Brown Trout Bonanza

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After a recent day trip where we traveled six hours round trip to fish for Steelhead on the Grand River, near Grand Rapids, and have nothing but the smell of skunk in our kayak, I tried to come up with another trip before the winter set in and the 2013 Kayak Fishing Season was over. Remembering that I had chatted with a fellow Hobie Fishing Team Member from Wisconsin about making a trip in late November or December for  Steelhead or Brown Trout, I contacted him to let him know that I was still interested in hooking up. Watching the weather closely we came up with a window of a couple of days where the weather looked like it might cooperate enough for us to get out on the water.

With a days notice, a midweek two day trip to Racine, Wisconsin, leaving early AM, fishing the afternoon, and the next morning, driving back home that evening, was going to be the plan. I convinced Craig, another Hobie Team Member to make the trip.

We had an early start clearing customs at the Ambassador Bridge by 6:30am. Five and a half hours later we pulled up to the launch, where Rob had suggested we meet him. He had launched a few hours earlier to see if conditions were good enough to fish. When we pulled up he was already packed up and ready to move on to the next location where he said the launch and harbor were better protected from the wind.

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There was a little less wind and we were able to get out on the water somewhat comfortable and fished, throwing some fresh spawn he had brought. We didn’t have any luck so we moved on to trolling in the harbor where we marked a lot of fish, though they were not interested in our presentations. Moving back to throwing spawn near the launch we did hook up into a few feisty Brown Trout.

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The plan for Thursday morning was to try and get out for 1st light about a half hour down the road at a different harbor and cast jigs for Brown Trout. The morning was more mild than the previous day without any wind at all and an overcast sky. I was barely into my 1st cast when the first fish of the day was hooked up. Four and half hours later I don’t think more than five minutes went by without someone hooking up to a fish. It was non stop of fiesty Brown Trout in the size range of seventeen to twenty five inches. Most of them chunky football shaped and full of life jumping sometimes up to a half dozen times before you would either lose them or get them in the kayak. My biggest one weighed almost ten pounds and after a lengthy battle spit the hook just as I was netting him, lucky for me he swam into my net.

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We wanted to get back on the road to miss the afternoon traffic in Chicago so reluctantly we called it a day and thanked Rob for showing us one of the best mornings of fishing that either of us have experienced.

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This is kayak fishing at its best, meeting new friends, fishing with old friends on new water, different cities and for me it was a first time catching Brown Trout.

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Kayak Fishing For Sturgeon

About 2 years ago I was peddling (Hobie Mirage Drive) my kayak on Lake St. Clair about 3 miles from shore, almost in a trance like state with the lack of boats and glass like conditions.  About 20 feet in front of my kayak a large Sturgeon jumped clear out of the water and startled me to the point that I almost fell out of my kayak..

Since that time I had a desire to target and catch one from my kayak. In Ontario, Sturgeon cannot be targeted, though living on border waters of Michigan, Ontario, I have the luxury of being able to target and catch Sturgeon in Michigan waters a few miles from where I live.  Last year I joined the St. Clair – Detroit River Sturgeon For Tomorrow Incorporated, organization to learn about the Sturgeon and how to  target, catch and safely release.  In September we attended an outing where we were able to go out in an experienced Sturgeon Anglers boat.  We didn’t catch any but were able to see how to setup, bait and attend the lines with the lite bite that is hard to distinguish between a small catfish, rock bass, or sturgeon.
The next week I chose the location on the Middle Channel near the mouth of Lake St. Clair and anchored in 40′ of water.  That alone took some figuring how to rig up an anchor rope long enough and being able to set the anchor and then retrieve it against a strong current.  On my way to the location I purchased 3 dozen fat night crawlers as this is the bait of choice from most of the local Sturgeon Anglers.  I was using a size 5 Octopus Hook with 3 of the night crawlers sewed on.

I had setup about 5:30pm and after a couple of hours of missed bites and some small Sheepshead, I without a doubt hooked into a large Sturgeon.  It didn’t jump like most big ones do but the amount of fight at the end of the line was like nothing I had ever experienced. Twenty minutes later It was starting to get dark when I landed  a 60″,  Lake Sturgeon.

Fishing alone and now dark (kayak well setup with bright lights) I wanted to get a good picture of my catch and was having trouble getting it into the kayak.  I turned on my GoPro, hoping that I had enough artificial lights with the LED strips that I have on my kayak.  Though Sturgeon don’t have any scales they are a slimy fish and at around 50 lbs I was having trouble getting a grip to pull it in.  I remembered that I had a pair of Lindy gloves which I had never used before.  They allowed me to get a good grip and I successfully pulled this prehistoric species into the kayak and after a short wrestling match, held it up to capture some video.

I would have to say to date this is my most rewarding catch, considering that I had planned, researched and even though I was shown where to target them, I chose another spot, less known for targeting Sturgeon.  The video is a little grainy, as is the picture I clipped from the video.

Caught on the Middle Channel, near Harsen's Island.

Caught on the Middle Channel, near Harsen’s Island.