Monday, September 27, 2010

Root River Fishing Report : 9/27/2010

An email rolled into my inbox today from someone who I've had the pleasure of talking to a couple of times through emails this year, who I hope to fish with this fall.  He's been making some sly moves on the Root River and you can find some gems of information in his blog.  Fish, though you may have to hike, climb, and search for them, are to be found in the Root River contrary to popular belief.

A great shot of a chrome Steelhead he picked out from between a King Salmon and a Brown Trout last week, you can see the fly in the mouth if you look very closely.

I'd recomend you have a look at his blog if you plan on hitting the South Eastern Wisconsin tributaries soon.

Northern Minnesota Musky

It seems that just when you think you're on some big fish lately an email rolls into your inbox that makes you think.... "man that King Salmon, that huge one that towed your Kayak all over Milwaukee... that thing only weighed half as much as this fish!"

This is a good friend of mine, a relative of my girlfriend, Rich and his 47" Muskie, tipping the scales at right around 30 pounds.  Looks like the weather was beautiful up there this weekend.  Congrats on another epic fish Rich. 

Rich and I have a little competition going for first Walleye from this lake over 10 pounds or 30".  As he said in his email.... "it's not a Walleye"  but it will do!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Milwaukee Area Salmon Fishing Report : Kayak Fishing : 9/26/2010

After a busy week I've finally found time to get a bit of writing in for you all here.  Internet is finally up and running here at adventure headquarters and I expect I'll be doing a bit more posting here.

Last weekend I was able to get out in Milwaukee and land 6 king salmon from my kayak.  A mighty thunderstorm in the morning and heavy overcast skies made for excellent conditions in the harbor.  An influx of fresh runoff coming from the discharge, combined with north winds pushing a good flow into the harbor made for a complex mud-line and mighty currents that whirled in some spots, and just flowed quickly in others.

Whenever I find a good mud-line in/around the harbor I always concentrate on fishing both sides of it heavily as I know bait fish and salmon like to move in and out of the wall of debris in the water.  Last weekend I found the line on the inside of McKinley pier, and began trolling patterns pulling crank baits.  My first fish came on a medium sized bleeding pearl Rapala Tail Dancer.  It came when I was letting line out on my other rod.  I hooked in, held on with one hand and quickly reeled in my second line with the other.  Once I had things together I began gaining line foot by foot, but the fish took several huge runs and started pulling the kayak to the south.  I was in the open harbor just on the south side of Veteran's Park and the fish had miles of open water to move in.  I started with about 50 feet of line out and must have had over 100 out when it took its first jump.  It was silver as they get and I thought it might be a huge brown despite the King like runs it was doing.

These were the first 2 kings of the day, the left, a 16 pound male, very silver. The right, a 15 pound female full of roe.  Still quite silver as well.

After a few more minutes of towing I finally tired it enough to get it boat side, got it on a stringer, and sat back in my seat for a minute, drifting slowly, with my adrenaline pumping.  For the whole time I had the fish on I thought, I can't believe I'm into my first King, this is what I've been waiting for, I hope I don't loose this beautiful thing.

I reset my lines and just 10 minutes later I hooked into a wild fighting, high jumping steelhead that threw the hook after 4 or 5 jumps.

From there on out the action was hot and heavy.  I switched to 2 white crank baits, and for the rest of the day I couldn't keep fish off of the full sized, deep running, wonder-bread reef runner. The pattern that worked the best was getting to full speed (around 2.5 miles an hour), holding that speed for a few minutes, then simply stop paddling except small dips to maintain a vector.  All my hits but one came as my lures (both slow, very wide wobbling lures that hold up at slow speeds) slowed to a crawl and probably started floating up in the water column.

This is another 15 pound female, this puts in scale how huge these fish are compared to the vessel I'm in.  Lots of fun.

I ended the day 6/9 fish landed, with about 8 more hits that shook the rod violently for a second but released before I could get the rod out of it's holder.

The lowlight of the day came when I was lifting a 15 pound female King Salmon out of the water, she slipped and buried a single hook of one of the trebles in my left index finger.  She was attached to me via the hook and thrashing away in the water.  Fortunately I was able to yank it loose (bending the hook about 10 degrees as it pulled from my own flesh).  Ouch.  Needles to say I made a trip to the cleaning station to fillet what I had and to clean out my wound.  I made friends with a fellow fisherman who was landing his boat and politely asked if he might spare a band-aid from a first aid kit in his boat (one of which I now have in my kayak for just such an accident.

In the morning after the rains I stopped by the discharge in the harbor and quickly hooked this beautiful walleye on a thunderstick.  It gave a good hit and I thought I had a Salmon for just a second.  But then, as walleyes usually do, she dragged in like a log and didn't give me much of a fight. Nice to catch such a healthy, fat walleye from Lake Michigan though! She was released right away, despite calls from some other fishermen near by to let them keep it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

South Eastern Wisconsin Kayak Fishing Report : September 11, 2010

After a long week of work and the fact that I would be up bright and early for work again on Sunday I loaded the car and readied the Kayak for another tour in Wisconsin Saturday afternoon.

