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- 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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