9-18-05 - Pere Marquette, take two.
Waters Fished: Pere Marquette River
Fish Caught: 0/2
Outing Date: 9-18-05
Weather: Cool, Cloudy
Air Temp: probably 50's
Water Temp: 58?
Water Level: 380 CFS
Water Color: slightly stained, visibility 3'+
Fish Species: King Salmon
Pattern Fished: Eggs, Dragon's Tooth, Clouser Minnow
Pattern Color: the gamut!
Fishing Quality: frustrating
Yes, we DID get started EARLY! The plan was to
be heading back to Chicago around 10:00 AM. After some discussion,
we decided to try a 2nd access farther downstream - perhaps this
would be better.
I turned out that this was definitely "a spot"
- a few cars were already parked when we arrived. After night-hiking
down to the river and going past a few bends, turned around and
came back to our initial spot where we had already sighted a king.
I guess this will do!
As the light came up, we started seeing a fish
here and there. All Kings, all sizes of Kings. The fish would come
out of a deep eddy pool and shoot over a gravel flat before entering
the bend and continuing upriver. I initially set up right on that
gravel flat, knowing that I'd only have a couple shots at any active
fish before they were gone.
Each time a fish passed, it would stop and check
out a old redd, then cut across stream and rest on the tailout of
the bend. I really had to work my casts, as the water was fast and
deep relative to anything we fish in WI! John was working a cut
in the riffle downstream and let out a surprised yell when a king
literally swam right into him.
Finally it happened, I plunked a cast straight
down and watched it drift, high-stick nymphing my offering downstream.
My flies met a vicious demise when they were hammered by a King.
It took off upstream, fighting both my line and the current. I swallowed
the lump in my throat and did my best to put the brakes on 'em,
but somehow the King made his way up to a submerged log.
John came running up with the net, pretty much
in time for me to announce that I was no longer connected to the
fish, but instead to the log. RATS. 0/1.
Meanwhile, Gerry had taken a digger upstream. I
guess he wanted to work on his backstroke, but after deciding the
water was too cold he had gone back to the car to change. Gerry
missed the whole thing!
Gerry came back, borrowed my camera and directed
us to the swirling pool of kings below us. It was now getting bright
and the fish were definitely visible. One by one they'd peel off
from the group and shoot upstream. John crossed to get a better
angle on them; I came down a bit and tried to run deep with clousers,
glue eggs, whatever I could get to sink the most!
By 9:00 AM, the tornado of fish in the pool before
us had disappated - all that remained was a king or two that would
occasionally show himself, teasing us. Tired (worn out) from the
constant casting, I took a break and then moved upstream. Thinking
it was time to call it a day, I suddenly spotted a king in a deep
pocket under a tree. GAME ON.
I almost fell into the water and figured I'd spooked
the fish, but after a minute of getting my bearings she was indeed
still there. What gave her away was her flashing..the redding activity
of female salmon. Behind her was a lone male. GAME ON!!!!
I put about a dozen flies in the trees trying to
cast to my target. Eventually I hooked the female. Not what I was
hoping for. The general rule, try to get the bucks first, the female
will attract MORE fish. I popped off the female and got back to
Then it happened. A couple boats came down from
upstream. I thought I was pretty visible and assumed they'd give
me plenty of room. Instead they drifted RIGHT OVER the fish I was
working. The guys in the boat made a remark as they passed to the
effect that, "Dude, you're in the spot, there's fish zooming
right past you!". DUDE, those WERE the fish I was FISHING before
your boats spooked them.
Totally PO'd at this point. I should have gone
ahead and landed the hen. I came back to find Gerry with his knee
now swollen from the digger, and John, pretty worn out at this point
too. 9:30 AM - we'd get an early start back to Chicago.
I *may* be back - while this isn't my kind of stream,
Renee would have absolutely LOVED the PM.