Little Missouri Fly Fishing
Monday - October 17
Thursday - September 29
Monday - September 12
Thursday - September 1
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Monday - October 17, 2016 (Me and Sandy's Anniversary today, too!)
Took me a week to get to it, but here's another report! And it's not all that good I'm afraid...
The water is still a problem! I got reports over the last few days and on the Message Board that the water is still muddy, silty and not smelling all that great! And fish are even harder to come by. And, of course, the Catch & Release Season is over and until the AGFC gets to stocking again, don't expect to find a whole lot going on.
I worked with James & Chase Robertson a week ago Friday and Saturday, and Roy Whitfill and his dad Jerry on Sunday. I'm afraid to say, the fishing was pretty pitiful. Not a lot of fish left and the mornings have not been the time to be out there. The fish simply have not been at all enthused about mornings! I dare say they hated it!
<<<< One of the several nice fish that Roy Whitfill did manage throughout their trip!
We tried to find fish all over the place in the upper part of the river - Riverside and Sycamore Run. Just wasn't much doing... We raised a few, but the end of this season has been a far cry "different" than what we are accustomed to at this time of year. In fact, Roy and Jerry recounted that it was the same time of year that they came on their previous trip and they remembered doing quite well! Not so this time...
The report from the CORPS is tha tthe lake is already "turning over", which I find a little questionable myself, but they were saying it's because of all the warm water that came in back in August. That would explain the odor and off color to some extent, but personally i think the August rains flushed a whole lot of loose bottom and silt on through the lake that normally would not be moving this time of year. The lake should be at its most stable right now and crystal clear, but that's definitely not the case!
At any rate, I do think the water conditions, for whatever reason, has had a major effect on the last of the fish for this season. There has been an extraordinary amount of generation through September and early October and that also seems to have put the fish off as far as normal behavior. So we just were not seeing them participate in their typical late season patterns.
Generally speaking, if you didn't get to fish the last four or five weeks - you didn't miss much!
Now I did hear from Roy and Jerry, who stayed for several days into the week and they reported that the mornings were as expected - not much going on, but it got a little better into the afternoon before the generation got going. And, after generation on the falling water at Prime Time, every day improved with more fish landed each day using Smidge's! That was great to hear!
Roy with one of the best fish of the week, down at the Sycamore Run! >>>>
James and Chase also had a little bit of success, but they only got to stay through Monday and didn't get to see the improving conditions of the next couple of days that the Whitfill's saw... James reported one nice 13 incher. We had had a bit of a tying class on Saturday afternoon and Chase tied his first few flies. I told him the new fly tiers routine: Put the first fly you tied on your fishing hat - and then put the first fly you tied that you catch a fish wiith on your hat. He managed to do both! excellent!
So, once again a season comes to a close. I'm usually a little depressed when October 16 comes around and I know that the fish are getting pulled out of the river, but this fall it may be for the best. Hopefully the lake stabilizes, and the river with it, to get back to normal out there! AGFC may bring fresh fish any day so we'll be keeping an eye out for that. I'll try to see what I can find out about the water conditions and if the AGFC may hold off until the last week of October for normalcy to set in!
Thursday - September 29, 2016
A very busy weekend on the 24th and 25th. Well I was busy... The fish - not so much!
I had a large group coming from all over western Arkansas for the birthday gathering of one Jason Lofton set up by his wife Cindy! They came from De Queen and the Fayetteville area at least... Josh Spielmaker, Ricky Williams, Chad Gallagher, Jordan Tatum, Jeff Shreve and Zach Newcomb in addition to Jason! Quite the crowd!
<<<< That's a bunch of guys who had worked hard all morning and were taking a lunch break! Notice that most of them had their eyes glued to the water... That's positive thinking!
Unfortunately we were not blessed with optimal conditions... In fact, as challenging as the last trip was, this past weekend was worse! Hot, full sun, no wind at all and fish hiding elsewhere! Not conducive to seeing a whole lot of action.
Most of the group were throwing fly lines for the very first time so there was a lot of instruction and bouncing around across the Flat going on. We could only hope for a little help from the weather, but it was not forthcoming! Brutal... And the water wasn't right either! It was rather silty, even a bit muddy. I suspect there was a lot of movement on the lake after the storms in mid August that brought the lake up four feet overnight. That's a lot of silt to flush around at this time of year and the river is showing it!
