Monday, December 19, 2011

Taney Revisited Again

Maybe because its so close or possibly because I usually have some "luck" there, I seem to get to Lake Taneycomo more than other locations.  I was fortunate to make it twice this past week.  I found out they were not running water Monday afternoon, so I went south.  Started slow and I actually took off my soft-hackle and tied on one of my last two bibios (need to tie some more).  Started catching fish on those, no size, not too much fight, but colorful. Then a fish took me into some of the rock that was just below the surface and cut my tippet. The second bibio couldn't buy a strike.  I moved a little further down stream; that doesn't sound right when fishing a lake, but if you fished Taney, you know what I mean.
     I tried my soft hackles again with some success; because of the flat water I was stripping them more than I normally do.  Again, no really nice fish; most were in the 12-14 inch range. Finally decided it was time to head to Dana's for the best burger's in the area.  When I got just upstream from the stump a hole opened up and I couldn't pass it by.  I was lucky enough to get a few more small trout when a fellow fishing just below me came up and started talking.  He had seen me stripping the fly and asked if I was using a woolly.  Said he saw me doing pretty well when I was downstream.  As we were having a nice conversation, I had a really nice fish hit and I missed him.  The guy commented that it looked like a good fish and apologized for talking to me and causing a miss.  I made about 8 to 10 more casts, still talking then decided Dana's was really calling.  As I was reeling my line in, the man asked to see the fly I had been using.  Sure, I don't mind sharing and have even given flies to fellow fishermen.  But all I had to show him was embarrassment.  That fish I "missed" took my fly...a nice clean break.  Usually, after a miss I check my tackle just to be sure. After a quick stop at River Run and visiting there with Gina, I went to Dana's and got that single burger, all the way, with onion rings and a diet coke. Ummmm!
     On Friday I had an urge to do more fishing, but they were scheduled to run water all week end and today, so I started thinking about either Roaring River or Bennett Spring. Still hadn't made up my mind by Saturday when Russ called and asked if I wanted to go to Taney with him on Sunday.  I said I'd like to go,but they were scheduled to run water all day.  He said he was taking his boat and wanted to try out his "new" motor.  Too many times in the past when Russ asked me to go I had to decline, so I said yes and we'd meet at his house the next morning.
     They had been running 2 units and as I was taking Russ' truck up to the parking area another horn went off.  The boat was launched with no problem, we both rigged up with San Juan worms, large bright pink, heavy split shot and floats that seemed big enough to float a horse.  If you've ever gone fishing with Russ, you know that he usually has the first, the biggest and the most fish. It was the same thing Sunday. I saw a comment on Facebook today that someone posted under the picture of Russ with his nicest fish caught. The commenter said he saw Russ catch a 5+lb bass out of a muddy rut.  I believe it.
     I had a great time, thanks Russ, caught a few nice fish. Yes, Russ caught a lot more.  I believe these were the first I've ever caught on a San Juan worm.  I was surprised how quickly we were pushed downstream, but the water was really moving.   The only fly I lost all day was to the trolling motor, not a fish.  Knots all held fine and tippet was good.  Of course I was using heavier tippet than normal.
     It was a good week.  Got to fish twice and spend time with fellow anglers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Montauk in December

A long, long time ago, the Eichholz and Boyer families packed our camping gear, tent for us and a camper van for them, and headed to Montauk.  It was spring break at Herky and we thought we'd do some camping and fishing, this was before either Marty or I were into fly fishing.  It turned so cold as I was pitching the tent that Connie and I decided to use the last room at the motel.  This was the first time I ever had the guides on the rod freeze solid.  Yes, it has happened since and probably will again.

I had the opportunity to revisit this weekend and took advantage of it.  Because I wanted to return Saturday, I drove separately with plans to meet up with Kim, Rod and Warren later.  When I arrived, I didn't see them so decided to explore a little.  When I took the short path to the spring, I spotted the river and thought it looked like an inviting fishing spot, so I headed back to the car and got my gear ready.

