There's been quite a bit of conversation on these forums lately regarding the status of our steelhead runs in Michigan. Lots of theories on why they've been up or down, which is huge topic all of it's own. That is not
the reason for this post.
The reason I wanted to share some of my data here has more to do with the fact that keeping accurate, consistent records can really help you better understand the fish you're after, and the bodies of water in which they live. Even more than that, it is a blast if you're an enormous nerd like me. Also, being able to re-live your experiences after looking at old stats helps keep a lot of these memories alive.
I've been keeping a log on all of the steelhead I've caught from 2009 to present, and my only regret is that I wish I had started recording sooner. If you keep good records, you can manipulate the data in all sorts of ways to tell different stories. For instance, below are my averages for the last 12 years across all tribs of the Great Lakes:
All Great Lakes Tribs:
But I can also put summaries together for different parameters, like the chart below which just considers Lake Michigan Tribs:
Lake Michigan Tribs:
There are so many different variables to consider when making comparisons, but if you're consistent with your record keeping, you can really learn a lot from your entries. It helps keep you honest too. I would have sworn I'm a better fisherman, but the numbers don't lie!!!
I keep track of a ton of different factors like river, water level, sex of the fish, fin clips, etc., and they're all pieces to the big puzzle we call steelheading. If you don't keep track of your fishing expeditions, maybe give it a try and see how you like it after a couple of years. I have found it to really add to my overall fishing experience.
Good luck out there!