Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anatomy of a Hook

From the Luhr Jensen Hook Sharpening Guide. The anatomy of a hook, including the point, gap, shank, and throat.

It's a good guide, it goes into the depths of hook sharpening and advantages of different types of hooks. The more you learn, the better fisherman you become. You'll need sharp hooks to get into those tough Salmonid mouths. Sharp hooks are a sign of a good fisherman.

Great Lakes Angler Heads to Michigan to Tighten a Line

I'm back from a 75 hour week of photography in Texas, we photographed Bass Hall for Schwarz architects. A beautiful place, having never been to Texas before it was refreshing to see a little of the state. Fort Worth is not a bad town.

As I few over America I couldn't help wondering if anglers across the nation were far below me wetting lines on the thousands of lakes and rivers I passed over.

Well, now I have a week off and it's off to Michigan. I'll be staying in my Grandfather's old cabin on Crystal Lake. There will be many attempts made at Salmon and Trout from the break walls in Frankfort, as well as some fly casting in the Betsie river.

I expect to troll for lake trout and drift for perch in Crystal lake while I'm there as well.

I'm overwhelmed with a sense of direction in my life now and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to reflect on that for a week while the sun shines on my back and (hopefully) a Salmon or Trout tugs at my line.

I'll be photographing a lot while in Michigan and will do my best to bring you shore fishing reports for Salmon from Frankfort as well as river fishing reports for the Betsie River.

Until then, I'll see ya out there!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Milwaukee Brown Trout and Steelhead Action : 8/25/2009

Late August is upon us, and the swing from deep water to harbors is fully underway for salmon and trout.

I have a friend who recently graduated from UWM with a degree in conservation. He works at the small state park off of summerfest grounds in the harbor. He wrote me and let on that there has been a sharp increase in Brown Trout and Steelhead in near the rocks at the state park. He has been able to observe them feeding on alewifes from shore. The word he used to describe them was "footballs". You know what that means gang. The only thing that is keeping you from catching a hail mary football trout is that you're reading this blog right now, and not out casting.

Steelhead like to feed in the twilight hours, right at sun-up and sun-down. Brown trout are primarily nocturnal feeders, especially in shallow water. Sunset-sunrise is prime time for Brown Trout fishing.

Thanks to Jeremy Seibel for the information, I hope you find one on the end of your line before long.

Chicago Salmon Shore Fishing Report : Late August

Salmon are in sight. Kings are being taken from the Montrose Harbor horse shoe and seawall. Other harbors with break wall access to deeper areas of Lake Michigan have been producing King Salmon on days with brisk west winds.

K-O wobblers and other wide wobbling spoons such as little cleos and Kastmasters will work as well.

Find schools of alewifes and King Salmon should be in the vacinity.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicago Perch (and Salmon) Foercast : Late August

Well the time is neigh for Salmon coming from the depths to kiss the walls in the harbors all along the Chicago lake shore.

In Waukegan reports have been streaming in of Coho Salmon, King Salmon, and Brown Trout being caught from the south rocks during good west winds.

The Montrose Harbor horseshoe produced large King Salmon this week before the winds switched to a light North-East breeze.

Other harbors such as Belmont Harbor, Diversey Harbor, Burnham Harbor, and the 63rd street Yacht Harbor and Lagoon/Jackson Harbor will start producing more and more Salmon as the weather cools down and the leaves begin to change colors just as the salmon do. From vibrant and full of life, to a yellowish orange hue, to brown.

Perch fishing remains spotty from shore, but perch can be found by the dedicated anglers. Downtown perch beds remain loaded with Jumbo Perch and anyone with the means to get out and fish them from a boat will find a limit reasonably easy to come by.

