3-18-05 - Bang up day for the Centerpin!
Waters Fished: Root River, Pike River, Kenosha
Fish Caught: 2/2 or 3?
Outing Date: 3-18-05
Air Temp: 30's
Water Temp: Pike 38F
Water Level: coming up...
Water Color: Root Brown, vis less than 1'. Pike Blue, visiblity
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Spawn (Coho Skien)
Pattern Color: Chartreuse Mesh
Fishing Quality: an Improvement.
Another day on the water, this time in anticipation
of a "guided" trip that I currently can't charge for.
Oh well, such is life with the DNR (turns out their CC processing
has gone down...thus the holdup). Anyway, this was my pre-trip scouting
day for a day to be spent on the water with Ken S....first things
first I gotta find the fish!
Well, I started out on the Root, again the most
likely spot to encounter fish this spring as returns will be dictated,
at least partially, by the number of fish put in in 2002 and 2003
(yes, if you watch wier data, the 2 highest years for returns are
2 years and 3 years prior to the year you're currently fishing).
So much for the "productive" Root...lots
of folks were out, my conservative estimates would put it at 30
people in Lincoln, Brose and Island Park on a Friday. The crowds
are starting to form.
Anyway, I never got to fish my favorite holes as
there were 3-4 anglers there at all times. No biggie, I went downstream
a bit and had the place to myself on an equally good spot. As my
float went downstream time and time again, I wondered if I'd even
hit a smolt though. Well, shortly before I left, the float went
down, I set the hook, felt one "shake" of resistance and
the rig came shooting out of the water. Could have been a fish,
or just as likely could've been a STICK. With that kind of luck,
I decided the Root wasn't ready to play today.
On down to the Pike, arriving around 4:00 PM on
a deep slow bend down low. Minutes into my fishing the float went
down twice...quick tapping strikes like you'd usually see from a
small fish (aka. smolt) and then went under in a solid tug. Even
though I expected a smolt, I set the hook.
What followed was a hard charging battle between
me and a chrome steelie...so much for the smolts. I palmed the centerpin's
spool to provide some drag as this fish made screaming runs upstream.
It'd turn around, come towards me and I reeled like a madman to
keep tension on the fish...only to have it turn around and make
another blistering run upstream. As I palmed the rim, the handles
were tapping my hand...one unscrewed and fell right off into my
hand as this fish made yet another charge upstream.
Clamping down on the reel, I put the handle in
my pocket and got back to the business of fighting. When I finally
got the fish to shore, she made one more dash deep before giving
up. There on the mud and sand laid a stunning female chromer, no
clips, around 10lb. Pictures were shot and she charged back into
the water no worse for wear.
Just a few drifts later, my float again was working
down the outside bend when it slowly laid down. Typically, these
types of takedowns are snags on the bottm. I hadn't hit bottom yet
though, so once again without too much thought I set the hook hard
and was again tied into a large fish. It instantly broke the surface
long enough to see that it was big and dark...my first thoughts
were a brown. Although a less enthusiastic battle, also leading
me to believe I had tied into a brown, what came to shore was a
fully colored buck. No clips again, and around 10lb!
As the light started to fade I pulled up off the
Pike...I figured 2 fish was ample for my pre-guide scouting trip.
I swung by Kenosha Harbor to check out the ice conditions. Despite
what I had been reading online, the main harbor was completely open,
no ice, and full of waterfowl. Satellite data indicates the water
is still quite cold though, around 33F.