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Michigan fishing charters for walleye and perch at Au Gres (AuGres) and Tawas City (or East Tawas) on Saginaw Bay along with king salmon (Chinook Salmon) at Manistee on Lake Michigan and walleye at Monroe or Detroit on Lake Erie. Our sportfishing charter boat targets the biggest, trophy sized, Great Lakes walleye and king salmon (Chinook salmon) that Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay have to offer.
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Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters does just what the name implies, specializes in sportfishing for the biggest, most prized fish (walleye, perch, king salmon, Atlantic salmon, steelhead, lake trout and Great Lakes brown trout) that Michigan has to offer. We accomplish this by sport fishing on the hottest waters at their peak trophy producing periods. Yes, tailoring a charter boat from port to port is expensive and a hassle, but quite frankly, it's the only way captains can consistently deliver peak sportfishing action throughout the season. By concentrating on the right places at the right times, Trophy Specialists guarantees its customers a successful fishing experience. If no fish are hooked up, our guarantee states that your next trip is free (only valid on 8-hour trips), so we actually put our money where our mouth is. You can kick back and let the captain worry about catching walleye, salmon, steelhead and brown trout.
Trophy Specialists is all about professionalism with a total commitment to quality customer service. We provide leading edge, tournament tested boats, gear, tactics and know how. You need not be an expert angler to land the big ones with us. Our services include expert coaching skills that gives even novice anglers a real chance to catch huge walleye, salmon, brown trout or steelhead. We also offer unique fishing trips like early spring trophy walleye charters on Lake Erie and charters at the best walleye fishery in the world - Saginaw Bay. Fishing with Trophy Specialists may in fact be your best chance at catching that trophy of a lifetime for the wall or the photo album. With over 30 years of hard-core fishing experience and a U.S. Coast Guard Masters License with commercial towing and other endorsements, Capt. Michael Veine is one of the most highly qualified charter boat captains operating on the Great Lakes including Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay. In fact, Capt. Mike is licensed to pilot ships; now how many guides or charter captains can claim those kinds of credentials? Mike Veine is also a widely published outdoor writer and photographer, so your trophy tale and/or photos may even be featured in your favorite magazine (with your permission of course). Also, be sure to check out our fishing reports to see what's biting.
Gift certificates are available - Giving someone a fishing charter gift certificate makes an awesome present for Christmas, birthday, father's day, mother's day, anniversaries, graduations, bachelor party and other special occasions. Fishing charter gift certificates are also ideal for fund-raisers, charities, raffles, employee appreciation, business entertainment and many other purposes, and they can be customized just about any way you want. The recipient can choose the port, species and timeframe. Because Trophy Specialists fishes from many different ports targeting walleye, salmon, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout and other species, the recipient of the gift will certainly have plenty to choose from.
Charters for the Film Industry - Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters offers charter boat and marine services (lease and rental) for the film, television (TV), cinema and movie industry. We have on-the-water video production experience on the Great Lakes and other rivers and inland lakes of Michigan and Ohio. We are fully licensed and insured and can provide professional on the water support for your cinematography projects.
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Check out our fishing reports to find out if the
walleye, perch, king (Chinook) salmon, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout or Atlantic
salmon are biting where Trophy Specialist is running fishing charters.
These fishing reports will cover the ports of Au Gres (AuGres) on Saginaw
Bay, Rogers City on Lake Huron, Manistee on Lake Michigan and Monroe and
the Western Basin of Lake Erie. We will try to update the fishing
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8/21/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had to delay our departure on today's charter until about 9:30 am due to high winds. It blew very hard the last several days with winds yesterday over 40 knots at time. I didn't know what to expect when I headed out having not been able to fish in days. We did go through a lot of riled up water in patches, but the area we fished was not too bad with visibility about 3-4 feet down into the water. The first four hours of the charter were pretty slow with only 4 or 5 walleyes making it into the box. The second half though was better as the wind died down and things settled down a bit. At first we had to make west to east trolling passes, but when it died down and switched to the southwest, we were able to circle around in an area where we found some semi-active fish. The bite was very light today with all fish barely hooked. My clients from Pinckney, MI though did very good on the rods today and as a result they went home with their limits of walleyes. We only caught two undersized walleyes today and all our keepers were in the 19 to 26 inch range for a nice sized box of fish. They also caught one yellow perch (kept) a couple catfish and one sheephead (thrown back). We did get raided some by white perch today that stole a lot of crawlers. Most of the fish were marked on the bottom today, but with all the perch down there with the walleyes we had to keep the lures a few feet off bottom to keep things running efficiently. Trolling speeds of 1.7 to 1.8 mph were best. I pulled all 3 ounce bottom bouncers with spinner/crawler rigs. The color did not mater as everything got hit about equally. We fished in 25 to 30 feet of water and did not have another boat fishing within sight of us all day. This will likely be my last fishing report of the season. I only have one open date left this year and half a lot of writing assignments to complete before the end of the month. On top of that, we are closing on a house in Au Gres next week and need to get a lot of projects done on that place before the snow flies. We will be moving to Au Gres next spring permanently and will be selling our house and 38 acres near Chelsea. We will also be selling our 20 acres near Au Gres next year too. This will be a very busy next month for me indeed.
8/17/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from Grand Blanc, MI, enjoyed a nice day on Saginaw Bay while catching their limits of walleyes. The day didn't start off so great though with winds in the 20 knot range from the southwest, but it died down to the upper teens by the time we departed and about mid mourning the winds died down to the mid-teens bringing the waves down from threes and fours to twos and threes. The bite today started off pretty decent with six in the box on the first pass. After that though, when the winds died down, the bite stalled for a while, but then picked up and my clients were limited out by a little past noon. Yesterday my clients from the Hillman/Atlanta, MI area, only managed 11 in the box on an all day charter, so today's bite was certainly better. We caught all our fish today on spinner/crawler rigs trolled a few feet off bottom at 1.7 to 1.8 mph. We were the only boat going out of the Au Gres ramp this morning and we only had one boat fishing near us, who was a buddy of mine. We fished in 25 to 29 feet of water. The color did not mater at all today as everything got hit about early from natural colors to bright florescent. We caught most of our fish off the six Church Walleye Boards, but the two flat lines I ran probably contributed 25% if the fish to the box too. This is not easy fishing now, but it is still pretty good none-the-less. I am also hearing reports of some yellow perch being caught now too, so those golden gems are starting to school up near Au Gres too.
8/15/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
This past week served up the worst weather I've ever seen on the Bay with very windy weather daily mixed in with storms too. I couldn't even fish from Sunday through Thursday. We tried to fish yesterday, but because of five foot waves, we had to stay very close to port inside Au Gres Bay where there was some protection. The problem was though that there are few fish in that area and we only picked up four walleyes before some huge thunderstorms came rolling through. Those storms were massive and bombarded us with none stop rain, lighting, super high winds and even some hail too. That storm further scattered the already scattered fish. Today we had a nice breeze in the early morning, but then it died down to dead calm conditions for most of the day. With sunny skies, when that happens, even when the bite is going good it will really slow things down, but with scattered fish from all the bad weather, it made for very tough fishing indeed. My clients from Indianapolis, IN did manage to box 14 fish though and they even caught a bonus steelhead too that gave us quite the aerial battles with lots of jumps. Most of our walleyes were in the 19" to 22" range with only two below 19". The bite was extremely light with a lot of fish lost too. Hopefully tomorrow will give us a consistent wind, which will really help ramp up the bite. We were marking a lot of fish in the area we fished, so given better conditions, it should be very good there. We caught all our fish today on spinner/crawler rigs trolling them about five feet above bottom. Trolling speeds of 1.7 to 1.8 mph were best. Color did not mater as all rigs got hit about equally. We did only take one fish on the two flat lines that I ran, so the Church Tackle Walleye Boards really worked best today with the dead calm conditions probably making the fish spooky.
8/9/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I've been super busy the last few days with all day charters, company, writing deadlines and we are also in the process of buying a house in Au Gres too. We will likely move here from Chelsea permanently next year. We did managed 20 walleyes on the last two charters, but the fishing was tough with the fish moving around, turning on and off, and generally making things difficult with all the weird weather and constant wind changes. I have seemingly fished in all corners of the Bay in the last two trips using all sorts of techniques and found a good spot at the end of yesterdays trip where I was planning on spanking them today. Unfortunately the predicted calm winds turned out to be a gusty, southeast blow complete with waves over five feet high. The forecast was also calling for the wind to turn to the northeast today and pick up by 11:00. We ate a slow breakfast at H&H waiting to see if the wind would die down, but it didn't. Then we drove down to the park overlooking the Bay and watched boats trying to go out, but when they hit those huge waves past the break-walls, they turned back. Eventually we called the trip off and departed. By 11:00 though the wind did die down. Up to this point in time (4:19 pm) it is still pretty calm so it turned out that we could have fished if we had just waited around for a while longer. The National Weather Service really messed us up today with their ineptness. I have a couple days off to spend some time with an old friend of mine who drove up from Oklahoma for a visit and some business. I will hit the water again on Wednesday and will hopefully get back into some quality fishing. Stay tuned.
8/6/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
As I was running back to port today, I declared today to be the most beautiful day of the year and my clients from Grand Blanc and Brighton, MI agreed. We had blue skies all day over the Bay with puffy, fair weather clouds over land to add contrast to the picturesque day. The temperatures were cool in the morning, but with a high of about 75 degrees, low humidity, and a light easterly breeze for most of the day, it was comfortable to say the least. We started out heading back to where we had been fishing north of Big Charity Island, but the water temperatures there had taken another nose dive and after an hour or so of trolling there, we only had one catfish strike to show for our efforts. Some of my other fishing buddies that I was in contact with also had not found any fish in that area either, so it became apparent that the walleyes there had gotten tired of all the constant water temp fluctuations and had left the area. I pulled lines at about 9:00 and ran to my plan B spot, but only caught a couple walleyes there in an hours worth of fishing. We then pulled lines once again and headed to my plan C spot and started to take some walleyes there right away. Once I figured out the best pattern, it was pretty steady action until we limited out with 20 walleyes by about 12:30. We had to sort through some undersized walleyes and perhaps a dozen sheephead too, so the action was pretty good in that spot. The keeper walleyes there were perfect eating sized fish in the 16 to 23 inch range. We caught them by pulling meat behind bottom bouncers right on the lakebed at 1.7 to 1.9 mph. The faster speeds helped to reduce the occurrence of sheephead and also kept the gobies from steeling the crawlers. When I bumped the speed to 2.0 though, the action stopped. The fish hit everything I had in the water today, so no pattern or color preference was noticed. We did take a lot of fish off the flat lines though, so those were certainly worth the extra effort to run. Even tough the bite was tough to find today, we still enjoyed an awesome day on the Bay and with ideal weather conditions, it doesn't get much better than that.
8/5/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Hale, MI, Ann Arbor, MI and Illinois enjoyed some fun walleye fishing on the Bay today. We started out heading onto the Bay with fairly stiff, northwest winds combined with pretty big rollers from the northeast for some sloppy conditions. The early morning bite was good though as we had 15 walleyes in the box by 11:00. After that though, when the wind died down and then started switching this way and that way, the bite was very slow and also turned light. Before 11:00 we caught most of the fish that were hooked, but after that, we lost far more than were caught. When the walleye bite slowed, the gobies got a lot more active and started coming up and steeling crawlers exacerbating the problem. If we had gotten a bit earlier start, we would have limited out early, but instead we fished all day and ended up with 19 walleyes, one short of my clients limits. At least my clients got to enjoy a full day of fishing though. The only real complaint that I get on my boat is that limits are caught too fast. Today they did not have that problem. Next year, when the limit is doubled to 10 walleyes on Saginaw Bay, hopefully that complaint will be a thing of the past. We caught all our walleyes on spinner/crawler rigs with bottom bouncers. I did run some crankbaits and did not get any action on them today. Our hottest rig was the starboard flat line with a red/silver pattern harness 60 feet back with a three ouncer weight. We trolled at speeds of 1.4 to 2.0 mph depending on the depth. We fished north of Big Charity Island once again. There are a lot of fish there for sure, but there are also a lot of baitfish there too, so the bite is not as consistent as we experience in other areas earlier in the season. Depths fished ranged form 20 to 30 feet of water today and the walleyes were scattered over a wide area with pods of fish here and there that were moving around a lot making them hard to peg down. If we get stable weather, then the fishing there is fantastic, but if the weather is unstable with changing winds, then the fishing is tougher. Hopefully tomorrow will bring stabile weather.
