Strong west winds and cool September nights have turned the lake over and has set the wisconsin harbors and river mouths in motion for shore fishermen, and small craft fishermen alike. Water surface temperatures from the state line all the way up past Milwaukee range from 48 degrees to 53 degrees. Water inside the Milwaukee harbor runs an average of 55 degrees as of Sunday.
My first time out this fall started at dawn on Sunday morning as I launched my newly fitted Kayak from the beach at the mouth of Pike Creek in Kenosha, where there was a colony of tents and shore fishermen hoping to tie into their first King of the fall. I did a 2 mile loop, marking an occasional stray fish in the 15 foot deep range. I kayaked out to 30 feet of water and hooked back to shore, as the other handful of boats out all pulled away one by one to deeper water where more fish could be found. I wanted to get the Kayak in Milwaukee harbor where I knew more fish would be holding.
I launched from the rocks near the channel head light and set out in calm waters under a blue sky to the middle gap. I was marking dozens of fish and bait clouds inside the wall of the harbor which dissapted after heading out of the main gap into the lake. A freighter headed past and sounded its horn as it passed through the channel under the Hoan bridge.
Wind was steadily rising from the south and clouds were moving in. I made a line to the North gap and began trolling counter clockwise circles through the gap. At 1:45 p.m. I hooked and landed my first Kayak salmonid. It was a small but beautiful brown trout. It hit a Green Dolphin Magnum Stinger spoon behind a dipsy diver in 29 feet of water. There was 30 feet of line on counter. As winds had continued to rise I battled across the harbor to my launch point and pulled out and headed south to Racine to meet the crew I salmon fish with, I haven't seen them since the end of Steelhead season in the spring and was looking forward to catching up. After arriving at the channel head and swapping fish stories from the summer I began casting a jig with a 5" gulp minnow. A Steelhead had been landed by my friend Mike shortly before my arival. Another friend Andrew, who runs the fishing website Fishing-Headquarters, which you should all check out, swiftly hooked a beautiful fall King Salmon at about 9 lbs. After the sun set I hooked on a glow spoon (a 3/4 oz. Moonshine) and stuck the biggest Steelhead I've caught to date. 32" of chrome, beauty.
It was exactly how a start to the salmon season should go. Just increadibly excited about the fall. You can expect regular reports from here on out.