It isn't every year that Perch and Salmon can be fished for at the same time from shore in Chicago. Since fishing prospects are good I'd get out if you can, hopefully Lake Michigan will smile on you and put a bend in your fishing rod this fall.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kenosha Salmon Fishing Report : Brown Trout in the Harbor

Well the action in Kenosha has slowed significantly since yesterdays flurry of perfect conditions for brown trout fishing. A combination of west winds, great pods of alewifes, and fresh rain pushing nutrients into the harbor turned the Brown Trout on to a feeding frenzy that started around sunset on Friday.

Today it was a different story, there were 30 anglers there, and up until 11:15 I had seen 1 brown caught, my guess was it weighed in at 2.5-3 pounds. I, using the techniques I had been working on the night before, ended up hooking into the best fighter I had all weekend. It was (I believe) a female Brown, weighing 11 pounds (I haven't cleaned her/him yet but it looks like a hen).

A detail of one of the more beautiful browns from last night.

It hit so hard it almost ripped my 10 foot 6 inch casting rod out of my arms, and I mean literally here, I had to extend my arms and tighten my grip as it ripped at the Rapala X-Rap on the end of my line. She jumped several times, a couple of the jumps she cleared the water by a foot or so. She then decided to go from a acrobatic Steelhead style fight into a bullish King Salmon fight. She bulldogged me and ripped yards of drag out as she made a run for the harbor bottom. I eventually tired her and a good friend of mine Tyler F. skillfully netted her. I had drawn a small crowd by this point and everyone around seemed to think that since I took a fish from this specific point on the wall, EVERYONE needed to move right next to me.

Here are the fillets and my knife with the 7" blade. Quite a haul last night.

In fact while I strung the fish up two gentleman who were speaking in some eastern European dialect took my spot, standing right in front of my tackle boxes and nets. When I said something they just looked at me like they couldn't understand me. Fine I understand being excited about seeing a fish caught but there are literally thousands of feet of fish-able area to stand.

I moved a bit and started fishing again. 15 minutes later a friend of mine, Jeremy S. said alright, 5 more casts. I agreed but said "but if either of us hooks up I'll have to stay longer" no more than 10 seconds later, on my first of the last 5 casts I hooked up. A smaller male this time. The buck gave me a few splashes and a little run and was later netted by Jeremy, thanks for making that net work my friend, you really tried hard to get that fish on land for me.

At this point there was a mighty exodus of people (none of which spoke English, at least not when I politely asked for my spot back.

My big female from tonight. Note the lack of Kype and smaller jaw.

There were 8 guys fishing in a space that would barely hold 2 fisherman... I decided that this un-sportsman like conduct warranted me taking my 2 fish and heading home. I had taken a hook in the finger while getting the second brown trout out of the net and since I couldn't seem to stop the bleeding it was a sure sign that the road was calling.

I enjoyed my night fishing with friends. I truly was hoping to be the one netting fish tonight while watching the two of you battle it out with these mighty Kenosha Brown Trout. Thanks for the fishing session fellas.

To recap... 30 fisherman, 3 hours, 4 fish caught. Not very much action tonight, for once I was the exception to that. I guess it has to happen to everyone once in a great while.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Reason Brown Trout Fishing in Kenosha is Legendary

Here is the DNR, stocking 17,000 brown trout in the Kenosha Harbor in the summer of 2008. Every year they do this. It's a beautiful thing.


Wisconsin Trout Fishing Report : Lake Michigan Brown Trout

After my first week of full time work since graduation from college, I found that Friday night was upon me, and that it was time to grab my 10' 6" casting rod, and make my way to a Southern Wisconsin harbor for a shot at some brown trout.

I had been crossing my fingers for some rain all day long on Friday, being that when the rain comes down and the ditches and creeks begin to swell and push nutrients into the harbor, the bait fish come for them, and the Brown Trout come for the bait fish.

I arrived at Lake Michigan at around 8:30, there was only one guy (a very friendly fellow named Dan S) was there. He had a good story for me. He had been chasing trout for nearly 2 months now and had just caught his first one, he was netting it upon my arrival. He was beaming and eager to talk. I'm always ready to make another fishing buddy so we began to exchange questions and stories. He was nearly ready to go home when I told him that the fishing should only get better as the night went on. He said he didn't know that they fed at night and I told him to hold on for a little while longer.

