Chartered Waters Trout Shop, Inc.



The Chartered Waters Fishing Report

A comprehensive and informative fishing report for the tailwater that is... Lake Taneycomo, and other Ozark area trout streams. Often imitated, never duplicated... your source of knowledge when fishing for Missouri trout.


                                    


April 15th - 2014
The Best Day EVER!!!



My friends Larry and Mel joined me in what we all agreed was....an all timer!!! More white bass stacked up tighter than you can imagine. And what the hell....throw in the fact they were as big as any we've all ever caught.....and they were in clear water and about 6" deep....and the fact they NEVER stopped biting for us all day long...now let's see?...anything else I missed??

While Taneycomo continues to run (and run hard at times) we have rarely visited the big river lately opting to wade the numerous options that have been fishing fantastically well. With over 20 plus years of fishing this area I have diligently scouted hundreds of areas allowing us to successfully wade fish for trout (among other species) while others have stood on the sidelines hoping for the CORPS to stop generating. We can dredge the big river (Taneycomo) with the best of them when it runs hard (and if that's your preference, we will do that)... but if you like the traditional wade fishing experience and you like to catch a LOT of fish...we can do that too!

We are booking up quickly for this spring so don't delay too long in giving us a call. It's been a great fishing year so far in spite of the weather and hopefully all that nasty is behind us now.



Call us at 417-334-1005 or email at brader@charteredwaters.com and we'll get you set up for a trout (or white bass) fishing trip of a lifetime.



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Taneycomo -
Week of April 14th - Water continues to run. Close to a month of nearly, non stop generation. Most of our trips lately have been met with LOTS and LOTS of fish and our wading has been mostly on the Jr Circuit. Warm weather has greeted us most every day and the fishing opportunities have been vast and fantastic. White Bass on the fly rule my thoughts right now. It's been about 3/4 white bass trips and 1/4 trout. It's all good...the white bass are GREAT!

Crane Creek
- I haven't hit Crane in a while so I can't tell you first hand how it;s fishing. Springtime is probably the nicest time to play there before the growth gets too much. I'm about due even if only by myself. We love Crane Creek! Wild trout in a small stream environment. Challenging for sure but a whole lot of fun!

The Jr. Circuit
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Hot, Hot HOT!!!!

We've had a handful of real fun times in the JC recently. There are pockets of fish in big numbers right now if you know where to look. We've had some spots where it's a fish a drift until you're tired of catching fish. Getting them on all the regular Taney stuff PLUS, dry flies and streamers. It's been a while since we had this kind of fun in there but it is happening right now.

WHITE BASS and Walleyes!!!
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4/11/14 - I may need to ask myself this question in ten years to better gauge just how good this was but as I tell you this today...on April 11th, 2014...my friends Larry and Mel shared with me what has to be the greatest fishing experience in my lifetime. The white bass on the James has been real good for about a week now. We have been rockin it pretty hard and nearly everyone experiencing it with us is having the fishing experience of a lifetime.

With all the activity and the amount of life... the sheers numbers of target fish in front of you...it was more than you can ever really hope for and we spent the day just basking in that ridiculous sea of riches.

Details coming soon!


Roaring River -
Spring is a GREAT time to fish Roaring River. It's really beautiful down there and after Spring Break week it's pretty open fishing. Week days after it opens it still fairly void of people so we take trips there all year long. We take quite a few trips to Roaring River to beat some of Taneycomo's water generation. It fishes fantastically well and we tie some bugs that work so well down there you'll think you're doing something illegal. About an hour from home base here, you'll catch a ton of fish and you can wade all day long if you like.

If you're heading to the Trout Parks in March (Roaring, Bennett, Montauk or Meremac) and you need some "can't miss" bugs give us a call. We have some giant killers that work absolutely fantastic at those places. They're a different breed of fish than these Taneycomo varieties and we have a menu they crave all through the day. It's good stuff for sure. We have some customers who NEVER fish Taneycomo but come to us to keep them supplied with Trout Park flies that make them look like Left Kreh down there. Give em a try. You'll like them!


We sincerely appreciate all of our customers and the fact they choose us for their fly fishing and trout catching jones and their continuing education in the sport. We hope to fish with you soon.

Thanks everyone - Brett



    April 12th - This wasn't too far off from what we experienced yesterday. Really, really good stuff and our heroes today ALSO wore their arms out to the point of waving the white flag by days end.







A while ago Nick, Gary and Tyler (never having touched a fly rod) singed up for a full day trout fishing trip for today's activities. Fair enough...BUT....with a once in a lifetime event sitting right in front of us ...I had to do my best to convince them that this was a better experience. "This"...of course would be white bass fishing on a fly rod vs trout. Water continues to run hard on Taneycomo and our fly fishing would have been limited to the Jr Circuit or the boat using our Deep Drifting technique. That's always a productive choice but As far as learning the art of fly fishing...you're going to learn more about it when you wade fish which is why we're always trying to make that happen at least for part of your trip.


I called Nick last night and told him about this event going on and how they would have more fun doing that . They talked about it and decided to give it a try, If nothing else..."we can always go back and fish for trout out of the boat right?"

We never made it back to the trout.

The morning bite was just as good as what Mel and Larry had yesterday. When the mid day sun came out the bite slowed but still solid and the fish were still there in huge numbers running up shallow shoals with their backs out of the water. We could have caught our limits with our dip nets if we chose to. Of course we prefer the hook and line method and even though these guys released all their fish, they easily caught their limits of 15 fish each.







That's a white bass (then a shad) caught on a white, Soft Shelled Scud. Did I tell you we were catching them on just about anything? They were very "trouty" in that respect. Not your typical aggressive attack you get from a white bass. These fish are spawning so they're not in a "feeding first" mood. We're getting mostly reaction strikes where they spit it out pretty quickly so we had to be fast.

What a great day. These brand new fly fishermen had an experience that they'll likely never have again. The only bad thing about our day is that it will be hard to eclipse the success of their very first fly fishing experience.

I've probably caught more trout in a day than we've caught white bass over the last two days. Mostly because those bass take longer to bring in. Having said that....I've never had a fishing experience any more dynamic than what I've had the last few days. Truly incredible!

Now...I am out of the water the next 3 days doing some family stuff. With a consistent weather pattern I would guess that our activity would remain the same. The problem is....our weather is getting cold starting Sunday Night and Monday. I'll be checking it out again Wednesday so hopefully Greg and I can have some of that same fun on Thursday.


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April 11th - BEST DAY EVER!!! -
MY friends Larry and Mel scheduled this trip a while back in hopes of timing it right t0 chase the white bass around with trout in the JC as a fall back plan. Always a good plan as the Jr Circuit has been red hot this year. With the activity we've been getting with white bass I felt pretty good about our timing with those guys.

I've been hitting one or two places early then scouting out from there as the day progresses. Our first spot was really hot and after I got the boys thinking a little differently with this variety they started plucking out fish after fish in an environment that we all hope to find when chasing whites on the fly.









The standard approach with these fish is a sink tip line and swinging lead eyed clousers and jig type flies through the deep holes. Larry has chased them for many years and is familiar with that approach. These fish we're after are crazy shallow and in very clear water. You can see everything in front of you and often you can see the fish take your flies. With our approach you need NO SINK TIP SECTION at all...3x - 4x tippet on a standard tapered leader with very lightly weighted (or un weighted) minnow flies. We're usually standing on the shore and out of the water in many cases as we swing those flies through the fish (who happen to be 3' - 5' off shore at times).







I've never fished for whites this way before this year. The normally murky river water is currently running pretty clear so we can spot these fish like trout and cast for them similar to trout. It's just crazy fun and these fish are PIGS!!!! We only caught 2 - 3 of the typically small males while EVERYTHING else were BIG males and REALLY big females. These guys caught the biggest white bass I've ever seen and nearly every one of them were in that same class.



Doubles more than singles and we lost count really, really early.

SO that was really good and the guys couldn't even THINK about walking away from a spot that was giving up big fish every 2nd or 3rd cast right?. I decided to scout the next set of riffles upstream and see if anything was going on up there today.

Since April 8th...I've scouted this place on every trip. It's about 1/2 a mile upstream where we've been doing most of our fishing (which is a good mile walk back to start with). So...EVERY DAY before today I hadn't seen a single fish there. The water looked great! Lots of shoals and riffles and there SHOULD have been fish there but there hasn't been yet....until today!



What I saw was nothing short of unbelievable. Imagine the biggest, thickest schools of salmon you've ever seen on a PBS documentary....times 3! The picture above is the best I could manage to show the sheer numbers. The scattered dark shapes in the foreground are fish....the solid dark stretch just in front of Larry's feet on the opposite side are fish!...and they go upstream and downstream about as far as you could see.

A 200 yd swath of white bass up and down stream and from one side to the other. For most of the morning it didn't matter what you threw or where you threw it. Fish were so thick it was just a matter of where you wanted to catch fish not where you could catch fish.



The only way we could have possibly caught more fish is if they were smaller than the ones were were catching therefore making it faster to get them in to catch another one. It was nothing short of a dream and a moment and a day I'll never forget.

The guys eventually just got too tired to catch fish any more after about 9 hours of non stop action. Guide boy here just HAD to hang out a little longer so I called my friend Bud in Springfield and told him what was going down. He did what EVERY white bass fisherman would do in that situation...he left work and joined me. Nothing skipped a beat...we were catching them just like Larry and Mel were.

It's the kind of day that everyone hopes for but you never REALLY expect to see happen. Well it happened and I have to believe we have some more days ahead as this seemed to be the beginning of the best action. Add to it all a couple of great guys to share it with. Larry's a white bass chaser from way back and the day and the moment was not lost on him. This was Mel's first time chasing white bass o a fly rod. He was very impressed to say the least and most likely...peaked WAY too early in his white bass fishing career.


Larry sent us a nice note post trip. If you think I'm making this up then see what he has to say.


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Brett -

I told Mel on the way home, that was a bad way to begin his white bass fishing experience.... really a once in a lifetime event. I fished the White river at Goshen on Sunday... it was muddy and the fish mostly males were not a 1/3 the size of the James. I really would like to get another trip to one of the other white bass fisheries, but a tough time of year in healthcare.... we still have not got to hit the Jr. Circuit and that is on my list. I fish with a guide 3 or 4 times a year, but would be content to fish with you 3 or 4 times a month... I always learn new things and really do think you get as much charge out of helping others catch fish as we do in catching them!

Larry



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April 10th -
Big Fish Bob had talked about trying white bass on the fly for quite a while now. Timing seemed to be about right for us when we booked it weeks ago. The fish indeed were there as they have been the last couple of days.

This was a good lesson for me as a guide and the saying, one man's trash is another mans treasure. Bob wasn't a big fan of the white bass. They were there by the hundreds as they have been lately but maybe not quite as hot to take a fly as they have been. Having said that, we caught a dozen or so before we decided to call it a half day.





Bob's been chasing musky around for a couple of years now so he probably needs a bigger target to chase. The thought of a mass of white bass in front of you suggests they will attack your lure (fly) with abandon but these spawning, shallow water fish are very "trouty" when it comes to the take. Very subtle and very quick to release it. I put a very small float on one set up where the fly line meets the leader to use as an indicator to help pick up the quick takes. It worked quite nicely actually. The water is so shallow that it didn't keep your fly too high in the water column while helping immensely on seeing the subtle takes.




We caught 3 smallmouth I believe and lost one that was in the 2-3 pd range. That was pretty cool too. So go figure?....I personally think chasing these fish on the fly is the MOST fun a fly fisherman can have around here. Bob was like...eh?

To each his own of course and as we walked out of there we crossed one off the bucket list that Bob doesn't have to revisit again.



    April 8th then 9th - Well, after my 1/2 day with Larry F from STL yesterday I decided to do a little scouting for tomorrows trip with another STL Larry. On a tip, I hit the James River by myself starting in the deeper, slower water and walking up till I started finding riffles.

LOTS of boats on the river but not a lot of catching going on. The odd, small male being pulled up now and then by spin fishermen and I flung my arsenal at them in those same areas with no success.

I kept moving up and as I started finding faster water I stared seeing some fish. I finally found a nice little hump in shallow water where I found good numbers holding for the first time this year and yes....WHITE BASS!!!!







I was so excited and played around there until dark bringing a few home for supper that night. A scouting trip with a purpose as we hit the same place on the 8th at the crack of dawn.

So... My other buddy Larry from STLMO has NEVER caught a white bass on a fly rod and that was our goal today. Mission accomplished to say the least and what a great time we had with those guys on a warm and sunny Ozarks spring day.








Depending on the water we were fishing, it was one of my many WB Flies (White Bass Flies) then trailing a Simple Minnow. Most came on the Simple Minnow and Chartreuse or coral were a couple of their favorite colors.





We had a great time and caught quality fish on the fly. Just the start of things I hope. The fish are JUST coming up in the shallows and weather looks fairly consistent for several days out. I like our chances of timing this really well in the next few days. Stay tuned!


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April 7th -
Maybe the fewest fish I've ever caught on a trip. Last night we had a big, quick soaker that brought up the water in a lot of our JC hotspots. Too hot to play around in even tough we spent the first few hours of our day doing just that.

After our best attempts there we went Deep Drifting from the boat in 3 -4 big units of water. That bite is not great right now. Yes we caught fish but probably only 6 - 8 fish a drift which is pretty slow for this place. Mike, his brother and dad were my guests. Mike was one of the first people I met when starting up my business down here and has remained a good friend throughout. They caught a perfect storm of crap conditions that made catching fish a fairly difficult task today. Great sports about it of course and it was certainly nothing they did wrong...just a tough day for Taneycomo.


If we drifted from the boat our whole time we probably wouldn't have had that distinction of one of the worst days ever but we wanted to fish the skinny water so we made every attempt to do so early on. Hindsight?

Great guys to fish with and spend some time with. They still had a lot of fun and compared to most trout streams it was still pretty good.


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April 6th -
Hard Core fishermen Zach, Jarred and Brandon were my guests today on a 3/4 day of chasing the trout around. Zach is a well traveled fly fisherman, Jarred is on the Bass Masters tour and was here competing at Table Rock this weekend. He was in 8th place after day one but day two found him just missing the final cut so they went fly fishing instead. Brandon was fairly new to the game but picked it up great in no time at all.







