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4-20-03 - A VERY EARLY Pre-Dawn outing started at the Sheboygan. This is literally about as much as the human eye could discern!
Dawn is approaching as Chromeseeker works the pools downstream. I did the riffles.
Sunrise over the Sheboygan!
Normally there'd be at least 5 anglers in a shot like this at Kletzsch.
Note that the river makes a split at Kletzsch offering two sides to fish!
The Root's flow was up a bit, and other than brief periods of sunshine, things were basically the same as Friday evening.

4-20-03 - Easter prevented a full day of fishing, but I still landed one!

Rivers Fished: Sheboygan River, Milwaukee River, Root River
Fish Caught: 1 fouled
Outing Date: 4-20-03
Weather: Cloudy then Rain then Mist then Mostly Cloudy then Mostly Sunny.
Air Temp: 50's to 60's
Water Temp: 36-38F
Water Level: average
Water Color: overall moderately stained and semi-clear
Fish Species: Steelhead & Small Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Black Heron Spey, Winter's Hope Spey
Pattern Color: Black & Silver, Bright Orange, Blue, Purple & Silver
Fishing Quality: Fair

The morning of Easter I had only a few hours to fish before our traditional family gathering (we've dropped from something like 40-50 people to 6 this year, as most have moved away from the area!). We got up at 5:00 AM, having stayed overnight at the Motel 8 in Sheboygan (FYI do NOT drink the coffee...it smelled and tasted like urine! However the Danish was perfection for a 5:00 am start!)

Bart was familiar with Sheboygan and took us to a spot he had seen good luck at several times before. We hoped in at 5:45 AM; it was still QUITE DARK as you can see from the photos. Water temps were 38F; as things brightened up I could see that visibility was about 1 foot in the off-brown stained water. The Sheboygan is roughly somewhere between the Root & Milwaukee Rivers in size.

We had (for the most part) a fishless morning. I thoroughly covered the upper riffles of the section we were at, swinging the Black Heron. As dawn arrived, the sun came out and things got bright for a bit, so I changed up to the Winter's Hope Spey (going along with the bright day = bright fly theory).

Bart moved upstream from me, working another short riffle as well as the pools above. He disappeared around the bend and I continued to work the same area. I learned something about patience from my Root experience on 4-18-03. Eventually I abandoned the riffles and decided to find CS. The only fish I had seen were probably suckers, including one half-dead specimen who bumped into me from behind as he floated downriver. Talk about a small unexpected surprise from behind!

I made it up to the bend where I had seen CS disappear; he was nowhere to be found. So I whipped out the cell and rang him; he had landed another rather chunky yet small (ca. 10") Brown Trout. Sounded a lot like the smolt I had landed Friday on the Root. The funny thing, 10" browns are perfectly acceptable trout to catch when stalking them in the streams out west. Yet here we sometimes just consider them a nuisance.

So at 7:15 AM I waited below the bridge for Chromeseeker who was heading back, and decided to swing the pool. Rather unexpectedly around 7:20 I connected with a LARGE fish. It ran my line several times; at first I had the drag set rather lightly and I had to take a moment to hunker it down. I let the fish work against the drag; he'd run down then turn and come up, so I did a fair amount of reeling to keep the line tension on. Out of the corner of my eye an angler approached and watched the fight. He offered to help land the fish for me; which I eventually accepted. I tried to beach this fish 2 or 3 times, each time he made another run into the deep only to eventually come back to shore. Eventually I got her on shore and the angler (who I came to know as Adam) tailed her for me. A LARGE spawned out female, easily 30" from my recollection. Adam held her while I found my fly, which turned out to be fouled on her snout. Got the fly and Adam asked if I wanted a picture. While tempting, this female's entire head was covered in columnaris (see the Brown Trout landed back in January....this steelhead was in similar condition). Rather than shoot such a sickly fish, we let her go.

Adam and I chatted for a bit while Chromeseeker made his way back downstream; his feelings was that on a fish like that, it very well could still be a fair because sometimes a fish lunges for the fly but misses...and you end up still connecting. This got me thinking about certain other hits, where for example a fish could sip a glo-bug, going for the "egg", and in the process getting hooked on the underside of the chin when sucking the hook through such a narrow opening. I'm not trying to debate the current definition of "fair vs. foul" as laid out by the WDNR, just saying that there are certain instances where a fish that's "foul" according to their rules could in fact have been a "fair hit".

Adam was a local who currently lives in Milwaukee; a really friendly guy who I want to thank for helping me land the fish! He filled us in that many of the steelhead by now were coming up crusty in the Sheboygan. He suggested Kohler upstream as a good place for someone willing to spend $ for river access. Since not everyone wants to do that, he felt it was one of the better chances for healthy, unmolested fish. I will be keeping that in mind!

So at 7:25 or so it started raining; CS's girlfriend was with us all weekend and wasn't really keen on staying out fishing in the rain, so we decided that the Sheboygan wasn't where we would spend the majority of our time. After some debate we were going to visit the Pigeon and maybe even head up to Manitowoc, but the weather reports on the radio suggested that south would be a better way to head. Back towards Milwaukee we went!

We got back to the Milwaukee at 8:30 and headed down to Kletzsch Park. Unlike the past few weekends, there was almost NO ONE to be found! A temp check showed 40F! We fanned out, I was back to swinging the Black Heron in the misty morning. An hour and 20 minutes later I had not seen a single fish try to jump the dam, and all I had landed was someone's lost chartreuse crankbait! A $3.00 lure for an hour or so of fishing? Not terrible I guess! Chromeseeker had one on (using egg patterns) but lost his fish. I was eager to get to an area where the fish would be more concentrated, plus I was getting VERY hungry, so we headed to the Root at 9:50!

I made a mad dash for Quarry Park, got in the water right about 10:45 AM. The Root's temp was back up to 42F. EXCELLENT! By this time the weather had gone from rain and then mist to cloudy with brief breaks of sunshine. I wanted to hit the lucky hole on Friday; there were only a few minor differences between conditions then and now, so I tried the same swing of the Black Heron in the same holes searching for fish. An hour later I had not seen a fish and produced 0 hits! I really wanted to stay out, but had to make it back for Easter Lunch in Chicago with my family.

11:45 saw me back on the highway doing 75 mph on a beeline for the city! By the end of the day Bart had been on the Root downstream and produced 4 more steelies, 1 fouled 3 fair. Kinda wish Easter could've waited a day ;) Oh well...I'll probably get in another "45 minute trip" on Tuesday evening unless I try the insane "fish before work" scheme again!

  MP 

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