Friday, December 10, 2010

December: Finally Back to the Water

I have not fished since my return from Alaska; it has been eight weeks. Where does time fly? I have been working on a project at work, with several ongoing chores around the house and then there is the birth of Desmond. This is Jennifer first child and our first grandchild. My days off have been filled with activities and traveling to places other than a fishing destination.

DEC 5, 2010: I finally found a day and arranged a trip with Kevin Smith. We found out and were given a tip from another club member (Dan Ditzler) of a recent stocking of rainbow trout on Capps Creek I followed Kevin to Jolly Mill where we started our day before noon. The sky was clear, with cool air with a high in the mid-thirties; there was ice in our guides for most of the day. We did find small trout near the bridge; actually the trout were in the four-five inch range. I plan to talk with the MDC biologist to get an idea to the planting Strategy for Capps Creek. Kevin caught a respectable trout below the bridge. We made a move late afternoon and drove to an access downstream. We found a few holes and found a few fish larger in size. Overall, it was a satisfying day of fishing

DEC 10, 2010: I made a trip to Bennett Spring. The day was full of sun with a light wind. The high temperature was in the high forties. I took some time in the morning before the drive to tie a few flies. I went back to the #20 BWO hoping for the Family Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olives) to hatch late morning or noon. I drove into the park before 11 AM, with a moderate winter crowd. The area, zone one above the dam had only a few people in the places I wanted to fish. The hatch was light; there were a few BWO in the air. They did not spend much time on the surface. The midge hatch was more significant with swarms seen throughout the day. There were many trout seen in the water with a few willing to take a random dry fly. A pair if bald eagles flew over me at 3:30 PM, waiting for 4 PM for the departure of the fishermen, leaving the stream to them to fish. On the drive back to Springfield saw eight deer in a field off of I-44.

DEC 17, 2010: This would be my last fishing trip for the year. A cold, cloudy and winding day at Bennett Spring State Park; the wind was blowing up stream, making it difficult to fool the fish with the downstream drift. There was a light crowd and for the most part, no one fished within 50 yards of me. The ice formed in my guides most of the day, with a quick dip of the rod in the spring creek to free the line. I had hoped to hook a bunch of trout, but my #20 BWO was not the fly to fool many trout. I managed 15+ with most of the trout taken below the stone bridge with a #14 Adams dry fly drifting the right bank late afternoon.

There is progress on the new hatchery building, with the exterior almost finished and the roof shingled. I spoke the Mike Mitchell; he hoped to have the project fished by May of this year. He will be a guest speaker at the MTFA club meeting next year to give an update,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September: Returning to Alaska

This was my second trip to Alaska. I am amazed how remote most people live and how majestic the mountains of Alaska are from several thousand feet above, as we fly over Alaska. Rod made the phone calls and did a tremendous job planning the trip for the six of us. Our group of six with Rod taking his son, Keith: Jim taking his two sons, Jake and Jessie. We left Springfield Friday late morning on a flight to Dallas, then on to Anchorage. We arrived Kodiak Island and the city of Kodiak at 11 PM. Doyle met us at the airport and dropped us off at the Best Western. Our plans were to met Kerry at the Marina and spend Saturday on the salt-water deep-sea fishing for halibut, Cod and Rockfish. We checked in and found our rooms and asleep before midnight Kodiak time.

Sept 18, 2010 Saturday

We woke early and had breakfast at our motel before walking across the street to the marina finding Moon Shadow and her captain, Kerry.

This was to be our boat for the day. The trip was arranged by Rod with Doyle. The weather was fair with calm seas that had enough wind to create a surface chop favoring good fishing. Kerry took us out of the harbor to fish the northeast section of the island near whale pass. The trip was one and half-hours to the spot Kerry had in mind. When he passed over the spot he said there were a bunch of fish on radar. He set the anchor and we dropped our lines. We were catching Pacific Gray Cod at the get go. All of us were pulling in cod one after the other. Over the coarse of three hours, the cod were getting bigger and the halibut started to move in. Each of us is allowed two halibut for our daily limit. It was afternoon with the clock near 1 PM. We had our limit of halibut and an undetermined number of cod. Kerry decided to pull up and head to the area he knew for Rockfish. Needless to say, Kerry was right on again, with a limit of Rockfish (10) each caught in a short time. We had plenty of time to take a tour of the island, with a pass by the WWII bunkers on the south side of the island, a trip into a cove to watch hundreds of sea lions resting on the shore and a cruise through the marina looking at the boats, fishing boats and the large crab ships.
Photo by Rod

Kerry stopped at the processing plant to drop off the catch. They estimated a gross weight of our catch to be nine hundred pounds. The final processed weight and the salt-water fish weight that was boxed and paid for was 308 pounds. We returned to the dock, moored the boat and called it a day of fishing. We walked around the city and dined at the Powerhouse Restaurant near the bridge. After diner, we returned to the motel to watch some College football before turning in for the night.

