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
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.
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
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 monster..one
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.
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
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!
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...
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!
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!
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
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!)
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.
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