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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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Au Gres - Saginaw Bay Walleye Fishing Travel Guide
Sportfishing charter boat for trophy walleye, steelhead, salmon, lake trout and brown trout, perch too
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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 insures a very high success rate and overall fun fishing experiences. You can kick back and let the captain worry about all the technicalities for catching walleye, salmon, steelhead and brown trout and just enjoy the expense.
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
report regularly during the open water charter fishing season. For
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4/17/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The unstable weather patterns persist. Some days we can get out fishing and others we can't. We are taking some nice sized walleyes and also some trout out of that cold water too, which is in the mid-40s. We are still trolling the shallow, near shore waters using smelt imitating stick baits (Rouges, Husky Jerks, Flicker Minnows). I have been hearing of limit catches of smelt all week too witch is the best smelt action we've had in years. When we were out yesterday morning, the smelt were thick and the walleyes were right up on the surface chasing them. You could see a lot of big walleyes porpoising all over in a feeding frenzy. Within minutes of setting lines we had two big fish on at the same time and both of them were 30" walleyes. We only experience big fish like this during the early spring.
4/11/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We've had a lot of wind and rain systems so far this spring which has made the fishing impossible on most days but we are catching a mixed bag of fish now. Today we caught a brown trout and lake trout in addition to the walleyes. We caught fish today on Deep Husky Jerk Baits, Rouges and Flicker Minnows with bright pink and/or purple colors working best in the dirty water that predominates the Bay right now. I did hear of some smelt being taken near Au Gres over the weekend and we are marking a lot of suspended baitfish, which I suspect are mostly smelt and possibly some shad too. We will continue to fish with stick baits until the smelt move out, which is when we change over to crawlers, typically in late April, still a ways off. The water temperature is in the low 40s, so a somewhat slow trolling speed of 1.2 to 1.3 mph was best today.
8/29/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from Carson City, MI enjoyed a gorgeous day on the Bay today and they also caught their limits of walleyes, which was icing on the cake. It was a pleasant, sunny day with temps on the water in the high 70s and low humidity. We had a fairly choppy ride out this morning with northeast winds, but that breeze quickly died down after we started fishing. Eventually the wind died down completely and the shifted to the east with a gentle breeze that died down once and then picked up slightly towards the end of the day, but the ride in was on pretty calm seas with the slight wind mostly behind us. The bite today was a slow pick all day with a couple wind induced lulls, but pretty steady action overall. The walleyes were a nice blend of eaters with some nice sized fish too up to 23 inches. We ran the same program in the same area where we have been doing good all though August pulling spinner crawler rigs fairly quickly near bottom. Three ounce bottom bouncers off the six, Church Tackle Walleye Boards and four ouncers off the gunnels on flat lines. I've been running the same spinners program for a month there too with fire/tiger on the port side and red/silver to starboard and today, like most days this month, color did not mater at all. We did take few fish off the flatlines today, which is typically when it is calm like it was most of today. We trolled in a straight line south for about 6 miles today at 1.8 mph, turned around and trolled back over the same water back to where we started without ever really finding a super, hot spot. The active fish were just scattered around the large area and we took every once in a while with only one or two doubles all day. We did catch some sheephead, a few catfish, and some perch too, which added action to the adventure. We only had one boat within sight of us briefly today, so fishing pressure is super light right now even though the catch rate is still pretty good considering the lateness of the season. There are more people fishing for perch now that walleyes too, but even the perch effort is light too, and yes they are catching good numbers of perch now too. There was only one rig in the Au Gres, DNR launch parking this morning when I went out and only a few there when I returned. This will be my last fishing report for the season. My wife booked my last, remaining open date for the season today, so we are now only taking reservations for 2017. Tight lines to everyone.
8/26/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The walleye fishing out of Au Gres continues to be good, but the perch fishing is slow, so we have been going after walleyes. My clients today from Pittsburg, PA and St. Johns, MI caught 18 walleyes, one smallmouth bass and an assortment of other fish today. We had a lot of floating weeds in our fishing area, which made trolling a royal pain in the rear, as I had to constantly clean off lures and board from glopped on weeds. The recent windy weather we had chopped up a lot of weeds on the west side of the Bay and the westerly winds we had over the last 24 hours blew them out over the bay. The weeds should be gone in a couple days. I don't have a charter tomorrow as I am traveling to Kalamazoo to compete in the Michigan Arms, State Championship Arm Wrestling Tournament where over 300 competitors form Michigan and many other states will go for the gold. Hopefully by the time I get back on the water on Sunday, the weeds will be gone and the fishing will then be much better. With that much lure fowling weeds messing things up, fishing efficiency is certainly negatively affected. We caught all our fish today on spinner/crawler rigs and I tried to keep the trolling speed at 1.8 mph, which was made tough with the ever changing winds. We started off today with a pretty stiff (18 knots) west wind which then died down and changed to the north. Eventually it turned south and all that erratic winds also impacted the bite today for the worst too. Walleyes like steady winds and I think that our fishing area will produce non-stop action if we get favorable wind conditions. I only have two open dates left for my regular, 2016, charter season which are 8/30/16, and 9/11/16.
8/22/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a big wind storm come through yesterday with gale force winds and very cool overnight temperatures. I really didn't know what to expect when I took my clients from Texas, Grand Rapids and the Tawas area out today. The wind was fairly stiff and the Bay choppy first thing in the morning. We headed out to where we have been fishing for three weeks taking good catches and for the first hour we did pretty good taking 10 nice walleyes. After that though, the wind died down completely for a while, then it eventually picked up from the south and the walleyes just would not turn back on much at all. We ended up with 19 walleyes for the day taking them all on spinner/crawler rigs trolled at 1.8 mph with the lures on the bottom. It was a very pleasant day on the water though, so that made for an enjoyable trip.
8/20/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had odd winds today with it being pretty calm as we departed the Au Gres River, but by the time we were out in the Bay a ways, the wind fairly brisk at times with the waves being about three times higher than what the National Weather Service had predicted. The wind also switched right when we got fishing too, which typically slows down the catch rate. We had plenty of bites today though, but unfortunately it was a very light bite with probably more fish lost than caught. Considering the conditions and the fact that my clients from St. Clair Shores booked a half day trip, they did pretty well to put 18 nice walleyes into the box and had a good time in the process. They caught some good sized fish today too, which is always welcome. We fished the same program and location today that we fished yesterday.
8/19/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Fenton, MI caught their limits of nice walleyes today in short order. These fish were all sorts of sizes from 15 to 26 inches with about a half dozen over 20 inches. We caught our fish in a different area today. We had pretty stiff south winds when we ran out with waves in the two to four foot range, so I set up a quite a bit further south from where we had been fishing for the last couple weeks, and really did well there. Still mainly using the same spinner/crawler/bottom bouncer program targeting the bottom hugging fish in that area, but we did take a few suspended fish though as we saw baitfish jumping out of the water being chased by what was likely walleyes. The fish are feeding mainly on shiners, but I also saw a couple gobies in the cooler at days end too. A trolling speed of 1.7 to 2.0 mph surging in the waves was deadly. We made one long trolling pass and then went back to the best area of that first pass and finished up the charter there. There are fish in at least a five square mile area there and likely that fishy area is even larger as I have not poked around much since we have been catching fish constantly and have not needed to do any searching. This is some of the best fishing of the season right now for us and hopefully it will continue into September too.
8/18/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had to cancel my charters on both Tuesday and Wednesday due to stormy weather, but we did have a beautiful day on the water today with sunny skies and light winds. My clients from Florida and South Lyon, MI boxed 26 walleyes on a half day charter, which is pretty good fishing considering we only had lines in the water for about three hours. We fished the same area where we have been fishing for weeks now and pulled spinner/crawler rigs close to the lake bed using bottom bouncers. Color did not mater as every rig was hit about equally. A trolling speed of 1.7 to 1.9 mph did the trick and with lots of baitfish in that area, the fish are keeping fat and happy in that area and are not showing any signs of thinning out there. Actually today, we had dead calm conditions for much of the trip and we probably would have done better with a little chop on the water, so perhaps the best fishing there is yet to come.
8/15/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from Hale, MI got blown off the water on their last scheduled charter with me, but they rescheduled for today and experienced some excellent walleye fishing catching limits of 24 nice walleyes, one smallmouth bass, one catfish and several sheephead. We had very light winds early this morning and the bite then was only fair with the walleyes hitting about every 5 to 10 minutes. When the wind completely died down though to dead calm conditions, the bite slowed up even more and for about an hour or more, we only caught a few fish. When the breeze finally picked up again though, the bite also picked up and we finished off the charter taking fish pretty steadily. We are still fishing the same area where we have been going for the past two weeks. In fact, this is perhaps the longest stretch where I have fished one area all season and the fish are showing no signs of wanting to move out despite the water temperatures warming to the high 70s. There is a lot of baitfish in that area (graph shows lots of schools) for sure with the walleyes mainly full of shiners, but we are also seeing a lot of gobies and leaches in their guts too. I have been running about the same program there for weeks with fire/tiger spinners on the port side and natural, red/silver on the starboard rods. Today no pattern was preferred, but I would say that perhaps the starboard flatline, with a red/silver spinner and four ounce bottom bouncer caught the most fish of any rod. We trolled at 1.7 to 1.9 mph trolling in a north and then south directions, which in that area is ideal as the slight current there also runs north and south.
