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4-01-04 - John Kruger was handy with his digital camera today, caught me all snagged up on the bottom....
(Copyright 2004 John Kruger)

Definitely trying to snap off the stupid way...look at the bend in that rod...BTW ever notice how baggy waders and 4 layers of outerwear make me look more overweight than the entire FAT Tribe combined? I look like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka!
(Copyright 2004 John Kruger)

April Fools...this little chromer was puttin' the hardcore bend in my 10' 10" 6wt!
(Copyright 2004 John Kruger)

A nice chromer ends up being my fair fish landed for the day.
John and I bumped down to try for 2 bucks that were hammering each other (look on the far side of the stream).

John tried these guys for a bit, both swinging and dead drifting. MORE FLASH VIDEO :) - 8.96 MB

Some more video of John K. hunting two fiest buck steelhead. I eventually managed too hookup with one of them on a big red & white streamer.
FLASH VIDEO - 7.73 MB

John's workin' some fish on the beds when he hooks up with this!
Cute little guy ain't he?
After I left, well, let's just say John was out all day (Lucky DOG!). One of his many chromers for the day!
(Copyright 2004 John Kruger)
Another shot of John with another chrome hen!
(Copyright 2004 ?)

Look at the insane color on this buck!
(Copyright John Kruguer)

Conner caught more fish in one day than he had in all prior combined. John at left, Connor at right.
(Copyright 2004 Naugton).

4-01-04 - Pike River is ON FIRE. Another CALL IN DEAD DAY if you know what's good for you....

Waters Fished: Pike River
Fish Caught: 1/7
Outing Date: 4-1-04
Weather: Gorgeous
Air Temp: 30's but quickly into the upper 40's
Water Temp: 44F
Water Level: 55 CFS
Water Color: Stained, visibility maybe 6-12"
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Mostly Pink & Red Eggs, also a big Red & White Streamer
Pattern Color: See above
Fishing Quality: You gotta be kidding right?

Wednesday evening I get an email from my buddy John Kruger (Team PB)...he's heading in from Lacrosse to hit the steelhead! Well, a Thursday morning trip was already on the books for me, so getting our two schedules together would be easy!

I got to the Pike shortly before John, say about 6:30 AM. I was also going to meet Connor if he was around; he was running a bit late as well! Well, as things had been going, 7:00 AM was the real start of the bite anyway, so this wasn't going to be so bad, right?

John and I were lucky, apparently most folks had decided that there weren't any Steelhead where we wanted to fish, so no problem we got right on in there and started fishin! I quickly ran through a couple fair hooks that simply came off. I turned to John and said "PINK".

My first two hookups were FAST on and FAST off, both times "sliced" at the fly. I say sliced 'cause there wasn't the usual "snap off" twirls when a knot goes bad. I can only draw one theory...I may have tangled with our Pike River Pet, the 30-something inch Pike we've seen lurking about. I'll call them steelies 'cause I'm a pesimist, but man, I haven't been breaking off many fish, so I have to wonder if I was wrestling with my nemesis

John retied and almost immediatley hooked up with a nice steelie that took him downstream! SWEET..he got it landed and that's what counts! When he got back he's like, "Nice call on the Pink Matt". Wasn't a hard call if you ask me John, it's been workin' all spring ;).

So I had probably gone through 3 steelies, all fair based on the fights, before finally managing my first one to shore, sans net. A nice chrome hen...couldn't ask for a better way to "get my chrome on". John stood there shooting pictures the whole time in true Rambling Report style...thanks John!

Around 8:00 I decide it's time to take a temperature. I'm bent over dangling the lanyard in the water, fly line causually drifting a few feet away, just lazily swirling around in the pool. I get back up and look over to John; "44 degrees" I shout.

WHAM, my rod tip is tugged 4 feet towards the water below while the rod is tucked under my arm....."OH MY GOD IT'S HUGE!" I shout as I juggle my rod to battle this monster of a fish. I relax and take my time, I can see him shakin' his head, running up into the current, only to be turned around and pulled back out again...this repeats itself at least 3 times.

I'm starting to think it might be time to bring this fish in for a good look....definitely fair judging by where my leader is pointing. With no fanfair, this brute simply shook his head again as if to shrug and say "you're not landing me". My rod tip suddenly jumped skyward as this pig shook the fly. John tells me later, "I saw the shadow on that thing...that was huge".

Towards 8:30 AM or so, a few anglers came up and started drifting spawn through the hole....immediately they hook up and try to land the fish sans net from a really bad spot to attempt such a feat. Well eventually one of the guys reaches down, picks up the fish and throws it back to his buddy on the bank. Then, with just as little respect, the steelhead is underhanded, ala softball pitch, a good 20 feet upstream, and lands with a huge bellyflop. As I posted on TSS, Steelhead are not footballs. This ISN'T even close to appropriate catch & release behavior guys.

Well, after John got tangled up with one of their lines, we'd had enough and figured we'd bump downstream to whack the two males that had been fighting all morning at the base of the riffles. There were two fish, and well, we watched a guy walking up as we were walking downstream...both heading for the same fish. Two guys can fish two fish on a SE WI trib, and John and the other angler started casting.

John managed one quick snip, but otherwise they weren't interested. After shooting some video, I tied on a big red & white streamer and asked if I could have a shot.

Within just a few swings one of the two bucks nailed this irresitable target...in the process we became intertwined with the other anglers line and the steelie came off, but I honestly don't think the other angler had anything to do with that. I have to chuckle though, 'cause he was sitting there excitedly remarking, "you got him in the mouth!". Of course, that's what I was intending to do! Swing in front and there's virtually no chance of a foul hook.

We bumped down some more and that's when we realized there were steelhead EVERYWHERE...MANY on the beds. John started fishin to a pod while I was still intent on chasing those bucks, who were now dropping downstream yet still fighting the entire time.

John's rod doubled over as he played a fish...at first he thought it was a brown but upon landing it, a nice jack steelie had hammered his egg pattern.

John kinda turned to me and said, "So are you calling in sick?" I really, really, really wished that I could have...I knew how it was gonna be. On the way out we ran into Connor, who I introduced to John. They both emailed me that evening to relate the story of what simply was a fantastic day.

John ended with 15 fair landed. Connor went from 0 to 3 landed; all prior outings combined Connor had only landed 3 steelies. Folks, my guess is that April 1 was the height of the Pike Run. Smaller fish, probably more Ganaraskas although mine didn't have any clips. Fish everywhere, and almost no suckers.

I've included some pictures below that John and Connor sent...the last one is by far my favorite.

  MP 

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