Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tough fishing on the root (racine, wi)

I made a solo trip Saturday to the Root River in Racine, Wisconsin looking for some fresh steelhead. The rain from last week showed a tremendous impact in the flows. The Root River was flowing higher and faster then it had been in the last month. It’s sad when 50CFS is considered to be high flows but either way I was extremely optimistic to be fishing moving water. I felt that the mid week rain could have pushed some fresh fish up into the tributaries.

The weather on Saturday was freezing cold with moderate wind and some ice was starting to build over the puddles. As I stepped from my car I could see my breath in the air and feel the sting of the cold in my nose and this is a sure sign that winter is knocking on our door. I put my waders on over my jeans and my wool socks even though I planned on not setting foot in the water. The waders gave me an extra layer of protection from the elements. Cold or not it was time to get to work.

sunrise on the root river
The river was empty and I came across only a handful of others who were out fishing. I spent the entire morning drifting nymphs and egg patterns through pristine looking steelhead water. Not even a bump. I made it to lunch time before deciding to retire for the day and head out. Every condition, in my mind was perfect for a big day on the water but the fish had something else on the agenda for the day. I saw no indications of fish in the river but that doesn’t say much. Steelies are elusive, and you aren’t gonna catch one without a line in the water. To all those other die hard river rats who made it out, my hats off to you.

good flow on the root river
Neal’s reports from the Pike River on Sunday were worse then what I saw Saturday. He found a lot of the pools iced over. Maybe it was thin ice but it was still capped off. I did manage to whip up some new egg patterns on Sunday.
Read More »

Thursday, November 25, 2010

forget about the cohos, steelies, and the browns lets have turkey

Happy Thanksgiving to all and just in case you find yourself looking for something to do, check out these couple items to pass some time.

Fishing Headquarters newly released quarterly magazine, 1st issue ever!!!

Todd over at Addicted to Angling just yesterday put up a great video on local ice fishing for steelhead!!!
Read More »

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

late fall coho on the oak creek (south milwaukee, wi)

I made it out this weekend with Neal targeting coho on the fly rod. The coho run is quickly coming to an end in Wisconsin. The fish that were left in the river this weekend were sluggish and tired. Some fish had even started the transformation from silver rockets of pure muscle to the moldy and crusty zombie fish. These are the types of fish we are all scared to grab, God forbid a tail falls off in our hand.

Our search for fish began in the lower section of the Oak Creek where we worked some of the deeper pools stripping streamers. Making our way downstream we spotted a few fish in the shallow holding water and Neal took the opportunity to make a couple casts to them. These fish in the shallows spooked before the line even hit the water. Any movement from the shore and they would fly out of that pool and make their way for safer water. Down river we found the deeper pools close to the mouth already being fished. A few spin fisherman sat above the deepest pool fishing from the wall. They were a hospitable group and we made some small talk about the current conditions and shared a couple stories. The water down there was still and had absolutely zero movement. The salmon were also silent, no courageous leaps, splashes or jumps. This scenario was totally different then last week and in a nutshell it was dead slack water. The group of guys had yet to hook a fish so it was time for us to move on. Neal went down river to fish the mouth and I opted headed north.

Up north I found some better looking “fishy” water and Neal quickly made his way to join me. These pools were still holding minimal numbers of trapped fish. We were able to work these fish relentlessly pulling line as our streamers darted past their faces. I spotted a smaller coho sitting in the shallows and presented the same fly to him 15 times before anything happened. He made a complete 180 turn in the opposite direction of the fly and came back around and charged after it at full steam. Strip, strip, strip, and stop and man did the fish hammer it. Hookset! All this unfolded in the crystal clear shallow water right in front of our faces. Truly awesome!
late fall oak creek coho
We finally decided to head back to the car. Along the way Neal caught a glimpse of some movement in a dark pool. After a closer look we realized that it wasn’t just one fish but actually closer to 8 fish. We devoted nearly 30 minutes to this pool before I hooked up again. After a short battle I beached the fish and Neal swooped in to hoist this fish off the stream bed.

male coho in spawning colors
Read More »

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

saturday fly fishing coho (milwaukee county, wi)

Saturday I went out again with Damien. We hit the tribs for some late fall cohos. This has been a dry fall and some adjustments had to be made when it came to fishing. Here is a few tips I put together for my experiences this year adapting to no rain and low flows.
  • Sometimes even when you think the conditions aren’t good, you just need to get out there and fish (often times you will be rewarded).
  • When water conditions change then change your tactics.
  • When water conditions are extremely low give some attention to the lower areas of the river and around the mouth, its normally deeper here.
  • When water clarity is clear then naturals aren’t a bad choice for color selection, but never rule colorful out.
  • When there is no flow then you must give your fly its action.
  • Low flow is the best time to check a river out, remember good looking spots for times when flows are higher.
  • Any influx of water no matter how small will greatly improve the fishing, timing is everything.
  • Fish are especially wary under these conditions, approach with caution.

As for comments, could anyone add some tips to fly-fishing low flows?


blake starts the morning with a coho

modified bead head purple and pink alaska-boo

coho salmon time for damien

coho salmon wearing spawing colors

smaller coho with great coloring

nice salmon!

wisconsin tributaries scenery
    Read More »

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

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

    I fished mid-day on Saturday the 13th after doing some chores around the house in the morning. I didn’t spend too much time out there but was able to hook up on this nice chrome hen. Coho seem to be in all the major tribs right now and are very willing to take a well placed fly on the move.

    this coho fell for a grey wooly bugger
    pike river coho

    Read More »

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    late fall coho on the oak creek (south milwaukee, wi)

    I had made plans to fish on Saturday with Neal and our new fishing buddy Damien. We made plans to head up to Oak Creek for a morning chasing coho. The flow were almost nothing but Damien was sure there were still some fish holding in the deeper pools.

    Friday was my daughters birthday and we went out for dinner with some family and friends after work. After the kids went to bed I had time enough to tie some streamers for Saturdays fishing trip. I got maybe a half dozen finished before the clock reached 11:00pm, I decided to call it quits and head for bed.
    Saturday morning was freezing cold and the temperature gauge in the car read a frosty 27 degrees as I pointed the car north on the expressway towards the dairy land. We met at 7:00am and the sun was just barely coming up over Lake Michigan. We fished our way up the one of the more famous bends sighting a few fish along the way. The fish, just as Damien had said, were all hunkered down in the deepest pools. That’s where we focused our effort because every shallow run and riffle only held inches of water.

    Fishing with almost no flow is different the relying on the current to impart the action on your fly. We were making short cast to the opposite sides of the bank and relying on stripping and jigging to bring the fly back to us. Neal and I quickly found out that Damien had no problems enticing fish like that because he was the only one to hook or land anything. He hooked a nice female from the deepest section of the pool, and sniped a small male from a section of water in-between a log jam.

    our new fishing friend with a female coho
    Early in the morning we had multiple fish that were turning on our flies and some that were actually following them out of the deeper pools. The fish lost interest in our flies mid-morning and that was it for the action today. Stayed till almost 1:00pm and headed for home. I’m sure that we are destined to see some fresh steelhead moving up any time now we just need a spike in the flows to facilitate that. Until the next major rain I expect fishing to remain slow.

    Read More »

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    southeast wisconsin trib fishing video

    Here's a clip from a recent fishing trip. This can also be found under the new video tab at the top. This video was shot on my cell phone.

    Read More »