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Fishing on Lake Superior

Submitted February 2002 -
This yearís mild winter may not be conducive to some winter sports, but it is just what the lake Superior angler is hoping for.  We started launching boats on the 6th of February, about a month and a half earlier than normal.

Like other years with mild winters the fishing has been fantastic. Fisherman in the know has been taking advantage of the open water, and are catching large quantities of blue fin herring and coho salmon. In This undiscovered fishery we use small boats and fish close to the harbor mouths weather permitting. The Fisherman anchors out, and jigs rather than troll. Those who wish to troll donít need the elaborate gear normally used on the great lakes, a couple of spinners dragged behind the boat on light tackle will produce large quantities of coho with the occasional herring, or trout. The fishing changes in April when the herring go deep, and the trolling takes over. This is the time when the lake sees the most pressure, with the fish concentrated near shore. Planner boards are the way to go for the next month, with temperature being the key to how long the fish remain in shallow water. Floating rapala style lures are the baits of choice. The fishing is also hot off the breakwall at Black River Harbor, in March and April. Large catches of salmon with a few trout are taken every year during this time on worms, and casting spoons and spinners. This is the best opportunity of the year for the shore bound angler.

Regardless of what time of year you fish Lake Superior, water temperature is the key. Those fisherman who use temp to their advantage consistently out fish those who donít. last year the importance of water temp became clear again on our very first day of trolling.  Boats were clustered that day in the Saxon Harbor area, having poor luck in the 35 degree water in that area. We motored about 5 miles down the shore line and found 39 degrees in a small area, and filled our limit of salmon in a couple of hours.

All the fish on the lake have temperature preferences, we look for warm water in the spring and cold water in the summer. I came out of the harbor one morning during the annual tournament at Black river Harbor there were 27 boats in front of the river inside of 100 ft. The chatter on the radio was that the fish were not biting. I dropped down a downrigger that gives me temp at the cannon ball and discovered the water temp was 65 degrees all the way to the bottom! A northwest wind had belown for 24 hours and filled the whole area up with warm water, and the fish were gone. I could not believe that none of these boats were taking temperatures. We didnít hit the temperature break that day until we got into a 130 ft of water, with the best fishing that day 120ft down in a 160 ft of water just below the warm water which acts like a wall to the fish. We caught 45 fish that day and won the tournament, that year.

In the summer we set our spoons for lake trout in 47 to 51 degrees and have another set of baits for salmon in 55 to 60 degrees. The lake trout population is at a all time high in our area with the salmon and brown trout holding there own. The lure color on the lake seems to have a pattern every day, once you catch a fish put more baits out with that color pattern. The color pattern will change some times during the day and always in the evening. In most cases the fish didnít quit biting they just want something different. I have sunny day baits and cloudy day baits, the cloudy day baits will generally work in the evening with lowered light.

Tight lines. Picture is myself and  Ron Tanka from Ironwood, at Saxon Harbor with a large catch of herring and coho at the end of February.

BART DOMIN  (906)932-5253

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