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3-30-03 - What a way to start your day!
A quick fight...
...and a fish landed!
Congrats! This steelie was a bit funkified...tail was all mangled and there was some scarring on the head...but none the less a steelie!
Wondering what's going on at A on the Pike? Lots of boulders, the nice holding water underneath the bridge is gone, but downstream looks relatively untouched.

Hmm...haven't seen this on the Root before; a pair of Canada Geese. There were many more around.

3-30-03 - A Bittersweet Day...

Rivers Fished: Pike River, Lake Michigan (Pike River Mouth), Root River
Fish Caught: 0 Landed
Outing Date: 3-30-03
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Air Temp: 40's, maybe even up to 50 around 1:00...
Water Temp: Pike = 37-40F, Root - 37
Water Level: Down
Water Color: Pike -> relatively clear, Root River -> clearing up but still cloudy.
Fish Species: Steelhead & Smolts
Pattern Fished: Estaz Eggs, MP's Buckwing Speydace, MP's Coho Killer, Red & Black Wolly Bugger
Pattern Color: Naturals and Attractors
Fishing Quality: Smolts always save ya from getting skunked!

3-30-03 - Got a slightly earlier start than normal; since we basically neglected my baby (the Pike) on Saturday, it was my priority for Sunday.

About 11:00 I arrived all the way upstream and started checking overpasses....worked my way down through all sorts of spots, probably checked 50-75% of the bridges that cross the Pike. A quick look into the clear water revealed no fish in all spots. Also ran into a few anglers all along the river who had been out earlier along the streams...the reports again came back as "no fish". Along the way, a temp check at A & 13th showed 37F...not quite there yet.

So went to Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pike, arriving about 11:45 or so. Got down there to find one other brave angler in the cold winds from the southeast. I started drifting a dual rig of Estaz eggs...gradually I worked closer to the angler who then realized we had met last fall (we had a laugh about the fish taking his Indicators on the surface but not his offerings back then). He had been out for a couple hours already.

While chatting, he hooked up, and my camera went to work! Check out the abbreviated battle sequence at right. When I asked what he was using, I had an unusual twang of pleasure and jealousy at the same time; it was the coveted Red & Black Wolley Bugger! Truly a bittersweet moment in life. Hey, maybe I can't get chrome, but I guess I can help others do it LOL!

We started to see a fish or two break the surface just at the edge of the lake & lagoon, and I rerigged to offer up MP's Coho Killer and MP's Buckwing Speydace. Even threw on an indicator (something I rarely do). While I continued to toss until 1:45, the action had stopped.

Made a quick run back up to A and surveyed the situation. On my walk down, I spooked something of fair size...not sure if it was a sucker or a Steelhead, but it moved more like a trout, less like a sucker. However, I'm inclined to think that it was probably just a sucker (the majority were supposedly further upstream). I did a quick fish of the area and finally made it a point to go down and survey the construction on the bridge....they removed some of the rock from the riverbed directly under the bridge but for the most part the stream is unchanged (however, there is now a lot of boulders underneath what will hopefully soon be a newly completed bridge). Went back up to find that "spooked" fish...whatever it was, but didn't find anything.

So 2:15 or so I left; this weekend has been pounding a lesson into my head...just 'cause you can't see fish even when you think you SHOULD be able to, doesn't mean they're not there! Those deeper holes & pockets may still be worth a shot!

After a lunch stop, I made my way over to the lower stretches of the Root around 3:00. The anglers were OUT IN FORCE compared to yesterday, at least 3X the number of folks. Chromeseeker was on his way, and one of his buddies had hooked up a few times earlier in the day. By the time we got in the 40F water, all we could get to bite were smolts (LOL I went like 5/17 on those!), the loved the Estaz egg in ORANGE, not to mention they also HAMMERED my flo. orange strike indicator (hey, want to have some C&R fun, bring out the 3 weight and all the bright orange surface bugs you can tie LOL!).

At 4:45 we stirred it up and went down even further than I had been before (something which I had been anxious to do on slow times in the more "commonly known" areas). Got stopped by a DNR Warden for a license inspection (he was kind enough to use his binoculars to read mine from 50 feet or so, thanks buddy!). Chromeseeker was closer to shore, and got to talk to the DNR Warden for a minute.

Per Chromeseeker's Post on TSS, "I had a pleasant chat with a game warden and another DNR guy (nice to see you after a long winter) and they both confirmed what I was thinking: the bite is on and off and fish are easily spooked while a hole is put under heavier can get 4 hookups in a 1/2 hour, lure 2 or 3 fishermen in the same spot, and 2 hookups later the action is off. But you can still have a blast, especially on a weekday with less pressure... " Just wanted to include it here for posterity.

At this point in the evening I had switched up to the Red & Black Wolley Bugger...I figured I had nothing to lose, and I may have been right. I did a slow swing, and on one run through got some sort of bump...wasn't a snag because I was not able to duplicate the "hit" on several identical subsequent swings. So I *think* that was my hit for the day!

5:15 or so nature called, so I left my buddies to find a washroom, and then headed up to the weir to check things out around 5:30. MOST of the anglers had cleared out by this point. A check of the weir showed that they have not yet processed any fish, but there are at least a couple in the holding tank. A scan of the sanctuary revealed no basically I called it a day at 5:45 pm (afterall, I had to come home and write the reports!).

Well, I'm still hesitant to say that any kind of run has really started yet...just a trickle at best. Most all the fish I've heard of being caught have color, and they are definitely EARNED. Indiana is reportedly still good...if I don't hear of any action through the week I'm going to stop by, visit Dave, and give IN some more river time! BTW, keep an eye out for a Tuesday report this could happen....


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