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Penterwater 9/16, mid-day, 2 for 2

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We ran West to the shelf off Pentwater targeting steelhead.  This is something I haven’t done before.  Usually I’ll throw some high lines for steelhead while I’m targeting kings and they typically do well.  But, decide to give the deep water a try.  Did what research I could on this and looked like guys were using keel sinkers and targeting the top 10 feet of the water column.  My 100 Cu lines usually produce for me, so I threw 1 of those out and the other 5 lines where higher.  We only ran a 6 rod spread.  We set lines in 230 FOW, which is about 8 miles offshore.  Trolled NW out to 477 FOW without a bump.  We did see a few marks deep – around 80 ft down. 

It was very foggy out there and we were right in the middle of the shipping lanes, so we had to keep an eye out for freighters.  There’s typically two times a year I wish I had a radar on board and this was one of them.  After a few hours I decided the research I found was intended for cooler surface temps.  We were at 66.7 degrees out there.  We hadn’t had hit so I decided to switch things up.  I set lines from 20 feet down all the way to 75 feet down, thinking we might pick up a younger class king out there.   80 feet down it was 44 degrees.  70 feet down it was 60 degrees.  We ran a 100 Cu, 200 Cu, 250 Cu, 300 Cu, Rigger @ 75’ down and a dipsy diver at 70’ down.   We also decided to turn E, work back into some relatively shallower water and run up the shelf. 

A regular sized orange Moonshine spoon on a 100 Cu went once we got up on the top of the shelf in about 260 fow.  After a good fight (he ended up wrapping the line around himself and coming in sideways for a bit), we got a 12 steelhead in the boat.  I pulled the dipsy diver deployed another 100 Cu.  We fished for another 2.5 hours without a hit.  We did have a throwback king on the rigger when we pulled lines. 

One of our challenges today was we weren’t able to find any surface temperature variations or scum lines.  We kept the speeds around 2.7 – 3.2.  (Surface speed when fishing all the high lines and ball speed after I reset.)  I think I’ll save these offshore trips to when the satellites show some very distinct surface temp changes, or when the lake flips and they move in closer.  If anyone has any fall steelhead tips. feel free to share.  I’m trying to extend my fishing in September & October.

Jim Steelhead.jpg

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Excellent report.


When we've found them, there seems to be nothing of note to hold them where they are.  The water's all the same, no scum line, no bait.  But if you find one, cloverleaf the area as there's usually more.


I've found them in October in 370' out of Holland and trolling the beach in 6'.  Go figure.

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If it does flip, find a pier head and beat it up.  We had 47 degree water in close in the first week of October many years ago and beat up on the browns and steel fishing the plume in Saugatuck for about a week.  Even lost one nasty boot of a king that didn't run when it should have.

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Wow,, what a great early fall report !! Thank you !! I am hoping to fish out of Pentwater starting Thursday !! My boat has been down due to trim motor issues !! But that’s all fixed Now !! Do you ever troll for Walleye in Pentwater lake?? If you have open seat I will pitch it for gas !! 

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Great detailed report. We tried the same thing Saturday out of Holland going out to 215 in search of steelhead. We had 9 lines out and switched them around a couple of times. We ended a long morning with not a single hit. I had everything but meat rigs out during the day. 

I look forward to next week when the weather and the lake calms down. 

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