Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bennett Spring, Laclede County, MO. Oct 29th: Streaming Wolley Buggers is the key!

Arrived at Bennett Spring around 2:00 p.m. and had a chance to hit the water for a couple of hours....fished it about 2 1/2 hours. A big rain front was moving in for later, so I was curious how well the fishing would be....either real good or real bad.
I spent the whole time in the spot right below the first falls. Flow was very sporty and was at a nice pace. Some things I have learned this year as an angler: I think 9' leaders will work better for you in most applications opposed to the 7.5' leaders.....just a thought. When I rigged up this time, I made sure to strip off the tippet and tied on 5x tippet for stripping wooley buggers.
Cast out into the current and let the current strip out the it down stream about 15' and then slowly stripped back to the wooley bugger was actually swimming up river. Caught (3) trout using this method. I was using this technique right in the seam of the river (where the fast pace hits the slack water). I really enjoy this technique to acquire trout. It seems like as we get later in the year, this is a great method (opposed to dead drift fishing nymphs).
Even if I was not to catch a trout one, the day was absolutely gorgeous and well worth the couple of hours spent...what a great day!
Fish ON!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Montauk SP, Current River, Oct. 25th: Fished in and out of the rain

The weather was very changeable on this day, but we decided to head out super early....we have had so much rain this month! My sister got a new pair of waders and we wanted to try them out, so we headed down to Montauk on the Current River. This is one of my favorite parks and probably the least fished due to location.
When we got out on the water, we hit the fly waters first. I was in the water for a while and noticed a hatch. I also noticed that there were trout together right in front of a rock coming up and hitting on things towards the top near the film of the water. I took the wooley bugger off and tied on a really, really small emerger type nymph and cast out in front of where they were at. Second cast caught a really nice one. Seemed like it took at least 10 min. to land it...I had really thin (7x) tippet tied on, so I did not want to horse it in and either break the tippet or leader. I was also upstream from where it struck, so that made it a bit of a challenge as well.
Jenni did not fare quite as well, but she was still getting accustomed to the spinning rod and rooster tails. We will get her started off on the fly rod once she masters the spinning outfit.
Took a lunch break and it was raining very, very hard. We sat in the car for awhile afterwards, and then decided to get the rain gear on and fish some kind of a miracle, the sun came out, and the rest of the day ended up being better than the first half!
Fish ON!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Roaring River, Cassville, MO. October 14th & 15th: River up, Trout hitting on Wooley Buggers big time

I got a chance to get on the Roaring River for two short spells this week. I got a new pair of waders (we finally retired the old Hodgeman waders due to leaks that we could just not fix) so I wanted to give them a try out as well. They performed excellent and were so much lighter than the old Hodgman rubber/canvas one boot waders. I got a pair of Simms goretex w/ seperate felt soled boots....big difference!
The first visit I got out on the water around 4:00 p.m.--fishing closes at 6:30, so I only had a couple of hours to really fish. My favorite part of Roaring River is the fly fishing/catch and release waters. Started off throwing a Zebra Midge...I have had success throwing these along with a yarn strike indicator. The water is up about 5-7 " with quite a pace, so I figured maybe I should move to something else. Tied on a grey wooley bugger and started to get hits right off the bat. Caught a nice one right before the horn went off, but it snapped the tippet I had on....I had a 7X tippet tied. After some thought, I realized that the tipppet really needs to be adjusted to the water conditions. Light tippet is great if you have gin-clear waters that are low and especially if you are fishing midges, but for these conditions, and throwing heavier flies like wooley buggers, I realized I would need something like a 5 or 6x tippet. Weather was overcast, cold, with moments of drizzle....perfect!
The next day, I came back to the same spot. I only had a two hour break, so I knew I need to be more efficient. I changed the tippet out to a heavier one (5x) and started to throw grey cone bead wooley buggers with a couple of pieces of split shot as well to get it down in the water column.
Here is a technique that worked out really well for me. Cast straight out into the current, and then start stripping line. got it about 20' downstream, then started to slowly stripping it it right in the seam where the main current and the slack water hit. These streams are like a conveyor belt of food for the trout, so that was the perfect spot. Caught 4 trout that day using this technique. Cool and totally overcast skies. I think this brought the trout out of structure and into the main channel.
fish ON!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Meremac River, St. Louis County, MO: Smallie was a biggie!

Put the Kayak in at the Route 66 SP boat ramp just south of Hwy 44 in St. Louis County, MO. Got out about 11:30 a.m. and fished until about 5:30 p.m. Fishing today was excellent!! Water temp is running about 62 degrees. This part of the Meremac River runs about 10-14 feet deep in most spots and is nice an wide. We paddled probably about 1.5 miles upstream.
Caught several drum on bottom rigs....they were on today! Too bad drum do not make very good table fare, or I would have taken some home to eat. Figured out how to kayak w/ cooler temperatures and cooler water...hip waders. Felt a little cumbersome at first, but once you get used to wearing them while kayaking, it is not a problem.
Ancored up in a nice and rocky area with good vegetation. Caught a nice eating sized channel catfish, but chose to throw it back. Caught another really weird looking catfish. Had the head of a flathead, but with black splotches all over it.....I will have to look this one up to see what kind of a catfish it was. The weird thing was when I caught these catfish (bottom rig with nightcrawler), I actually brought up some huge shells. This is proof that their is a shell bed under that water at the bend...perfect for catfish (they like to lay in shell beds)....I will have to keep this spot in my memory.
The smallie is the real story....measured out at 15"...which is very large for a small mouth. What a pig! He was huge! Caught him on a white spinner w/white grub trailer in about 6 feet of water, pushing the spinnner bait upstream right next to the vegetation line. This is the biggest smallmouth bass I have caught so far. I caught one on the James River near Springfield, MO. that was similar in length, but it was not nearly as fat as this one....what a rush!!
Fish ON!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mark Twain Lake, Monroe County, MO, Sept. 27th: Front moves in, Fishing a little slow- very windy

The water temperature is starting to go down in the lakes across Missouri. The temperature was around 65 degrees (it was at around 72 the week before). Put the kayak out off Hwy J, Lick Creek access.
Was only out about 4 hours or so....Mark Twain Lake gets real choppy when the wind comes out. Caught a little drum on a nightcrawler bottom rig. Thinking back, probably should have thrown different crank baits, etc. Was throwing Texas rigged worms, as well as Rattle traps w/ no success.....
Fish ON!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

whetstone Creek CA, Callaway County, MO.: Black Culprit worms hit again!

