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- Shalimar Bridge, Choctawhatchee Bay, Fort Walton Beach FL - 17 Jan 2019
- Took a couple of hours to drop a bit under the bridge. Many surfacing teeny speckled trout and pinfish, but pinfish were the fish this time on any lure or bait. Look for sheepshead on live shrimp in the next few weeks near the pilings.
- San Diego Bay, Pacific Ocean, San Diego CA- 06 to 11 Jan 2019
- Was out at a conference in San Diego for work (AIAA SciTech 2019) so took a few opportunities to catch and release spotted bay bass. Our half day out of Point Loma was a bust (too few people) so we ate a good breakfast at Claytons in Coronado (yummy!), then rented a skiff at Seaforth, and fished for the fun bay bass. Both a white jigging spoon, and swimbaits were effective though the bite was slow and spotty, though a triangle from the sailboat outer marker to 6 to 9 on the bridge was a good spot for quality fish, until the tide shifted in the afternoon, then it was a super-bite around the channel marker heading into Gloretta harbor for the bass and mackerel. No bonito this time on the troll. Also took a chance to spend an hour fishing Embarcadero pier in the evening, catching more sand bass, while I did see a scorpionfish come in too. This pier is also a good guitarfish spot using baits on the bottom, though saw none this time.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO - 29 Dec 2018
- Again, lots of action on the Winter Trout lakes for rainbow trout. As per usual dark nymphs fished to bounce in the wind, or a woolly booger or marabou jig retrieved slowly, will catch trout. However, don't forget that crappie are big biters on other lakes, and the same fly rod or ultralight spinning gear works for them too. Look for wind blown upwells (clearer water near dams, wind in your face) near structure, especially on the bigger lakes. White and florescent yellow flies in 1 inch sizes, or the jig equivelent, fished slowly will catch many, many, black crappie and white crappie.
- Maramec Springs Park and Meramec River, St. James MO- 27 Dec 2018
- Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)! Catch and Release season at Maramec Springs is my favorite time to visit this otherwise crowded spot. Wild(er) fish come up from the main river and join the surviving stockers to make for a more challenging fly rod experience. Many flies can work at diferent times, including grizzly hackle dry flies, zonkers, and black and olive wooly boogers among others. Like in the summer, 2lb florocarbon leaders enhance the catch greatly. In addition to the expected rainbows, and an odd brown trout, there are longear sunfish, bluegill sunfish, green sunfish, smallmouth bass, suckers, and ozark (Northern Rock, Goggle eye) bass to add color. Don't forget to wade or walk to the trophy area for a few casts too.
- Fort Walton Beach FL area, Gulf of Mexico Choctawhatchee Bay- 11 to 13 Dec 2018
- Back to the original home of this page (see the historical reports and articles from 1994), though took it easy in the cool weather with peeled frozen shrimp, a teeny circle hook (size 2) and a 1oz weight, and a small spoon, under the lights of the Cinco Bayou and Salimar Bridges after work. A mixed bag of released fish (in my case) ensued, especially the classic pinfish, pigfish, croakers, gray (mangrove) snappers, and spotted seatrout, with a few oddities included. Drop the bait near the pilings with lights, and be ready for a fast bite. The beach was a bust (water is too cold, in the 50's F) but scenic as always. Note that flounder and redfish are also around on the flats edges of channels for the angler with a small slow lure.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO - 08 Dec 2018
- Still lots of action on the Winter Trout lakes for rainbow trout. As per usual dark nymphs fished to bounce in the wind, or a woolly booger or marabou jig retrieved slowly, will catch trout.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO - 23 to 24 Nov 2018
- Winter Trout lakes are still producing fun catches (catch and release in our case) for the whole family, and these lakes are a perfect chance to introduce the kids to trout fishing. This time, dark size 12 to 14 nymphs, wooly boogers in black and olive, and jigs in hte same colors, worked. In some lakes the fish will be along the edges where wind blows in a free dinner, or stirrs up water near dams and humps, making nymphs easy prey. Take a break from Turkey and be thankful for fish and family outdoors.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO - 17 Nov 2018
- The Winter Trout Stocking program is in full swing, with a combination of catch and keep lakes, and lure and fly only catch and release lakes, so look at the regs first. The catch and release lake rainbow trout are a bit picky after the initial week, and focus on natural looking flies including olive and black wooly boogers, stone flies, and size 14 bead head nymphs of many types. Spinning rodders can use black or olive marabou jigs under a bobber to catch fish too. Look also for crappie and sunfish in the same lakes.
