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.