Little Missouri Fly Fishing
Saturday - April 7, 2018
Thursday - March 1, 2018
Wednesday - February 7, 2018
Monday - December 18, 2017
Wednesday - December 5, 2017
Check out the current weather and forecast in Murfreesboro!
Saturday - April 7, 2018
Wow! Undoubtedly, this has been the longest period I have NOT been on the river in probably twenty years!!! The "March 2018 High Water Event" was one of the major ones! Third time in the lake's history to go over the spillway (563') - 1968, 2009 and now 2018! Looks like we maxxed out at 563.42' on March 4th...
<<<< Kerrie Henderson gets into one at The Trough while hubby, Jim gets a shot or two!
We knew it was going to be a long wait!!!
And we did get to see some low water last week and some folks got to fish finally. The reports weren't great, as far as finding fish or significant size, but at least there's fish and fishing! I returned this past Thursday to meet Kerrie & Jim Henderson (Indiana) and her dad Jim Kendall (Florida)! We timed the trip just right as I found out later in the day that the CORPS did have the Bunger Valves open till about 8:00 that morning! In fact, they had them open for two and a half days this past week!
At any rate, we were back to the extra minimum flow that we had been enjoying for months! Oh, that is so nice! Gonna hate to see that go away whenever they get done with what all they're doing at the powerhouse. Supposedly, that'll still be done next month, sometime...
Jim Kendall had good fish working the shallow water... >>>>
As is typical for some novices and true first timers, it was casting for a while. There were fish showing themselves pretty regularly and March Browns were doing likewise! So, when it came time to load up it was on with the A & W's! Pretty much a given at this time of year, particularly with the long period of high water.
Normally, right now, we'd been getting into the peak of the dry fly fishing, but when the fish have been under high water for so long it takes them all a while to learn to eat the actual dries. But they do get to see plenty of emergers! And they do hammer them when they are spotted!!!
<<<< Jim Henderson had a real good groove going and probably produced the most hits! There is no doubt a direct correllation between clean casts and takes. After that, it's up to you!
We started in the middle of the Flat with the casting and stayed there for just a bit. It didn't seem like a lot was going on - there were fish, but not real busy... I wanted to go up into the shallower water to see what was happening there. That move paid off nicely.
I got Jim H into The Trough, just below Kerrie who was at the top, and Jim K along the shallow bedrock ledge. There were lots of fish in The Trough and they were happy to oblige us with plenty of action the rest of the session! We easily lost track of fish on and probably even how many released! There wasn't a lot of size which confirmed the reports, but like I said, there was fish and fishing taking place!
Once the guys got a good groove going with the casting and working, the nice casts and tight lines paid off thoroughly. And you might account that the fish were settling into a better water situation from the previous couple of days too. The combination was just right for everyone! I had noticed on the way up in the morning that most of the cattle in the area were laying down and not eating. Apparently the trout do not subscribe to that theory after all. They were happy to feed!
Unfortunately, though, despite what the weather predictions had been - that is for showers in the overnight - the thunderstorms moved in during the afternoon with just enough close and overhead lightning to run us out of the water! I didn't mention that when I got there in the morning it was 50° and bright enough to have the sunglasses on - by the time I left town it was 47° and still raining!
<<<< Kerrie pretty much captures the mood for the day! Lots of fish caught by all and nobody got hurt (just cold)... It was a good day. Topped out by an immature eagle flying over us with a trout clutched in its talons!!!
And of course we all know what happened yesterday and today! I thought this was supposed to be April, but it's not the first time we've had snow threatened in April... Downright chilly in the Port today - glad I was teaching inside! They are talking temps touching the 20's in the morning (Sunday) in the Boro!
With all that said, the storms of the last 36 hours have dropped significant water into the lake again. It's back up to 549.24' tonight, however the upper river has dropped nicely and there's not that much water coming down out of the mountains... US 67 reading got up to 14', but it's cresting as well. So don't be surprised if we see some more water releases soon. Maybe just like this past week - some Bunger activity mid week. Currently no rain forecast until Friday...
