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- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO -06 March 2021
- While the trout are still around in the Winter Trout lakes, we chose to poke first at the river and slough (a bust), then to the smaller lakes. Small ponds and lake warm fast on a sunny day, and stay clear even if there is lots of spring rain. As a result, a nymph or surface fly can get hit by the warming sunfish. In the early day, the bite will be very soft, so use small flies, and small indicators, but inthe later afternoon, you may see a surface bite on small poppers or other dry flies, and on wolly boogers subsurface. Go slow!
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO - 23 and 30 Jan 2021
- Fished the last two weekends of catch and release at the trout lakes, and as luck would have it, they froze over totally right after, staying frozen till at least 21 Feb. Around the ice, rainbows wil bite well int he open water, grabbing anything that thw water bounced out of the ice. In this case, chennele bugs and microjig flies were this ticket, and will still be the ticket as the thaw occurs.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 09 Jan 2021
- While the water is at the right level, the fish are very cold, and very fish fish are biting. A days fishing yielded only one small white bass, a nice bowfin on the chennelle bug fly drifted with the wind over the flats, and one common carp on a jig. Few fish in general in the slough, as they likely retreated to the main river. Bait like worms would likely yield a few common carp, maybe. We tried several other river spots, similarly fishless this time (and to 18 Jan). Even without the fish, the eagles are always worth watching here, Alton, Clarksville, Quincippi, and Chain of Rocks. However, over at Busch Wildlife, the trout are stocked and biting in the catch and keep lakes, a few at the catch and release lakes on small nymphs and chennelle bugs.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 31 Dec 2020 and 02 Jan 2021
- While the water cools and drops, and the crappie become scarce due to heavy fishing pressure from the keep them all crowd, white bass continue to occasionally show, but more reliably, large common carp are in prime mood to eat flies. Dropping water creates feeding conditions for large gizzard shad and common carp, as various invertebrates get cooled and pushed out by current. As a result, a orange chennelle bug drifted very slowly around drop offs resulted in takes by carp from 4lbs to 16lbs, and will test the arms of any flyrod fisher. Please, please, keep only the white bass and crappie you can eat today, and leave some for next time and to spawn this spring.
- Maramec Spring Park (which connects to Meramec River) St. James MO - 29 Dec 2020
- Normally a trip to the catch and release season at the springs is a slam dunk for big trout and bass, this time however, warmer river waters have let the trout and smallmouth stay put, cutting down on the fish in the park itself. As a result the rainbows and a few browns were spase, but catchable on sz16 scuds, sz14 cracklebacks, and every so often on black wooly boogers. In between trout bites were lots of hits from rock bass and longear sunfish on a variety of flies, including the ones above, and floater-divers and chennelle bugs.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 22 and 28 Dec 2020
- Slower white bass and crappie bites, but plenty of carp action on the flyrod, with a few bluegill to boot. Carp will take small nymphs and chennelle bugs,and are big, so expect a good fight. As per usual the few crappie and white bass that are around wanted streamers and jigs.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO- 21 Dec 2020
- Small flies are the trick when the trout get smart at the catch and release lakes, and this time was no exception. A size 14 bead head pink thread nymph was my key fly, though prince nymphs, copper johns, and the like work as well. Look for a very light take, but the trout will bite.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 19 Dec 2020
- Slower white bass and crappie bites, but plenty of common carp action on the flyrod. Carp will take small nymphs and chennelle bugs,and are big, so expect a good fight. On the spinning rod, the carp will take a very small jig fished very slow.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 12 to 13 Dec 2020
- While the bite as slowed for white bass, and the crappie bite has definitely dropped off, other fish have begun to show in the slough, including bowfin. Bowfin are often maligned and confused with snakeheads, but in reality bowfins are from a far older fish family (related to gar), a critical part of the river ecosystem, and native to North America since before the Mississippi River ran. A few baby paddlefish (quickly released to grow) and large gizzard shad got in the way of jigs and flies, and a few bites on jigs and flies included buffalo, gar, and common carp. As per last several weeks, white and yellow streamers were the key flies, and jigs in the same colors and green for the spinning rod. I am sure a worm or corn bait would get many carp bites for the bait pitcher.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 05 Dec 2020
- A week makes a big difference,and the slough is now at perfect clarity and level, resulting is a pile of fish comming in from the river. In addition to the typical crappie, a swarm of white bass to 2lbs moved in, along with many large gizzard shad, which in turn brought in smashing flatheads out over the flats, and a few largemouth bass, buffalo, carp, and gar. The predator fish wanted a white streamer on the fly rod, though spinning rod users could catch them on yellow, green or white jigs.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 28 Nov 2020
- Water is at medium level, but a bit cloudy, which cut down on fly bites and jig bites for white bass and crappie, but worm and corn pitchers can fish catfish and carp. Eagles are also about, making for good photo opportunities, and more eagles will come down as the river freezes up.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO- 25 and 27 Nov 2020
- Went back to the catch and release lakes at Busch Wildlife, but also to a run to the big lake for crappie. As per usual the rainbows in the trout lakes will take a variety of flies, including floater-divers, black nymphs, and chennelle bugs, and of course black or olive wooly boogers. Most fish were either along the dam, or around the submerged trees and against flooded grass poking for nymphs. In lake 33, the crappie stack up along the dam when the wind pushes water to the dam to form curents, and any small streamer fly works well, including thread jigs and beadhead streamers in white and yellow.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO- 21 Nov 2020
- Catch and release rainbow trout are getting wiser. Flywise, mostly to smaller olive wooly buggers, and to beadhead sz 14 black nymphs, including prince, peacock herl,copper John etc. On the spin, an olive or black marabou jig under a bobber works well. You might catch a few redear sunfish and bluegill on accident on the nymphs for a bit of variety. Debarb those hooks and dress warm!
