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10-09-05 - The morning bite is always the best bite!
(Copyright © 2005 Mike Otte)

Mike stalks a hen, keeping a low profile to avoid detection.

Mike moves upstream to get a more controlled drift in front of the king...

THERE IT IS! Mike's first King Salmon, on a fly rod no less!

Mike just kissed the nastiest (smelling) fish that comes up our tribs!

Mike learns how to revive a King Salmon.

Around 11:30 Rich Brown starts the "FAT DAY" festivities with his yearly presentation of tactics.

Nothing like 2002, but hey, there's a fair amount of fish in the Root River's lower sanctuary.

King Salmon going about their business, utterly oblivious to the photographer.

There ya go - updated weir numbers!

10-09-05 - FAT DAYS, 2005!

Waters Fished: Root River, Pike River
Fish Caught: "technically" 1/2 personally
Outing Date: 10-9-05
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Air Temp: rising into the mid 50's
Water Temp: 58F on the Root, 55F on the Pike.
Water Level: 10 cfs
Water Color: stained, kinda blue, visibility < 1.5'
Fish Species: King Salmon, Coho Salmon
Pattern Fished: Small Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: Red & Chartreuse took ALL fish today

We kicked the day off early - a group of us meeting around 5:30 AM in Racine at the Root River Steelhead Facility. Today is the once-a-season "special day"; "FAT DAYS" where Rich Brown takes some time out to give his River Doctrine, Fixed-Three and WILFUL presentation to anyone who wants or needs to hear it!

Well, Rich was nowhere to be found, so the group headed downstream through Lincoln Park. I came with spotlight in tow, ready to shine for fish. After a quick walk through Lincoln Park it became painfully clear - there were FEW fish to be had in the low water. To be more precise - 10 fish were sighted through all of the good fly water.

John McLelland and Rich (not Rich Brown) decided to stay. Meanwhile, Mike Otte, Matt Jennings & his buddy Brian and myself decided this was really a waste of time, especially considering that it was now 6:00 AM and there were already MORE CARS than fish in the river. Time to get out of here!

The four of us hightailed-it to the Pike River and got in; I was confident that we'd again find a few fish where we had gotten lucky the day prior. Sure enough, right upstream from where Renee landed her fish, a group was working at the tailout. Legal fishing time had already come, so I didn't waste a moment getting on the water. Not trying to be cocky, I simply said "this is how it's done". It only took 2 or 3 casts upstream for a male to peel off and hammer my flies. After a good long fight, I got 'em in. As I lifted the fish for the picture, it twisted and fell with a kaploosh. Q@#$@#$%!!!

OK, so I set Mike up on the group. He figured it out but honestly the fish just weren't all THAT interested. Meanwhile, I scouted around and what did I find but the buck I had just lost, comfortably sitting in at the next tailout downstream. It only took a few more drifts and again he struck!

SWEET. This time I took a bit more care and time in landing the fish - Mike got the shot! So technically that's 2 fish landed, or if you prefer I landed the 1 fish, twice. Either way, I'd had my day, for me this year, "FAT DAYS" was about taking out a former student (both of Flash and IA Trout School) and showing him the awesome fishing we have right "outside our doors"!

For at least the next hour Mike patiently worked the pod. One by one the fish pushed upstream into the large bend as the light got more and more intense (relatively mind you, it's still only an hour after dawn and we're in the woods!). Mike missed most of his strikes. Patience was required.

Eventually it happened. Not quite the blistering fight I'd wish for every first-time king salmon hookup but I don't think Mike had ANY complaints. Now, I don't know what angling circles KISS their fish, but Mike was so inclined. Who am I to neglect documenting such a feat ;)

Matt and Brian showed up shortly thereafter - they had been further upstream and found a few fish, but nothing spectacular to report. We switched I encountered a FRESH (CHROME!) Coho and managed to hook up not once, but THREE times! After the third time the fish just, well, RAN FOR THE HILLS! Darnit. It was starting to get close to our meeting time back at the Root.

Well, it wasn't quite the turnout we've seen in seasons past, but another group of anglers did indeed show up to learn the ins and outs of tributary fly fishing. Even though I've heard Rich give this talk about 6 times (at least) it STILL helps - keeps things in your head that sometimes you neglect.

After a lazy late morning just hanging out at the Root, I decided to call it a day. Fishing was pretty slow WHEREVER you were..I'd already gotten my "skunk off" and achieved my goal of getting Mike into his first. So, not a stellar day, but nothing to complain about either ('cept the fact that we NEED RAIN!)


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