Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December: Winter time at the state parks

Dec 7, 2013: Rod and I made our way to Bennett Spring state park for an afternoon of fishing. The day was cloudy with some light precipitation. We did see a five-car pileup with a tractor-trailer in the ditch on I-44 near the North view exit. Later, it was reported several people went to the hospital with no fatalities.

I made contact with Brant Koetting, from Jefferson City and he met us at the park. Rod and I made Brant acquaintance last year at Saltery Lake Lodge; He is now a guide with the lodge. We spent the day in zone 1 just above the dam. There were a few other cars in the park, but we saw no one else fishing this day. The temperature was in the mid-20’s with a swirling fog over the water most of the day. There was a mayfly hatch that lasted about an hour. The trout were cautious taking our flies with our total trout to hand for the day at twenty-six.
Can you find Rod?
 Some of the high lights of the day include Rod discovering his phone missing and retracing his steps to the front of the park store where he found his new galaxy phone in the snow covered parking lot. It probably fell out of his pocket when he was lacing up his boots. The other oddity was an eight-point buck racing us down Hwy OO. He was on the other side of the fence running alongside of us at fifty miles per hour; he veered away running to the top of a hill after the short sprint. Rod was driving and heard me yell “deer”, looking up to see a deer out of the passenger’s window.

The day remained below freezing. The hatch was light and the trout weary of our flies. Again, it was good to get out to Bennett Spring SP with all of the fair weather fishermen staying home.

December 16. 2013: I had the opportunity and fished at Bennett Spring SP. The high pressure pushed in leaving a bright sunny sky with cool temperatures. The Ozark's have recorded 13 inches of snow this December with less than half left on the ground. There was less snow above I-44 with ice still on the back roads. There were a few fishermen this day with no one else in the area above the dam. 
Found a few adult caddis on the decaying vegetation
The bugs were popping with sporadic hatches through out the afternoon. My problem was the bright sun with shadows over the water scaring fish. It seems my flies are not near enough to get consistent takes or extend the leader from 10 ft. to fifteen get more distance from the leader. 

I was ale to get some nice photos of the mayflies that hatch this time of the year. I managed five trout this day.

Dec 20, 2013: I met Rod and John Anderson in the parking lot at Bennett Spring SP. It was afternoon before we wet a line. The day was over cast with a fog blanketing the landscape. There was ice and a wintery mix forecast for the weekend. The light wind was blowing up stream. 
The insect population was low with sporadic duns seen along the weed edges and a few duns made it to open water only to be taken quickly from below. Before we made it to the water, we saw an eagle perched on a Sycamore Tree across the spring creek. It eventually left and made a low pass over the water before accented to the trees and out of sight. 
The fishing was good with some issues setting the hook. The trout are probably approaching the fly and turning away the last second or pushing it with their nose. But, it is still fun to watch the trout rise to a dry fly. We finished the day with sixteen trout for two and a half hours of fishing. I did go with a longer leader from ten feet to fifteen with the tippet six feet (6X). On the drive saw several group of deer and turkey feeding in the open fields; another indicator of a winter storm approaching. 

Who needs a meteorologist, just look for wild life and a cold fog to tell you winter is still with us.

December 29, 2013: A cold front had move through with the high temperature recorded (28°F) for the day at 4 AM, the temperatures dropped into the teens by late afternoon. The NNW brisk wind blew out of the NNW with an over cast sky. This blew the fog over the water at Bennett Spring SP up stream. I had to wear wool mittens most of the still the wind did sting bare flesh.

The mayflies blew up stream after hatching and there were s a large number in the slough above the dam. The fishing was best at the time I started to fish, which was 12:30 PM. The best fish of the day was the first take of the day. There were eight fishermen seen throughout the day. The wild life must have taken refuge which none seen in the field to and back to Springfield. The number of released trout was thirteen, not a high number but with the conditions a respectable day. This was my last day to fish for 2013.