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TrophyLakerTaker

East TN Lakers and Trout 2018 (part 3)

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We fish out of a more remote port called Fairport, MI for Salmon on the tip of Garden Pennisula in the U.P. of Mi. it forms the Northern tip of green bay and extends into lake Mi for deep water and structure.  Its been a remote commercial fishing village for over a 100 years.  (Whitefish is the main commercial fish)  The town of 50 people, swells to 200 sometimes when the salmon head north with boats and campers.  It not a big place so you notice the big change.  This is where i learned to salmon fish in my early teens, when nobody knew it was a hot spot.  10 lb browns were common then  and 20 king days.  Now, all the big lake trollers from lake superior come over and camp on the beaches, yards, docks in July and August as this is the best port in July when King salmon head north for cool deep water and feed.   

 

Long drive but stellar mid summer fishing and short boat rides to pike, bass, walleye and perch in the upper bay.  Bass fishing might be the best in world in October and November on this part of Greenbay called Big bay de Nocs. All the launches are within 7-15 mins of my Mom's house and cabin i bought, and I know all the dock owners to park my boat for free since i was a kid and commerical fish house with ice shed.  There is a campground called Fayette State park that is close to with amazing views on the water.  The people in the town of Fairport are accommdating to the angler and campers, but finding a place to dock you boat can be a challenge.  Many people launch every time out, which can be a pain.     

 

The Wisconsin reports this year say the Kings are running huge.  Many 30# plus kings caught already.  Fairport is one of the few ports where you mostly catch king salmon.   Most southern lake mi ports, its lakers, steelhead, coho and some kings mixed in.  I will give a report when we get back.  I like to smoke the salmon we catch up ther throghout the year with lakers from Watutuga and SoHO.

 

 

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I have fished all the harbors north of downtown chicago and into wisconsin. The browns will invade racine and milwaukee in the fall and into the winter months. It is all about timing. There is a guide up there, his name is eric haataja, dude, he his is incredible. He has it all dialed in. Check with him before you go. I did more harbor fishing in illinois as I lived there, alot of it in downtown chicago and the spring brown bite is epic there too,  but nothing compared to milwaukee.

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The Calderwood Trip That Never Was

 

I couldn't get my boat out for a Friday trip this week because my sister's backyard was too wet to drive to it's resting place. Another forum member, Captain K offered my brother and I a ride to Calderwood for a morning of trolling. Well, the three of us rode 'the Dragon over the state line but when we arrived the driveway into the ramp it was blocked by a huge tree that out-grew it's roots and collapsed. It took out the power line to the ramp and totally blocked the road.

 

We turned around and drove back to Chilhowee Lake where all we caught was a pair of Rainbows and two Perch. Chilhowee doesn't fish very well lately....

Edited by Troutgirl
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Rex and I went to Watauga yesterday and had a good time. We got there at the break of dawn. We pulled over to the dam and dropped the Fish Hawk TD in. It didn't work correctly. The surface was was 79 degrees. After I pulled up the TD to review the temperatures, it skipped showing the first 25 feet. The readings ended at 100 feet although I dropped it much farther. It was about 53 degrees at 100 feet. I may need to exchange my Fish Hawk. It's not working as it should. There were fish all over the sonar at the dam. If I had jigging lures, we might have tried that before trolling.

 

We  started trolling upstream and put out 5 lines. I put out a downrigger spoon with a Mack's 4 inch Double D Flasher in front of it at 62 feet. We put out 2 Dipsy lines. One had a Magnum diver and the other had Size 1. We put out 2 lead-core lines with plugs. About  7:25 a.m. we got our first strike and Rex reeled in a 20" Laker on the size 1 Dipsy line. Then we had a drought that lasted till 9:45 when we were in the narrows, past the Butler Bridge, headed towards the upper lake. I caught  and released a small Laker on the Magnum Dipsy line. Then Rex caught a 19" Laker on the smaller Dipsy line. It was bleeding so we kept it. We reached the upper lake and made a big turn and went downstream.

 

After 9:45 a.m. we started catching fish steadily on the size 1 diver line on a yellow spoon with black polka dots. I think that we caught about 15 Trout. We managed to catch a pair of 14"  Rainbows. The rest were Lakers. The releases mostly went well but I'm sure we killed 2 of the released fish. The lead-core plugs caught 2 fish including the biggest one that was 21".  I varied the downrigger between 62 feet to as deep as 85 feet. The only fish it caught was at 62 feet. The size one diver caught around 10 fish. I eventually parked the Magnum Dipsy and we ran two size 1's without the ring that increase depth. They must have been running about 45-55 feet. That must have been where the bait was. As the day progressed, we saw more and more bait. We fished till about 3:45 p.m. We took home 4 Lakers and the pair of Rainbows......

