Little Missouri Fly Fishing
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Sunday - June 25
Sunday - June 18
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Tuesday - May 2
Tuesday - April 18
Friday - April 7
Sunday - March 26


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Sunday - June 25, 2017

Wow! Did Chris May (West Monroe, LA) ever pick the right day to come to the river!

Chris May 6/24/2017After all the threats of TS Cindy and the weather that we did get off of it, Saturday turned out to be near perfect! I left early, just after storms had passed through, but it was still quite oppressive in The Port! Car thermometer said 84° at 5:30 AM!!! Yuck... But I crossed the state line and got on up and the temps had dropped to 72 and it seemed like it stayed there the rest of the day! With northerly winds I might add.

Chris May got into a bunch of long distance battles yesterday!>>>>

So, it was like Chris' third trip to the river and he felt like there was much to be learned. So we moseyed about The Flat for a bit, tinkering with casting and only seeing a handful of disinterested fish. There were a few other folks out - David McAdams being one of them. He was picking up one here and there in one of his favorite spots. He was throwing an assortment of things too, all of which seemed to produce some interest.

Chris May 6/24/2017The day started quite slowly, but I felt good about the possibilities with the over-cast and breezes. It was still early. I recalled why, for me at least, there's not actually a big urgency to be on the water at the crack of dawn. We only raised a bit of interest with the Light Cahill Slider we started with...

Since Chris had only fished at the Park we decided to have a look downriver a bit as we got into mid-morning. Down at Hind's Bluff, we only saw a hint of a trout or two, but never could raise them... We tried the Slider in the riffles and a Long Creek in the deep. Nothing, except a juvenile Smallmouth that Chris didn't quite stick. At least at this point a little Smallmouth would have been some thing!

<<<< And they all paid off big - with big fish!

We headed up to the "J" Ledge since it had still been doing well on the last couple of trips and dropped the Long Creek down into the olive water. Nothing showing there either!

Chris May 6/24/2017We've had two issues this early summer, I believe. One there's no doubt - the kill after the Cinnamon Ant hatch was quite significant! The other is the bizarre lack of generation! Only a few hours, on the weekends of all things, the last couple of weeks! And generation on only 11 days out of the last 30! Traditionally, we'd see summer patterns of several hours every weekday afternoon with nothing on the weekends. That kept water temperatures great and fish moving around frequently. Not so this summer, so far...

Fifteen inchers can cover some ground... >>>>

So, Chris and I found nothing downriver this time... We headed back up to the Park to see what was happening. We found the Wall Hole drop-off unoccupied and set up camp there! David was still at his boulder and Mike "Hen" Ingram had joined him. The breezes had now turned into wind and we still had the good over-cast... And fish were getting on the move!

We still had on the Long Creek and that produced quickly. We tried the weighted over-sized Smidge that I had tied just or the occasion and they produced a lot of interest, but not so many solid hits! But both flies did turn up some really nice fish! Best fish I've seen all spring! As I said last week - those fish that survived the ant hatch are going to be the best of the best! And the fish we were getting were proving that to be the case. Chris said he'd never felt fish that fight like this!

He landed several wide body's in the 12-13 inch class, but topped them all with a really hefty 15 incher! Truly beautiful Rainbows!

Chris May 6/24/2017Just for fun, after landing a bunch of nice fish, Chris wanted to see what a dry fly might do and I put on a Light Cahill R & A dry. It got slammed almost right off! And every time we got the good chop and waves it got even more attention. Don't believe we might have had the same interest if there had been significant sun, but on this day it was working!

Landed a bunch more 'Bows with the R & A but we had the show stopper of the spring awaiting us...

Just one of many real chunks on the day! >>>>

All the time we had been drifting or sinking the dry (which by the way was also working nicely) and casting to some of the fish closest to us, there had been something other than a trout, shad or carp hovering around in front of us and it was much larger... Well as Chris was stripping the R & A through the drop-off zone, whatever this fish was eased up on it from the side and wolfed it in! There was no doubt this fish wanted to eat the swimming dry!

Well, Chris tightened up as he was supposed to, and what I assumed to be either a White Bass or a Drum headed for the deep water - and I mean fast and heavy! The 5X Fluorocarbon held for the entire eight or ten minutes of surges in and out of the deep pool and Chris' three weight held up nicely as well... We finally got the fish in hand and while I was trying to get to the camera, of course it got loose...

If it was a White Bass it didn't have any indications of stripes at all... It had a drum-like body and mouth though I didn't get to see down its throat to check for the teeth. The belly fins were a odd shade of blue, almost turquoise, though! I a little befuddled. I've certainly caught drum on other things, but a size 16 dry fly just under the surface? The lack of stripes is what's really throwing me, otherwise a White Bass makes a heck of a lot more sense...

Never the less, it made for a very interesting day! And probably gave Chris tendonitis from hanging on to that thing on his three weight! Another great capper to a bunch of nice 'Bows on the day!

More weirdness on generation schedule this week...
Nothing on the schedule until Friday at 3:00 PM to 5:00... (That was on the schedule this past week and they did not run on Friday...)
Saturday 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM and that's it!

