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3-29-05 - as I'm heading east on A my jaw drops with the first look at sunrise.
First fish for Karl! Only an Adipose clip, and no maxillary clips, so whatever else was clipped had grown back.

3-29-05 - Just one of those days...

Waters Fished: Pike River, Root River
Fish Caught: 7
Outing Date: 3-29-05
Weather: Sunny
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.

A huge buck well above 10lbs., unclipped, likely Chamber's Creek strain, is #2. For anyone who thinks we're flossing fish...check out the hookset. The massive buck is released, like all our steelies should be, to be caught again.
I saw a small fish feeding behind a redding pair and thought it was a brown...Karl caught it with a white egg...it was a 12"+ steelhead...perhaps even still a smolt? Another chunky buck for Karl...finclips point to this one being a Ganaraska??? A huge unclipped FOOTBALL of a hen was enough to have Karl consider taking a break.

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 picture.

5 or 6 casts in I nailed this fine female ARLEE (confirmed by left pectoral and adipose clips).
(copyright © Karl Kaufman 2005)

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 dinker!

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 is leaving before noon and he has yet to break in the new centerpin I built for him. Karl battles a hefty fish on the pin...

There it is, another 10lb.+ fish for Karl...this one likely a Skamania. [came back after the fact, this is in fact a Chamber's Creek Strain which makes a lot more sense - left max clip + adipose]. Also happens to be the first fish landed on Karl's new centerpin!

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 Runs!

Went to the Root primarily to check out the weir.

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.

    FLASH VIDEO of the wier's holding tanks! Approx. 2.5 MB?

 

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