The Jr Circuit was where we spent most of our time and the success rate was very good.



There was plenty of more water to explore but these guys wanted to see how we catch them out of the boat in big water too so we wrapped up our day doing that. Really good out there too folks! There was no shortage of catching going on no matter where we tried and these were some great guys to spending some time with.

No amount of fish caught or time well spent can overshadow the really important tings in life. I consider myself a spiritual guy though I know I still fall short sometimes of the man I try to be. I will pray for my new friend Zach as he battles cancer. Meeting fantastic people like Zach and his friends puts your relatively small problems in life in to perspective.

Amazing things can happen in life sometimes. Miracles can happen!...and I'm praying that a miracle can happen for Zach and his family. You guys need to come back in the fall and chase some REALLY big fish around these parts. See you soon!


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April 4th and 5th -
Some of my friends from the STL area Larry, Tom and Tom were my guests for a couple for days of wading the JC. We thought about trying for whites but with limited time to play we decided to stick with the sure thing (the Jr Circuit) and just catch a bunch of trout. Mission accomplished.





It was a cool morning for sure but the action was as hot as it could possibly be. We never even got to all our JC options and stayed hooked up the whole way along. Great time and great folks to be sure .I always enjoy my time with Larry, Tom and the boys.


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April 3rd -
My new friend Dan and I got in a couple 3 good hours of wading (Taneycomo had water off today???) before one kick ass storm kicked us in the ass.



We see this little fox and a couple of his buddies nearly every day we fish this area. Not too spooked by us most of the time. That little guy has come up to my thermos on the beach and taken a sniff or two of my things that I've left there during trips.

Well our fishing was FANATSTIC!!! and this new fly fisherman was picking it all up in no time at all. Dan was a natural and he was plucking out fish pretty much every drift. That was before that crazy quick and violent storm knocked us off the water and sent us flying home amid a marble sized hailstorm and 50 mph winds. We survived but that kind of killed our time for the day. I promised Dan a discount next time we do it again. Real fun time for us today...while it lasted.


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April 2nd -
My new buddy Warren from Indianapolis IND has always wanted to try fly fishing. A GREAT day on tap for us had us having a wonderful experience on the Jr. Circuit.





Never having touched a fly rod before, we wanted that traditional wading experience and the only place to find that these days is on The Jr Circuit. More big water running 24/7 on Taneycomo. We beat that rap wading, having all the water we wanted all to ourselves.





Warren was such a nice guy and a great student of the game. He was catching in no time and had a great handle on things by our half days end.

I keep saying ANY time now for those white bass. The few hours I have between trips is spent scouting my favorite haunts for those fish hoping to see signs of life. I don't like taking people blind to those places w/o some hope of catching. People are doing some catching in the deeper holes of the rivers (by boat) but it certainly hasn't happened where it counts yet. We're still watching closely.


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March 31st -
Wrapping up the month of March...still no sign of white bass in the shallows. Not a problem for Robert and the boys as we hit the JC for an afternoon of a lot of fun. I LOVE the Jr Circuit! It's been over a year since it's been this good and we are taking full advantage. Today we caught about an 18" brown in there plus a nice white bass....and more trout than we could ever hope to count. More fun folks to spend a day of catching with.



Hooked up with another JC trout!


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March 29th -
My new friends Rene and Barbara joined me for an excursion on the Jr Circuit. Big water on Taneycomo is forcing us to find more appealing options for the wading fly fishermen and women. We are finding it on the Jr Circuit and hopefully soon..the white bass will be joining us there, Great folks who had a great time on a great day.LOTS of fish caught in a variety of locations.

Barbara was just happy I didn't make her cry like the last guided trip she went on out west. It always amazes me some of the "bad guide" storied I here from my customer friends. If you make a customer cry when you're trying to teach them how to catch a fish on a fly rod...you need to look at a different line of work. We had a lot of fun today and caught a LOT of fish...and no tears shed.

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March 28th -
Local fly fishing legend Bud Hogan and I (I just said that so his buddies will give him some crap about it) we were looking first for white bass today then if that was a bust....we'd hit the Jr Circuit. The first was indeed a bust. They just haven't come up in the shallows yet. Last year it was mid-late April and it was another long and cold spring (like this year) so the best is yet to come.

The Jr Circuit was FANATSTIC!!!!! more and more water is opening up for us all loaded with GREAT fish! Running water be damned! We are wading and CATCHING great numbers of trout in water that has barely ever seen a fly fisherman. That's right!...I said it!

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March 26th -
We had a nice little day on the water today with Travis, Cooper and John. Water continues to run but we are beating that issue with JC fishing and doing fantastic! Great guys to fish with for sure today. Very nice guys and good students of the game I must say.



    March 24th - They ran a bunch of water through the weekend and it continues today. I'm not sure why all the water but of course we're hoping for less real soon. Be that as it may, we've been able to fix our wading and catching "jones" by exploring the Jr Circuit and finding it quite friendly to our offerings. The best it's been in over a year and we haven't even hit them all yet. Fun, fun stuff doing some wading and hooking up with some great action! We're still looking for those white bass to come up where we can hit them with the fly rods. Now, let me end this sentence like the majority of ALL white bass fishermen (who await the start of the white bass season)...end their sentences...."should be any time now".


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March 23rd -
My new friends Joe and Charlie were my guests today on a "scheduled" boat trip. Big water greeted us and it promised to remain big for the day. With that in mind I suggested the Jr Circuit to these veteran fly rodders who have been emasculated by Taneycomo's water generation more than once in their lives. This was a great option for them I thought and at the end of the day, the boys agreed whole heartedly.





I have to admit, I took these guys to where I thought we'd spend our entire half day there. A little scouting had found zero fish where there had been hundreds just yesterday. Surprising to say the least, but we had back up plans and we found a little gem of an area that was just yesterday...void of fish.

We're really hunting fish before anything . It's a rare day when we blindly cast to areas hoping there are fish there. We had sunshine and a little breeze now and then so our targets showed themselves quite nicely.

Soft Shelled Scuds, Micro Baitfish, my new Taneycomo Dry #22 even caught a handful to groups of rising fish. Really fun stuff and these guys were great to fish with.

Charlie is a beast with the fly rod! I'm pretty sure he out fished dad. What impressed me most about him was how gracious he was with dad. When he started slaying them he wanted dad to come over and fish where he was. He'd take time out to just watch and stand next to him as he caught fish. One of those young men you have to drag off the river at the end of the day all the while taking in the experience together with dad and not just worried about himself.

A nice quality to see in a person these days. I'm sure mom and dad had a little something to do with that. Good job!


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March 21st -
New friends Herschel, Dakota, Diego and Josh joined me for a half a day in the boat today. More big water running for us and we had a mixed crew of spin fishermen and a couple of the guys who wanted to try fly fishing. It was the toughest day we've had in a long while. Big water then fluxing up and down with a cold front coming in. A couple of the guys were counting and they each got over 10 fish to net but a 40 - 50 fish (1/2 day trip) isn't so hot for around here. Great guys! A real fun time out there but to say the least, we had to work for them today.


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MArch 20th (am) -
Will and his new wife Charlotte were my guests today in the boat. Water running pretty good for us early but it slowed later and our bite improved. Either the gray, ginger/olive of coral Soft Shelled Scud is the one for the trailer and we're still leading it with a Big Hurt. 90% of the fish are coming on the scud.

These guys were spin fishermen so we went after them with the long spinning rods. These guys picked it up very well and once we pin pointed the best bite they stayed hooked up real well too. Real nice folks I enjoyed spending the day with.


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March 20th (pm) -
Chasing a rumor from my buddy Robert at Trout Hollow, John and I hit the Jr Circuit in hopes of running in to a few fish. We hit the jackpot today!





What a beautiful experience on a trout stream. No people, rising fish stacked like cordwood (as they say). John was hammering trout using a variety of techniques and tactics and most were in that 14-16" range. Really good stuff!!!





It's been a while since the Jr Circuit has made some noise. It gave us some great fun today and from what I saw I'd say they'll be some staying power with this stint. John and Tracee are a couple of the good ones in this world. I always have a great time hanging with them.


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March 19th -
My good buddies John and Tracee are with me for the next couple of days. We hit it this afternoon with a promise of very low flows so that gave us a lot of good options. Starting in the boat we made a couple of drifts down through the good stretches and we stayed hooked up well.

The flows got very, VERY low and we started getting some good wading options opening up for us. These two are always up for some of that and we ended up having an evening that could NOT have been any better at hooking a trout on a fly rod.



We found a nice little collection area where the fish were stacking up and we could fish them in about 2' of water. John was swinging and stripping an olive Hammerhead Sculpin while Tracee was dead drifting a coral and ginger/olive Soft Shelled Scud below a float. It was a hit a drift and then some for both techniques for as long as we wanted to do it. NICE fish too which made it even that much more fun.

After a while of catching Tracee was wanting to try swing the Hammerhead sculpins She found that a WHOLE lot of fun and she too was hooking up pretty much every swing down. It s a fun way to practice the traditional fly cast as (in my opinion) it's always best to cast in the traditional sense using a single fly.



Indicator fishing is usually best done using a roll cast. Not that you cant do it the traditional way but you WILL get more tangles no matter how good you are. Just sayin. Well, these guys did great and we once again, had a great time out there doing it. A beautiful afternoon / evening to be fly fishing.



    March 18th - We had about 4" of snow yesterday if you can believe that. It has pretty much ,melted away as we speak on this day that will push 60 and sunny. This is my Mr. Mom day when I home scholl Mckenna and stay at home.

One good thing about home schooling is that our class room is flexible. We wrapped up our day doing a "hands on" experiment demonstrating the relationship between some feathers, a hook, fluorocarbon and a fish. It's a touchy concoction that you have to get just right but when you do....





We just kind of hung out on an island doing a little scouting and top secret undercover stuff. We had our attack wolf to protect us and some walkie talkies.





Yes, that little white thing is a dog! Not a rat, meercat, kitty, flightless albino bat or a plethora of other demeaning names that are frequently repeated. It's Mckenna's best little buddy and I have to admit...I kind of like her too....for a rat!



Every time we come home from doing this kind of thing, Mckenna always says it was "the best day ever!" How cool is that. She's such a sweetheart. All you dad's know what I'm talking about.


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March 17th -
Ken and Mitch were my friends today as we joined Bill Babler on a little afternoon boat trip. While water was scheduled to be off, it shut down to a very mild 1 unit flow which made for fantastic boat fishing. With a Micro Big Hurt above a ginger (head and tail) and olive (body) Soft Shelled Scud #18 it was working well ad working often. Mitch (the rookie) started with that set up and about a half an hour in to the trip, we hooked Ken up with the same set up. Every other color Soft Shelled Scud (#18 to be specific) was OK but the ginger/olive was TEH BOMB!!!

That has been the fly!...water on or off for about 2 weeks for me. I'll trail it behind the Hurt when it runs and below a Micro Baitfish (ginger/olive) when the water is off. Today it was on and we caught 98% of the fish on the trailer.

Here's another fairly impressive stat...Both Mitch and Ken never lost a fly or had a tangle and they probably pushed 80 fish in half a day trip. 17" was probably the best and we had a bunch in the 16" class. A real fun time and these were some great guys to share it with. We drifted out the last time with Bill and his guys and everyone was doing a lot of catching in that lower mile on Taney. Pretty good stuff folks!...water on or off!...there's a lot of fish to be caught.


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March 15th -
My new friends Tim with his sons Davis and Parker joined me today for their first time at fly fishing. Tim's done it a few times before but it was the boys first go at it. We had a 1/2 a day to play with this afternoon (with the water off) so we Island Hopped from the boat and chased these trout around on foot.

We didn't have that crazy good bite we've been having today but it was still very solid and these rookies managed 12 - 15 fish each to the net with hundreds more hooked and lost. Very short little hitters and it was many different bugs that kept them interested.




Micro Baitfish by themselves...trailing Soft Shelled Scuds (ginger/olive Soft Shelled Scud #1 right now) or the little guys (M-Scud and M-Bugs) all caught them equally well.



Wrapping up the day...these guys had a great time. They caught a few fish in the 17" class. One was one of those big Neosho strain female dropping eggs. A gorgeous fish. Real fun guys to fish with and show this sport to. I want to thank my buddy Nathan up in KC for sending them our way. Very appreciative of that. Nathan can catch a big trout with the best of them.


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March 13th -
My old buddy Kevin brought a big group down for a 6 hour lesson on catching a few trout here on Taneycomo. These guy were mainly spin fishermen so we set up our "purgatory" rigs (something between spin fishing and fly fishing) and did the same thing we do when we fly fish...except we spin fished.

We caught dropping water when we started so we Deep Drifted a Big Hurt and trailed Soft Shelled Scuds. When the water came off...we went to Baitfish (ginger/olive) still trailing Soft Shelled Scuds. Hard to beat that meal for a trout and these guys were plucking out fish after fish the whole time out. Real fun guys to fish with on another clear, blue Ozark Day.


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March 12th -
A big group of 4 led by our friend Tim. We had some new fly fishermen today and everyone did great in some tougher than average water conditions. Even at it's worst...Taneycomo is really good by comparison and we all had a fun time today.


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March 11th -
Richard from TX shared a 1/2 a day of catching today. No pictures today but another really nice one for everyone. We're playing around in some new places that has us catching a bunch of fish, all by ourselves. Great stuff and these guys were fun to fish with.


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March 10th -
Our friend Steve had a big group of 4 out with us today.



We boated...we Island Hopped and eventually finished out down by The Stretch. A real nice time out there! Doubles...triples...QUADS!!!... a great bite and great weather all day long. These guys did fantastic and caught a bunch of them.



    March 8th - My new friends Rob and Sean were my buddies today this am in the boat. Rob is the son of Greg (one of my long time customers) here on their yearly boys week of fishing and it was his (and Sean's) first time ever with the fly rod.

This was the first day we've had to work for them in a long time. The bite was tougher I must say. Lots of hits and misses as always but even in the narrowly defined "hot spots"....the takes were fewer than they have been. They probably caught a couple dozen in their half day trip with us but that is FAR below what we've been getting lately. We threw everything at them and tried several different places. We ultimately fished a 100 yd stretch that we've been "wading" a lot lately but... we fished it from the boat today. They were stacked in there tight and fairly active but still...VERY quick on the take.

