Located in the middle of Lake Superior is the farthest light house from shore in the United States, Stannard Rock. This lighthouse, once manned by men, was deemed "The Loneliest Place in the World," but if you go there today you may find yourself in the company of a select few anglers and some big fish!
This light house marks a reef approximately five miles long and a little over a mile wide that supports the life of many trophy caliber lake trout. One of the closest public access sites is Lac La Belle, located in the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the run from Lac La Belle to Stannard Rock is about 38 miles. Making a trip 38 miles into the big lake requires careful planning to ensure that there is an appropriate weather window to safely make the journey.
Learn more about fishing at Stannard Rock from Mark Romanack's article in the Great Lakes Angler.
Captain Travis of Keweenaw Charters is extremely cautious about planning these runs and uses critical wind and wave information from a series of weather buoys maintained by the National Data Buoy Center to determine if a suitable fishing window is available on any given day. If it is not safe to make the trip, two options are available: 1) Try again another day or 2) Take advantage of great nearshore fishing, instead.
If the weather is right, the run will take about 80 to 120 minutes, in Keweenaw Charters' Smokercraft Phantom Offshore 22'6" fishing boat. Once we arrive, we will focus on jigging near bottom and casting for suspended fish. This fishery offers unique lake trout fishing opportunities because of the fish-holding structure along the reef--as such, we NEVER resort to trolling (in fact no trolling gear is brought on-board) when fish at "the rock".
Depending on the time of day and water temperature at the surface, lake trout can be found at extremely variable depths, anywhere from 200+ feet deep to a just a few feet below the surface. Often in the morning, you will be able to see fish feeding on the surface. During the low light periods (daybreak) pods of lake trout corner pelagic baitfish such as herring and smelt, which move in to feed on the reef under the cover of darkness, and push their meal to the surface, where it is a contest between seagulls and lake trout to snatch frantic baitfish as they try to escape--this give anglers a short but sweet opportunity to cast artificial lures into the frenzy and potentially hook a trout of a lifetime just inches below the surface of Lake Superior.
Keweenaw Charters exclusively practices Catch and Release of all trophy size lake trout--due to the extremely important role these fish serve in the system for reproduction purposes as well as continuing to grow to even larger sizes, there are NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy. All fish will be played as sportingly as possible (using appropriately sized gear to land them efficiently) and will be handled with utmost care--fish will be handled in the water during hook removal and for measurements (over the side in landing net or in the 50" livewell along the transom of the boat) and carefully lifted for a quick photo / video of the release. While "trophy" fish aren't guaranteed on every trip, smaller fish at Stannard Rock can be caught in great numbers throughout the day and can be kept for a great meal.