Trophy Specialist

Charter Captain
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About Trophy Specialist

  • Rank
    Charter Captain
  • Birthday 05/11/1960

Personal Information

  • Real Name
    Mike
  • Location
    Chelsea, MI
  • Interests
    Hunting, Hiking, Cross Country Skiing
  • Occupation
    Charter Captain, Taxidermist, Outdoor Writer
  1. 9/3/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report I decided to add one more fishing report at the request of one of my clients today who had been reading my reports and was looking forward to seeing his report after their charter. This young man (in the photo) was not only an awesome fisherman, but he also helped me with the rods in the back of the boat all day too demonstrating some pretty impressive qualities for someone of any age. Our day started out very chilly with a stiff, westerly wind that was nearly twice as stiff as predicted by the marine forecast. Instead of the predicted one foot waves we had three footers for much of the day until the wind finally let up after noon. The bite started off fairly decent, but it was a light bite and we probably lost half our fish today as a result. The wind was fickle too, switching back and forth some and every time the wind shifted, the bite would slow down for a while. My clients from Brighton, MI and Cadillac, MI kept at it though and close to the end of the eight hour charter, they put the final fish in the box hitting their limits of eight walleyes per person. We caught fish of many different sizes today with the biggest walleyes being about 23 inches. We also caught some nice catfish too. We fished 5 to 6 miles from the Au Gres River mouth in waters ranging from 13 to 24 feet deep covering different water on every trolling pass looking for a hot spot with bigger fish. The walleyes seemed to be scattered all over though. The water there was pretty grungy from all the wind this week, but at least there were few floating weeds around, which has been a problem on other occasions. We pulled spinner/crawler rigs on or near bottom all day with speeds from 1.4 to 1.8 mph taking the fish. Color did not mater as natural colors and bright fluorescents all took about equal numbers of fish. The fishing this week has been very good for late season with all of my recent charters that were completed limiting out and the fishing is fairly close to port too, which is nice. Capt. Mike Veine
  2. 8/30/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report We had a foggy start to our day today with visibility so tight, that I elected to try right out in front of the Au Gres River until the fog lifted some since a longer run would have taken forever at the slow speeds that safety dictated. Unfortunately, close in, out front, we only caught one small walleye, one catfish and one sheephead in about an hour of fishing before the fog began to lift, and we were able to pul lines and head south. It was dead calm with a major bug hatch occurring, so we were limited there on spots to fish, but my clients from Toccoa, GA and Boon, MI boxed 24 walleyes along with a bunch of perch, catfish and sheephead, some of which also found their way into the cooler to further expand the big pile of walleyes on ice. It was a very light bite all day with a lot of fish lost, perhaps even more than were caught. We trolled a mixture of different crawler harness patterns about 3 feet off bottom chugging along at 1.6 to 1.9 mph. This will be my last fishing report of the year as my season ends next week and I will be busy baiting bears and getting ready for the upcoming bear season, which I'm really looking forward to. I also just got an order in from McKenzie Taxidermy Supply, and need to get some fish mounted up before the fall hunting seasons arrive. All in all, it has been a very productive 2017 charter fishing season for me. We had a lot of weather cancellations, especially during the spring, but when the weather was decent, we did catch tons of walleyes indeed. In fact, the fishing this year was outstanding and with strong year classes of young walleyes in the Bay this year, next year should be off-the-charts awesome. I can't wait. Capt. Mike Veine
  3. 8/29/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report After a stormy day yesterday causing a cancellation, my clients from Scotts, MI and Toledo, OH joined me today with a forecast that was a bit iffy, but actually turned out to be a very nice day all around. The first spot we tried this morning had some fish there, and we caught some right away, but the bite was very light and for the amount of marks on the screen, the fish were pretty tight lipped. There was some wind before sunup, but when we started fishing, the wind had died down to near calm conditions and then it got even calmer as the morning wore on. Walleye prefer a chop on the water, so those conditions were not great, but we were still picking away at them. After a while I decided to pull lines and try another spot and there too we marked a ton of fish, but the bite was a slow pick for the rest of the morning there too. About noon though, the fish there turned as they finally got used to the calm conditions and the feeding began. From