8/14/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had two days off in a row where I had to cancel charters due to bad weather, so it's always interesting to see if the fish will be where we last caught them after such a hiatus. Well, we didn't have to dwell on negativity too long this morning though as we started to hammer them like crazy right off the bat and boxed about 15 walleyes in the first hour or so of fishing effort. After that though, the wind shifted, the clouds cleared out and the bite slowed up considerably to more of a slow pick that lasted for the rest of the charter. My clients though, from Caro and Lansing, MI managed to catch their limits of 32 walleyes and they also took home a couple smallmouth bass, perch and small, eating sized catfish too. We fished the same area where we had been fishing all week before the stormy/windy weather knocked us off the water. A trolling speed of about 1.8 to 1.9 mph pulling spinner/crawler rigs with bottom bouncers ticking the bottom was the hot ticket. Early in the morning bright, fire/tiger patterns were favored by the walleyes, but after the sun came out, no color was really preferred with everything being hit about equally. Perhaps my port, flatline with a fire/tiger spinner was best though with a 35' setback as that rig accounted for a lot of fish today. We had a water temperature of 78 degrees today, so a couple more degrees of temp will likely send those fish heading to deeper water. I did hear of some good fishing reports from deep water today (over 50') and also some good perch fishing success too today with limit catches, so that is good news indeed.
8/11/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today follow my fishing reports and asked me what I was going to post today. I told them it will be the "Same old, Same old." Limit catches of walleyes in short order fishing with the same stuff, the same way, in the same area where we have been catching limits all week. We caught 32 walleyes today, one nice smallmouth bass and one perch for the box too. A couple catfish and a half dozen sheephead rounded out the day for a lot of action indeed. All in all, another fine day of fishing on the Bay with some fun folks to fish with. It doesn't get much better than that.
8/10/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The fishing right now is some of the best of the summer with my clients from Manistee and Gun Lake putting a limit catch of 24 walleyes in the box by 10:00 this morning. We had dead calm conditions to make the long run in the fishing area, so that got lines in the water that much faster this morning. The bite was a bit slow at first, but when the breeze picked up, the walleyes started hitting non-stop, with the fastest action coming as we trolled into the wind and up current. They also caught another nice smallmouth bass today too as we have taken bass on about every trip this week. We also caught a rock bass today, which is the first one of those I can remember catching on the Bay ever. A few sheephead rounded out the catch with no catfish taken yesterday or today, which was OK by me as my hands are sore from going to an arm wrestling practice yesterday evening and catfish are very hard to handle. We ran the same program I've been running all weed today with bright, florescent spinner/crawler rigs on the port side and natural patterns to starboard. All lures took about equal numbers of fish today, so they were not picky. The bite was light early this morning though with lots of lost fish at first, but as the morning went on, the bite got more intense and we lost fewer fish. We trolled at 1.7 to 1.9 mph today with setbacks that put the lures close to bottom. It seems like there are more and more fish pouring into our fishing area every day, so unless a big blow occurs or too many other anglers find out about that spot and push the fish out of there, we should keep hammering them for the foreseeable future to come there.
8/9/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had an awesome morning of fishing today on the Bay with my clients catching their limits of nice walleyes by 10:00 a.m. with almost non-stop action from the time we set lines until they maxed out. I even got to catch some walleyes for myself today to. We also caught another nice smallmouth bass today and just a few sheephead. There was a slight south to north current where we fished today, so we trolled at 1.9 to 2.0 mph down current and 1.7 to 1.8 mph up current using spinner/crawler rigs behind heavy bottom bouncers. We did a lot of circling around today fishing a small area that was just full of walleyes. Despite our quick success, the bite today was actually very light with a lot of lost fish and very lethargic hookups, but the sheer number of walleyes in that spot more than made up for their tentativeness. Color made no difference today as everything in the water seemed to get hit about equally. The water temperature in the spot we fished was in the mid-70s today, so as long as that water stays in the mid-to high 70s there, the fish should stay in that general area and will provide some of the best fishing of the season. If the predicted hot weather though warms the water there into the 80s, it will push them north to deeper water, which is when that fishery really takes off for a suspended bite in 50 to 100 feet of water closer to Tawas. We will have wait and see how things develop, but we may very well be fishing deep water soon unless this heat wave breaks.
8/8/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today, who have fished with me over 30 times through the years, told me that they have never had a bad trip with me and today was no exception. They caught their limits of dandy walleyes and also caught two jumbo, smallmouth bass, one of which, a 21", five pounder, is destined for the taxidermist. His wife has one on the wall that is slightly smaller, so his trophy today is extra special to tone down her trash talking. We fished the same general area where we have been fishing all week pulling meat on the bottom at 1.9 mph. My hands have been taking a real beating the last week with the fish really thrashing around a lot coming out of that warm water. I probably spewed blood a half dozen times today in the process of hook removal and cooler disposal. Being a charter captain is often a blood sport and I typically get blood drawn several times a day all summer, but that just goes with the territory. Today I even got stabbed very deeply by a catfish spine, which is very painful and causes one to loose their temper a bit. Rubbing catfish slim on the wound though is a good remedy to kill the pain and it actually does work. Today fire/tiger seemed to work a little better than other colors and a fire/tiger spinner/crawler flatline rig with a four ounce bottom bouncer was the best producer on the trip.
8/7/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Vassar, MI caught their limits of 32 walleyes today and they also took two big smallmouth bass too, one of which was 21" and five pounds. We headed back to the same area where we left off yesterday, but on the way out we experienced some high winds that had just cranked up despite the forecast for light winds all morning and afternoon. We set up for our first trolling pass in three footers from the northwest and the wind gradually shifted to the northeast by the end of the trip, which took about seven hours to catch all their fish. Unlike recent days, the bite today was more consistent all day long with no real lulls in the action. The walleyes today were mostly good eating sized ones in the 15 to 20 inch range with several others over 22". No color preference was noticed today with all eight of my spinner/crawler rigs getting hit about the same. If anything, my two flatlines probably were best today with four ounce bottom bouncers on those rigs. I had three ouncers on the boards. Early in the morning a trolling speed of 1.7 to 1.8 was best, but later in the day, a bit faster speed did a lot of damage to the walleyes in the 1.9 to 2.0 mph range. By the end of the trip the wind had died down a lot and the waves were 1-2 foot, so we were able to run back in much faster than our morning run out. All in all it was another great day of fishing on Saginaw Bay, Michigan's premier, summer walleye destination.
8/6/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After some very hot weather the past few days with strong winds yesterday that kept us off the water, we had much nicer conditions today with temps in the low 80s and humidity that was comfortable for a change. The wind was a bit stiffer this morning that they were predicting as we ran out in two footers from the northwest. We set up in the same general area where we fished on Thursday, and got into some hot action right off the bat with non-stop action for the first hour. Unfortunately, when the wind died down and then shifted abruptly to the southwest, the bite also died to a slow pick. We stayed in that same area (four square miles of water) all day though knowing that there were a lot of walleyes still there (marking a lot with lots of bait there too), and eventually they turned back on towards the end of the trip and my clients from Tennessee and Ovid, MI totaled up 22 walleyes for the day. We stuck to the same program of spinner/crawler rigs fished near bottom all day long and trolled at about 1.8 to 1.9 mph both with and into the wind. For most of the day color did not mater much, but that bite we found late in the day definitely favored red/silver harnesses. A buddy of mine (another charter captain) that was also fishing that same area (the one boats for miles there) trolled past us once and we saw them hook up with a big walleye, which they landed, but then, right as they landed that fish a big smallmouth bass hit one of their lures and jumped liked crazy. As they worked it towards the boat, that bass actually jumped right into the back of their boat and we saw it as spectators along side them cheering them on. We also caught a bunch of other fish species besides walleyes, which really adds some spice to the trip. My clients today have already booked another trip with me for 2017, and my calendar for next year is already starting to fill in more than ever. You have to love this awesome fishery we have on Saginaw Bay that has drawn clients to my boat form all over the USA this year. Go team USA in Rio by the way. I just watched a ladies' rugby match on TV where team USA slaughtered their opponents like I have never seen before. Hopefully the domination will continue.
8/4/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from Missouri caught their limits of walleyes, but the fishing this past week has been anything but easy. We closed out July with a unprecedented, four day, northeast, big blow that kept us off the water for days. That blow scattered the fish from one end of the Bay to the other and while we have been taking fair catches since then, today was the first day that we limited out this month, but it still took an all day effort to accomplish that feat. In the four days of fishing since the big blow, we have been fishing all over the Bay trying to find active fish. I burned up enough gas this week to keep an oil baron fat and happy. Today we pulled meat on the bottom and had a good bite early in the morning taking six quick fish in one rather small spot, but when we pulled lines and went around for a second pass, the wind died down and we only took one fish on pass number two. We then just kept trolling over a long area and eventually we trolled into another semi-active school of walleyes and stayed in that general area until we were done fishing. I trolled fairly fast at 1.8 to 1.9 mph to help keep the sheephead and bait stealing bandits from pestering us too much. I had bright, fire tiger patterns on the starboard side of the spread and natural colors on the port side and they hit everything about equally, so no color preference was apparent to me. The clients that I had today also fished with me Tuesday when we fished north of Big Charity Island all day taking some nice walleyes and one huge smallmouth bass that was 22" and six pounds and is heading to the taxidermist. They are already planning their pure Michigan return trip for next year.
7/27/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We have not had a good morning bite for several days in a row and today made in four days straight of lack luster morning action. The better catch rates seem to be more mid-day. Today my clients booked a five hour charter. Since the best fishing is north of Big Charity Island now, which requires a minimum of a 13 mile run, that only left them with about two hours for lines in the water. Most of our times today was spent running to and from the fishing area. We also had pretty choppy conditions, so I also had to spend a lot of time running back for trolling passes and setting lines. Two hours of fishing time did yield 11 nice walleyes, but with a light bite, they lost at least a many fish as they caught, so the 11 fish total was pretty good considering the short effort. At this time of the year, when the fish are further from port, only an eight hour charter will produce limits of fish and is some cases, like when the wind is up, and the run may take two hours or more, five hour charters are not even going to get my boat into the water as they would be impractical. Even in good conditions, when the fish are located close to port, with the eight walleye limit now in place, maxing out on a five hour charter is not very possible. We do limit out on most eight hour charters though. So if you are contemplating a charter, especially late in the summer, an eight hour trip may be necessary to get a good catch and you should only consider a five hour charter if you are not concerned with the number of fish you will end up with. Today we caught our walleyes on spinner/crawler rigs trolled mostly close to the bottom with bottom bouncers. We did take a few suspended fish with the same rigs, but most of the best action was down low in the water column. Trolling speeds varied a lot with the surging waves from 1.4 to 2.0 mph. Color did not mater as everything got hit about equally from bright colors to more natural tones. Hopefully the morning bite will improve this week to make it better fishing throughout the charter.