8/4/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
For the second day in a row we had to curtail the charter due to squalls blowing through the area. Also for the second day in a row, my clients caught two fish shy of their limits and likely would have limited out if we could have concluded the charter much like yesterday too. The bite today was extremely light as we lost probably as many walleyes as we caught. They were just nipping at the lures and not hooking up solid. We fished again north of Big Charity Island taking a trolling pass in shallow first, but coming up empty there. We then moved deeper and found some action there, but it was pretty slow through the morning hours with the wind switching from west to southerly. When the wind picked up though, the fish turned on and we had one very good trolling pass taking about 10 walleyes in short order, but then a squall popped up right over us and when it passed the wind switched back to the west and the bite slowed down to a crawl once again. We then had another squall pass to the north of us, but when we saw another menacing looking squall line developing on a course towards us, we pulled lines and called it a day. Besides walleyes, we also caught one nice smallmouth bass, one catfish, and several sheephead. I pulled mostly spinner/crawler rigs today, but I did do some experimenting with other stuff, which did not produce at all. I pulled 3 ounce bottom bouncers just off bottom adjusting the running depth by slowing down and speeding up as we went over the varied depths of that rocky, structure laden area. I ran both natural and bright florescent spinner patters and everything got hit equally so no real color preference was evident. We trolled at speeds that ranged form 1.3 to 2.2 mph and caught fish at all speeds. Despite the challenging weather conditions my clients from various parts of Michigan still indicted to me that they had a good time. They are waterfowlers so today probably seemed like a very nice day to them. The weather is predicted to be more stabile tomorrow, so that will be a good thing though in my book.
8/3/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a blow-day yesterday with wicked winds between the multiple severe storms (I saw 1" hail balls) the walleyes were scattered today and the bite was tough. The weather today was also worse than predicted with gusty winds all day and we had to curtail the trip due to multiple squalls in the area. My clients though from Atlanta, MI still managed to good catch coming up only two fish short of their walleye limits. We fished in four different areas this morning catching walleyes in all spots, but never really finding a "hot spot" where we could catch fish steadily. We fished in waters from 14 to 30 feet deep north or Big Charity Island and could only get bites when pulling the lures closely past the fish as they laid tight to the bottom. That area is home to zillions of round gobies though, so putting night crawlers near the bottom results in a lot of stolen baits, so I tried to keep the strolling speeds at more than 1.8 mph to lessen the thievery. I also had to use long setback, especially in the deeper water to keep things productive. The fish did show a preference for any one particular harness color as they hit everything equally, as long as it was kept on the bottom with the night crawler intact. This was certainly a tough day to fish today, so hopefully the weather will stabilize for my upcoming days. I only have a few openings left for the remainder of the charter season and they area going fast, so if you want to get in on this fantastic fishery with me, please phone soon to make your reservations. We of course are also taking reservations for 2016 for those who want to plan ahead.
8/1/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today was a perfect example of why 8 hour charters are sometimes a trip saver. After a tough day of fishing yesterday we had much better conditions today, but it was still a bit choppy out. We ran out to where we had been catching lots of fish near the Charity Islands and didn't even get a bite at the first spot as the water had cooled down and cleared up there with all the high winds we had the past few days. We then picked up and scouted another area, but didn't find anything there either. We then tried yet a third spot and found some fish, but the bite was sporadic. We did work over that area for the rest of the day and my clients from Oscoda (with one downstater too) managed to catch their limits of nice walleyes with most of them coming in the last few hours of their charter. Our biggest walleyes today were a pair of 25 inchers, but we did have one up to the side of the boat that was lost that might have been a bit bigger. We also caught two jumbo channel catfish and perhaps a dozen sheephead too to add to the action. We pulled all our fish today right off the bottom as suspended presentations did not produce for us at all. We had our best luck on humps that were about 23 to 25 feet deep with deeper water nearby. The bite was sporadic. When the wind died down some, so did the bite. When the wind would blow again, the bite would pick up. We used various spinner/crawler rig colors today with no real preference shown as they hit everything about equally. With the predicted 27 knot winds, storms and small craft warnings posted for tomorrow, I have already cancelled my charter for Sunday. Hopefully the weather will simmer down some for my Monday trip.
7/28/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today I had a repeat client form Grand Blanc, MI that has been fishing with me since the 1980s. On this outing he brought along his two Grandsons and their Dad. We started out into the fish right off the bat catching fish one after another. In just two hours of fishing time, they caught their four man limit of nice walleyes that ranged in size from 17 to 25 inches. Sure the kids lost some fish, but it was no biggie as they were quickly replaced with more fish on the lines. They were all chunky, well fed walleyes today with lots of girth and plenty of spunk. One of our walleyes today, a 24 incher, wore a MI-DNR lip tag and the young man that caught her will send the info in to the DNR and will get a report back from them detailing the fish's history. He may even win $100 as some of the tagged fish have a reward on them. We also caught about a dozen sheephead, so as you can imagine the action was non-stop. I never did really get a chance to sit down all morning running the boat by myself with all the action going on. We fished once again out by the Charity Islands pulling the fish out of rocky structure with lots of breaks, humps and rock piles in that area that hold millions of gobbies, which the walleyes love to eat. Yesterday I had some grilled walleye and those gobbie fed walleyes, even though most of them are on the rather large size, are absolutely scrumptious to eat. We pulled the same spread I've basically been running all summer with four chartreuse/orange spinner/crawler rigs and four more red/silver spinner rigs with six off the Church Tackle boards and two flat lines run right off gunnels behind the boat. They hit everything about equally and the bite today was good with few lost fish and plenty hooked deeply. Actually, after the first hour, I went down to a six rod spread and our action was still non-stop. I fished even faster today with speeds in the 1.8 to 1.9 mph range being best. Faster trolling speeds are best as the water gets warmer. This is walleye fishing at it's finest right now and this action is sure to stay good for weeks to come as the Outer Bay is setting up for a prolonged walleye bite this year that aught to be world class for the rest of the summer.
7/27/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had another great day of fishing on the Bay again today. My clients from Gladwin had never fishing on Saginaw Bay before, so they were pleasantly surprised when they caught their limits of dandy walleyes that ranged in size from 17" to 27" with most of them over 20". We fished out by the Charity Islands again today and the number of fish in that area is very high producing outstanding fishing. With dead calm, hot conditions this morning, we had another light bite as we lost way more walleyes than we caught. The lost fish didn't mater though because there were so many fish around that they were replaced quickly. We caught all our fish today on spinner crawler rigs with no color shining as they hit everything off the boards about equally. With the calm condition and sunny skies, the flat lines did not produce much. We only caught one walleye off the flat lines. We trolled at 1.8 mph and covered about four miles of water in one, looping trolling pass before I turned around and headed back to port with a box full of walleyes.
7/26/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a cancelled trip yesterday due to high winds and storms in the area, we hit the water today with clientele from Anchorage, Alaska. We headed north of the Charity Islands today and found world class walleye fishing with limits taken in short order. Most of our walleyes today were over 20 inches with a half dozen five to six pounders anchoring the fish box. We pulled all spinner/crawler rigs today with no color preference being noticed. We had a breeze when we ran out, but by the time we started fishing, the wind died to dead calm conditions which slowed the bite considerably. The bite was light today as we never had one walleye hooked deeper than the edge of the mouth. Today we caught a lot more fish off the boards compared to the flat lines, likely due to the dead calm conditions spooking the fish near the boat. We also lost a lot of fish too. I trolled at 1.7 to 1.8 mph to keep the gobbies from steeling too many crawlers, but we still caught a lot of those little rascals. I think some of them would attempt to steel the crawler and get hooked in the process and then a walleye would grab the gobbie. With those kinds strikes, with the hooks partially hidden in gobbies, the walleyes would hit over and over again until they got hooked themselves or got tired of the game. The walleyes in that area are extremely fat and well fed looking with girths so thick that the fish look obese. They also fight very hard too with many of them tanking the boards on the strike and then going nuts as they get closer to the boat with surging runs and lots of thrashing. They are lots of fun to catch. It was truly a beautiful day to fish today with blue skies, low humidity, and the calm conditions with long visibility. This is some outstanding fishing right now on the Bay indeed.
7/24/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a very successful trip on Wednesday, I had a couple scheduled days off, but with very stabile weather all week in the area, it was driving me nuts to be home working on writing assignments when the fishing was on fire. I had been working out the details of helping out a friend of mine by getting them on some walleyes on Saginaw Bay for an episode of Great Lakes Fisherman's Digest TV. With the weather ideal though, and with me having an open day today, we got it all together and met at Au Gres this morning for a day of filming some fishing action. We went out in John Bergsma's boat, a new 21' Crestliner Authority powered by a 225 horse power, Mercury Verado. The boat was also decked out with 9.9, hp Mercury Pro Kicker and a 36 volt, Motorguide, XI5, auto pilot, bow mounted, electric motor and all the other bells and whistles you can imagine. My main task for the day was to direct them to some good walleye fishing and to supply the rods, reels, lures and knowhow for putting nice walleyes in front of the camera. The wind was about double the velocity of what the National Weather Service had predicted today, so we set up for our first trolling pass with Big Charity Island offering us some protection form the waves. We started out in shallow water and then trolled north, with the wind into deep water catching walleyes everywhere we went. We made two trolling passes and had put enough walleyes in front of the cameras to make several shows. There were a lot of gobies in that area and they were steeling crawlers like crazy, so John pulled out some Uncle Josh port rind that was a night crawler imitator specifically made for trolling for walleyes. We cut the 6" port rind in half, and put it on my hot harnesses, and the walleyes ate them up like crazy. Towards the end of the trip, we were catching more walleyes on the side of the boat with the port rinds compared to the other with crawlers, so I have some for tomorrow and will give them another try then. Our fish today were mostly nice sized ones over 20 inches. We trolled with the same setbacks in shallow and deep water, but just went faster shallow and slower deeper to keep the lures within five feet of bottom. In the up and down bottom structure of that area, that system works great. It was a lot of fun fishing today with a camera crew. Even the guys behind the camera got in on the action as everybody caught their limits of walleyes on this awesome day of fishing on the Bay.
7/21/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today my clients from various parts of Michigan caught lots of walleyes and some big walleyes too. We had a pretty good forecast for a change today, but when I checked the buoys weather stations on the Bay on the Internet, the winds were way higher than predicted, which left me indecisive on where to fish as we motored up the river heading towards the Bay. I decided to try out by the Charity Islands hoping for the winds to die down as the day went on. We ran out in three footers and set lines north of the Big Island and set up for a down wind trolling run. We didn't get a bite for almost a half hour, but then, all the sudden in was game-on as we started running into pods of fish with multiple hookups. 12 walleyes went into the box in no time and we pulled lines for another run through that area. By then though the winds had died down and on that second pass, the bite also died down there, so we just continued to troll in one direction and eventually got into another area with some outstanding action. My clients caught some very impressive fish today with several in the five to six pound range and most were well over 20 inches. The biggest one was a nine pound, Master Angler qualifying, lunker. We also caught two big, fat channel catfish and a few sheephead to add even more action to the morning. My clients had caught their 20 fish limit by 11:00, which is outstanding especially considering the quality of the fish taken in such a short time span. We caught all our fish suspended today on spinner/crawler rigs. They hit everything in the water about equally, so no color preference was noticed. I trolled at about 1.7 to 1.8 mph today with 40' setbacks behind the boards and 3 ounce weights. Two flat lines took a lot of fish too with 50' setbacks and the same rigs. By the time we had limited out the seas had calmed down to near perfect conditions and the long, 15 mile run back to port went by fast as we skimmed back at high speeds in the light chop. Everybody on the boat agreed today that was a awesome day of fishing on the Bay indeed.
7/18/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
This week has been nothing short of crappy, weather wise. On Tuesday I had to cancel due to storms and small craft warnings. On Wednesday the winds blew over 30 knots out of the northeast, which also cancelled Wednesdays trip too. That big nor'easter really changed the water big time. When I went out to the spot where we did good south of Au Gres on Monday, the walleyes had moved from that area completely by Thursday, so we had to go to my plan B spot a few miles from there. We did find fish there and my clients from Indianapolis took a good catch home with them on their half day charter. Yesterday we had more storms in the area along with heavy winds. With small craft warnings in effect, we cancelled yesterday too. The forecast for today was supposed to be sunny, hot and calm, so my clients form various parts of Indiana and I decided to head north towards Big Charity Island. It was a smooth ride out there, but as I began to set lines, the wind kicked up making it very difficult to fish the structure type spot we were at. We did catch walleyes in my target area, but we had to make short, trolling passes over them wasting a lot of time. About the time the wind started to die down I noticed storms brewing up on my radar. We picked up lines about half way into the trip with 12 nice sized walleyes in the box and headed back to port. The wind really kicked back up just as we were nearing Au Gres, and a storm did pass by the spot we had been fishing, so it was certainly a good call to head in. We caught our fish today suspended on spinner/crawler rigs pulled 40' back behind the boards and 50' back on the flat lines. All the rigs had 3 ounce weights. We trolled at 1.7 to 1.8 mph. Color did not mater as we took hit about equally on everything in the water.
7/13/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
On four days in a row, I we took limits fishing four completely different areas of the Bay. My clients form the Flint, MI area had no trouble at all doing their job of catching fish today, however the National Weather Service sure did an incompetent job with their forecasting for today. They had predicted light, southerly winds with waves under one foot high. I was fully prepared to run up to where we had done so well yesterday north of Au Gres, however the reality of the wind was something quite different and caused me to change my plans. I had to resort to a Plan-B spot that fished well with the stiff, southwest wind we had this morning. The wind never did go below 15 knots and by the time we were heading back with my clients limits, the wind had risen to 20 knots with three to four footers and it was building too and is likely going to be five times worse than the weatherman predicted. At least the predicted storms held off though, so even though they were wrong about the storms in the forecast at least that was an error that we didn't mind. We caught our fish today on about the same program as yesterday pulling meat at a pretty fast clip of 1.7 to 1.8 mph, but in the surging waves today, that speed was up and down. The spot we fished today is a consistent producer during mid to late July and oftentimes into August too. I looked at my fishing logs last night and saw that last year I started fishing there on about this date and the fish have migrated into there again at about the same timeframe this year. We have more iffy weather predicted for the next couple days, so we'll see how that all plays out with this cold front coming though the region. Right now though, there are so many great spots on fish on the Bay that even a cold front will not slow down the fishing much.