Sept 19, 2010

We woke at 7 AM and had breakfast in the Best Western. It was overcast with fog over the island. Doyle met us at 9 AM and shuttled us to the air facility on the water.

Bill took us two at a time by airplane to Saltery Lake lodge; it was approximately thirty-five miles by road and trail. The round trip travel time was forty-five minutes. Jim and Jessie was the first to go with Jake and me going the second trip, Rod and Keith flew last. There were some concerns due to the low ceiling and fog over the island. Bill flew us along the coast of the island to the cove and estuary where the Saltery River flows into the sea and up the valley to the lodge. It was a longer trip but considerably safer and a higher ceiling. We were all in camp by noon. I was greeted by a pair of eagles perched on a branch above the cabin.

A little later a bear was seen in front of the cabin along the shore of the lake.

The rest of the party arrived before lunch with a total of ten clients for the week. The returning guides were Joe and Matt with Geoff guiding his first year at the lodge. We had lunch at 1 PM with everyone providing an introduction before our meal.

After lunch, Joe and Matt took us down to the estuary to fish. We saw golden and bald eagles, a herd of buffalo and a wild horse.

There were approximately seventy harbor seals in the salt water watching us from some exposed rocks off shore. Our presents caused quite a stir with many of the seals taking to the water and swimming towards us. If you look in the back ground behind Jim you will see their heads.

We stood in the water past the first trough throwing back to shore hoping to find a cruising salmon. The seals broke through our lines and were chasing the salmon along the shore. I managed a small jack salmon on a Clouser minnow pattern in the salt.

Jake and I stayed at the estuary with Joe with the others going back to the lake to fish the river near the lake and lodge. We saw a few pods of salmon moving up the river from the bay, but I only managed to spook the fish with my attempts to get the fly in front of the cruising fish. We called it a day at 5:30 PM and returned to the lodge.

Rod caught two silvers in the lower hole; Jim caught a Silver Salmon with Keith and Jessie losing two salmon to long line releases.
Photo by Rod

The highlight of the day was Dennis, a member of the Arizona group, discharging his revolver and scorching the tip of his thumb from the powder flash. It burnt and tore tissue from the tip of his thumb; it required a special airplane ride back to the city of Kodiak to get a tetanus shot and a single stitch to attach the flap. The situation was as a bear approached; he pulled the revolver from the hoister when he felt threatened by the approaching bear. He wanted to scare it off and he did, with a scar on his thumb to remind him of the encounter.

Another fellow had a fish on and was walking backwards only to trip and fall into the lake, filling his waders with a full emersion to begin his life as an Alaskan fisherman.

We had a fine dinner of corn beef, scallop potatoes and green beans. After supper we went back to the lake, saw a bear near the mouth of Lake Creek. We fished and caught char, Dolly Varden and snagged a few sockeye near the mouth of Lake Creek. There had been little rain recently over the island and the mouth of Lake Creek was gravel choked. There was water percolating through the gravel where the sockeye grouped together waiting for a rain to raise the creek and allowing them to pass and proceeding up stream to spawn.

Sept 20 Monday

Breakfast was at 7 AM. The weather remains mild with a high in the upper fifties and an overcast sky. There were a few showers through out the day with no significant acumination. We saw bears after breakfast near the mouth of Lake Creek. We fished near the lodge using streamers; egg sucking leeches hoping to find a Silver Salmon. After a few hours, most of the group went with egg patterns and glow balls to catch Dolly Varden. Several of us caught sockeye. Jake was the only one to catch a Silver Salmon. Keith found the best fishing spot; it was the dock in front of the lodge. He caught a plethora of Dolly Varden and char. Several of the Dolly Varden went over twenty inches. The afternoon provided us with several close encounters with bears. There were at least four bears in the area. After supper, Keith went back to the dock and continued to pick-up dolly and char. He had a good day of fishing.
Photo by Rod

Sept 21 Tuesday

It rained over the night, probably less that 0.10 of an inch. The day remained overcast with psoriatic light rain through out the day. Our group stayed on the lake with the silvers refusing our flies in the lake. The dolly varden continue to keep us busy when using egg patterns or a dry fly. The other group went to the upper and lower holes of Saltery River and caught seven silvers. After lunch, Matt and Joe took us to Rough Creek. Joe, Jim, Jake and Jessie went ahead and up stream of us and caught on 12 lb sliver salmon that was released with several salmon missed. In addition, they caught a Pink Salmon and Jack salmon. They saw Murry in the middle of the river while driving the trails in the lower Saltery River section. Murry is the alpha bear going over 900 lbs. and broad enough to take up the entire creek bank to bank.We saw Chum Salmon in the deeper pockets; most of these fish are in the final stages of life.

