Monday, April 20, 2009

April fishing in Southwest Missouri

April fishing trips in southwest Missouri

I took a week off from work (April 6-12) to fish with Sean (son) and Mel (cousin) from Kalamazoo Michigan. Mel traveled to the Ozarks a few years ago to fish with me for white bass. He missed the white bass run due to being too early and low water conditions. We were all hoping for a better week of fishing for white bass.

A few days before Mel’s departure from Michigan, I called to warn him of a cold weather front predicted for the time he was to stay in Missouri. I was not worried if we would get out to fish but if the white bass were ready to bite.

April 6: We did not get out to fish. We stayed inside since it was too cold to fish for white bass, so we tied flies and caught up on family gossip.

April 7: It was a sunny cool day and comfortable in the afternoon. We drove to Bull Shoals to fish the Pot Hole. The water had been running through Table Rock Dam consistently for the past several days. The water was flowing over Power Site Dam. We started on the river run side of the Pot Hole, fishing up to the dam. One sixteen-inch smallmouth bass was taken, three white bass and a large-mouth bass. Mel caught two trout and a large-mouth bass. The osprey was out and about with several vultures catching the up drafts.

April 8: We returned to the Bull Shoals to fish the Pot Hole. A walleye on caught on the first cast of the day; a large mouth bass was released later in the day. We caught and returned five white bass.

April 9: There was threat of thunderstorms and it rain sporadically throughout the day. Mel, Sean and I started the day at Beaver Creek. The stream was silt choked from last year floods and severe erosion of the banks. We managed eleven blue gills, two white bass from the creek, and then the rain came in. We left the creek near the maiden hole slipping and sliding from the greasy mud and we were fortunate to get out without getting stuck. We returned to the pothole were we picked up a large mouth bass and two walleye with the largest measuring 24 inches. We finished the day at mouth of swan creek were we pick up another walleye and several white bass.

April 10: We fished the pothole in the afternoon; there were several fishermen on banks with boats moving about. We picked up two small-mouth bass (one was 16 inches), one large-mouth and two white bass. We moved back to the section above swan creek. Mel picked up a 24 inch walleye and I picked up four more white bass with one measuring seventeen inches.

April 12: Mel left on Saturday and we had a family get together that afternoon. So, we passed up fishing on Saturday. Sean and I returned Sunday afternoon; it had rain most of the afternoon. We caught seven walleye with the keepers being 22, 21, 20 inches. We caught seven white bass with a size range of 14-17 inches. Two 16-inch smallmouth bass and seven smaller ones released in addition to several small large mouth bass returned to the water. It was a cool and drizzle day with very few people fishing.

April 16: Sean and I returned to Bull shoals. The water was overflowing the dam with a good current in the Pothole. The lake level has been on the rise. We fished at different locations and picked up four walleye, four white bass, a crappie, a trout, and a large-mouth bass. We left Forsyth at 5 PM, there was a MSU class at evening and we had to leave before class started at 6 PM. I did make it in time for class with two minutes to spare.

I am finishing up this fishing log 4/19/2009. It should be noted the Springfield area had a 1.5-inch rainfall, which will raise the streams and promote the fish to run. Below are some links I use to monitor the lakes and rivers levels.

Bull Shoals Lake levels (4/07 653.2 ft) and rising (4/14 654.2 ft) and rising (4/19 655.6 ft)

April 21, 2009: Ralph Eichholz, Sean and I drove to Beaver Creek and started at Kissee Mill Park on Hwy 160. We fished above the bridge and found a few small white bass, small-mouth bass, quillback carp sucker and bluegill.

We picked up white bass from the 160 Bridge at the park to the Big Rock Hole. The lake level in Bull shoals (656.4 ft) continue to raise. With the recent rains, the rivers and creeks had a small rise and now falling; Beaver creek was at 4.2ft. This small rise will facilitate the spring run of fish.