I don't get it... Lake is comfortable at 546.58' so I'm sure they're trying to retain some water for the rest of the summer, but running on weekends and not weekdays? Just don't get it!

 Back Cast

 

Sunday - June 18, 2017

Hillary Finch 6/8/2017Well, firstly and most importantly, a Happy Father's Day to all of our dads out there! Hope ya'll are all doing what you want to be today!

Hasn't been a ton of fishing lately, despite the rumors that I am "no longer guiding"! The reports of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated!!! But there was a bit going on the first couple of weeks of June. I even fished a bit one day!

Hillary Finch was determined that she was going to catch her first fish - any kind of fish - fly fishing on this trip! Kind of hard to spot what may have been a record "Silversides" hanging from her left, but there's no doubt you can see the shadow of same on her waders! No, really, I think it was the largest Silversides I've ever seen!!! >>>>

Jack Finch 7/8/2017The big news which happened between the previous posting and current, and which some of you may have seen on the Message Board and my Facebook report, was indeed the predicted Cinnamon Ant hatch about a week early. Mike "Hen" Ingram reported that it was the biggest he'd seen and we do appear to have lost a significant number of fish because of it!

<<<< Jack Finch doing battle with the fish of the day and his first fish on a fly too! Did a great job landing this one - it wasn't easy!

The fish absolutely love to eat the ants - I take it they're quite tasty - but they can also poison the fish with the formic acid with which they bite you! As I said previously, imagine eating two or three hundred live ants and what that'd do to your belly! Now imagine your belly is about the size of your thumb with two or three hundred biting ants in there!

It's not uncommon to see tens of thousands of ants on the water in a day, and this may go on for three or four days... After the second day we start to see dead and stressed fish on the bottom of the river unless high water clears them out. It can make for some awesome fishing at the time, but it's also really bad news!

Don't know if the June stocking has yet to happen. I hope not... Maybe we can replace what was lost! On the other hand, the fish that survived the ants seem to be quite healthy and, naturally, the larger fish. I suspect the mortality rate was going to be much higher in the smaller ones.

Jack Finch 6-8-2017A week ago Thursday Brain Finch brought his wife Hillary and young son Jack to the river from St Charles, MO! They were down for a week or so, doing all the Murfreesboro things and of course first time fly fishing was one of those on the list!

Jack Finch 6/8/2017All three did quite well with the basic casting and it wasn't real long before we got an assortment of flies into the water. We had a decent weather day, though not all that ideal, so there weren't a lot of fish roaming around.

<<<< Jack - still going!

The water is low and clear once again and without the consistent generation each summer afternoon, as has been the case for a long time, we just aren't seeing the typical movement of fish throughout the morning and early afternoon hours that we're accustomed to!

And...Got it!!! >>>>

They so far, what's left of them, seemed to be staying in the deep water... But the weather of the last couple of days should have made them a little more inclined to come out of the deep.

We weren't that lucky last week! There were only a handful of fish on the move and they were quite spooky! However, March Brown and Light Cahill Sliders in the right place at the right time did some decent work !

Everyone had takes and tight lines by the end of the session and Jack made the day with a really nice 14 incher that was perfectly hooked and ran all over the Flat for a few minutes! Got some good aerials too!

Not a lot of fish landed but some good action made up for it.

Rich Arnold 6/12/2017Last Monday, Rich Arnold (Ida, LA) came up to see what he could find out. We found out that the fishing had gotten even tougher! All the way down the Flat there were fish around, but they were very discerning of everything already, however we did raise a reasonable few, only to be dismissed for what ever reason!

A bit of sloshing about as Rich tries to contain a real chunk at the Wall Hole! >>>>

Rich Arnold 6/12/2017After hunting around the Flat for a decent while and chasing the handful of rising fish that seemed to be able to stay a step ahead of us, we finally made it down into the Wall Hole. There, an Olive Little Mo' Wooly got Rich a nice chunky fish. We did get rises and takes to the A & W we had been throwing initially. We also got takes on a Long Creek and Smidge as well.

<<<< Which is done eventually. Check out the broad tail on that one! Got some leverage there...

Meanwhile, David McAdams was next to us changing flies about as regularly and picking up fish on just about all of them too! I often mention the quote I read - "If you're not changing flies every fifteen minutes, you're not learning anything!"

I don't know that any one thing did better than the others we all threw, but it did seem that the creams and lighter colors might have done slightly better... Next time I might have to take some larger, weighted Smidges with me!

Water patterns are still quite unusual for this week...
Nothing on the schedule all this week until Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons!
3:00 to 6:00 on Friday and Saturday and 3:00 to 5:00 on Sunday.

That's going to make for probably pretty good Prime Time fishing all three days hopefully better fishing Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings! Enjoy if you're up there!

 Back Cast

 

Thursday - June 1, 2017

Seems like a long time since we got to fish! Hey! It HAS been a long time since we got to fish!!!

