Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February: Small Streams and Blue Ribbon waters

February 6, 2012: I decided to try another small creek for trout. The nearest trout stream to Springfield is Crane Creek, about thirty miles from my house. The stream is very small with gin clear water. Much of the stream is no more that 6-10 foot across; during the summer with little rain, a portion of it is a losing stream. I drove to Wire Road Access upstream from the town of Crane and walked the bank and path upstream 0.6 miles before see trout.

I used a 12 ft spey rod with fly short line (3 feet) and ten-foot leader; my intention was to reach with the rod to fish the waters for trout. Working my way upstream with a weighted fly, was not productive.

It was after 4 PM and I turned around and went back down stream, tied on a dry fly and dabbed it on broken water.

It finally scored three small rainbows. It was after 6 PM, I was walking back to the truck and saw a near full moon coming over the trees. This mild weather has been great, how much longer? It is almost time for walleye.

FEB 12, 2012: This was my final day to fish the Catch and Release season at a Missouri State Park. Rod and I returned to Bennett Spring S.P. There were 15 fishermen in Zone 1 as we drove from the dam to the spring. We saw fish activity in the handicap hole above the Holland Dam around the aquatic plants; trout were coming head out of the water for pupa. Upon closer inspection, we saw many white adult midges on the water as they emerged. We tried dry flies with a few trout willing to take them. Rod stayed in the area most of the afternoon. I worked my way upstream to the spring looking for trout along the edges.
The day was clear with a very bright sky. It remained cold with the guides on the fly rod freezing through out the day. I fished midstream and dropped a fly on both banks. I made it to the low-water bridge on river left. There was activity most of the afternoon with trout taking an occasional dry fly. I released a dozen from hand with Rod having an outstanding day. I will start to migrate south, to fish the Pothole for walleye and waiting for the return of white bass.

Feb 16, 2012: The catch and released reason for trout has ended at the state parks, for me this is a signal to look south and fish Bulls Shoals Lake. My target fish is walleye; I tie large buck-tail streamer flies and get serious to fish after sunset and fish into the night, and fishing to 10 PM. It is throwing an 8 Wt fly rod, with a large fly for distance with a slow strip retrieve. I became more serious for walleye after the passing of Paul Henry; we did not fish much after dark. He did tell of his adventures when he was younger and he had a few interesting tales fishing the Pothole. We did over the years find a few walleye during the day light hours fishing for white bass.
I returned to the Pothole, the lake level was 654, which is six feet higher than last year this time of the year. The day was bright, slight wind from the north with little effect on the lake. There was some generation moving through the power house. It was 2:30 PM and I decided to look at Swam Creek and then drive to Beaver Creek to get a look. I parked at Fisherman’s Nose and walked up stream to the bluff hole.
Much of area changed from the high water, the banks have been scoured, trees missing most of their branches and look dead. Beaver Creek was up 7 inches from the recent rains and had a good flow. I fished through bluff hole and moved down to fisherman’s nose. At 5 PM, I saw some shad moving on the surface. I fished until 6 PM without a strike, and retreated back to the Pot Hole.

The sun was down in the west across the Pothole, an eagle was perched in a dead tree just over my shoulder. I was able to a quick picture of it flying off.

I decided where to fish and moved into the area. My first and only fish on was at 7:30 PM, the fish came up, rolled like a walleye and I was leading it to a gravel bar. Before I could get the flash light out of my pocket, the fish released himself, all I could say was damn. It did fire me up and I fished until 9 PM. My schedule will allow me to fish next week.

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