Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do Fish Follow The Sun?

Boat Launch at Backus Lake Early Spring

A few days ago decided to go fishing in the AM. Normally I take to the water in the PM, I seem to have more luck at my favorite spots after 6 o'clock in the evening. But I was up and had nothing pressing to do. So I'm sitting in one of my favorite spots on Backus Lake, just to the left of the boat launch near the Lilly Pads and Cattails. I bait up my favorite jighead, pitch it near the Lilly Pads and wait. And wait. And wait. Nothing.

So I go on a quest for the seemingly unpredictable Bluegill or Perch or Bass or Sunfish, Catfish, Northern Pike (you get the picture).

I resort to one of my tried and true methods for finding the fish (not a fish finder). I love my fish finder and use it regularly on Houghton Lake. But on Backus Lake (the water being 2-4 ft deep) instead of a fish finder, I troll around the lake waiting for a bite (I used this method to find a great spot for Perch). When a fish bites I note the position and backtrack to approximately the spot and give it a try.

So on this fine morning I find the fish in an area of reeds and Lilly Pads on the EAST side of the lake (a new fishing hot spot for me). My favorite hot spot is on the WEST side of the lake where I fish in the evening.

So do fish follow the sun?

Scientists believe there is direct evidence of fish feeding habits and the position of the moon. Basically fish feed more when the moon is directly overhead or positioned on the opposite side of the earth. Sooo, maybe fish follow the moon. Just one more thing to think about when looking for the wily and elusive trophy lunker.

True story: A group of young fishermen on their $40,000 fiberglass bass boat with the 250 hp engine, outfitted with the latest in fishing technology, head out one morning to catch a "mess 'o big ones". Using a chart of "hot" fishing spots and side scan sonar, baitcaster reels and the latest crank baits, soft baits and spinners. Jigs, top waters and harnesses. Leeches, Canadian crawlers, minnows and wax worms.

They found the best spot according to the chart. After cruising back and forth over the spot, the sonar indicated a large concentration of fish. The excited fisherman, with visions of wall mounts dancing in their heads, prepared for an all out assault on the record breaking fish.

While they were gearing up, an old angler came put-putting by in his 14 ft aluminum fishing boat with a 6 hp engine, a coffee can of worms and an old cane fishing pole with a cork bobber. He looked over, smiled and waved as he went past them. The young anglers laughed and made bets whether the "old guy" would catch anything with worms and a cane pole with a cork bobber. Didn't he know, technology is king? Even when fishing. So with a last chuckle they got down to serious fishing.

Four hours later, after a pitched battle of snags in over hanging trees, snags on underwater logs, tangled lines, backlashes, lost lures and not one fish to show for it, the haggard group saw the the old angler returning. Put-putting along in his old aluminum fishing boat with the cane fishing pole with the cork bobber and the coffee can of worms.He waved and asked them how they did to which they replied, "this lake is fished out".

The old angler just smiled, held up a stringer filled with choice fish and said, "They're down there fellas, you just have to bring them up."

Good fishing,

Ken S

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fishing Report: Backus Lake 6-20-11

I was fishing Backus Lake last friday morning when another fisherman asked how I was doing and was I having any luck? I said I had trolled around the shoreline and maybe had three bites. But I had stopped and caught a few small ones still fishing. To that he just shook his head and said, "this place is fished out". It's unbelievable how often I hear this.

I have a neighbor and friend that went with me to one of my favorite evening shore fishing sites. He picked me up at 5 pm and we drove the 6 miles to the site. He fished for maybe 15 minutes, declared the spot "fished out" and went and sat in his Jeep until I packed up and we went home. Let me just say my idea of evening fishing is about an hour or two before sunset until I can't see my bobber anymore.

When shore fishing in the evening I average 12 fish of varying sizes with 3 or 4 being keepers. But they don't always bite right away. And they always run in streaks. So if I left after 30 minutes I wouldn't have near the success I have.

I enjoy fishing and I like communing with nature. As is often the case I go fishing alone thus the lack of pictures. It's near impossible to hold up a fish and get a good picture. Plus I don't like to touch my Nikon camera with dirty, slimy hands. (A lens can be easily ruined just by water spots)

Anyway, I had a great time trolling. I had the whole lake to myself. The swarms of mosquitoes that had been there the last 6 weeks were gone (at least for this one day). And I caught a few keepers and just plain enjoyed myself. And that's what fishing is suppose to be about. Take it slow, be patient, enjoy the company if your with someone. Let the days cares melt away and just revel in the beauty that nature has to offer.