We saw many eagles in the estuary with four seen together in the trees perched. Since we had little luck fishing Rough Creek and with an hour to go we returned to Saltery River and fished the lower hole. Keith snagged a pair of Silver salmon that finally worked lose. The river was very low and clear with many sockeye salmon in their final stage of life and about to finishing their spawning activity. With the low water, only a few Silver Salmon have moved up river with many probably remaining the bay waiting for a rise in the river. Joe reported after 5:30 PM, he saw several salmon moving up the river; maybe tomorrow will be a better day of fishing.

Sept 22, 2010 Wednesday

Again the day was overcastted with the temperatures in the mid-fifties. Our group went to Rough Creek to fish. Joe felt it was the best place to fish with a low tide passing with a surge of salt water moving in from the bay. On our drive in we saw buffalo and took a few pictures. Keith picked up a Jack Salmon ***

We fished the structure near the mouth of the creek. Joe said the tide would rise eight feet. The idea was the silvers would run upstream during the high tide with the seals pushing them in from the salt. There were a few silvers in the deep cut outs along the bank and behind structure. Rod and I caught a Chum Salmon in the morning session. We stopped for lunch. I did see a Sow with two cubs in the lower section of Saltery River. After Lunch, Joe took Keith and me back to Rough Creek. Rod, Jim, Jake and Jessie stayed back to fish the lake. They reported the rain was enough to start a continuous flow of water in Lake Creek and deep enough to move the sockeye up into the tributary. We fished until 6 PM, Keith caught a Pink Salmon and I managed a large Dolly Varden and a Chum Salmon. Bill and Doyle flew in to deliver supplies and then stayed for dinner. They left after supper leaving before dark.

Sept 23, 2010 Thursday
Photo by Rod

The days continue to be overcast with a few showers. The temperatures remain in the fifties with the wind picking up through out the day. Joe and Matt took us to Rough Creek. The low tide was early in the morning with an incoming tide. Joe took Jim, Jake and Jessie up stream. Jessie hooked and landed a Silver Salmon. Matt stayed with us in the lowest stretch. There were a few fish moving out of the salt into the fast waters of Rough Creek. They moved into the pools but did not bite. Keith hooked a Pink salmon and snagged a Chum Salmon in a location upstream. We did not see buffalo this day with numerous eagles in the surrounding trees. We left Rough Creek at 11:30 AM and returned to camp. The bears (Thelma and Louise) were fishing at the mouth of Lake Creek. They would run the gravel bank and jump into the lake where the Sockeye Salmon had grouped together. After the recent rains, Lake Creek is starting to rise with insufficient flow to move the salmon upstream at this time. These salmon are and will continue to be easily targets for the bears. This area is a magnet for bald eagles, golden eagles and other birds. We had Rockfish for lunch, the meal was outstanding. After lunch, we watched bears in Lake Creek. Joe took Jessie on a bear outing with camera in hand to get up and personal with the bears. There were some great photos of this trip.
Photo by Rod

Jake and I went back to the water, I fished the lake and Jake went to the first hole. He said the water was full of Silver Salmon. I managed to catch a silver salmon and it was hooked deep. I wanted to release it, but with all of the blood and the fish would not have survived. It was taken with Jay good enough to claim the fish. Rod, Jake and Rod had a good time in the river with many fish moving up and into the deep pockets. Each had three or more hookups. A change of weather late afternoon with a steady rain and twenty-five-mpr wind. The low rain clouds blanketing the mountains provided some picturesque Alaskan scenery. We called it a day of fishing at six. The bears played at the mouth lake Creek all afternoon with Nathan yelling at the bears when they decided to chew on the ropes tying the boat to the anchors. Just before dinner, I walked up to check the bears and my cap blew off and landed in the lake. It was too deep to wade. So, I went back to the cabin fetched my fly rod and returned to the lake. I tied on a popper since it had a large hook and started to cast to the cap. After several attempts, found the point to the cap and retrieved the cap. The best catch of the day for me. It is after 9 pm and the rain continues to fall. I am sure tomorrow will be a good day to catch fish; we will see some changes to the weather and water conditions.

