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Capt. Michael Veine
511 S. Detroit St.
Au Gres, Michigan 48703
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Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters focuses on the Michigan waters of Saginaw Bay, which is famous for having one of the best walleye fisheries in the world. With super high walleye catch rates and an abundance of walleyes of all sizes, Saginaw Bay serves up perhaps the best walleye fishing Michigan or anywhere else in this country. Nowhere else in Michigan are walleye limit catches so common with fish of all sizes readily available including some monster, trophy class walleyes that are just waiting for you. And nowhere else in Michigan is the walleye limit so generous at eight fish per angler. We annually catch many Master Angler qualifying fish. Trophy Specialists is all about professionalism with a total commitment to quality customer service. We provide leading edge, tournament tested boat, 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. 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. In fact, Capt. Mike is licensed to captain 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). Trophy Specialists Fishing Charters focuses on insuring a safe, enjoyable sport fishing outing for family, friends or business entertainment. Also, be sure to check out our fishing reports to see what's biting or to see what we have caught at different times of the year on the Fishing Reports Archives.
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Current Fishing Reports
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salmon are biting where Trophy Specialist is running fishing charters.
These fishing reports will mainly cover the port of Au Gres (AuGres) on Saginaw
Bay, but we sometimes venture to other areas like Tawas City, East Tawas,
Linwood, Standish, Pinconning, Bay City and even Sebawaing and Caseville
on occasion. We will try to update the fishing
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8/30/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
This will be the final fishing report of my 2019 charter season. My 2019 schedule if completely full now, but I am booking charters for 2020. I just added the 2020 schedule to the website yesterday too encase you want to plan for next year early. Today we had another windy day, so the fishing was "tough" to say the least. My customers from Beaverton, MI came aboard though on a birthday present charter and had a positive attitude despite the conditions. We had to stay close to port today and managed to fill their limit of walleyes taking most of the fish suspended with spinner/crawler rigs trolled at 1.6 to 1.8 mph. Red/silver/glow harnesses were by far best today as nothing else seemed to produce with the fussy, light, bite. It took all of the the 8-hour charter to limit out today too, so at this point, unless conditions improve, five hour charters will not allow nearly enough time to get the job done. I honestly don't consider limit catches a priority on five-hour charters anyway as they are mostly designed for people that just don't want to be on the water all day with the amount of fish being a low priority, and rather a fun, short day of fishing as the main focus. This charter season has been a phenomenal one overall for sure though. I will be very surprised if Saginaw Bay does not set another walleye catch rate record this year with the caliber of fishing being off the charts good. Next year should be another banner year to with a bunch of super big walleye year classes being available for years to come. These are now the good-old-days for sure.
8/23/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We had fall-like conditions today with very cool temperatures and a lot more wind that all the forecasts I saw predicted. The wind started from the NW, and then switched to the N and eventually went NE on us. My clients today though from Traverse City, MI still managed to pull their limits of walleyes from the Bay despite the tough conditions. We caught our fish close to Au Gres today in the 3-4 foot waves with 27-33 foot depths being best. Very few fishermen were on the water today as we never had another boat within one mile of us all day despite being close to port. We caught walleyes today both on bottom and suspended with no particular color pattern standing out. I kept the speed at 1.3 to 1.6 mph in the surging waves and ran all spinner/crawler rigs behind bottom bouncers with the inside boards suspended highest (40' set back), the middle boards about five feet off bottom (50' setback) and the outside boards on bottom with the longest setback at 60'. This strategy reduces tangles when bringing in fish on the outside and middle boards. I also ran two flat lines on the bottom (70' back) and they caught their share of fish today too. I used all 3 ounce bottom bouncers. We had to fish close today due to the weather, but our fishing has been phenomenal all week in other areas of the Bay too, but with so many walleyes now days, there are many hot spots to choose from. Our fish today were mostly over 20 inches, with the biggest being 24.5" and just a few smaller fish in the box, so not too bad size-wise. My clients also kept a few catfish, which is fine with me as long as they are under about 6 lbs., which is about the maximum size that will fit down the grinder at the fish cleaning station and about the biggest size too for decent eating. The forecast called for water spouts today, but none materialized, however we did see some very unusual and cool looking clouds none-the-less. All in all, it was a pretty good day on the Bay.
