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10-15-05 - Jeff probably got his first King within the first 5 minutes of legal fishin' time.

Tadd wasted no time either - what a massive buck!

Yup, 15 minutes in and there's another King for Jeff.

10-15-05 - The absolute PEAK of the King Salmon Run

Waters Fished: Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: 11 between 4 of us
Outing Date: 10-15-05
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: low 50's rising into 60's
Water Temp: 56F
Water Level: low, 85 CFS
Water Color: stained, visibility 1-2 feet
Fish Species: King Salmon
Pattern Fished: Small Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: Red & Chartreuse, what else?!?!

Um, does the phrase "HELL YEAH" tip off what kinda of day this is? WELCOME TO THE PEAK BABY! Granted, it takes a bit over a week's worth of hindsight to be comfortable in proclaiming WHEN this year's peak was. Sittin' in a new office chair, typing away, Yeah, I'm pretty comfortable that 10-15 was the peak on the Milwaukee for 2005.

Now, I've seen better years, but this was by no means shabby. Our fish have run a bit smaller this year (hence why the DNRs from various states have gotten together to discuss the ongoing management strategies for Lake Michigan, including stocking cuts). If I had my way, maybe I'd ditch the Kings in SE WI and go with more Coho and Steelhead.

But that's ALL besides the real point - once again I met up with Jeff and Tadd, this time a bit late for our 6:00 AM meeting time but hey, everything was rigged and ready to go from the night before. It's a Saturday, so I'm shocked to see that we're still the only two cars in the lot. As both Tadd and Jeff got a good dose of instruction and experience the evening prior, AND knowing that the next hour or two is the best time to focus on fishing, I passed along that unless they needed help, I was just going to stand back, take pictures, and land fish!

I think the first three fish were landed within the first 15 minutes of legal fishing time! Early morning haze and clouds kept things dim a bit longer. Gerry Greene showed up and in no time was whackin' fish too! Congrats on the 2nd baby Gerry - I honestly thought you were done fishing for the year!!! Just like yesterday, as soon as the sun hit the water the fish DID seek cover BUT otherwise continued to remain active. It was a SLAMFEST for the first 2 hours.

That's a double...

Gerry's first King of the day.

Jeff lands #3!

Jeff pops one off.

Jeff and Gerry working the tailout - it's loaded.

Tadd ties into ANOTHER King.

Jeff with a pissed off buck!

Gerry tries to gain ground on a king.

A king zips upstream, attached to Tadd's line, moments before Tadd puts the hurt on 'em.

Like clockwork, the second the sun REALLY started beating down on the water, the bite slowed. Kings were everywhere. Pretty much all week, we haven't had to look for a second to find fish...the river has been overrun with them. Most of the fish on this day were gold to olive in color...not very many BLACK fish running around.

Gerry is makin' up for limited time on the water.

Gerry TRIES to put the brakes on a jack...

That fish is having NONE OF IT!

Tadd works a deeper pocket holding several smaller Kings.

Jeff and Gerry have followed another pod upstream.

Gerry with a hen.

It was a typical morning...busted knuckles and all. For the most part, there's nothing out of the ordinary to report (except that, for the most part, Salmon fishing is ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY). Tadd struggled, trying to double up on yesterday's success...

Well, we all fall short sometimes, but Tadd did it IN STYLE. Around 9:00 AM he's drifting to a pair when both fish move towards us. For about 5 seconds he had both a hen and a BUCK ON - that's the FIRST TIME I've seen a double of Kings on! Neither ended up coming in, and I don't think it even REGISTERED in Tadd's head what was happening. Meanwhile I'm going apeshit. I can't even THINK about how difficult a feat it is to get two fair takes on the same drift, let ALONE land it. Hats off to Tadd! Yeah, it's definitely the peak of the run.

The Jacks are kind of a good indication of that as well. As the week has progressed, more and more "small" fish have been showing up. Some people have mistaken these small fish that are running around the large kings to be steelhead - truth is we've hit several of them and they're ALL JACKS.

And, what the heck, as the morning turned into "brunch time" I again got on the water and this time opted to target the jacks. They tend to be VERY willing biters and a bit unpredictable. Whereas a big buck will bulldog you and run, a little jack will go NUTS trying to get off the line. One Jack landed was enough for me...this is what we wait all year for.

Ah, you don't land every fish!

My skunk-breaking fish!

A nice fresher Jack is all I needed for today!
(Copyright © 2005 Gerry Greene)

Birdman (left) and his crew, all the way from Missouri! I think this is the third year I've run into them when they're up.

Wow, NICE Buck Gerry.

Exhausted, we called it a day just as Birdman's crew was getting on the water! Yes, we ribbed 'em for a bit, afterall they were beyond fashionably late. Didn't take long for Jay to get a fish landed though. It's almost mind boggling that once again, I pretty much knew everyone upstream and downstream from where we fished. Must have been a Packer's Game going on or something :)


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