Monday, September 20, 2010

salmon fishing (racine county, wi)

I set out in the morning with one thing on the brain and that was to hook and land a king salmon. I made my way towards the city of Racine carried by the anticipation of landing an early fall fish out of the harbor. I exited off the highway and turned east towards the lake. On my way the thought ran through my mind of stopping by the Root River and checking to see what was going on down there.

With a quick course adjustment I found myself driving along the banks of the river. For a fall Saturday the crowds were almost non-existent. I’m sure that most people didn’t think that any fish had made their way up the rivers yet even though fish are stacked up in the harbors. The complete lack of rain in the areas have the Wisconsin rivers flowing at a slow low flow. This was the first time I had actually witnessed what the river looks like with a flow less then 50cfs.

the root river flowing under 50cfs
I decided to go to island park one of the parks closest to the harbor thinking that if some fish had made their way up the river they would still be in the bottom reaches of the river. I parked next to the only other car in the entire lot and decided to hop out and take a walk around. I made my way to a nice section and found another angler working a nice riffle. I stopped to asked if he had seen any fish yet. As he began to tell me about the 3 maybe 4 fish he had seen pushing up the river he hooked up almost instantly. The fish ran straight up river over the rock riffles he was fishing and made its way into a deep stained pool under a tree. The angler played the fish with great skill dropping the rod tip to just above the water in order to avoid snagging the tree overhanging the water. One minute later he beached the fish on the bank and unhooked the tiny red and silver fly from the fish’s mouth. The fish was hooked as fair as it gets right inside the mouth in the lower jaw.

hooked up!
a well played fish under the trees
a beached salmon
He turned to me and continued right along with his story of how his brother had landed an even larger specimen here just the day before. With his story complete he took his fish back up to his house (right on the river) where his dad was planning on smoking the fish later that day. I went back to the car and decided to put the harbor fishing plans on hold for a couple hours. I geared up and made my way back to the pool he had graciously given up to me.

my alaska-boo
I fished that pool hard and even made my way around the entire island park scouting for fish. I wasn’t able to land any fish but did foul one that came unbuttoned during the tussle. I was able to spot 3 more fish in the time I was out there but that was it. I did come across an interesting landowner who came storming down to the banks from his backyard throwing huge rocks at the ducks floating the river around his property. He was screaming profanities at the ducks the whole time. Not sure what that was all about but you do run into all types.

harbor side fishing for salmon like they are bass
I took the remaining time I had left and went down the harbor and fished for a few more hours fighting off the wind and drizzle. I was throwing a bait recommended by a new friend that was off the beaten track of just spoons, crank baits, and spawn. I worked my darter head and fluke jr. combo just as if I was fishing for bass. An hour of casting resulted in one solid hook up where the fish dogged me and with an arial display he broke my 8 pound test line. That fish was over 10 pounds and he had my number, today it wasn’t ment to be. For all the disbelievers, there are fish in the river already. One big rain and we will see a nice run of fresh fish. I hope to be there when it happens.


  1. I never feel to bad when a fish beats me fair and square. Sometimes you're the hammer and sometimes you're the nail. =)

    The Average Joe Fisherman

  2. Well put, I can live with that.