We had a cold front coming in which I'm sure didn't help matters but in spite of that, the boys did great really picking up the game very well. Their casting was excellent and their reaction to those lightning quick strikes got better and better as the day went on.

Real fun guys and I appreciate the fact they chose to fish with me.

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March 7th -
A big group in the boat this am with Bob, Chad, Eric and Shane all from the environmental group that's in town this weekend. Doing a little "scouting" for their tourney on Saturday but mostly learning how to fly fish was goal #1.

Bob had done this game before but the rest of the boys were brand new to it. These guys did fantastic and our bite was very solid for us.

The am bite continues to be the slowest for me but after the water drops out it gets better and better every drift down. "Slow" is relative as these guys stayed hooked up the whole time but we had many moments of fast and furious action as well.

The Big Hurt with a Soft Shelled Scud (gray or coral) trailer OR...the purple/wine M-Bug is the bomb when it's running and dropping out. After it's off... we transition over to the Baitfish as the lead then Soft Shells or ginger/olive M-Bugs trailers doing best. It's all really good and these guys were really good at picking these fish up.

Crazy subtle are these hits so be ready and then some. These guys were a whole lot of fun to fish with and all really nice folks. 17" was probably our biggest to net with a few legit big boys being hooked and lost., Very fun!

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February 27th and 28th -
My buddy Dave Merrifield and I had a couple of great days out there. A little sunnier on day one but both days were great for fishing and catching and great way to kick February in the ass and out the door. March HAS to be better right?



Dave was loving all kinds of catching these last couple of days but the dry fly action was hard to beat. When we found the fish piled up in the seams and sipping the surface our action was as good as I've ever had it here on Taneycomo.








The new Taneycomo Dry maybe?...location certainly doesn't hurt. Timing and conditions as a couple more factors but we've had these conditions all winter so I like to think it's the bug! We'll be doing more testing with those who would like to give the fish on the surface a try.



Dave is a solid individual to say the least. A regular buddy of mine and someone who just loves this game as much as anyone. I always enjoy my times with Dave.

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February 26th -
My buddy Bobby O on the river and looking for a fishing fix. Another great day out there for me and my good friend. Great weather, great fishing...water off most of our time. GREAT , great stuff and we enjoyed every minute of it.

I've been tweaking and playing with a dry fly for here on Taneycomo for a while now. If anyone fishes this place much they'll soon see a really small midge flying around here. Typically small like a #24 - #26...very light tan to creamy white in color. That bug is a classic example of "matching he hatch" doesn't always mean catching the fish.

I think I'm a pretty decent fly tyer. I can copy a bug pretty close to the real deal in most cases. Having said that, what we see in a vise doesn't always translate in to "takes from a fish". That little midge should be tied in shades of tan, white or cream... and when you tie those and put them on and in the water next to the real thing... they look pretty damn close...BUT... I RARELY catch fish on them.

My best general pattern for those dries has always been a real small Adams and that still is a pretty good option. "So maybe some more gray" ...was my first thought and yes, that was certainly a factor. After playing around with a bunch of different options (and having Bob there as my willing Guinea pig) we were able to fine tune what seems to be THE dry fly and what I'm calling...The Taneycomo Dry.

(pictures coming soon)

#24's are usually god enough but sometimes #26's are better. If you think an Adams color scheme in a midge profile and you'll be on the right track.

We had a great time out there today. Played around with our Go Pro a little bit and maybe we can show you some videos real soon too.


    February 24th - My new buddy Bill is a seasoned Taneycomo bait fisherman and spin fisherman...a regular follower of our fishing report and a man with an urge to learn fly fishing. You're never too young or old to learn this game (not that Bill is old of course) and we had a perfect storm of conditions to learn about everything you can in a 6 hr trip.

Bill saw our special and thought this would be a good time to learn the game. Indeed it was on a day that hit 50's and stayed sunny for us all day long. The bite continues to stay great for us with a variety of bugs doing damage. All the little Bit, M and Soft Shelled Scuds...M and G-Bugs...KrystalBacks, Hammerheads, Stick Buggers and the venerable Micro Baitfish is probably the best by boat or by wade. There were spots when it was a fish (or 2 - 3 hits) per drift every time. Great stuff and Bill brought one in just over 17" as his biggest.



I've been exploring the boundaries of wading lately and have "found" myself a few new places where nary a fisherman has tread. Nothing is really "new" on a public fishing tract but if you have the means and the desire you will fish in areas as good (lately better) than ANYTHING Taneycomo has to offer and you will not see another wade fisherman all day long. I've been fishing the "Dunbar" area recently (circa Tim and Rick) and there are only two people that I know of who are even familiar with the area. One of those "flyover" places and one of a handful of stops were hitting lately... and there's a few more I haven't even played with yet. I'm loving it and my guests are more than loving it catching a ton of fish with nary a wader in sight.

Bill picked up this game in extraordinary fashion. For someone who NEVER tried it before he was a great student and quickly picked up everything, A real nice time out there for us.


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February 22nd -
My new friends Russell and Ed joined me for a day of a little of everything. They kept water on for us all day long. Weird for a weekend when weekdays have been off pretty much all the time. Either way..no worries. Boating was outstanding with eventually just 1 unit and a mild flow.

Mornings have been the slowest bite (though still pretty good) but as soon as the water starts slowing or shutting off, things get crazy. Our wading spots were all or nothing today. Certain areas was a fish a drift (at least a bite a drift) where others that were normally very strong were very not. We just didn't hang around the slow spots too long hoping for better things. "Hope" just kind of sits on its ass waiting for things to happen. I like to make it happen.





We hopped out and waded some edges and shoals along the way. A lot of fun doing that too. The Big Hurt above a gray Soft Shelled Scud or slightly smaller M-Scud was a great combo. If you get in tight to the edges then the little M-Scuds and M-Bugs are reigning king. These guys caught a LOT of fish!

A couple of great guys to hang out with today. Good fishermen who got to see a lot of different Taneycomo than they're used to.


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February 21st -
My buddy Bob from October (and of 30" rainbow fame) joined me again today to experience fantastic Taneycomo winter fishing. Today he brought his buddy Jeff along to experience this fun.



That was Bob last October when he stuck this little 30" female on the black Soft Shelled Scud. We caught a lot of fish today on the black Soft Shelled Scud too...not quite as big as that one though.

It's been great folks, what can I say. I'm staying downstream more these days opting to get out of the boat and wade in some unique places because for the most part...that's where the fish are. The upper section has a few spots where it's good but, overall ...the fish numbers are lower in the upper mile than they are in the lower mile. It was fish on pretty much our whole time out there.




Little M-Scuds and G-Bugs and M-Bugs and Bit Scuds are as good as it gets. There's really not much drop off going all the way "up" to a #18 Soft Shelled Scud in gray, black or coral and the old Micro Baitfish about 2' below a float and trailing any of the aforementioned is catching them as well as anything.

Bob and Jeff are great guys and we had another wonderful time out there.


.......................................................................................................................

Thanks again,

Brett, for showing me and Jeff a good
time! Jeff talked at length on the way home about
fishing for a "big one"; I think we'll be back!!!

Could you put together one of your February "Hot 100"
specials for us to share? I will get a check in the
mail tomorrow; we want to try some of your flies on
the trout park stockers, and the trout we fish for
in Northeast Iowa as well!

Thanks!

Bob Steingreaber

Keosauqua, IA



    February 19th - My buddy Larry brought his fishing buddy Jeff along for a full day of a little bit of everything here on Taneycomo. What a fabulous day! They say we hit mid 60's! We had partial sun and a light "fish" breeze all day long. We've been hitting the boat in the am right when they turn the water off. While it drops out we'll put Big Hurt's above #18 Soft Shelled Scuds in coral, gray or black. Didn't seem to matter which color too much but when the water slowed down it was the Micro Baitfish trailing a # 22 - #24 M-Scud or M-Bug. Our biggest fish came in the boat and the biggest of them came on the #22 gray M-Scud. CRAZY, subtle takes from even the small fish. Watch em close because they aren't showing you much.


We spent a lot of time fishing our little scuds and bugs on the edges fishing a weightless set up. We had some red hot moments in there. I've been exploring more downstream wading areas to beat the crowds and stay up with (in this case downstream of) ...the fish.

The upper mile plus has less fish right now than downstream. It's not bad..but not the best in my opinion. We're finding some fun "new" places to wade in solitude and on top of a whole bunch of naive fish. That's a good combination for us dumb fishermen.

We finished up top to wrap up the day and stayed hooked up again pretty much the whole time. This day had more doubles than singles I think. The same little bugs set up with just a pinch of weight added was tops but KrystalBacks and a little HammerHead Sculpin action caught a lot. A great time with these two guys. Very nice folks. I think we all enjoyed the day quite a bit.

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My fly line is hardly dry and I am ready to book
another trip. My buddy Mel called today and asked
about Friday April 11th. Do you have that date
available?

We had a great time on Weds! Can't wait for the next
trip!

Larry



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February 18th -
My friend Ed came back with his buddy to hang out for a 3/4 day trip. We started late am to catch the best water and the CORPS deserves a little shout for sticking to their "water off" schedule. It's been really good folks. Boating water on... boating water off...Island Hop Wading, wading below the dam...EVERYTHING is working and working very well. Our heroes made some tracks today trying to get it all in and we pretty much closed the place late in the evening.



A lot of stuff is catching a lot of fish. In the right water (slow and deep) that Micro Baitfish (ginger/olive) is it!....consistently though...I'd have to say it's M-Scuds (gray #1) followed by an M-Bug (ginger/olive and purple/wine) trailing behind. That set up rocks it in the shallow stuff and is pretty good about everywhere.



Ed proving to his wife that... "YES..I CAN walk on water!". A real fun day with these guys. Great attitudes and just a ton of caching going on. Crazy good fishing right now.


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February 17th -
Michael, David and Chuck...there's a reality show waiting to happen. The trio made the short trek from KC to join in on the February Fishing Fun! While the am was a little cool in the boat, the bite was ridiculous and Chuck took a moment to capture one of his better, early fish.



The action got fast enough that they really didn't want to pose for pics after that. It's hard what to say the BEST way to catch them as there are MANY good ways to do it now. These guys pretty much did everything today and it was all very solid.




Stripping a sculpin NO4 Minnow? I didn't even know I had those things in the box. I was looking for something that wouldn't catch a fish today. I failed.

These are some solid individuals and we had a great time today. When your wrists are cramped and you forgot how many triple hookups you had it was probably a pretty good day.

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Hey Brett,

We are all back in KC safely. Thanks for another great day together. What a beautiful day and it was also great to get into that little used wading zone.

We all pray your ribs heal quickly and perfectly.

Take care until next time,

Chartered Waters boys, Chartered Waters.

Yatahey,

Michael Wishy,


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February 16th -
Pat and his son Luke were my buddies today. A 6 hour jaunt that had us hooked up pretty much our whole time out there. A few briefs lapse's but a change in local would usually ramp it up again. Sounds like a broken record but the bite remains really good. We do some boating early then step out for some wading after the water falls out. The little M-Bugs and M-Scuds are hard to beat wading the edges. The big Hurt above Soft Shelled Scuds in gray, coral and black is king. Very nice folks who joined us for a second time. Great weather on top of that. FINALLY, out of the winter woods at least for a week or so.


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February 15th -
Earlene brought hubby out so both could try fly fishing for the first (and second) time. GREAT students as they both picked it up very quickly and were hooked up with fish all day long. They ran a little water for us all day long but mostly mild so we had some nice Island hoping experiences.







Really nice folks and we had a great time out there today. They definitely had fun playing with the long sticks and became very good at it.

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February 14th -
My buddy Rudy and I spent the better part of the day doing a repeat of yesterday's routine. Great boat fishing while the water drops out...we get out and wade some edges as the water drops out...then we drove up to the dam to finish out wading up there.





That fish above was a stunning 20" sample that took the coral Soft Shelled scud. Just a real nice bite out there for us all day long. Very different stuff depending on where we were playing around and fishing with Rudy is ALWAYS a fun time. Mckenna got to see his two labs he brought along with him. I've made fun of Belle in the past (she was a little wild as a pup) but she has matured quite nicely and both of them are as sweet as can be.

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February 13th -
My friends Duane and Greg stopped by to hang out with me for the day. A little water early then shutting off and dropping out quickly. We were motoring up in 4 units and we found all 4 off when we got to the dam. We floated out that odd, BIG drop and found better fishing by a lot down stream.







The boat was really hot for size and numbers. We made several drifts down the last mile of the Trophy Area and it was non stop fish especially when the water dropped a bit. That bite NEVER slowed up but we were ready to do some wading so we Island Hopped some new places and just smoked em out there too.

A couple of characters and very nice folks. We always hook up with these guys at least for a few fly orders every year.


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February 12th -
Bobby O in the house. Good water off for us for the better part of our day. We've been starting our trips around 9:00 - 10:00am catching water off or maybe the last hour of running water then fishing the drop out until it's at normal level. Along the way we're jumping out on a few good islands and shoals and finding great action in those areas.

For all you folks who feel a little foolish when you fall down in the river when you're out there....guide boy here took an all timer today. Stepping off the boat to what was normally a sandy bank...that had become a muddy bank.... I'm holding my "regular" branch for support...that goes the exact same time my foot slips on the mud and the first thing that hits the ground was my back (ribcage) on big log submerged in the mud. I broke a rib.

I didn't know that at the time so after the stars cleared and I caught my breath (and with Bobs support) I crawled back in the boat and we finished out our day up by the dam. There's a great bite going on just about everywhere we're fishing right now. Boating, wading, island hopping...it's all very good. Just watch your step out there. This is the 3rd time I've broken ribs (two racing MX when I was younger) and they all sucked. Try not to sneeze is all I can say.

Meanwhile back at the ranch....Bob is gearing up for Musky on the fly rod and with that in mind...my little, highly prolific fly tyer is going crazy getting Bob geared up for the big ones. She cranked out about 20 one day recently. Gave them names and packaged them up for the big guy. Some tied with hearts. bendable shapes...gummi worms...pretty good looking stuff. She is 100% independent when tying a fly. LOVES the whip finisher! Ties a Big Hurt better than most adults I know but her favorite is anything big, bright and beautiful...just like her (exceptthe big). You got to love a kid who would rather tie flies than watch TV or play videos games.