- Lake Taneycomo, Branson MO - 20 Oct to 11 Nov 2018
- The Brown Trout run at T-Como is a big draw each year, but even if the browns are in and out before you land a double-digit fish, big rainbow trout follow them up, and are available below the dam, with smaller rainbows throughout the lake. Below the dam several flies worked, though not every fly worked. Thee RM eyed wooly booger for one, the brown eyed zonker for another, egg patterns including chennelle bugs, the giant cicada floater fly, the size 16 scud (of course), and one morning, the brown hackel crackleback fished dry. Be ready to look for feeding fish, as many of mine came when I watched for feeding fish in the shallows, then carefully dropped a dry fly in front of them. Further down the lake, drifting a chennelle bug under an indicator near windy points and creek mouths will get rainbows of many sizes, mostly in the stocker range. Go see Chuck at Anglers Outfitters if you get skunked and need flies or advice (or any of the other small businesses near by) and tell them I sent you.
- Causey Resevoir, near Ogden UT- 17-18 Oct 2018
- Reopened to fishing after the Kokanee spawn closure, Causey produced many, many, many catch and release trout on the surface on dry flies including sz14 grizzly hackles and micropoppers, and subsurface on streamers and chennelle bugs. Just watch for the surface activity, drop the fly nearby, and hold on. Caught mostly colorful rainbows, though also caught cutthroats and tiger trout. Beautiful scenery as well, and many deer wandered around above the lake and also on the roads below, so pay attention.
- Echo Lake, Echo UT - 16 Oct 2018
- There is one fly that accounts for most of my catches in Utah, here and in Causey, and in the rivers: the fuzzy orange chennelle bug tied on a 1-80th oz jig head, fished 1 to 2 ft under an indicator, pulsed slowly. On either 4lb tippet or 2lb tippet, though I favor 4lb on Echo, 2lb on Causey. You will see it in fish mouths many pictures from Utah, including Echo. As per last several times, drifting the fly over gravel bars pushed by wind to deepr water, or retrieved with a pulse, worked, though this time all fish landed were rainbow trout caught and released (as per usual).
- Sandy Slough (MS River) near Winfield MO- 08 Oct 2018
- Fish are still a bit spotty, with herring, white bass, and drum showing up on white streamers on the fly, and jigs and minnows on the spinning rod. Plenty of emerald shiners are about, so when the temp drops, they will light up.
- Echo Lake, Echo UT - 25 Sep 2018
- Again, used the wind near sunset, and pebble and rock ridges, to drift the fuzzy orange chenelle bug (tied on 1-80th oz jig head), on 4lb tippet on the fly rod, under an indicator, with excellent catch and release results. This time in addition to the smallmouth bass, and a good sized common carp which fought hard, the trout decided to show, and steelhead colored rainbow trout smacked the fly and provided jumping fights. The walk and climb down from the road is a bit hazardous now that the water is way down, so be warned.
- Merritt Island NWR, Titusville FL - 16 Sep 2018
- The marshes of Merritt Island near Titusville offer a unique opportunity to see space history and flyfish to catch (and in this case release) fish, especially as I was on the way to speak at the AIAA SPACE 2018 conference in Orlando (see my spacefarms.info page for my slides). While you fish to the east, you can see Kennedy Space Center launch pads 39B and A, and the Vehicle Assembly building, enjoy seeing many birds, and casting flies in challenging mangrove and brush lined channels. The pick flies were a size 10 glass bead mysis, and any white marabous streamer in the size 8 to size 6 class (i.e. 1 to 2 inches long). SMALL FLIES ARE KEY! Small fishes are the forage, from micro mullet to mosquito fish, to killifishes, and using small flies match the forage. There are also plentiful fiddler and blue crabs and microshrimp, and similar flies might work too. For me, ladyfish, spotted seatrout, and black drum all nailed the debarbed flies, all small but fun on a size 5 flyrod. For the bigger fish, hit the Veterans Pier on the west side of the bridge at dark.
