Archive for the ‘Steelhead Fishing’ Category

Steelies in the Huron River

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Locally it should also kick off the season for steelhead in the Huron River over in Flat Rock.  Look for the colder temps to continue, and if it holds true it will the numbers should be there. Good places are the dam in FlatRoc park near the senior center, also an angler combat zone when the fish are running. East of Telegraph look for holes in the river to start holding fish in good numbers.  If the river stays open, and it usually does, this could be a very good winter for catching steelies.

Bait of choice for the Steelhead is a small jighead tipped with waxworms. Followed by black and olive colored flies.

Dressing up your Salmon Spoons

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I put this in the Lure Making category, but like many of the other ideas I present, its more of a customizing thing.  Like many of the blade type baits that I use for trolling; spoons and spinners, salmon spoons can be dressed up to help increase your salmon and trout catches during the dog days of August and September.  The time to hit these monster fish is now, before they begin running into the rivers.

WTP offers several types and styles of lure tape that the salmon anglers can apply to their spoons.  You can also touch up your favorite type of flasher, as well.  One of the most popular colors, really isn’t a color at all, but glow tape in a variety of cuts is by far one of the most productive additions you can make.  If glow rocks for salmonoids, then glow in a combination with green simply rules.  It has been by far one they most consistent combinations over the years in spoons, flies and even the flashers.

WTP already offers premade “spoon cuts“.  No more messing and trying to match your cuts to the curve of the spoon.  Its ready to go for application right out of the package.

Dress up the spoons with a well placed flat or 3-D eye adhesive.  That extra flash of color often seems to trigger fish when the bite slows down.

Ladderback strips can be applied to any of the spoons you already own,  and with the 7″ in strips you should be able to get two spoons done for each strip.  Add some flash or a glow pattern to your favorite color patters on the spoons.  Often a contrasting color works well with the existing blade/spoon.

If you remember how I dressed up some of the walleye blades, you will recognize many of these ideas.  THEY ARE NOT LIMITED TO ONE SPECIES OF FISH, nor are they limited to certain seasons.  There is nothing like touching up one of your favorite spoons to increase your catch rates.  Also try stripping off the paint of old spoons that have been beat up, or unproductive and create your own patterns with the tape.  Just read some reports, purchase the colors working the best, and start creating.

Next up for a tape project will be on ice fishing lures probably in November or December as I gear up for another tournament run on the ice.  Will  have some information the new tourney organization, as well as products in October when I have another seminar with the Huron Valley Sportfishing Club in Trenton.

Plastics for Perch

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Normally it would be hard to fish plastics vertically for perch on open water.  The lures are too light for the current,  or if you tried to jig effectively down to 30 ft, the jig would be so big that perch wouldn’t be interested…etc.  Dropping down the anchor will take care of some of these problems on a good day, and if you use the dropper rig mentioned a few days ago you accomplish the mission on the windier days.

I have been using Little Atomplastics through the ice for a few years now with really good results.  Before that, if you told me that a plastic bait would out-fish “live”, I would have said there is no way its possible.  I had tried the offerings from the BIG companies, and although would pick up a fish here and there,  the results didn’t come close to the real thing.  90% of the time they would sit in the tackle bag, just waiting for one of those days when I would run out of bait and I would have a back-up plan.

What sets LA plastics apart from the rest is the movement these extra soft baits produce.  The problem with most baits on the market is the lack of movement they produce while being jigged, even with the most aggressive approach.  Little Atom will wiggle with the softest tap of the rod tip, so even the least aggressive fish will be enticed into biting your offering.

Photobucket is down right now for maintenance, so I will provide pics later, but for now follow the links to see what I am talking about.

The “Wedgee” is a versatile bait that resembles the blood worm which is a dinner time favorite of perch.  It can be rigged with a vertical or horizontal jigging lure, or placed on a small hook on a dropper.  Wish it was possible to say (in the case of all LA baits) these two or three colors work best, but it wouldn’t be true.  I have landed fish with blue, bubblegum, blood red, motor oil, hot yellow and orange, and last year with the new Atomic Glow offerings.