September, 24, 2010 Friday
Photo by Rod

There was some clearing in the sky as a high pressure moved in with high winds. The wind gusts were forecasted to exceed 60 MPR. We saw sunshine mid-morning for the first time this week. Joe took Rod, Keith and Jake to Lake Creek to fish for Dolly Varden. Lake Creek was knee deep with enough water to move the Sockeye Salmon upstream. Jim and Jessie fished the upper hole near the lake. I walked down to the lower hole. Jay fished with me and we saw plenty of fish moving into the waters in front of us. The river was up a little, maybe six inches with some color to the water. It had rained short of an inch over night. Jay and I each hooked several Silver Salmon and large Dolly Varden, some measuring over twenty inches. The sun was shining low in the sky with passing cloud, creating a rainbow over bread Loaf Mountain. We broke for lunch at 12:30. Joe reported Lake Creek provided some excellent encounters with bear. The bears moved down from the near by mountains with the rising waters to find the salmon in shallow waters. One of the encounters had Jake was a bear within fifteen feet. Jake said, “Joe told him not to move and keep taking pictures”. They had good success catching Dolly Varden. After Lunch, we all returned to Saltery River and fished the lower hole. The water had cleared and there was sunshine on the water with little or no shade. The salmon were visible in the deeper water, which held many fish. The Silver Salmon were not very cooperative with the bright sun putting them down. We managed to catch a few large Dolly Varden and a few snagged Cohoes, which came off during the battles.

I decided to return to the lake. The wind was blustery and became fiercer throughout the day. The lake was rough with white-capped waves moving to the west end of the lake. I walked the lower and shallower section of the lake to get to the opposite shore. The gust at time would challenge my ability to stand. I was able to fish; the wind was from a favorable direction on my left side and allowing for easy casting. I was able to roll cast the fly out to the fish. I managed to hook, catch and release four Silver Salmon and one large Dolly Varden. I did shoot some video of the conditions and uploaded it on YouTube.

The wind blew all afternoon and into the night. We quit fishing at 6 PM with Joe looking on from the opposite bank. I made my way back to the opposite shore and walked back to the lodge.

This would be the end of our 2010 fishing experience on Kodiak Island. We all caught Silver salmon and had many bear encounters with golden eagles and bald eagles in view most of the day near the mouth of Lake Creek.

That evening we had a fine dinner and sat in the lodge until 9:30 PM talking of the week and other stories. There was news of another weather front moving over night and if Bill did not show up with his airplane before 10 AM, we were to start driving out over the eighteen-mile trail to American Highway.

September 26 Saturday

The sky was overcastted with a light rain, the wind continued to blow, with white caps on the lake. We packed our gear and waited until 10 AM with Bill not able to fly. We packed the suburbans and started our drive out at 10:25 AM.

The road (trail) was very rough with several sections of the road washed out from last year’s floods. There were times our trip was over dry riverbed and over almost impassible terrain. The trip took 2.5 hours with a few pit stops and delays from ATV driving in and having to find a way to pass. We met Bill and Doyle at the American Highway. The gear was transferred to their vehicles with our first stop dropping Doc and Jay off at the airport. We left our gear and stopped at the processing plant to pay for and get our fish. Our flight from Kodiak to Anchorage was at 8 PM. We took and taxi back to town and ate at Henry’s Restaurant before returning to the airport for our flight. We took the red eye out of Anchorage to Chicago be fore arriving Springfield Sunday morning at 11 AM. It was a great trip and would recommend the same adventure to anyone wanting to see wide-open spaces with a small fingerprint of man.
Photo by Rod

The You Tube video of Alaska can be seen at

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August: Still Hot in Missouri

August 14, 2010: Rod wanted to know where the best place to fish in August. I could only suggest Taneycomo at night and early morning, but the trip was canceled due to a round the clock generation as a result of the hot weather and a demand for more power. We decided on Montauk that 11 PM that night and ruled out Taneycomo. I arrived at Rod’s residence in Rogersville at 6 AM. The house was dark with no movement on the grounds; I finally realized Rod wanted to meet at his office in Springfield. I did not arrive his office until 6:20 AM.

Rod invited Ryan, who is with Lincoln Financial. Ryan is from Fort Wayne IN and does bass fish but has not been out to fly fish. So, Rod invited Ryan to introduce him to fly-fishing. So, we were late getting started and it was decided to fish Bennett Spring State Park. It was after 7:30 AM when we arrived; the park was very crowded being the final weekend before back to school for most students. We delayed our fishing in the park and drove to Bennett Spring access downstream from the park on the Niangua. It was before the weekend canoe hatch with fifty to seventy-five canoes at the water’s edge ready to be launched. We had an hour with plenty of space for Ryan to practice his casting. There were a few small long-ear sunfish splashing and a few taking our flies. A short time later the wave of canoes and rafts started and we decided to go upstream and fish above the low water bridge at Moon Valley access.

We found the fishing to be better at Moon Valley with long-ear sunfish willing to take our flies. Pictured below is Ryan with a pair of boots he borrowed from Rod’s son at fell apart at the seams.