Here are a few of her offerings. Pretty solid stuff don't you think?














    February 9th - We've had a tremendous response to our February Fishing Special and we want to thank our good friends and customers for participating. In fact, we only have 4 dates left in February. With great weather forecast ahead, we hope you can join us for this great deal in our remaining days this month.

February 15th, 20th, 25th and 26th are the available dates as of this morning.

The river is still largely void of people and loaded with rising fish everywhere. A good combination to have on your friendly, neighborhood trout stream. This weeks coming forecast is the best I've seen in over two months (and by a long shot) so we're very anxious to get back after it. Mid to upper 40's is forecast ( even scratching out 50's perhaps) and mostly sunny...and that is OUTSTANDING to see! We'll keep you posted in the coming days. Lots of fun folks coming up to fish with us too.

Don't despair my fellow fishermen and fisherwomen suffering from cabin fever. Pretty soon we'll be seeing some of these kind of things popping up and' we'll forget all about these last three months.





I've always been a glass half full kind of guy. I'm married!....I have to be right?



    February 3rd - Well, I watched the Superbowl last night...there's 5 hours of my life I'll never get back. On paper it looked like it should have been great but I'll stop there before the cliche's get too predictable and I lose another 5 minutes of my life. I'm a Chiefs fan so I'm one of those waiting for next year...to use another cliche'.

Water is OFF again this late morning! That's what we're always looking for around here and when it is, the wading has been fantastic fishing! What is so cool about right now is the myriad of options you have that are all very good! We've been doing the standard indicator fishing with W2-Eggs, Soft Shelled Scuds, M-Scuds and Bit Scuds, G-Bugs etc....pretty much any of our relatively small bugs below a float. But then the Hammerhead Sculpins, KrystalBacks and Soft Hackles and yes...even dry flies have been doing outstanding. The O2 content is good so the fish are active towards a lot of different things. Water being off most days have cut off their free flow supply of food so they have to go looking for it and fortunately, our well placed bugs get in their path of attack.

I see it off our shops back porch. When the water comes off you slowly start seeing the fish rise and move and generally all activity starts picking up. Sunshine always helps of course but it's very active.

3/4 and half day trips are about perfect right now. You can sleep in till 10:00am or so about when the water starts shutting off and get the best fishing in the best part of the day. Of course full day trips are great for fishing too so if you're bad ass like Al and Steve were last week you can hit it early and all day catching a bunch the whole time. It can be a bit nippy early though...just sayin.

We're getting some decent play already on our February Special already and we hope you can come out and enjoy the greatest trout fishery at the greatest time of year to do it.



    January 29th - It got down to 5 degrees last night! Luckily, by this morning when we boated up to the Trophy Area from Lilleys it warmed up to a balmy 6.5.... so....

My new friends Al and Steve get the Platinum Man Card for that endeavor today. That was the tough part of the day and for the record...the coldest I've EVER started a fishing trip. The good news was the temps eventually got up near 50 and it was sunny with slight to no winds for the balance.

The water forecast (per the CORPS) looked very positive for us and yes, they held to their promises. With 2 firm units going early we started up by the dam for a little Deep Drifting. Up by the dam, not because that's the best bite from the boat lately when water runs...but because that was the only place on the river with sun shining on it and yes, it made a big difference if nothing else for our mental outlook.

These guys are Taneycomo veterans, very solid with the fly rod and apparently our mutual friend Larry "The Big Hurt" Hurt has lied enough about me and my techniques that they wanted to see it for themselves first hand...even on a 6 degree morning.



We witnessed this big fire at some condos early am. We heard later that everyone escaped w/o injury. Good to hear that but I sincerely feel for those who suffered the loss.



As for fishing, don't let that am temp scare you folks. We had about an hour of the nasty and after the sun came up it was quite nice. By 10 or 11 or so it was VERY nice! Pretty quick in to our first drift down they shut the water off. We drifted through the worst part of the boat water as it dropped out and even in there caught fish pretty well. When we hit the lower mile as it dropped out it was crazy, unconscious, fish after fish after fish!

These guys know the story of The Big Hurt first hand, up close and personal. Larry has aggravated many a friend, guide and onlooker in all waters that contain trout throwing that thing almost exclusively. That "thing" (the Big Hurt) is a white thread jig. Now before you scoff, I tried the old white thread jig (as many of us have) in the past and had limited success with it. Then Larry showed me how he tied it and what he used to tie it with. HIS version is THE version, hands down and out of respect to him I wont reveal the secret strands he uses to make that "thing" come to life. Al calls it the "maggot fly" (just to piss off Larry I'm pretty sure)...I think western guides have called it "you've got to be f-ing kidding me"... after Larry starts hauling in wild cutts and bows when nothing else does. Go figure. I use it almost exclusively as a lead fly in the boat in running water. The smaller the better unless you get big water cranking then I'll go up to a 1/100th oz version. For me (not Larry) it rarely catches most of the fish and sometimes it catches NON of the fish but, if it's not on as the lead you're not catching nearly the numbers of fish that you could be.

That little bugger above the #18 gray Soft Shelled Scud was about as fast as fishing can be. The Hurt caught maybe 15% of our fish while Deep Drifting but it was a necessary evil on that set up and no one was complaining. As the water slowed to nearly water off, we went down to normal sized rods (4 and 5 wts) and switched out the Hurt with the Micro Baitfish (same trailer) with probably even a a better bite. I could go on with similar superlatives about the ginger/olive Baitfish but you've heard it all before. 16"ers were probably our biggest landed in the boat but ridiculous numbers of fish.

The boys wanted our best EDU on this river so I showed them a couple of great spots to Island Hop in low to no flows bypassing the ones they knew about and opting for some of the fringe areas. Our goal was to hit 2 - 3 of those spots but we had so much fun at one of them we ended up staying there till lunch time.





Check it our Larry! These guys could walk on water today.

It was one of those days where it was harder to find something that DIDN'T work than find something that did. I never did find (try) anything that didn't work. Aside from the aforementioned, G-Bugs, Bit Scuds, M-Scuds, M-Bugs, Krystalbacks and Hammerheads stripped, Marabuggers, W2-Eggs....I'm very confident we could have taken them on dries today too the way they were on top but we just ran out of time.

These guys indicator fish primarily but for an hour or so we swung and stripped olive Krystalbacks and our new Hammerhead sculpins...both were fantastic and these guys had a lot of fun playing around with that technique. Honestly, these guys were doubled up more than they weren't. They both seriously had cramped hands and arms at days end from battling fish all day long. Not the worst problem you can have at the end of a day of fishing. They are typically boat fishermen (water on or off) and I showed them a lot of good options doing that in the first half of our day BUT...I am a wading bum by heart and your options and opportunities are much more diverse doing that in the upper 2 miles or so ...so after lunch we drove up there and played around in a wide open, water off playground.



Our bite never slowed down in spite of radically different approaches, flies, techniques and everything else we could throw at them. Rebar was vacant on this sunny and upper 40's afternoon. A couple of outlet boys off in the distance was about it. Because they're usually occupied I rarely fish the major "runs" of Rebar but hey, if you're walking to the bank and see a $100 laying on the ground...you're going to pick it up!

EVERYTHING caught fish in there and Steve and I saw and casted to a nice 20" plus fish holding in a narrow little seam. He hooked a fish pretty much every good drift down there but he never plucked out the really big boy even though he managed a few around 18". Downstream hook sets! Learn it, live it and catch a whole lot more fish in the process. These guys figured that out and eventually saw the results of those efforts.

Capping off our day I set up our little 2 wt and Al's 4wt with a couple #24 M-Scuds on 6x, no weight and a whisper of a float set about 2' deep. We walked the bank below Rebar looking out in to water less than a foot deep and very little flow, sight casting to cruising fish. That may have been the most fun for these guys who had never done that before. The bite was once again...really good! These big cruisers on tiny bugs don't stay hooked quite as well as bigger bugs will but then again...you won't get bit if you use bigger bugs so you work with what they give you. FUN, fun stuff and these guys were not only hardy but really fun to fish with.

Fishing was great!...fishing IS great right now. A handful of days in a row now with water off bodes well for the balance of our winter fishing. I bowl on Wednesday nights here in town along with a fellow area fishing guide (spin fishing guide) and we were both lamenting the fact that..."If people only knew how good winter fishing is around here they wouldn't waste it waiting for warmer weather". Al and Steve know the deal certainly. I'll keep singing it's praises and hopefully others will get to experience it too.

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And speaking of bowling!...The Kid has done it again. Last night my boy Marlin Rader finishes with a perfect 300 and a ridiculous 3 game series of 825! The all time, house record for our local house here in Branson, Woodland Lanes. He is extremely humble about his skills and yes, I'm a proud papa for sure but there's not a human on the planet who throws a bowling ball any smoother than that young man. I'm so proud and he has so much fun doing it even when he's not setting records. That's how it should be.



    January 22nd - Much better water for us today! It was cranking hard again early but by the time we hit it at 12:00 noon we had two units and relatively mild flows. With the tailwater reaching 709' plus at times lately and cfs flows of 10,000 plus...it was pure joy to see 2 units and a 3500 cfs flow. That is great drift fishing from the boat but I'll let you in on a little secret...that upper mile or so below the dam kind of sucks right now. Yes we catch fish in that mile and it's always a good place to run in to a bigger one but numbers wise, the last mile is far and away better.



Lately in the big water, the upper mile will get us 6 - 8 fish a drift while the lower mile is (and I'm being serious here...) a hit within seconds of getting your line on the bottom and usually sooner. With 3 or more units it's a "Bigger" Hurt (about a 1/100th oz) above a #14 purple/wine GBSG-Bug. When it's two units or less (about a 705' tailwater) it's the original Big Hurt with a #18 - #16 gray Soft Shelled Scud trailing. Put enough weight on to bump the bottom with that rig now and then and you'll be good.

Bob and I made a drift down as the big water was coming down and found the drifting bite as mentioned above. We had hot spots in the upper middle...a little better in the middle mile but still spotty for the really good spots...and a red hot bite the whole way down in the lower mile and in to the bait area.

We also had a real fun time turning towards that north bank in the lower mile, tucking up next to the bank and throwing our typical wading set ups near shore and slaying them down there too. Fishing just about 6' deep and a couple of Soft Shelled Scuds (one gray and one black) and drifting right up on the bank using a little 4 wt rod. Bob was plucking out lots of fish from Andy's house down to the Fall Creek Condos with that set up.

We motored up and fished around the island across from outlet #2 and found that bite to be very slow. We hit a few hot spots in about 15 minutes with one fish to net. When they're there you know it pretty quick and they were not there today so, we motored down and played around Lookout Island with the two flows going and stayed hooked up very well. We swung olive KrystalBacks trailing ginger/olive M-Scuds and got lots of hit and a fair amount of fish but we got more with the two Soft Shelled Scud set up below a float ...and they hung on to those. That was a lot of fun and Bob was quick on the trigger with those fast biting fish.



A really nice afternoon with the big man. Bob and I talked a lot about pop culture and politics...the good, the bad and the ugly. Mostly just the bad and ugly because really, there isn't any good left in politics is there? Thank goodness there's fishing! Fishing's always good, even when it's bad. Or so I hear.



    January 21st - Well, the CORPS threw us a curve as my buddy Bob and I were all dressed up in our waders and nowhere to go. Actually, there's always "somewhere" to go so while our big water was at it's smallest, we jumped out and Island Hopped where we could and had a real nice time on a sunny day that barely scraped 30. Having said that, it was really quite nice especially when the wind wasn't blowing. Winds stayed calm to zero for us so we stayed warm and cozy. The wading bite was OK (while it lasted) and the boat bite stayed very good.

With a 707ish tailwater and 3 units running we started wading in a couple spots that have been pretty good for us in the high water. Upon beaching the boat we heard a horn...not too concerned at the moment but shortly thereafter the water was increasing noticeably so I gave my buddies a call. Up to 708' plus and the CFS running at 9,976. That's BIG! And too big to get stuck on an island so we opted to finish out in the boat which was very solid for us.

We're going to try it again tomorrow as the lovely and reliable CORPS is promising 1 unit for the warmest part of the day. What do you think kids??...are they going to stick to their word? The eternal optimist here says YES!!!...I said that yesterday didn't I?



    January 14th - My new friend and new fly fisherman Dave joined me this afternoon looking for some K in this fly fishing / trout catching world. An STL MO resident and frequent visitor to Meremac, Bennett and Montauk...he wanted to be that guy who can keep catching those fish even AFTER the horn blows. He used to fish Taney in the late 60's and 70's (so that put's him in his late 30's I believe???) and hasn't been back since. He's ready to start coming back now!

He's got a boat now and after today, the knowledge to be one of those guys "catching" trout and not just "fishing" for them.



We had pretty big water today. A tailwater flirting with 708' and 8000 cfs. That certainly limits your wading options but doesn't E-liminate them. He got as much info as can be crammed in to a 4 hour plus trip from the wading side AND the boating side of things and while wading wasn't great today, it was successful and we went over many things that David found quite enlightening.



One of the big ones for him were the takes. He was one of many (probably most) folks who have been getting strikes their entire lives and never knew it. Doing this gig as long as I have I've got that "go, go, go" switch in my head that is permanently ON!

And after a couple of drifts through our first little seam I start blurting it out..."go. go. GO"!

"Those are bites?"..he asks. Most definitely!...and here's where you have to start looking at how a trout takes a fly differently than you ever have before. He picked up on it real quick and was soon catching all those fish he always thought were just "bumps on the bottom".

We caught several nice fish wading but I knew the boat bite today (in that bigger water) would be better so we decided to finish up doing that.

The boat bite was (and has been for a while now) crazy good! With big water like this you typically wont catch them real well all the way through the Trophy Area but the spots where they concentrate are ridiculously good.

The entire lower mile of the Trophy Area is one of those areas and even in to the bait area is awfully good too. We're catching them fly fishing (Deep Drifting) all the way down past our place which is about 4 miles below the dam and 1 mile outside the Trophy Area even in this big water. The upper two miles have hot spots in the big flows but relatively smaller and a little more defined. We kind of bounce back and forth to the hot spots up there but the lower mile is pretty much right down the middle of the river.

