Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December: Catch and release trout fish at Missouri State Parks

December 5, 2014: Rod Pennington and I met at Montauk State park to fish for a three day weekend. I left Springfield Friday at 9 am, driving Hwy 60 in the fog. By the time I drove through Houston on Hwy 63; the fog started to lift and the rain started to fall. It rained all the way to Licking and on to Montauk.  I stopped at the lodge, and paid for two nights’s lodging and we stayed in cabin #31. The rain continued to fall and I waited 45 minutes before, moving the gear into the cabin. A pileated woodpecker was seen outside the cabin door, with the sounds heard throughout the weekend. Rod was delayed and did not get to the park until 3:30 pm. The rain let up at 1 pm and I made my way down to the spring creek and started to fish near the power lines, making my way up stream for the next three hours. The clouds were low with a light rain until 3 pm. I tied on a small dry fly; the flies worked best when pulled under and fished with a tight line through the water. I managed to release fifteen with a last sat last fish before 4 pm. We stayed in cabin 31; it is located on the hill near the stream and walking distance to the lodge.

It was after 4:30 PM when I met Rod at the cabin, he was able to get fifteen minutes of fishing before the siren sounded. He caught and released three trout fishing near the low water bridge. We ate at the lodge. The lodge is open on weekends serving a very good meal at very reasonable prices. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and opened until 6 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. On Sundays, the lodge is open for breakfast and lunch, but closed in the afternoon; so plan according with Rolla the other place one can travel after a day of fishing for an evening meal.

December 6, 2014: Saturday morning, Rod and I had eggs in a hole and bacon. We were on the water shortly after 8 am starting at the power lines.  Again, I worked my way up stream and Rod went down stream. The day was overcast, in the high thirties. Warren Wilkerson and Joe Davis planned to leave Springfield and be at the park before 11 am. Warren is the president of the Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association and a meeting was scheduled to meet with the three chapters at noon in the lodge. I fished until a few minutes after 11 AM with nine fish to hand.  Warren and Joe finally caught up with me with Rod walking up the road as we left the cabin for the meeting. The meeting lasted an hour and we returned to the cabin. We warmed up the smoker and prepared the evening meal. We all brought a variety of meats. Rod brought chicken, pheasant and quail. Warren and Joe brought a pork loin and filet mignon. I provided a chunk of halibut.  All of this was placed in a smoker for three hours with mesquite wood. Again, we walked back to the spring creek to fish until 4 pm. Rod returned before the rest of us and placed some corn still in the husk in the smoker. We had quite a feast, with more food than we could possibly eat. We sat around that evening discussing a variety of topic and turned in before 10 PM.

December 7, 2014: The morning alarm went off at 6 AM, with Joe cooking bacon and eggs. After breakfast, we moved our gear back to our vehicles and the keys to the cabin returned to the lodge. Two does stood next to the truck looking at Rod and I for some time. I moved for a camera and they took off down the hill out of sight. We were on the water and fishing after 9 AM. Rod planned to stay only a few hours before driving back to Rogersville. Warren and Joe fished near the hatchery; a place Warren calls the honey hole and stayed there most of the day. I started below the dam and fished to the blue hole. The day started cloudy with temperatures in the low thirties. There were only a few breaks in the clouds with the sun peaking out. For me the fishing was excellent. The mayfly hatch was light, but the duns I saw on the water were quickly dispatched by the trout. I took fifteen trout below the dam, before moving above the dam and fishing to the blue hole. Five of these fish were in the sixteen to twenty inch range caught on#20 hooks. Some took a dry, or a wet fly or gently pulled give the fly some movement. I release thirteen more trout above the dam before the day of fishing was over.

 This was a good weekend of fishing. There were only a few fishermen on the water, most of the time I was out of sight of other fishermen. The trout went for the dry flies one a dun was seen on the water. Five of the trout were over sixteen inches with the largest twenty inches in length. There was plenty of wildlife seen with a variety of raptors; bald eagles, turkey vultures and hawks. I had several encounters with white tail deer. With a doe and twin fawns at the end of the trip, they scamper, played and head butt each other before moving across the stream for the evening. The four of us totaled 105 trout caught and released for the three day weekend. The round trip distance from Springfield to Montauk and back is about 220 miles. I would recommend fishing Montauk and plan to stay at least two days. I will return before the end of this year’s catch and release season.

December 13, 2014: I woke late in the morning, started the coffee brewing and packed the truck with fishing gear to make the trip to Roaring River State Park to fish for the day. I plan to fish three state parks in the month of December, so this would the second park. It was after 9 AM when I left Springfield. It was seasonally warm with foggy condition all the way to Roaring River S.P. It was a seventy mile one way trip on Hwy 60 and then south on Hwy 37 at Monett then on State Hwy 112 in Cassville to the park. 

The park was not crowded with the fishermen dispersed from the hatchery to the lower reaches of the boundary waters. I fished the same area where Jenn, Des and I camped earlier this fall, in waters one can wade and fish. It’s not great water with only a few spots for trout to find cover but it did provide solitude. There were only a few fishermen in view for the afternoon with seven trout caught and released for the day. There was not a surface hatch seen while fishing and it took a wet fly to hook the few trout. I fished until 4 PM and returned to Springfield. Beware, most of the bathroom facilities are closed for the season. So, make the necessary stops before entering the park. My next trip will be Bennett Spring S.P.