Wednesday, September 14, 2011
9/12/11 "Niangua River Float Trip"
It's finally that time of year when the one hatch that I try to avoid at all cost is wrapping up , the aluminum hatch. With school back in session and the cooler days we've had recently I figured it'd be safe to venture out and float one of our beautiful Ozark rivers this last Monday.
Myself and newfound fishing buddy Brian hit the road at 4:30 headed for the Niangua River to try our luck at catching a few raceway rainbows on a beautiful early fall day. We stopped off at NRO and made arrangements for our vehicle to be shuttled and then headed up to the boat ramp above the spring to get set up and on the water.
It didn't take long to see that the fish were in a very cooperative mood on this day , we had our first fish in the net before we even got past the spring hole.
It was a beautiful day to be on the water , the morning started off cool and clear and warmed up nicely to around 85 degrees before the day was over. It was a very comfortable 85 though, floating down a spring-fed river with your legs dangling in the cool water and a canopy of shade in many places made the temp seem just about perfect.
Seeing as we had a relatively short float back down to NRO we took our time and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the river as we fished our way downstream. Apart from one small group of floaters we didn't encounter another fisherman on the water once we got past the conservation access area , however the remnants of a long summer season were evident by the beer cans and strings of colored beads that littered the stream bottom in many places. It felt good to know that those people wouldn't be back for a good six months , leaving the river to folks who actually appreciate it for the wonderful resource it is instead of raping and pillaging it every weekend (that's my rant for the day!).
The fish definitely didn't disappoint on this day , we caught fish out of pretty much every hole we stopped to fish. If it looked like it should hold fish then it probably did. Fly selection didn't seem to be paramount , Brian and I both used larger beadhead nymphs under an indicator and I threw some pine squirrel sculpin patterns as well and all were catching fish. For the first time in several trips to the Niangua we caught numerous small browns along with the bows.
It's great to see the browns still being stocked in the stream, but without any type of protection through new regulations I'm afraid that the majority of them end up on a stringer enroute to a hot oil bath. A shame really as the Niangua has the potential to be a much better fishery if only the powers that be would treat it as a fishing resource and not just whore it out to canoe outfitters for six months out of the year. That's another whole topic of discussion though so we'll just leave it at that.
We didn't catch any big fish , everything was just average stocker size, but their abundance and willingness to eat made for a great fishing trip.
We spent the entire day out on the river , stopping for a quick streamside lunch about midday and making several pit stops along the way to enjoy a cold adult beverage.
We pulled the boats up onto the gravel bar at NRO around 5:00 that evening , feeling right with the world after a day spent relaxing on the river . We popped the top on a couple more cold ones to toast an awesome day and then loaded up the gear and headed back to KC. On the ride home we found ourselves already discussing our next adventure and where it might take us.
Here's to good friends and great fishing!!
Posted by HighPlainsFlyFisher