- Femme Osage Slough, Weldon Springs, MO - 08 Sep 2018
- High water and rain pushed us to a backup spot for small rough fish fishing a plenty in algae covered shallow water. Carp of all types and a few stray drum and bullheads readily nailed worms on circle hooks, while a yellow and flame beadhead streamer on the flyrod caught grass carp.
- Echo Lake, Echo UT - 27-30 Aug 2018
- The water is WAY down. No walleye, but did catch the smallies again on the wind blown points. Bit of wisdom here: in lakes with wind or waves, winds make a current over rocks of maybe gravel to fist sized, pitching some over and blowing out nymphs and crayfish. An orange fuzzy chennele bug, and a crayfish fly, both worked when drifted over the points to where deeper water and fish waited. A common carp added excitement and a longer fight on 4lb tippet on the same fly.
- Sandy Slough (MS River) near Winfield MO- 25 Aug 2018
- The main river was a bust on every bait we threw, and in the slough, my flies went ignored, however, threw out a bread ball (one inch to 1.5 inch in diameter) with no weight and open bail, and whamooo on large common carp to around 20lbs. Common carp over 8lb gets very picky about weights and tension, so to catch them, use an open abil, and a small wire to hold the line until the slightest pull, then wait a bit and reel (we used sz1 circle hooks to allow release). Hard fights follow!
- Sandy Slough (MS River) near Winfield MO- 18 Aug 2018
- Fished the slough this time, and though slower, drum and catfish both hit, while herring jumped in the deepr areas, and carp stirred the shallows though would not take a fly this time. Small circle hooks and red wigglers were the pick bait again.
- Echo Lake, Causey Lake, and Weber River near Ogden UT - 13-16 Aug 2018
- Water is far lower and warmer then a few weeks back. Could not get a hook up with thr trout or bass this time, but minnows of various types hit my dry flies and nymphs. I did get hits from Kokanee salmon in Causey on my indicator, and the same with trout and bass in Echo lake on indicators, and some fish (walleye?) in Echo that tore off the flies, but the only fish landed were shiners.
- MS RIver above Lock and Dam 25 near Winfield MO- 11 Aug 2018
- Redworms and fish strips along the rocks in the main river are deadly this time of year. Flathead catfish (Mostly small), freshwater drum (mostly big), and nice channel catfish all responded on a bottom rig, circle hook, and pile of red wigglers or fish strips (i.e. chunks of frozen or fresh fish like shad, carp, etc.) all got hit well, especially before and after barges. Heat? What heat?
- Echo Lake, Echo, UT- 01 Aug 2018
- Along the banks (after an interesting climb), just about anything got smashed by smallmouth bass from 8 to 12 inches. Orange and white streamers and nymphs worked, but so did just about anything moved quickly along the shoreline edge around boulders.
- Meramec River, Onondaga Sate Park, MO 18-20 July 2018
- Little kids like quick action, no matter the fish size. In this case bluegill and longears hit just about any small bait on a size 10 hook with a small split shot on the kids push button reels at 4lb line. Saw many buffalo feeding over the gravel and if I would have had the fly rod, would have been a target on black nymph patterns.
- Potomac River in the Tidal Basin and Daingerfield Island, Washington DC - 09 to 11 July 2018
- Hot water pushed the bite to just before sunset as the big high tides receeded. White streamers and crappie jigs were the pick lure and fly for largemouth bass, blue catfish, and various sunfish, though small nymphs also worked for bluegill at Daingerfield, as did the sz 10 glass bead mysis at the Basin.
- Kaskaskia River in Carlyle IL - 07 July 2018
- Water is both hot and high, but freshwater drum, small crappie, bighead carp, and catfish are still biting as per usual. The drum took a little patience on the fly, but did hit a flame chennelle bug softly (as did micro-sized crappie) around the edges below the dam. For the spinner, the drum hit small swimbaits (i.e. 1-8thoz and 2 to 3 inch silver and white soft plastics). We saw multiple flatheads and channel catfish come in for those pitching live sunfish on heavy tackle to the dam. Bigheads hit every so often on the jig fished deep. Likely gar could be worked into biting with a zonker on the fly.