7/26/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
It was a beautiful day on Saginaw Bay today with limit catches of mostly big walleyes. We started out the morning in the same spot where we limited out yesterday, but the water had cleared up there with the strong west winds blew the stained waters eastward scattering the fish. With only two walleyes in the box after two hours of fishing, we made a move to another area and the first hour of fishing there yielded 15 walleyes with some non-stop action on some dandy sized fish. We took a half dozen walleyes there in the 24-25 inch range and all but three were over 20 inches for a pretty good average size indeed. We pulled spinners behind bottom bouncers catching fish today in waters from 12 to over 30 feet deep. I just adjusted the setbacks and speed to keep the lures just off bottom in the up and down contours of the Charity Islands, rocky, bottom structure. Color did not make any difference today as they hit everything in the water about equally. I trolled at speed of 1.5 to 2.0 mph to raise and lower the lures as the depth changes dictated. If you want to see exactly what we were doing today, I helped my friend John Bergsma film a segment of Fisherman's Digest TV show last year at about this time, in the same general area we fished today. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypy3fTfaQCM and let me know if you have any questions or comments.
7/25/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from down state MI, with a cottage near Oscoda, caught their limit of walleyes today fishing the Charities. I've been fishing out there for about a week now and the fishing there has been awesome at times, but there have been a lot of lulls and moving schools of fish to contend with. We had a blow day yesterday, so we went back to the area where we caught a lot of fish on Saturday, but the bite this morning there was slow. The winds started off southerly before we hit the water, then switched to the west as we ran out. Once we set lines the wind then switched to the northwest and then it went back to the southwest. When the wind is all over the pace like that, walleyes don't typically bite very good, so we just stayed in that spot and waited them out taking a fish now and then to make it interesting until the finally turned on at about noon. Once they turned on, we had steady action and I was even able to catch some fish for myself too after my clients limited out. We pulled all meat today and fire/tiger was best when the fishing was slow, but when they stared biting good, it did not mater on color. We trolled at 1.8 to 1.9 mph to try to keep the sheephead off, but we still ended up catching a lot of those critters. We also caught several catfish too. We caught walleyes from 24" on down with most of the fish being good sized specimens. With warm weather predicted for the next week, and warming water temperatures on Saginaw Bay, the Outer Bay walleye fishing should get better and better every day, which is a great thing for Au Gres.
7/23/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a blow day with high winds and a strong afternoon storm on Thursday, the water was riled up yesterday and the fish were scattered. We still managed 14 walleyes in the box though, but today we did better with 30 walleyes and one chunky smallmouth bass. One walleye wore a jaw tag, which we have see a lot this year. The walleyes today were all 15 to 24 inches with a fair number over 20 inches. The morning bite was slow as we only took two fish at our first spot and blanked at spot number two. Stop number three though yielded better results though, but the bite there didn't really take off until the last couple hours of the charter. We caught all our fish today on meat. I tried some plastic in the morning, but with no bites on those at all, I pull those rigs from the lineup and gave them what they wanted. We trolled pretty fast today at 1.8 to 1.9 mph, so smaller blades were a must in those conditions. In the end, color did not mater much. I ran bright colors on the port side and natural colors on the starboard side. The action could come in spurts of double headers on one side or another, but everything got hit about equally by day's end. We are fishing the outer bay now, so out there the fish tend to move around a lot, so you just need to keep moving until you find and active school of fish, which is what we did today.
7/20/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had an absolutely beautiful day for fishing on the Bay today and my clients from Birch Run, MI, Reno, NV and parts elsewhere took advantage by catching their 32 walleye limit. We headed back to the same area where we fished yesterday, but with a south wind to start the day, we set up for a long, north to south trolling pass that took us over about five miles of water. The first couple hours of fishing were somewhat slow, but eventually we trolled into a pretty good school of fish and then caught 15 walleyes in just over an hour of fishing there. We then made another pass though that hot area, but by then the wind had died down and so did the bite. We then picked away at them for the rest of the charter and it took nearly the entire eight hour trip to limit out including fish that I caught and added to the box. Most of our walleyes today were in the 18 to 20 inch range (good eaters) with some bigger and some smaller. I ran a mixed spread of Hot N' Tots on the outside boards and spinner/crawler rigs on the rest of the rigs. A fast trolling speed of 1.9 mph helped to keep the sheephead off the line, but we still caught a lot of those critters too. We also caught several channel catfish too. Chrome tots were productive in the morning, but in the afternoon, they died down. Our best rig today was the starboard flatline with a 4 ounce bottom bouncer and trailing crawler harness in red/silver. That one rig, trolled right on the bottom, probably caught 15 walleyes today.
7/19/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After two big wind days, where we didn't fish Sunday, and could only fish shallow water yesterday to keep out of the big waves, taking a dozen walleyes, we ventured out today a bit further and caught 22 walleyes, but the predicted light winds turned out to be a pretty stiff north wind switching to the east and kicking up big waves. 22 walleyes was actually a very good catch today considering the conditions. We caught them on a mixed program of Hot N' Tots on the outside boards, and spinner/crawler rigs on the middle and inside board and flatlines. A trolling speed of 1.7 mph was best, but we did catch a lot of sheephead and catfish though, so tomorrow I may try running a bit faster to keep the junk off the lines. Some pretty good sized fish were caught the last two days and tomorrow hopefully will have some better fishing conditions and likely a better result yet.
7/16/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Kalamazoo caught their limits of walleyes today, but it took most of an eight hour charter for them to accomplish that feat. We started out the morning heading back to the same spot where we limited out yesterday, but after 45 minutes there and not one walleye to show for it, I pulled lines and started heading to my Plan B spot. I got about two miles into that run and a buddy of mine called me on the cell phone and told me he was doing good in an entirely different location, so I changed course and headed the 10 miles to that spot. Once there we had a on and off bite all day. Every time the wind would switch or clouds would block out the sun, the fish would stop biting. We also caught a lot of catfish and sheephead today too and had to sort through some undersized walleyes. We also lost a lot of walleyes too, with the light bite. It did add up to a lot of action though with well over 50 fish on the line. We caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs behind heavy bottom bouncers trolling at 1.5 to 1.8 mph with the lures skipping along right on the bottom. Color did not seem to mater as we caught fish about equally on all patterns in the water. My buddy did catch some walleyes on plastic in that area, but since I had re-rigged everything prior to getting there, and because we were getting a lot of bites, I did not make any changes to my spread except for the big sheephead that broke off an harness when I tried to land it without a net.
7/15/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After three days off the water due to high winds, we finally got back to fishing today. The forecast called for winds in the 10 knot range, but reality dished out more of a bitter pill with winds gusting to 20 knots at times. At least it was an offshore wind (northwest) today though, so we had some protection from the waves. My clients today from Ada, MI managed to catch their limits of walleye though dispute the tough weather and water conditions. It was a very light bite today with about haft the fish we hooked shaking free. I changed up my program today by running Hot N' Tots on the outside boards, high running crawler harnesses on the middle boards, deep running crawlers with bottom bouncers on the inside boards and bottom thunking rigs on the flat lines with four ounce bottom bouncers. All those rigs produced about equal numbers of fish, so I never changed things up all day. We had to make long trolling passes with the stiff winds, so we would troll into areas where the fish would hit one setup on both sides, then later, in another area, the fish would hit something else. This went on all day long. I ran bright colors on one side of the boat and more natural colors on the other, and both sides were hit about equally, so color did not mater much where we fished. It was great talking to several people in Au Gres for the West Michigan Walleye Club outing. Hopefully you folks will have better conditions for tomorrow's tournament.
7/11/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today I had the privilege of fishing with a very famous celebrity whose alias is Greg Sand and he lives right here in Michigan. He has been fishing with me for many years, typically multiple times per year. We started out today heading right back to the same area where we did so well yesterday, but after a long troll through that spot, and only one walleye in the box, it was time to make a move. We then headed to my plan B spot, which was also good yesterday (from a report of someone I know) but unfortunately, that area too was a bust. We then headed to my plan C spot and when we cruised over that area to set up for a down wind trolling pass, I did mark a lot of fish there on the bottom. We then set up a spread of spinner/crawler rigs right on the bottom and started to get some action right away. At first the bite was pretty light and somewhat slow, but after an hour there, we did hone in on a very active school of fish in a fairly tight area and with the wind died down, we circled around on them a few times and loaded up pretty quick. I was even able to catch my limit too in about 20 minutes, which was nice since I just depleted the walleyes in my freezer with a big fish fry over the weekend. We trolled at about 1.5 to 1.6 mph today for best success. Color did not mater, since the fish were on the bottom in fairly deep water. The forecast today looked pretty good yesterday, but when I read it this morning, they had totally changed their predictions for the worse. There was a big, nasty looking storm hanging over western MI all morning, but thanks to my cell phone booster on the boat, I was able to closely monitor that storm on my smart phone and we were able to keep fishing as it changed course and then later broke up leaving us high and dry and ankle deep in walleyes.