A front was supposed to move in Friday, but the day ended up being incredible! I got a chance to head up to Whetstone CA in Callaway County, MO. to fish one of my favorite spots, Big Lake. The water temp is still real warm (75 degrees) so there is a lot of cooling down to do before fall.
This lake is so reminds me of going up north when I was a kid and fishing for Pike in Canada.
Started up by using the go-to bait for 2009, the Gulp Alive! watermelon worm. Did not have a lot of success with it, so as the shade spots started to form later in the day, I switched over to a 7" black Culprit Worm...boom! First cast caught a nice slot bass and threw him back in. I also had a spinning rod rigged with a barrel rig, leader and a circle hook w/ nightcrawler. Caught several nice bluegill with this method. I was surprised I did not catch any channel cats.
Decided to go ahead and harvest my catch...there is nothing better than fresh catch in the frying pan! is how God intended it for all of us!
Fish ON!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mark Twain Lake, Monroe County, Mo: Huge Flathead caught on black Culprit Worm from Kayak

Fished Mark Twain Lake Saturday, September 19th. I have not had my Kayak on a large body of water yet, so I thought this would be a good experience. I was kayaking/fishing the Elk Fork of Mark Twain. Started to kayak upstream so I could float back with the current. I think the lesson learned is that when rivers stop at large lakes, the current really becomes a non-factor. The wind and cloud bank was more of a factor than the current. Before I put in, I originally went down the elk to the Sante Fe access. The water on the lake appears to be about 4-5 feet low, so this was not a viable option for this day.
Started off throwing texas rigged Gulp Alive watermelon worms and Jig/Chomper hula grub combos along with the traditional slip bobber and night crawler combo.
Caught a nice Buffalo in about 10' of water (middle of the channel close to the boat ramp). The weather got changeable fast, so I paddled about 3/4 of a mile back towards the boat ramp earlier. After I fished the put in point for awhile, it looked like the weather was going to stay off, so I paddled toward the lake and went under the bridge into the waterfoul refuge area of the lake. It got real dark, so I went to a black Culprit worm. Spoke with a few boaters about the bass fishing....sounded like it was slow for everyone (very surprising with a front getting ready to move in).
Caught a really nice Flathead Catfish in about 4 feet of water laying close to shore. He struck on a Black Culprit Worm, texas rigged on a quantum rod and reel, 17# test. When I pulled up, I thought I had a snag, but the line started to move in the opposite direction...I knew at that point we had something good. I thought for a moment I was going to have to de-anchor the kayak to keep it from tipping over. As I was getting it towards the kayak, I still thought it was a large bass, but when it went to dive to the bottom, I knew I probably had a catfish. He was a good one!
Got back to the car soon after and headed back.....great day on the lake!
Fish ON!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rocky Fork Lakes CA, Boone County, MO.: Main lake very healthy and productive!

I finally got a chance to fish Rocky Fork Lake at Rocky Fork Lakes CA in Boone County (about 6 miles north of Columbia, MO.) I have fished this very healthy lake before, but never was able to really explore it due to lack of kayak has changed all of that!
A nice upgrade if you like to Kayak fish is the Eagle fish finder. I have used this over the years with rental boats from the Conservation department, but never really thought about attaching it to my kayak (goes on with a suction cup, runs on AAA batteries). It has been a big difference maker...not as much in finding the fish, but determining depth and water temperature
Caught a nice sized bass (about 15" or so) using Gulp Alive! watermelon power worms. I have had a lot of success with these this year. Also caught quite a few Bluegill and a couple of channel cats using the time tested and proven method of slip bobbers and nightcrawlers.
This is a healthy lake. The main channel runs about 12-14 feet deep, with an average depth of about 6-9 feet in most places. Lots of good cover for bass.
Fish ON!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Salt River, Marion County, MO: Excellent Kayak River, some success with nightcrawlers

I decided to go somewhere new, and really wanted to get some kind of a kayak-river experience in for the day. Weather was perfect- 80 degrees with a light wind. So I went up to the Salt River in Marion County (about 8 miles south of Hannibal, MO.). This is a good river to float. Flow seemed less....matter of fact, the wind from the east was so strong, seemed like I was paddling against a "reverse current". I do not know if that is a term, but it is what it seemed like.
Had some nightcrawlers on a bottom rig and caught the drum. Ran into a few other people fishing who said it had been slow. River seemed on the fall- banks were damp 5' up. Sometimes rivers are slower when they are on the fall. This is true especially when it has man-made regulations (Mark Twain Lake-Clarence Cannon dam). Used some Gulp Alive worms as well as Chompers Hula grubs on a stand up jig. Also caught a huge Gizzard Shad on a nightcrawler/slip bobber. I can see why there were so many kingfishers and hawks. I even got a chance to see an eagle flying parallel to 40/61 highway.
River varied between 2' and 12' with the average being 5-6' at this flow. I have a picture of the old bridge column before they built the 40/61 bridge- interesting!
Fish ON!