Here's to those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer,

Ken S

Friday, June 17, 2011

Traverse City Cherry Festival 2011

National Cherry Festival
July 2-9, 2011
Traverse City, MI

OK, this one isn't in Houghton Lake. But if your here around the beginning of July and your looking for a very special day trip, cruise about 40 minutes west of Grayling along M-72 to Traverse City for the National Cherry Festival.

Should be known as the International Cherry Festival as many festival goers come from all over the globe to partake of the celebration of this small, red, delicious and very versatile sweet/tart fruit. Gracing pies, jam/jellies, soda pop, wine, beer...and so on. 

Did I mention they're fabulous all alone? Pop one in your mouth and bite down BUT be careful of the pit. It can reek havoc with your teeth.

Who hasn't tried to tie a knot in a cherry stem using only their tongue? I can't do it but I know someone who can (Marsha). I don't know if they have a contest for this but they should.

Vintage 1940 Cherry Festival

This years National Cherry Festival will be July 2-9 and features:
  • Old Town Classic Car Show
  • Teen Volleyball Tournament
  • Old Mission Peninsula Bike Tour
  • Festival Air Show
  • Cherry Pit Spit Contest
  • Cherry Pie Eating Contest
  • Million Dollar Hole-In-One Golf Contest
  • and much more....

There's a midway filled with carnival rides, souvenirs and everything Cherry.

Bay Side Music Stage Concerts include:

  • Wed., July 6  "Kansas"
  • Thurs., July 7 "1964...The Tribute" (Beatles tribute band)
  • Fri., July 8  ".38 Special with Brantley Gilbert"
  • Sat., July 9  "Josh Gracin"

*Concert tickets can be purchased for $15 for all four nights. 

For more info click here National Cherry Festival

For the adults:
  • Global Wine Pavilion
  • Beer Tent
  • Pie Eating Contest
  • and more..

For the kids:
  • Kids Bubblegum Blow
  • Princess Tea
  • Kids Festival Matinee
  • Kids Cherry Pie Eating Contest
  • and more..

Whatever your age or interest there's something at the festival for you. So come to Houghton Lake and leave a day open to take a short ride and enjoy one of the best festivals in the world. You'll be glad you did.

For more area festivals click here.

Hope to see you there,

Ken S

Friday, June 10, 2011

Michigan DNR State Campgrounds, Deer Baiting & Free Fishing Weekend

The 23 state rustic campgrounds have been saved at least for another season. It was never known to me Whether Reedsburg state campground was on the list for closing or not. I do know that Reedsburg gets plenty of campers during the summer and a few during the spring and fall seasons. Many local fisherman use the boat ramp in the campground for some excellent fishing in the Dead Stream Flooding. The flooding also offers beautiful views from a number of the campsites during any season.

The DNR has voted to rescind the ban on baiting in most lower peninsula counties. See DNR website for list of counties that are still banned from baiting. Baiting will be allowed from Oct 1 to Jan 1. Recreational feeding on a homeowners property within 100 yds of the home is reinstated year round. The rule will be revisited again in 3 years.

June 11 & 12 is Michigan free fishing weekend. It's a chance to try out fishing without having to buy a license. So take the kids and get out for a day or two of fun and relaxation and maybe inspire a future angler.

Good Luck and Be Safe,

Ken S

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Houghton Lake Fishing: How to cast a Baitcaster Reel

Fishing has been a little slow due to the hot weather and the hatching of the fish flies. Fish are gorging on the bugs and ignoring much of the other types of bait.

So with the extra time on my hands I decided to practice my casting. (It was that or due some housework)

Like many of you I have been plagued by the curse of the "baitcaster reel". Recently I came across a video that helped me by explaining how to properly set up the reel. So before you throw away your baitcaster reel, check this out you'll be glad you did:

Here's another helpful video. It's a neat trick for clearing backlashes:

I hope these instructional videos will help you as much as they've helped me.

Good Luck,

Ken S

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Houghton Lake: Gun and Knife Show-June 11 & 12, 2011

Michigan Gun and Knife Shows is coming to Houghton Lake. 

Show will be June 11 & 12. Hours 9-5 on Sat and 10-3 on Sunday.

At the Busy Bee Mall between Tractor Supply and Dunham's Sports (the old Wal Mart building) on M-55. 

For more info click here to go to Michigan Gun and Knife Shows.

Thanks for stopping by,

Ken S

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Walleye Special Report: June 4, 2011

The scuttlebutt around the Houghton Lake area is that the Walleye are running along the west side of the lake. They're biting from around 10am to 3pm snacking on minnows. Perch are also feeding on minnows and 10-12 inch ones are not unusual. Best fishing seems to be in 9 ft of water.

Good luck,

Ken S