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9-25-05 - Our day starts at the Kewaunee Harbor for a quick snack.

9-25-05 - Wisconsin's "Middle" East Shore Tributaries

Waters Fished: Kewaunee River, East Twin River, West Twin River, Little Manitowoc River, Branch River, Manitowoc River, Silver Creek, Point Creek, Fischer Creek, Sevenmile Creek, Pigeon River, Sheboygan Quarry Lake, Black River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 9-25-05
Weather: Rain
Air Temp: Mid 50's to Mid 60's
Water Temp: n/a
Water Level: low
Water Color: as the day progressed the streams we visited were more and more muddy.
Fish Species: King Salmon, Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Can't really say I "fished" but there was a Flying Bunny on the end of the line.
Pattern Color: Poor

Let me preface today by saying I'm going with a bit of a different format: we ended up basically scouting. The season is upon us and perhaps if you can't deal with the crowds in SE WI, maybe you'll fit in better with the crowds up north. Or perhaps, just as I did on Saturday, you'll find you have the river pretty much all to yourself!

This report will be broken down by river (as there are several of them). Let me disclaim right now - I'm NOT GIVING AWAY YOUR SECRET SPOTS! D'oh - if you recognized the spot, that just means YOU have already fished there. Sorry, but no one's gonna know where to go unless they go find it. So save your hatemails 'cause they're falling on deaf ears. I'm not going to be telling anyone how to get to any of the places I was because, "hello" - all you need is a map, car and some gas! If you've bothered to pick up the Trout Regs, you'd know that all of these streams are pretty darn clearly marked already ;)

The Kewaunee River

So Renee and I were on THE road trip. We found ourselves in the Green Bay area and met up with Matt (FATMAT) and Mitch (SKINNYMITCH) around 7:30 AM on their home waters - the Kewaunee River. Without hesitation we got on the water and WADED downstream, Matt acting as our tourguide. Right off the bat we spotted a King, but overall the pickings were slim to none! It'd be pretty hard to give you a play-by-play account of our morning; probably, mostly, perhaps because we didn't have a shot at a darn thing other than the chubs. What made up for a slow morning of fishing (it's still early in the season) was Matt's superb breakdown of the river for us, right down to pointing out every little spot that looks like it should hold fish (and yet doesn't).

Matt & Mitch, our tourguides.

Our first look at the Kewaukee River.

It's a foggy morning after a rainy night.

We all march downstream looking for fish.

A great 180 degree Panorama of the Kewaunee River in the heart of good fly water. You can view an enlargement by clicking above, OR get the real 3D experience via the viewer!

An idylic spot on the Kewaunee River.

Renee's landed a chub already, thus the "I got more fish than you boys" grin on her face.

Matt methodically works holding water on the Kewaunee.

As you go downstream, the river widens.

Matt turns his back on some frogwater.

Way downstream it was clear that fish were moving in the practically still water.

A few anglers try their luck around "the Jumping Bridge" as I've dubbed it after hearing FATMAT's story.

Time to pack it all back into the Bitchin' Camaro.

All too soon our tour was over and it was time for Matt & Mitch to head to brunch with the family. Renee & I returned to the Citgo on Kewaunee's harbor for a surprisingly good breakfast - Bacon Egg & Cheese Croissant for me, Ham & Cheese Bagel for Renee, Hash Browns AND Potato Wedges all around. Seriously, it was just that good.

After brunch, Renee and I headed back upstream on the Kewaunee; like the Root River of Southeast Wisconsin, the Kewaunee is another DNR "Broodstock" river. This means that like the Root, the Kewaunee has it's own weir. However, that's probably where the comparisons should end - I was simply BLOWN AWAY by the facility, better known as the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility. Rather that write and write and write, I've compiled a quick photographic tour for all of you.

On the road in - we must be in the right place.

Drive past the red brick building on your right.

Park in the lot and walk towards the building!

Welcome to the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility.

Follow the Blue Salmon on the pavement all the way to the dam.

Your first look at the "weir", complete with dam and a natural , scenic fish ladder! You can view an enlargement of this 180 degree view by clicking the thumbnail above, or truly feel like your there by viewing it in the 3D Viewer!

Start with the first plaque as you face the water below the damn. On to plaque #2. OK, let's check out the bypass channel and ladder.
This fish make their way up this small stream that parallels the main river. It's really remarkable how small this channel is!

Like I said, it's really more attractive than the Root River Weir!

There's already some fish moving around in there - can you see them?

The first of a couple "jumps" to pass.

The second jump on their journey upstream.

After navigating the channel and a couple ladders, the fish find themselves in a pool.

There's already a king just itchin' to get upstream.

Guess what else was in the river along with the kings.

