Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bryant Creek White Bass

A couple weeks ago my father-in-law found a barely used "white river" boat on the side of the road for sale. Because my brother and sister-in-law had recently purchased a house in Norfork he correctly decided this boat would be perfect for fishing the tailwaters of the Norfork and the White rivers which converge in the small village. Yesterday Danny's motor arrived and after having it installed we decided a shake down run up on the lake was in order. It just so happens that the white bass have started to run, which worked out quite well. We put in under the 160 Bridge at Tecumseh and headed down into the lake. The boat performed wonderfully behind the power of a 15 HP Nissan fourstroke. This quiet motor pushed the 20' longboat along wonderfully and we quickly arrived at what appeared to be the honey hole. Ten boats were gathered in a 100 yard stretch of lake so we figured this must be where the fish were. After an hour of fishing we had each caught one nice white bass, and not seeing others catching fish decided to try a different spot. Being a river rat, I convinced Danny that we needed to run up to the confluence of the North Fork and Bryant and see if the fish had moved up there. After a few nervous moments navigating a rocky shoal we arrived at the confluence to find a dozen bank fishermen pounding the water with live bait. We decided to head up Bryant Creek to the first riffle and start there. As we drifted through the last hole on Bryant Creek I quickly hooked a decent male white bass that joined two others in the live well. We drifted down to the confluence with no more hits and decided to try it once more. The fishing was slow but Danny picked up a nice male just as we were about to call it quits. Great afternoon on the water, and while the fishing wasn't great it was good enough to keep us interested, and we even took home enough fish for a good meal!
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fishing the First Day of Spring

Spring has sprung, with rain and snow for some folks. We have had several groups of fishermen here for over a week with mixed results. Those new to this river have struggled some, but most have caught fish. Then we bring in the old veterans who have been fishing this river for several years. Each time they fish they undoubtedly learn more, and continue to prove that while North Fork trout can be tough to catch, there are plenty of fish around if you can figure out a way to fool them. Chris Gates has been sending me his reports following numerous trips this winter, and he confessed that after struggling on this river years ago he, like most who consistently catch fish on this river, took advice from other successful North Fork fishermen and put this knowledge to use to become a fisherman who can consistently catch fish on this challenging river. If you are new to this river and float here I will give you any and all information I can on how I catch fish on the NFoW. I also will hook you up with a few flies that are proven to work consistently on both browns and rainbows from 5" to 25". The fishing here is much different from most other rivers and streams in this state, and if you put to use the methods that other successful anglers use, you will eventually get a feel for it and start to catch fish. This weekend we had a young lady who is a senior at Mizzou fish the river for the first time. After getting some advise from Chris and myself she went out and caught several fish including a brown that was reported to be over 16". (Pictures are supposed to be on the way) One thing you must do on the NFoW is forget everything you know about fly fishing, listen to those who fish here often, take that advice and use it. Before purchasing Sunburst Ranch I was a pond fly fisherman, and a saltwater fly fisherman while living in Florida. The only trout I had caught on fly were in trout parks and I fished the NFoW for a month before catching a fish on fly. I then started watching and listening to what successful fly fishermen were doing on this river, and slowly over the years have learned the ins and outs of catching fish on this river. Here is a report from Chris after fishing this weekend, the pictures included show you why we fish and love the North Fork.

Had a great time down at Sunburst Friday and Saturday. Friday we put in at Kelly and floated all the way down to James Bridge, caught fish all the way down but was bit slower in the middle of the day. We listed to the Tiger's basketball game on the radio in the drift boat, pretty cool. Pat's Rubberlegs and caddis pupa droppers were working well. In the evening it was all Pat's and Red Fox Squirrel Nymphs. The fishing was ok on Friday but sunny skies with lower water around 570 cfs slowed it down. Saturday was a different story, we put in at Sunburst at around 10:00 and floated until about 4:00. Overcast skies. We banged them up all day on Pat's and Red Fox Squirrel Nymphs. Saturday was one of the best days I have had on this river! We caught a ton of fish, just wished we would have gotten on the river earlier and fished later. See you in a few weeks!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fishing Report Friday March 5

Friday Mar. 5th.

Floated from Kelly to Sunburst, bluebird skies and 680 CFS. High was about 56 today. The day started out real slow as we started at Lamb shoal and fished down. Good drift after good drift wasn’t producing much. I think we had caught 3 fish and had missed 4 or 5 by lunch time. Mostly the Pat’s Rubberlegs. Not what I was looking for after I had been talking up the NFOW to my buddies Steve and Nick the whole way down from Jefferson City. Nick had been on the river once before and Steve had never fished it. After lunch we finally started hooking some rainbows in a swift run where we held the boat steady and drift Shop Vac’s under the Pat’s, there were Mayflies and Midges everywhere, a few caddis. This activity corresponded with the sun going behind the clouds for a while. After this flurry of activity we continued to catch fish on Pat’s Rubberlegs as we floated down to Sunburst.

It was a nice day on the river, weather was great but I think was a bit tough as far as fishing weather goes. It always seems my best days on the NFOW have cloud cover, this one did not. I think we ended up catching close to twenty fish and missing that many more. Thanks for the shuttle and the fisherman cabins rental.