Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Ahead To Steelhead

  As most of you know the clocks bumped forward an hour on Sunday morning. The loss of an hour of sleep can really bring you down. For me it didn't matter much because the spring ahead meant Steelhead on the fly. Every year I look forward to this amazing spring run. It compares to nothing. Hooking into a Steelhead, hearing the line strip off your fly reel, and sometimes getting an acrobatic show from such a colorful fish, can not be explained in words.

 Every year toward the end of February and the beginning of March, Steelhead flock to the tributaries surrounding the Great Lakes. Steelhead make gravel beds to drop there eggs, usually at the front of some riffles. Some call it a thing of beauty, or just nature in its natural cycle. Either way it makes for spectacular fishing on the fly.

 I contemplated with my self all last week. Driftless or Steelhead? I couldn't resist the thought of landing a monster Steelhead, and I knew the Driftless area wasn't going anywhere fast. The Steelhead run is usually a short window so it was time to take advantage. Sunday morning came sooner than I had thought because I forgot about the time change. 4 a.m. already as my alarm blared in my sleepless ear. I thought to myself, all of this for a fish?? Damn right! I jumped from my bed, threw some clothes on, grabbed my gear, and jumped in the truck. Of course I had to stop for my morning cup of joe. I headed on over to my good friend and long time fishing buddies place, but the whole way I threw together my plan of attack for the day. I soon arrived at Scott's place as he greeted me with a smile and said," I am ready to catch some fish!" We got on our way discussing where we were going to start the morning.  We soon agreed that the North side of Island Park was  going to be the first stop of the day.We soon arrived, and there where vehicles scattered throughout the park. We fished around the whole Island for a chunk of the morning, but no takers to our hand tied flies yet. It was time to move, so we headed up stream to Quarry Lake Park. Scott and I had fished this section of river many times before, and nothing has changed. Combat fishing as usual! It never scares us away, patience is a virtue. By mid day the patience paid of big for my good friend. As I sat on the bank getting ready to tie on a new fly Scott mumbled my name. I looked up and saw his rod bent over, and a nice fish breaking the surface. I jumped from the bank to rush to his aid. Scott calmly fought the fish with hopes of landing his biggest fish ever caught by his fly rod. At points it almost seemed like the fish knew that she was going to be a personal record for the angler at the other end of the line, so why not drag out the anticipation a little while longer. Every time the fish would come in close, it was time to make another run for its money. After a good few minutes of fight that seemed like an eternity, the fish was brought to the net. I have fished all over the country with Scott chasing many species of fish, but I have never seen him smile as big as he did when he picked up this fish.

28 1/4" Root River Steelhead

 As for me, I went 0 for 1. Either way it was great to be on the water, and there to witness a good friend break a personal record.

  The water levels where up a bit, but still fishable on Sunday. There has been some rain rolling in and out across the IL/WI border so I would expect the river to be high for the rest of the week and back to fishable by the weekend. I did witness  a few guys land fish on spinning rods drifting spawn sacs. With the water being  high, the Steelhead fishing should be great this coming weekend. Good luck and tight lines to all!

Body of Water: Root River
Town: Racine,WI
Access Points: Island Park and Quarry Lake Park
Air temp: High of 65
Sky: Mostly Sunny
Flies Used: Egg Sucking Leech, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Egg Pattern, Crayfish Fly, Beadhead Wooly Bugger
Fish Landed: 1

18 comments:

  1. I share the same passion for Steelhead. Some of my favorite fishing of the year is chasing them. Scott's fish is a dandy.

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    1. I couldn't agree more with you Adam. Steelhead chasing is defiantly in my top 3 to chase.

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  2. Bumping the clocks forward is a horrible thing since i had to work Sunday morning. What is a Steel Head? Is it a Rainbow or something different. Sorry for the stupid question i just don't know the freshwater stuff that well. Whatever they are the 28 inch fish in the pic is Awesome!

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    1. No question is ever stupid my friend. Steelhead are basically Rainbow Trout. They are referred to steelhead because they live most of there life in the great lakes. This was adopted from the west coast, where the steelhead live most of there lives in the Pacific Ocean(saltwater) and then run up Fresh water streams to spawn. It's a pretty cool thing. In the summer time I have caught Steelhead as far as 10-15 miles from shore in 160-260 foot of water. Thanks for the question and coment my friend

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  3. Congrats to Scott on his first steelie. Thats a real nice one too.

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    1. Thanks Damien! I will pass the good word along. Have you been out at all?

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    2. I have not. I can't deal with the crowds on the river. I do mostly driftless fishing in the spring.

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    3. Combat fishing is always fun! You don't know what your missing!lol!

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    4. Blake, you know I already got my fix catching around thirty of those bad boys before you even got a shot at 'em ;). By march their last month's bite.

      HARBORS RULE!!!!
      :)

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    5. I can't seem to put the fly rod down and you can't seem to get out the harbors. Well thank god for trout season and river smallies or might might never ever be fishing the same stuff at the same time ever?

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    6. It's funny how two guys with some pretty different tastes in fishing and who get to fish together maybe six times a year can still become good friends. Not to mention a ten year age difference.

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  4. Nice fish guys, Brian your right. This weekend could be fire.

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    1. Thanks Blake! I think this weekend will be great as long as the water levels return to fishable after the rain we got yesterday. Sunday it seemed like they where starting to come in pretty good. Are you going to head out there this weekend? If so, let me know. We could meet up and possibly get some fish on film.

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    2. seems like a good possibility, and a smart idea

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  5. Brian
    The closet I will get to a Steelhead here in Alabama is the Strip I fish for on Smith lake. I know the Steelhead is more of fighter. Thanks for sharing a great trip.

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  6. Driftless or Steelhead??? Quite the decision to made...looks like you made the right choice!

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