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2-02-03 - Chrome on the rod, what a novel concept!

Rivers Fished: Little Calumet River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 2-02-03
Weather: Overcast, Fully Cloudy & Hazy/Foggy
Air Temp: Upper 30's, maybe up to 40F
Water Temp: I'm guessing mid 30's here.
Water Level: up a bit from my last trip.
Water Color: relatively clear, still has that green tea coloration to it.
Fish Species: STEELIES!
Pattern Fished: Various Nymphs and Glo Bugs
Pattern Color: various
Fishing Quality: I'm happy for this time of year!

2-2-03 - So first and foremost, I have to kick myself for NOT bringing my camera with me. (All those IN folks who didn't like my last post are thanking God right now!)

I got a decent start on the day; stopped at Creekside Outfitters in Chesterton and met Dave. Nice guy, I think he was a bit apprehensive meeting me at first but I think I can understand why after seeing all the flak caused on the IN boards at TSS with my last IN posting. And I'll say it again, Dave's a REALLY nice guy; I have to wish him "Tight Lines" for his Monday outing. Dave got me all set up with my one-day IN license. Got to see some really neat flies; man he's a good tier. Selection is small but WELL TARGETED. I picked up some really cool patterns from him that I'm going to have to try, and also decided to give this "P-LINE" a shot. Got the 8lb Flourocarbon, set me back close to $25, but I'll tell you now it's worth it. Vanish is CRAP compared to this stuff. And just a reminder to all of you, anytime you're traveling to an area with an outfitter, whether IN or Montana, patronize them. Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, sure you get a low price, but they DON'T tell you how the fishing is, where to go, and what to try! Dave suggested that if I was intent on fly-fishing today, I should go caddis or egg, which I kept in mind.

So I got a "relatively" late start on the river, dropping in at an angler's access around noon. I hiked down for about 45 minutes to meet up with Chromeseeker and a new addition to our fishing crew, along the way I came across numerous anglers. Didn't see too many happy faces, so I knew that either they were pissed that I was there, or the fishing really sucked. I stopped at a couple pools to try my luck with my Steeley Stone Beadhead in chartruese...no takers.

I arrived downstream to the news that our new fishing partner had already landed one steelie, about 1 lb, taken on spawn with a spinning setup. And well, that got me psyched. We fished a good spot that we had been pointed to a couple weeks back. After tossing the Steeley Stone for 15-20 minutes, I opted to switch up! Next in the bag of tricks was the chartreuse glo bug. Another 10 minutes or so of tossing, still no luck, and finally I snagged on a log or something. I really had to pull HARD to break this 8 LB PLine! This is TOUGH stuff! The snag gave me the opportunity to switch up again, so I decided to try my Antron Bug variation. I've tied up 4 distinct color combinations so far; this time it was the Tan Body with Gray Back.

I fished the Antron with 2 splitshot tossing roughly 30 degrees upstream, and mending for a dead-drift. Once downstream, a switchup with a swing finish. I added a bit of new technique I recently read about, the "HOLD". Granted, this wasn't really "new" technique, but the point was to hold it longer than you normally would. Possible give a short twitch followed with a drift until taught again. And wouldn't you know it, I HOOKED UP at the very END of that technique. It was a strike close to shore, guestimating a 2-3 LB Steelhead. Unfortunately it was one of those that is off almost as fast as it was on; all it took for this boy to get off was a couple shakes of the head :(

Immediately after my hookup, wouldn't you know it, a DRIFT BOAT showed up...MOTORED right through the pool we were fishing, then turned around and went back downstream. Ya know, I know the IN folks are very protective of their rivers, and perhaps consider posting pics of the river a criminal offense. So I guess they would've lynched these folks on the spot (I admit, I did have to put on my "happy face" during this incident!).

Soon after I snagged up and lost this Antron, but knowing that the pattern was producing I tried the Tan with Herring Krystal Flash variation that had taken the Coho back in Dec. And there ya go, a second hit. Not aggressive like the first one, just a slight tug on my line to the right. Didn't set quickly enough and the fish was off. Anyways, MP's Antron Bug seemed to be the pattern de'jour, I left one with Dave @ Creekside so if you guys want it, I bet you could ask him to tie it!

We kept moving downstream, I mean FAR downstream. At some point I snagged up again, and lost my Antron, so I decided "what the heck" and switched to a brass bead head caddis pattern. No luck there. Around 3:30 I "called it a day" for me 'cause my hip was killing me (I probably slipped and fell a dozen times on the hike in...it's NOT EASY folks). I opted to work back upstream, figured I'd try some holes again, but the pain in my leg was really cramping my style. Now, I don't know whether it was that the pain slowed me down or that we had really moved that far, but it took about 1:45 minutes to get BACK! Talk about miserable LOL! On the drive back I talked to Chromeseeker, he had gone 0-1 on a large steelie using a centerpin setup, again with eggs.

So I guess the most interesting thing about today was that all 3 of us were out, all using different setups, and ALL hooked up. Besides that, I'd have to say that I probably need to get in better shape if I'm going to keep hiking like this! But, in all fairness to IN, the WI streams were nothing but skating rinks, so this was definitely a good alternative (yes, all the water was open today folks!). And the natural setting is, as always, really enjoyable.

Next week, probably Waukegan if anything. Much easier access and probably a safe bet for open water. Looking at the forecasts, the Pike, Root, Milwuakee, they're all pretty hopeless right now!

  MP 

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