7/10/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a couple bad weather days with high winds and storms, we finally got a good day to fish today with light winds and sunny skies. My clients today from the Hastings, MI area took home their limit of walleyes (24) and also kept a couple yellow perch too. We fished deep water not too far from Au Gres. I was surprised that there was extremely light fishing pressure at Au Gres today considering it is a weekend in July. We had very few boats within sight of us today. The morning started out pretty slow with only a few fish caught in the first hour. After that though the bite slowly picked up and by mid-day we had pretty steady action but with a lot of lost fish due to a light bite. We also caught a lot of undersized walleyes today, which is always a good thing as it bodes well for the future of the Bay's walleye fishery. There were some young of the year walleyes (4") today too which indicates a good 2016 walleye hatch when those start showing up in the catch. We also caught a lot of yearling walleyes (8") too and also plenty of two year old (12"). The keepers we boxed today were mostly 16 to 22 inchers. We seem to have pretty strong year classes of one, two, three and four year old walleyes. All our fish today were caught close to the bottom. I did try to run some suspended rigs, but they did not produce anything. Spinner/crawler rigs trolled at 1.5 mph with 3-4 oz. bottom bouncers was the program. Like usual with those bottom hugging fish, color did not mater at all, but the small details of the harness probably do. A #3 Colorado blade on a quick change clevis ahead of the various beads and/or rig float trialed by two, super sharp, #4 bait holder hooks spaced a couple inches apart with a 5', 25 lbs. test, fluorocarbon leader is the rig. I also highly favor plain lead color, Walleye's Choice bottom bouncers in no less than a 3 ounce size.
7/5/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a pretty nice day on Saginaw Bay today with partly sunny skies and fairly light winds with a one to two foot chop. The wind was unsteady though and shifted four times throughout the day. When the winds shifted, the bite would slow into a lull, but when it remained steady for a while they were more active. My clients from various suburbs around Detroit did catch their limit of 32 walleyes in the 14 to 24 inch range, which most of the fish 19 to 20 inchers. They also took home a few nice yellow perch too. With fished south of Au Gres again pulling all the fish off the bottom in deep water with heavy bottom bouncers taking spinner crawler rigs to the fish. Trolling at 1.4 mph was best today. No color preference was noticed, which is typical of the Bay's walleyes when they are on bottom and in deep water. I'm using a half crawler and a special harness designed for a small bait with #3 Colorado spinners and a tandem bait-holder hook setup spaced about 3" apart. If you want even more details on my activities, then feel free to check out my Facebook page where I post lots of fishing stuff.
7/3/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from the Lapeer, MI area caught their limit of 32 walleyes today with four jumbo, yellow perch as a bonus. We fished south of Au Gres today in deeper water and caught all our fish on or close to bottom with spinner/crawler rigs behind heavy bottom bouncers. Color did not mater. It was a light bite with more fish lost than caught today despite some good fishing effort on the rods. The bite was also on and off all day too, with some periods of non-stop action followed by periods of not much going on. We caught fish at all sorts of trolling speeds as I varied the speed a lot and also did a lot of S-turns, loops and zigzags. I run a Simrad, Auto Pilot that attaches to the hydraulics of my steering system with both my main and kicker motor connected to the system. It does all sorts of fancy stuff, but that auto pilot is essential my success as it lets me work the back of the boat while keeping things going in the right direction in about all conditions. We caught a lot of good sized walleyes today with more than half being over 19 inches. It was certainly a heavy box to lift out of the boat indeed and even though I am a fast fish cleaner, that haul took me a while to process into bagged fillets.
7/2/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a rougher and rough day on the water yesterday, yet still productive, it was a little less windy today, but with winds gusting into the high teens, I decided to try fishing right out front of Au Gres, where we were sheltered from the big waves. The action this morning started off pretty fast pace with about 20 fish on in the first couple hours of fishing. After that the bite slowed down some, but we still picked away at them and my clients from Livingston County managed to fill their limits on nice walleyes. They even caught a couple steelhead today too as a bonus, one of which was decent size. When that fish hit it jumped out of the water right away and then jumped several more times high hurdling the two middle and outside planer boards. Somehow it didn't tangle things up too badly, and we were able to land that silver bullet. We also caught one of the biggest sheephead I've ever seen today. It was so big it barley fit in my big-net. I would estimate it's weight at over 15 pounds. We caught all our fish today on spinner/crawler rigs with no preference for color noticed. Most of the fish were pulled off the bottom, but we did take some fish, including the steelhead on a suspended rig. A trolling speed of 1.4 mph was best. We are predicted to have ideal fishing conditions the next couple days, so we should really put the hurt on the walleyes for the rest of this holiday weekend on the Bay.
6/30/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients wrapped up their three day stint of fishing with me and they took their 32 walleye limit once again today and also a quite a few dandy perch to 13 inches as a bonus. They also caught a big walleye just shy of 28 inches and a lot of other chunkers, which all told, filled a 100 quart cooler nearly to capacity. In three days of fishing with me, these four guys caught over 100 fish and got to ply a lot of different areas of the Bay in the process. They also ate fresh walleyes nightly here too, which is always a great way to end any day on a fishing trip. Today we ran south of Au Gres and the bite started out rather slow with about 10 fish being caught in the first two hours of fishing. During late morning though, the wind shifted to the southwest and the bite really picked up to a 10 walleye per hour catch rate, which lasted until just after noon, when the bite slowed down a little. All our fish today were caught on or near bottom running spinner/crawler rigs behind bottom bouncers. All colors seemed to produce about equally today, so those bottom dwelling fish were not color picky. It was a fairly light bite today though with a lot of short strikes. I had to troll pretty slow today with a 1.4 to 1.5 mph speed getting the job done well.
6/29/16, Saginaw, Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients had a beautiful day on the Bay today as they caught their limits of nice walleye, but he bite was anything but easy with the ever changing winds. This was their second of three days fishing with me, and we started the day with a good bite taking about 15 walleyes in the first couple hours of fishing right out in front of Au Gres. As the wind died though, the bite also diminished and with a lot of boat traffic in that area, we decided to pull lines and run south. We ran until I started to mark a lot of bigger fish with fewer baitfish in the area. Out in front of Au Gres, we have lots of walleyes, , but there are also tons of baitfish, so when the wind shifts (or any other change) the walleyes there ten to shut down. Therefore, areas with fewer walleyes and less baitfish are better bets during time of changing winds, or especially calm conditions like we had today. All our fish today were caught today on the bottom with heavy bottom bouncer and spinner/crawler rigs. Like always, I'm using half crawlers with a hook spacing (two hooks) of about 2-3 inches and small spinners (#3). Color does not mater when fishing the bottom in deeper (+25') water. Speeds did mater today with less than 1.5 mph being good, but less than 1.3 resulting in more lost fish. We caught bigger fish south today compared to the northern spot. Down south our walleyes were mostly 19-20 inchers, with some bigger, and few smaller. The bite was light today everywhere we went with about an equal number of fish lost vs. fish caught. Good fish fighting techniques were important, but from what I have seen, most anglers lack in that category. If you have ever seen boards flopped around roughly, less than a 90 degree angle of the rod towards the fish, slack given to the fish, or an unsteady retrieve (pumping or jerking the rod), then those are some good examples of poor fish (walleye) handling. We caught fish today in waters ranging from 27' to 47 feet. We are predicted to have good fishing weather on the Bay for the next week, so this might very well be the best fishing of the early summer in this next period.
6/28/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had another tough weather day today with small craft warnings issued for the Bay. The wind was 20 knots and NW to start the morning, which is an offshore wind for Au Gres, so we fished right out front, but stayed close to shore to keep out of the big waves. We had waves coming in two different directions pretty much all day as there must have been a strong east wind out in Lake Huron sending big rollers into the Bay. We picked away at the fish all morning, but the wind shifted to the NE and the bite slowed up for a while. Eventually the wind shifted back to the N and the bite picked up towards the end of the trip and my clients from GA, IN and MI managed to box 23 nice walleyes by the end of the eight hour trip. We pulled all the fish right off the bottom with heavy bottom bouncers and spinner/crawler rigs. We caught fish in 28 to 42 feet of water. Color did not mater, but a slower trolling speed was necessary. We caught most fish bouncing around at 1.0 to 1.5 mph with the waves ruining down wind trolling passes in what ever direction the wind happed to blow. I have the same group of guys for the next two days, so hopefully the weather will improve so they can experience some smoother fishing conditions.
6/25/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We experienced an absolutely beautiful day on the Bay today indeed. Lots of sunshine and a light, south wind made for ideal fishing conditions and my clients from various parts of Michigan and Ohio caught their 32 walleye limit and some bonus perch too for good measure. We started out at the area where we ended the trip yesterday catching fish in about 40' of water off Pt. Au Gres, but that area only produced one walleye after about 45 minutes of trolling. The fish were in that area as we marked tons of fish there, but they just wouldn't bite. We pulled lines and ran in a looping, fish seeking boat ride that covered about 10 miles. When I found an area with lots of big fish marks and few bait fish marks, we stopped and set lines. We started hooking up immediately and never stopped catching fish there going back and forth over about two miles of water. Most of our fish were in the 19 to 21" range (a few bigger and a few smaller), so some good eaters with lots of poundage of filets for sure. I started off with some bottom and suspended sets, but it quickly became clear that the fish wanted spinner/crawler rigs on the bottom, so that is what we gave them. Color did not seem to mater as they hit everything pulled behind my 3 oz. bottom bouncers both off the Church Boards and also right behind the boat. A speed of 1.4-1.5 mph seemed best. Afterwards, I did go to the Doc. Harpham's tournament weigh-in and they had some catches with a lot of high teens and 20+ pound boxes. The winning weight was almost 26 pounds. Most of the best weights came from the steeples north of Big Charity but there was some good catches from Alabaster, Hat Point and some even ran as far as Grindstone City, but the top boats were by Big Charity (if you they told the truth on stage). One top guy was in the money jigging off the Pinconning Bar, but he had one real big walleye though that put him up there. Most of the competitors were pulling meat, but some top finishers did pull good weight trolling crankbaits. I think that had over 120 boats in the event, so it was a good turnout.
