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12-27-03 - The shelf at can see that water levels are definitely returning to the normal "low".
Now somebody tell me what the heck kind of duck THIS ONE is?!
It kinda looks like a Mallard, but the all the primaries on the wings were white (I have another, less focused shot of this guy with his wings spread). Interesting f*cked up duck. I only see strange ducks like this on the Root...maybe that should tell me something...
Quarry Park Lake..a truly serene place in the winter.
The gulls whirled about in the fading evening light.
Just havin' some fun with the camera since the fish weren't occupying my time.

12-27-03 - A good day for Birdwatching.

Waters Fished: Root River, Quarry Park Lake
Fish Caught: Closed Season Scouting
Outing Date: 12-27-03
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: upper 40's
Water Temp: 35F
Water Level: Not terribly low
Water Color: Clear & Stained
Fish Species: Steelhead and Browns were reported, but none were personally sighted or hooked
Pattern Fished: N/A
Pattern Color: N/A
Fishing Quality: Typical winter Root.

So I find myself sitting at home recovering from the flu on Saturday. I've slept in most of the day, it's about 1:00 pm, and for some reason I go outside. Then it hits's not even CLOSE to cold! What the heck...why am I at HOME?!

My folks are back for the holidays, and my Mom is warning me, "You really should stay home and might get worse if you go out...". I'm well aware of this, but I'm also a "big boy" and can make my own decisions...and I decide that I'm GOING FISHING!

I probably got to the Root around 2:15 and knew from the online reports that there should be some willing biters around somewhere. I figured Quarry Park would be my starting point...this area has always been good to me.

Well, the water on the Root was flowing around 60 cfs at the time, and it has come back to it's typical clear & stained winter condition. In fact I'd say it was remarkably clear; with the low water and clarity I could see the bottom of holes that I've never seen before.

Rather than cast and move, I know that winter steelhead can require repeat persentations to get a bit, ESPECIALLY since I wasn't offering them bait! So I focused my attention first on the pool that EVERYONE fishes. While fishing, I ran into Dennis (the WDNR Creel Survey guy) who told me that indeed, there were "TONS of Steelhead in Quarry Park" and that "most of the browns are downstream around Lincoln". In other words, I was in the right spot for steelies!

Well, after flogging the pool below the shelf for as long as I could bear, I moved downstream to my little honey-hole...I think most guys pass it over 'cause it's small, and perhaps unrecognizeable as a hole. But I've actually never landed a fish from the big pool, but this little hole has produced several hookups. Probably spent 30 minutes there without so much as a bite or tug...although I sure hit the bottom plenty of times.

Back up to the Big pool to try from the other side...some guys had shown up and worked it with spawn for awhile, but they had no luck. I pretty much rounded out my time with no luck as well.

Hey, Quarry Park Lake's Season is 365 (minus the fact that it's only fishable by anglers under 16 and handicapped individuals for a portion of the spring). Dennis was back, and informed me that the Lake had been frozen over...when I walked down I found that the protected area inside the pier was still frozen but the main lake was back open.

Nothing was up on the surface, nor did I expect anything to be, so I went straight to the bottom by adding about 4 #7 clamshots. Yup, jigging with my flyrod. I ended the day as sunset occured (the Park closes then) without so much as a snag on the bottom, and to top it off the flu definitely took advantage of my time spent in the cold. But hey, as you can see from the pictures, it was a nice day for birdwatching.


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