Friday, October 12, 2012

October: Fishing local waters for trout

It has been a while since my last trip to Bennett Spring State Park (BS). Jenn, Her husband Brent and toddler son, Desmond made a trip to Springfield for a long weekend. We had an opportunity to fish BS Saturday morning. It was too cold for Desmond to fish and he came to BS later in the day with his Grandmother, maybe next spring we will have a time and place for Des to fish. Jenn, Brent and I parked near the dam; it was a typical weekend crowd; I took them down stream below the stone bridge to fish the broken water and where the trout were more willing to take a fly. There were a number of spin fishermen on the opposite bank near the hatchery outlet but the weed bed in the middle of the stream prevented them from throw across the stream, thus allowed us to fish our side of the stream without lures whizzing past us. I worked my way upstream used a #16 Adams dry fly and took a few small trout with it. We were to meet Des and Ann (my wife) at 1230 PM for lunch at the dining lodge. Just as we thought about stopping Jenn hooked a rainbow for Last cast last fish. The trout was taken out of a run that was just vacated by Brent; Jenn presented her fly for the take. Sometimes a different fly or something they have not seen will fool them.
Jenn with last cast last fish...
We stopped for lunch and met Ann and Des at the diner. After lunch, Des and I play on the playground equipment and then they had to return to St Louis.
I decided to fish longer; Ann went to Lebanon to shop and returned at 5 PM. I checked out some other spots and took 20+ trout. I did endure some rain without a raincoat and then it cooled off; just a hint of winter fishing, which I truly enjoy

Eleven Point River October 2012

Dr Taylor fishing the Eleven Point River

Today back to work after spending the morning drying my camping gear from last night’s thunderstorm; the gear was in the bed of the pickup truck overnight from a three-day weekend on the Eleven Point River. Last night’s storm was much different than the weather this weekend, which was balmy, with some cloudy days and plenty of bright sunshine on Monday to highlight the colors in the Irish wilderness by way of a wonder stream, the Eleven Point River. Dr Bill Taylor and I planned and decided on this weekend three months ago to fish and camp the gravel bars between Greer access and Turner Mill access. We hoped for good weather and bright colors, which we were not disappointed.
September 20, 2012 Saturday: We started our journey Saturday morning and on the river by noon leaving Greer access and paddling upstream to Hwy 19 Bridge. There were a few fly fishermen above the bridge, a spin fisherman came up behind us and chatted with us for a while.  A little later Tom, a regular on the river from Dora was powering his way up to the spring in his canoe powered by a 3 h.p. outboard engine. Bill picked up a rainbow as we floated downstream past Greer access. We stopped at the first island to fish and decided to camp there for the night. Unfortunately, the fishing was good but the catching was subpar. Bill hooked and released a pickerel and I finally caught and released a large mouth bass at dusk. After dinner, we sat near a campfire and stared up to the sky to watch streaking satellites and falling meteorites. We turned in at 8 PM with the campfire losing light and night had fallen upon us.  The moon was half full and crept behind the hills by midnight. The night sounds of insects, owls and coyotes that woke us throughout the night; it’s hard to get a good night sleep on the river.
September 21, 2012 Sunday: The next day, we broke camp and continued downstream, a Hyde boat was sitting in the tail out below the island and we continued downstream. We fished above the next island and found a few trout taking streamers. We had several canoes pass us this day, some pleasure paddlers enjoying the scenery and a few spin fishermen looking for trout in the deeper holes. We passed the day, leisurely fishing the islands and deep water stretches. We stopped at the last island and decided to set camp; it would be a good spot to fish at dusk. It a short time the tents were up, a campfire was blazing and dinner to fix. We set the grate over hot white coals of sycamore to grill some steaks and fried some potatoes and onions in a hot iron skillet.  That evening, Tom floated by looking for a place to camp; he spent the previous day near the spring. Soon, I was back in the water and taking a few trout in the tail out next to our campsite. I called it a day at 6:30 PM, collected some more wood before dark. The fire was bright; the stars were beginning to show with approaching night sky. Bill and I pick out a few constellations; Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Cetus to name a few in the eastern sky. The big dipper was low in the sky with the trees blocking it from our view. We sat next to the fire until 8 PM and turned in for the night. A noise across the stream caught our attention; we beamed our lights in the general direction but unable to discover the source. The coyotes sounded off an hour later. Bill had a problem with mine getting into his dry store, eating through the plastic packaging of his trail mix. He gathered his supplies and threw them into the cooler. Typical experiences on the riverbank at night, sleeping on the gravel bar. The night air was pleasant and slight breeze passed through the tent.
September 22, 2012 Monday: The next day, we made coffee and finished breakfast with a breakfast burrito. We broke camp, repacked the canoe and planned to finish the final 2.5 miles to Turner Mill by 4 PM. The day was a full sun without a cloud in the sky the wind blew from the south with temperatures reaching the high seventies.  The autumn colors in the hills were outstanding and bright. We only one other canoeist on the water and she passed us early in the morning. The highlight of the trip was seeing a group of four eagles high over the hills, later in the day a pair were performing aerodynamic maneuvers together in close flight. This was Bill best day catching trout, finding them in broken water with one being a wild trout of five inches. We stopped for lunch at the gravel bar below Little Hurricane creek and without success fished a usually reliable area. The water above Mary Decker was non-productive but the scenery was outstanding. We finished the day at 4 PM, the truck was shuttled by Richard’s Canoe and waiting for us. We unloaded the canoe and filled the bed of the truck and drove back to Springfield.
Some notes: the river was flowing at 325 cfu and at 2.7 feet at the Barkley station. It was very clear with many leaves blowing into it with us hooking a few throughout the day. Bill and I totaled eighteen trout with two being wild, one pickerel, one large-mouth bass and a chub. Yes, the fishing was a little tough, maybe it was the leaves in the water, or the fish have become wise to common fly patterns. Needless to say, it was a great trip in part to the autumn colors and scenery.
Dr Taylor fishing the final shoal, above the cave hole

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