Scott's Outdoor Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekend Adventure: South-Central Missouri

In order to prevent a list of excuses as to why I was out-fished by a girl this weekend, the following blog post will be written by guest blogger Rachel. 

Trout Impossible!
My mission, if I choose to accept, is to catch trout on my fly-rod…well Scott’s fly-rod since he seems to have misplaced mine!  After arriving home from a long week at work and making sure I’m not going to have any visitors this weekend, we are on the road to Rolla, MO for our fishing adventure. After fighting rush hour traffic and listening to the Royals lose (again!), we made it to the Lane Springs Recreation Area.  We did find out we are pretty good at setting up camp in the dark. After a few beers, we hit the sack and awaited daybreak so we can hit the cool springs in the morning.

Scott was the early riser and fished the morning with no luck.  I slept in and was awakened by the smell of sausage and eggs.  It was now time to venture out see what we can catch.  Our first spot looked great since all the fish were piled up around the bridge.  Scott caught a few small rainbows, but I was having no luck whatsoever. 

On our way back to camp, we decided to fish by Newburg for a little bit.  Scott caught his first Longear Sunfish and I am still fishless. 

After some lunch, we decide to hit a few more spots since the storms look like they were headed north of us.  Finally, I get a fish! It was just a little guy, but it was a pretty Rainbow. Scott caught a crawdad and was pretty excited about that! 

Catching a few fish made walking though Stinging Nettles, navigating steep banks and scolding the otters worthwhile.  I was looking forward to the last morning of fishing.

Feeling rested after a good night’s sleep, we were rejuvenated and ready to catch more fish.  The morning was perfect, no wind, fog on the water and the fish were biting…at least for me! 

The Rainbows were enjoying the San Juan Worm.  After successfully catching more fish than Scott with my fly-rod for the first time, I felt the trip was complete. Scott repaid me by taking the “scenic” five hour drive home compared to the 3 hour 45 minute drive it should have been. I accepted my trout mission and successfully completed it.  This trip has given me more confidence for my fly fishing excursion in Alaska later this summer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tough Tailin'

The stagnant air was heavy as I pushed the overgrown branches away from my face, keeping my eyes down on the trail.  The joys of a midday in June carp recon mission.  I'd fished the lake before, but from typical, easy access park locations.  I wanted to find a big mud flat, and the satellite views showed me several spots worth checking out.  Man I need a boat.  None of these places were easily accessed by foot (unless you like the way a poison ivy rash feels).  I crossed my fingers and hoped for immunity as I finally popped out of the jungle to the lake shore. 

Carp wonderland!  This picture doesn't do the moment justice.  By the time I pulled out the camera, the 6 or 7 tailers were onto my presence and had disappeared.  I needed to ease into the muck quietly and camp out for awhile.  They'll be back. 

After about 10 minutes of motionless patience, the tails began to reappear.  I was confident that once one popped up within effective casting range, a hookup would be easy.  Not the case.  I had plenty of targets, but with the murky water, detecting strikes was not easy.  Last time I was in this situation on a different lake, anytime I landed a fly close, I'd wait a few seconds, twitch the line, and watch it twitch back.  This time wasn't so easy.  Eventually, I decided to wait for the fish to get much closer before making any attempts.  This strategy paid off with a nice 7 pounder.

I battled a few more after that, but didn't manage to land another until I had thrown in the towel and was stomping through the muck on my way back to shore.  I spotted a slowly cruising fish that was about to intersect my path.  I waited until the fish was about 6 feet away before dapping the red SJW in front of it.  The fish was shallow enough that I could see its face turn.  I watched it's orange lips open and inhale the fly!  Takes like that make it easy to know when to set the hook.  It wasn't a big fish, and the fight was short-lived, but that take will leave a mental picture in my mind for awhile!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can I borrow that?

There was a lot of excitement for a Tuesday evening.  I located a new public pond nearby that was supposed to be managed for trophy bluegill.  Exciting!  Also, Rachel picked up her new camera from Nebraska Furniture Mart.  It's a Canon Rebel T2i.  More Exiting!  It gets better.  Since neither of us have ever used a Digital SLR camera before, she said I could borrow it to "figure it out."  I was up until 2 in the morning reading through the instruction manual only to be Up with the Sun, Gone with the Wind, by 5:30 AM.  I didn't really figure anything out on the camera other than set it on "Auto" and take pictures.

The pond was clearer than others in the area, and spawning beds were scattered along the shoreline.  I had my Pentax in my pocket as always, so I set it down along the bottom near some beds.  The fish weren't sure what to make of it. 

I didn't manage any big 'gills, but did catch some brightly colored green sunfish

 Ended the morning with a tribute to the State Flower of Missouri.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ready for Tailers

I headed out to Smithville Lake in Missouri the other day hoping to find a new carpin' spot.  The sun was high in the sky and clouds few and far between.  Perfect conditions for scouting a new carp lake.  I didn't have a lake map, so I just cruised down the first available access road.  I noticed right away the lake had plenty of carp.  They were splashing all along the shoreline.  I was hoping for tailers, not spawners, but at least there were fish.  I wanted to scout for a shallow flat that would allow for some wading, but I couldn't pass over this spot just yet.  The area had nicely mowed grass along the shoreline.  Better yet, I could walk along the grass and look down into the water, as the bank dropped straight down about 7 feet before the waterline.  I could see fish swimming by constantly, and made numerous casts at them, but they were extremely spooky and not interested in eating.  I finally spotted a cruising fish that was putting its nose down every so often to root along the bottom.  The mud cloud the fish had created made seeing the actual take impossible, but I pulled up when I saw its tail flare and was hooked up.  Holding the rod butt as line screams off the reel never gets old.  I did a jump slide down the mud bank to the sandy shoreline below to finish the fight on the beach. 

I fished on down the shoreline without any more takers.  I came to a point where the waves had created a mud line that I could see carp swimming in and out of.  I blindly cast into the silt-clouded water and was able to get one more fish for the day.  I even invented a new yoga pose.

Downward Carp