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Post Posted: 07:33am - Nov 24,10 
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Ok guys, I know this is an extremely loaded question, because there are so many variables, but what spread (different apparatus) would you say you run most often for summer kings?

The real question is, during a normal year, how deep would you say you normally fish for summer kings?

Now I'm not sure there is a real answer here but......last year was my first fishing Lake Michigan from my own boat. I moved from the east coast a few years back and after spending a couple season on the bank I decided it was time to join the boat crowd. I picked up my 17fter late in June, so I didn't really get in on a full year of action.

The majority of my fishing this past summer was spent fishing off of Winthrop Harbor, IL north to Kenosha, WI. For the majority of summer, I would say that I fished between 30ft and 50ft down, over deeper water, most days. Checking my down temp, and looking for water in the mid to low 40's, I found those depths to be most desireable each time we went out. At those depths, I found I could utilize my leadcores (8 and 10 color), my braid divers and my downriggers. Once I started fishing deeper than 50ft, I really lost the effectiveness of my leadcore setups.

So I was left wondering.....in a normal year can I expect to find salmon in that general depth range, or was it an odd year that kept those temps in the 40's higher in the water column?

In the end, my boat typically has only myself and another person, leaving my spread at 6 rods maximum. While I didn't have the delimma, I'm already thinking that if the fish drop deeper than 50ft I need to have an alternative game plan to get deep and get to the fish. Should that happen, I'm thinking that I could run two wire divers and 4 rods stacked off the riggers, elimating the leadcores.

So after my babble, what do you guys think?

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Post Posted: 09:49am - Nov 24,10 
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A typical 6 rod spread would be 2 riggers, 2 dipsies, and 2 leads. You could swap out the dipsies later in the day if they aren't firing and switch to lead. I would avoid stacking riggers with such a small spread, unless the fish are really deep. A 10 color or 300' copper will be plenty deep on most days. You could also add snap weights or dive bombs to the leads if you feel the need to get deeper, and don't forget to have a 2 color handy for steelies.

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Post Posted: 10:57am - Nov 24,10 
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Phil,

For me, the typical depths that we are targeting for summer kings tend to be from about 40' to about 80' down in the water column. That can be in water as deep as 250'+ or as shallow as 45' (like 2010). For a six-rod spread over deeper water, I would probably go with:
1. 10-color leadcore
2. Wire diver (mag dipsy or Walker deeper diver)
3. Downrigger
4. Downrigger (SWR)
5. Braid diver (regular dipsy)
6. Copper (between 200' and 300', depending on what reel I had available)

If the fish are in shallower water again (like last year), swap the fullcore and copper for 5- and 8-color leadcores. If you have an extra downrigger rod, you can use the SWR as a 2-color for steelies and run straight mono on the rigger. Don't forget that fish will often come out of their preferred temps to feed. Don't get tunnel-vision; spread the baits around and let the fish make the decision.

If you don't already have one, get a wireline setup. The wire divers have taken a higher percentage of bigger kings for me than any other stick. And if you want, you can replace the diver with a 1# ball and bounce bottom for lake trout (plus, suspending that 1# ball off the bottom with a dodger/fly rig can be a great king bait, too).

Jerry
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Post Posted: 11:25am - Nov 24,10 
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Here's what I currently have in the summer arsenal:

-Two 6 core leads
-Two 8 core leads
-Two 10 core leads
-Two braid dipsy rods
-Two light (12lb) rigger rods
-Two heavy (25lb) rigger rods
-3 wire rods (all monel wire, not braided)

I picked up all these last season and the wife says absolutely NO copper rods for now. The wire rods have me going nuts....some say that monel is old technology and to switch to braided while others say it works fine and no need to trash and respool. At $120, I'd rather live with it, at least for a few seasons.

Now for some dumb reason, I tried to run the two braid dipsys (port and starbord) and two wire dipsys (port and starboard), at the same time but trying to squeeze them into the same 42-44 degree band of water. I set the braid divers on a three setting, running them to the outside and the wire divers (124 Walker Deeper Diver and #1 Dipsy) on a 1.5 setting on the inside. NO way these should have tangled in my estimation but they did a few times which made me scrap running both on each side.