7/12/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I had a birthday girl on my boat today and this trip was a present to her from her loving husband and they were joined by her two sisters to round out the party. We had dead calm conditions today, so I presented some options to my clients and we decided to run well north of Au Gres, which is the first time I've fished that way since 2013. I have though fished there hundreds of times in the past, so those waters are not strange to me at all. We set up with the same spinner/crawler rigs that I've been running all summer, but I set them suspended today at various depths and in short order, the walleye told me what depth to load up on with all my presentations. My clients enjoyed non-stop action all morning. The bite was very light with us loosing over half the fish that hit. It didn't mater though because a lot of fish hit. By 11:15 my clients had taken their limits of dandy walleyes and they also took a 5-6 pound smallmouth bass that jumped over and over all through the long fight. They also caught an 8 pound channel catfish and at least a dozen sheephead, all as bonus fish. Our smallest walleye today was 19 inches and that was the only walleye we caught that was under 20". The size today was a consistent 20-24 inch size range, which are hard fighting sized walleyes indeed. A 40' setback behind the Church Tackle Walleye Boards with three ounce weights, pulled at 1.7 to 1.8 mph was the hot ticket. I used half crawlers on red/silver and chartreuse/orange harnesses with equal hits on each color variation today. We fished all sorts of depths in our big hook of a trolling pass. Big Charity Island is a cool place to fish indeed with lots of structure and depth variations. If the weather is good, we may head back out that way again tomorrow. However, in the past three days, I have fished in three widely separated areas of the Bay that are very different and have taken good catches on each day at every location. Saginaw Bay certainly has a lot of good spots these days and it make it hard to decide where to fish.
7/11/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today we had a beautiful day on the Bay with sunny skies, light winds and lots of fish on the line. My clients from St. Johns, MI and Roscommon, MI (The Villages, FL now) caught their limits of nice walleyes. I pull the lateral line (and pin bones) out of all walleyes that are over 17" and all but a few today were zippered. We fished a totally different area today and found a lot of fish there. We caught walleyes today in waters form 23 to 35 feet deep. All our fish came off the bottom with spinner/crawler rigs and bottom bouncers doing all the damage. We trolled with the same setbacks (65'-70' off the boards and 80' off the flat lines) from deep to shallower waters and just adjusted the speed to keep things ticking on the bottom. Speed was not real critical, but keeping the lures ticking on the bottom was. I trolled at speeds of 1.3 to 1.6 mph to keep non-stop action on the lines today. Color or pattern was also not critical, as long as it was ticking on the bottom. We did catch at least a dozen sheephead today too with one being at least 8 pounds. Sheephead are fun to catch as they fight very hard, but they just don't eat well (according to most people who have tried them), so we just throw them back That are considered bonus fish. The forecast for tomorrow has improved a lot over the past several hours going from storms and rain to sunny and nice. Hopefully the current forecast is accurate as it sure would be nice to have another near perfect day like today on the Bay tomorrow.
7/10/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from the Shelby, MI area caught their limits of walleyes today aboard the Trophy Specialist boat. We had constantly switching winds today that started from the south, then switched to the northwest and then it changed to the northeast. While I was cleaning fish, it was blowing east. In conditions like that, walleyes will typically not bite very well and that is exactly the kind of bite we had today with a slow, sporadic bite with spurts of action followed by lulls when the wind switched. We did mark a lot of fish today, but they just would not turn on much. We had our best luck with high lines this morning early with a lot of hits coming on spinner/crawler rigs set 40' back behind the boards, which was about 22 feet down at a trolling speed of 1.4 mph, with 15 pound copolymer line and three ounces of weight. Later on in the morning, we did best on the bottom at the same speeds. Color did not mater much today as everything got hit about equally well. We trolled in waters from 29 to 33 feet deep today. I also heard good reports of limits being caught north of Big Charity Island today too, so that means that a lot of fish have moved out there. I will likely be trying some new areas tomorrow to find some better action and to take advantage of typical migration patterns at this time of the year that concentrates fish in certain areas.
7/9/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today the weatherman predicted sunny skies, but we instead had mostly cloudy conditions while we were on the water with winds that started from the southeast and then veered to the northeast later in the morning. Changing winds typically equals a slow walleye bite and that is exactly what we had today with a slow pick at the walleyes all day. It took my clients from Holland, MI, Wolverine, MI and Montana about five hours of trolling time to pull their four man limits of walleyes, which for Saginaw Bay standards, on my boat, is considered slow fishing. We fished the same general area today as we did yesterday, but today we were able to troll all morning in different directions as the winds were fairly light. The bite today was light too, with a lot of fish lost in the process of limiting out. All but one of our walleyes were caught on or near the bottom today. Color pattern did not mater much as they hit everything I had in the water about equally. When the bite is tough, like it was today, I don't change lures at all, as I just stick with what works consistently well, day in and day out. I pulled eight, 3 ounce bottom bouncers with about a 70' setback behind the six Church Tackle Walleye Boards and 80' back off the two flat lines to round out my eight rod trolling spread. I trolled all spinner/crawler rigs. Slow speeds (for this time of year) of 1.3 to 1.4 mph worked best. We fished in waters 30 to 35 feet deep. Our first couple fish we caught today were sheephead, but after that, we only caught one more of those beasts. We did pull one nice channel catfish in though, which my clients kept for a fish fry. All in all it was a pretty nice day on the Bay today and a heavy box of fish made it ever better.
7/8/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today a long time, repeat client from Grand Blanc, MI enjoyed taking limit catches of nice, eating sized walleyes. After yesterday's blow-day, the National Weather Service had predicted light winds for today, but that forecast was BS as the wind was blowing pretty stiff when I got up and from the northeast, none-the-less. By the time we hit the water though, the wind had died down to less than 15 knots, but the waves were still rolling pretty good coming down from Lake Huron proper. We ran out a few miles out from the point and set lines pointing the boat with the wind so we could ride the swells better. We got into some pretty good action for the first couple miles of trolling, but when the wind switched more easterly, the bite slowed up some. We had our walleye limits though in pretty short order and also caught six sheephead, one catfish and one nice sized yellow perch too, just to add some mixture to the box. I started off with a mixed spread of spinner/crawler rigs with some on the bottom and some up higher in the water column. The high rigs failed to produce any strikes, so I then set everything down on the bottom and trolled slow, at 1.3 to 1.4 mph to get them to bite best. I had various colors from bright fluorescents to more natural patterns and everything got hit about equally. I talked to a bunch of other fishermen today and none of them had done very well, so the bite was pretty tough overall. Normally, this time of the summer serves up some of the best fishing of the year, but we need some stabile, warm weather to set up that hot fishing, which will hopefully happen in the next weeks to come.
7/7/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today's charter was cancelled due to stormy, wet, windy weather. Yesterday though we did fish, but the weather served up tough conditions. My clients from Saline, MI and Little Rock, Arkansas road with me to the fishing area in fairly rough seas. We only picked up five keeper walleyes in the first two hours of fishing in that area, which had been very hot in recent trips, so with that slow fishing there, we set out to try to find somewhere better. I sonared a lot of water in different parts of the Bay and even made a trolling pass in shallow water, but only caught a few walleyes there. We ended up out in the middle of the Bay and did get into a decent bite there for a brief flurry, but the wind changed and the bite slowed way down. My clients ended up catching 18 keeper walleyes up to 25 inches. They also caught one plump channel catfish and a yellow perch that were kept too. One of the clients were very happy indeed with his nice catfish. All our fish were caught on or near the bottom. The bite was extremely light yesterday and even with freshly sharpened hooks on the harnesses, we still lost more fish than we caught. No real preference was shown for spinner patterns as they hit everything about equally. Cancelling the trip today turned out to certainly be the right call as the winds really kicked up mid-morning and it rained pretty steady all morning too. Today's clients rescheduled to an open date later this week from a cancellation on Friday. The weather is predicted to be nice for the rest of the week, so hopefully they will cash in on Friday with a nice day on the water then.
7/5/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Lambertville, MI enjoyed a nice day of the Bay today catching their limits of dandy walleyes in the process. This family group related to me that they had been having some bad luck walleye fishing elsewhere, but the way the bite has been going here now, I assured them before the trip started that success would be likely today. We ran out just north or the same area we fished yesterday and set lines when I started to really mark a bunch of fish. We had some quick action with four bites in just minutes, but then the action died for a short while. Eventually though we trolled into an active school of walleyes and I just circled in that spot a couple times until we loaded up with their limits. The fish ran bigger today compared to yesterday with five of them in the 23 to 25 inch range and all but a couple over 17 inches. Today I set two high lines about 10-15 feet off bottom and those two rigs caught not only most of the fish, but also the bigger ones too. We did take walleyes off the bottom too though and once we got into them, the action was fast paced enough that I didn't bother to change things up. Two fire/tiger spinner/crawler rig, 35' back off the inside boards, with a 3 ounce bottom bouncer, trolled at about 1.5 mph, was the hottest setup. We also caught a walleye that had another anglers harness inside his gut with the trailing line hanging out. The hooks were all rusty, so it appeared that that fish had been in that condition for a while. It was still healthy looking though. So if you know someone that has blue line on their harnesses and broke off a walleye a while back, then tell them that their knot failed where it connects to the weight.
7/4/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients and I celebrated the Fourth of July today in style with limit catches of nice walleyes. We had absolutely beautiful, perfect fishing conditions today with blue skies, a steady, light, southerly breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s for a high. We started off today heading to a promising spot, but as I cruised over that area and saw no fish on the sonar, I didn't even slow down and headed for my plan B spot. There were lots of fish marks there, so we set up for a long, with the wind, northeast trolling pass that covered almost five miles of water with walleyes all through the area from top to bottom. At first the higher lines that I had set about 10' off bottom did a lot of damage to the walleye population, but then later, when the sun came up, the fish moved down and the bottom presentations took over. I changed up from high to low as the bite dictated. We pulled 25 keeper walleyes in less than three hours of fishing today with steady action all morning. We also caught a fair number of undersized walleyes too, which is always nice to see for the future of the fishery. A few sheephead were caught to add even more action to the trip. Fire/tiger spinners worked best up high, but red/silver worked better later when the fish were low. Trolling speeds of 1.5 mph or less was the hot ticket. My clients today were repeat customers and they are already planning a return trip later this summer and will take advantage of my 10% discount on second and subsequent charters that I offer.
7/3/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Blue skies with cool temperatures greeted my clients this morning who mostly hailed from the Pinconning, MI area. We also had light winds that died to calm conditions at times too. Without the breeze, the bite was just a slow pick, but they did catch their limits of nice walleyes with minimal effort. When the breeze would blow a little, the bite would turn on, but when it calmed down, the bite slowed down. It was like that all morning. Today the finicky fish would only bite a red/silver harness well and it had to be on or near bottom too. Trolling speeds of 1.4 to 1.5 mph best. Any slower and we started to pick up sheephead. Any faster and we caught nothing, so I had to constantly adjust the speed with the wind coming and going. We fished the same general area as yesterday in waters that ranged from 28 to 34 feet deep. While I was cleaning their fish, my clients were planning out their fish fry for dinner today. It doesn't get much better than fresh walleye filets cooked any way you want.
7/2/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a day off the water so I could go to the U.P. and spray my food plots there, along with doing some other needed chores, my clients and I from the Mt. Pleasant area hit the Bay with less than ideal conditions today. The National Weather Service had predicted light winds with waves less than one foot, but reality served up a stiff wind that switched from the northwest, then to the northeast, and then to the east, but it never let up to the predicted levels. Instead we had twos and threes to start off with and that eventually built up to threes and fours and while I was cleaning fish, the waves surpassed the four foot mark. Our fishing started off with us loosing our first five fish, but after that, our success rate skyrocketed as my four clients pulled limit catches of some very nice walleyes. Our biggest fish was a 25 incher, but they also caught several more that were close to that size too with most of the walleyes being 18-22 inch size. We had two young men on board that had a blast catching walleyes until their lips turned red and blue (from their drinks). If this would have been a couple day later, and they would have smeared on some white, they would have been considered very patriotic indeed. A friend of mine reported to me that he was catching most of his fish up high today, but we bucked that trend and pulled most of our fish off the bottom even tough I ran high lines all day with little success there. I ran three Church Tackle Walleye Boards on each side: The outside and middle boards were on the bottom and the inside boards we set about 10-15 feet off bottom. I also ran two flat lines off the gunnels and they were set on the bottom too. We only caught one keeper on the inside boards today, but the action was so good on the rest of the spread that I didn't bother to put the inside boards lures down, into the brunt of the fish. We set lines about five miles out from Au Gres and trolled with the wind all morning, but with the switching winds, that trolling direction varied a lot into a L shaped direction. At the end of the trip we ended up trolling in 5.5 miles before we had limited out and we never did run out of fish with no real lulls in the action. With some stabile weather predicted for the next days to come, the fishing here could be some of the best of the year. We certainly haven't had any stabile weather yet this year, so look out.
