5-17-03 - MP's "Why Not" Rambling Report
Rivers Fished: Quarry Lake, Oak Creek, Tichigan
Fish Caught: Several
Outing Date: 5-17-03
Weather: Sunny just about all day, foggy towards evening.
Air Temp: 70's for most of the day, dropping to like 40 in the evening
(I could see my breath).
Water Temp: Quarry Lake - 60F on the surface, Oak Creek - 61F, Tichigan
Creek - 68 F
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Quarry visibility to about 2-3 feet, Oak Creek almost
crystal, Tichigan Creek was WATERFORD.
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Steelhead, Bluegill, Chub, Largemouth
Pattern Fished: Too many to list. My HOT pattern continued to be
MP's Antron Bug in Brown/Tan for Quarry Lake.
Pattern Color: N/A
Fishing Quality: FUN FUN FUN but still rather slow.
So this was the "Why Not" outing; Gene
rescheduled his trip to this weekend. Of course, Chromeseeker would
be joining us after work on Saturday. And Bushertail was kinda curious
what I was up to on Saturday. I had the itch to look for Steelies
AND check the area Inland Trout streams, so I hatched a plan...they
"Why Not" outing.
Thus I emailed all my area fishin' buddies + a
few guys who'd talked about fishing together but we just hadn't
gotten around to it. I have to laugh, 'cause I received a LOT of
good reasons "Why Not". Tbender was preparing for his
Northern WI trip and running a Garage Sale. FAT & J were in
the Pewaukee Musky Tourney. PeterM was in NJ. Guppy was just coming
back from Costa Rica. Dave Dornblaster had a trip scheduled to go
to SW WI with his buddy, & Rob E. was turkey hunting. Gator
was walley fishin' with a bud. Brennon was in Minnesota, and Tim
was building out a room for his soon-to-be first son (CONGRATS Tim!).
Either I'm really not that fun to fish with or something, but that's
all good :) All I gots ta' say is you ALL MISSED STEEL ;)
So the basic plan for the day was to pick a central
meeting place (Quarry Lake Park), scout the steelies, and if that
was NO GOOD we'd scout the SW WI trout streams in Racine, Kenosha
& Walworth Counties.
First stop Quarry Park, and I got onto the water
by 10:00 am. I was the first one there and started fishin; fifth
cast with MP's Antron and I landed my first rainbow of the day.
A few more casts, and #2 came quickly, but did a C & R dockside.
Gene showed up probably around 10:45 or so..he
had made a stop at Bass Pro Shops on his way up to get a 4 wt. and
some dries (to be prepared should we end up in that situation).
He gave it a go, he said he was out to learn but in all honesty
I don't know how much I could teach him (he seems to be a pretty
accomplished angler). About the time Gene had been fishing for a
bit, I had decided the bite had kinda turned off...I had a few more
nips but nothing ended up on my line.
Gene noticed that some fish were feeding on the
surface and figured he'd try the top water...a small parachute olive
and he was set. He moved to the slack water and patiently cast...and
cast...finally a whoop and he's got a fish on. I got there in time
to see him bring it up...a whoppin' Blue Gill! Hey, first fish of
the day on a dry..not bad.
Shortly thereafter Gene tangled into a nice little
rainbow, and he had #2. All the while I had been looking for Bushertail,
but hadn't seen him show up. His plan was to be fishin' Oak Creek
starting at 4:30 am...I'm bettin' that he was having a good day..no
reason to leave that just to play with stockers.
Meanwhile, CS had gotten out of work and he too
was in need of a lightweight. We made the call and decided to meet
at Oak Creek. Perfect timing, Bart was just getting suited up as
we arrived. I whipped out the 6 wt. and was ready to go. Unforunately,
Bushertail had to work at 1:00 pm, so we probably had just missed
Working the plan, we all kinda hopscotched each
other as we worked downstream. I have to say Oak is a pretty quick
learn...the fish almost always hold in the same spots IF they're
in. I opted for a particular pool just below a riffle, with Bart
below. Gene showed up shortly thereafter and I showed him the type
of water we were fishing and suggested he keep moving down to the
All the while I'm BLINDLY drifting when I see the
flash. Bart had spooked up some suckers upstream..so I wasn't 100%
that I was into chrome yet. 5 minutes later I yelled "I GOT
CHROME" when I saw a BIG male circle in the pool. Soon after
I felt my line tighten and stop moving, and I lifted. KABOOM the
male flew through the air...he came out again as hit hit the far
edge of the pool...almost jumped up onto the bank! Bart had a better
vantage point and noticed he was "kinda crusty". Unfortunately
this male had nowhere to go...unless he wanted to brave the shallow
riffles. The pool was more like a "kiddie" pool in size.
