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4-3-04 - Got to the Root just to take pictures of the circus around 9:00 AM...looking at Horlick Dam.

Cross Rt. 38, look down from the bridge, lots of folks.

But then I whipped out the great zoom and looked in the 2nd half of upper Quarry Park before the first bend.

Menomonee was crystal clear, stained, mostly suckers but you could sight a steelie occasionally...like this one!
Sometimes if you're wearing blinders you can forget that Miller Park is right in the background.

Bart working some fish moving in the fast water downstream.

The Falls at Estabrook...still kicking myself for not coming to shoot this back when flows were 3000 cfs.

Bart and I kinda just looked around and decided NOT to fish.

On up to Port Washington Harbor...I opted to hang out here and brave the wind while Bart fished ALL of Oak Creek.
Bart's largest of the day...a shad that apparently has a mouth in it's back...
A look at the last stretch of Sauk Creek before it hits the harbor.
Oak Creek was relatively empty of anglers...few steelies present.

4-03-04 - Road Trip with Chromeseeker

Waters Fished: Root River, Menomonee River, Milwaukee River, Sauk Creek, Port Washington Harbor, Oak Creek
Fish Caught: 50+ 10" browns!
Outing Date: 4-3-04
Weather: Cold and Windy
Air Temp: Breifly in the 50's but considerably cooler most of the day
Water Temp: Lost my Thermometer (AGAIN!)
Water Level: Root about 275 cfs, Menomonee about 70 CFS, Milwaukee 850 cfs, Sauk was low, Oak Creek about 20 CFS
Water Color: Root = Muddy, Menomonee was like crystal clear amber, Milwaukee was moderately clear, Sauk was stained but pretty clear, Oak Creek also pretty clear. Visibility was 2'+ on all streams except the Root & Milwaukee.
Fish Species: Steelhead, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Eggs & Nymphs
Pattern Color: Red, Chatreuse etc..
Fishing Quality: AHOLE TO ELBO on the Root, other streams were quiet, fish #'s thin.

We easily killed a tank of gas each this Saturday. Things started out really nice in the morning...I decided to sleep in a bit and ended up meeting FAT, Chromeseeker and Tim the Enchanter at Horlick on the Root around 9:00 AM. Tim & FAT were to head to Minnesota for the Great Waters Fly Show, while Bart and I would stay and play on the WI creeks.

Tim had pretty rotten luck on the Root that morning...lost at least 8. Bart however had a REALLY nice buck to show for his efforts that morning. We briefly toyed with the idea of going back down and fishing some more, but look at the pictures and tell me what YOU would've decided?

Well, we were off, originally heading straight up to Sauk Creek...but on the way I had a brilliant stroke...let's check the Menomonee...afterall it's on the way!

Well, we got to Miller Park around 10:00 AM, got out and walked around a bit. Just a few anglers out; heck we saw one of them land a nice buck as we walked past. Can't argue with that...sighted a few more steelies in the crystal clear, amber-stained water and decided we should spend some time there!

Steelies weren't in thick, just a couple here & there. I got on the water ASAP and started working my way upstream...sighted a really crusty, bright red buck. Kept going upstream and sighted another buck..beat up but at least not crusty. Most of the fish though were suckers..both species we came across last year were once again present (and honestly, I can't remember which species those are but I think Redhorse and White).

Bart came up and we both tried for this sighted steelie, but it was just too spooked. I was up to 15' leader with several feet of 4lb tippet and STILL the fish was spooked, even by a dull Tucker NYMPH. Definitely wasn't going to bite so we headed downstream in search of fish.

We basically walked the entire stretch of river in the Miller Park parking lot and didn't see a thing other than suckers. Bart kept moving FAST while I took a bit more time...eventually I was getting bored and started to move back up when I spotted two bucks chasing each other in the fast water.

I honestly wasted a lot of time on these fish...periodically you could see them but then they'd swim back onto this really dark black bottom and just disappear. Eventually Bart came back up and watched as I tried and tried. I even had to put on 6 shots just to get down in this fast little run, but still NO LUCK.

