ALGOMA, Wisc. (WBAY) It may go down as the summer the big kings re-emerged in Lake Michigan.
Anglers are experiencing a banner season for big Chinook salmon.
Even though Mother Nature decided fishing boats should stay in Algoma's marina today, you'll find few complaints about salmon fishing along the lakeshore.
"Certainly some very big fish in the lake right now," says Troy Mattson, Co-Owner of Kinn's Sport Fishing in Algoma.
At Kinn's, the lure of big kings is making it a summer to remember.
"We've had more 30-plus pound chinooks this year than we've seen in many, many years, the size of the fish have really come back in a big way," says Mattson.
According to DNR fish biologists, salmon stocking reductions in recent years to allow bait fish populations to rebound is paying off.
"Generally Lake Michigan, the prey base is down and had historic lows really, so the less mouths that are out there of course it's going to make a difference in the size of the fish," says DNR Fisheries Supervisor Tom Meronek.
"All the species, whether it be rainbow trout, lake trout, king salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, all the fish are very, very healthy and getting some very nice fish," adds Mattson.
And while overall numbers of salmon being caught are down due to the reduced stocking, Mattson says many clients from around the Midwest are ok with that.
"Some people they're not interested in catching a 3 pound fish but give them a 25 pound fish and they're happy with that, they have a lot of power and they can take out a lot of tackle in a hurry," says Mattson.
Angler satisfaction means a lot for those relying on Lake Michigan's multi-billion dollar sport fishing industry.
"We take it seriously because we do understand that this is a big, these fisheries are a big factor in people's lives," says Meronek.