3-30-03 - A Bittersweet Day...
Rivers Fished: Pike River, Lake Michigan (Pike
River Mouth), Root River
Fish Caught: 0 Landed
Outing Date: 3-30-03
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Air Temp: 40's, maybe even up to 50 around 1:00...
Water Temp: Pike = 37-40F, Root - 37
Water Level: Down
Water Color: Pike -> relatively clear, Root River -> clearing
up but still cloudy.
Fish Species: Steelhead & Smolts
Pattern Fished: Estaz Eggs, MP's Buckwing Speydace, MP's Coho Killer,
Red & Black Wolly Bugger
Pattern Color: Naturals and Attractors
Fishing Quality: Smolts always save ya from getting skunked!
3-30-03 - Got a slightly earlier start than normal;
since we basically neglected my baby (the Pike) on Saturday, it
was my priority for Sunday.
About 11:00 I arrived all the way upstream and
started checking overpasses....worked my way down through all sorts
of spots, probably checked 50-75% of the bridges that cross the
Pike. A quick look into the clear water revealed no fish in all
spots. Also ran into a few anglers all along the river who had been
out earlier along the streams...the reports again came back as "no
fish". Along the way, a temp check at A & 13th showed 37F...not
quite there yet.
So went to Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pike,
arriving about 11:45 or so. Got down there to find one other brave
angler in the cold winds from the southeast. I started drifting
a dual rig of Estaz eggs...gradually I worked closer to the angler
who then realized we had met last fall (we had a laugh about the
fish taking his Indicators on the surface but not his offerings
back then). He had been out for a couple hours already.
While chatting, he hooked up, and my camera went
to work! Check out the abbreviated battle sequence at right. When
I asked what he was using, I had an unusual twang of pleasure and
jealousy at the same time; it was the coveted Red
& Black Wolley Bugger! Truly a bittersweet moment in life.
Hey, maybe I can't get chrome, but I guess I can help others do
We started to see a fish or two break the surface
just at the edge of the lake & lagoon, and I rerigged to offer
up MP's Coho Killer
and MP's Buckwing
Speydace. Even threw on an indicator (something I rarely do).
While I continued to toss until 1:45, the action had stopped.
Made a quick run back up to A and surveyed the
situation. On my walk down, I spooked something of fair size...not
sure if it was a sucker or a Steelhead, but it moved more like a
trout, less like a sucker. However, I'm inclined to think that it
was probably just a sucker (the majority were supposedly further
upstream). I did a quick fish of the area and finally made it a
point to go down and survey the construction on the bridge....they
removed some of the rock from the riverbed directly under the bridge
but for the most part the stream is unchanged (however, there is
now a lot of boulders underneath what will hopefully soon be a newly
completed bridge). Went back up to find that "spooked"
fish...whatever it was, but didn't find anything.
So 2:15 or so I left; this weekend has been pounding
a lesson into my head...just 'cause you can't see fish even when
you think you SHOULD be able to, doesn't mean they're not there!
Those deeper holes & pockets may still be worth a shot!
After a lunch stop, I made my way over to the lower
stretches of the Root around 3:00. The anglers were OUT IN FORCE
compared to yesterday, at least 3X the number of folks. Chromeseeker
was on his way, and one of his buddies had hooked up a few times
earlier in the day. By the time we got in the 40F water, all we
could get to bite were smolts (LOL I went like 5/17 on those!),
the loved the Estaz egg in ORANGE, not to mention they also HAMMERED
my flo. orange strike indicator (hey, want to have some C&R
fun, bring out the 3 weight and all the bright orange surface bugs
you can tie LOL!).
At 4:45 we stirred it up and went down even further
than I had been before (something which I had been anxious to do
on slow times in the more "commonly known" areas). Got
stopped by a DNR Warden for a license inspection (he was kind enough
to use his binoculars to read mine from 50 feet or so, thanks buddy!).
Chromeseeker was closer to shore, and got to talk to the DNR Warden
for a minute.
Per Chromeseeker's Post on TSS, "I had a pleasant
chat with a game warden and another DNR guy (nice to see you after
a long winter) and they both confirmed what I was thinking: the
bite is on and off and fish are easily spooked while a hole is put
under heavier pressure...you can get 4 hookups in a 1/2 hour, lure
2 or 3 fishermen in the same spot, and 2 hookups later the action
is off. But you can still have a blast, especially on a weekday
with less pressure... " Just wanted to include it here for
At this point in the evening I had switched up
to the Red & Black
Wolley Bugger...I figured I had nothing to lose, and I may have
been right. I did a slow swing, and on one run through got some
sort of bump...wasn't a snag because I was not able to duplicate
the "hit" on several identical subsequent swings. So I
*think* that was my hit for the day!
5:15 or so nature called, so I left my buddies
to find a washroom, and then headed up to the weir to check things
out around 5:30. MOST of the anglers had cleared out by this point.
A check of the weir showed that they have not yet processed any
fish, but there are at least a couple in the holding tank. A scan
of the sanctuary revealed no fish...so basically I called it a day
at 5:45 pm (afterall, I had to come home and write the reports!).
Well, I'm still hesitant to say that any kind of
run has really started yet...just a trickle at best. Most all the
fish I've heard of being caught have color, and they are definitely
EARNED. Indiana is reportedly still good...if I don't hear of any
action through the week I'm going to stop by, visit Dave, and give
IN some more river time! BTW, keep an eye out for a Tuesday report
this week...it could happen....