noon to 1:00 my clients had non-stop action and managed their 32 walleye limit and also took some bonus northern pike and catfish too, which I filleted out for them to boneless perfection. When the bite was slow, red-silver harnesses were the only thing the walleyes would bite. As the bite turned on though color did not make any difference. I tried to target suspended fish today, but never got one bite very far up off bottom. The best setup was putting the crawler about 3-5 feet off bottom to try to keep the white perch from steeling crawlers, which still showing those active bottom walleyes the lures and entice them up to grab on. Speeds of 1.5 to 1.8 mph caught our fish. There were a fair amount of floating and suspended weeds in both spots we fished today, which required cleaning lines periodically, but it was not nearly as bad as what we had over the weekend. Capt. Mike Veine
  4. 8/21/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report I was hoping to see how the eclipse would impact the fish bite today, however my clients from Jackson, MI caught their 24 walleye limit well before the eclipse started at 1:00. We went back to the same big area we fished yesterday and did a long, trolling pass in one direction, going with the wind, for over four miles and we never stopped catching fish all along the way and had 21 fish in the box before we turned around to head back southwest. About that time though the wind really died down and the bite slowed up considerably. It took us almost two more hours to finish off their limits and also get some fresh fish me too. Anybody that got a late start today likely did not experience the success we did. We had consistent action both on the bottom and suspended today. The fish did run a bit smaller today compared to yesterday, however we did take some bigger ones this morning with our largest being a super fat, 25 incher. I tried to keep the trolling speed at 1.4 to 1.5 mph, but there were times when the wind sped up or slowed down where we caught fish slower or faster than that. It was another super awesome day on the Bay today with great weather and some fun folks that did a good job on the rods, which helped their catch a lot. Capt. Mike Veine
  5. 8/16/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report Today's fishing weather was absolutely beautiful with a gorgeous sunrise, plenty of sunshine and mostly blue skies for the morning on the Bay. We had light winds and a mild chop all morning too, which was nice. My clients from New Baltimore, MI and Capac, MI caught their limits of good eating sized walleyes without too much effort today. Our program consisted of red/chrome spinners fished on the bottom on the outside and middle boards along with the two flatlines. My inside boards rounded out the spread with two fire/tiger spinners fished suspended 15' down or about half way down in the water column. We did catch a lot of fish suspended today, but there were also a lot of fish biting on the bottom too. We trolled at 1.5 to 1.8 mph and caught scattered fish over a wide swath of water covering perhaps six miles on our trolling jury, never going over the same area twice. We were looking for a school of active, bigger fish, but never really found them, so we just kept searching and picking away at mostly smaller fish all morning with a few good sized ones mixed in. The walleyes seem to be still scattered all over the Bay with a lot of baitfish in the system too this summer. They are showing fast growth rates as a result of all the forage available this year, which is likely due to the mild winters the last two years and the high water levels. For what ever reason, the fishing is still great and we are not fishing very far from Au Gres either, which is a good thing too. Capt. Mike Viene
  6. 8/14/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report The walleye fishing has been good this week for sure. After a good catch on yesterday's charter, I decided to try another spot today where some bigger fish were taken yesterday by some friends. We ran out this morning in waves that were over three times higher than predicted and had some light showers pass by us, but we stayed dry, none-the-less. We even spotted a water spout on the east side of the Bay this morning. The walleyes seemed to l the bigger waves though as the action was pretty steady all morning, but when the wind died down, the bite slowed up considerably. When the bite slowed down, I decided to try some new Moonshine spinner/crawler rigs I got the last time I was in the U.P. and they did put several fish in the box including one of our biggest fish of the day. Those Moonshine spinner blades have the super glow paint found on their spoons. The best pattern today was a fire tiger blade with green beads. The hooks on those rigs held the fish well as we did not loose any of the ones hooked on them, and the bite was very light today, so that was impressive. My clients from Sage Lake, MI caught their limits today composed of fish of all sizes. We trolled in deeper water not too far from Au Gres and all the fish today were hugging the bottom pretty closely. We pulled bottom bouncers right on the lake bed at 1.4 to 1.5 mph going with the waves, so my setbacks were quite long. All in all it was another great day on the Bay and this great fishing will likely continue until the end of summer with the cool waters we have. Capt. Mike Veine
