4-16-05 - Looperpalooza - Day 2
Waters Fished: Sucker Creek, Silver Creek, Gooseberry
River, Baptism River
Fish Caught: 2
Outing Date: 4-16-05
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Air Temp: Up to the 50's & 60's
Water Temp: 40's
Water Level: normal
Water Color: clear on all streams
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Egg Patterns and Egg Sucking YARN!
Pattern Color: Black with a Red Head was the ticket
Fishing Quality: Fair
I'm still in disbelief that on Day II of Looperpalooza,
Renee actually woke ME UP to go fishing. Yup...we were on the River
just as the sun was starting to rise; in MN the tribs open an HOUR
before sunrise. Don't forget to read the reports by our Looperpalooza
Host, Red Hat, on the WWPD
Online - 4-16-05 - after reading this one!
There were again loads of anglers on the Sucker
and a fair amount of fish around. Again, the action wasn't quite
as intense as last year's early morning bite. And again, there were
the guys from the
Hawg Trough on their same little spot of the river simply whackin'
I can't even say that I really hooked a fish this
morning...it always seemed like they were just out of reach. Either
they were too deep, too far, or closer to someone else who just
happened to be fishing them. Something about this morning just felt
"too crowded". Meanwhile Freda and Fat were taking a nice
easy morning rest back at the cabin.
Well, around 8:00 AM it was time to go back and
get them. Freda was interested in seeing some waterfalls, Rich was
interested in seeing new water, and well I knew how to accommodate
both. With all the crowds of people back at the Sucker, I wondered
if perhaps posting my reports last year had anything to do with
the increased angling pressure this year. Although days after our
return, I brought this up to Rich. As he put it, "Any river
with a [30 car] PARKING LOT next to it is hardly a secret".
Good point Rich.
We decided to mosey our way up the shore in search
of less crowded water. Red Hat, B and Fly Boy followed suit and
headed to the Stewart. For us, there were a bit too many cars in
the lot, so we headed for Silver Creek. With only one car at the
road side, this would be relatively free of other anglers.
I can sum up Silver Creek pretty easily - it's
a great looking stream, has a really nice barrier fall, and was
devoid of fish on this day. We hiked in and hiked back out almost
as quickly. Upon returning to the road we were greeted with our
fellow angling companions...the Stewart was a bust too.
Renee and I had until around 3:00 PM before we'd
have to return to the cabin to meet up with her parents who came
up from the Twin Cities. We debated hitchin' a ride back down the
shore to fish the mouth of French Creek, but after some further
consideration opted instead to keep pressing northeast.
The next stop was an obvious one - Gooseberry Falls
on the Gooseberry River. We bypassed some water I'd like to check
out, i.e. the Encampment River, Crow River and a couple others.
After stopping to check out Gooseberry Falls (I'd already seen them)
we went downstream and scouted for fish.
While we did see an angler walk up with a looper,
things were otherwise really slow. It was pretty, and apparently
there was some good fishing to be had. For once, we were actually
hot, sweating, and ready for a break. The car ride up the shore
would do us some good. After a lunch stop at a tiny pizza joint
off the main highway, we resumed traveling up the shore until we
arrived at the Baptism River.
We had to pay a reasonable park fee to gain access
to easy parking and restrooms. Rich had the map, and took us for
a short jaunt through the park trying to find a good access point.
We ended up returning to a downstream parking spot, and Rich and
Freda made their way into the canyon. Renee and I were both pretty
drained...she got in a good nap. I tried, but after 10 or 20 minutes
I just had to get out and look around.
WOW. I don't need to describe it, just to show
you a bunch of pictures. This is a stunning river. While we didn't
connect with ANYTHING here as well, this is DEFINITELY a place I
want to return to. I'm glad it's a state park - it'll be protected
in the years to come.
I made my way down into the canyon...hardly the
hard hike I had anticipated (although going back up was a bitch!).
I worked a large, heavily weighted clouser minnow through the deep,
fast water in the hopes of getting a strike. No luck. After casting
both the lake and river for a while, Rich finally succumbed to temptation
and asked to cast the bamboo.
After spending some time on the Baptism we turned
back and made the drive all the way back to the cabins. Not too
long after, Pat and Craig showed up to give Renee a break from all
this fishin! I wish they would've stayed longer...it's not like
either Renee or myself get to see them very often.
While Renee and her folks explored downtown Duluth,
I returned to my mission...I still haven't landed that Bamboo Fly
Rod Steelie yet! We got back to the Sucker in advance of the evening
push of fish and picked our positions. After watching Justin, Justin's
Dad and Jason relatively hammer the fish for the past 24 hours,
I was pleased to find their spot deserted for the moment. I slid
in and started fishing.