Then the action started.

I hooked up with my first brown of the night shortly after sunset, around 9:15. She weighed in at 7.5 pounds. Silvery and shaped like a football.

The night only got better from there, Dan landed a fish, then I landed another, at 11 pounds. We took turns landing fish until midnight, when both of our limit's were reached (I actually lost my 5th and final fish right before she was netted).

The highlight of my night (besides seeing Dan get his first brown of the year, followed by his first trout limit in his life) was when I landed my personal best brown trout. Weighing in at a whopping 18 pounds. She was about 32 inches long with a 24 " girth!!!

The photograph is crude, being that I took it at 3:00 a.m. after they had all been frozen in the cooler for 2 hours on the ride home. They were very fresh and silver before the color change began. The 18 pound brown is in the foreground.

It certainly was quite the night of fishing. 9 landed fish between the two of us, all in 3 hours. The fishing was only improving, many people had began to crowd around our spot and by the time we left, there were 6 others catching fish in regular intervals where we had been fishing.

Kenosha harbor has been good to us, I can only hope that tonight when I take a friend back up there to hit the same spot (and return the cooler that Dan was so very kind to lend me), that the browns will still be thick and willing to take a lure.

The browns were caught using a Rapala X-Rap 10, Deep Diver, Silver/Blue. One was taken on a Shad-Rap 8, Black/White. Dan's fish were all taken on a tube jig, it was white and maybe 2" long.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good News for New Yorkers : Wild Atlantic Salmon Found in Salmon River

For the first time in over 100 years, naturally produced salmon are found in what was once New York's premier salmon stream according to the United States Geological Survey:

"This is the first time in more than a century that salmon produced naturally in the wild have been found in what was once New York's premier salmon stream. Forty-one wild Atlantic salmon were collected in June and July. All of the salmon were under one year old and ranged in length from about 2 - 2.5 inches."

Read more of this article here.

"State, federal and Canadian natural resource agencies have a keen interest in the potential for Atlantic salmon restoration in Lake Ontario. The NYSDEC currently stocks 30,000 yearling Atlantic salmon in the Salmon River and was pleased to hear of the discovery of the wild salmon."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Incredible Photograph of a Rainbow Trout Rising

This photograph, shot by "Ryan" of Northern Waters Fly Fishing, happens to be one of my favorite fish photographs that I've seen recently.

This perfectly timed photograph catches the action, and the trademark red stripe of the rainbow trout, as it rolled on top of the water. Incredibly lucky, my hat is off to the photographer on this one. That stream looks like a slice of heaven as well. That looks like quite the pod of trout holding in the shade just above that fish. Beautiful.

Asian Carp Shooting Injury : Broken Jaw

This photograph that Tom Chandler over at the Trout Underground had on his blog yesterday, shows one of the reasons that Asian Carp are a terrible, terrible invasive species that has gotten way out of hand.

An asian Carp, hitting the shooter in the back of a Carp boat, this woman's jaw was broken and according to the Trout Underground, this outing was all her fiance's idea.

Here's the lovely quote : “We were going really slow because that seems to get them to jump really high,” Brackett said. “Jodi had shot at one and was leaning forward to reel in her arrow when another fish came out of nowhere to her right and then hit her in the jaw.”

We had certainly pray that the barrier works, I will hate to see the day come when Asian Carp make it to the Great Lakes... It seems it is only be a matter of time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Worlds Largest Trout : The Taimen

I recently watched some National Geographic footage of some conservationists on the Eg and Uur rivers documenting a species of trout that is becoming more and more endangered (big surprise)

This trout, the Taimen, can grow up to six feet in length, making it the largest of the Salmonids. Resembling some strains of brown trout in appearance, this trout is certainly no exception to the beauty of the trout family.