  7. 8/7/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report The walleyes remain scattered following the big winds we had late last week. Our first spot we hit had no fish as the water had changed there big time moving the walleyes out. Our second spot had some fish there, but the bite was fairly slow, and then it eventually shut down completely, so we picked up and moved once again. The third spot had lots of fish on the sonar including balls of baitfish and lots of bigger marks, but the action there was slow none-the-less. What fish did bite were hiting extremely light too as we lost more fish today than we caught. My clients though from Flint, MI did manage to pick away at them enough today to end up with a good catch consisting of 19 walleyes, two catfish and one nice yellow perch. Our biggest walleye was 25 inches. We caught all our fish today on spinner/crawler rigs with some on bottom and some suspended, though I would guess we caught slightly more suspended today. Lure color did not seem to make much difference. Our trolling speed was 1.4 to 1.6 mph in the fairly calm seas. There were a lot of floating weeds in every spot we fished today, which is a result of the pounding winds we had last week, which rips up the weeds and then scatters them all over the Bay. Then those weeds get caught on our lines and planer boards making it a royal pain to deal with. Despite the tough fishing today, it was still a great day on the Bay with decent weather, good company and enough nice fish to make it interesting. Capt. Mike Veine
  8. 8/5/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report After gale force winds forced a cancellation yesterday, we were greeted by very gusty winds this morning that were still pushing the 30 knot velocity. We had to delay out departure a couple hours this morning and even then, the wind was still breezy, to say the least. None-the-less, we got into a pretty good bite very close to port, which was good, because there was no other option for safe fishing anyway with the blustery, offshore wind, whipping up huge waves just a few miles off shore. We managed to pick up seven walleyes on our first short trolling pass, and then another six on the second. The third and four passes yielded about the same results too. During that period, the wind started out west, then switched to the northwest, but when it shifted back to the west and died down to perhaps 17 to 18 knots, the bite suddenly died. For two hours we tried several different spots and could not get any walleyes to bite at all. It was as if a light switch had been flipped off. Thankfully, my clients from Perry, MI had caught 26 nice walleyes before the fish had shut down and they had a very nice box of fish with the largest being 26 inches with many other nice, chunky walleyes in the pile too. We caught all our fish on spinner/crawler rigs fished mostly up off bottom for suspended fish. We did take some close to bottom too, but not many. The bite was pretty light today too with a lot of fish lost in the process. We trolled at varying speeds from 1.5 to over 2.0 mph depending on the wind gusts which at times were brutal. At some points I had to deploy two drift socks just to keep the speed productive. We are predicted to have much lighter winds tomorrow, which will open up a lot more fishing areas to our game plan, so I expect mush better fishing for the next few days indeed. Capt. Mike Veine
  9. 8/2/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report We had a somewhat iffy forecast today with storms predicted for the afternoon, so my plan was to run out to my best spot and fish until about 11:00 at the latest and then head back in closer to port and fish another spot if we hadn't limited out by then. Well, my clients from Melvin, MI made it happen fast this morning with non-stop action from the time I set lines until their limits hit the bottom of the cooler. We had good success on everything we trolled today including Hot N' Tots on the outside boards and a spread of spinner/crawler rigs towed behind bottom bouncers on the rest of the lines. We caught some nice sized fish today with plenty of walleyes over 20 inches and one Master Angler qualifying (21 inches) smallmouth bass that put on an aerial show that was quite impressive. We trolled at 1.8 to 2.0 mph going with the surging waves that were in the 1-3 foot range all morning. Lure color did not mater much. My Hot N' Tots were chrome/green, 1/4 oz. models trolled close to bottom with a rubber core sinker 5' in front of the lure. My spinners were an assortment of colors with everything in the water going about equally. I was using 3 oz. bottom bouncers. This is some red-hot fishing right now for sure. Capt. Mike Veine
  10. 7/30/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report

    Good to hear from you Frank. Saw you truck in the parking lot today. Hopefully you caught a lot of fish. We'll have to get together for a beer some time. It's been too long since we've talked.
