2-26-05 - Wisconsin Centerpin Steel!
Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 6/6
Outing Date: 2-26-05
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
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!
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
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!
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).
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