Pat Carlson 5-25-2017May, in recent years - including 2009 when the lake topped the dam - has been very wet and there seems to have been a high water event every year for quite a while! I looked back in my records for last May and it was four weeks without any fishing. This year it was most of that! And the shame is that May can be one of the most enjoyable months to fish, both as to the hatches and the fish...

Pat Carlson doing good things below Couch Hole Shoal! >>>>

So, once it was all over and things are now currently back to normal, I met with Pat & Don Carlson (Austin, TX) last Thursday and we had a pretty nice day! Started out rather cool early, but the fish at Riverside were suffering from too much sun! After being under high water for so long, it takes them a while to get used to the bright light again.

In those first few days after shut down they don't much care to come out of the deep water for a while... If you can get to them on some falling water that works a lot better - before they retreat to the deep water.

Pat Carlson 5-25-2017But we worked on them for just a short while while we worked on some casting and then moved around the river. We found fish to be a lot happier away from the Wall Hole and the Flat! Below River Ridge Pat had a bit of a field day with several fish landed below the shoal and Don was doing rather well at the "J" Ledge! Throwing A & W's in the shallow moving water worked for Pat and sinking a Long Creek into the deep water over the Ledge did just fine for Don.

If you could find a spot where there was good flow over the boulders and small channels you were likely to raise somebody! That's what Pat had working and she brought in one fish there in the 13" class! She was having a good time! Don meanwhile was raising fish from the murky deeper "J" Ledge with consistency and size... It was just quiet enough and barely clear enough to see a fish move here and there. And every time Don got the right landing and drift there was a fish willing to play.

<<<< Pat with her best fish of the day!

The last fish on there, was a really hefty jumper that broke Don off! We got a good look at it a few moments after the break off as it cleared about two feet of air just to show us what we had missed!

Don Carlson 5-25-2017Eventually we headed on down to Hind's Bluff which we had all to ourselves! We found fish on both ends of the access and dropped Little Mo' Woolies into the deeper water. That was working too! Pat raised quite a few there as Don and I moved up into the riffles and fished a Light Cahill Slider and then a little Caddis dry. There had been some Light Cahills showing, mixed in with the March Browns!

Don Carlson got into quite a few at Hind's Bluff Access! Yes, there are still fish to be had there! >>>>

Don Carlson 5-25-2017The takes there were very light and sometimes barely perceptible - until the line went tight and a fish exploded in the shallow water! You really have to know where your fly is in those situations. Anything that remotely looks like a boil anywhere close is liable to be on your fly!

<<<< Nicely colored fish for Don!

We had a nice day of fishing and it was great to be back on the river again!

Did it again on Saturday as regular Little Mo' angler David McAdams (Ashdown, AR) talked his cousin Doug Williams (Mobile, AL) into hitting the river for his first time! It was a brutally muggy and warm as the day progressed, but it was just borderline initially to want to have waders on to start. We all regretted that by the end of the day!

David McAdams 5-27-2017At any rate, the fish at Riverside were doing okay as long as we kept the cloud cover... We had a really nice time up in The Trough for quite a while. Lots of fish on the move and the guys were making the most of it! A & W's and Sliders. Both seemed to be working equally well!

David McAdams handles one of several fish from the "J" Ledge... >>>>

Doug's initial dilemmas manifested themselves as the slat water strikes kicked in. His first fish on broke him off in a heart beat as Doug didn't want to let loose of any line! that lasted about two seconds... The second one was on a little longer, but Doug still didn't want to give yet and wasn't ready for the speed of these "little" guys! After the third break off, Doug started to get the message. You cannot stop these guys!

He did just fine after that!

While David has fished a bunch on the river I asked him if he had been to the "J" Ledge and he had not. So, we had to try that again! And sure enough, there were still a bunch of fish hanging around the stretch and they were up to their normal activities. Hanging around the edges under the flows, waiting for the first good morsel to fall into their lines of sight!

David McAdams &Doug Williams 5-27-2017The biggest problem with this particular fishing is keeping good contact with your fly... It's real easy to get some slack as the fly sinks slowly into the relatively quiet water. But there are just enough twisting currents to get line ahead and behind the fly! The guys were doing a real nice job of staving that off and it paid off with numerous hook-ups and fish! Long Creeks were doing quite well in the deeper water too...

<<<< A double for David and Doug! Some really nice fish putting serious bends into the light rods! Gotta love it!

Excellent fishing for a Memorial Day Saturday, despite the uncomfortable conditions! Which led to the morning storms on Sunday!

Doug Williams 5-27-2017I left early Sunday morning, into a driving storm and scads of lightning, to head back to meet Mindy & Noll Morse (Dallas, TX) for a trip, like the Carlson's, that had been postponed about four times! I was worried we were gonna get hammered, but the weather really stayed away from the river all day.

Doug shows off a real chunk - almost 14 inches, but hefty!!! >>>>

We tackled a little bit of casting and moved quickly into fishing with Sliders and A & W's once again! The weather really kept people off of the river though, before Mindy and Noll arrived, I suggested to a few guys that they might have been putting themselves in bad positions on the Flat to actually get the best fishing. They were quite receptive to the hints and fly recommendations as well, and it was just a couple of minutes later that one of them had on a really nice fish!

