Sunday, October 16, 2011

St. Francis River, Wayne County, Missouri October 14th, 2011: Got a little action before the front moved in

Kayak fishing St. Francis River, Missouri


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I put the kayak in at the Greenville area (run by Corps of Engineers).  This is the point where the St. Francis River starts to turn into Lake Wappapello.  I decided to paddle up stream on the St. Francis River side.  The weather was interesting.  It started at about 80 degrees and sunny.  As I set out to paddle, it started to get real windy.  By the end of the trip, it was cloudy, cool, and I ended up putting on the sweater I had packed earlier.  I am really glad I brought it.  The high cirrus clouds looked like they were moving about 80 mph.  It was a cold front moving in for sure.


I really thought there would be a shot at some smallmouths, but they were quite.  I did catch a fairly nice sized Largemouth Bass on my standard- texas rigged Zoom trick worm.  I only caught one, but the fight was excellent with this guy.

It is interesting the difference in the experience kayaking in regards to comparing a SOT fishing kayak vs. a sea kayak.  I really enjoy fishing off of both, and can see now why both are excellent.  Soon I will probably be moving back to the sea kayak with the temperatures getting cold.  My intent is to kayak all year, including the winter time.  I know that I can navigate the SOT with a pair of waders and a rain jacket, but my hopes are to get a Kokatak wet suit this year.  The cold weather should not stop us from getting up on the water.

Fish ON!

Mike

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lake Atkins, Pope County, Arkansas: Great lake with lots of structure

Kayak Fishing Lake Atkins, Arkansas


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Lake Atkins is located in central Arkansas between Little Rock and Ft. Smith.  I brought my SOT fishing kayak, "The Bossy Flossy" along for the trip.  I was able to get a couple of hours of fishing in before the sun started to go down (I figured the fishing would turn on towards sunset).  I paddled across the lake and drifted along shore.  This lake is chock-full of trees, stumps and structure.  I had read that it was drained in 2002 and restocked with Florida-strain Largemouth bass. 


It is a nice sized lake, and looks like one that does not receive as much pressure due to the stumps and the location.
I was throwing a lot of stuff out trying to get something to hit.  I have not had a lot of success the last couple of trips, so I was really hoping to catch something (It is funny how if you do not catch a bass after about the 3rd trip you start to wonder if you can remember how to fish!!). 


I put out some white spinners, mini spinners with minnow, stand up jig with hula grubs, texas rigged dark worms.  What I had success on was what my go to has been for 2011- watermelon zoom trick worm texas rigged on spinning rod.  And sure enough, caught it in some trees, right about sunset.

Fish ON!

Mike

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lake Sherwood, Warren County, MO September 10th, 2011: Some action heating up with the Largemouths!



This was a kayak fishing trip that I had set out to harvest some fish for an evening dinner.  The day was cool and beautiful.  I have had some incredible stringers and large catches in the month of September, so I was really looking forward to the fishing!

I was on the main lake and kayaked most of it.....cool temperatures after Labor Day are excellent for kayak fishing, due to the fact that you have most of the lake to yourself, without much motor traffic.
I had a spinning rod with a bottom rig/night crawler set up (which can be a great rig when the panfish really fire up) however, I did not have much luck with that rig.  Lake Sherwood has a "Under 12" take all you can Largmouth Bass" set up, so I figured I would try and take enough for a small meal for myself once I got home.  I accomplished the goal on this trip!

I had the most success on a texas rigged watermelon trick worm (6")....that has been my "go to" worm this year in regards to bass fishing...once again it delivered!

fish ON!

Mike

Friday, September 9, 2011

Loutre River, Montgomery County, Missouri Sept 5th, 2011: lots of fish in shallow pools- but you have to get to them!



This was a challenging kayak fishing trip on the Loutre River, Missouri.  The word "river" really should be replaced with "stream".  I ended up going about 4.5 miles total, but I think half of that time was spent portaging with my kayak cart (really glad I decided to bring it along!).  No complaints, however.  It was a really nice day to be out, cooler than normal, and windy. 
As I looked at the water on this stream, I really started to wonder if there were any fish.  Some spots had quite a bit of bright algea growth (I bet some of it had to do with some agricultural run off- some was probably natural). 

