10-01-05 - Kings, Glorious Kings...
Waters Fished: Pike River
Fish Caught: 2 personally
Outing Date: 10-1-05
Air Temp: Mid 70's
Water Temp: 66F
Water Level: 10 CFS
Water Color: muddy, visibility less than 1'
Fish Species: King Salmon, Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Eggs Eggs Eggs, Buggers etc..
Pattern Color: Chartreuse, Red, Orange
First, I got some bitchin...The Bitchin' Camaro
is havin' issues
the brakes are seizing! It's Saturday - after
a late evening of fishing we're in no big hurry come 10:00 AM. Renee
and I both drove, so I figured we could at least get the car in
SOMEWHERE to get the brakes taken care of. My favorite guy, Dan
at the Riverwoods Mobile, doesn't do this kind of work on Saturdays
AND it's a long drive. Mike of Mike's Automotive in Lake Geneva
happens to be out for the duck opener. Guess I'll have to try a
OK, so my personal advice, avoid MIDAS. At least the one in Kenosha.
Dan had looked at the Camaro less than 2 weeks ago and checked the
brakes, told me what I was in for and gave me a price. MIDAS tried
to stick it to me to the tune of $650; haven't checked Kelly Blue
Book lately but I somehow don't think a '99 Camaro with $2000 in
body damage and 175k in mileage is worth all that much more than
a $650 brake job. Heck, all I needed right then and there was one
replacement caliper and two pads. They wouldn't budge
behind the counter kept repeating the same lines over and over
don't install pads on unsafe rotors etc. Strange, they let me just
drive out in a car that was more unsafe than had they bothered to
do the work I requested.
So what does this all have to do with fishin? Well, I wasted a
good 2-3 hours of quality fishin' time dealing with all the BS.
Don't tell me my rotors can't be cut when my family mechanic of
20+ years is more than comfortable with cutting them. Don't try
to sell me 2 new calipers when I only NEED one. Yeah, sure, I'm
sure there's SOME merit to their company policies and practices
there's some actual SCIENCE behind replacing BOTH calipers. However,
this IS the Bitchin' Camaro with 175K in mileage
it's not like
it's the flagship in my fleet or anything! I could ramble on regarding
the other customer's woes, including the woman who came in to basically
complain about a case of discrimination but I don't think the guy
behind the counter even had a clue what she was trying to get across.
Bottom line - stick to your trusted mechanics and if you go to the
Kenosha Midas, keep my experience in mind.
Resume engine braking for now! Renee and I finally made it to the
Pike River around 2:30 PM and found Jim, Leanne, Tommy and Kenny
all on a pod of fish. Being the Johny-Come-Lately's we were immediately
set up downstream on some active fish. We owe Jim and Leanne a bit
of thanks for sharing the fruits of their earlier labor.
Renee had some difficulty at first
this IS tight quarters,
which meant that most of the time only half your leader was in the
water..heck most of the time your flyline wasn't even out of the
guides. The addition of a strike indicator helped and in short order
Renee landed the first fish! GEEZE
I think she's REALLY starting
to get the hang of it!
Meanwhile I found myself stuck on rocks, stuck in the trees, generally
just stuck fishin' in places other than the river. I guess a 9'6"
rod is a bit much for this stream ;) Oh well
after a while
Renee took sympathy on my and let me fish the spot I had put her
as she called it, the "Honey Hole". Geeze, she's
even rubbing the jargon in!
I lost a couple as did Renee. I suggested maybe we head downstream.
There's a big plunge down there - I was convinced we'd find more
fish waiting for dusk to make a break for upstream. The move indeed
paid off - I lost another fish all too briefly connected. Darn headshakes.
Meanwhile, Renee was down at the tailout and flats and kept going
on about a massive, no, "ginormous fish" down there. She
convinced me to go give him a shot as he had been recalcitrant to
strike her flies. Of course, when I got down there I saw NOTHING.
Yes, I admit it, I kinda thought she was seeing things but her eyes
have gotten pretty good. Turns out JIM had fished down there earlier
in the day and he too had seen this behemoth. Later that evening
at dinner, I asked Jim and Renee to show me on the table exactly
how large this fish was. Without looking at each other, they both
examined the table and then placed their fingers along the edge.
Then they looked up as I took a guage - their fingers were dead
on matched across the table. If I had to guestimate, I'd say they
were well past 36"
more like 42" or so.
Well indeed, as it is so often, location was key. Renee was generous
enough to allow me another crack at the honey hole. I could clearly
make out a few visible shapes in the fast water
were stacked and planning their ascent of the riffles just as soon
as they could figure it out. PRIME targets. A few well placed flips
(I truly hesitate to use the word "cast" to describe these
presentations) and I tied up!!! Renee grabbed the camera!
The SHOW IS ON! Lots of headshakes, a blistering run downstream.
Then a turn, followed by 3 back-to-back full on aerial assaults
at least a couple feet in low earth orbit as the fish charged upstream.
Honestly AMAZING considering that it's very rare for a fair hooked
fish to go balisticly airborne. More summersaults underwater lead
to a brief entanglement with the point fly which only further enraged
this massive fish. He rolled on the surface, now again far downstream.
