4-09-04 - The SE WI TRIPLE CROWN TRIP....the three
"main" rivers get paid a visit by MP and crew!
Waters Fished: Pike River, Root River, Milwaukee
Fish Caught: 0/2 personally, Tim 1/3, Bart 1/1, Guppy 0/1
Outing Date: 4-9-04
Weather: Sunny in the AM, turning to Cloudy towards evening
Air Temp: Probably 60's dropping to 40's
Water Temp: N/A - still no thermometer
Water Level: All pretty normal - Pike 19 cfs, Root 110 cfs, Milwaukee
Water Color: Pike - surprisingly not 100% clear, Root - didn't look!,
Milwaukee - visibility 1-2'.
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Mostly Eggs in all colors and types, tried swinging
the speys but no luck there either.
Pattern Color: The normal range including orange, pink, red, chartreuse
Fishing Quality: Rapidly Declining
Despite best intentions, and even a wakeup call,
I just couldn't find the motivation to get up EARLY on Friday as
originally planned; not getting to bed prior to Midnight will do
that do you. Tim "The Enchanter" made it out by 6:00 AM,
just in time for first legal fishin'.
By the time I showed up, it was probably 10:00
or later....met up with Tim and we went for a HIKE! All over the
place on the Pike, up and down, back and forth, going deeper and
farther at the various access points than we had usually gone.
You might be wondering WHY we did so much hiking....well...fish
were few and far between. We probably didn't sight our first fish
(other than the multitudes of suckers) until noon.
I spent a lot of time shooting video and pictures
of the first pair before I fished them; so often this spring it
was fish first, shoot later. We had some time and I think today's
right-hand bar paid off!
Well, when it came time to fish the pair I slid
down the steep mud bank and landed in the water with a loud splash.
Meanwhile Tim was back trying for a big buck he had spotted.
Everything was going fine until I overcast the
pair...spooked the female and she ran....seconds later the male
turned to follow her as well. I did get one brief look out of the
male (heck, earlier he had struck a 6" piece of floating bark!).
More hiking, the day warmed up, and while maybe
it wasn't 60F, it could have been as I was sweating like a pig with
only 2 light layers of clothing on (but see, one was a long-sleeved
THERMAL). Most all the fish we ran into were suckers.
On downstream for more action, or so we though,
as I caught a large dark male out of the corner of my eye. Again,
we took our time shooting pics and vids...noting how the steelhead
were hiding under the log jams or any other overhanging cover they
could find on this bright day. Only when spawning were they willing
to give up the protection that cover offered.
Well we spooked them and I sat, they came back
and I got into position casting from behind. Got a solid strike
from the male on a realistically transluscent orange moe egg, but
in the slow flows, just like Rich had suggested would happen, it
was a tapping bite and by the time I set the hook, all it did was
come straight out of the water and into the trees above.
After an easy removal, I tried again, and again
saw the head move that indicates a strike...but again I think he
spit the egg far to fast and instead I ended up fouled on his dorsal.
Several jumps showed us exactly what this buck looked like, huge,
full color, a monster of a fish! This one was worth landing as I've
had fish hooked both FOUL AND FAIR with the dropper system. It very
well could have been fair, and then fouled in the dorsal on the
initial lunge ('cause it all happened so fast).
Well, the big buck got the better of me, wrapping
around a log. Tim tried to get the line free...it wasn't a BIG log,
but the steelie finally managed to break free. We spent most of
the afternoon plying the pools, where we each had a couple on &
off. Action & fish were slow, but if you were patient they'd
betray their holding locations.
It was already just about 3:00 PM when Tim and
I parted ways...he was going to try yet more spots on the Pike while
I was due to meet up with Guppy on the Milwaukee. On my way north
I got lunch and headed to the Root while waiting to hear what the
story was....Horlick was already a parking lot so I didn't even
waste a moment. Meanwhile Tim called to rub salt in my fishless
wound...he got his steelie on the Pike, something like the 2nd cast
to a sighted fish.
Got to the Mil around 4:00 PM; Guppy was already
on the water and Chromeseeker showed up. Flows were "good",
definitely safe wading now. As with the Pike, the Mil. was MOSTLY
SUCKERS. We all landed several, including Bart's double (at right)!
Somehow Bart had the luck today, as he worked over
a run that I had put my time in prior to his arrival. I was back
upstream trying my luck on the suckers (and hoping that perhaps
some of the dark shapes on the bottom weren't suckers, by maybe
steelhead). I don't know of Bart yelled or I instinctively just
turned, but there was Bart downstream, his rod throbbing while a
rocket had attached itself to the line.
Talk about acrobatics...this fish was jumping,
spinning, tail walking, cartwheeling, it was ALL OVER THE PLACE!
I hurried to get the camera turned back on, get it in video mode,
zoom in what I could and start recording! The I probably only got
the last minute of what was a 3-4 minute display. By far the best
fight of 2004. While I can't tell you how warm the water was, it
was easily 50F, and the speed & aggressiveness of battle displayed
by this steelie is what gives it away.
How I waded down without falling I can only thank
God for...got down there and put the camera away to tail Bart's
fish. It took a minute or so, but eventually we got her under control.
All the while Guppy was snapping the pictures!
Towards evening, maybe 6:00 PM, without any more
action (except for more suckers) we decided to head to the Falls
at Estabrook. Surprisingly, despite being a literal local, Guppy
hadn't been there before (afterall, what was the need when he lives
right on top of some of the best water!).
We had the place to ourselves, save one other friendly
angler who didn't seem to mind a bit that we were there. He probably
already knew what we came to learn...it was suckerville!
Suckers were everywhere and we caught MANY, often
FAIR and I mean totally fair. They were definitely active, were
jumping all over the place (see the last photo of Guppy). I nailed
a rather interesting sucker; I *think* it's a Silver Redhorse (most
of the suckers in are White Suckers). Other than that, we whiled
away the time banging the suckers. Didn't keep track but easily,
if we really tried, it could have been the 100 sucker day. At least
100 were landed between the three of us through the course of the
Is the Milwaukee Run over, just starting? Well,
all I can really say is I don't know. There are a LOT of conflicting
opinions...facts seem to point to the runs winding down in my opinion.
A fresh rain could easily change all of that.
Might not see you guys until after the 20th or
so...there's a trip to Vegas on the books this weekend...MAYBE some
fishin while I'm there!