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Started the day at 6:20 AM going out with FatMan (Richard Brown) and Brian, plus a few other guys from the TSS site. We worked as a team, covered a TON of ground; I personally fished more areas today on the Root than in all other trips combined! I have to say that Rich really makes it his business to KNOW the river, and know it WELL.
Left the Root around 10:00, and headed to the Pike. Sighted MANY Coho; nailed this fresh male in breeding dress on the same fly that took the Brown Trout out of Lake Michigan a few weeks back.
Sighted Several Cohos today; this is another shot of the one I landed. None of my "full fish & rod" shots turned out on this one, but that's OK. I just wanted you to see the gorgeous color this fish had.
A closeup of the Coho Salmon mouth, which clearly illustrates the distinguishing coloration. I figured I should have a shot like this to show everyone. I gotta say so far that the Coho has been my favorite Salmonid in the Lake Michigan Tribs.
Headed to the mouth; the recent rains and storms have completely revamped this area of the river, pushing a large bed of gravel into the lakeshore. This shot was taken standing 25 feet out in the lake, looking back at the shore.
One more picture of the Pike River Mouth; compare this shot to the pics over the last couple weeks!

12-21-02 - Back to catchin' Fish!

Rivers Fished: Root & Pike Rivers (including the mouth on Lake Michigan)
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 12-21-02
Weather: Partly Sunny
Air Temp: VERY cold in the AM, warmed up nicely though
Water Temp: ? - cold as usual, but no ice
Water Level: up due to the recent rains
Water Color: murkier than in previous weeks. Pike was still pretty clear
Fish Species: Coho
Pattern Fished: Wolleys, Sucker Spawns, Various Nymphs
Pattern Color: assorted
Fishing Quality: markedly improved

The first of a 2 part Rambling Report for this weekend. I must preface by saying that I'm currently back in Chicago going on one hour of sleep; I'll be at O'hare in a couple hours to pick up my Brother and we're back out on the rivers tomorrow at 6:00 AM with the FatMan! Not sure when part II (12-22-02) will be posted; probably on Monday.

Ok, so I got out bright and early (lines in the water about 6:35 am) with a bunch of REALLY nice guys from the TSS site; would list you all but I don't know your handles and honestly, I'm really terrible with names anyways. FatMan was our ringleader this morning; he organized a "scouting party" on the Root. Needless to say we covered a TON of water today. The Root's flow is up; some fish were sighted in the pre-dawn hours. I personally fished a 2 nymph system (large and small) and later switched out to a purple crystal wolley bugger with sucker spawn dropper. FatMan is taking my bro and I out tomorrow on my brother's first ever salmon/steelhead fishing excursion; I MUST already highly recommend his service; especially if you're the type who only gets to go out a couple times per year, or you're out of state, or whatever. He really makes it his business to know the rivers up and down; when going out as a group this morning he worked us as a team, assigning us various spots on the river and working it systematically to find the fish. So get a group together and go out with Rich; Team-Fly-Fishing is a great sport and was REALLY enjoyable ;)

We were literally ALL OVER the Root today; I don't think any of us picked up any fish however. So at about 10:00 am we pulled out, and I headed over to my baby, the Pike in Kenosha.

Got into the Pike at all my usual favorite spots, and I wasn't disappointed. Got my first fish in weeks; a BEAUTIFUL male Coho. He was in full breeding dress, and my personal technique of dropping the fly in above and then jigging the flies up into the current and drifting back in front of him eventually got him PO'd enough to strike. The fight was VERY short, as there was little room for him to flee and well, he was the smallest Coho I've taken.

Some other notes on the Pike; the flow is already back to pre-rain levels, the water is almost back to clear, there is currently no ice, the westerly winds basically turned Lake Michigan to glass, and the mouth has been completely redesigned by the recent storm activity.

Anyways, I have to rank this outing a 5 based on the following:

1. I went out with a great group of guys; they more than made it worth skipping a night's sleep! I also think I learned a bit more than I knew before, and got to fish MANY sections of river that I haven't before.

2. For this time of year, the fishing was GREAT. Still catchin' Cohos! The abundance of fish is up, although nothing like the fall it was nice to see them swimming again.

3. The weather was also great for this time of year.

4. If I had stayed out longer today, I am confident this could have been a multiple-catch outing.

Fair Hooks, Tight Lines, and abundant fish!


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