I sent this to a few people, and was told this by a well known guide and offered a little of my insight as well.
As you know we are having a cooler summer, milder temps and more rain then we did last year. This affect has caused cooler water temps in the Great Lakes, therfore keeping the kings isolated shallower in the water columns. As you probably know, kings prefer the deeper water of Lk. Michigan, and they cruise the thermal bars from Waukegan to Leland and farther north as well. Well, from past "surfing" expirence I looked at the winds....and we have been have had a West wind for most of summer, and recently a NW wind. Well this West wind has caused the western end of Lake Michigan to be cooler throughout most of the summer, and areas around the easter end of Lk. Michigan to be just cooler than normal. Due to the NW wind and plenty of rain, cooler thermal bars have been created near the eastern edges Lake Michigan causing fish to follow them around the basin and show up in ports of South Haven, Grand Haven, Ludington and Manistee. The water temps ran 58-61 deg the last 3 weeks, and the river temps were about the same. I remember what another guide told told me 3 yrs ago about lake temps confluencing with river temps and a "magic carpet" being made for fish to move upstream. Well, recently the water has warmed just a bit...and many of the staged fish are in the harbors and ports. Charter fisherman are catching fewer fish out in 110' FOW then the guys right out from the harbors. Fishing is still comparably slow compared to western edges of Lk. Michigan though. Creek mouths that discharge cold, spring fed water are a signal and with the winds it keeps that cooler water flow towards shore, not jetting out along the current breaks as usual. These "ideal" conditions are allowing the kings to show upearlier then normal. Pierhead fishing has been phenomonal in some places, while others it has been just fair. Depending on location and the winds, one day you might be hooking good numbers of fish, the next you might do nothing.
I will be trying to target early kings from the pierheads and discharges soon(when I can find time
). Best opporunities exist at early light and right before dark. Using smelt, alewife, and baitfish streamer imitations is best. Ultra Hair Clousers and Decievers are standard, but I tie several realistic patterns that prove to preform well from time to time. Don't be afraid to go big....patterns up to 12" may be hard to cast but can be very productive. Using 9wt-10wt rods with heavy sinking lines/shooting heads(up too Levithan 700 grains
) will allow you to get down in the deepest rips where pods usually cruise. Check out Airflo's depthfinder and Rio's Dredger heads. Also, look for signs of fish. Birds are always a good sign, usually signalling baitfish. Creek mouths and spring fed discharges taht create a current break are likley to hold kings throughout the ruks and deeper pockets along the lake. Cloudy and rainy days days are best, and fishing can often be better nearshore on these days.
Well, have at it.