3-07-04 - Let's hope I can outfish Bart & Jacek
more than once every 4 years...
Waters Fished: Pike River, Root River, Oak Creek
Fish Caught: 3 suckers personally
Outing Date: 3-07-04
Air Temp: low 40's falling down to around 32F by mid afternoon.
Water Temp: Pike 39 F, Oak 40F
Water Level: All streams are up still; Pike probably 170 cfs, Oak
around 50 cfs
Water Color: Pike > Muddy, Oak, maybe 1 foot visibility
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Large Goo Flies, The Flying Bunny, Various Speys,
Pattern Color: I threw the gamut at them!
Fishing Quality: Improving but not even close to easy.
What can I say, this was a fun day of watchin'
other people catch fish ;)
Once again, butt-crack of BEFORE dawn I was up
and out, but even then didn't really make it to the Pike until around
sunrise. Several cars already there, fortunately I knew who most
Came up to find FAT out with 5 clients; David and
Dale were out for their rescheduled trip, as well as 3 of FAT's
prescheduled Sunday clients. Bart had also made it out, so we were
all pretty crowded into the "honey hole". I opted to head
downstream and fish a bend and the next hole and came across an
angler who recently introduced himself...we'll call him JR. Got
to fish with JR for a while...got three suckers on the flying bunny;
all fouled but right around the mouth. This got me thinking; watching
suckers feed they kinda "suck" things in...a big fly like
the flying bunny might make a tempting snack, but it's not something
they can take in one "suck". So these boys were probably
FAIR if they fly had been small enough to inhale! Back to the steelies...JR
and I saw something porpoise on the far side but didn't connect...it
was then that we heard the whoopin' and hollerin' upstream...I decided
it was time to go back and see what was up!
Jacek had arrived and on his second drift landed
chrome! Next to hook up was one of FAT's clients...didin't get these
three guy's names or who was who though. Anyway, that fish took
him downstream, hardcore. One run up, a turn, and it bolted. FAT
and him easily spent 10-15 minutes trying to land this fish, all
the while chasing it from one bank to the next as it used the current
to its advantage. There was a small roar when FAT bit it, tripping
over a sucker and going in to his shoulders.
Back up, now standing and dripping wet, easily
100 yards from where this fish was originally hooked, they FINALLY
got it in the net. The look on both their faces should tell you
exactly how great a fish this was. As is customary, the fish was
revived and released to swim again.
I stuck around for a while longer while Bart &
Jacek headed up to Oak Creek. Got some more fish pictures, but personally
never hooked into a fish myself besides those three suckers. Granted,
as I explained it early to a friend, I really wasn't sitting in
the prime locations to catch fish...spots are limited and well,
those folks who were out for the first steelhead ever definitely
deserved their fair shot, at least in my mind. There is still PLENTY
of time to catch a fish today.
My next stop after bidding all fairwell was to
get you guys some pics of the Root. FAT had stopped by there on
Saturday and found the tank on the wier was full of fish. When I
got there the flows were probably about 1400 cfs...yes, that's 1400.
The highest I've ever seen it prior was about 600 cfs or so...dangerous
fishing at that level. So 1400? Don't even think about stepping
into that water.
The Root was as described and anticipated; EXTREMELY
HIGH, VERY MUDDY (visibility of about 1"). Never the less there
were guys fishing! Unreal when you consider the HEIGHT of the river...many
areas that I normally stand to fish would have been 2 feet over
The wier was indeed stacked with steelies, all
chrome, and all kinda lethargic (I'm betting the water was pretty
cold; didn't take a temp though as it didn't much matter). The gates
were all stacked with debris....tree limbs...entire trees...you
get the picture. And this was already 2 days after the rain. It's
going to be a while before the Root is safe to fish.
On to Oak Creek, where Chromeseeker and Jacek had
been hanging. A cell call revealed they had gotten into a few fish...not
a ton or anything but there were fish to be had. Chiro was heading
down from Sheboygan as I was heading up; we'd fish Oak together.
Meanwhile Bart had to leave, so we missed him. Jacek also got the
call that it was time to go (that's why I like being single folks),
but we did get to run into him with his catch.
I don't need to say much else except that Oak Creek
was pretty close to ideal...flowing about 90cfs and 40F. Being that
the moon phase was right around full, we couldn't have asked for
better odds at this time of year.
Chiro and I worked from the bottom up; I gave him
the grand tour so he could come back and know what's up. Again we
pounded it hard; I fished a lot with eggs or a Polar Shrimp, but
nothing worked for me.
After many hours out, I was just bushwhacked. Chiro
still had time to check out the small streams around his home-stomping
grounds so we parted ways. I was just packing up when someone spotted
me and the "Bitchin' Camaro"; we got to talking for a
little bit and then were interupted when a guy upstream shouted
down asking if someone could take a picture.
I'm pretty much a photo guy as you've all noticed,
so I went up and got meet Erik Haataja while taking his picture.
You can see the fish below...I thought it was pretty neat...bright
red stripe, husky. Honestly looked more like a large stream bred
rainbow and less like a steelhead. Perhaps an Arlee Strain?
Well, by this point it was SNOWING. ONLY the folks
tossing spawn had success on Oak Creek. As I drove home things did
not let up...it wasn't heavy but the sleet made driving difficult
and cut down visibility. I ended my day exhausted, cold, and still
without my first chromer of 2004.