Monday, December 6, 2010

Current River 12/01 - 12/03 "Streamer Madness"

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With the week off work and decent weather predicted I decided to head South to spend a few days on one of my favorite Ozark rivers , the Current.
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Forecasters were predicting cold nights in the lower 20's with temps warming up into the mid 40's during the day, perfect fishing weather right? I hit the road early Wednesday morning with plans to camp a couple nights along the river and be headed home Friday evening just as the weekend boys started arriving. Pulled into Montauk State Park before 10:00am on Wednesday and grabbed the very last campsite in the loop, this put me within a 100 yard walk of the beginning of the Blue Ribbon trout water.
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I'm not sure how many campsites are in the park (I'd guess 450) but I was the only camper in the entire place for both of the nights I stayed.
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Who says winters not a great time to camp?? You just need a big ass fire every night and a heater for the tent , warmth is highly overrated anyway.
The first day it was closing in on noon when Joe and I hit the water.
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I love to throw streamers on this river and seeing as I hadn't been here in a while I was itching to do some stripping. I spent several evenings before the trip tying up size 4 wooly buggers in various colors so I started off with one of those in olive.
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It didn't take very long to hook up with a healthy Current River bow.
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I worked my way downstream from the wire to well below the rock garden, throwing streamers the entire time. Good numbers of rainbows and several decent browns were landed on my first stretch of water so I was completely stoked for the weekend.
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By the time I checked my watch it was already 3:00pm and time to turn and fish our way back. I switched up fly colors and worked my way back, catching several more fish before arriving back at the wire just as the sun was setting behind the hills.
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Dinner was a quick bowl of hot soup and some homemade bread. After sitting around the fire for a while the dog was getting cold so we retired to the tent where I tied a few flys while watching one of the "Trout Bum Diaries" movies.
The second morning dawned cloudy and cold with a heavy frost on everything in site. A quick breakfast in the heated tent and then it was into a pair of waders for the rest of the day.
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I decided to drive down river to Baptist Access and spend the morning working my way downstream from there. After not seeing another soul on the river yesterday it wasn't any surprise to find an empty parking lot. I put on another color variation of bugger and started fishing right at the access. Within several strips of my first cast I was hooked up with one of many bows that would take the yellow and white bugger pattern that morning.
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It ended up being my top producing fly for both rainbows and browns this trip. It was great to fish as well because of it's visibility in the slightly colored water , it allowed me to keep my eye on the fly 90% of the time which definitely resulted in more hookups. More than once I watched a fish come out from behind a rock and chase the fly but stop short , many times if I paused the fly and then stripped quickly it was more than the fish could take and it would take the fly.
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This is streamer fishing at it's best and I was having a ball. Most fish caught were average size bows but every once in a while you'd see that buttery yellow flash and know that you were tight to another Current River brown.
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I fished below Baptist all morning and then ate a quick sandwich at the truck before hitting the upstream section for a few hours in the afternoon. Same story here, rainbows mixed in with the occasional brown all falling to a quickly stripped streamer pattern.
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I did encounter my first fisherman on the river late Thursday afternoon just above Baptist, we visited for a few minutes and discovered that we both had the same idea of throwing streamers in the slightly high and off colored water. I wished him success and we parted ways with a friendly good-bye, each secretly hoping that we wouldn't encounter each other again on the water.
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We got back to camp just before dark, tired...a little chilled from the long day and ready for some rest. One more day of fishing left and I just hoped it was as good as the first two.
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The last day dawned clear and was probably the coldest morning of all. Everything had a heavy frost covering and a dense fog was rolling off the water.
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This made it all the more tough to get motivated and crawl out of the heated tent. Even so, Joe and I were on the water by 7:30am ready to hit it again.
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I decided to fish below the wire again in the morning and then after packing up camp at lunch finish out the day somewhere else.
By this stage of the trip I only needed one flybox (the streamer box) in my arsenal, I hadn't put on an indicator or nymph all weekend and saw no need to start now.
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We worked our way down past the Rock Garden again with just about the same results as the first day, minus the browns.
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The bows just couldn't resist that yellow/white bugger pattern stripped in front of their noses. I finally saw my second fisherman as well on my way back upstream, we were headed in opposite directions and a quick nod in passing was the last I saw of him. That's pretty much what I had hoped for, two other fishermen seen on the water in three days. Gotta love this mid-week winter fishing.
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We got back at camp just about lunch time so after a quick bite I packed up camp and then headed back to Tan Vat to finish off the day. The weather was beautiful and the rainbows were cooperating nicely so it was extremely hard to make myself call it an afternoon. It was one of those times when every fish becomes the "just one more" fish, and 15 more minutes turns into another hour.
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Finally, I knew we had to quit and make the long drive back to KC. This river seldom dissapoints and it definitely didn't this trip. Lots of bows and 8 or 10 browns over the three day trip was more than I could have hoped for.
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Here's to a warm, dry winter and several more of these type trips before spring arrives and brings with it the onslaught of fair weather fishermen. Until next time.....
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