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11-07-03 - A frigid morning on the Root and FAT's beard was frosting up!
Gerry hooks up for the 5th time in minutes.
FAT dives over some fencing and lands the fish.
Nice Brown Gerry. He was bummed 'cause it was fouled, but in all fairness he hooked into it 4 times before, all fair. I normally have the "no pictures of fouled fish" policy, but Gerry maybe only gets 2 days per year to fish now, and even then he was only out for a couple hours before work, so what the heck! Of course he let it go!
I can't believe this old, crusty king came out chasin' the Bent Turkey Spey!
I WISH I caught this Coho with my rod. Funny thing when the fish simply make a mad dash for the shore and beach themselves at your feet.
Gordon hooks up with a massive brown.
He's puttin' the pressure on somewhat ain't no Montana trout! Unfortunately this would be the big one that got away...
What?! First time on the tribs ever and Randy bangs a nice chrome steelie!
And it's back there for another day's fight!
This space is reserved for the 15lb Steelhead that Gordon redeemed himself with :) I was upstream, FAT was calling my cell phone like crazy (but I had left it in my car!). FAT will have to send me a copy of that picture for the report!
Sightfishin' is one thing but when the Cohos use you as a current break? Every time I backed up to cast this fish simply swam up to my boots again.

11-7-03 - MP, FAT, GERRY, RANDY & GORDON play a little hooky and hit the streams!

Waters Fished: Root River, Pike River, Oak Creek
Fish Caught: 1 personally
Outing Date: 11-07-03
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Air Temp: started in the TEENS, got up to around 40F
Water Temp: Root - 43F, Pike - 42F, Oak - didn't take it!
Water Level: Root - UP, Pike - NORMAL, Oak - NORMAL Low.
Water Color: Root - MUDDY, Pike - not clear but not mud, Oak - clearing up.
Fish Species: Steelhead, Cohos, Chinooks, Browns
Pattern Fished: MP's Bent Turkey Spey, Tucker Nymph, Glo Bugs, Satellite Moe etc...
Pattern Color: assorted
Fishing Quality: A disappointment.

There are FEW people who can wake me up at 4:00 am when it's 18F outside; FAT is one of them. I'm officially burning the last few days of Vacation time I have this year since my brother isn't coming in for Xmas. So what the heck, after a few days of rain and a few days for flows to come back down to "normal", Friday seems the perfect day to take off and go fishing!

I got to the Root to meet up with FAT and Gerry around 5:30 am! Time to get rigged and get into the river! Gerry and FAT worked their favorite bend while I planned to camp the upper bend and riffles right below the weir in Lincoln Park.

In no time a contingent of anglers in all forms, from all over the region, crowded me out. I personally had one fish or log on..the water was so murkey I couldn't tell. Whatever it was went screaming down the river and gave me back my fly! The guys next to me were using Neil's tight-line mono-drift technique and nailed a chrome steelie on what looked like a small red egg!

Well, I went downstream to see what Gerry and FAT were up to; Gerry had hooked into a Brown twice but failed to land it. It was around 7:20 AM and FAT was ready to meet some clients. I took a quick river temp, 43F.

As we were leaving Gerry hooked up again, and lost it again. Hooked up again, lost it a 4th time. On the 5th hookup of the morning for Gerry the fish stayed ON THE HOOK....of course wouldn't ya know it that time it was fouled! Gerry took it in stride, he still got to put his hands on a brown this morning!

Yes, today I'd be "tagging along" with FAT 'cause basically we had the same angling plans for the day. Next stop was the Walgreens in Racine where we met up with Fat's clients for the day; Randy and his father Gordon. Next stop, the Pike.

I got in right away while FAT got them rigged up and ready to go; both experienced fly anglers in their own rights and both spending their first time on a Tributary. Gorden was itchin' for COHO; a man after my own heart! I hoped we'd find MANY cohos this morning.