At any rate, the fishing was actually quite good all morning for Mindy and Noll, though Noll was kind of on the bad end of the hook up ratio! He had a bunch of fish on and broke off a couple, but had plenty of action! Mindy, on the other hand was the one skewing the ratio in her favor...

We also tried getting a Long Creek down to the bottom of the Trough after a while. Seemed like the fish had grown a little weary of looking up into the light so much and we were getting fewer looks after a while. Switching to something that got down in front of them did a little better!

Mindy Morse 5-28-2017She did have two fish on that really made some serious runs, covering maybe 15 yards on one! Nice to hear a reel sing again! She landed on of those, pushing 14 inches and really hefty - the other one simply pulled loose.

Noll finished the day with a nice fish that he fought for quite a bit, got it close and then had the it make a huge jump just a few feet in front of us! Of course, the fly headed our way at the peak of the fish's air! Still not a bad way to finish a good morning.

Mindy Morse certainly enjoyed her first trip to the Little Mo'! >>>>

And more fishing on Monday! Don McLaughlin (Irving, TX) wanted to get in a little work on the river before he headed home, so we got back in at the Flat early! Once again, not many folks around and we took advantage of it. Fish were up to their typical cruising and when you had a fly in their zone it was going to raise a sniff or two!

I think we threw several things - the usuals all mentioned already - though we also threw an ADL (that's "All Day Long") Midge this time. It worked too and actually raised quite a bit of interest, but again, you have to really know where those little flies are. One can miss a lot of takes if the line's not tight or yu have lost track of where the fly is.

On the other hand, seems like when a fish takes one of these midges, they really explode on the hook-up! Not sure why that is... But it sure is fun! I even stuck around after Don had to leave and threw it a bit myself for a while... It had been a while since I had caught a fish too, you know!

Don McLaughling 5-29-2017We are now officially into summertime fishing! Catch & Release is in effect through October 15th and we should still have at least one more load of stocker coming in any time. Though that's not so critical, there are plenty of really nice fish in the river currently! Get your casting together - it's going to be more and more critical every day. And keep those casts short, by the way. A 25-30 foot cast way up in the air is going to spook the entire pod of fish that you spotted! Don't be that guy!

Don McLaughlin landed, maybe, the fish of the week! >>>>

Expect the Cinnamon Ant hatch in the next couple of weeks and the Sulphurs to show up by the end of the month and into July. Light Cahills will be about, but they really don't get cranked up until late July and August. Having a few Cahill dries would be a good plan anyway.

Got generation scheduled from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM tomorrow (Friday 6-2), Saturday 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM and Sunday 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM... Don't ask me why we've been getting high water on the weekends when for the last twenty years there was little chance you'd see that, unless the lake was flooded. Now, it seems to be have become the norm. Though it does make for better fishing on the weekends, I have to say. moving some water and fish around really helps!

Enjoy!!!

 Back Cast

 

Tuesday - May 2, 2017

Well, we were having a great spring of fishing until Saturday night! More on that later...

Robert WalkerLast Friday morning, Robert Walker (Longview, TX) returned with another buddy of his, Bob Meacham (Austin, TX) and they timed it just about perfect! We got first-timer Bob to working the casts and a little refresher for Robert and then went to throwing A & W's around the Flat to lots of cruising fish.

We had just gotten serious about the fishing and raised a few when, despite what the schedule said, the sirens went off at Noon! Sheez... Doesn't happen often, but they do change it every now and then unexpectedly!

<<<< Robert Walker enjoys Prime Time in the mist!

I had checked the schedule early, but not after I left the house... Sure enough, it had been changed sometime in the wee hours and when they opened it up there was hardly any stagger between gates too! It came a-hoofin' through the Skinny Water and down upon us in less than ten minutes from the time the first gate was opened! David McAdams relayed that, and once I got back in cell range, they did show that they were shutting it down at 6 PM, so we had a plan at least.

Bob MeachamWe spent the remaining part of the afternoon down at Low Water where we did get into a reasonable number of fish still. There was still quite a decent flow there and a bit murky so we split time with the A&W for Robert and a Long Creek for Bob. Robert was having his way with Sunfish at the lower end of the cut-bank run while Bob was developing all kinds of new casting skills out of necessity at the mid point of the run.

Bob's casting was just starting to click a bit by then and when he made the good throw he got pretty immediate rewards! A couple or three more fish landed before the water hit and it was lunch time!

Bob Meacham worked his arms and brain hard for some of the hard to reach fish at the Cut Bank Run. Worth it! >>>>

We got back to the park just about 6:00 that evening and the water was already falling. It was also a crispy 62° on the east bank, which meant we wouldn't have to look very hard for fish on the falling water. Not like what you'll have to deal with in the peak of the summer post-generation when the east bank is more like 76° or 78° and the really cold water is on the west side!

Robert WalkerBy 6:30 we were into fish! The warm damp air was colliding with the cold water and we had the full mist scenario that everyone finds so cool when you get to fish in it! Just makes the fishing that much more interesting...

