10-13-02 - Action Everywhere!
Rivers Fished: Pike & Root Rivers
Fish Caught: 1 fouled
Outing Date: 10-13-02
Weather: Clear Sun
Air Temp: 40's to upper 50's.
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: Lower Still
Water Color: Root is Muddy, Pike is clearing up a bit
Fish Species: Chinook, Brown, Steelhead and COHO!
Pattern Fished: VARIOUS, see below
Pattern Color: Various, see below
Fishing Quality: Better
Went back out on my own, and without Dan slowing
me down arrived in record time at the Pike (ca. 12:00). I figured
that those fish I tried for last night may still be there. And the
truth is, they probably would have been if not for the people who
had snagged them all out. You think I'm making this up, but there
were people fishing JIGS and even worse, people fishing with spinners
off the bridge, literally snagging the fish straight up as they
swam over the lure. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen
it with my own eyes. I was VERY TEMPTED to take some snapshots of
the intrepid anglers. Bottom line, no fish left (all on stringers)
so I headed back to the Root where I at least knew there were some
The Root River is very low (the rains on Saturday
had no effect), so I ended up biting the bullet and getting shoulder
to shoulder. Well not quite that bad. It was a bright, sunny, albeit
cooler day. There were more folks in the river today, but not as
many as last week.
So before I go any further, I just want to point
out that there were NO RANGERS to be found, and lawlessness abound.
People (kids) were fishing and wading in the refuge, both above
and below the wier. Then again, a few adults who can clearly read
were ignoring the signs anyways (heck, the one that stands in the
river had been uprooted and turned upside-down). SNAGGERS WERE EVERYWHERE.
At least if you're going to snag, don't use a FLY ROD to do it!
People were literally flossing half-dead fish, getting them any
way they could. And in some respects I understand the temptation
to snag, especially being out for weeks on end without landing ANYTHING.
Well, more on the topic later.
So I settled in and drifted in the pool below the
first bend below the wier which feeds into a bit of riffles. Again,
the Chinook were spawning, and ticked-off. I used a large (2) White
Marabou Streamer; just white marabou, a bit of short red marabou
for the throat, and a silver tinsel body. Supposedly a deadly Lake
Michigan fly. Well, I fair hooked a NICE BIG Chinook, didn't have
the fight in him though...not like there was much place for the
fish to go. After about a 7 minute fight he spit the hook (we know
he was FAIR because we saw it clearly in his mouth as I tried to
land it). Darn! Well, a bit later, using the same, I connected with
a smaller Jake that took off down the river like a hydroplane..snapping
I switched over and tried several other flies (as
I was out of the white marabou miracles); ended up even trying a
huge purple rabbit hair mumbo-jumbo designed for bass fishing. Here's
the cool part; it is tied with a heavy gauge monofilament weed guard
and those big lead eyes. This fly DID NOT SNAG; neither fish nor
the bottom. Although I know this would never happen, I'd love to
see Anglers required to fish with weed-guarded lures; it would really
reduce the incidence of snagging, whether intentional or not, and
heck, they're easier to fish. If I can find more suitable flies
that are weedless I'll be switching.
Well, by the time I left the Root (about 4:30)
the situation had deteriorated to the point where everyone around
me was snagging. Why should it matter (besides legality)? Well,
let's put it this way; as I was leaving someone asked me where my
fish was...my response (some guy downriver snagged all my fish).
There was NOTHING basically below the first foot bridge, all the
fish were above...lounging lazily...and by this point the posers
were slapping their fly lines with multiple splitshot over the backs
of fish, trying to get them any way they could. I had enough, so
I left....perhaps the snaggers on the Pike had left.
And indeed, upon my arrival (ca 5:00 pm) there
were very few people on the Pike. One guy was fishing my favorite
little spot, so first I tried downriver a bit on the south side
of the bridge. The only thing lurking down there was a Steelhead
and a Coho literally plowing his way upstream in 6" of water.
I headed Northwest.
So headed "above" my favorite spot (the
gravel bar with the sharp undercut bank by the tree...those of you
who know the pike know what I'm talking about). A bit upstream (between
the bend at the Bridge at A and the next bend at that A & 13
junction) there are a couple deeper pools. It was here that I spotted
a couple Steelhead lolygagging about. I first threw my purple lead-headed
weedless bass thing...and got some interest. However, the fly was
almost as big as the steelhead's mouth, so I switched over. At this
point I'm pretty piss-poor in the fly selection, as 6 weeks of being
on the river has seriously depleted my suppliers). So I tied on
a "Blacknose Dace"; and WHAM! Just like fly fishing out
west, a beautiful white mouth hit the streamer hard! And just about
as fast the fish was off again. So I kept trying, but the fish got
smart. I threw all sorts of stuff at them ("Glo Bugs",
Wolly Buggers, Montana Nymphs, even a couple Spey Flies)...but no
more interest. I counted several steelhead tooling around in the
pool, along with 2 or 3 leftover Chinook and what I can now safely
say several Coho! Here's why.
So I ended up switching back to the Blacknose Dace,
and again trying for the Steelhead. Out of nowhere, with my perfect
presentation in the middle of a pair of steelhead, screams in this
salmon...on the small side, I'm thinking maybe it's a jack chinook.
Next thing you know this fish is flying by and my line is following
the salmon. It put up an extraordinary fight...lasted a good 10
minutes...2 nice aerial jumps...wow...finally. I bring the salmon
into the rocks and get it up, out of the water. I can now clearly
see that I had fouled the fish, so I know I'm going to let this
one go. But man, it's my first salmon of the year that I've brought
to shore, and it was the MOST BEAUTIFUL MALE COHO I have ever seen...definitely
outshining any of the photos I've seen (can't compare it to my other
Coho's cause, well this is the first). Simply a stunning fresh male
in full breeding dress...green back with pink vertical splotches
of color on the sides against a deeper red flank...the most contrasting
black and white mouth, and not a knick on the fish except for where
I've fouled it. I decide I must have a photograph of this fish,
and as I try to get the fish up briefly it flops back in and the
fight is on again! So this 22" or so Coho again screams out
my line, and wouldn't you know it, my tippet finally exhausted,
gives out, and I am without a photo of this fish! So if anyone catches
a beautiful Male Coho with a black-nosed dace streamer on it's underside,
that's my fish :)
I tried in vein for the dwindling twilight to fairly
catch this fish (which was swimming around beneath me, occasionally
rolling and jumping, clearly aggravated with the fly on it's underside)
but all attempts failed to catch the interest of this stunning fish
and his steelhead cohorts.
In summary, here's the headcount for the weekend:
Fish I saw Landed:
Coho - 1
Chinook - 20 or so including 2 jacks
Browns - 1
Steelhead - 0
Fish I hooked up with:
Coho - 1
Chinook - 3
Steelhead - 1
Browns - 0
Flies I lost - 17
Rods I saw broken - 2 (here's a tip, you can't
use a flyrod to lift a 30 lb Chinook out of the river guys ;) Urban
fishing is truly a weird thing. Maybe I need to head a bit farther
north in the coming weeks. For you die-hards, pray for cold rainy
Finally, I'll have another post up shortly with
all the photos I took of my fellow anglers today on the river. Keep
your eyes out for that!
"Tight Lines" as they say, but more importantly,
"Fair Hooks for everyone!"