Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Lakes Documentary : Waterlife : Trailer

Enjoy this trailer for a documentary that will come out soon.  It sounds like it does the grandeur of the great lakes justice, as well as inform thoroughly of the impending consequences of our actions in the region.

Waterlife, Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Southeastern Wisconsin Coho Salmon Report

The recent rain has not only brought a torrent of water, but a torrent of Coho Salmon into the tributaries as well.  I predicted this would happen Sunday or Monday after those rains, and suspicions have been confirmed by this report by friend of the Great Lakes Angler at Illinois Wisconsin Fishing.  The link to the blog is on the right bar there, go take a look!

Have a look at his report for proof!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Milwaukee Area Salmon Fishing Report : 10/23/2010

The Salmon season is grinding to a close in South-Eastern Wisconsin and though there are still a few Kings left to be caught, many of them are circling the drain and will not be around for long.

Today I got out with a friend Matt who, until today, has never caught a Salmon.  The day started with a blanket of much needed rain.  Matt and I both got off to a bad start with 2 missed fish each, 1 break off and 3 missed hook sets due to distraction.   As the dawn bite faded it took with it our hopes of a fast and furious day of catching.  The morning went on and things slowed to a near stop as all fishermen had ceased catching Salmon at the location we were fishing, I hiked around the harbor on a scouting mission and found a huge school of playful Kings that I hoped would produce a fish.  We relocated and got set up.  It wasn't 5 minutes before Matt hooked his first Salmon ever.  It took his float down, made a run out in front of us, then made a line for the lake, it wasn't until a load of drag screaming and about 200 feet of line later until the fish stopped running.  It took Matt 15-20 minutes to coax the beautiful female King Salmon to shore where I promptly netted it and got it ready for a photo shoot with Matt.  Just as we were releasing it I remembered our proximity to the harbor scale so we made the 15 second jog and weighed her.  Just a hair over 17 pounds!  A trophy of a first King.

Matt was then off to an appointment, he had in the city.  I nabbed some lunch, scouted Oak Creek, which was looking dismal, and returned to the harbor.  I found the discharge flowing quite nicely from the rain that was coming down and immediately hooked a nice King, from there on out things were slow again, with a hook up here and there.

First Steelhead of the year, this thing jumped so many times, I think it may have actually spent more time in the air than during the water during the fight!

One of the real highlights of the day was meeting a fellow named Woody and his son Trevor.  They had come to visit Milwaukee from Madison for the day and were hoping to do some fishing elsewhere but had been thwarted by some circumstances that didn't allow them to get out.  Trevor, a 3rd grader who really wanted to fish, had his rod in the car. His dad got it, I rigged him up from my own gear, got a good chunk of Skein on his hook, and had him in the water in no time!  It wasn't too long before my own float went down.  I set the hook and nabbed Trevor's rod and traded it for my own!  The little guy fought this 12-13 pound king for 20 minutes before he was finally able to get it to the wall for me to net it.  He was exhausted from the fight and absolutely beaming with joy, the fish was almost as big as he was!  Incredible.  All in all a good end for me to the fall King Salmon run.  28 Kings this fall makes it my best fall ever!  I really learned harbor fishing better this fall as the Milwaukee River, Oak Creek, and the Root River were all but unfishable during the peak of the season.

Trevor and his father, great team work men!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grand Rapids Michigan Salmon Fishing Report : 10/7/10

While working in Grand Rapids this week I made sure to make it down to the fish ladder and falls on the grand river, get some photographs, and talk with some of the fishermen.  It would seem that numbers of King Salmon, Coho, and Steelhead have made it to the base of the dam.  They are not, however, there in large numbers.  One or two fish jump up a section of the fish ladder every 5 or 10 minutes and some are very small stockers.  Spawn sacs fished on river rigs on the bottom took all the fish I saw caught, and most came from the first 50 feet below the falls. 

Fishing pressure is moderate during the early morning hours, light during the day, and then heavy at dusk and just after dark.  Some very silver Coho and Steelhead are at the falls, but darker King Salmon outnumber those by a great deal.  I talked to a couple of fishermen who say they have walked entire lengths of streams up-river and have not even seen fish moving up river.

A detail of the fish ladder.