So! Maybe, just MAYBE we will be seeing a nicer month the rest of April and into May and get the river back to where we all like it! Predictable!!!
Going to try to get back up this weekend. Maybe we will have some nice hatches going on - March Browns and I hope, some Caddis as well!
Thursday - March 1, 2018
First things first!
This year's Fly Fishing Festival was quite nice! Excellent crowd and a ton of fun! I counted right at 65 folks in attendance and a whole bunch of those made it in Friday early to get things started. I want to thanks everyone who helped make this year another enjoyable time for all. While it's gotten to where, as I like to say, this thing kind of runs itself, it doesn't happen without all the support of The Usual Suspects!
I was quite pleased to get a hold of this really nice resident fish that Breck Myers landed just a few minutes after we kind of wrapped up the Can You Take It casting Clinic! Sometime the Karma is right!!! >>>>
Oh yeah, it was still kind of chilly!
I trust everyone who attended came away with some new flies, new information, new stuff and new knowledge! The weather was decent enough for everyone to get in at least a little fishing too, I know... Even I did on Sunday afternoon!
<<<< Some of the nice crowd at this year's Fly Fishing Festival!
Hate that I missed the midge hatch during the Casting Clinic, but I made up for it up around the Skinny Water later. Several nice Rainbows and a couple of pretty Browns to finish off the weekend! All on a Tiger Midge! They were still obliged to take it even though the hatch was pretty much over.
I know we had some "good" to "excellent" reports since then but, they were from the last to get on the river before the rains kicked in and the gates opened up! So, it's going to be a while before we have any "fishing'" reports I fear! But since I'm going to Mobile to play a in Sectionals tennis tournament next week (our team won State!!!), I wasn't going to be missing much on the river anyway!
So here's where we are on the river situation! At 4:00 PM today (March 1) the lake is at 562.29' and still rising. FYI all, flood pool is 548' and the spillway crest is 563'... We're nearly there.
AGFC's Kris Nault did a nice job with his general presentation on everything that's been going on with the Trout Program, the Spring River Hatchery issues and good news about the twice as many as usual Browns stocked in February! >>>>
As mentioned in the High Water thread on the Message Board, this is the highest we've seen since May 2009. The record high was in 1968 at 564.60'. It's staggering that it was 41 years apart that the spillway has been topped - it's only happened those two times - and just a few years later we could see it again!
In 2009 we had four solid weeks of 24/7 releases, including much of that with the Bunger Valves open in addition to the regular generators. The CORPS can draw the lake down twice as fast with the Bungers open, but the only drawback to that is that it pulls cold water out of the lake. But with the winter we had, the water from top to bottom of the lake may be colder than we've seen in years. We'll know in June, I guess!
We'll be watching RiverGauges.com very closely, so keep an eye here and particularly on the Message Board. As we get closer to some kind of normal, we can start getting excited to see all the fish that are being stocked on this high water and what kind of scary good shape they are going to be in once we get to see them again!
Wednesday - February 7, 2018
As Matthew McConaughey is noted for saying: All right, all right, all right!
Maybe one of the longest periods in my updates history without an update. Chalk it off to numerous things... Weather, sick, weather, not many people looking to go to the river at that time of year. At any rate, there's been a bunch going on.
Dean Butler battles a nice Bow in the fast water up in the Skinny Water Project. The fish, generally were hitting quite aggressively! >>>>
Got an assortment of information to dispense. Firstly, the CORPS is doing some work on the main transformer in the yard. Hence the excellent flow coming through the power house! If you have not been to the river since late fall or haven't been looking, they are letting about 10 extra inches of water through around the clock. To my knowledge there's been no actual generation in months.
I suspect they (the CORPS) are keeping their own power on at the dam. We've seen this on occasion in the past. They run their own lights. Word is that this project is supposed to last into May 2018! Which means we will likely have this great minimum flow all spring. The lake is currently at 539.63' - ten feet below danger - so maybe we'll get lucky and we won't have to open Bungers or anything like that...
