Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Day On Lake Michigan Part 1

Today it was my plan to publish an illustrated essay on the fine points of grilling walleye filets. Plans change. And that's a change I can believe in.

Today we went out for perch on Lake Michigan. Damn good thing too. IF we got a limit it would have been perfect. While we failed in quantity we gained in quality. Here is the big one, a 13” super jumbo.

While dragging the boat westbound on I-80 making my way to Pastrick Marina in East Chicago IN at 6:30 am my bro called form the Mik-Lurch bait shop on US 41 near I-80 in Hammond IN, where he was getting our bait. The bite was on at Calumet Harbor just west of the IN-IL state line. At least that was the word at Mik-Lurch. The big perch were finally in they claimed. Their advice was to launch at Hammond Marina on the IN/IL state line instead of launching at Pastrick Marina in East Chicago where the bite was slow. It would also save fuel running west from Pastrick,Marina, about ten miles east. We were going to fish on the IL side with IN licenses.

Oddly, the IL DNR has perch closed in IL waters during July. Why? Conservation? Since Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin DNR don’t close the season in July who the hell knows. Fortunately since Calumet Harbor enjoys a reciprocal agreement between IL and IN DNR we can fish there with IN licenses and take a 15 perch per day per person limit in IL. Let’s go.

We never have done this and it's news to me. Call it my small revenge on the Crook County Pirates. Heh.

Weather was iffy. Forecasts have been screwy lately with rain on days when not predicted and no rain on days when predicted. And the media is convinced that man-made Gorebal warming is sure thing? They are predicting atmospheric conditions a decade out? What a hoax.

On the drive west the sky was blue, the air was dry for July and it looked great. With a south wind for three days it was the perfect set-up for perch on our end of the lake. As I approached the state line with boat in tow low clouds blanketed the lake. While the scene looked grim it never did rain. With a solid cloud cover fishing should be good and I would be able to forsake slopping SPF 40 grease on my skin.

Calumet Harbor is where large ships enter the canal leading to the Port Of Chicago. And we sure saw a lot of large ships coming and going. We headed for the 20+ boats fishing a small area outside the entrance to the canal.

So we hooked up, dropped our minnows and commenced to hackin’. The drift was perfect, a light S – SW wind allowed us to go near shore and blow out slowly, covering a lot of territory to find the schools of perch. We watched many boats anchored nearby hauling in jumbo perch as we passed, slowly drifting by. Frustrating it was.

On one drift the bro suggested anchoring near the other boats who were scoring jumbo perch within sight. Since I was in the wheelhouse my plan was to blow farther off shore just for shits and giggles. Let's fish where they ain't. It paid off. This time.

Pow, Bing! Two jumbo perch hit my offering well beyond the anchored boats.

Two minutes...two super jumbos going 13". Fish on!

The bait-swiping fish were there too. The Round Nose Goby. A shit fish. Good for nothing but trouble in the Great Lakes. Originally from the Caspian Sea these invaders came into the Great Lakes via the dumped water ballast from Russian freighters. Here’s a Goby.

The sun came out around 11am, the wind died and the fish shut down. Been there, done that.

We stayed out until 1pm and our take was 10 fish total, far from the 30 we were allowed. It was a fine day and it was just great to be on the water again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great story :)