Monday, February 24, 2014

February: Bull Shoals, Pot Hole and walleye

The Power House at 657.7 feet, counted five rocks from the island
February 23, 2014: The water level for Bull Shoals was 657.7 feet. It is difficult to find good wading. There is a spot on the west side for footing but lost a dozen flies to the bottom; the Clousers minnows are too heavy, need to modify the fly for the west side. 
No one fishing the walleye hole, very little room to drive down to the pot hole
I looked at Swan Creek. The spot we fished last year looks like good place to start. I saw no working shad so I drove over to Beaver Creek. 
Swan Creek up stream from Shadow Rock Park
The place to fish at this time is at the bluff hole just below Kissee Mill on Beaver Creek. That is how far the lake level has backed up the water. 
Beaver Creek below Kissee Mill Park, the bluff hole
I finished the evening at the Pot Hole on the east side, I watch a pair of fishermen earlier in the day. One fished the road bed and the other fellow walked up the the power house. There were probably a half dozen fishermen on the west side at the walleye hole at sunset and that many or more up near the power house. 
Fishing the west side of the Pot Hole
My intent was to get as close as possible to the three trees. There was a tree that fell behind the three trees that fell near the third tree. I started below the third tree and was able to get a fly into the pool in front of the three trees. Later, I moved to the space between the 2nd and third tree. I had to stand on the root of the 2nd tree to get to waist deep water instead of chest deepwater wading out to the trees. I picked up a 23-inch walleye thirty minutes after sunset and probably lost a small trout a little later. 
First walleye of 2014, 23-inches
There was very little surface activity from working shad, saw two trout break the surface at sunset. Hope to make another trip within a week.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February: Last weekend for Catch and Release at State Parks

February 8, 2014: I made a 140 mile round trip to Roaring River State Park. The Cassville area received several inches more snow than Springfield with the roads in the park snow covered. I fished the fly only area at the end of the park with the trout active on the surface. They seem to be dimpling for midges and occasionally taking my #20 BWO dry fly. The day was at the freezing mark with ice forming in my guides most of the day. I did take a moment to spread some of Sean’s ashes to the water. 

There was an eagle that came into view and perched on a tree near me, I took a moment from fishing to get a clip of him flying away.

February 9, 2014: Rod and I fished Bennett Spring State Park. The roads were clear with a few inches of snow on the ground all the way from Springfield to the park. The day was over cast with a north wind. We started to fish at 11 AM with small blue wing olive (BWO) emerging with mayfly duns on the surface for four hours. The temperatures were below freezing with ice in the guides all day long. The cold temperatures made it hard for the mayflies to leave the water and were on the menu for the feeding trout. I made a switch using #20 parachute BWO patterns, which proved to be productive. Rod fished last Sunday and said it was an outstanding day. The catching was good with Rod and I releasing from hand 31 rainbow trout. For most of the day, we had the water above the dam to ourselves. 

For a short period four fellows made there way down near us and finally on of them fell into the water. I am sure that did not feel good. There is one day left for catch and release and I will finish at Bennett Spring SP tomorrow and stay for the pre season Bennett Spring meeting.

Last day of Catch and Release season with winter conditions

February 10, 2014: This was the last day for catch and release season at the state parks. A fresh snow of two inches fell at 7 AM in Springfield, with side streets snow covered. I left the pickup behind and took the RAV4; it has all wheels drive and travels easily over snow covered roads. I-44 was clear with a few wet spots and several MODOT trucks and blades working the shoulders and side roads. I did exit 118 (Phillipsburg) and found Hwy A snow covered and Hwy OO to Bennett Spring in the same condition. The park was had no other fishermen when I started to fish with another fellow coming in an hour later. 
The tracks are from Rod and I yesterday, a fresh snow in the park

The wind was from the north blowing up stream with a cold fog. There was a mayfly and a white midge hatch on the water. The trout seem to be targeting the midges with the heads of the trout coming straight out of water to feed. It was 1 PM and the blue wing olive (BWO) hatch was in large numbers. The BWO duns were not able to leave the water and would float long distances before taken by a trout. Again, I saw not see a dun leave the water, my guess too cold. By 3 PM, most of the activity had passed, with the waters calm from dimpling trout, but the cold wind continued to blow up stream. I fished to the sound of the horn at 4 PM, and the end of the season came to past. I managed to release sixteen trout from hand the many missed. The opening of catch and release season for next fall is November 14, 2014…