- Salt River below Mark Twain Lake Dam and Retention Dam- 30 June 2018
- Hot humid days over 100 F make fishing a bit difficult outside of morning and evening, but fish can still be caught, just with slower retrieves, and adaptations. Green sunfish near the rocks awaited a beetle hatch, and any hapless frog, while below the retention dam (which has an aerator) crappie hit fry imitating flies and small tube jigs for the spinner, fished VERY slowly. A few gar were very skittish (afraid of bow fishing activity?) though normally they are very reliable fly rod catches on zonkers and large streamers. Remember big gar eat Asian carp (they are the only fish in this part of the river that can, see my research article), so preserve the gar (and eat the carp) please.
- Weber River and Echo Lake between Echo and Odgen UT - 25 to 28 June 2018
- Ran a series of after work exploratory runs up the Weber river above Odgen along I-84 to below Echo Lake, picking access points, including walk in access (make sure to get the free permit in addition to license), and a short stop at Echo Lake. Good sized rainbows (though photo shy) and brown trout hit the salmon streamer (like an olive sz 8 bead head wooly booger swapping marabou for hackle, ala leech patterns), swung in the fast, off color, water, for me on 2lb florocarbon tippet (though local wisdom leans to 4lb or 5lb tippet). In Echo Lake, an orange chennelle bug under an indicator was hammered by yellow perch and smallmouth bass along weedbeds and around wind blown rocks.
- Private Lake near Forestell MO - 23 June 2018
- Dusted off my trusty kayak, got a sticker to fish a private lake (at my bro's subdivision), and fished with my brothers, a nephew, and a niece for bluegill, crappie, bass, and drum. As per anywhere this time of year, sunrise and sunset are key windows, as are cooler times due to clouds and rain. This time the fish hit jigs and swimbaits for the spinning gear, and poppers, and streamers (especially those that look like fry) on the fly.
- BONUS SNORKELLING PICS Atlantic Ocean, Western Esplande Beach, Nassau, Bahamas- 08 June 2018
- NOTE: Look for a feature story on Carribean Cruise Ship fishing and fishes soon. Walked off the cruise ship from the port to the nearest beach near the port, rented a few chairs and an umbrella, and grabbed the GoPro and mask to check out the fishes. Saw many palometas (which are common almost everywhere there is wave action and feet or rays to stir up sand) and permit, a couple of stingrays, sergeant majors and other damselfish, butterflyfish,goatfish, and bar jacks. Got a couple of drinks from the Tiki Bikini hut, and the couple near us had the cracked conch which they said was awesome.
- Caribbean Sea, Cozumel, Q.R. Mexico- 06 June 2018
- Hopped off the cruise ship to take a short bottom fishing trip on the Sand Dollar sports boat out of Cozumel. They had classic 4-0 reels, size 4 hooks, and 4 to 8oz weights with ballyhoo chunks for bait. No place for us to keep fish, but the crew kept a few grunts. These reefs are pretty hard hit, but even so, we caught many species of triggerfish, filefish, wrasses, and grunts. The crew were very active and polite, and worked very hard to make sure everyone had a good time and something to drink or snack on. Wished I had brought my own tackle, but other then that, a good time.
- Caribbean Sea, George Town, Cayman Islands - 05 June 2018
- Walked off the cruise ship and asked our cabby where to do some catch and release fishing. Luckily that is almost all of the Grand Cayman, (see the DoE site and this Brochure before you fish) but he pointed to a spot near 7 Mile Beach. Using a 4 piece 8wgt with 8lb tippet and a size 8 crazy charlie caught and released bar jacks, and my brother on a spoon caught and released blue runners, for the one hour we fished. Many missed hits by many species, and saw packs of fish chasing every fly I threw. The trick is really to avoid the swarms of tourists, but overall there are lots of fish here, and it is likely worth a longer trip. Using a mask and snorkel, we observed many fish we didn't hook, including bonefish, permit, and mutton snappers. Capped off the excursion with a trip to Hemingways.
