of the first fish "sighted" today, a small dead smolt
of some Salmonid resting on the bottom under the ice.
is what it looks like at A folks!
hour's worth of ice buildup on my net!
past the dam, I checked out Petrified Springs Park for the first
time. There's a lot of river here, and it's quite scenic. But
since fish have a hard time passing the "dam" in the
Kenosha Country Club, there aren't going to be any fish up here!
shot of the Pike River in Petrifying Springs Park.
the past month I have noticed a steady increase of Creek Chubs
in the Pike. They are traveling in large schools, usually hiding
in the slack water under ice.
shot of the Pike, all the way west by Rt. 31 (Green Bay Rd.)
Again, it's not likely we'll see fish up this far due to the
Dam in the Kenosha Country Club.
on to Colonial Park on the Root River in Racine. There was basically
NO open water worth fishing. I did sight some smolts though;
perhaps the rivers were stocked last week?
with Bead Chain! Hey, that's only after a dozen casts or so.
the end of 2 hours wading (or rather falling through the ice)
this is the amount of Ice Buildup on my net. My reel was frozen;
anything caught would have been like fishing with a cane pole.
gorgeous dusk approached as I left the Root.
1-11-03 - Everything was a skating rink!
Rivers Fished: Pike & Root Rivers
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 1-11-03
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Air Temp: 20-10 F
Water Temp: probably just above 32 F
Water Level: low
Water Color: clear and clear, the root is less stained now
Fish Species: Creek Chubs ;)
Pattern Fished: An Alevin Pattern and Egg Sucking Stonefly
Pattern Color: Alevin is mallard flank, silver and flame egg yarn,
Egg Sucking Stonefly was black and chartreuse
Fishing Quality: NONEXISTENT
1-11-03 - Hit the Pike later in the afternoon,
starting at A around 2:15 pm. The river was more frozen than I've
ever seen it; virtually any area of water that ISN'T a riffle was
frozen solid. I would love to say I checked "all my favorite
spots" but the truth is that I couldn't even SEE into most
of my favorite spots this time.
Wading was dangerous at best; there was ice-slush
on the bottom, then a shelf of thicker ice about mid-water level,
and then a surface shelf of thinner ice. I went through periodically;
thankfully I KNOW the shallow areas of the river and knew I wasn't
going in deep. That's part of the thing about hitting the rivers
and exploring them frequently; you get to know them like the back
of your hand.
Between 13th and A I first sighted a dead fish
through the ice, what looked like a salmonid smolt. A bit further
upstream I found a school of Creek Chubs; normally these reside
further upstream but they had come down a bit. In the last month
the population of Creek Chubs appears to have "exploded"
whereas the population of Salmonids has declined to nothing. I wonder
if these fish grow feeding on the flesh of the dead salmonids in
So I didn't waste a lot of time at A, as there
just wasn't any place to really toss a line! Not even ONE cast!
I decided that since this was going to be a day of scouting more
so than fishing, I'd head up PAST the Dam in the Kenosha Country
Club and instead check out Petrifying Springs Park about 2:35. I
had heard stories that the fish can occasionally make it past the
Dam, so I figured "what the heck" and took a hike. There
is a TON of river upstream, and it's quite beautiful (see the pics).
I spent a great deal of time looking for signs that salmon had made
it past the dam (i.e. carcasses) but didn't see any; well, I did
find a dead creek chub (see pic). I did take a moment to toss a
line in a couple "fishy" looking pockets that were open,
but as I expected I didn't have any interest from nonexistent fish!
In another recent post someone said that the Pike
used to be classified as a "Class II" trout stream, and
I have to say that I wish they'd do something to get it back to
that state, 'cause the area was gorgeous, totally accessible via
the Park. What I REALLY would like to see is the Dam taken out in
the country club; that would open up many more miles of fishable
Tributary! Since the "Dam" in the country club isn't technically
a Dam, the Pike IS fishable year round all the way up past Rt. 31,
but the truth is that the "Dam" is quite an effective
fish barrier for movement upstream past Y.
After hiking and driving all of the Park, I got
a little lost but found my way back to Rt. 31 and headed towards
Racine. By this point my reel was FROZEN solid. I dropped in around
3:35 at Colonial Park due to the most recent Root River Report from
the DNR. I did have to waste some time holding my reel in front
of my car's vents to melt out all the ice (probably dripped a 1/4
cup of water all over my car!). Colonial Park area was totally frozen;
only the areas of really fast moving surface water were open. I
did fish these areas, especially the deep pockets under debris and
along the banks, and I may have even gotten a tug, but it just as
easily could have been a snag.
In the more languid areas of the river the ice
was strong, yet relatively clear, and I did come across a school
of what looked like young salmonids under the ice. There were several
"gray" looking fish ranging in length from 4" to
about 9" or so...I honestly DID try a bit for these fish to
see if I could catch one for identification purposes (i.e. a photograph
;) Did the DNR recently drop in the stocking of yearlings?
Anyways, I worked this area VERY thoroughly, moving
up and down, and constantly spooking this little group of fish every
time I approached. I went through the ice a whole bunch; probably
after 15 minutes of being out there I had already frozen my reel
again. The line was impossible to keep clear, even my tippet. After
every 3-4 casts I had to cast onto the ice to break up the bead-chain
line I was casting!
Well, this all went on until about 4:30, when I
took a really hard spill on the ice, landing on my side. I am truly
LUCKY I didn't go through; granted the water was only about 6"
deep so I wouldn't have been in any real danger other than hypothermia
if I couldn't get back to the car in time. After this hard landing
I figured anything that was there would be spooked for quite a while,
so I called it a day!
So I guess my bit of advice is to not even bother
with the SE Tribs until we get a GOOD warmup. The weather is showing
below freezing temps as daytime HIGHS all week, so I guarantee a
trip to these rivers would be completely wasted unless you want
to try ice-fishing (which would be really dangerous in it's own
right!). So go fish the IN tribs where there is still open water,
or get to tying the flies! I may skip out on the next couple weeks
of fishing unless I go to IN; if the weather starts to hit 40F again
I'll be back!