- Clearwater Pier, FL, Gulf of Mexico - 19 Nov 2020
- (via Ryan) Spanish mackerel, croakers, and pigfish and other grunts were plentiful off the Clearwater Beach Pier. Most fish (including the spanish mackerel) took a shrimp on a jighead.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO- 14 Nov 2020
- Continuing to poke at the stocker rainbow trout in the catch and release lakes at Busch. Flywise, the bite is variable from float-divers, to chenelle bugs,to olive wooly buggers, to glowballs, to beadhead sz 14 black nymphs. On the spin, a black marabou jig or glowball under a bobber works well. Debarb those hooks and dress warm!
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO- 07 Nov 2020
- Winter trout season is here. Many lakes are now stocked, some are catch and release till 1 Feb 2021 with flies and unscented lures only, some are catch and keep were you can use bait and keep a few trout for dinner. Before you make that first cast, read the signs and make sure you are on the legal side of things. They do check (often with telephoto lenses or in person) and will fine you. That said most fish are rainbow trout from 10 inches to 15 inches with a few lunkers in for fun. That doesn't mean the other fish in the lake shut down, and flies and lures for trout often get smacked by bluegill, crappie, and bass, which are also catch and release in the affected lakes. Pick flies are many right now, but will get harder as the fish wise up. I used a floater-diver fly and a popper for fun, but many fish can be caught on glowballs below and indicator, and olive wooly buggers. A small nymph will also become bluegill fodder for variety, the wooly buggers work for crappie and bass. On the spin, a black marabou jig under a bobber is deadly, or any fly above under a weighted bobber. Remember to use 2lb tippet if you want lots of bites.
- Lake Taneycomo Branson MO - 31 Oct 2020
- (Report via Ryan) Lots of running water made it harder to get to the spawning and post spawn brown trout, but a glowball worked well near the bottom and especially up near the Hatchery Outlet Access points for a few very nice release rainbows and browns. A clouser eyed zonker also proved effective, especially near the upper outlets around early afternoon (i.e. the baby trout hatch...when they clean the screens in the hatchery dislodging a few dead baby trout into the lake). Down lake, Roark creek access also had fish on drfting egg patterns, and for the bait-pitching crowd using various scented prepared baits, or minnows, from the docks.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 24 Oct 2020
- Big crappie have been pulled out, to be replaced once the river comes back up, but in the mean time, white bass have taken residence and hit white streamers or jigs every so often. Barge traffic in the lock equals current in the slough that stimulates the bite, with slow times in between flows.
- Busch Wildlife Area Weldon Springs MO - 17 Oct
- High pressure tough fishing at Howell ISland in the morning lead to a retreat to Busch Wildlife Area in the afternoon. Many lakes were in fall turnover, shutting them down also, but the creek on the dry was good practice. In the creek,sunfish and minnows still need to eat, and lower water made for perfect light fly rod action on dry flies and very small nymphs. After the creek, a run to a small lake produced a few bluegill on chennelle bugs before it just plain stopped. Winter Trout in 2 weeks!
