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3-29-03 - Bob & Bob upstream on the Milwaukee! You figure out which one is Gumbo ;)
Kletzch Park. 'Nuff said.

© Gumbo 2003
Gumbo shot this and the next, and I'll use his commentary. "This is you [MP] in the water casting, but look above your head and a little to the left. That boiling in the water was one of those fish rising."

© Gumbo 2003
"And this one is a shot of your line finishing a perfect cast. Your rod tip is just visable to the left. You are out of the picture, but I know it was you." (the beige line gives it away)
Gumbo disappeared on us...we got up on the bridge and *found* him. Hi Gumbo!
I had to include this picture! It's not often that you get to see the "technique" from above. The coolest part (although I didn't get a picture) was when we saw this guy HOOK UP briefly with a steelie right beneath us. I sat for 20 more minutes hoping I'd get another chance to capture that type of moment!
Storms out over the Lake at the mouth of Oak Creek. Breathtaking...but then it started snowing.

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...

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 Milwaukee.

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 this year!

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!

  MP 

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