8/19/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We limited out the last two charters with today being a beautiful and fun day on the Bay indeed. I had two young ladies on this charter with their parents and the four of them hauled in 32 walleyes in about six hours on the water. The bite started off very good with 15 walleyes being taken in the first hour and a half. After that though the wind switched around and then died completely leaving the bite a lot slower with more light bites and lost fish after that too. The lost fish though didn't matter as we continued to pick away at the walleyes until they were limited out with a nice box of fish including a quite a few over 20 inches too. We pulled all meat today again trolling fairly fast to avoid sheephead which were a nuances when ever a lure slowed down, such as on turns. 1.8 to 2.0 mph did the trick. Color did not seem to mater much all day as about everything got hit about evenly. We also caught a big smallmouth bass and lost an even bigger one too. It's always fun to see those jumping fighters going nuts on the line.
8/17/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Good walleye fishing continues out of Au Gres with limits taken by my clients today from Kingsley, MI. In fact, my clients have limited out on walleyes here every day this month except for one day, which was a day that I recommended a weather cancellation, but my clients wanted to give it a try anyway. The fish have been moving around a lot and we are having to run a fairly long distance to get to the fish, but we are finding them in good numbers. We actually fished six different spots today before finding a good bite. Our fish today were mostly 15 to 23 inchers. I'm sticking with an all meat program pulling the spinners mostly close to bottom today, be we have also been catching them suspended on some days too. Trolling speeds have been 1.5 to 1.9 mph depending on depth and the mood of the fish. Today fire/tiger was best in the morning in the first couple spots, but where we really loaded up, they seemed to prefer red/silver/glow. We are filling up the last of the remaining open 2019 charter dates and are also taking reservations for 2020 now too.
8/7/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We have had limit catches so far on every trip in August only one outing in July where my clients did not limit out on walleyes too, so this is shaping up to be one of the best summer walleye fisheries on the Bay ever. Today we had good conditions to start the day with a light breeze and sunny skies. The first couple hours of fishing was very good, but not as good as yesterday when we had a better chop, overcast skies and non-stop actoin. Eventually the wind died completely this morning and when it flatted out like glass, the bite slowed up a lot. We went from catching 10 walleyes per hour to just a few per hour, but my clients still got their limits before noon. We had almost all walleyes on the lines at the beginning of the trip, but eventually the sheephead woke up and started to bite too, so I had to increase my trolling speed to near 1.9 to try to keep them minimized. We all meat with bottom bouncers and most of the walleyes we caught were 16 to 20 inches, but we did some bigger than that up to 25". Lure color did not make any difference, but the precise design of my custom make harnesses certainly did, which allows me to catch walleyes with them at speeds that range from below 1.0 mph to up past 2.0 mph. An article of mine on exactly how to make and use my harnesses was published by In Fisherman this year a few months ago in their walleye special edition.
8/4/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The fishing has remained phenomenal on my charter boat with limit catches every day now for weeks. Today we had a nice light chop from the NE to start the day, so we set up for a down wind troll through same area we have been hammering walleyes over the last few days. The bite was fast and furious for a three mile pass with 18 keeper walleyes to show for our efforts. The wind died down considerably though as we started out second pass and the bite slowed up resultantly as it took us all the way though that second pass to hit my client's 24 walleye limit with the bite turning very light and lots of lost fish then too. It was still a beautiful morning on the Bay. I had to keep my speeds slower today to get the walleyes to bite with 1.6 mph being the fastest I could get consistent strikes. That slower speed though did result in more sheephead hooking up, but they are fun to battle in so that was just that much more action for my guys to contend with. I ran all spinner/crawler rigs again today with all color patterns getting hit about equally. Yesterday we only got one walleye on my flatlines, but today they were on fire being the best setup in the water. I actually pulled them out yesterday to get them out of the way since they were not producing. Today I made it a point to keep them in the water resetting them as soon as the fish was tossed in the cooler even if we had other fish on. This run of stable, pleasant weather has been awesome for walleye fishing the past five days and it looks like the forecast is calling for more of this great fishing weather, so this just might be the best of the best so far this year.
