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3-16-05 - scouting out the upper Pike.
It's beautiful water...
...fishless water.
There are some places up here that could use some bank stabilization.
Downstream on the Pike, what used to be close to the final "resting spot".
No fish or signs of spawning activity despite a good amount of gravel for any interested fish!
Once again, a cold evening spent at the Root, hoping for fish.

3-16-05 - More Scouting...

Waters Fished: Pike River, Root River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 3-16-05
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: 30's
Water Temp: 41F on the Pike, 36F on the Root.
Water Level: normal
Water Color: blue/green, visibility 1-2 feet - Root was brown, vis. 1-2 foot.
Fish Species: Steelhead?
Pattern Fished: Glo Bugs
Pattern Color: Orange and Chartruese
Fishing Quality: Desolate

OK, so with the removal of the KCC dam on the Pike, we're lookin' at an entirely different fishery. Yes, the cat's out of the bag..I've known since my Jan trip to the Pike...well now it's written up in every local newspaper and rag, so I might as well acknowledge it. It's my opinion that since steelhead stocking levels have not really changed, in fact they've DROPPED, the Pike is NOT going to be a truly prime spot for spring steelhead fishing. Now they have at least 4 times more water to spread out in. Think about it.

Now, fish always made it up past that dam, but not in huge numbers. The upstream stretches were always a place of solitude...sure there weren't many fish but there weren't many anglers. I've fished upstream of the dam on several occassions despite some anglers persistence that it wasn't legal to do so (one check of the reg maps should have assured everyone that it WAS legal...whether there were fish was another matter).

Well, I figured that without this downstream barrier, we *might* find more fish upstream than in years past. So far, this isn't holding true. Water temps are warmer upstream, but by the time the water gets down low, it slows and cools in our still wintery nights. I suppose this is keeping most fish downstream, preventing any upstream movement.

So far things are bearing out as I have anticipated...fish are still stopping at spots further downstream, doing their business and leaving. While spending a couple afternoon hours scouting the upper sections of the Pike I managed nothing other than a small fish that shook free before landing....perhaps a smolt but equally or even more likely a creek chub!

I bumped into Ken F., he was out having a look as well and although sighting something the day prior, this day turned out to be an upstream dud. When the fish aren't upstream, they have to be downstream.

Down at A&13th I got out and checked the usual gravel spots for any sights of redding fish...water temps are there but the fish are not! It was nice having the place to myself, but again why fish where there aren't any!

The Root would be my final destination for the evening...with around 120,000 steelhead smolts stocked each year (vs. the 3-6k the Pike gets) you can bet safe money that a 5 mile river with 120,000 smolts is going to see better returns than a 30 mile river with only 3-6,000 fish looking to call it home.

Surprisingly, the Root was once again 36F, relatively cold for fish movement. I changed back up to drifting spawn in the deeper bends, hoping to connect. Once again, I came up short!

Moving downstream from Lincoln, I encountered MANY brown trout smolts. Can't really count those as fish as well, they're under 10" and around in the thousands. I know some anglers will be tempted to target them on a slow day, but I hope you'll see the advantage in not giving up when out for steelies....it can be the difference between a 1 fish day and a 0 fish kind of day (as witnessed yesterday)!

  MP 

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