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2-26-05 - My first little steelie of 2005 in WI!
Another look at that steelie - looks like a skamania as it has no maxillary and an adipose clip. Again, that's an older clip, this is more likely a Chamber's Creek.
There are still browns to be had as well.
Renee lands her first Wisconsin Steelie of 2005 - a VERY respectable fish around 7lbs.
Another little buck comes to shore - this time well colored and no clips!

2-26-05 - Wisconsin Centerpin Steel!

Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 6/6
Outing Date: 2-26-05
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: low 30's, dropping around dusk
Water Temp: 32F
Water Level: Relatively Stable at approx. 110 cfs
Water Color: brown, visibility around 1.5 feet
Fish Species: Steelhead, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Spawn
Pattern Color: Chartreuse Mesh
Fishing Quality: Good.

Talk about NONSTOP action - well, OK, not NONSTOP but very good all the same. Renee and I got to the Root around 12:30 PM, and within the first few drifts my float slipped under the surface. When it was all said and done my first WI Steelie of 2005 came to shore. If I'm reading the clips right, it's a Skamania.

A few drifts later, in the same spot, my float disappeared under the water again! FISH ON! This time, a small healthy brown danced at the end of my line. That's something like 2 fish in my first 15 minutes.

OK, so the jist of today was that I opted to drift spawn. Renee had said earlier she wasn't going to fish if there was only a "hope" of "maybe" catching a fish. As many of you well know, ultra-chilled steelies are not that prone to take a fly, so without a doubt today would be the spawn drifting day.

So Renee was rigged up with a smaller float on my spinning rod (the one I normally use for the harbor). I'd already landed 2 fish right next to her...I really, really wanted her to get into the game. While watching her drift, her chartruese float dipped under the water and she set the hook. A massive swirl underneath the surface followed by her float shooting towards us on the bank....I got to see the back of this fish as it turned downstream - a MAMMOTH brown trout in the 20lb. class. My guess is that it busted off at the hookset - most likely a faulty knot by yours truly.

No worries, despite this initial defeat Renee rerigged and got back into the action - I had moved upstream to let her fish the prime lie where I had taken my first two. While not paying any attention, Renee shouted, "Matt, I have a fish!"

I turned to see the rod doubled over, a good sized fish sending throbbing headshakes up to the rod. Worried that this fish might bust off as well, I reached in and loosened the drag. Line came zinging off the reel, so again I tightened it back up a bit. We reached the perfect balance, and after a few minutes Renee worked the fish downstream to our landing spot. WHOOO HOO - a chrome steelie to kick off Renee's 2005 season! I remember it taking me something like a year to land my first in WI. HMM!

After the pictures, Renee headed back to the car to get warmed up - totally understandable as those hip boots aren't exactly well insulated from the cold. Bart had been running around to the north and after hearing of our good luck, arrived on the stream just as I hooked up with my 3rd fish. Another small steelie - this is indeed good fishing!

Then it was Bart's turn. In short order he tied into yet ANOTHER steelhead from the same lie! OK, so that's 7 hits from one little submerged tailout in the river. But then again, not long after, I hit YET ANOTHER buck steelie! 8 fish from one lie - talk about a productive little spot!

Bart gets into the action, battling a fine steelie with his centerpin. Yes! Another good sized steelhead in the 7-8lb class! Bart has broke his day-long skunk! This hen happens to be a Skamania Strain steelheead. Check this out - Bart went to unhook the steelie - then again why unhook a fish that was NEVER hooked in the first place?!
WHAT!? Another dinky steelhead for ME!
(Copyright 2005 Renee K.)
Another look at my 3rd steelhead for the afternoon - those handles are 7" for a frame of reference. ALV Clip - apparently, this is a Ganaraska Strain, but stocked in 2001? Seems REALLY SMALL. Still more fish for MP - this time a CHUNKY, perhaps overweight little brown smolt. Surprisingly, this fish was a LEGAL fish, just over 10"

After a while we just figured maybe we should try some other good spots...of course they panned out with even DINKIER fish for me, starting off with the chunkly 10" smolt that technically would've been a legal fish to bag. Bart meanwhile was battling the smolts - every so often his float would go down and he'd come up empty handed.

As Bart worked his way down the glide, I again hooked up. Too big to be a smolt, but definitely not a fish that was going to break me off - what's this, another STEELHEAD? It seems that each time I catch one they keep getting SMALLER. This time, the fish was around 12-13". TINY, but not a smolt!

Bart drifts, looking for another fish. WHAT?! Definitely NOT a smolt, but man am I the DINKER KING or WHAT?! A 12" steelhead?! MAYBE 12"?! Renee captured Bart and I looking for yet another hit before the cold would drive us off the river.
(Copyright 2005 Renee K.)

By 4:30 PM the action was almost nonexistent. Renee spent some of her remaining time taking some great pictures of Bart & I fishing (aka. desperately looking for a non-dink fish to end the day on).

Clear evidence of chilly high water conditions earlier in the month!
(Copyright 2005 Renee K.)

Shortly after Renee's departure, Bart and I called it a day as well. Air temps were rapidly dropping. It seemed that our guides were freezing up every few drifts. We tried our honey hole for a few last minutes but eventually it just became apparent that the wintertime addage holds true - the fish are most active MID DAY.


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