Monthly Archives: June 2016

Lake Trout on Lake Michigan

Tips for Targeting Lake Trout on Lake Michigan

By Buzz Ramsey
from The Fishing Wire

It’s no secret that lake troutt have become the most numerous fish in Lake Michigan and you cannot consistently win tournaments without spending most of your tournament and pre-tournament days targeting them.

Although lake trout can position themselves throughout the water column, for example, in mid-level temperature layers where the bait and other sport fish like salmon are found, they spend a large portion of their time on or near the bottom of the lake. This tendency to hug the bottom is especially true during the middle of the day when the sun is bright.

In addition to being drawn to investigate flashers and lures trolled in the bottom-hugging zone lake trout prefer, these fish will positively respond to the stirring up of bottom sediments. It seems the more you can stir up the bottom by occasionally dragging (it’s really more like skipping) your lures and/or occasionally bouncing your downrigger ball on bottom the more lake trout you will catch.

Some avid trollers targeting lakers will extend a short length (18-to-24 inches) of chain or wire from their downrigger ball to help draw these bottom-hugging fish into their gear. The reason adding a short length of chain, such that it will scratch bottom occasionally, is used is that it will accomplish the goal of stirring up bottom sediment without jeopardizing the loss of your downrigger weight. Keep in mind this technique is best used when trolling over flat bottoms and not where bottom structure makes just skipping the bottom difficult or impossible.

Another method used to stir up bottom sediment is to employ a triangular shaped flasher, like an 8 or 10 inch Fish Flash, which will stir up bottom sediment without hanging up or tripping from your downrigger release. Try running near bottom, occasionally touching sandy bottoms, in combination with a 48-to-60 inch leader and spoon, spinner, Spin-N-Glo or spinning bait. You want your gear running fairly close, ten (10) feet behind the downrigger ball, so it will be in or near the sediment cloud.

An all-time-favorite trolling combination used by anglers wanting to target lake trout is to rig a size 2, 4, or 6 Spin-N-Glo in combination with a size 0 or 1 dodger. The dodger’s side-to-side swaying motion adds additional action to the already lively Spin-N-Glo and is the go-to combination for many charter operators and avid anglers. Most rig their Spin-N-Glo 24-to-30 inches behind their dodger. It’s important to place a few plastic beads between your Spin-N-Glo and hook so this lure will spin freely.

Some of the more productive Spin-N-Glo colors for lake trout are Luminous Spot, Stop N Go, Luminous Green, California Watermelon, and Red Hot Tiger. These finishes are now available with glow-in-the-dark wings. So, in addition to the phosphorescent bodies the wings also glow. To see them visit or ask your local dealer.

And it’s not just dodgers that are used in combination with Spin-N-Glo. Take last year’s Salmon-A-Rama “Yakima Bait Rewards Program” winner who trolled a Spin-N-Glo in combination with Fish Flash to take home real money – it could be you this year.

Stupid Claims Made while Blaming Guns for Violence

Here they go again.

It never fails – a gun is used in a high visibility shooting like in Orlando last week, and the democrats and others immediately want to ban guns. I would be more willing to listen to them if they didn’t make silly, inaccurate statements and tell plain flat out lies about guns.

If nothing else, the claims that the killer last week was anything but a terrorists makes those making that claim lose all credibility with me. When they further say something stupid along the lines that automatic weapons should be banned I know they are not rational.

Private ownership of automatic guns has been almost completely banned in the US since June 26, 1934. The federal law that went into effect 82 years ago means, if you want to buy an automatic gun, you have to get a special federal firearms permit for each one you want. And those permits cost $2000 per gun! The law is so restrictive that, even after the FBI investigates you and approves you for a permit, you can not carry that gun across state lines without getting permission each time.

The “gun show loophole” is another myth pushed by the gun banners. It is common to hear something like “If you buy a gun at a gun show you should have to go through the background check.” You do, under current law.

To sell guns you have to possess a federal firearms license (FFL) and run a background check on every sale. Saying the gun show needs to run a background check is like saying a mall should sell you shoes. Just like at a mall, businesses rent spaces and sell their products. So you can buy shoes from a business that sells them in the mall just like you can buy a gun at a gun show from a business that sells them, and they have to run the background check.

How about those “private” sellers or “unlicensed gun dealers” many whine about? An individual can sell a personally owned firearm without a background check at a gun show or anywhere else.

How many guns can an individual sell before they must have an FFL? Federal law makes it a felony to buy even one gun to resell without an FFL. So its pretty hard to get inventory without becoming a felon if you want to become an unlicensed gun dealer.

