10-07-04 - HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 1/1
Outing Date: 10-07-04
Air Temp: 60's.
Water Temp: 58F
Water Level: Extremely Low, 7 CFS
Water Color: dirty & brown, approx 1' visibility
Fish Species: Chinook Salmon, Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Eggs and Bugger/Spey type offerings
Pattern Color: Orange Eggs continue to be a top producer.
Fishing Quality: "fair" all things considered.
Not gonna lie here, I was looking for some good AM fishin' and wasn't in the mood to be driving from Milwaukee to Chicago to get to work at 10:00! Also, the WDNR had reported that fair numbers of Coho had been showing up in the Root. Now you guys know that I pretty much totally missed out on Coho last year. I don't want to miss out again, especially since they are my favorite fall trib fish. Eager to strike and when they do they strike HARD. Not to mention they're more acrobatic and the coloration can be stunning on a spawning buck.
It ended up being sort of a small group outing. Josh came down from Oak Creek, FAT made it out, as did Randy C. and Timmaaaay!
I arrived right at legal fishin' time, 6:26 AM, and in minutes I was in the water. I walked up to Tim who was workin' a group of very PO'd Kings..I guess he and FAT had been talking 'cause he said "Rich says there's a bunch of coho right up in that pool." I walked up and swirling about, all PO'd with each other, were some larger salmon (obviously Kings) as well as some smaller ones.
Now the trick was that flows are REAL low. Actually, the 7 cfs we had was 3 times what it's been the last couple weeks LOL! So you could say flows were up? Ok, well, there was enough flow in the tighest runs that a little current was present; if you cast at the base of the riffles you could get a fair drift. There's absolutely NO NEED for lead today. Even without a single shot you'd still hang up about every other cast...just slightly more than "ideal".
I cast up, tucked it underneath some overhanging branch and the flies starting coming back towards me when I felt a solid WHACK and I set the hook. Josh was watching as a salmon came up headfirst, thrashing from side-to-side. "I love it when they head shake", he said. In short order I brought the smaller salmon to the gravel I was standing on...definitely not a Coho, but instead a very respectable JACK Chinny. I gotta say, I was pretty happy with this fish; happy enough that I really didn't try much the rest of the morning.
Soon thereafter Timmay landed one fair as did Josh; after some pics I went upstream to see what FAT was up to. Every so often I'd be lookin' up there and see fish violently thrashing the water...each time FAT's rod doubled over as he put the hurt on another King. I got up there as he was landing his 6th FAIR king.
Soon we were all standing there, the only one to not have a fish was Randy. We watched as males pushed each other around the pool, jousting over the females that were present. Randy targeted a silver hen and swung an Egg Sucking Leach in front of it. I watched as she teared off, chased it down, crushed it and spit it. AIR FISH hardcore...Randy's line would have never given away that take but watching the fish from where I stood that was one of the more aggresive takes I've seen off a king. Randy had 5 more hits/follows from this hen before she finally gave up and headed into deeper water.
Meanwhile Timmay was still downstream, having landed 2 more by the time we arrived. Along the way, we spotted a female steelhead sitting in 6" of water, not more than a foot or two from the bank, just barely covered. I literally could've just stuck an egg in her mouth and set the hook (not that I would, but simply describing how out-of-it she must have been). She didn't spook until I took her picture a 2nd time, the 2nd time being WITH a flash.
We all ended up going downstream to the deeper water closer to the harbor around 8:00. There were many kings present in the gravel flats...as we stepped in and looked downstream there were a bunch of tails and other sporadic movement. I opted to swing big nasty flies in the hopes of a fresh fish. Nothing materialized for us downstream; around 8:30 Josh, FAT and I got off the water and headed to work. Apparently Randy and Timmay stuck it out a couple more hours and I *think* Randy ended up callin' to say he too had managed his fish for the day.
I'm pretty sure that the Root will be an ABSOLUTE ZOO this weekend. Unless you can find some fiesty fish in narrow, faster channels, you will pretty much be out of luck. I personally see NO WAY that any fish are getting past the wier even though it isn't in operation. That's my take. Of course, it's supposed to rain....