Saturday, May 14, 2011
5/7 - 5/9 Eagle Ranch Trip.."Bass , Crappie , Trout and Bluegill...Oh My!"
After arriving back home from the Spring River in Arkansas I found myself with about 12 hours to unpack the blazer and get the truck loaded up for a weekend trip to the Eagle Ranch outside of Collins, Mo. My wife and a couple of good friends of ours were hauling their horses down for a 3 day weekend of trail riding and I was tagging along for the beer , food and maybe a little fishing.
The ranch was supposed to have a small lake I could fish and Stockton Lake as well as the Niangua river were both close enough to hit if I wanted to drive a short distance.
We pulled out Saturday morning and made our way South , arriving at Eagle Ranch just about lunchtime. After some quick sandwiches and a cold beer or two the rest of the group was saddling up and I was stringing up the flyrod for a hike up to the pond.
Upon arriving I was surprised to find a large pond with some decent structure that looked promising. I started off throwing a clouser around the deeper end searching for anything willing to eat , it was good for a couple small bass and one crappie.
After switching over to a small nymph trailing a hopper pattern I started catching small bluegill on almost every cast , a few were taking the hopper but most were eating the nymph. They were all small fish but still enjoyable on the two weight , I could spend any nice afternoon standing on a pond bank catching panfish on a light rod and be totally satisfied.
After a couple hours of traipsing around the pond Joe was getting bored and I was getting thirsty so we headed back to camp. We spent the rest of the evening sitting around camp drinking a few adult beverages and eating a fantastic dinner cooked over an open fire.
The next morning after breakfast I decided to head over to the Niangua River and check things out ,it was only an hours drive and I had most of the day to kill as the others had a long trail ride planned. I was itching to get back on a trout stream after fishing in the high , dirty water on the Spring the previous few days. To my surprise the river was still several feet high and running dirty as well...shit I thought ,this isn't much better than where I just came from. I rigged up a streamer rod and gave it an hour or so anyway ,catching two small bows for my trouble. I'd driven an hour and still wanted to get on some fish so I made the decision to head over to the park and check out the crowds.
To my surprise there weren't any crowds , I guess being a Sunday afternoon everyone had already headed home for the weekend. I paid the piper, got my tag and then hit the High Bank area. The whole stretch from the bridge to the corner was empty so Joe and I made our way down and started fishing.
It was good from the first cast til the last cast , catching small bows one after another on a #18 G-Bug trailing a gray bit scud. We fished up and down both banks and never really had the urge to try a different spot ,the fish were numerous and willing and we didn't have any competition.
On the way back it was only 10 miles out of the way to go by Stockton Lake so we made the trip and threw some line around for an hour or so... I ended up catching 3 small largemouth on a clouser before calling it a day.
Late in the afternoon we headed back to the ranch for a relaxing evening , even Joe was in the right mind for a little R&R , one beer and he's out like a light though.
Monday I spent a few more hours fishing the ranch pond with Jim. One of the ranch hands had told us to feel free to use the johnboat on the dock so we took him up on the offer and got into the crappie pretty good , catching probably twenty small ones as well as a few bass.
All in all a great weekend and a good ending to a weeks vacation. I had nine days off and seven of those days were spent with a flyrod in my hand for at least a few hours...I like those statistics.
Posted by HighPlainsFlyFisher