I saw an osprey make several trips with fish in its clutches. On one of these trips, I saw an eagle dive bomb the osprey, leaving the osprey its only option; drop the fish. The fish fell to the water; the eagle swooped to the water to retrieve the fish making for an easy meal with the osprey flying off in a panic. I did see the osprey later that evening clasping another fish.

April 23: Sean and I left Springfield at 7 AM and drove to Morrisville to fish the Little Sac River. There were a dozen or more fishermen on the banks and several boats motoring upstream to the area near the power-line hole. We found white bass at the first stop and continued to hook up fish while we worked our way up stream. The place Paul use to call the Walleye Hole had several fishermen it fishing and picking up fish. We managed a limit of white bass fishing in three hours of fishing before leaving Taylor Bridge; I had to be at work that afternoon.

Stockton Lake level 869.79 ft (4/23)

Little Sac level decreasing 3.9 ft (4/23) from (5.5ft 4/20)

April 25: I picked up Charlie Erickson Saturday morning at 6:30 AM. We drove to Bennett Spring State Park to help with the MSU class. There was plenty of help, so Charlie and I left Bennett Spring at 1:30 PM and took Hwy 32 to Bolivar and then Hwy 13 to Morrisville to fish the Little Sac. Sean was driving from Springfield and met us in Morrisville before taking to the stream to fish into dark. I parked at Taylor Bridge and rowed a canoe upstream to the Power line Hole. The Mount family was fishing from their kayaks moving upstream to the S curve. They found several spots were they caught white bass. I walked upstream from the barn to check out the stream, to see what has changed since last years flood. Some of the stretches were too deep to wade. Later, I found out my son tried to wade through one stretch and took water over his waders and he had to climb out on a steep, slippery bank as scrambling to higher ground to bypass the deep water. Later that evening, we saw the Collison brothers (Bill and Frank) fishing the Power line hole catching one white bass after another. We slipped around them and fished downstream. We caught two limits of white bass for the day. We had the opportunity to watch people do stupid things with their boats, like running over submerged rocks, hitting the prop and disabling the engine; then powering the boat back to Taylor Bridge with the electric motor.

Stockton Lake level 869.69 ft

Little Sac level 3.5 ft

April 26, 2009: Sean and I returned to the Little Sac River. We saw Terry Tanner, Charlie and Connie Erickson. Sean started below the power lines to fish the fast water and broke the tip off from his TF rod to a tree trying to retrieve a fly. He came back down stream to tell me the news and was ready to walk back to Taylor Bridge to get another rod from the truck. I switched rods with him and used the nine-foot rod minus eight inches. The rod was very stiff but able to deliver the fly with a little help from a double haul. We caught three limits of white bass and kept two limits for the up coming MTFA State derby. We hooked three carp, a largemouth bass, a small-mouth bass, and several bluegills. We left at 8 PM with clouds moving in that looked like a storm was moving in.

April 28, 2009: Charlie and Connie Erickson picked me up at 7:30 AM. We figured the Little Sac would be the best place to fish. The storms had moved through during the night with less than an inch of rainfall. The Little Sac did not get any run of and the level remained at 3.5 ft. We started below the Power line hole and had very little action. I did see an owl fly overhead with a rodent held tightly. It appeared to have a nest across the stream. I did see a pair at one time. Connie and Charlie walked the bank upstream to fish the walleye hole with several other fishermen. I walked upstream to the next gravel bar. I made a discovery. I left the fly in the water with 30 ft of line out. The rod was pointing down stream, under my arm as I walked upstream. I managed to pick up two white bass by leaving my fly in the water. I stopped fishing at 11:30 AM with seven white bass and one carp. I had to get back to Springfield before 1 PM to get in another day of work.

I am finish writing up these reports (4/28/09), knowing there is a significant rainfall predicted before Saturday, maybe three inches. This will change the streams with the quick rise of water; the fish will head to the banks, run upstream and all will change again. This will probably be the last trip for white bass for this spring. In May, I have trips lined up for the Red River in Arkansas, Roaring River State Park and the Gulf Coast conclave at lake Charles, Louisiana. I will get back to the blog next month with updates

Kim Schultz

417 883-5234