Wednesday, December 7, 2011

a mid november recap

salmon bones - all that is left from the run
I don't find myself having to play catch up here on my blog very often, well actually ever. This past November was of course filled with lots of hard work at the office, time with friends and family, Thanksgiving, black Friday shopping, launching a new website, and of course fishing. Despite all the things that go on in my sheltered little corner of the world, there is always time to wet a line. Fishing in general has been slow this month but consistent. Take a group of three guys out fishing, and one of them is guaranteed a fish but the question is who? Well lets take a look at the last few weeks and break it down a bit further.

a pretty root river steelhead stuffed with eggs
Trip #1- I fish the Root River alone for a peaceful morning searching out some trout. This was meant to be a scouting trip before meeting Neal and Paul on the same stretch of river the very next day. All morning goes by and without even a nibble, I decide to fish one last spot before calling it quits. Mending a pink estaz egg under heavy wood cover I get 2 hits from some very acrobatic trout. Steelhead to be exact. The tiny and more colorful of the 2 was the best looking colors I've seen on a fish ever and she was packed with roe. Her I harvested. The second was such a powerful and acrobatic fish that it took me out of the water airborne three separate occasions. I pulled the fish from the water and the adrenaline running through the fish was so intense that its muscles quivered over and over. Much respect for that battle so I turned it back. Awesome fight.

with much respect for its power, I turned this steelhead back

paul and his first trib brown trout
Trip #2- The very next day Paul, Neal, and I hit the same stretch of river anticipating some similar results. We found the conditions to be as tough as my previous day on the water. A whole lot of water was covered and finally Paul came up with a solid biter on an orange estaz. God, I love those flies. If there was one fly to use this fall... that has to be it. This fish was sitting in a fast water pool way down in the undercut. Paul has done a great job this year and has caught a brown, a steelie, a coho, and a king. Not bad for your first few month of learning the tribs. Well done buddy.

a whole lot of work went into this fish, he cost us 15 flies
Trip #3- Neal and Blake decide to work a pod of rising fish in the gnarliest spot ever imaginable. Two males were moving in and out of the pool with a giant fresh female sitting in its depth shaking eggs loose. The pool was tucked behind a tree trunk so very little water or current came directly though the center of the pool. The current was just tickling the edge of that pool but a large boulder just outside the pool obstructed a clean drift. Just over hanging the pool was a mess of tangles and branches just waiting to grab any fly that even came close. Believe me, many flies came close, too close. I alone retied 10 times not counting Neal. Stubborn as hell, we decided to stay. We tried adjusting angles and shortening leaders down to only a few feet. We added a ton of shot but even that couldn't get our flies into that tucked away pool. Neal, being the smart one, decided to drop the fly in from in front of the pool. It didn't take long before one of the males came up and slapped that estaz egg! What about the female you might ask? Sure he hooked her, but she proved to be too smart for us. Up and down the Root River she splashed giving Neal a serious run for his money. Just when you think you have it, you realize your not even close. That hen dogged him so hard under a stray branch and that was it. Snap went the line and airborn went the rod. At least he landed the male?

the one that gave us the eggs
Trip #4- Finding some fresh brown spawn has eluded us this fall. We have caught a more then usual amount of browns this year. The problem is the ones we are finding are either males or they have already been processed and are empty of eggs. This trip last weekend we decided to put ourselves in a better position and fish below the steelhead facility. No chance a fish down there has been processed. We took the cured steelhead spawn from trip #1 and floated some of the deeper pools in Lincoln Park with our fly rods, Just dragging bottom Neal got a great hit. He had just lifted the spawn over a rock when his indicator went down. Good decision on where to fish because we are now the proud owners of some fresh brown trout spawn that we are looking forward to dropping down some holes come this winter.

brown trout spawn

a ditch running some cold clean water into the Root
So, the last four trips we haven't left the Root one time. You can scan the pictures and say wow, impressive day but please understand that this is a culmination of 4 separate fishing trips. My sights have been fixed on getting back on the Milwaukee to wrap the season up. This week is bringing some arctic temperatures and if it hold like this I imagine it wont be long now till the hard water season kicks off. Stay tuned to see how we finish out this wonderful fall trib season and look forward to some winter ice fishing action with my best fishing partner Lucas. My 6 year old boy can't wait to get back on the water.

fishing just below the fish sanctuary on the Root River


  1. Ice fishing stories to follow. We wait with bait breath (is that right?) Well, we wait.


  2. Looks like a great November, Blake. I can't wait for the ice either but I've gotta ask...No winter fluff chucking?

  3. Winter is a time for sitting in the heated ice shack a few blocks from the house. It the one time in the year I don't put major miles on the car. I will do some ice fishing for the steelies this year though.

    John, nice to see ya buddy!

  4. Great recap of the fishing, considering all of the other things that typically happen in November. Great fish and great month. Cheers!