 

I have pictures but don't know how to load them. A box comes up that says I'm only allowed to load pictures up to 501.76 KB. I just got a new camera. It has more resolution than the old one that died. I don't know how to get around this roadblock.

 

 

 

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Nice day troutgirl. You probably have to use a picture resizing website or app

Edited by rusty50576

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Salmon fishing in northern lake MI the first 2 weeks of July was hit and miss.  Lots of high winds.  Went on 5 trips and caught 6 kings and a steelhead.  Fishing was decent the first few days of July then a big SW blow for 2.5 days scattered the salmon and bait and we caught one mature king on the last 2 trips.  It should have blown them in, but it was the opposite.  Lots of zeros for guys fishing.  Northern Pike were on fire up in the bay.  Any weed you saw had one to 2 pike on it.  Pike have returned to Northern Green bay like they were in the 50 and 60s my Grandpa and dad told.  Spent more than half my time prepping my deer camp and cabin for fall when it was too windy.  Here are a few of the king salmon catches.  

20180705_211527_resized.jpg

Edited by TrophyLakerTaker
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on the big ones, i use a gaff. It you miss with the net, the hooks usually get caught in the net and they get away.  big tangle to in the net also.  If you miss with the gaf. no big deal.  much  more efficient

 

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Is that a big hoochie that the top Salmon hit? I think that I see a hoochie that's slid up the line to near the flasher.....???  I really wanna hit Watauga in the coming week. I may put a big hoochie out for a while and see if it'll get hit. I've caught some small Lakers and Smallmouths on the little Kokanee hoochies....but never a Rainbow. I might get a strike out of curiosity....? .....somethin' different swimin' down the pike...

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Its a salmon candy fly in "novacaine" or "illumination".  Flies behind flashers work on mature king salmon better than anything else. The fly pattern and flasher is quite critical.  I experiment alot to get them working.  They work for lakers when they are in an aggressive mode or dirty water, but they are expensive if you lose them.  

 

Went Saturday to Watugua.  Was supposed to pour rain, but wound up being sunny, cool and windy.  Good bite for sure til about 11:30 A.M..  Got a lake trout limit (had 4 on at one time that all bit at 65 to 105' range, 4 rainbows, one 4-5# range, spotted bass and 27 inch walleye.  Fishing seemed to be at all depth 45 to 110.  Lakers were deeper.  I used your last temp readings to set my depth.  Lots of marks all over from the bridge to the damn.  working on pic uploads.  Got a ticket from the CO for not have a spotter while water skiing... ouch.  

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You're not required to have a spotter whilst water skiing if you have a rear view mirror. I have one that clips onto my windshield that I could put back on in a jiffy. I have not skied anybody for a couple of years. I gave my ski to my nephew.

 

I hope the rain starts slowing down, starting today. I wanna be able to get my boat out of my sister's backyard and fish this week. My rain gauge was a tad over 5 inches for last week.

 

53 degrees is a temp that Lakers feel comfortable at. Are there baitfish that also prefer it that cold. On my last trip we got way more hits in the 40-60 foot range than deeper. We did pick up two Lakers in the 80-100 foot range. I think that most of the bait was in that range, 40-60 feet....

 

Do you think I'd pick up more Rainbows if I set out a Dipsy line with a very small spoon, about 1- 1.5 inches long? I have trouble catching many Rainbows.

Edited by Troutgirl

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Kurtomac-

trolling speed is usually 2.0 to 2.4 for trout. faster for smallies and rainbow.  thin flutter spoons start working good mid summer.  suttons spoons or knock off versions at the slower speeds.  i pulled on a old fin weaver i used alot from the 80s and it caught 3 lakers and rainblow.

 

Troutgirl-

I just bought a review ski mirror with a suction cup for the windshield on ebay.  5

50-80ft  is pretty std depth mid summer for all species. I always set one or 2 lines deeper or shallower.  I can see the thermocline on my graph and how fish are suspending.  I'm not sure why you are not picking up more rainbows.  Watagua has lots of them.  They like divers and small spoons for sure. Try 2 to 2.5 inch spoons in silver or bright colors at 50.  white diver with a 3.25 inch silver white spoon has been really good all spring and summer on rainbows.  including the walleye and big rainbow we got sat.   

