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spring set up vs. mid to late summer set up


hot spoons?  

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  1. 1. hot spoons?

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In June when guys are getting 8-10 fish I am only getting 2-5, now I know there are a lot of variables but my spring set up seems good. My spoon program doesn't seem to catch as many fish as my flasher fly, plug, and meat program. Is this due to my speed or just my presentation? My presentation for June usually consist of 6 rods, two downriggers, two braid divers, a 225copper, and a 10 color. On sunny days spoons are yellow and green in the top 50, one paddle on rigger 70-100ft down, and mountain dew hypnotist set up on braid diver down 40-60. What do you guys have to say about that spring set up? OH I don't have a fish hawk but my surface speed is 2.0 to2.7..

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June is a very tough time to fish in our area. It sits directly in the middle of several transitional periods. My first suggestion to you would be to NOT have a predetermined spread for every day of fishing. Running presentation that are not catching fish is a common issue. Dont be scared to load up. If your spoon bite is great, dont try to make them bite meat or a fly. Or vice versa.

As the year progresses so should your weapons of choice. Putting the setups in the water that are going to target active fish is much more important than trying to follow the magic bait trends. June is an ever changing month, kings becoming neutral, and steelhead and coho beginning to show up. Make some phone calls to find out what rods are producing fish. Get some info from Muskegon down to Saugy. Aaron at Lakeshore always knows whats going on out there.

An awesome box of 10 big kings is not always doable. Consider opening your spread up to target some different species. June is a fantastic time to pound for trout and or specifically target steelhead.

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In June when guys are getting 8-10 fish I am only getting 2-5, now I know there are a lot of variables but my spring set up seems good. My spoon program doesn't seem to catch as many fish as my flasher fly, plug, and meat program. Is this due to my speed or just my presentation? My presentation for June usually consist of 6 rods, two downriggers, two braid divers, a 225copper, and a 10 color. On sunny days spoons are yellow and green in the top 50, one paddle on rigger 70-100ft down, and mountain dew hypnotist set up on braid diver down 40-60. What do you guys have to say about that spring set up? OH I don't have a fish hawk but my surface speed is 2.0 to2.7..

We have an old saying around southern lake michgan, when the cotton wood is flyin the fishing is dying. There is a period from about the first week of June to the middle of July where the fish migrate offshore and feed on fly hatches and other delicacies. I found fish in deep water on the surface in June and July last year, the year befor we just decided to go perch fishing. June is the time to tune up your copper and diver programs get deep and catch lake trout. If you go offshore look for scum lines and troll 3+ mph with 2 and 3 color lead core and any orange or pink spoons like the regular stinger or Fuzzy Bear. I like Orange Killer, and variations of the Tequila Sunrise spoons. Get your boards way out to the side and keep your divers high in the water column.

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Thanks guys, don't get me wrong I know june fishing is tough, and I never have a predetermined set up I was just wondering if my speed would be alright. If you guys can give me some tips on perch fishing the grand haven/port Sheldon area I would greatly appreciate it? I have never gone for perch on the big lake.

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It is a good idea to have an idea of what you want to put out as a spread when you go out, but don't get stuck on it. Based on what you described I'd say you might be a little to set on what presentations you are going to use and not changing enough. Listen to what the lures and your electronics are telling you. Sometimes the same presentation that worked yesterday will work today, but just as often it will need to be tweaked. A couple years back we fished the Grand Haven tournament and did pretty well on the first day. The tournament leader was fishing the same area as us too. The next day we went back to the same water and pretty much fished the same water with the same lures. We were seeing fish but couldn't get them to go very well. We scratched out enough fish to weigh in but they were smaller than the day before. The day 1 leader did the same thing and was around us much of the day. Day two's weigh in had a couple boats that really changed from day one and went deep to catch a cooler full of very big kings at 200'+ deep. We never got to 180 FOW let alone put a line down there. Neither us or the day 1 leader finished in the money -- because we didn't listen to what the fish were telling us.

I have learned over the years to listen to my electronics. One of the rules when flying a plane is to believe your electronics... same thing applies to fishing. I bought a fish finder and down speed/temp for a reason, it doesn't make any sense to not listen to them. Yes there have been times when I catch fish when I don't see any on the graph - usually on stealthier rigs away from the boat -- but most of the time I fish what I see. Too many times I have moved a line to "chase" a couple of marks on the graph and gotten a hit right away. First thing in the morning I will go to my target area and use the graph to search for fish at 8 mph and don't put lines in until I see some consistent marks. I don't like to spend time and gas washing lures where there aren't any fish.

When my downspeed/temp went out on me a couple years ago it made it difficult to consistently get my presentations tuned. The underwater currents as well as the surface winds can really make getting your presentation fine tuned difficult. Even when you catch a fish and know what the GPS or RPMs said, it can be different 1/2 mile along. When I lost my downspeed I went back to reading the diver rods to gauge my speed. To me this is more reliable than GPS speed or RPMs singe the angle of the line relative to the boat will also tell you if you are in a cross current or going with/into the current. I would highly recommend getting a downspeed and it doesn't have to be the newest/latest/greatest -- one that works consistently is better than none. Too often making a speed change and being able to reproduce it has turned a day around -- especially when there are fish on the graph and others around me are catching fish.