8/2/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We have really been hammering the walleyes the last few days out of Au Gres. Today my clients from south Lyon, MI had a blast taking home 32 nice walleyes in the process. Yesterday we went to the same spot where we had blistering success the day before that, but the walleye had completely vacated that area. I had to guess where the fish had moved, and my guess was super right with multiple walleyes on as soon as I started setting up until limits were pulled. Today we went back to that same spot and those fish were still there in mass. The main school was about two miles long and when we trolled out of it, the bite slowed up and we had to turn around. We only made two trolling passes through the area: One north and other other heading south, and that was all there was too it. We pulled meat just off bottom today and had to troll on the fast side due to the presence of sheephead and catfish in that area too. Lure color did not make any difference. A Speed of 1.8 were good, but at the end of the day, I bumped the speed up to try to keep the fish off going 2.8 mph and we still caught a walleye even at that speed. So I caught that fish and kept it for myself. I just polished it off to in the form a a walleye burrito and it was delicious. The fishing this year has been different from previous years in that the schools of walleyes are bigger and more numerous, but they seem to be moving more that normal. My theory is that with more walleyes in an area, they deplete the baitfish numbers there quicker and have to move more often to find more feed to satisfy their voracious appetite. Walleye growth rates though seem to be about normal. This year we are having to move around more following the increased walleye movements, but when we are on the fish, which we have been able to do most days, the fishing has never been better that I can ever remember.
7/30/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We ended up having a great day fishing on the Bay today, but it didn't start out that way. The first spot we checked where we had been doing good resulted in zero walleyes in the box. The big wind we had yesterday must have blown them out of that area. I made an educated guess where the walleyes had moved, picked up and ran to that spot. Once I started setting up there is was very obvious that I'd made the right decision as we had fish on non-stop from then on until my clients boated their 32 walleye limit. There were some sheephead and catfish in that area too, so we had to keep the trolling speed up a bit in the 1.8-1.9 mph range and also keep the lures up off bottom to keep the junk off the lines. We ran all spinners today and color pattern did not make any difference at all. We did well on my two flat lines, but the boards were producing a lot too. I never did run my full 8-rod spread today as it was not needed. Most of the walleyes we caught today were 16 to 20 inches, but we did get a few larger ones too.
7/25/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients yesterday and today caught their limits of feisty walleyes in short order. The first spot we tried yesterday only produced one walleye in a half hour of fishing, so we tried Plan-B and immediately started catching one after another there until limits were attained. We went back to that same area today, but with a different wind direction, we had to set up starting over different water. It didn't mater as we never had a lull in the action today. Yesterday the walleyes showed a definite preference for fire-tiger spinners/crawler rigs but today color did not mater at all. Trolling speed was not all that critical either in the 1.5 to even 2.0 range in the surging waves. All the fish both days were caught suspended and they were biting very aggressively with few fish lost. All the fish the last two days were 15 to 22 inchers, so lots of good eating for sure.
7/23/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We've had a lot of wind lately on the Bay and it has made the fishing challenging to say the least. Yesterday we tried two places before we found a good spot and loaded up and when we went back there today, we only caught a few walleyes as the winds had changed the water temperature a lot. My second spot I wanted to fish was also scant on walleyes, but through the process of elimination, I pretty much knew where the fish would have to be next, so when we trolled into that spot, we went from two fish in 30 minutes so six walleyes on at once. After that it was non-stop action as my clients from Howell, MI caught their limits of plump walleyes. Color of lures did not make any difference today at all, one we found them. I could have run cranks, spoons or spinners in that area with the same results, but since we are experiencing a bunch of unstable weather and walleyes on the move from day to day, and I never know weather we are going to fish shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, crawler harnesses are the best option. Once you start to catch fish non-stop, changing lures would be illogical too. With another storm front just pushing through the area as I type this, I honestly don't know where I'm going to fish tomorrow, but like usual, I'll use my experience with such events to logically come up with a plans and if you bet on us not catching a lot of fish tomorrow, you would likely loose. Even in tough conditions, the fishing here is consistent like no-where-else.