Then it happened! FISH ON...fish off. That's it. Anticlimatic, I know. Bart and I pretty much decided to call it quits, so we walked back upstream and climbed the hill to get out. That's when I looked back and saw the two males, now upstream of the fast run, again chasing each other around.

I probably didn't think this one through enough..instinctivly I ran down the hill and got into the water. The first cast, still with very light line, spooked them and they started dropping back. Within 4-5 casts they were gone, again.

Onward and upward, Bart and I got lost leaving Miller Park...took a detour up 41 and eventually made our way to Capitol. Since we were already there, we decided to head to the Milwaukee.

As you can see from the pics on the right, the Milwaukee is still VERY high. At first we didn't think ANYONE was fishing in Estabrook, but turns out there was a guy UNDERNEATH the walkway and he was at least shin-deep in water. Yes, it's still that high. He said he saw a guy land one on spawn, but other than that fishing was slow.

On our way out, we ran into a guy who was coming down from the Sheboygan. In his own words, the Sheboygan was "dead, nothing going on there at all". Well, at least we knew we could skip that.

Next stop, finally, was Sauk Creek. Got there about 1:00 PM and Bart took me down to another access point he had checked out. There we spotted a lone steelie...so we went all the way down to the harbor. Bart took a quick look and decided to try for that fish, I thought I'd come up after a bit and see what was going on.

Well, I never really made it into Sauk Creek, as the guys at in the Harbor were pounding browns. The must have recently stocked this years "smolts", as the harbor was full of 10" browns.

I watched for a long time as guys were pulling up brown after brown, saw at least 3 nice browns about 2-3 lbs. each landed as well. Seeing action like this kept me from getting into Sauk. There were a couple more steelies right inside the "mouth", another nice guy was already fishin' them.

So I stuck around, and got to meet a really nice guy, John Moon, a rod builder from Waukesha. We traded fishin' info, rod-building info, and overall had a plesant afternoon while watching the browns get caught. Eventually they decided to go as air temps were probably now in the 30's, and the wind was easily 20-25 mph.

Finally I started whacking fish. I really should've taken video, it was amazing fun. Easily landed 50 10" browns and saw a few more big boy swimming around. Really wanted a big brown, but the 10" guys just get taking the flies before I could ever get down far enough to where the larger fish were holding.

Bart finally returned; he had walked the entire stream and only sighted/spooked 5 steelhead. So, at best, there were 10 steelies in the whole stretch of stream that holds fish. After Bart saw the action that was going on in the harbor, he too got into the mix with is spinning rod...tried spoons and lost a fish or two, but landed a big snagged Shad.

By 4:00 we simply couldn't stand it anymore, it was sooooooo cold. Time to get in the cars and warm up while we drove to another location. We had a plan for Sunday, won't tell you know, but basically that plan helpded us to decide that heading south was a better idea than heading north.

Last stop, Oak Creek. Not too many people out, mostly kids. Bart wanted to fish with his centerpin for a while, so he went to the low slow water. Meanwhile I walked the upper stretch, didn't make it too far before once again sighting a pair of bucks beating the crap out of each other in a pool the size of my car.

I remembered some info from a buddy; chartreuse had been working well in the evening, with the orange/pink/red being good morning colors. It was getting dark, so I could go back to 8lb without much worry. Retied with a Red Egg and Chartreuse Egg, I was set to go. The very first drift my fly just disappeared, my line went tight, FISH ON.

I'm sad to say I went the day without LANDING any steelies. The buck went nuts, immediately swam straight into a log jam as I jumped down to get better fighting position (I had positioned myself almost directly above, behind a tree, for stealth purposes). My line stopped but stayed tight...turned out I was all fouled up in the log jam with no hope of the fish still being on.

So it was a fun day, I think I put close to 300 miles on the car driving all over the place, at least it seems that way. Definitely not "skunked", but definitely lived up to my title of "dinker king" today!

  MP 

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