Facebook as gotten into censorship over this in a big way. Several of my friends and I posted or shared something comparing so called “assault weapons” and hunting guns. It listed all the ways they are the same and the ways they are different. It pointed out the only difference is the way the gun looks. Nothing but a list of facts, but apparently the powers that be at Facebook disliked it and censored it from all our pages.

If you can’t provide facts to back up your opinion, censor the facts that go against your prejudices.

One brain dead congressman claimed the gun used in the killing in Florida could fire 700 rounds per minute. Even if you know nothing about guns you should be able to see how stupid that is. That amounts to almost 12 rounds per second. Any rational thought given to that number shows it is not possible, just another irrational claim to scare people about guns.

All the silly claims about banning guns to protect you and to keep terrorist and criminal from getting them is nothing but an effort to distract you from the real problem. Take the shooting in Orlando. The guy had been checked more than one time by the FBI and cleared and taken off the ‘no fly’ list. The FBi was notified a man was trying to buy level 3 body armor – the highest level “bullet proof” vest civilian can buy, but they didn’t follow up because they said they didn’t have enough information. It turned out to be the mass shooter.

Even if there was some way to stop selling guns some folks imagined to be “semiautomatic assault style weapons,” which means any gun some find objectionable because of their looks, and confiscate the millions already in private ownership, what effect would it have? Those kinds of guns are totally illegal in France. Yet 130 people were killed by terrorist using them last November. The got them into the country and to a concert and other public places in spite of the total ban.

Geraldo Rivera said on the news last Friday that we need to do something about “semi machine guns.” President Obama aaid the terrorists had “a Glock with a lot o clips in it.” With gun banners saying stupid things like that, it makes me totally ignore them since it is so obvious they do not know what they are talking about.

Why Guntersville Drops out of Listing of America’s Top Bass Lakes

Guntersville Drops out of Listing of America’s Top Bass Lakes

By Frank Sargeant
from The Fishing Wire

After once sitting atop the heap, this year Alabama’s Lake Guntersville did not make the top 10 in the annual listing compiled by Bassmaster Magazine of the nation’s top bass fishing spots. Toledo Bend Lake in Texas topped the charts this year, for the second year in a row.

In fact, Guntersville did not even top the southeast division, where it came in 5th. Santee Cooper in South Carolina was listed as the tops in the southeast.

North Alabama’s Lake Guntersville is still producing some whopper fish these days, but state studies indicate low numbers of fish in the 15 to 18 inch class, producing slow fishing for most anglers at present, and also indicating that fewer big fish will be caught in future as the current crop of lunkers ages out of the population. (Mike Carter photo)
And G’ville was only the third best lake in the TVA chain. Both Chickamauga, upriver, and Kentucky Lake, downriver, were placed above the 70,000 acre North Alabama lake.

What’s happened to the big lake–the economic driver of much of the economy in Jackson and Marshall counties?

Nothing unusual, according to biologists with Auburn University and with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).

“We’re seeing a natural downturn at Guntersville, the result of what we call recruitment, or the success of spawning, in past years,” says Matt Catalano, assistant professor of Fishery Science at Auburn.

“The lake had an outstanding year class in 2008 when a huge number of the fish that were hatched survived to eventually become adults, and by 2011, anglers were seeing the results of this year class in their catches–there were more 15 to 18 inch fish than ADCNR had ever recorded in a continuing study of over 20 years at the lake,” said Catalano.

“But as fish get older, there’s a natural mortality as well as some fishing mortality, and not only that the larger fish are harder to catch–they’re more wary because they’ve been caught and released, and they’re not in the same places that the smaller fish are most of the time.”

Catalano said that continuing studies indicate that there are now more fish over 20 inches than there have been at any time during the study years, but that the more numerous 15 to 18 inch fish have fallen off to an average figure that’s 30 to 40 percent below the numbers in the 2011 peak.

“We don’t measure angler success, but with that many fewer fish in the mid-ranges, it’s sure to have an impact on the fisherman’s success,” said Catalano.

What brought on the big year class in 2008–and can the lake be manipulated to make it happen again?

“There seems to be correlation between years with low water flow from the spawn on into June and having a high survival rate of the fry,” says Catalano. Low flow typically results in clearer and shallower water, which results in more aquatic weed growth, and in return this builds a strong food chain as well as providing lots of cover where young fish can hide from predators.

Since Guntersville is part of the TVA chain, controlling the water levels to benefit the fish is probably not an option. The lake levels are manipulated to maintain navigation for commercial traffic, and for flood control; fish and fishermen have to deal with what Mother Nature give us.

However, Catalano said there’s some evidence that past stocking of Florida strain bass has helped improve the overall genetics in some areas of Guntersville, and heavy stocking could have a good result in a year when the natural spawn is down.

