10-11-03 - My Best "Day of Getting Skunked"
Waters Fished: Milwuakee River
Fish Caught: 0/2+, Bart Landed 1
Outing Date: 10-11-03
Weather: Sunny and Windy
Air Temp: 70's at the peak?
Water Temp: didn't take it
Water Level: very low
Water Color: 1' visibility at best, very turbid
Fish Species: Chinook Salmon
Pattern Fished: Kitchen Sink
Pattern Color: Porcelain White
Fishing Quality: Ordinarily it would've been the pits.
This was going to be a very special day. My best
friend (who is currently fishin' in the Ozarks and living in Missouri)
sent up two of his girlfriends who wanted to learn how to fly fish.
This would be my first "guiding" experience (FAT &
Nardo are always telling me I should just give in and guide, but
I'm always sayin' that I couldn't do it, I like to fish too much).
Well, I made a deal with myself; I wasn't going to fish until the
women (who I'll refer to as "A" and "E") had
thing under control. Both FAT
provided me with some excellent instructing tips too...THANKS GUYS!
We opted to head to the Milwaukee, the only trib
with enough flow to have any good fish right now. Let me just say
that the Indian Summer got everyone out...the river was packed head-to-toe
at 1:30 PM. Well, OK, I know spots that no one would have been on,
but this was a learning day.
So let me just say the girls did fantastic...with
some gentle proding we got 1-11 instead of 3 to 9 o'clock :) Heck,
"E" even picked up on the roll cast pretty quick. Meanwhile,
I'm watchin' "A" shoot 60 feet of spey line on my 9 weight...OK,
I think she's got the hang of it.
FAT happened to be out with a number of clients
(one of them mistook me part of FAT's guide crew...man that was
a bit of a compliment). FAT spent another minute with "E"
and really got her cast down (literally, just ONE MINUTE). If you're
still hesitant to fly fish, let me tell ya, get a good guide and
spend some time on the water, it will cut off YEARS of learning
by book / trail-and-error.
Well, we spent about 4 hours on the stretch getting
things worked out; only Bart managed a bite of any kind...no fish
landed though. Basically we enjoyed the sun, but a strong wind was
whipping up the river from downstream making casting difficult for
the beginners (no offense A & E, ya are beginners).
So between strong winds and fish that were ANYTHING
BUT interested in biting, we moved to another spot and I started
fishin for real. Time to break out the rool casts. I had a couple
hits, at least one that was likely fair (lots of headshakes, never
saw the fish) as well as one that was definitely foul (dorsal hook)
that gave the girls a great show.
Bart opted to try a spinner in a deeper pool, a
custom-built job from Creekside
Outfitters. Apparently Dave over there knows what the fish like,
'cause Bart hooked into a fantastic, relatively fresh and "just
the right size" Buck. Got the pictures and that fish will become
table-fare. I was hoping to get a picture of the hooking location
as well, to settle some arguments about the efficacy of spinners/spoons
on tribbed-up salmon. While the hook fell out after netting, I think
the location of the BLEEDING in the fish's mouth proves the point
So we fished until dusk without any more success.
But I have to say this was definitely one of my favorite days on
the river, even though I landed my best 2 in a "Catch &
Release" situation (Missouri is a bit far to drive for trib
fishin' every weekend). FIRK (WFF), that last photo below is dedicated
to you...there IS HOPE!