Friday, March 6, 2015

March: Winter to Spring

A cloudy rainy day at Bennett Spring State Park
March 3, 2015 (Tuesday): There was a small window of opportunity to fish on Tuesday with melting snow and temperatures in the mid-forties. I drove to Bennett Spring State Park for an afternoon of fishing. It was cloudy most of the day with a light rain on and off for short periods. The wind was out of the south with several switches throughout the afternoon. There was a forecast of freezing rain, sleet and snow later that evening.

I had hoped to be able to fish with snow on the ground; by the time I started to wet a line, most of the snow had melted. There were a few people fishing in zone one, I fished the area between the dam and the island. There was a hatch of mayflies and the air temperature was warm enough for them to get off the water. There was some interest from the trout and was prudent to fish dries throughout the afternoon. It took nearly an hour before the first trout was hooked and released. 

The fishermen using sink tips and short strips seem to be faring better catching trout. It was the last hour of fishing, when I tried a soft hackle and took a few more trout on the strip. I finished the day with fifteen trout with four trout coming back to Springfield. I did see eagles, deer feeding on grass and turkeys; all getting in a meal before the next winter storm.

The dam lights are on, time for a bite
March 8, 2015 Sunday: I returned to Bull Shoals Lake to fish for walleye after dark. The generation through Powersite dam was turned off just before I entered the water. The water felt cold, even with neoprene waders. The water was clear with the lake level 653.7 ft. It was an hour after dark I saw a wake thirty feet in front of me. It could have been a goose or beaver, I was not sure. I fished until 8 PM and called it a night… no bites.

March 9, 2015 Monday: This day was cloudy with sporadic rain showers. I started my afternoon/evening trip driving along Swan creek to look at the water from the rock bluff. There was a significant run off from snowmelt and rain with Swan Creek up a foot or two. I would bet the walleye are moving up into Swan for their spring spawn. I looked at the mouth of Swan and was tempted to fish this area for the evening, but decided to try the west bank across from Silver Creek instead, with successful fishing in years past walking the shore line throwing a Clouser minnow downstream at a 45 degree angle to the shore line and slow retrieve. I did manage one trout with no other bites. I finished the evening at the Pot Hole, there was no generation from the powerhouse and the winds were calm. I did have the light from the dam to my advantage and was able to identify two beavers moving up the lake and swam around me. Probably the same creatures I saw the night before. I stayed until 8:30 PM and called it a night. I thought about going to look at Beaver creek but data from the USGA, indicated the river was two feet high. Early spring fishing can be tough, but I did hear the frogs. The peepers are a good sign of spring and warmer days.

Lake level on the rise, 657.6 ft
March 16, 2015 (Monday): The recent rains and high water in the rivers has brought up Bull Shoals Lake 3.5 feet and was 657.2 feet. I saw this the day checking out the USGA web site for Missouri streams and decided to pack the kayak for the night. The conditions looked favorable; generation from the powerhouse, the water was colored (probably too dirty) and the water temperature was in the low fifties. I fished the edges, fished the drops spots in the Pot Hole. Again, I was not able to get a bite. The MDC had three boats in the water and electro-shocking for walleye this evening. They were taking eggs from ripe females and mixing sperm from several males. I was told they took 79 males out of swan and 17 females out of the lake. The largest walleye was 34 inches in length and had already spawned out. I will call Andy Turner in a few days to get his report of the evening and his impression to the fishery below the dam. I packed the kayak on the rack of my truck at 9:30 PM and before I left the water saw a large streak across the sky of a burning meteorite that did burn out near the horizon in the western sky. Venus was very bright and fell behind the hill at 9:30 PM. My guess is fishing can only get better.

March 22, 2015 Sunday: I had another opportunity to return to the Pot Hole. The lake level has risen to 659 feet; the water was clear with a 45°F water temperature. There was with some generation from the power house. The afternoon was sunny with a clear sky sunset followed by a new moon and Venus settling in the western sky.
I had to use the kayak since the water is getting too high to wade. I took the kayak and fished the west bank (river right). I followed the water currents and looked for eddies along the edges. Again, the bait fish are absent, no fish seen at dusk on top.  I finished the evening near the three trees and saw a bright meteorite at 9 PM.

Lake level 666.5 feet
March 26, 2015 Thursday: I returned to the Pot Hole, there was a significant rain days earlier and Taneycomo has been running four generators for several days. The water was pouring over Power site dam and the lake has risen two feet; it is now at 661 ft. I did not have much time to look around. Swan creek was high and dirty. I pulled up data for Beaver creek and it was up five feet. I decided to fish the same waters and it proved to be consistent. No fish to be found. My guess the fish went up stream due to high and warmer water.  I have no prove, but the white bass is near and the walleye are probably getting close to the end of their spawn. I did see two falling meteorites this evening.

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