American "Eco-Tourists" are actually encouraged to fish for these mighty trout, required to use single, barbless hooks, and to strictly catch and release the Taimen. Fisherman bring much needed foreign currency to Mongolia, and by fishing with guides for these trout the help to ensure their future being that some of the money helps to conserve these fish.

A week long trip on the river will run you around 5500 dollars U.S.

Milwaukee Salmon Fishing Report : Grant Park

I had 45 minutes to fish in Milwaukee on a quick pitstop while taking care of some bussiness in town. I swung into grant park and am happy to report that in the 45 minutes there, prior to the sun setting I saw one fish taken. You could feel your spoon hitting dozens of alewifes on the way in on each cast. I snagged 5 alewifes in the half hour of casting that I got done. This tells me that salmon should be in close. The water temperature was favorable as well, the spoon came out of the water very cold, like it just came out of the refrigerator. Most snagged alewifes were similar in size to my 3/4 oz. little cleo and my 1 oz. kastmaster. Although some were much larger, about the size of a magnum trolling spoon, roughly 4.5-5 inches.

This says that Salmon and Trout are starting to stage in front of Oak Creek in Grant Park and will be entering the river within 2 weeks or less. A well timed rain should push the first brave fish up into the running waters.

There were a few anglers at the South Shore Yacht Club fishing as well, I did not see them take any fish in the short time I was there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Steelhead : Michigan City, Trail Creek Fishing Report

Trail creek is at a very fishable level, but fish are not in there as thick as they were three weeks ago in July. Fish can be found in deeper sections of the river during the early morning and evening hours. Finding sections that don't see pressure from public access points are likely to bag you more trout.

Many reports have come in that fishing carefully around logs in quiet sections of the creek can entice steelhead. Spawn, Streamers, Spinners, Shrimp, and Night Crawlers are still taking fish. If I had to choose one way to fish Trail Creek this weekend I would take a rod equiped with lighter line and spinners and move my way slowly, quietly upstream and shoot spinners in by logs and other cover that might hold fish.

Good luck if you're chasing Skamanias this week, the Salmon should be on their way in shortly.

President Obama Goes Fly Fishing in Montana Today

Last year, when Barack Obama was on his campaign tour he made a stop in Milwaukee in the height of the Salmon run. I joked with my friends that I'd love to show him how beautiful the Milwaukee river was, in a canyon of yellow maple trees in full color, with King Salmon around every bend. It turns out, he might have wanted to join me.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal today, Obama stated on the campaign trail he'd always wanted to try his hand at the great western sport of fly fishing. He will go out with a guide after his town hall meeting and do his best. Unfortunately the event will be closed to the media, but with it closed I suppose Mr. President will have a better chance at hooking a fish, I know from experience as a photographer that trout tend to scatter when you're tromping down the river with a tripod and a bunch of photography equipment.

Other political figures have picked up the fly rod and waded in to some cold water. These figures include George Bush Senior,

Of course there is the well known photograph of Dick Cheney, with the reflection of what some falsely to believe to be a naked woman in his glasses.

The one thing I know for sure, were there a good photograph of Obama swinging the fly rod, that would be a photo I'd put on my wall.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Great Lakes Angler's 1000th Visitor

Today marked the 1000th visitor to this blog. Thanks to the 1003, unique visitors who have visited a total of 1,733 times racking up 3,309 page views. (since June 1st when I started running analytics)

The Great Lakes Angler Blog has brought in Visitors from 28 countries and from 48 of the 50 states, I don't know why but you folks out in South Dakota and Hawaii just don't want to hear about the wonders of the clear blue waters that are the great lakes.

Illinois has been by far my most loyal audience with most people tuning in to learn about lakefront shore fishing for perch in the greater Chicago area. Here is a map of the Chicago traffic:

Thanks specifically to the wonderful soul in Phoenix, Arizona who has visited almost every day, for a total of 40 visits. There is also a regular in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a wonderful place. you've visited me 50 times and I thank you for that. I believe there is another loyal follower up in Appleton, Wisconsin with 25 visits, thanks for checking in regularly.