The fish were not choosy. Soft-hackles, I love them. I threw a green biot body, a purple and starling, a pink lady, a peacock herl bodied and finally a hairs-ear soft hackle and caught fish on all of them that afternoon. Nothing of any great size, but I was kept busy all afternoon. On the left is a picture of my first Montauk park rainbow and another little fellow below I'll talk about in a bit.
A couple of strange things caught fish.  The first was when I dropped my fly in the water while I was hanging my net on my vest a rainbow swam into the fly and managed to foul hook himself.  He was not counted as one of my fish caught.  Later, after hanging my fly in a bush on the opposite shore and then it coming loose, I brought my line quickly across the water to see if I lost the fly.  Just as it arrived at my feet, the little guy above grabbed it and ran.  He didn't get too far!

I finally met up with the others at our cabin where Kim was making super.  Rod supplied several quail and we all feasted on them, mashed potatoes, gravy and peas.  Followed with a small piece of cake. Saturday we started the day with fresh made breakfast burritos, yummy!!! Then off to the water.

Saturday morning I fished a different area.  I had packed my camera away and forgot to bring it this morning.  Caught another minnow and a hand full of fish before the MTFA meeting.  Most were again caught on soft hackles, but I finally tied on something a little different, a bibio, small and caught two more, including one of about 15 inches as measured with my "measure net". Saw lots of trout, but they were more selective.  Still, I had a handful and was very happy.

After our short meeting and a quick lunch, I decided to try the area just below the hatchery. It was especially designed and is catch and release, flies only, no wading.  But while exploring Friday, I saw lots of fish and BIG ones in there.  I decided I wanted to try it for a short time with a little dry fly.  It was turning very windy, so my hopes declined when I arrived, but I tried anyway.  I GOT LUCKY.  On about my 5th or 6th cast with a #20 Griffith's Gnat I had a nice fat rainbow of at least 18 inches. Beautiful colors! That caused me to try some more, but no luck.  I put on one of my soft-hackles and still no luck.  The wind was increasing and I was getting ready to leave, when Lou came walking up to the same area.  She and a friend had fished this area in the morning and he caught a very large fish.  As Lou and I were talking, he caught a small trout.  When we asked what he was using he said a #6 woolly bugger.  An I was going small?

It was a great weekend, good fishing, good food and especially good friends.  I will be going back

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eleven Point River

After listening to Joe Curry's talk on fishing the Eleven Point, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  Connie and I had camped on this river many, many years ago.  Friends were floating, but I had managed to scare Connie enough times with my inexperience, that she said she'd camp with me but not float.  So we enjoyed hiking in the National Forest while most of the others floated. I'm not sure just where we were on the river, but it was further down stream from where Kim and I floated Wednesday.

Kim met me at my house shortly after 8 AM Tuesday, and we headed for the Greer Spring access.  It rained almost all the way there, most of the day Tuesday and the prediction was for a cold (near 30 degree night).  When we arrived at the campground, it was raining, so we decided to unload our camping gear and then go exploring. Our plans were to explore the area Tuesday and then float and fish Wednesday. First stop was the trail head to Greer Spring.  Great hike even though it rained lightly most of the distance.
A few shots from the area of the springs

After lunch, peanut butter and jelly and fresh fruit that I packed up in the morning, we drove to the Turner Mill Trail head and walked to see the old 25 foot overshot wheel and the spring.  At one time the village called Surprise was here.  There were about 50 people in the village.

A few pictures around the area where the mill was located

We headed back to camp, but decided to try to walk to the spring from a lower route new the campgrounds.  We were walking a portion of the Ozark Trail and a golden eagle was spotted flying near the river. Then we went back to the camp site and pitched out tents.  The rain was finally over, but the cold was still in the air.  With a few hours before dark, we decided to try our luck fishing just up stream of the highway 19 bridge.  I discovered this was not an easy river to fish, while Kim caught a few.  His first was a small wild trout that he measured and photographed.  Then back to the campground for a late but delicious supper.  Grilled pork, baked potatoes and fresh salad with all the trimmings.

After a cold night in the tents, we enjoyed a breakfast of bacon and egg burritos and good hot coffee.  We broke camp, loaded the canoe and Kim drove up to make arrangements for us to be picked up at 5:30 just 5 miles down stream.  Doesn't sound like far, but Kim says he often takes 2 or 3 days to float and fish this stretch. Thus we had to by-pass or briefly fish some areas that he would sometimes fish for hours.

