Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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

I had an opportunity to fish three evenings this week. For me, fishing the Pot Hole below Power Site Dam is my best option to possibly catching a trophy walleye. I know the area from the dam to Swan Creek and places to fish.

Friday, March 9, 2012: I drove to the east side of the Pot Hole late afternoon; a clear blue-sky day, a moderate wind with some riffles on the water. After parking the truck, I watched Harvey Ragsdale cast for a short time into the pool near the three trees. He drove down solo, wanting to see if the white bass were biting. We talked for a short time, before he decided to call it a day. I walked straight out from the point just above the three trees and found the gravel bar. A short time later, Ty Ingram drove in and we fished together until 7:30, before he decided to call it a night. He did release a bluegill over nine inches. I fished until 9 PM with one 14-inch large mouth returned to the water. There was no generation from the powerhouse with the wind blowing towards the dam. It made for a tough evening of fishing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012: I attended a meeting for the MTFA at Bennett Spring State Park, which started at noon. It was almost 3 PM, when I returned to Springfield. I returned to the Pot Hole, hoping for some current. Again, the powerhouse remained quiet. Warren Wilkerson and Joe Davis pulled in behind me on the east side of the Pot Hole on River Run. We walked out to the gravel bar and in a short time I hooked a 16-inch walleye, which was returned to the water. A short time later, I hooked and released a seven-inch bluegill.

It was after 8:30 PM; Warren and Joe were getting ready to leave. I caught up with them and we decided to check out Swan Creek. There was some talk that Swan Creek had a few white bass caught a few days earlier. We walked the high banks of Shadow Rock Park walking from the bend to the mouth of Swan Creek and saw no movement in the water. It was after 9 PM and we all called it a night.

Sunday, March 11, 2012: It was a persistent overcast day, with forecast made by NOAA for increase chances of rain and possible thunderstorms. It was after 2 PM, and I made the drive back to the Pot Hole. It started to rain hard when I turned off of Hwy 65 and made my way to Forsyth on Hwy 160. When I drove down River Run several vehicles were on their way home. I parked the truck and saw the last of them leave. There were several flashed of lightning with little or no wind, but the rain continued to fall. While sitting in the truck when I realized my raincoat was in Springfield; going through my fishing bag I found a $ 0.99 light plastic poncho for an emergency. It actually worked with my overcoat and hood staying dry in the torso area. I fished the east side until 5:30 PM and decided since there was not any water flowing, perhaps a lost cause. So, I decided to look at Silver Creek, just .25 miles downstream. I drove cautiously down the wet, muddy lane and parked on some gavel some distance from the water and walked in. Silver Creek was muddy with a slow flow into Bull Shoals. A little farther down the road, I came across a Ford four-wheel drive truck stuck in the mid with a family of three. They were working to get it out with winches and straps, progressing an inch at a time. I helped for an hour before getting the truck moving again. The waders were wet inside due to perspiration and covered in mud on the out side. I walked back to the truck and drove to Swan Creek. The waters around Shadow Rock Park were dirty with low flow; again no movement in the water. I worked the water from the bend to 160 bridge, catching a small line bass and watching a small white bass chase my fly. I left Swan Creek and checked out the waters 200 yards upstream from the mouth of Swan with no takes. It was 8:30 PM; I decided to try one more spot. I drove back to the Pot Hole and fished the west side. I left the truck near the sycamore tree and walked down to several spots Paul and I use to fish. I tied on a purple/orange buck-tail streamer. The powerhouse was starting to push some water through with the currents beginning to move. With a first cast I hooked a large fish, after a short fight brought it to shore and hit it with a flashlight. It was a large walleye; I dispatch it and continued to fish until 9:30 PM without another bite.

I left the Pot Hole and drove to the fish cleaning station to measure the walleye and to my surprise; it was 27.5 inches with a 15.5 girth. A calculation later at home determined it to weigh 9.2 lbs.