And while it's really quite the sight and sensation it actually hampers Prime Time fishing just a bit! The fish just can't see the hovering March browns as well and the action may not be as furious as it would be on a dry evening.

<<<< Robert and one of the better Prime Time fish!

But, it was good enough!!! And, as anticipated, the better fish were coming out in the low light and falling water in numbers. I quickly lost track of how many the guys had on and some of the fish put on some great aerial shows! Bob had one that had picked up his fly and swam several feet to the left of pick up before Bob ever knew it! Then, when Bob did get a full tight line to it, that fish exploded back to the right covering about 6 or 7 feet in the air across the water! And then broke off... And yes, it was the big one that got away on this evening.

Bob MeachamPrime Time cranked up about 8:00 PM, so add about two minutes per day since then. (That is if you get to see a Prime Time anytime soon...)

Saturday morning we hit Hind's Bluff right off since the weather, I think, had the vast majority of folks staying at home. Except for die-hards like Jim and Judy Taylor who were working over the lower half of the pool. So, as planned anyway, we started in at the base of Butt Buster Shoal and began working our ways down the riffles. March Brown Sliders were in order here with the clearer water and quieter flow of the day...

Bob finds a nice way to spend the evening... >>>>

Bit by bit, we cast and stepped, cast and stepped, until the guys were starting to raise more and more fish. Robert got absolutely hammered by one of the first fish on the take and it was obvious the fish were going to be aggressive on the March Browns rather than the quiet takes of midges and "splatting" rises to caddis! I mean hammered!

Most of the fish were average although we did produce several that were in the 13"+ class. And, once again, so many of them are really starting to show their river quality condition! It only gets better from here on - but it also gets more challenging...

Bob MeachamWe decided to finish out our time below River Ridge, looking specifically to get into the "J" Ledge pool. But Robert got into a nice gathering of fish even before we got to the "J" Ledge! He was having a blast with that bunch once we located them. A & W's were still producing in the slightly faster water here and both the guys got to work on some drift techniques.

By the end of the day Saturday, Bob was definitely in a groove. >>>>

Eventually got Bob into the the top of the "J" Ledge where he was immediately dealing with several fish of his own. When you land the fly in the right spot and leave the fly in the water, you are going to get hit! (Assuming there's fish there...) We assumed, and there were.

Robert WalkerAgain some of the better fish on the day were down there too. Measured one of Robert's at 13 1/2 inches and he had another that was probably at least that. And all of them are getting pretty chunky feeding on the March Browns which are at their peak of emergence right now!

There's also been a larger black caddis out lately as well as some Yellow Sally's (a very small Golden Stonefly)! Quite the smorgasbord out there currently!

<<<< Maybe Robert only appears to be having a good time... You'll have to ask.

All in all it was a great couple of days on the river - and then the rains hit! Saturday night and Sunday early saw a ton of rain in the drainage and the lake came up nearly seven feet in less than 24 hours! It is now up to 552' tonight and it looks like the generators have been going since 6:00 this morning! SWEPCO finally got a schedule out today and they're showing a "normal" pattern for this week, but I just don't believe it!

With the lake that high at this time of year, I seriously doubt that they'll NOT be letting water go round the clock for the rest of the week... But they've completely baffled me on occasion, however, I wouldn't bet on getting to the river and having it at minimum flow for quite a few days. Typically, at best with three generators going, they can get the lake down about a third of a foot every 24 hours initially and then, once it's around 550', about a half foot every 24. They need to get it back to flood stage at 548' or even below that for this time of year.

So, I wouldn't plan on fishing this week - but don't blame me if they do something I wouldn't expect! They've fooled me enough times over the years, but this doesn't look good for the rest of this week... Anyway, I'll be at a state championship tennis tournament in Baton Rouge starting Thursday anyhow! Let us know if you get to fish!

 Back Cast

 

Tuesday - April 18, 2017

Back at it!!! We did indeed take a bit of a vacation last week... OK, a serious vacation! Spent a few days on Perdido Key, FL watching waves, dolphins, Osprey's and Peilcans! Yep, that was about it! My bride tried to spend as much time as possible just sitting on the beach listening to the surf. Spectacular weather and we had the condo wide open so we could hear the heavy surf all night too!

The white sands and quiet water provided a respite of trying to fight the surf! >>>>

Heavy surf indeed! Three to four foot waves at the water's edge, no telling what they were coming into the bars! Tried to throw a couple of times in the surf - pointless... No sooner would I have the fly in the water than the next wave would drag it on in. But one afternoon we drove down the Key to the Johnson Beach National Seashore area and I fished on the "backside" just a few yards off the road!

Very nice little bit of a lagoon there with clear, quiet water, sandy bottom with grass beds close in and some Specks to work with for a while. First fish, whatever it might have been, took off for about a thirty foot run before pulling loose! Had quite a few more takes and another one broken off. Finally successful though, with the first Speck I've landed since probably 1992 or so! Bit of fun and nice evening to boot.

<<<< Something a little different to see on this page! Nice little Floridian Speck!