7/19/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today my clients from SE MI caught 24 walleyes despite the not-so-great fishing conditions. We had storms approaching to we made one pass through the first spot catching a dozen walleyes and then had to relocate very close to port to see if the radar indications of the storms breaking up continued, which they did. Thankfully we only got some rain, so we kept fishing out front for a pass and picked up another half dozen fish. We returned to the first spot, but the constantly changing winds put the bite down and it was a slow pick through there on round two. We caught all our walleyes today on spinner/crawler rigs fish suspended 5 to 15 feet off bottom. Fire/tiger seemed to do best, but not much better than the rest. Trolling speeds of 1.8 mph were the most I could push the fish today, so that was our main speed. The faster you can troll the fewer sheephead and catfish will bother the spread, so I like to see what max speed I can run and still catch walleyes and try to keep it there. We did catch a lot of bigger walleyes today which was nice. We had several in the 25-26 inch class and a lot of others over 20 inches too.
7/14/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Limit catches persist every day this week with today being no exception. Yesterday we had some pretty stiff, southwest winds when we started out, so we just set lines a bout 1/2 mile from the Au Gres break wall and started catching walleyes right away on that down wind troll. My clients from the Pinkney, MI area pulled their limits from that area fairly quickly, but there were a lot of catfish and sheephead mixed in, so today we tried a new spot that I have not fished this year and caught decent numbers of walleyes there, but I wanted to try yet another area that I had not yet fished this year and once we set up there, it was non-stop action until limits were reached. I don't think I've fished the same spot twice this week and it seems like everywhere we set up we are catching walleyes and I'm also hearing about lots of fish being taken from other areas too, so this incredible bite is all over the place with the Bay seeming to have way more walleyes now than ever before. I've been pulling a combination of crankbaits and spinner/crawler rigs this week with no real color pattern of anything seeming to work better than the rest of the stuff we are using. I do try to troll faster when there are a lot of sheephead and/or catfish in the area trying to go as fast as can and still catch walleyes, so I'm playing around with the speed a lot this time of the year trolling typically at 1.8 to 2.2 mph most of the time. Most spinner/crawler rigs fail at these higher speeds as they need to be designed specifically for speed trolling applications. This is the main reason that I tie all my own rigs as I have not seen one commercially available that can be trolled at over 2.0 mph without negative issues. The article that I wrote for In Fisherman's 2019 walleye edition really gets into all the details of how to build and run my spinner program. Pick up a copy and you can see all the details.
7/10/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
World class walleye fishing continues out of Au Gres this week with limit catches being the rule. Today we had winds that were more than double what was predicted, so we stayed close to port. The fishing there was great with easy limits taken in just two trolling passes. My clients from Nebraska caught a lot of nice sized fish too about half over 20" and they are already planning their 2020 return trip to have at it again. The best setup today by far was a fire/tiger harness trolled about 15' from bottom at 1.3 mph over deep water. The past several days we were running a mixed spread of harnesses and Hot N' Tots with great results fishing a totally different area of the Bay where color or lure choice did not seem to mater. The water temperature in the Bay is now in the low 70s, so the bite is sure to be on fire for the duration of the summer, which I consider the peak fishing time out of Au Gres now days. I still have plenty of openings left so you can cash in on this truly outstanding fishery.
7/5/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The fishing this week has been crazy good with the best catch rates of the season coming in. On the last several charters we have been catching upwards of 15 walleyes per hour, which equates to non-stop action and easy limits every day. The walleyes are switching over form a diet consisting primarily of bugs to minnows and shiners. I've been mixing in some crankbaits with the spinner/crawler rigs the last few days and the cranks have been taking there share of fish and some of the larger ones too. I've been sticking with my old favorite Hot-N-Tots in flashy chrome colors running a trolling speed a bit faster this wee to with the warming water temperatures. I just add a rubber core sinker ahead of the Tot to take it down deeper with less line out. Just about any spinner/crawler rig color has been working lately and it's nice to have walleyes that are not too picky. Today we set up an eight rod spread and trolled with the wind, in one direction, without ever turning once, for at least four miles straight, without ever having the slightest lull the action boxing 32 nice walleyes in the process with non-stop doubles, triples, quadruples and in some cases all lines with fish on them too. That massive school of walleyes is incredible and we should have world class fishing for the duration of the summer with fish numbers like we have now.
