The kings have moved; bait fish scattered

July 6, 2014

image (10)For the Love of Fishing. A blog by Sean McDonald.

The bait fish have scattered in the Ludington area. The good number of kings we were catching in 70-120 foot of water have moved. It should be a few weeks before our larger kings begin to stage in our area in those depths. Our best catch rates in the last week have been way offshore in the 400-500 foot depths. We are now catching a variety of fish not only kings, but lake trout and steelhead will make up a mixed catch. This is typical of a June fishery in our area, now that it is July the lake should start to warm up in layers beneath the surface.

Dreamweaver’s super slim spoons are a great choice for fishing offshore. They are smaller in size and the slim design seems to be more appealing to steelhead and kings in the ultra clear water. We are targeting the top 40 feet of the water column when fishing offshore. Leads on slide divers, torpedo divers and downriggers should reflect the 100 foot rule. When fishing 90 feet down use a 10 foot lead, when fishing 50 down, use a 50 foot lead. Basically the shallower you are fishing the longer the lead to keep the baits away from the boat. Leadcore and flat lines on planer boards are also an important  part of your offshore spread of lures. The speed you are trolling out deep is normally a bit faster 2.8 opposed to the standard 2.0-2.6 for kings.  The direction of your troll is the key to success. Try a number of different angles until you find the one they like.

Make sure you check the MSU Coastwatch website before you venture offshore to the edge of the earth, it may save you some gas money. You will see where the cold water meets the warm water. If there are any black spots on the Coastwatch map they are clouds and make the map inaccurate. Watch for a temperature break on your graph reading on the way out look with your to see the fog on the horizon, that is where the fish are holding. The temp will start off in the upper 50s and will drop all the way down to 39 degrees. The best surface temp has been in the mid to upper 40s.

River fishing has been tough even though we have had a great hex hatch that started last Tuesday the 24th. We have had so much rain that the trout were pretty full from eating worms and salmon fry on their way out of the river. The rising trout are more sporadic in their feeding this year making them difficult to catch. They may feed every 30-40 seconds instead of being in a rhythm taking a bug every 5-10 seconds.  Some nice fish were caught mostly in the first 3 days of the hatch.  After the first night or two of the hatch you may spend over 30 minutes trying to trick a large brown trout, even though it is dark. I think the most common mistake anglers make is using a fly that is too large. Try using two hex patterns at the same time, tie the second off the bend of your hook.

If you want to try your luck at some early kings there are a few pods of them in the Little Manistee River. The water is warm and getting them to bite it the challenge, but they showed up right on schedule, just before the 4th of July. Between 6 and 9 mile bridges and near Bear Track Campground are the normal spots the early kings  on the Little Man like if you are up for a hot weather walk in search of them.


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