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12-15-04 - Above, an unclipped steelhead. Below, a male Arlee Strain Rainbow Trout.
(Copyright © 2004 Richard Brown)

12-15-04 - "That's a double..."

Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 2/3
Outing Date: 12-15-04
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: lower 30's
Water Temp: 35.5F
Water Level: Root 25 CFS? Gauge is freezing and unreliable...likely in the 60-70 cfs range.
Water Color: muddy, visibility less than 12"
Fish Species: Steelhead, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Egg Flies
Pattern Color: 2 on red, 1 on hot orange, both #10s
Fishing Quality: Surprisingly Good

Between leaky waders, errands and all sorts of obligations, I managed to make a detour between Chicago and Lake Como...Racine! I arrive late in the afternoon, about 4:00 PM. Despite everyone's insistence that Colonial Park was simply THE place to be, something was tugging me towards a familiar riffle at Quarry Park.

10 minutes in, my line stopped and I came back to set the hook on what I presumed would be yet ANOTHER rock. Imagine my surprise when the rock started shaking and then ran downstream! A dogged battle ensued; when it was all over I brought to shore a really nice fish..definitely a male Rainbow. Turns out looking back on that fish the finclips (adipose and pectoral) denote that it was a Male Arlee. This confirmed my suspicions; Arlee's fight like Loopers, which happen to fight like Brown Trout. Lots of head shaking, bulldogging and overall an ornery, but not aerial or acrobatic fight.

10 more minutes went by. I figured that this hole might in fact hold more fish - there was no way to tell - I was definitely fishing blind. Again, as often happens, my line stopped. The hookset that followed produce not one, but TWO flashes of silver. The fish at the end of my line seemed conflicted...that's fish as in the PLURAL usage. I muttered to myself "Holy shit that's a double".

Then the first fish went airborne - bye bye double. The one remaining fish simply went NUTS. It was probably in the air more than the water until it finally calmed down. Cartwheels abound - this fish spent so much time spinning through the air like a figure skater that when I finally landed it, the line had to be unwrapped 6 times before I could get down to the fly. Another steelie, this time yes, an unclipped steelhead.

The last 25 minutes things simply got cold and windy and then finally it was the end of legal fishing time. I left with 2 beautiful steelhead which will be sent to Rich Benedict for replica molding...all in all a very successful 45 minutes - had I been able to continue that would've been a 4 hookups per hour kind of day! It was definitely grounds for heading out again in the early AM with Rich and Gerry.

After dark I headed downstream to break out the spotlight and see how things were in Lincoln Park. To my surprise, within 2 minutes I had sighted 3 brown trout holding in slower water..including one massive fish that easily was in the 20-25 lb. class, possibly even a 30! I'm telling you, it was simply a HUGE, FAT, FRESH brown trout. It's almost a shame we can't night fish....


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