2017-07-27 / Outdoors

Charter captains: Kings have arrived


MEGAN ZIOBRO and Michael Tierney hold up 24-pound king salmon they caught in Lake Michigan last week. 
Photo: Bill Winowiecki MEGAN ZIOBRO and Michael Tierney hold up 24-pound king salmon they caught in Lake Michigan last week. Photo: Bill Winowiecki Heroes aren’t made in a day.

But Leland charter captain Bob Schlitts sure felt like one Sunday after he and a customer caught nine king salmon west of South Manitou Island.

The catch is one Leelanau County charter captains had been waiting for following two or three years of tough salmon fishing in Lake Michigan.

“Hopefully it’s an indication of what’s to come here in the next month,” said Schlitts, who captains a 28-foot Omega, The Beaker. “That could have been the last flurry or the first.”

Last week, charter captains marked more bait near the islands than they’d seen in years. This week, it appears the kings have arrived in number.

Schlitts said the catch featured a mix of 1-year-old, 3-year-old and 4-yearold fish. Two weighed between 18 and 20 pounds, he said.

“That was dog-gone near my best catch in two years,” Schlitts said. “That’s how off it has been for the salmon, but so far the barometer has been much better.”

He wasn’t the only Leland charter captain catching kings, either.

Carol Dee captain Jim Munoz caught three big ones near South Manitou Island early Monday morning.

It’s time to get excited, Munoz said.

“Hopefully it’s the start of a good push of fish,” he said, adding that Bill Wright, who captains The Cutter, caught three or four kings on Sunday.

Bill Winowiecki of Watta Bite Charter Fishing in Glen Arbor said he’s catching one to four salmon per trip.

“Bait is scattered all over the lake,” Winowiecki said in an email. “Salmon have plenty to eat.”

—by Jay Bushen

Return to top