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3-16-03 - Minutes after sunrise upstream at Horlick. It was foggy, but that particulate matter in the air is FOAM from the dam blowing downstream!
Turned around and shot downstream as well....
By the time I left the air had cleared considerably. Horlick is "relatively" bursting at the seams.
Lincoln Park, and those strange 3 ducks on the right are still hanging around. What the heck are they?

3-18-03 - A pre-dawn "Foam & Fog" party at the Root, and strange duck/goose hybrid weirdness to boot! Still no rainbows on steroids though...

Rivers Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 3-18-03
Weather: Extreme fog in the predawn, dissipating as the day went on
Air Temp: 50 or so
Water Temp: 33-34F
Water Level: Up UP UP from weeks past
Water Color: Muddy
Fish Species: none sighted or taken
Pattern Fished: MP's Egg Spey , MP's Black-Laced Spey (in yellow)
Pattern Color: Both are dark patterns with light accents
Fishing Quality: Ever caught a stickfish?

3-18-03 - So Rich Brown talked me into the insane (in my world) idea of going fishing on the Root in the morning before work on a weekday! After much personal debate, I decided to go for it. Got up well before down, ca. 4:30 and hit the road about 5:00 AM! This is truly EARLY for me folks ;) The fog was extremely thick! Arrived at Racine about 5:50 and met up with FAT, 2 of his clients, and Gumbo. 3 other anglers showed up shortly thereafter.

The conditions upstream at Horlick were fast and furious compared to anything I had seen in the fall. Water was cresting over the entire dam, producing tons of foam. The water was "thick"; not quite the fountain of yohoo that the Pike was over the weekend but definitely still muddy. A quick temp check upstream revealed that the river was still cold, a whopping 33F.

Rich started his group off immediately below the dam; I headed further downstream. Due to the low visibility in the water, I stuck with large Spey Patterns; starting out with MP's Egg Spey and MP's Black Laced in yellow as the dropper. I started off where I left on Sunday, with 5 clam shots on the rig. This proved to be WAY too much weight, snagging up CONSTANTLY on the bottom. I lost my first rig in no time!

A fresh leader and only one shot and things were a bit better. I skipped the dual rig and focused on just using the Black-Laced Spey without weight. Being the first time I got a good observation of this fly in moving water, I noticed it likes to swim in the current much like a fish would; NICE! I continued to work my way downstream, fishing the seams and slower pools where they could be found; the sparse nature of this pattern proved to sink fast; I was still snagging up on rocks and sticks fairly frequently. Even pulled once nice sized (about 3') LOG out of the river.

Around 7:15 or so I started to wonder if maybe the fish hadn't moved up as FAT suspected, so I hopped out. Gumbo had experienced one of those mornings; snagged up and in the process of getting the fly free he had inextricably tangled his line. Well, we chatted a bit and then decided to head downriver.

Lincoln Park Observations; compared to Saturday the water was up significantly, but from people who've been watching the river longer it is only at about "average" right now. A quick check of the weir and we concluded that it is still closed (aka. not in place, not operational at this time), which means the steelies have free roam of the river up to Horlick. Water temps were just a touch higher, about 34 F. There were a 3 anglers working Lincoln Park, a well as my now familiar friendly troop of still unidentified duck-duck-goose looking birds. They were considerably less fearful in the AM hours, so I got a decent picture of them. Any idents on these strange (potentially farm-strain) birds?

I fished for about 20 minutes or so in a deeper section, swinging the Black-Laced with the addition of 1 clam shot. This seemed about the right amount of weight for this flow (just under 200 cfs) as I was still hanging up on submerged debris periodically. Patience was a key...you never know if that "rock" is going to move from what I'm told. So a snag always found me waiting about 15-30 seconds just to make sure. Gumbo looked on as we chatted while I fished.

Around 8:20 or so I had to call it a day as I have to work! Gumbo and I chatted for a bit with a gentleman from Minnesota who was stopping on his way home from the south to check things out. We talked about a few tribs in the area in the hopes that maybe he'd do better if he decided to wet a line. Good Luck Mr. J.!

Oh well, still just a bit too early I think. Granted, FAT and his clients may have faired better (he's far more experienced with the seasonal nuances than I am). I'll be out again this Saturday!

  MP 

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