Saturday, October 30, 2010

root and pike river fly fishing salmon (racine county, wi)

Every week during work me and Neal will spend 10 minutes a day talking. We both work for the same company even though we are in separate buildings. We get together on the phone to talk about previous fishing trips, discuss current conditions, or to strategize our upcoming weekend outing. This week was no different as we made plans for early Saturday morning to hit the local tributaries for whatever salmon were left over. We both woke up later then planned but got out there in time to have a very relaxing morning.

Last weeks rain brought in a decent run of late season fish. That water has disappeared leaving the rivers depleted again. We were prepared for low-water conditions again and spent most of our day trying to sight fish deeper pools on the Root and the Pike rivers.

The Root River was flowing around 40CFS and the Pike River was flowing in the single digits. We spent the morning on the Root combat fishing shoulder to shoulder. We would try to hold down a small section of river real-estate but it was inevitable that somebody would creep up and try to fish the same pools. It took all of two hours before we had enough and decided to hit the road. As we left the only thing I noticed was a completely full parking lot with more people arriving.

We made our way south to the Pike with hopes of receiving some solitude. There were 2 cars parked on the bridge and that look far more inviting then the parking lots we just left that had probably 20. Far less people were fishing the Pike and there were far less fish but I guess that only makes sense! Neal hooked up and landed a nice fish on his first cast. The rest of the morning we walked a good distance and only came across a handful of fish all of which were sitting in the deepest pools.

neal with a low-flow coho

another look at the fish
Read More »

Monday, October 25, 2010

fly fishing salmon (southeast, wi)

The salmon run in southeast Wisconsin, is it coming to an end or has it only just begun? Being only my 3rd year fishing the tribs I haven’t quite put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet to make that call. I will tell you that timing is one of the critical variables in catching lake run salmon. Without timing throw location, presentation, and luck out the window. When I say timing I’m speaking not only about the time of year or the date, but also weather patterns and flows. With no fresh fish pushing in its gonna be a tough bite on whatever trib you do fish.

Saturday night was spent at a beautiful wedding downtown on Michigan Ave where my wife’s cousin was married and threw one hell of a reception. Free booze, delicious appetizers, and a first class meal wasn’t enough to take my focus off my cell phone for longer then 10 minutes. What was I doing you might ask yourself? I was watching the storm roll through southern Wisconsin area real-time with my live Doppler radar app. That was only interrupted to take a quick glance at the river flows or pick back up on my conversation with Neal via text. Conditions in the area were perfect and this rain could be pushing hundreds or maybe even thousands of fish into the rivers. Needless to say, Saturday was a long night for both me and Neal but we had confirmed plans for early Sunday morning..

1:30am I arrived back at my house on Sunday morning. I packed then to avoid doing that in the morning where I might be just a little more forgetful.

2:20am Sunday I put my head down on the couch to catch a couple hours of shut-eye and it wasn’t long before my alarm was going off at 4:45am.

My enthusiasm shined through loud and clear when I arrived in Racine, Wisconsin before Neal had even made it out of bed. He finally picked up after the third call and guided me in the rest of the way to his new home on the river. What a lucky bastard, he can walk from his house to prime water in under 5 minutes! Honestly though he’s working hard and deserves a great place to start a family so CONGRATS BUDDY! After I arrived we really went back and forth on picking a fishing destination. After what honestly was 30 minutes of debating we finally had our minds made up. I’ll let the pics do the rest of the talking.

oh my god, one of the coolest fish i have ever landed
my last fish today- a healthy female coho
look close in that mouth
Read More »

Thursday, October 21, 2010

salmon fishing the sheboygan river (sheboygan, wi)

I spent the entire weekend fishing the Sheboygan River for lake-run salmon. This was a rare event being able to be out for the entire weekend on account of the wife and kids visiting cousins in Kentucky. I made sure I capitalized on every second.

