I guess everyone else was reading the same report, and I think the water level rose each time another angler waded in. The water itself looked great, in about 3 or 4 different places. Those were the few places with any kind of current. The rest of the river opened up into a wide, featureless flat, with frustratingly slow current. Rachel and I didn't find the thought of fishing within rod's length of strangers very appealing, so we walked downstream about 50 yards past the last fisherman, and gave it a try. I just didn't have the patience for drifts lasting 15 minutes, but Rachel enjoyed not having to cast as often. She ended up hooking the first 3 fish of the trip. We decided to head back to camp to cook breakfast and reevaluate our strategy.
We headed into Branson for a few odds n ends, then hit the fly shop on the way back to the campground. We thought we could use some help from the trout gods, so we downed a couple "Trout Slayer's" before heading back to the dam.
When we returned, the River was up a bit. The generation was only scheduled to last an hour or two, but I liked the way the water looked. The fish were a little more cooperative when I found a nice little run I could actually drift a fly through. With the water falling out and the sun going down, I realized why this short stretch of tailwater keeps people coming back.
Back to camp for the night. This time we had firewood. Some more beers and the K-State game on the radio as we waited on our hobo pies to slow cook in the coals. Delicious. The plan was to rise early and beat some of the crowd to a decent looking, less-popular riffle on the opposite side of the River.
We were up on time for once, and even had time to teach Rachel how to tie a dropper on.
The trout were in trouble today. We made our way over to the riffle we were hoping would be vacant, and it was open. On one of the first casts into the lower riffles, this twenty incher thrashed onto my sculpin imitation before it could fall into the depths of the pool. The fish didn't make any long streaking runs downstream, but it did stubbornly avoid being landed for quite awhile.
It didn't take long and Rachel was in on the action. I think this tops her personal best trout caught on our trip to Little Piney earlier this summer.
As the sun cleared the horizon the fishing began to slow. We managed a few more here and there, but it wasn't long before we had company all around us. We left the honey-hole and tried to fool a few still-water fish without any luck. By mid-morning a breeze picked up, and orange and yellow leaves started to dot the drift. It was time to go break camp and drive home.