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
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
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
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
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!