10-28-06 - Lucky Brown on a Muddy River
Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 1/9 between 2 anglers
Outing Date: 10-28-06
Air Temp: 50's at best
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: up, 250 cfs
Water Color: brown, visibility < 6"
Fish Species: King Salmon, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Mostly Large Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: Red and Chartreuse took the only fish!
So Fall is DEFINITELY here. Jeff and I took our time getting on the water for this Team Fish...I think at least part of it was Jeff's later concert plans...can't get up at 4:00 AM and stay up 'til 4:00 AM...at least not easily!
We hit the water in Lincoln Park around 10:30 AM. It was muddy and up from recent rains. Looking at the rocks and walls, it was apparent that the flows in the park were dropping, however looking at the flow gauge during the time we were fishing, the river was reportedly actually rising.
Not that any of that means much...the water was DIRTY! We were here in search of Browns and Cohos but Kings or Steelies wouldn't hurt either. I set Jeff up on a nice stretch to work the far deeper side of a long bend - our plan was to "run and gun" in a methodical fashion. Simply cover the water until you hook up or otherwise find fish...the high water meant the fish could be spread out anywhere.
Sure enough, the fish weren't only located in the spots you'd expect them. Maybe 20 feet downstream from where Jeff was casting, I spied a tail. Jeff made a quick adjustment and on only his first or second drift to the area he hooked up! The rod doubled over and throbbed as the fish violently shook before heading out into the main current.
It was big enough to be a King, but to me it looked like a Brown. Jeff didn't believe it was a brown until the fourth botched net attempt in waist deep water (yup, normally DRY land). Somehow, despite several misses, the fish stayed on. It came to net hooked in the upper jaw, and the moment I laid the fish down on the ground the hook simply fell out. We quickly snapped a bunch of pictures (thank you Nikon BURST MODE!), got the measurements, and put him back in the water for you guys to chase. 33" brown with an 18.5" girth...that's a fish to write home about! I joked "OK, my job here is done...we can call it a day!". Truth be told I think we had 3.5 hours left to fish together!
We started bumping around...next stop was Colonial Park. Jeff hooked up with a big yellow King that went airborn..fish off. I hooked up with a ZOMBIE befitting of Halloween and didn't even bother to land the fish. We each had one or two brief hits here, but nothing came to shore.
Why not go upstream? Perhaps a bad choice unless you like crowds...the small section of river I wanted to take Jeff to was parked by a half dozen anglers. We made due fishing the tailout of the shelf at Quarry...I didn't even want to see what Horlick was like. It didn't take long for both of us to hook up with, and lose, a couple more fish. Never did figure out what any of these actually were.
Time goes fast when you're flogging water - we'd already been out 5 hours when we made our last stop all the way downstream in Island Park. The browns are definitely in - we saw several breach the surface as we fished. I had one good hookup that simply threw the hook...4:00 PM rolled around and it was looking like Jeff had to brave traffic if he was going to have any hope of catching that concert! Not much else to say - I've shared the water with Jeff before and it was truly a pleasure to do so again this year!
I hung out for just a little while longer - watched the folks fishing and waited...for once I was actually IN Racine on a weekend and had the foresight to bring a rod that's been sitting around collecting dust - #60 - a rod I built for Capt. Mike Richow almost a year ago! It was good to see Capt. Mike and hand over this token of appreciation for all the times he's taken us out to chase the winter browns on the big pond! My understanding is that in less than 24 hours from the time I'm typing this he'll be breaking it in up at Bay De Noc!
Overall, it was one of those "off" days for Trib fishing....things were just cold, windy, and not in prime conditions. The vast majority of anglers we saw as we fished didn't hook up...out of 40-50 anglers we encountered I only saw 1 repeatedly slamming the fish and well, I know why he was. Can only hope for better conditions this weekend...if I'm even around (OH and PA are still 50/50 this weekend).