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4-9-04 - We really hiked the Pike River...saw many new locations that I hadn't seen before.

The waterline from our recent high-water is unmistakable in this heavily eroded bankside.

For those who can't / don't want to download the video, an image of the first spawning steelhead we found.

VIDEO! That's right, more Flash Video - this one is a pair of Steelhead bedding up.
(15 MB)

I like to call this photo "Find Tim (the Enchanter)"!

The other pair of spawning steelhead we found.

VIDEO! Again, Flash video of a second pair of steelhead on the redds. (8 MB)

After a brief stop at the Root where I didn't even get out, I met up with Guppy and Chromeseeker on the Milwaukee.

Bart really cleaned house with this double sucker bogie. I'm glad Guppy was out with his camera today...he got some shots that I couldn't have!
(Copyright 2004 "Guppy")

AWESOME FLASH VIDEO - Bart hooks into a chrome hen that jumped at least a dozen times...I waded downstream as I shot this video (tough to do) and got the last three aerial leaps.
(21.3 MB)

Then I put down the camera to land Bart's fish. I asked CS if he was keeping this one before going for the gills. I got the "yes", so a gill & tail landing was AOK!
(Copyright 2004 "Guppy")

Chromeseeker gets this fish unhooked.
(Copyright 2004 "Guppy")

Chromeseeker has found the chrome! He thinks this one ran about 8 lbs.

Towards evening we hit the falls at Estabrook.

It was suckerville; I faired this unusual looking sucker (very pretty)...probably a Silver Redhorse but I haven't been able to identify it for sure. Note guppy in the background also taking a shot....

...this is what it looked like from Guppy's perspective.
(Copyright 2004 "Guppy")

WOW...look closely at this photo...I almost didn't notice it at first. Guppy was standing knee-deep in suckers all evening!

The end to a fine day with a nice sunset over the Mil.

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 River
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 550 cfs.
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 etc...
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 afternoon.

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!

  MP 

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