6/29/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We only got to fish yesterday for about an hour before storms forced us off the water, by we did manage to catch 10 nice walleyes in that short of time. Today we went out to that same general area and marked a lot of fish there like yesterday, but the bite was slower as we only caught about 5 walleye per hour in the first few hours of the trip. We than made a move to try a new area in shallower, but it was full of sheepshead. Before abandoning it though I bumped up the speed a lot faster (2.0-2.2 mph) and made some set back adjustments and in no time we were catching walleyes there and some bigger ones too up to perhaps 26 inches. In that spot were catching about 8 walleyes per hour and it didn't take too long to fill out a 32 walleye limit for my clients who are already making plans to return again next year. We pulled spinners all day today with no particular color preference noted. In the first spot we caught them all off bottom, but in the second spot we took them all suspended. It was a beautiful, sunny day today with light and variable winds that kept shifting, but blew enough to keep things comfortable on the boat.
6/26/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
We are still staking limit catches on every trip now out of Au Gres with
my clients from Bay City and Hale putting a hurt to a pile of walleyes
today. We are still fishing in deep water, but we are fishing
several totally different areas depending on the wind and general
weather conditions. Today we fished close to port due to some
choppy conditions. The fish there were scattered around in tight
schools. We would catch a few fish quick, then there would
typically be a lull in the action and the process would repeat itself.
We caught walleyes at three depths: Some were taken on the bottom, some
five feet off bottom and we also had some decent action 10 feet up too.
We trolled with spinner/crawler rigs trolled behind bottom bouncers with
a eight rod spread consisting of six rigs run off Church Tackle Walleye
Boards and two flat lines. We run the outside boards on bottom,
the middle boards 5 feet up and the inside boards had the shortest
setbacks up higher. The flatlines setbacks were varied based on
the action on the other sets by reeling up line if high lines were
going, or letting more out if more action was happening down deep.
Tomorrow is forecasted to be a calmer day, so we might go a bit further
out in the Bay to check things out where we hammered fish a few days ago
before all this windy weather blew in.
6/22/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The outstanding walleye fishing continues at Au Gres with limit catches taken on every trip lately. Today we started catching suspended fish for the first time this year setting some of the spinner/crawler rigs 10-15 feet off bottom in deep water and they were the best thing going with the most and biggest fish coming on those sets. I've been trying for suspended fish every day for weeks, but today was the first time we scored in that part of the water column since April. Fire/tiger harnesses on the high lines were best today and with the water temperature still in the low 60s on our portion of the Bay, we still had to keep the speed on the slow side with 1.4 mph being about best. We actually pulled a 32 walleye limit today before 10:00, but we got an early start due to the big walleye tournament going out of Au Gres this morning, so we headed out an hour earlier than normal. We fished one huge area today trolling in one direction for about four miles catching fish non-stop until we trolled into a big school of white perch, prompting us to pull lines and relocate to the best stretch of our first pass. After than we limited out shortly there after. Everybody I talk to is catching more fish this year than ever before, so don't miss out on this world class fishery. I still have plenty of openings left for July and August and I'm certain that the best fishing of the year will come later in the summer when the fish concentrate more. This is likely going to be the best walleye fishing ever later this year.
6/19/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The DNR predicted that this year would likely break the all-time walleye
catch rate record on Saginaw Bay, and from what I'm seeing now, they may
actually be right for a change. For the last two days, we set
lines and had non-stop action trolling in one direction for four
to five miles with no lulls in the action. That five miles of
walleyes where it seemed like they were fin to fin and bit our lures so
we were pulling in one after another. In the process my clients
easily caught their limits of dandy walleyes on both days and also
caught some jumbo perch every day as a bonus too. The walleyes are
busy now eating bugs on the bottom at this time of the year, so trolling
with spinner/crawler rigs on or near bottom has been the hot ticket.
The water temperature is finally starting to inch into the mid-60s, so
trolling speeds need to still be kept on the rather slow side with 1.3
to 1.4 mph being best today. All of the Great Lakes are now at
record high lake levels with Lake Huron being no exception.
Yesterday my wife and I took the dog to the "beach" for a swim, but the
beach was not really there any more with the water eating up all the
sandy spots we used to swim at. The high water levels create a lot
of fish habitat though for walleyes and other predator species and it
also pumps out tons of baitfish and bugs that walleyes eat too.
This is likely the reason why walleye numbers are so high now and why we
are experiencing some of the best walleye fishing ever, anywhere.