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TrophyLakerTaker, you have a much better sonar than my Hummingbird it sounds like! I'll start out tomorrow with a small spoon behind a size zero Dipsy and if it stays too quiet, I'll move it to a size 1 Dipsy. I'd like to catch a few more Rainbows. I like what you said about putting one line above and one below your expected catch range. That sounds like a good philosophy. I didn't have trouble catching Rainbows at South Holston some while back. I caught 'em on Dipsy lines using size zero and size one. It seemed like the bite was about the same off both divers. At Watauga, it seems as if 8 out of 10 Trout I catch are Lakers. Ussually, when I put on smaller lures for Rainbows, I tend to catch small Lakers...but not always... I left a concentration of Rainbows in the upper lake after catching 3 and losing several others last summer to return to the lower lake for Lakers. Maybe I should troll up to where the rivers meet Roan Creek more often. That's where a concentration of Rainbows was that one day.

 

My speeds are consistent with what you're doing. I vary it up and down quite often since I got the trolling speed control. I try to stay in the 1.8 to 2.4 MPH range. I, too, believe Rainbows and Smallies like faster, especially during hot months.

 

My brother and I are going tomorrow.

Edited by Troutgirl

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Kurtomac-

trolling speed is usually 2.0 to 2.4 for trout. faster for smallies and rainbow.  thin flutter spoons start working good mid summer.  suttons spoons or knock off at slower speeds. 

 

Troutgirl-

I jsut bought a review ski mirror with a suction cup for the windshield on ebay.  50-80ft  is pretty std depth mid summer for all species. I always set one or 2 lines deeper or shallower.  I can see the thermocline on my graph and how fish are suspending.  I'm not sure why you are not picking up more rainbows.  Watugua has lots of them.  They like divers and small spoons for sure. Try 2 to 2.5 inch spoons in silver or bright colors at 50.  white diver with a 3.75 inch silver white spoon has been good all spring and summer on rainbows.  including the walleye and lake trout.  Its in the pic uploaded June 18th. 

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I just reposted some how. 

 

One easy trick to get more rainbows on downriggers is rig up  a slider rig.  one snap swivel each end of 6 - 7 ft 20 lb fluro line.  One end use a bigger swivel.  Once you have your deepest downrigger set.  put a spoon on the small end and then snap your big swivel to the dowringger rod line, toss out the lure behind the boat and let is slide down to the bow in the line.  it will be about 2/3 of the way down.  Rainbows like the slider rig.  Shorter lead from the downrigger ball helps, as you have to reel up the slack to get tight on the fish that hits the slider as it slides down to the 1st lure.  u will get more fish for sure. Rainbows like the slider.  Not sure why.  stealth and higher up in the temp zone i guess. I use a smaller lighter flashy  rig for that setup.  

Edited by TrophyLakerTaker
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Rex and I had a good time at Watauga Yesterday. Rex caught a 5 and a half-pound Laker. It's the biggest Trout he's ever caught. He had a good time! We filled out our limit with three 21" Lakers that were all plump and over 3 pounds. We each caught a 19" Smallmouth. We successfully released some smaller Lakers except for one little one that was, apparently, dragged quite some while on a plug. We put out a spoon on a size Zero Dipsy and my first fish was a foot-long Rainbow. We had a bunch of hits on that line in the early morning but we kept losing the fish. We were snake-bit, it seemed, for a while. We put that line out about 180 feet and I'm betting it was hitting about 30 feet, maybe a bit more...? I think the Rainbows were willing to rise that high early. Then, that line went cold till I caught a Smallmouth on it.

 

We got many strikes on the downrigger spoon at 69-74 feet. It was the hot line. When we were in the upper lake, we briefly were in a shallow-ish spot. I lifted the downrigger to 62 feet. We made a big turn to head back downstream right where Roan Creek meets the rivers. I caught a nice 21" Laker right there in about 140 feet of water. It struck at 62 feet. It's the farthest upstream that I've caught a Laker. Rex hooked his 5.5 pound Laker just upstream of the Butler Bridge on the way back down. There were quite a few fish and bait pods in the narrows between the upper and lower lake

 

In the early morning, I dropped my TD Hawk to 140 feet near the dam. At 100 feet it was a tad bit over 52 degrees. At 140 feet it was still a tiny fraction over 50. I was surprised I didn't hit the 40's.

 

TrophyLakerTaker, I think what you're explaining to me is a version of downrigger stacking...? I have not tried it yet. I installed an extra rod holder next to the downrigger for that very possibility. I've been shy about trying it. I'm scared that it's just another way to get lines tangled.

 

I took pictures but I have yet to learn how to down-rez 'em so that I can post 'em.....

Edited by Troutgirl
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