Fishing Report Archives
Wisconsin Fly Fishing Reports - for a current, up to date report, click here.
2009 Old Reports
Sheboygan River Update
The Sheboygan has been fishing very well lately. We received about an inch of rain a while back and the flows actually maxed out at 200 CFS, which is a good thing. The river never got too muddy or dirty and the fishing improved in all the traditional spots. The steelhead fishing has been very good in the mornings, slow in the mid day and then seems to pick up in the afternoon. I believe the 2 or 3 degree rise in the water temperature can trigger fish to become more "aggressive" and take the fly. Nymphs and eggs are still producing well, long deep drifts will get a hook up sooner or later, as always the key is depth and to let the fly get down deep. Swinging big streamers is also effective, the strikes are huge. There is never any mistake that a fish nailed your fly when you are swinging streamers, it can be quite a violent deal. The nymphs and eggs are much more subtle take, almost undetectable until your rod moves. My friends Bob and Andy got into a few "moving rocks" over the weekend, but the key to landing them is a good hook set and hold on. The rise in water has brought in a few silver bullets, along with some fish that have been in the system for a while. Some steelhead are bright as a dime, others are red banded and very colorful. Browns! How could I forget about the monster Browns! Yes, the Browns trout are still around and will be for some time. Fish can be located on big spawning beds and also behind riffles and in deep holes. A 36" male is not out of the question this time of year, the key is to get a prefect drift in front of the big boys and hold on. They are in there for sure. Water level is falling but the fishing should be decent for a while, unfotunately it is getting cold, so you die hard fisherman out there...this is your time. Crowds are at a minimum, and the fishing can be very rewarding if you are willing to deal with the elements.
Good luck and Tight Lines.
Gordy @ Tie One On Guide Service
Sheboygan River Update
You always remember your first steelhead. You remember the river, you remember the day, you remember the beauty of such a great fish. My first steelhead was 16 years ago on the Pere Marquette River in Michigan. A beautiful male of about 35 inches. The photo sits on my tying bench, never to leave. Over the past 16 years of chasing steelhead I have landed some beauties, but you always remember your first, always.
Speaking of firsts, I got a call from a gal about a month ago who said she wanted to catch a steelhead. My initial reaction was "wow, cool, a chick that wants to catch a steelhead". Not to sound sexist, but I don't know too many women that want to go after steelhead. On the phone she had me hooked, my sole mission was to have her land a steelhead. There is no greater pleasure for me than to have a client catch their first fish, let alone a steelhead.
Fast forward. We went out during the height of the salmon run and she landed her first salmon on a fly rod. But still kept saying she wanted a steelhead. My kind of gal! We got 4 inches of rain over the past few weeks and the steelhead fishing has really picked up. One day I get an E Mail and she is so excited about the rain, mind you she is exhibiting all the tell tale signs of becoming a steelhead addict. We decided to go out on a rainy nasty day, perfect for steelhead.
I knew she would have a hook up, sooner or later. She was getting the flies to drift very well, doing all the things that will eventually get her into a fish. The day started a little slow, but after about an hour or so it happened. It was classic, I saw the rod "tick" a little bit, sign of a hook up, but didn't say anything. Sometimes guides, including me, can talk too much. The next words muttered were classic "there he is" she exclaimed and sure enough there he was! A classic long drift through a deep hole and the steelhead took it at the very end of the drift, just like I told her. My heart stopped, I wanted her to land this fish so bad. The fish did all the classic steelhead things they do...run for the bank, run for the wood, run for the boulders. I must admit, "M" was a lot more collected than I, and after a rather long classic battle she landed her first steelhead. I could see it in her eyes, now she knows why people love steelhead fishing, and she was now part of the club.Way to go M! I am sure she will always remember her first steelhead, I know I do.
M went 3 for 5 that day, landing 2 steelhead and a nice brown! Wow.
The fishing is great right now, and should be for some time to come. As usual the key is to get a good drift, get the fly down and hold on. Tight Lines.
Gordy @ Tie One On Guide Service
Sheboygan River update.