So, the flows are going to be excellent for quite a while. Make for some really nice fishing all up and down the river!
Secondly, and AGFC Biologist Kris Nault will likely give us way more information at the Fly Fishing Festival (NEXT WEEK), the AGFC had quite the flood a year ago at the Spring River Hatchery. It devastated the fish stocks at the time. We did not get the regular summertime stocking we usually do and numbers are going to be down at all the Arkansas trout fisheries for 2018!
<<<< One of Dean's Browns on the day! That little guy looks like he'd just as soon bite your hand off with those teeth!
However, the size for the average fish will be bigger than has been in the last few years. I guess when there's lots of room in the pens the fish can grow larger! January and February numbers will be down about 20% and about 12% for the whole year. Fewer but bigger - not a bad trade!
And this past Monday I did make it to the river once again to find that we got a nice load of Browns at Riverside at least. We caught Browns three to one over Bows!!!
And speaking of the fishing, I met with Dean Butler (Hope, AR) Monday on what turned out to be a rather chilly afternoon after all! Fortunately the sun stayed with us until we literally stepped out of the water. It was low to mid 40's all day with just enough breeze to make you stop here an there and warm up the hands.
Dean 's first fish on a fly, a nicely colored Brown - while you could still feel your fingers and toes!!! >>>>
As it was Dean's first fly casting we worked on that for a bit - all the while there were fish chasing Tiger Midges as they hatched and scooted across the surface in the breeze! Once we got through the preliminary casting I went with a Cahill Slider as I thought trying to fish a size 18 Tiger Midge in the chop might have been a little much for Dean's first day.
As we got started Dean asked if we might get a big Brown on the day. Not being aware at the moment of the recent load of fish, I told him it was most unlikely we'd see any Browns! Well a few minutes later he had his first fish on a fly and it was a nice 11 inch Brown! Very nice colors, but still, no doubt, a fresh fish. so it was safe to say that AGFC brought some Browns in last week!
The Slider worked fine, as did a Long Creek in the faster flows up in the Skinny Water and an A & W the rest of the time. The midge hatch lasted from about 11:00 to 1:00 or so and we did see a few March Browns popping out occasionally.
The first Rainbow Dean landed was a very nice fish with deep red belly fins, but not entirely white tipped yet and a tail that was nearing clean. really good shape for this time of year, so be ready for some healthy fish. The lack of high water, but a decent flow all the time is going to have them in excellent condition faster than usual I bet!
There hasn't been much need to update the Generation Schedule on the Message Board as there's nothing different to expect any time soon. We may well have one of the best springs ever! The only thing that worries me however, is the reddish silt that has settled at the Park... I didn't make it down the river Monday so i don't know how much has settled only in the upper reaches and not further down. A little hit of high water probably wouldn't hurt. Hey Keith Kopp, how did it look at hind's Bluff???
Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!!!
Monday - December 18, 2017
From good days, to bad days, to decent days!!! No real explanation...
Last week (Sunday), Breck Myers and his bud, David Haas (Shreveport, LA) came up to the river in anticipation of some more good fishing like we had the last couple of weeks! Baaannnhhh!!! "Thanks for playing!"
Man! We had everything going for us that we could have asked for! Nice weather, great water, small crowds... But the fish had other plans. They barely gave us the time of day no matter how hard we worked! It was almost as though they were simply ticked off! I guess people had been at them enough to get the ones that survived the initial onslaught of anglers in a foul mood.
<<<< Breck Myers barely visible in the bright sun at the Skinny Water... Fish were barely visible on the day as well!
And it really seemed like there were already noticeably fewer fish in the river than the week before. With only so many fish having gone in the river to that point, I guess it doesn't take long to make a dent in that population... Coupled with the extra water flowing, some of those may have made it to safer areas already, as well. Whatever the case, we just weren't raising a whole lot of fish!
Neither in the Skinny Water which had been fishing so well, or around River Ridge where we only saw a couple, or the Hind's Bluff Access where there was at least a better concentration of fish, but they all had closed mouth syndrome. It was to say the least a brutal day! We did find out that everyone who was around that day was pretty much experiencing the same thing!