A few lessons I learned on this stream. (1) I need cleats on my rubber soled boots. They are now on order!  I did not get a baptism, but I was extra careful where I was walking. I didn't attempt to go some places I wanted to fish. The larger rocks were very slick. (2) My six weight  rod is too light for a lot of the flies Kim was using.  With my six weight I was able to (sometimes) throw the fly, but not get a good cast.  (3) Stay awake: I had gone most of the day with out a hit, at least one that I detected, and then when I did get one, I was so surprised that I missed the fish. (4) Use HEAVY tippet.  Later, when I had what felt like a really nice fish, my 4x snapped clean.  Don't tell Harvey it was Frog Hair; but I admit it was also old.

The river was absolutely beautiful; I was enjoying the view more than taking pictures. But what follows is a couple of shots of the river, of Kim fishing, the canoe that Kim rolled while I just sat back and fished or enjoyed the ride and finally of a nice rainbow that I caught. It was cold and very windy most of the trip. Today we had a bald eagle over head. Thanks to Kim for the adventure, for working hard to get me a fish and for the picture of me and the rainbow..

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taneycomo, what a change!

I had an opportunity to visit Taneycomo for the first time since the spring floods and almost constant high water of the summer.  Too bad I didn't have before and after pictures. The run that I loved to fish with my soft hackles (just below the rebar hole) is entirely different.  There is now a deep hole, a new bend in the stream and a completely different channel. As I approached the tree stump, I noticed a blue heron perched on the stump.  With the mist still hanging over the lake it would have been a good picture, but the heron moved as I got close enough for a shot.

I started fishing a run that would drag my flies across the hole.  Had some success with a couple of "classic" soft hackles.  A purple and starling, an orange and partridge and a not so classic green caddis all produced in this hole.  Unfortunately, I tired of it and moved down stream were the purple and starling again proved to be a good fly. As I was stopping for lunch, I paused to watch a fisherman who moved into the hole I vacated a short time before land a beautiful 21 inch buck rainbow.  Beautiful colors.  I used the man's phone to take a picture for him with his catch while I secretly wished I had stayed a little longer.  He was using a weighted rabbit strip fly.

After a good morning at the lake, I went to Dana's Barbecue and Burgers for what I think is the best burger around.  Good way to celebrate my 68th birthday!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Saltery Lake Lodge, Kodiak, Alaska

This is Saltery Lake Lodge as we first saw it. Yes, we arrived at the lodge and left it by a small float plane piloted by Bill, one of the lodge hosts.  Doyle met us in Kodiak and drove us to where Bill was waiting in the plane.  It was about a 10-15 minute flight.  Gary was in the copilots seat because the "biggest" guy had to sit there.  More plane pictures later.

Our cabin was a "deluxe" which meant we had our own bath, shower and the water was filtered so it was drinkable.  Gary and I were on the right side of the cabin whose roof is visible.  A couple from Phoenix, Rick and Cherry, were on the left.  They had arrived before us and left on Friday.  Like everyone at the lodge, they were friendly and fun to be with.

The camp crew was Nathan and Sheila from Indiana, Joe from Milwaukee, Ben from Des Moines and Geoff from New Orleans.  Nathan is manager and cook; Sheila is his assistant.  Joe is the head guide and Ben and Geoff are the assistant guides.  Camp is very well kept, food had to be consistently the best I've eaten for an extended time.  The guides are all knowledgeable, helpful, and fun to be with. Unfortunately, Bill and Doyle's least is up after about 15 years and someone else will be running things next year.  None of the employees know what is in store for them.  If I knew the staff would be basically the same, I'd seriously think of going back in the future.

Wildlife: Early the first morning we had a fox just outside the cabin trying to catch breakfast. Later that morning another came to the stream and I saw him swim across and back.  Eagles could almost always be spotted in the trees. One afternoon we drove to the coast hoping to see buffalo and wild horses.  We did see two wild horses at a distance, no buffalo. At our last meal there, Joe told Gary to turn around and look out the window.  We all looked.  There was a buffalo bull about to go into the garden.  Nathan went for the heavy duty firepower.  A wrist rocket (sling shot) drove him away from the garden.  We did spot the buffalo herd as we were flying out later that day. I was hoping to get some bear pictures, but the four of us that arrived on Sunday did not see a bear. We saw bear scat from this year and last.  This years showed that they were still eating grazing on grass.  Last years was fill with bones.  Most of the fish were not yet running when we were there, so most of the bear were still on the slopes.