Artprize is happening in Grand Rapids and there are many pieces of publicly displayed art along the river walk and all over town, so if you're in the city to fish before Sunday, be sure to take a walk and see some of the art.  There is even a Sturgeon peice at the fish ladder.

Fish were hopping up while I was there, but I wasn't able to capture one with the camera phone.
Here are a couple of views of the river from a higher vantage point.  The river is very low and fairly clear, it seems as though a bit of rain wouldn't hurt fishing in Lower Michigan, the same as in Lower Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Milwaukee Area Salmon Fishing Report : 10/02/2010

Any Salmon fisherman knows that in order to catch a salmon it requires at least some degree of knowledge of the fish, it takes time spent on the water, and it takes luck.  Put those three together, and in time you'll hook one and at least get to battle with it, weather it breaks your line or not, well that's up to you.  Some days it takes more of one than the other.  If you really study how the fish work you can make a very educated guess to where and why Salmon are where they are, and because of this you'll catch a fish that day while others don't.  Some days it takes hours, just casting and casting as the hours pass, and eventually some lone fish decides enough is enough and hits your bait.  The final ingredient is luck, and this is a tricky one.  Some days you just get lucky and the fish just so happen to be where you are, and you just so happen to want to catch them.

Yesterday, two friends and I had all three of these things in abundance.

It turned out to be a day of such volume and magnitude of fish that I'm not sure I've heard of a day like it.

My of fishing started with a stop at Oak Creek, which is running very low, clear, and as far as I can tell is empty at the moment.  Rain will pick things up, and we need it bad.  At this point my knowledge of Salmon started to kick in.  My reasoning in my next move is as follows.  Since it is now October and we've been rain free for more than 2 weeks now the fish have got to be around in number in the harbor.  There are 4 harbors in my range however... so which one should I pick? Well I know that the only source of moving water in range is the Milwaukee River, which is actually running at a reasonable flow, not a flow great enough to push fish into the system, but for this time of year, it's running at an average rate.  So Milwaukee it is, now where in the harbor should I try for these Salmon in broad daylight.  Well... if there are hundreds of Salmon in the harbor waiting for a torrent of moving water where can you find them?  Well the night before last we had a brief downpour in the region, not enough to make the rivers swell, but probably enough to get the discharge near McKinley Marina flowing at least a bit.  So that would be my destination in hopes that a little trickle of water would draw in fish, fish that hopefully would be willing to bite on chunks of Salmon skein that I happened to have in my car, just in case the situation came up.

I pulled my car up, there were 3 fishermen there.  One had a fish on, good sign.  As it was netted I walked up,  said nice fish, I then moved around the other two fishermen to claim my spot on the railing.  As I put down my stuff one turned to me and said "TOM!", it was my friend Keith, who I had fished with the night before in Racine. Mike was there as well, I asked if they had and fish, and sure enough, Mike had caught a fresh, silver Coho, which was on the pavement behind us.  I asked how long they had been here, they replied only 15 minutes.  Hopes were high at this point.

The next 6 hours may be the best 6 hours of shore Salmon fishing I'll ever experience.  Between the 3 of us we landed 32 fish, were broken off by 7 more, lost 10 more to spit hooks, and had probably 30 hits that we missed.  28 king salmon, 3 Coho, and one Brown Trout.  Absolutely amazing.

To anyone who thinks this years salmon run is already over, there is no other way to put this, you are wrong.  The run is late, and is only just starting.  A warm summer, cool temps near shore in the fall, and a lack of rain have lead to a very slow start and a prolonged run, I will not be surprised if we still see a strong spawning run going into November.

We kept 12 fish, released the rest until the last 3 fish of the night, which we also kept.  All fish except 3 were donated to the fishermen around us who were fishing for food and were not as lucky as us.

We fished cured salmon skein about 3 feet under a float.  That's all there was to it.

Every Once in a Great Great While....

Intuition, time spent, and luck all collide and things are perfect.

In 6 hours we landed 32 salmon and trout from shore, between the 3 of us.  Ended up keeping a 3 handed limit toward the end of the night, all of which was given to fishermen near by that were fishing for food.  I will have a very detailed report later in the day when I sort through these photographs.

Friday, October 1, 2010