5-09-05 - Hot Pike and Screamin' Steel
Waters Fished: Lake Como, Oak Creek
Fish Caught: 2/8
Outing Date: 5-09-05
Weather: Overcast, Thunderstorms at times
Air Temp: upper 70's for the highs
Water Temp: Como - 60F, Oak - 58F
Water Level: Como - normal, Oak - approx. 10 CFS
Water Color: less than 6" and GREEN, Oak Dirty, visibility
Fish Species: Northern Pike, Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Flying Bunny, Looped Yarn Eggs
Pattern Color: Bunnies Chartreuse/White and Red/White. Yarn in Red,
Black, Chartreuse and Purple
Fishing Quality: Excellent
I woke up wondering if the Pike were close to shore
and still biting. Rain had come through overnight...part of my mind
was on steelhead. However, when good fishing is literally crawling
distance, it's worth checking out.
It was probably 10:30 by the time I made my way
down to the dock, having tied up some "FLYING YARNS" considering
I had lost my Red/White Bunny as well as a couple others. No bunny
strips were around, but there was PLENTY of yarn from the salmon
and steelhead bag!
Well, it only took 30 minutes to get a strike.
The fish came off on the hookset, so I set the fly back down. Again,
a swing and a miss...whatever tussled hadn't moved far. So again,
I just set the flies back down where I had disconnected and let
them sink. As I pulled back on the line, a hard hit followed. Shortly
thereafter, another Northern Pike came to shore. That was good enough
for me...I had work to do.
Rain swept through again, and I had plans to be
in Chicago by Monday night, so I packed it up and headed east. I
had a few hours to do with as I pleased. Indeed, the nagging thought
of Steelhead returned. Part of me thinks that potential clients
genuinely believe that our steelhead runs were done some 3-4 weeks
ago. There's only one way to prove them wrong.
I found myself heading north instead of south,
and 30 minutes later arrived at Oak Creek. I had the place to myself,
so I rigged up and hiked in. I was going on solid information that
there were fish in on Saturday, so with any luck they'd either still
be in or at the very least, new fish would've come in with the rains.
Well, it didn't look like the rain had done much
of anything to Oak Creek, and now looking at the flow charts it
pretty much DOUBLED the flows....from 5CFS to 10 ;) The water was
indeed LOW but it was SILTY...visibility was only about a foot or
so. I continued hiking downstream, looking for movement in the water,
when the sky broke and it started raining again. I found some respite
under a large tree, and once the rain died down I struck back out
in search of steel.
Moving downstream I crossed to fish one of the
bankhides. As I fished, movement downstream caught my attention...I
whipped around to find a pair of steelhead doin' their thing. I
approached cautiously to get within casting distance....the smaller
fish left the redd but the BIG, DARK fish stayed in place. I laid
out a few off target casts that were enough to spook him upstream
into a pocket pool.
Once in deeper water, I was able to adjust my position
without causing any undue stress. My first 2 drifts connected with
the same dark buck TWICE, each time he reared up, showed his face,
shook his head and threw my flies. I rerigged, convinced he was
still present. Having hit the chartreuse egg twice, I switched to
red and purple. After drifting for arguably 10 minutes and connecting
with nothing, I started to head downstream.
Movement in the deeper water stopped me in my tracks...I
could barely make out a lighter tan spot against the bottom...it
was indeed a steelhead. Thunder rumbled overhead and rain started
pouring again. Thankfully I was fishing Ron's Bamboo, so I wasn't
waving a graphite lightning rod around!
After several uneventful drifts, I changed BACK
to Chartreuse. The first drift was met with a thud as a small chrome
fish, possibly a jack or a small hen, erupted from the water and
threw my flies. What the heck?
So far, 0/3 is not a good way to go and doesn't
prove that the steelies are still around. I sharpened my hooks which
I THOUGHT were sharp enough already. The steelhead I had spotted
was STILL there...the smaller one had been unseen. So I was still
in the right spot. A few drifts with the chartreuse and it made
the chewing movement, trying to spit something out. I set the hook
and felt her weight all too briefly. It was disturbed and moved
upstream 10 feet before settling into the gut of some broken water.
I changed my cast, now somewhat upstream and to
the far side of where it lay. On the 3rd drift the steelhead made
a hard turn and simply KILLED my chartreuse fly in the shallow water.
There was no mistaking that kind of hit..that's what most steelhead
anglers are looking for exclusively. I reared back hard on the rod
and within a minute had her beached. Snapped a burst of 3 pics and
sent her on her way.
I fished a bit longer but honestly, the rain hadn't
let up much and pretty well soaked me through. 1/5 on steelies is
far from a bad day...let alone the fact that it's now the 2nd week