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10-16-05 - Rich hooks up in the early dawn minutes.

Another hookup!

Rich putting some great side pressure on a King.

Rich gets it turned...almost ready...

There ya go Rich, that's a great first King!

Rich focuses on hooking up again.

There it is!

Wow, that's a fantastic King!

Anglers all over the place....

The falls at Estabrook - take a closer look at the picture ;)

10-16-05 - Like a Stock Market Crash...

Waters Fished: Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: 2 (0 personally)
Outing Date: 10-16-05
Weather: Breezy at times, clear skies
Air Temp: 40's, rising into 50's
Water Temp: 56F
Water Level: low, 80 cfs
Water Color: stained, visibility 1-2 feet
Fish Species: King Salmon
Pattern Fished: Small Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: BIG SWITCH - natural MOE eggs were the only producer!

It's another early morning on the River, this time with Rich Short! Things were looking up when we got down to the water...just had to wait a few minutes to get things started. The forecast was for another sunny day. After a Saturday afternoon of pressure, no doubt we'd probably be looking at another morning where you best get your fish early!

Well, Rich did land one early on as the sun started to break the horizon. Unfortunately, it didn't count... when we got it in we realized it was flossed. No problem though, Rich got the concept and didn't let it get to him at all; if anything it made him more focused and determined to land his first fair King.

The morning bonanza shut down QUICKLY...maybe only the first hour was HOT. So far, Rich hadn't landed his first king, and it was rapidly become more and more difficult of a task to complete.

Jim K. and Rich Brown also made it out this morning. In short order Jim started slamming fish at the base of the riffles immediately downstream. After 2 fish, I asked him what he was using. The MOE EGG.

Well, when you're doing everything right and things just aren't working (we had already downsized to 8lb fluorocarbon tippet to combat line-shy fish)...well NOW it's time to consider changing flies. I rerigged Rich with a natural orange moe egg. You don't have to guess what happened next.

TWO NICE Kings for Rich. I can't describe it..they were both excellent fights with quality fish! Rich had NO problem learning the ropes!

Thanks Jim for giving clueing me in on what was working. By 9:00 AM though, it didn't really matter. There was now something like 30 people on the river..where the heck were all these people YESTERDAY?

Things were rapidly deteriorating. As if overnight, most of the fish we were now fishing over were getting dark. The ethics of anglers around us were less than ideal. Bottom line, when 10:00 came around, I rigged up with 2 tiny moe eggs on 8lb. and gave it a try myself.

11:00 AM - "SCREW THIS" was my sentiments. Rich had more than achieved what he set out to do. Meanwhile, yeah, I had a couple vicious strikes from bucks, but they were the type of fish you'd only be proud to land if it was your first King ever, or if it was the only fish in the river. Considering how hot things were at the start of the day, compared to now, it's the first time I think I've ever made this call - I opted to go with a SKUNK despite knowing that if I stuck around I could probably manage to land a fish. Yeah, it was that bad. As I wrote it up on TSS, "I have NEVER witnessed such a dramatic and drastic nose dive in the quality of a run. Early morning as always the bite was great and we pretty much had the river to ourselves."

You might think I'm exaggerating. Well, every angler I've spoken with who was there that day pretty much agrees...it was like someone hit a lightswitch (or at least pulled the dimmer down over the course of an hour). I'm kinda sitting here still thinking about how things went...by 11:00 AM pretty much no one was getting legitimate strikes yet there were still 30 people on the river, perhaps hoping to "wait it out". Rich and I left 'em to do just that.

Rich and I took some time to scope out some other spots on the Milwaukee and talk more about how our annual tributary runs work. Maybe we'd hang out some more, wet a line, and maybe land a couple more fish.

Unfortunately, things weren't much better at the other locations. The Falls - too many people and basically fish just getting snagged with spoons. The Dam, no better. I hate to say it, but we might as well have gotten off the water at 9:00 AM vs. 11:00. I've never thought of a salmon run quite the same way before - looks like this year it kept climbing, climbing, peaked and then literally just crashed...not quite the bell-shaped curve we'd naturally associate with such an event!

To top off all that sentiment, the "Bitchin CAMERA" is once again on the fritz! I guess somewhere in the morning, perhaps after I landed Rich's first fish, I got the camera wet. At first it would just start taking pictures the moment it turned on...not too bad except that I had about 100 worthless pictures today! By the end of the day though, it would no longer shoot, instead it would focus and that was it. Sounds a lot like what happened last year, so during the days that followed I got the camera back over to Authorized in Morton Grove (they did a great job the first time around). Hopefully it will be back soon!

I gotta say, Rich Short, it was a blast to have you on the water. I'm glad you got to experience everything you had hoped for and thank you for inviting me to show you the ropes!

  MP 

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