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
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
river...today 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.
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
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!