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4-13-03 - some spots will always be kept secret! If you know where this is, SHUT UP about it! Even though nothing but suckers were sighted, man what a great hike!
The Pike River Mouth...weather has really shifted things around more extremely than I've seen before!
Odd...the Pike ran along almost the entire south-beach face before dumping into Lake Michigan. USUALLY it's pretty much a straight shot or a slight southern bend, but NOTHING like this!
Looking back up to the lagoon...the camera is a bit deceiving...it was a LONG stretch.

Hookup!

The bronze color gave it away as Tom noted...just another sucker! Hey, they were taking small (#8) wolley bugger type patterns off the bottom. Seriously!

Not to be discouraged by the abundance of Suckers, Tom hooks up for like the 8th time in this spot.

I'm just expecting another sucker....

Hmm....that doesn't quite look like a sucker?

SCORE AND BONUS. Tom's persistence paid off with this nicely colored steelie!

We opted to scope out new waters...and Tom is back at it again, hooking up on the Menomonee!

But not too surprisingly it was just another sucker.

Estabrook from above. Reports were not good...sucker city. I believe I will probably have my 100 sucker day HERE.

Tom suggested that I do not really appear that often in my own reports...so he shot this pic of me fishin' the falls at Kletzsch towards dusk. What you can't see here was the totally annoying midge hatch that was going on.

4-13-03 - Tom takes his turn at the 'ole chrome-dome...comes up Red-Handed!

Rivers Fished: Root River, Pike River, Lake Michigan (Pike River Mouth), Oak Creek, Menomonee River, Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: 1 (not by me)
Outing Date: 4-13-03
Weather: SUN ALL DAY!
Air Temp: 50's to mid 60's
Water Temp: Same as yesterday, staring Cold (below 38F) and warming up substantially by afternoon & evening).
Water Level: Root - Still Not Bad, Pike - Still coming down, Oak Creek - LOW.
Water Color: Root River -> pretty clear , Pike -> Clear, Oak Creek -> Clear, Menomonee -> Clear, Milwaukee -> pretty clear.
Fish Species: Steelhead & Suckers
Pattern Fished: Once again, in the course of a 13 hour day you throw just about everything at some point.
Pattern Color: varied
Fishing Quality: Not bad

Sunday I was TIRED..slept through my alarm for over an hour...passed out on the couch Saturday evening...! Well, finally got my start at 8:15 am; met up with Chromeseeker, his Father and his Girlfriend.

Without delay I got ready and stepped to the water's edge to get a temperature reading. As I leaned over, I heard a splash, and realized that my cell phone had landed in the river and come apart! I thought I had zippered that pocket shut!!! We scrambled to get everything out of the water and set it on shore to drain. Meanwhile, I got the temp; 38F.

I fished just downstream of Chromeseeker's dad; watched him briefly hook up with two fish that got off..one kinda chrome and the other had nice red coloration. Small egg patterns were the ticket. By 9:30 things had slowed down, Chromeseeker had moved and I couldn't find him (my phone was DEAD) so I opted to head to the Pike.

Got to the Pike starting upstream of A at 10:00. Water temps were cold, only 36F, and the vast majority of suckers had disappeared. As I checked various access points, I did sight one crusted up steelhead - really nappy so I opted NOT to fish her. Thinking that most of the tribs were still going to be cold, I ran into another DNR Creel Survey guy and we talked for a while about fly tackle and such.

By 11:45 AM I had meandered my way down to the mouth of the Pike on Lake Michigan. Things were totally shifted around, apparently the recent weather really changed things up! The water downstream was a balmy 42F, but no fish were seen. A couple anglers were down fishing the lagoon...they hadn't seen any action. I fished and scouted the mouth all the way along the beach, only seeing the occasional sucker dropping back into the lake.

I left the mouth around 12:15 and started working my way west. On my way back to the highway I ran into a guy I had also met on Saturday; I stopped and we chatted for a bit...they were just hopping in and we discussed some things I had seen earlier in the day, as well as some patterns and tactics.

By 1:00 my cell phone was again working after spending all morning pieced-out on my dashboard with the windshield defogger on. Just as I was reaching the Oak Creek exits on 94, I got the call from Tbender. He had finished up his morning obligations and was ready to join me for some fishin. I took some time to gas up, grab a snack, find a latrine and get suited up. At 1:45 I started walking Oak Creek.