Thanks to Tom Chandler at the Trout Underground, Dale Bowman at the Sun Times and Stray Casts, and David Heyman, the Chicago Trout Bum for features on your blogs.

Chicago Perch Fishing Report

August anglers along the walls at Belmont and Montrose Harbor continue to find perch, many are not as large as some of the Jumbo Perch being caught offshore above weed beds.

Boaters off of navy pier continue to catch regular limits of perch between 11-14" and most baits will produce fish including kastmasters, minnows, and other artificials.

Harbors to the south of Chicago are not producing as well, the water is shallower and warmer down there. Days with west winds help keep Perch closer and shore fishing will be better on days following those days.

Great Lakes Water Levels Inch Higher

Lake superior and Lake St. Claire are up between one and two inches in the last month, and the overall water height in the great lakes is up around half a foot from this time in 2008.

This is good news for most property owners with docks along the lakes, for boaters and freighters who now can breath a little easier when worrying about their draft in shallow areas.

Here is a quote from the article, found here : "the lakes of key interest to Metro Detroiters remain significantly higher than a year ago: Lakes Huron and Michigan are up 8 inches, Lake St. Clair is up 7 inches and Lake Erie is 4 inches higher than this time in 2008"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

IDNR Confiscated Property Auction

According to Dale Bowman over at the Chicago Sun-Times the Illinois DNR will be holding a confiscated and abandoned property auction on August 29th at the Jack Perschbacher Service Center Warehouse in Pawnee. This is the first auction since 2005.

Contents of the auction include:

"15 fishing tackle boxes with contents; 20 commercial fishing trammel nets; 8 commercial fishing hoop nets; 109 sport fishing rods and reels;
24 leghold traps; five box-style live traps;
Five crossbows; 23 compound bows; 27 handheld spotlights; 223 assorted deer hunting tree stands and ladders;
One aluminum 17' canoe; one ABS plastic 15' canoe; eight small aluminum flat bottom jon boats (10'-14'); two small aluminum V-bottom row boats (10' &12'); two flat bottom "bass buddy" boats (9' & 12') - (Note: None of the boats at the auction have trailers or motors)"

Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. on the 29th. The auction begins at 10:00 a.m. If I weren't going to be out of town on business I'd definitely head over there in search of some bargins.

This auction only happens about every 5 years. All procedes are deposited in the State Wildlife and Fish Fund. The last auction produced $18,451.50.

I believe the Address of the Jack Perschbacher Service Center warehouse is roughly: 505 10th street, Pawnee, IL.

See you out there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Great Lakes Angler Goes to Work

I just recieved a call from the photography firm I've been eagerly trying to get a job with for the last year. I start full time on Monday. This may slow me down a little this fall but you can still expect that I'll push myself hard to get ontop of Salmon and Trout as much as possible.

Until then, I'll see ya out there (just not from 9-5 Monday through Friday)!

St. Lawrence Seaway Traffic Down Over 20% in Recession

The recession is taking a toll on the St. Lawrence Seaway. So far in this year to date the seaway has seen an overall drop of 21%, and a commercial shipping drop of 28%, which frankly is fine with me. The less ocean going ship traffic in the Great Lakes the better. I'm sick of catching scores of Round Gobies and having to fight invasives to get at native fish such as Lake Trout and Yellow Perch.

Read the full story here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing, Mid-August Report

August continues to be one of the better Augusts in the last few years for Perch fishing near shore. The cold june and july temperatures delayed the exodus of perch into deeper water. Limits have been taken as recently as yesterday, August 7th (which happens to be the Great Lakes Angler's Birthday for anyone out there who's interested) at Burnham Harbor, Northerly Island. Minnows on jigs fished just over weed beds have taken fish. It sounds like it has become primarily a minnow bite again, softshell crawfish have stopped producing as well.

Artificials have been productive as well and have taken handfulls of fish at Montrose Harbor.

