4-11-05 - MP heads out with the FAT TRIBE on "Opening
Waters Fished: Root River, Menominee River
Fish Caught: 2/11 personally
Outing Date: 4-11-05
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny.
Air Temp: Rising easily into the 60's if not 70's.
Water Temp: Root - 56F. Menom. - 58F
Water Level: Root - 150 CFS and falling, Menominee 35 CFS and falling
Water Color: Root was dirty, visibility around 1' - Menominee clear
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: Red worked best...bigger the better.
Fishing Quality: Excellent once I got the hang of it.
I don't remember why but I slept in...I believe
Rich's meeting time with his fellow Fat Triber's was something like
3:00 AM AT THE RIVER? Are you guys INSANE?!
Well, I found them out and about - we proceeded
to fish Colonial Park! In short order it seemed like everyone had
hooked up except for me. All morning long they were just slayin'
'em and I mostly watched. I distinctly remember tying into a fish
in fast water, having it throw the hooks on the first leap. While
rerigging, FAT steps in and BAM...fish on.
These three were like men on a mission...they stopped
for nothing other than fish. Meanwhile, I ended up batting cleanup
behind 3 skilled anglers...talk about TOUGH.
Then I got soaked...tried to cross at a spot where
hip boots would normally get you across...I guess the bottom has
changed a bit. So while Rich, Mitch and Matt made their way all
the way up to Quarry Park, I kinda sulked.
Holding back ended up playing in my favor...I started
heading downstream before they did and the tables turned. While
the Fat Tribe went off for lunch I literally went to town.
The following changes were made that REALLY improved
my fishing on this day. First off, I ditched the small eggs altogether...the
water was just too dirty for them yet. BIG was the ticket. Cerise
and Hot Pink were the colors...once the bucks go dark these are
PRIME colors to use. Perhaps the MOST important change was something
I didn't really "DO", but something that just clicked.
At first glance, you'd look at the river and think
the fish weren't sightable. You'd think the only thing to go on
would be fishing likely water and hoping for a glimpse of a fish
making a mistake (i.e. showing it's dorsal or tail on the surface).
Well, on this particular day, in bright sun, there were fish in
ALL the likely spots. Simply staying put, being patient and watching
the water, it all came together. Some of those "rocks"
weren't rocks at all, they were fish. Perhaps the easiest fish to
sight weren't the dark males, but the FRESH HENS that were present...while
most of the water had the usual olive-brown cast, there'd be light
spots that looked blueish. Those were the HENS.
Well my luck changed dramatically for the better
once I no longer had to "cover water" but could actually
target specific fish. I landed a small buck Ganaraska (Both Ventrals
Clipped) who got away without his picture, but the BIG fish, a 30"+
dark buck in "double stripe" coloration sat just long
enough for me to capture him digitally.
Oh, and then there were the other NINE FISH I lost.
All fair, all lost on head shakes. After examining my hooks I learned
why REALLY QUICKLY - the lead fly's tip was bent, and the dropper
fly was dull and rounded. Heck, that's a stupid mistake, but I made
it and I paid for it.
Rich, Matt and Mitch all had another stream in
mind for the afternoon, so we regrouped and headed to the Menominee.
Turns out it was OPENING DAY at Miller Stadium...good
luck fishing unless you wanted to pay $$ to park! With a good Milwaukee
map in hand, and several stops, Rich found us another spot to drop
in and fish.
I've fished here before, seen steelhead here before,
and this trip was no different. Right away I had a shot at a nicely
colored buck in fast water...lost him and in the process busted
the tip of my 10' 7wt. on the steel walls behind me. As far as I
was concerned, my day was done.
I hung out a bit longer to take a temperature and
some photographs. The river was simply FULL of suckers...heck you'd
step on them just wading. I departed knowing we'd all had a great
day...later on I learned that a couple more steelies were landed
on the Menominee. If you can look past the ultra-urban landscape,
it may be a great place to fish...relatively speaking we had it
to ourselves (and the hundreds of onlooking baseball fans). I can
tell you this much, there are certain folks who fish this river