The fishing on the Sheboygan has been fairly decent lately. It all depends on what you are looking for. The King fishing/catching rodeo is great. There are so many Kings in the river it's amazing. A bunch of "fresh" Kings moved upstream with the little amount of rain we had last week. The river levels have gone back down however. The sight fishing for Kings is really amazing if you're into that sort of thing. It is not uncommon to see 10 or so fish on beds throughout the upper reaches of the river. What most of us have been waiting for are the steelhead and browns to appear, and they have but not in any significant numbers. Let's not forget it's only late October, we still have a long way to go. Back to steelhead and browns. I have been out a few times guiding and several times fishing on my own. My brother in law and I found some steelhead and browns in some very deep water just sitting behind some boulders, doing nothing. Just sitting there. After several casts I finally got a steelhead to budge and inhale my fly. It was a take out of aggression more than anything else. I don't like to "intimidate" fish into biting flies. I always find it more exciting when they take a fly out of their natural instinct rather than pissing them off to draw a strike. I am sure I'm opening a can of worms here, but he bottom line is that I do not like lining fish, snagging fish, and drawing a strike from a steelhead when he isn't interested. We did have several legitimate strikes which produced some nice big browns and some huge Kings. The steelhead we saw were very skiddish, line shy and truthfully not acting like steelhead at all. They are in the river, just hard to catch right now. Rain, even a little bit will help the hook up rate greatly. Steelhead can be caught, but it takes a lot of time and patience, as always. The Browns are in there too, on beds, they will take a fly. I have found egg patterns to be the best these days. Estaz eggs were working well, as were yarn flies in various colors. Peach, Pink, and Roe colors are producing some fish. All in all we need rain, and guess what's in the forecast..rain! Supposedly 1/2" is on the way, but if you believe the weather man you should have your head checked, they can be wrong sometime ya know.We still have a long way to go this fall, a friend of mine said the harbor is "full" of browns, just swimming around down there...so once the water comes up a little hopefully the brown trout fishing will pick up. As far as steelhead, they're in there too, just have to be patient and give every drift a chance to get down deep and drift drift drift. The steelhead fishing can change very quickly, I will keep updating as often as possible, but if you would like a daily update feel free to give me a call.
Tight lines to all!
Gordy @ Tie One On Guide Service
What a difference rain and colder weather makes! We received a little rain last week, brought the levels up just enough to get some fresh fish in the river. Kings are dying off rapidly, but the steelhead and browns are showing up in better numbers. Nothing to get totally crazy over, but there are Browns and even some steelhead around. The key is to find them. Some of the steelies are in the "soft" water behind the salmon beds, picking off eggs and also in the deeper pools as one would suspect. The Browns are big this year. I hooked into a monster, the rod just stopped, I set the hook and it was on. This browns was so big I was very worried about my 7 weight GLX snapping in two. After two thunderous runs he bolted for the bank, rolled and the rest is history. The fish was big, real big. Hard to imagine a fish that size is in a river when he has entire Lake Michigan! The urge to spawn is the only reason! The water level has dropped back to normal levels for this time of year. It's drizzling out right now, so hopefully the cooler temps and a little more rain will get some more steelhead in the river in the coming weeks. We still have along way to go for the fall run, the Cohos haven't even made their appearance, and the majority of steelhead are still in the future. Eggs, nymphs and streamers will all take fish, red and black are always favorite colors. I tie my eggs with a little crystal flash off the back, maybe 1/2 inch or so, for some reason I think they like the little bit of flash...but all eggs work well this time of year. Chartreuse, Pink, Peach, Oregon Cheese,etc... I also tie a blue halo egg that a King Salmon juts hammered the other day, who knows what he thought it was? The key to getting into fish lately is finding fresh active fish and presenting a drag free drift and get it down deep. The rewards can be pretty decent. We still have a long way to go for the fall run, it can only get better with a little bit of rain!
Good luck and tight lines to all!
October 5th...The King Salmon rodeo is officially back in town! The Sheboygan has TONS of fish, and they are big this year. Many of the Lake Michigan charter reports have said the Kings are bigger and stronger this year, I totally agree. It is always strange to go from chasing 15" trout which would be a great fish any day, now I am surrounded by crazed salmon that WEIGH 15 pounds! Being a trout addict I haven't fished the Salmon run until the past couple of weeks, but there are a lot of fish around. The salmon are on beds and very aggressive, some are holding in the deeper pools and runs, but the sight fishing is just mind blowing right now. HUGE salmon are all over the place, chasing each other, fanning beds and doing what salmon do. Now don't get me wrong, salmon fishing is fun and all...but it is so different that trout fishing. When you hook into a King Salmon it is like you just hooked into Mike Tyson, in his prime. The sheer strength and speed of these fish is amazing. If you have never gone after salmon you should try it, just to say you have "landed" a King on a fly rod, never an easy task. That being said, those of us who have had our fair share of "The Rodeo" know what is on tap, Big Browns and Steelhead! Steelhead and Browns...Once the salmon have done their thing, soon after the Browns and Steelhead make their appearance, which is what many people consider a bit more challenging, also a bit more rewarding. Don't get me wrong, I love salmon fishing, but the steelhead and browns are really what it's all about for me. I did see a few Browns yesterday, and I am sure some steelhead are in the river, but not in big numbers just yet. The usual culpret of low water is not making it easier for the steelhead and browns to make it up river, we need rain. The forecast calls for showers, but we need a couple of inches and it would be great, but until then we are stuck in low water mode, which I think the salmon prefer! All in all we are in the full salmon mode, with Browns and Steelhead not far behind. The fishing should be pretty good from now until the river freezes over. There are always fish in the river during the fall, the key is to just find them. Right now it's a joke because the fish are all over the place, but within a few weeks the salmon will die off and the rest of the fall run for browns and Steelhead will be in full force. So if you have salmon fever, now is your time, if Browns and steelhead are you thing it is just around the corner! Tight Lines to all!
