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10-29-05 - Fishing the run kinda late!

Waters Fished: Milwaukee River
Fish Caught: tons
Outing Date: 10-30-05
Weather: Breezy at times, clear skies
Air Temp: 40's, rising into 60's
Water Temp: 49F
Water Level: low, 90 CFS and dropping
Water Color: Stained, visibility 1-2 feet
Fish Species: King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: EGGS!
Pattern Color: Red & Chartreuse was hot again, as were MOE eggs in natural orange

So this report has sat in my head for the last 20 some-odd days. Initially I was waiting to get the prints and scans back from Wolf Camera (yes, at the time the digital was still being repaired)..then I got sidetracked and only now am I coming back to WRITE UP this AWESOME day on the water.

Although a bit concerned by what I had experienced and was hearing, this turned out to be an EXCEPTIONAL day. Renee had invited two of her hometown friends who just happen to be fisherman to join us in SE WI and experience my personal favorite time of year. Nick was driving all the way in from the Twin Cities - Matt had it easy, only having to finish the drive from Madison to Lake Como.

Despite getting up at least a couple hours before sunrise, we still only managed to get on the water well after legal fishing had already begun. My initial concerns about a lack of fish quickly subsided...plenty of fish to go around today!

Renee set off on her own. Matt is a somewhat experienced fly fisherman and I had already briefed him on the tactics and techniques to use, so he too got at it without delay. Nick, well Nick has fly fished only once prior, so it's ALL basically new to him.

10-29-05 - Nick, Matt and Matt with the first King of the day!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

LOOK at that Freakin' Awesome Coho!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

So Nick and I set up on some fish near shore and I demonstrate the basics of casting on through presentation. While not really "trying", everything came together right in front of us and a nice buck clobbered my flies. Within minutes the first King of the trip was landed.

OK, enough demonstration. I don't remember how fish #2 happened for me, but suffice it to say it was a STUNNING COHO. After everyone got a good look at that fish, Matt basically right then and there flipped from "big fish" to "COHO KILLER" mode!

Renee partakes in some King action...

Keep it up baby!

Nick has a solid hookup!

Nick's first KING Salmon - EVER.

Now, it wasn't a slam fest, but it was hardly a difficult or bad day on the Milwaukee. Renee hooked up but lost her first fish. Matt was still looking for that first legit hookup. Meanwhile I'm fishing and watching Nick, who for some reason is casting like he's been at it for 20 years. WOW. I guess he didn't come with any bad habits or had an EXCELLENT teacher on that one prior day fly fishing. Either way, I was impressed.

Well, Nick definitely had aptitude for Salmon Fishing - he tied into an aggressive buck. Nothing huge but who really cares - it's NICK's FIRST SALMON!

Meanwhile, Renee is off beaching her first fish of the morning. As the light came up the salmon did their traditional "push to the shade" maneuver, but not as tightly as they had been doing in weeks prior. Apparently, when the only thought remaining on your mind is to have sex before you die, you let your guard down more than usual!

There were more hookups during the morning. I managed my third fish, another mid-sized buck. Nick, well, Matt would probably say that Nick was on fire. Nick tied into an absolute of the largest kings I've seen this season. I hung back with the camera while Renee went in for the netting. As it sometimes goes, somewhere in the netting process the fish managed to escape.

Renee sightfishes a King that's chosen a bad spot to hide!

Another King on the books for MP.

Nick is at it again.

It's a monster King.

Renee and Nick seconds before the fish wins.

Matt was getting antsy, and I was getting anxious for him to have a hookup. Granted, he's spent most of the morning targeting a lone Coho that's wandering around fighting with the Kings in the pool...not exactly an easy target when it's so easily and often distracted. I suggested we take a walk downstream and see what we could find.

At first things looked pretty bleak...we went downstream without seeing much at all. Upon turning around and heading back up, a well-kyped salmon swam through my peripheral vision. Target acquired....

Matt stuck with it. As is often the case, a buck who may not appear to be a willing biter at first can often be convinced that your flies need to die. However, this really wasn't one of those times...the hit was pretty flagrant...a nice 90 degree turn and gulp kind of hit after only a couple well-placed drifts!


AWESOME - it happens to be on the end of Matt's line!

What a great fight!

The fight was immense - this fish was definitely on the fresher side of things. Renee was upstream and picked up on the fact that Matt was tied into a good fish. Meanwhile, I'm snapping pictures while Matt is doing a splendid job of controlling this fish. It was probably a 10 minute fight...maybe longer...but it ended in textbook fashion with Matt & Renee posing for a picture of a lifetime first - Matt's first Salmon, first Coho, and first tributary fish on the fly. Probably Matt's LARGEST fish on a fly rod as well...

It's almost over...Matt has the upper hand.

There it is - Matt's skunk-breaking first Salmon ever. Renee helped with the tailing of the fish - excellent!

One last admiring look before it's sent back to fight again (like all the others).

By Lunchtime, 3 out of 4 of us had fish. Matt & Nick stayed on the water while Renee and I made a lunch run to Burger King. The gravel bar made the perfect location for a shore lunch...