But after a really long day coming back, and a day of semi-recovery, it was back to the river with James & Chase Robertson (Beaumont, TX) ! Friday morning fishing was quite good with a bunch of fish landed and plenty of action with A & W's and March Brown Sliders. Actually the fishing was closer to excellent! Scads of fish moving around the entire Flat all morning and right up to generation time at 2:00, and they were typically in groups of a dozen to maybe twenty at a time..

James Robertson works a little high sticking magic at Low water Shoal! >>>>

Get the fly into the cruising lane and you're all set! Lots of really nice "resident" fish too. I don't think we got a "fresh" fish all morning. All of them are getting full sets of fins and nice colors. Hard to go wrong right now!

We all came back out for Prime Time following generation shut down at 6:00. What a perfect scenario!

Water was just getting down to the right level as Prime Time commenced! It was at 7:40 last Friday by the way. But the bugs and fish were showing before that, it's just that the bugs really get cranked up at that 45 minutes before full on dark. Be prepared to not know where to throw - too many fish in every direction!

<<<< Sutton Russell leans on a nice one!

Saturday morning I took James down to Low Water where we spent some of the time high sticking an A&W through the fast water which produced a few fish. We also dropped a Long Creek into the deeper water at the turn and that brought up a nice little bass! Bit of a surprise!

We then moved back up to the Cut Bank above the bridge and finished out the morning there! Good Lord, how much that section changes day after day! Still, we had a good amount of activity in there too. Finished out with a couple of really chunky fish.

Aaron Russell with his fish of the day! >>>>

In the afternoon, Sharon Russell brought her whole clan out for a family reunion type set-up with fishing as the focus for the day! I lost track, but I think we had up to six or seven getting in the water eventually one way or another and just about everyone caught some fish!

<<<< Sutton displays the standard for the day. All smiles from this new and un-assuming fly fisher!

It was all A & W's and Sliders again and we had some nice breezes and plenty of fish around again! The chop was just about right all day and that makes the fish quite happy! The stars of the day were Aaron and daughter Sutton! They were fighting it out for most and best!

A good time was had by all, I believe, great way to get three generations together!

Generation is gone weird again! The rest of the week:
Wednesday - 3 to 5 PM only - perfect!
Thursday - 11 AM to 10 PM - bust...
Friday - zeros!
Saturday - 5 PM to 7 PM
Sunday - zeros again.

 Back Cast

 

Friday - April 7, 2017

Gary WoodwardWell, once again - way behind on my work here!!! There was a bunch of fishing over the past week or so... Going all the way back to March 28 when I met with Gary Woodward (Jonesboro, AR) for his first look at the Little Mo! He's been fishing in a lot of places, but he'd been looking at coming to the Little Mo for a while just to see what it was like. Don't think he was disappointed!

Gary Woodward digs in! >>>>

We spent quite a bit of the day around the Flat turning up a goodly number of fish. The March Brown hatch is really starting to get going and, remember, it won't peak for another month and then keep going well into June! The next month is a great time to be on the river!

And while Gary was developing a nice "drag & roll" - he said he'd never really worked with a roll cast much and most of ya'll know where I come from on the subject - he was working an A & W through fish and picking up the ones he needed to!

But this was also a fact finding tour so we moved downriver...

With a decent amount of water flowing we worked into the bottom of Butt Buster Shoal and went to town as the caddis were still working. Seems like we threw a little more variety in there, but that was last week and I may not remember everything at this point... But I suspect a caddis dry was drifted through and maybe a March Brown R & A dry!

Gary WoodwardWe continued on with plenty of fish for quite a while until Mike "Hen" Ingram showed up to tell us that high water was on the way! Of course the schedule hadn't shown any releases for that day, so once again, who really knows what's going on.

Though I have to say they're still sticking pretty close to what's published each week... It's just really still very odd pattern, or lack of one, that been working the last several weeks. No real rhyme or reason!

Gary shows off one of the better fish of the day! Starting to get some fins... >>>>

Still, we stayed in there catching some decent fish until the water hit and Gary had satisfied his initial curiosity about the river! Excellent afternoon of fishing!

Last Thursday, Chris & Marie Perkins (Alexandria, LA) made the trip for their first time and the beginning of their fly fishing endeavors. It started out quite chilly up there! In fact all the way back down in the 40's that morning and barely around 60° by afternoon with a good bit of breeze! Glad I keep a bunch of layers in the car most of the time!

Marie PerkinsBut we like the wind! Let's you know if your casting is right and the fish like it too. Equally important to me.

Once we had some lines laying on the water it was A & W time again and there were quite a few March Browns popping! It took Marie no time at all to get the first fish in and we were rolling! Quite a few hooked up, the usual percentage landed and a couple of really nice fish.

They are starting to get into really good shape across the board, save for the fish that had just arrived! Some significant red in the belly fins starting to show and the white tips are sharpening...

<<<< Marie Perkins gets her fist fish of the trip on a cool morning!

Been eating well too! Not having to fight big flows half the time is allowing them to wise up to the March Browns maybe faster than usual. In fact we threw some March Brown Sliders and R & A's as well. All were producing about equally.

And there was no competitive element going on with Chris and Marie... Didn't mean anything to anyone that Marie caught more and bigger fish than Chris on the day... He would have to redeem himself the next day!

