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dansteelieman 10-07-2003 09:17 PM

Fall Surf's Up Salmon(8/27/03)
Labor Day weekend I had a blast chasing early salmon in a few surf destinations in northern Michigan. Late summer/early fall is a great time to hit the beach and look for early kings staging off thermal breaks and shoreline discharges.

When I arrived late Friday night, I decided I would check the area out. Nothing around, really. Although we did get a strong east wind for about 3 days causing a thermal updwelling of cooler water in the bay. I was right at the end of it, and the first day was by far the best. Many fish were staging outside in the bay and I hooked 2 of them. Fresh kings that smoked me. I was throwing an 8" smelt imitation. I looked at a few other destinations with no fish seen.

I went back the next morning and ended up landing one. A nice chrome hen of about 8-9lbs that was already spawned out. It took a 5" Dan's GL CLouser imitation. She must of entered one of the nearby tribs and came back out to the lake. I have seen this many times.

Overall, I had a good time. Fall colors were just about turning and the fishing was still in the early stages. The area I fished recieves a great run of fish every year.

I have another trip with pics coming soon!

9lb hen nookie

Remanants of last year's run!

John.Y 10-08-2003 01:16 PM

what is a Dan's GL CLouser? can you post a picture ? Thanks in advance.

dansteelieman 10-08-2003 02:15 PM

I will have a pic availible ASAP. It is one of my own patterns I tie for our GL region. Acutally I have quite a few that I tie for salmon, steelhead and browns in the surf.

juro 10-08-2003 02:56 PM

I am curious.. was that 'spawned-out chrome hen' a salmon or steelhead? Atlantic?

dansteelieman 10-08-2003 03:10 PM

That was a spawned out King Salmon hen. The area I was fishing does recieve steelhead, but typically they do not spawn until spring time and that is the best time to target them. Our salmon can look different from the ones out west. In northern Michigan you can expect kings as early as late July at times, then usually coho start showing up in October. Atlantic salmon are few and far between, although you might find one here and there unless you are fishing for them in the St. Mary's river, Salmon River in NY, or a few select other tribs.

Hope this helps.

Juro, let me know if you are up for some surf fishing anytime. If you still plan on attending this year's spey clave, if you want to stay an extra day I might be able to put you on some fish out in the open lake. It is very unique, and is well worth the effort.

juro 10-08-2003 05:39 PM

Didn't know chinook could get chrome again after spawning.

Beach fishing... I got the rods for it! Might be a plan... what is cruising the shore in early spring?

removed_by_request 10-08-2003 07:56 PM

Never saw one get chrome after spawning either.

Always thought they starved to death due to the increase of internal organs related to spawning which caused their throats and stomachs to shrivel.


dansteelieman 10-08-2003 08:59 PM

I have seen this happen several times in short, type II streams across the region. Fish will enter creek mouths and spawn at night, then right back out to the lake. This act is just because of the cautious nature. Can you see that it is spawned out? The stretch marks are apparent. The fish slammed the fly. As you both know, kings tend to be aggressive. I have seen darker kings staging attack patterns. That was just one of the 4 I hooked that weekend. Most fish were out of my casting distance, even with a spey rod I couldn't get there!

Let me know, I can show you guys the ropes. Juro, we need a date. I learned from the best in the business, I'll tell you that!

Early spring brings lake run browns, salmon and steelhead near shore right after ice out. If we target it right, fish should be staging in thermal breaks along shoreline and near creek mouths. Usually, the steelhead will draw into pods as they come closer to spawning and begin to look into entering tribs. If you are fishing the shorter, type II streams that might only be a few hundred yards will see what was seen with the salmon being spawned out yet chrome beacause the lake is so close.

Hope this helps. Juro, I have to send you some pictures of my patterns. They are awesome, I sell them in a few flyshops and my friend who pioneered surf fishing in the GL region taught me several ways to make the patterns better for imitating the baitfish. Check your PM's.

removed_by_request 10-08-2003 10:12 PM

Always thought the act of spawning darkened the fish no matter how close the lake is.

The fish do not activly spawn until their eggs and milt ripen and loosen up. During this wait the fish darken and basically rot to death. The protective slime coat disappears and the skin gets leather like, exposing them to all the nasties that live in the water.

A chrome spawned out nook would be a thing to see, hopefully I will see one soon. The odds have to be in my favor, since I must have seen close to 5000 Chinook in the past 24 years. I'll be sure to take some pix to share.

dansteelieman 10-09-2003 04:11 PM

Surfs up my friend, I think I know what I am talking about. I got a witness or two along the way, although I don't need one as I can tell myself.

Type II streams, very short distances, close vacinity of the was caught in late August(Labor Day)....all I can tell you.

I have seen this with steelhead too. If you fish the surf nearly as much as me, you might know.

Not saying anyone is wrong or right here!

removed_by_request 10-09-2003 05:53 PM

A Steelhead will chrome up after spawning, never saw a nook do it.

I have seen them in spawning in warm water discharges 20' from the lake. Never once saw a chrome post spawn nook. Just old tired moldy fish.

Those ones I saw must have been an anomaly.

Lipripper 10-15-2003 01:16 PM

Basic biology would leave me to believe that once a Mature Salmon spawns it has a very short period of time until death and is about as inactive as it has been in it's entire life.

As for the "Pioneer" business... Don't know if that is RM selling you that line or a label that you gave to him. But, I can show you literature about stripping streamers in the surf from when RM was in grade school. It's not new. And a Clouser Minnow by any other name.....


dansteelieman 10-15-2003 01:21 PM

yeah yeah...
What about JK? He's been in longer than you, and he taught Russ and myself alot.

Come on anyone with the info he has can't compare. It is his life, you should see some of his fish he has gotten.

My clouser isn't a typical one...I got a pic coming. Wait until my article is published, I will send you a copy.

Lipripper 10-15-2003 03:17 PM

MS, TL, RM and now JK?!?!? Wow! YOUR THE COOLEST!
If only you really knew about some of your heros... you'd be so heart broken. Yeah be sure and let everyone know when that article comes out.


removed_by_request 10-15-2003 03:35 PM

Maybe they were black chrome, used to throw black chrome spinners in the surf on fall nights and early spring mornings.

Those hog browns would tear them up.

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