One of the guys from the Lake Charles fly fishing club told us that Friday had been OK, but Saturday was quiet and Sunday had been bad. Three of their guys had been skunked! Of course, to me, truly skunked is when you don't even raise a fish... At least we weren't quite there, but it was close!!! We wrapped up the day with our tails tucked for a change...
This past Saturday (the 16th) Norman LaFargue and Stacey Marks (Shreveport) met me at Riverside to see what we could do! What a difference a few days makes... The water is no longer crystal clear as it has been for some time. It has a dingy color to it and there is a bunch of reddish silt filtering through the dam right now!
Stacey Marks gets into a nice resident fish in the faster water! >>>>
I suspect the lake is turning over and the low levels - 535.44' - is moving some pretty yucky water through the gates.
There may be some oxygen depletion going on with that sediment filled water coming through. Obviously not lethal, but we may have some low energy fish around before it clears up or the lake get flushed with some good rains.
<<<< Stacey finished up with one at The Trough too.
But at least we did get into some fish on a reasonably regular basis on the day. It was only Stacey's second time to try some fishing on the river and we worked on casting for a bit before we started seriously looking for fish. She also got the first one. We had been watching one come up consistently just in reach and once we put on an A & W it wasn't real long before Stacey was able to raise that one!
But that was out in The Flat where they were spread out pretty thin... Word came through the Message Board! that we did indeed get more loads of fish during the week so I assumed there were some fish moved back up into the Skinny Water. There were just enough!
Norman LaFargue ties into one with quite the ruckuss! Notice the off color of the water here... >>>>
It gave Stacey and Norman plenty to do for a while, lots of high sticking in the moving water, swing drifts, foam lines and seam fishing. It also produced a couple of really nice fish with another resident in the fast water, a nice Eagle Lake male with some teeth and a full set of fins!
You have to work this kind of water very thoroughly! Norman found that out a bit by accident on one fish. He had made a good cast to the far side of the run which raised a fish immediately, but numerous good drifts through the same zone failed to produce... Fish will frequently take a while to get back to their spot once they show themselves, but this took way too long for that to happen.
<<<< Stacey shows off a nice resident fish with really great colors!
However as Norman "trolled" his Long Creek while we repositioned by just a few few feet, a fish came out from the boulders on the near side of the run to take the fly! Of course, we have no idea if it was the same fish or not, but it was in a spot we had kind of ignored working the other side of the foam line...
So, be thorough in the fast water! I know when I was "coming up" fishing at Albert Pike there were numerous times that I nearly stepped on fish in spots that I just didn't even think might hold one! Tailwaters and free flowing streams have their differences, naturally, but you have to assume!
Norman got in on the healthy fish too! >>>>
All in all we had a decent session and enjoyed some nice weather, a tad cool, but not too bad before yesterday's rains moved in on everybody! After what seems to have been months with no rain, we are finally getting into some normal rains. And cold ones at that. That's a good sign for next summer as long as we don't have any seriously high water in the spring where the CORPS has to open the Bunger Valves and draw off that cold water.
Expect more stocking through the end of the month and then we'll have to see if we get the usual big loads in January, February and March! Looking for a nice winter season! We'll see how the fishing is this weekend in the meantime though!
Wednesday - December 5, 2017
Some very nice fishing of late!!!
As you may have seen on the Message Board - strange doings at the power house on the dam... Still don't know exactly what's going on in there - obviously some serious equipment being redone undoubtedly - but the upshot is that a small percentage of gate #3 has been open for about a week, at least, now!!! That's putting about 8-10 extra inches of water into the river around the clock.
Elizabeth Hazen starts the day off nicely with her first trout on a fly! >>>>
We've seen this scenario periodically over the years and I can only suspect that they are "running their own lights" while the work is being done - however long that's going to be!
So if you can take advantage of the extra minimum flow, I would highly recommend it while you still can. Maybe we can get some word as to how long to expect said work to take...