We fished in one spot two or three days and these two eagles liked this particular tree.  At least one of them was there each time.

Scenery: what a beautiful place this is. Those that are friends on Facebook know I like to take pictures of trees with character and scenery.  Here is a small sample of those I took here.

Plane Pictures: just a shot or two or three of Bill's plane.

First salmon
Fishing, what we came for: neither Gary nor I had ever caught a salmon.  That's no longer true.  The first day we both got our first salmon, sockeye. We were not planning on bringing any home, so we released what we caught.  I had what would have been a limit of five and Gary also did well. Gary was using spinning tackle and was told that would make this more difficult for the way we were fishing.  He definitely kept us with the rest of us. Lesson learned: always check your equipment before a big trip.  I almost never use my 8 weight.  When I put the reel on that first morning I could not get any drag so I used my 6 weight.  That evening I got it partially adjusted, but I decided to keep using my 6 weight.  That meant big fish on lighter equipment, but it was fun.  In the evening we went down to the lake to try for some Artic Char, not much happening, then Geoff brought down the remains of the fish that were cleaned.  He chummed the water with these and put the egg sac on Dave's line. We all caught our first Artics, but I didn't care much for how we did it. That night Gary suggested we keep some fish and we did the rest of the week. Most of the week we fished with Dave and Bob from California.  Our guides were Geoff and Ben, with Joe also helping when he was in the area. They are all skilled.
Releasing 1st salmon

     Tuesday I got my limit in the morning and spent the rest of the day relaxing at the lodge.  Tried for awhile to get a char on a fly but no luck.
Gary and Ben with one of Gary's fish.
     Wednesday, limited out early afternoon; had a problem with my reel before I had my limit.  Must have been some sand or grit in it.  I didn't see anything when I took it apart, so I kept fishing.  Later that evening while fishing at the lake it seemed to be working fine.
     Thursday, first fish on, got the fish, reel comes apart in my hand.  I must not have put the reel together right last evening.  Ever hand line in an angry 8 pound fish?  I have now.  It was fun.  Glad I had flyline instead of mono; that was a lot easier on my hands. Stopped keeping fish after number 4 so I could fish all afternoon.  Caught a few more that were released. I had kept 14 up to this point and decided that was enough to keep.That afternoon Ben took Gary and me a little further down river looking for dolly vardon and rainbow.  Nothing.  This was the only really wet weather we had and then it wasn't constant.  Finally gave up fishing and went sightseeing to the coast.
My first artic char, second was more colorful
    Friday, Gary and I had agreed that we would keep two more fish.  That would give us each nearly 50 pounds with a fish left over to give to the lodge. Gary got both before I caught any. I finally caught a couple and they were released. After supper I went down to the lake and fished for Artic Char with a fly, actually a heavy pink jig for a fly rod. I've have caught two char witha fly and no chumming.  That felt better. After that I walked to the weir in one last try to see bear.  I talked briefly to a local who hadpitched his tent and was putting bear wire around it.  He had his rifle laying on a stump within easyreach while he was doing this.  All I had to shoot a bear was my camera, so maybe I'm lucky I didn't see one.   
Two of my salmon and my trusty 6 weight.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fishing the farm pond

I went to visit Randy, Bob and the kids last Friday and I was hoping to get in a little fishing.  After visiting with everyone for a bit, I drove over to my sister and brother-in-laws (all of a country mile) to try my luck at their pond.  The pond is not fished by many people so I had my hopes up.
Although the cattle have access to the pond and one has to watch were he steps, I saw no evidence of the cows entering the water. I tried a fly that I've no idea were I got it and had lots of blue gill take is as I was stripping it through the water.  The gills were biting good, so I decided that I'd go back early Saturday morning if it wasn't storming.

The next morning, the first and third casts produced bluegills.  After that I wasn't counting.  I moved over to the dam and caught more blue gill and a small bass.  Nothing very big, but lots of fun.

I worked my way around the pond and finally hit a spot were most of the strikes were bass.  That's when the fun began.  Again, none were very large, but there was enough of them that I was having lots of fun.  After about two hours, I went up to the barn and had a cup of coffee with Sandy and Joe.  Planned to come back Sunday morning.

