July 1-4: Ann and I spent the first week of July visiting my parents. They live in a small rural community in southern Michigan across the street from Lee Lake, a one-hundred acre lake formed from the last ice age. The lake has a healthy population of blue-gills with the typical assortment of warm water fish; bass, perch, pike and crappie. I had the opportunity to practice with my spey rod from a dock, with aspirations to become a more proficient caster with a long stick. I did fish with my father and he did find a spot for us to catch a few blue-gills with gar pike working the surface within view. We fished for several hours taking and cleaning thirty-two blue-gills and a perch for a fish fry on the 4th of July. The next day, I spent time with my nephew Turner, who is ten years old. We fished the same general vicinity as my dad but did not find as many fish.
July 10: Sean and I had good night of fishing in Taneycomo; we left Springfield after 11 PM and in the water before midnight. We fished the area between #1 and #2 outlets with moderate success. We totaled 40+ trout for the night.
July 14: Sean picked me up after work. I had checked the weather and radar through out the evening and figured the weather would be fine. Sean’s first words to me, did you check the weather. He said Christian County was under a severe thunderstorm warning. As soon as we turned south, lightning could be seen. Before entering the city limits of Ozark the rain fell, pelting our windshield with lightning all around. Sean checked the radar with his I-phone and the storm tracked north and east of Branson. So, we continued our trip and parked the truck in the parking lot at the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery with one other vehicle in view. While we sat in the truck we saw lightning all around us. Again, we checked the radar on the I-phone and it appeared the storm was to stay north then mover to the southeast; out and away from us for a night of fishing. We slowly slipped into our waders and lined the rods. The lightning was intense in the east, going cloud to cloud with a slight audible sound of thunder. We walked to the waters edge. The fog was thick over the water. The sky over head was patched with clouds with stars in view. At times, the fog would rise with the warm breeze and surround us like a thick blanket, almost suffocating. The flashing from frequent lightning flashes, glowed through the fog. I remembered an old movie depicting a WWI war scene with a solder on a war front; there was a low fog and bombs going off all around. The glow in the fog would light the entire area for an instant. The eerie feeling could be felt on this night. I told Sean, if lightning came from the direction of the dam, we may need to reconsider our time on the water. It was almost 3 AM; another storm was approaching from the west. Again, we checked the I-phone; the storm was near Cassville heading southwest and was on track to miss us to the west. Needless to say another storm was forming in Springfield and on track to hit us in Branson. So, we called it a night at 4 AM with less than twenty trout caught for the night.
July 18: Kevin and I drove to Joplin to attend the annual Shoal Creek Water Festival at the Wildcat Glade Conservation and Audubon Center. We were asked to focus on youth education and the “wonders of water”. Kevin and I set up a booth and tied flies for the youth with a few of the on lookers given the opportunity to sit behind the vise creating their own flies. We were busy most of the day with several of the participants returning for additional lessons and flies. A few individuals asked about casting and we had space behind the booth to help a few with an introduction to the fly rod.
July 27: Sean will move to St. Louis after this weekend. So, his opportunities to fish on short notice with me will come to an end. Sean wanted to return to Taneycomo for another night of trout fishing. On the trip down, there were deer feeding next to the road on Hwy 65. We were in our waders heading to the water when a fox came trotting into the parking lot. I took my flash light with the red laser beam flashed the light in front of him. The fox stopped immediately trying to figure out what the red spot of light was. He laid down for a short time, getting nervous and moved on to the pavilion. There were no other vehicles parked and no other fishermen. We started below #2 outlet and worked our streamers going down stream. After 2 AM, Sean decided to take a break and visit the outstanding facilities. He then walked upstream to the waters between #1 and #2. He was able to get one trout after anther in a short time. I was still picking up a few trout here and there for the night. Sean an hour later caught up with me and was excited with his success upstream. He wanted to return, but I suggested to keep moving down stream to the area above the big hole. Sean led the way and he was catching one trout after another, he was catching three trout to my one. After 4:30 AM, geese in a single file swam behind us without a sound. They were evenly spaced moving up stream. Sean was not sure at first what was going on and finally I saw them come into view. It was interesting, when the last goose passed me, there was an audible sound made to let the leader know all had passed safely. Sean had an excellent night of 50+ trout for himself. Sean left Taneycomo at 5 AM. I met John Taylor in the parking lot at 5 AM. We drove to the other side fishing the Rocking Chair Hole. The conditions were more difficult with no current, bright clear sky with no wind. This was John's introductions to Ozark fishing.
Tight lines… Kim