The upper stretches of stream had an angler or two at every bend & hole. NO FISH were sighted anywhere; I did see a kid hook up out of a small hole in the riffles, most likely a sucker. A check of the water temps revealed 42F. About half way down I started to find peace and quiet. I probed the holes and riffles with MP's Black Laced Spey in Green, but still did not sight any fish. At one point something was splashing about in a riffle...by the time I crept up there whatever it was had vanished (again, suspected suckers). Tom had arrived and was walking up high, scouting from a good vantage point. By the time he found me I was just above the basic "end" of the stream, so I scouted the last couple bends and met up with him at the bridge.

We walked back upstream and talked about Oak Creek; this was Tom's first visit! There was about 200 feet of stream upriver that I hadn't checked out; Tom had but didn't sight anything. I was thinking that we might as well leave, but based on past experience, I figured I too should check out the upper stretch. As I peered into the pool below, let's just say that Polarized glasses REALLY help...at least 2 steelies were chasing each other around in the pool.

I jumped down 'cause I was ready to fish, and started drifting. Tom continued to watch from above...until I noticed that there were even MORE steelies in the pool. I was like, "TOM, get your ROD, you're FISHING!". Several kids were drawn to the sight of 2 guys fishing this small pool, and they started fishing as well. One of them asked what I was using, and showed me some of what he had. He wanted to trade me some spinners for some flies, but that wasn't really necessary. He had a lump of globug yarn in bright orange; he found a little baitkeeper hook and threaded a small clump on.

Tom and I continued fishing and started slayin' the suckers! I laughed as Tom pulled in sucker after sucker on a little Green Butt Skunk. Two of the kids had spotted a steelie hanging against the wall, and were jigging the little yarn ball right in front of it. He got it on once...and I figured that'd be the end of that. I joked to Tom that after 5 suckers we'd have to leave.

About 20 suckers later we were still there. The kids hooked up with their steelhead again; this time snagging it IN THE EYE (it was plain as day). The kid was good about landing it quickly and letting it go. I got kinda fed up figuring that everything in the pool would now be spooked, so I told Tom I was going to take a walk downstream.

I made the round and came back up, sighting NO other fish. As I came up Tom informed me that he had hooked up briefly with something really big; I figured we'd stay a little longer. Wouldn't ya know, Tom hooks up for like the 20th time today. I'm sitting there laughing and teasing him, saying "Man you really know how to get those suckers", but Tom is INSISTING "HEY IT'S NOT A SUCKER!" I didn't believe him, but then the fish broke the surface. IT WASN'T a sucker! Tom landed this cute buck with great color! Of course this fish was released to go again!

We spent more time at the pool after Tom's catch, but things had really turned off. Even the suckers had stopped biting for Tom. By 4:45 we packed it up; the water had risen in temperature to 44F.

Our next stop was another NEW trib; the Menomonee. We dropped in at Miller Park around 5:30; lots of nice gravel but not a steelhead around. However, there were PLENTY of suckers (again..). Tom never fails to find them. According to another angler who spoke with Tom, the water was unusually LOW right now. I can say that there was really a lot of gravel, the water was CRYSTAL CLEAR. We only noticed a few other anglers out. Water temps were ideal, 46F! I did find a small slew of old Chinook skeletons, as well as one dead trout (couldn't tell for sure but it looked like a small steelie). Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood to try and find steelies in a river that I really didn't know, so by 6:00 we left the Menomonee. I will say that access was a breeze, but the "'Nee" is definitely a total TRUE URBAN experience.

We stopped at Estabrook on the Milwaukee around 6:15 to scope things out and use the latrine (you'll come to learn that if you spend a day out fishing, it's good to know where public facilities are!). There weren't a lot of anglers around by the evening. One who was leaving reported there was NOTHING but suckers...this had also been Gumbo's report from his Friday outing, so we decided this was NOT the area to fish right now. Besides, pressure was surprisingly light.

Our last stop for the evening would be Kletzsch. When we arrived there were cars EVERYWHERE! Tom didn't hesitate to get going...I rerigged with the Whitlock Hare Sculpin...a pattern with large lead eyes that rides inverted. I got into the now "WARM" 48F water and started tossing...there were a good 7 anglers filling every hole immediately below the dam..MOSTLY fly anglers.

As dusk approached things started picking up. One-by-one I watched a group of 3 guys hook up, each landing nice steelies in the 8-10 lb range. At least one was taken on an Egg Sucking Leach. Some chrome, some colored up, and all released. As they moved out to play and land their fish, Tom and I moved up to try the gap. A midge hatch was going on...the air above the river was swarming with these little gray/black insects that were BITING!

Sunset had come and gone...we fished right up to 30 minutes after Sundown without any more luck for the day. From what I've been hearing, the warm spell coming this week may put an early end to the runs??? Well, I'll be able to tell you after next weekend!

  MP 

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