The day was clear, with a bright hot sun. At noon, the temperature was past ninety degrees and it was getting to be very uncomfortable. We decided to return to Bennett Spring State Park, have lunch and finish the day on the cool spring creek waters.

After lunch, Rod and Ryan fished below the dam in Zone 2. I went down stream farther and worked my way upstream looking for trout taking dry flies. The best trout for me on this day was a 15 inch brown trout taking a #20 BWO. I manage eight. Rod had more success stripping a wooly between the dam and the stone bridge by releasing a dozen rainbow trout. Ryan did have a good time and his casting improved the longer he fished. Rod provided more ideas and tips on getting started with equipment and essentials to fly-fishing.

We called it a day by 7 PM and returned to Springfield with a few turkeys seen on the way home.

AUG 18-19: I was to meet Jim and Linda Scheve at Montauk State Park. I made a stop in Rolla for a meeting at Phelps CO hospital for a work related visit in the morning. It was noon when I found Jim and Linda under a shade tree preparing lunch. We had made arrangements to stay the night in Cabin #7 near the dam.

The park was very quiet, with families back to work and school. The day was pleasant with a blue sky, full sun and temperatures in the low eighties. We were able to get the key to the cabin after lunch and moved our gear into the place near the dam. It was after 1:30 pm when we were ready to fish; we walked to the waters above the dam and slipped in the water above a few fishermen. There was some surface activity along the weed edge, but with the sun hitting the water and shadows from our fly line alarmed the trout; it was difficult finding a take. We moved upstream into shallow and broken water finding the trout more cooperative.

Jim primarily fished these waters and I moved farther upstream. The water upstream has more cover with mature trees along the bank providing shade most of the day. I continued to move upstream and ended the day fishing above the power line. It was getting late in the day, the whistle was scheduled to sound at 8 pm but we decided to quit at 7:30 pm, allowing plenty of time to dine at the lodge which closes at 8:30 pm. On the walk back to the cabin, I crossed paths with some beavers and a pair of deer and captured their images on video.

We made it to the lodge before 8 pm for dinner. We returned to the cabin later that evening and turned in for the night. I woke the next day without an alarm clock at 6:30 AM. The whistle sounded at 7 AM, Jim and I started a short time later. We fished the waters above the power line and continued to fish upstream. During our walk to the water came across a feeding deer.

There were many trout behind the structure and suspended in the holes. Again, it was difficult getting them to take. I find fishing when the trout are in plain sight with a dry fly very challenging and frustrating. Jim and I fished until 10 AM and returned to the cabin to pack out. At 11 AM, we had a lunch and decided to fish the blue ribbon waters out side of the park. We drove and parked about 0.5 miles from the blue ribbon waters and fishing the Current River within the park boundaries. We had better catching with some of the trout caught being Parr with distinct bars on their sides. There were several Northern-banded water snakes in this stretch of water that we had to side step to get around. We fished for several hours and decided to return to the parked vehicles and check on Linda.

Jim wanted to check out the spring. We drove and parked near the hatchery, and then we walked upstream to check out the spring. We fished finding only a few cooperative trout. It was after 5 PM; Jim decided to call it a day. He and Linda wanted to get back to Springfield. I continued to fish until 8 PM. There was a period between 6:30 and 7:30 when the dry fly worked. It similar to a renegade, which is brown and white, this fly was black and white and I’m calling it a Polecat. It was very effective in shallow broken water in low light. I called it a day at 8 PM, called my wife letting her know I was late for supper and would stop on the drove home. I was a good trip and enjoyed the time spent with Jim and Linda on the Current River in Montauk State Park.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

July: Fishing in the heat

A river is a place for reflection and solitude. I return to the river feeling like a small boy wet-wading the shoals and stumbling over rocks. I always look forward to the minutes, hours and days standing in the cool waters of the Eleven Point River. Wet wading is a simple way to fish; I appreciate bamboo, nettles and poison ivy overgrowth on the banks with tall standing trees providing excellent habit for the abundant wildlife residing along these banks.

Jim Scheve and I took three days to fish five miles of river, starting at Greer access and departing at Turn Mill access. One could easily float the same five miles in two hours. For Jim and I, time and distance is not important. We return to these waters to fish for rainbow trout, looking for any nook or lie holding a trout. The Eleven Point River is a place away from the computer with the cell phone out of service. The sounds of birds and water take us back to simpler times; soothing our soul with this easily going, back to basics life. I did forget one item that enhanced the back to basic theme; the air mattress was accidently left behind leaving an impression on my back attempting to sleep on the gravel bars. Sleeping on a camp out is generally difficult, as I tossed and turn both nights, sleepless and listening to the calls of the bull frogs, the song of the Whip-poor-wills and the ghostly sounds of voices surrounding us, rising from the babbling sounds of the moving water.

