Monday, October 29, 2012

now i remember...

Fighting the crowds and peoples blatant disregard for regulations are certainly taxing on one's soul if you have even an ounce of a conservation mentality. But, people are people no matter where you go and one's drive to sustain the most basic of primal needs is ever present. Yes, we all need to eat and some can pallet salmon the consistency of mash potatoes better then others. I think I'll pass. You animals can go on being animals "raking the gravel" for last years spoiled left overs.

a nice fast water chute on the milwaukee
When looking at your stringer full of white and smushy, half rotten, stew meat I smile.

I turn to you and say, "what's the hot color today?"

I say it with such a straight face that even you have to think about that question for an uncomfortable few seconds.

All of a sudden it just falls out of you mouth with no real purpose other the deflecting the awkwardness "rhedd".

We nod, I turn and smile, and we head our separate ways.

Despite my rant, I have rekindled my own flames this past weekend. It's been too long since I felt the shaking throb of a large lake run trout on the end of my line. I didn't even fish the spring run this year due to the utter lack of rain and waiting 12 months is far too long to go without. I'll spare you the "fish that I almost caught story" because we have all been there before. What I will say is that I will no longer again try to beach a trout. And, I will never again enter the water without my net.

fewer and fewer fresh kings to be had
For my report, I will say the deeper fast water is holding fish. A single egg with two or three #9 clam shots depending on depth and speed produced many bites. Two fresh kings and one near trout all fell for the imitation when drifted mended to match the current. Cold water fish weren't the only things munching on eggs and, as a first, I caught 2 nice smallies behind some kings on an egg. I'm sure its not so rare but its still a first for me. I also hooked up with a few other fish that I never did get to see.

even the smallies are in the deep water sippin on eggs
I'm very optimistic for the weeks to come and my confidence is skyrocketing. Yes, now I remember what steelheading is all about. With great disappointments come great rewards. Hope all who visit this site and fish the tribs make the choice to take the high road.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

fall bites, illinois bowfins

Fall is typically the time associated with fish putting on the feed bag to store up as much protein before the on set of the winter. While never specifically targeting the Illinois bowfin or even stumbling across one accidentally on my own, my buddy Shawn has been on a pretty reliable bowfin bite.

Soaking some very large live bite just before dark on his local lake has produced some very nice fish and a handful of smalls. We spoke of some of the recent catches and I could tell that he found instant respect for the tremendous power of these fish. Shawn, thanks for the stories and for the photo shares.

For more Illinois bowfin information, be sure to brush up with a few of these links.

Bowfin Are Bad Fish? Please!

Chicago Fishing: Bowfin or Snakehead

Upping The Ante

Why I'm Done Fishing For Anything Else

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

small water and big kings

small water
As I write this, the smaller tribs have already crested and dropped back down to low flow status. But, they provided a short window of some good fishing for some surprisingly fresh and spry king salmon this past weekend. There is an absence of coho in the smaller rivers thus far but this could be due to the fact the first wave of kings have just arrived here. 

female half spawned out
This coming weekend I plan on hitting one of the larger flows to see if the cohos have arrived. The bigger rivers have held salmon longer and in better numbers, there could be the potential for some fish other then just chinooks to be making an appearance. With the weather channel calling for another half inch of precipitation today and a chance of rain later this week, it's safe to say the flows will be padded enough to carry us through the next few weeks. It may have been a slow start but it’s always worth the wait.

Every year its taken me less and less time to become tired of the king salmon and I'm quickly looking forward to the browns and steelies of the later fall. Maybe I'll drag the boy along to see how he reacts to such a fish. That is sure to make for an interesting day!
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

wake up fly anglers

like blood coursing through the veins
Two solid storm fronts made their way across the southern salmon grounds today in the early hours of the morning. They brought with them the good solid soaking we have been sorely lacking here. Some of the rivers are starting to swell and the fish are responding accordingly. Look for the next two storm fronts moving in tonight to add even more volume to our rivers, and the next couple of days could provide some hot fishing for those who don’t mind getting a tad wet.

salmon head anyone?
 My fish came from the back side of the pool on an estaz egg. A fresh runner full of fight took me up stream fifty yards. Despite the shallow runs this fish ran over dry gravel  and just kept on going. After some mild success today my plans are to sleep in and then go back out and poke around the rivers again tomorrow. For all you other fly anglers who have been patiently waiting, I send you a call to action. The harbor crowd isn't the only ones who now have a shot a Lake Michigan's finest.
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Monday, October 8, 2012

another dam monday

another dam monday
Another Monday morning in the books. I'm certainly a tad disgruntled to be sitting behind the computer at work while the family is home today getting ready to enjoy the Columbus Day off from school. Even though I'll be missing out on the pumpkin patch, I'm thankful in this economy to have a place to go everyday to make money. It was an enjoyable and productive weekend and I have another post or two to go up this week. Happy Monday to all and I hope it's quick and painless.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

bright fall skies and salmon eyes

Another dry fall is upon us, is it just me or is this deja vu? Its like some sick and twisted dream I can't wake up from. Plenty of rivers that support lake run fish to choose from but not enough water to push them up the river. I've been fly fishing them for just over 3 years now and the most recent year and a half has been under low flow conditions. I now look back and feel I was a tad bit ungrateful for the ideal conditions I experienced when I was a salmon and steelhead rookie, but I didn't know any better.

a very dry but colorful milwaukee river
Very few fish have made it upriver and the number of anglers fishing them is multiplied by 10 fold. The fishing forecast is dismal for the near future and for any chance of improvement we will need a blessing in the form of some rain. King season is slowly passing us by but some miracle precipitation could just save the coho and trout runs in the later fall and early winter.

salmon eye
 Despite the adverse water flows we were still able to hook up on a few fish this weekend. For even the slightest chance of fish, stay on the downstream sections of river. If we don't see rain soon I might just have to re-think my annual fall trip for this year and fish for something completely outside my comfort zone. This kinda uncertainty is one of the things that will always keep fishing interesting for me. Adapt, adapt, adapt or be passed over.

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