About half way through the trip, I caught the shadow under the kayak of a huge Gar..big fish, small pool!.

As you watch the film , you will see the typical catch on this stream.  No smallmouths, but all Largemouths.  I also caught quite a few really small sunfish as well.  I had a gold mini spinner, with a red jig head and a plastic minnow.  This seemed to really tear them up.  Almost all of them were laying deep in structure or in grass next to shore with heavy rocks...structure is key in a small stream. 
Now here is what is great about small stream fishing- you are probably the first fisher they have seen!  I could tell that this is a spot that a lot of people do not fish.  Probably due to the fact that the fish are typically smaller and the effort to get to some of these spots is intense at times.  It is a lot of fun to see what you will pull from a stream in Missouri!

fish ON!

Mike

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coffeen Lake, Montgomery County, Illinois, August 14th, 2011: Incredible day of Largmouth fishing!



Coffeen Lake is one of 3 nice size lakes around Litchefield, IL. I fished this lake in May with my friend Ray off the kayaks, and we had a little success then, so I figured I would come back. I am glad I did....This lake has some really nice Largmouths in it!
The lake is still a little high- I was going to try and paddle the whole lake, but there is a railroad track levy half through it. Due to the high water, you cannot go through the tunnel (it is almost entirely under water.
I caught over (7) bass, a few in the 15-16" range. What I noticed about the ones I caught at this fishery were how fat they were. Little footballs! Also, I noticed what fight they had! I have caught a few bass in last months that have been like catching a branch, but not these. I really thought at first I had landed a smallmouth or something.
My success was based on a spinning rod, with a carolina rig, and a zoom trick worm. I think the secret today was the carolina rig. I think this rig causes action on the worm, but not as much horizontal movement. Could that be the secret to getting on large numbers of bass in the late summer? I am looking forward to trying this at Table Rock Lake in a few weeks as see if it holds true there as well.
Fish ON!
Mike

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trout Fishing Roaring River SP and Bennett Spring SP, Late July 2011



I took a few weeks off with the kayak, and decided to dust off the trout gear and fly rods and head out to Roaring River SP (near Cassville, MO) and Bennett Spring SP (near Lebanon, Mo) on this particular week.  It felt good to get the waders on again, but it was very hot out. 
At Roaring River we fished about 1/2 day, and I caught one on a silver/blue Little Cleo spoon.  We also worked powerbait trout worms and eggs, but that was all we caught for the day.  The fishing seemed to be a bit slow, possibly due to the heat.
A few days later I hit Bennett Springs.  I caught one nice trout on a spoon, and fished every zone.
Started in zone 3 with soft plastic worms, then I went to zone 2 and threw a Little Cleo Spoon (this is where I caught my fish at Bennett, and finally I ended the day in Zone 1 with a fly rod (no luck there).  Overall, it was great to get out and do this type of fishing.  A lot of things differ between going after bass/panfish type fish and going after trout.  It was good to at least get re-versed again in the differences.

Fish ON!

Mike

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Table Rock Lake, Stone County, MO July 6th 2011: Very, Very light bite on Table Rock

video


Table Rock still is a little high, but it is much closer to normal pool than when I had kayaked it 4 weeks ago.  This weekend (the 4th) the boat traffic was incredible.  I am thinking it was good for the local economy, at least I am hoping it was.

I was using Zoom Pumpkin trick worms on a texas rig when I caught the bass in the video above.  I was getting a lot of taps, but it seemed eveytime I pulled back to set the hook....nothing.  I had debated going to a small set up on the spinning rod (maybe a small spinner) but decided to keep with what I had.  I also was throwing a Chomper Hula Grub on a stand up jig.  This time of the year, the smallmouths really seem to be prevalent when it gets warm, so I figured that would be a good strategy...not this time.

They are really deep so I was fishing 14' of the shore and points....sometimes it is just hard to figure them out.

Fish ON!

MLT

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Niangua River, Laclede County, MO. June 28th: Beautiful Ozark river with some incredible smallie fishing!



