The state has issued its 2020 forecast for Northwest Chinook, coho, sockeye and chum salmon runs. Salmon (Coho) fishing in Michigan varies moderately throughout the year. Popular with anglers looking for Salmon (Coho) fishing charters in Lake Michigan Manistee River is known for its superb Salmon and Trout fishing and depending on the time of the year, you can target Brown Trout, Steelhead, Chinook, and Coho Salmon. Chinook, on the other hand, almost exclusively consume alewife, according to diet study published this month in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. They are excellent eating, and … Our boats are equipped with the best Humminbird electronics for targeting Michigan salmon, and our Captains and Guides are vertical jigging experts. In the Great Lakes, larger coho feed primarily on smelt and alewives; however they are opportunistic feeders and will feed on a number of species if they are available as forage. As it turned out, coho was the first species of Lake Michigan trout and salmon we both caught. Although they are caught in a number of rivers, there is a notable fishery in late October in the Manistee River and migrating fish are caught in the St. Joseph River as late as Christmas. Low season is January to February. Although coho can get large – the Wisconsin record is a 26.1-pound, 38-inch-long fish caught off Milwaukee in 1999 – most are less than 10 pounds. Harbor Springs: More boats were targeting salmon from Harbor Point to the east.A few Chinook and coho were caught 100 to … Indiana’s share of Lake Michigan is the smallest of the four states bordering the lake. Some male cohos will spawn after only one summer in the lake. Vibrax Spinner. EMPIRE, MI - A half-century ago this weekend, proof that Michigan's gamble to stock Lake Michigan with sleek salmon from the Pacific Northwest was paying off in the form of "coho fever." There is no closed season. Coho are also prized for their aggressive nature and willingness to strike baits. This weekend looks like another good weather window on lake michigan as well. The best fishing is in the Anna River watershed, which produces a good fishery for both open-water anglers in Munising Bay in spring and fall and through the ice in winter as well. Lake Michigan Fishing. About the Fish. Coho salmon can be hard to identify. There was excitement from anglers and fish managers when coho made their first spawning run in the fall of 1967. The Coho Salmon is the smaller of the salmonids that we target. Coho salmon is one of the most popular salmonid species in Indiana. From Kenosha to Port Washington and sometimes farther north, May and June are prime time for coho on Lake Michigan. The downtown Milwaukee office towers were mere nubs on the horizon to our northwest. Once again it looks like a season on southern Lake Michigan where Illinois’ seemingly unassailable records for coho and Chinook may be within reach. Salmon stocking started in Michigan in 1967 to combat the excessive Alewife population. For a while we lost a fish for every one we landed, then we got on a string of four consecutive catches. Since his fishing partner – me – had just added a coho salmon to the cooler on the bow and had stopped to sort through a box of tinsel flies, Settele was temporarily on his own. Learn more about identifying Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, rainbow (steelhead) trout and brown trout. The Michigan DNR reintroduced coho salmon in Lake Huron and they will be ready to catch this season, in 2020. Since that time, the coho has become a popular sport fish, and many people come from all over the world to fish Michigan's great coho fishery. The total North Pacific yields of the pink salmon, chum salmon and sockeye salmon are some 10–20 fold larger by weight. Coho helped prove Pacific Ocean-strain fish could thrive when stocked in Lake Michigan. Coho do not typically spawn successfully in the transplanted areas, with an exception of the Great Lakes around Michigan. Tanner knew it'd be an uphill battle to convince people in Michigan to make take such drastic action. The combined weight of the eight coho was about 35 pounds. The average adult Great Lakes coho salmon weighs five pounds. Lake Michigan provides some of the best fishing for coho salmon and king salmon in the Midwest. Not a exact science but this is what I have found fishing down there. King Salmon and also commonly called Chinook Salmon. Meanwhile, fishers can catch Coho salmon in winter months by casting in Munising Bay in Lake Superior. The Vibrax Spinner from Blue Fox is a wildly popular lure in every river that hosts a … The river is still full of walleye, with many having been caught by … 1995). However there are times when two hands aren't enough. As time went on the Chinook was added to the mix. al. Like Chinook, coho are native to the Pacific coast of North America and parts of Asia. What … Then, with a pair of rods under his armpits, he punched in a way point on his GPS unit. They also appear to be