Walleye growth rates also are excellent at way above the state average
so they get bigger faster now days. We are catching lots of fish
from many different year classes to so walleye of all different sizes
are being taken on each outing. It's like walleye fishing heaven
right now and this great fishing will certainly continue all through
summer too and may even get better as the water warms up more and the
weather stabilizes. There are dozens of different areas that are
producing non-stop action around the Bay right now too so there are
likely 10s of millions of walleyes available right now, which is more
than ever before. This is certainly the "good ol' days" of walleye
fishing right now and I still have some openings during July and August
if you want to get in on this fantastic fishing.
6/17/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The fishing this week has been red hot with limits taken on every trip. Today we made one pass through our first spot and very well but ended up trolling out of the fish, so just for kicks, we tried another entirely different spot a few miles away and really got into them there, but just like the first spot, we eventually trolled out of the hot bite and had to make another short pass to finish off limits. The fish are still hugging bottom and the water temperature is still very cool for this time of the year with surface temps still in the high 50s and low 60s depending on location. So, slow trolling with crawlers on the bottom is still required to maximize the bite. We had to keep it below 1.4 mph today to get them to go. Both spots were fairly deep (over 30'), so like usual in those deep, dark haunts, lure color did not mater. They are eating mostly bugs now with some weird looking, spindly bugs with beady little eyes getting puked up. I'm not even sure what they are, but they must be scrounging them off the bottom, because that's were all the sonar marks were today. The fish did seem scattered around today with lots of walleyes all over the place, but not packed into huge schools for miles like we often see on the Bay. If its calm, like the National Weather Service is predicting for tomorrow, then we should do even better as we can then circle around on the hot, smaller areas and keep the bite popping.
6/9/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from Au Gres, Berch Run and two from North Carolina caught their limit of 32 walleyes today having a great time in the process. In fact, the fishing has been fantastic all week with a lot of dandy fish taken including some up to 28 inches and a lot of good eating sized fish too. We tried to go to the spot this morning where we had limited out in short order on Friday, but the fish had vacated that area entirely. We then tried another spot which also turned up nil. Spot number three had some fish, but the screwy, changing winds at that time of the day made it very hard to fish there, so we motored to yet another spot and immediately started hauling in one fish after another. This was a very deep water area and the walleyes were tight to bottom, so we had to go low and slow to get them to bite. In fact, most of the bites were not noticed by inexperienced eyes. Like usual, the color pattern of the spinner/crawler rigs did not mater at all today in that deep haunt but the speed certainly did. We caught them at 1.2 to 1.3 mph and if the speed crept up to 1.4, then nothing. The bite was pretty light today too with a lot of walleyes lost, but in the end those missed opportunities did not mater with limits taken anyway.
6/6/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
With a super nice weather forecast today, we ran first thing a spot where we fished last Friday, but only managed one small walleye there along with a channel catfish that weighed well over 15 pounds. The second spot we tried had a few more fish there, but after an hour of trolling and only four walleyes in the box, I decided to try plan C. Before we even got half the lines out there we started hooking up and most of the fish there were bigger walleyes too. In just one hour there my clients had limited out with walleyes up to 25" and a couple jumbo yellow perch too as a bonus. All the fish today were tight to the bottom, so we trolled spinner/crawler rigs right in their faces at slow speed of no more than 1.3 mph. Fire/tiger was best today, but we had to troll slow in the cold water to get them to bite. The surface temp was still under 60 degrees today, but with the sun out today and the forecast for several more calm, sunny days coming up through the weekend, the water is bound to warm up some and the bite will improve as that happens. Today's bite was good, but the best is yet to come.
6/3/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Despite some pretty windy weather the last few days, we have still done very well fishing close to Au Gres. Today my clients caught their limits on spinners pulled at 1.3 mph on bottom fishing in deep water. Color pattern did not seem to mater all. The fish are scattered in the area, so we have been just making very long trolling passes going with the wind keeping the speed slow. The water temp was only 56 degrees on the surface this morning and I'm sure it's a lot colder on bottom, thus necessitating the slow speeds. I'm adjusting the throttle a lot on my Mercury Pro Kicker as the wind has been varying a lot lately. Our fish today ranged from 15 to 25 inches, so it sure was a good mix of fish year classes. We also threw back some young walleyes too, so we certainly have a good year class coming up for next year too. The walleyes should be packing in to the Au Gres area even more as June progresses, which is nice not needing to make long runs.