...trout season has ended, and what a season it was. Brook and Brown trout are in full spawning mode creating another generation.
Summer is in full swing around here, hard to imagine only two more months of trout fishing, which I have been doing every chance I have. So, for something new and exciting I called my friend Bob and said let's catch some bluegills in his private pond. I figured I would let him guide me because technically they are "his fish in his water". Sure enough first cast for Bob he gets a beauty, rod bent, Mr. Bluegill going for the weed bed, all the usual stuff that gills do. Well he eventually landed it, and it was such a pretty fish. I forgot how pretty those fish can be. Fishing for Bluegills always makes me feel a kid, usually it's a small pond, frogs, birds and all the other stuff you remember as a kid are all around you. It's a good feeling, and never underestimate Mr. Bluegill, pound for pound he can be a challenge. I think Bob caught about 30, I maybe caught 10, numbers do matter in bluegill fishing, and I must tip my hat to Bob for out fishing me, way to go Bob!
Now I am NOT saying bluegill fishing is easy, no way no how, but let's be serious. Like I said it's a numbers game, at least for me. If there are bluegills in any water you can pretty much bet on hammering them till you quit, because Mr. Bluegill is always willing to play.
Back to trout fishing... I figured I would really give myself a challenge after hammering all those bluegills. I went fishing alone, Bob would have come for sure but I was really on a quest to do the impossible. I know of a feeder creek, it's not even a creek, it's a spring rivulet that literally comes out of the ground, eventually feeds into the local creeks, but to call it a stream is a huge stretch. It is so crazy small that I think I should have my head checked because fishing it is next to impossible. In all my years of fly fishing I never thought I would ever fish water like this, let alone catch fish. Well, check out the pictures of the water and you can see it is super small, even getting the fly to land in the water is a challenge. I use a powerful roll cast to just get it in the vacinity of the water, but once it is in the water your odds go up greatly. Drag free drift is a joke, it's not posssible. The fish are so opportunistic that if they even see something that looks like food they are on it. I was using a rather large caddis, twitching it upstream and they would just hammer it. I scaled back to 3X so I could land them at once. They were on the rod for maybe 5 seconds. These fish are too special to play, the colors are amazing. I am pretty sure none of these fish have been caught, did I mention it's small? In order to fish this water one should be a die hard fisherman or insane, I think I'm a little of both. If I were to ever take a client here I think he/she would just laugh at me, but the pictures tell the story. To catch fish like this in such a small place is hard to imagine, but they have everything they need to survive. Once a summer is enough for me, my skill and patience was tested enough. Tight Lines.
Gordy @ Tie One On Guide Service
Onion River and surrounding trout water.
Onion is pretty choked with tall grass on the banks. With accurate casts, rewards can be had, like a client that got this dandy brown on a rubber-legged foam caddis pattern I've been tying lately !
Excellent fish for a small stream !
Sheboygan Smallmouth Report.
Warmer temps have really made the smallmouth bass fishing heat up. Top water action landed this beauty on a black popper with green chenille body and a red tail. Streamers of various colors will have fish chasing and eventually moving in for a strike. The key to smallmouth fishing is finding where the fish are...behind rocks, drop offs and in the deeper pools.
Onion River and surrounding trout water.
The local trout streams have had unbelievable growth of grass and foliage. A mixed blessing because the insect activity with terrestrials has picked up. Beetles, ants abound, and the first grasshopper was seen this past week. However the streams are very tight quarters, perfect casts are a must, even the traditionally open waters are rather difficult to fish, but he dry fly fishing is decent. Beetles, ants, and an elk hair cadiss should all draw some action. The drift must be prefect, right along the bank, the browns are holding very tight to their spots, but with a decent presentation the rewards can be decent.
My friend Joe Majeras told me of these HUGE mayflies out on Elkhart Lake and insisted we had to go! I assumed they were Hexagenia's and sure enough. My buddy Joe actually guided me, it was nice for a change! He was even giving pointers, little to the left, under the tree, let it sit...sure enough. Listen to Joe and you were into some pretty nice Bluegills and some really nice Rock Bass. We saw some smallies rising to a decent hex hatch and we even heard a loud thud, for sure a big Northern or maybe even a Muskie in Turtle Bay on Elkhart Lake. I told Joe he can be the Hex Guide of Elkhart! He was very good. They won't be around long, so if you have the Hex craze for some still water fishing, hit the area lakes before it's too late.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!
Spring has Sprung !
Fat, Healthy Brown !
Past Photos from this season - 2009
Nice Fish Bob ! - Congrats on your first Steelhead of this season !
Tie 1 On Fly Fishing Guide Service LLC.
N 7601 Royal and Ancient Dr.
Elkhart Lake, WI. 53020
Phone (920) 876-3510
Fax (920) 875-3520
Cell (773) 308-6156
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