3-30-05 - A literal CLONE of yesterday...very well
may be the PEAK of the run.
Waters Fished: Pike River, Root River
Fish Caught: 5/10
Outing Date: 3-29-05
Air Temp: upper 30's, rising to 50's
Water Temp: Root 46F, Pike 45F
Water Level: Root 200 CFS, Pike around 30 CFS
Water Color: both somewhat cloudy but continuing to improve - around
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: Threw the gamut. Top producing patterns were small
eggs in shades of orange, red and chartreuse. The lighter stuff
Fishing Quality: FANTASTIC!
Um..hmm. Not sure that I really need to write all
that much here. I did the exact same thing I did on Tuesday with
Karl, but this time I had the place to myself. Tim S. was in from
OH and was supposed to meet up with me in the AM. His brother-in-law
was also supposed to come out. They never made it. In the same manner,
surprisingly, I was the one who gave Mr. Brown a wakeup call around
5:00 AM...apparently he got the call, said he'd just lay back down
for a minute and didn't get back up until 8:00 AM. Well boys, buddies,
as I told you when we finally spoke on the phone that morning, you
missed it! Man, I REALLY wish they had gotten out, but my all accounts,
the fish were the highlight that day! The best fish (in my book)
include the first Wisconsin Kamloops strain rainbow that I've caught
in the tribs, as well as living proof that C&R DOES MAKE for
a better run. Had I NOT C&R'd the female Arlee I landed yesterday
with Karl, I would have had a 4/9 kind of day, because my last fish
today was the very same Arlee I had released yesterday.
So yes, it's one of those reports where I have
not much to say about the day, but I have a lot on my mind all the
same. Not trying to preach to the choir, but it's really simple.
Yes, we don't have a wild steelhead fishery down here, it is Put
& Take by the DNR's standards. However, we don't exactly get
HUGE numbers of fish in the tribs. To top it off, we get probably
the highest angling pressure all year during the peak of the steelhead
run...probably MORE than come out for the Kings. Yet by comparison,
there is, at best, one FIFTH the number of fish to go after...and
that's being VERY LIBERAL in my view of the return numbers.
So, when someone harvests 5 steelies from the river,
how does that affect the run? On a good year, on the Root, lets
say the run is 1000 fish processed through the weir. A harvest of
6 fish drops the population of fish in the river by 0.5%. When 10
people harvest a bag limit of steelies? 5% of the fish present are
now out of play...they will not be recaught. So, lets just take
it to the extreme, and say during the peak of the run, everyone
comes down. I can tell you that's easily 300+ anglers on the Root.
Lets say they all only harvest 2 fish during the entire weekend...that's
a reasonable guestimate. Suddenly over 60% of the fish are gone.
How do you think the fishing will be on Monday as compared to Saturday??!?!?
Well, in the weekend that just had passed, considering only 250
or so steelhead were sent upstream...it's quite reasonable that
the run could be wiped out by angler harvest.
I know it is a legal right to harvest a bag limit
of steelies, but if you like to harvest please consider your future
angling prospects. Even if one person who'd normally take 5 fish
instead leaves them, that means, at minimum, each fish could be
caught at least a 2nd time. Suddenly 5 other anglers may have had
a better day because of your C&R efforts. I've heard all the
arguments against C&R...think about all those times you've come
to the river and gotten skunked....perhaps if you, or someone else,
had put their earlier catch back, you might have gotten to land
something. Are you fishin' for meat or are you fishing for the battle?
Consider that some of our SE WI streams have
seen their steelhead stocking CUT by 50% in 2004 DUE TO BUDGETARY
issues . If those streams are going to continue to fish even
half as well as they do on a normal year, lower harvest is going
to have to be part of our future plans for steelhead. For guys who
C&R every steelhead they catch, they're already doing their
part. For guys like me, who might keep a couple per year, I'm going
to have to really really justify keeping the fish to MYSELF before
doing so. And for the guys who come and harvest 5 steelhead? Do
you really NEED 5 fish?