We saw some shad today too and The Big Hurt or small (#12 - #14) shad colored Simple Minnows or NO4 Minnow above a #16 GBSG-Bug (purple/wine) is hot. Most come on the GBSG. Not our everyday breadwinner I'll admit but the water is murky and the gold bead seems to have these fishes interest. We're catching them very well on the ginger/olive and straight brown versions of the same so we'll keep playing that hand until it's time to re-deal.

Another real nice day with a real nice guy. I get a lot of satisfaction seeing the light go on with guys like Dave. A good fisherman who just hasn't been exposed to everything that makes a trout take a fly.

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Thank you everyone for the kind words and support for my father in law Paul. He's out of ICU and is now doing rehab to regain his range of motion. He's a tough old dog and I'm confident he'll be back to normal before we know it.

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January 13th -
Mr Wishy in the house! Everyone should get a chance to meet this guy. Enthusiasm personified. This guy loves the sport and loves life. He's probably turned a few heads on the river after a whoop and a holler of catching a big fish now and then but come on people...we ARE out there to have fun right?



The elites...the upper crust...the 1% of the fly fishing world. They usually look like they just walked off the pages of an LL Bean catalog (fly fishing section). Bobbleheads!.. .that's what I call them. Always shaking their head in disgust by anyone not doing it "their way". Think "the town elders" in Footloose who are generally disgusted by anyone having fun. Definitely not me, and definitely NOT Michael. Michael doesn't shake my hand when he sees me...he HUGS me! How great is that?

No such issues with bobbleheads today as we were pretty much an island on the water. One of the many great things about winter fishing. You pretty much have the water to yourself sans the outlets.

We hopped around the JC in the early am w/o much success. The gods haven't yet made the necessary alignments to show us a fun time there yet but....we'll keep scoping it out. So we Island Hopped and had a great time there and finished the day in the boat where the bite continues it's winning ways.

My buddy Michael is struggling with the great news that our buddy (and his son) Andrew was accepted to do his residency out in California knowing that means less time with his son, grandson and growing new family. Life can be so wonderful, while at the same time... so heart wrenching. So we shared our woes...cried in each others coffee and maybe had an extra hug or two before parting ways.

Hey man!...it's cool!. We still dig the chicks...we just love our family.


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January 11th -
Two Daves are better than one! Although one Dave thinks he's better than the other...and which one is makingthat statement is really interchangeable at any given moment.



I know...should have used flash on that one. We were running out of daylight and they were plucking out fish so I tried my little "being eaten by a giant trout"... picture.

A couple of characters for sure and they've been fishing Taneycomo longer than I have by a lot, albeit using that caveman gear they call spinning tackle. Just kidding of course. These two are well traveled and talented fishermen and very solid with a fly rod even though that's not always their first weapon of choice.

They wanted a fly fishing edu on Taneycomo as most of their time spent here (since the 70's) has been conventional gear. We did mostly wading today and a little boating. Pretty good flows for hitting several Island Hopping areas and we stayed hooked up fairly well using mostly #18 Soft Shelled Scuds where the flows were heavy and #24 M-Scuds in the quiet seams.



Also very good were olive KrystalBacks in a #16 above a #22 ginger/olive M-Bug. Swinging and stripping those in the right place provided some great stuff for these guys.

We finished up doing a couple drifts from the boat where the bite was about as good as it can get. This is what these guys typically do with spinning gear throwing Rapalas and the sort. I showed them our Deep Drifting technique when water runs hard and they were having a blast with that.



Nothing huge but a whole bunch of them and it was just fish, fish, fish until we ran out of daylight. Dave (Wand) is a striper fishing guide on Lake Texoma (Striper Express) on his way down to chase those guys around. Looking to catch some striped bass?..I would recommend him. He's a good guy and a good fisherman. So is Dave #2 (Jonesy) but I don't think he's for hire at the moment

Wading was good...boating was crazy good. It was a real nice day out there with a couple of really nice guys.



    January 9th - My new friends Larry and his son Andrew were my guests today on a mixed bag on water generation and on one of those rare days when we like to see the CORPS was wrong.

These guys were very solid with the stick and with water scheduled to run all day the plan was the boat, so I picked them up at Fall Creek Marina to do just that. On the short ride up from our place I noticed a conspicuously rapid drop in water level. Sure enough, they had shut it off. We talked about options when I showed up and their first thought was hey...whatever will get us the best bite. Water dropping out would probably be best fished from the boat (at least initially) and that's what we ended up doing. We were able to motor up to the MDC ramp before it got too low and all the likely spots that always get us good action in those conditions did not disappoint.

The biggest issue when the water drops out is the ever changing set up. Yes, flies are important there but so is the entire setup which includes going down to 6x, smaller weights, floats, locations etc. Once I got all that done for the boys it was CATCHING about as fast as you can catch a fish on a fly rod. Doubles, doubles...more doubles and..what?..."triples"?

Before we hit the 2 hours of fishing mark on the day...Andrew pulls up a "single double" (two fish at once...one on each fly) for his 19th and 20th of the day (he was counting). 40+ fish in two hours of fishing??...OK, even by my standards, that was a pretty good bite. I told the boys we could catch them like this all day long if you'd like BUT...since the water is off we might have a better chance at big fish if we tried wading. It was a little tough to walk away from the boat bite but that's just what we did in hopes of finding something bigger. I dropped them off at Fall Creek and we met back up at the dam.

I wish I could say it was JUST as hot but it wasn't quite that. Most of the upper reaches by the dam were fairly sparse on fish compared to normal. They probably caught a dozen in that first hour and most were bigger on average than our boat fish, but it was slower. W2-Eggs trailing Sot Shelled Scuds were OK. Trailing the little M-Scuds down to #24's were better. We decided to wrap it up down below the boat ramp where the scud egg combo below a float wasn't doing much better down there but...swinging our new olive Ostrich Hammerhead Sculpin (see Hot 100) started giving us a bite similar to what we had in the boat which was very good. Pretty nice on that setup.

Our boat bite was crazy good using the ginger/olive Micro Baitfish about 4' down and trailing a Gray C-Shelled Scud #18 (Hot 100 also). Bites were about 50/50 on the two. With the traditional wading set up not cutting it we went to swinging the Hammerheads and THAT started giving us a lot of FUN!

Super nice guys with quite a bit of time spent on Taneycomo in their young lives. I like to think I showed them a few different things and places to try next time they hit it on their own don here. Nice to be back to fishing after that little chill we experienced.


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It is with deep regret that the local fly fishing community has lost a really great guy. Bud Roher died in an auto accident up in the KC area this week. Bud was one of those guys who loved the sport so much and was on the water every chance he had. He was a customer and a friend who shared some great memories with me. I know the folks at River Run knew him as well and while most of you all out there didn't know him, believe me when I tell you he was one of the good ones. I never directly met his immediate family but I knew them well through him. My deepest condolences to them all.

Godspeed my friend.

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Please pray for my father in law Paul. He's at Cox South after complications to neck/spine surgery earlier this week. He'd give you the shirt off his back w/o asking questions. He's a great friend and my golfing buddy and we have a tee time this spring so he needs to get better. I love you Paul! We all love you and you need to be home real soon soon so get better. It sure puts things in perspective. Thank you everyone.

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    January 7th - WATER OFF!!!...and so is the deep freeze.



Doesn't matter what the temp is....this chick still wants to play outside in the snow. Don't worry folks...she was closely monitored and we never stayed out more than 15 minutes. She could barely walk I had her bundled up so much.

Yes, we've been hunkered down for the last few days as many have across the USA. Thank God (and my dad) for Kerosene heaters. He gave me this relic from the 80's we break out once in a great while which made things tolerable. From here on out it's going to be above freezing and how about 50's and sunny by this weekend!!!

On top of that great news, THE WATER HAS COME OFF as of 1:00 pm today. With TBR below pool and weather looking great we should have water off for a while now.

So here's one hungry fishing guide just dying to go fishing. Give me a call...I might even cut a deal with you I'm so happy about it!



    January 3rd (AM) - my new buddies Jimmy and Mark from New Years day had so much fun they wanted to try it again before heading back home to FLA. My only available option was this morning and it was just a tad cool... (and by "tad" I mean REAL FREAKIN COLD). Having said that, these guys were big time troopers starting at 8:00am and staying the distance catching a whole bunch of fish in the process.

Real good stuff and a couple of great guys. This is the preamble to an oncoming cold front starting Saturday night (ending Tuesday) so these guys beat that little bit of nasty coming our way. It got "reasonable" at the end of our time as it was a nice and sunny day by quittin time.

The BIG shad flies are not getting them like before but The Big Hurt is still a requirement as a lead. I've tried big C-Shelled Scuds as the lead (OK) tried the embarrassingly effective "glow ball on a jig" fly (a local favorite) and virtually nothing. BUT..when we put "The Hurt" on they start taking the C-Shelled Scud trailers with vengeance.

There are times when the "lead" fly is critical for the fish to take your trailer. I can have 2 or 3 folks using the exact same trailer fly but depending on what the lead fly is, the trailer wont get much attention unless you have that correct lead fly. BIG WATER in the winter usually has some kind of shad on for me as that lead. I cant say I've seen shad or have had any fish spitting them up so I don't know if they've come through yet (and they may not) but the fish do look for them during these conditions and they're a great attractor pattern in big water..

These were some real nice folks and we had a great time on now their second fly fishing trip ever. Hopefully we'll hook up with these guys somewhere down the road again.


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January 3rd (PM)
- More new friends today! Joe and his granddaughter Ryann (12) were first time fly fishermen too wanting to give this thing a try. GREAT students and I'm not sure who ended up on top of the fish count at the end of our time. These two had a great time and yeah!...they caught a ton of fish.





After posing for that fish (and getting our hands a little wet) We decided to sans the fish holding photos unless we got another Troutzilla. A couple of tough guys for sure. Neither of these two wore any warm hats out there (they brought them) and with sun. slight wind and near 40 degrees out we stayed pretty comfortable all day.



I admit, I'm a wuss when it comes to cold. My wife and daughter wear shorts in the winter time. Me and my son are those "always cold" guys. I WAY over do it w/cloths to make SURE I stay warm and I always STRONGLY suggest to my guests to do the same.

We stopped at Fall Creek Marina on my am trip with Jimmy and Mark on the boat ride up (for a coffee and a quick warm up before hitting it hard) ... and it was 12 degrees. Nothing quite as refreshing as a 12 degree boat ride up through the morning fog.

This time of year I always get the question...what should I wear out there? The outer shell should always be a windproof jacket with hood, windproof pants (ski pants) and windproof gloves. If you dress like you're going skiing all day you should be good. Here's my ensemble for fishing around the freezing mark.

** Feet: My old thermo hunting boots over moisture wick socks over wool socks over cotton socks with Hot Hands in each boot.

** Lower Body: Windproof coveralls over moisture wick sweat pants over a one pc Hodgman fleece that covers top and bottom...over my cotton Spongebob PJ's over a pair of one of my wife's thong bikinis...wait!...did I just say that out loud?

** Upper Body: Aforementioned windproof jacket w/hood (Doesn't have to be insulated if you layer enough underneath) over a hooded sweatshirt...over a zip up (around the neck) fleece...over a thinner zip up fleece..(somewhere in there is the upper part of the Hodgman one pc fleece) over a cotton T. Then two Hot Hands in each jacket pocket.

** Head: windbreaker hood over sweatshirt hood over balaclava over my red CWTS cap.

** Gloves: Nobody really likes to fish in gloves but you need them for a boat ride or just a brief warm up from time to time. Sometimes I'll put my jacket Hot Hands in my gloves if it's really cold.

**** I stay 100% warm in that get up all day long regardless of weather. If it get's up to 40 I layer back significantly. In fact that Hodgeman 1 pc gets too hot above freezing so I don't break that out unless it's going to stay below freezing. I try to keep my hands dry by using Ketchum's when releasing fish. 11 years a full time guide and I think I finally got it figured it out. Of course my Buddy Michael always has to remind me of the one day early in my career when I wasn't as prepared and suffered through a 40 degree all day rain and driving wind one november day. Let's just say it was one of the few times I actually ended our day "on time" as opposed to staying past the advertised time like I usually do. I stayed dry 3/4's of that day...problem was I believed the weather guys and didn't bring a spare (dry) change of cloths. NEVER since and NEVER again!

Having our shop ON THE WATER allows us to motor back to the shop any time we need to to get a warm up in a nice warm building. Plus we'll stop at Fall Creek Marina which is at the end of our fishing drifts and they are always there for a quick cup of Joe or hot chocolate too.

Today was on the colder side of what you typically get here but our (4 total) first timers today (two were 12 yr olds and two were from Florida) handled things like champs and caught more fish than they remember. It was a GREAT time out there and we had a blast catching a lot of fish.


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January 2nd - My new friends from extreme western Kansas Alex and Bridget hung out with me this afternoon to learn how to catch trout on a fly rod. While we continue a run of medium high flows, the bite has been outstanding in the boat! We're putting a Big Hurt or a shad colored Simple Minnow above Soft Shelled Scuds or G-Bugs. The gray C Shelled Scud in a #16 - #14 is always good during flow but lately, it's been a #16 - #14 black C-Shelled Scud just smoking everything else.

That goes against everything I've ever thought about that fly (a sunny day only fly and not great in big water) but that just shows you how much I know. It was CLEARLY the bug to have on this afternoon.

These guys picked up the game so well and so quickly they were hooking up often and well in to the evening. I'd guess a 50 - 60 fish afternoon for these two rookies. Very nice farm folks on their first trip ever to the Branson area. My kind of people. I think we have them thinking of another excursion some time in the future.


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December 31st
- 3 first time fly fishermen (Jimmy, Mike and Dave) joined me this afternoon on a textbook Ozark day for any time of the year. A little cool on that boat ride up early but it was near 50 and sunny most of the day with nary a breeze for most of it. Not the best bite this place has to offer. It's been real good during this heavier flow and it wasn't "horrible" today, it's been better though. Having said that...these guys had a blast!!!.











