3-29-05 - Just one of those days...
Waters Fished: Pike River, Root River
Fish Caught: 7
Outing Date: 3-29-05
Air Temp: upper 30's, rising to 50's
Water Temp: Root 45F, Pike 42F
Water Level: Root 200 CFS, Pike around 30 CFS
Water Color: both somewhat cloudy, visibility 1-2'
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Egg Patterns, Spawn
Pattern Color: Threw the gamut. Chartreuse Spawn worked, as did
egg patterns in any shade of Red from white to deep red and cerise.
Fishing Quality: FANTASTIC!
After our 5:30 AM start yesterday, I decided we
got to the river a bit LATE. Today's wakeup call...5:00 AM. I pulled
up to the Day's Inn Riverside at Horlick just after 5:00 - Karl
was suited up, ready to go. As we drove to the Pike, the first hints
of a magnificent sunrise showed up on the horizon. This was going
to be a FANTASTIC day...you could just feel it.
What else can I say that the pictures won't tell
you. We simply "tore 'em up" old school style...as Karl
said, "This is the best day of steelheading I've had since
the days before they put in the weir".
It was a no brainer...we went to gravel, got their
early and had the place to ourselves. Karl used the classic tactic
of drifting BEHIND the spawning pairs...there were some deep cuts
that held MANY unsighted fish. In fact ALL of the fish we landed
this morning were sight-unseen at the time of hookup. Karl had banked
5 by 7:30 AM and, for a change, he wasn't worn out from hiking all
day, he was needing a break from all the fish! I remember him exclaiming
how much his arms hurt when I netted #5.
As Karl sat down to take a rest and reflect on
the morning's fish, he invited me to fish. I briefly objected, but
hey, he insisted. 5 or 6 drifts later I connected with a big silver
hen...Karl did a superb job of netting her for me and getting my
After that fish, Karl suggested I go after another.
I declined, saying I'd gotten one fish, which is all I ever really
"need" from a day on the water...this is HIS trip...if
he was ready he should get back at it. There were PLENTY of fish
around until about 8:00 AM...no more willing takers though. It seems
that around 8:00 AM or so, the fish are moving up in the deeper
water for the day.
Karl was *almost* ready to call it a day, but I
insisted we go break in his new
centerpin! We headed to a big slow bend and started drifting....immediately
we had a few takedowns that didn't connect. Karl was THRILLED with
the new rod, commenting how well it was casting compared to MINE
Well, eventually Karl's casts started missing their
marks...as I'd suggested to Karl on our first day together, I've
found that when my cast turns to sh*t it's simply because my body
is getting tired. Yes, when you start casting off your marks, the
best thing you can do is take a break. Rather than both of us just
sit there, Karl insisted I give his rod a shot.
The first hookup didn't pan out..the fish was there
and gone. The 2nd hookup though, I shouted "FISH ON" and
got ready for the handoff. Karl lept up from his comfortable rock,
the rod exchanged hands and the fight was on! At first he caught
a glimpse and felt he could simply bring this fish in...I got a
better look at it and said NO WAY...take your time..this isn't a
Sure enough, we got in a BEAUTIFUL chrome hen...kinda
looked like a Skamania. More pictures were taken...after releasing
the fish I joked about our repeated luck every time Karl decides
I should take the float rod for a minute. It's definitely nothing
I'm doing different...float fishing is all about luck once you get
your offering in the right spot.
Karl was reinvigorated after our fish...he gave
it a good 45 minutes more...suddenly no longer tired. I was extremely
hopeful that he'd get to actually set the hook on a centerpin fish,
but for whatever reason, we didn't have another takedown all morning.
By 11:00 AM, it was time for Karl to head back to Duluth! We parted
ways for now...hopefully Karl will try his hands at our fall King
Not quite sure what to do, I started heading home
but then turned around...I had some time yet and well, I wondered
how things were going on the Root. When I pulled up, it was another
30 angler kind of day...man don't you folks have jobs? ;)
I headed up to the weir...the viewing windows were
open, and holy wow there were more steelhead in there than I've
ever seen (granted last year the windows were closed all season).
I had a great time just sitting, watching, and wondering when they'd
put all these fish back into the river. If someone had asked me
why Lincoln Park was fishing so slow, my answer would've been easy
- they're all IN THE WEIR.