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3-19-04 - And this is maybe 7:00 AM on a WEEKDAY morning. Ha, wonder how big of a zoo to expect this weekend?
Fat tailed her, so I got out the camera for the first of many pictures.
Just GOTTA LOVE those fair hooks.
Couldn't have done it without ya FAT (who else is gonna let me sleep on their floor and wake me up at like 2:45 AM to go fishin?!)
What can I say, I'm lovin' this new 6wt too.
Steve is playin this one VERY VERY gently...4lb. test was helping him hook up, but that also means you're more likely to lose them!

3-19-04 - The 2004 "Free FAT DAYS" on the Root!

Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 3-19-04
Weather: Sun!
Air Temp: 26F coming up to 34F or so
Water Temp: 34F
Water Level: still "up" but dropping, about 127 cfs
Water Color: Visibility back to about 2 foot
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Various Egg Patterns, Red & Black Wolley Bugger - small on light tippet
Pattern Color: Darker Wolley Buggers seemed to work best.
Fishing Quality: Improved

What started as a post on FAT's board on Monday where I was simply lookin' to see who wanted to do the AM bang-chrome-n-go-to-work trip turned into Fat's 2004 "FREE FAT" day. At first I was thinkin' Pike, but then more and more people started joining on so we changed that to the Root. By Wed. I had "volunteered" FAT to give his "Fixed Three" & "wilful" presentation (Wilful is how he pronounces it, it's kinda anachronized differently). We posted on The Steelhead Site (TSS) and Wisconsin Fly Fishing (WFF). When we went to bed we were thinkin' that maybe 6 (including us) were gonna be there, including a couple folks who I've emailed with for a year or more yet never met.

Well FAT pulled the 'ole MP trick on myself! He probably kicked me on the floor in my sleeping bag at 2:45 AM and told me it was already something like 3:30 AM. By the time I got ready and in the car after a shower it was only about 3:15 or so ;)

Our meeting place would be the wier in Lincoln Park at 4:00 AM (I can't tell you how many folks, including myself, were goin' nuts on the 4:00 AM meeting time...a new record for "should've just stayed up"). We pulled in and well, my jaw dropped...there most have been a dozen or more cars already there! FAT DAY's had suddenly become "THE" Friday morning event for a total of 16 anglers including ourselves!

After Rich gave his talk (LOL, you could tell how tired he was when he said "When the falls are flowing", not "when the flows are falling"), considering conditions and such we decided we'd head up to Horlick and work the dam on down into Quarry.

I'm not going to bore you with the details of all the great anglers I met (can't remember many of their names...no offense guys, I still don't know 1/2 my student's names!). I will say that I think everyone had a great time despite the fact that steelies were just not easy this morning. Ken, a first time fly-angler who borrowed my 8wt, managed to hook into one (could you ask for a better way to start on you first day?) but ended up losing it.

Meanwhile I went downstream into Quarry and set up on one of the pools. Shortly after my arrival a steelie surfaced, and remember what had happened to a client of Rich's last week, I decided then and there I would stay put and catch the fish.

Following the newly refreshed tactics that FAT explained just 2 hours prior, I knew that I had everything under control. Right leader, right length, right length, right weight, right drift speed, even right LOCATION 'cause I knew there was at least one fish there. All that remained was fly choice.

Well I rotated through several egg patterns but produced nothing except the occasional snag on the bottom. Finally I pulled out the box and selected a fly that I probably haven't used since last spring; the red-bodied black wolley bugger.

3 casts in and FISH ON! A good fight considering the freezing water temps, and eventually Rich tailed the fish...the paparazzi showed up and many photos were taken. This one I already knew would be kept, as the graphic artist I work with had asked me just they day prior if I'd bring him a steelhead...it's Lent, he's on a fish-only diet. I'll tell you now his eyes lit up and he smiled like I've never seen him smile when I brought him this beautiful chrome hen.

Anyway, I had that steelie already in the car and it was only 7:30 AM! FAT had to head to the office, so I stuck around and just helped folks out any way I could...I had caught my steelie for the day. Did a lot more talkin' (always fun) and got to see Steve hook into 2 steelies (unfortunately both lost). Again, dark wolley buggers!

To round up the day, I was the only one who had landed a steelie until leaving, when we noticed another angler coming up. From what I noticed despite the lower water temperatures the only guys hooking up were on the Fly! Either anglers using bait are more discrete, or it just wasn't working for them on Friday morning.

I already know there will be a TON of folks on the river this weekend...but it's 8:00 pm as I write this and I'm meeting my best friend (Wenker) from MO at 5:00 AM. See you guys again Tuesday or Wed. night, and good luck over the weekend!

  MP 

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