They had a little contest between them and at the end of our afternoon trip they were in that 15 - 17 (fish caught range) for each of them. A 50 fish 1/2 day isn't bad certainly. Countless upon countless brief hookups so our action was very solid and it took these guys a little while to "catch up" to our trout. Lots of doubles and even a few triples out there for us with the biggest, a 19 & 1/2" rainbow by young Mark. I think that meant that he was buying dinner that night but lucky for his lending institution (dad)...he likes McDonalds.

Very nice folks laughing the whole time out there and giving each other maybe just a "little" crap now and then.


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December 29th
- My old buddy Dennis brought his son out to try out this whole fly fishing thing he's been hearing about. And even the kids that have outgrown the "kid" moniker seem to always have a way of showing up dad.



A couple of great guys. We had another really nice winter day out. A little cooler than recent days but these guys were bad ass and braved it for a whole lot of fly fishing fun. Lots of fish caught!...(a lot on shad flies) and a real nice time for all.


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December 28th
- My young old friends Chris and Chad hung out with me today on another day of generation. Really good fly fishermen and really good guys too. They always like the wading fix when possible so we gave it a valiant effort. I cant say those efforts were our most successful venture today but we saw some really cool water. We started Deep Drifting shad and purple/wine GBG-Bugs (Gold Beaded G-Bugs). A GREAT combo out there right now and we caught them until lunchtime then took a break. After that we decided to check out a yet to be checked out (this year) gem on the Jr Circuit. One they hadn't hit before and our early returns were very optimistic. while we saw scatterered trout throughout our 2 mile walk it was probably no more than a dozen total and that's a lot of effort w/out a lot of return.



They giuys loved the water and are optimistic to try it again in the future. It will get good again one day. Maybe sooner than later?


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December 27th
- Water generating...still...so Big Fish Bob and I met at Roaring River to chase those puppies around for a day. What a gorgeous day out! As good a day as I remember from any month this year. That place during C&R is usually pretty sparse of people but forgetting about it being two days after Christmas had a few more people than normal. Nothingtoo bad. Bob and I got to fish every place we wanted eventually and we ghad a coupld of real nice experience out yhere.

They dont call him Big Fish Bob for nothin' and these guys were 18" - 20" and the biggest ones we found down in the lower section. Beautful fish and they gave Bob some great battles on the TFO Pro 2wt.





Most came on the #18 vblack Soft Shelled Scud traier as you can see by contestant #3 here.



We were pretty much using what I'll call our Taneycomo BIG FISH RIG. A w2-Egg above a Soft Shelled Scud (and usually black).

Finishing our evening we went right under the bridge where the road crosses the C7R section. Below that bridge in that shallow pool before the ripples were fish that wre sipping midges and splashing after what I assumed were rising caddis. I put on a #16 olive KrystalBack
(my version of the Cracklenbac) and those fish were hammering that bug sometimes several times a drift. A couple 16" fish came to net in that stretch and they stayed pretty hot for us for over an hour.

Just a fantastic afternoon out. The overall bite was good...not great. You couldn't hang in one area for more than an hour or so before they got educated or just uninterested but most places had good action for that first hour. A real fun time with a lot of fish. A nice wading diversion from a dam(n) long time of generation.



    December 24th - Hard to believe isn't it? The night before Christmas...and I am basically on a 24/7 Christmas story telling mode to my beautiful (though slightly naive) 8 year old daughter. It's a great moment in my life and it's not lost on me that these beautifully innocent times will be short lived.



We go to "Build a Bear" at the Landing now and then, not to buy anything but to brush and "clean up" her 5 yr old Build A Bear dog that her brother Marlin gave her for Christmas back then. We're a little nerdy I know... but after that we'll just walk around down there soaking up the Christmas sights and sounds. This is one guy (and one family) who's not afraid to celebrate Christmas...and I'm not offended if you choose not to.

*** Fishing?...things are trending positive. We had about 2 weeks of non stop running water that finally came off the end of last week. Now, we're in the typical winter gen patterns where they'll run a little in the am then off for the balance of the day. Fishing is really good with few to virtually NO people out sharing the river with us. It's typically slow for your friendly neighborhood fishing guide this time of year too so give us a call when the weather is looking reasonable and we can usually fit you in with short notice. It's a great time to be here! The BEST time to be here in my opinion.


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December 19th -
My friend from Mass (Mike) joined me for a little bit of everything today as we worked with the generation that the CORPS gave us. With generation at it's heaviest this morning, we hit a couple spots on the Jr Circuit waiting for water to come off or at least, down. It never came off completely but it did get down to a mild one by mid day.



The JC was OK. We caught fish at every spot but the flows are still a little low. We need a good rain. A good flood truth be known would be best. We weren't catching enough to stick with it more than half a day or so, so after a quick lunch break we hit some edges around Taneycomo and found some fun stuff.





A couple of spots had some real good action and Mike stayed hooked up pretty well. We went looking for big boys from there and finally finished out in the boat Island Hopping. It was a real nice day out for us. Great weather, great friends and fishing was pretty good.

I'm always my own hardest critic so unless it's a fish a drift kind of day (all day long) you'll rarely hear me say it was a GREAT day. I may be one of the few honest fishing reports out there going by that standard. People tend to "polish the pig" a little bit when they write a report making a couple dozen fish caught sound like an epic day. I'm not knocking anyone's standard to what they perceive as a "good day" but looking for more than that. All I'm saying is make sure you read between the lines. We could catch 40 - 50 fish and I'd call it a less than stellar day...while someone else may catch half a dozen and make it sound like they were jumping in the net for them all day long. So... just keep that in mind when you read your friendly, neighbhorhood fishing report... just sayin.

We didn't have a "great" day as far as numbers go but Mike wanted to wade first before "catching a bunch". The boat will have you catching more than you can remember when the water runs but some folks prefer wading regardless of the catching rate and that was Mike today.

Mike is a great guy and always has a good time out there on the water. Living in the northeast, fly fishing comes to a halt this time of year so time on the water is always appreciated by Mike especially this time of year.


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December 17th -
Water running this afternoon had my new friend Mike from Columbia hitting the boat with me for a little Island Hopping and Deep Drifting. The Island Hopping was less than stellar. Water was scheduled to be fairly low today but in fact came on pretty hard and the wading was slower than normal. Deep Drifting though was really good and it usually is when the water runs.

A nice leisurely drift in the boat with these medium to mild flows is hard to beat for catching fish. The Big Hurt (a highly specialized white thread jig per Larry Hurt) above a #16 - #18 gray (or coral) Soft Shelled or C-Shelled Scud is the bomb! Varying reports of TBR turnover probably means it's at least close to happening. When that happens some kind of shad pattern above the Soft Shelled Scuds (or C-Shelled Scuds) is hard to beat. We even had a NO4-Minnow (a big shad version) catching about half the fish above that scud. Don't forget that white lead fly when Deep Drifting from the boat.

Mike wanted to keep a few little ones for dinner and we caught those fish in short order. Another real nice day out there with new friends.


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December 12th -
Big Fish Bob in the hizzle. I know...way too old and white to be saying such things right? It's the kids, they keep me young and foolish.



Well,we had a textbook day today. Great fishing...water off..and I was spending it with The King! Looking for some big boys and yes...we hooked up with a couple today but in the end we only managed to net a couple 18" - 19"ers as our biggest. Lot's of those "run of the mill" 14" - 16"ers though and perhaps..too many... freshly stocked dinks? No. I didn't really mean that. NEVER too many trout around no matter how small some may be (although between us girls, I've bitched about too many small ones before...) so...we always enjoy EVERY trout we catch.





A couple of shots from the day. FANTASTIC weather!...people are basically absent from the scene. Not that we don't like people BUT...when we're fly fishing on a river (present company excluded) the less of them, the better. You know what I'm saying. Another reason we like winter fishing best of all.





One big ass sucker that came a long way to suck in a W2-Egg. We saw these wakes being made by some big fish in an isolated pool. We drop the flies 10' in front of them and a group of them made a bee line right to us. Big boy sucked it up and the battle was on then won. After that....those suckers wanted NOTHING to do with us and believe me...we tried. I never pass up a 20" fish that REALLY wants to eat my flies regardless of species. Probably the biggest fish of the day and well over 20". I just say what I tell other people to say. Just tell people you went trout fishing today and caught a brown one over 20". They don't have to know the little details like "species".



Mr Bob has been in to chasing BIG musky around the USA and abroad (Canada) the last couple of years. 45" is his best so far. He's changed the well known moniker from... "the fish of 1000 casts"...to..."the fish of 10,000 cash". I feel his pain. He assures me there are no GUARANTEED musky guides out there so it's a lot of trips for relatively few returns. He takes a break from that action now and then to chase our relatively small trout around. I always enjoy it when he does.



    December 9th -






Just crawling out of a deep freeze and a 10 - 12" snow this weekend.



Mckenna LOVES it!...but as a fishing guide who's customers enjoy a little nicer weather?...not so much. It got down to -4 on Saturday but it's back to more "normal" winter weather now.



Beautiful out! The snow's staying around so you can fish on a clean and dry stream bank while (just a little higher than the water line) enjoying a beautiful winter wonderland.



The biggest "suck" that's going on right now is 2 straight weeks of running water. Mostly mild flows...occassionally more but complete "water off" is about damn due don't you think? We're hitting parts of the JC and finding nice groups of fish in there. So here's my glass half full outlook on the river.

*** Boat fishing is REALLY good! LOTS of fish around after the Thanksgiving weekend and you can stay hooked up pretty much all day long in the boat and we'll usually run across a few fish breaking the 20" mark.

*** Island Hopping and "hitting the edges" can be GREAT when the water is 2 units or less and bigger fish are lurking there. 3 or more units (or a tailwater above 705') is still doable... but not as good. Just fewer options more than anything else. The longer water runs....the more fish will come up to the edges and stay there and be comfortable knowing that the water wont drop out on them.

With a mild flow, there are fantastic spots to hook BIG FISH. What we've been doing during this stretch of running water is hitting the Jr. Circuit and or Deep Drifting from the boat during the heavier generation times in the day... then Island Hopping/wading from the boat and edges when it runs mild.

It's been fun doing a lot of very diverse fishing techniques in the course of one day. When this water comes off (and it really should be real soon right?...forever the optimist) there's going to be a whole bunch (more) big fish up here in the spawning process that will be great targets to catch.

Watching the O2 levels, there looks like a slight increase in the overall level since a couple of days ago. If the water KEEPS running and the O2 is indeed coming up we'll get SHAD and the boat fishing / streamer / shad fishing will be crazy hot. When it comes off?? ...well, there's going to be a whole bunch of people holding really big fish on this page real soon.

We're just waiting and keeping an eye on it, all the while taking what the river (the CORPS) gives us every day. It's always good here!...techniques will change from day to day, (sometimes the same day) but it's always good here and we're always going to maximize the best situations at hand.

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December 4th -
Michael, Dave and Brian were my buddies today on a mish mash fly fishing adventure. Several different approaches and techniques (when it comes to catching a trout on a fly rod) came in to play today. Water running harder than we would have liked early so we opted to check out a spot or two on the JC.



We caught some trout there (and a few shiners too)....



..."this double shiner brought to you by our friends at..."....blah, blah, blah.

I have to say!...what a fantastic winter day pushing the 60 degree mark. With a winter storm forecast for thursday night...the boys bumped up their Friday trip to today. A great choice as our weather all day long was better than usual for an early december day.

Goal #1 was wading and or big fish. The JC was slow. We found pockets of fish in the one and only place we hit but Taney was starting to drop and I thought some edge fishing might turn up some big boys.

We hit another couple of spots and again, our bite was less than we hoped. Water never got down low enough to hit our favorite edge spots so after a half a day of wading...we opted for a half day of catching...so we hit the boat.

One of those rare days when our various options only had one good one in operation and that was Deep DRifting from the boat. Just a tad too much water to optimize the wading options but our boat bite was really good. The top mile and the bottom mile was very solid with countless doubles and even a few brief "triple" hookups. The middle wasn't too awful bad either so we just drifted the whole Trophy Area trailing #16 - #18 gray Soft Shelled Scuds behind ....bigger versions of the same, coral versions of the same, NO4 Shad Minnows and Big Hurts.

Water's a tad cloudy which may be another indicator that TBR is starting to turn? Hopefully.

We had a great time out there and caught a bunch of fish. David and Michael met through our shop and now they're good friends making the pilgrimage from KC down to see us now and then. Brian works with Michael and was trying the fly fishing thing for the first time with us today. A good time with some very solid guys.



    December 2nd - My buddy Rudy and I went out for a few hours this evening to chase some of these 1 - 2 unit trout around. We were Island Hopping today opting to scout and wade for some of these "edgy" fish that are thinking about spawning. We found some great, isolated places where fish were plentiful and big boys made their appearance at least now and then.







A beautiful day out. We started in the afternoon and had fishing places (on this Thanksgiving weekend) where we were the ONLY ones fishing within a 1/4 mile of us. Big, beautiful trout chasing and taking our bugs over gin clear water. They were really nice experiences we had on a perfect last day of November. We just about closed the place down staying out past sunset with just enough light to motor Rudy back up to the boat ramp, and me back home.



VERY mild flows but still flowing. Just over a week straight of water generation now. I (as did most folks) expected the water to be OFF this holiday weekend. No such luck. The good thing is that TBR should turn over more quickly with more generation going. Having said that...if we're voting?....lets put turnover off for a while while we wade fish some more.


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November 29th -
Bobby O and I went out looking for something BIG!!! We found something big, we casted to something big...we didn't catch something big...today

We came across a real thumper in some prime fish catching water right off the bat. Mid to upper 20's inch class fish. Our problem was he wasn't too interested in settling down and letting us show him our flies. Bob laid down as many good ones as he could but that fish was always moving around, albeit in fairly close proximity to us. That was nice and kept us excited but ultimately we never got a take from him.

Today, the big fish won the battles we had. Lots of nice fish to play with today certainly. We caught one 19"er and several close to that. Still a great time on a pretty nice day out over all and Bob's always fun to hang with. You'll get his latest political take on things whether you want it or not. Truth is I'm a bit of a political junkie myself and most of the time we share the same opinions.


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November 24th and 25th -
My friend Dave from north of KC hung out with me the last couple of days chasing some trout in a variety of areas and using a variety of techniques.

Day one we stayed in town playing on Taney in the morning (with 1 or 2 units running)...then hitting s couple of spots on the Jr Circuit finding quite a few nice fish to play with.







