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- 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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