2-22-05 - Trib Fishin' with Bamboo!
Waters Fished: Root River, Oak Creek
Fish Caught: 0/2
Outing Date: 2-21-05
Weather: Cloudy, changing over to Sunny by mid day.
Air Temp: 20's rising to 30's
Water Temp: Root 32F, Oak 35F
Water Level: Root - approx. 150 cfs, Oak Creek - approx. 20 cfs.
Water Color: brown, visibility less than 12" in both.
Fish Species: Steelhead???
Pattern Fished: Glo Bugs
Pattern Color: "FIRE TIGER"! plus oranges, reds, white,
Fishing Quality: still slow.
Yeah, at least today I'll get to fish awhile! I
met up with FAT around
6:15 AM at Horlick - we rigged up, insulated ourselves as best we
could and hit the river. Somehow I was ill prepared, but it was
gonna be a fantastic day.
It started with an offer I simply couldn't refuse
- this offer resulted in my proud ownership of 4 Pine River Bamboo
Fly Rods hand planed and built by Steve Pennington. 3 of them are
6/7wt. trout models...technically woefully underpowered for Salmon
but maybe they'd cut the mustard on a spring run fish. After casting
all night outside at LC, I had pretty much dialed this rod in with
a DT 6. Let me tell you now, casting bamboo is SWEET - it was almost
like my cast was just actually suited to it all along. Better shooting
and tighter loops? Not sure but I don't really think I changed my
casting stroke all that much. This may just be a phenomenal fit!
Well, I was ready for my first trib fish of the
year and was all pumped up to make it a bamboo rod catch. I was
fishing the 'boo' just a bit carefully...I really wasn't sure what
this rod could and couldn't handle. As I wrote to Steve this evening,
"10 or so casts in I tied into what I thought was a rock. Not
wanting to overly stress the rod with our typically "jerk it loose"
reaction, I maneuvered myself to put enough slack on the line to
pull myself free, by hand. I pulled, and the rock began to swim
You never heard so much whoopin' and hollerin'
on the Root River as I battled my first fish on my new bamboo rod.
I let the reel do much of the work, even so the rod was arguably
under some heavy load. Nothing beats the sight of that stick doubled
over like a man suffering from food poisoning!
I had fair control of the fish, but at times couldn't
figure out where he was heading. At one point he swam straight at
me and almost tangled at my feet. Still, I could not see this fish!
From the only glimpse I caught, I was almost convinced that it had
a rather elongated dorsal fin, more like a carp or sucker than any
Meanwhile Rich is downstream coaching my battle.
"Let him run...you're playing him too close...come down here...come
downstream so we can land him". After several SLOW RUNS out
to midstream and then being horsed back again, the fish finally
submitted and came to the surface in front of Rich. "That's
a NICE BROWN!" Rich tried to tail it, only to miss. Figures
on a day like this we'd both opt to go netless. Pop go my flies
as they jump out of the water and come careening through the air
towards me. @#$@#%@#$%
The rest of the morning was pretty quiet. I secretly
hoped this brown would return to his initial resting place - it
was indeed a good spot for fish to hold. If not the brown, maybe
another fish would be there? Meanwhile I watched Rich working upstream
in the riffles...turns out he had sighted a steelhead and was trying
to get to it while it ran upstream. No luck!
Up at the dam face we watched the water churn...I
caught sight of a full blown porpoise but still couldn't tell ya
if it was a brown or a steelie...it all happened so fast. Despite
skilled angling we didn't touch another fish - around 8:15 AM Rich
had to call it a day.
I opted to head downstream and check my honey holes.
Suffice it to say it was a waste of 2 hours. NOTHING.
After thinking about it, I figured I had to head
up to Oak Creek - the water was warmer yesterday so perhaps there's
a better chance of actively feeding fish? As I pulled up, 2 guys
on the first hole literally got up and left it, only to end up sitting
right on the opposite side of the hole I had just started on. No
biggie, to be honest they weren't in the way at all. While they
drifted spawn along the walls, I was working the heads and gut of
the pool. No crossed lines, no harm no foul. They gave up pretty
quickly, while I stuck it out, determined for another hookup.
There would be no such luck until I turned and
hit the first pool. At the edge of fast moving water and a dead
still back eddie I watched my line stop abruptly. I came up to set
the hook, felt one headshake and then my line shot skyward. @#$Q#%^#!
That's the 2nd fish I've missed on the new boo!
I easily fished through noon, chatted with a couple
friendly anglers who were out to scout more than anything else,
as well as tried my luck on basically what could be considered the
entire upper stretches of Oak Creek. I methodically picked apart
every section of every riffle, pool, run and glide and still not
another hit. Once again, my theory of the stung fish returning to
his holding spot did not pan out either! Maybe if I had stuck it
out all day, I may have eked out a fish. With a lot of other work
to be done, it simply wasn't worth it. 0/2 as you know, isn't the
worst kind of day in SE WI. Sadly however, despite coming close,
today was just destined to be a warm-up for the new bamboo.