The “Nuggies” has got to be my favorite all around bait from the Wisconsin based company.  It has caught bluegill, crappie and perch on a regular basis when I have walked out during the winter.  Because it resembles an egg sucking leech, it also works wonders while fishing the streams and rivers of Michigan for steelhead.  Last year the owner Rick DeBaere introduced the ” Micro Nuggie ” and the bait truly became a bait for the most finicky bluegill.  You can rig the original for perch with a horizontal presentation with a jig or hook, trailer it behind a small spoon and watch it wiggle on the downward drop.  This winter there should a larger version introduced,  I am already thinking of ways to rig this for walleye on Brest Bay and Saginaw Bay.

Tease Tails”  are a new old bait, just reintroduced by Little Atom.  Offering a shorter thicker profile than the Wedgees, it gives the perch more of a minnow image to take in.

You can find more of what Little Atom has to offer by visiting

Crawlers on Speed……

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

…..well caffeine really. 

I am really swamped this week, so this is my first chance at getting online and taking a look at the blog site.

If you are drifting for eyes or any type of fish that will inhale a crawler or even panfish worm, there is one way to entice a quick strike.  This method is good for fishing from the bank, or from a boat.  Here’s what  you do…….

Buy your bait the day before you go fishing, and bring it back home with you.  Once there, throw some coffee grounds into the worm bedding.  The bait will absorb the caffeine from the coffee grounds and really come alive.  So much so, that at times it can be hard to get a hook into the lil’ buggers.


Give it a try, it works!!!

Proposed Salmon Limit Changes

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

The DNR is starting a trend here,  getting the opinions of those who know the most, the anglers.  They have an online page detailing the proposed changes in salmon bag limits.  You can look up the proposed changes here  Salmon Bag Limits , and see both sides of the discussion in a PDF file.

If you have an opinion,  you can go to your email, and write the department and tell them what you think.

Since the salmon have such a short lifespan, and with rising prices on everything, this might be an incentive for those anglers who seek salmon and trout to contribute to the economy on a greater scale.  I like this approach to increased revenue much better than jacking up license fees.

Drifting with Boards

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

As I write, I am waiting for  the end of a bid on a pair of Church Tackle TX-6inline boards,  then hopefully I will be able to swoop in with a last minute bid.

Pair of TX-6's

You don’t see a lot of folks drifting with planer boards, the TX-6′s  aren’t your normal sized board either.  These boards are 5 and 1/4 inch in length, and when moving with the wind, or in extreme shallow conditions will outproduce the larger boards.  You can also use slightly different rods than you would with the bigger trolling rods.  Normally I use my 8′ St Croix Premier Glass trolling rods with the Daiwa SC 27 LCA linecounter trolling reels.  With these smaller rods I can use my smaller lineup of 7’10″ medium action trolling rods with the Daiwa SG 17 LCA reels.  These reels are roughly the size of a 5500 C3 Ambassaduer, or 5600 C4.

Ok, the bidding just ended, and oopsy.  When I first saw the item, it was going for $14.99 for the pair. From 9 minutes left until 1 min and some change the bidding was kept changing.  I was the leader for a while there with a bid of $20.51.  I refreshed with 30 seconds to go, and I was outbid by a buck.  I don’t mind that too much.  I have four already,  and I can get the boards at Frank’s for $12.99 each anyway.  The hook was the shipping price,  at 10 bucks it was more than what Frank’s would charge me,  so I tried to balance the shipping with the cost of the boards themselves.  At $21.51 plus $10 for shipping, it wouldn’t have done me any good to continue bidding.  Specially since I plan on ordering some more harness blades from the Linwood store soon.

