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3-18-05 - started low on the Root, not much happening!
Who HOO! Nice long chrome hen on the Pike, around 10lb.
A closeup of this hen!
Back to back steelies, this time a colored up buck, also around 10 lb.
A closeup of the buck.
Drove by the harbor...it's open, but no fish breaking the surface today.
For the bird watchers on the site, what kind of ducks are these?! Two folks have written back to ID them as Greater Scaup (Broad Bills) or Lesser Scaup (Blue Bill).

3-18-05 - Bang up day for the Centerpin!

Waters Fished: Root River, Pike River, Kenosha Harbor
Fish Caught: 2/2 or 3?
Outing Date: 3-18-05
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: 30's
Water Temp: Pike 38F
Water Level: coming up...
Water Color: Root Brown, vis less than 1'. Pike Blue, visiblity 1-2 feet.
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Spawn (Coho Skien)
Pattern Color: Chartreuse Mesh
Fishing Quality: an Improvement.

Another day on the water, this time in anticipation of a "guided" trip that I currently can't charge for. Oh well, such is life with the DNR (turns out their CC processing has gone down...thus the holdup). Anyway, this was my pre-trip scouting day for a day to be spent on the water with Ken S....first things first I gotta find the fish!

Well, I started out on the Root, again the most likely spot to encounter fish this spring as returns will be dictated, at least partially, by the number of fish put in in 2002 and 2003 (yes, if you watch wier data, the 2 highest years for returns are 2 years and 3 years prior to the year you're currently fishing).

So much for the "productive" Root...lots of folks were out, my conservative estimates would put it at 30 people in Lincoln, Brose and Island Park on a Friday. The crowds are starting to form.

Anyway, I never got to fish my favorite holes as there were 3-4 anglers there at all times. No biggie, I went downstream a bit and had the place to myself on an equally good spot. As my float went downstream time and time again, I wondered if I'd even hit a smolt though. Well, shortly before I left, the float went down, I set the hook, felt one "shake" of resistance and the rig came shooting out of the water. Could have been a fish, or just as likely could've been a STICK. With that kind of luck, I decided the Root wasn't ready to play today.

On down to the Pike, arriving around 4:00 PM on a deep slow bend down low. Minutes into my fishing the float went down twice...quick tapping strikes like you'd usually see from a small fish (aka. smolt) and then went under in a solid tug. Even though I expected a smolt, I set the hook.

What followed was a hard charging battle between me and a chrome steelie...so much for the smolts. I palmed the centerpin's spool to provide some drag as this fish made screaming runs upstream. It'd turn around, come towards me and I reeled like a madman to keep tension on the fish...only to have it turn around and make another blistering run upstream. As I palmed the rim, the handles were tapping my hand...one unscrewed and fell right off into my hand as this fish made yet another charge upstream.

Clamping down on the reel, I put the handle in my pocket and got back to the business of fighting. When I finally got the fish to shore, she made one more dash deep before giving up. There on the mud and sand laid a stunning female chromer, no clips, around 10lb. Pictures were shot and she charged back into the water no worse for wear.

Just a few drifts later, my float again was working down the outside bend when it slowly laid down. Typically, these types of takedowns are snags on the bottm. I hadn't hit bottom yet though, so once again without too much thought I set the hook hard and was again tied into a large fish. It instantly broke the surface long enough to see that it was big and dark...my first thoughts were a brown. Although a less enthusiastic battle, also leading me to believe I had tied into a brown, what came to shore was a fully colored buck. No clips again, and around 10lb!

As the light started to fade I pulled up off the Pike...I figured 2 fish was ample for my pre-guide scouting trip. I swung by Kenosha Harbor to check out the ice conditions. Despite what I had been reading online, the main harbor was completely open, no ice, and full of waterfowl. Satellite data indicates the water is still quite cold though, around 33F.

  MP 

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