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
Fish Species: Steelhead, Cohos, Chinooks, Browns
Pattern Fished: MP's Bent Turkey Spey, Tucker Nymph, Glo Bugs, Satellite
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
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
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 itself....chase 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
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
Today we'd do the "dreaded wade" through
the golf course. We didn't sight many fish in the pools upstream,
maybe 6 or so...man...talk 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
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
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,...it took me something like 6 months to get my
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"
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.