Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February: The end of Winter Catch and Release

Feb 7, 2011: Bennett Spring State Park had a little more snow than Springfield (more than a foot). The Red-tail hawk made his rounds. No eagles, turkeys or deer; they must be hunkering down. The wind was blowing up stream, which is a challenge. Some mayflies were coming off, but the size of the hatch has diminished in numbers. I saw the typical BWO and some different mayflies, same size but different colors. Some light colored midges almost #16 seen on the surface

The first hour near the dam was good and caught a few along the edges working my way up stream. After 2 PM, hooking a trout was tough. It was a good day of 15-20 trout.

The wind was raw and I had to keep the hands covered in mittens most of the afternoon. No other fishermen in sight, I did see a fisherman walking towards his car after the horn blew, he was below the dam.

Not many tracks of fishermen in the snow above the dam, I did see Rod tracks from his trip on Sunday. He had a very good day on the water.

One more trip, plan to fish one day next weekend.

Feb 13,2011: It is not often that one can witness such a seasonal change. That is what happened this weekend with the ground covered with a foot of snow and ice from recent snowstorms, followed by cold arctic high pressure that left most of the Midwest in subfreezing temperatures for past ten days.

This past weekend, the temperatures climbed into the sixties. The snow covered hills and pastures in the morning had all but disappeared with the spring like day full of sun, warm breezes and people flocking to the park for the final days of catch and release trout fishing at Bennett Spring State Park.

Rod and I arrived the park at 11 AM, and had a difficult time figuring out where to fish due to the number of fishermen. We finally slipped in the area above the dam and were able to work up stream. The bright sun on the water made it difficult to see trout and the shadows from the birds flying over, fly line on the surface and fishermen rambling about put the trout on alert.
The MDC left the aquatic plants in the stream and did not cut them until after the catch and release season. The plants were the places for the hatching activity through out the winter.

Needless to say, Rod managed seventeen trout and I released fifteen. For me I considered these numbers good with sun and moving fishermen.

This will be my last trip to Bennett to fish for a while. March 1 will start soon with more fishermen and the sense of serenity fishing the winter catch and release season will vanish.
My next trip will be the Pot Hole waiting for the walleye.

Feb 28, 2011: My first trip to the Pot Hole since last April, it is amazing how much it has changed. The lake level was 648 ft in the tail-waters below power-site dam and no current. Last year, I fished it out of a Kayak and noted a level around 660 ft. A difference of 12 ft. The holes I fished are now a gravel bars and dry with the lake, Bull Shoals low and clear. I did not start to fish until sun set and waded some distance. There was no shad activity or fishing breaking water. I found the bottom several times losing flies to the sharp rocks on the bottom. I eventually tied on a 12 lb leader to prevent quick break-offs and abused the fly hitting the rocks. Needless to say, no takes, spent the evening watching lightning moving in from the west. I have some ideas where the fish may lie, need to take a kayak trip to cover more water during the day to figure out a few things and note new structure in the water.