- BONUS SNORKELLING PICS Caribbean Sea, Bamboo Beach, Ocho Rios, Jamaica - 04 June 2018
- Took a cruise ship excursion to the Bamboo Beach Club which would gain huge points with me if they would have let me use my fly rod for the numerous palometa I saw. As it was, grabbed my GoPro and took a few pictures of the palometas, and the small grunts and wrasses nearby the beach. These waters are hard hit, so didn't see nor expect many larger snappers or groupers near the shore reefs.
- Bluffview Retention Dam Salt River New London MO - 19 May 2018
- Crappie were around, though not easy, pleanty of silver carp, a few sunfish, and a few drum and white bass on the slow flowing water. Crappie hit jigs and on the fly, mysis fly, cast out far near the dam itself. Drum hit baits near the bottom near the chokepoint downstream, with a few sunfish along the rocks.
- Ogden River and Causey Resevoir - 16 May 2018
- Worked up the Odgen River and Odgen Canyon up to Causey Resevoir, fishing both public access and Walk In (make sure to get the free permit on the Utah Wildlife site, same place as license) Access points, and the public part of Causey Resevoir after a tip from a fishing and hardware shop at South Fork Village on Hwy 39. Worth a vist FYI to get soft drinks and flies and advice. Caught a single brown in the Odgen behind the Oaks access on a mysis fly, and after flipping many nymphs and boogers, worked all the way up to Causey, where the rainbows were gullible on every fly I threw, including dry hackle flies, white streamers, and chennelle bugs. As per usual catch and release this run.
- Weber River Ogden UT- 14 May 2018
- First run to this river, found some public access points right in Ogden on the lower Weber, and the deeper pools and tails held rainbow trout that hit streamers including red and chartruse bead heads, and olive bead head wooly booger patterns.
- Kaskaskia River Carlyle IL- 12 May 2018
- The weather has pushed right into a summer pattern, and small white bass and nice crappie are the key fish, heavy on the crappie, and bluegill, below the dam. Pick fly was the mysis fry pattern, and for the spinner, tube jigs and swimbaits.
- Tidal Basin and Daingerfield Island, Potomac River, Washington DC- 07-09 May 2018
- Bad luck taking fish pictures (catfish and crappie and largemouth flipped loose before photo), but good luck catching various fishes! Sunfish were massively easy, especially on poppers, but on anything near sunset, in all locales. They were focused on the surface, and at Daingerfield Island backwaters the sunfish were setting up to spawn. Largemouth were harassing the bluegill, and could be caught on various plugs on spinning and baitcasting gear, though refused zonkers on the fly. While the snakeheads were everywhere in the basin, they refused to bite anything we had. ON the spinning rod, vertical jigging kastmasters and similar were effective. Crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, and white perch in the tidal basin hit white streamers under an indicator, or fished high in the water column with a quick twitch. Catfish and sunfish also hit orange chennelle bugs under and indicator. White perch are now very active in the basin along the walls, and we saw white perch and shad zipping along under the walls. No striped bass this time, but there is always next time. If you are at Daingerfield, you could swing over to the Asian Cafe in Alexandria for Pad Thai or Walnut Shrimp (and tell them we sent you).
- Small Creeks in St Charles Co MO - 05 May 2018
- We fished a couple of creeks that feed into bigger creeks that feed into the Mississippi River. It take very little pressure to destroy the fishery in these, hense the secrecy. Most creeks that run into the rivers, and have at least a few areas with significant pools over 5 feet deep will have smallmouth and largemouth bass, redhorse, shiners, sunfish of many types, drum, and carp (Common, grass, silver). Occasionally in the sections right above a river, there will be white bass and walleye. If you do fish these little waters practice catch and release for the largemouth and smallmouth bass or any catchable fish will be gone. That said, this is a morning and evening fishery, and fun for kids too. We released everything this time, though feel free to keep any common carp, grass carp or silver carp you catch. We landed several smallmouth and largemouth up to 13 inches on wooly worms, streamers, and for the spinner, small jig and soft plastics. In addition we caught numerouis freshwater drum, a few common carp, shiners and sunfish of various types.