- Centaur Chute, Howell Island, MO River near Chesterfield MO - 10 October 2020
- Low water made for hard fly fishing (a bite and small flip-off fish on chennelle bug fly), but great fishing using corn for buffalo for the kiddos. Whole kernel corn from the can and a size 4 hook were all you needed to catch larger black buffalo fish, which fight really hard.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 10 Oct 2020
- The good crappie and white bass morning bite, with a few catfish, sunfish, and bowfin, continues, but is slowing with the dropping water. Green, white and red, and yellow lures and flies in the channel worked, as did minnows for the couple up slough from us.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 03 Oct 2020
- Off the hook bite at the slough, with a white-red beadhead streamer getting slammed all day by large crappie, white bass, a lone herring, and a few bluegill for variety. The fall feed blitz has begun and will run until the water gets too low or the water warms or cools out of the bite temps. Countdown to winter trout season has begun, T-4weeks.
- Salt River Retention Dam near New London MO - 26 Sep 2020
- Another swing at Saverton and Salt River, and a near total miss, with two charity fish as the only catch.
- Sandy Slough and main river, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 19 Sep 2020
- Back to the slough where the consistant crappie bite continues, this time on yellow and red streamer flies and the jig equivelent.
- Sandy Slough and main river, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 12 Sep 2020
- Back to the slough for carp, crappie, and oddities. White red streamer flies, and for the spinners, small soft plastics and worms.
- MO River Howell Island and Busch Wildlife Area 07 Sep 2020
- Bluegill and LArgemouth Bass were the key fly bite at Busch Wildlife Area with gar, carp, buffalo, and drum at Howell Island. At Howell Island, poppers worked for the gar, and for the spinning rod, french fries worked quite well for the rest.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 05 Sep 2020
- Back to the slough for carp, crappie, and oddities. White red beadhead streamer flies, and for the spinners, small soft plastics and worms.
- LD 22 Mississippi River near Saverton MO and Salt River Retention Dam new New London MO - 29 Aug 2020
- Saverton is a bit unusually slow with a few odd large white bass in the mix, but skunkdom otherwise. The retention dam was a complete bust. In both cases, high pressure shut off the bite at 10AM, slamming the door shut on anymore bites.
- Sandy Slough and main river, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 22 Aug 2020
- Loweering water has lead to large schools of silver carp, and plenty of crappie feeding up pre-fall. White streamers and threadjigs were deadly flies for the crappie, and small dry flies for the silver carp.
- Sandy Slough and main river, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 15 Aug 2020
- Took a chance to let the kiddos try for monsters above the dam, and rigged the spinning gear with corn, worms, and silver carp pieces. On the silver carp, drum, flathead, and channel catfish bit, on the worms, more drum and channel and flathead ctafish, and on the corn, common carp to 15lbs.
After lunch hit the slough with the flyrod, which is not low and hot. Schools of 1lb silver carp blackened the surface in many spots, and they got driven and showered by large predator fish, likelke large flatheads which like to push the silvers into the shallows and eat them. Gar were around as well, but more interesting, a size 6 florescent pink shammie worm fly, fished below a small split shot, then wiggled very slowly was deadly (no shocker that worms get washed out with the dropping current). Crappie, buffalo, common carp, bluegill, and gar all responded to the pink shammie worm fly. Sometimes the simplest flies catch the most fish.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 08 Aug 2020
- Hot weather and slough low water yielded a few fish on the fly (thread jigs, streamers) including smaller sunfish, crappie, and a few catfish around the rocks, including flatheads and channel catfish.
- Cannon Dam below Mark Twain Lake, Salt River, near Center, MO - 25 July 2020
- Classically July hot weather, with temps hot enough on the rocks to cook an egg. The CoE is has some gates open to aerate the retention pool to prevent fish kills due to low oxygen, and as a result, the fish are mostly feeding. Green sunfish and bluegill are greedily nailing anything that hit the surface near the shoreline, likely targeting frogs and grasshoppers, so a popper was well hit. Deeper, an orange chennelle bug drifted over submerged humps in the current got hit by the post-spawn channel catfish and more sunfish. For the spinning rod, a jig head with a 3inch rubber worm got hit by a buffalo, and similar offerings got hit by sunfish and drum.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 18 July 2020
- BAck to the slough, which is now a foot lower and a few degrees warmer than last week. Gar are still all over, with a few other species deep along the rocks, still after fry and one inch shad.A few largemouth bass are popping minnows, with crappie , drum and bluegill sitting a bit deeper (4 feet down), and a few silver carp. A eyed size 6 wooly bugger in grizzly and white worked quite well when fished slowly under an indicator. For the bluegill, the thread jig edged out the wooly booger. Under the bridge center a few flurries of white bass and herring popped up until around 2pm when everything shut down.
