Lake Superior Charter Spotlight: FishNorthMN’s Jordan Korzenowski

Minnesota — Land of 10,000 Lakes — is home to some outstanding angling, and Captain Jordan Korzenowski excels at catching fish on the state’s biggest body of water.

Lake Superior Charter Spotlight: FishNorthMN’s Jordan Korzenowski

His full-time job as a longshoreman at Lake Superior Warehousing pays the bills, but when he’s not loading or unloading ocean-going vessels with heavy cargo, Jordan is at the helm of “True North,” his 29-foot Tiara 2700 Open charter boat. Jordan is recognized as one of the finest guides/captains operating out of the port city of Duluth, Minnesota, and his on-the-water fishing schedule is busy with clients from mid-May into October.

Jordan Korzenowski of FishNorthMN with a winter-caught Lake Superior lake trout. When safe ice forms on Superior, he'll take a limited number of clients who dream of fighting big fish on frozen water.
Jordan Korzenowski of FishNorthMN with a winter-caught Lake Superior lake trout. When safe ice forms on Superior, he'll take a limited number of clients who dream of fighting big fish on frozen water.
Think of a longshoreman as a shipping and receiving clerk on steroids. Here, Jordan lifts a wind mill blade that measures 208 feet long and weighs 30,000 pounds.
Think of a longshoreman as a shipping and receiving clerk on steroids. Here, Jordan lifts a wind mill blade that measures 208 feet long and weighs 30,000 pounds.

Along with his FishNorthMN business partner, guide/captain Kent Paulsen, Jordan specializes in putting eager anglers on lake trout, salmon (coho and kings), walleyes and even muskies. He finds trout and salmon by trolling massive Lake Superior. During early season, he finds fish anywhere from a half-mile to 5 miles off shore, but later in the year he’ll travel 20 miles out if necessary. Walleyes and muskies are pursued in the nearby St. Louis River, which flows into the Great Lake on Duluth’s southern boundary.

Results of a fine day on Minnesota's biggest body of water, Lake Superior.
Results of a fine day on Minnesota's biggest body of water, Lake Superior.

If you’d like to target a specific species, Jordan has some advice on when to book the True North. “We have good success on lake trout during our entire season, with August, September and October being best,” he said. “If a client wants to pursue coho, generally the earlier the better, so May is tough to beat. June is often good for kings (chinook salmon). In the St. Louis River, our best walleye fishing is typically in August, September and October, and the river can be great for muskies in July and August.”

In addition to the species mentioned above, Jordan’s Lake Superior clients also catch the occasional brown trout and steelhead.

Lake Superior is home to many species, including beautifully colored steelhead.
Lake Superior is home to many species, including beautifully colored steelhead.

While the vast majority of Jordan’s guiding happens in his charter boat, he also enjoys introducing anglers to outstanding fishing opportunities of a totally different sort in the Duluth area. “If a fly rod is more your style,” he said, “Kent and I chase trout and salmon on the world-famous Brule River in Wisconsin. We supply everything you need but waders. The Brule can be good during spring and fall.”

Not a fan of big water? No problem. The Brule River in Wisconsin, which is an easy drive from Duluth, Minnesota, is a favorite destination for fly anglers in search of trout and salmon.
Not a fan of big water? No problem. The Brule River in Wisconsin, which is an easy drive from Duluth, Minnesota, is a favorite destination for fly anglers in search of trout and salmon.

Preparation — and Positivity — Are Key

You can find this information on the FishNorthMN website, but I think it’s important enough to highlight here.

Preparation is key to any fishing outing, and this is especially true when heading out on Lake Superior. Think about it: You’ll likely be miles away from shore, and running back to your vehicle to grab an extra jacket or pair of gloves isn’t an option.

Two iron ore carriers coming in to the Port of Duluth while True North searches for trout and salmon. Photo by Jan Swart.
Two iron ore carriers coming in to the Port of Duluth while True North searches for trout and salmon. Photo by Jan Swart.

According to Captain Jordan, here is everything you need to know before stepping aboard a charter boat. 

For starters, departure times for True North — or Kent’s boat, True North II — are 0600 hours for morning trips (half day and full day) and 1230 hours for afternoon half-day trips. Don’t be late. Alternate departure times can be arranged when Jordan and Kent don’t have two half-day trips booked.

What to Bring

  • Warm clothes. The weather on Lake Superior is unpredictable, and Jordan recommends dressing in layers with a waterproof shell.
  • A camera. Besides taking pictures of your catch, Lake Superior offers beautiful sunrises and scenery. You will also have opportunities to take photos of birds, massive ships and even the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.
  • Sunscreen. Jordan provides sunscreen on his boat, but he recommends you bring your own to ensure you have your preferred brand and SPF.
  • Sunglasses. Even on overcast days, it’s surprising bright on Lake Superior.
  • A valid MN or WI fishing license, depending on the water Jordan plans to visit that day. He will communicate this info to you in advance of your trip. You can purchase licenses at most convenience or bait stores. Both states also allow you to buy licenses online. It is highly recommended you take care of this before you arrive at the dock. FYI: In MN you need a trout stamp, and in WI you need a Great Lakes trout stamp (unless you purchase the 24-hour Lake Superior license). Click here to view the MN DNR Online Licensing Page.
  • A cooler and any food or beverage you wish to bring. A cooler will allow you to keep your catch fresh as you transport it home. Jordan and Kent will clean and package fish for you. Bottled water will be provided on the boat, but any other beverages or food are up to you to provide.
  • A positive attitude. Jordan says it’s simple: Fish bite better when everyone on board has a positive attitude.
  • Last but not least: Jordan and Kent have a no-exceptions no bananas rule because . . . well . . . everyone knows that bananas are bad luck on a fishing boat.
A FishNorthMN client holds a monster 34-inch lake trout caught during June 2019.
A FishNorthMN client holds a monster 34-inch lake trout caught during June 2019.

Following FishNorthMN

I stay up to date on what Jordan and Kent are up to by visiting their website, as well as their Facebook and Instagram pages. Unlike many old-school guides in the fishing industry, the duo isn’t afraid to engage with their clients — existing and potential — via social media. In fact, word of mouth via social media is largely responsible for FishNorthMN’s steady growth since its founding in 2015.

Clients of FishNorthMN post pics regularly, and it’s a good way to learn what to expect from a day on the water.

Jordan says when researching and booking a Great Lakes charter — or any guided fishing trip for that matter — you should ask for evidence of license/certification, because some unscrupulous guides skip this step. “Kent and I are insured, licensed and certified for the waters you will be fishing,” he said. “It is our guarantee that we’ll do our best to put you on fish and provide the most enjoyable day possible.”

Fresh fillets are a welcomed bonus to an outstanding day of charter fishing on Lake Superior.
Fresh fillets are a welcomed bonus to an outstanding day of charter fishing on Lake Superior.

FishNorthMN Cost and Location

A half-day (5 hours) of fully guided Lake Superior trout and salmon fishing with FishNorthMN is $475; a full day (8 hours) is $700. Rates are based on four people; it’s an additional $50 each for more anglers. The maximum number of anglers is six on both the True North and True North II charter boats.

If you want to see exactly where Jordan and Kent dock their two charter boats, and where you’d meet them for a full- or half-day of guided fishing, then enter this address into your mapping app: Lakehead Boat Basin, 1000 Minnesota Ave., Duluth, Minnesota.

For more information on FishNorthMN, visit www.fishnorthmn.com. To book a trip, contact Jordan Korzenowski at (218) 260-8983, jordan@fishnorthmn.com; or Kent Paulsen (218) 343-8049, kent@fishnorthmn.com.

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