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3-22-03 - Their wier is in operation, the gates are down, but the viewing windows were closed and no fish were sighted in the holding tank or the fish sanctuary.
I figured since I've never put in a shot of the facility, I'd start by putting this one in. The holding tank is at the left, the white tubing is what I'd call the "fish sluice"; their means of returning fish to the river after milking / stripping. Perhaps after the season winds down I'll put up a detailed photographic tour of the Root River Steelhead Facility (there is already a nice tour on the DNR website)
Nice quiet water on the Root around noon; most everyone had left by 10:00 am.
Oak Creek....there's a REASON it's called a creek...it's SMALL!
The lagoon at the Pike Mouth is free of ice now.
Look at the difference a week of warm weather can make in the appearance of the beach!

3-22-03 - Where are the fish?!

Rivers Fished: Root River, Oak Creek, Pike River & Lake Michigan at the mouth
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 3-22-03
Weather: Sunny around Noon, but cloudy most of the day
Air Temp: upper 40's
Water Temp: Root - 36F, Oak Creek - 37F, Pike - 36F, Lake - 38F
Water Level: Down
Water Color: Clarity is improved in most rivers vs. last week.
Fish Species: none sighted or taken
Pattern Fished: Estaz Eggs, Streamers and Wolley Buggers
Pattern Color: Chartreuse, Pink, and Orange
Fishing Quality: Despite what you may have heard, I WOULDN'T call it a RUN.

3-22-02 - Hey what a day! Today was the day to teach a special woman how to fish...my morning was spent outfitting and renewing licenses! Enjoyable for all!

So we started at the Root around Noon; showed her the wier and Steelhead Facility (BTW, those crazy ducks that I now think are RUNNER Ducks were still there). There were people out, although from the rumors I heard Lincoln Park was a madhouse all morning, with crowds dissipating around 10:00 am when people realized the runs had "not yet started".

We worked the lower stretches of Lincoln Park for a while in the deeper, slower parts, as the the water came out at 36F....I still haven't personally seen the magical 38F on the Root this year. I spent much of my time coaching and teaching the essential roll cast as well as some other techniques necessary for tight quarters. After an hour and 45 minutes, we moved on (ca. 1:45 pm).

30 minutes later we were at Oak Creek, where the water checked out at 37F. Maybe these Steelhead really aren't as sensitive to temps as we hear? Well, probably not. We worked the ENTIRE fishable river from top to bottom, skipping out on the Dam and Beach. The entire walk took only 1 hour, 15 minutes, focusing on any hole slow and deep enough that we couldn't visibly confirm the absence of fish. Other anglers informed me that the river was flowing at 41F, contradicting my reading of 37F, as well as two other points of interest. First, in the AM the action at the mouth was hot on spawn sacs. Secondly, someone had taken a fish upstream at the Dam on Friday. None of this info can be confirmed, it's all hearsay.

After a stop for dinner, we arrived at the mouth of the Pike River at 5:00. I switched up to larger offerings for the lake, a combination of a White and Red Marabou Streamer and a Coho Killer Wolley Bugger. Winds were from the southeast, making casting the lake very difficult. I showed my companion the "infamous" drift the lake in the outflow while I spent the majority of my time in the lagoon. Nothing produced here either, although I did catch a glimpse of some movement in the water, which was encouraging. The scene at the lake is now vastly different from just a couple weeks back...all the ice is gone and the mouth is back to it's "shifting" appearance. While fishing, temp checks revealed the blue lake water was 38F at the mouth, with the outflow in the lagoon at 36F. I think as a fish I'd be hesitant to go into that ice-water despite the flow.

At 6:00 we left the Pike mouth and made a quick run upriver; I figured that maybe, just maybe, some overwintering Chamber's Creek may still be in the river, and if so perhaps they might be on the redds. A quick look at A told me there was NOTHING going on.

Things had chilled down considerably by dusk, so tired, cold, and skunked yet again, we called it a day. Fortunately, my fishing partner enjoyed her day enough that she'll do it again...just when the weather is a bit warmer ;)

  MP 

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