By: Kyle Deavers
This season has been a welcome sight to salmon anglers in Wisconsin. For the first time in many years we are catching large numbers of Chinook and they are much bigger than we’ve been seeing in previous years. This is the best bite we’ve had since 2010 and provides hope that our fishery is turning around.
I attribute the turnaround to a thriving population of alewives. We are finally seeing many year classes of salmon and alewives, which bring hope that the future is promising. We’ve seen massive schools of bait all season and the fish that we’ve caught have been choked with bait. The average Chinook has run 17 pounds and we’ve caught them up to 27 pounds. This means we’ll see plenty of salmon greater than 30 pounds this season. There’s a chance at catching a 40 pounder. There’s another month of the growing season for them.
We’ve been averaging about 20 bites a trip, which is way better than last year. Customers are happy as we don’t have to work as hard for the salmon as we’ve had to the last several years. Meanwhile, the brown trout bite has been slow in the last week, but will improve as water temperatures cool. We haven’t targeted lake trout as much because the salmon bite has been so good, but when we need to target them they are easy to find. We simply migrate to deeper water.
We are in the summer pattern in Wisconsin, which means we are catching salmon every day on our trips with a few trout mixed in. With it being late July the salmon are staging and getting ready to spawn in September. Lately we’ve only been running four-to-six miles out. That distance will decrease as the season progresses and the fish move closer to shore.
I love fishing bait, but the bite bait hasn’t started yet. That should happen shortly, but so far we’ve been trolling spoons and flies. We’ve been running Pro King Standard and Mag size spoons and Fire Flies behind a Pro King flasher. I’m dragging the lures on 30-pound Blood Run Tackle fluorocarbon. Some people still think I’m crazy, but we are going through a bottle a day of Pautzke Liquid Krill. I coat my lures in this stuff because it works. If you’ve been on our charters you know we douse every lure with it.
Right now salmon are staging all along Wisconsin’s shoreline. From basically, Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, all the way to Green Bay, Wisconsin, there’s salmon and private boaters and charters are catching them daily. This pattern will continue through early September, although we’ll start running Fire Brine herring strips more in August.
Editor’s Note: Kyle Deavers operates Big Boy Fishing. For more information on his Lake Michigan charters out of Kenosha please visit www.facebook.com/Bigboyfishing.