6/30/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We closed out the month of June today with a stellar fishing trip. With possible storms predicted this afternoon, I was glad the fish bit well and my retired postal worker clients from the Ortonville, MI area caught their limits of nice walleyes in short order. We had very constant hookups all morning with no lulls in the action at all. Most of the walleyes we caught were bigger ones today with only one sheephead in the mix. We caught several nice yellow perch yesterday, but today we did not. We caught our fish at 1.5 mph today, but once the 15th keeper walleye hit the cooler, I sped up to 2.5 mph to keep the persistently biting walleyes from latching on, but even when pulling harnesses at that zippy speed, they still kept biting and we caught two more walleyes before I could get the rest of the lines out of the water. We caught most of our fish today on or near the bottom on various spinner/crawler rig patterns with no real preference demonstrated as they hit everything about equally. We fished the same general area as yesterday and trolled in one, straight direction without ever turning around and likely could have kept catching fish in that direction for many miles more. It was good fishing indeed today and my clients are already planning a return trip for next year to take full advantage of this fantastic fishery we have on the Bay.
6/29/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
What a beautiful day it was indeed on the Bay today and my clients from Hillman, MI took full advantage of it today enjoying some awesome walleye fishing at the walleye capital of the world. We had light winds, blue skies and an eager young man and an energetic young lady accompanying their grandparents on this trip. It is always nice seeing kids having lots of fun catching a bunch of nice fish. Today we ran down to the area where we had been catching lots of fish before the last round of northeast winds. We marked a lot of fish all along that area and got into a decent, although light bite right away. The bite picked up as the morning went on and in about four hours of fishing my clients had caught their limit of 20 walleyes. Just before they had limited out though, a good friend of mine called and told me that he had tangled his kicker motor prop with fishing line and other trash and his main engine also decided to not run then too for a double whammy of bad luck. We caught walleye number 20 and then I caught one for myself just as we trolled up to my dead in the water buddy. I deployed my bumpers and pulled up along side him and tied off so my stern was just behind his stern so that I could reach his kicker. I had to remove his prop and cut all the line and trash off the shaft and then reinstall his prop so he could get back underway. Another friend of mine had caught a lot of fish between us and port, so the friend I helped out trolled his way back picking up more fish on the way. Our best rig today was a fire/tiger spinner/crawler rig fished about 8-12 feet off bottom. We also caught a lot of fish right off the bottom too on various colored spinner rigs. We lost more fish than we caught today with the light bite. It seemed like the bigger fish we hooked were the ones we lost the most, which is typical in the light bite situation as their bigger, bonier mouths tend to shake hooks easier compared to smaller walleyes when they ware not hitting aggressively. We also caught at least 10 undersized walleyes today too and a few sheephead which added more action for the kids to reel in. A slower trolling speed of 1.5 or less was needed to get strikes. I'm about to eat a fresh walleye dinner right now and with a cold beer and some fresh cauliflower, it doesn't get much better than that.
6/28/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients had their trip cancelled due to bad weather back during the spring, but they rescheduled for today. With winds at 25 knots out of the northeast yesterday, we had to cancel that charter. Those big winds continued through last night and into the early morning hours. A couple hours before the start of today's charter, the wind switched to the northwest, so we had wind and big rollers from two different directions. We stayed close to shore for protection from the waves and found a small school of fish in 23 to 28 feet of water. We caught a fair number of walleyes, but when the wind shifted to the northeast the bite slowed up to a crawl. After a while though, they started biting again, but when the wind shifted once again, but to the east, the walleye bite died, but by then my clients had caught their limits of nice walleyes. I decided to scout out a different area on my limit for tomorrow's charter and set up for a reconnaissance trolling pass in 42 feet of water just west of the weather buoy. The bite was slow there too, but we did manage some more walleyes and two of them were pretty big ones. We only caught a couple walleyes today that were under 18" with our biggest being a 26 incher. We also lost several 25 inch-ish walleyes too, so there were some nice sized fish in the area. The bite though was painfully tough despite the fact that I was marking fish where ever we went. The light bite resulted in us loosing more fish than we caught. All but one of our walleyes came right off the bottom on spinner/crawler/bottom bouncer rigs. We had to keep the speeds slow at 1.3-1.4 mph to get them to bite. Color did not seem to mater as they hit everything about equally. The weather this June has been very unstable, but we do have a good forecast for tomorrow. Hopefully July will bring more stable weather. If so, the fishing here will explode.
6/26/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a few days off the water, my clients from various parts of southeast Michigan and I hit the water with tough conditions indeed. We had a fairly stiff, northeast wind all day with waves in the three to four foot being pushed down from Lake Huron proper. With conditions like that, we had only one logical choice of a fishing area: Right out front of Au Gres and in close enough for protection from the winds that Gravely Shoal provided. We set up for our first trolling pass in 28 feet of water near the Gravely Shoal and trolled with the wind southwest. I started out with six spinner/crawler rigs set right on the bottom, but kept two more up about 20' down from the turbulent surface with a 35' setback. Those high lines took our first three bigger fish, so I naturally switched over to more of those rigs, but when the clouds rolled in about 45 minutes into the troll , that "high bite" died and we never took another hit up off bottom for the rest of the day. We picked up nine keeper walleyes on our first pass from point to point, but when I set up for our second pass, I put all the lures right on bottom and our hit rate went way up. We made it about half way through that second pass and had put our legal limit of 20 walleyes in the box. Spinner color did not mater as long as it was trolled on the bottom at slow speeds of 1.3 to 1.4 mph. I had to put one 26" drift sock into the water to attain that trolling speed. We marked a lot of fish in that area, but not all of them were walleyes. We also caught two white suckers: the first ones of the year. We also caught a sheephead that was so big that it ranked as probably one of the biggest one I've ever seen before. Most of our walleyes caught were 18-20 inchers, but we did catch some that were undersized and had to throw them back with several being 14-3/4 inchers. Some were also bigger, chunkers too that were well over 20 inches. All in all, despite the tough conditions, it was a very fun day on the water and everyone on my boat had a lot of fun in the process.
6/22/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My repeat clients from Eagle, MI consisting of the 85 year old patriarch of the family and his three sons. We had rather nice conditions today despite the iffy forecast by the National Weather Service. Accept for an east wind that kicked up for about an hour, the winds were light. We also had sunny skies and an aggressive bite at first, but then it did go neutral after the east wind died as suddenly as it started. We ran down to where we fished two days ago with awesome success and got into the action right away and it did not stop until we put limits of nice walleyes in the box for everyone on board. I ran the same varied trolling spread today that has been working so well in recent trips running all spinner/crawler rigs at various depths. I ran the outside boards right on bottom, the middle boards were just off bottom and the inside boards were set about 20 feet down (10-15 feet off bottom). I also ran two flat lines on bottom too, which rounded out the spread. Trolling speeds of 1.5 to 1.7 mph were working great today. Color or presentation did not mater as they hit everything about equally. This was a very enjoyable day today for me too as these clients really know how to fish and have done well on every trip with me over the years.
6/21/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from the Brighton, MI area enjoyed a beautiful day on the Bay today taking their limits of nice walleyes in the process. As we were motoring up the river today on our way to the Bay, they expressed to me that they were concerned about limiting out too fast, so I changed my plans and decided to fish a different area from yesterday where we caught quick limits of walleyes. We fished straight out from Au Gres in 36 to 50 feet of water, but even there the super abundant walleyes hit everything I trolled, at every depth and we still limited out taking 20 keeper walleyes by about 10:00 in the morning. The bite is on fire right now all over the Bay and I actually think it would be hard to find a place to fish where the bite would be tough on a nice day like today. I ran the same spinner/crawler program as yesterday with the outside boards on the bottom, the middle boards near bottom and the inside boards about 20' down. I also ran two flat lines on the bottom too. I ran a variety of florescent rigs and natural colored rigs and everything got hit about equally so color did not mater much. My speeds were slow at first (1.3 mph), but then I sped up to 1.5 to 1.7 and still got a lot of hits. Those higher speeds pulled the lures up off bottom in that deep water, but even so, the fish kept hitting and I think the faster trolling speeds actually got us more action at the end too since we finished up with six fish on. We caught all walleyes today with no other fish species hooking up. We marked a lot of fish there and I believe that they were mostly all walleyes since that's all we caught. Most of the marks were on or near bottom, but we did see the occasional fish up high too. Our fish today were mostly 17 to 20 inchers with a few bigger ones and a few smaller ones too. After I cleaned the fish my clients and I enjoyed a tailgate lunch at the park under the shade of some trees. The sun was still shining and there was a gentle breeze tempering the temperature in the mid-70s. It doesn't get much better than that and in the end, my clients expressed that they were very happy with their fishing trip on the Bay despite the somewhat quick limits.
6/20/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a vicious northeast wind yesterday forced a cancelation of Friday's charter, I hit the water today with clients from Marshall, MI and this trip was a wedding gift certificate for the newly weds. We had a beautiful day on the Bay today with a southeast breeze of about 13 knots on the way out, but that breeze died down though when we finished up the trip. We had blue skies and temps in the low 70s too, which was very nice to experience. The fishing action this morning was nothing short of phenomenal with 15 fish in the box in less than one hour of fishing time. All the fish we caught were keeper walleyes too with no short ones or junk fish at all. The walleyes ran from 16" to 26" and all of them came on spinner/crawler rigs fished at various depths. I fished the same general area that we fished on Thursday running south and then fishing north with the wind. I set some of the lures on the bottom, some just off bottom and some about 10' off bottom and everything got bit. Trolling speeds of 1.5 to 1.7 mph did the trick and the bite today was aggressive with few fish lost. The color of the lures did not mater as they hit various stuff about equally. I just ate walleye for dinner and it doesn't get much better than fresh walleye filets served with a moral mushroom sauce with Bush's Grilln' beans (Bourbon and Brown Sugar) on the side washed down with a cold beer. I also had a couple cookies for desert. Life is good.
6/18/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today also fished with me earlier this spring on April 26 and on that day they limited out, but it took a long time with a tough bite. Today though they got to see a different scenario with the fish hitting like crazy and they took their limits in short order. We caught fish at all depth today from right on the bottom, to just off bottom, to about half way down in the water column and they seemed to hit about equally on every presentation. We pulled meat at 1.4 to 1.5 mph and our meat of choice was a half a night crawler on a tandem hook, spinner/crawler rig, with a 3 ounce bottom bouncer about 5' ahead of the lure. We fished the outside boards right on the bottom (70' back), the inside boards near the bottom (65' back) and the inside boards about 20 feet down with a 35' setback. The flat-lines were 75' back and right on or near bottom. We had constant action, but not excessive taking about 10 keepers per hour, which is good fishing in anybody's book. The bite was fairly light today with the fish not pulling much when they hooked up, but turning it on when they got near the boat. Most of our fish were perfect eating sized walleyes in the 16" to 20" range. We also caught and released a few undersized "dink" walleyes which are always good to see as it bodes well for the future of the fishery. My clients will be fishing in their own boat for the rest of the week, and my guess is that their knowledge gained today will help them to fill up on walleyes for the rest of their vacation.
6/17/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Flint had a beautiful day on the Bay today catching their limits of dandy walleyes. We set lines today a mile or so north of where we finished up yesterday and had a steady pick all morning fishing a large area (five or more square miles). I marked fish all over the water column so I set a mixed spread targeting various depths and that exploratory spread, helped out a lot as we found that the fish that were about out 10' off bottom were the most active and they ran pretty big today too. We took five fish that were in the 23" to 26" range. A fire/tiger harness, with a 35' setback (behind the boards), with 3 ounces of weight, trolled at close to 1.5 mph was best and I figured that the lures were about 10' off bottom with that setup. The winds were from the southeast for most of the morning, but then it calmed down briefly and then switched to the northeast, but by the time the wind shifted NE, we were pulling lines and heading in with limits in the box.
6/16/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The weather today was beautiful with sunny skies and moderate winds. My clients from Marysville, MI caught their limits of walleyes despite a tough bite. The winds were from the northwest all morning, but we had waves also from the northeast too, from a wind way out on Lake Huron, and that created "sloppy" fishing conditions with waves coming from two different directions. It makes trolling harder and also tends to make the fish bite less in sloppy waters. We made trolling passes from Northwest to Southeast today coving about two miles on each pass staying close to shore with nets on both sides of us. We just picked away at them tough with a lot of undersized walleyes also taken today for some reason that we had to sort through. Our keepers were a mixture of 16 to 23 inchers, which are awesome eating sized fish. I saw where walleyes were $20 per pound in the store the other day, so we caught a lot of valuable fish today indeed. I ran the same spread of spinner/crawler rigs as the last two days with the lures set on, near and above bottom. The fish came on all rigs about equally. In the early morning, fire/tiger spinners worked best, but at the end of the trip, red/silver seemed to get more hits. I had to troll with a drift sock out today, not so much to slow the boat down, but to steady the trolling speed in the sloppy waters. A speed of about 1.5 was best today. The fish were still in the same area as yesterday, but they just were not biting as well. It was a tougher bite, but my clients still had a lot of fun fishing the Bay today and I'm sure they said they will be back again to take advantage of this fantastic walleye factory called Saginaw Bay.
