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..