Two fishermen came to the cleaning station; they caught a few walleye and told of the MDC coming in Tuesday night to shock the waters for their annual survey. It is my feeling the fishing will only get better.

MARCH 15, 2012: Another day off with unseasonably warm weather, my plan was to fish all day if there was rain. Instead the day turned out mostly sunny. So, I worked in the yard until 4 PM and I rode down with Rod Pennington after 4:30 PM to fish the Pot Hole, since there was moving water from Table Rock Dam and the water was passing through Power site dam with the water level steady at 654 ft. We parked on the west side and worked our way towards the dam since there was a good current with the water moving towards the island. We caught an assortment of fish including; white bass, large-mouth bass, walleye and blue-gill.

The walleye was legal, since it measured 18.5 inches. Rod and I watched the western sky after sun set, two planets; Venus and Jupiter were in close proximity and very bright before following the path of the sun hours after sun set. We finished the night on the east side fishing in front of the three trees and caught another white bass. We called it a night at 10 PM.

MARCH 20, 2012: Rod and I left his house at 4 PM and returned to waters below Power Site Dam. The rain started when we arrived and parked on the east side of the Pothole before we began to fish. There were a few fishermen in the area, with more on the west side throwing their bait and sitting on buckets. There were a few claps of thunder as we fished. The water was flowing through the power house and over the top of the dam with Bull Shoal lake level at 654 ft and on the rise; the water did come up six inches while we fished, actually reaching rod’s vehicle after dark. We watched a fellow with an ultra-light spinning rod with a small gray jig take a limit of white bass. Rod found the white bass some time later, his largest white bass for the night measured eighteen inches. He took ten fish to the cleaning station.

Ty Ingram drove down thirty minutes after we arrived and fished with us for a short time. He reported some activity at Beaver Creek. Ty did take a twenty-inch walleye and a few white bass. Most people left after 7:30 PM, Rod and I continued to fish until 9 PM. I caught two walleye, one fish was 22-inches and the other was ten inches and released. I kept seven white bass several measured seventeen inches with the smaller white bass returned to the water.

On this night, we did see the MDC return with their boats and shocking equipment. They took the boat to the powerhouse and worked another boat along the west bank below the pothole. Last Tuesday night, they shocked the water for their annual survey. We stop and talk with Justin and other MDC personal about their activities and why they returned. We were told they needed more walleye eggs and they had some eggs in a bowl mixing with a turkey feather. These eggs will go to Chesapeake Fish Hatchery. As of this posting, Bull Shoals has come up five feet. The rivers and streams are up, many at flood level. The fishing will begin to get interesting, time to start looking for the this weekend.

March 25, 2012: I made a return trip to Bull Shoals and carried along my kayak. The water level has risen since my last trip seven ft with a lake level of 661 ft. (March 20,2012: 654 ft)
My how conditions change with some rain. I did look at Swan Creek and drove up stream from Shadow Rock Park to the bridge. Since, the bridge and road project a few years back very little cover for the fish. I am sure the white bass will migrate up Swan Creek in the evening only to return to the lake during the day.

I drove down River Run and parked the truck just above the waters edge, unloaded the kayak and made my way out into the moving water. Taneycomo has been up (a normal lake level of 700 ft) and now at 710 ft with all four generators going. This water will stay in Bull Shoals for the summer with a slow release in Arkansas through out the summer. Of course wee know it is capable to rise and other 33 ft if necessary, recall last year.

View from my kayak

I fished along the tree edge and picked up a few large mouth bass and a thirteen white bass. It was after 7:30 PM, the sun went behind the trees on the west bank and I position myself near the three trees throwing into the deeper water, it was near 8 PM and I took another large walleye, figured 7.5 lbs, 26 inches in length and a 15.5 inch girth.

I fished until 9:30 PM, broke off on the bottom and decided to call it a night. I will probably look at new water and will get out on Thursday.