5/31/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
The fishing has been pretty good all week, but the fish have been moving around a lot with the unstable weather patterns as of late. Today though we had a two boat charter and split up trying two different spots early on. I just happened to set up on a hot spot right away with none stop action and called the other boat in on the action. It was one fish after another until we turned the boat around and tried to troll in the opposite direction, then the bite slowed down to a trickle. There was a current in that area and the fish only bit good going south, even though it was nearly dead calm today. Even so, both boats limited out on walleyes though in short order. We also caught several trophy sized pike today with the biggest being 38-39" (my measuring stick was not long enough for accuracy) and the others were no slouches either. Pike numbers are now super high in the Bay and are being caught on most walleye charters as a bonus. In fact, when I fish during the winter here now, we target pike spearing them, which is super fun. They are also also very good to eat; nearly as good eating as walleyes when cleaned properly, which I certainly know how to accomplish. May was a tough month weather wise, but with more walleyes in the Bay now than ever before as per DNR estimates, the fishing was still world class.
5/26/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
With dead calm conditions most of the day today, the bite was a bit light and slow at times, but my clients from Au Gres and down state managed a good catch none-the-less. We started out fishing a new spot for this year after sonaring over my planned starting point and marking few fish there. We did fair through the morning hours, but the bite slowed down there so we eventually moved to another spot and while we did have some decent action there, we decided to make another move to try to find a better bite to end the day. That last spot was in shallow water and had good action for the last hour of the trip allowing my clients to take home 31 walleyes and four nice yellow perch. They also threw back some walleyes and a couple catfish today too. We caught all fish today on crawler harnesses pulled on the bottom at speeds of 1.4 to 1.6 mph. Firetiger was best early, but as the sun came up, color did not seem to mater much. My clients were hoping for 50 pounds of walleyes today and they got that and more.
5/21/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
Today we had a forecast calling for light winds, but the weatherman was wrong once again as the winds picked up sharply from the Northeast at about noon creating some rough conditions on the Bay. Thankfully the second spot we tried had good numbers of active walleyes and my long time, repeat clients caught their limits of walleyes along with six nice, yellow perch in the box as a bonus. They also caught a northern pike and lost another one that was a likely a real trophy sized monster. We also tried another spot on the way back to port and found fair walleye numbers there to catching several more so I have some fresh walleye now too, which I just ate part of for dinner. We caught all our fish today right on the bottom trolling with spinner/crawler rigs behind bottom bouncers. Trolling speeds of 1.5 to 1.6 mph was best at first, but when the wind picked up in the third spot, we had to slow it down to 1.3 to get bites. Red/glow/silver was best early, then later color didn't seem to mater much when they started biting better. I still have a few openings left for May and June charters and plenty of availability for July and August too, which was an awesome time to fish out of Au Gres in recent years.
5/14/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
My clients from the Mt. Pleasant area enjoyed a nice day on the Bay today catching their limits of nice walleyes along with two big yellow perch. The bite today was fairly slow though. The first spot we hit was dead, and the second spot was even worse with not even a bite. The third spot only produced one fish, but then we tried spot number four and found a lot of fish, but they only bit sporadically taking the entire rest of the charter time to max out there. We did boat some nice sized walleyes today though up to about 27". We caught all our fish on the bottom using meat. Fire tiger was best early, then it didn't seem to mater much later. Speed of 1.3 mph produced best. The water temp when we left was about 51 degrees, so well below normal there, thus the slower than normal speeds and bite for this time of the year. The fishing will improve as the water warms up and the weather starts to stabilize some.
5/2/19, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report
I haven't had much time for fishing reports this spring with my wife being in the hospital the past couple weeks. We transitioned over from crankbaits to spinner/crawler rigs today. We had been doing pretty good pulling plastic, but meat today was a winner for sure as we took a limit catches of some nice walleyes. We had to delay our departure today due to NE winds over 18 knots early, but by 8:30 the wind had died down and we were able to proceed to my planned fishing area. The 30 knot winds we had yesterday though had riled the water up some there, so the bite not really on fire, but it was somewhat slow at times, but usually steady all day none-the-less. We trolled at 1.3 to 1.5 mph in the cold water which read 43 to 45 degree at the surface, but likely in the 30s on the bottom, which was where we caught all our fish today. Harness color did not seem to mater much, but fire-tiger certainly caught a lot of fish. The Bay's walleyes are really pouring out of the rivers now with a lot of the fish we caught still dripping milt. I even did some reeling today too and got some walleyes for a fresh, fish dinner. Yum.
