Kings up the creek, kings out front, kings at the library.
Some strange, but really good stuff is happening with chinook right now.
The library is where Roger Hinchcliff, a notable authority on river fishing, will speak at 7 p.m. tonight at the Westchester Service Center, 100 W. Indiana Ave., Chesterton (for directions see http://binged.it/2bmPrW7).
I don't know first-hand how good a fisherman Hinchcliff is, but I am certain you will be a better angler after listening to him. Hinchcliff gave an outstanding presentation on steelhead at a Northwest Indiana Steelheaders meeting this spring. Like the former, tonight's lecture is free and open to the public.
"Topics will include finding, rigging and different methods to catch them (river kings)," Hinchcliff wrote in a message this week.
If you ever had a hankering to find out what the center-pin float-fishing phenomena is about, Hinchcliff is your guy. Again, beginners as well as regular river rats will leave more enlightened.
For more about Hinchcliff, check out Steelhead Manifesto at http://steelheadmanifesto.blogspot.com/.
Conflicts between north winds, days off and a good perch bite have kept me from checking on staging kings outside the Michigan City harbor for a couple weeks, but they should be hanging right where the temperature breaks cold, which was 50 feet at www.greatlakesbuoys.org on Thursday.
A trio of trips between Aug. 3 and 10 yielded multiple mature fish (13 to 17 lbs.) along with some steelhead and lesser chinook. No reason they shouldn't be more stacked up right now.
Keys are to fish early and fish bottom, as staging chinook seem to like to set up where they can whiff the silt and deep currents wafting out of their stocking streams. And go slow, like 2.0 mph compared to whizzing around closer to 3.0 when trying to locate open water fish.
Some baits which took big kings earlier this month were a white Spin Doctor and green/glow ITO fly, No. 4 Silver Horde plug in green splatter and magnum spoons in Kevorkian and Caramel Dolphin patterns.
Most surprising is that a number of big kings rushed up Trail Creek this week.
Biologist Brian Briedert noted 40 chinook were passed above the Springland Ave. weir this week. The DNR was able to finish Skamania steelhead brood stock collection and the barrier is now in "free passage" mode which allows fish to swim around the barrier as well as leap over.
Skamania in August are normal, particularly after a couple of stream-temp lowering nights in the 50s. The numbers of early kings are unprecedented.
And there are reports of chinook schooling in the lower end of Trail in haunts they don't typically move into until the end of September or early October.
In the past, earlier-than-normal runs of salmonids generally meant a really large return is in store for the rest of the season. However, nothing with chinook has been normal in recent years.
The one thing I do know is August kings are a completely different animal than October chinook. They are a lot more powerful and explosive when fresh from the lake. Experiences on the Pere Marquette River left me feeling like they're the only fish with a lower hook-up to landing ratio than Skamania steelhead.
Good luck to anyone hooking one of these silver freight trains in the cramped confines of Trail.
• To the hunt: Dove season opens Thursday, early Canada goose and teal open Sept. 3.
• Salmon Slam: The last big lake/big fish contest of the season is set for Sept. 10 in Michigan City. For more information, see www.hoosiercohoclub.org.
• Pheasants Forever: The Northwest Indiana chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its annual fundraising banquet Sept. 10 at the VFW on McClung Rd. in La Porte. Ticket is $50 (spouse $20, youth 18 and under no charge) and includes dinner, access to raffles of auctions of artwork and guns, annual membership and subscription to PF magazine. Early Bird specials are available for tickets purchased prior to Aug. 31. For more information, call Roger at (219) 362-7620.
• Youth at the Range: The annual Youth Day at the Kingsbury Range is 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 11. The event is free for youngsters age 17 and under, and allows them, under strict supervision, to try archery, BB gun, shotgun, air rifle and .22 cal. rifle. All equipment, including mandatory safety gear, is provided. A free lunch is also available. And there will be free seminars on duck and turkey calling, dog training and muzzleloading.
The youth event is sponsored by the Galena chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Northwest Indiana Pheasants Forever and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. For more information, contact John at (574) 654-3359 or email@example.com.