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Now sea cat I don't have a fish hawk so mainly I look for bait and temp. I know salmon prefer 43-46 degree water temp. If I see bait and good temp outside the channel I will fish there a little. My question is how do you know what colors are hot and what locations are hot due to the temp and brightness of the day?

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It is a good idea to have an idea of what you want to put out as a spread when you go out, but don't get stuck on it. Based on what you described I'd say you might be a little to set on what presentations you are going to use and not changing enough. Listen to what the lures and your electronics are telling you. Sometimes the same presentation that worked yesterday will work today, but just as often it will need to be tweaked. A couple years back we fished the Grand Haven tournament and did pretty well on the first day. The tournament leader was fishing the same area as us too. The next day we went back to the same water and pretty much fished the same water with the same lures. We were seeing fish but couldn't get them to go very well. We scratched out enough fish to weigh in but they were smaller than the day before. The day 1 leader did the same thing and was around us much of the day. Day two's weigh in had a couple boats that really changed from day one and went deep to catch a cooler full of very big kings at 200'+ deep. We never got to 180 FOW let alone put a line down there. Neither us or the day 1 leader finished in the money -- because we didn't listen to what the fish were telling us.

I have learned over the years to listen to my electronics. One of the rules when flying a plane is to believe your electronics... same thing applies to fishing. I bought a fish finder and down speed/temp for a reason, it doesn't make any sense to not listen to them. Yes there have been times when I catch fish when I don't see any on the graph - usually on stealthier rigs away from the boat -- but most of the time I fish what I see. Too many times I have moved a line to "chase" a couple of marks on the graph and gotten a hit right away. First thing in the morning I will go to my target area and use the graph to search for fish at 8 mph and don't put lines in until I see some consistent marks. I don't like to spend time and gas washing lures where there aren't any fish.

When my downspeed/temp went out on me a couple years ago it made it difficult to consistently get my presentations tuned. The underwater currents as well as the surface winds can really make getting your presentation fine tuned difficult. Even when you catch a fish and know what the GPS or RPMs said, it can be different 1/2 mile along. When I lost my downspeed I went back to reading the diver rods to gauge my speed. To me this is more reliable than GPS speed or RPMs singe the angle of the line relative to the boat will also tell you if you are in a cross current or going with/into the current. I would highly recommend getting a downspeed and it doesn't have to be the newest/latest/greatest -- one that works consistently is better than none. Too often making a speed change and being able to reproduce it has turned a day around -- especially when there are fish on the graph and others around me are catching fish.

Fishawk, pro troll any of the speed temp units are a great addition, but most important thing I find is to eliminate water. Try to find the right conditions and hit it hard. My fishawk is possibly the best tool I have. Speed on the surface or SOG is deceiving because of currents, that is where the speed temp is the biggest help. Do not be afraid to change up speeds.

In other words Mitch is right on. Just remember your GPS speed can be a good indicator to start then adjust as you start picking up fish.

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This past year the currents in the Grand Haven area were terrible and inconsistent. there would be times SOG was good and the lures were hanging. Turn the other way and you could not go slow enough. We used a lot of greens in june, seemed to work out. flasher flies seemed to be the best. If it is not working, switch it up. We had some weird stuff catch fish.

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Now sea cat I don't have a fish hawk so mainly I look for bait and temp. I know salmon prefer 43-46 degree water temp. If I see bait and good temp outside the channel I will fish there a little. My question is how do you know what colors are hot and what locations are hot due to the temp and brightness of the day?

From what I have observed, location is a year to year thing based on how the season is progressing. I have a number of waypoints on my GPS that have produced yearly. The relative time that the fish are there does change depending on how each year's weather progresses. Early June can be hard because it can be late spring, transition (June dulldrums), or early summer patterns. As others have said, the cottonwood on the water is a good indicator of when the transition period happens. In the spring pattern I generally will target either shallow (60 FOW or less) or out deep in 200-250 FOW and fish marks which are usually deeper (70'+). In the transition I try to find suspended fish but often they will be deep (100'+ and near bottom). If it is after the cottonwood (summer) I usually again try to find marks and mostly suspended. Most often the summer pattern is going to be influenced by winds moving water in and out as the water stratisfies.

As for colors there are two basic principles I follow: 1) bright days - bright colors, dark days - dark colors; and 2) light penetration.

On bright days (lots of sun) I go with silvers, greens, blues. On dark days (cloudy and early morning) I tend toward darker colors - oranges, blacks, yellows, chartreuse, multi colors (mixed vegies...). Basically if there is light a color that reflects it. If there is less light then a darker lure will show up better against the darker sky.

