Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Busy Times at Sunburst Ranch

It has been quite a while since I have had a chance to sit down and tell about what has been happening down here in the Ozarks. We have enjoyed full campgrounds the last few weekends as well as good water and good campers. Despite the campgrounds being full we have been continually praised for how quiet the campground has been, and how well behaved our campers have been. While our campground security guard (AMY) has a little to do with this, the real credit has to go to you campers, who while having a good time are usually respectful of those around you. It helps that we have so much repeat business and personally get to know most of our campers over time. For those who cause any major problems, we just simply don't allow them back (no camping for you!). Since I last wrote, I have enjoyed visits from my sister and her family (we actually rafted down the river one day and had a great time), two visits from my mother (thanks for the cookies), we had a wedding in our pavilion (complete with lights and beautiful decorations), and also a visit from my mother-in-law Valerie's family who all floated from here to Dawt Mill (there Valerie I got your name in the blog twice just like you wanted). The upcoming 4th of July weekend will be a little slower than most summer weekends so if you are looking for something to do give us a call, looks like a chance for early rain on Saturday but a nice somewhat cooler weekend after that. Most people can't believe the 4th isn't busy, but everyone calls for the weekend before and after the 4th trying to miss the busy weekend, making those two weekends our busiest of the summer. Just a reminder for any of you who like to rent cabins here, at this point on the weekends we have no availability for cabins until the end of August, we occasionally get cancellations, but keep that in mind when you are thinking about booking for next year, we get calls every day from people looking for cabins, unfortunately you must think months in advance to secure lodging for a summer weekend. I guess we'll try to build a few more sleepers before next year. Sorry about this rather boring informative post, but I think I dropped my creative writing bone in the river down at Dawt and it washed over the dam into the lake.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bode Miller has nothing on me!

I will choose to take the high road and not risk upsetting the fish gods by talking trash, but yesterday evening they had nothing that could stop me. The water is finally flowing at a normal level and is nice and clear, so I decided to take a walk down to slippery riffle for an evening of fly fishing. I started at my normal spot at the head of the riffle and worked my way down, skipping over the slickest part so as not to fall on my face again. I fished down my usual 75 yard stretch of water and picked up one nice 15" brown on a hot flash. I was a little disappointed as I had fished for 45 minutes with little to show for it. I had tried several droppers fished below the hot flash with no success, until I put on a jay yellow. That is basically a tiny white jig head with yellow thread tied around the hook shank. As I worked my way back upstream I picked up another nice brown on the hot flash, and then a 15" rainbow on the jay yellow. This particular fish I caught between about 5 canoes that were floating by (I couldn't hear very well but I think one young lady commented about how I looked like Brad Pitt out there fishing). I added one more 13" brown on the hot flash, and on my final cast of the day I landed a 12" rainbow on the jay yellow. The fish gods would test me on this fish. I had once again skipped over the slickest part of slippery riffle and gone above this point for a few final casts. After a several casts I finally placed the fly just across the main channel to the edge of an eddy where I have caught many fish before. As I put a large upstream mend in my line the strike indicator abruptly dove, and using my catlike reflexes I immediately set the hook. This rainbow quickly swam for the swift current and headed downstream, not realizing it was only a 12 incher I decided I should follow. As I turned to face the fish, the current dislodged my left croc, which was now being held between my two biggest toes, this led me to stumble down the river onto the slippery bedrock below where I had been fishing. This is not the first time this has happened so I knew to face downstream and bend my knees sliding down the rock much like Bode Miller skiing a black diamond in Aspen. For once this tactic worked and I was rewarded with another beautiful stream bred rainbow, and a fully intact tailbone. When all was said and done I had caught 5 fish in about an hour and a half, managed to keep my footing and somehow was able to get my shoe back on while fighting a fish in heavy current. I'd like to see Bode Miller try to get his ski boot back on in the middle of a downhill race, I don't think so Bode!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Calm after the storm, and goooood fishing!

The weekend following Memorial Day is typically laid back and slow at the Sunburst Ranch. We had enough action to keep us busy, but much calmer than last weekend. For anyone enjoying a half full campground and less crowded river this is a good weekend to come. From here on out we will start to get busier and busier until school gets ready to start around the second weekend in August. We had quite a few fishermen in this week and weekend. The Episcopalian men's group from the KC area covered much of the river from Wednesday to Sunday and reported good catches of smallmouth and goggle-eye from Hebron on down (thanks for the fried goggle-eye by the way). We had another group of that fished from here to Dawt on Sunday that said they had good action the entire trip. And then we had several of our fly-fishing friends from STL fishing from their drift boat. They reported good catches of both browns and rainbows, many of which were taking caddis imitations. The river is flowing wonderfully right now, and is in perfect shape if you don't want to paddle much. Looking forward to taking a couple guys way up river for a 3 day float this week, so we'll see what conditions are like up north.