Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Salmon Fishing Wisconsin Style

A picture sent to me by my friend Eric brought back many memories of fishing for salmon on Lake Michigan.  Here Eric is holding what would be described as a perfect Chrome King.  Still in the main lake, not unlike Alaska, the fish have that "just out of the ocean" look of bright silver.  A few e-mails back and forth acknowledged that they were fishing no different than I did back in 1986/87.   Back then my good friend Gary Barneson was living in Appleton.  Although he lives in Eleva now, he was an important influence on my early days of fishing.  He was the first to invite me to fish walleyes on Mille Lacs, advised me on my first boat, a 14 foot Lund Deluxe with a 25hp, and he invited us to fish salmon on Lake Michigan with our small boats.  It did sound exciting, fishing these exotic fish out of our 14 and 16 foot standard boats.  After a few discussions I began rigging my 16 foot Lund Pro Angler for the trip to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  First order of business was to find some down-riggers and mount them.  A 2" x 8" x 7 foot board, clamped onto my gunnels proved effective.  Next was to get some flexible trolling rods and reels, along with a couple of Dipsy Divers and some lures like the Northport Nailers, J Plugs, and flashers with squids.  Some PVC pipe to act as rod holders and we were rigged!  Arriving at Gary's we spent the night, heading out early in the morning to fish.  My friend Kevin and his brother Brent always accompanied me on these trips.  We were fast learners.  Having the ability to fish 3 poles each, we put down 2 down-rigger rods, a dipsy diver out of each side (these were diving planer devices that would take your lure down and out away from the boat), and a couple of long lines running close to the surface.  It was a surprise to find out just how close in to shore we were catching salmon and brown trout.  The average depth was from the surface to no deeper than 45 feet. 

It was a blast!  Today's charter boats fishing salmon on Lake Michigan have so many lines out that they have to keep moving forcing you to reel a fish that is also being pulled along.  With our own boat we could stop, pull in all of the lines and stand on the bow for a magnificent battle.  Not unlike chunking for silvers in the ocean, it was just you and the fish.  Of course fishing back then was fabulous.  A full day's work would be rewarded with a limit of Kings, Coho's, with a few rainbow and football browns mixed in.  Looking back it was some of the most fun I have ever had fishing.  Gary moved back to Eleva, the fish eventually ate the lake out of house and home, and Mille Lacs became a bigger focus for me.  I'll admit however that Eric has got me thinking!

The rest of the week in review was kind of interesting.  I had the chance to go to my 4th Twins game at the new Target Field with my good friend Lory Brasel.  Watching the Twins complete a series sweep of Kansas City was a perfect way to spend a night.  To my surprise my sweetheart Ellie Taylor was also at the game celebrating her 84th birthday.  Ellie is like a mom to me and we always have a great time together.  Her son Jack called me as we were going to the game and discovered the whole family was going.  The stars were aligned that night as Ellie sat in the section just below where we were allowing me to spend some quality time on her birthday.  Happy Birthday Ellie!  On Sunday I snuck on the river to wet a line for a few hours.  The fishing was horrible as the grass floating down the river was preventing a good presentation.  Nailing a 10 inch smallie was about all I could muster up before the grass made my crankbait useless.  There will be more chances.  Launching at my neighbors, Blair and his wife help me load up the boat.  A quick discussion about me taking my motorcycle road test prompted Blair to volunteer his 125CC Yamaha Zuma for the test.  Assuring me that I would have difficulty with my bike, we went to Anoka and practiced on the test course painted in the parking lot of the Drivers License Bureau.  He was right.   Monday I rode his scooter to work, then to my appointment where I wa the first of 5 guys to take the test.  I did pass and was glad that Blair intervened.  I don't know but I am sure the 2 guys behind me had some issues.  On Tuesday I headed for Cleveland Ohio for 2 days of meetings.  As usual my return flights from Chicago O'Hare were jinxed and after a 3 hour delay I finally got home around 1:00AM.   Off to our annual fishing trip to Lake Wapogasset, near Amery Wisconsin with Andrew and Jason.  Hopefully I will have a great report.

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