6/14 and 6/15, 2015, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I had a group from Pennsylvania fishing with me both yesterday and today and they got to experience some world class walleye fishing for sure. Yesterday we had storms rolling though the area all morning, so we were patient and waited them out and didn't hit the water until the threat of storms had past. We headed out at 1:00 p.m. and went out to where we had caught scattered fish on the 13th in deeper water. We started catching fish right away and in about 3 hours of fishing my clients had caught their limits of nice walleyes with most in the 17" to 20" size range, but with a few smaller and several that were bigger chunkers too. We caught the fish on spinner/crawler rigs fished on the bottom, just off bottom and about half way down. Speeds of 1.5 to 1.6 mph were best and the bite was neutral with some of the fish hitting light and others hitting aggressively. Color or pattern did not mater as they hit everything I threw at them. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon on the Bay with calm conditions and temps in the mid-70s. Today we went right back out to the same area, set lines and trolled southward. We again started getting hits right away and the non-stop action continued until my four PA clients again took their limits of fine walleyes. I ran the same program as yesterday with the outside boards pulling spinners right on the bottom, the middle boards presenting spinners about 3' off bottom and the inside boards set about half way down. The two flat lines were set on the bottom too. All rigs took about equal hits as the fish were all over the water column and very aggressive today. Speeds of 1.5 to 1.7 mph worked well today and color patterns were not important as they hit everything I had down in the water equally. The fish were about the same size today as yesterday with a nice mix of sizes in the box. We caught about a half dozen undersized walleyes each day too, which bodes well for the future on the Bay. Today we trolled south for about four miles and never ran out of the fish. In fact, I did not have a chance to turn around once on that troll as we had non-stop action all the time. My PA clients will have a lot of fish-fries in their futures and my wife and I will also be having fresh fish today too. You gota love this fantastic fishery we enjoy out of Au Gres on Saginaw Bay.
6/13/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record: After a blow day yesterday with several inches of rain, lighting storms, and a 25+ mph northeast winds pushing giant waves into the Bay, we went out today with a fair forecast predicting light winds and sunny skies. The weatherman though got it totally wrong again as the sun never did show itself all day and the winds were strong from the east with waves in the 2 to 4 foot range all day. The Au Gres River was flooding with extremely muddy conditions and the Bay itself was riles up a lot from yesterdays big-blow. We went to our first spot where we fished on Thursday, but I didn't really mark much there, so we headed to another spot and made one trolling pass there, but only caught a few walleyes in one hours effort. We also caught a bunch of sheephead there, so we picked up lines and moved a few miles to deeper water and marked a fair amount of fish there, but they were scattered from yesterday's storm, so it was a slow pick all day taking the full eight hours of the charter to fill my four client's limits on some nice walleyes. Most of the fish were 16" to 21" with a few bigger and a few smaller ones. It was an extremely light bite today with more fish lost than caught. The walleyes would just latch on without pulling much to set the hooks and then they would swim along with us on the troll barely making their presence know. Making maters worse, I had to troll very slow today to get much action with speeds of 1.2 mph being necessary. We ran all meat today right on the bottom with bottom bouncers ticking right on the lake bed. We did mark some fish up higher, but couldn't get them to bite much. Color preference was not a factor today as everything got hit about equally. The forecast tomorrow is calling for light winds , but a chance of storms and that type of forecast predominates for the rest of the week. Hopefully we can get all of this next week's trips in as the month of June has been nothing close to summer-like. Even though the conditions are tough, luckily we have the best walleye fishery in the world here, so tough conditions still result in very successful fishing here.
6/11/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Troy, MI and Plainwell, MI enjoyed a beautiful day of the Bay today taking a limit catch of nice walleyes. One of my clients also shared the same high school alma mater with me as we both graduated from Manistee High. Even though we were more than a few years apart, we still had some of the same teachers. It was funny that my favorite teacher, Mr. Strouf, was his most hated teacher. Despite that, we still got along great and it was fun talking about our old home town. We had a blow-day yesterday with the small craft warnings and nasty, high winds ruining more than a few planned fishing trips I'm sure. Today, we headed out with the destination of the same area we finished up on Tuesday. We marked a lot of fish over a five mile stretch leading there though, but there were lots of boats along the way too. We set lines when we cleared all the boats and started to get some hits right away. After about an hour of good action, the bite slowed up a lot after the wind died down to dead calm conditions. After that it was a slow pick until my clients had boxed their legal maximum for the day. Our keepers were all 16" to 23" walleyes with one 10 pound catfish and one small sheephead also caught. Color was not much of a factor, but putting the spinner/crawler rigs on the bottom with a fairly slow trolling speed was certainly necessary to get consistent action. When we had the West wind chop early, speeds of 1.4 worked well, but when the wind died, I had to slow it down to 1.3 mph to get them to bite. With millions of dead Mayflies all over the surface, it was obvious that a major hatch had taken place last night, so that was certainly a factor in the very light bite we experienced. Despite having sharpened my hooks before the trip, we still lost more fish than we caught. The fish were certainly well fed as they puked up a lot of Mayflies, minnow and shiners in my live well. I've had several clients this year from my old stomping grounds and it is always a treat to take out hometown folks for some awesome fishing on Saginaw Bay.
6/9/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I'm officially declaring today as the nicest day of the year. We had blue skies, highlighted with some skimpy, fluffy clouds and a light westerly breeze. With temperatures in the low 70s, it was as close to a perfect day as one could ask for. My clients form the Grand Rapids area joined me today on this beautiful day and they had an awesome charter indeed taking their limits of nice walleyes. We started out heading back to where we finished up yesterday and did manage to catch three fish, also loosing one in about a half hour, but fishing pressure in that area was high and some of the other boats didn't seem to know the rules of navigation, so we pulled lines and headed to where we fished Thursday and got into some good action right away. That good bite lasted for a while, but when the wind died down, the bite slowed and our last few fish took some effort, but with near perfect weather conditions, that effort was certainly pleasurable. Unlike yesterday, all our fish today came on or near the bottom. I ran high lines all day and never did catch one keeper on them. Pulling harness through the fish with bottom bouncers was the hot ticket. We fished in a long trolling pass covering waters 26 to 33 feet deep. No particular spinner color proved superior today as they hit everything about equally as long as it was trolled at less than 1.5 mph and near the bottom. When I got back to the ramp, my clients from yesterday were also just pulling into the docks at the same time in their boat. They chartered with me on the first day of a week long vacation in the area and hoped to learn some savvy so they could catch more fish on their own. They too had taken limits of walleyes and told me that their success was due to what they had learned on their charter the day before with me. My clients for tomorrow were also at the launch too and I got to meet them while cleaning fish and they got to see what will be in store for them tomorrow and are now even more excited about their upcoming charter. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow as the National Weather Service has predicted a cop-out forecast of a 50% chance of bad weather tomorrow. I guess that their forecast also means that there is a 50% chance of good weather. My glass is half full.
6/8/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After two days off the water due to crummy weather, my clients from Down-State and Petoskey joined me for some fishing with an iffy weather forecast. I looked at two different forecasts, both from the National Weather Service: The marine forecast called for possible storms from 8:00 am on, but the Au Gres, forecast disagreed and predicted storms, but after 2:00 pm. I checked the radar at 7:00 and what storms were in Michigan were not heading our way so we hit the water, but I decided to stay close to port just in case a storm popped up. We first tried the area were we did good at the end of my last trip on Friday, and caught three quick walleyes, but after that the bite slowed down when the wind switched. We moved to another spot a few miles from there and did the same thing picking up several fish quick, but then the bite slowed down when the wind switched again. It was like that all day: We would catch some fish, then the wind would change and the bite would die. We just stayed at it though and eventually my clients caught their limits of nice walleyes. I ended up settling on a trolling spread with six lures set about 20' down and two, on the outside board, set on bottom. We caught most of our fish on the high lines with a fire/tiger pattern crawler harness being best. A trolling speed of 1.3 to 1.5 mph was also best. The bite was extremely light today with a lot of the fish just latching on and then swimming along. We could barely tell when even the bigger fish were on the line. About half our fish were over 20" with the biggest being a 24 incher. We did loose one at the side of the boat though that was bigger. In the end, all the fish that were lost were insignificant as they were just replaced in time. Eventually some storms did pop up in the area, but we were back at the dock when they soaked Au Gres, and we never did get wet all day.
6/5/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a major Mayfly hatch today on much of Saginaw Bay: Bigger than any hatch I have ever seen there before. We ran out to my plan-A spot and the bugs were so heavy there that we kept on going to my plan-B spot and the bugs were also thick there to the point where trolling would have been made difficult due to a blanket of bugs on the surface of the water. We then ran to my plan-C spot where the bottom composition makes bug hatches minimal. We set lines there and caught some walleyes right away, but then the winds kicked up from the north/east at over 20 knots. The weatherman had only predicted winds at half that velocity, but none-the-less, we were way out in the Bay and those heavy winds and the possibility of the ensuing big waves made me take the action to pull lines there and head back closer to port, which we did. We then set up for a trolling pass, with the wind, out in front of Au Gres and much to my pleasure, we caught some fish right away. After a couple hours of trolling spread adjustments, we got into some good action on suspended walleyes and my clients from various cities down/state caught their four man limits of perfect eating sized walleyes, which was just what they were looking for. We caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs fished about 20-25' down over 30-35 feet of water at 1.3 to 1.4 mph. Red/silver harnesses were best. The bite was extremely light as we lost about as many fish as we caught. In fact, many of the walleyes, even the bigger ones, were barely detectable when they hooked up, which is especially odd for a suspended walleye bite. My clients today were experienced fishermen looking for knowledge on how to catch walleyes on the Bay and today they saw a lot of different areas of the Bay with depth of 8 to 35 foot of water, all containing walleyes and they learned different ways to fish the same rigs in those varying depths.
6/4/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My Manistee group finished up their Saginaw Bay fishing vacation taking their limits of walleyes on all three of their charters. We first ran out to the area where we had good success on Tuesday and Wednesday, but after trolling there for an hour without any walleyes on the line, it became apparent that the fish had moved. At first I thought that they had moved because the water temperature had sharply risen, but later I found out that my transducer's water temperature sensor had failed and was giving out false readings. Luckily, I had a spare transducer, so after the charter I changed out the bad one. I keep a lot of spare parts handy for just such reasons. After my Plan-A spot failed to produce, I headed to my Plan-B spot a few miles from there. We caught fish there, and some nice sized ones at that, but the action was pretty slow with the dead calm conditions and intermittent winds, all blowing in different directions. Those kinds of conditions are tough. We worked that second spot for about five hours and decided to check out a Plan-C spot, a few miles from there. We only fished in that spot for about 30 minutes before realizing that the Plan-B spot was better, so we picked up lines and moved back there. We were marking a lot of fish in that area, but the fish were real finicky and biting light. We were loosing more fish than we were catching, but perseverance paid off and my clients eventually had caught their limits, but it took the full 8 hours of the charter to pull it off. Our walleyes today came in all sizes form 6" to 26" and we lost a couple that were likely even bigger. Everything was caught on spinner/crawler pulled behind bottom bouncers. No particular color preference was noticed. Extremely sharp hooks were certainly a factor with their success today with the light bite. I sharpen my hooks every day before the charter and touch up hooks as needed throughout the day. There will be a lot of walleye dinners in the Manistee area when my clients return home today. They stayed at a cabin on Tawas Lake this week and enjoyed a lot of fish dinners this week too and even fished there too for bass and panfish when they were not fishing with me. Serious fishermen indeed.
6/3/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from the Manistee/Minneapolis area had another great day on the Bay and they have one more day to go, which is predicted to be good weather and likely good fishing too tomorrow. The action this morning started out fast and furious with the first 15 walleyes coming in just a couple hours of fishing. Then the wind switched to the east and the bite slowed down considerably, but they were still able to pull another five man limit of fine walleyes. Most of our fish today were over 20" with the largest being a dandy 28 incher that is heading to the taxidermist. That fish was caught by a MCC graduate, and current MSU student who will be joining the Air Force next year as an officer. I started off with the same mixed Hot N' Tot - spinner/crawler rig program that worked great yesterday, but today they never touched the Hot N' Tots, so I pulled them and replaced them with spinners after a good, fruitless, soaking of the Tots. The color today leaned towards bright colors (fire/tiger) early, then after the first hour, they started hitting everything about equally. The water temps are still in the low 60s, so a slow (for this time of year) trolling speed of 1.4 to 1.6 mph was best. We caught all keeper walleyes today accept for one catfish, which was nice. I'm not sure why the fish ran bigger today compared to yesterday, in the same area, but regardless of the reason, nobody was complaining on my boat. We are just getting into some of the best fishing of the year now with June, July and early August being top times for world class walleye fishing out of Au Gres. My clients this week are enjoying some awesome walleye fishing and are already planning their return trip for next year.