The next morning started slow, a small bass, then another, no bluegill for some reason.  Then my line went tight, the rod bent and I had a big fish on. Played it for a couple of minutes, I couldn't keep it from a tree limb in the water and snap! Yes, I'd lost it.  Never did see what I had, but it was fun while it lasted.  Another small bass and then my line went very tight again.  Rod felt like it was going to bend double.  After several minutes and giving line a few times, I was able to finally hoist my fish onto the bank. I completely forgot that I had a tape with me.  But by using proportions in the picture I took ( I used the fish and the handle section of the rod).  I came up with a little more than twenty five and a half inches. I had caught one of my sister's catfish!!! It was a struggle and this is the largest, by a little more than an inch, fish I've caught on a fly.

That was fun and hard work.  The rest of the morning I caught several more bass, but no more cats and no blue gill. Below is a picture of the fly that I used most of the weekend.  I fished this color almost all of the time and it is the fly that caught the catfish and most of the bass on Sunday.  As you can see, my fly has a friend.  I used the artificial!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lots of fishing spots visited

This last two weeks have been busy.  The first I had my grandson with me and he definitely kept me busy.  Visited Fantastic Caverns (my first time), then went to Branson for the Haunted House and Dinosaur Museum, visited and hiked a little at Lake Springfield and went to Close Memorial park for the playgrounds and then some more hiking.  We kept pretty busy for a six year old and an old man.  I took him home Thursday and then I left Friday for Memorial Day weekend at Bunker Hill on the Jack Fork River.  Good time with good friends.  Three of us fished with minimal luck.  Marty probably did best; a few small smallmouths, and rock bass.  Nothing to brag about, but better than being skunked like I was.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent with the WOLF class from Springfield.  About 50 fifth graders were given instructions on fly casting and fly tying on Tuesday and on Wednesday we took them fly fishing for about 2 hours.  Kids had a good time, learned some and the instructors were rewarded both days with a lunch provided by the parents and lots of "thank yous" from the kids. One little girl tried her best to come up with a dragon fly pattern on Tuesday, but they did not have much to work with.  After she finished fishing on Wednesday I gave her a damsel fly that I had.  You'd have thought I gave her a thousand dollars.

Tuesday night we had pizza and fished with the boys from Good Samaritan Boys Ranch.  Most will not be back next year.  This was the first year for our program and I believe it was a real success. We're looking forward to doing this again in the fall.  I caught three very nice bluegill that evening. Very nice and fat bluegill.

Today I went with Russ to Crane Creek.  Russ has been turned on by Czech nymphing and I went along to try my hand.  I do have a 10 foot rod, but its an awfully heavy rod to be holding at arms length while dragging the fly through the water. I was lucky enough to catch two McClouds and a very colorful minnow, maybe an Ozark Minnow in breeding colors, with this technique.  Both trout were quite small, the second one probably less than an inch longer than the minnow. Wild trout though, so what a blast.  Russ did a little better, more fish and larger.  We also saw what we both believe was the largest trout we ever spotted in Crane Creek; it was definitely a "keeper" if we could have caught it and we were into keeping. I'm sure it would have been photographed and returned to the water.

Just realized that in less than a month Gary and I will be back from Alaska.  I still need to tie some more flies for that adventure.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April's Gone

Busy month, mainly with fishing related things to do.  The MSU class ended yesterday with the class meeting at Roaring River.  As up and dingy as the water was most students managed to catch fish; the class did better than we expected under the conditions. Thursday the class was taken to Mountain Spring for an hour of catch and release fishing. We were able to discuss techniques with the students and show them how to play fish before our Roaring River trip.  Our 16 students caught at least 250 pounds of fish in their hour time.  After the fishing we tied a few flies until dark and then viewed a power point presentation of where to fish within a couple hours of Springfield.

Also spent a couple of evenings with the boys at GSBR.  We had boys in the age range of 14 to 18.  Tied flies and fished for about an hour on both evenings.  The boys caught bluegill, large mouth bass (one of about 15 inches) and crappie on ponds located on the ranch. We'll finish their classes this month.

