1-04-03 - The Runs are Done!
Rivers Fished: Pike River (including the mouth
on Lake Michigan)
Fish Caught: 1 Fouled
Weather: usual winter weather, partly cloudy
Air Temp: about 33-34 F.
Water Temp: probably about the same
Water Level: low, but slightly up.
Water Color: clear
Fish Species: Browns
Pattern Fished: wollies above, nymphs below
Pattern Color: probably best considered as attractors
Fishing Quality: pi$$ poor
So 1-4-03, I had to come back to the Pike to see
how it was going. I had totally expected to find it iced over, but
was surprised to find actually less ice than in previous weeks.
I arrived about 1:00 at A, and went up and down
my usual hike twice, sighting NO fish. Well, I did sight some creek
chubs. I honestly was not surprised to find any fish, as the steelhead
have been very few & far between this season, I went two months
without sighting ANY. The Coho that were in the streams the last
couple weeks really shouldn't have been anyways, I'm guessing by
now they are ALL dead, even the Jacks, from columnaris infections.
So about 2:00, I switched things up and moved downstream
to E, based on the knowledge that it seemed that the fish had been
moving downstream over the past couple weeks. My first encounter
was not with a fish, but rather a bowhunter. Folks, make sure to
wear bright colors during hunting season; man I felt like an idiot
wearing an outer shell that was roughly the same buff color as a
I did a TON of hiking and fished all the deeper
open pools I could find, usually from upstream drifting the flies
down below the ice. I came across a fish hiding underneath the ice
in a deeper pool. I was able to actually dislodge the ice and open
up the pool WITHOUT disturbing the fish. Cast one was poor presentation.
Cast 2 got a head turn but not a strike. Cast 3, I fouled on this
fish, which as I tried to snap the leader barely fought back at
all. It's kinda sad that this fish did not even have enough strength
to break a 5X tippet (either that or this is really AWESOME tippet
I'm using!). I landed this brown, got my fly out, snapped a shot
and let it back in the river. Even the BROWNS are getting crusted
up now, as this fish looked like its head had been sliced open with
a razor. Unfortunately I realized this fish probably would have
never striked fair, and is probably only a couple weeks away from
I did manage to sight a second brown, definitely
a male as it was kyped, and it was even in poorer condition...covered
all over its body with sores. Still hadn't seen ANY coho.
So about 3:30, I moved yet again down the mouth.
Here's a new one, I had to contend with a kyaker. He was going in
and out of the mouth, paddling along the shore of the lake. Well,
any fish that were hanging out in the mouth we surely spooked, and
the water had been stirred up by all the paddling, but with the
way the winds were blowing I couldn't cast the lake (they were from
the south) so I had to try the mouth. I switched up to the only
bright flies I had in my box, 2 different Alevin patterns, and tossed
with weight and a slow retrieve. I actually fished all the open
area of the lower mouth without a single nip, and didn't see ANY
fish (granted, the water still hadn't cleared up). I also tried
drifting my flies out in the slight river current into the lake,
but didn't have any success with this method either as the waves
and wind ended up beaching my flies on the northern shore. I ran
into another angler who was new to the area and we chatted a bit;
he was more familiar with fishing areas in NY like the Salmon River.
I decided it was time for one last ditch effort.
So we both headed back up to A around 4:30, where
we chatted a bit more and he found someone's lost Powerbait (I have
it now, if you want it, I'll be glad to give it back 'cause I really
don't use the stuff, but I may TRY it if no one claims this $2.99
jar LOL!). I dropped in one last time and headed a bit upstream;
all the usual holding spots were empty. The light was fading fast
as it was just after sunset by that point, so I called my outing
there. Kinda disappointed with what I'd seen in the river, I opted
NOT to fish again today (Sunday).
I think at this point the runs are DONE until a
spring ice-out and rain happens. I haven't sighted more than 2 clean
fish for a couple weeks now. If there are any steelhead still in
the river, I'm guessing they'd be upstream in the Country Club or
downstream in the deeper areas like the floodplain (which is totally
iced over), Which means that I'll still probably go out once a week
to check the conditions, but will devote more of my weekend time
to tying and all my other obligations until I detect a nice spring
run of Ganaraska.
Fair Hooks & Abundant Fish in 2003!