Friday, January 18, 2013

January: Fishing state parks, dry flies and cold weather

Montauk State Park - Current River

Jan. 11, 2013 Friday: I had the opportunity to fish a four-day weekend. I made plans with my daughter and son in St. Louis to meet Ann and I for a few days at a cabin in Montauk State Park. The weather for Friday was very pleasant with temperatures in the 60’s with a mostly sunny sky.  Jenn and Desmond met Ann and I Friday afternoon in Rolla. We had lunch at Panera Bread. After lunch, we finished our drive to Montauk, which is near Salem (still 24 mile away) and checked in at the lodge. We stayed in cabin #11, which was not as nice as #9. Ann took Desmond to the playground; Jenn and I suited up, grab the fly rods and took to the water. It was late in the afternoon, with a few hours left to fish for the day. There were a number of people out this balmy day and it was difficult to find water left undisturbed. There was a midge hatch with little to no response from the trout. We managed one trout in the area above the dam and only were able to fish upstream 75 yards due to congestion from other fishermen.
After the siren blew to sound the end of a fishing day, Jenn and I went back to the cabin and took Desmond out for a walk. We checked out the raceways were the trout are fed and reared. We watched the MDC feed the trout with pellets delivered from their truck. We trout boiled the waters as they fed.
Desmond throwing rocks into the water
We collected some rocks and went down to the stream. Desmond caught on quickly and threw a hand full of rocks into the water in a short time. We then walked over to the playground and did the slide a number of times. We returned to the cabin were Ann had dinner ready for us. We spent the evening playing with Desmond, reading a few books and enjoying each other’s company. 

Sean drove in from St. Louis after 9 PM. Desmond was down for the night, we talked about fishing, tying a few knots and catching up on the latest news.
Jan. 12, 2013 Saturday: The cold front was to move in with rain by noon with a dip in the temperature. The number of people fishing was less this day and had the opportunity to fish around the down tree. We started half way to the down tree from the dam, due to fishermen already fishing and we were trying to find some space. Sean fished up around the tree and Jenn and I started fifty yards below. The trout were swirling about probably taking midges in the film. The rain started at noon. Jenn and I walked back to the cabin for lunch. Jenn and Desmond packed after lunch to head back to St. Louis. Ann left about the same time to check out Rolla and do some shopping.
Sean and I returned to the water and started in the lower zone near the hatchery outlet and worked our way upstream. Four fishermen were in this area and we went upstream fifty yards searching the water for trout. The stream was very low and little cover for the trout. I did manage a wild trout in one of the pools.
Wild trout from the Current River
An hour before the end of the day, Sean and I fished below the dam. There was a mayfly hatch with the trout aggressively going after the duns. I had a near enough dry to take a half dozen trout before 4 PM.  Sean and I returned to the cabin, prepared supper (hot beef sandwiches with mash potatoes). We finished off the evening going over a few knots and retying his leader. We finished with a dozen trout released from hand.
Jan. 13, 2013 Sunday: It rained hard off and on throughout the night, with ice and snow north of the I-44 corridor. The next morning the temperature did drop with a little ice on the windshields and there was a light snow in the AM. 
Montauk SP - freezing rain coats the foliage
We started at the dam and worked our way up stream. There was one other person fishing and he was below the dam near the bridge. We saw no one else fishing in front of us this day. The water was undisturbed and I was able to take a few trout in spots from past trips. There was a PMD (pale morning dun – cream) hatch in progress with the trout taking these from the top. I was able to use my BWO pattern to take a few and would switch to a caddis pattern. We fished for four hours and we managed to take eighteen rainbows, most were 11-13 inch fish.  We left the park at 2 PM, and we drove back to Rolla. We did make a stop at the little Piney River to check it out. The water felt cold, Lane Spring access was closed and the waters near Hwy 63 Bridge did not look fishy. We stopped in Rolla and had dinner at Bandanna’s BBQ. After dinner, Sean drove back to St. Louis and I drove back to Springfield.
The shimmer of ice on trees - Bennett Spring SP
Jan. 14, 2013 Monday: My last day to fish this four day weekend and I decided to fish Bennett Spring State Park. The temperature was 18°F with a north wind and high clouds. I was in the water before 11 AM. There was a pair of newbie fishermen, heavy dresses and looked cold. They moved out in short time and I had the area to myself for four hours. The mayflies were hatching blowing upstream. The trout were cautious being very selective. I did manage eighteen for the day with a few measuring 16 inches. The ice did stay in the guides for the day of fishing; a quick dip into the spring creek took care of the problem. I did see a deer on my drive to the park with a few eagles flying high over the park.
The view of Zone 1 at Bennett Spring SP
JAN 21, 2013 Monday: I had the opportunity to fish Bennett Spring SP on a cold day. The sky was clear when I left Springfield but a high cloud cover moved in from the northwest that dimmed the sun for the afternoon. The air temperature was in the high twenties and with the north wind blowing up to 15 mpr, made it feel much colder at times. There were three other fishermen walking the banks but I was the only fisherman in the water this day. The other fellows left after an hour. The mayflies once again made an appearance and blew out into open water. The trout were set up mid-stream and seem to be eager to take these mayflies. My tie has been made smaller with a # 20 daiichi hook with light blue dun hackle and chartreuse thread … a very simple tie and will work to fool a few trout on any given day. I took to the water at the dam and made it to the handicap ramps by 4 PM.

The activity below the dam continues with the MDC using a shovel to take out some bank and adding large rock. There’s a sign indicating the construction of a walkway for the handicap. I hope to make a few more trips to Bennett Spring SP before mid-February.

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