Sunday, June 22, 2014

June: Roaring River State Park with Desmond

Checking out the spring
6/20/2014 (Friday): I made arrangements with my daughter (Jenn) and grandson (Desmond) to fish Roaring River State Park. We left Friday afternoon; it was a hot and humid day with very few clouds in the sky. There was a forecast of late afternoon shower. 

Des enjoying the day in the shade
Our first task once we reached the park was getting tags to fish. Des wanted to checkout the hatchery, raceways and the source of the spring which is a collapsed dome cave. Des enjoyed the large trout in the pool near the spring and watching the MDC employees feeding the fish by hand. After a thirty minute tour, he was ready to fish. 

We lined our fly rods, and started with a few dry flies. Des was very patient with us and he tried roll casting from the water’s edge. Des is three and it was difficult getting the mechanics just right. We missed a few with the dry flies and continued downstream. We were looking for an area with shade and we found a spot thirty yards down past the low water bridge near the race ways. Des found many rocks and with his mother’s help built walls and dams next to the water’s edge. I switch to a small jig and found the trout more interested in chasing the moving fly. I would get a set and call Des to help me bring in the trout. We caught two trout and released them back to the water. 

Fishing Roaring River State Park
It was 5:30 PM, and more people started to line the stream. We decided to call it a day and returned to Springfield. Des is too young to fly fish, hopefully he will discover the passion to be outdoors and find the joy to stand in the water in a few years. Grandpa needs to be patient with Des and let him enjoy the rocks and time wandering along the stream banks.

Showing off a rainbow trout

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June: The adventures continue...

Windermere Baptist Conference Center Marina 
May 30 - June 1, 2014: 
Warren Wilkerson, Joe Davis and I had an invitation to attend the MDC program Discover Nature Women at Lake of the Ozarks, Windermere Baptist Conference Center. This was the Women’s summer workshop with eight different activities, which included; Canoeing, camping, compass, hunting, fishing basics, archery, shot gun, and fly tying.  We instructed and demonstrated fly tying for thirty-six women over the three-day weekend with four classes. 

Now it is time to be creative
There were some changes from years past with us starting with the wooly bugger for everyone and making suggestions to other flies. Some of the women tied five or six patterns; including poppers, jigs, foam ants, Clouser Minnows and hybrid wooly buggers. We used several hundred hooks and marabou was flying in the air.
One of a dozen white bass caught and released
We did fish Friday night with Warren and Joe taking a powerboat out into the cove. I walked the shoreline throwing small jigs. I managed to catch and release a dozen white bass, a foot long crappie and a channel catfish. Warren and Joe also had success with white bass, catfish and large-mouth bass all caught on a fly.
On Saturday, we had two classes and a high level of enthusiasm. One of the class members (Kathryn) cut a lock of her hair and constructed a Clouser minnow. Anyone standing outside of the classroom would have thought we were out of control rowdy class with no one supervising the kids. It was good fun and everyone had a great time.

One of the students, cutting a lock of her hair to construct a closer minnow.
That evening the MDC provided dinner which was catered by Bandanas, which was very good. I had an opportunity to talk with Mike Huffman, Outreach and Education division chief for the MDC; he over sees the Discover Nature programs, one of his many responsibilities.
That evening, Warren, Joe and I fished the point near the marina boat dock wading from shore. Kevin Lohraff met us later that evening. Warren invited many of the students and we had sixteen women with us that evening. We provided casting instruction, a few students fly-fished with us. Kevin worked with three women and Joe would hand the rod off when he hooked a fish, with a few fish coming to shore. Warren kept everyone in line with storytelling and explained the virtues of fly-fishing. Joe managed to catch and release a drum, white bass, walleye and bluegill. We stayed out until 11 PM, standing in the water with a crescent moon dropping in the western sky with a few satellites seen in the southern region. Kevin caught three walleye and I managed a walleye and a few 
Now it is to whip finish the fly
Sunday morning, I met Kevin at the boat Marina where we fished for an hour before breakfast. Kevin was collecting bluegills on a stringer hoping to get enough for a meal. I picked up a catfish. After, breakfast, we packed out of out lodge and set up for the final class. I was stowing away my fly rods and talking with Joe and Warren when I shut the truck door without thinking and left the cars keys on the seat and the spare key in the duffle bags inside the cab.  I was up a creek without a paddle. Kevin assisted me and Larry Lindeman had the skills to figure out how to unlock the door. It was a big relief to see the truck door unlatched.
We had a blast with the class and introducing fly-casting to a few. It was good to see Regina Knauer who invited us seven years ago to teach the fly tying course. Warren had her laughing uncontrollably when it was mentioned out toilet was out of service; Regina taught compass and map reading. Kevin stepped up to help with casting; he taught the hunting class. Thanks to Larry for the pulling the lock on the truck, allowing me to drive home. Finally, thanks to Eric Edwards for the invitation to the Discover Nature Women event. Hope to return next year...