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Catch More Lake Michigan Salmon and Trout This Summer
Lake Michigan fishing is like a puzzle with a few of the pieces missing. At least this is how it feels some days. Just when you think you have it figured out, here comes the twist of the week. After 30 years of fishing Lake Michigan from over 20 different ports, there are a few things that remain constant......

Articles published about inshore and offshore sportfishing Deep sea fishing article writers at

By Captain Andy Derwinski
Posted Sunday, February 7, 2010

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Lake Michigan fishing is like a puzzle with a few of the pieces missing. At least this is how it feels some days. Just when you think you have it figured out, here comes the twist of the week. After 30 years of fishing Lake Michigan from over 20 different ports, there are a few things that remain constant. The most important key to consistently catching fish is location.

Rule #1, you can’t catch fish if there aren’t any fish where you are.

Lake Michigan Salmon and Trout Fishing

This may sound simple, but day after day I see and talk to other anglers that just simply “couldn’t get anything going”. Yes, it helps to be on the water day after day. But, even that doesn’t solve the location problem. These fish move at a comfortable 6 knots when they decide to relocate. That means that the short 2 hours between morning and afternoon charters could put your morning limit 12 miles away. So, what do we do?

It would take a major event to move fish that far in such a short time. The energy required to move that distance could never be recovered. Think of the big bass that grabs the thickest part of the weed bed for her lair. Why would she risk moving more than a few feet? The same holds true for the stream trout that finds the perfect eddy behind a rock and spends his whole life there. So, don’t expect a school of Coho to move any further than they absolutely have to.

So what is the solution?

First, pick a starting point. There are so many sources today for fishing info. The internet alone is full of up to date reports for every area of the lake. Try getting to know a local charter captain that spends 4 to 7 days a week chasing these fish. Many are more than willing to share the info they have.

Second, stick to your plan. You get to the dock at 5am. The boat is ready to go and everyone is excited. You spent the last 2 days on the web and calling bait shops and captains. You’ve decided that 50 feet of water north of the port is the place to start. The boat next to you says they heard a report about fish in 100 feet. Or maybe, you stop at 50 and it seems like every charter boat in the county runs right past you. The answer is, FISH. You did your research, its current, don’t second guess yourself. Some of my best days have been when I ran way past everyone else or stopped well short.

Third, don’t waste time on dead water. Salmon and trout in Lake Michigan eat, swim, and make babies, in that order. If you are on fish, they’ll bite. If you aren’t getting bit, move. North or south, east or west, deeper or shallower, start trolling away from the dead water. This doesn’t mean you set up wrong, only that they moved. My usual rule is 10 minutes at a certain level. (This is the feet of water you are in) After that, its move deeper or shallower depending on currents, water temperature, traffic, and lake conditions. If I’m convinced that north or south would make a difference, than that is the second choice.

Make a plan, stick with it, be willing to adapt. Those are the keys to locating fish on Lake Michigan. The next article will deal more with water temperatures, currents, and other factors that determine fish location throughout the season.

Feel free to contact me for local reports for the Kenosha area. I don’t normally respond to text messages, a call is always better. For more info on the lake and what it has to offer, check the website at

The JEDI fishes daily from late April through October for salmon and trout from the Port of Kenosha. Kenosha is consistently ranked the best charter fishing port in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin DNR.

I am Captain Andy Derwinski, owner and captain of the JEDI. For the best adventure on the lake, give me a call. 414-788-6603


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