Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Search of Steelhead, The Quest Begins

There was a time last fall, living 6 blocks from the Milwaukee River, when I could throw on my boots, sling a messenger bag on my shoulder with a long fishing rod sticking out of the top, bundle up as tight as I could, and go stalk steelhead on cold November mornings between classes.

I remember over the course of about a week a little slot of ice, 2" wide at first, growing each day, formed along the banks of the river. I had my 2 holes, I'd bike there, slide down the frozen bank by the road where I locked my bike. Jot across the Oak Leaf Trail, a bike path, and continue my slide down another icy bank to the riverside. I would then pick my first hole, shoot through the rapids a few times, usually I'd hook up right away. If not, I'd change presentations a time or two and hike down to my next spot.

Near the end of the aforementioned week locked my bike up, slid through fresh snow, and arrived, to my horror, at the edge of the river only to look down on one continuous pane of ice. I could close my eyes and see the steelhead holding in eddies under the ice, feeding on whatever was left bouncing down the river bottom. I remembered reaching from limb to limb, pulling myself up the slick hill thinking "maybe it will thaw! I'll go check the weather!" but sure enough, when winter comes in Wisconsin, it stays.

That day I thought about the spring run, in which I had some success this year, landing my first fly rod steelhead, hooking up to chrome beauties in the Root River, and tangoing with them in Oak Creek. That run was blown out most of the time by big spring rains. My steelhead lust would have to wait... until now. Reports are good that Skamania, the big daddy of the stocked Great Lakes strains are in. Throwing big acrobatics in with bulling, line ripping, drag screaming runs, every hook up promises to be a battle.

Here is a photograph from Today, it got my blood pumping without hesitation. This fellow, by the tag cichlidfinder on Windy City Fishing bagged 4 of these beauties this morning.

I, along with my recent, and good, friend Mike P., who has a new fishing blog as well, found here. Will be headed on down to the Tributaries to put ourselves in the photographs holding the Steelhead. I hope to bring them to you by next week. In fact I'll do my best to do so. Hope to see you out there!


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