3-13-04 - A day with the most soon-to-be-famous
fly tier I know; Mr. Firk!
Waters Fished: Oak Creek,
Fish Caught: 0/1 + 1 foul personally
Outing Date: 3-13-04
Air Temp: up to about 40F
Water Temp: Oak 38F, Root 35F, Pike 38F
Water Level: Oak back to 10 CFS (baseline flow); Root 200 cfs, Pike
about 25CFS (pretty close to the baseline)
Water Color: Oak pretty clear, Root Muddy, Pike moderately clear
Fish Species: Steelhead, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Various Egg Patterns - small on light tippet
Pattern Color: again, Pink/Red worked well
Fishing Quality: I told you it'd be slow...did you listen?!
Finally, after a few months of talking about it,
I got to fish with FIRK. For those of you not familiar with this
young man's extreme tying abilities, check out his posts on Wisconsin
Fly Fishing! He is already well known for his Bass Bug abilities...got
to see some of those sweet flies in person. Let me tell you; gorgeous
Firk and I hit our first stream of the day, Oak
Creek, around 11:30. Lots of people were out, running around the
streams. We first ran into a couple kids who basically admitted
to snagging...great way to start the day...where's their mentors
teaching them GOOD angling ethics?
I gave Firk the grand tour from top to bottom,
but other than a few empty redds, we didn't see squat. We worked
the runs and undercuts but nothing happened...so back upstream we
First I have one on fair out of a deep bend, but
it comes up. I switch up again, it comes off again...gotta love
the head shakes. THEN I land a steelie fouled in the pectoral. Of
course it goes back, and eventually FIRK sights a steelie in the
fast water; he hooks up too, but with one splash the fish is off.
Probably about 2:30 we'd had enough, so we headed
down to the Root and met up with Chromeseeker. And of course, here
comes Chromeseeker with a brown and a steelie taken on spawn; working
the deep bends of Island Park.
While driving down, we had seen most of the other
access spots; all the people were upstream. Firk was kinda looking
for a more quiet experience, so we stayed downstream with CS and
tried. Just upstream of us I saw the FATMAN; took a walk up and
as I approached I watch them hook up with (and lose) their only
steelie for the day.
The Root's 35F water temp and muddy visibility
kinda made me give up on it in favor of our trusty Pike River. I
figured even if Firk and I wouldn't hook into any more fish today,
at least he'd get the grand tour of the SE tribs.
We got to the Pike around 5:00; tried a couple
spots but once again, never saw fish, only one or two old redds.
I ran into a friendly gent who was returning from the Golf Course
with what looked like a steelie that I had released earlier in the
week (again, another example of why C & R works). Apparently
no one was having any luck up there...no one was sighting fish,
everyone was frustrated. I knew there were fish up there, but wasn't
about to make the hike with so little time left in the day. Oh,
also, the DNR was out in force today checking licenses and such...I'm
glad to hear about that.
Firk and I finished up the day just downstream
of A & 13th...I did sight something moving up but all too quickly
it got to the end of legal fishin' time.
The big lesson for today; on Oak we avoided the
crowds of people fishin' the first big pool...that's probably where
any remaining fish were. On the Root, we avoided everything above
Island - counted over 60 cars in the various parking spots. Turns
out that the majority of fish were up there (well, I already knew
that before going out). Fishing low meant low concentrations of
fish. By the time we headed to the Pike, especially after talking
to that friendly angler, I pretty much knew where most fish would
be...and again we didn't fish there 'cause there were 12 cars parked
at the access.
Bottom line; if you AVOID the crowds on weekends
you will be avoiding the fish.