25 miles from Keewanaw Point and 42 miles from Marquette, deep into the abyss of Lake Superior, stands a lighthouse known as Stannard Rock, the loneliest place in North America. Susceptible to violent winds and arctic cold, the lighthouse was often a punishment for entry level (or poorly behaved) members of the Coast Guard. Now automated, the lighthouse warns ships of the rocky reef, and beacons trout-fishing adventure seekers to wet a line offshore.
Before it was known as a bucket list fishing destination, Stannard Rock was just a lighthouse positioned further from land than any other lighthouse on the continent. Nicknamed “Stranded Rock,” it was first illuminated on The 4th Of July in 1882. When it was first discovered, the shallow reef was thought of as one of the most treacherous obstacles to commercial ships in the entire Great Lakes region. This rocky reef, considered the loneliest place in all of North America, is now a pinnacle of trophy trout for those willing to make the trek offshore.
Legends from sailors and The Coast Guard tell tales of men actually being carried out in straight jackets from the desolation upon completion of their shift. Legends from anglers tell tales of freakin’ HUGE fish. The Michigan Lake Trout Record was brought in at Stannard Rock. That record was caught in 1997 and still stands today at 61 lbs 8 oz!
Stannard Rock Fishing With Jon B.
What makes fishing at Stannard Rock so special? Well, for most Lake Trout fishing adventures, you’re dragging and trolling just a few miles off shore. When you arrive at the ultra clear waters surrounding Stannard Rock, you’re able to jig, throw spoons, and cast other huge baits you’d normally never use this far from shore. These Lake Trout are also known to breach the surface and eat topwater baits.
This far offshore, they’re just bred differently. Literally. There is a subspecies of Lake Superior Lake Trout known as Red Fin. You guessed it, their is a tinge of red in their fins. Their pectoral is also slightly bigger, and as previously mentioned, their feeding habits don’t completely overlap with those of typical Lake Trout. This subspecies run rampant at Stannard Rock, and anglers are treated to a clear view of them with the crystal water on the reef. The Red Fin also tend to, on average, grow bigger, fight harder, and even taste better! Anglers are permitted to keep one each over 34 inches, but the health of such a legendary fishery depends on the practice of catch and release.
Long Live “Stranded Rock”
The legend of Stannard Rock lives on through the anglers and guides willing to make the trek out. For those of us who can’t (or won’t) ever make the trip, we’ll have to live vicariously through the adventurous YouTubers kind enough to bring a camera along for the journey. Jon B. of The Googan Squad recently went trophy hunting and exploring on the ravaged rock, and the videos are mesmerizing. Check out the first in his travel series here:
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