Kings not showing up on time?

September 21, 2014

For the Love of Fishing is written by Sean McDonald and brought to you by Dreamweaver Lures,

Despite the recent perfect conditions we have had for 4-year-old adult salmon to enter into the river systems we are still not seeing them in great numbers. There has been a handful of fresh fish between Custer and twin bridges for the last week showing up- one day they are there and the next they are gone further upstream. Most of the kings to date in the rivers are dark and have been there awhile. The biggest concentration of salmon in the Pere Marquette are near Baldwin in the flies only no kill section and they are spawning. With the cold river temperatures they will soon spawn out and end their life cycle, while we wait for more to enter the river.

So far this is the worst or perhaps the latest run of kings we have seen in 20-plus years in the Pere Marquette and Manistee rivers. Both the Manistee and P.M. still have stained water from recent rains and fish in holes are difficult to see even when you float over them in a boat. The bottom line is if they were in the river we would be catching more of them. Normally at this time of the year we see fish moving upstream in small packs across the shallow water in low light conditions. This is not the case. We are currently finding groups of five to 12 fish in what is now a “really good spot” where in normal years we would be fishing to groups of 25-75 fish in key pools and passing by several pools with smaller groups of fish.

Most pools have zero salmon in them now. We are keeping our fingers crossed at this time and hoping for a good run to happen on the next full moon in early October. The late run- if it happens may be to the cold temperatures we had in Lake Michigan all summer.

The DNR so far is correct that there are very few 4-year-old kings in Lake Michigan. Both the P.M. and Manistee have great natural reproduction for kings. Stocking is down over 50% in Lake Michigan overall. Kings have never been stocked in the Pere Marquette River and we should still see a good return this fall.

Anglers in Pere Marquette Lake are catching a few chrome kings that just came in from out deep in Lake Michigan but not catching or marking on their graphs very many of them. Further out in Lake Michigan charter boats are doing good when they can get out due to strong winds for coho salmon and steelhead but are not catching many adult kings.


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