it, but I'm not that crazy about it.

So I've found something that isn't widely available but is worth looking for. The super rooster tail.
I thought this thing would be use to throw up at weed lines for bass or drift through deep holes on the sunniest days where trout don't like showing themselves. Since it is early in the year I've not yet had the chance to do those but at a lake that I knew could produce northern pike, I decided to tie her on and see what she was made of.

After landing 3 northern pike in the mid twenty inch range I realized how well built this lure is. I thought the safety-pin like design might just bend out upon a big fish putting the pressure on the metal. Not the case.

Additionally I like the double hook instead of the treble. It makes for a good hook set without a painful retrieval from the mouth of a big northern. Treble hooks have a higher chance of getting both top and bottom jaws locked together.

I'll buy more of these as soon as I can find them, they can be worked slow, the blade keeps spinning even if the lure is only moving on the vertical, it just flutters away, calling in the fish.

This is Fly

I stumbled upon a fly fishing magazine today via another site. You can view the whole magazine online 1 spread at a time. A lot of the type is pretty cool and all the photographs of big browns and rainbows makes me wish I had my own personal plane and a bottomless bank roll to fly around the world and trout fish.
Go ahead and click on the photo and it will take you to This is Fly, you can check the magazine out there.

The Chicago Trout Bum

Today I'll point you to the blog of a fellow angler and new friend of mine, David H.

David works at a local fly shop here in Chicago and when it comes to fly rods, fly equipment, and technique this is the guy to go to.

His blog, The Chicago Trout Bum, often includes up to date information on local fly fishing waters and includes submitted photographs from readers. I check in over there at least once a day and might encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kingfishers are Aptly Named

Recently I was fishing a branch of the willow river in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. I was joined in my pursuit of a breakfast of fish by a kingfisher. He perched in the tree above my little hole and patiently waited. I had nearly forgotten about my like minded avian friend when suddenly... A cannonball dropped from the tree and entered the shallow riffles above the hole.

It emerged from the water with a fish in its beak. It flew downriver laughing at me as it soared by. I have seen kingfishers do their thing before, but never in such close quarters.

I stumbled upon this article (click on the image above to access it) with some beautiful photography of kingfishers in Europe fishing for meals in cold clear water. I'm a bit jealous as a matter of fact, this high speed photography is really something. Enjoy it.

Harbor Fingerlings

While out at the harbor mouth today just north of Downtown Chicago targeting perch I ran into something unexpected.

Using a crappie rig with #6 Aberdeen hooks rigged with a small white tube jig on the bottom and raw shrimp on the top hook I started getting little nibbles. This instantly put me in a good mood as I thought I stumbled upon a school of perch first thing in the morning. The sun was just coming up and I was missing hook sets left and white. I wasn't sure what was down there nibbling so I was eager to pull one up.

It wasn't long before I hooked into one and pulled it up to the wall. Up came an alewife on my top hook, or so we thought. Instantly noticing the green/red hue of the fish, and the trademark little vertical footballs running down the side of all the little salmonids we realized what I had caught. A fingerling Chinook Salmon. He was swiftly returned to the lake, 2 more were landed in the next 5 minutes, must have been a big cloud of the stockers that haven't left the safety of the harbor yet.

Couldn't find the perch this morning, but 3 little salmon made up for it in beauty hands down. It was an early morning on the cold lake Michigan. North-East Winds are no good for perching...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rush, Willow, Race, and Kinni

Trout, Trout, Trout...

I love them, I do. There isn't much to say besides I got out as much as I could whether it meant only getting 3 hours of sleep so I could get it in, or taking a new trout fisherman on an hour drive to get him his first trout.

The willow is full of suckers, I've never seen anything like it actually, there was one run leading out of a hole that must have had a couple hundred suckers, all spread out, looked like a mine field on that slow sandy run, and the hold had dozens upon dozens of them drifting a foot under the surface in crystal clear blue. I'm disappointed that I left my camera at home as I wanted a light load for a bit of a hike.

The fish were much harder to come by this time around but I ended up with 20 something browns, 3 beauty brookies, and 8 stocked rainbows.

Biggest brown was 15". I'm incrementally working my way up, inch by inch.

Took a friend and his girlfriend to the Rush, we got him his first 10" brown pretty quickly, I ended up with around 10 fish. They were tough to stalk that sunny, warm day. To top it off we ended up being upstream of the Rod and Gun club, with it between us and our car when a whole parking lot full of shooters started shooting clays over the river... I've never seen a hole fill with trout like I did that afternoon. Every trout downstream got spooked up by the hail of shotgun fire. Fish were filing in to this deep hole like someone rang the dinner bell, only in this case they all wanted nothing to do with the dinner I had to offer.

Here's my friend Theo, proud of the first fish of the year for him. As you can see, it was a beautiful day to be out, the horesflys agreed with that as well, as they were out in force.

Kayaking for Northerns

I've been wanting to try my hand at Kayak fishing for a while now, this Memorial Day weekend provided a great chance to do just that. I was at a lovely lake in Northern Minnesota which will remain un-named, one rainy, overcast afternoon I had the chance to throw the Kayak on the rack and take it to a nearby, smaller, and even more un-named lake.

After making two trips from the car to the water, one with the Kayak on my shoulders, another for my rods, (both fly and spinning) and my paddle, tackle, etc... I was ready to go and eager to find some potential northerns.

To make a long story short... I fished for two and a half hours and landed 20 Northern Pike, and 1 incidental largemouth. I'm not really one for targeting bedding bass. I'd just as soon them do their thing and make more bass for me to fish for in summers to come.

I'd have REALLY liked to swing some flys into gear and wrestle with 9 pounds of submarine diving northern pike on my 8 weight. It was really windy and I was having trouble being so low to the water. I did get to test out my northern pattern that I tied by the fireplace this winter, longing for a day on this small lake hunting those toothy, slimey snakelike Northern Pike.

I was a fantastic day, and I returned the next morning, to land 5 more bass and 26 more northerns in another couple of hours on the water.

The highlight of the whole trip was a northern that actually jumped out of the water and grabed onto the back treble of my X-Rap just after it leaving the watter, it made it something like 20" out of the water to get this thing. The X-Rap is my new favorite lure for agressive game fish like that. Hands down. I also worked a small rostertail spinner bait which I think will come in mighty handy for some other uses this summer and fall. Larger spinner baits worked as well as inline spinners, yellow semed to be the hot color, and gold blades produced much more than silver ones.

All in all a really fun experience, I'm definitly heading back in the summer with my fly rod, I'm determined to get one on my big red and yellow streamer or my little crawfish patern.