well-suited for the long haul. High season is May to October. Learn more about identifying Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, rainbow (steelhead) trout and brown trout. Settele caught his in the 1980s while casting from shore at Port Washington. Did you know the DNR rears coho salmon at Platte River State Fish Hatchery? Lake trout planting began in 1965 and coho salmon and Chinook salmon were introduced from the Pacific Northwest in 1966 and 1967 (Eshenroder et. OAK CREEK – A time-honored boating idiom states: "One hand for oneself and one for the ship.". Also known as silver salmon, coho are typically the smallest of the five predominant trout and salmon found in the lake. The Indiana coho salmon fishing is Hot right now on Lake Michigan. Rainbow trout, or steelhead, and brown trout were also extensively planted. Fishing by both surf fishermen and trolling anglers occurs in Platte Bay as the fish stage for their spawning runs. Under the conditions, it was a piece of cake for Settele, a licensed Great Lakes captain and veteran of more than 20 years of fishing on the big pond. Several boats launched about the same time as we did and motored out of sight to the southeast. So add a modern verse to the boating rule – one finger for the ship's electronics, two hands for the fish. Northwest Lower Peninsula. plantings of lake trout and the introduction of coho salmon, Chinook salmon, brown trout and steelhead trout. Not only did they utilize the problematic alewife as a food source, they helped form the foundation of a world-class trout and salmon fishery. But in my book if fishing were cards, a limit of coho would beat a flush of any other Lake Michigan trout and salmon species, hands down. Over the course of four hours, we put eight fish in the cooler, all coho. This flasher is 8-inches … Diverse eating habits bode well for a species in the ever-changing ecosystem that is Lake Michigan. For perspective, Wisconsin anglers have already caught several chinook this year that weighed 31 pounds each. After the native fish community, including the lake trout, the key top predator, had been devastated by invasive species through the mid-20th century, Lake Michigan beaches  were spoiled each year with millions of dying and rotting alewives (also an invasive). Before we could get the planer board in, the fish got free. Two dorsal fins including one adipose fin, dark blue to green back with silver sides, white belly, and wide caudal peduncle. Alewives are the main food wanted by Chinook on Lake Michigan. General trout and salmon regulations for streams not classified by Type or Gear Restricted (listed on pages 40-43 of the Michigan Fishing Guide): Except for streams in the Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Waters, any other inland stream not classified by Type is open for the entire year with an 8-inch minimum size limit and a 5 fish daily possession limit, no more than 3 of which may be 15 inches or greater, … Every one had bright orange flesh and will make fine eating in the days ahead. This year I am going to try fly-fishing for the Salmon as well as bait fishing. As Settele and I fished on Thursday, we talked about our upbringings as fishing-crazy kids in southeastern Wisconsin. The fish seem to travel the big lake counter clockwise; in the spring, the southern Lake Michigan ports of St. Joseph and New Buffalo boast excellent fisheries with anglers trolling near shore -- or high in the water column off shore -- often with crankbaits and floating/diving artificial minnows. Life cycle and typical behaviors: As with all Pacific salmon, coho are anadromous. Coho Salmon and also commonly called Silver Salmon. To the south, we could see the white column of the Wind Point lighthouse. In fact when it comes to table fare, many anglers, including me, prefer a 3- to 5-pound coho over any other trout or salmon. Once in the lakes, they may stay near shore for a few months, and then seek deeper waters. Inside of mouth white and gums between teeth gray or white, but tongue may be black. Pro-Troll Flasher with Fly. Depending on the species, we will generally catch salmon and trout in the 3-25lb+ range. We ran four rods with lead core line and planer boards and two rods on down-riggers. Depending on the tributary, coho spawning runs occur from early September to November. The next spring the eggs hatch and the young remain in the gravel for two to three weeks. Small dark spots on back, sides and typically on upper lobe of caudal fin. Hope it helps some of you new to the area to get on fish. Things changed in 30 years, most notable was the collapse of the alewife/chinook salmon dominated ecosystem in Lake Huron. Also known as silver salmon, coho are typically the smallest of the five predominant trout … Then, just as I added that fish to the cooler, two more cohos hit. Our lines were set to cover the water column from about 15 to 45 feet under the surface. Females excavate redds, or nests, in tributary stream gravel beds. Coho can be caught in Lake Michigan at any time, though the best fisheries on the lake's east side occur in early spring and again in late summer and early fall. By … This is about as cliché of a fly choice as possible, but it’s cliché for a reason: it works. Thirteen or more rays in anal fin. Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Coho salmon average 3.5% by fish and 5.9% by weight of the annual Alaska salmon harvest. Coho salmon, arguably more than any other species, demand such creativity among Lake Michigan anglers. According to MDNR studies, migrating fish like the Coho salmon may be caught in certain rivers surrounding Lake Michigan, including St. Joseph River. "I can't tell you how good it feels to be out here," said Settele, who is a full-time arborist and has had a busy spring and early summer felling trees. Coho Salmon Coho salmon, a pacific salmon species, were the first salmon to become firmly established in the Great Lakes in the early 1960s. The others are chinook salmon, brown trout, lake trout and rainbow trout (a.k.a. Yes, in the interest of personal safety, it's best to keep a constant connection with the vessel, especially when she's rocking. The coho proved to be winners right out of the gate. Coho salmon and Chinook were stocked into Lake Michigan beginning in the 1960s, as part of an audacious plan by Michigan’s Howard Tanner to control alewives and start a sport fishery. Here are a few tips for fishing down in the waters off indiana. It was an easy decision, 30 years ago, for the Michigan DNR to discontinue the coho program in Lake Huron. Fifteen minutes later it was joined in the box by a 3-pounder. Price: Around $15. And the numbers aren’t good, coming in dramatically less in many cases than last year. As the sun began dropping toward the Oak Creek cliffs on Thursday, the action continued. Many Chinook are dark-colored now, with an occasional pink salmon, coho salmon or steelhead being caught. And coho are often found in schools along the southeastern Wisconsin coast. I landed mine in June 1972 while trolling on a charter boat my father had hired off Racine. Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, Bluesource/DNR Big Wild Forest Carbon Project, Assistance for Private Forest Land Owners, County and Municipal Law Enforcement Information, Fisheries Division Citizens Advisory Committees, Michigan History Center Commissions & Committees, Pigeon River Country Equestrian Committee, Timber and Forest Products Advisory Council, Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Councils. So in the 1960s fisheries managers began tinkering with stocking non-native predator fish. Fishing Information Tanner knew it’d be an uphill battle to convince people in Michigan to make take such drastic action. Coho, which typically twist and turn after getting hooked, are famous for getting "unbottoned.". They emerge in the late spring, as fry, and wait until their second spring before descending to the Great Lakes as smolts. Originally native to the Pacific Ocean, coho were introduced to Lake Michigan in the late 1960s and have enjoyed a strong following by boat, pier, and stream anglers alike. He also runs a part-time guiding business called "Fish Chasers." Coho and kokanee salmon were introduced by Colorado state officials. They were planted into Lake Michigan to help with the over abundant baitfish population. The Bear flows into Little Traverse Bay through one of Michigan's most beautiful towns – Petoskey. This is the fish that really started the Great Lakes salmon fishery. The first species to be stocked was the Coho. Coho is the fish that really started the Great Lakes salmon fishery. steelhead). All rights reserved. Coho and kokanee salmon were introduced by Colorado state officials. This can be especially true for anglers. His 21-foot Pursuit, a boat model typically used in salt water, is set up for Lake Michigan trolling. They were successfully introduced into the Great Lakes in 1966, when smolts where stocked in two Lake Michigan tributary streams; Platte River and Bear Creek (Big Manistee River tributary). Settele and I launched at 4 p.m. from the Bender Park boat ramp and headed east about 3 miles to 60 feet of water. They compete primarily with steelhead for food. These silver torpedoes have been known to swim right into the prop wash to hit a fly or spoon. Vertical jigging fishing for King Salmon (Chinook) and Coho Salmon on Lake Michigan - Grand Traverse Bays and Platte Bay - is exciting and fun! What People Are Saying About Salmon (Coho) Fishing in Michigan "July fishing trip" Todd Morton fished with Gold Coast Charter Service, Inc. on July 16, 2020 . "I guess we're not going to have to go any deeper," Settele said. Since they are often found close to shore, coho also afford the chance for pier anglers and owners of smaller boats to take advantage of the fast action. Catches of a dozen fish, all the way up to limit hauls of 20-30 fish a charter are common. A 10 mph southeast wind pushed in waves of 1 to 2 