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Downer year everywhere?


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I didn't have a chance to get out a lot this year but the few times I did the weather just plain sucked. Long stretches of north and NE winds and cold water with very few fish marked, little bait and nothing to concentrate the fish (thermocline or temp. breaks) I could find. Then you hear the speculations on the big but fewer fish being like the year before the Lake Huron crash.

Question: Did the weather affect the fishing similarly on the Wisconsin side and was fishing over there similar to ours on the east side?

Question 2: Was Lake Ontario affected in a similar way by weather and not set up like normal years with fewer fish and tougher fishing?

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Don't be discouraged by the amount of fish in comparison to last year. You have to remember that last year produced much higher than average numbers of fish caught per fishing trip.

After being apart of the crash of Lake Huron,both before and after, i am happy to say Lake Michigan is in a much different situation than Lake Huron was.

The awareness level is much higher in Lake Michigan, than it was in Lake Huron. Biologist and fisherman are working together to get this stuff right! Collecting as much data from fisherman is crucial to keeping things running smoothly, and they're doing a much better job of it now than they had previously.

Over concern of personal success vs lake wide health is a real issue. There is a very large learning curve when it comes to successfully targeting king salmon in Lake Michigan. Not everyone, even in the best of years, can put a full box of fish in the boat on every trip.

There are countless factors to keeping our fishery as stable as possible, and unfortunately not every port can have every boat going out and catching 20fish per trip. The lake will just not be able to sustain such a fishery.

Lake Michigan is built on a cycle. There are going to be our bad years(2008) our great years(2012) and our exciting years(2013..or as i like to call it "the year of the big fish"). It's a very delicate balance that isn't easily maintained. Hundreds upon hundreds of variables play a huge roll in it. Don't get too concerned about a "downer year." Everything that can be done, is being done to try and help keep a sustainable fishery in Lake Michigan.

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For me and a few other fellow fishermen out of Port Washington,WI had a tough bite most of June but once we found them it was just as good as last year for numbers plus the size was up. The mix of specie was a little different but nice catches of quality fish.

All my bigger kings came from 280 plus feet of water where 2 years ago I seldom fished past 80 fow.

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Yes Lake Ontario was the same, fewer but bigger fish when we could get out. It was windy constantly and seemed to come out of a different direction every other day, The lake was tore up all summer and never really stabilized and set up properly inside all year. The only stable water and fishing was offshore 6-10 miles.


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I believe Tj's right about the Lake Michigan fishery.

I too fished the "Huron collapse" and she wasn't pretty.

Emacipated fish with ribs showing mature females ready to spawn @ 10-12 #'s and mature males that looked like sleek torpedos.

I still fish the Alpena area as well as the Holland area.

The spring bite at Holland was as good this year as last year in the cold water.

Watching the posted pictures from lake Michigan kings this year indicate that some

were probably not getting enough to eat but the majority were as shown by the weights

that were recorded.

The fishery managers are on top of the issues and addressing a very dynamic lake

eco-system and lake Michigan shouldn't end up like lake Huron did.

To be a successful fisherman you should go yesterday. [when they were really biting]

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our "inside" water never set up this Summer, so at the Oak we ran offshore 5-8 miles every day. In years past we could go a mile and set up and crush them until the lake flipped sometime in August, which is when the offshore bite excelled. We still had our numbers of fish this Summer, and the size was there. It just took more gas to get to them IF you could get out due to winds. This is why we fished offshore because that was the most stable water. The bait was also incredible out there!

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We were on par for a great season uptil my back blew out, We fished maybe 1/3 of the season and not even prime time and we did great.

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Fishing will get a little tougher due to stocking reductions , and it will be noticeable more so in the next 2 years. And from what I am hearing on stocking numbers they should stay consistent but may shift the numbers around at different ports.

The DNR is still trying to balance the lake and make things right for all of us. The biggest problem is for them to understand what is out of balance and how to get to balance and keep us all happy at the same time.

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