posttrib
LUMINOUS 
Weather Updates

Outdoors: Map alone won’t ID lake landmarks

Updated: August 27, 2013 6:44AM



The words come — Gary Light, Hole in the Wall, Helicopter Pad, the Donut — with meanings of specific places on southern Lake Michigan, but the meanings are without meaning for those who don’t know the exact meaning.

And the sound of one hand clapping comes next.

Faithful reader Dennis Dean of Crown Point wondered if you can “download or purchase maps of the southern end of Lake Michigan?’’ Of course. But more specifically, he was looking for “a map, crude as it may be, that would give an approximate reference point as to the location of these places.’’

No map I know of includes the local, or colloquial, names of places.

My favorite detailed map of southern Lake Michigan is made from Proud Products Inc. It’s 28 x 21 inches, plastic-coated and tough enough to take a beating. One side is titled, “Chicago Lake Front,’’ the other, “Lake Michigan: Waukegan to South Haven.’’

That’s the main map that Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond sells. Staff will mark the map with landmarks.

Otherwise, here is a primer.

The Hole in the Wall refers to the discharge and break in the wall at the ArcelorMittal plant, sometimes still called Inland Steel. It’s down the wall from the mouth of East Chicago Marina, sometimes still called Pastrick. Even Hole in the Wall can be tricky as fishermen sometimes use it to refer to the break in the wall at Lake Street.

The Donut is a metal donut on a rock pile, just east of the Port of Indiana. The Helicopter Pad is the big red square building to the left of the launch at Calumet Park.

The Shipwreck is about 61/2 miles straight out of Hammond Marina. There’s an example of how local terms fail us. There are many spots called the Wreck or Shipwreck on Lake Michigan, because there are many wrecks on the lake.

The Gong is six miles out of East Chicago Marina. The Port refers to the area around the Port of Indiana. The Ditch is Burns Ditch. Gary Light has a specific meaning of the end of the breakwall at Gary, but also is commonly used by fishermen to refer to the broader area around that breakwall.

Kid stuff: There will be a youth waterfowl banding event (banding wood ducks, building wood duck boxes, retriever demonstration) at LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area on Saturday. Preregister by calling (219) 992-3019.

Note: The entrance area to Willow Slough FWA will be closed from Monday through Wednesday for resurfacing of the roads. There will be no access to the boat ramp, campground or headquarters.

Fishing: It’s summer, catfish and largemouth bass remain the top targets for inland fishermen.

Lake Michigan needs to settle after the blow. Before that, perch fishermen had mixed success, varying greatly from day to day, both in Cal Harbor and east of the Donut (12-30 feet, depending on the day).

Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said cooler surface water temperatures drew a run of steelhead into the streams again, with some catches off the pier heads, too.

Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in lake Station said for trollers it is mainly lake trout with “very few silvers (coho, Chinook, steelhead)’’ from straight out of the Ditch to off Michigan City in 90-110. Breidert said kings are picking up some. “Also the fish are trending larger but not quite in the numbers of last year, which produced some of the historically highest catch rates,’’ he noted. “This season has started slow but the big boys are certainly showing up along the Wisconsin and Michigan coasts. Fish up to 32 pounds with many over 20 being caught.’’



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.