4-01-05 - Part 1 of 2 - 2 days with a "Fly
Guy" and his buddy!
Waters Fished: Pike River, Oak Creek
Fish Caught: 1/2 personally
Outing Date: 4-01-05
Weather: Overcast, then Sunny, then RAIN starting at 1:15 PM
Air Temp: upper 30's, rising to 40's
Water Temp: Pike 40F, Oak n/a
Water Level: Pike around 40 CFS, Oak 20+ and rising
Water Color: both dirtier from recent rains
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Egg Patterns, spawn, waxworms
Pattern Color: Chartreuse was the ticket
Fishing Quality: Surprisingly difficult
So it's April 1st, April Fool's Day, and the start
of one of the busiest times of year - April is historically, without
a doubt, the peak of our Southeast Wisconsin Steelhead runs. I'm
only getting to play catch-up now, April 25th, and hopefully I'll
get 13 days of successful, sometimes fantastic fishing, finally
written up. While I've been in WI, away from my computer, I've been
keeping notes on my phone and at The
Steelhead Site (TSS), the only easy way to keep track of what
now simply blurs together as day after day on the water.
April was kicked off right - Todd Olson of The
Fly Guys Guide Service in SE MN had contacted me earlier in
the year - he wanted to come on down and hit the steelies the right
way. April 1st is historically a date I feel you can count on for
a guaranteed chance at landing some steel, so we planned it out!
Todd and his good friend Cory arrived at my house in the wee hours
of the morning, ready to go! Brian wasn't able to make it, but reminded
me to outfish Todd at any opportunity I got - "remember last
summer" he emailed ;)
As the seasons tend to go, by the time the water
warms and the fly bite starts in earnest, first light is the best
time to be on the water. We were perhaps just a bit behind schedule
- we showed up at the Pike to find FAT, his son Chief and Gerry
Greene already whackin' the fish in the prime spots - we'd have
to take up the secondary spots for now.
Thankfully it was a workday, so around 8:00 AM
or so our fellow anglers had to take off, leaving Cory and Todd
prime access to the fish. While downstream, Cory had briefly tied
into a fish without success. Todd came up to work the tailout of
the bend - a common spot for steelies to congregate in the early
morning hours. 3 hits later and still no luck. While Todd retied,
I tried my luck and lost one two.
As it's been going, a couple hours after sunup
the fish moved deep and the bite literally shut off.
We opted to head downstream to some deeper, slower
spots where fresh fish tend to congregate and can be readily enticed
with bait In other words, we broke out the centerpin and spinning
No such luck...the only thing we had to show for
it was a small brown "smolt" on a waxworm! Even this honey
spot had failed to produce.
Not willing to conceed defeat just yet, we headed
back upstream to look for more steelies that would be on the redds.
Surprise - we found some and promptly proceded to spook them. A
lot of hiking, just a couple spooked fish; this was not what we
were hoping for. We even plyed the deep holding spots - I managed
a hookup (and loss) and that was it. At least the suckers upstream
were providing some fun!
Around 1:15 PM it started to rain - it was time
for lunch. We weren't sure if we'd be rained out or not, so the
best option was to eat and then head north.
Oak Creek was our other stop for the day - my hope
was that the rain would quickly bring the stream up and perhaps
fresh fish would arrive in the evening. The water was already dirty
when we got there!
Clutch time came as sunset and the ensuing darkness
would arrive. We walked the stream, taking turns. Upstream, I FINALLY
broke our collective group skunk with a fantastic fresh hen that
slobbered all over a large chartreuse egg.
Shortly thereafter we spotted a redding hen hiding
in the murk and Todd took his shot. She'd flash, then move, and
in the darkening water Todd had to constantly adjust his drift,
never quite sure if he was on target or not.
As the end of the day approached, Cory hooked up...the
fight was on. When it came in, Cory had landed his first steelhead
on his first day ever fishing a fly rod. Quite an accomplishment
even though she came to shore fouled in the rear quarter section.
Todd came back upstream having hooked up with (and losing) the hen
downstream. For now, it was time to call it a day...we knew where
we'd be fishing tomorrow.