Hit the Milwaukee with Adam a few weeks back and we experienced something out of the ordinary…great fishing. Even though the water was high, cold, and slowly rising all day from snow melt, the Steelhead were in and on the grab…bigly. Water clarity was great and very few anglers were on the water giving us plenty of room to work the runs. We were swinging large flies on full sinking tips and had about a dozen grabs throughout the day. Adam was able to bring 2 fish to hand but we lost a lot of pinned fish…two of which were 30″ fish. I was also spotting Steelhead in the runs and seeing the odd fish roll.
At the end of the day we talked to a DNR survey guy and heard some interesting news of great interest to Steelheaders. It seems the DNR is in the early stages or raising Skamania Steelhead out of the Kettle Moraine Unit and hopefully 4 or 5 years from now we will see our first Summer Run of fish. We have encountered Indiana strays before but it is a rare occurrence. Hopefully the Eastabrook Dam removal will be done by then too. All we need is a fish ladder at Kletzsch and this fishery will really start to blossom. The DNR guy also said the stocking of German Browns will be discontinued due to lack of funding. Not sure if he just meant river stocking. The German strain are much prettier in my opinion and run earlier, but the Seeforellen reach spawning maturity later in life which makes them larger when you first encounter them in the river and they also tend to run later in the Fall.
A few days later I took my newly wed friends Grant and Joan out to try and catch their first Steelhead. It didn’t take long for Joan to catch her first Steelhead on her first time out…go figure. She even got a nice leap and some up close and personal mayhem as the fresh Chromer splished and splashed. Rivers are high now with all the recent precipitation but when they come back down there should be more good fishing.