Sunday, November 20, 2011

the pike river

The Pike River is located halfway between Kenosha and Racine Wisconsin and most easily accessed from the highway E exit from I94. It very well could be the most finicky river in southeast Wisconsin. It is one of the few tribs in the state that doesn't actually flow into a harbor, its mouth empties straight into Lake Michigan. To make matters worse, the river has the tendency to silt its mouth completely shut, its not uncommon for the city to dredge the mouth open every fall to "induce" a run of fish. It's a smaller river and tends to quickly process rain. That means the water is quick to spike up the flows and it doesn't take long for the flows to drop back down to a normal level. Those reasons alone make predicting runs of salmon and trout from the big lake hard as hell to predict. Throw in the fact that there are no dams, it makes anticipating where fish are holding extremely difficult. With good flows there is no limit to how far the fish can run. You can fish a section of river with out the presence of a single fish and then move a mile in either direction and hit the mother load.

For some, those could be reasons to not consider this as a viable opportunity for lake run salmon and trout. For me, these are the reasons I love this river so much. It offers anglers the solitude that is lost on many of the other high traffic rivers locally. When the conditions are poor, this is hands down the most challenging river around. When everything seems to come together perfectly, there is no better experience.
Read More »

Sunday, November 13, 2011

pike river steelhead and cohos

the pike river took a late run of salmon this year
The Pike river has laid pretty dormant the first half of this fall. It never really got much of an early run of fish this year and its one of the rivers that flows have remained generally low so far. Well the last few weeks that previous scenario has changed. These last few soaking have really added a great volume to all the rivers in Southeast Wisconsin. While the larger rivers now are busting from their seems and extremely muddy, the smaller rivers are finally getting a chance to shine.

a fresh pike river coho

Fresh fish have finally made their way upriver on the Pike. While the coho salmon in other rivers have already turned I was grateful to find that the Pike had fish just a few days in from the lake. These coho haven’t yet developed their full spawning colors nor do they have any rotten body parts what so ever. Even better still, they are willing to come five feet to hit a fly. This type of aggression wont last long, so time is really of the essence when it comes to salmon fishing.  The longer salmon sit in the rivers, the more closed mouth they will be. The two cohos we caught both chased down black streamers and really crunched them good. My fish came up at least five feet to hit my fly and I will say that isn’t common. Both cohos came from the back side of the pools just above the fast water.

Congrats to Paul with another tributary first! He landed this chrome steelhead on a pink estaz egg drifted with absolutely no weight. There are some steelhead in the river right now (this proves it) but not in any large numbers or any concentrations. This fish hit in the tail out of a faster run. Great job again Paul, you handled the fish like you had caught plenty of steelhead in the past. Once the Root River or the Milwaukee River flows come back down I will continue my pursuit of a fall chromer before the end of the year.

paul with his first wisconsin steelhead!!
Read More »

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

corporate brown trout

milwaukee river brown trout
During the fall while I work, mind begins to wander to places far more cold, wet, and trout like. I can picture the exact runs where the fish are holding. The constant buzz of the water numbs my brain. My fingers run through the streamer box knowing exactly where they will stop. The air smells fresh and clean on my lungs and drives my adrenaline harder and faster. I know where to put my first cast and when to insert the appropriate mends. The take comes quick but not quick enough to get the feeling that it was easy by any means. Even in my own mind, the fishing is never fast. With a quick snap, I put a bend to my rod. It takes the length of a deep breath before I can feel the throb of a fish throwing headshakes up the line.

Day dreaming sometimes just isn't enough. I'm very thankful that my job has allowed me more recently to have a little more freedom. The brown trout was caught from the Milwaukee River last week after work. I day dreamed about him all day and knew exactly what to do, once I got there, to catch him.
Read More »

Saturday, November 5, 2011

so you wanna catch a harbor brown trout?

a healthy fall run harbor brown trout
Even though I prefer fly fishing in the tribs this time of year, consistent fishing is also going on throughout Lake Michigan’s harbors. Now is about the time that the trout start to show up in decent numbers and anglers like Damien have a first crack at these fish before their instinct and rain push them into the rivers. Tubes and spawn seem to be a pretty common theme this time of year. For a more detailed explanation from Damien himself, be sure to check out this forum thread.

We were able to capture the last half of the battle on my cell phone so why don't you take a look.

Read More »

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

go get em steelhead fly

thread- pink
eyes- barbel eye white
tail- purple marabou with a few strands of crystal flash
body- wraps of pink thread alternated with purple saddle hackle

This is my adaptation of a popular bass pro shops steelhead fly. Not technically a hard fly to make but it is somewhat labor intensive. The eyes are easiest to secure first before you have all the hackle in the way. Figure eight loops around the eyes should secure it as long as you wrap it tight but I like to do several wraps around the underside of the eyes to ensure the eyes don't flip or slide. Then move to the tail securing the marabou and crystal flash. Next you are going to alternate sections of just plain thread and sections of hackle. I also like to pull the hackle towards the back and secure its direction with a few wraps of thread. This will guarantee that the body looks good with all the material pointing the same direction and will make the fly a tad bit more streamlined. Depending on the size of the hook, you will probably need somewhere between three to five separate pieces of hackle.
Read More »