Saturday, March 5, 2016

March: Early Spring, mild weather

Bob tying on a fly
March 3, 2016 Thursday: Bob Randall stopped by my house at 7 AM; from there he drove us to Bennett Spring State Park. It was partly cloudy with the morning temperature in the mid-forties. We saw a few deer in the fields feeding and turkeys strutting in fields before with heads high and feathers out; it must be spring. I bought my 2016 fishing license at the Bennett Spring Park store with advice to purchase on line in the future (See their comments on Facebook). The MDC will be replacing the existing hardware with computers so all licenses will be on line and printed on paper. 

It was after 8 AM; Bob and I started our day below the stone bridge near #4 outlet above the bend. I stayed with the soft hackles and managed to catch a few. My intentions were to catch a limit of trout and give them to Mary Henry for her 95th Birthday. I had four trout in a pack-pack cooler before 11 AM with the largest measuring 15.5 inches. I walked up the Ben Havens office and made final plans for him to visit the MTFA members at the Springfield Nature Center that evening. He planned to discuss the hatchery operation, provided a power point presentation showing flood photos from the event. 

Bob and I managed to catch twenty-seven trout some were released brown trout. I did take Mary trout for her birthday and she was thrilled. I plan to fish next Thursday with my grandson.

March 10, 2016 Thursday: Desmond had the week off from pre-school and I had him on Thursday to fish. It had rain a few days before with 1.5 inches in the rain gauge. The ground was soaking up the rain with little to no run off. The morning before we left was foggy with a light rain. We left for Bennett Spring SP after 11 AM, hoping for dry skies and hungry trout.

A pair of deer crossed the highway in front of us a mile from the park, we stopped and let them pass. It was after noon we ate lunch and decided where to fish. I helped Des into his waders, vest and tied up his boots. We started just above the dam in zone 1 and on the first cast took a small rainbow with a white jig. Des helped to bring it in and almost fell into the water headfirst and managed to get his elbow wet with no water down the waders.

We hiked a short distance downstream below outlet #4 and took a few more trout. Des stayed with me in the water and we finally found a wading stick for him. He was lifting his boots one foot at a time out of water and almost fell in again; I was close enough to grab his sweatshirt to prevent a full submersion. We took a few more trout using soft hackles and jigs. It was almost 2 PM, Des let me know it was time to go, he had to go… actually he told me “Grandpa I need to poop”. So, we retreated back to the car and made our way to a facility for Des to take care of business.

Before we left the park, we had an opportunity to sneak upon a woodchuck that was out in the open looking for something to eat. We managed to scare him and he found his borough, safe from our threat.

It was an enjoyable day, maybe a little short on time spent in the water, but I know don’t push the too hard… find joy in the day and make memories.

The Pot Hole 659.5 ft with Taneycomo 707 ft

March 21, 2016 Monday: Bob Randall and I met in Forsyth a few minutes after noon, it was our intention to find and catch white bass. The previous weekend was cool with several mornings’ temperatures in the upper twenties. The cooler water temperatures usually sent the white bass back to the lake. Bob and I drove to Power Site dam with a 659.5 ft elevation, there was a significant generation coming from Table-Rock dam elevation 707 ft with the Taneycomo water spilling over the top of the dam. The water was clear with a mud edge along the western bank or river left ten feet off shore. 
Shadow Rock Park with low flow from Swan Creek 
From there, we drove to Shadow Rock Park; saw one fellow catching a white bass and before he dispatched it was on the phone calling a buddy. No doubt, that will bring in at least a dozen cars with fishing rods before night falls. We drove upstream on Swan Creek; I showed Bob several access points along the Swan looking for the lake/stream intersection and found in near the old mill foundation.
Swan Creek upstream half mile from Shadow Rock
The day was mild with abundant sunshine and a south/southeast wind blowing 10-15 mpr that seemed to go upstream. The red buds and wild plums were in blossom indicating spring, but I did not hear any croakers at sun set. Our next stop was Beaver Creek looking at the Whistle Bridge below Fisherman’s nose and we saw a few bait fish hitting the surface, from there we drove upstream past fishermen’s nose and looked at the Bluff Hole.  We did not see much surface activity, but the sun was bright on the water. We decided to spend the evening fishing Beaver Creek and started at Kissee Mill access and fished going down stream. The water was clear and I did not see any moving fish in the waters below the bridge. It was almost 4 PM and we decided to enter the water near the whistle bridge with our kayaks and fish upstream.
Beaver Creek near Kissee Mill Access
Near the bluff hole shadows were on the water, and I finally hooked a few blue-gills, some of them eight inches in length. So for the next hour, using a Clouser minnow pattern took a dozen keepers, threw back that many short blue-gills and eight Kentucky largemouth bass. A few more vehicles and fishermen came to fish the shore before dark, but I did not see anyone catching fish. A boat passing near us reported no fish.
Bob looking for another area to fish before night fall

I was after 8 PM, the moon was at 96% with a full moon on the 23rd. The planet Jupiter was in close proximity to the moon. There was plenty of light to see while fishing from the kayak.  Bob and I moved back down stream and finished the night near the whistle Bridge. At the bridge we heard a fellow excited having caught his first walleye. In a short time Bob hooked and landed his first white bass of the season, a 13.5 inch male. We fished until 9 PM before calling it a night, counted fish, loaded the kayak and returned to our homes. 

A dozen bill-gill for an evening effort. With a warming trend for the coming week, my guess the white bass will return to warmer water of Beaver creek/Swan Creek to spawn before Good Friday… mark the calendar.