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1-01-06 - Solitude on the Root for New Year's day...exceptional!

A look upstream; the water is flowing nicely and relatively ice free!

The one "confirmed" fish species...a brown cruises out at my feet from under the ice.

A bit further downstream on the Root.

1-1-06 - A new year of fishing!

Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 0/1
Outing Date: 1-1-06
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: Right around 40F
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: rising (120-130 during the time I fished)
Water Color: Olive Green, visiblity 1 foot +
Fish Species: Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Spawn & Waxworms today!
Pattern Color: N/A

Happy New Year! It's a new year of Steelhead, Trout, Fly Fishing, Centerpinning, Crazy Stunts and some surprises along the way. It's been just under a MONTH since my last time on the water...things have been REALLY FROZEN and I've been keeping busy with Rod Building instead. This one's gonna be quick because (a) there's really not much to report and (b) I'm still TRYING to finish up 13 overdue reports from the summer of '05!

Somehow, I ended up going SOLO this time around. The original plan was to possible meet up with G-Man...turns out he went early and was already on his way home by the time I was heading out. He and his brother had each hooked a brown on tubes+waxworms...1/2 in total it sounds like. That's pretty good for the "dead of winter"!

I got to the water around 1:30 PM when it was all said and done...a few "detours" along the way ate up a lot of time. Sunset was 4:27 or so...that'd give me up to around 3 to 3.5 hours of fishing. I bet I can make something happen.

I started at a traditional "winter" spot that's usually productive. I switched up between waxworms and spawn, but for at least the first hour I had NO luck.

Of course, winter fishing is all about maximizing EVERYTHING. SCREW FLIES...ya need scent and the drop-dead best presentation to make stuff happen...that means break out the Centerpin. ANY advantage you can give yourself, you have to take.

My "advantage" came in the form of a fish making a mistake. I'm sitting there drifting downstream when not more than 10 feet away from my float, a fish porpoises at the surface and moves to the seam. STOP that mile-long drift, it's time to reposition!

2 Waxies under a float and a spinning float landed a few feet in front of a logjam. I let the float run the bait under the longs (a common "hangout" this time of year)....the float then passed under overhanging brush and on through to clear water. The float went down maybe 10 feet away from where I had seen the fish surface. A sharp set of the hook brought a body towards the surface, enough to see that I definitely had tied into a nice clean fish, but not close enough to tell what KIND of fish. It only took a headshake for the rig to come flying back...sometimes that's the luck...the hook just didn't stick.

Shortly therafter I decided to rest the spot and try another location. After an hour or so of no action, I figured I might as well go back to where I started.

Of course, I can sum it up like this - I fished until I was having trouble seeing, which was around 4:15 or so...the considerable cloudcover made sunset come EARLY! I had a few other "good looking" takedowns, but nothing that felt like a fish on the other end.

That's winter steelheading in SE WI for ya. Started the new year right with a HUMBLING SKUNK that broke the longest "unskunked" streak to date - 21 days on the water with fish. After a "month off" from fishing, I've returned with an aching arm and shaky right hand (can't finish a rod to save my life!). Gotta get back in "fishin' shape"! As long as the air temps stay up, we'll have some open water to play with! Get out if ya can, and have a bountiful 2006!


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