Taneycomo was fairly productive in both quality and quantity. We tangled with several fish up to 20" with the little M-Scuds and M-Bugs in the quiet water and W2-Eggs and Soft Shelled Scuds out in the main current. Both are great in their place but both require two completely different set ups to make them work for you.

5x, some depth and a lot of weight (2 - 3 #1's) will get you on the bottom and in to fish in the faster water just off the edges.

6x (sometimes 7x) usually with no weight and down to #24's (bug sizes) is what you need in the dead water out of the main current.

Virtually nobody out these last two days had us playing in all the spots we wanted to. A unit or two of water with crappy weather always helps keep the crowds away too.

In the JC, it was (and usually is) the Micro Baitfish in ginger/olive doing the damage. Dave drifted over several fish with some W2's and Soft Shelled Scuds with no takers. It was the Baitfish that got their attention.



Day two we thought we'd try Crane Creek. We did for a couple of hours but came up blank at our first stop. A couple hooked and lost but the water was very low, clear and the fish were very scarce and spooky. With high's in the 30's and freezing rain going on... overcast and in the middle of an approaching cold front, we opted to head back to Taneycomo to finish on a high note.

Definitely some better stuff going on over there even though that cold front had everything down a tad. We sight casted to and caught a couple of nice browns we could see just off the edge. We finally got to check out a spot and found a bruiser rainbow just waiting to do battle with us. Just before our first cast over that fish, they decided to blast all the water on top of us so we had about 5 minutes of reasonable casting time before we got blown out.

A real nice time with Dave as it always is. At 76, Dave gets around great, though he says..."I'll get there, maybe just a tad slower than I used to."



    November 22nd - My friends Steve and his sons Bill and Todd joined me again this afternoon hoping to do some chasing of the big fish. I'm always a fan of that. We had to work for them today a little bit but stay tuned...it was worth the wait.

The overall bite wasn't great so our goal of catching big fish meant a little more down time than normal. Down time meaning maybe not as many smaller fish filling the gaps between the big ones. Nary a soul out fishing with us this friday afternoon. The only ones playing around in the Rebar hole this am was us and one other person. We moved around a lot and came back late in the day to scope out a few spots again. All day long the crowds were virtually nil.

One of the better brown trout haunts still has good numbers of browns hanging around. I saw a few 25" class fish and we managed to get a hook in a few of the smaller ones.



That being said, the bite in general today was as slow as it's been in a long while. We were smack dab in the middle of a nasty day that had a little rain and temps never getting out of the 30's. Steve asked before hand if the cold weather would hurt fishing. My answer was no and the temperature never really makes a difference with these fish BUT, an approaching cold front (like most fish) isn't a trout's favorite either. Having said that...we started the day off with a bang.

I put the boys in likely areas to run across a big fish then I started scoping areas around where they were, looking for specific fish. By luck of the draw, Bill's spot had 3 big rainbows making some waves right in his wheel house.

I kind of like to have new guys (Bill's a second time fly fisherman) warm up with some "regular" fish before jumping feet first in to a 50 gallon drum of whoop ass! BUT....you also never want to walk away from a target (AKA opportunity) regardless of when that opportunity makes an appearance. I kind of stressed a couple of things NOT to do when he hooked him (And I told Bill he would hook that fish if it didn't take off) and Bill was paying attention. Not too many drifts in had that bad boy hooked and getting airborne, with a spectacular series of jumps. He did NOT like being hooked!

We kind of scoped out his likely exit when we hooked him and that's pretty much exactly what he did. We were ready to follow and we stayed close enough to stay out of trouble throughout some treacherous terrain. I was VERY impressed with Bill's ability to stay calm and to tame this fish. His very first one of the day!... Yeah, he probably peaked a little early today but I was finally able to get a net around him and man!...what a fish!









Very exciting stuff but for the next hour or so we looked around in a lot of places and never came across anything much over 20".

We never saw the other two fish we initially saw with the one Bill caught. We kept looking and looking and nothing ever came up. We covered some ground today...we were about to hit one last spot before wrapping up the day when I was with Todd and I said..."if you don't mind, lets go back to where Bill caught his fish". There were two other big fish there in the morning?...it's the last place we saw big fish?....it's as good an idea as any right?...We made the walk.

When we got there I saw nothing. I put Todd in a likely place but started scouting around finding nothing at all. I go back up with Todd giving him that ..."I'm not sure there's anything here" schpeel ....right before we decide to switch spots. He's literally reeling in when I take a step or two out from where he's standing just to check a spot in the glare that I couldn't see without getting closer. Right under the tip of his rod in about 10" of water sits about a 23" er. He had been casting about 10' past this fish the whole time with the tip of his rod literally hovering above him. Protected by the glare, we calmly step back a few steps...shorten up the line where the leader is almost at the rod tip...and Todd just flips a little cast above that moving and highly aggressive fish. In no time at all, Todd is hooked up and we are treated to another aerial display of splashes and explosions rivaling a North Korean rocket launch.

This fish was caught within 20' of where Bill caught his and we were ready for that fishes escape route. He obliged as expected. Todd was able to turn that fish soon enough but it always had another unexpected burst of energy. My friends Mark and Pete backed out for us as we chased him on by. We were in a pretty tangly area with a lot of potential breakoffs at our feet.

If you're familiar with the area...the fish took us below the big stump (below the Rebar area) and we chased him on top of the rock pile in the center of the stream there. Todd managed to pull him closer to shore where the water is more calm and we thought we pretty much had him done at that point. Below that stump (under water) going straight downstream is a log about 6-8" wide and about 20 - 30' long. It rests nearly on the bottom with just a pinch of space between it and the bottom. Well... guess where our fish decided to go? As he's heading there I start saying ..."that's not good!...he's heading under a log here". I was hoping (assuming) he would swim over the log. I didn't even think he'd FIT under it? He did...and while Todd didn't see that happen... I tell him (no time for pleasantries at this point) ..."quick, give me the rod!"

Picture this...from the shore...10' off there's Todd...10 more feet out from him there's me...5 more feet out from me there's the fish....5 more feet out from the fish there's the log and the fish just swam under it. Too late for missing the log now BUT...Todd give's me the rod...I tell him (again...sorry, but no time for nice here)... "go to the other side of this log and take the rod!" I reel up the line until the tip of the rod is under water and at the log, (then under the log) following the fish....I push the rod about half way through (under the log...and my arm is under water at this point)...I barely wedge it through there by the way, moving gravel as I go....I tell Todd to grab the rod from the tip and pull it on through...he does.

And like we've rehearsed it a hundred times before....it worked flawlessly. Todd picks up the rod with one hand while still holding his newly lit cigar with the other (come to think of it....maybe he's not taking this seriously enough?)... and goes right back to striking a pose with the rod in the air, our arms dripping wet, and a fish that gave one hell of an effort (still attached) on the end of his line.

That was an effort that left us recharged for anything else at that point. The fish though...kind of had to say at that point..."OK guys... I got nothing after that...you win."







I was indeed able to slip the net around this wonderful fish after giving us a fish story for the ages! A stunning specimen pushing the 24" mark. A little leaner than Bills Phat Boy but classic BIG TIME rainbow! And WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BATTLE!!!. That's a story that 4 people saw and only about 5% of the people who will ever hear it will believe it.

Now..during that battle as we're chasing down Todds fish, we come across ANOTHER big rainbow holding in an area I hadn't scoped out before. (On a side note...I will be from now on). That fish remained holding there as we battled Todd's OVER top of that fish. After all the fan fair with his fish is over we say hey...Dad needs to tangle with one of these guys before we call it a day. He was a few hundred yards away at the time but Bill went to get him and when he came back....we eased over to where we saw him last and yes...we found him!

Pretty much the same area and bigger looking than when we saw him before. It took a few drifts to figure out the best approach in a weird little seam and the fish very close to us. Soon enough though, Steve's black Soft Shelled Scud was taken by our golden boy and once again...these big fish are not one to shy theatrics. These things are getting airborne and getting you nervous in the process.

Before making our first casts of the day I always tell people that these are BIG FISH on light line....you CAN'T stop these fish with this equipment. If they want to run you HAVE to let them run and start walking after them. These are 10 - 15 pd fish (sometimes more) pulling (with current) against 3 - 5 lb test line, and you have to remember that before all hell breaks loose. We were really hoping for a picture with Steve holding another big 25" plus fish too but... the odds of going 3 for 3 on BF started working against that last guy who in this case, was Steve. It's a hard lesson for a new fly fisherman to learn sometimes. The power of 12 pounder vs a 12 "er is just something you have to experience.

And while our forecast was nasty today (and they held to it) the weather was barely noticeable and they boys all had a great time doing battle with some great fish. Great guys to hang with too. And as we drove away for the day..I think I STILL heard Todd giving his dad crap about breaking off that fish. Until next time, I think Jr's going to be gloating a little bit about this one.


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November 21st -
My buddies Pete and Mark from KC came down to look for some big boys as well. I absolutely HATE it when these (rare) days happen but we looked and looked and looked today in every haunt we find them and then some and we just never ran across a big fish today. It didn't make any sense. Yes, we are on the front edge of a cold front and I'm sure that had the fish being passive today. Our bite was pretty good. We certainly had spots where we could catch numbers about all day long but the big ones were one step ahead apparently. We even doubled back over our hot spots hoping to find fish later in the day at places we checked earlier. No people out to speak of...we cant blame that. We had the spots we wanted when we wanted them for the most part. We did a BUNCH of walking and scouting but just never came across a "boss". We had weird water too. Off... then on....then off again...very flaky and I'm sure the fish were not diggin it. This was the first day in a long time where we weren't' casting to 10pd plus fish. Very unfortunate as there are some really nice guys and good fishermen. They've both caught big fish with us in the past. I guess it was one of those "dues" paying days we have to give back every now and then.

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November 18th -
My buddies Gary and Sue joined me again on a semi cold morning today. Not to fear common citizens and would be waders...when the Drennans are in town.... the water will be off! They have that power and again.... today!....we had water off all day long.

I wonder if they even know I have a boat?

Looking for the big boys...we found them! We found a couple of gems and Gary having become very solid with the stick, knows how to put a good drift over a big fish. Our first battle was epic! At the end of a long battle I like to look back up stream where we started and ask them something like...now just think if you stayed right where you hooked them? Usually a couple hundred yards away. Well, I wish I had a couple of pictures of Gary holding up a couple of really big fish because he had a couple hooked. We should have had them both but once again (and an all too familiar tune here lately) our hooks pulled out and we were left sans the big one.

He hooked another one later in the day and once again we had the net "right there" before having the hooks pull out. We need to get back on the plus side of "landing" big fish here. They caught a BUNCH of fish today! It's just that the big ones got the better of us. Next time. Quality folks to say the least.

Want to hear a dirty little secret? When these fish are spawning, they'll spawn at virtually all levels of running water. They'll basically follow the shoreline down and spawn at the highest water level...AND...all the way down the shore line to no water running. The secret?...find the high water spawning beds that are out of the water...



Then follow them down to the water line are you'll likely find them there too.



With few exceptions, they follow that path. Find some big beds that are high and dry...and you'll likely find big fish in that area.




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November 15th and 16th -
Chad and the boys spent the last couple of days with me catching a bunch of fish and doing battle with some really nice ones. Extremely nice guys and good fishermen all. Last year on one particularly good 50 yd stretch of water, Chris had an all time afternoon catching I don't even remember how many fish 20 - 25". We didn't find THAT many this time but Chad did battle with two MegaTrons (rainbows again) in the upper 25" - 28" range that both came oh so close to making the net. Spoiler alert...we didn't bring any of those big boys to net today. You need relatively small flies to get these big fish to take. The "catch" to that is that they don't stay stuck as well as a big fly. To that I say...better to have loved and lost, than to never to have never loved at all. I still like our system...and we get a lot of love.

We'll see these guys next month when there should be even MORE big boys to tangle with.


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November 14th - Matt and his dad were my guests today on another "water off" day for us all day long. A really good bite with a lot of big boys around to play with makes this one fantastic time to be playing around on the tailwater.







Nothing wrong with those fish certainly. A lot of stuff like that had our day a busy one.

This time of year, a lot of my guests want to spend at least a little time chasing big fish around. These guys were all about that and they got to throw over some really big fish right out of the box.

"Wake Fishing"....we spotted some big boys in a favorite haunt of mine and with a little crash course on handling big fish, Matt was hooked up with mr BIG in no time at all. Nothing that Matt did wrong kept him from landing the big ones today... just one of those things that inevitably skews the success curve to the bottom 50% when it comes to hooking vs landing...a big fish. The boys had several hook ups with 25" class fish or better today with Matt having a couple fairly lengthy battles with them before the hooks ultimately pulled out. Fish happens. It challenges your composure at times. Big fish opportunities don't come your way every day so the "ones that got away" always seem to stay in your memories longer. We just try to give you as many opportunities as possible every trip out with us. These guys did great and were fun to hang with too.



    November 11th - A busy weekend had a lot of new folks plus a few grizzly veterans joining us for some fun in the stream. Fantastic weather!...pretty good fishing as evidence by Kirks nice 23" chromer! Here's a few nice notes from some recent trips followed by a few recent reports. Winter time IS Taneycomo at it's best ...in my humble opinion.

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Brett,

Thanks again for the fishing trip of a lifetime. Troutzilla still swims in the tailwater. It would've been nice to certify him but it probably would've killed him so the right thing was done. I guess he was at least 19-20#. So unofficially me, you and uncle Ian saw history made along with other fisherman on the river.

That day will be remembered by all concerned till we meet the man upstairs. Troutzilla gave us all we wanted. At least a 20 minute workout. If there's a bigger male rainbow out there u better start work'n out. Fish of a lifetime and a "not so bad" guide made my day. Thanks to you and uncle Ian for the greatest fish story I'll ever tell. And its true!!!!

Thanks for the 1st ten or so years of guiding me . And hook'n me up with Troutzilla.

Mark (November 2nd and 3rd)

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Hey brett ,

Once again you served up a great day on Taneycomo. As always your patience and steady advice helped make the day. I still have plenty of bad habits to correct. (guess we'll have to do another trip!!) The highlight was obviously the hook up and catching of that beautiful 28" rainbow. What an experience.

