Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 


Author
Search for:
Message

Offline
Salmon Unlimited Member
Salmon Unlimited Member
User avatar

Joined: 07:08pm - Jun 12,08
Posts: 1134

Post Posted: 08:17pm - Nov 30,10 
Top  
Ok guys....I hope all my questions don't turn you guys off and maybe actually help others out who might refrain from asking for one reason or the other.

To me, researching or asking questions from those in the know is part of becoming a better fisherman and I thank you all for assisting me.

So I've heard a lot about the spring coho bite and how seemingly you can catch fish after fish SO simply but I have a feeling it might not be THAT easy.

Well I know that fishing the southern end of the lake is slightly different than fishing around the North Point area but here's what is on my mind already:

Last year I saw a lot of boats fishing the cove around Waukegan. Rocks, some protection from wind and warmer water.....makes sense. Now move on to the North Point area...what am I looking for when seeking out coho? I know guys most often fish the upper water columns, and I'm assuming most stay closer to shore (warmer water), but we've seen what assuming has done to me in the past so I'm asking now before I'm trolling around like an idiot.

I mean summer fishing can take place anywhere from 30 feet to 300 feet but spring coho? I'm figuring no point in running way out deep when the fish normally won't be there.

Again, I've read the books that say look for the warmest water, stay up high in the water column but we all know there are days out on the water when we can throw the books away. I just need a bit of guidance when it come to clearing the breakwall as to what I'm actually looking for when spring coho fishing.

Thanks again guys. I really appreciate it.

 Profile  

Offline
Chitown-Angler

Joined: 11:00pm - Feb 2,09
Posts: 31
Location: Wheaton, IL

Post Posted: 11:14pm - Nov 30,10 
Top  
pmjasper,

I fish out of North Point so let me be the first to get things started. BTW, keep asking questions that is how we all learn... besides, I have bothered Jerry from the Runnin Bare so much that I am surprised he hasn't changed his email address.

In the Spring everyone is correct the coho hit just about anything voraciously. As you leave the marina if you go virtually due East to about 50 FOW you will be on top of the southern most tip of "the hills". Many guys fish the hills early and then move further out as the sun rises. When I come out of the harbor if the hills are already inhabited by other boaters I turn SE to about 40 FOW and set up.

Most of the fish in the Spring are in close all the way out to about 100 FOW + or - 25 ft. I run 3 yellow birds on each side with the OO orange dodgers and an assortment of crinkle flies. I also run all four downriggers just shallower than later in the season. And, last but not least I run a small dipsy diver with a small white spin doctor and a bloody nose horse fly - usually my best producer.

_________________
Frank
"Nellie J"

Salmon Unlimited Member
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave
safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways
totally used up and worn out, shouting 'Man, what a ride!'

 Profile  

Offline
Salmon Unlimited Member
Salmon Unlimited Member
User avatar

Joined: 05:58pm - Jul 3,04
Posts: 2101
Location: Wood Dale

Post Posted: 01:53am - Dec 1,10 
Top  
Ask away, guys. We're stuck on dry land for a couple months, so we may as well talk fishin'.

For me, the most important thing for spring coho is to find the food. A school of baitfish is basically a mobile piece of structure. The alewifes spawn in spring/early summer, and that is what the coho are focusing on. Yes, temperature plays a big role, but I find that the bait is more important. And the bait doesn't stay in the same place. Traditionally, spring coho fishing meant fishing very close to shore (like 15' to 40' of water). I have days in my logbook where it took longer to fillet 30 coho than it did to catch them. However, I have not had the pleasure of that action in shallow water for about 7 or 8 years. I have heard of guys doing it, but not on the consistent basis that used to be the norm.

Here is what I've done the last several years (notice that it is consistently inconsistent):
2005 - The close-in bite was not to my liking, so I tried fishing deep (150' to 200') for coho. This was the first time I'd tried that and it was great. Lots of coho and some nice bonus fish, too.
2006 - After the bite I had in 2005, I didn't even try fishing close to shore. Out in 150' to 200', I had the lake to myself.
2007 - Awesome spring fishery. We did our best in 70' - 90', but they were everywhere from the beach to 200'
2008 - Very cold spring that was one of my worst. Coho seemed to stay south of Waukegan, then bolted right past us to Wisconsin. The fish we found were in small, scattered pods in various depths.
2009 - Decent spring. Fished mostly in the 40' to 100' range, with 60' to 70' being the most productive.
2010 - Very good spring. Found them mostly between 80' and 140', with a few trips out to 150' to 180'

The common denominator was that we caught our fish where we found the schools of bait. It is my belief that the lake temperature dictates when the coho will migrate up the shoreline, but the alewifes dictate where they will hang out, depth-wise.

As far as where to fish out of NorthPoint, if I was coming out completely cold, I would start shallow, but be prepared to run & gun. If the fish are there, you will know it pretty quickly. Give it 20-30 minutes in a given depth and area and, if you don't find them, pick up and move. Especially earlier in the year, I would fish south as far as practical. Usually, the fish will show up off Lake Forest before they get to Waukegan, and off Waukegan before they get to Zion, etc. I also use the water temp to tell me what baits to run. Surface temps below about 43F and I run mostly crankbaits. Above that, and I switch to mostly dodgers/flies.