- Kaskaskia RIver below Lake Carlyle - 28 April 2018
- The water and fish are about a month behind. Most white bass and walleye are well up creeks, and the cool water temps make even the crappie a bit slow. That said, a slowly presented orange and green jig deep in the water column did catch a few nice white bass, and chenelle bugs along the rocks got green sunfish. WIll pick up by next weekend for sure.
- Baldwin Lake, Baldwin IL - 07 April 2018
- Might be spring, but doesn't feel like it! Anyhow, a sure-fire cold weather spot is a powerplant lake, and in this case, Baldwin Lake. After a long walk to just before the hot water discharge, we found fish. Largemough bass lead off on the spinning rod, jig using a 1-8th oz orange and green soft plastic tail. These bass were joined by channel catfish as per usual. On the fly, channel catfish hit the orange chennelle bug, fished a few feet under a small indicator, and a few bluegill hit softly but remained unhooked. Trick of the trade here: Start fishing right after the dock, then walk a hundred yards and try again until you find the fish. Look for silversides and shad activity as an indicator. No doubt, a few warm days will wake up the sunfishes.
- Beaver Lake, Shelby Farms, Memphis TN - 31 March 2018
- A super crowded day at the park, with cold water and high pressure lakes made for tough, but surmountable, fishing. A size 12 beadhead peacock herl fly on 4lb tippet and a very small indicator worked near the rocks along the shoreline for decent bluegill, with odd strikes on my nephew's spincast with bobber and yellow trout worm pieces ona size 12 hook by the same. Learning microstructure pays off...look for microcurrents and places where rocks vary near drops. Will improve as the water warms.
- (via Ryan's Ryno Report™) Private Lake, Forestell MO - 30 March 2018
- Pick fly was the eyed RM woolybooger for fish suspended over structure, and over dropoffs in the cold waters of this 10 acre lake via kayak. Mostly bluegill, with some crappie and stray largemouth bass.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO- 03 March 2018
- It is still winter, but a few warm days make a big difference to hungry fish. In the trout lakes it is catch and keep time, and for the bait-pitchers worms work, though for the flyrod crowd shammy worms, chennelle bugs, and nymphs work. At the rest of the lakes, the bluegill and bass are awake, crappie still a bit slow. Small nymphs and chennele bugs fished near rip-rap along dams work well, most fish are just a little off the shore, about 12 feet away from the rocks max, most with a few feet (ditto for trout and catfish in trout lakes). Bite are quick and soft, and you may have to wait a little, but you will catch fish. Look for areas where micro-currents form due to wind to find groups of feeding fish.
- Sandy Slough Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 near Winfield MO- 03 Feb 2018
- While there are still plenty of trout at the winter trout lakes, we took the chance to hit the slough again. This time we spotted a very interesting feeding aggregation of common carpon the shallow humps, and using size 12 beadhead olive wooly boogers and flame red-yellow marabou streamers caught a few nice carp on the fly, and lost several others, and a bonus bowfin (scientifically Amia calva, a native fish, NOT related to snakeheads). On the spin, a red-green tube jig hit a few crappie (quick 3 fish then nothing more) and using worms and no weight, a few nice carp as well. A couple of eagles were harrassing the snow geese, and overall a windy but interesting fishing day. Look for higher water and changing conditions and the white bass will be in soon.
- Busch Wildlife Area, Weldon Springs MO- 27 Jan 2018
- Winfield is a bust, but the last weekend of catch and release fishing at the Winter Trout lakes was excellent for rainbow trout. As per usual many flies worked, including orange chenelle bugs, orange glow balls, size 14 peacock herl nymphs. On the spin, black and olive marabou jigs under a bobber worked too. As per usual, 2lb floro leaders and tippets will get bit.
- Sandy Slough Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 near Winfield MO- 20 Jan 2018
- Warmed up enough, and the ice broke up enough to get out and poke the slough. This time it was still a bit slow, with only a few crappie and white bass, with a stray silver carp. On the fly, the red chennelle bug got bit, while on the spin, red and green tube jigs worked slowly. Should pick up this week and weekend in the warmer weather. Would be worth pitching a worm or live shiner out also, minimal weight. If it freeses up again, we will hit Baldwin Lake or Maramec Springs.