the sheboygan river

sheboygan falls dam
It’s been a crazy year for tributary fishing. The lack of rain has lead to reduced flows up and down the western Lake Michigan coast line. Many anglers I know have been left scratching their heads not exactly sure how to make heads or tails of the current river conditions. Sure we have scraped together a couple fish here and there but some of the smaller rivers have had a complete lack of fish. The larger rivers that have a more dependable base flow received a larger run of fish. Reports looked good on the Milwaukee and the Sheboygan so I chose the latter being a river I’ve never fished.

saturday afternoon salmon (3)
The flows through the entire weekend were averaging in the mid 80’s which is well below the norm for this time of year and made the fish easy to spot. Most of the fish I found were relating to the top side of the fast water. They were sitting on the top side of the riffles and runs resting and waiting to push their way through the next set of fast skinny water runs. These fish were easy pickings but actually getting them to turn on a fly was something that was near impossible. Some of these better areas were holding close to ten fish at a time and foul hooking them was something that almost couldn’t be helped. After fighting one tail hooked salmon you will quickly realize that’s something you’ll never wanna do again. After foul hooking a fish I became a master of popping the hook right off their backs and tails but every once in a while it just stuck and the battle was on. Watching the salmon and placing the fly in their mouth does take some patience but is possible. One thing to remember is that the fish aren’t here to eat and the number one way to get them to hit is to piss them off.

salmon sitting at the top of the runs
A fellow angler I had the pleasure of sharing a pool with had really done a good job taking some clean hooked fish. Most of the flies he used were giant compared to mine, but nothing elaborate. Lots of natural browns and golds with some flash and a bead head.

sunday morning salmon (1)
I brought a lot of fish to hand and had a blast pushing my equipment to the max. I hope the forecasts are correct and we receive the rain this weekend as predicted. It will certainly be interesting to see how the fish react in some of these smaller rivers when they finally fill up so late in the season. I’m praying for steelies!

Read More »

Friday, October 15, 2010

fly fishing salmon on the pike river (racine,wi)

low flow on the pike river
We spent the day moving into a new home that's right against the golf course. Even though we were moving boxes and furniture I still found the time to make it down to check out the river. With almost no flow we were surprised to see fish barreling up the river with their whole bodies out of the water. I couldn't help myself and had to take a couple minute break... Back to the house to grab a rod and this is what we got!

low flow pike river salmon

randall with a king salmon on the pike
I think I'm gonna love my new house!!

fish in the shallows
Read More »

Saturday, October 2, 2010

multi-species fishing (fox chain, il)

fox lake in the fall
 Today me and Neal fished the Chain of Lakes on a favorite point on Fox Lake. The wind was constantly blowing hard and the temperature never made it above 50 degrees the entire time we fished. We were fishing bottom rigs with a combination of corn, worms, and minnows for bait. Click on the photo to see our set-up.

make sure the swivel is big enough to not slip through
We were out there for just around 4 hours because we weren’t really prepared for the weather but we did manage to catch a good multi-species bag. Our fish totals were:

10 fish caught today-

  • 4 carp
  • 3 catfish
  • 1 drum
  • 1 bluegill
  • 1 walleye
fox lake carp
Minnows played a major role today in the fish that we caught. All fish were caught in 2 separate 15 minute windows where we would have almost a flurry of rods getting bit. Most bites came in the shallow water as well.

neal with a nice bluegill

neal the catfish king
It was a lot of fun running around as different rods were getting bit. Neal was busy landing a nice carp so I went to real in my closest rod to avoid any tangles. As I gave the reel a couple turns I felt a small tap and set the hook on my first chain walleye in a long time. It was just short of legal but was still awesome to catch!

nice to see a fox lake walleye
 Later, I had just landed a modest catfish and Neal was just about to take a picture when the farthest rod away from us got a good hit. Without my photo I put the death grip on the catfish in my hand and took off running for my rod. I was halfway down the beach when I hear Neal yell “Drop the fish”. In mid-run I launched the fish 20 yards out into the water. The reward of all that excitement was a healthy 8 pound carp. The photo of the carp sure turned out a lot better then the photo that got away!

the carp i ran for!
Read More »