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10-10-04 - FAT looks on as Chief battles a King.

What's with all the SMALLMOUTH?!

FAT landed this sweet near-chrome Hen!

Ok, broke the Salmon Skunk!

Chief is whackin' away at the water.

We're just all lookin on as Chief works the water like a madman.

Chief's youthful exuberance pays off with his 8th fair salmon of the day!

A not-so-long distance release...we'll count it for Chief!

HDS of works the seams of the slower water.

I guess HDS wanted to see what the water was like above the falls.

Took a while but fair #2 came in while HDS was on the opposite side of the river.

CLUTCH King...landed this fresh hen with about 5 minutes of legal fishin' time to spare! She wasn't long, but man she was FAT and heavy..possibly as much as 20 lbs.!

10-10-04 - How many more days am I gonna have to fish the Milwaukee?!

Waters Fished: Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: 3/9 fair + a few fouled
Outing Date: 10-10-04
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, Smallmouth Bass
Pattern Fished: Eggs Eggs Eggs
Pattern Color: Red and Yellow eggs worked best today
Fishing Quality: Good

Yes, another day spent on the Milwaukee, the only river down here with REAL flow! Took my time again gettin' to the I arrived around 11:00 AM, just in time for Lunch! All sorts of folks were out, Gerry Greene was gettin' off the water. Bruce, Kevin, David and the rest of the gang were finishing up. Rich was there with Chief...they were preparing for the afternoon.

After lots of eating and a stop at the Wendy's (real facilities) I made my way upstream to find Chief and Rich...they were working a riffle and had spotted a fish. Chief tied into the bruiser, but overall fish numbers weren't so hot here. Then again, downstream areas were totally fish deprived; as FAT put it "Everyone was puttin' fish on stringers this morning".

I stuck around a good 30 minutes after Rich and Chief headed back downstream; there were a few males beating on each other in the pool, as well as a jack that kept surfacing. I had secret hopes that this pool might hold a steelhead or brown, so I worked it patiently.

My line jumped and I set back hard...out of the water flew a tiny fish. ANOTHER SMALLMOUTH! I'm guessing that they were recently stocked or something; I can't recall any other season where I've tied into smallies, let alone just about every time I was out. They're definitely into all the food the spawning salmon are leaving behind!

Back downstream I met up with FAT and Chief...Chief, the chronic smack talker that he is let me know that his largest was 20lb and he had landed 6 or 7 at that point. I had hoped that maybe Sunday would be the 10 fish day, but between the reports from earlier anglers and what I could see now, that wouldn't be likely. I was lucky if I saw 10 fish the entire time I was down there.

FAT did manage a nice fresh hen, I did manage to get a Salmon (so I was now "officially unskunked"...glad I didn't have to count a 6" smallie as my only fish). Around 3:00 or so, we found ourselves standing in the water, talking to some other anglers, watching Chief pound the water. This kid was ON FIRE! He'd drift, move, cast, drift, move, cast, drift. He kept it up for at least 15 minutes. He really wanted one more fish before they'd be heading home.

I'm glad to report that Chief did get #8...had it to his hands but just couldn't quite tail it. Another angler was standing by him, talking to him, perhaps offering help, but Chief would have none of it. On his third or fourth attempt at tailing the fish, the egg popped out and the fish started going downstream. Chief gave chase for a few steps but then realized he wasn't going to catch his fish.

I was pretty much feelin' beat down and done...glad to have landed a salmon, good enough for me. We all made our way back up to the parking lot and I thought that was gonna be the end of my day. Not so - Heath Sershen was just arriving and getting ready to head down.

I figured maybe we should go look at the falls...afterall it couldn't be any worse than what we had encountered downstream on the gravel. Heath was up for it, so I parted ways with the FAT Tribe and headed upstream with Heath.

I couldn't tell from the Parking lot if we were in for a zoo or not...walking down the stairs I was shocked to see there was almost no one out fishing. SWEEET! Heath and I set up, only two guys drifting the near riffle.

In short order I tied into one and got schooled...saw my backing and then the flies popped out. Heath caught that whole fight on video (I think). After that, I guess HDS figured he'd check out upstream and the other side...he mentioned he wanted to take a fish home to smoke for his friends.

So, I was high-sticking and for a while not having much luck. I knew that as evening approached things would get better.

Early on I did manage to tie into a nice king and land it fair...the whole time I'm playing charades with HDS across the river, making the motion of smoking a cigarette, then pointing to the fish, then thumbs up / thumbs down? Meanwhile Heath is making some strange movement with his hands flailing out in front of him, moving upwards, as if to say "I don't know". It took a bit but then I realized he was asking me to hold the fish up so he could get some vid/pics from across the stream!

As evening came on I started losing many fair fish; I could clearly see kings, most large and all fresh, pushing into the shallow riffles below the falls, trying to figure out what would be the best way to breach this barrier. The snaggers happened to move in to; not to mention a kid who was casting from shore with something that looked like a treble hook with a safety pin holding a 4" Mr. Twister onto the hook. Worst part? He was literally standing on shore, casting all the way across the falls, through a 10' gap between me and the guy to my right. UM.

Yeah, so eventually the hookups starting getting real frequent as the last of the direct sunlight left the water's surface. The fish started stacking in thick. It took a while to get Heath's attention but eventually he got the drift and crossed back over. I'm not sure how, but for most of the evening Heath didn't even seem to bump into a fish even though half the time they were literally at his feet.

It was just about that "last cast" when I tied into yet one more fish, a big fat fresh hen who came up head shaking. I had switched up to 15 lb. for my tippet, tired of abrading and loosing my rigs on the rocks or on fish. I had switched over these last two weeks to Pline Flourocoated 8lb vs. Pline FlouroCarbon 8lb. the Flourocoated isn't nearly as good for trib fishin; it abrades fast and turns kinda "milky" from running over rocks and such. Anyway, the 15lb. made things a bit easier, and my last fish came to shore in the dark, about 5 minutes before the end of legal fishin' time.

As we were walking out, it looked like folks might again be "extending" their fishing past the legally allotted time. I can thankfully say that right before the end, it looked like just about everyone was packin' up and calling it a night.

So what started out as a so-so day ended up as a not-too-shabby-but-you-had-to-work-for-it kinda day ;)

Keep your eyes on Heath's site, there should be some video soon!


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