But it wasn't a doomed effort when all was said and done. >>>>
Kind of a mess actually... Now the lake is back down to 541.24' when it was up to nearly 547' at the beginning of September! So, this year, there's been a lot of water moving around at a time when the lake is usually about at its most stable condition of the year. I suspect the oxygen content on the tail water might be a little lower than we'd like to have as well.
At any rate, all this doesn't bode well for the most recent conditions! And our guys on Saturday paid the price. But once we tacked some Light Cahill R & A''s on, at least Ricky Williams had the first bent rod somewhat early on! After that it was needles in haystacks as far as coming across signs of fish. They had headed for deep water and they did not want to play at all!
We saw very few over the Wall Hole and that was only when a hint of a cloud would cast the slightest bit of shadow. As soon as the sun hit the water again they were deep once more. But we did get at least one more fish on and I believe that it was Josh that did that! After that, it was a whole lot of casting practice!
<<<< Randy Rogers at least got a little bit going at Prime Time Saturday!
But in the classic way of fly fishers, no matter how new, everyone had a good time and Jason is already planning to return with some of the bunch apparently and spouses as well! Just planning n better fishing conditions and plenty of fresh fish around for that trip!
In the evening I met back up with Randy Rogers (Fort Smith) for a return trip! He, his wife Mary Katherine and son Will, had come down to the river back at the beginning of August and had a real nice trip, including a very decent Prime Time! Mary Katherine had also produced one of the nicest fish of the summer. I'm adding that back here because that report was lost on the old fatally affected "Blog"... And it was a really pretty fish!
Mary Katehrine Rogers did rather well on the first venture to the Little Mo'! >>>>
So, Randy and I got out for Prime Time on Saturday and we pretty much had the place to ourselves with the exception of a few casting types trying to throw some really big lures around. I don't know that it hurt our chances, but I'm quite sure it wasn't helping... There had been a good number of Light Cahills hatching throughout the day so I anticipated a lot of bugs for the Prime Time "Hover" and they were indeed there!
It took the fish a while to get after them, and we ended up with some action, but it still wasn't what I would have liked to have seen right now. The generation patterns are weird, the water is weird, the weather was no help... But fish were showing - however they weren't playing nicely... Produced only a few hook-ups and fish in! One really nice one though - great shape - nice colors!
<<<< Fish on at The Sycamore Run. Can't beat it!
In the morning we headed up into the Trough and found only a few fish showing themselves in the shadows... Randy did put a Light Cahill R & A out in front of the one fish that wanted to eat! Produced a confident take and a nice fight! After that it was slim pickins once again! We tried dredging a Long Creek around in the Wall Hole, but that didn't do anything for us either... Even Mike "Hen" Ingram was having a bit of a difficult time of it!
So, just out of curiosity we headed down to River Ridge to see if we could reach and raise anything at all there. that was futile I'm afraid. Any fish that were showing there a couple of weeks back had either vacated or were definitely not showing! I will say the water looked a little better down there though. Not as muddy, but still not clear, and certainly not "autumn" clear by any means!
Headed back upstream and pulled in at the Sycamore Run. Over all these years, the Sycamore Run has always been good for at least a couple of fish, just about any day of the year! It did not disappoint!
As we worked the Long Creek down over the drop off, Randy got hit with a nice solid thud and good fish on! That fish was right where he was supposed to be! And so was a friend of his after that! Randy had already gotten a Kentucky Bass on the trip and I was hoping we might raise a Smallmouth as well - at least get part of the Little Mo' Slam going! No dice... But a couple of nice trout none the less!
<<<< Randy finishes off the trip on a good note!
We finished the day out there and called it in time for Randy to get home and feed animals.
I'm hoping that the change in the weather over the last couple of days will make a difference to fish and fishermen! I haven't seen the generation schedule for next week yet. Let's hope there's a little less water getting pulled off the lake and water temps can get into the low 60's and maybe even into the 50's soon! I know the fish will be happier and the Light Cahills will get into max activity with the water around 56° to 58° !
