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