A quick note about invasive species.

The Sea Lamprey Barrier prevents these guys from getting to prime spawning ground.

A little bit of information on the Kewaunee River Watershed.

Ah, but the fish have to keep moving up.

Here's a top view of the fishladder.

The viewing window "below" lets you watch the fish as the move up the ladder.

The final destination for these weary travelers - the holding ponds.

Yup, another plaque!

A quick peak inside the egg collecting facility.

Take a note of the date and time - the open house is just a couple weekends away.

One last plaque on the side of the facility.


So there you have it - talk about a step up from the Root River Wier. Or maybe it's just a case of "the grass is greener" - you can't fish for something like 1/4 MILE downstream of the Besadny facility! Now, you're all probably thinking that this is a LONG report and is probably nearing an end. Well...you couldn't be FURTHER from the truth!

A quick look upstream from an access spot along the East Twin River.

Run across the road and look downstream too...no fish here!

East Twin River

We had an afternoon to fish. Renee and I hopped back in the car for one huge mother of all "schemes" - I've been thinking about doing this for a LONG time. It is my goal to at least visit every designated tributary in Wisconsin - the Lake Michigan Shore First. It's a bit tougher than when I did it in PA...there's just a little bit more than 40 miles of shoreline in Wisconsin...just a bit more.

Upon arriving at the East Twin River, we found clear water, probably low. The bottom looked rather silty with many fist-sized pieces of rubble scattered around. A few anglers were milling about. NO FISH HERE (get used to me saying that). I got a few pics and got in the car just as it started to rain.

The first, small channel we found on the West Twin River.

A quick look downstream shows all the mud in the water.

Whoa, what's this?! Wow, this is bigger...

A look downstream on some nice waters of the West Twin River.

West Twin River

By the time we arrived at the West Twin, it was raining hard and the parking lot we found was under at least an inch of water. We waited it out as long as we could. From where we sat, we could see a small dam. Finally I bit the bullet, covered the camera and ran out to get a couple pics.

Drenched and back in the car, we headed on to our next stop but barely made it 100 yards when the Bitchin' Camaro came to a literal screeching halt. WOW. I guess there's more than one channel on this part of the West Twin. Here too we saw a couple anglers braving the rain and conditions, trying for fish. The water was already mud-soup here. A few more pictures were taken and we got on the move...maybe we'd drive out of the rain?

Little Manitowoc River

OK, this one I have to chuckle about. It was raining pretty hard. When they say "Little", they mean "Drainage Ditch". Sure, we found it, found it to be a raging torrent of mud less than 3-4 feet in width. Didn't even bother risking the camera for a picture of this "trib". On to the next stop.

Our first look at the Branch River.

Branch River

Alrighty, so now here is another decent sized river. The rain subsided a bit, but lightning still flashed all around. We basically made some quick dashes finding all the access points and snapping a bunch of pictures.

Being a branch of the Manitowoc River (next up on the list), it's not too surprising that we found some similar structure and river features. Fair amounts of rock & gravel around; the ongoing rains had only clouded this one up partly. Otherwise, the water seemed to have a pretty heavy tannin stain to it. FWIW, I noticed a few signs around the Branch River posted by "Friends of the Branch River Watershed" in conjunction with other organizations. Thought they'd be worth showing ya as well.

Some pretty surroundings on the Branch River.

A nice little gravel run on the Branch River.

Definitely not "urban fishing".

Just another look at the Branch River.

This sign courtesy of the Branch River Country Club. WI Residents - note the WDNR Tipline #...it's not hard easy to forget!

Another sign, this one courtesy of Lakeshore Trout Unlimited.


Our first spot is a slow eddy on the Manitowoc.

The water upstream was already dirty - lots of duckweed was floating downstream.

Manitowoc River

Still NO FISH sighted all afternoon. Now, the Manitowoc River, this is one that I simply DROOL over every time we pass it heading north on Route 43. Man, I wish you could just pull off to the side of the highway and get in right there!

The Manitowoc strikes me as a river approaching the size of the Milwaukee; perhaps surpassing it in some stretches. In other areas though, it felt quite cozy. My real hope for the Manitowoc was to snap a shot of the vista from 43 looking east, but that just didn't happen. Sadly, I don't feel that ANY of these pictures really capture what "Manitowoc River" conjures in my head, but they'll have to do for now. Between dirty, muddy water and ongoing rain and a lack of fish activity, we just had to keep on moving.

A nice run of gravel on the Manitowoc.

Oh...check out the scenery.

As you go downstream, the water's flow slows and widens.

Keep on flowin' to the lake.

OK, now we're in some serious river...the current under my feet was REALLY movin!

