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Started at the Pike today. Yes, there are fish in there - can you see the steelhead in this photo?
A brief stop at the Root River Steelhead Facility to check out the latest numbers.
Plenty of fish in the Root, although most Chinook are on death's door. This is a shot of one of two fellow SHS members who hooked up with a jack Chinook.
FINALLY! My first landed legal fish of the year! Taken on a purple-bodied, red-headed egg sucking leach, size 6 at the Pike around 5:15 pm....this photo was taken about an hour later.
Another shot of my first fish of the season. Mouth was "whitish", some black inside but that was by the time the whole fish had darkened. Dorsal was fully spotted, tail had NO SPOTS, which leads me towards this fish being a Coho.

Another shot with the rod for size-scale. What the heck did I think was doing wasting all my time with wary 12" rainbows in streams?!

10-20-02 - The Pike, Root, and Pike again!

Rivers Fished: Pike & Root Rivers
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 10-20-02
Weather: Overcast
Air Temp: 50's
Water Temp: COLD, like I'd like my beer to stay that cold!
Water Level: Low
Water Color: Pretty Clear
Fish Species: Sighted Chinook, Browns, Steelhead, and Coho
Pattern Fished: egg-sucking leaches
Pattern Color: various colors
Fishing Quality: FUN!

Another "rambling" report from the "newbie"! Ha! This weekend I had to cut my fishing sort, just Saturday, as I have to work Sunday! ARG.

Another day starting at the Pike. After last week's experience I felt it was worth a shot. Arrived at my usual late hour (about 1:00 pm), the river is now VERY low - the Friday rains again have not raised it! Water is very clear at this point...you can sight fish easily.

Between lower water levels, lighter fish densities, and colder weather, the Pike was relatively abandoned :) I started out at the usual "Bridge at A", working my way to the riffles below the bridge, then to my favorite little sandbar by the tree. What looked to be a female Chinook sat in the deep water for a long time, but took no interest in my offerings. It's really fun on the river now...the fish are spooky and holding in select pockets...you have to walk to find the fish now folks!

In the riffles above A but below 13 I found a few steelhead, and in no time had a hit on a black bodied, chartruese-headed egg sucking leach. After about a minute the fish shook loose.

For most of the afternoon I found myself walking between the riffles just mentioned and the split in the river downstream of the bridge. I sighted 1 Male Coho (nice pink color, not full blown red yet), a couple browns (they're unmistakable in this low, clear water), several steelhead (I'd best describe them as looking more slender and blue), and a few Chinook (what the heck is a fish that size doing in a river so low). I must say the entertainment factor is spectacular when you watch a fish that's 12" high plow its way upstream in 6" of water! I did have a male chinook pull such a move while I was fishing a steelhead...he got dorsal snagged but eventually broke free.

Things were nice and quite on the Pike for a few hours until another angler came sloshing from upstream. I watched all four steelhead I was fishing BOLT as he walked past, to stop in the middle of the river in front of me and ask if I had seen any "Steelhead" or "Red Coho". I kinda smiled and pointed to his feet and let him know that at least a couple had swam past him while he walked up to me. Granted I was really ticked off but at the same time I felt a bit of ironic pitty for the guy, so I packed up and came back, let him know that he didn't need to be walking in the river as it's sooooo low and all he was doing was scaring away the fish he wanted to catch. I showed him where to go, so hopefully he had a better time and at least go to see some fish.

Well, since I knew there wasn't going to be any action in that part of the river for a while, I went up to the Root in Lincoln Park at about 4:00, just to see what was going on. Well folks, there certainly are still a lot of fish, tons of Chinook. Pressure was again less than the weekend prior. I only saw one fish landed fairly (see photos below). I did see ONE steelhead tooling about, as well as a couple Coho that gave my offering "a look" but then turned away. I tossed briefly, switching over to a purple/red egg sucking leach. The Root just wasn't fun this week; most of the fish are on death's door right now. What the river needs is some good rain to bring in the next wave of fresh fish. The wier was closed and the gates on the dam were down, but the water flow was so reduced that just a trickle came over it.

I met up with a couple guys who are apparently frequent visitors here, and after chatting briefly I decided to head back to the Pike, again at A. They thought that might not be such a bad idea either.

Back at the Pike, but this time it's a dream, NO one's there. Well, I did see 3 cars but they apparently were above the bridge on 13. This evening was DEFINITELY a "5" for any true fly fisherman...sightfishing wary salmon and trout without anyone around! No snaggers 'cause there wasn't much to snag; you had to work for your fish on the Pike today but the challenge made it well worth it!

I went back to my favorite riffles and SHAZAM, FINALLY got my first legal fish LANDED of the year, taken on a purple/red egg-sucking leech. Here's the strange part, I CAN'T figure out if it's a FEMALE COHO or FEMALE STEELHEAD?!?!? Check out the pictures linked below and tell me what you think!

This fish put up quite a fight, running downstream to my backing, and then charging back upstream leaving me in a mad dash to bring in the slack so as NOT to loose the tension on the line. Now, the downside to being a NON-WADING fly fisherman is that it takes longer to bring the fish in. Finally got her to shore after a 10 minute fight, got some pictures, and went to task at releasing her. After about 15 minutes the fish still had not moved, so I left her sitting by my feet and continued to fish.

About another 30 minutes passed, the fish is still at my feet, breathing but not moving. I noticed by buddies from the Root walking along 13...gave them a shout and we met up at the pool below 13, where one of the guys shot the pic of me and the fish (sorry, I'm horrible with names, I can't remember!). I decided to keep this fish and make good use of it since it obviously wasn't going to come back after the fight. So I abdicated the river to my buddies, drove home and cleaned the fish which had nice PINK flesh.

  MP 

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