PerkinsWhich, after a refresher session at The Flat, he very nearly did with some nice fish at Hind's Bluff. We were throwing Sliders again, as well as Grey and Tan Caddis and then the Tiger Midge to boot. Conditions were along the lines of awesome, with nice water, bright sun and decent breezes - everybody was happy! Several doubles were observed and a bunch of nice fish feeding consistently through the day - can't hardly beat it!

Doubled up with Chris and Marie at Hind's Bluff Access... >>>>

And just when Chris had kind of caught up with Marie and even got a couple of 12-13" class fish, Marie had to go on and get a really pretty 13 inch Brown! What a way to top off their first fly fishing to the Little Mo'!

On Saturday Ben Glick (Texarkana) made I think his fourth trip this winter/spring and this time he was fully geared up! He just got his own complete rig, boots, waders, gear bag and important tools! He is ready to solo, but first we had to line up his reel and get everything attached properly.

Ben GlickWe had originally planned to fish on Sunday, but the weather was starting to look pretty ominous so we bumped it up a day and that turned out to be a good move... Weather on Sunday was indeed bad as you'll recall. Much better and quiet on Saturday!

<<<< Ben Glick christens his new rod with his best fish to date!

The March Browns were on and we fished dries just about the whole time! That was a load of fun up around the Triangle and Trough. Lighting and breezes were such that we were fishing a little blind part of the time, but the fish wee showing themselves plenty and it wasn't too hard to track them down!

Marie PerkinsHowever, for some reason, Ben was getting plenty of takes, quite a few hooked up and part of the way in, but couldn't land any! it was starting to get a little disturbing and hook checks showed no issues. We were a tad befuddled and Ben was getting a little worried that his new rod was jinxed!

Marie Perkins with her nice Brown! What a way to finish your first trip! >>>>

Patience paid off finally! And he landed one of the best fish he's gotten to date! We measured out this really nice fish at 13 1/2 inches, and she seemed even bigger than that though! The rod was a keeper after all!

Well we've got some water scheduled tomorrow (Saturday the 8th) from 3 PM to 7 PM and nothing for Sunday. But then next week goes off!
Monday - 3 PM to 8 PM
Tuesday - 10 AM to 7 PM
Wednesday - none
Thursday - 11 AM to 10 PM
Friday - 2 PM to 6 PM
Saturday - 7 PM to 9 PM
Sunday - 1 PM to 10 PM

What a mess! Fish while you can... Meanwhile, me and Sandy are heading to Perdido Key for a few days!!! Never been around there myself.

 Back Cast

 

Sunday - March 26, 2017

Some great days of fishing this past week! And a bunch of fun too!

Barry Klein 3/23/2017On Thursday, which started out really quite cool, I met with Bill Morris and Barry Klein (Dallas, TX). Barry and I have been trying to coordinate the calendars since January! We finally got all of us in the same place at the same time and it turned out to be an excellent choice! Despite the chilly start to the day - there was a forty degree temperature swing by the way - we really had great weather for most all of it. And the bright weather and good breezes gave us everything we could ask for!

Barry Klein starts the day off nicely at the top of The Trough. >>>>

We started at the Park, as is the usual, and found few people and a lot of fish! Also quite a few March Browns showing so we were off and running with A & W's for most all the day! We fished the usual spots and produced a bunch of takes as I tweaked a little casting technique here and there...

We got about as many fish from the Trough as we could stand and headed out for more sections! Managed to get in the base of Butt Buster Shoal with no one else to hinder us and proceeded to get into a good number of fish and nice ones there too.

Down and across swings with the A&W's initially, but we also tried both the Tan and Grey Caddis again and both worked almost equally well. However there's been more signs of the Speckled Grey Sedge out there, so I've gone more to my Jeff's Grey Caddis the last couple of days and it's done the bulk of the work during the afternoon hatch!

Barry preferred the Tan caddis, though, as it was a little easier to see on the choppy riffles. You can do two things when it comes to spotting Caddis takes in the bright riffles like that... Watch the end of your fly line closely for even the slightest hesitation, or give a pull anytime there's a splat or hint of a boil anywhere close to where you think your fly is!

Bill Morris 3/23/2017I prefer the latter, but those little, sparse, quasi-dries are hard to keep track of sometimes in the broken surface!

The guys had been to the river a couple of times and I found out that they had done a lot of exploring on their own, but the one place they hadn't fished yet was Low Water so we headed down there to finish out the day...

Bill wasn't far behind... >>>>

Bill Morris 3/23/2017No one to be seen there! Excellent and there was a nice flow through the shoals to boot! Barry spotted some fish rising on the other side of the main run below the weir and started working on those. Bill stepped in at the middle and started working the far flow line. Fish were rising and showing themselves quite regularly and I think at that point we had switched everyone back to A & W's since it was a little late for the Caddis and I didn't notice any more "popping and hopping"!

<<<< Bill gets into a nice one at the Cut Bank Run at Low Water. We actually turned up quite few nice fish down there!