I have always wanted to hit the Niangua River in the Missouri Ozarks, and finally got an opportunity to kayak and fish it.  The water is fairly swift, so kayaking upstream and drift fishing down was a challenge, but I was able to get it done.  Did a little over 2 miles, due to the fact that I had to portage quite a few times due to the depth and swiftness of the current. 
If you take a look at the film, I caught the first small Smallmouth on a Rattle Trap.  It then got a tad slow for about an hour, but really turned on right before I was getting ready to take out.  River bend + current in grass + Gene Larew Salt Craw= success!!

Felt so good getting up on these incredible bass....I have quite a new addiction now- Smallie Fishing!  Caught one at 16" and one at about 14" and then the small one before I headed out.  This strip had quite a bit of canoe traffic, so I do not know if it would be a good weekend river (maybe in the fall when people do not float as much).

Fish ON!

Mike

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kayak Fishing off Hatterras Island, Pamilico Sound, North Carolina: Wide variety of saltwater fish in the sound!



This is a compilation of a couple of days of kayak fishing on the sound in North Carolina.  I ended up renting a Necky kayak (very happy with) instead of bringing either my sea kayak or fishing kayak.  It was easier than loading on top of the durango we took to get there.
The needle fish was a real kick to catch (it is the gar looking fish about halfway in the video).  This was the one I landed (I lost 2 other due to the fact that they snapped the line with their sharp teeth).  These fish are fun to catch.   They hit the bait hard and run with it, jumping out of the air and flipping around....what a rush!
I got a better nav map of the sound, so when I go back next year, I will go out even farther and catch even more fish.  What a great experience!

fish ON!

Mike

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fishing the Miss Hatteras, Odens Dock, North Carolina: Great time saltwater fishing on the gulf stream




I know this does not count as the Midwest, however, as director of the site I am going to take artistic license and allow occasional Outer Banks, NC post on this, as well as other locals as I see fit.  We come out to the Outer Banks every year for our family vacation, and it is one of my favorite places on earth.  I have another post coming soon in regards to some kayak fishing as well.

The Miss Hatteras is a head boat (which means you pay by the head, not by the boat).  We first went out with them a few years ago and really enjoyed the experience.  Captain Ron and Natalie do an incredible job and work real hard to get the clients on fish.  The fishing was not as good as a couple of years ago, but we still got on some fish, which is more than I can say in comparison to some of the trips I have gone on this year myself.  They are docked at Odens Dock, North Carolina.  I do not think they have a web site (or else I would link it) but you can look it up on the dock site through the Internet.  If you are coming out, I would recommend them highly.

Caught a nice Sea Bass, but that was about it.  Charlie got on a few more fish than I did, but none of his were keepers (he even caught a shark)

Really looking forward to coming back to the OBX to get back on the Miss Hatteras

Fish ON!

Mike

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kings River, Arkansas June 8th, 2011: Smallies really were turned on, fishing excellent!



It is kind of funny how it works sometimes.  The weekend before I was fishing a kayak fishing tournament in Faytteville, Arkansas on the Illinois River and just could not get up on any kind of substantial fish (did catch one smallie that was about 9")

The table turned on the Kings River on this day.  The river is still really up, due to the fact the Table Rock Lake is up.  The first fish I started to catch were Largemouth Bass.  As I started to paddle in, that is when the Smallmouth Bass started to hit, and they hit strong.  Caught a nice 16" beauty that really made my day!  I ended up paddling about 6 miles that day (3 in against the current, and 3 back in drift fish mode)  Incredible day of fishing, will be back sometime soon.

It seems like the best success I have had this year in the Ozarks has been from about 4:00-7:30 p.m. in the evening (seems like this pattern was even true in March).

Flow(cfs): 880
Guage Height: 4.5'

Fish ON!

Mike

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Illinois River, Benton County, Arkansas, June 4th, 2011: Competed in Riverbassin. paddle fishing tournament for first time

Illinois River Arkansas- Kayaking and fishing


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I got a chance to compete in first every kayak fishing tournament for the riverbassin' tournament trail , which made a stop in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  I really did not due too well on this tournament this time.  I originally had kayaked the day before on the White River just south of Beaver Lake, but at the last minute I changed my strategy and fished the Illinois River, a much swifter, colder river than the White River at that point.  I am not really sure if that affected the outcome or not....I do have to say that the river as absolutly beautiful, as the video below will show.  I got some great shots and really challenged myself as a kayaker and sometimes that is just as important as getting on fish....except when you are fishing a tournament!

