Friday, September 30, 2016

Some Much Needed River Time...Part Two

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I arrived home from my smallmouth trip early Tuesday evening and didn't even bother to unload anything except my dirty clothes bag and camp dishes that required cleaning. By Thursday morning I was already heading back South for another round on my favorite trout stream in the state of Missouri.
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I showed up just after noon and picked a proper spot for camp right on the edge of the river. Not the best afternoon shade but the trade-off was the sound of a nearby riffle to drift off to sleep to.
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I was meeting a couple of friends for this part of the trip but they wouldn't show up until Friday morning so I got camp setup and then kicked back in a comfortable chair with a nice view and a cold beer.
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With three days of steady fishing ahead of me I took it easy that first afternoon. The spey rod was broken out and I spent a few hours swinging some small streamers in the run upstream from camp. A couple of small fish were caught but the real intent of the exercise was to get in some much needed casting practice.
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That evening, after throwing together a quick dinner, I kicked back around a blazing campfire and had a few more adult beverages to finish off what was a great start to the weekend.
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The rest of the group pulled into the campground Friday morning and after getting tents and gear unloaded we decided on a gameplan for the day and headed out.
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This is by far one of the prettiest stretches of water in the Ozarks and a real gem when it comes to fishing as well.
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Smallmouth in the very upper reaches, wild rainbows dominating the middle river and good numbers of meat-eating browns and even a few white bass and stripers in the lower river. Pretty much everything a streamer guy could ask for in a body of water.
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We floated the wild rainbow section on the first day and while a few streamers were thrown along the way it was mostly a nymphing game. While I don't plan many outings anymore which are basically what we call "bobber trips", this is one river where a few days nymphing up colorful wild rainbows and scrappy browns is a true pleasure.
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Daylong floats accompanied with the usual streamside lunch (fried chicken, of course) followed by a night of sitting around camp stargazing and telling stories with a cold beer and a good cigar was pretty much how the weekend played out.
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Saturday we floated the lower stretch of river and got to sample some of the diversity that this stream offers in the way of fish, you can't beat these two species when it comes to heart pounding streamer action.
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Sunday it was back to the middle river for a shorter float that would put us back at camp in time to get packed up and on the road at a decent hour.
The fishing itself was very enjoyable, the numbers were about average and the fish size pretty much fell into that category as well, with the exception of a few real beauties that made it boatside over the course of the trip.
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While the trees havn't started to turn yet and the daytime temps were still warm enough to warrant a few quick dips in the spring fed waters throughout the day, the evenings were beginning to take on a subtle flavor of Fall. Just cool enough that the campfire was a welcome addition and not simply window dressing. And that sleeping bag actually got used for the first trip in who knows how long. The quiet and solitude that awaited us each evening at camp was the true indicator though, just a few weeks prior we would have had to share our riverside abode with more than just the local wildlife.
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A great week to start off what I hope is a Fall full of many more fishing opportunities just like this one.
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  1. So many gorgeous fish! I find it so cool that you are able to catch trout and stripers in the same water! There are only tiny windows of opportunity here in New England when that is even possible, and possible does not mean likely!

    1. There are only a few locations that I fish where it's possible as well. We just got lucky and ran into a few Fall migrating stripers that had an appetite for big streamers! If I lived close to the coast like yourself I'm not sure I could drag myself away from that coastal fishery of stripers, blues etc.... You've got some amazing fishing up there.

  2. Great sounding trip Jeff and what looks like lots of really healthy fish.

  3. Thanks Howard. Just a nice little early Fall getaway, gotta get out before that white stuff starts flying!

  4. Good stuff as usual. Nice striper. Steelhead season is beginning over here in Pa. If you make it this way for them let me know. ~DT

    1. Thanks! I sure appreciate the gracious offer, I can tell you that I've been dying to scratch that itch since last November. I'm planning another week up there this year come the first of November. Not sure whether I'm gonna end up in NY, PA or Ohio though. Doing it alone this year and plan to head to wherever the water conditions give me the best opportunity when the time arises. If I end up in your home state don't be surprised if I drop you a line...Jeff

    2. Please do. I might be laid off by then so i should have lots of time. I got a bud that knows the New York tribs and hot spots pretty well. Also have a friend in Erie who fishes the Ohio rivers for steel also.

    3. Sorry to hear about the laid off thing. Hope it works out. I'll definitely let you know when I head that way and where I'm gonna be. Just hoping the Northeast gets some rain soon!

  5. Beautiful! Great pictures and narration as usual! I LOVE seeing that Striped Bass and that Longear Sunfish (BOTH still on my Bucket List)! Georgeous waters!

    1. Thanks Dave...those stripers are a blast on the fly for sure. Definitely don't pass up any chance you get to chase them!

  6. Bobber Trips! There you go again slighting and maligning the high tech, "trapped air technology" thingamabobber. I've spent years in the trout parks mastering the art of bobber watching over a size 8 triple cheese colored globall. It's a special skill:)
    I haven't gotten a chance yet to get in any serious smallmouth fishing yet beyond that little river SE of Jeff City. I had two weeks off in September with plans to hit the Upper Gasconade in the kayak but the rain had other plans. I have started throwing your favorite DD though and it's killer on fall largemouth.

    1. I know...I know, I'm such a streamer snob!
      Seems like that's always the case around here, either too much water or too little. Glad to hear the old DD got you a few largies anyway.
      I'm in fly tying mode as of now, leave for a 10 day steelhead trip here the end of the month.

  7. We just wanted to let you know that we posted a link to your blog on our website Trout If you do not want it on our links page just let us know. Thanks mark