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10-09-04 - I mosey on down to the river and here's Jim landing a king!

Landing them legit never gets old...always puts a smile on your face, eh Jim?

Didn't take long to land my first of the afternoon.

10-09-04 - Milwaukee River - King Salmon Run again!

Waters Fished: Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: 8/30ish FAIR + a few fouls (but surprisingly few).
Outing Date: 10-09-04
Weather: Beautiful
Air Temp: 60's.
Water Temp: didn't take it.
Water Level: Around 175 cfs
Water Color: dirty & brown, approx 1' visibility
Fish Species: Chinook Salmon, "Steelhead" (Arlee Rainbow), Brown Trout, Coho Salmon, Smallmouth Bass
Pattern Fished: Eggs Eggs Eggs
Pattern Color: Orange Eggs continue to be a top producer.
Fishing Quality: Best of the fall king run to date.

Do I really have to write a whole report? Do you guys even read this, or do you just look at the pictures and the captions????

Well regardless, I know someone reads this, but for this Saturday, it can best be summed up simply as "awesome". A mess of folks were in town. First, Red Hat and Dan had come down from Minnesota on Friday morning, fished all day, and then showed up at the LC house around 10:00 PM while I was turning reel seats in the garage. They didn't even wake me up when they left at 5:00 AM to make the hour drive to the Milwaukee.

Bruce, Kevin and David (you may remember them from the 2003 Canada Trip) had been out of my reports for simply TOO LONG! Last year I missed them when they came to town; Bruce always has loads of sinfully delicious venison sausage with him. Last year, he left it with FAT, and well, FAT ATE IT before I ever saw it! All week long Bruce had been taunting me with the possibility of venison sausage. Granted, I needed no bribe to fish with these guys, but who am I to turn down a hunk of meat that has substance, lively spices yet delicate texture and the most sinfully rich finish. WHO AM I TO TURN DOWN HEAVEN in the form of a MEAT STICK?!

Oh, did I mention I was supposed to pick up FAT's eldest son Cheif? Well, it was the perfect excuse to allow myself to sleep in and head to the river later in the morning (otherwise I admit I was so riled up I would have left with the HAT and DAN but truthfully, I needed the sleep). Turns out Cheif wasn't able to make it...got to FAT's house and learned the news (yup, cell phone is STILL FRIED but as of Tuesday, the replacement has arrived!).

Granted, have I mentioned lately that weekend mornings tend to be a total ZOO on ANY trib during the peak of a run? While the fishin' may be at it's peak, that's easily offset by the hordes that decend on the river. Weekday mornings rock...weekend mornings would probably be great too except for all the people spookin' fish and crowding you out.

All of this together got me to the river around 11:00 AM. FAT was getting lunch ready for everyone...I was hungry but more importantly, I was anxious to fish. I headed down to the river with the message that "Lunch was ready" and hopefully, maybe FAT would bring me back a brat???

The Brat never materialized, but what did I care...I was havin' too much fun fishin. Bruce had asked me to watch their stuff, so I stuck close to a gravel bar. My goal, was to LAND (not keep) a bag limit of fish. I had a real good chance of doing it today.

Lance has a nice King that's definitely getting the upper hand.

Guess what, I have a king on too, and we're rapidly approaching a collision of fly lines that assuredly would result in two fish lost and a tangled mess of line, leader and tippet.

Somehow we got both of our fish under control and disaster was avoided.

Another Male Chinook. For the record, for scale, the total length of the handleset on this rod (MP's #4) is 24". Yeah, 2 feet. The fore and aft grips are 10" each, + the reel seat at 4".

Turns out this "golden bullet" would be the freshest King I'd land all day, and probably the largest!

Another Buck King Salmon for MP.

Leanne gets in on the action...

David with one of a few kings he landed in the AM.

Bruce sure looks worn out from a long morning of playing and catchin'!

Kevin's tied into anothe fish!

Lance was out and determined to get his salmon fix...here with a NICE hen!

Because I was watching the MO boy's stuff, I ended up fishin' midstream vs. the shade. All of my fish came from a sun-drenched pool at the peak time of the day for heat and sun! There is NO WAY I could even attempt to recount every battle...unlike the steelies where a single hookup may be the pivotal moment of the day, with the Salmon at this time of year a single hookup is just one more notch. Red Hat's report from Friday was that they had experienced a better bite in the afternoon...my first 5 fair kings (aka. a true BAG LIMIT) seemed to suggest that the afternoon bite was again quite good!

Lance holds up his hen and my buck from our double...this is what it's all about baby!

The "double" buck chinook. This one also seals my first ever LEGIT BAG LIMIT (some folks say "Oh I got 30 fish", they're talkin' hookups fair and foul usually...I'm talkin' bag limit as in legit fair hooks landed).

Upstream wasn't so hot.

Red Hat and Flyboy had been up since 5:00 AM...you'll do things like that if you drove 5 hours to get here!

After I got my first ever true bag, I went off to find Red Hat and Dan up at the Dam. Along the way I ran into Chromeseeker in the Parking Lot...cool! We both headed up the dam...on our way out a couple of kids had a NICE brown on a stringer.

