11-11-04 - Let's get some browns!
Waters Fished: Root River, Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: 0 that were "worthy"
Outing Date: 11-11-04
Air Temp: 50's
Water Temp: Root N/A, Milwaukee 46F
Water Level: low, Root - 20 cfs, Milwaukee 250 CFS
Water Color: Root Murky, Milwaukee very clear
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Coho Salmon, King Salmon
Pattern Fished: mostly eggs
Pattern Color: the gamut
Fishing Quality: I simply could not catch a break!
I met up with Randy (Mr. Freelancer) to put in some time on the
Root. Oh, did I mention FAT was there too? He had already landed
brown #1 before we even got there!
We started our day downstream in Island Park...several browns were
running around. I managed to have a fair hook with a real nice Seeforellen
Male, about 4lb., until he flung it from his mouth. Shortly thereafter
he showed up again, and this time I landed him...FOULED. That's
how we know he was about 4lb. and a Seeforellen though...the finclip
confirmed that. No pictures of fouled fish, that's the rule, although
he was simply breathtaking.
Fat had already long since departed; Randy came back and worked
the far side of the pool while I worked in closer to the tail. In
there was a massive brown, easily 20lb. just sitting there, along
with a VERY VERY crusty King sitting right there next to it. I kept
drifting, pleading with the fish gods not to get the king. Of course,
FISH ON - NASTY CRUSTY 50% WHITE King Salmon. Beggers can't be
chosers but there's just some things you shouldn't accept no matter
how desperate, and this fish was one of them. I dropped the rod
tip and snapped off. A few drifts later I spooked off the big brown,
and we pretty much were done.
Randy and I opted to head upstream of Colonial - a few anglers
were out so we pushed upstream in search of fish. Once I found some
sparring buck cohos, I stopped dead and had the river to myself.
Turns out there were several Coho in the fast little chute. I hooked
most every fish fair at least once, and ALL threw the hook. Well,
the hen that was callin' all the boys in...I could've landed her,
but I specifically DID NOT as I wanted her to keep bringing in the
I think the highlight was when I was fishing with an audience -
behind me was a group of 25+ kids who were out for a field trip
that day. I lost yet another fair hooked fish right in front of
Upstream, Randy got a hen, and a couple other cohos. He said he
saw a steelie, but I can't confirm that as one of the fish he thought
was steel was actually the Coho he's holding in the picture above!
Randy DOES know his fish..the water was dirty...it was an honest
Back downstream we stopped at the wier all too briefly just to
see what was going on. The dam blocks were gone...the fish have
full unimpeded access to the river up to Horlick.
What to do? Well, FAT had a couple clients the next day...I was
like 0/12 (I do NOT count the nasty crusty Coho I landed fair)...let's
go check out the Milwaukee.
First stop was Kletzch Park...not a lot of folks here but more
than anywhere else on the river that day. We made it all the way
across the falls without sighting a single fish; it wasn't until
we got to deep water that fish started appearing.
My first sighting was an airborne fish - from the quick glimpse
I caught it was probably a steelhead but I simply cannot be sure
enough to say it WAS a steelie. Especially since for the rest of
the afternoon, all we saw were Cohos and one or two nasty kings.
As the afternoon wore on, I found myself working the fast water.
I had a couple fish on the backside, all off rather quickly. On
the frontside, in the middle of the riffles I was simply randomly
swinging when my line took off across the river. Whatever was on
the end simply took off like a rocket, turned and left my hook behind.
Never saw it - sure fought like a steelie....or a fresh king...heck
it could've been a brown or a carp. The SPEED at which it took off
does suggest steel; I just can't be sure as I never saw a thing.
Randy wasn't having any better luck, so we decided to try greener
pastures. Downstream proved to be almost a waste of time...nothing
was going on at Estabrook until we arrived at the gravel. Here again,
a few old kings, actually one or two still golden and relatively
fresh, but overall not much going on. I spent much of my time trying
to land a single Coho that sat off to the side; I was desperate
for a clean fish to truly break the skunk.
As darkness kicked in, seemingly out of nowhere the browns appeared.
Not tons of them, but easily a half dozen who sat up on the gravel
tail of a run, just ahead of the riffles. Spawning and sparring
commenced...and we were left with precious few minutes to get them.
Randy hooked up and brought in a good 10+lb. male...only once we
had it to shore did we learn it was a "header"...not fair.
I tried my luck without so much as a hookup.
Not being quite sure when legal fishin' time ended, we went with
what I've found to be safe...if you can't see your line on the water
it's time to go - that usually happens about 2-5 minutes before
the true end of legal fishin' time. It rolled around as a couple
browns swam past.