Friday, March 11, 2011

March: Bull Shoals, Beaver Creek, Swan Creek and more...

The Whistle Bridge in Slough Hollow water gauge 3.0 ft

March 8, 2011: There are days when fishing is tough; you’re not able to find a fish to catch and the keys to the truck are locked inside with a spare on its way from Springfield. This is a making of a fishing adventure.

Earlier that day, I called Ty Ingram to get a fishing report and decided to try Beaver Creek. It was late in the afternoon. I drove to fisherman’s nose access; a tree fell across the road and I had to drive around it in slippery mud. My heart raced a little with the spinning of the tires to get back on the gravel lane. All happened without getting stuck with the truck. Beaver Creek was at (3.1 ft) with a high water event (7.0 ft) six days before. More than likely the walleye eye moved up stream. I checked out the whistle bridge in Slough Hollow and decided to fish around the bend and into the broken water below the rocks.

As I was getting into waders, watching the water for movement, hoping to see a fish; I shut the doors to the truck and then realized the keys were in the ignition. The spare key was with Ann in Springfield. Lucky for me, the phone was in my pocket. I called her for help. Ann answered the phone and I explained my dilemma. Ann was not happy, she went on line with the computer to look for Pop-a-lock or any one in the Kissee Mill area to solve the problem. She did not find a service, and concluded an unplanned trip to Beaver Creek was coming. Deep in thought, and going out the door. Ann locked her keys in the house. The spare key was given to Julie a friend who occasionally watches our cats when we are away. Ann called Julie and she came to our house to let Ann in to get her keys. Ann figured this was God’s way to humble her to her thoughts and my situation.

Julie asked to join Ann, so they stopped in Branson for dinner and rescued me at 8:30 PM. I fished from the bend at fishermen’s nose to the water across the whistle bridge. I did not hook up and see any fish. Again, it would probably be wise to kayak this area to get an idea to the structure and look for fish in the holes.

After, I sharing Ann’s keys and unlocking the truck. Julie and Ann returned to Springfield. I stopped at Shadow Rock Park in Forsyth to survey Swan Creek. There were fish moving with a fish near my feet as I began to cast a line. I did see walleye moving behind me while fishing the gravel at the mouth of the creek. The lighting is almost too much, with the sodium and mercury streetlights burning bright in the area. I was able to see walleye porpoise out of the water. Bull Shoals was up from my last trip; the lake level was 649.4 ft.

I fished until 10:30 PM. My next trip will be Sunday afternoon into the night.

The Whistle Bridge with low water 2,5 ft 3/13/11

March 13, 2011: Made my third trip to Bull Shoals. There was some rain on the drive from Springfield. The lake level was 650 ft; up a little from the last trip with some passing water through the powerhouse: a good current was flowing in the pothole. I did not see any fish moving the surface. A bald eagle did pass over going down stream and 15 minutes later returning passing over the dam on he way back to Lake Taneycomo. I did not catch a fish out of the pothole but a saw a few fishermen catch pan fish. The generation stop an hour later, and it seemed everyone jumped in their vehicles and left. I followed a short time later and drove to Beaver Creek.

The phone gave an alert for a severe thunderstorm warning for Lawrence County. The sky was overcast with a little rain. Beaver Creek was at 2.5 ft, down from last Tuesday (3.2 ft) and clear. One could see most of the bottom of the creek at the whistle bridge. I walked up the creek where I know a safe crossing and fished the other side. I walked the bank for about a mile. After sunset, the air cooled with a cold front moving in a few flashes of lightning was seen.

My first White bass of 2011

There were at least twenty fishermen below the maiden hole. I managed to catch six white bass will all but one small. They were caught in a span of an hour. I fished until 8:30 PM before retracing my steps back to the truck, which was parked at the Whistle Bridge. There was lightning in the area and I made a few phone called to get a computer up to possible cells in the area. After, getting an all clear, I drove to Swan Creek to finish the night of fishing. Last trip, I saw a few walleye moving in the shallow water. On the night I saw nothing. There was a boat half way to the dam from Swan Creek with extremely bight lights, I am curious to know if that was the MDC doing their annual survey and capture of ripe walleye for the hatchery?

I fished until 10 PM and called it a night, will return on Friday.

Twenty fishermen set up below maiden Hole

Note: Beaver Creek came up 3 ft 3/14/11 to 5.5 ft. It is on the fall as of this morning 3/15/11 10 AM.

March 18, 2011: I made a trip back to the Pot Hole. With an early run of white bass, I assumed the James River and Beaver Creek would be saturated with boats and bank fishermen. The Pot Hole had a few fishermen with a minimum generation flowing through the powerhouse. The lake was at 650 ft. The day was overcast, temperatures in the mid-fifties and a strong north wind that calmed after sunset. The moon was not visible but you could see some light coming through the cloud cover.

The three tree hole at 650 ft 3/18/11

I packed the kayak on the truck with intentions to search the water near Silver Creek. Most of the gravel is under water, a hazard for powerboats and waders if the water comes up too fast. I hooked three walleye with the largest measuring 23-inches. The other was 18.5 inches and a returned fish 17.5 inches.

Hope to get back next Friday.
Powersite Dam at 650 ft, no generation... Paul would say move on

March 25, 2011: Again I packed the kayak and returned to Bull Shoals. There was no water coming through the powerhouse in the afternoon with the lake level at 650 ft. The area below the dam did not look fishy. There were a two boats running in the skinny water. I decided to try the old boat dock area. Paul always made a point to give this area a try in the springtime. I unloaded the kayak and made it ready for a trip up the lake. After covering this water with a buck-tail streamer for an hour, watching six boats moving about without any action and observing some action on the surface. I decided it was time to move up the lake and fish below Silver Creek. There were fewer boats in this area with several groups of people moving in and out from the water near Silver creek. I fished until 9 PM before packing up and cleaning a few fish. I managed a pair of walleye and a few white bass. The largest walleye was a spawned out female taped at 27-inched.

This walleye measured 27-inches, a spawned out female

March 31, 2011: Sometimes you have to make changes to fit in several activities. Early spring fish is best in the evening, the water being the warmest, failing light provides cover for fish, allowing them to move and feed. With the day off I wanted to fish the evening, but had committed time to the MSU class from 6-10 PM. So, I decided to fish sunrise. I woke at 3 AM after working several hours before, made a pot of coffee and on the rode before 4 AM. The kayak was set into the water and I made a trip to the spot were fishing had been good. The Pot Hole was up (about 2 feet) with a level of 652 ft. I found the spot and started to work the water. The horn from the powerhouse sounded at 6 AM, with moving water a short time later. It was all coming together for a good morning of fishing. A little later, a flashlight was seen coming down the trail from above and it came down the trail to where I was fishing. I turned on my light to let my presence be known and this individual continued to move my way. He stepped over my kayak, passed behind me and sat a bucket within rods length. It was still dark. I made a comment to the new arrival that I was fly-fishing and I feared for his safety, since he was sitting in the path of my back cast. He moved a short distance. He proceeded to fish for the next couple of hours, watched me cast and wanted to talk about fishing. I am not a social fisherman and usually like to move and cover water. In the dark one is confined to how far one can see. So, I had only a limited area to fish. Needless to say, I did not hook up, with the higher water maybe the fish moved, too many lines in the water, who knows. Later that morning when I returned to the truck to pack up and leave I saw activity on the surface from gizzard shad and wonder if the walleye and whites have enough water for cover and were feeding on these bait fish. Next time maybe, with the next trip Wednesday to the North Fork and then four days chasing white bass.