By: Kyle McClelland
It’s been a great year for salmon on Lake Michigan. We’ve had good numbers and the size of the fish is the best I’ve seen in more than decade. All ports across the lake have been fishing excellent at times throughout spring and summer. The remainder of August should provide excellent fishing for massive king salmon. Our adults have been averaging 18 to 30 pounds lately. Some have been even larger.
Kings are being caught in the big lake from Indiana border on up the western shoreline. Fortunately, we aren’t having to make long runs offshore right now, nor are we having to target lake trout. There’s plenty of salmon to focus on this time of year. Fish are staging outside of their home rivers and getting ready to spawn. The drop offs outside of the rivers provide great fishing right now.
Fishing has been excellent. A normal day on the big lake has produced anywhere from three to 12 adult salmon. However, the size has been incredible. Our bigger fish this season has been 29 pounds, but other boats have registered fish close into the mid 30s. I anticipate the largest fish of the season coming in August and September.
This time of year while the fish are staging we are targeting 80 to 200 feet of water. We are fishing outside of the ports and trolling the shelf. Fish are being caught from 40-100 feet down. This will remain the case for the next two weeks and until we get a lake flip, which will bring cold water to the surface and the salmon with it. Once this happens salmon will migrate closer to the harbors than they are now.
This time of year we are running flasher/flies, J-Plugs, spoons and meat rigs. First thing in the morning we prefer glow J-Plugs and flasher/flies and as the morning progresses I’ll change my baits to bright baits. We use dark color baits for dark conditions and bright baits for bright conditions. We use meat rigs all day and run them off Dipsy Divers and copper lines. Chartreuse Fire Brine/Fire Dye herring strips has been best on the meat rigs because we’ve had mostly sunny days, but Blue Fire Dye/Fire Brine works better on the cloudy days.
Editor’s Note: Kyle McClelland operates XXL Chrome Chasing. For more info on his guided Lake Michigan charters please visit https://www.facebook.com/XxlChromeChasing.