As far downstream as we needed to go on the Manitowoc.


The one and only good picture I got of Silver Creek.

Silver Creek

We almost blew right past this one....I think Renee saw it (she was a great navigator but a GPS would have made things EVEN EASIER)! Um...not sure navigable water rights (and "Keep Your Feet Wet" would even apply on this tributary! If there were fish, we had NO hopes of sighting them!

Harumph. I had hopes for this one being something akin to Oak Creek down in SE WI. Unfortunately, look at the picture and you tell me...I think this one is a bust!

Point Creek

Ha! You thought Silver Creek was small. Here's a couple pics of Point Creek! Good luck steelhead fishermen - I pretty much guarantee you'll have this one all to yourselves! You might actually enjoy it, that is if you like fishing a trib that's more akin to a swampy, brush tangled brook trout stream!

For that one guy who considers Point Creek his "secret stream", I do appologize.

TINY water on Point Creek! Looked like a pretty sandy bottom.


Fischer Creek - what does it look like to you?

From my point of view, this looks more like trout fishin in IOWA!

Fischer Creek

Just big enough. Fischer was yet another one we almost missed, but thankfully we caught it. It looks like there's a fair amount of water here (in river miles). Unfortunately, it's another "tributary" that looks way more like an Iowa Trout Stream! Sandy/Silty bottom with loads of vegetation. Definitely not saying fish won't swim up this trib, but don't say I didn't warn ya. Granted, if your into that whole "self inflicted pain" thing, this is probably the perfect place for a steelhead smackdown between you and a dozen of your buddies!

Sevenmile Creek

Seven miles away from what? The road? On our way south we TOTALLY, COMPLETELY MISSED THIS ONE! Unless, of course, it was the drainage ditch that was tunneled under the road. Seriously, not sure if we saw this one or not because there was no bridge, no nothing anywhere around where it was supposed to be on BOTH maps. Sounds like a Fairy Chasm / Barne's Creek kinda place to me.

Our first look at the Pigeon, downstream

Another scenic view of the Pigeon River.

Pigeon River

Ah, back to the rivers you actually might, maybe, in one spot, need chest waders. By this point the rain had subsided. The rivers were all pretty swollen and muddy. I'd be hard pressed to tell you anything about the structure of this river. I will say though that we again go to check out multiple access points on a river (which is enjoyable - info stored for later). Here's a few quick looks at the Pigeon.

Three more good looks at the Pigeon River. I wish it hadn't been so dirty - still NO FISH sighted!

 


What a gem of a little lake - Sheboygan Quarry!

Another scenic view of the Pigeon River.

Sheboygan Quarry Lake

Oh man was I itchin' to break out a rod when we accidentally found this place! It's one of the urban ponds that get stocked with trout, like Quarry Park Lake and Ceylon Lagoon. Now, it's probably a ZOO in the summertime due to the beach and WATERPARK that are installed there, but in off seasons it's probably a really enjoyable place to fish. The water was a deep royal blue. Visiblity was HIGH for a day like today - easily 3-4 feet. ACCESS was a freakin' nightmare - the beach was closed. There is NO pier. The only thing you have to get to the water are the steep quarry banks which keep you at least 3-4 feet above the water even in the lowest spots, and it's a straight drop down. This one would probably be best tackled in some sort of small inflatable craft (pontoon boat - honey, I need a pontoon boat ;) on those days when you can actually get inside the fenced-off portion of the park. I'm jealous of those who get to fish it regularly!

What a gem of a little lake - Sheboygan Quarry!

Another scenic view of the Pigeon River.

Black River

Yeah, we actually SKIPPED the one river that had a fair chance of having fish in it (OK, so actually, for the record, I indeed KNOW there are fish in on the unnamed river in the area - genious if you've figured it out ;)

Thankfully the rain stayed away as we checked out what was pretty much the one last stream on my "to-do" list. I have one more to go that's actually LOCAL and I'll have "fished" every tributary from Kewaunee down to the IL border. So here we go - the Black River.

This was honestly the highlight of my day - when I got out and took pictures I got to meet a gentleman who owns property on the river. The stories he relayed were very insightful, not to mention riddled with tons of good info. I only wish I had caught his name.

Admittedly, the Black River is gonna be a tough one - it's small and bordered most all the time by reeds and cattails - aka. it's actually a MARSH more than it is a river. To make matters worse - there's absolutely no legal place to park!

In Closing...

That's officially 175,000 miles on the Bitchin' Camaro, and it's only 6 years old ;)

So there you have it - our Sunday Road Trip to hit 12 new tributaries and a bonus lake to boot! Of special significance, the Bitchin' Camaro has officially hit a milestone in my book!

  MP 

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