6/2/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After three days off the water due to crappy weather, 20+ years of experience on the Bay came in handy today as I was able to predict where the fish moved after the "big blow" we had. The water temperature was just 57 in front of Au Gres, but where we set up for fishing, the temp was 61 degrees and the fish were in that warm, stained water big time. My clients from Eastlake, MI (My home town) and Minnesota caught 30 keeper walleyes along with some bonus catfish and sheephead. With a light bite, we probably lost as many fish as were caught, so we certainly had plenty of action today indeed. We ran a mixed spread of two Hot N' Tots off the outside boards and four spinner/crawler rigs off the middle and inside boards. We also ran two more spinner/crawler rigs as flat lines. All our fish were taken near bottom and they were feeding on a mixture of minnows and bugs. Lure color did not seem to mater much as they hit everything I put in the water. Speeds of 1.5 to 1.6 were best. When I went 1.7, we got not bites. Any slower and we picked up more junk fish and zebra mussels. When the wind shifted to the east, the bite really slowed down for us, so the morning was certainly best. I have these same repeat clients for the next two days, and with good weather predicted then, they will likely experience great fishing on those trips too and will take a lot of Saginaw Bay's walleyes home to Manistee County.
5/29/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a nice day on the Bay today. The winds were up in the morning and we ran to where we ended up yesterday, but it was a slow, bumpy ride to the fishing area. The action was steady all morning until the wind suddenly died completely and the bite died them too. We also had storms popping up on the radar in western Michigan, so we pulled lines and moved to another spot, close to port, where we had no luck at all. My three customers from Ohio enjoyed the day and took home 14 walleyes, three perch and one big catfish. They also threw back a bunch of walleyes too and told me they will come back to catch the ones they threw back next year. Now they are heading north to do some mushroom hunting for the rest of their short vacation. We took our fish on a variety of spinner/crawler rigs with no real preference shown by the fish. Speeds of 1.5 to 1.7 were best. We marked a lot of fish right out front of Au Gres, but a major bug hatch (mayflies and midges) there coupled with dead calm conditions resulted in no takers.
5/28/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Reports
Today I had a repeat client who brought along three friends, all of which had disabilities. Over the years, I've had disabled clients of all types and I really enjoy showing people with challenges a great time of fishing and today was no exception. After yesterday's big blow, and canceled charter, I wasn't sure where to fish, so I went to where we found fish three days ago, but the water temperature there had dropped five degrees and the fish had mostly moved out. The winds were south/west yesterday, which tends to push the warm water and the fish with the wind, northeast, so I checked another spot northeast of my first spot, but the water temp there had also cooled off big time, so I continued to move northeast. My third spot had better temperatures, but we only caught a few walleyes there, so I moved to yet a fourth spot. That spot had even better temperatures and water conditions and we started catching fish right away and didn't stop until my clients had taken a four man limit of nice walleyes. We caught them on the same rigs I've had on my rods for a month with four fire/tiger and four red/silver spinner/crawler rigs behind bottom bouncers. The best speed today was 1.6 mph. There were lots of smiles and laughter on the boat all day, even during the slow periods. Those guys certainly knew how to have fun despite their disabilities.
5/26/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After getting blown off the water prematurely yesterday with only 9 walleyes in the box, it was nice today to have really nice conditions today with moderate winds and lots of sunshine. We did catch a couple jumbo perch yesterday, one of which was 14.5", so that was a nice bonus. We caught two dandy perch today too. Today we started off going back to the spot where we caught limits on Sunday, but couldn't get back there yesterday due to the high winds. Unfortunately, the walleyes had moved out of that area, so we began a spot checking mission that included six different moves. Finally, on the last troll for the day, we found an active school of nice sized walleyes and my clients limited out there on walleyes that were all 20" or larger. We did catch walleyes in every spot where we stopped, but the walleyes had been scattered from the 50+ mph winds we had yesterday, so we just kept looking until we found a concentration of fish. 1.6 mph was the best trolling speed today and with the light, tough bite, I stuck with the same very consistent spinner/crawler rigs that have been working very good for me for years. We trolled with the wind all day today. When the wind is putting waves over one feet high over the Bay, and I need to hit slow speeds, like is common during the spring, a down-wind trolling strategy is usually best. Trying to go into the waves at slow speeds will not yield a consistent trolling speed, which is necessary now. Going with the wind is the reason we limited out today. On days like today, it really paid to be persistent and patient, as our best fishing was experienced in the last hour of the charter. We fished waters from 10 to 34 feet deep and I never changed rigs sticking with the same 3 ounce bottom bouncers and spinner rigs and just adjusting the setbacks and speed as necessary. When the fishing is slow, sticking with proven presentations is wise. If the fishing is good, then that is the time to experiment with different stuff. That how the pros do it.
5/24/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
When I saw my client this morning putting super-hot sauce on his biscuits and gravy at H&H, and then talking about spicy, blackened fish being a favorite of his, it was an omen for sure. We motored back to the area where we had taken good catches the past two trips and picked up five quick walleyes, then the bite slowed with the dying wind and after that, it was a very slow pick for the next four hours. Eventually though we trolled into a hot-spot and hooked up with four at once, which was when I punched in a waypoint and we began circling that area and catching fish constantly. Sometimes it's like that: the fish are only real active in a small spot and today we found "that spot" and quickly filled the rest of a five man walleye limit plus three bonus channel catfish that my clients from Texas and Arkansas really appreciated. We caught all our fish on the same spinner/crawler rigs that I've had on my rods now for quite some time with four fire/tiger and four red/silver patters getting hit about equally. We had a .4 mph current in the area today that ran from south to north, so I trolled 1.3 mph up current and 1.7 mph down current. Any variation in those speeds turned off the bites as they were very speed fussy today for sure. The bite was light again today too, so super sharp hooks certainly improved the bite to catch ratio. Even then, we lost over a dozen fish. We also caught a lot of undersized walleyes today: More than on any day so far this year. It's great to see those young walleyes coming up as it bodes well for the fishery in the future. When I got back to my abode, with all the talk about blackened fish, I decided to eat fresh, blackened walleye for supper. I coated the filets in melted butter and then a liberal layer of Zatarains, Blackened Seasoning. Into a smoking pan they went with smoke billowing from then pan on my outdoor, camp stove. A couple minutes on each side and they were plated next to some fresh green beans. Washing it all down with ice cold beer was icing on the cake. It doesn't get much better than that.
5/23/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today, from Marion, Michigan, caught their limits of nice walleyes. This was a Christmas present gift certificate that they cashed in today and they expressed that it was a very good gift. I sell a quite a few gift certificates and I have never had a recipient that was not happy with the gift of fishing. We ran out to the same spot where we limited out on yesterday's charter, but the bite started off slower than the day before with a light bite and more fish being lost than caught. The bite did pick up as the morning went on, but we still lost probably over 20 walleyes today as they were just not taking the lures very well at all. They also caught a trophy class, 15 pound channel catfish today too as a bonus and that brute put up a very long lasting battle. We also caught one sheephead too, but all the rest were nice, perfect eating size, walleyes. Most of our walleyes today were 16-20 inches but we did have two bigger ones right up the boat, but they got away before I could get a net around them. We stuck with the same spinner/crawler rigs that I have been using successfully for weeks with four red/silver and four fire/tiger harnesses: Six were deployed off Church Tackle Walleye Boards and the remaining two were run right off the gunnels (flat-lines). The Starboard flat-line was the hottest rod today by far for some reason, but every rod took multiple hits too. We were trolling at 1.3 to 1.6 mph in the surging 2 to 3 foot waves, that eventually calmed down to ones and twos by late morning. It was Christmas in May today on my boat and it was a very merry Christmas indeed.
5/22/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a couple days off the water, I conversed with a couple good friends of mine and set up a strategy for today's fishing efforts. The three of us, in three different boats, went to three different spots and then checked in, via cell phone, in the morning to see who had the best results. Two of us, including my boat, only had a few fish in the box, but one friend had found a good, active school of fish, so we all moved our efforts there. Once we set lines in that spot, we had non-stop action until we had 25 walleyes in the box in very shot order. It really pays to have some trusted friends on the water that can share information, especially when the fish are moving a lot, which is often the case during the spring. I often share info a lot with friends, but today, my buddy really helped us out a lot. Saginaw Bay is a huge body of water and the walleyes there move around a lot so having a network of fishing buddies on the water really helps out a lot, especially, when you have been off the water for a stint, like today. Our fish today ranged from 16 to 25 inches and we took all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs fished tight behind the boards. I just wrote an article for Woods-N-Water News that details the type of fishing techniques we deployed today. Look for it in the next issue. After our trip was concluded, the three of us friends met at Town and County and compared notes further and tomorrow, you can bet that we will all pound the snot out of those walleyes again and will drink to another good day on the water once again.
5/17/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients limited out on walleyes the past two days in a row. Today we ran back to the same spot where we had found success yesterday, but most of the fish had moved out of that vast area as we moved three times there and did not find any concentrations of active fish. It was good there while it lasted though with easy, quick limit catches there on every trip for the past week. When we were running to that spot this morning, I noticed a lot of fish marks on my sonar where I had not seen fish so far this year. After failing miserably at our first spots, we then ran to that fishy look location and started catching walleyes before I could even get all the lines set. We had 20 walleyes on in the first hour there, but the bite was light though and we lost more than we caught. I could only get them to bite at a slow trolling speed of 1.2 to 1.3 mph, so loosing a lot of fish is typical at those speeds. The lost fish didn't mater though as we kept picking away at them until my clients had boxed their limits of fine walleyes. One of my anglers today was surprised that I was using rather heavy, 3 ounce bottom bouncers, but when we set up in that second deep water spot, those heavy weights were mandatory to get the lures down to the bottom hugging fish. I only marked one fish up off bottom there: All the rest were tight to the lake-bed. Had it not been for quality electronics, we would have never spotted those fish while running over them earlier at high speeds. If you don't have a fish finder that can identify bottom hugging fish at speeds over 25 mph, then it is a real handicap on the Bay. I scout fishing areas at high speeds a lot and that ability puts me on a lot of fish that I would have otherwise have missed.
5/15/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We experienced another poor job of forecasting by the weatherman today. They had predicted 7-12 knot winds with scattered showers with just 1/8" to 1/4" in the forecast for today. Instead we fished through twice as much rain and winds over 20 knots prevailed all morning. I had to change my plans on where I had originally intended to fish with the big, southerly winds a reality. It took us a while to reach the fishing grounds and it was nice to have the top on the boat protecting us with a dry ride out. It didn't take but a few minutes after I began to set lines for the first walleye to hook-up. After that it was non-stop action until we limited out on walleyes up to 24". We fished in one long trolling pass without turning around once, so the fish were stacked in over a large area there. We even took a couple dandy yellow perch as a bonus too. The last time my client fished for walleyes they were skunked. Today though they got to experience the kind of fishing that even rain can't dampen. We caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs fished tight to the bottom trolling at speeds ranging from 1.2 to 1.6 mph with the surging waves. We lost a lot of fish too, which is typical in choppy conditions where the lures are lurching through the water. The fish don't latch onto the lures solidly all the time so some get off. The lost fish didn't mater though in the end as they were quickly replaced by fish that didn't let go. My client today, from the Grand Blanc area, will be fishing with me again at the end of May and they can't wait for that return trip as this awesome fishing will just get better as the weather stabilizes and water warms up and really gets the bite into high gear.
5/9/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The weather forecast was very iffy today with a 90% chance of thundershowers at Au Gres, but as is typically the case, the National Weather Service was very wrong. I checked the radar this morning and the storms were missing our area to the north, so we hit the water with a forecast of 5-10 knot, northerly winds. The winds were stronger than predicted though with 15+ knot winds all morning. It took us a bit longer to reach the fishing area due to the waves, but the winds did not slow down the walleye bite much as my clients mostly from SE Michigan, but with one from Minnesota, pulled a quick, four man limit of walleyes. They were used to fishing on Lake St. Clair so the fast paced fishing action on the Bay was a pleasant change of pace for them. It took us far longer to get back to port with the choppy conditions than it actually did to catch over 20 walleyes. We used the same program of spinner/crawler rigs trolled at close to 1.6 mph that has been working all week. I'm trying to run a light, six rod spread, but keeping all the lines in the water is difficult with the constant action taking place on the boat. We did have a few light, sprinkles on the water today, but for the most part, it was dry and fairly pleasant fishing conditions. I have a few, scheduled days off the water so I can take care of some chores, and with the wet and windy forecast for those days, it will work out great when I get back to the awesome fishing action mid-week.
5/8/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I had a repeat clients from Garden City and Highland today and they experienced world class walleye fishing action with quick limits of some perfect, eating sized walleyes that were mostly 18 to 20 inches long. We ran down close to the hot spot where we have been taking easy limits in recent charters and got into walleyes right away with fish-on before I could even get all the lines in the water. We trolled towards where we had fished the past two days and the action picked up with multiple fish on the lines most of the time until we maxed out with a live well full of fish. I've had the same lures on my rods for three straight days with a mixture of spinner/crawler rigs with bottom bouncers. There was no sense changing anything today either as they hit everything I put in the water with patterns not making much difference. A trolling speed of no more than 1.6 mph was best. We ran a light, six rod spread as we did not need any more lines in the water to keep us very busy pulling in fish non-stop. All our fish today were walleyes and all the walleyes we caught were keepers although a few twenty inchers did get thrown back at the end of the trip from the quintuple header we had at the conclusion of the charter. This was certainly an awesome day of fishing on Saginaw Bay.