That run - the cut bank - has changed dramatically over the last season! Many of you will recall that you needed to fish it from the island side and cast back into the main heavy flow that ran under the overhanging "fly eatin' " trees on the access side! Complete opposite now... Well all the fly eatin' trees are gone and most all the flow is down the island bank! Which is actually a good thing. No more blown out knees trying to get to the island!

Barry Klein 3/23/2017But going back some thirty-five to forty years and some of you may recall that all of the flow of the river went down the west side of the island! Now that's closer to a trickle... And the shoal below the bridge has shifted sides almost entirely now. Not to mention moving most of the gravel that's been scoured out downstream as well. It's what they call a "living river" after all.

Barry with one of the best fish of the day below the bridge. Nice finish! >>>>

Anyway, the guys had a big time and a few somewhat bigger fish in the cut-bank run, but then we moved down the shoal and Barry got into a couple of really nice fish in the rapids down there! That's a ton of fun when you're dealing with 13 inchers in faster water. You definitely know you are attached to something! It was a great way to finish out the day, although I will say we had quite the good time with "lupper" (that's late lunch, early supper) at Em's! Thanks guys!

Bill contacted me a couple of days later asking me about good "casting" books and I gave him a couple of ideas, but man, that just means I need to actually write mine up and finish it! Who out there would buy it? I need names!!!

Alan Schultz 3/25/2017Saturday brought Alan Schultz (Dallas, TX as well) to the river and it was well worth coming out despite the weather that threatened to dash our plans! A couple of days before and Alan was pretty worried about the storms. But they moved on through during the night and we had cool windy conditions early in the day - as in needing an extra layer - and, much as earlier in the week, about a thirty-five degree temperature swing by the end of the day!

<<<< Alan Schultz broke the ice with this nice fish at the Wall Hole - he had been working hard for quite a while. Lots of fish hooked up and LDR'd but he found his groove as the day progressed!

Alan Schultz 3/25/2017Alan was nearly a blank slate, which is great as there's not of old nasty habits in the casting and he took instruction extraordinarily well! Oh - that makes my world so much easier! But I think he was truly enjoying finding out how casting really works, not to mention how efficient the drag and roll is when it comes to working the A&W in particular...

Showing off at the J Ledge in the muddy water! >>>>

He was laying out clean casts for the most part in no time and we sent the A&W into the Triangle initially and started watching for fish. Unfortunately there was quite the crowd out - including several anglers who felt the need to throw Powerbait in the Catch & Release Area... How big and instructional a sign do we have to have??? Anyway, I explained the regs briefly and they were off. Had to do that on Thursday as well... Sheeezzz!

Alan Schultz 3/25/2017Most of the folks that were spread out along the Flat were naturally standing where the fish wanted to be so that keeps them from cruising their normal patterns and gets the ones that are around pretty skittish. But we still managed to raise a couple anyway! It was interesting that almost as soon as the majority of those folks got out of the water there were no doubt more fish around and more action! Imagine that!!!

<<<< I'd say that look about says it all. Nice fish!

At any rate, we took a little break for a bite and watched Keith Kopp get a bunch of fish in the Wall Hole and joined him for a few minutes to work a Long Creek over the deep water. That produced several hits and one nice fish in hand! But we moved on somewhat quickly to see more of the river and some different situations...

First stop was at River Ridge where there were a bunch of folks around the Couch Hole, but only one guy working the bottom of the shoal area. We moved on downstream to the J Ledge where we found pretty murky water, but a good sample of fish! This was a case once again, of getting the Long Creek landed in the right place to get the right drift. Almost every time Alan made the delivery and a couple of good mends he found a fish! The takes were very solid and aggressive too!

Alan Schultz 3/25/2017And they were, for the most part, better fish as well. We did measure one at 12.5", but she sure acted like fifteen! Murky water or no, they were finding the fly down deep! We were having fun now!

But I think it actually got better as we hit Hind's Bluff again and worked an A & W around the riffles which were flowing nicely after the rains. Still murky, but quite fishable! And Alan fished it hard!

But you know... That's a pretty nice fish too! >>>>

We did a bit of high-sticking in the fast water and raised one I think, but it was further down as we slowly worked through the riffles, that we found the real concentration! Once Alan got the correct landing spot again, it was a bunch of fish in the path. In fact he did land four fish on four drifts at one point! That made up for the skewed "one out of four out of four" ratio that had not gone his way earlier in the day!

And the more he worked the drifts, the more of the smaller fish he cleared out and the last few fish on were really quite nice, including one solid Eagle Lake 'bow with decent colors despite the murky waters! When the water's muddy the fish go a little pale to blend in...

Alan finished out an excellent day with no idea of how many fish landed. That's a good sign!

Generation for this week? Yep, strange again but not too bad except for tomorrow (Monday)...
Monday - 2 PM to 9 PM
Tuesday - zeros (I'll be there...)
Wednesday - 4 PM to 5 PM
Thursday - zeros (I'll be there...)
Friday - 5 PM to 7 PM (still there...)
Saturday & Sunday - zeros

Enjoy!

 Back Cast

 

Always On The Water - Jeff

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