Well, right away I got the temp, 42F. I dropped in, crossed the river and within 5-6 steps sighted a crusty king. It was a female who was by herself, redding. I personally have no interest in sightfishing CRUSTY fish, so I chose to swing the BENT Turkey Spey behind her and see what I'd pick up along the dark undercut bank. I figured if there was another fish in the area and it wasn't spawning with her, it would be feeding on whatever she was dislodging, and later on her eggs.

Wouldn't ya know it, out of the dark comes a large fish chasing my spey, but then retreating. Again after a few casts the scenario repeats but then no interest. After a few more casts the fish again came out and disappeared...I only realize now that the fish was chasing while in the shadows but upon hitting the sunny portion it would abandon the chase. A deeper swing into the bank and whack...I connected and the fight was on. I shouted up to FAT and the boys that, "If you want to see a fish, come on down!".

They got there, sans net (I was hoping FAT would bring one) and I beached what I could now see was ANOTHER CRUSTY FEMALE KING!? I was hoping for browns here folk! Well, a quick photo and I slid her back into the stream to live our her remaining days.

The guys came down and I took up the "cleanup" position at the end of the line. Randy and Gordon would get first shot at any fish sighted while I would fish those they couldn't coax a bite from. As we walked upstream through a small deep hole we must have literally stepped on a TINY coho that came rocketing out onto the gravel shore. I picked it up and said, "Gordon, there's your COHO!". Another quick photo and I put it back as well!

Today we'd do the "dreaded wade" through the golf course. We didn't sight many fish in the pools upstream, maybe 6 or about a thin run! Randy and Gordon got set up on a deep run and started drifting. I gave Gordon some pointers while FAT was downstream helping Randy and in no time it was FISH ON!

Unfortunately Gordon went a little easy on what was probably a 10lb brown. I watched Gordon instinctively reach up onto the rod blank for additional leverage; you know that maneuver, the "snap the rod" position?! Gordon, I'm sorry for barking out at ya then...just didn't want to see you lose the fish to a broken rod!

Gordon had the fish on for a few minutes until it ran into the rocks and shredded the leader. Oh well, not to worry, shortly thereafter Randy hooked up with a feisty little steelhead! It gave him at least 2 good jumps. Talk about beginner's luck, good guiding, Randy's superior fly fishing ability; whatever you want to chalk it up to, took me something like 6 months to get my first steel!

We continued our way upstream to our final destination, sighting a couple more Chinooks but not much else. Around noon we made the decision...time for LUNCH. We left the Pike and headed for Hardy's (man, I never used to eat there but those "Thickburgers" are addictive)!

We figured we'd head north, skip the Root (because it was terribly muddy and not nearly as active as it *should* have been in the morning). What the heck, up to Oak Creek and maybe we'd finish on the Milwaukee?

Well, Oak Creek was a mixed blessing. Very few fish sighted. The larger browns were extremely "moldy"! We kind of bunny-hopped each other on the pools going downstream. I got caught up chasing a little coho that I sighted as I entered the river. This fish was not spooked in the least...he swam right up to me and stopped at my feet. What the?

Well, I backed up, put in a couple very short casts and watched him swim right back up. Unbelievable. I stepped back upstream a couple more steps and there he was again! I even held my rod sideways in the midsection and jigged a tucker nymph in his face, NO INTEREST! He was definitely snapping at something floating downstream, but the Tucker Nymph FAILED to entice this obviously brain-damaged fish. Our little dance of going upstream continued until I gave up.

MEANWHILE, I never heard the shouts of FAT, Randy and Gordon just down around the next bend. FAT tried to call but I had left my cell phone in the car (I really have to make sure I ALWAYS have it on me!) Turns out Gordon got luck, redeemed himself, and pulled a 15 lb. steelhead out from under a log jam on a pink egg with chartreuse wing! Unbelievable! Well, FAT got pictures, and when they're developed I'm gettin' me a copy to put right over there on the right!

We finished up our day at Oak Creek, never making it further north to the Milwaukee. It'll come, all in good time! Randy, Gordon, it was a pleasure to fish with you guys, and I welcome you to join me again.


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