Ken Gregory has been salmon fishing at Port Washington, Wisconsin for more than 20 years. He doesn't usually go salmon fishing until June because the coho salmon aren't normally in Lake Michigan until then. Normally, the king salmon (chinook), the larger fish, haven't arrived until July.
When Gregory received word from Captain Geoff Grainger, at The Fish Doctors Salmon and Trout Chartering, in May, a month early, he couldn't believe it.
He immediately called his brother in law, his usual fishing companion who owns a boat, but he wasn't able to leave on such short notice and his boat wasn't ready yet. On Monday, May 14, Gregory asked his golf buddies, Dysart residents Jim McAndrews and Dick Baker, to accompany him on a fishing trip. The catch was that they had to leave the next day. Both men accepted the offer and the three golf buddies were on their way to Port Washington to become fishing buddies.
The three men started fishing at 5 a.m. on May 16. They fished for five hours that day and returned for another four hours on May 17. They reached their 15 fish limit early. Their biggest catches were 16 and 15 pound cohos. An average coho is about 10-12 pounds. In addition to cohos, they caught mostly king salmon, rainbow trout and lake trout.
As with any fishing trip, the men accumulated fishing stories that they will be telling for years. "The biggest story of the trip was when Dick Baker had a great big lake trout. It was 20 plus pounds and it came off the line," remarked Gregory.
"We turned around in a big circle to try to go back and catch it but we missed it. While we were doing that, one pole went off and took off for the other side of the lake. It was Jim McAndrews' turn, so he was reeling that for quite a while and he got tired and his arms got sore so I took it and reeled for a while. I got it in close and it ran back out again. Jim took it again and reeled it back in. He got tired, and I took it again," recalled Gregory, with a smile on his face. But the story doesn't end there.
"Jim ended up with it. It was the 16 pounder. It was quite an episode. It took maybe 25 minutes for the whole thing. Normally it doesn't take that long but this was quite a deal," said Gregory, describing the experience catching their biggest fish of the trip.
The trip was a success and Gregory has a one hour video of this trip to document it. Gregory plans to go back to Port Washington to catch more fish. He usually makes four or five trips a year, often with his wife.