And before you know it, fresh stocking will start up and a whole new season will get underway! November is a'coming!
Just got the generation schedule for the first week of October! Generation from 2 PM to 8 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Nothing slated for Wednesday (odd...) or the weekend! Enjoy!
Monday - September 12, 2016
Had a great time fishing this weekend with Robert Walker and Bob "Grizz" Billings from Longview, TX!!! We may not have caught a ton of fish, but the guys sure knew how to enjoy themselves - and learn a whole bunch of stuff too!
Robert Walker gets into the first fish of the day! (Notice we had some decent chop on the water for a change.) >>>>
We started out Saturday morning with the typical casting instruction and "re-structuring" - getting away from what the "books" said do and what really needs to be done... It's almost always a shock to people how fly-casting actually happens! Some people believe it, some don't...
Most people see what they're supposed to be doing and believe it, but getting the brain to believe it and the ensuing muscle movements to occur seem to be another story most days.
Fortunately Grizz and Robert were doing pretty decent, though there remains things to improve... But then, I have that too... The key on this day was getting a fish near a fly!
We were the lucky ones to be able to take advantage of the first real cool front to come through southwest Arkansas this past Saturday!!! We had decent northerly breezes and broken skies. The fish were liking it enough to play with us quite a bit! They were still hanging around The Flat as we got ready to put some flies on and they were OK with eating some Light Cahill Sliders and A & W's and Light Cahill R & A''s.
<<<< Bob Billings got this fish on and a good bend in the three weight!
We raised a reasonable number of fish through the morning and moved into the Wall Hole after a while and, again, did reasonably well with Long Creeks and even a B & B Little Mo' Wooly! The water was still a bit warm and the fish had gone suspended by then, but here and there the guys pulled one out, including a couple of real chunks up to 14 inches!
All the while the casting was improving, slowing down and becoming more comprehensible for Grizz in particular and to a point for Robert. However, it seemed, as I came to find out, that Robert generally has had better luck getting fish on some of their trips... Seemed to be the case for much of this weekend as well!
Yep, that's what you want to see on your first day on a new stream! >>>>
We headed in for lunch and came back out in the later afternoon to some evening fishing. All morning I had been seeing a really good number of shed nymphal shucks drifting around the river. There was a good Light Cahill hatch in the works throughout the day and we anticipated a decent "Hover" for Prime Time! And while there were more decent fish landed in the early evening with the usual Smidge's, we didn't quite stay in the water right into the middle of Prime Time - not quite long enough I'm afraid...
However, as we were gearing down at the vehicles, we looked across Robert's truck bed cover - which was a shiny, nearly black, top - and it was nearly covered over with dancing Light Cahills! They were mistaking the bed cover for the river surface and we had our own little "Hover" happening up in the parking lot!!! Unfortunately, could not get a decent picture of it, but I dare say there were a couple of hundred mayfllies over the truck bed! Pretty cool...
Sunday morning, after shutting off my fan and getting under my blanket in the Dynamite Hill-ton, we got out to The Trough and found quite a few fish working there! I liked the looks of how things were developing early on.
<<<< Grizz Billings and Robert Walker double up for the first time at The Trough. Both fish were landed too, this time!
We already had some air moving by 9:00 AM and I suspected there were going to be some really excellent winds coming out of the north as the morning progressed. The only drawback was the bright sun in a crystal blue sky! Not a cloud to be found...
Which may not have been that big of an issue normally at this time of year, but all week long the generation had been cranking up at 10:00 AM and running till dark, so the fish were under deep water all day long and getting used to no bright light all day. It did other them greatly after a while...
Fish of the day! Beefy 14 incher with great color! It's what you come out of the house for... >>>>
But before that happened we managed to raise quite a few on Light Cahill R & A''s up top! There's nothing more fun than watching a dry fly get sucked under! And it's usually your fly that disappears while you're watching someone else's bob around or an Eagle flying by! Those are typically the best hook-ups - when you don't know it happened and can't over react!
But even before mid-day it was clear that all the fish we had been working on had vacated the entire Flat and headed elsewhere! We decided just for fun to go see if we could find anything down river and hiked down to the Big Rock Hole! Afraid all we did there was work on long roll casts and get wet to the waist - well, my waist at least... We took it on in for the afternoon.