With the great network we have right here at our fingertips, you'll never be fishing completely blind. Use the resources to narrow down your search area and make a plan that focuses on the prime water. Good Luck!

Jerry
Runnin' Bare

_________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

My Blog - The Runnin’ Bare Chronicles

 Profile  

Offline
Sponsor
Sponsor
User avatar

Joined: 06:23pm - Apr 7,08
Posts: 3690
Location: Naperville, IL __ Boston Whaler Conquest w/twin Mercs

Post Posted: 06:43am - Dec 1,10 
Top  
Find the BAIT.
Coho move in large schools so they need a lot to eat. find the food find the coho. I also think one Huge thing that drives the coho migration up the lake is water temperature but I think the temp does not drive the cohos as much as it drives alewives to spawn and the coho just go where the alewives are spawning.
If you find lots of bait there will be lots of coho.

Don't be afraid to run some king and steely baits. when catching a bunch of 2-4lb coho a 15lb king can really top off a day. Also with cohos you can run baits really close to the boat. Often time I can still see my dipsys once they are set and I sometimes run my riggers 5-10 feet behind the motor in the prop wash. Really early in the spring (water temps under 35) the coho will swim right next to the boat. I had on two occasions a coho run into my rigger cable swimming by.

HTR

_________________
Image
Image

 Profile  

Offline
Banned

Joined: 04:16pm - Mar 28,06
Posts: 1829

Post Posted: 06:52am - Dec 1,10 
Top  
This might help with alewives/coho migration! Alewives spawn in 55 to 60 degree water!

_________________
If you don't like the truth, hell just make something up.

 Profile  

Offline
Salmon Unlimited Member
Salmon Unlimited Member
User avatar

Joined: 07:08pm - Jun 12,08
Posts: 1134

Post Posted: 07:00am - Dec 1,10 
Top  
Thanks guys.

I was just curious because every book states fish the warmest water and closer to shore but I know that that will not always be the case in spring. It's nice to see that some of you have run out to deeper water and found good fishing because without that information I might be hesitent to just run up and down the shoreline.

 Profile  

Offline
Sponsor
Sponsor
User avatar

Joined: 06:23pm - Apr 7,08
Posts: 3690
Location: Naperville, IL __ Boston Whaler Conquest w/twin Mercs

Post Posted: 08:37am - Dec 1,10 
Top  
pmjasper wrote:
Thanks guys.

I was just curious because every book states fish the warmest water and closer to shore but I know that that will not always be the case in spring. It's nice to see that some of you have run out to deeper water and found good fishing because without that information I might be hesitent to just run up and down the shoreline.



In the spring down in indiana this is often the case with all the large warm water discharges but up by north point its a different ball game. the warm water discharges keep the coho around much longer down there but the fish are also much smaller. Average size is 2-3 lbs. The further north they go the larger they get. Make sure when you find a school to stay on top of them.

HTR

_________________
Image
Image

 Profile  

Offline
Chitown-Angler

Joined: 11:29pm - Jul 22,10
Posts: 113
Location: Waukegan, IL

Post Posted: 10:57am - Dec 1,10 
Top  
Keep asking pmjasper!

The questions you ask are based on having a some experience...which is more than the couple hours I have. I'm learning from your questions too! Keep it up!

And thanks to you guys who answer! I respect your experience and am grateful to be learning from it! Can't wait for the hard water to clear out (even though it hasn't arrived yet!).

-Joel

_________________
Actions express priorities.
- Mohandas Gandhi

 Profile  

Offline
Salmon Unlimited Member
Salmon Unlimited Member
User avatar

Joined: 05:58pm - Jul 3,04
Posts: 2101
Location: Wood Dale

Post Posted: 01:18pm - Dec 1,10 
Top  
The combination of temperature and food can sort of play off each other. Fish will seek out the warmest water they can find when ALL the water is below their preferred range. Once the water starts to get up around the comfort zone, food becomes the overriding factor and fish will move out of the ideal temps to eat. Finding that tipping point is the challenge, as it will determine whether temp or bait is what is driving the fishes behavior (at least that is my theory).

Also, keep in mind that the lake is constantly changing. There is not as much bait bio-mass in the lake as there once was. As little as 9 or 10 years ago, you would see massive numbers of dead or dying alewifes along the shore or in the harbors during the spring. Nowadays, we see a few, but not nearly as many as in the past. Many of the books we all learned from were based on the conditions at that time, so we need to take into account the changes that have occurred.

And I agree 100% with HTR when he says run some king baits, even in shallow water. In 2008, the first 2 fish of the year were a 14# king and a 17# king that came out of water less than 30' deep. Both hit king baits while we were looking for the coho. Good Luck!

Jerry
Runnin' Bare

_________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

My Blog - The Runnin’ Bare Chronicles

 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Latest Topics  [ 9 posts ] 

Board index » Lake Michigan » Salmon/Trout
Jump to:  


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum