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11-26-05 - Upper Island Park by Spring Street - as expected when considering the Arctic weather we've been having the last few days, only the fast moving water was "open".

Island Park - if it wasn't moving fast, it wasn't moving at all!

11-26-05 - The Hunt for Open Water

Waters Fished: Root River, Pike River, Kenosha Harbor
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 11-26-05
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: 20's, rising into 40's
Water Temp: 32F, rising to 36 F on the Root. Pike - 32F. Kenosha Habor - N/A
Water Level: low. Flow Gauges are no longer "reliable" but currently read 21 CFS (Root) and 7 CFS (Pike)
Water Color: Root was stained - visibility 1-2'. Pike River Green/Gray, cloudy, visibility approx 1-2'. Kenosha Harbor Green, visibility approx 5-6'
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Steelhead
Pattern Fished: No Fly Fishin' Today! Spawn and Waxies + Stickbaits at the harbor
Pattern Color: Stickbait in Silver/Blue

We hit the Root around 8:00 AM with Tim, all the way back to home from OH! Was hoping to find open water down low...hoping but not optimistic. Everything from Lincoln on down through Island and below was ICE.

The search for open water lead us to Lower Quarry - got there and found out that we were the ONLY 2 people there ;) While rigging up, 2 more gentlemen showed up. Not wanting to lose out on our first spot, I left Tim, still rigging in the parking lot, and hit the water. On my fifth cast (and first truly decent drift) my float dunked under. I set softly, assuming I'd hit a rock.

There it is - a chrome Skamania Steelhead from the Root River!
(Copyright © 2005 Tim Schulz)

The "rock" came towards me, like I had perhaps tied into a branch or a huge CLUMP of leaves. It took a few seconds before the "clump of leaves" realized that, in fact, it was a steelhead. Tim has a strange superstition that if you bring a net down to the Root River, you'll get skunked, so I'd left mine up at the car. I am, trying to keep a chromer from diving under the ice and slicing the line off, shouting to Tim up the hill to get himself DOWN to the River, NOW! Hardly an "epic battle", this was really more of a "bit of fun" when we didn't expect any. A quick examination of the fish showed Right Maxillary and Right Ventral Clips - checking the stocking records on the WDNR website - a Skamania stocked as a smolt in 2003.

And that's what we got the rest of the day. All the country club water was covered on down to the middle of Colonial Park; all the good holes were locked up. By the mid-section of Colonial, pretty much the entire RIVER was frozen, I'm assuming all the way down through Lincoln and below as we saw earlier. We saw only one other hookup the entire morning - a crust brown that was likely hiding under the ice. By the time we left, the water temps had crept up, surprisingly, to 36F.

Tim works the shelf at Quarry. Note the amount of ice on the water.

Moving before, fast, shallow water remains opent.

Colonial Park - only the fast water is open...and there's more ice down here.

Back up at the Quarry Shelf - note the change in ice coverage (AND Anglers!)

The Pike River is almost completely covered!

Kenosha Harbor - no ICE!

On to the Pike. Well, wait, scratch that. You thought the Root was locked up? No, I think the Pike was the DEFINITION of Locked UP! Plan C?

Kenosha Harbor. Well, lots of folks had the same idea I guess...there was a number of anglers out. Here too there weren't many hookups - we saw a fouled brown (that was very ethically released by hooking the plug with the net...nice). Also, a steelie on the sidewalk. A couple crusted up browns milling about by the wall. REALLY NOTHING ELSE to talk about here!

Other than a sweet "group skunk" breaking steelie 5 casts in, I'd say the highlight of the trip was simply to get a day in on the water with Tim - now that he's over in OH we don't get to see each other very often.

Then again...I think I'll be seeing him Thursday...


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