More thrashing and bolting runs followed. After realizing he was
about to beach on the far bank, he again turned. Another couple
minutes of deep dogfighting ensued before he came within net distance.
Renee took a jab and missed which caused this King to try one more
run. Time to put the engine brakes on THIS fish
I swooped him
around, got him turned back upstream and again broke the surface
of the water with his head. This time my "Net Boy" didn't
let me down. Wow
as she held the fish out of the water the
metal handle of the net visibly strained downwards.
SWEET! Renee snapped a few pictures and I set to the task of reviving
this fish. Now, the water temps are up at 66F, visibility is less
than 6". This will take a while. As I'm working this fish back
and forth in the stagnant side current, my phone rang. Jeff and
Jay were finally in the area. Who are Jeff and Jay? Well, I'll be
guiding Jeff in a couple weeks - Jay is Jeff's father. Technically
my "client" for the day was Renee, but as always they
were welcome to tag along and I'd at least give them a general direction.
I waited just long enough for Jeff and Jay to arrive so I could
share with them the sight of a 20 lb. buck, still semi-fresh, just
golden, not yet green or black. They were "late" - probably
5:00 or so already. Technically not much time to fish. After releasing
the beast, we got acquainted and started rigging up.
Meanwhile, Leanne was back downstream and hooked up in the run
I was just on! We're watching from above and Leanne is saying, "I
fouled it!". She has barely any pressure on the fish. It was
clear from above that this fish was DEFINITELY fair
that news she turned on the heat a bit and handed the rod to Tommy!
Turns out the fight was completely and utterly boring. The fish
barely moved from the seam, content to just sit there and stand
firm against Tommy's tugs. Finally he got the fish close enough
for a reaching netjob. Ah, I think it all makes sense now
fish looks VERY similar to the one I just put back!!!
Well, at this point I'm 1/6 and Renee is something like 1/5 or
so. We've had a good day, but we've had to work for it. Jim, el
capitan, has something like 6 landed, and Leanne has at least a
couple herself. Guess we should have gotten out in the AM like they
did instead of screwing around with Midas!
Another angler, Keith from Racine, had come down and joined the
fishin' party. Earlier on we had watched him disconnect a fish or
two. This time, while standing on shore, my attention was diverted
by a giant splash. Keith had again hooked up. Renee was back fishin'
the honey hole..paying attention but still flogging water. Keith's
fish bolted upstream towards Renee. I shouted down, "Renee,
you better stop fishing".
Renee had just enough time to take her line out of the water when
all hell broke loose right in front of her. Keith's King had run
out of room. When you're a fish and you run out of room, what do
you do? Well, Keith's fish took the route less traveled by Kings
took went towards the sky. From where I stood it looked like it
almost got as high as Renee's head - she says a couple feet out
of the water.
Of course, Kings don't have wings. Keith's fish bellyflopped practically
ON Renee, showering her with the muck they're calling Pike River
Water these days. It took a few more minutes, but eventually Keith
brought a very nice buck to net. I can only guess as to why fair
fish are going airborne when that's highly unusual for Kings. After
thinking back on my years fishing the tribs, the only thing that
comes to mind is that generally, on the rare chance a fair king
actually jumps, it has been earlier in the season. Earlier in the
season means fresher fish, warmer water, and higher metabolisms.
Put all that together and it starts to make sense I guess. Regardless
of the science, the last couple days of acrobatic kings have helped
rekindle my love for this sometimes maligned species.
More or less we called it a day, so I spent a little time with
Jay as it sounded like this was his ONLY opportunity to trib fish
this fall. MAN, talk about not having enough time. As the light
started to fade, fish swirled all around Jay and Jeff
only a matter of time I guess before someone hooked up. As this
was NOT a guided trip or anything, I suggested that I'd go upstream
and stand as a last barrier in the gauntlet for any fish they let
Of course, that line of thought never got followed
standing with Jay I noticed movement upstream out of the corner
of my eye. HMM. The fish now had my full and undivided attention
as I swiftly waded upstream. Whatever it was, it hadn't made the
final riffle yet. It's still in there somewhere.
I almost walked right by before I caught sight of my quarry. Nothing
big, but easy pickins I guess. It only took a few drifts to get
fish on. Fish downstream. Fish WAY downstream.
What the heck is that?!?!
I clamped down (15lb tippet will let you do that when you're using
a 9wt.) and looked at the rubble at my feet. There lay a fish, still
breathing but at least 80% dead. I grabbed it by the tail and turned
it to get a better view. What's this we have here
Indeed! Judging by the clips, a young Skamania. I placed it face
first in the riffles only to watch it float downstream. Oh well
guess he's a goner indeed.
Renee appeared from the tangled growth along the bank, net in hand,
offering assistance. I gladly accepted as I didn't want this fish
to make it's way all the way back down to the bend where Jay was
didn't want to stir things up. Talk about a quick net
Renee is really getting the hang of this!
Turned out to be a smallish buck..probably 7 lb
not a Jack but definitely not a 4 year fish either. There, square
in the middle of the roof of his mouth was my orange egg. A definite,
solid hookup to end the day. As I sit here typing, just after midnight
the same day, my arms STILL ache. I don't know how Jay and Jeff
faired for the last 30 minutes or so of fishable light, but I hope
they got a taste for more