Doug Kammerer with a big lake trout. Our group doubled up catching two of them this same size at the same time.  (Photo provided by Joe Martino)

Doug Kammerer with a big lake trout. Our group doubled up catching two of them this same size at the same time.
(Photo provided by Joe Martino)

I have always felt that we are fortunate to live in the Midwest in general and in north-central Indiana in particular. Sure, Indiana may not have breathtaking mountain views or scenic ocean coastlines, but unlike some portions of the U.S., it is centrally located so that outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of various activities within reasonable proximity to their homes. From hiking and panfishing in southern Indiana and Kentucky, to snow skiing or snowmobiling in Michigan - all of which can be done on a tank of gas - I’d say we have it pretty good.
I’ve long felt that one (or should I say five) of the greatest reasons for living where I do are the amazing natural resources of the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan and its tributaries in particular have always been special to me. Besides being the closest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan offers anglers opportunities to fish for salmonids - salmon and trout in lay terms.
Various times of the year offer varying opportunities to catch any one of these species, so there is usually always some type of action to be found in the lake. From spring cohos, to summer run of Skamania steelhead all the way to the fall run of steelhead and salmon into the rivers, anglers have several opportunities at these sought-after game fish.
Having just returned from a trip on the big lake earlier this week, I was once again reminded of why I like this lake so much. Besides just the fishing opportunities it provides, there are several pristine beaches and other activities on or near the bright blue waters of the lake.
My last several trips out on the lake have been with Captain Mike Boyd of Coldwater Charters in St. Joe, Michigan. Mike is my pick when it comes to charter captains. When you find a good thing, you tend to stick with it. He works hard to ensure a good trip for his clients, and he possesses a sense of humor. The fact that he allows me back on his boat each time is a testament to that!
I often accuse him of either pulling the old bait and switch on me or of spoiling me on my initial trip with him. That first outing on his boat years ago found us battling the most and the biggest kings and steelhead I have ever encountered in Lake Michigan’s waters. Our group limited out - with over half of the catch consisting of adult kings pushing the scales to twenty pounds! I knew right then - and even made mention of it to Mike - this was, by far, and could be the best catch I would ever experience on the lake. On the trip after that, my son Nicholas boated a monster eighteen pound steelhead trout.
So, when Mike told me just a couple weeks ago that the fishing was out of this world - with catches reminiscent of our first trip - I couldn’t wait to head up there.
The few days prior found the lake turning over and weather conditions pushing the cooler water (which salmonids prefer) further offshore. The areas where he was finding his big fish were now nearly twenty degrees warmer than they were just a few days prior. Still, it was only a matter of minutes before the first rod popped and my son was soon doing battle with a nice brown trout.
The action was off and on throughout the day, and we ended up boating ten fish altogether. In fact, we caught a grand slam - a fish from each of the five salmonid species in the lake, consisting of coho salmon, king salmon, lake trout, steelhead trout and brown trout. This was a rare and pretty nifty treat. We may not have caught limits of huge kings, for which I may have teased Mike a bit about, but in reality it was a good trip and was actually more of what one should expect on a typical Lake Michigan outing.
Besides, fishing enjoyment shouldn’t be based on the number or size of fish caught anyway. Getting a group of friends together for a day on beautiful Lake Michigan is reason enough. A few healthy salmon dinners won’t hurt me either!
Now through August is a great time to fish the lake for trophy -size king salmon before they begin their migration up the creeks and rivers to spawn in the fall. There are still a few openings left in August on Mike’s calendar if you would like to experience it for yourself. He can be reached at 517-617-0282, on the web at www.coldwatercharters.com, or on Facebook.