5/7/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had another excellent outing today on the Bay taking limit catches of walleyes. We hit a spot first that had very few fish in it, then we ran to another area and it was "game on" with non-stop action until we limited out in short order. It was the same spinner/crawler rig program as yesterday with silver blades and fire/tiger taking equal hits. Speeds of 1.6 mph were best. My client today just bought a place by Au Gres and hired me to show him some locations and techniques so he could shorten his learning curve on fishing the area. It was a good call too as he took notes all day with a lot of information dispelled on the boat today. The weather was beautiful today with no wind at all and warm temperatures. Hopefully this good weather will last through tomorrows charter as the only thing between us and another limit catch is the weather.
5/6/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today I decided to fish an entirely new area in search of a concentrations of walleyes, which I knew were out there in mass. The Bay right now has more walleyes swimming in it than at any other time in recent history. In fact, the DNR has gone on record saying that there are "too many walleyes in Saginaw Bay". I hadn't fished this new area in a few years, but I did have a lot of GPS waypoints for that portion of the Bay from past years and we spot checked a couple locations using sonar and didn't see many fish in those locations. Then we ran to another spot and did mark some fish, but they weren't biting there. We then ran a few miles to yet another spot and started hooking up right away. From then on it was non-stop action with fish on constantly for the next hour. My four man crew of mostly active and retired U.S. Postal Service workers pulled their four man limit in just a little over one hour at that hot spot. We were fishing in water 15 to 18 feet deep pulling spinner/crawler rigs behind bottom bouncers with a 35' setback off the Church Tackle Walleye boards. Color did not mater as they hit everything I had in the water from bright, florescent colors to natural patterns. Speeds of 1.6 to 1.7 mph were best. We also ran a couple flat lines with the same rigs, but didn't get any hits on those all morning, so the fish in that clear water were obviously negatively reacting to the close presence of the boat and not taking lures close to the vessel. The walleyes were caught were all keepers ranging up to 23". This was certainly some world class walleye fishing today and we did not have any other boats within a mile of us today while we were fishing.
5/5/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a day off the water, clients from the Atlanta, MI area joined me for a day of walleye fishing on the Bay. We had a cold front come though the area yesterday and there were showers and storms from Bay City south all day today, but we never felt a drop of water all day fishing near Au Gres. The weatherman did predict sunny skies, but we had fully cloudy conditions all day with blue skies visible to the north throughout the trip, but those fair skies never blessed us with any sunshine. We hit four widely separated areas today looking for a concentration of active fish and never really found a hot spot. We did however catch walleyes in all but the first spot we fished, and my clients managed to catch their limits of walleyes along with one bonus, jumbo perch, but it took most of an eight hour charter to accomplish that goal. We fished shallow and we fished deep water today, but the frontal boundary had the fish in a negative mood and they just wouldn't bite much at all. Even a slow day on Saginaw Bay though is much better than most of Michigan waters on a banner day of fishing. My customers today, one of which has been fishing with me for over 10 years, told me that they had a great time and that is what it's all about.
5/2/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We took another impressive pile of fish again today on the Bay and did it on a beautiful day indeed with sunshine galore. My clients today, from SW Michigan, fished with me last year and limited out in less than two hours of fishing. Today though the fishing was tougher with dead calm, sunny conditions in the morning and in the crystal clear water we were fishing, that tends to make the fish very tough to catch. The wind eventually picked up some though, but it was unsteady and changing directions, which is also not great for walleye fishing. We picked away at them all day and it took the better part of an 8 hour charter to max out my customers limits of walleyes. Most of our fish were chunky specimens today with only one under 20 inches. These fish are great fighters too with everyone commenting on how they were pulling like crazy. We trolled spinner/crawler rigs all day today with no particular pattern really being preferred. I did have one fire/tiger rig though,, where the chartreuse float got bit off, that was really producing well off a flat line. Most of our fish though came off Church Tackle Walleye Boards, which I spread out about 50 feet apart to cover a lot of water. Trolling speeds of 1.5 to 1.6 mph were best. When I testing speeds faster, we got no hits at all. Even though the fishing today was somewhat tough today, my clients still took home a four person limit of dandy walleye filets.
5/1/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
May started off for us with a bang today with my four clients from Temperance and Lansing taking their limits of dandy walleyes. I first ran to where we had taken good catches the last couple days. We had a northwest wind to start off the day but we only had only fair action during that period. When the wind died down though I moved to the deeper water area where we closed out our day yesterday during that calm wind spell and we got into some fast paced action with five fish on at one time. That action died down though when the east wind came up, but we still picked away at the walleyes until my customers had maxed out. Our fish today consisted of mostly bigger walleyes with just a few just under 20 inches. Our biggest was about 26". The catch filled up two five gallon buckets. Most of the walleyes were actively spawning males, but one pree-spawn female and one was a post spawn lady added to the catch. Trolling speeds in the 1.5 to 1.6 mph range were best with no particular spinner/crawler pattern being preferred. We caught all the fish on or near bottom. This is some awesome fishing going on now and I still have an opening on Tuesday, May 5 if you want to get in on this action.
4/30/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We closed out April with a great fishing trip on the Bay continuing my streak of limit catches for all my customers on all completed trips out of Au Gres. The forecast was a little iffy for today when I looked at it yesterday with stiff NE winds predicted. Fortunately though, it turned out much better with light NW winds and then it went calm. The predicted mostly county skies turned out to be mostly sunny, so that was nice too. My client today, from the Grand Blank area, is a repeat customer that has been fishing with me for over 15 years. Every year, when we get together for a fishing frenzy, we share our deer hunting stores of the past fall and catch up on life's curve balls. The bite was red hot for the first hour and then it died down as the wind diminished. When the water went flat, with the sun out, the fish quit biting altogether in my first area, so we relocated to deeper water and picked up the rest of the limit catch there. The fish continue to run rather large with only one walleye taken that was under 20 inches today. We caught all our walleyes on spinner/crawler rigs fished tight to bottom using bottom bouncers with trolling speeds of 1.5 mph being best. When I bumped the speed higher, the bites stopped. They preferred a fire/tiger harness during the first hour, but after that, color preference didn't seem to mater. This has been a very good April for spring, walleye fishing on my boat this year with a lot of great fish caught at both Lake Erie earlier in the month, but also a awesome string of very fun and productive walleye charters out of Saginaw Bay too over the last two weeks. May should be awesome and I can't wait for upcoming trips as the weather is predicted to be great for the next week. I do have opening on Monday and Tuesday too, but May trips are filling fast so call soon so you don't miss out.
4/29/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I "sort of" had a day off yesterday, so I installed my new Lowrance HDS Touch with Structure Scan. After accomplishing that task in the morning, I had to get my boat inspected by a trained, DNR conservation officer, which is a requirement for Michigan Charter Boats. After the successful inspection, I went out onto the Bay and tested the new electronics and tuned them in for today's charter. I also scouted for fish too. We started out in an area where I found fish yesterday, but they had moved, so we were forced to strike out and check out some new spots where past experience led me to believe walleyes may be holding. We used my electronics to look for preferred water temperatures and ultimately looked for fish marks on my sonar. It took us a couple hours to find likely looking spot where we set down and deployed a trolling spread. We were soon rewarded with a lot of action over the reminded of the charter. We actually fished a school of male walleyes that were actively spawning. The only way to get those bottom hugging walleyes to bite was with bottom bouncers and spinner/crawler rigs. That type of situation typically results in an odd type of walleye bite. They hit the lures aggressively, but are just trying to get them away from their beds, so they don't take them down hard or hold on well. This type of fish behavior will cause the hit to catch ratio to be low as a lot of the fish will hit, but not hook up solidly. My customers lost more fish than they caught, but it did not mater as they still managed to catch a four man limit of dandy walleyes. We had over 50 fish on though, so the action was pretty good. The fish ranged in size from 19" to 26" and all of them were males that were oozing milt. Spawning male walleyes tend to fight a lot harder than normal, so most of those fish today put up a lot of resistance, making us think that a lot of them were a larger than they were. Colors did not mater today as we caught walleyes on both natural and bright patterns. Trolling speeds of 1.5 to 1.6 mph were best. I tried a variety of body baits and crank baits today and the walleyes ignored them completely. Crawlers with a harness featuring a #3 Colorado blade were the ticket to a bountiful catch today.
4/26/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Despite the tough weather conditions over the past week, we have still maintained my streak of limit catches for my customers on every completed trip on Saginaw Bay. Yesterday and today were certainly challenging conditions with switching winds, primarily easterly, that brings cold temperatures off Lake Huron onto the Bay. Today I had clients originating from the Mio area that were experienced fishermen that fish the Bay with their own boat and they chartered with me primarily to learn some fishing techniques to polish their own skills. On these types of trips, a tough bite is actually better for them because this will show them how to scrounge up fish when the fish are not active, which is exactly what we did today. Yesterday we started out pulling stick baits, which had been working great, but that presentation is only good when the fish are actively feeding, which was not the case at all over the weekend. We switched over to spinner/crawler rigs half way through yesterday's trip and pulled a good catch as a result. We started off today with the same spinner/crawler rigs trolling though the same shallow water area where we finished up yesterday. The stiff, overnight winds disbursed the stained water from that area though and the fish had relocated deeper and a scattered. We then started a search type trolling program and picked away at the fish all day today ending up with a good catch of nice sized walleyes. We only caught one fish today that was under 20 inches and tied into some that were real lunkers. I didn't see any real preference in spinner pattern, but they did certainly want it slow with speeds of 1.0 to 1.3 mph being best. I put those crawlers right on the lake bed with bottom bouncers and special care had to be taken with fish fighting techniques as the bite was light to say the least. My guys today actually did phenomenally well with minimal lost fish and as a result they took home a bountiful catch of thick walleyes, which will provide a bunch of fine meals featuring some of the best eating fish on the planet.
4/24/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Even though the weather has been cold and windy here at Au Gres, the fishing has still remained quite good. For those that have been braving the harsh conditions, limit catches have been the rule and the fish are still running big too. Most walleyes are being caught on deep diving stick baits like Husky Jerk Baits and Rouges fishing mostly in water 10 to 20 feet deep targeting suspended fish. Various colors have been productive and this captain has taken fish on just about ever color of the rainbow this spring with no real pattern predominating. The cold weather is holding smelt in the area and that is what the walleyes are going after along with lures that look somewhat like smelt. This has been the best spring trolling fishery on the Bay that most seasoned anglers can remember and the fishing should just keep getting better too as the weather eventually improves. So far Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters has limited out on every trip out of Au Gres where Mother Nature allowed us to complete the charter.
4/17/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had an absolutely beautiful day today on the Bay and my customers amassed an impressive catch of dandy walleyes trolling close to port. We got into an intense bite right away, but after that flurry, we picked away at them all morning until my customers limited out. Most of our fish were on the big side today with the largest being 28" although we did loose one that was likely much bigger. In the sunny, calm conditions, we caught all of our fish off the Church Tackle Walleye Boards today and running them way out away from the boat was the ticket as the fish were obviously spooked by the boat in the clear, calm water. Our best bait was a Sour Grape Rouge, but we did also take fish on a variety of Husky Jerk Baits too in naked glass, blue/silver/orange, glass/purple/perch and Tennessee Shad. Speeds of 1.3 to 1.5 mph were best. This fishing is red/hot right now with a lot of big fish cruising in a post spawn, feeding mode. Dippers are getting smelt in the Au Gres area at night and the walleye are congregating there to feed on those smelt too. I have a lot of openings over the next couple weeks, so if you want to get in on this fantastic post spawn, smelt feast, fishing action, give me a shout and I'll set you up with some world class walleye fishing.
4/16/15, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I moved my boat to Au Gres yesterday and with a iffy weather report for today, we headed onto the Bay for my fist trip there of the season. We got into the fish right away with constant action until we had maxed out with 15 walleyes in less than two hours of fishing effort. We caught all our fish on body baits trolled at 1.1 to 1.4 mph. I had a bunch of different baits on my lines to start off and it didn't mater much for walleye preference today as every lure I put in the water took some fish and I fished about 10 different lures today too. Deep Husky Jerk Baits were good, but so were Rouges and colors varied a lot including mixtures of blue, gold, clear, silver, purple, orange, red, pink and black. In other words, the fish were not picky today. The fish ran big today too, with only a couple fish under 20". We fished a wide area too covering deeper and shallow water and ran the lures about 8-10 feet down all morning with constant hits with fish coming at all depths we fished. Most of the big fish were marked on or near the bottom, but the baitfish (smelt) were up higher, so that is where I ran my lures and the walleyes came up to gobble up what we pull through that portion of the water column This fishing in Au Gres will only get better as the spring continues as more and more fish move in to the area with their normal migrations. April and May typically yield larger average sized fish and today certainly proved that true. I videoed some awesome fishing action today and will eventually put together a Youtube video of today's trip.