“Stocking a lot of young fish on top of a healthy native population usually doesn’t have much of an impact because the habitat is already full,” says Catalano. “But we know that stocking Florida bass has had very good results in other lakes around the country–in the right place at the right time, and with the right volume, it could improve the fishing.”

Changing the rules for anglers to reduce bass harvest, on the other hand, does not seem likely to produce much result.

“We tag a lot of bass on this lake and the number of returns we get give us some idea of what the harvest is relative to the number of fish. It’s pretty minimal–we think natural mortality is a far larger factor here,” he said. “That means tighter harvest rules probably would not have a measurable impact.”

The Lake Guntersville Conservation Group, formed to try bringing the fishery back through stocking and other efforts, has slated its next meeting for July 31 at Goose Pond Bait & Tackle, on the water just south of Scottsboro, at 3 p.m. Those who would like to join the group can contact Sharon Carter at 256 218 0613.

Stupid Common Sense Gun Laws

When I was six years old I had my tonsils taken out. As a present for being such a “big boy” during the surgery I got a BB gun, my first gun of many. I was extremely proud of that gun and it was my constant companion for the next two years, carrying it almost everywhere I went. It was a great way to learn gun safety and prove to my parents I could handle a gun responsibly.

During the next two years I got my second gun, a semiautomatic Remington .22. That rifle had a tubular magazine that held 16 high power Long Rifle bullets. The boxes those bullets came in had the warning “Danger, range one mile” printed on them.

I was not allowed to take that gun out of the house unless an adult was with me. Daddy took me out to shoot it fairly often, and I killed my first squirrel with it when, at eight years old, I saw one in the woods across the road from the house after school one day and got Gladys, our housekeeper, to go out with me since nobody else was at home.

My parents accepted that I had learned gun safety at that point and I was allowed to go out with my gun, only if alone or with an adult, for two more years. At ten years old I was finally allowed to go out with my friends. For years we hunted together during season and carried our rifles every where we went, even when no season was open.

No one gave a second look to three 12 year olds walking into town with our rifles, propping them by the door of Mr. John Harry’s store and going in to buy a coke and pack of crackers for a nickel each and a box of bullets for our rifles. A box of 50 Long Rifle bullets was 62 cents, if I remember right.

The summer I turned 18 I graduated from high school, was accepted at the University of Georgia for that fall, registered for the draft and got a job making roof trusses for a pre fab construction company. One day that summer a few weeks before my 18th birthday I went to buy some .22 bullets at Mr. John Harry’s store and he told me he could not sell them to me since I was not 18 yet.

Although I knew automatic guns and sawed off shot guns were illegal, that was my first run in with so called “common sense gun control laws.” It took five years after President Kennedy was killed with a mail order rifle for congress to “do something” and pass a law that banned mail order sales of guns, as well as sale of rifle ammunition to anyone younger than 18.

That gun control law was supported by the NRA, because it was just the start of the long history of “doing something” that always ended up restricting gun owners rights while doing nothing to have any impact on crime. It sounded somewhat reasonable and didn’t restrict gun owners rights much so it was not opposed. The NRA and I have learned the camel in the tent proverb now and oppose such silly laws since we know if you let a camel get his nose in the tent you will soon be sleeping with a camel.

In the 48 years since that law was passed every time someone uses a gun illegally and makes the news the knee jerk reaction is to “do something” that involves restricting gun owners rights. So now I and many other gun owners oppose all such silly “do something” bills.

Right now the big push is to renew a 1994 law banning some guns because of the way they look. The “assault weapons” ban lasted ten years and was allowed to expire in 2004 because facts showed it had absolutely no effect on gun crime. But now gun banners are trying to bring back such a totally ineffective law.

Rifles of all kinds are hardly ever used in crime. And the way they look had no impact on the way they work. For example, the 1994 law banned the sale of a common gun called an AK 47. So the foreign manufacturers of the AK 47 took the working metal parts of the gun, put them on a different looking wooden stock, and sold it as a MAK 90.

I bought one, mostly out of protest for the stupidity of a law banning guns because of fear. It is fun to shoot, bullets are cheap, and even with a 30 round magazine it has never committed mass murder. I also own an AR 15. It sits quietly in my gun cabinet with its 30 round magazine loaded and attached, and has never jumped out to go shoot somebody. It only comes out to go out to the farm and the only thing it has shot is some paper and a couple of deer.

Another big push is to close a myth, the “gun show loophole.” Since it is a federal felony to sell guns without a FFL unless it is your personal firearm, and any FFL seller must run a background check, there is no loophole.

Expect to hear calls and see childish actions like a sit in shutting down the government because you don’t get your way. Just remember any new law will be as effective in lowering gun crime as the law that stopped me from buying .22 bullets, bullets I had been buying for six or seven years, when I was 17 years old.