Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Nobody is happier than I am to see that big yellow bus pull up to the end of the street again each weekday morning. The official sign that Summer is finally over. Many of my favorite float rivers are also a favorite of the Summer party crowd here in the Ozarks, but by this time of year all but a few stragglers have thrown in the proverbial towel. Vacation season is over, kids these days seem to have school related activities that take up most weekends and football season sucks what's left of the crowd off the river.
Ahhhhh...hear that? I don't either, the sound of peace and quiet has returned to the river.
This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year to be out floating and I usually try to take some time off work to take advantage of it. This year I took an entire week off work for my "Fall Break" and made plans to spend as much of the time as I could on the water.
My first destination was one of my favorite smallmouth rivers in Missouri. This one I have to all but give up to the float crowd between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the hordes of people and shenanigans that occur on this river all Summer long would make most folks shake their heads. I know I do.
This time of year the people have gone but the fish are still there. I often wonder what the view from below must be like for these fish all Summer, a constant above water circus making it's way downstream every day.
I ended up spending 2 1/2 days in the area and floated the main river as well as one of the tributaries that run into it. While the main river fished very well and had some really good flows, the trib I ended up spending a day on was still ultra clear and the fish were spooky. They kicked my butt on this body of water the day I fished it. Saw lots of fish but they saw me first! Give me a river to float and put a streamer rod in my hand and I'm a pretty happy camper though, the fish are just the icing.
The fishing wasn't great, but it was good. By good, I mean that I caught quite a few fish (more than expected actually) they just weren't the size I was hoping for. I had hopes that the cooler nights we'd been having might have triggered some of those beauties I connected with in the Spring to come back out and play once again. Alas, it just wasn't in the cards on this trip. I had one or two shots at quality fish that I somehow screwed up but for the most part didn't see many large fish and never landed anything over about 14". I think the excellent Springtime smallmouth fishing I had this year kind of spoiled me, but not so much that I can't still enjoy a peaceful day on the river catching numerous 10-12 inch smallies.
After a busy float season the campgrounds mostly all close their doors and probably sleep it off for several weeks (can't blame them actually) so I slummed it behind a buddys rental cabin in an empty RV spot. Nothing fancy but I had a piece of green grass under the tent and I could see the river from my chair around the firepit, that was all that I needed to unwind from lifes daily stresses.
I'll be planning a return trip in the near future for sure. Neither the river or myself was on our "A" game that weekend, after a long Summer I guess we both needed a little time to get back in the groove of things.
Here's to the next trip.....
Sunday, August 28, 2016
A small creek wandering through the Ozark hills, crystal clear waters giving residence to some of the most beautiful little wild rainbows to be found in this part of the country. It's a Tuesday and the usual competition that good-heartedly loves this little gem to death are all back to their weekday grind of school, work or whatever it is that keeps them from being here today. The reason is not important...just the result.
We've spent many a day walking these banks together, today as we wander along the shaded corridor and share it's beauty with some of the natural residents, it's not hard to see why it was always one of our favorite spots.
A 2 weight, a small hopper pattern with a GRHE dropper and a bottle of water are the only baggage required for this trip. Simple...and enjoyable.
This really isn't about the fishing though. The company itself, the streamside picnic lunch and the doe and yearling fawn you walked up on in the middle of the creek are but a few of the highlights that will be remembered long after the fish have been forgotten.
This was about spending some time with a best friend, sharing something one more time that you've enjoyed so many times together. Just another memory that won't soon be forgotten...