4-1-06 - April Fool's Steelhead
Waters Fished: Oak Creek, Root River
Fish Caught: 2 for Todd, 0/9 personally ;)
Outing Date: 4-2-06
Air Temp: 40's-50's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: Up, Oak around 30 CFS, Root around 200 cfs
Water Color: both stained, visibility less than 1'
Fish Species: Steelhead, Perch
Pattern Fished: All sorts...
Pattern Color: Hot orange eggs and Red/Black Wooly Buggers
Today was an odd day! Todd Olson from The
Fly Guys in MN came back down again for another shot at spring
steelhead. His buddy Cory was supposed to come as they both did
last year...somehow it ended up just
the two of us. On the upside, Todd made it to the Lake Como house
before I did...we got a fair amount of sleep for a change!
We made it out to Oak Creek well before surise,
right before the start of legal fishing time. I was somewhat discouraged
to see that there were a couple anglers already on the water...it
was a bit discouraging to see. I figured we could gripe about a
few minutes of an early start which honestly could maybe be explained
by a clock running a bit fast, or Todd and I could focus on the
really important stuff - gearing up and getting on the water!
We moved downstream and worked our way over some
fish...by around 8 AM I think was when Todd landed his first. Just
a few casts later (or so it seemed) #2 came to shore. A hen and
a buck for Todd...life is good.
We were supposed to meet up with Rich, Tim, Gerry,
Matt, Mitch and one other guy who's name I can't remember (a friend
of Gerry's or Matt's...) but with action as good as it was, we weren't
in any big hurry. We called Rich and let him know that the action
was really good over on Oak Creek. For the time being they were
sticking it out on the Root...OK...suit yourselves.
Considering I'm writing this report 6 weeks after
the fact, I personally remember 2 big personal details. ONE was
that I somehow went 0/9 over the course of the day....the other
was the HUGE steelhead I lost.
As Todd and I were SLOWLY working our way back
to the cars (ahem..to go meet the rest of the crew) we fished and
fished and hooked up a LOT. At the tailout of a particularly slow
pool we found a few LARGE fish peaking out from underneath a lunker
structure. I managed to get down the bank through heavy brush and
sneak out into position standing on the rocks, directly upstream
from the fish. I watched the whole thing go down...I was DAPPING
So my leader isn't even completely out of my rod
tip and I'm gingerly placing the flies on the water. I'm fishing
with a chartreuse egg and a hot orange egg at this point. The chartreuse
makes a pass by the face of a large buck...he's uninterested and
if anything, moves away. I reposition the next drift and bring the
orange one right in front of him at eye level. He doesn't move but
doesn't show interest either.
I do it again, only this time I pull up on the
drift just as the flies are in front of him..the egg rises in the
water column and it's more than the buck can bear...he opens up
his gaping white mouth and snaps it shut...FISH ON!
The battle was epic...the fish ran for the log
jam upstream. Todd burst out of the tangled brush on shore and jumped
into the water, net in hand, ready to stop the upstream surge of
this monster fish. Somehow Todd lost his footing..the fish is thrashing
around, now headshaking at the surface, then diving deep. My drag
Just like that, it's over, I have slack line. Everything
came back..the fish simply beat me by managing to throw the hook.
After that battle with a fish I estimate at least
tying my 12 lb. personal best, Todd and I let the pool rest a bit
and then Todd gave it a different approach, working his way out
on a fallen tree to put his flies directly upstream of another steelie.
It didn't pan out, but it was entertaining to watch.
We continued upstream and continued to lose more
fish. Oak Creek definitely had an April Fool's surprise for us.
While fishing a deeper pool, I pulled out a nice fair hooked sucker.
Not too long after, Todd pulled out a stunningly colored fish. At
first glance, you would've sworn it was a brook trout. Getting a
bit closer to Todd and the fish, nope, it was a PERCH!
Todd and I had made a few more calls to the guys
over the course of the day...12:00, 1:00, 2:00. Every time we called
we'd hooked more steelies...every time someone answered they were
at a different spot on the Root. Eventually it was getting to the
point in the day that 2 things became apparent - 1. They weren't
going to come up to Oak Creek and 2. if we wanted to see our buddies
from out of town, we better go down to the Root!
When we got there, we found the guys spread out
in Island Park. Perhaps the greatest disappointment was that some
of the guys (Gerry, Tim the Enchanter) had already left....DAMN!
Well, we all sat and BS'd for a while...on the
whole the group hadn't faired as well in the muddy waters of the
Root, but a few of them had landed a fish. It was probably an hour
and a half later before we finally got on the road...Todd had to
run home to an emergency leak in his house in MN, Matt and Mitch
had to head back to Green Bay...you get the drift. Just like every
year, this was an unusual and enjoyable April 1st on the water.