Saturday, April 12, 2014

Great Spring for Steelhead

This spring has been off to a great start for the annual spring Steelhead run along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan tributaries with fish being caught from Racine all the way up to Door County.  The gradual warmup allowed a nice gradual snow melt that was eventually coupled with rainfall which finally drew solid numbers of Steelhead into the tributaries and also took care of the remaining ice on most of the tributaries.

My friend Derek and I were fortunate enough to get out and enjoy some of the action recently.  The fishing started off great, as Derek landed a beautiful chrome Hen Steelhead within minutes of fishing!  Things were looking promising as we had the area to ourselves and the fish were certainly present and hungry!

Derek really put the heat on, landing a second Steelie before I could even get back to fishing after landing his fish and getting it on the stringer!  I now found myself playing catch up, which was a challenge I was excited to take on.  Before too long, my bobber quickly plunged under and I was yelling fish on to Derek!

Another nice fresh chrome Steelhead was eventually brought to the net after an intense 10 minute battle filled with line screaming runs downriver and even a couple aerial shows.  Derek landed this fish and was right back to fishing his little honey hole!

Both of us continued to land fish for the next several hours, eventually ending up landing 9 Steelhead and a bonus Brown Trout.  Derek landed a mammoth 34" Buck Steelhead, while I landed a 33" Hen that weighed around 14 pounds and took me nearly 100 yards downriver before I could slow her down, talk about a battle!

Our best setup was floating pink and peach spawn sacs with Steelhead Skein cured in Pautzke's Natural Bor X O Fire cure.  The fish really showed preference to these two colors, as we tried multiple other colors without any success.  We also landed a couple fish on uncured Steelhead eggs, but the cured eggs seemed to get a few more bites on this outing.  It is amazing how particular these fish can be on certain days, and then on other days they seem to bite just about anything.  This is what makes it challenging, and what keeps me going back for more!

Steelhead are honestly one of the hardest fighting fish pound for pound that we can catch in Wisconsin, although they are never easy to catch there are times when you can do quite well!  All the hard work and effort put in to learn how to consistently catch these fish will eventually pay off, as it did for Derek and I on this day!

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