  11. 7/30/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report We had a very nice weather day on the Bay today with my clients from Marysville, MI and Lapeer, MI taking home a limit catch of 32 walleyes. The bite today was a bit slow compared to most trips this month with about 5-6 keeper walleyes being caught per hour. The fish were scattered in pockets of fish where we would go a while with no fish and then catch several at one time. We also caught a lot of undersized walleyes today too and two nice northern pike. A lot of small walleyes bodes well for the future of the Bay's fishery. We fished a fairly small area today of perhaps a couple square miles staying there because when we talked to friends of mine fishing elsewhere, we were catching a lot more fish than they were. We caught fish today on spinner/crawler rigs and Hot N' Tots trolled at 1.8 to 1.9 mph close to bottom. Color did not seem to make any difference today with everything getting hit about the same. The water temperature was about 72 to 73 degrees where we fished today, which is still pretty cool for late July. It should start warming up though this week with the predicted stable, warm, sunny, calm weather pattern. That will likely move the fish to the north some as long as we don't get another cold front blasting us with strong, north or east winds. Capt. Mike Veine
  12. The morning weather was a bit iffy today with some storm systems working though Michigan. It had rained all night at Au Gres, but by sunrise, most of the storms were south of the Bay, but there was still some light drizzle and sprinkles out over the Bay as we ran out. The wind was dead calm early in the morning and for the first hour of fishing the bite was rather lack-luster. When the breeze picked up though at about 8:00, the fishing improvised dramatically with the catch rate going from 5 walleyes per hour earlier to 15 per hour for the later portion of the trip. As the bite improved, the size of the walleyes increased too. My clients from Davison, MI, who are in Au Gres participating in the auto show, caught their limits with a box of 32 nice walleyes ranging in size up to about 24 inches. We didn't have much luck on the two Hot N' Tots I ran on the outside board until the wind picked up. After the chop kicked up, the Tots caught plenty of fish, and also the biggest ones of the day too. The six spinner/crawler rigs I ran also produced very well with fire tiger doing better early in the morning, but later, when the fish were biting good, they did not show a color preference. We trolled at around 1.7 to 1.9 mph today and trolling north, into the wind seemed to produce the best. When we turned around and trolled with the wind, the bite slowed up a bit. Capt. Mike Viene
  13. 7/25/18, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report After a blow day yesterday, we headed back out to the same, general area where we fished on Sunday. There was a slight chop on the water as we ran out, but the wind had died completely by the time we got to the fishing area. With the water flat and the sun out and bright, I was not surprised when the bite was a bit slower than in past days, but my clients from Battle Creek, MI did managed to catch their 24 walleye limit along with a couple nice, 11", yellow perch too. We did far better on meat today compared to the two crankbaits I ran, which we only caught a couple fish on. Putting the crawlers right on the bottom the the ticket and we trolled at 1.8 to 1.9 mph. Early on fire/tiger spinners worked best, but later, after we found a concentration of fish, color did not seem to mater. Thankfully the big, northeast wind yesterday did not move the water around much and the fish were not moved out of the area we have been fishing for weeks. With a decent weather forecast for the next week, the fishing should continue to be great. Capt. Mike Veine
  14. 7/22/18, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report The weather forecast was totally blown by the weatherman who predicted light winds today. We had to delay our departure a couple hours due to heavy rain coming through the area. For the run to the fishing area, the winds were light, but right after we got there, the wind picked up a lot and we had 15 to 20 knot winds for the rest of the charter and the wind was ever changing all morning too starting out from the north, then changing to the NE, the east then southeast then back to the east. The bite today was actually the slowest we have had in weeks due to the weather, but my long time, repeat clients from Kalamazoo, MI still caught limits of 24 walleyes without too much trouble. We ran a mixed spread of Hot N' Tots on the outside boards and spinner/crawler rigs on the middle & inside boards and two flatlines. We trolled at 1.8 to 2.1 mph going with the ever changing winds. Lure color did not seem to mater. Most of our walleyes today were 14 to 20 inches with a few larger and a some smaller throwbacks too. They also caught a handful of channel catfish, one large yellow perch and a few sheepshead too. It was kind of a rainy day today with on and off drizzle all day long, but the fishing was still pretty good despite the conditions. You know the fishing is super good when a "slow day", with bad weather still results in about 8-10 walleyes caught per hour. Capt. Mike Veine
  15. 7/20/17, Saginaw Bay, Au Gres, Fishing Report We had some storms come through the area this morning, but fortunately there were north and south. Despite the forecast for "likely storms", we never did see any near us. The wind was also miss-forecasted today being about twice as strong as predicted by the weatherman. We ran out early this morning to the same ara where we limited out yesterday and set lines for a down wind troll, but the wind switched mid-way through that pass, so we had to keep changing the trolling direction to keep things running right. The lousy, strong, switching wind didn't seem to have any impact on the walleyes though as my clients from Edwardsburg, MI limited out in short order catching one walleye after another with no lulls in the action. They also caught four yellow perch today as a bonus. We ran the same program as yesterday with seven spinner/crawler rigs and one Hot N' Tot at 1.7 to 2.0 mph. The spinners got bit better that the Tot, but plastic did take a couple fish though today. Color did not make any difference today as everything in the water got hammered non-stop. I have the same crew tomorrow too, and with a better forecast, the fishing should be even more phenomenal than today was. Capt. Mike Veine