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4-1-06 - you know, it's steelhead season - yahoo!

Todd beats on that skunk with a nice fresh hen!

The skunk is officially DOA - Todd is cleaning house today!

Todd going out on a limb for fish...

SUCKER FOR MP!

Perhaps the craziest thing I've seen pulled out of Oak Creek to date - a beautiful PERCH!

A nice tailout on Oak Creek.

Another good scenic shot of Oak Creek.

FatMatt has been on the Root, hoping for fish...

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
Weather: Cloudy
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 for steelhead!

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 is roaring.

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.

  MP 

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