Boat fisherman are finding generous schools of Jumbo Perch just off Navy Pier, some boaters don't understand why there aren't hundreds of boats out there parked over the perch taking quick limits.

The Perch shouldn't stay around for a whole lot longer in these numbers. So far the shore Perch fishing season got off to a slow start, then closed in July, only to re-open again to some die hard August Perch anglers who are finding them from shore.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Asian Carp Inch Closer to Barrier

From Dale Bowman at the Chicago Sun Times : Asian carp closer to barrier than expected reports that Asian Carp have been found in the Brandon Road Pool, just downstream from Lockport Lock and Dam. Monitoring prior to this recent finding never found Asian Carp that close to the Barrier.

Asian Carp are known for flying out of the water when scared by passing boat motors, creating a dangerous flying hazard that has injured many boaters. Being hit with a big Asian Carp weighing dozens of pounds while traveling at speed in a boat can really put a damper on your day on the water.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Milwaukee River News : Estabrook Dam

Estabrook Dam deadline set


After years of neglected maintenance, state officials have ordered Milwaukee County to repair or abandon the ailing Estabrook Dam.

The Department of Natural Resources ordered the county on Tuesday to fix or tear down the aging structure on the Milwaukee River.

The DNR gave the county a deadline of Oct. 1, 2010, to hire an engineering consultant to provide information about whether the dam can be fixed or rebuilt.

The DNR also told the financially troubled county it has until Jan. 28, 2011, to make a final decision.

The DNR found numerous deficiencies during inspections in 1994 and 2004, and over time, an ever-growing pile of debris and garbage has pressed against the structure and threatened its integrity.

Some work and repairs have been made over the years. This summer, wooden timbers on one area of the structure were replaced with the help of an anonymous donation.

But dam safety experts at the DNR have concluded that the work to date has been inadequate.

Repairs could cost as much as $12 million, according to an estimate by a working group of county officials. The group estimated the cost of tearing down the structure at about $2 million.

County Supervisor Theo Lipscomb, whose district includes the river upstream of the dam, wants to see the dam repaired.

He said the cost of repairs could be far cheaper - about $2.4 million. One reason for the cheaper option: Repairs would be made so that water levels in the reservoir behind the dam would be dropped in the winter so ice doesn't press against the structure.

But DNR officials said all dams that need to be repaired in Wisconsin are required to meet standards to withstand the weight of ice.

Still, Lipscomb said that he is troubled by the years of county neglect, which could mean the loss of the 100-acre impoundment that's been a feature of the river for more than 70 years.

"I think it's irresponsible," Lipscomb said.

County Parks Director Sue Black did not return phone calls on Wednesday asking for comment.

The dam lies on the northern end of Estabrook Park and was built in the 1930s. A complicating factor is that river sediments above the dam are contaminated with industrial pollutants known as polychlorinated biphenyls.

Environmentalists and conservationists have pushed for removal, saying it would add another free-running stretch to the river. They point to the North Avenue Dam, which was removed in 1997. Water quality and habitat have greatly improved since then.

But residents above the dam want to see it remain intact, arguing the loss of boating and the lake-like character of the river would reduce property values.

Copper-Nickel Alloy, an Answer to Zebra Mussels?

Well, it's not going to take care of them entirely, but it may help to dissuade them from latching onto things we don't want them to.

A recent study has confirmed that Zebra Mussels will not attach themselves to things coated in copper. This, applied to things that are particularly Zebra Mussel vulnerable could help save states millions of dollars.

This recent finding is detailed here, in the Ithica Jornal.

A Closer Look at Lake Michigan Lake Trout

I had the pleasure of photographing a Lake Trout caught from McKinley Pier in Milwaukee, WI that a fellow angler caught last night around midnight. His name is Keith and I thank him for giving me the opportunity to break out the macro lens and flash to light this large trout up in the dark.