Go to the Fishing Report Archives
2019 Fishing Charter Newsletter (page1)
2019 Fishing Charter Newsletter (page2)
News on the 2020 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, modern farming practices 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 2020 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 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 2020:
Saginaw Bay is the official, reining "Walleye Capital of the World" and Au Gres is the top port for years running on Saginaw Bay. 2019 proved to be yet another record setting year with walleye catch rates at the highest levels in modern history on Saginaw Bay. 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 more early spring options there. 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 17 straight, huge walleye year classes, of naturally reproduced fish. When those massive numbers are added to an already strong older, adult walleye population from past years (walleyes can live over 20 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 limit catches are the rule on our boat. 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 skyrocketed 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. 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. 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 somewhat low gas prices and a stronger economy, we will likely be even busier this year, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
Lake Erie Is having some problems lately and it is negatively impacting the fishing there especially during the early spring period when we like to fish there. Last year I had to cancel all my scheduled charters out of Monroe due to not only bad weather, but also due to bad water conditions. The previous two years before that were not much better either. By bad water conditions, I referring to muddy water. In recent years, we are seeing a lot more muddy water conditions there and it is having an impact on the fishery and also makes fishing difficult if not impossible most of the time during the spring. It didn't used to be like that: We used to be able to get in over half of my spring Lake Erie charters, but now we are not even close to that and like I said, we had no good fishing conditions at all last year during the early spring. The reason is man made too: Modern farming practices where farmers perform deep tilling in the fall and also often fertilize then too are causing unprecedented, silt laden, and nutrient rich runoff to enter the rivers during the fall, winter and spring. Even when it rains just a little bit, the water runs off the fields and with no vegetation to block it, the soils wash away into ditches and then runs into streams and eventually finds it's way into Lake Erie. This agricultural runoff problem has been in the news a lot lately mainly because it has also caused toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie that have forced cities to turn off municipal water supplies that draw from the Lake. Those blooms have also caused dead zones in the Lake where no fish can survive and massive fish die offs. Walleye spawning success has been poor for Lake Erie in most of the last 10-15 years causing a troubling and sporadic walleye population. Agricultural interests have been very resistant to correct the problem so it is getting worse and worse every year. With these problems persisting on Lake Erie and with Saginaw Bay's walleye fishery booming, I have decided to forgo scheduling any Lake Erie fishing charters this spring and instead just offer more charters on Saginaw Bay instead. This was a hard decision because I have been fishing on Erie for three decades and really love that fishery during the spring, but for now anyway, it is just not feasible to fish there. If they clean things up and the walleye population rebounds, then we will go back there, but until then we will be focusing our walleye fishing efforts entirely on Saginaw Bay where walleye populations are super high, big fish are common during the spring and where water conditions are rarely muddy near Au Gres.
Lake Michigan and Lake Huron Salmon fishing was a
little better in 2018, but still just a shadow of what it used to be. The average size of king salmon was
up a little bit, and
the number of fish available in the lake was slightly higher, but that
fishery is still not nearly good enough for me to offer charters there
with a reasonable chance for good success and decent customer
satisfaction. 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 seven years ago
combined with another huge stocking reduction three years ago has reduced
salmon numbers to an alarmingly low level. They also are made
another huge salmon stocking cutback last year, which will certainly
lower salmon numbers in upcoming years. 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 2019, which turned out to
be a smart move on my part with things as bad as they are.
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. Last years walleye fishing during July,
August and even early September was phenomenal with limit catches all
the way through. I was very busy then too booking
every open day then, so a lot of my clients are taking advantage of that
hot fishery then. 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 though, I'm going to focus my fishing efforts on the world class walleye
fishing Michigan has to offer on Saginaw Bay.
Coast Guard and DNR Inspected Charter
Long Time Member of Michigan Charter Boats Association (MCBA)
Michigan Fishing Charters Saginaw Bay Walleye Great Lakes Charter Boat Sportfishing
Offering Michigan fishing charters for walleye and perch at Au Gres, Michigan and Tawas City (or East Tawas) on Saginaw Bay. Our sportfishing charter boat targets the best Great Lakes walleye fishing that Michigan, Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay have to offer.
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Au Gres, MI 48703
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