The move paid off once the three anglers returned.
All weekend we'd been fishing micro eggs, a standard for pressured
fish. However, if I was to gauge accurately, these three Hawg Troughers
were definitely outfishing us. I finally broke down and asked what
they were using. Easy - Egg Sucking Leaches.
I looked through my flybox knowing full well that
I didn't have many large patterns with me. I did however, have small
red micro eggs and big black looped yarn flies. Now, depending on
your interpretation of MN law, it may or may not be legal to fish
a dropper. Some anglers do, some don't. The most official answer
I ever got from the MN DNR was that in essence you need to fish
a one fly rig. Now, last year the Conservation Officers didn't say
a word about my 2 fly rig, but I prefer to be on the safe side of
the law, so I'm fishing a single fly.
So what to do? I took one of the micro eggs in
my hemostats and clamped down on the bend. I bent the hook back
and forth until the steel finally gave way, leaving me with a small
red ball on a steel shaft. I tied this on. IMMEDIATELY following,
leaving only the slightest millimeter of line behind the dismembered
red glo bug, I tied on the black looped yarn fly. Viola - INSTANT
Egg Sucking YARN Fly. Justin chuckled.
And of course, wouldn't ya know it, within a couple
drifts I was connected to a steelhead. It was a VERY hard hit...so
hard I didn't even have to really set the hook...so hard it jerked
the rod forward. I took a while to land the fish - I believe it
was Jason who came to my aid. After a few photos, a nice hen was
put back in the pool. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
We all fished for a bit and had varying degrees
of success. Neil got to partake in a Sucker River 100 yard sprint
as a looper took him down to the lake. Seeing one of your angling
buddies do this is always classic!
Meanwhile Rich and Freda had disappeared; shortly
thereafter Red Hat came down to tell me it was time to head to dinner
at the Looper Lounge - we had reservations. I put in a few more
casts before giving in to the fact that I HAD to go. The only member
of our angling party who was still around was Flyboy.
I started to cross the stream in a shallow spot
when there, right between me and my exit point on the far bank,
lay a looper. Now, there's NO WAY I'm going to just walk through
a fish just so I can get to dinner on time. NO WAY.
I drift my egg sucking yarn in front of her. A
gaping white maw appeared and in went my fly. I sent the hook and
it popped out. She simply sat there. What?!
A few casts later and my drift was dead on again.
There goes the chewing motion, a dead giveaway that my fly has been
taken in. Again, I set the hook. After a brief tug, my fly pops
out. WHAT THE HECK?!
A third time my fly is hammered, and a third time
it pops out. I check my hook...is it broken or something? Not only
is it not broken, it isn't bent, and it is ANYTHING but dull. What
is going on here.
A few more casts later and yet again, she hasn't
learned, she simply wants to eat this fly. She moves forward and
inhales it. I am so pissed off that without thinking I simply stick
it to her like I'm fishing with a 2 X 4. FISH ON!
She simply goes nuts, running upstream, downstream,
across stream, anywhere in the stream as long as it's away from
where I'm standing. Now that she's gone from that spot between me
and shore, I make my way over to where Dan is standing.
The battle rages for several minutes before she's
finally subdued on shore. And again, a couple quick photos are taken
and back she goes to be caught again.
We're definitely late for dinner...we still have
to stop at the Cabins as Flyboy needs to change some clothes. I'm
wondering what the heck happened to FAT and Freda - they have my
shoes in their van. And where is Renee?
During the wait and drive to the Looper Lounge
I had some time to reflect on exactly what had happened with that
last hen looper. It all became very clear. Bamboo is SOFT. It's
VERY flexible. It has a LOT of give. It is a VERY good shock absorber
and dampener. DOH'! That's when it clicked. When compared to the
graphite I'm usually fishing, this new bamboo rod absorbs much more
of the hookset force than a graphite rod will. No WONDER I've been
missing all my fish.
After a good dinner at the Looper Lounge, we all
reconvened and got to tying. I wasn't going to be without a ESL
type pattern for tomorrow and I passed that info around. Sure, I
had been hooking fish, but by comparison to the prior day and half,
the egg sucking yarn worked far better.
I won't even tell you what pattern was hot the
next day after tying up all those egg sucking yarn flies. Well,
I will say that just knowing how things go, you can bet the hot
fly was NOT the egg sucking yarn. Go figure.