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10-12-03 - I was scouting out a section of the Pike when this bewildered angler just walked right into the shot, I think the stance conveys what was on his mind..."Where are all the fish?!"
This is what the Pike's water currently looks like.
At least I had a nice fall hike...no fish anywhere on the Pike, well maybe there were some at the dam..not like I'm going to bother with that!
Milwaukee Pics?! They'll have to be developed and scanned, sorry!
This WILL BE a picture of a deeply fair-hook...once they get developed and scanned.

10-12-03 - Can't Neglect the Pike but man I want to catch some fish!

Waters Fished: Pike River, Milwuakee River
Fish Caught: 2
Outing Date: 10-12-03
Weather: Sunny
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, Coho Salmon
Pattern Fished: Too many to metion, but nymphs and eggs produced the most.
Pattern Color: It had to have chartreuse
Fishing Quality: Fair

So last night I had some great BBQ with A & E, and while we're sitting there a storm kicks up out of nowhere. Kinda spoils an evening sitting by the lake, but it bodes well for the Tribs, right?

A & E headed back to Missouri in the morning, and since I now had the day free, what better way to spend it than fishing? I didn't get online (at least now I have a slow AOL account I can borrow up in WI), so I made a blind-faith effort to check out the Pike.

I knew what I was in for...no fish, of course the rain would do squat, that's our luck this year. Well I show up at A & 13th to find 25 cars. I walk this stretch and find 0 fish. I head to another very productive spot on the river and again spend a good 20 minutes hiking and sighting....again..NO FISH.

I was totally expecting this...the few fish that are in the river are probably all stacked at the Dam and every moron with a rod will be there...I didn't have a rod with me so I avoided becoming another moron. Now being back online, I can see there was a bump of sorts in the flow...like a couple CFS. A quick check at weather.com showed .07" of precipitation overnight...with a total of 0.27" for the month so far. The AVERAGE for October is 2.49"; that should tell you something.

I put in a call to Chromeseeker; I had been toying with heading to Indiana again but he was already on his way up to WI, so we chose the Milwaukee (again). He wanted to give those spinners another shot and see if he could do it again.

Well, I got to the Mil around 1:15 pm and headed out. Finally got to spend some time with John Kruger of TeamPB, we had made some plans to meet at Oak Creek in the spring, and well, due to scheduling it was about a 2 minute meeting. Anyway, John had been out since early in the morning and was doing well on a small beadhead nymph in chartreuse...this advice would come in handy later.

Needless to say I tried numerous offerings; things like Moe Eggs in Chartreuse, Atomic Satellite Moes (chartreuse), Larry's Serial Killer (Chartreuse), as well as glo bugs (chartreuse), Crystal Eggs (Chartreuse). Somewhere in that mix (notice that "theme"?) I managed my first hookup. The scary thing; the kid next to me hooked up JUST before I hooked up...and off we go with a two-on.

My fish instantly cuts under his line, I have to maneuver to the other side of him. I turn and slip and slide down into the water...all the way up to my chest. I land on my butt, no big deal, but I'm FULL of water. My GEAR is full of water. MY BRAND NEW NIKON Coolpix 5700 is FULL OF WATER. Needless to say that I have NO PICTURES of this afternoon!

I get up, get adjusted and the fish is still on...he's getting PLAYED to say the least. Somewhere along the way, with most of my line out, something happens and he just disconnects.

So I get over to shore and start strippin' down...not completely...just turning over the hippers and pouring out the water, disassembling what I can of my camera, putting it all in the sun and just sit there. Fortunately my phone and wallet were in a waterproof pocket, so I break out the cellphone to see where Chromeseeker is...turns out he's been around for about 15 minutes, just downstream.

The good news is that Bart, Jacek, and George all came up to day along with Jacek's mother and M., and John K. was finishing up for the day, so I had some company while I sat and dried out. Eventually I got up the nerve to go back and get a darn fish...I wasn't going to be wet AND skunked this weekend.

No more screwing around; after considering what John had shown me ealier I riffled through my box and found FAT's Nuclear Serendipity on Steroids. If he cares to divulge the pattern, so be it. I tied on and within just a few drifts of the pool I hooked up big time. After a good 5-10 minute fight George got the net on the fish and we brought it in...fair beyond belief! About 1/3 to 1/2 back in the mouth on the roof. GOD I love the fair hooks. M. got a couple picks of me and the fish, and the fair hook in the mouth, so when they're developed I'll scan 'em and post 'em.

George joked, "Matt, you have to show me how you put that fly into the fish's mouth!" Several other anglers asked me what I was doing over the next hour; to quote one "You're the only one who's hooking them IN THE MOUTH"! Well, that's not entirely true; Jacek came up from downstream with a great fair buck!

Not too long after I hooked up again...was sure it was fair. It was head shaking violently. Well, Jacek helped with the netting and that's when I got the disappointing news...it was a "Chinned" Chinook. GRR. A passerby asked if I was going to keep it; made sure to explain it wasn't fair so it would be released, but IF I landed another one fair he'd be welcome to it.

Well Bart and the gang headed downstream and I stuck it out. FINALLY got another bite than sent my reel screaming. Again, LOTS of head shaking (it feels different from a tail guys...I'm starting to figure out how these guys really feel when they are hooked fair...generally a lot of quick bumping and good runs...not to mention you have SOME control over the fish). And as it happens, those fair hooks occasionally jump too...although I DO agree with the assertion that foul hooks are more LIKELY to jump and jump MORE OFTEN.

So a friendly stranger helped land this head-shaker...neither inside or outside, more like the middle of the gum, corner of the mouth, between the two jaw plates...a questionable hook but arguably fair (with my understanding the law WOULD consider what I had fair...so in my book it was "just barely"). In my judgement, it would have been a tough call on the fair and it would have been let go if I was personally looking for table fare. However, the passerby was STILL waiting around to see if I'd land one fair, so knowing he wanted to put it on the table (and the fact that they were trying to catch Chinooks with WORMS) I decided to fork over the fish. Considering he got to know about the "fair vs. foul" situation and the look on his face when I handed him the fish, it was a FAIR HOOK afterall.

And to top it off, the friendly stranger who had been tossing some sort of treble hook with a chartreuse skirt asked what I was using and how I was fishing it. Well, I explained the egg fly, suggested he remove the copious amounts of lead and bump it along the bottom. I furthermore explained that when on a spinning rig he'd really need to fish a fly with some sort of float (both for weight and a strike indicator...with fly line you have a "built in" float and indicator).

I gotta say it really says volumes when folks who either simply don't know better OR are actually trying to snag see the fly guy winning the day. From my recollection I was the only one to pull out ANY fair fish and I think that made an impact judging from the attention I received after both hookups. When the snaggers can't even get lucky snaggin and ask the fly guy how he's managing so well...it turns out that this was a phenomenal day despite the swim and the camera dunking.

And only to explain the above, I personally witnessed one Coho jump in the pool, but other than that it was only Chinooks today, and MOST of the Chinooks are getting DARK now. By next week I'm starting to expect an equal number of zombies and corpses.

  MP 

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