Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 2014: Winter fishing at the Missouri State Parks


Fishing below the dam at Montauk State Park
January 12, 2014: After a week of winter with cold temperatures and snow on the ground; the weekend warmed up with a higher than normal temperatures and increased number of fishermen in the water. It was difficult finding a spot and I retreated to a familiar spot away from other fishermen. The water in the slough opened up allowing a dry fly to splash into the open spots. The day was sunny with a blustery wind out of the south. The water was up a little from Friday’s rain but not enough to murk the clarity of the water.

The 30-40 mpr gusts did add an element to casting precision but the trout did go for the dry flies if presented in front of them. There was a sporadic hatch of BWOs throughout the day; as soon as they emerged and on the surface of the water off they went with the wind, flying down stream over the dam. It was difficult even for the trout to target these bugs.
The catching was about average with fifteen trout to hand; several of these were less than seven inches. I am sure these trout are hatchery fish but not aware what has been stocked in the zone 1.

There are a few fishing days left before the end of the catch and release season with February 10th the last day. I have trips planned and have tied a few adult caddis for the next trips.

There are four days left for me to fish the state parks before the end of catch and release season, which will close February 10, 2014. If you have not been out this year, winter fishing at Missouri state parks is the best time to visit the park. There is usually wildlife out and about, more open water to fish and an opportune time to match the hatch with caddis and BWO mayflies.


A favorite spot for dry flies fishing at Montauk State Park
January 26, 2014: I was able to fish two days at Montauk State Park. The weekend turned out very comfortable with temperatures reaching near 60 degrees. Of course, there were a few other fishermen out to take advantage of the pleasant weather. The water was up a little and very clear. There were hatches of midges along the edges, caddis flying low over the water and occasional hatches of BWO mayflies in the afternoon. The trout varied in size with the largest trout released was near sixteen inches. Some of the more productive spots were full of fishermen and I made the decision to try other water and learning the water below the dam. Even in skinny water, the feeding trout would take dry and wet flies.


I had a muskrat swim up from behind me and I took the time to walk over to him with an I Phone in hand to capture his smile. I did scare him off but not before getting a good video.
video

There are four days left for me to fish the state parks before the end of catch and release season, which will close February 10, 2014. If you have not been out this year, winter fishing at Missouri state parks is the best time to visit the park. There is usually wildlife out and about, more open water to fish and an opportunity to match the hatch with caddis and BWO mayflies.
Fishing the waters below the Stone Bridge in zone 2 at Bennett Spring SP
January 31, 2014 (Friday): I left Springfield with the windshield wipers on with a drizzle and light rain all the way to Bennett Spring State Park. The air temperature was at 40 degrees with a light wind. The day remained overcast and stayed in the forties. I truly enjoy these weather conditions. There were only a few fishermen and I fished the waters in zone two below the hatchery outlets to Zone 1 and the familiar waters above the dam. I had no one within shouting distance throughout the day. There was a decent hatch of BWO mayflies hatching out of some aquatic plants below the stone bridge; for some reason the trout were very selective taking my fly with only a few hook ups in this area. 
Fixing a broken water main 
It was almost 3 PM, I stopped at the bridge to chat with Mike Mitchell and look at the digging project by the DNR. A water line broke and they were making the repairs. It was odd seeing half of the stone bridge blocked with piles of dirt. I spent the last hour working the weed line above the dam using a caddis pattern with moderate success. I finished the day with a dozen released from hand with the largest trout being the first fish below the stone bridge. I have taken a few days off next weekend and hope to finish the catch and release season by fishing Roaring River State Park and Bennett Spring State Park.