I launched at a different spot this time, from the beach just north of the north arm of the Racine breakwater.  The kayak was easy to drag through the sand and I could load it next to the car and then pull it down to the water's edge.  The waves were 2-3 feet and rolling in the long gradual rise to the beach there in Racine, which made for a perfect spot to launch when waves would prevent launch on other beaches with steeper banks.  I paddled out through the break, keeping as dry as one can in a Kayak in 3 foot waves.  After the break the swell was very easy to handle and proved no challenge.  Water temperature was near 60 degrees at the beach and clicked down degree by degree as I headed east into the lake, finally resting at about 54 degrees.  I started marking fish almost immediately in 6 feet of water, and continued to mark fish all the way out to 30 feet of water, where marks started becoming less frequent.  Bait was not present in any large numbers but the sheer volume of large marks on the depth finder kept my hopes up.  I did about a 2 mile loop and after receiving a phone call I decided to head back to shore and meet friends further north.

As I neared the beach I decided to pull lines in 8 feet of water.  As I drifted with the waves I pulled a dipsy with a magnum spoon, as I was unhooking the snap swivel and stowing that rig my other rod started making a loud noise and bouncing in the rod holder.  I swiftly grabbed the rod and gave it a good hook set.  Fish on.  The fished thrashed on the surface, dove and took a strong run, jumped a few times, then calmly retreated to the side of my Kayak.  It was a beautiful female steelhead at around 8 pounds (I did not weigh or measure as I released it boatside).

She hit a J-13 while I drifted in the waves.  The lure must have been shallow and should have been making random dives as large waves lurched me forward.  It was a beautiful fish, and would be the only one I caught all day, though I did hook up once later at dusk at Oak Creek.

Oak creek is running strong and some fish have made it up the short run to the main pool under the falls.  I saw a pair of steelhead, a coho, and a nice jack king get pulled from the main pool while I was there, and I saw several gold colored kings pushing up through the turbulence.  I'm hoping conditions improve in the next week or two and we finally start to see large schools of Kings pushing to the harbor mouths.  It's been a slow start in terms of King Salmon and hopefully the ball will get rolling soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lake Michigan Kayak Fishing Report : Salmon and Trout : September 5, 2010

Strong west winds and cool September nights have turned the lake over and has set the wisconsin harbors and river mouths in motion for shore fishermen, and small craft fishermen alike.  Water surface temperatures from the state line all the way up past Milwaukee range from 48 degrees to 53 degrees.  Water inside the Milwaukee harbor runs an average of 55 degrees as of Sunday.

My first time out this fall started at dawn on Sunday morning as I launched my newly fitted Kayak from the beach at the mouth of Pike Creek in Kenosha, where there was a colony of tents and shore fishermen hoping to tie into their first King of the fall.  I did a 2 mile loop, marking an occasional stray fish in the 15 foot deep range.   I kayaked out to 30 feet of water and hooked back to shore, as the other handful of boats out all pulled away one by one to deeper water where more fish could be found.  I wanted to get the Kayak in Milwaukee harbor where I knew more fish would be holding.

I launched from the rocks near the channel head light and set out in calm waters under a blue sky to the middle gap.  I was marking dozens of fish and bait clouds inside the wall of the harbor which dissapted after heading out of the main gap into the lake.  A freighter headed past and sounded its horn as it passed through the channel under the Hoan bridge.

Wind was steadily rising from the south and clouds were moving in.  I made a line to the North gap and began trolling counter clockwise circles through the gap.    At 1:45 p.m. I hooked and landed my first Kayak salmonid.  It was a small but beautiful brown trout.  It hit a Green Dolphin Magnum Stinger spoon behind a dipsy diver in 29 feet of water.   There was 30 feet of line on counter.   As winds had continued to rise I battled across the harbor to my launch point and pulled out and headed south to Racine to meet the crew I salmon fish with, I haven't seen them since the end of Steelhead season in the spring and was looking forward to catching up.  After arriving at the channel head and swapping fish stories from the summer I began casting a jig with a 5" gulp minnow.  A Steelhead had been landed by my friend Mike shortly before my arival.  Another friend Andrew, who runs the fishing website Fishing-Headquarters, which you should all check out, swiftly hooked a beautiful fall King Salmon at about 9 lbs.  After the sun set I hooked on a glow spoon (a 3/4 oz. Moonshine) and stuck the biggest Steelhead I've caught to date.  32" of chrome, beauty.

It was exactly how a start to the salmon season should go.  Just increadibly excited about the fall.  You can expect regular reports from here on out.