Friday, February 25, 2011
Just last week when I was checking on the current water levels in several of the Ozarks streams on the USGS Water Chart I was thinking to myself how I hadn't ever seen so many of them in RED (below average conditions) at once before. I made the comment to a buddy later that day about how we could sure use some moisture to bring water levels up to normal conditions in several rivers we like to frequent.
Several weeks ago we had made a trip down to the NFOW for a weekend fishing trip and were amazed at how low and clear the river was. I had never fished it with a water level below about 650 cfs so the 300 cfs it was running at the time was a drastic change. The fishing was great and the river looked beautiful but we were dragging bottom in our pontoon boats at almost every riffle which made me wonder what it might look like if the dry spell continued on through spring and summer.
With a trip planned for the next several days I awoke this morning and pulled up the USGS site , knowing that the Ozark region had been getting the same rain/snow weather maker that we had just endured I was interested to see the changes. WOW!....what a difference 24 hours makes. The red dots had almost all been replaced with dark blue ones indicating water levels up into the 90th percentile. All of a sudden my thoughts of low water troubles turned 360 and I began to wonder if there was going to be any fishable water next week except below the controlled tailwaters? It appears as though the only river that didn't get a big boost in water levels was the Eleven Point and it could have used it as much as any of them. Some just came up to normal conditions for this time of year while others are a raging brown torrent as we speak and would no more resemble a trout stream than the muddy Marais Des Cygnes river just South of where I live here in Kansas. I guess as is always the case with mother nature , you take what you can get simply because we really don't have a choice!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
With the wife out of town at an equestrian event over the last weekend I got pet duty and therefore couldn't head South for my usual weekend off ritual. Of course the weather was nice so I pouted around the house cursing Kansas and all this frozen ass water we've got right now. I watched too much WFN (World Fishing Network) and got some things done around the house but by Monday I was getting the itch pretty bad. Wouldn't you know that a wonderful holiday like Valentines Day just happened to fall on a nice sunny day when I'd give about anything to be floating one of the Ozarks finest. I did the right thing (also the smart one) and stayed home , picking up the last minute card and chocalates as well as making her a huge seafood dinner when she got home from work. This kind of thing goes far a month from now when I just gotta be gone for 5 or 6 days on that trip to Iowa or Arkansas or wherever it might be.
Tuesday was open , but of course the weather was gonna get shitty compared to the last couple days. Oh well , I had to hit the water for an hour or so and this last warm stretch pretty much assured that the spillway below Clinton Lake would be free of ice.
I didn't really have much hope of doing any good...maybe catch a white bass or walleye if I got real lucky , but more likely that I might catch a roughfish or two, which I had no problem with. I love my trout and the beautiful places they like to live but a 10# drum or buffalo will make your hands shake and probably show you that backing you havn't seen since you tied on that last new flyline last year.
For you guys that havn't tried the whole trash fish scene ,by that I mean carp...drum...buffalo...gar...etc you owe it to yourself to head down to the nearest cesspool and swing a bugger through that shit. Once you've felt that pull you're hooked and a permanent denizen of the "Dark Side" of fly fishing. I'm still a newbie but I'm definitely hooked and plan on trying more frequently this year.
I had tied up a few shad colored clousers over the weekend in preparation for the trip so that's what I intended to fish with. I had the 5 weight rigged with a 9' sinking leader and a 24" piece of 8# flouro.
It didn't take 20 minutes to hook the first fish of the day , an asian carp (I think anyway..too many sub-species in this river for me to keep track) probably about 5 or 6 pounds.
Gave me a hell of a battle and a smile on my face that wouldn't leave the rest of the morning. After that first fish I continued to catch several others of various species and size. In the mix were 2 white bass..1 drum..1 buffalo and 4 asian carp that were fair hooked.
I foul hooked a small channel cat...a crappie and a couple small drum as well. There were obviously a few fish holed up in that area and some of them were getting hungry.
The real kicker though was the fish of the day , a jumbo asian carp. Now I've been told before that I didn't have enough rod for the task at hand (in more ways than one) but that was an understatement in this situation.
I fought this fish for what I would guess to be about 30 minutes , following him up and down the bank putting as much pressure on him as I dared. Honestly I figured it was a foul hooked fish, although I was hoping it wasn't , but either way I wanted to see this thing. My first glimpse I about wet myself...this thing looked huge and he was fair hooked as well. When I finally was able to land him it took both hands just to lift him up on the bank.
I took a few pics and then taped him against my flyrod for measurement later. My hands were shaking so bad I couldn't even re-tie my fly for a few minutes so I just sat there and smiled. Back home I put a tape up to my rod...46 inches of rod bending carp.
My biggest fish on a flyrod to date and one hell of a lot of fun. The pics don't do it justice but trust me it was a big fish , I've got a weight in my head but I'm not even gonna go there cause it's just a guess ,I'm happy with 46 inches!
Monday, February 7, 2011
The other night after work I had a couple hours to sit at the bench and do a little tying. On my latest trip, down on the NFOW, the fly that seemed to produce best for me was a Psycho Prince in purple.
This wasn't a case of me figuring out what the fish wanted but more a case of doing a little googling for hot patterns on the water I was going to fish. One fly that seemed to be at the top of almost all of the lists was either the Prince or Psycho Prince. I have to admit this isn't a fly I keep stocked in my flybox , although maybe I should after seeing the results. Before the trip I tied up about half a dozen Psycho Princes using purple and peacock ice dubbing.
Purple was a color commonly mentioned and I've had success with several other purple nymph variations over the years so it was an obvious choice.
Needless to say I only returned with one of the six Princes still in my flybox , having left the rest littered among the moss covered rocks in the NFOW river. When I sat down at my fly tying desk the materials needed were still scattered around the desktop from my last tying session so I decided now would be a good time to tie up a few more. I pretty much follow the original pattern on this one , pretty simple tie and it seems to work well. I did experiment with a few more colors of ice dub for the abdomen , claret and caddis green both produced a good looking fly that I think will catch fish equally well.
One thing I know for sure, there's always gonna be a row in my nymph box with some prince variations when I hit the water in the future.
Here's the pattern that I use for my Psycho Prince tie :
Hook.....Mustad R73-9671 Streamer Hook - sz#14
Bead.....Gold Tungsten or bead of choice
Thread... 6/0 Black Uni-Thread
Tail....Brown or Black Goose Biots
Rib....Hot yellow Ultra-Wire
Abdomen...Purple Ice Dubbing or color of choice
Thorax...Peacock Ice Dubbing
Wingpads...White Goose Biots