Like most outdoor sorts, I am fascinated by the weather. Take the urgent marine weather message from the National Weather Service on Thursday: ``THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE UP TO 50 KT FROM THE NORTHWEST. THE HIGHEST SIGNIFICANT WAVES WILL BE UP TO 22 FT. THERE WILL BE OCCASIONAL WAVES UP TO 33 FT.’’
I guess 33-foot waves on Lake Michigan deserve all caps, though that’s the style of NWS writing.
Weather may be the one thing that can slow a memorable fall run of salmon and trout. And it is a memorable run.
``The runs continue too, and the fish are big,’’ Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said. ``In my opinion we are having a good fall with regards to coho and Chinook size and the numbers initially look to be very good. Water levels are up and creeks are now stained with 2 days of rain.’’
It’s hard to put a quantitative handle on the run. Sabermetrics don’t apply to salmon and trout fishing.
But Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond has weighed at least eight kings heavier than 20 pounds, the best topping 22. In Chicago, with its miles of shoreline fishing, the kings has been so good that fishermen reminisce on the glory days of the 1980s. There’s been multiple 20-pound-plus kings caught along the Chicago lakefront, led by the 26-pound, 3-ounce one landed by Teddy ``Papo’’ Ruiz last Friday at Jackson Park.
Productive shore spots in Indiana, according to Mik-Lurch staff, include East Chicago or Hammond marinas, Amoco or the walkway by Burns Ditch.
Boaters have been doing well at Buffington and the Hole-in-the-Wall, according to Mik-Lurch. Breidert said outside of Burns Ditch has also been good. Weather will likely limit boater action until Sunday.
With that weather, streams or the St. Joseph River may be the best options.
All the streams — Little Cal, Deep River, Trail and Salt — have kings with a few coho and steelhead mixed in.
Gracie Dickey at Gracie’s Bait in LaPorte said there has been good action around Route 20 on Trail. Doris Salada at Country Bait in Valparaiso said steelhead are still being caught on spawn at Old Porter Road on Salt.
The early reports from the Indiana waters of the St. Joe are mirroring the good ones from the lakefront. In its Tuesday report, the Indiana DNR reported 1,346 salmonids have moved past the South Bend Fish Ladder, and now about 164 per day. Water levels are good.
Most of the fish moving through now are coho (6-10 pounds). Best for them is below the Mishawaka Dam at Central Park on bright-colored spinners. The oddity has been a few brown trout going through the ladder; very rarely do they go past South Bend.
Fishing notes: Salada reported crappie picking up very early (even before dawn) on Valpo lakes like Long. I would expect that to hold true on many lakes with the weather change. … Willow Slough closes to boat fishing on Thursday. … Before the weather, there were decent reports of smallmouth in the Gary area on Lake Michigan; perch are tough. … Mik-Lurch reported leeches taking more walleye on Wolf Lake.
Hunting notes: Tim Walmsley of HeartlandOutdoors.com received a photo of a monster buck (looks like a 10-point with a sticker) taken during youth deer season last weekend. If anybody knows details, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. … Bowhunting opens for early deer and turkey on Saturday. … Rabbit hunting at some area Fish and Wildlife Areas begins Saturday.
Ducks Unlimited: The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Yellow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited hold a youth waterfowl hunt (10-15 years old) on Oct. 9 at Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area. Contact Jim Blitz at (574) 806-3488 or Mike Schoof at (574) 896-3522.