6/21/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Back on the water today after heavy winds and waves kept us off the water yesterday. With the much improved weather my clients from Clarkston had a great day. The father and daughter duo caught there limits and had a great time to boot. Bottom bouncers are still the ticket as the fish are still hugging bottom. Most of our fish today were in the 18 inch range with some bigger and some smaller. June is booked but July (not many) and August still have some open dates.
6/18/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Sage Lake, MI enjoyed a sunny, calm, productive day of fishing on the Bay today catching their limits of walleyes. We started off fishing right out in front of Au Gres, but there was way too much boat traffic in that area and the dead calm, sunny conditions made a move in order. We ran out to where we fished yesterday morning and had a decent bite going for a while, but that died, so we moved to an area where I sonared a lot of fish on the run to my plan B spot. As soon as I set lines there it was game on and we had fish on constantly until limits were reached. The fishing was so good that I even caught my limit too, which only took another 20 minutes of fishing effort. We did best in deep water fishing with the outside board set at 80' back, the middle boards at 75 back and the inside boards at 70 back.. I also ran two flatlines at 85' back with four once bottom bouncers to take the spinner/crawler rigs down to the bottom. A trolling speed of 1.4 mph was good to go. Since all the fish we caught were tight to bottom in deep water, color did not make any difference. Most of our fish today were in the 20 inch range with some bigger and some smaller. All in all, it was a very good day to fish on the Bay. I'm booked solid for the rest of June, but I still have some openings for July (not many) and August. I'm even going to offer some limited charters during Sept. and Fall too. Please give me a call if you want to enjoy some fun on the water.
6/17/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After two days off the water due to crummy weather, I hit the Bay today for a double. I took three guys from the Kalamazoo area to the same mid-Bay area where we did good on Tuesday, but the wind died down as we set lines and then switched directions twice during the five hour charter and the bite was slow and light. We did managed to catch 18 nice walleyes and three dandy perch though, so not too shabby on that trip. For my afternoon trip, I took the Under the Radar Michigan host and crew out for a run at the walleyes. They were filming for a September segment and just wanted to catch a few fish for the show, so we went right out in front of Au Gres and set lines in 44' of water. We didn't catch too much there (one walleye and a couple sheephead), so we trolled towards shore and started to get some steady action in 38-35 feet of water. They ended up catching way more fish than they had planned on. We even caught a couple fat, heavy walleyes that went 26 and 27 inches and lost a couple more that were about the same size too. They shot underwater footage of both of those fish being netted. They had three camera men on board running full sized cameras with several other small, wide angle cameras mounted in various spots in the boat that were running constantly. I'm sure they got some good footage and it should be a good show. Despite having some high lines set, we caught all our fish right on the bottom with heavy bottom bouncers (4 oz.) and spinner/crawler rigs. Color did not seem to mater as all patterns on the bottom got hit about the same. A slow speed of 1.2-1.4 mph was best. It got dead calm on the afternoon trip, but the fish still bit fairly decent, but it was a light bite with a lot of lost fish.
6/14/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Manistee fished with me again today and had similar success as yesterday taking their limits of 32 walleyes plus three jumbo perch as a bonus too. The perch were about 13 inches long and thicker than some of the walleyes the caught. The bite today was just about as intense as yesterday, but it was a lighter bite with a lot more fish lost today compared to yesterday. We hooked over 50 walleyes today to net 32 of them. Most of our fish today came off the bottom as the higher lines I ran did not seem to produce nearly as many hits compared to the deeper sets. I marked few fish up high today, so they just seemed to be hanging out on the bottom mostly today. We fished the same general area today as yesterday making two long passes over several miles of water and catching fish all along the way. We did have a luls in the action today though, which we did not experience yesterday. That happened when the wind died down at the end of the trip. Eventually though they turned back on. Various, drastically different patterns of spinner/crawler rigs took about equal hits today, so color did not seem to be very important. A trolling speed of 1.4 mph was best today and anything over 1.5 resulted in a slowing of the bite. Going too slow also did not work as well either. I was constantly adjusting the speed today with the erratic winds. It's always fun to take people fishing that are from my home town as we can BS about local stuff their from Ski-town.
6/13/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today was a lot better fishing day compared to yesterday. Yesterday we had gusty, switching winds all day with downright rough conditions, but we still managed to scrape up 24 walleyes from the Bay with an all day effort. Today though, with light winds and a nice "walleye chop" the fish were biting much better as my four client from my stomping grounds (Manistee) caught their 32 walleye limit in short order. We had non-stop action right from the time I started setting lines with a triple header before I even got all the lines out. The walleyes were all over the water column today, but most of them were near the bottom, so that is where we focused most of our lures. I ran my two outside boards 60' back, the middle boards 55' back, and the inside boards 30' back trolling at 1.2 to 1.5 mph in 28 to 34 feet of water (slower in deeper water and faster in shallower). I also ran two flatlines 70-75' back and those two rods definitely had the most action off all the setups. All the rigs were spinner/crawler harnesses behind 3 ounce bottom bouncers. Fire/tiger was best at 30' back (up high) but color did not mater on bottom. We marked fish constantly and I believe that this massive concentration of fish extends from Buoys 1 and 2 all the way north for at least 10 miles on both sides of the shipping lane. I also marked lots of baitfish there too and the fish seemed very chubby and well fed there. Most of our fish were 16 to 20 inchers, but a few were larger and a few were smaller too. We probably had three or four throwbacks and no other fish besides walleyes were caught today. We did take one jumbo perch though yesterday.
6/11/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We actually contemplated cancelling he charter this morning due to high winds, but my clients were raring to go, so we gave it a shot despite the high winds and iffy forecast. We ran out in a 15 knot breeze from the WSW, but that breeze quickly developed into a stiff wind gusting to 20 knots at times. We ran south of Au Gres and set up in 26 feet of water between a couple perch nets, and then trolled easterly, with the waves all the way to the east side of the shipping lane, and despite the wind and waves, managed to catch 21 walleyes on that first pass. We didn't fine any super, fantastic, hot-spots where we caught fish non-stop, but we just kept hooking up every five minutes or so for some consistent action. After that first trolling pass the winds died down considerably, but the waves were still rolling pretty good, so we ran back to the general area where we started the day and the bite in 26 to 27 feet was a lot better then with some non-stop action until my clients form Eagle, MI boxed their limit of 32 walleyes. The fishing was so good that I even got to take some walleyes too for the fish fry I'm planning for our house warming party. We have been working like crazy on the new (to us) house, so we are almost ready to have a shin-dig. We marked tons of fish on the bottom today, which were likely mostly walleyes. Most of our spread targeted the bottom with spinner/crawler rigs behind 3 oz. bottom bouncers. Color did not mater on the bottom as everything down there got bit up relentlessly. Later in the trip though I started to mark some suspended fish, so I put a couple spinners about half way down in the water column and hit a lot of walleyes there too. The suspended fish were a bit fussier though as they only hit chartreuse/orange spinners there. After I figured out what they wanted, that suspended bite, on just two lines (two inside boards) got hit at least 10 times in one hour. Our trolling speed today was all over the place with the surging waves, but 1.3 to 1.6 seemed to be good. My clients today, who have been fishing with me regularly for years, and consist of a father and three adult sons, have always had good success fishing with me, and with a last name like theirs, fishing is certainly in their blood.
6/10/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had sunny skies for today's charter, but the winds were erratic all through the trip, which affected the bite big time. We started out this morning in the general vicinity of where we left off yesterday, but with a pretty stiff south wind from the get-go, with 2-3 foot waves, we ran a bit further south so we could troll over yesterdays hot spot. We set lines in deeper water though and started to get some very good action right away. We landed three nice walleyes before I could even get all the lines set. We took about 15 walleyes on that first trolling pass, but when we ran back to try that run again, the wind shifted to the east and the bite slowed down considerably. The rate of hits slowed down for sure, but also the percentage of lost fish skyrocketed too on that second and subsequent passes. We picked away at them though and my clients from Imlay City, MI, home of Woods-N-Water News, managed to catch their limits of nice walleyes with most of them being in the 19 to 22 inch range. I even managed to get some fresh fish for dinner for my wife and I too, which I am just situating in my stomach as I write this report. I have an outside fish cooking/grilling station at my new house on the covered porch. The fish cookers is a three burner, propane stove on a nice table next to the gas grill. I pan fried them today and had them with cheesy cauliflower and a cold beer with fresh strawberries for desert. El-perfecto in my book. We caught all our fish today right off the bottom with spinner/crawler rigs trolled behind 3-oz. bottom bouncers: six off Church Tackle Walleye Boards and two flatlines. All rigs caught fish about equally, so color was not all that important today. A slower speed of 1.3-1.4 mph was necessary to get them to bite once the wind began to shift. By the end of the trip the wind had come around to the northeast, so we had to run into the waves coming and going today. With all the changes in the wind direction, we never did troll over the area where we caught all those fish on the first pass. Every time I would set up for a trolling pass, the wind would shift more and I had to troll with the wind in those rolling waves. We did mark and hook a lot of fish today over a huge area, so that is good news for sure. Even though is was kind of bumpy, everyone on the boat had a lot of fun catching a pile of walleyes along a bonus jumbo perch and a catfish too. They even caught a big, white sucker today, but other than those three oddball fish, it was all walleyes.
