Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fishing Still Good!

We have been experiencing unbelievable cool weather for the middle of July, and following a day of rain yesterday I was able to sneak out in front of the house for a little evening fly fishing. After battling the algae in the fastest part of slippery riffle, I realized I would have to lighten up my offering a little and fish higher in the water column. I feared this might keep the trout from finding my fly, but those fears were quickly laid to rest as I soon hooked up with a 7 inch brown. The department of conservation denies any natural recruitment of brown trout in the North Fork, and then says they stock nothing under 10 inches. Last night I caught several browns in the 6-8 inch range, and several rainbows that mirrored the size of those browns. Browns are stocked here in the fall, so they should be even larger than 10-12 inches by now. VERY INTERESTING. As a wise church lady once said, "you be the judge". Just as I was about to give up on catching anything larger than a minnow, my indicator took a sudden dive, and I quickly set the hook. I immediately knew this was no young of year trout, and as I adjusted my drag for the upcoming battle, I saw a beautiful cherry red rainbow break the surface just below me. I quickly got the trout into the shallows out of the main flow, and as I gently gripped it for release I was certain I had caught a fish that might reach the 18 inch mark. I held my rod to the fish noting where it fell in relation to my guides, and following release measured the marks to find out what I had really caught. This brightly colored healthy North Fork rainbow surprised me by measuring just a tick over 16 inches. If anything I usually underestimate the size of my fish, but the girth and color of this fish had me excited to the point that had I not measured it, I would be telling everyone of my 18" rainbow. Let that be a lesson to you, don't ever measure your fish and like everyone else you can tell me of the 20 inch brown you caught.

For those of you fishing the float from Hammond to Sunburst, we had a big group last week that caught and released dozens of nice smallmouth, some good goggle-eye, and several "20 inch trout". Above the spring they caught most on 4 inch plastic worms, and said many were caught just dragging the worm behind the boat. These guys grew up fishing Ozark rivers and know what they are doing, so reports like that assure me that there are plenty of smallmouth, many of which push the 15 inch mark, swimming in the waters of the North Fork.

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