Not too much fishing for myself, but the fact that we helped over 20 young people gain interest in the sport of flyfishing is great.  MTFA picked up some of the students as club members. I started to build my first flyrod. Still need more practice on my wraps before I put some on the rod. SMFF also did their semianual water monitoring of Crane Creek.  All in all a good month

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gone Fishing

Finally made it to some water.  I've been keeping busy, Tri-lakes expo and meeting, teaching fly tying and casting at the boys ranch, teaching the MSU flyfishing class, but today I was able to get in the water and tighten my fly line. I should mention that at the boys ranch we practiced our casting on the water and had flies tied on.  Most of the boys hooked fish and two of them landed bluegills of, I'm told, almost 11 inches.  That's big for Missouri.  I need to get access to that pond.

This morning was forecast to be nice and they were not running water at Taneycomo, so off I went.  Only spent a little less than two hours on the water, but managed about 15-16 trout, all rainbows. I was using a purple and starling soft hackle and it started slow; switched to my "green caddis" soft hackle and the action took off.  Several times I had fish on consecutive casts.  I know this is the tale most fishermen tell, but what was probably the largest rainbow I ever hooked broke off after about 2 or 3 minutes.  It seemed longer than that.  He was nice enough that I get him on the reel and should not have lost him, but I guess I put too much pressure on the line when he ran for the third time. The line went limp and when I brought it in, my tippet (3.6 lb. flourocarbon) was snapped about and inch below the surgeons knot.  Must have been a weak area or perhaps a scraped it on a rock.  The fish broke water a few times and he was a beautiful dark color with vivid red stripe.  My largest rainbow is only about 18 or 19 inches and I'm positive this one was well over twenty.  I like long distance releases when I intentionally let my line go slack after playing a fish, but this one I wanted to net.  Maybe next time.  If anyone catches a nice rainbow with about 15 inches of tippet and a caddis green soft hackle dangling from its lip, think of me.

I did catch several more after the one I lost, the morning was a great time to be on the water.  Heck, most times are. Sunday, SMFF are doing our Crane creek water monitoring and if the weather isn't too bad, I may try my luck there afterwards. Look out wild trout, here I come.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sowbug Roundup 2011

Wayne and I left for Mountain Home and this years Sowbug about 7 am on Thursday and had an uneventful ride down.  At the roundup we enjoyed watching several tyers, saw some new and interesting patterns and some of the same patterns that are always present. Checked into the motel and then went to Fred's Catfish house for their catfish and green tomato relish.  Ate too much.

Friday morning we went to the North Fork river and fished at and just above the handicapped access.  As usual, I used my soft hackles and, not as usual, caught some fish...mostly small rainbow and one that I identified as a cutthroat, but is possibly a cutbow.
Wayne wasn't quite as lucky, but did land his first ever brown trout. In the afternoon we went back to the Sowbug and saw some very good tying.  Also, we ran into more old friends, both tyers and viewers like us.  In the evening we went to the campgrounds below Bull Shoals to check out the area for fishing Saturday afternoon.  That was followed by a very good supper at Gastons.  Pricey, but very good.  I even ordered a piece of Blueberry pie to take back to the room.  Ummmmm, good

Saturday we started out at the sowbug. I spent a lot of time with the Springfield area tyers.  Kevin talked about how good the fishing had been that morning just below the Norfork Dam, so later that afternoon we headed there instead of to the White.  I did fairly well with Wayne not as fortunate, but he managed his second brown while I didn't get any on the trip. Pizza at the Pizza House.
Sunday we finally made it to the White.  We fished a short distance down stream from the dam.  Fishing was slow.  I only had four strikes all morning, all on soft hackles.  We saw several flyfishers and few fish.  All of my first three strikes were very hard.  The line coming straight out of the water and then snap, the fish and my flies were gone.  I guess I'm a slow learner, because I finally put on a heavier tippet, from 6x to 5x.  My fourth and final hit was just as hard, but the tippet held.  I got to play the fish for a short time and then had a long distance release...skunked for the day. Everyone we talked to said they also had a tough time. We decided to head for home after a very nice weekend.