Lake trout over 27" should not be eaten as they are older fish and have high levels of mercury and other substances that should not be consumed. Additionally lake trout take 8 years to reach sexual maturity and are trying to be re-established in Lake Michigan after being harvested to extinction decades ago. In addition to over harvesting the invasive sea lamprey did a lot of damage to this beautiful fish, the only native salmonid to the great lakes.

I unfortunately didn't have enough light at my disposal to adequately light the whole fish for the Great Lake Fish Project, and this rare catch will have to wait until I find the opportunity to photograph one during some daylight.

I fished last night as well, we casted glow spoons and rolled them along the bottom, only 3 fish were caught while I was there among the 25 or so anglers along the wall. 2 King Salmon and this lone Lake Trout were taken. Fishing off piers has been hot lately but it certainly is hit and miss, like all salmon fishing tends to be.

Thanks for reading, any day from now until the end of the salmon run in November you should be able to grab your rod, head to your favorite pier and have a chance at hooking up. This won't last all year and once it's done it is a long winter, spring, and summer before they come around again. So get out there and wet a line. See ya out there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Salmon and Trout Vocabulary

Since I have friends and family that don't know what I mean when I launch into a salmon fishing tangent I figured a Salmon Vocab section was appropriate. Here it goes:

Salmonid: in or belonging to the Salmon family, includes Salmon, Char, and Whitefish.

Spawn: The mass of eggs deposited by a fish. In the case of Salmon and Trout these are orange and Red.

Redd: The gravel nest made by a trout or salmon, used for spawning.

Roe: Another word for spawn, but also the milt or sperm of a male fish.

Skein: Eggs in the fish, before they come loose, kept together with a clear membrane.

Fry: A baby salmon, up to 10 weeks old.

Parr or Fingerling: Several Months Old, develops "finger" markings on the side.

Smolt: 1-3 years old.

Crafting an Updated Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

“new invasive species have appeared in our lakes, new worrisome chemicals have emerged from our industrial processes, our knowledge of the ecology of the region and how to protect it has grown considerably. In its current form, the Great Lakes Agreement does not sufficiently address the needs of our shared ecosystem.” -Hillary Clinton

Take a look at this article to learn more about the updating of the Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada. It goes into the history of the agreement, as well as a more detailed explaination of the gaps in the current agreement.

Shore Fishing for Salmon Update : Lake Trout

These strong west wind's we've had over the last couple of weeks have chilled the water to frigid levels. Temperature readings as low as 48 degrees on the surface have been reported. This means a variety of fish are reachable from the ends of piers all along the coast of Lake Michigan.

This Lake Trout were caught recently in Wisconsin from a pier. This same angler Mike P. and an accomplice both limited with 2 lake trout a piece last night from another Wisconsin Pier. Lake trout are exceptionally rare to catch from shore as they are usually found in very cold, deep water and like to stick to the bottom.

Mike keeps an up to date blog containing his salmon seeking adventures. You should head on over and check it out here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Milwaukee Water Even Dirtier Than it May Look

Well, as much as I love swimming in the great lakes, taking fish from those crystal clear waters, I've always been an advocate for forgetting what they say about it being dirty and just get in there and enjoy it. This news from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel might make me start singing a different tune:
Many of the storm sewers are discharging traces of fecal waste. High percentages of water samples taken all over the Milwaukee area show contamination. Read the full story here.

Great Lakes Fish Project : Chinook Fingerling

A fingerling King Salmon

Trail Creek Steelhead Report : 8/3/2009

I woke this morning at 3:30 a.m., headed down to the already packed car and got on the road. I arrived in Michigan City at a stretch of Trail Creek that I am familiar with. Unfortunatly the creek was not chalk full of eager fish like I had hoped it might be. After the recent rain I expect a new wave of Skamanias to be holding in the deeper holes, this was not the case. I saw 3 steelhead caught among the 15-20 anglers fishing there. Most were caught between 6:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on worms or spawn on the bottom. Drifted spawn did nothing today, neither did spinners, spoons, or crank baits.

