Monday, April 30, 2012
4/26 - 4/28 Missouri Wild Trout..."Just What the Doctor Ordered"
After almost a month of whining and crying about my recent lack of stream time I finally threw in the towel this past week. Mother Nature and the growing list of unfinished chores around the house be damned , I was going fishing come hell or high water (literally). I knew my best fishing partner would be ready to go , he never seems to have anything else going on and is always willing to drop everything for a chance to go fishing. The plan was to head South and spend a couple of nights camped on one of my favorite little Blue Ribbon trout streams , fishing during the day and drinking beer around the campfire by the moonlight. Leaving Thursday morning and returning Saturday night , I hoped to miss the brunt of the weekend crowd and enjoy a little solitude with my best friend. After the short 5 hour drive we pulled into the campground just before lunchtime , to my surprise the only other visible resident was the camp host. My normal routine would have been to set camp as quickly as possible and then scramble for the nearest section of water to get my boots wet. For some reason , maybe the fact that the stream was devoid of other fishermen for me to compete with , I just didn't feel like getting in a rush. Camp was set up , Joe and I ate some lunch and then we spent a couple hours just relaxing. I fiddled around with fishing gear while Joe was quite content to find a patch of grass and stretch out. Mother Nature was cooperating with us nicely for a change and it felt good to just sit around camp and soak in some rays while enjoying a cold adult beverage. After having achieved the "proper" attitude for an afternoon of fishing we grabbed some gear and walked across the street from camp to hit the water. A quick look upstream and downstream , no other fishermen , it was all starting to come together nicely. That first step into the clear ,cold water and I could already feel the current stripping away all of my problems and concerns that'd been piling up over the past few weeks. Like a baptism of sorts for someone like me , I felt right with the world again , back in the one place I always miss the most...knee deep in a stream with a flyrod in my hand. I started off throwing a size #8 mohair leech and it didn't take long before I was rewarded with one of the streams wild little inhabitants. I know the fish are small (the two-weight makes up for that) but I sure never get tired of looking at those stunning little wild rainbows. What these fish lack in size they make up for in spunk and sheer beauty. We took our time , just enjoying the day and hiking from one small pool to another , catching a fish or two out of most of the good looking spots. Although a few small BWO's came off in the evening I didn't see enough risers to warrant a fly change and ended up sticking with the olive leech all afternoon. As the sun made it's way behind the surrounding hillsides we made our way back to camp for a cold one (or two) , a nice campfire and a good meal..in just that order. With a good nights rest under our belts , aided in part by several adult beverages , we woke early Friday morning to a gray overcast sky. The weatherman was calling for a good chance of precip throughout the day but I really didn't care , if anything I figured it'd keep the fair-weather fishermen away. After brewing a thermos of coffee and eating a breakfast sandwich we headed back across the road to try a few of the more productive holes from the day before. Again , we didn't see another soul on the water and enjoyed catching a trout or two out of most every hole we fished. We worked our way downstream of camp and by the time we turned around and made our way back my stomach was telling me it was lunchtime. We spent a couple hours around camp before loading up in the truck and heading out to a new piece of water on the same stream after lunch. The lower sections of this particular creek are designated White Ribbon as opposed to the upper section I had been fishing which was strictly Blue Ribbon. I hadn't seen or fished this water before so I was excited to check it out. I decided to stay on the Blue Ribbon stretch just above where it changes over , figuring I'd still catch mostly wild fish with an occassional stray stocked fish. To my surprise we pulled into the small gravel lot by the access and found it empty , just what I wanted but not what I was expecting. I guess the moderate rainshowers and intermittent lightning strikes had all of the smart fishermen safe at home , lucky me! The water down here was a little bigger but looked really good , with plenty of bank cover and some really nice riffles. Fishing a little heavier mink sculpin pattern we started working our way upstream , hitting any spot that looked promising. It didn't take long to find the fish once again and I started picking up fish pretty regularly , probably 70% wild fish but there were a few obvious stockers thrown in. These weren't your fresh out of the raceway stockers though , they all had intact fins and some good color to them but it was still evident that they weren't wild born fish. We did battle with a few real chunks during the afternoon , giving the little two-weight all it could handle. As the afternoon drew to a close we worked our way back downstream , stopping off for the ritual of the "halfway back" cold beer. Another fine day on the water , even with the off and on rainshowers it never got bad enough to force us off the stream and once again we didn't see another fisherman all day. That evening we got lucky and the rain moved out of the area just in time to cook dinner and get a nice big campfire going. Even though it was a Friday night we were still the only campers in the entire campground making it a nice peaceful evening. The cool , damp air from the days rain made the fire feel that much better and we sat around poking coals until our eyelids began to get heavy and we called it a night. Saturday was packing up day once again , I was just happy that the rain had moved out and I wouldn't be packing wet gear in the back of the truck. After a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee we ventured back across the road from camp to try and catch a few more fish while the dew dried on the tent fly. We managed to land several more small wild bows before calling it a morning and getting back to the business at hand. Once camp was cleared out we loaded up and hit the road , taking one last look at the water as we pulled out of the park I was already planning that next visit in my head...and it couldn't come soon enough.
Posted by HighPlainsFlyFisher