6/9/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a very windy period that kept me off the water for the past three days, we finally got back on the Bay today and were met by light winds, sunny skies, but very cold conditions at 39 degrees this morning. We headed to the spot where I had been catching a lot of fish before the big blow, but the water temperature their had cooled down by almost 10 degrees and the fish apparently left that area as we didn't get a single strike in an hour of fishing there. We then ran over my plan B spot and sonared the area. I really didn't expect to find many fish there, and was really planning on fishing at my plan C spot a few miles from there, but I did mark a lot of fish on the bottom at as we cruised over Plan B, so I changed over to heavy bottom bouncers and set lines for a test run. It didn't take long before we started to get some action and that bite was pretty good there, especially considering the post cold front conditions. We had consistent walleye bites all morning and eventually limited out taking 24 nice walleyes mostly in the 15 to 20 inch range. We also did throw back some smaller walleyes and caught a catfish and a few sheephead for good measure. We also lost a couple northern pike today too. All our fish came right off the bottom and that is the only zone that I marked fish in as well. There is a major Mayfly hatch going on now on portions of the Bay, so until that is over, it will be a pure crawler bite for best results. Color of harness did not mater today as all rigs were hit about equally. A trolling speed of about 1.5 mph was best. The water temperature was about 65 degree this morning in the area where we found fish, which was about three degrees warmer than where we started out. Right now, higher water temperature areas are going to have more walleyes than colder spots.
6/4/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My repeat clients from the Indianapolis, IN area enjoyed a memorable day on the Bay today for sure. We had beautiful weather conditions from the get-go with a light chop on the water, sunny skies and what seemed like a perfect air temp too. Unlike yesterday when the bite was pretty slow early in the morning, today we started hammering them right off the bat and that steady action continued all morning until we had caught limits of nice walleyes mostly in the 16 to 20 inch range. I used the exact same rigs as we used yesterday consisting of 1/2 oz. bottom bouncers on the middle and outside boards, 3/4 oz. bouncers on the inside boards and 2 oz. bouncers on the two flatlines, all set 25' back. I ran a mixture of red/silver and chartreuse/orange spinner crawler rigs and color did not seem to mater much today a everything in the water caught multiple fish. The heavier weighted rigs did catch onto more weeds, but since they were closer, it was easier to clean them off. Those slightly deeper rigs did seem to get hit more though making the extra effort worth it to me. A trolling speed of 1.7 mph seemed best. We caught a lot fewer sheephead today compared to yesterday, so that was certainly OK with me.
6/3/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a pretty good forecast today with light winds predicted, but when we got down to the launch today, the winds were blowing pretty good from the northeast. As we lunched though, the winds began to die down and as we ran out to the fishing spot, the wind continued to lessen. When we began to set lines, the wind had died down completely and the bite was slow as a result.. Walleyes like a chop on the water and really don't bite well right after a calm down of the wind. When the water was very calm for the first few hours of the charter, we only caught a walleye every 15 minutes or so. When the wind finally started to breeze up though by late morning, the bite really picked up with perhaps 10 fish per hour coming then. My clients from Roseville/Mt. Clemens, managed to catch their limits of 32 walleyes, but it took nearly the entire eight hour charter for them to amass that bountiful catch of walleyes. We caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs using various sized bottom bouncer. I ran 1/2 oz. bottom bouncers on the outside and middle boards and 3/4 oz. bottom bouncers were used on the inside boards. 2 oz. bottom bouncers were deployed on the flat lines but they caught weeds a lot, but since they were right there, I was able to check them and keep them clean without too much hassle. Those flat lines did catch a lot of fish, so they were worth the effort. All the rigs were set close to bottom, but not on bottom. A trolling speed of 1.7 mph, give or take .1 mph, that was the speed that did the damage. We fished a different and smaller area that yesterday. There was a lot of boat traffic in the area today, but only a small percentage of the boats I saw were catching many fish, so presentation was obviously important. Color of spinner was not important today though as vastly different colors all got hit about equally.
6/2/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a day off the water from a client cancelled charter yesterday, we hit the water today with a good forecast for predicted mild weather and pretty light winds. Unfortunately the weatherman was wrong as the winds blew at up to three times the predicted level and the winds were also gusty with lots of wind at times and then near calm conditions at other times. It also did some shifting too. The walleye bite today was on and off with those ever changing winds as we would get some spurts of good action for periods followed by lulls in the action. My clients from the Newaygo area persevered though and managed to pick away at them all day ending up with 28 walleyes in the box, which is a pretty good catch considering the tough conditions. We never did take any walleyes on a Hot N' Tot this morning so I removed them from the spread by mid-day and we caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs fished a couple feet off bottom, but not on bottom. Lure color did not mater today, but the depth of presentation was critical. Trolling speeds of 1.7 mph were best, but with the gusty winds, maintaining that speed was nearly impossible at times. I had to deploy a drift sock in and out a lot and mess with the throttle constantly to maintain a decent speed. They are predicting light winds over the next couple days, so we'll see if the weather service can get it right then.
5/31/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We limited out this morning in short order on some nice walleyes with a huge, 20" smallmouth bass too for a bonus fish. We had a gentle north wind as we headed out onto the Bay and went right to the same spot where we slayed them yesterday. We had fish on the lines almost constantly for some outstanding, non-stop action. We did all the damage on spinner/crawler rigs this morning and all off the boards too. Color did not seem to make any difference as they hit all patterns. I ran a Hot N' Tot all morning, but never caught a fish on it. A trolling speed of 1.7 was best as 1.8 or more did not get any results. Going to slow was not good either as we were fishing in a weed bed and it was necessary to keep the lures up off the bottom to avoid fowling them. This is some outstanding fishing right now and the forecast for tomorrow is good. I had a cancelation for tomorrow, so if anybody wants to experience some of this would class walleye fishing, then give me a call.
5/30/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report\
Today I had some veteran fishermen for clients from the West Branch area. They have their own boat and do some walleye tournament fishing, with some success I might add. They chartered with me to learn some new tips and techniques to better they own walleye fishing skills and success. While I'm not sure how much they learned today while fishing with me, they did certainly have a lot of fun catching their limit of 32 walleyes with pretty steady action all through the trip. We did have one lull in the action when the wind died for about 20 minutes, but other than that, we were catching fish pretty regularly. We fished the same area today that we fished yesterday with the same program consisting of a mixture of Hot N' Tots and spinner/crawler rigs fished with both bottom bouncers and high lines. We started out taking more fish on the bottom bouncer crawlers, but by the end of the trip, when the fish were biting non-stop, the Hot N' Tots and high lines were working good too. Spinner color did not mater as we caught them on both natural and florescent patterns. A speed of about 1.7 mph seemed to work well, but even when I bumped up the speed, we still caught fish. We also caught a few catfish and sheephead too, but not nearly as many as yesterday. Our fish today mostly ranged in the 15 to 22 inch range, which are good eaters for sure and lots of fun to catch. The weatherman really screwed up on the wind forecast today as the National Weather Service had only predicted 6-8 knot winds. Reality though was winds form dead calm to 25 knots at times making for some tough speed control challenges. Fortunately though, today my clients pretty much did most of the rod setting and other work at the back of the boat so I was free to concentrate on speed control, so the catch certainly didn't suffer due to the wacky wind conditions. I have lots of clients every y year that have their own boats who charter with me to gain knowledge. My guess is that my clients today did learn a lot and will likely be much better fishermen in their own boat as a result of their investment with me.
5/29/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My wife bought me some beer yesterday that had a drum photo on the cans and I saw that as a bad omen. Sure enough, we got into more freshwater drum today than we have caught all year. My clients, who have been fishing with me for years, also got into a lot of walleyes too catching their limits of 32 walleyes with steady action all day. We caught a lot of fish today on Hot N' Tots, but we probably caught more on spinner/crawler rigs with our mixed spread of cranks and crawlers. A chrome/green tot was the only one to catch any fish of several that I tried. I also tried Shad Raps, both original and rattlers, and they did not produce any fish. Most of our fish were caught up off the bottom today. The best crawler rig was a 3/8 ounce rubber core sinker to take the harness about six feet below the surface at 1.7 mph. The two spinner, flatlines that I ran were our best producers. We also caught some on bottom bouncers, but I only ran two down low in the afternoon today since the bite was more suspended. Spinner color did not seem to mater as various colors all seemed to produce fish. We had to make trolling passes today with the fairly stiff wind, and we made three long runs over about three miles of water where the fish were spread out pretty far and wide. I had some friends that were catching them deeper and some others that were catching them shallower, so water depth was not all that critical today. We probably caught a dozen sheephead today, plus catfish and some perch too, all as bonus fish for a 50+ fish day, which is some pretty good fishing indeed.
5/28/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I ended up cleaning 20 fish for my clients today consisting of 19 walleyes and one bass. We had a pretty good bite going early in the trip, but then a squall moved through the area during late morning and even though it missed us, the winds shifted and picked up for a while and that shut the bite down and it never really picked up again. We even moved around and did not find but a couple more fish all afternoon. Still, 19 walleyes is a pretty good catch, especially considering they were mostly nice size fish with only a few small ones in the lot. We caught most of our fish in 12 to 14 feet of water trolling with spinners on the bottom at 1.7 mph. Chartreuse/orange color was again the best producer and all our fish came off the boards once again too. It can be tough fishing in this unstable weather, but regardless we are still catching lots of fish with better fishing certainly to come during the prime months of June and especially July and August when we had our best fishing last year.
5/27/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from the Davison, MI area got quite the boat ride, but ended up catching their limits of nice walleyes despite a slow start to the trip. We headed back to the area first thing where we limited out yesterday, but only caught two walleyes there in three hours of fishing. The water was dead calm there, and despite the fish still being there, they would not bite. We eventually gave up on that spot and made a rather long run to another area, but didn't mark any fish there at all, so we then headed towards another area where I hoped to find fish. Half way there I started marking a lot of fish, so we set up over those marks and began catching one walleye after another non-stop until my clients were limited out. Those same chartreuse/orange harnesses that worked yesterday were also preferred today. We trolled at 1.7 mph in that spot for our best speed. Had my clients only booked a five hour charter today, they would not have experienced that awesome bite, so the eight hour booking certainly paid off well today. They also caught some perch and catfish today, which were kept for bonus fish. Most of the walleyes today were 18 to 22 inchers with a couple smaller ones and a couple bigger too. We were fishing in pretty shallow water today; in fact it was the skinniest water I've found fish in yet this year.
