Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Steelhead 3/11/12

Took a drive to a Lake Michigan tributary on Sunday in search of some spring Steel, and that is exactly what we found!  With record highs in the mid 60's, high but falling water levels, and warming water temps it almost seemed to good to be true! 

Josh and I found ourselves ready to fish 25 minutes prior to opening fish, which was a good thing as the spots filled quickly with many anglers hoping to get in on the action.  We both witnessed several fish surface prior to legal fishing, which had us both pumped for the day of fishing!

The morning bite started out slow for us, we had a few bites but were unable to hook anything until 7:45 when my bottom rod began to jiggle.  I grabbed the pole, set the hook, and was fighting my first open water fish of the year!  After a thrilling 5 minute fight with several hard runs across the river, a 7 pound buck Steelhead made its way into my net.  This was a perfect beginning to the open water season for me!  I have had too many rough early season outings, so starting this season off with a bang felt great!

I re-baited my pole, sent it back into the water, and continued fishing.  Not even 15 minutes later that same familiar jiggle on the end of my St. Croix meant fish on!  This time the fish did not want to show himself, staying deep for quite some time before finally tiring.  Another 7-8 pound buck Steelie made its way into the net, which brought a smile to both of our faces.

The next hour went without any action, that is until my bobber shot under and a small chrome Steelie shot out of the water like a missile!  The fish was only 2-3 pounds, but it somehow still managed to break my line within the first 30 seconds of being hooked up!  You can't catch them all, I had to remind myself as I felt some slight disappointment for the first time on this trip.  As the sun came up over the trees and shined down into the water, we decided to head to a different spot and try our luck there.

The next spot was next to a bridge, and there were several guys already fishing here, so we chose to fish the only remaining unfished area by the bridge, which wasn't our original plan.  Plan B paid off within 20 minutes, as Josh yelled, "Got one!"  I ran over and gave him the assist on a nice chrome hen Steelhead, weighing about 5 pounds and tight with skein. 

Another 45 minutes with nothing to by us or anyone else in this spot had us on our last move of the day.  We headed for another spot I have had some good days at, only to find 3 guys already fishing it.  We continued downriver, hoping that the next spot would be vacant.  To our surprise, it was!  We had an hour left to fish, so it was now or never to catch another Steelie! 

Josh tossed his spawn sac out and began setting his pole down as he felt a tug on his line.  I watched his face in disbelief as he stared at his rod tip, and then set the hook.  It was no joke, Josh had a fish on, and it was big!  The fish wouldn't budge for the first couple minutes, keeping its head down in the current.  After an arm aching 15 minute fight Josh was able to get the fish on the surface and guide it into the net.

Josh had just caught himself a 10+ pound buck Steelhead!  This is a fish of a lifetime for many, and one of his largest to date!  We finished our day here, without another bite, but the day was a successful first outing of the year which will hopefully lead to many more productive trips on the soft water in 2012!

Josh's catch of the day

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