July 14, 2010: We had a delay leaving Springfield, which started our time on the river after 1 pm. The river’s gage height at Bardley was 3.65 ft with a discharge of 650 cfs, well above normal conditions. We made arrangements with Richard’s canoe rental to drop the truck off Friday at Turner Mill. The 17 ft aluminum canoe was loaded with our gear and coolers with three days of supplies. We fished only the first two islands before stopping to camp for the night. We wanted to fish this particular area at dusk. We managed to catch and release several trout measuring sixteen inches. Here is a photo of area we fished at sunset.

July 15, 2010: The next day, we continued the slow pace finding more cooperative trout that averaged 12-13 inches, probably recently released trout by the MDC. We continued downstream and stopped at a campsite above Little Hurricane Creek, It had a sand bank ideal for sleeping on without an air mattress. Several canoes passed us and were looking to camp at the site below Little Hurricane. So we decide at 2 pm, to set up camp and fish these waters at dusk. A rumble of thunder and dark clouds could be seen in the northwest sky. Soon, the skies darken with frequent claps of thunder without seeing lightning. The clouds moved in with some circulation seen. I took a video of the swirling clouds with no tornadoes falling out of the sky.

There was a brief shower, Jim and I took to our tents and had a short nap while a light rain fell gently on our tents. It was after 5 pm, the sky cleared and we prepared dinner. After dinner we went back to the water, and found a few more trout. I took the canoe and found a supply of wood that last the night.

July 16, 2010: Friday we had breakfast, repacked the canoe and on the water before 8 am. We went to the mouth of Little Hurricane. A group was camped just below the creek with several individuals in the water fishing a good stretch of water. We decided to pass up the water and go down stream to give ourselves some space. We floated to the large boulder above Mary Decker Shoal. Jim started at the boulder and I moved on downstream going for Mary Decker Shoal. We did find a few fish just below Mary Decker fishing the fast water. There were more canoes floating this day, with the youth in the groups practicing their stone throwing abilities into the waters we were fishing. We kept moving on down stream and finished our day and trip at 4 pm. We found the air comfortable when standing in sixty decree water, but the time away from the water loading the canoe on the rack and getting ready to leave left us hot and uncomfortable. A fellow standing in the water at Turner Mill Access said the heat index was 105; it was unpleasant. The planned trip for Jim and me will be Montauk and the upper Current River.

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July 22-23, 2010: On this Thursday, I drove to Rolla late in the day to meet Ann and Sean, we met at Bandana BBQ. Jenn and Sara attended a St. Louis ball game earlier in the day and they were running late due to extra innings. After dinner, Ann returned to Springfield and the rest of us drove to Montauk to spend the night and planned to fish the next day.

The next day (Friday), we had our breakfast at the lodge and vacated our cabin. We walked up to the fly only area to fish. Sara and I spent some time working on her casting, this way her first time fly fishing. Sean and Jenn worked the water near the power lines. We had to find a place where the wading is comfortable and easy. Jenn is half way through her pregnancy and it was decided to stay away from the fast water and rocks.

The day was hot with a full sun, we found shade most of the day. Wet wading in cool water is very comfortable. There were many trout in the holes or lined up behind any structure available. The trout were tight mouth for most of the day. We managed to catch and release a few.

At 5 PM, we called it a day and returned to Rolla for some Chinese food. Jenn, Sean and Sara returned to St. Louis and I drove back to Springfield. Our lives continue to get busier, the expectations from others are ever increasing, but the times we as a family get together on the water will provide calm for the mind and relaxation for the soul.

The following is a video of our day fishing:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June: At the lake and on the River

June 4-6, 2010: This past weekend Rod, Warren and I participated in the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) program MDC Discover Nature Women. This was the club’s third year being associated with this activity with us instructing fly tying. Some of you may remember Kevin Lohraff at our February meeting; he is the coordinator of this MDC program. We had two sessions to teach Saturday morning and Sunday morning. There were over eighty participates wanting to learn more about outdoor activities.

Friday June 4: we left Springfield after 9 a.m. and drove to moon valley on the Niangua River, which is upstream from Bennett Spring S.P. I took the truck with a kayak with Rod and Warren riding together from Springfield. It was after 10:30 a.m. when we drove into moon valley access. Unfortunately, there were thirty canoes in the water waiting for a church camp group. I was hoping for a calm day on the water; it was not to be. I shoved off, Rod and Warren drove to Bennett Spring to fish. We agreed to meet at the mouth of the spring creek flowing out of the park at 3 p.m.

