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Now that Lenny had seen big water, I took him to smaller water, my prized Pike. As you can see it had snowed overnight. Unfortunately the Pike was super low and DEVOID of fish unless we wanted to hike to the dam in the Country Club. We skipped out on the Pike after only about 10 minutes. FYI we did see 2 male Coho and one VERY SMALL BROWN (probably under the limit) on stringers.
Next stop, the Root River, starting at the facility. The wier has been completely removed for the season. Lincoln Park is now a duck pond, with the only fish being a couple worn out coho holding in the refuge area. My sense of smell is pretty shot, and even I noticed the stench. It soaks into your clothes and everything. The Root River is officially a graveyard folks.
Now I know why they aren't posting any more Root River Reports; the facility is closed for the season! As you can see, only 48 steelhead were passed upstream DURING the season.
And just for your enjoyment, the wier trophy board.
I figured maybe the situation was better upstream closer to the Horlick Dam, so we dropped in at Quarry Lake Park. Nice scenery, but the river was seldom more than ankle deep.
Not a SINGLE FISH was seen anywhere between our drop-in site and about 1/2 way upstream to the dam. A drive by the dam showed a couple frustrated anglers with no fish.
Well, back to the Milwaukee, which we knew still had fresh fish. I got this beautiful male Coho Salmon to take a Purple Bodied, Red Headed Egg Sucking Leach. Nailed him in riffles casting upstream, drifting across and swinging around as it came down.
Just a shot of the riffles at Estabrook, above the Capitol Street bridge on the Milwaukee River.

11-17-02 - Fishin with Lenny & Guppy; day #2!

Rivers Fished: Pike, Root & Milwaukee Rivers
Fish Caught: 1 Fair, 1 Foul
Outing Date: 11-17-02
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temp: COLD - lower 30's
Water Temp: COLDER
Water Level: LOW
Water Color: Mostly Clear, Root was heavily stained
Fish Species: Coho, Chinook, Browns
Pattern Fished: mostly wollies and ESL's
Pattern Color: darks (blacks, reds etc...)
Fishing Quality: Below Expectations

Woke up at my place in Lake Como (Walworth County) to find the lake 1/2 frozen over! I thought I might show Lenny around the Pike, but when we got there it at 11:30 a.m. it was simply DEVOID of fish. It had snowed and there was some accumulation. Nothing holding in the usual pools. We literally stayed for about 10 minutes. I did see what looked like a brown on a stringer..the thing was barely 10" if that, and was either taken on a spinner or CORN (at least that's what it looked like one of the guys was tossing). Also ran across a guy who had been upstream, by the dam in the Country Club, and had taken 2 male Coho. He hadn't seen anything either.

So I thought, OK, maybe the Root might be better. BOY WAS I WRONG. The stench on the Root was nasty. Lincoln Park is nothing more than a graveyard at this point, with only a couple crusty Coho sitting in the fish preserve, and nothing sighted outside. The Root River facility is COMPLETELY CLOSED now (as of Oct. 31); perhaps that should tell us all something. I've included shots from

Sunday at the Wier of both the Trophy Board and the Fish Totals in the pictures linked below.

We Drove up to Quarry Lake Park and actually got in; the bottom is nice, solid rock, but in most spots it was only ANKLE deep. We fished a couple deeper (ca 1') pools, but saw nothing and connected with nothing. I didn't find any gravel bottom in this area either.

The Root's water is VERY STAINED right now as well...coming over Horlick dam it looks like someone taking a leak. I'm guessing this is just due to the high amount of leaf litter that must be collecting. The guys standing at the bottom of the Dam looked like they were mourning something, perhaps the death of the Chinook run?!

Well, the choice was rather simple after that, back to the Milwaukee around Estabrook. Lenny had learned his lesson from the night before and got himself a hat :)

The glare of the water was too much at 2:00 (polarized glasses didn't do shiznit), so we couldn't easily sight fish to go after. I spent much of the afternoon simply swinging and fish the riffles, as did Lenny. My first hookup was a CRUSTY little Chinook, I believe he was hooked on the pectoral. This fish was the definition of a "Zombie", at this point the few live Chinook in the river are probably better considered as debris. Lenny just scooped him up out of the water, got the fly, and dropped him back in. Fish barely wiggled.

I continued swinging through the riffles, again with the purple egg sucking leach (red head) and found success! Another male Coho (man, these fish actually like to pound flies!). The fight wasn't all that great but it took a good 10 minutes or so to land; he kept running into deeper water and trying to turn to go downstream. The fish rolled and thrashed his head at the surface; wasn't sure if he was snagged or not. Came in 100% fair hooked, that's what I like to see! Those of you who say that only the fouled fish jump and splash, well, so far with the Coho that simply hasn't been the case.

I got some pics of this stunning female, and debated keeping this one, but opted not to as I already have 3 in the freezer. He's still fresh, in beautiful breeding dress, so go get him if you want him!

"Guppy" met up with Lenny and I again and we moved upstream, fishing deeper riffles than I had been working prior. The browns are holding up in these riffles. While we didn't see or land any, "Guppy" did spend some time working some cohos in the shallows. He did get some interest (hey, what do ya know, another wolley / ESL kinda day!) but didn't get anything landed, after the first few bites the males seem to wise up and ignore the flies, so you only have a couple chances to get a good set and bring the fish in! Lenny didn't hook up with anything on Sunday, but he felt that the whole experience was well worth it. He put it eloquently and yet so simply, "It's not just about catching fish".

That's about it. I'd say that this was a fair week to go out; the guides on our rods were getting caked in ICE! The water is frigid and so is the air, so all we need is a THOROUGH rain! Jee, I know there were big browns and chromers sitting outside the mouth of the Pike last week; what's it going to take to get them to come in?!?!

Fair Hooks!

  MP 

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