Saturday, March 7, 2009


I fished the Milwaukee River on Saturday. Conditions were beautiful. Water was high and clarity was not at all bad. The water temperature was a bit low at 32.6 degrees, but I still managed to hook a fish. Brown or Steelhead we will never know because yours truly lost the fish after a few seconds. (Dreaded dangle hookup.)

Moving downstream, I waded into the heavy flow of @ 900 cfs, and began to swing a steelhead akroyd in a nice run, when the mother-load of flotsam came down the river from the Estabrook Dam. The ice had broken up and carried with it all of the debris that should in theory be removed by the county in fall. Bottles, logs, basketballs, sticks, more logs, trees, disposable lighters, spray paint cans, and every plastic bag known to man flowed down the river.

The ice and some wooded debris is normal, but this sudden release of litter was amazing to see. In a natural flowing river, the litter would come downstream at it's own pace, not all at once due to the dam. I had to wade to shore on numerous occasions to avoid being bombarded by the urban flotsam. I wish people would not litter.

Look at the first picture (before) and then the second (during the debris deluge).


  1. What a disheartening event. I am glad that you have documented this; the county used to clean the debris behind the spillway with some kind of machinery, but they stopped that practice a few years ago. Littering sucks, yes, leaving us thoughtful folks to clean it up. Maybe you should send these photos to Scott Walker and Sue Black.

  2. Eric,
    way to go hooking a fish...gotta love the trash hatch.

  3. Looks like you had an interesting day on the river. ;-)
    It's so unfortunate and embarrassing to have a situation like this occur on a regular basis.

    When I tell people about how much I love the Milwaukee River and how peaceful it is, I tend to leave out little bits like "the trash hatch". Those things really detract from the experience.

    I wonder if everyone knew how great the Milwaukee River is, they would have less of a tendency to throw their trash in there.

    I guess I shouldn't expect people to be well informed. Last time we were out on the river a police officer stopped us and asked "Why would you want to walk around and fish in that nasty river".


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