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I am looking for some advise on launching my boat on Lake Michigan. It is a 16 ft deep V aluminum with a 6 ft beam. 40 hp motor and a 9.8 kicker.
What I am looking for is if I can safely fish Lake Michigan in this boat. What precautions should I take, where to launch, equipment I should have, and what species I can fish for.
Any input will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You
2FISH
 

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A lot of people don't advise going out on the big lake in a smaller boat like that. But my family and myself have been making yearly if not bi-yearly trips out in our 16 foot boat to camp on an island on lake superior. Largest waves we've ever had to face were around 4 feet.

I think 16 feet is PLENTY big for the great lakes as long as you are using your head. You should never go out if waves are breaking and larger than... 3 feet. Watch getting close to walls because instead of waves breaking and dissipating their energy they bounce off. Now you have waves heading in to shore at say.. 3 feet and away from shore at 3 feet as well. All looks normal until 2 stack up and suddenly you have a huge 6 foot standing wave for a second. I can only imagine that happening to the side of your boat. It might be the last wave you ever see haha.

I've seen 12 footers bouncing off the pier in Milwaukee stack up and throw up a spine 20 feet high. Really amazing.

Next I'd highly recommend listening to the marine forecast on a radio. Having that radio with you to check updates in the marine forecast and in a bad situation to call for help is a must.

Lastly... Just use your head. I'd say there are 60 days out of the summer where I'd take a canoe out. Lake michigan really calms down during june july and august. There are weeks where it is just glassed out there whole time. I've snorkeled out off shore where you could see a penny on the bottom in 25 feet of water. Which means it has been so calm that every last bit of sediment is washed out.

As far as fishing. You might still be able to pick up some cohos really close to shore. Fishing between say Diversey and Montrose harbors can produce fish still.

You can run crank baits that dive a variety of depths if you don't have a lot of equipment. I really like Deep Running Tail Dancers (rapala) you can get ones that dive to 12 feet, 15 feet, 20 feet, and even 30 feet) A lot of other cranks will run 5-11 feet so that gives you a lot of the water column.

Additionally you can use dipseys and flasher/dodgers with flies. Those seem to be producing a lot of salmon right now. Spoons can be trolled behind these as well and the dipsey will get them down to the depth you need them.

If not Salmon there are perch, you can always cast structure along the lake front for bass.

As far as launching, I really don't know how to help you here. All of my experience in the boat has been Milwaukee and other places in Michigan.

I'm no expert, but I hope this helps. I'm sure there are others here who can go into depth about where to fish and where you can launch.

Good luck out there!
 

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west winds are your friend. they will keep chop down to a minimum. constantly monitor weather. bring a radio on board. if you have problems, you need to be able to call for help.

if you fish around chicago, many of the waters are protected by breakwalls, such as navy pier. this should keep you safe

also - pick up a coast guard reg book for lake michigan boaters. if you have any troubles, you will get inspected. its mandatory. make sure you are following every single rule and regulation.

chasing perch and smallies is achievable. so is trolling for salmon that are closer to shore. i'd be reluctant about going miles and miles offshore with a 40 hp. if things change for the worse, you need to haul ass to get back in safely...

if i were you, i'd buy an IN license and launch in NW indy. they've been killing the cohos and kings down there right now and you don't have to go to real deep water either
 

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I had a boat that size and used it both around here and in Sturgeon Bay in some pretty rough conditions. You'd be surprised what a 16.5 deep V can handle. Just use some caution. The guys above are giving you some good advice.
 
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