3-29-03 - Gumbo & Bob & MP have some fun!
Rivers Fished: Pike River, Milwaukee River, Oak
Creek, Root River
Fish Caught: 0 Landed
Outing Date: 3-29-03
Weather: Cloudy All Day!
Air Temp: 30's
Water Temp: Pike = 42-45F, Lake Michigan at Kenosha = 44F
Water Level: Down
Water Color: Pike -> relatively clear, Milwaukee -> Clear
& stained, Oak Creek -> Green but pretty clear, Root River
-> clearing up but still cloudy.
Fish Species: Steelhead & Smolts
Pattern Fished: You Name it!
Pattern Color: Everything in the Rainbow!
Fishing Quality: Camaraderie makes up for a skunky kinda day.
3-29-03 - Well apparently FAT isn't the only "insane
angler" who can get me out of bed early; Gumbo managed to on
Saturday. We were supposed to meet at 5:30 am in Grayslake for some
breakfast...."supposed to" being the important part. My
lazy bones got there right as they were finishing up at 7:15 or
So Bob (Gumbo) & Bob (not Gumbo) and I headed
north. Our first stop was upstream on the Pike River at 8:30 am-
based on some tips I was anxious to get a look. We took a quick
peak at some nice gravel and got a temp reading - 36F. No steelies
or suckers to be seen so we moved on to our next destination; the
9:30 we dropped in at Kletzsch. The dam area was
FULL of anglers (I counted 7 + us)...so we worked downstream. Water
was a chilly 36F. Sighted my first Steelhead of the season...a nice
24" or so fish that had been brutalized (aka skinned and gutted)
and then dropped back in the river! Gumbo swung speys, I swung MP's
Black-Laced Spey in purple + dropper of a new scud pattern, and
Bob started with a wolley, later opting for a spey. 2 hours later
we had worked the area thoroughly (as well as several other folks)
and no one had anything. We heard rumors that one fish was taken
ALL MORNING. Furthermore, we had to deal with iced guides all morning
as well...man I thought we had put that behind us for the rest of
Well, that was discouraging, so at 11:30 I pulled
the special insiders knowledge and we ran downstream to an undisclosed
location. Deeper, slower water. At first the area didn't look very
promising...Bob & Bob were kinda like "What the heck? This
place is too small". Well, after about 10 minutes I saw my
first fish break surface...I offered the spot to Gumbo who replied
"You saw where it is, go get it!" Easier said than done.
The river is wide, access is bad, and wading is not a good idea
(TOO DEEP!). Well, I tried and tried, and then in started snowing.
Fish started slapping the surface...at first I thought it was just
one fish who was porpoising while going upstream...but then I noticed
they were porpoising all over the place! A quick temp check got
me the magic 37.5F - probably 38 ;) I was going nuts...figured if
anything a dry fly just might do it! But wait, when was the last
time ANY of us packed DRIES for Steelheading; I mean DRIES, not
Skaters! Well, I picked the least "dense" fly I had...a
PM Wiggler. Quickly re-rigged, got all the weight off, and started
tossing. First drift I find myself screaming "We HAVE A FLOATER!".
Two more tosses and the fly is starting to sink, but still riding
close under the surface. The main problem was that there wasn't
room for a backcast, and a roll cast couldn't get the distance needed
to get to where the fish were rising. Snow stopped, rising stopped.
Snow started, rising started. It went on like this and I was aggravated.
We had to change spots, so 1:15 we headed for Estabrook.
This was my first time there this year, and the
ice had moved EVERYTHING around...either that or something else
is up, er rather "not up". Most of my spots that I fished
in the fall were not nearly as deep as I remember...in fact much
of the area was only ANKLE deep. Bob & I fished pockets while
Gumbo talked on the bridge...I was able to sight the area quickly,
check all the pockets, and a quick temp check told me this was not
good...back to 36F. I had switched up to my new pattern, Gumbo's
Kletzsch Clutch (a spey) but the water temps weren't going to be
conducive to that. Bob and I pulled out to watch a guy land a steelie
taken on an Estaz Egg underneath a float....nice fish & quickly
released. When we got back "topside" Gumbo was nowhere
to be found. We walked out onto the bridge, scanning until we saw
him...about 1/4 mile downriver! The other anglers continued to work
below us; we got to see a killer hookup happen from God's point
of view (looking straight down). It was priceless.
Well, we waited for Gumbo to return, grabbed some
lunch, and around 3:15 pm headed for Oak Creek. Got there around
3:45, no fish (pretty easy to tell, 'cause there were a LOT of guys
walking the creek, no one fishing!). Temp was a slightly warmer
37F. We ran to the mouth and tossed briefly...water temp was slightly
lower at 36F...and then in started snowing again. 4:15 or so I got
the call that CS had hooked up on the Root and well, we were already
headed that way when he called!
Got there around 5:00! Fished downstream and didn't
get anything. Well, I did get a couple smolts, and so did Bob. Those
fish at least make the day a bit more entertaining than 0 fish at
all! We went upstream to the wier and tried there, as there were
some fish holding in the Sanctuary. I was back on Estaz rigs by
this point, and well we worked the Root good. 4 guys, not a bite.
6:00 the Bobs had to leave, and I had to retie. One last ditch effort
I worked the stream down further in Lincoln Park...smolts were rising
but not much else. CS had sighted a fish or two moving, and after
he was done trying I kicked in...no luck either. Just as I turned
my back to leave for the day around 6:30, a large fish broke surface
right where I was fishing.
I think that sums it all up; the Steelies were
playing with the Anglers today!