A fellow Hobie Fishing Team member from Wisconsin and I had chatted about making a trip in late November or December for steelhead or brown trout. I reached out to let him know I was still interested in getting out. We came up with a window of a couple of days where the weather looked like it might cooperate enough for us to get out on the water.
With a day’s notice, the plan was for a midweek two-day trip to Racine, WI. We would leave early in the morning, fish the afternoon and the next morning, and drive back home that evening. I convinced Craig, another Hobie team member, to make the trip.
We had an early start, clearing customs at the Ambassador Bridge by 6:30am. Five and a half hours later we pulled up to the launch where Rob had suggested we meet him. He had launched a few hours earlier to see if conditions were good enough to fish. When we arrived he was already packed up and ready to move on to the next location, where he said the launch and harbor were better protected from the wind.
There was a little less wind and we were able to get out on the water and fish somewhat comfortably, throwing some fresh spawn Rob had brought. We didn't have any luck, so we moved on to trolling in the harbor where we marked a lot of fish, but they were not interested in our presentations. Moving back to throwing spawn near the launch, we did hook up into a few feisty brown trout.
The plan for Thursday morning was to try and get out at first light about thirty minutes down the road at a different harbor, and cast jigs for brown trout. The morning was milder than the previous day, with no wind at all and an overcast sky. I was barely into my first cast when the first fish of the day hooked up. Over the next four and half hours, I don't think more than five minutes went by without someone hooking up on a fish. It was non-stop feisty brown trout from 17” - 25”. They were chunky, football-shaped, and full of life, jumping sometimes half a dozen times before you would either lose them or get them into the kayak. My biggest one weighed almost 10lbs, and after a lengthy battle spit the hook just as I was netting him. Luckily for me, he swam into my net.
We wanted to get back on the road to miss the afternoon traffic in Chicago, so we reluctantly called it a day and thanked Rob for showing us one of the best mornings of fishing that either of us had experienced.
This is kayak fishing at its best: meeting new friends, fishing with old friends on new water, different cities, and for me it was a first time catching brown trout.