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3-07-04 - The morning went kinda slow until sun hit the water.
Fat on the 43rd net attempt on this ballistic fish...
There they are downriver; FAT even took on some water.
The look of a satisfied guide who went the extra mile to bring a fish to net.
And what a friggin SWEET fish it is...
As with all the big guys, they're not good eating anyway, so it's back for you to catch!
David with one of his two steelies this morning.
On to the Root; this is the fish sanctuary and first bend. You recognize it right..?
Here's the weir, totally obstructed with debris.
It's not a shark swiming in this fishtank...
Oak Creek was arguably the most crowded I've ever seen it.
Jacek and Bart each got one downstream; here's Jacek with his.
I took Chiro on the grand tour...
Chiro crossing upstream of a hole.
Erik H. of with a spunky, colorful small buck caught on spawn.

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
Weather: Overcast
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, Various Eggs
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 were!

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 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 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 my head!

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 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 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.


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