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:

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