After that quick drag-burnin' run he settled in...restless but apparently
he had decided he wasn't going to do something foolish like make
a run for it. Then I noticed I could control his backside more than
his head...DAMN! He was fouled on the tail. I let my rod go horizontal
and he shook himself free.
Bart moved downstream while I continued to work
the pool. I switched up to a glo bug..maybe that'd be the ticket
as it was for my first steelie of the season. On splitshot on about
12" up, drop it at the head and drift it through. A guy walked
by on the far bank..asked how I was doing..and in the process spooked
the big guy down into the pool below. But by this time, I had seen
at least 2-3 fish in there, so I wasn't done yet.
Tugg Tugg...and I lift again! Another, considerably
smaller silver rocket flew out of the water. This one looked good...I
had head control. She turned and RAN DOWN THE RIFFLES...all I could
do was let her take line, my drag going "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ"
all the way down. I made my way down and eventually coaxed her to
shore. I called BART and I called GENE (who didn't answer 'cause
his phone was off)...left a message "If you want to see a Steelhead
So then I set to taking getting her shot up and
I look down and find that I have not in fact landed her fair..she
was chinned. DAMN! I took the shots as Bart arrived, took her BACK
UPSTREAM to the pool, revived her and set her on her way. She looked
pretty spawned out but I figured she might coax that male back up.
Another special note, she was MISSING an eye.
I'll condense the rest of our time at Oak Creek;
I went downstream but missed Gene, who had been working a pair he
found earlier. To quote "They were going at it like a pair
of teenagers in the back of a car!". Priceless!!! He didn't
have good luck, ultimately spooking them. After that he moved upstream
and found CS working the pool for the male, but instead landing
the same female AGAIN. Bart was hesitant to say he "faired"
her on a little green caddis..but she WAS hooked fair in the INTERIOR
of the mouth. He kinda felt it was a lucky flossing...I'm not going
to argue that point...I'm sure she was still breathing kinda hard.
We spent some time working the upper stretches...pulled
out all sorts of strange stuff like Creek Chubs. Bart even landed
a stocker rainbow from the pond above the dam that had apparently
washed downstream. For more fun check those pictures back up there.
By 4:45 we decided for a change of scenery, so
we headed west to Tichigan Creek. I was eager to fish it because
it is stocked with Rainbows, Brookies AND Browns. I was seriously
stoked for the Tichigan Triple Slam. Got there at 5:30. Unfortunately,
the first bad sign was the water temps..my first reading was 70F.
Now let me say the pictures speak for themselves,
Tichigan is TINY. A second temp. reading in some riffles showed
up 68F. A LOT of work has been put into Tichigan to make it suitable
trout habitat...tons of mini lunker structures and rock have been
added. I'd say I felt like I was fishing someone's outdoor trout
During the HOUR we spent at Tichigan none of us
sighted trout EVEN THOUGH it had been stocked in anticipation of
the season opener just a couple weeks prior. All we found were Chubs..and
we SLAYED em. At least 3 or 4 for each of us. While they were funny
at first, the got annoying quickly.
Totally disappointed, I have to wonder what's the
deal with Tichigan. It was clearly flowing VERY WARM already...Brookies
would've been having real problems with those temps. I seriously
doubt that they'd make it through a summer. Browns..maybe. Were
they all underneath the structures..perhaps. But I have to say I
was on 6X tippet with some of my most irresistible trout flies and
didn't even turn ONE. I kinda think that maybe the DNR could find
a better stream that Tichigan to put so much work into. I wonder
if it was even fun back on opening day???
We'd had enough, Gene summed it up brilliantly
"This is a joke!" Back to Quarry Park at 7:15! Bart turned
several trout in short time with waxworms, but also took his first
trout on a dry fly. Totally hooked I'm sure. I honestly don't recall
how Gene did but I'm sure he hooked up with something during the
I had a couple follows from small trout but didn't
connect...did manage a bluegill. I decided to keep DOWN and not
go for the surface bite. Armed with the knowledge that some trout
do indeed overwinter and attain good size, I switched up to a size
8 MP's Antron in brown / tan...still the killer fly on Quarry. I
tossed to a rise, didn't get a response, and started to retrieve.
On one strip about half way back to the dock, I got a sharp tug.
My line quickly veered to my left, then to my right.
Whatever I had on was kinda deep down. The fish came closer quickly...was
this the big rainbow I've been hoping for? The 4 wt. was performing
well, at one point the tip was in the water as the fish tried to
go under the dock...I had to turn him. As I finally started to get
him up towards the surface...I saw my first glimpse. "I got
a smallmouth" I shouted. Then I got another glimpse...it looked
kinda mottled. "Wait, No, it's a big crappie"! The fish
made another dash for the deep. Finally with a big smile on my face
I brought him to the surface. "Oh, it's a LARGEMOUTH!"!
What a FUN FISH on a 4 wt.!