feet. Only a couple of power boats in the 16- to 18-foot range and two kayakers trolled within a half-mile of us. They were introduced into the Great Lakes in 1966 when smolts where stocked in two Lake Michigan tributary streams; Platte River and Bear Creek. The majority of steelhead spawn at … Both male and female adults die soon after spawning. Pro-Troll flasher with EChip. With a sunny sky above and the mercury at 75 degrees, the conditions were ripe for filming a "visit Milwaukee" commercial. Indiana has 43 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 224 square miles of Lake Michigan water. "There's another one," said Brian Settele of Menomonee Falls, nodding at a throbbing rod in a port side rod holder as he reeled one he picked from starboard moments before. He grabbed the port rod and kept tension on both lines as he walked to the center console of his 21-foot boat. Ten minutes later another line was struck; this one, a 25-inch coho that weighed about 4 pounds, came to net. Coho can be caught in Lake Michigan at any time, though the best fisheries on the lake's east side occur in early spring and again in late summer and early fall. The first hit came five minutes after we began trolling. Coho salmon generally spawn at 2+ years (two summers in the lake). Studies have shown that coho eat a varied diet including various bait fish, opossum shrimp and aquatic invertebrates. There were literally thousands of pounds of dead minnows getting washed up on the lake shore in the 1960’s. Over the years, coho stocking numbers have been surpassed by chinook salmon (which grow much larger and are preferred by many anglers) and lake trout (which are part of a native species recovery effort led by the U.S. Coho’s typically migrate later than the other salmon and travel longer distances. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources first stocked 9,000 rainbows in 1963. Meanwhile, in 1966 Michigan looked to coho salmon for a solution. Like Chinook, Coho is native to the Pacific coast of North America and parts of Asia. Depending on the time of season, Capt Rick will take you fishing for Coho and Chinook (King) Salmon as well as Steelhead (Rainbow), Brown, and Lake Trout. Bigger ones will likely be caught in the weeks ahead. Experience the tremendous salmon fishing that Lake Michigan has to offer. When the first adult fish began to run upriver to spawn during 1967, fishing in Michigan was changed forever. Lake Michigan, coho salmon are found from Kenosha north to Sturgeon Bay. Nothing against the "kings." Use the interactive 'Where to Fish' map . The Michigan DNR stocked 658,760 yearling coho in the Platte River and Bear Creek, both tributaries of Lake Michigan. The fall run includes Chinook and Coho salmon as well as steelhead and some lake-run brown trout as well. The bulk of coho are planted in the Platte River, just downstream from the state's coho hatchery. This informative, how-to video features coho fishing on Lake Michigan, which also yields some king salmon and lake trout. The flashy material, which undulates in the water and reflects light like alewife and other bait fish, is a proven trout and salmon producer. Fishing in Lake Michigan and tributaries. I try to make at least one outing a year specifically to target coho. © 2020 The number of steelhead gradually increased from there, and was joined over the coming decade by brook, brown and lake trout as well as coho and chinook salmon. Coho … Woolly Buggers catch all… Coho salmon, arguably more than any other species, demand such creativity among Lake Michigan anglers. But coho continue to hold a warm spot in the hearts of many. They ranged in size from 20 inches in length and about 3 pounds to 27 inches and about 6 pounds. Thursday was that day for 2020. The business end of each featured the bread-and-butter of Lake Michigan coho fishing: a dodger and fly. There is often good fishing for anglers who use spawn bags or spoons off the piers as well. "Probably ought to put a mark (on the graph), too.". Coho salmon are the backbone of the Alaskan troll fishery; however, the majority are caught by the net fishery (gillnet and seine). I caught my limit of five, Settele boated three. Although natural reproduction has been documented, the fishery is largely sustained through stocking. But size is only one way to measure a fish. Great Lakes coho are maintained through stocking. The Wisconsin DNR stocked 407,082 coho yearlings in Lake Michigan this spring, about on par with recent years. The states surrounding the lake were settled in the early 1800's providing a rich tradition with many regional cooking specialities and techniques. Fish and Wildlife Service). Fishing reports are updated weekly. Coho salmon were a key species in the recovery of and remain a key player in the Lake Michigan fishery. Setelle ties his own flies, mostly of tinsel. And sometimes smaller is better. So multiple hook-ups, such as Settele dealt with in the opening act of this story, are fairly common with cohos.