I did catch one smallmouth that measured out at 9", but I did not catch the fish until almost 2:00 p.m.  Very unfortunate considering I struck out at 6:00 a.m..
I think the biggest mistake I made was not bringing some full sized spinner baits with grubs as trailers.  I have caught some huge smallmouths in the past with that lure, and for some reason or another, I did not included in my tackle box.  My concept was throw hula grubs on stand-up gigs (Chompers plastics)...no go on this run.

Here is what is cool about fishing the rivers and lakes from a kayak- you always are learning new things.  A few days later I tore it up based on some of the lessons I learned on this outing. Life is good :)  Watch the video below- I think you will dig it!

Flow (cfs): 1100
Guage Height: 6.5'

Fish ON!

Mike

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Table Rock Lake, Aunts Creek Access, Stone County, MO: Lake still real high, got a little action in the trees



I got a chance to get a nice kayak paddle in on Table Rock Lake, Aunts Creek area.  I did about 5.5 miles to end of the Aunts Creek arm and back.  The first half was all about getting to the mark with the kayak, the second half was about the fishing.  Was a little slow, but got a couple of hits and a small smallmouth on a zoom finesse worm, Texas rigged.  Was throwing right in the trees.
The second video below was from kayaking a couple of nights before, right as the sun was going down....no fish pictures in this video, but there are some really gorgeous shots, and if you have not been down here, it gives you a visual of how high the water is.  Good news is that Beaver Lake, Arkansas is down, so Table Rock Lake should be next...enjoy!

Fish ON!

Mike



Kayaking 5.5 miles on Table Rock Lake, Missouri


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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lake Kincaid, Jackson County, Illinois May 29th 2011: Lake and small creek fishing all in one trip!

Windy kayaking adventure at Lake Kincaid, Illinois


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This was a fun fishing trip on a really hot day.  Launched the kayak on the north part of the lake, but was really having to fight off the wind and the boat traffic.  Decided to paddle to my right and go about 3/4 of a mile into a small creek that empties into Lake Kincaid.  Was catching some Largemouth Bass on a roadrunner with black/yellow grub.  I almost forgot how much fun it is to fish smaller flowing waters.  Due to water levels, it has been real difficult getting out on the streams and rivers this year.
I look forward to coming back to this lake....it is a lake know for it's Muskie fishing.  That would be a real trip catching one on a kayak sometime!



Fish ON!

MLT

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coffeen Lake, Montgomery County, Illinois: Very nice Illnois power plant lake with a lot of potential!



Got a chance to get a quick trip in to Coffeen Lake, Illinois yesterday.  This lake is very close to Litchefield, Illinois, and is about an hour north of St. Louis.  A lot of time Illinois lakes are overlooked by Missouri anglers, including myself.  It is official- I am now licensed in Illinois!  So I intend on coming back often.  What I like about the lakes in Central and Southern Illinois is the fact that they are closer to the St. Louis metro area than comparable lakes on the Missouri side (and that is not a criticism of Missouri lakes!)

This is a power plant lake, so I can imagine there are parts of the lake that you can fish all year.  I can also imaging that the growing season is longer, and the potential for monster bass is definite.
We put in on the north side of the lake, and paddled for about 2 miles or so.  My friend Ray went about double that, but I was getting on some fish, so I slowed down to fish it.  Did not tear it up, but caught a small one and a medium sized one. The regulations on the lake for Largemouth bass are (1) over 15" and (2) under 15" (no slot).  I also noticed that the lake has stripers, and a (10) total, 10" limit on crappie.
Caught my first small bass on a roadrunner with a white grub (kind of my go to since I caught that huge bass on Table Rock) and then with the overcast skies, I switched to a texas-rigged black culprit worm (this is my go to when it gets cloudy out).  That was the bait I caught the biggest bass on.
I spoke with another fisherman who was tearing it up.  He was catching on a white/chartreuse spinner (which out of all the lures, did not have that day).

