The temperature was struggling to rise above zero at mid-morning last Thursday. A sharp wind whistled down from the north.
Dick Hedberg, 72, sat in his car, heater running, surveying Lake Superior near the mouth of the French River.
"I'm scouting," Hedberg said. "This is one of my routes."
He was thinking about doing some shorecasting for coho salmon, which have shown up in good numbers in recent weeks. The action has slowed some, Hedberg said. But the fish showed up earlier this year than in most winters, and hardy North Shore anglers have been there to catch them.
"I've done well," said Hedberg, of French River. "I caught lots of cohos."
"We seldom see much activity on the shore until February, and we were seeing them around Christmas," said Ross Pearson, a regular North Shore angler.
Despite the cold on Thursday, Hedberg was thinking about fishing.
"I'll fish once the temperature gets above 5 or 6 or 7," he said. "On days like today, with a north wind, down on the shore it's a little warmer."
The shore is mostly in the lee of that wind, and if the day is sunny, it can feel quasi-balmy. Many coho anglers fish with bobbers over artificial lures tipped with some kind of bait. Others prefer to cast spoons or fish a spawn bag off the bottom.
Through the ice