<<<< Matt Brown gets in to quite a few later in the day at the Hind's Bluff Access...
Saturday (Dec 2nd) Elizabeth Hazen brought Matt Brown up from Texarkana for a seriously covert birthday present! She had this trip in the works for months and he just got the word over Thanksgiving that they were going to the river! Well done Elizabeth!!!
These two excellent students took to the casting in a heartbeat (relatively speaking) and we had flies in the water in no time!
The extra water allowed us to fish Long Creeks easily in The Flat. Unfortunately there just wasn't a lot happening around the Park, and we did raise a few fish, but after some work it was Elizabeth who the first to score!
There was no lack of smack either with her being the first to get one in hand!
We took a look in at River Ridge after that, but it was a little crowded... We fished just a little while in the shoal below the weir where we raised a couple more in the fast water. Elizabeth and Matt were getting a lot of education on how a trout stream works, where to find fish and how to reach them. It was already an enjoyable day!
Elizabeth with certainly one of the better fish on the day! >>>>
But, once again, it was the Hind's Bluff access that held in store the most fun. We tried the bottom of the pool initially and that produced some fish, but with the flow as it was, fishing the bottom of Butt Buster Shoal was just an excellent situation!
We tried swinging both Long Creeks and A & W's around the fast water. Savage hits in the riffles and happy fish in the high oxygen levels below the shoal!
<<<< I think this was probably Matt's first one... He made up for the early slow start towrds the end of the day!
It was certainly a fine day. And some really nice fish caught. These early loads of freshies have indeed had some decent fish on them!
Yesterday (Monday, Dec 4) David Cooksey (Shreveport) returned after several years away from the Little Mo'! Enough to where we couldn't be sure how far back it was... That's too long, ya know!
But what a time to make the trip. We had most all the river to ourselves! By the way, Saturday afternoon I scouted a bit... David and I headed right up into the Skinny Water.
David Cooksey hangs on to a nice one, displacing some water, in the Skinny Water! >>>>
There were plenty of fish hanging around in there with the extra flows and it made for some really nice fishing again! I dare say that's only going to get better as long as this keeps up!
There were fish in almost every little spot they should have been and we worked the stretch over quite thoroughly! I told David that I personally could probably fish that 50-60 yards for a solid four hours and be happy!
<<<< Yep, that's pretty nice to start out with!
There's so many "situations" in there to work with! We "dead-drifted", "high-sticked", and "down & acrossed" with mending, finger bumps, and lift techniques for a couple of hours!!! The whole time getting fish right where they were supposed to be!
Even got at least a couple of resident fish in great shape in the fast water! Wasn't sure there were any left... I was certainly enjoying it. Even the fish from the first load are getting in pretty decent shape already too.
Over the shoulder view with David. Kind of makes you want to go fishing, eh? >>>>
We moved out of the Skinny Water eventually and were going to head downriver, but several fish kept showing in one of my favorite little pockets in the shallow end of the Flat! I couldn't stand to let them go unscathed...
I switched David to an A & W for the slightly slower, shallow water and we started creeping towards the spot... But before we could even get into the prime zone, David got absolutely hammered by a chunky fish on the move. And that "move" was at high speed! What a hit!!!
<<<< Just one of numerous nice fish on Monday! I'd probably say David landed a half dozen like this and several others of a "slightly lesser" standard...
Turned out (several minutes later) to be a freshie, but fat and about 12 inches! Even gave David a couple of knuckle busters! After one more fish there we moved out and finished the day at Butt Buster!
There it essentially was more of what Elizabeth and Matt had experienced on Saturday! Only David had the whole place and all the fish to himself!!!
Yep, that's starting to get there in this new season! >>>>
Again, even the fish that were stocked in the first loads are already starting to show nice condition. Some of these were in the 12 inch class, but hefty and strong. Even displayed some nice aerials for us!
The weather even cooperated and held off with only a few minutes of the slightest drizzle. That changed up there overnight though and the lake finally got some nice cool rain coming in. So far I really like the way the winter is going!
Always On The Water - Jeff
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