Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April: White Bass, white bass and walleye

It is a pleasure when plans are made to fish and it all comes together without a hitch. Jim Scheve and I spent one day on the North Fork of the White River. Sean came down from St. Louis and fished with me for three days. My fifth day of fishing Rod Pennington spent the afternoon into night fishing the Pot Hole. The weather was near perfect, the lake and stream levels are predictable, the fish were plentiful and of quality size. April is the best month of the year to fish.

April 6: Jim Scheve and I left Springfield at 6 AM and took a drive down Hwy 60 going east. Our destination was the North Fork of the White River. We drove over Blair Bridge at 8 AM and stopped in to see Craig at Pettit’s canoe rental. The river was clear. It was low for this time of the year, the stream level was 2.85 ft and the flow at 600 cfs; it made for comfortable wading. The day was sunny with a strong wind blowing upstream most of the day. We landed 26 rainbow trout, with Jim catching a male over sixteen inches and had a break off.

On this day, no other people were seen on the river. It was a delight getting out, passing the day with the sounds of the river, wind passing through trees and birds calling out to each other. We finished the day at 6:30 PM and had the setting sun in view on our way back to Springfield. It was a good day.

April 7: Sean and I made a quick run to the Little Sac River to get a feel for the stream and to figure out where the white bass may be located. We had only a short time and had to leave the river by 3 PM since the MTFA club had a MSU class that evening. Stockton Lake level was 868.8 ft with the Little Sac River level at 3.1 ft, flowing at 180 cfs; It is very low for this time of the year. Sean caught and released two dozen white bass in a short time and we took three walleye home that afternoon. We left the river at 3 PM and made it to class on time. It would have been a great evening of fishing.

April 8: The next day Sean and I returned to the Little Sac River. There were very few people fishing, much less than expected, putting very little pressure on the fish with one canoe passing through and a boat leaving as we arrived at 1:30 PM. We found white bass in a short time and continued to pickup fish past the power line hole. I did fall into the stream, slipping on a muddy bank going into the stream and went in head first, not my first baptism and probably not my last. We figured 75 white bass released and two walleye released due to us leaving after 6 PM. It was a good day of catching fish. The Little Sac white bass spawn was in progress. The weekend was probably excellent fishing with all the fish moving into the stream from the lake.

April 9: Sean and I were invited to a fish fry by Norm Collison and his family at Kissee Mill park on Beaver Creek. We heard about all the fish on James River from Norm’s brothers. Every one caught limits of large white bass with a large number of boats and fishermen at Galena the night before. We ate lunch and bid farewell at 1:30 PM and looked at fishermen’s nose and slough hollow, fish were seen with fishermen tethered to full stingers of white bass. Beaver Creek was low and clear. The day was breezy, full sun and air temperature in the mid-eighties. I was sure evening would bring on a many fishermen and provide combat fishing if we stayed. We moved on and fished Bull Shoals Lake in an area above Swan Creek. In a short time we had people all around us with no hook ups. We decided to look at the Pot Hole. The fishing conditions were less than favorable; bright sun, no generation from the powerhouse and low water, the lake level was at 652 feet. The one and only advantage was a strong breeze from the west blowing over the dam chopping the water surface. Sean and I walked out to the gravel bar and threw across and caught nine walleye that afternoon, three of them save for the icebox.
I hooked a 24-inch carp that was released after a picture, a large-mouth bass was released.

Sean picked up a rainbow trout and several white bass. Dave Cook and Darrell from the Kansas City MTFA came over before sunset and fished with us. They came down from KC to fish the weekend for White Bass and night fish Taneycomo for trout. They were very satisfied with the number of trout caught at Taneycomo Friday night and again Saturday morning. Dave caught a few fish with Darrell having a time fighting and releasing a large drum. One never knows what can be found at the end of a line in the Pothole.

We caught several white bass over sixteen inches with the largest measuring 19-inches. We took a limit of white bass that were filleted and saved for the club fish fry in June. It was an unexpected good day to catch walleye and large white bass. We left the water at 9:30 PM

April 10: This is my fifth and final day for the long weekend of fishing. I picked up Rod at 1:30 PM. We decided to return to the Pothole and fish it into dark. The sky was overcast with threats of severe weather after 10 PM. This day had fewer people on the banks of the pothole with a few boats drifting close us as we fished. We found white bass and walleye in the same area as the day before. Rod landed a 19.5-inch walleye before sunset; this was his first walleye on a fly.

We picked up white bass throughout the evening and into dark. The horn blew at 6 PM and the water can up six inches. We marked the shore to monitor the lake level and continued to fish, finding a few white bass in the pocket water behind the gravel bar. It was a good night of fishing and a great five days of fishing. Warm water fishing can be quite productive, catching many different species of fish. I am very fond of walleye and learning more each time I fish for them.

wb we lm c t
- - - - 11 NF
14 3 1 - - LS
75 2 - - - LS
15 9 1 1 1 BS
19 2 - - - BS
123 16 2 1 12
30 7

April 14: There was time to fish before the MSU class. The closest water for white bass is the little Sac River. I packed the kayak and left Springfield before 11 AM. I paddled my way up stream to familiar and productive waters from recent trips. There were a few small male fish and I took a limit within a few hours. There was time to walk the stream banks and found a few moral mushrooms; sautéed mushrooms with fish. It does not get any better.
I left a little later than planned and had fish to clean. Back in Springfield, finished filleting the fish and made it to MSU on time. I did not have time to change clothes or clean up, the smell of fish was not over powering (for me) but a few comments were made of my presents.
April 19: Rod Pennington and I planned to fish the Little Sac. We watched the weather throughout the day. There were storms lining up in Kansas and Oklahoma with some severe weather forecasted to pass through the Ozarks in the afternoon. We decided to wait until evening and fish the Pothole instead. Rod, his son (Keith) and I left after 6 PM and slipped behind a 40,000 ft thunderhead making its way east along the Arkansas – Missouri border the pavement was wet and the backside of the storm was in view after sun set. There were tornado warnings given for Arkansas on our drive to Forsyth and later a warning for Tecumseh Mo. Our evening was calm with a few distant rumblings of thunder. The lake level was up a few feet when we arrived, there were 15-20 fishermen lining the banks and considerable signs of fish in the water. We fished the north side and caught a few white bass. It was not the number of fish we hoped for but it was a good night of fishing. We stayed until 9 PM and left to clean our fish.
4/28/2011: The MSU class went to Mountain spring near Highlandville for an evening of catching trout. The MSU class is an ongoing activity of the MTFA Springfield club. We have taught a PED 135 class for the past six years. It was suggested by past students that we teach landing big fish. Larry made the arrangements for us to meet at the pay-to-fish facility. The trout were large and gullible with many of the students hooking, landing trophy trout and getting a picture before releasing them back to the water.  It proved to be a success evening for the students.

4/30/2011: MSU class traveled to Roaring River state park. There was a significant rain a few days before the outing with the water up a foot and dirty. Earlier in the week there was some flooding in the camp areas with some areas still closed. Fishing was difficult due to high and dirty water. Both of the students fishing with me did find a few trout. A dry fly worked in shallow water and a wooly bugger worked in deep pools. It was a success day of fishing with catching somewhat challenging.

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