5/26/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a nice day on the water with my clients from S. Michigan and West Virginia taking their limits of dandy walleyes by noon. I had a day off yesterday, but instead of working around the house like I probably should have done, my wife, a friend and I went out fishing to scout out a bunch of spots on the Bay other than where I had been fishing previously, which seemed to be petering out. When I scout, I don't stay in one spot too long regardless of how many fish we catch there. We just keep spot checking to hopefully compile a good A, B, C.... plan for my next charter. We only found one good spot yesterday though in all the spots we checked and that is where we went first thing in the morning today. They had been predicting a chance of rain today, but we did not get any in Au Gres and we had pretty good fishing conditions all morning with light winds and mostly overcast skies until late morning when the sun finally broke out on and off. We had fairly steady action all morning except for one lull when the sun first popped out and the wind died down to nothing for a short stint. Today the fish were picky with orange/chartreuse harnesses being preferred. All the fish we marked and caught were tight to the bottom, so that is where we put the crawlers, behind bottom bouncers. The trolling speed needed to be under 1.6 with 1.2 bring best trolling into the wind and 1.5 doing the job best with the wind. There was a current in that area, thus the difference in trolling speed preference. There were also lots of floating weeds and debris floating in the area which required constant lure maintenance to keep them running unfouled. Most of the walleyes today were 18 to 22 inches, with only three below that range. We also caught two bass too, with one being a master angler qualifier by 1/2 inch. The bite was light today, but the number of fish lost was minimal. Most of the fish would just latch on to the lures without much pulling. I had some good fishermen on the rods today though, so that helped them limit out for sure as they made no fish fighting mistakes all morning long. We caught all our fish off the Church Walleye Boards today with not one walleye hit being recorded on the two flat lines, which tells me they were spooking from the boat today. We were fishing in 15 to 20 feet of water, so the fairly calm conditions in that somewhat clear water probably caused their spookiness and bottom hugging.
5/23/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a customer cancelled day off the water on Saturday, we tried fishing Sunday, but the stiff, easterly wind forced us to fish very close to Au Gres and eventually the big waves also forced us to curtail the trip too with a light catch. Today though we had just the opposite conditions with dead flat water with about zero wind speed, and super, bright sunshine all day. We ran to where we had caught good numbers of fish on Thursday and Friday, but even though I was marking a lot of fish there, the bite was super light. We still ended up catching 20 keeper walleyes and four nice yellow perch, but we probably lost twice as many walleyes as we caught in the process, which is frustrating. The fish would just latch onto the lures and not pull hard enough to drive the hooks in and when on the way to the boat, they would shake free. That's why they call it fishing and not catching though and even though the bite was tough, my clients still had a lot of fun and took home a good catch of walleyes. They also caught two jumbo, channel catfish too, which both went over 10 pounds. We caught all our fish trolling slowly with spinner/crawler rigs. I didn't notice any preference in color today, but the speed had to be below 1.4 mph to get any hits, which likely exacerbating the poor hook to catch ratio too. We also caught almost all our fish off the planer boards with the middle and outside boards outperformed the inside boards too, indicating spooky fish in the glass, calm waters with bright sunshine. We caught all our fish right on the bottom today as any lures trolled up higher were ignored. The bites came in spurts today too with long lulls followed by short bursts of action. We mainly trolled in 17 to 19 feet of water, but towards the end of the trip, we did troll in shallower and got a spurt of action there too.
5/20/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had another great day of walleye fishing on the Bay today with sunny, blue skies, light winds and lots of hungry walleyes on the lines. The bite was a bit slower today compared to yesterday, but my clients still managed to put 24 walleyes in the box by noon. They also caught a jumbo perch too as a nice bonus. We had a breezy morning to run out in, but just as we were setting lines, the wind died down and it stayed dead calm for the rest of the trip. The bite was steady all morning, but it was also light too with a lot of fish biting, but escaping capture. We caught all our fish on crawler harnesses with red/silver being a good choice today for us, but a friend of mine did well in that same area with copper blades. We had to keep the speed at under 1.5 mph today or the fish would not respond much. We fished the same general area as yesterday trolling in one direction (south to north) for four miles catching fish all along that route. We did troll up onto some shallower water towards the end of the trip though and the fish did not bite there, so we had to make a turn back to deeper water, and the fish bit there for sure as we finished up the trip with fish on most of the lines, with two of them getting a pardon from the fish box, so it was there luck day. We have an opening for tomorrow (Saturday, 5/21) from a last minute cancellation, so give me a shout if you are interested.
5/19/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
After a stint off the water to attend the Arm Wrestling Nationals in New Jersey, and also a couple days in the U.P working on my hunting property, I had to do a lot of research to narrow down a good fishing spot, especially after all the heavy winds over the weekend. I ended up changing locations completely from where I last fished on Thursday and it was a good call too as we got into some good action right after setting lines. We pulled a 24 fish limit in just 2.5 hour of fishing, which was steady action with only one lull when the wind shifted. We also caught two jumbo, yellow perch and a 12 pound catfish as bonus fish too. We trolled in waters from 15 to 20 feet deep pulling spinner/crawler rigs near the bottom at 1.4 to 1.6 mph. Color did not mater as we took fish about equally on different patterns from bright colors to more natural ones. In the calm, sunny conditions, almost all our fish were taken off the Church Tackle Walleye boards with only the perch coming off the flatlines. We fished in one direction (north to south) over about three miles of water too, so the fish there were pretty spread out. We did make a turn towards the end of the trip and did catch them well trolling in different directions. The bite was pretty light today as we lost at least a dozen fish in the process of limiting out.
5/12/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Over the last three days I had clients from Nebraska and Indiana scheduled to fish all three days in a row with me. Tuesday was a blow day though with east winds to 26 knots, so we had to cancel that trip. They ended up fishing for steelhead on the Au Sable River as a fun backup plan. Yesterday we did fish all day, but the big winds from Tuesday ended riling up the water and the bite was very slow for Saginaw Bay standards as they ended up three fish short of their combined walleye limits. The bite was also very light too with more fish lost than caught. We had to troll very slow to get them to bite on Tuesday, which was made hard by the stiff northeast wind blowing well up into the teens pretty much all day long. I had to deploy two drift socks at times just to slow us down to the 1.3 mph speed that they wanted. We started out today trying a trolling pass right out in front of Au Gres starting off in 35' of water and trolling towards the river mouth. We marked a lot of fish there, but after a long stint with no bites, we pulled lines and ran to where we had been fishing yesterday. The bite there was better than yesterday, but it was sporadic. We would catch a few fish quickly, but when we trolled through that same spot just a short time later, the fish there would be gone. Then it was a guessing game to troll towards where I thought the fish might have swam off too. Fortunately I guessed right most of the time and my clients pulled their limits before noon. I even got to catch some fish for dinner too. We did best in waters 20 to 25 feet deep fishing near two poorly (illegally) marked commercial fishing nets. We pulled spinner/crawler rigs with red/silver being the preferred pattern today . We caught most of our fish close to the bottom, but some did hit suspended rigs too. The bite was very light as we lost about as many as we got today. Today the best trolling speed was on the slow side as anything over 1.4 mph did not produce any hits. The water had cleared up some today, so that helped the catch for sure.
5/9/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from the Grand Rapids area enjoyed some fast paced action and fairly quick walleye limits (about 1.5 hours of fishing time). We headed back to the area where we left off yesterday, but with a northeast wind already blowing, we set up a few miles upwind of that area and trolled with the wind. We started getting one fish after another shortly after getting all the lines set and that action continued pretty much until limits were reached with lots of double headers in the process. I ran spinner/crawler rigs about 18' down and trolled a break of varying depths. I trolled down wind for about one mile, then trolled back into the wind, but the down wind troll was a bit better. It was a good thing we limited out quickly too, as the NE wind continued to pick up and it was pretty bumpy when we ran in. The fish ran a bit smaller today compared to yesterday though; a couple inches shorter on average. No particular spinner pattern shinned. We did catch our first white perch of the year, and with water temperatures of only 51 degrees, I was pretty surprised with that oddball. I trolled at about 1.5 mph today, but with the winds coming and going, that speed did vary a lot and they still bit well. We never did troll to the area where we limited yesterday.
5/8/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We have had very tough fishing conditions over the last three days with fronts coming through the region bringing constantly shifting winds, which tends to make the walleyes bite less and lighter. None-the-less, the last three charters were productive with today's clients, who are long time college buddies from LSU, managed to catch their limits of nice walleyes. This trio are repeat clients that live all over MI, and are good fishermen that are fun to fish with. It took us eight hours to accomplish their limits with the best action coming during the afternoon. In fact we only had a few fish in the box by 11:00. We had winds from just about every direction today, some of which were pretty strong too. Whenever the wind would switch or die down, the bite would slow or stop, but when we had the same wind for an hour or so, the action would pick up. We caught all our fish today using spinner/crawler rigs baited with a half a night crawler. Slower trolling speeds worked best at 1.3 to 1.4 mph. We used bottom bouncers, but probably caught half our fish a few feet off bottom, which the other half came right off the bottom. We did best in waters over 20 feet deep this afternoon. No color preference was apparent as they hit everything I had in the water about equally with bright florescent spinners and natural ones too. The light bite over the last few days results in loosing over half the fish hooked even for good fishermen.
5/5/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had constantly shifting winds today on the Bay, which made the bite on and off with a lot of light biting fish too. My clients from the surrounding Grand Rapids area still managed to catch their limits of walleyes though despite a lot of missed fish. We probably lost one fish for every one caught as a lot of them would just pick up the lure and swim along with it without setting the hooks and when they felt any changing pressure (angler reeling in the fish) then they would just drop the bait. The fish were right on the bottom today and we caught them pulling spinners with bottom bouncers at 1.5 to 1.6 mph. No color was preferred over another today. We started out with a northwest wind that changed to the north and blew pretty stiff at about 15 knots. That wind eventually died down to nearly calm conditions, but then about an hour later it suddenly picked up from the south east. It then shifted to the east and the northeast. The fish would bite in spurts and then shut down with the changing winds. Either we were getting lots of hits or not much at all. Odd day on the water indeed, but still very productive with a pile of walleyes with most of them over 20 inches.