Jim and Leanne showed up shortly thereafter. When we hit the water again in the early afternoon, I managed another nice buck. Meanwhile Renee brought in a fish we dubbed "Mr. Leopard Spots"...strange looking King! Want to see it? Check out Nick's 2nd to last fish of the day...I think it's the same one. In traditional Smokin' Tahoe fashion, I believe Jim helped bring another double to a successful end as well...posing in traditional Jim Fashion with a "cute" buck!

Shore Lunch!

My first king for the afternoon.

Matt and Nick go off on their own.

Jim is up to his usual success rate...

Screw the net...this fish is mine!

Gotta LOVE Jim!

Patience and persistence PAY OFF as always - Renee with a hard-earned female Coho! I couldn't be more proud.

After this little bit of fun, I decided to focus a bit of time getting another member of our group ...Renee was having a difficult time and honestly, morale was a bit low. Off to the side I had spotted a nice female Coho that she had tried for earlier...only managing a couple casts before it spooked and ran for cover. Well, it was back; we'd get another shot.

Renee patiently drifted and got 2 hits that popped the flies out almost as quickly as they'd been struck. Thankfully, the third time she struck the hook stayed FIRMLY embedded in the jaw. Renee was now on the boards with a great fall Coho!

Turning my attention back to the main channel, I noticed Leanne was fighting a nice King. All too often I've been out with Leanne and Jim and somehow MISSED getting good pics of Leanne battling her fish. Today was different; not only did I get a great set of pics, but today also happened to be "you're on your own day" for Leanne. NO HELP from JIM, Leanne would be going solo from top to bottom. In the end, Leanne beached a great buck and grinned ear to ear!

It's Leanne's turn to do battle.

Rules for today - Jim cannot help in ANY way - Leanne is 100% solo, Jim is merely here to observe :)

Not like it's her first solo fish, but it's the first picture I've gotten of Leanne and a fish in like a year or two. I think Leanne has the fishin' bug....

The boys are working a pod of fish downstream.

Nick's MONSTER for the day.

What's up with Matt & Nick?! Ah, they're almost a quarter mile downstream! Things were calm for a while, but as the last hour and a half of legal fishing time crept up, we started hooking fish left and right. - NOW, I had to come back 2 days after originally writing this up to input something I completely forgot - the STUNNING hen brown I encountered. I saw her, got a good drift, had her fair and the hook popped out. In my excited state I went for her again and fouled her. Tried to pop her off, but she was only a 3-4 lb. fish and well, I was forced to land her. ALMOST so stunning that I would've taken a picture anyway, but my rules are rules. After releaseing her I chased her downstream for several hundred yards before finally losing site of her. I had been hoping she'd settle in and give me yet another shot....RATS!

Anway, it's really hard to describe another 6 successful battles. Matt, Nick and myself all managed to up our numbers at this hot time of day. Renee had 3 fish under her belt, so she took over camera duties for the last couple hours. Three battles really stand out.

First was a BEAST that Nick produced. The fight went on for a short eternity. This FAT king threw almost everything at him. In the end, Nick triumphed over this vicious hen. It was a group effort to bring it in and was probably the largest fish of the day.

Next up was Matt's BIG fish of the day. Everything was going smoothly right until the netjob. I was busy with a fish of my own, so Nick took the net and gave it a shot. Somehow, the fish broke off on the first attempt. It was still shallow, thrashing in 6" of water desperately trying to flee the scene. Nick made a mad dash downstream and made good on his botched netjob with a classic grab that will stick in my mind for the rest of my life ('cause I have a great picture of it!)

I'm working a small group that Matt has given up on.
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

I think Matt's decision to leave the pod I'm working paid off ;)
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

Matt's fight is still raging - Renee diverts her attention just long enough to snap a pic of me and another Coho
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

Nick goes in for the grab on Matt's fish.
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

The fish pops off yet Nick HUNTS it down like an animal!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

That's a great fish story on the books for Matt!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

Probably not all that surprising if you've been following the reports for a while, my evening highlight happened to be the DINKIEST, TINIEST FISH I've seen landed in the tribs ALL SEASON! A little jack Coho, probably just barely 14". This little sucker not only hit like a banshee but FLEW like one too. Somersaults, cartwheels and tailwalking - obviously having an identity crisis and thinking it was a steelhead instead. It's amazing how good a fight you'll get out of a fresh fish, even when it's this small. Of course, my pride and appreciation of a 12" Coho does nothing to counter my reputation as the "Dinker King", especially since it was really more like a 10" fish....or 8"....heck I probably could've swallowed it whole now that I think about it.

(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

Look at the bend in that rod...this one's "ha uge"!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

Another buck makes a stupid mistake and pays for it by posing with Nick!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

Yeah, I think Nick outfished even ME today!
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

"I think we've had a great time together..."
(Copyright © 2005 Renee)

That about sums up one very memorable day on the Milwaukee for Renee, Nick, Matt, Jim, Leanne and myself. This was the kind of day I'd been hoping for all season...good fishing and everyone around you is a friend. Pardon the expression but "Good Times...Good Times".


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