Tax Rebate: Salmon Divers and Attractors

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Ok, now that my bout with insomnia seems to be over, lets tackle salmon divers and attractors on a $300 budget from your tax return.  Originally,  I wanted to include this in with the lures and even though it was three am, things were clear to me….This jus’ ain’t gonna happen!  Although salmon fishing cannot touch the cost of muskie fishing per lure, by the time you add everything up on the end of the line,  it gets on par pretty quick!  Diver-10 bucks, flasher- 12 bucks and put a 7 dollar spoon at the end and it adds up quickly.

Sooooooooo, for the sake getting the most bang for  you buck; divers, flashers and dodgers ….oh my!  Divers come in two categories; the round disc and everything else shapes.  For years and years, Luhr Jensen ruled the market in both types with their Dipsey Diver and Jet Divers.  Today, there are lots of companies competing in the market, which can be a good thing for consumers.  Take Walker’s Deeper Divers, no more screwdrivers or adding extra rings (weights).

Deeper Diver


They actually have all sizes available from the 45mm which can be used for walleye fishing, way up to the desert plate sizes for getting those mid-summer, deep water salmon.

The “attractors” have also gone through change due to increasing competition in the market place.  Again, for years, the standard was the “dodger”  and Luhr Jensen again had a big chunk of that market.  The dodger type attractor has a unique side to side action.  Then came the “Hootchie Mamma” and it seemed liked the “flashers” took over the market.  They might not have been the first, but they certainly had a big chunk of the sales.  These like the Dreamweaver SpinDoctor below, go through the water in circles, maximizing the amount of flash that can be seen by the fish.  They also take your spoon or fly around in a circle teasing the fish into a bite.



next up: electronics


Tax Rebate: Gear Up 4 Salmon-Lures

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Well I gave it a shot,  I looked for new local shops that could help a guy out online for buying some  lures for salmon fishing.  It was a lot harder than what I anticipated it being.  Partly I think because I am not a dedicated salmon fisherman in the first place, but thanks to Google and a few key words, I was able to come up with some good items for loading the boat up.

So getting started with a $300 dollar rebate and concentrating on the lure aspect for fishing salmon what would a beginner or even a regular need for the boat?  I can already tell that $300 isn’t going to go far,  but it will give you a good start for a sampling of all you will need.

Keeping in mind, for this instance just fishing out of a boat, you will need some lures.  Spoons, bait rigs, flies and cranks are your choices.  For the lack of a specific category, I am going to throw the J-Plugs in with the crankbaits.  The bad part is that you could spend easily $300 on each of these categories.  The good news is that the flies are a very effective bait for trolling and they are the least expensive.  Usually they come in around $4.00,  even better, you can make them easily yourself .  Sounds like a topic for another blog down the road.  The Lake Michigan Angler site has a decent selection and would be a good place to start looking online.  One hint, something green is always a good choice.

Spoons,  where do you start with the spoons?  There are so many companies, so many choices and so many crazy names to remember.  Its hard to go wrong with something that glows, specially something with an ultra glow finish. Fishlander, Michigan Stinger, Silver Streaks, Northport Nailers, Moonshine and Dreamweaver  all make good spoons.  The Nailers probably have been around the longest, and the Moonshines have a great selection of glow patterns.

Bait rigs are relatively easy to fix up.  There are several types of rigs available.  Some will hold whole herring or smelt, while others will hold just strips of meat.  Lots of companies make this product, and you might remember that Church Tackle (from the interview) does as well.  Nice thing about the Shock Wave is what you see, is all you need.  No fooling around with toothpicks or other methods of securing the meat.

Cranks are used early in the year, or later when fall approaches and the salmon and trout are staging for their spawning runs upriver in shallower water.  Are there exceptions to this rule, absolutely, but these times will produce the most success with cranks.  Storm, Bombers, Rapala’s, J-Plugs and probably a few more that I am not familiar with are the most common.  Run some deep models, or shallow models on wire, leadcore or your downriggers.

Next up: Divers and Attractors

Are you a Spooner?