I fished the first shoal after Moon valley, finding a few sunfish and three small-mouth bass before an armada of canoes passed through. I walked back up stream, waited for the water to calm down and fished through the shoal again finding another small-mouth in the hole below the riffles. I looked at my watch and realized it was time to put the paddle to the water. I had six miles to cover in two hours.

I paddled to Bennett Spring S.P. and was right on time. Rod and Warren were there with the truck, we loaded the kayak and we drove to Roach, MO to the Windermere Resort for the weekend. After arriving the resort, we picked up our registration packet, unpacked our gear, set up the room and had supper at the resort facility. We found and talked with Kevin Lohraff and Regina Knauer. After, supper we grabbed a rod and a few flies and walked to the lake. Rod and Warren started near the docks and worked their way to the cove. I walked to the end of the Windermere property and worked my way back. We caught a few white bass; a few small large-mouth bass, sunfish and Rod reeled in and released a carp. We called it a night at 10 p.m.

Saturday June 5: Our class met at 8:30 a.m., there were thirteen participates with plenty of enthusiasm and feathers flying in the air. For most, this was their first time at a vise tying a fly. The class went smoothly, we explain of the macro-invertebrate in the rivers and helped them tie three different flies.

We finished at noon and had the rest of the afternoon off, we stayed inside to tie our own flies since the temperature was over ninety and humid. That evening the MDC had a catered barbeque dinner.

The women had several programs with a campfire planned for that night. Rod, Warren and I grabbed our rods and went back to the lake. Warren stayed near the docks and caught sunfish galore.

Rod and I walked the cove and had a difficult time finding cooperitive fish. I finally caught a large-mouth bass at 10 p.m. Calling it a night at 10:30 and walked back to the staff lodge.

The next day we had another class with seven. It went better than the day before. We packed up at noon and said our good byes to Kevin, Regina and others. We returned to Springfield.

June 16, 2010: Jim Scheve and I had another day to fish the North Fork of the White River.

The river gage height was 2.9 feet and very wadable, near normal conditions and perfect for wade fishing Craig, owner of Pettit Canoe rental dropped us off at Kelly Ford and we fished 5 miles to Blair Bridge.

The water was clear and cool with a partly sunny sky that produced a few pop-up thunder storms in the afternoon. We heard thunder and saw the building thunderheads in the western sky; it rained on us on our drive home. Jim had a good day of catching, releasing a dozen to hand with several fish breaking off. I rolled a few in the riffles and released three rainbows, one was fifteen inches. Just below the River of Life Farm, we saw a deer running from the noise of a mower and ran the path along the river bank near us.

I turned a few stones and found a stone fly nymph willing to pose for the camera. We finished our fish day at Blair Bridge a few minutes before 6 p.m. Jim and I plan to fish the Eleven Point River next month.

Saturday June 19, 2010: I drove to Greer access on the Eleven Point River; I left Springfield at 6 a.m. with a light rain and a few flashes of lightning and sounds of thunder. I knew the signs, not a good start to a trip on a river.

Needless to say, I drove out of rain, driving 150 miles to the east then going south from Winona. I found Kevin Smith and Jeff House getting their watercraft ready to fish for the day. We made our plans several weeks before this day, with Kevin and Jeff driving down setting camp the day before. On Friday, they fished upstream above Hwy 19 Bridge finding a few rainbow trout for day.

The access was crowded with several groups renting canoes and floating for the day. We waited for them to depart and fished the areas not normally traveled by canoe at islands with the stream splitting into two directions. We floated and fished a three-mile section to Little Hurricane creek and camp on a gravel bar for the night. The gage height read 3.85 feet for the two days, which was up a few inches for this time of the year with the water slightly off color.

We fished slowly and steady throughout the day, the bright sun was hot with the cool waters keeping us comfortable while wet wading. Here is a photo of a damsel fly on the abundant stream side plants.

We found a few fish and considered it a good day of fish. We stopped at a gravel bar below Little Hurricane Creek, pitched the tents, gather some wood and fished again for a short time before preparing dinner.

I packed some halibut and garden fresh green beans; Jeff had some fresh corn on the cob, which was roasted over a campfire. We grilled the halibut and had more than enough to eat. We fished a short time after dinner. I saw some high clouds to the northwest and grew concern for an overnight rain; it did not happen. I did learn when returning to Springfield the next day; a storm did hit southwest Missouri dropping two inches of water in the rain gauge.

We called it a day before 9:30 p.m. turning in for the night. The river covered in a silver fog that radiated by the moon’s light. The moon was waxing, sitting in the western sky giving us light past midnight. The stream sounds whispered in our ears of sweet dreams and a better day of fishing tomorrow.

