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I wanted to make this page a complete pictorial diary of the fishing that Ryan and I enjoy over the course of a year. there are some gaps, due to unfortunate circumstances - hopefully, I'll do a better job with 2005. Overall, it was a pretty good fishing year, and an outstanding one for Ryan, as you'll see below. Might be time to bench the old man and play the kid. Click the thumbnails to see the large view of the photos; use your back button to return to this page.

JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH: Not much happening. The snow was so deep and fluffy on Houghton Lake that we couldn't go anywhere, so we didn't. Even 4 x 4 ATV's got stuck if they tried it. We did manage to catch some smelt on Higgins Lake - this year, I'll try to get some pictures of Smeltville.

APRIL: Ahhh, this is more like it! Steelhead season! We go to a Lake Huron river so small that I'm not going to share it's location - sorry, we have enough competition already. We hook 16, but land only 4 for the year. Technique is drifting spawn under a green #2 ESB.

4/3/04 - Our first 2 of the year. Ryan gets a 7 pounder, I get an 8, both males.

4/14/04 - Our last 2. I got a beautiful chrome bright 9 lb. hen and Ryan got an 8 lb. male

MAY: Spring arrived late here in the frozen north. It was very cool and windy until the last week of May. When the weather warmed up the fish did, too, and we had some great days!

5/24/04 - A nice mess of Houghton Lake panfish. The perch is a 12 incher, most of the bluegills are around 9. Your browser isn't wrong - Houghton Lake perch really are bright green, and many of the bluegills really are purple.

5/29/05 - Some pretty sunnies and bluegills from Houghton Lake. Ryan also got a 19" walleye.

JUNE: The fishing on Houghton Lake was absolutely fantastic! I took the first week of June off so we could hit 'em hard, and did we ever! If you're looking for a great fishing experience, my home waters are hard to beat in the first 2 weeks of June. The technique that caught most of these is suspending a jig and leech under an ESB, about 12 to 18 inches off the bottom. Fish cabbage beds on the edge of drop offs in 10 to 14 feet of water.

6/1/04 - 7 walleyes, 4 jumbo crappies. We usually have great crappie fishing in early summer, but last year we didn't get many keepers. We caught literally hundreds, but only a small percentage were over 9". We don't keep them any smaller than that.

6/2/04 - A limit of walleyes and some panfish. Walleyes had been scarce in Houghton Lake for 2 years, since the milfoil treatment; in June '04 we gladly said "Welcome back, boys!"

6/4/04 - 4 Walleyes and 6 jumbo panfish. Black Crappies are named for their spawning colors, which you can clearly see here.

6/5/04 - Another 7 walleyes, including a nice 22 incher for Ryan. In 4 days of fishing, we put 28 walleyes in the freezer as well as catching (and mostly releasing) hundreds of panfish, pike, and bass. A few of the bass were smallies over 3 lbs.

JULY: Started out just as hot as June, but a family tragedy put the damper on our fishing (and lives) for the next several months.

7/3/04 - Another 7 very nice walleyes! The 2 biggest are 22 inchers. Ryan had been boating the most fish every time we went out. This was my night - I got the majority of these.

7/7/04 - On July 6, my mom passed away suddenly at the age of 80, leaving 3 children, 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren. Ryan had spent many days at Grandma's, helping her with chores and shore fishing the canals near her house. To help him get through it and keep him away from the confusion, we took him to our good friends, the Winklers, knowing that they would take him fishing. They did, and Grandma was smiling on him from above; he got his biggest pike ever, this 37 inch, 10 lb. monster in the East Bay of Houghton Lake.

AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER: After my mom's death, we slowed way down on our fishing. We got out a few times and caught a few fish (including a 6 lb. fall steelhead for me), but I have no pictures to show of it.

NOVEMBER: While everyone else is out chasing deer, we usually head to the pier in Tawas to catch whitefish. These tasty trout relatives are a silvery fish that usually range from 16 to 24 inches in size and smell just like cucumbers when fresh. They fight well, too. Whitefish are usually a deepwater (over 100') fish, but before ice up they come into the shallows of Tawas Bay to spawn. We fish them with #14 trebles and waxworms 8' under a small ESB. For a decent day at the pier, the weather should be cloudy with enough wind to produce a good chop. Unfortunately, every time we went this year it was sunny and calm. After seeing a few nice browns being caught, we modified our tactics and each set a line with shiners on a larger ESB. The results are below.

11/21/04 - After a monumental 20 minute battle that included nearly being spooled and the net falling apart, Ryan hauled in this huge 33", 14 lb. brown trout on the Tawas pier! To give you a true appreciation of the size of this brute, Ryan is 5'7" and is not straight arming this fish for the photo. We also got 2 smaller browns and 4 whitefish.

11/26/04 - Our last day at the pier. This is Ryan's catch for the day: an 8 lb. brown, a 5 lb. pike, a 21 inch walleye, and a whitefish.

DECEMBER: Winter descends with a thud. The ice forms quickly, but extreme cold, high winds, and dad's lousy work schedule keep us off the hardwater.

That's it for 2004. Hopefully, we'll do even better in 2005 and have more photos to show for it. If you want to see some of our fish photos from years past, click the link below.

Photo courtesy of the Houghton Lake Resorter

2005 is starting off well! This 30", 6.5 lb. Northern Pike won 1st place in the pike category for Ryan on the second weekend of Tip Up Town 2005!

JUNE 2005 - Ryan got this nice 24" walleye on June 1. We did pretty well on walleyes this summer, but the fish slowed dramatically by August.

How about a mess of panfish? On June 2nd, we had probably THE finest day of panfishing of my entire life. The picture on the right (click it to enlarge it) shows the 49 bluegills and sunfish we brought home. These fish AVERAGE 9" - the biggest ones are close to 11". We released well over 100 over 8". For 5 hours, the bite was non-stop.




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