4/6/15, Lake Erie, Bolles Harbor, Fishing Report
After a blustery, tough fishing day yesterday, we hit the water this morning with frosty, overcast conditions and thankfully light winds. The first area we fished this morning was slow, so we picked and moved deep into Ohio waters where we located a big school of humongous walleyes on the feed. I quickly fine tuned the spread to a hot setup pulling all Thundersticks about 12' down and those suspended fish gobbled down those lures big time. My customers ended up limiting out on walleyes that averaged about 9 pounds with all but two exceeding 28 inches. Our biggest walleye today was an eye-popping, 12.75 pound giant. The total catch overflowed a 120 quart cooler with solid fish. The area we fished is one my most consistent trophy walleye spots and the area gets extremely light fishing pressure this time of the year with no boats in sight of us all day there. The water temp was about 39 degrees when we started and it warmed to 40 by the time we departed the fishing area at about 3:00 p.m.. We had to keep the speed slow today with 1.1 to 1.2 mph being best. Both gold/black and gray/scale patterns were on fire about equally. I tried some Rouges and Husky Jerks but they failed to produce any bites. I still have some Lake Erie openings for next week, incase someone wants to get in on this awesome fishing which is the best I've seen in years there.
4/4/15, Lake Erie, Bolles Harbor, Fishing Report
The awesome fishing continues on Lake Erie as we took another bountiful catch of mostly trophy class walleyes today. Last year I had a unreal streak consisting of limit catches on every completed charter that went on well in to August before we came a couple fish short of a limit. This year though, I have a different streak going: Every person, on every charter, has caught at least one walleye weighing over 10 pounds. Today my customers boated five walleyes with double digit weights and a bunch more that were not to far below 10 pounds too. We got checked by the DNR today when we returned to the docks. After checking my customers fishing licenses, they opened the live well hatch and you could see the shock in their eyes when they took in the sight of a 30 gallon live well, drained of water, nearly filled to the top solid with jumbo walleyes. There was no way to count the deep pile of fish, so they made us pull them all out so they could tally them all up, which drew quite the crowd. They said that it was the most impressive walleye catch that they had ever seen. After inspecting the safety equipment on my boat and finding no violations, the very polite, professional acting, conservation officer asked me for a brochure and wished us a good day. The water changed dramatically today with the stiff west wind blowing during the night and all day too. It blew most of the stained water out into the lake and pulled in lots of clear, cool water in its' place. The water temp was still in the high 30s. We fished today long, down-wind trolling passes. I had to deploy and pull the drift socks constantly to keep the speed at 1.1to 1.3 mph, which seemed to work best for us. The walleye bite was scattered over a wide area as we really never did find a "hot spot" but had constant action all day none-the-less. Our best lure today was a Sour Grape Rouge, pulled 55' behind the boards, with a 3/8 ounce weight 6' ahead of the lure. We also did a lot of damage with gold/black/orange/green Thundersticks too 50' back. This is some of the best walleye fishing I've seen in years on Erie. The eggs were all very tight in the females today, so the spawn is still likely still weeks away, leading me to believe that this red-hot fishing is likely to continue for possibly weeks to come.
4/3/15, Lake Erie, Bolles Harbor, Fishing Report
The bite was a little slower today compared to the past two days, but none-the-less, the catch was still good. It's certainly a great when an 8 year old boy catches a walleye that is just shy of 12 pounds. We had fog this morning that slowed our run out and limited our spread for the first half of the trip, but when the fog cleared, we started taking fish. We caught our fish today mainly on the same Thundersticks as yesterday, but we did get some action on Rouges later too, which is typical as the water warms up to near 40 degrees. My customers today from Illinois ended up with 28 pounds of skinless, boneless filets after they were cleaned at the Lake Erie Party Shoppe, which is a pretty good haul.
4/2/15, Lake Erie, Bolles Harbor, Fishing Report
We had unstable weather today from the get-go with two fronts coming through as we fished. The fishing was good through the first front, but when the second front blasted us, the walleye bite slowed. It didn't matter though as my customers had limited out by about noon with a impressive catch of walleyes including two that were 10+ pounds. We did take a few smaller males today for the first time this year, but even those were all over 24". Our average weight today was still about 8 pounds. I set up this morning with four Gray Scale Thundersticks on the starboard side and four gold/black/orange/green Thundersticks to port and did not change any lures all morning taking about equal hits on each. The fish were biting lighter today compared to yesterday as we lost more for sure, including some hogs. This is when very sharp hooks will add fish to the catch. There was also a lot more woody debris floating out there today, so we had to keep a sharp watch out for hazards. The best trolling speed today was 1.0 to 1.2 mph. When the wind kicked up, I had to drop in drift socks to slow things down and keep the fishing productive. I have a fair amount of openings over the next two weeks for Lake Erie trips and this fishing should continue to be very good for trophy fish with the unseasonably cold water temperatures delaying the spawn a bit keeping those hogs out in the Lake longer than normal. The water temperature where we fished is still in the 30s.
4/1/15, Lake Erie, Bolles Harbor, Fishing Report
After a successful shakedown cruise yesterday evening, I ran my first charter of the season today, and it was a very good one indeed taking 6 walleyes over 10 pounds, many in the 7-10 pound range and a bunch of lesser walleyes to fill the box too. Our two biggest fish were 11 pounds on this gorgeous, sunny day on the water. Some taxidermist near Kalamazoo will be happy when he gets a batch of those dandies to mount up from my customers today. We trolled with minnow imitating body baits at 1.1 - 1.2 mph today with 3/8 oz, rubber core sinkers and setbacks targeting trolling depths of 8-12 feet down over varying depths of water. The fish were scattered all over today and I marked fish over a huge area and really never found a concentration of fish with no double headers all day. It was just a steady pick from 8:00 until we pulled lines at about 2:00. The best lures today were Gray/Scale Thundersticks early and later in the trip gold/black/orange/green Thundersticks turned red hot. We trolled with six lures off Church Tackle Walleye Boards, one flat line and the eighth line off a TX-7 Stern Planer 200 feet behind the boat. That Stern Planer was the hottest setup taking a lot of the biggest fish today. I ran a Thunderstick 50' behind that TX-7. The water conditions are excellent on Erie right now and I expect great fishing for days to follow.
News on the 2015 Charter Season
Michigan's fisheries continue to evolve in a seemingly never ending state of change: Some for the better and others for the worse. A combination of invasive species, much cleaner waters in the Great Lakes and fisheries management decisions made by he DNR are causing some significant changes to our sport fish populations. Select Great Lakes fisheries will provide world class fishing during 2015 and Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters will again offer fishing trips taking our boat to the right places at the right times to put customers on those hot bites. Our charter fishing rates for eight hour charters are unchanged from last year and are among the most competitive in the industry. When you consider that Michigan has some of the lowest lodging and eatery rates in the country, a fishing trip to Michigan on our boat is one of the best vacation bargains out there. When you factor in the quality of the fisheries, the value on our boat and all the other fun things to see and do in Michigan, you just can't go wrong. Here is a rundown of the fisheries Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters will focus on during 2015:
Saginaw Bay is the official, undisputed, reining "Walleye Capital of the World" and Au Gres is the top port for years running on Saginaw Bay. 2014 proved to be a record setting year with walleye catch rates higher than they have ever been before. In fact the Bay's walleye catch rates were the highest in Michigan. We will be expanding our charter offerings once again on Saginaw Bay moving my boat their earlier and staying longer compared to last year. For years we have been able to take limit catches consisting of a mixture of eaters and lunkers on most of our charters for the best possible mix of fishing fun. Saginaw Bay has been blessed with 12 straight, huge year classes, of naturally reproduced walleyes. When those massive numbers are added to an already strong older, adult walleye population from past years, the shear numbers and quality of walleyes in the system now simply boggles the mind. There are now so many walleyes in Saginaw Bay that easy limit catches are the rule and anglers can even catch and release fish too (8 hr. charters only) until their arms hurt, if they want. The fishing on Saginaw Bay is pure, unadulterated fun and you can expect non-stop action on most of our charter trips there. The only down side to the fishery is that the word has definitely gotten out and the demand for fishing charters there has escalated sharply in recent years. So, as a result I'm increasing my charter schedule once again out of Au Gres (AuGres) and Tawas to take advantage of the demand. Au Gres (AuGres) is the best of the best among Saginaw Bay's ports with the highest walleye catch rate anywhere in Michigan. With a state of the art DNR launching facility, it is also the best port for accessing the Bay during periods of low or high water levels like we experienced last year. We'll be fishing there from mid-April through early-September. We also may run walleye charters at the north end of Saginaw Bay out of Tawas City or East Tawas during August and September. Tawas is only 20 miles north of Au Gres. During late summer the walleyes often migrate to the deeper, cooler waters of the northern fringe of Saginaw Bay off Tawas. We take full advantage by running our charters then out from Tawas, which is very close to that hot fishing area. We will also be offering some perch fishing charters out of Au Gres during late summer. Jumbo perch have made a strong come-back on Saginaw Bay and the fishing at times can be phenomenal. If perch are not biting, then we can always target the super abundant walleyes. Please keep in mind though that I filled most of my available charter openings on Saginaw Bay last season and with the lower gas prices and a stronger economy, we will likely be even busier this year, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
Lake Erie serves up awesome early spring walleye fishing and we will be offering late March and early April charters there to cash in on that short lived trophy walleye bite. The record breaking 2003 year class will be contributing millions of trophy class lunkers to the spring bite, which typically starts during mid to late March and ramps up through early April, depending on the weather conditions. When those 2003 fish are added to the abundant year classes from big hatches during the 1990s (walleyes can live beyond 20 years on Lake Erie), Lake Erie will produce a spring trophy walleye fishery of world class proportions this year. Given decent weather conditions I expect phenomenal there this year. Given lots of good weather, we may even break my boat record of over 100 Master Angler class walleyes in one season. If you want to try something different, and quite fun, we will be offering jigging charters on Lake Erie's reefs during the peak spawning period. Those jigging charters often yield non-stop action where anglers can do hand to hand combat with feisty walleyes in shallow water. At that time, you can even combine trolling with jigging on 8-hour trips. I'll be offering Lake Erie walleye charters from ice-out (usually mid-to-late-March) through mid-April providing limited open dates to service the high demand at that location. Fishing charters before April 1 are restricted to an "on call list" booking structure. Customers will have to sign up ahead of time on the "on call list" and will be contacted a couple days in advance to fish when the weather and water conditions are favorable for a successful trip. Because of the highly volatile weather and fishing conditions during March, this is the only way to run a charter boat business at that time of year on Lake Erie. From April 1 on, I will be scheduling fishing charters in advance as normal. The Detroit River will also have good runs of walleyes this spring, so I'll be offering Detroit River charters as a backup when Erie is too rough to fish (Monroe is very close to the mouth of the Detroit River).
Lake Michigan and Lake Huron Salmon fishing was extremely disappointing last year. I thought 2013 was bad, but 2014 was even worse. The average size of king salmon was down, and the number of fish available in the lake was the lowest in over 20 years. The decline in salmon numbers in Lake Michigan (and Lake Huron) is actually part of the DNR's plan to increase baitfish numbers in those lakes. Lake Michigan's and Lake Huron's water clarity has improved so much in recent years that certain baitfish species that salmon depend on have declined drastically in numbers. As a result, the DNR decided to reduce salmon numbers mainly through stocking cutbacks. A massive stocking reduction a six years ago combined with another huge stocking reduction two years ago has reduced salmon numbers to an alarmingly low level. In fact, many believe that the DNR went way too far with their cutbacks. The DNR has no interest in increasing salmon stocking any time soon, so the currently depressed salmon numbers will likely get worse in the future as the full impact of the stocking cutbacks are felt in the next three years to come. I've been fishing salmon at Manistee since the first year they were stocked there in the 1960s, but because of the pitifully bad state of the Lake Michigan salmon fishery, I decided to not offer any salmon charters in 2014, which turned out to be a smart move on my part with things getting worse there. Instead of late summer salmon charters, I just focused more on Saginaw Bay's abundant walleyes and we had phenomenal success there all through the spring and summer and I kept busier too fishing the Bay as I picked up a lot of new charter customers that having also given up on the poor salmon fishing. I will not be offering any salmon charters on either Lake Michigan or Lake Huron this year. If the DNR rebuilds the salmon fishery on Lake Michigan (or Lake Huron) then I will once again offer salmon fishing charters. At this point, I'm going to focus my fishing efforts on the world class walleye fishing Michigan has to offer, primarily on Saginaw Bay.
Michigan Fishing Charters Saginaw Bay Walleye Lake Erie Walleye Lake Michigan King Salmon Fishing Great Lakes Charter Boat Sportfishing
Michigan fishing charters at Au Gres (AuGres) and Tawas City (or East Tawas) for walleye and perch on Saginaw Bay along with Manistee on Lake Michigan for king salmon (Chinook Salmon) and Monroe or Detroit on Lake Erie for walleye. Our sportfishing charter boat targets the biggest, trophy sized, Great Lakes walleye, perch and king salmon (Chinook salmon) that Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay have to offer.
Fishing in the right place at the right time!
Michigan Fishing Information
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Capt. Michael Veine
15555 Cassidy Rd.
Chelsea, Michigan 48118
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