One note, the upper White were we fished was covered with a whitish, cottony looking algae...didymo or snot rock.  I did not notice it being particularly slippery, but I was cautious where I was stepping and avoided the larger rocks.  One younger fisherman did take a spill just downstream from me.  His comment was "I didn't see that coming". 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crane Creek Clean-up

Today was the annual SMFF Super Bowl Sunday cleanup of Crane Creek.  Well, okay, we were a little late this year, but we blame it on the ice and snow that we had then.  Though it was a little cool, we met at the Upper Wire Road for coffee and donuts followed by trash collecting.  Larry and I went to the Conservation Area parking lot furthest upstream and walked down stream for about 2 miles collecting whatever trash we found. I believe the most popular drink in that area is Bud Light.  We picked up more of their bottles and cans than any other.  I wish it had all been cans...two reasons, one they're lighter and two, they don't break.

As we were working our way down stream, a fly fisher who was leaving.  He said he had caught a couple of small fish, and they were caught on Adams.  That got both Larry's and my interest...dry flies! He told us of what amounted to our most unusual trash, a discarded screened canopy. After breaking apart the poles and rolling up the screen we were able to cart it, along with our other trash, the last mile and a half of our trek to the parking lot. Walking the stream, we took the time to scout out some nice looking riffles and pools.  It looks like both of us are planning to return to fish for those wild McClouds.

When we made it back to were we had our coffee and donuts, we found that the others had moved to and around the city park. There were about 5 or 6 guys from SMFF, a couple from the conservation department, and some boys and staff from a nearby DFS home. Thank goodness for the young bloods.  They are very enthusiastic workers.  This is the second year they helped with the cleanup and they have also provided a helping hand with some tree planting we did at the park in the past.

Didn't see any wildlife to speak of; some wildflowers were beginning to pop out. Daffodils and some "little purple" flowers. I never was much good at plant identification. Took an interesting way home over Tin Can Hollow Road. It was an scenic drive.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Roaring River

Fishing buddies, Russ and Tyler, and I headed for Roaring River State Park this morning.  Planned to leave Russ' house around seven.  On the way down Tyler spotted a field full of deer and a bald eagle resting on the ground. Russ and I missed these.  Oh to have young eyes again.

Russ was intent to try his hand at Czech nymphing, Tyler is a woolly bugger man, and I went to my old stand by, the soft hackle.  We all switched flies throughout the day.  I had luck with both the purple and black soft hackle and the caddis green one. Before lunch we fished the upper area.  Here's a nice fish I caught on a caddis green.
We all caught a few and lost a few before we took our lunch break, changing flies as the morning went on. After lunch we moved to the flies only area.  Besides the soft hackles, I tried white thread jig, white wire worm, stimulator and even a Royal Trude.  Had takes on most.  Learned that I need a lot more practice fishing with an indicator.

Late afternoon, Russ complained about no longer having fun.  Then he changed to his white wire worm (www) and I think he caught about 15 in one pool.  I finally borrowed a www and after a while had some nice takes...but as I said earlier, I need more practice with the indicator...I missed every take while I had the indicator on.
Here's Russ landing a nice trout after switching to the www. Russ, a disabled vet, is a member of SMFF and MTFA and does a lot of work with Project Healing Waters . Tyler was a student in the MTFA class at MSU a few semesters ago and has helped us with the MSU class since then.

It was a beautiful day to spend outdoors with friends, especially when you can be on a trout stream.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Last Day of Catch & Release Season at Bennett Spring

What a beautiful day to be on the water.  There were a lot of others enjoying the day as I was. Not too much wildlife spotted, but lots of fish were available, had a good conversation with a man from Kansas City who is on a week long journey to fish. He's headed to either Mammoth Spring or the White from Bennett, wasn't sure where he would end up. Saw a lady on cross country skis.  I told her she doesn't have many days of this snow left, she replied that it had been awhile since she was on the skis and was learning all over again.

 Most of the snow was gone, the water was actually warmer than I expected.  I thought the snow melt would have cooled it down more than it did.

This is the guy from KC standing on a large rock in the middle of the stream.  He said it would be harder getting down than up. I laughed and said I hoped he didn't get down unexpectedly.

Best fish of the day was about 16-17 inches on a caddis green soft hackle, most fun was a smaller one on a size 20 blue wing olive dry. (LDR) The strangest thing was a trout I saw swimming around with what I thought was a large fly in its lip and another trout chasing it.  When it swam by closer, the "fly" looked more like a live sculpin.  I don't know why it was hanging out of its mouth, but that's sure what it looked like. Also had success with pink lady soft hackle and a purple and starling soft hackle.

