Great Lakes waters are measuring up this fall

Mike SchoonveldOne of the places I fish for fall salmon is off the mouth of a river where the lake bottom slopes from zero feet deep at the beach to about 45 feet deep a few hundred yards offshore. Then the slope levels out so even twice or three times as far offshore, the water depth is still only 46 or 47 feet. The salmon seem to seek out this contour and trolling along it has put many fish on my fishing lines.

On my most recent trips I couldn’t find the bottom of that slope. When I’d line up the landmarks and get in what seemed to be the right position, I was on those 46 to 47 foot flats.

Then it dawned on me. I remembered the nearly sunken piers at the launch ramps. I remembered the grass in my lawn that stayed perpetually green all summer and seemingly always needing mowed. Maybe those 45 foot depths were now deeper thanks to more water in the Great Lakes.

So I checked the Army Corps of Engineers website that keeps track of Great Lakes water levels and found the levels are measuring up significantly from a year ago. Significantly enough that I could detect it with my boat’s sonar.

Lakes Michigan and Huron on Sept. 12 were plus 19-inches over the 2013 level on that date last year. Lake Superior is up eight inches and Lake Erie is at plus-six.  That means Michigan’s Great Lakes, especially Michigan and Huron are close to “average” for the first time in a while.

They are still 33 inches below the highest-ever September level, which occurred in 1986. But they are 30 inches above the lowest-ever September reading which occurred in 1964 (and almost tied in 2012.) Interesting stuff and proof Mother Nature reigns supreme or in the case of the Great Lakes area for the last couple of years produces supreme rains.

Incidentally, the salmon didn’t care. That 46.5 foot contour was deadly!

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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