The bass were literally jumping out of the water.....this is a lake I intend on coming back to in the future, as well as the other lakes that surround this area.

Fish ON!

MLT

Kayaking Coffeen Lake, Illinois


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lake Sherwood, Warren County, MO, April 20th, 2011: Panfish are starting to warm up.....



Lake Sherwood is probably like most lakes in east central Missouri right now....high with water!  I did not know how the fishing would be after we had that massive cold front move through yesterday.  It was colder than I expected when I got out there.  I am glad I keep my gore-tex jacket stored in the kayak just in case.

Picked up some nightcrawlers and had one of the rods set up for a bottom rig, but due to the wind and the fact that my sea kayak does not have an anchor, I went back to mini spinning rigs (silver or gold spinner, jig head and mini grub).  Caught a couple of nice bluegill and a small slot size bass (the slot at Sherwood is 12-15"). Really enjoyed my time out in the water.
If you watch the video, I get the jig stuck in my hand about 2/3rd through it.  I like how I just tried to shake it off.

The thing to remember about sea kayaks and fishing is that there are some limitations.  I bought a rod leash and some foam rod floats.....leash D hook was cheap, fell off, and actually lost it in the water.  Rod fell in water and turned kayak around to find in floating.  Rod leash= FAIL  Rod Float= thumbs up!  Keep that in mind if you are fishing from a sea kayak.  I will be breaking the SOT fishing kayak out very soon.

Fish ON!

MLT

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lake Ft. Smith, Arkansas, April 8th, 2011: Some success with Crappies!

What an incredible lake!  I only had a few hours to kayak and check this lake out, but I made sure to bring my fishing pole along.  Caught a few small Largemouth Bass, and then hit a log with a bunch of "bigger than your hand" crappies.  What a fun spell of fishing!




It seems like right now the roadrunner/white grub is the lure of choice with all the fishing I am doing.  Started throwing a small beetle spin and then switched to the roadrunner.  I was using 6# test, which I think helped with this lake.  Seems almost as clear as Table Rock Lake.

The lake has expanded....according to my GPS, I was on land the beginning of the paddle trip.  Lake Shepard Springs had the dam breached and it merged with Lake Ft. Smith.  Nice, large lake in NW Arkansas.  Really looking forward to going back.

Fish ON!

MLT

Friday, March 25, 2011

Table Rock Lake, Stone County, Missouri March 25th 2011: Dogwood trees start to bloom, monster pig bass come out to play in the ozarks!



I got a chance to get the kayak out for a few hours and decided to paddle and fish Table Rock Lake.  This is the largest bass I have caught in a really long time (maybe ever).  I was fishing a cove with a white roadrunner with a small white mister twister grub attached, kind of bouncing off the bottom.  When she bit, I thought it was a snag, but then the line started moving the other direction.  It was a real challenge landing on a sea kayak.  She had me running around the cove for a little bit.

I was really concerned because I was using a spinning rod with 8# test. I was thinking "this water is so clear, I should have packed the rod that had 6# loaded"...glad I did not!  I did not have a measuring tool, however I got it laid up against my rod and it went past the Shakespeare ugly stik logo.  When I get back I will get it measured out.

I am almost thinking this is a spotted bass.  I know the second smaller one is.  The lateral line on the fish would leave me to believe that it is....

Fish ON!

MLT

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We have a new website featuring hiking and backpacking- www.hikethemidwest.com


We are proud of our newest online newsletter, http://www.hikethemidwest.com/ .  I promise this will be the last website.  I have had so many cool and incredible outdoor adventures that go beyond fishing and kayaking, I felt that it needed it own website.  I think it is also important to keep blogs and newsletters on focus with the definite purpose of why they are created in the first place.

Currently in the St. Louis area as I write this it is -5 degrees, so all I have to say is "Think Spring"!

If you are into hiking and backpacking, please check it out, and feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe if you would like.

Fish ON!

MLT

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Clarksville Dam- check out the piled up ice on the Mississippi River!



I almost bet you could walk across the ice to the other side- but I wouldn't try it!

Think Spring!

Fish ON,

MLT