Now we hit a good amount of fish on our dipsys and when the leads stop firing I want to be able to run the braid and wire divers on the same side. I'm thinking of bumping up to a mag ring or mag diver to the outside to get greater water resistence and more separation between the braid and wire divers. If i get this figured out, I feel I'll have an answer when the fish are deeper in the water column....without adding a copper setup.

I'm geared to figure out the little things that gave us some issues last season and go into the new season with a gameplan for various conditions. Thanks all for your help and insight.

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Post Posted: 11:47am - Nov 24,10 
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Trying to run more than one diver per side had given me fits (and lots of tangles) until this year. This year, I tried the mag-sized Deeper Diver on the wire. Instead of putting it on the outside braid, I'd put it on the inside wire with a setting of 1 or 1.5. It dives much steeper than the regular diver on the braid and eliminated most of my tangles.

I have never used the monel wire, so I really cannnot comment on it. I have always used the 7-strand braided wire in 30# by Malin. Incidentally, a 1000' spool of that wire will fill a Tekota 600LC perfectly.

It looks like you are set pretty well, even without the copper. Although, you could switch one of the fullcores to a 200' copper for just the cost of the copper line. Two hundred feet of copper should fit on the same reel as a fullcore. I would also suggest changing one of the downrigger rods to an SWR. That stick can be incredible. Good Luck!

Jerry
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Post Posted: 12:22pm - Nov 24,10 
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Thanks Jerry.

I can't wait to get out there next year and try all different setup's

I would say one last question, but we all know that's not the truth..........besides spring coho, which doesn't really count for this question, what is the shallowest in the water column you will fish a flasher and fly setup?

I've always thought of the flasher and fly as the "umpth" that attracts those salmon and gets them going. Because it's such a bulky and aggressive presentation, I usually looked at fishing them below 30ft. Does that sound about right or will you fish them in the top 20ft when low light conditions prevail?

Thanks.

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Post Posted: 05:23pm - Nov 24,10 
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It depends on how deep of water I am fishing. Offshore, I seldom fish above 30' or so, except for targeting steelhead. BTW, don't overlook a "big red" flasher & blue or blue/copper fly, or an orange Action flasher & black fly for steelies up high. If I am in skinny water near shore (either early/late in the day or when west winds bring in cold water), I will fish flasher/fly or dodger/fly baits on any rod. I like to show the fish a variety, spread my baits thru the water column and let the fish decide what level they are interested in. For most of this past summer, I had an NBK ProTroll & Green Hypnotist on a wire dipsy with only 50' of line out and it was on fire. I also had a Blue Bubble SpinDoctor & Powder Hypnotist on a rigger down 20-something that did very well. At the time, we were fishing between 35' and 50' of water. Once I determine that the fish are at a particular depth, that is where I will concentrate my baits.

Jerry
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Post Posted: 06:02pm - Nov 24,10 
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I fished the same waters as you did this last season and it was one of the least productive seasons for the 10 colors on my boat. However, I believe this to be because the fish did not spend the majority of the summer much further down than the top 40 feet of the water column regardless of depth. I was having days when 5 colors and anything set to set about 30 feet was the most productive and all those days were fishing over 80-140 fow. I ran a spread of either 5 spoons and a jplug or dodger fly. If the jplug was getting hit I added another one to the spread.

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Post Posted: 07:40pm - Nov 24,10 
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It's funny how different anglers have different success throughout a season.

As I've said before, a majority of my steelhead and salmon this summer came between 35 and 45 feet deep. The deepest I fished with success was 60ft down over deeper water.

Which leads me to THIS question......so what would we say are the preferred temps for king salmon??? I have read that 42-46 degrees are preferred king temps but a wider range would be 42-48 degrees. Another publication stated 42-54 degrees.

Obviously, when bait is present salmon will travel out of preferred temps to feed but if we're setting a spread for king salmon what temps are you looking for? What would be your bottom and top temps to troll your spread?

I think last year I got too caught up in fishng 42-46 degree water and should have spread my baits out even more vertically through the water column. I didn't mark a lot of fish or any large bait schools during the summer, so I utilized down temp to set my lures in what should have been the most productive temps. That being said, we caught fish, but I should have had more diversity in the range of depths I fished.

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Post Posted: 09:24am - Nov 25,10 
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A lot of good info here..hope I can remember half of it. Two year ago, when the fish went deeper later in the year. A fixed slider on the riggers (down 110-125) up about 15' from the ball put the baits in the zone. Both the main line and sliders were getting hit.

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