5/3/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients today from southeast Michigan enjoyed a beautiful day on the Bay today catching their limits of nice walleyes. I even got to catch my limit at the end of the trip too, and just enjoyed a fresh grilled walleye dinner, which was delicious. We started out the morning in the same spot where we fished yesterday, but after no bites there, we picked up and moved to another spot. We caught a couple fish in the second spot right away, but that bite died as we trolled with the wind into the area where I expected to catch fish. We then headed back further south and had slow, but steady action there until the wind picked up a bit and then the fish really turned on there big time. We caught about 20 walleyes from 10:30 through 12:30 so that timeframe saw the best action. Our fish today were all 18 to 25 inchers with most being over 20" for a big pile of filets at days end. We fished in water temps of 47 to 48 degrees and caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs trolled near the bottom with bottom/bouncers. Both bright and natural colors all worked well with no real preference shown. We did best with a trolling speed of 1.6 mph and caught them going both with and into the wind going back and forth over the school My new electric speed control on my Mercury 9.9 ProKicker is really helping me to dial in the exact speed, which I'm sure boosts our catch. My clients today were great on the rods too, bringing in the fish like pros, which also really helps to boost the catch. With the super generous, eight fish limit this year, anglers that do well on the rods stand a lot better chance of limiting out, especially with the light bite that is common during the spring. Smooth reeling, keeping the board from bouncing around, maintaining a constant 90 degree angle of the rod in relation to the fish after board removal with constant pressure (no slack) are the main ingredients to success there.
5/2/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We faced a very light bite on today's charter catching 17 walleyes and one northern pike, but we probably lost two fish for every one caught today. We had a pretty stiff north wind to greet us in the morning, but that eventually changed to a northeast wind and then it shifted to the east in the afternoon. Even though there were a lot of fish in the area we trolled, that cool, ever changing wind certainly had the fish in a negative mood. We caught all our fish today on spinner crawler rigs with no particular pattern out producing others in the spread. We fished the crawlers tight to bottom as that was were the fish were laying. We are supposed to have a nicer day tomorrow and hopefully will break the long, unprecedented streak of easterly winds, which should improve the fishing greatly.
4/29/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had a good bite going for the first few hours of the charter this morning taking 20 nice walleyes in about three hours of fishing. Then the wind did a quick, 90 degree shift and the bite slowed considerably. My clients from the Frankenmuth/Saginaw area still amassed a bountiful catch of walleyes though that were all chunky, 18 to 25 inchers. We did take one pre-spawn female, but the rest were an assortment of post spawn males and females. We caught all our fish today on spinner/crawler rigs trolled at about 1.4 mph near the bottom. Color did not mater as all rigs I had out were hit about equally. The water was riled up from the big, northeast winds over the last couple days and the water temperature is still pretty cold for this time of year at just 46 degrees. Oddly, I have a Saturday opening in my schedule for tomorrow, but after that I am booked solid for several weeks. If I don't book a last minute charter, I plan to fix or enhance a couple minor things on the boat and also give it a thorough scrub job since they are calling for some sunshine tomorrow.
4/28/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The strong northeast winds have been persisting and making the fishing very tough indeed. We tried to fish yesterday morning and had a good bite going for the first hour of the trip taking 10 quick walleyes on spinner/crawler rigs. Then the wind cranked up though and blew at double the velocity as predicted by the National Weather Service. The bite died as the big waves built up, so we curtailed the trip as a result. This is the longest stint of northeast winds I can ever remember, which is the worst wind for fishing out of Au Gres. Oddly enough, easterly winds are also the rarest winds in Michigan which makes this even more weird. I have a day off today and will be going to the dentist and also attending the career day at the Standish schools this afternoon. It's OK that I scheduled this day off because they have small craft warnings posted for all day anyway. We will be back on the water again tomorrow and hopefully the wind will stay down as predicted so we can get the trip in.
4/24/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Stanton, MI enjoyed a bountiful catch today. They caught their limits of nice walleyes with mostly an afternoon bite filling the box. It was such good fishing that I even got to take some fish for myself to. The morning started off slow with only one walleye being caught in the first several hours of effort. We moved around a lot though and the third spot we tried was full of fish and from then on it was pretty constant action. We started off the day trolling with a verity of stickbaits, but it was spinner/crawler rigs that ended up being the best presentation for the day. We took most of our fish trolling at 1.4 mph and that speed had to be very precise as any slower or faster would not work. Color of lure was not important as long as it was near bottom at that exact speed. Our fish today were mostly 20 to 24 inch walleyes, so there were a lot of chunky, prime eating filets indeed. Most of the fish we caught today were male walleyes. Up until today, we had been taking mostly post spawn female fish, but obviously a lot of male fish hit the Bay today, which is a good indication that that the spawn is done, or nearly finished.
4/20/16, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I moved to Au Gres on 4/14, so I have been extremely busy fishing and with the major relocation effort. We have been living in the same house in Chelsea for 26 years, so as you can imagine, we have a lot of stuff to move. The fishing here on Saginaw Bay has been pretty good on most days, but like usual during the spring, we have also had some challenging bites, but every trip though has been productive. We are still mainly fishing with stickbaits and crankbaits fairly close to shore in waters ranging from 15 - 25 feet deep. Our best baits this week have been shallow Rouges in various patterns with gold being best. I'm running them with 3/8 oz. weights to get them down 10-15 feet. We have also been taking some fish with Deep Husky Jerks with pink being best on that lure. The fish have been running larger than those we typically catch during the summer, which is always nice. We are seeing walleyes over 25 inches on most trips. We have also been catching 100% post spawn female walleyes without one male fish showing up in our area yet. This means that the males are still in spawning mode with the best fishing yet to come. Once the spawn ends, likely this week, we will get inundated with millions of males walleyes in the Bay and the fishing will get even better.
3/30/16, Lake Erie, Monroe, Fishing Report
We had another good day of fishing on Erie today with my clients boating 19 walleyes. The most popular size fish today was 28 inches with lots of those chunky, toothy beasts ending up in the catch. We also caught a few smaller walleyes today in the 20-26 inch range which is always nice too because haling in too many jumbo walleyes one after another can be grueling. We started off with some good action early this morning taking eight fish on the first trolling pass over the same area we ended up in yesterday. The second pass through that same area though was less thrilling as the wind had died down and shift by then slowing the bite. We then started making trolling passes at several other different spots to try to find some active fish. We had a two hour lull in the action until we found some good action toward the end of the trip in shallower water (12-14 feet). Today the best lure by far was a shallow, three hook, shallow Rouge in purple/gold/white color. This lure was discontinued a few years ago and is only available in the used lure market for scalper prices. Luckily I bought a bunch of them before they went bye-bye. I ran them on the boards with a 50' setback and we also took a bunch of fish with them on flatlines 80' behind the boat all with a 3/8 ounce rubber core sinker 6' in front of the lure. These shallow style Rouges are most effective on walleyes when the water temperature is in the low to mid-40s and the water is slightly stained to dirty. We had 45-46 degree water temps today with about 3-5' of visibility where the fish were located. These are some of the warmest water temps I have ever seen for March on Erie. Trolling speeds today were 1.2 to 1.5 mph and I had to use a drift sock at the end of the trip to slow the troll to those speeds when the wind whipped up.
3/29/16, Lake Erie, Monroe, Fishing Report
I finally got out today for my first charter of the year. We fished out of Bolles Harbor in the Michigan waters trolling for eight hours and catching 17 fish, most of which were jumbo walleyes with most in the nine to ten pound class. The water temp in the area we fished started out at 44 and rose to 45 by trips end. We had our best success trolling at 1.2 to 1.4 mph. The fish were scattered and we hooked up with perhaps 30 fish today loosing about half due to a light bite. Our best bait was a purple/gold/white shallow Rouge with a 3/8 oz. weight 50 feet behind the Church Walleye Boards. Second best was a bare naked Deep Husky Jerk 35 feet behind the boards also with a 3/8 oz. weight. We started out with a north wind but when it switched east, the bite died down for a couple hours. But then it switched SE and it eventually picked up again. Everyone on board had great time today with the only complaint being that the cooler full of walleyes was too heavy to lift.
News on the 2017 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 2017 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 2017:
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. 2016 proved to be a near record setting year with walleye catch rates at super high levels. In fact the Bay's walleye catch rates were the highest in Michigan last year. We will be expanding our charter offerings once again on Saginaw Bay by offering some March charters on the Bay (if the ice goes out). That early spring fishing offers the best shot at catching trophy class walleyes. 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 14 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. 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. We'll be fishing there from ice-out in March through early-September and also during late fall too if conditions and demand allow. 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. With the DNR moving a lot of the commercial perch fishing activity out of Saginaw Bay and converting those operations to whitefish, and also a cormorant kill by the Feds last year, perch numbers are responding quickly with 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. It was reported that there were good walleye hatches on Erie in 2015 and 2016, so those young fish should make their way into the catch in upcoming years. The record breaking 2003 year class will still be contributing a lot 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. Lake Erie will produce a spring trophy walleye fishery of world class proportions this year. Given decent weather conditions I expect phenomenal fishing 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. I'll be offering Lake Erie walleye charters for only a short period this year focusing on the absolute best time to be there for trophy walleyes. 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 2015 was bad, but 2016 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. They also announced that they will be making another huge stocking cutback for this year taking stocking levels down to next to nothing. 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 once again for 2016, 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 have 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
511 S. Detroit St.
Au Gres, MI 48703
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