All in all, a great day.  Tight lines.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Flies for Reel Recovery

Sleet, now snow and apparently lots of it coming.  Blizzard warning for today until 6 AM tomorrow, so this guys not leaving the house for awhile.  What to do? Tie flies.  Shown above are 3 dozen that I just tied for Reel Recovery Missouri's event in April. They will have up to 15 men with cancer in the program.  It sounds like a good thing for these men, so I thought I'd do my part to help out. So far, I've tied 15 size 20 Griffith's Gnats and 30 size 14 Cracklebacks (15 each in two colors). The materials for the gnats are in the picture, along with a bobbin I just finished.

I'll add the web site for two of my favorite organizations, Reel Recovery (for men with cancer) and Project Healing Waters ( for disabled vets).  Both of these help their members through fly fishing.  I've met some wonderful people through PHW. 

One of my buddies just reported that he caught 46 nice Rainbows at Taneycomo yesterday.  He said number 47 broke him off and he was too cold to tie on another fly.  Way to go Russ!!! One of these days I'll have to see how well he counts.

We're waiting for confirmation of our flights for Alaska.  I'm going to fly fish and Gary will use spinning tackle. I expect we'll both have fun. Now its time to tie some more flies for the Alaska trip.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What a day

this is going to be I thought.  First six casts, two fish.  It was a pretty day, so like about 100 other fishermen, I headed to Taneycomo.  This was my first trip there this year. About 2 and a half hours after those first six casts, and at least 10 or 12 fly changes, I still had only two takes.  Like I said "what a day".

I had arrived too late to get into my favorite spots without crowding others, so I started a little downstream from where I normaly fish.  At first this seemed like it would be fine, but then they just quit.  Meanwhile, the two guys just upstream where I wanted to be were landing one fish after another.  I knew they were fishing a different type fly than what I was using because they were both using indicators.  Finally, while I had stopped to tie on another fly, I noticed their casts.  About 3 or 4 feet upstream, then dodge the indicator as it came toward them and if they hadn't picked up a fish by 6 or 8 feet downstream, start all over again. Yes, they were even doing a little dance with each fish they caught...I think its called the "Taneycomo Shuffle".

Even worse, just upstream from them was another shuffler, no indicator and he was "snagging" fish at his feet.  The only time his line was more than 3 feet from him is when he had a fish on.  I used the term snagging because I saw at least 2 fish that were foul hooked.

Well, in spite of all the shufflers, the fishing was good even if the catching wasn't.  It was a beautiful day on the water.  Just downstream from me was a large flock of gulls and one time there was a flock of blue heron, at least 12 or 15 flying around.  Also, I just got a new 4wt rod from Backcountry Outfitters and it was casting beautifully, just not where the fish were.

Now I'm going to try something to see what happens.  This site has a Facebook button and I'm going to see what happens when I try that. Will there be a link to the blog on Facebook or will the entire blog appear.  Maybe neither, I don't know.  But I'm about to find out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First ties for Alaska

The trip is still months off, but I'm getting excited.  Shown below are the first four flies I've tied.  These were recommended by the lodge owners.

The Battle Creek

Polar Shrimp

Green Butt Skunk

Pink  Butt Skunk

This was the first time I tied any of these patterns.  They sure are colorful.  I'll tie several of each pattern then try a few different ones.  If you look close at these, you'll discover one of the reasons I sometimes call myself the ugly fly tyer.  At least they usually catch fish.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Busy Weekend

MTFA tied flies at the Springfield Nature Center yesterday from 1 until 4.  We had lots of interested viewers and hopefully will gain a few new members.  Lots of youngsters tied their first flies with the help of members. I took advantage of the demonstration to tie patterns for my upcoming Alaska trip,  I tied both green-butt and red-butt skunks, battle creeks, and polar shrimp.  I think everyone involved had a good time.

Today SMFF had their annual winter trip to Roaring River.  I had a slow day on the water, only one good hook-up ( on a Royal Wulff of all things).  Lots of good fish present, but they were particular. I tried soft hackles, woollies, Griffin's Gnats, patriots, and crackle backs.  Lots of looks, few takes.

It was a cold day, but pausing at noon for chili, brats, and lots of other goodies with fellow club members made it a good day. The highlight of the lunch break though was a bald eagle that flew above the river when I arrived at the pavilion.