9-25-05 - Wisconsin's "Middle" East Shore
Waters Fished: Kewaunee River, East Twin River,
West Twin River, Little Manitowoc River, Branch River, Manitowoc
River, Silver Creek, Point Creek, Fischer Creek, Sevenmile Creek,
Pigeon River, Sheboygan Quarry Lake, Black River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 9-25-05
Air Temp: Mid 50's to Mid 60's
Water Temp: n/a
Water Level: low
Water Color: as the day progressed the streams we visited were more
and more muddy.
Fish Species: King Salmon, Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Can't really say I "fished" but there
was a Flying Bunny on the end of the line.
Pattern Color: Poor
Let me preface today by saying I'm going with a
bit of a different format: we ended up basically scouting. The season
is upon us and perhaps if you can't deal with the crowds in SE WI,
maybe you'll fit in better with the crowds up north. Or perhaps,
just as I did on Saturday, you'll find you have the river pretty
much all to yourself!
This report will be broken down by river (as there
are several of them). Let me disclaim right now - I'm NOT GIVING
AWAY YOUR SECRET SPOTS! D'oh - if you recognized the spot, that
just means YOU have already fished there. Sorry, but no one's gonna
know where to go unless they go find it. So save your hatemails
'cause they're falling on deaf ears. I'm not going to be telling
anyone how to get to any of the places I was because, "hello"
- all you need is a map, car and some gas! If you've bothered to
pick up the Trout Regs, you'd know that all of these streams are
pretty darn clearly marked already ;)
The Kewaunee River
So Renee and I were on THE road trip. We found
ourselves in the Green Bay area and met up with Matt (FATMAT) and
Mitch (SKINNYMITCH) around 7:30 AM on their home waters - the Kewaunee
River. Without hesitation we got on the water and WADED downstream,
Matt acting as our tourguide. Right off the bat we spotted a King,
but overall the pickings were slim to none! It'd be pretty hard
to give you a play-by-play account of our morning; probably, mostly,
perhaps because we didn't have a shot at a darn thing other than
the chubs. What made up for a slow morning of fishing (it's still
early in the season) was Matt's superb breakdown of the river for
us, right down to pointing out every little spot that looks like
it should hold fish (and yet doesn't).
All too soon our tour was over and it was time
for Matt & Mitch to head to brunch with the family. Renee &
I returned to the Citgo on Kewaunee's harbor for a surprisingly
good breakfast - Bacon Egg & Cheese Croissant for me, Ham &
Cheese Bagel for Renee, Hash Browns AND Potato Wedges all around.
Seriously, it was just that good.
After brunch, Renee and I headed back upstream
on the Kewaunee; like the Root River
of Southeast Wisconsin, the Kewaunee is another DNR "Broodstock"
river. This means that like the Root, the Kewaunee has it's own
weir. However, that's probably where the comparisons should end
- I was simply BLOWN AWAY by the facility, better known as the C.D.
"Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility. Rather
that write and write and write, I've compiled a quick photographic
tour for all of you.
So there you have it - talk about a step up from
the Root River Wier. Or maybe it's just a case of "the grass
is greener" - you can't fish for something like 1/4 MILE downstream
of the Besadny facility! Now, you're all probably thinking that
this is a LONG report and is probably nearing an end. Well...you
couldn't be FURTHER from the truth!
East Twin River
We had an afternoon to fish. Renee and I hopped
back in the car for one huge mother of all "schemes" -
I've been thinking about doing this for a LONG time. It is my goal
to at least visit every designated tributary in Wisconsin - the
Lake Michigan Shore First. It's a bit tougher than when I did it
in PA...there's just a little bit more than 40 miles of shoreline
in Wisconsin...just a bit more.
Upon arriving at the East Twin River, we found
clear water, probably low. The bottom looked rather silty with many
fist-sized pieces of rubble scattered around. A few anglers were
milling about. NO FISH HERE (get used to me saying that). I got
a few pics and got in the car just as it started to rain.
West Twin River
By the time we arrived at the West Twin, it was
raining hard and the parking lot we found was under at least an
inch of water. We waited it out as long as we could. From where
we sat, we could see a small dam. Finally I bit the bullet, covered
the camera and ran out to get a couple pics.
Drenched and back in the car, we headed on to our
next stop but barely made it 100 yards when the Bitchin' Camaro
came to a literal screeching halt. WOW. I guess there's more than
one channel on this part of the West Twin. Here too we saw a couple
anglers braving the rain and conditions, trying for fish. The water
was already mud-soup here. A few more pictures were taken and we
got on the move...maybe we'd drive out of the rain?
Little Manitowoc River
OK, this one I have to chuckle about. It was raining
pretty hard. When they say "Little", they mean "Drainage
Ditch". Sure, we found it, found it to be a raging torrent
of mud less than 3-4 feet in width. Didn't even bother risking the
camera for a picture of this "trib". On to the next stop.
Alrighty, so now here is another decent sized river.
The rain subsided a bit, but lightning still flashed all around.
We basically made some quick dashes finding all the access points
and snapping a bunch of pictures.