White light is made up of the various colors we can see. Fish eyes are different and have sensitivity to different frequencies of light than humans and other species, but the properties of light penetration physics apply. As water gets deeper the colors with shorter wave lengths are filtered out and turn black or gray (chart below). In the top 20-30' all colors are visible but the hotter colors (reds, oranges, yellows) seem to work better. Green frequencies are good to about 80' and blues & violets to over 100'. So I go with greens, blues, and violets when deeper than 60'. That is not to say that "warmer" colors won't work deeper but it is not likely to be the primary color that the fish is actually seeing. For some reason orange seems to work at depths where it really should only show up as a gray.

UV is a different animal and I have grown over the last couple of years to like it a lot as an accent color -- especially in summer for kings.

1365614820_3216802_colorlosschart.png

Flasher/fly vs flasher/cutbait vs plugs vs stick lures vs spoons... selection confuses things even more :). Early and late in the year I will run larger lures (spoons, plugs) but in June it mainly the regular sizes to try to match the size of the baitfish (alewife) available during the season. Flasher size seems to be a daily pattern for me with both small and large having their moments but until July I generally lean more toward the 7 and 8 inch flashers. I do tend to go with the 10 and 11" flashers on deep presentations even in June.

it is by no means anywhere near an exact science. Bottom line to me is to find fish, use the generalities on light & color to select lures and then start varying things until you find something that works. Generally I'll start around 2.4 mph on the downspeed and vary up and down from there. Most of the lures I run work on a variety of speeds. Then if I'm over fish I'll start changing lures -- with two or three rods being my experimentals and getting changed every 15 minutes or so to find a working pattern.

Hopefully others chime in with their thoughts and I hope this helped.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Interesting info posted, especially for this newbie, thanks all.

Just wondering how all this would work on Superior, I fish from Duluth to Grand Marais and hoping to hit Isle Royal this year.

I'm assuming Superior has currents like Michigan, so maybe something like a Sea Hawk might be a good investment?

I guess what I'm asking is will a lot of the tips and techniques that work on Michigan work on Superior?

TIA

al

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Interesting info posted, especially for this newbie, thanks all.

Just wondering how all this would work on Superior, I fish from Duluth to Grand Marais and hoping to hit Isle Royal this year.

I'm assuming Superior has currents like Michigan, so maybe something like a Sea Hawk might be a good investment?

I guess what I'm asking is will a lot of the tips and techniques that work on Michigan work on Superior?

TIA

al

The short answer is yes. Find the active fish with the Fishawk and your Depth sounder. Find current by checking SOG against the Fishawk, then determine troll direction and best speed at the ball. Learn your body of water and you can usually come up with possible current directions. We find in Southern Lake Michigan that wind direction does effect currents to a great extent. You are always better trolling into the current, as fish position themselves to face into the current.

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While Salmon can move 30 or more miles overnight the bait fish can't The most common current in West MI in June is slightly north near shore and it diminishes as you move off shore. In Muskegon near shore is out to about 120 to 130fow. In June you have a lot of issues dependent on weather and water temps. 1st the water has not fully setup so fish can be anywhere but is we have a few days with calm winds and clear skies you can bet you had better run deep if you want to catch numbers of fish. If your looking for the bigger fish you have to find the pockets they are hiding in usually more in near shore waters. After sunup on clear days this means more of a laker program go slower and work the bottom 10 to 20 ft of water. Flasher flies work well on this as well as meat rigs. Spoons will also get hit but not as much since these fish are usually suspended near the bottom and resting. So they will grab a easy looking snack but are not gonna chase much. Going out deep will get you into more fish that are younger and more active move fast and work the top 50 to 70ft hard. If you see bigger marks down deep then send something down there as well. I have had a lot of days when I am pulling decent kings 120 to 180 down in 225 to 250fow while also getting a steady catch of Steelhead on top. Running as fast as 4 to 6mph GPS My divers do not like this speed so they go in storage and we work the riggers deep with sliders on them and lots of copper and lead core. As to lead core at this speed forget the short cores a 5 color will only be about 10ft down. I get a lot of big Steelhead out there on 300 copper pulling a Ace Hi Yellow Tail plug. My guess is at that speed a 300 copper may only be down 30ft or so. Even with 15lb weights my riggers will be way back so 180 down on the rigger is likely around 120 I have had them down 350 in 250fow and never hit bottom. But again I am hauling butt we cover a lot of water and when I find a pattern for Steel we kill them a couple years back we took a 4 man limit on Steelhead in under a hour and got 3 kings on the riggers as a bonus. However that was fishing there every day so I knew where the fish were and it was just a matter of running back to the same area and dialing them in.

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June is great, if you want to work on a non king program. We pulled great coolers last year in June and early July by not targeting kings.

Mid June we won the west Michigan fishing league by targeting Brown's in 8' if water.

Late June we took sixth in the kids and kings by pounding the bottom for Lakers. Ended up with nine fish that day with kids on the stcks.

Fourth of July weekend we had nine fish again with 7 coho in the mix, fishing orange dodgers on riggers and thin fish off 2-10 color cores.

Point is had I fished for kings on those trips, it would have been ugly. Lots of good boats were in those tournies but no one was pulling good boxes of good kings at that time....

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