by Wade Cochart
As the boat you are in is slowly purring its way through the Kewaunee harbor on this cool July morning, yawning, you look down to glance at your watch as it reads 4:24am. As you near the lighthouse, you look to the east and see daybreak only a few minutes away. The water appears to be as flat as a sheet of glass. The engine starts to rumble a little louder and you’re off. After a short 12 minute cruise to the southeast, as the graph reads 91’ of water, your fishing partner slows the boat to trolling speed and turns due south. You grab your favorite rod out of the downrigger and begin to set it down. As you’re setting the first downrigger, you look back towards the graph and see many large ‘arcs’ suspended 60’ down, so you decide to set the first downrigger at 54’. Shortly after, you grab the first dipsy diver rod to set, you look to the east and by now, the sun is just appearing in the horizon. What a gorgeous morning it’s going to be. As the first dipsy is on its way down, your partner yells, “FISH ON” and you turn to see the downrigger rod you just set being ripped nearly out of the rod holder. You quickly set the dipsy rod into an open rod holder and run for the downrigger rod. Instantly, you can tell you have a large king on the other end as the drag starts screaming. You firmly tuck the rod into your stomach and realize that you could be in for a long, long fight!
It’s this experience that continues to draw salmon anglers from all over the Midwest, year after year, to the shores of Kewaunee in hopes of fighting with a tackle busting, line screaming king salmon. The 2007 Lake Michigan fishing season off the shores of Kewaunee was once again, nothing short of spectacular and for many, the 2008 season cannot come quickly enough.
The 2007 Lake Michigan fishing season once again jumped out to a fast and furious start out of the Port of Kewaunee, with numerous catches of kings already coming in by Memorial Day weekend. Soon after the kings began to show up, a mixture of high flying, acrobatic rainbow trout also began to line the bottom of some anglers coolers and this continued well into summer. Once the waters began to warm in August, kings predominately filled the coolers.
Once again in 2007, with numerous salmon cruising the waters within just a few miles off the shores of Kewaunee, everyone was cashing in on the drag screaming action. Many limit catches of kings in the 8-15 pound range were common and rainbows in the 5-8 pound class also filled some coolers. As has been the common theme over the past five years, flasher / fly combinations once again were the 2007 bait of choice for enticing these tackle busting king salmon. Popular flasher colors included white, green, chartreuse or chrome all lined with glow or silver tape. The most popular fly run 20”-24” behind these plastic flashers was any fly containing a green or aqua color. Some anglers also used spoons to target kings and the most effective spoon colors were those containing green, purple, black or glow. Spoons being ran in the upper part of the water column were once again the most effective technique to put some rainbows in your cooler and any bright colored spoon containing silver, orange, green or pearl seemed to do the job.
To go along with the phenomenal king salmon fishing off the shores of Kewaunee, 2007 seen the 2nd Annual Kewaunee Trout Festival Offshore Challenge salmon and trout super derby. This tournament, which is only in its second year, has been commented by numerous participants to be one of the most fun and well organized Lake Michigan salmon fishing tournaments in the area. The one day event, held in conjunction with the Kewaunee Trout Festival, took place on Saturday, July 14th where (60) tournament teams consisting of over (180) anglers competed for a 1st Place prize payout of $1,200. Over (400) salmon and trout weighing more than 4,000 lbs. were registered by the competitors. The 1st Place team registered a maximum of ten fish weighing a whopping 144.45 lbs. In addition, the largest salmon of the tournament weighing 18.64 lbs. was worth an additional $925. With all of the comrodity between participating anglers and people attending the exciting final weigh-in ceremony, a great time was had by all. The 2008 one-day event is scheduled for Saturday, July 12th and it’s expected that (75) teams consisting of over (225) anglers will compete for the prize money. More information on the 2008 event can be obtained by contacting the Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce at (800) 666-8214.
If you or someone you know has not had the thrill to feel the power of a tackle busting, line screaming king salmon or to witness the acrobatic highlights of a high flying rainbow trout, there is no better time than now to start planning your trip to the shores of Kewaunee………and after you leave, you will never forget the excitement that two words can bring…….FISH ON!!!