Being a branch of the Manitowoc River (next up
on the list), it's not too surprising that we found some similar
structure and river features. Fair amounts of rock & gravel
around; the ongoing rains had only clouded this one up partly. Otherwise,
the water seemed to have a pretty heavy tannin stain to it. FWIW,
I noticed a few signs around the Branch River posted by "Friends
of the Branch River Watershed" in conjunction with other organizations.
Thought they'd be worth showing ya as well.
Still NO FISH sighted all afternoon. Now, the Manitowoc
River, this is one that I simply DROOL over every time we pass it
heading north on Route 43. Man, I wish you could just pull off to
the side of the highway and get in right there!
The Manitowoc strikes me as a river approaching
the size of the Milwaukee; perhaps surpassing it in some stretches.
In other areas though, it felt quite cozy. My real hope for the
Manitowoc was to snap a shot of the vista from 43 looking east,
but that just didn't happen. Sadly, I don't feel that ANY of these
pictures really capture what "Manitowoc River" conjures
in my head, but they'll have to do for now. Between dirty, muddy
water and ongoing rain and a lack of fish activity, we just had
to keep on moving.
We almost blew right past this one....I think Renee
saw it (she was a great navigator but a GPS would have made things
EVEN EASIER)! Um...not sure navigable water rights (and "Keep
Your Feet Wet" would even apply on this tributary! If there
were fish, we had NO hopes of sighting them!
Harumph. I had hopes for this one being something
akin to Oak Creek down in SE WI. Unfortunately, look at the picture
and you tell me...I think this one is a bust!
Ha! You thought Silver Creek was small. Here's
a couple pics of Point Creek! Good luck steelhead fishermen - I
pretty much guarantee you'll have this one all to yourselves! You
might actually enjoy it, that is if you like fishing a trib that's
more akin to a swampy, brush tangled brook trout stream!
Just big enough. Fischer was yet another one we
almost missed, but thankfully we caught it. It looks like there's
a fair amount of water here (in river miles). Unfortunately, it's
another "tributary" that looks way more like an Iowa Trout
Stream! Sandy/Silty bottom with loads of vegetation. Definitely
not saying fish won't swim up this trib, but don't say I didn't
warn ya. Granted, if your into that whole "self inflicted pain"
thing, this is probably the perfect place for a steelhead smackdown
between you and a dozen of your buddies!
Seven miles away from what? The road? On our way
south we TOTALLY, COMPLETELY MISSED THIS ONE! Unless, of course,
it was the drainage ditch that was tunneled under the road. Seriously,
not sure if we saw this one or not because there was no bridge,
no nothing anywhere around where it was supposed to be on BOTH maps.
Sounds like a Fairy Chasm
/ Barne's Creek kinda place
Ah, back to the rivers you actually might, maybe,
in one spot, need chest waders. By this point the rain had subsided.
The rivers were all pretty swollen and muddy. I'd be hard pressed
to tell you anything about the structure of this river. I will say
though that we again go to check out multiple access points on a
river (which is enjoyable - info stored for later). Here's a few
quick looks at the Pigeon.
Sheboygan Quarry Lake
Oh man was I itchin' to break out a rod when we
accidentally found this place! It's one of the urban ponds that
get stocked with trout, like Quarry
Park Lake and Ceylon Lagoon.
Now, it's probably a ZOO in the summertime due to the beach and
WATERPARK that are installed there, but in off seasons it's probably
a really enjoyable place to fish. The water was a deep royal blue.
Visiblity was HIGH for a day like today - easily 3-4 feet. ACCESS
was a freakin' nightmare - the beach was closed. There is NO pier.
The only thing you have to get to the water are the steep quarry
banks which keep you at least 3-4 feet above the water even in the
lowest spots, and it's a straight drop down. This one would probably
be best tackled in some sort of small inflatable craft (pontoon
boat - honey, I need a pontoon boat ;) on those days when you can
actually get inside the fenced-off portion of the park. I'm jealous
of those who get to fish it regularly!
Yeah, we actually SKIPPED the one river that had
a fair chance of having fish in it (OK, so actually, for the record,
I indeed KNOW there are fish in on the unnamed river in the area
- genious if you've figured it out ;)
Thankfully the rain stayed away as we checked out
what was pretty much the one last stream on my "to-do"
list. I have one more to go that's actually LOCAL and I'll have
"fished" every tributary from Kewaunee down to the IL
border. So here we go - the Black River.
This was honestly the highlight of my day - when
I got out and took pictures I got to meet a gentleman who owns property
on the river. The stories he relayed were very insightful, not to
mention riddled with tons of good info. I only wish I had caught
Admittedly, the Black River is gonna be a tough
one - it's small and bordered most all the time by reeds and cattails
- aka. it's actually a MARSH more than it is a river. To make matters
worse - there's absolutely no legal place to park!
So there you have it - our Sunday Road Trip to
hit 12 new tributaries and a bonus lake to boot! Of special significance,
the Bitchin' Camaro has officially hit a milestone in my book!