Area anglers already reeling in big Chinooks
By Dale Bowman Sun-Times Media August 8, 2013 8:02PM
The Crown Point Cal Ripken 12-year-old team won its fifth straight state title last month. They are (front row, from left) Chris Paris, Jake Schalasky, Marek Bauner, Kyle Gilmack, Kyle Bauner, Josh Suslowicz, Ryder Rex, manager Bob Bauner, (middle row) Ryan Fender, Luke Bianco, Sam Krutz, Nick Geisen, Logan Ryan, Alec Matalin, Kenny Michaels, Coach Larry Geisen, (back row) coach Chris Krutz, league president Dave Hanaway, coach John Paris and coach Mike Bauner.
Updated: September 10, 2013 6:34AM
Chinooks are big and early.
So big veteran Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert almost slid into the deep end.
“I went out on the limb and said we would see some in that (30-pound) range,’’ he said Wednesday. “I would like to see some in that range. Those 32 pounds are going to be over 40 by the fall.’’
You have to go back years, or decades, to the days of 30-pound kings around here. The Indiana record for a Chinook is 38 pounds, caught by Rich Baker in 1980 from Trail Creek in LaPorte County.
But this year is shaping up as a big-king year. To the north, 32-pounders have been caught. A 29-pound king was caught out of North Point Marina earlier this month in Illinois.
That’s part of it: the chance shore fishermen may see some 30-pound kings again.
The other part is timing.
“It looks like an early year,’’ Breidert said. “There is good stream flow and good water.’’
In the drought of 2012, kings did not show up for shore fishermen until October. But, on Tuesday, a big king jumped the Sea Lamprey Barrier on Trail Creek. Fisheries staff checked the nets.
In one two-day stretch they found eight coho salmon, a dozen steelhead and four kings bigger than 15 pounds. The biggest king went 19.48 pounds. That’s nearly 20 pounds for the numerically challenged.
“I am thinking early, but that could change,’’ Breidert said. “What scares me is that if September is going to be hot — 75-80 I can deal with, but 85 or 90, that would boil the streams.’’
But the weather forecast looks good for the next 10 days at least.
“We haven’t heard of any caught shallow (by boaters), but guys aren’t fishing in shallow,’’ Breidert said. “I would think they would start.’’
Hunting: Squirrel season opens Thursday. Weather looks reasonable and, as staff at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area put it, “There’s plenty of squirbils.’’
Lake Michigan & tribs: Still some decent steelhead action in both Trail and Salt. ... St. Joseph River in both Michigan and Indiana is having a good early start, too. Breidert said he expects there will have been around 1,000 steelhead through the South Bend Fish Ladder by this week. What makes that interesting is that the fish did not start running until July 30. Breidert said he would not be surprised to even see a few coho at the ladder. ... Capt. Rich Sleziak of Triplecatch Charters still is finding decent kings, coho, lakers and steelhead in 100-120 feet out of the Ditch. ... Perch have been spotty at best, a few out of Michigan City and near the Donut in 28 feet.
Inland fishing: For whatever reason, fishing picked up significantly at Willow Slough for panfish this week. ... Catfishing finally hit its summer lull, according to Sleziak. ... Still plenty of bass action, especially evenings on most lakes and ponds. ... Rivers are in good wading shape, even low.
Note: Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond will continue normal operations until the building is sold, even if it is a year or more. The building was put up for sale this week.
Dunes different: Licensed bander Allen Chartier will lead a hummingbird-banding event, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, at Indiana Dunes State Park. At 1:30 p.m., he will present on ruby-throated hummingbirds and tips on attracting hummers. ... The seventh annual Perseid Meteor Stargaze begins at 8:30 p.m. at the park’s beach pavilion.