- Maramec Spring Park, St James, MO- 28 Dec 2017
- The lakes are frozen, as are the bulk of the rivers, leaving either springs or powerplants. Courtesy of the catch and release season at the trout parks, there is a chance to fly fish for large rainbow and brown trout (though must release them all) without crowds. There were only five human anglers (two bald eagles were looking for fish also) at Maramec Springs, (note Maramec Spring Park branch flows into the Meramec river, spelling is odd here) and three of them were us. Three flies worked well on 2lb tippets: black wooly booger sz 6, sz 6 white zonker, and 1-80th oz orange glowball. The fish are not easy per se, but once you lock in, you will catch many. Look for a dry fly bite on windy times, and a sz14 grizzly or white hackle may work (got hits but no hookups for me this time). Look for other flyrod target fish as well, including white suckers, hog suckers, smallmouth bass, longear sunfish, and rock bass (goggle eye). DRESS WARM! Use multiple layers, and cover everything.
- Busch Wildlife Area, Weldon Springs MO- 16 Dec 2017
- We actually started at Sandy Slough but nothing wanted to play, so we cut over to Busch Wildlife Area and the Winter Trout lakes again. The rainbows are now a bit smarter, and wind is your friend. Wind bounces nymphs well, and creates currents in the lake that pull food from the rocks and weedlines for trout to snap up. While some fish did get caught on the Chennelle bug, most now are on natural patterns, such as the size 14 peacock hurl or nuclear nymph, and of course, sz 10 black wooly boogers and marabou patterns. Remember the water is clear, and trout are line shy, so use 2lb tippets (leaders, line). Spinners can use 1-32nd oz black marabou jigs under a weighted bobber for very good action as well. Remember to check the regs for each place you go, as many (like 21, 28 at BWA) are catch and release, fly and lure (unscented) only. Since the trout in the catch and release lakes need to last a while, please use single barbless hooks and take care on release, till 1 Feb (when they shift to catch and keep). Note that bluegill, green sunfish, and redears also bite nymphs too, and largemouth bass and crappie like wooly boogers (also catch and release at the trout catch and release lakes till 1 Feb, though they bite at most lakes without trout too), so expect a -bite- of variety.
- Sandy Slough Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 near Winfield MO- 02 Dec 2017
- Crappie were in on saturday, though they got slower on the 3rd, and witht he last cold front will be out in the main river. All that said, the crappie and largemouth bass were easy pickings again on 02 Dec, on the bead-head streamer fly and on jigs on the spinning rod in the same color pattern or white and purple. Yellow bass also made a light showing. Birds dove out in the sllough showing a strong shad and shiner bait presence, and two eagles swooped by. By mid Dec, the pattern will likely be a white bass and common carp mode. The white bass will flurry in on cloudy days, and out on sunny ones, and take the same flies as the crappie. The carp are picky in the slough's shallows, and may hit a black wolly bugger or stone fly, or for the spinner a real nightcrawler with no ( or maybe 1 split shot) weight. Over at the Winter Trout Lakes, the trout will be focused on natural flies, with the size 14 bead head prince nymph or peacock herl nymph top picks.
- Sandy Slough Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 near Winfield MO- 25 Nov 2017
- If you get bored of winter stocker trout, know that many warm water species also bite! In our case, crappie, white bass, and largemouth bass responded off and on using streamer flies (bead head sz 6 estaz and yellow marabou) or for the spinning rod, paddle or curly tail yellow and white jigs. These fish move in and out with water temps and water levels, so are hit and miss.
- Busch Wildlife Area, Weldon Springs MO- 11 to 24 Nov 2017
- Winter rainbow trout have been stocked all over, and they are biting. Many lakes are catch and release with special rules (i.e. no baits or scented anything) till Feb 2018, but some are catch and keep. Pay attention to where you are fishing and follow rules accordingly, see the MDC website. That said, a fly rod with many nymphs, such as peacock hurl, prince, and chennelle bug, work fine, as do dark colored wooly boogers. Spinning and push button rods equiped with the same under a weighted bobber, or using a black marabou jig will also catch plenty. Use 2lb tippets or leaders due to clear water. This is a great opportunity to get the kiddos out and catch fish to be sure. Also be ready in case a super stocker takes the fly, as they can be over 10lbs.
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