This is the view from our campsite of the river in the morning

Kevin was the first to wake, I heard him at 6 a.m., going through the dry good bag in his canoe looking for a coffee pot. The sun was not seen from behind the hills, with a persistent fog filling the valley. A few spinner mayflies were seen over the water making their final journey upstream to drop eggs on the water’s surface. We ate a quick breakfast, repacked our gear into our watercraft and back to the river and fishing before 7:30.

I found this fellow under my kayak, can you see his smile?

Kevin and Jeff floated on down to the boulder above Mary Decker shoal to start their day. I fished the shoal just below our campsite. I managed to hand release a few rainbow trout and a goggle eye in the deep water below the shoal.

Kevin and Jeff had a terrific day in a riffle above Hurricane Creek and the shoal above the cave hole releasing more than forty rainbow trout, maybe more.

I managed a dozen for the day with a fourteen-inch trout my best in length for the day. Kevin released a trout of nineteen inches with Jeff catching a plethora of trout.

I did video some of the river during the day of fishing and have it for your viewing pleasure. It was great to be on he best stream in Missouri and looking forward to my next trip.

Friday, June 4, 2010

May: Missed opportunities and despair

May 7, 2010: I made plans with Kevin Smith to fish and camp on the Little Red River in Arkansas. Kevin and a group of his friends make the annual trip to celebrate friendship and Cinco de Mayo. Kevin and Terry went down on Tuesday with Don May and Steve Bilon arriving on Wednesday. I was off on Thursday but had made plans to be at the MTFA meeting. So, my plan was to drive down Friday morning, stay for a night and return on Saturday. I had a hard time getting around on Friday, and finally had the gear packed and headed south on Hwy 65. I looked on the computer and printed directions to the little Red River. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to study them before leaving Springfield. After a few hours down the road, I realized my directions were worthless. I did not know the exact location of Kevin and were they were camping on the Little Red River. I drove for five hours and entered the city of Searcy, a small town northeast of Little Rock. I found the river, a featureless river with a color of mud in the middle of rice country. I was downstream from Kevin, later to find out at least fifty miles. Needless to say, I did not have a cell phone. In my despair, returned to Springfield that evening. I missed my opportunity to wet a line…

Norm and Warren exchanging fish stories

May 15, 2010: I had to day off before (Friday) with possible plans to fish the Niangua River near Bennett Spring. The rains before and during this weekend turned the usually tranquil stream into a raging river with the gage level up six feet. I drove to Bennett Spring S.P. in the morning and stood by with Norm, Warren Wilkerson and Rod before attending the memorial service to Dave Senderling. I returned to Springfield after the service to work in the afternoon.

Rod is feeling a chill

May 18, 2010: The weekend storms dropped four inches of rain. The rivers were swollen and the lakes levels on the rise. There were not many options to fish other than the Pot Hole. It was below 655 ft before the recent rains, now at 660 and filling the basin six inches a day.

I took the kayak down late afternoon.

The water from Taneycomo was flowing over the dam. I went to the usually spot hoping to find a walleye. There was not much action and finally hooked up at 9 p.m. which took me by surprise. The tippet failed and I broke off almost immediately, more despair…

May 26, 2010: Jim and I made plans the first of the year to get our fishing days together on the calendar. This was our first trip of the year and Jim wanted to fish the North Fork of the White River. This is Jim favorite stream with many years of experience fishing this river. His knowledge of the river, knowing the sweet spots enables him to be successful on this stream.

We left Springfield at 6 a.m. and arrived Pettit’s before 8 a.m. Craig told us Hammond Camp had dirty water upstream. The stream was up with reports indicating the level to be at 3.7 ft.

Jim getting started for a day of fishing, we put in at Blair Bridge

Craig figured we would have better luck starting at Blair Bridge and floating 2.5 miles down to Patrick Bridge for our day of fishing. We agreed…

Fishing below Blair Bridge

Just below the bridge, I came across a large snapping turtle, probably getting ready to lay some eggs.

Jim and I caught a few browns just below the bridge and continue to find browns with an occasional rainbow in the mix. The current was pushing our comfort limits for safe fishing, since the water was up. Needless to say, we did not have any slips into the drink. I did have a concern near the end of the day. Jim went on down stream with the canoe; I was to wade down stream fishing a seam. When I started out into the current became concern for my safety. So, I removed my waders, broke down my five-piece rod, boxes, wallet, and any thing that could possibly get lost and stuffed them into the waders. I rolled up the waders and placed them around my neck, just in case of falling. Once I walked off the end of the island had no problems wading down stream. The day was hot in the sun with thunderstorms building around us. We did not encounter any rain but did have several loud claps of thunder around us.

We did not catch any large fish this day, but caught and release a dozen trout. We have plans to return mid-June.