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> > A nice day on a tough stream

Report at a Glance

General RegionMissouri Ozarks
Specific LocationA little put and take creek near home
Time of Dayearly afternoon
Fish Caughtrainbows and smallmouth
Conditions & HatchesNice caddis hatch, a few Blue-winged Olives
normal water levels
water temp 59 degrees

Details and Discussion

MotroutSeptember 28th, 2010, 4:00 pm
Posts: 319
I fished a local creek near my home that I don't visit very often, namely because the trout fishing isn't very good. It's a put and take stream (and the locals "take" plenty) only stocked a couple times in the spring. It also gets mighty warm in the summer. The sum total of all that is that not a lot of trout are around by this time of the year. But there are a few brushy little runs where the fish can escape the crowds, and a couple little spring-holes where they can survive the summer heat. With that in mind, I got on the water about 3 PM today to see if anything was happening.

I walked right into a pretty decent hatch of #14 Caddis, and there were fish rising to them. But they were smallmouth bass and sunfish, not trout. I played around with them for a little while, taking a bunch of litte 8-10 inch smallmouth and a few longear sunfish. After a bit of that, I headed upstream to see if there was anything to find. I came to a thick, brushy area of the creek where casting is really impossible, even with a spinning rod. But since I am not above such things, I left the water, busted through some very thick brush, and belly crawled to the water's edge to avoid spooking the fish. I looked down into the deep pool, and sure enough there were several nice rainbows, sipping caddis flies. I dangled my fly-rod out there, dropped an elk hair caddis down there, and a fish took with no second thoughts. Landing him wasn't easy in the brushy mess, but I finally did, and released him as gently as was possible under the circumstances. But the rest of the fish were solidly spooked by this, and disappeared under a rock or a rootwad or something-in any case they weren't where I could see them anymore.

Further upstream, I came to a fast riffle with a couple nice boulders thrown into to break the current. I tried the Elk Hair Caddis there, but no luck. Then I switched to a soft hackle, and starting swinging it down and across. This worked, and I started catching fish. They were all pretty rainbows, that had survived the tough conditions on this little creek in spite of everything. I guess this fast water, and the brushy pool I'd had success on earlier just didn't get bothered by the bait guys who frequent this stream. I do know that the deep, fishy pools had long since been cleaned out, so the trout could only be found in the areas that weren't obvious-the fast riffles, the brush choked stretches, the little pockets of habitat spread throughout the creek that are easy to overlook. I also noticed that both areas that I caught trout were near where a little spring trickled in-probably not a coincidence on a stream where the water temp has been known to get up in the 80s during the hottest part of the summer. I have to say I kind of admired these trout that had managed to survive this long in such a rough place for a trout to live, and it gave me great pleasure to release them. I really kind of enjoy fishing streams that any local will tell you has been "fished out" for months. Streams are rarely fished out, the fish just aren't in the same kind of places they are during spring.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
PaulRobertsSeptember 29th, 2010, 10:07 am

Posts: 1776

It can be fun perusing marginal waters. The places that allow trout to eek out a living can be real hotspots, and outside of summer. This is where your holdovers survive and grow. I look for springs very early in the AM during summer, looking for mist over them. And again in winter after ice-up.

In warm water, an active fly often works best. A soft hackle is a great bet.

Did you drift that fly downstream to that bow in the brushy stretch? Sometimes that's the only way in.
MotroutSeptember 29th, 2010, 5:11 pm
Posts: 319
Yeah, it is fun to explore these kind of waters-they can hold interesting secrets for sure. The fish are only located in very specific areas by this time of year, and it's a lot of fun to track those places down.

The water wasn't warm when I fished-upper 50s- but I bet you the holdovers hang around those springs all year long. It's more comfortable for them around springs in the winter too.

In the brushy stretch, I took them on an Elk Hair Caddis. I just dropped into right down into the pool from my perch back in the brush. In the more open riffle I took them swinging little soft hackles. But I know what you mean about drifting little wet flies straight downstream on those brushy tunnels-it's a good technique that's done well for me a lot of times on these little small streams. But for some reason I didn't try that yesterday.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
JesseSeptember 30th, 2010, 9:49 am
Posts: 378
Hey bud great story its good to hear that your out-smarting the average baitmen ha! And that always is a good feeling not only that the knowledgable fish have and do survive, but the awsome feeling of the release once you have managed to catch one of those tricky fish. Good work man.
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.

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