- Tennessee River, Gunterville Dam TVA accesses, AL - 14 to 15 July 2020
- Had to take a trip south, and took the chance to socially didstance by fishing below the dam. Given the heat the best bite was likely in the morning, but for me in the evening and with a fly rod, there were some options. Many schools of threadfin shad were all over on both sides. Did see other anglers catch channel catfish on livers on the generator side, and drum on worms on the lock side. Did see a varety of fish hitting the surface or swimming below the surface including laregmouth bass to 3lbs and buffalo on the lock side, and skipjack herring on the gen side (did hook one on the mysis, but lost it). Other angler told me white bass bit well at the generator fisherman's access in the morning on jigs and spoons. On the glass bead mysis, popper, and white wooly worm, on 4lb tippet, caught many bluegill, some large bluegill on the gen side. In both cases the bluegill amnd largemouth were near the rocks.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 11 July 2020
- A week makes a big difference on the river, and this week the water has dropped about 8 feet and warmed up significantly. As a result, fry of various species including gizzard shad and shiners are being flushed out of the shallows and through the bridge chokepoint then out into the main river. Predators are thusly lined up under the bridge, and in the shade, a full out white bass blitz was blasting about. The fish however, were dead center of the channel, requiring long casts on the fly, though once the fly hit, poppers and streamers got hammered. In addition to the striped marauders, herring, bluegill, gar, crappie, drum, and catfish hung near rocks and participated in the feed. Around the rocks, the payoff fly was a white thread jig (size 1-128 to 1-80th oz). This situation will not hold however, and expect the slough to become dominated by gar and the four carps (grass, common, silver, and bighead) as the water continues to drop and warm up, with bites on sunrise and sunset.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 03 July 2020
- Happy (early) Independance Day! . On the observed off day (4 July is on saturday this year), we dropped in the kayaks in the slough to take advantage of the flooded areas and mayfly hatch to catch a variety of fishes near flooded tiber and bushes. Tailing grass carp pushed the bank for mayflies and beetles, and black wooly worm got hit on a very careful cast, though stiopping a 20lb plus carp in a kayak proved very difficult (the kayak gets towed into the bushes...). Black dry flies and the same wooly booger got ready smacked by goldeye, bluegill, and gar by the ton. Gar also hit poppers for a fun experience too. On the spinning rod, a trolled shad crankbait got hit by gar and white bass, and a red and green tube jig under a bobber pitched near the trees yielded nice channel catfish to 6lbs. The next morning, my brother observed the grass carp pulling flies and plant debris off the surface, but didn't have hit fly rod handy with a dry fly.
- Private lake near Foristell MO - 27 June 2020
- Grabbed the kayaks and fished my brother's neighborhood lake, rambling up the feeder creek a little where navigable, and going into the main lake to fish structure and flooded bushes. Catch and release to preserve this resource (though fyi if you are managing your own lake, you can keep about 15 sunfish/acre/year, same for crappie, and you will retain a good fish population and have large bass too. IF the bass get overpopulated, keep about 5-10 per acre/yr slot size of 10 to 13 inches until they improve...consult your local fisheries biologist). The spinners used crawfish plastics, my flies were small poppers near flooded bushes, and the glass bead mysis and bead head estaz streamer for the rest of the situations. Fish were largemouth bass, green sunfish, bluegill, and orangespotted sunfish.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 20 June 2020
- Water is starting to drop out of the flood areas, and get lots warmer. Even so, the slough is still loaded with gizzard shad and emerald shiners, along with young of the year fry, making a buffet for many fish species including gar, catfish, drum, goldeye, bluegill, and herring. In the formerly flooded areas, carp including grass carp are foraging for bugs and worms, and maybe a berry or two. Fly-wise, everything hit the white bodied orange tailed wooly worm. For the spinner, worms are the ticket, either on bottom or 4ft under a small bobber.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 13 June 2020
- Water remains high in the river and slough. Slough water is a clear green, river is cloudy brown, and flooded backwaters now have tailing carps, including silver carp, grass carp, and common carp, and some large channel, blue, and flathead catfish. The payoff fly for these very spooky fish is a size 6 black wooly booger, since they are probing for leeches, worms, and beetles. Cast ahead of fish movement direction, then retrieve very slowly. Use a heavier tippet, and mine is 8lb to 10lb, though I lost fish trying to run into cover after being hooked. Even so I managed to land a nice double-digit silver carp (yes, he ate the fly...see my Asian Carp Fishing Article on this website). In the slough's more open water, skipjack herring are still biting, as are a few catfish, sunfish, and of course, gar. On the fly, the white streamer is the go-to in the deeper waters, while on the spinning rod, a 3 inch crankbait, 2 inch soft plastic jig, or a strip of silver carp, all get bit.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 06 June 2020
- Back to the slough, this time flooded into the picnic area and high, a little off color, and hot outside, and as a result it is moving into a summer pattern, where the bite in a morning and evening bite, with only gar and smaller catfish and carp feeding midday. As per previous weeks, emerald shiners are the primar forage, followed by gizzard shad which are starting to show in numbers, and small silver carp. Some schools of larger silver carp are just beginning to show in the shallows, but not thick yet. Plenty of short nosed gar are all over in the channel, and will hit a streamer fished on the surface, and are a fun flyrod fight. Please release them if you aren't eating them, as they eat Asian carp by the ton. Around the rocks, especially on current movements due to dam operation, herring , largemouth and smallmouth bass , crappie , and white bass will hit a fly or small white jig. Mixed with the bass are channel and flathead catfish that also hit a jig or fly.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 23 and 25 May 2020
- Water in the slough is back up again to flood the picnic area and trees, but the minnows are still in thick, and as a result, gar, white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, and herring are around, and will hit white streamers if cast near the rocks. Gizzard shad and silver carp are beginning to show too. Pro tip, look for grass carp in the bushes if the water stays high, look for their tails, and they hit black streamers such as wooly worms.