Shortly after our arrival we found Mr. Hat and Flyboy kinda wandering aimlessly. Up at the Dam's pool, we watched a bunch of guys dredging a bunch of hardware through it. Only saw one foul hook...while Bart and I cast for a while we didn't hook squat. Red Hat reported seeing a Coho up here, but pretty much it looked like upstream was gonna suck. So back down we went.

Back in lower Estabrook I ran into "Birdman" Jay from MO along with two of his buddies...we chatted for a while (heck, we've talked for two years via email but never met)...meanwhile Red Hat, Flyboy and Chromeseeker went on down to the river. After probably a good half hour chat, I figured I should really go down to find my cohorts for the afternoon....when I got there I didn't see them anywhere! I thought perhaps they had gone WAY WAY WAY downstream...so I just sat around and enjoyed the afternoon. Since the 5 fair fish came easy, I needed a new goal. A Bag for 2 you say? Can I do it?

The first "official" Arlee Strain Rainbow Trout I've had the pleasure of photographing. Note the left pectoral clip (while disfiguring, they are really, really identifyable).

This picture doesn't really show the adipose clip well.

A closeup of Kevin's Arlee.

Again, Kevin with his Arlee Rainbow Trout (we all thought this was a FAT steelie when he got it). Note the adipose clip, which is clearly visible in this picture. The ALP clip and size of this fish suggests it's from the 2001 stocking of Arlee Rainbows in Wisconsin.

Bruce saw the moment and insisted I take this shot of his daughter...turned out really nice!

YEEEHAW...another smallmouth from the Milwaukee. Dang, why can't they be BIGGER?!

Meanwhile Bruce, Kevin and David were getting off the water. They do like to harvest the fish and put them to good use; I noticed on one of the stringers a bright silver fish....STEELHEAD! I asked Kevin about it; he said he was fishin' right where I had told them to go earlier that afternoon, the shaded pools on the far side of the river that I had not touched while watching their stuff. Kevin saw this smaller one amongst the larger fish...targeted it with his eggs and got lucky!

I noticed the finclips on this fish and made a mental note as well as photographic record. I did give Kevin just a little grief about keepin a steelhead, but it was friendly ribbing...there was no doubt that it would be the best tasting fish they'd harvest...I encouraged him to savor that fish! Well anyway, it turns out this fish is not really a true Steelhead...the finclip was ALP (Adipose Fin, Left Pectoral Fin). Turns out that the ALP clip is used for ARLEE Strain Rainbow Trout, a fish the WDNR started stocking a couple years ago in an attempt to improve our near-shore fishery. Arlee's are probably on par with a looper (Kamloops strain); it's not a strain of Rainbow Trout that's wild counterpart is "designed" to migrate (the basic definition of a Steelhead is a anadromous/potandromous Rainbow, aka. a Migratory Rainbow Trout). I guess however, since this Arlee was definitely MIGRATING, perhaps it should be considered an Arlee Steelhead! Regardless, it was a Rainbow Trout that obviously came up from the lake. Additionally, this was the first rainbow I've seen that we could 100% identify as an Arlee Rainbow Trout based on finclips. Based on it's size, which suggests some age to the fish, it was likely from the 2001 stocking. Pretty exciting on the rainbow front...I'm into "strains" of fish from my fish hatchery days.

I did take a brief moment to enjoy my surroundings.

Then I got back to the "catchin'" with my first female King of the day.

This is actually Chinook Salmon #8...#7 was CAAARUSSSSTTTYY. Not worth a pic.

Chromeseeker landed this monster King Salmon.

Back out on the water for the evening I pretty much had things to myself. Landed a few more kings while FAT was guiding a couple guys into their first fly rod King Salmon upstream. Bart showed up around maybe 4:00 PM...turns out that Red Hat, Flyboy and himself had been upstream around a couple bends..hence I totally missed them.

The highlight of the evening for me was when a large fresh buck King came into the pool I was working. He settled in the gut and in just a few drifts he turned on my eggs and the wild ride was on. I shouted upstream "WHOO HOO, I GOT THE BULLET!" (think about it). Followed up with "Bart, HELP, I'm gonna get SCHOOLED by this fish!"

I did indeed get schooled. This fish was a rocket and there was no turning it around...it just kept taking line. I got to see my backing (always fun). I shouted up to Bart to try and land the fish if he could; shortly thereafter this fish handed my ass to me when he simply shook his head violently and disgorged my hooks. Actually, he may have been the one that BROKE my hook (yeah, only noticed that a while later).

My last 7 fair hooks could have EASILY brought me up to the 10 mark...unfortunately I may have still been fishin' with that broken hook. In fact, I recall a total of 3 broken hooks, all #10 Eagle Claw Salmon Egg Hooks. I was only fishing 8lb. Pline Flourocoated for tippet, so I'm kinda thinkin that these hooks simply aren't enough for kings. I know Rich loves them for their value, but I don't think he goes as small as #10 with them!

While we can't say for sure, I think BART caught my bullet....I lost it in his vicinity and not too long thereafter he hooked into a fish of the same size, freshness etc. What a stunning way to end the day....granted I was 2 away from my new goal...but 10 fair kings landed in a day will come at some point! BTW, I went the entire day without eating...that's how addictive fishin' for the kings can be!

For those interested, you can read Dan's (aka. Flyboy's) account of his Friday/Saturday outings at Red Hat's WWPD ONLINE! I'm guessing that Red Hat's account will be online soon as well!

  MP 

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