I was lucky enough to catch a few panfish while there, including one of the biggest bluegills I've ever caught. Above is a photograph of one of the more vibrant Pumpkinseed Sunfish I pulled from Kintzele Ditch, a place I thought would be full of fresh trout, but was quite dead upon wading the length of it all the way down to the mouth. That Sunfish was caught directly at where the water of Lake Michigan and the waters of the creek meet. The vibrant blue of Lake Michigan and the dark brown of the water seemed to be painted right on scales of this fish.

I stripped to my swim trunks and waded out into the surprisingly comfortable water to try my hand at surf fishing, there were some nice rollers coming in and I thought some steelhead might be holding in the cold waters in front of the outlet of the stream. I got this photograph of me fishing by setting my camera to shoot on interval and wading out in front of it. It was certainly a beautiful morning. I just wish I had taken a Steelhead to photograph as well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing Report, Shore Fishing, 8/2/2009

Headed out to Montrose Harbor sans rod and reel today, just to see what was happening. The pier was thick with fisherman, and the road was even thicker with traffic. I saw many bags coming out with near limits of medium sized perch with jumbos mixed in here and there.

There are certainly Chicago perch to be found if you're willing to fight the crowd. Take a ride out to Montrose harbor or somewhere along the seawall to find those Jumbo Perch. Northerly Island is also a hot spot for perch right now, with reports of limits coming from evening outings.

Good luck chasing those elusive Lake Michigan Perch in August!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Great Lakes Fishing Opportunities : August 2009

It's finally here, the real beginning of the near shore salmon season on Lake Michigan. As of right now you have the following options.

Steelhead : Trail Creek Skamanias, Michigan City : Float fishing with crawlers, shrimp, or spawn, flies including egg patterns, leeches, streamers. Spinners and crank baits pulled through pools produce fish as well. Remember to try and fish these presentations by casting upstream and pulling the bait back toward you. Fish face into current, also important when you observe swirling circular pools, you may have access to fish not just faced "upstream"

Steelhead : Steelhead are feeding in the top of the water column and are being caught from Milwaukee on up to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as well as from some of the piers in Michigan, among these are Ludington and Frankfort's piers.

Brown Trout : Kenosha and Milwaukee's harbors have a resident population of these big lunker German Browns. Getting them to bite can be a problem, but once it gets a little later in the season spawn and tube jigs tipped with wax worms can be a killer, as well as wide wobbling crank baits and spoons of course.

King Salmon. A few kings have been caught from the piers lately, namely Sheboygan and Milwaukee piers, but I imagine anywhere with extra cold water could bring in some early Kings. They are still fresh and silver, getting one now would be a real treat.

This is a 20 lb. king that a fellow angler named Mike P. caught recently while pier fishing. He caught it in the early a.m. before the sun rose. Congrats on the beautiful 38" King Mike.

"The Run" will be starting in the next couple of weeks as salmon find their way back to their home river after 3 or 4 years in the great lakes feasting on a number of forage fish. Any river can attract salmon, but the most popular locations are ones in which fish are stocked. These include the Root River, Pike Creek, Oak Creek, Milwaukee River, Menominee River, Sauk Creek, and the Sheboygan River. Harbors in which salmon are stocked are also a great place to target returning fall salmon.

If you hook one of these big black gummed meanies be prepared to hold onto your rod, they'll take you for a ride.

At this very moment I have friends in both Milwaukee and Sheboygan, fluttering spoons through the water just hoping for a bite. Is Salmon Fever, Skamania Mania, whatever you want to call it, it's just great fishing. Take this information and go secure a spot on the pier or on the river bank and learn the location, learn the presentation, and before long, learn what it feels like to have a King Salmon or other great lakes salmonid on the line.

In addition to that, the Illinois Perch Season re-opened today, and daily bag limit returend to 15 fish. Since it has been such a cool summer there is a very real possibility of putting dinner on the table in the form of a Yellow Perch fish fry. All those Chicago Perch fishing anglers will be back at it again.

Until next time, good luck out there.