- Sandy Slough, Mississippi River, LD25, Winfield MO - 23 and 25 May 2020
- Made a run on two days of the three day weekend, still socially distant, to Sandy Slough near Winfield MO (Home of an excellent set of resturants fyi, a few are: Market Grill, Dickeys Smokehouse BBQ, and Sunday Funday Cafe). This time of year the run of emerald shiners and silvery minnows bring in thick schools of skipjack herring, gar, crappie, and white bass, with a few largemouth bass and sunfish as bonuses. All the aforementioned species nail a 1inch to 2 inch white streamer (my bead head worked well) fished near the rocks. The herring like a very fast retrieve just below the surface, the gar a slow pull along the top, while the rest like a slow pulse under an indicator near the rocks.
- Unnamed tributary creeks in Lincoln County, MO, 16 May 2020
- Still social distance fishing. Yes, I know the names, but any creek that feeds the Mississippi or Missouri rivers can sub in here. walleye, gar, suckers, and white bass and sauger, and many species of minnows are around, though this is a catch and release spot for us to protect this limited resource. The pick fly was a one inch long sz 6 bead head barbless white streamer again, though a red and yellow version worked as well. On the spinning rod, jigs in the same size range or slightly bigger. Gar were spawning and it was odd to see pretty big gar in very shallow water. Note that these species eat the silver carp (i.e. Asian carp) so please let them alone.
- Unnamed tributary creeks in Lincoln County, MO, 02 May 2020
- Yes, I know the names, but any creek that feeds the Mississippi or Missouri rivers can sub in here. Walleye, gar, suckers, and white bass have come up the creeks and are spawning or have spawned, while smaller versions of these species stay resident most of the year. Add in freshwater drum, crappie, sunfish, common and grass carps, channel catfish, sauger, and many species of minnows and herring, and you have a light tackle catch and release haven. The pick fly was a one inch long sz 6 bead head white streamer, with or without indicator, followed by the black wooly bugger. On the spinning rod, jigs in the same size range or slightly bigger. Look for confluences, deeper holes with snags, and the head of deeper water that follows a riffle, and you will find the fish.
- Busch Wildlife Area, Weldon Springs, - 25 April 2020
- Even with rain and social distancing the fish bite. It is spring after all. In lakes and ponds, Crappie, Sunfish, and Bass are all active, and smaller streamers on the fly rod, or small tube and soft plastics on the spinning rod work well. Remember the forage fish and nymphs are mostly small, so make your offering small too, except for largemouth in shallows, which get viscious before and after spawn (in that casse 3 inch to 4 inch lures and flies like zonkers).
- Busch Wildlife Area, Weldon Springs, private lakes, and Broemmelsiek Park, Defiance MO - Mid March to 18 April 2020
- Social Distancing in Missouri can be fishing (says so in the statewide order), since fish can't catch the virus, and if you are over a rod length or cast away, you are distant to be sure. Therefore went fishing, driving seperately, and staying far from each other, though close enough to yell, and take pictures. One of my kin has a lake for a back yard, and have been fishing this whole time. As per usual in the spring, crappie are biting on most days, though high bluebird skies post cold front have slowed the bite for some days, leaving redears and bluegill. A few lakes at BWA still have a few trout, and one took my bluegill fly. Pick flies were wooly buggers (size 12) and chennelle bugs. Look for fishing to pick up as water temperatures climb and fish move to spawn and post-spawn.
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