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
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!