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!


  1. I suspect the group of three others I was with from Thursday to Saturday are some of "those new to the river". 2 of us have been fishing with the group for about 4 years, the other 2 about 12. All of my trout experience has been at trout parks, with honestly, limited success. I landed 3 (1 brown and 2 rainbow) on Thursday. The 2 rainbow were on dries. On Friday, I caught a the most beautifully color rainbow I've ever seen and a shiner. Nothing on Saturday.

    Sunburst Ranch, is by far, my new favorite fishing spot. The water was fast, the wading tough (apparently not to those who fish here often), and I was exhausted by the end of each day, but it was well worth it.

    I will definitely be back.

  2. Anytime you are new to this river and don't get skunked you are well on your way to success. I think most of us who fish here agree that the wading is tough, but you learn where you can and can't wade, and the fish that live where you can't wade are just lucky they live there. Glad you had a good trip, and hope to see you back soon!

  3. I'm part of the "new to the river" group as well and we had a great time - all four of us caught fish (i even caught a 16" rainbow on a pat's rubber leg). With anything new or different it takes some time to sort things out - like wading the river and what gear to use. Justin and Amy were great hosts and their place is awesome. we are already trying to figure out the next trip.