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Are you are one of those types who likes to run spoons with your cranks and harnesses for walleye?  Are you just running spoons because you do not want to get your precious boat dirty while dealing with crawlers?  Well it doesn’t matter if you like to maximumize your trolling experience with different tactics or if you just don’t like drowing worms to get your limit.  Either way you are going to have to tie up some leads from your weight or diver to the spoon.

You can either do that on the boat on the fly, or you can tie up one  before the morning trip and leave it on the rod over night, or you can make up quite a few and have them ready on the fly.  Tying on the boat can be difficult at worse considering the conditions on the water, at best you could be wasting valuable time while on a hot bite.  Doing your homework the night before is ok, you save on time while on the water,  but you still get limited by that one leader being on the rod. 

Now  take a half hour or so out of a precious night where there is nothing on the tube worth watching, you know the shows I am talking about,  brain dead reality TV.  Ugh!  Gather these few items (15 or 20 lb Trilene Big Game or Vanish FC, some barrel swivels,  30 lb snaps, some toothpicks and line snips) and while the wife and kids are busy dialing in to vote for some off-key knucklehead, get to work.

Forgot one key thing up above.  If you remember some of last year’s posts, I used those long foam pool noodles that I cut into sections to store my crawler harnesses.  This really is the same concept.  Fill up a 12 or 15 inch or so section of foam noodle, by taking roughly a 3 or 4 ft section of line, then attaching a swivel and snap at the opposite ends.  Then run a toothpick through the swivel end, wrap around the noodle, and then finally finish up by running another toothpick through the snap to secure to the noodle.  You can use a whole toothpick or just break them in half,  it really matters only when looking at the size of the noodle.  For your four and five inch noodles use a whole one.  For those about the size of pipe insulation, use the halves.

Spoon Rigs

You can use an improved clinch knot or in my case, a double loop knot to secure the swivel and snap at the ends.  Why not just run a loop knot at one end, and use a snap-n-swivel at the other?  You can, and it will prevent line twist too.  But my goal was to minimize the sight distraction at the top of the spoon,  walleyes have great vision, and sometimes they do get a little bit spooky.  My snaps are Berkley Cross-Loks, and while they are tested out to 30 lb break strength, they offer an extremely small profile.

The reason I like to have many of them made up,  is the same as why I like to tie up my own harnesses.  Both rigs are throw aways, by this meaning after a good day on the water, one good fish, several fish in a short time, or just a slip of the pliers that nicks the line, that rig is done, never to be used again.  Rather than lose a fish that day, or the next time out, take the time to get it done ahead of time, you lose nothing but a reality show induced headache and a little time.



The same concept can be applied to salmon fishing with flies and spoons behind flashers.  Crank up the line weight to somewhere in the 30 to 50 lb range though.  You want the line to be fairly stiff so that the action of the flasher is transferred back to the bait, using a limper line does not work near as well, besides risking losing a big fish.

Winter Blues

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

If the rivers weren’t running over the banks and flooding everything in sight, normally during these warm spells are a good time to turn your attention towards the local steelhead fishing in the Huron River.  Right now the water is just a little to muddy after taking a trip through Flat Rock yesterday.  Even thought about going to Luna Pier last night to see if the walleye were still holding close to shore, but thought I would save the gas in the tank because the water down there was sure to be muddied up as well.

For the true fish head, this weather is not ideal one way or another.  One bright spot is that a warm up like this tends to drive the retail stores insane.  Prices will soon be slashed on the ice equipment, if they haven’t been done already.  These little warm-ups send them into a panic and they start thinking about clearing inventory in preparation to loading the floors with spring gear.

Must admit I have been turning my attention to any new spring gear that I might need to pick up in getting ready for some April and May walleye fishing on the lake.  Some new components for building harnesses are on the list.  Some of those hot custom colors from Frank’s went on too. 

Anything that needs to be done with the boat can be taken care of as well.  For me, its going to be installing the RAM mounts into the boats for using a new Lowrance I picked up last fall.  Also have to put on the transducers and run the cable back to the unit and get it wired to the battery.

Lots more I am sure will come up, but you can always come up with something to get ready for the next season.