<<<< Grizz with a nice September 'Bow! Couldn't hardly beat the conditions either!
I got the report this morning that the guys did go back out yesterday evening and caught a couple on their own, but alas, they still didn't stay out quite long enough to get the full Prime Time effect... They got off the water at about 7:30 again and they needed to stay out there another ten or fifteen minutes! Apparently it was past someone's bed time...
Again, we had a great couple of days of fishing, and caught some fish too! Actually the guys did quite well for this time of year at their experience level. The late summer fish are certainly a challenge!
Bad news for fishing this week though. Running Monday thru Friday from 7:00 AM all the way to 9:00 PM! Man! Nothing for next Saturday or Sunday though. Another significant cool down for the following week by the way!
Thursday - September 1, 2016
As many of you have noticed, there was a "fatal error" on The Latest "blog" that I had been using for the last two years. So, I've been working to return to the old style page that I had done from day one! The Word Press Blog, while nice for retaining archives, was just as much labor intensive as this format is, and this, I have complete control of! I'll see if I can recover some of the recent post from this summer and add them here shortly and update all the rest of the site as time permits, but for today I'll make the following report...
Most recently, last Friday, the 26th, first time fly fisher, Pete Taylor met me on the river for instruction and maybe a fish or two! We had decent conditions though there was absolutely no breeze once again! It has been such a bizarre summer! Lots of rain, as almost everyone knows and now dreads, and very few days where there's been any wind at all...
<<<< Pete Taylor gets ready to land his first fish on a fly!
We did raise quite a few fish, however! Not a lot landed, but good action. Of course we were the only ones out there, apart from some bait fishers that needed some regulations explained. On a tip from Mike "Hen" Ingram, I tied up some yellow soft hackles and they did produce for us! We raised some fish on a couple of other things, but Mike's soft hackle was sufficient for most the day.
I suspect some of his success with that of late stems from the mid to late summer Sulphur hatch that can be prevalent and important any given year. We're also seeing more and more Light Cahills coming out in the mid to late mornings. Can't wait for some better temperatures and cooler water to get those really cranked up! That may be starting overnight too. Looking at lows getting into the low 60's on the river finally!
Meanwhile, Pete was getting a better grip on the casting as his morning progressed and all of a sudden it clicked! He starting straightening out nice clean casts around 20-25 feet over the Wall Hole and the fish obliged with some quick and ferocious takes! A couple of near instant rises to good throws is some great instant gratification!
Pete displays the fruits of his efforts! >>>>
Of course, just about the time Pete really got it going it was getting close to quittin' time... High water last week was coming at 2:00 PM and running into the night. This week had a rather odd start to the schedule, but I see they modified it during the week. They're running today and tomorrow from 2:00 to 7:00 and nothing for the weekend.
It truly is amazing how much of a difference a clean cast makes to the summertime fish. And it's just as amazing that this happens each season with every new crop of fish we get. The summer fish just get so used to people throwing all kinds of stuff over their heads they almost get complacent and blaze' about the whole thing. Pete found that out as every throw got a little better. He also found out just how strong these fish are, and that's at water temps hover in the upper 60's to 70° !
He was rather stunned at the power and speed once he tightened up on a few and ultimately landed that first one! So many people break off those first few fish when hooking up a summer fish is their first experience with fly fishing. The first tendency is to rip the fly right out of the fish's mouth as fast as they can. If the fish happens to have the hook point, it usually means a broken 6X tippet or a straightened out hook.
You can bet that happens to most folks 4 or 5 times before they start to figure it out... There is a significant learning curve to all of this and summertime on the Little Mo' has a very steep curve compared to the relatively gentle slope of the winter and spring.
Pete saw it first hand the other day. So if you're planning on a first time trip to the river before November, be prepared to be humbled and maybe even frustrated! However, if you luck out and get one of those early fall days where we've got a nice north wind blowing consistently down the river, not too many bodies on the water and bit of broken sky - the fish may be much more accommodating and happy to take a Light Cahill dry or Hopper all day long!
Always On The Water - Jeff
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