Looks like we're in for a shot of fall weather this weekend, which is good and bad.
Forecast is for a day or two of strong north winds starting today, a large dose of rain and night time lows near 50 degrees.
That's welcome news for shore fishing fans, as any precipitation and cool down this time of year can kick start the fall salmon run. Might get the mostly-missing Skamania steelhead going, too.
Early September is typically prime time for coho and holdover Skamania on area tributary streams. Cool temps and a rough Lake Michigan has often pulled spawn-bound Chinook into the harbor, too.
The bad is the Salmon Slam trolling contest is set for Saturday, which may not be fishable if the forecast holds. A weather call to fish or postpone until Sunday will be made at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Registration is set for 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. at the monument circle near the Coast Guard Station in Michigan City or at the Portage Marina public launch ramp. Captains meeting follows registration with fishing from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Complete rules are at www.hoosiercohoclub.org. For last minute information, call Rich at (219) 689-5769, Mike at (219) 771-2201 or Mike at (219) 210-1340.
There were some big kings caught by trollers inside 55 feet of water at Michigan City early this week, along with all the other salmonids —steelhead, coho, lake trout and brown trout. Sheepshead, too.
Water temperature at the Michigan City buoy on Thursday afternoon dropped from 72 degrees at 36 feet to a salmonid-friendly 47 degrees at 42 feet, which is certainly why the variety of species were available.
Kings were chomping Silver Horde-type plugs as well as Super Slim spoons fished 20 to 40 feet down.
Shore caster favorites for fall salmon include glow/green stripe K.O. Wobblers, fire-tiger pattern Berkely Frenzys and Wiggle Warts.
Perch fishing was also very good last weekend.
SSS III Champ: Mary Ryba edged two-time champion Jim Himes in Smoked Salmon Smackdown III, a Chili Cook-off style event for smoked fish at the Hoosier Coho Club meeting on Wednesday.
Ryba. who has made a couple of trips to Alaska this summer, presented Pacific silver (coho) salmon bellies, pink salmon and Lake Michigan lake trout to garner the $77.77 top prize and swaggering rights as top smoker. Himes received $33.33.
Ingredients for the winning brine included one gallon water, one cup kosher salt, one cup dark brown sugar. one cup pineapple juice, one-half cup orange juice, one-quarter cup lemon juice, one-quarter cup ground pepper and two teaspoons garlic powder.
Mix all ingredients and simmer for one hour, let brine cool, then soak skin-on filets in refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Allow to dry for three to four hours, brush with honey.
Smoke low and slow.
"I usually start at 200 degrees to get wet (soaked in water for one hour) apple chips smoking, then lower to 170 degrees for two to three hours," Ryba explained. "Be sure to not over-cook your fish or it will be dry."
Salmon Slam: A $1,200 guaranteed first place pay-out and a low, $100 per team entry are featured in the Salmon Slam, which fishes out of Michigan City and Portage on Sept. 12. Rules and registration forms are at www.hoosiercohoclub.org.
Pheasants Forever: The Northwest Indiana chapter of Pheasants Forever' annual fundraising banquet is Saturday evening at the VFW on McClung Rd. in LaPorte. Ticket is $50 (spouse $20, youth $20) and includes dinner, access to raffles of auctions of artwork and guns, annual membership and subscription to PF magazine. 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 Sunday. 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, call (219) 393-3612.
Hunting Notes: Deer season opens and goose closes on Tuesday. The Deer Reduction Zone (previously Urban Zone) season for deer, which does not includes any of LaPorte County, but most of Porter County in 2015, runs from Sept. 15 through Jan. 31. For complete information on Reduction Zone regulations and boundaries, see www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild.
The statewide deer-archery and turkey-archery season opens Oct. 1. Statewide youth-only deer season is Sept. 27-28. The early-Canada goose season is Sept. 1-15. Regular waterfowl opener in the North Zone is Oct. 24. The early-teal season is Sept. 5-20.