Thanks again for a great trip. We'll see you again next year.

Sincerely,

Mark (November 1st)

*** We went fishing for an hr Monday morning before we had to leave (6:30-7:30) we fished right above the rebar area. I truly lost count of many fish were caught in that hour. It's not a stretch to say there was a hook up or a fish landed nearly every single cast. It was a great way to finish a weekend.

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Hey Brett,

Thanks again for another great outing. While we really had our hearts set on wading, it was good to go in the boat and learn a new technique for Taneycomo. You just never know what the release schedule is going to be and this may give me another option in the future.

My friends Jeff and Zeke really enjoyed themselves, especially your attention to detail and willingness to teach while out on the water. I also want to thank you for the recommendation you gave us for wade fishing on our own the next day. We absolutely crushed them and of course your Micro Baitfish fly, (Soft Shelled and M) scuds and W-2 Eggs were responsible for a ton of fish.

Thanks again Brett. I've never been disappointed after spending a day on the water with you.

Chris (October 17th)

P.S. When you get a chance give me a call as I need to place an order for some more flies.


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Hi Brett,

Dayna and I had a great time fishing with you last Friday. I would have loved wade fish for the day, but I realize the power generation schedule is out of your control as well as mine. I was primarily happy to get out on the water in the boat and see the beautiful shorelines of Taneycomo.

I had never fished from a boat for trout. That was quite an experience. Although the cold front seemed to really put a halt to the fish in the afternoon, we still had a great time. I think Dayna and I are going to try and book another trip in February for the Rainbow run. Hopefully we can get some good time in the waders that day. I will be in touch soon to try and book a date for that trip.

Also, we may be interested in doing a fly fishing trip over to Roaring River if you are up for that??

Thanks again for a wonderful day on the water. We caught fish as always, but more importantly just had a great time.

Thanks Again!

JJ (October 18th)


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Pretty good water for us these last few days. Off most of the time and a few days where they just turned on a unit or two for an hour then back off. That's usually not the best bite for us here (water dropping out) and it held to those less than stellar standards during those times. I was crossing the breadth of fly fishing K today with first timers on the morning trips and Warren and Kirk (first timers a few years running now) on the afternoon trips. Since spring boarding their careers with us a few years ago, these once or twice a year guys have become pretty salty with the stick lately and now, they are primarily looking for big boys.

November 10th (pm) - a carbon copy of yesterdays water flow. Off starting the day...on for an hour towards the end of our mornings trip then off for the balance of the afternoon. For lack of a creative game plan...we planned a similar path of big fish hunting to maximize our time in the most likely places to find them. We certainly found them but they never came to net for us today.



Similar to yesterday when Kirk stuck a big one late...our best opportunity came at the ed of the day for Warren too. Back to look for the boyfriend of Kirks fish from yesterday our area was always occupied by someone so we played around the edges hoping and waiting to see if we'd get a peek in there before it got dark. I knew the guy (Lonnie) fishing there and knew he wouldn't be leaving for lack of catching (he's a good fisherman) so the money shot just may not happen today.

BUT!!....in a move that screams good fishing Karma...Lonnie motioned me over to chat with him. I come over and he shows me our big boy. "Check that out".. he says! (paraphrasing)....I've been trying to catch him for 2 hours and can't get a take. Why don't you and your guys give him a try". Opportunities for big fish don't come along all too often... and when you get one spotted and gift wrapped for you?....well hell yeah!

I guessed him to be a solid 25" fish. A big male no doubt and while his locale looked easy enough, that fish indeed was really tough to get a drift over. I'd say Warren spent an hour after him. I changed 4 flies and two set ups while Warren laid down great drifts (or so we thought) over a very active fish.

**** Most of our fishing this time of year is done in pretty shallow water (because that's where the fish are) and often our set ups have no NO WEIGHT attached at all. Sometimes (believe it or not) I'll tie my flies on heavy gauge hooks AND regular wire hooks based on how shallow and how fast the current is that I plan on fishing. There are spots where a heavy wire hook (tied fly) will sink and snag too quick in the drift where a regular wire hook will not. I tie the same patterns on both type hooks and use them accordingly. Having said that!...I can't tell you how often the addition of a little #10 weight about 4" below a float has made the difference in success or failure.

So this fish was in one of those in between spots. Too deep for the weightless setups but to shallow with any significant amount of weight. We tried my regular weightless set up....we tried a really deep weightless setup....never got a tick from that fish and I could see the W2-Egg right by his face several times. I added the #10 weight (almost impossible to put on your line by the way) and just a couple of casts in...hello mr big!

All that little weight does is help get the line under the water a little faster which allows the flies to start their "soft" little drift on the bottom a little sooner.

So...with all this happening in about 10" of water in a mild Taneycomo flow...we started with the "regular" weightless setup we use and that wasn't getting down to the fish. Then we added a #6 weight to that but it would hit bottom too soon and hard before it got to the fish. Then we switched to a deeper (2' more than previous), weightless setup and that too wasn't getting down quick enough...

*** the mar gain of error was SOOOOoooo tight with that fish***

...THEN....I added that little #10 weight to the deeper weightless rig...winner winner chicken dinner. Sometimes it takes that much (or that little) to make it happen...sometimes it doesn't but it did for Warren and the tell tale swirl of a big fish hooked had him off and greyhounding.

Warren was ready for the task and with 5x on with this new rig we felt pretty good about getting a net on him. And how close I came on several occasions in about a 10 minute battle but in the end...the #18 black Soft Shelled Scud just pulled out of his mouth. No scales or break offs or equipment malfunction...just bad luck. A bummer of course but Warren has done battle with and has succeeded with big fish before so he understands that this trip was won by the big fish.

I guess you have to pay your dues with these guys sometimes. Warren and Kirk are a couple of great folks. This year...Kirk is the KING of the big boys and I'm sure by beer # 4 or 5... that fish was pushing 30"!

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November 10th (am) -
Rich and Ray joined me this am for their first foray in to the world of fly fishing. In pretty short order, these guys had picked it up quite nicely and both guys were hooking up often.



Rich seemed to have the majority of the fish gods looking down on him as most of his hookups ended with a fish on the Ketchum while a lot of Rays seemed to come off about half way home. So it goes sometimes but both guys did real well especially for their first time out after it.


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November 9th (pm) -
My buddies Warren and Kirk are back at it for their annual fall, Taneycomo fly fishing trip. Water was pretty good for us. We caught the end of the drop from my AM trip so it was slower early until that level got back to normal but after that it stayed pretty good for us.

Late in the day we saw a couple of thumpers that occupied most of our time. They were generally in pretty catchable areas most of the time and the throngs of smaller fish we were plucking out made things pretty fun waiting for the big dawgs. Kind of out of the blue, we were casting to a particularly big male when behind that fish Kirk hooks up with what must have been his girlfriend... giving him all he could handle on his 6x. In fairly short order though, Kirk lands this impressive 23" bow reminiscent of a fresh from the sea steelhead.







I've often commented that the Neosho strain of rainbows seem to have an awful lot of cutthroat in them. Check out the fishes back (in the net shots) where you see virtually no spots on the upper part of the body. I know that alone doesn't mean cutthroat but that is the standard pattern on those Neosho fish once they grow up. They also keep that long and lean sleek shape to them and they NEVER get the typical rainbow colors. They keep a very golden hue to them with a hint of red on the sides during spawning... and usually the tell tale "cutt" is there on the jaw. I also think they fight harder and take flies more aggressively than the rainbows. Rainbows and cutthroat hybridize quite a bit in streams where they coexist. I doesn't seem impossible that there's a cutthroat in the genetic mix somehow over there in Neosho.

What I do know is that it was a trout!...and a damn fine one at that. Kirk did a great job at taming that bad boy.


November 9th (am) -
My new friends and new fly fishermen Rich and Timmy had planned to hook up with us earlier in the week but with water being goofy that day we decided to push it back in hopes of better water. For the most part that's what we got with water being off most of our time with a little up...then back off late in our 1/2 day adventure.





The biggest issue with that kind of water is just constantly changing set ups. You can catch them out deeper in the faster water with big and heavy indicator set ups...or you can go real small fishing the edges and seams in swirling or dead still water. I usually keep the 2wts around for that. We did it all today and stayed hooked up pretty much our whole time out there. Good stuff for sure and these guys were great to hang out with. Coral W2-Eggs with blk Soft Shelled Scuds trailing or the black scud with a little #24 M-Scud or M-Bug trailing in the slow water.


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November 5th -
The Tri-namic Trio...Michael, George and Chuck picked a nasty day to spend fishing with yours truly today. Not as bad as the WORST day I've ever fished in (with them...which they remind me about all the time) when the 40mph winds in upper 30's temps couldn't decide whether to turn the hard rain we had in to sleet. It stayed mostly rain and I learned the valuable lesson of ALWAYS be prepared with a change of cloths. That day may be the one day that I think we may have actually quit on time... vs going in to fishing OT (which I usually do).

It was better today so no sweat there. The bite was OK. I'll revise that statement. The bite was pretty good for catching fish and that's what Chuck was in to most all day long. He caught a bunch of them and a few nice ones thrown in to. Michael was big fish hunting and while we had some nice takes from some nice fish we never landed that monster. He still landed a lot of fish and we played around on the fringes of what could only be described as "sketchy" trout water.





I love doing stuff like that and you might say the Jr Circuit lives albeit in select stores only ....at the moment. George's stay was a bit temporary as he stopped to play with us for just a few hours on his way back to see the family. That old dog never skips a beat when he dons the waders and gets right back after it like he's a natural. With those Brad Pitt good looks it was like watching a River Runs Through It right there on the tailwater that is...Lake Taneycomo.

The greatest of guys to spend a day with and a pleasure and an honor that they still want to fish with me. Go figure?



    November 3rd - Back to the scene of the crime. Our heroes Mark and Ian had just a half day this am before they had to scoot back home to OK. Mark's not the kind of guy who's going to go up and tell everyone about his day yesterday but there has to be a kind of quiet cool going on inside knowing you just plucked out one of (maybe THE) biggest rainbow trout this river ever played host to. Let's be honest....of all the rainbows ever caught by a human on this planet...that fish is probably in the 1% of the 1%. It was just so cool and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

But today's another day, and I sure wanted to have Ian tangle with a really big fish before the boys headed home. You know, anyone can luck in to a big fish and luck always plays some kind of role in your success. But to consistently catch big fish you have to do a lot of little things right. The margins for big fish are very narrow. A stocker might come 10' to take a fly. A big fish?...you're lucky if they come 10". And if your flies are dragging through the fish?....you might as well be practice casting.

Oh the perils of a bad drift! No better "catch killer" than a bad drift and I'd say over 90% of fly fishermen aren't doing it right. It's not difficult to do...it just HAS to be done if you want to be that guy or gal who always seems to have a fish on the end of their line.

Well these guys are catchers big time but the differences between catching fish vs catching big fish becomes evident when they start putting down drifts over big, target fish. These guys have become really good at it since we first hooked up a few years ago and today, Ian got another classic stalk and catch opportunity on a big fish.

He's had a great couple of days! LOTS and lots of fish and several caught over 20" including some cool sight casting catches. Of course when your buddy catches an all timer though I'm sure he's hearing about it over the beers. Well, on our walks looking for targets this morning we come across a real salty specimen in a nice little spot to lay a few down over. He certainly wasn't a pushover. Ian was putting some great drifts down (on our weightless rigs) in about 10" of water. The black Soft Shelled Scud was on the business end of things and Ian had a brief hookup with him early on in the dance. It was brief but his mass had us all a little excited....he bugged out.

Between the steady flow of 12" - 16"ers we're looking around in the area for our big boy to show back up. He never does. We decide to change locals as the kings seemed to have left the building. I suggest we take a look at the spot where Mark S. caught his big boy a couple of days ago. It was just a few yards away so we start creeping that direction. Half way there guess who we see? Our buddy with a taste for black scuds. Ian was ready and was back to putting drifts over that fish.

Having yet to tick bottom during our drifts (in that extremely shallow water) I added a #10 weight to Ian's set up about 6" below the float. That was just enough to get it deeper and on the bottom where our friend was holding and sipping the occasional scud. The take was obvious and Ian was quick on the draw. He got to experience a little bit of Marks aerobic workout yesterday too as we gave chase to this big boy heading upstream. A very solid job of battling that big fish on 6x and I was able to get the net around another stunning rainbow for Ian.







A solid 23" but the depth and mass of that fish was just impressive. A VERY heavy 23" rainbow. Ian's biggest ever and he just had a great time targeting that fish and ultimately....sharing a photo with him.

What a great day with a couple of the more solid folks you'll find. We'll remember this weekend for a while.


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October 2nd -
I always approach a Saturday a little bit different than other days. It's always the most crowded day of the week and I don't like to fish with crowds but, you can work around that. What I have found though is that there are times of the day on Saturday when it's not very crowded...and it's not when you'd think. Knowing that,, we can play stream psychologist and fish where we want to fish if we hit them at the right times.

My friends today were Mark and Ian from Oklahoma. They started this fly fishing thing with us and they have become quite proficient at it getting better and better every time we get together. A couple of the real good guys in the world and the reason they're here this time of year is to hunt for big fish. Their timing was apropo.

We started out hunting the browns as one of my favorite haunts was open for business. Normally...this spot is not a big numbers spot but good for big fish. Today it was BOTH!!... and the boys hooked up with a LOT of fish and caught some fantastic browns.











Ian was going postal on those fish. #18 coral W2-Eggs above the venerable #18 black Soft Shelled Scud trailing and both guys were getting hit most drifts with a crap load of mid 20's browns thrown in to the mix of targets. Ian's' biggest was 22" I believe but both guys had some fish hooked that made everyone's heart stop just a little.

We jumped around to a few spots and after lunch we tried playing around down below the boat ramp. Not great down there. We caught one big fish down there but we opted to finish up the day up top where we've been seeing more of the thumpers.

A real good day for these guys already. Big Fish ...LOTS of fish!!!... that's our motto (one of them) and it was getting close to quitting time. The boys had to get back to watch the OSU game.

I'm always looking, scouting nearby in likely haunts looking for the signs of big fish. We're about to wrap it up and I'm kind of struggling to come up with some more "big fish" places to look. I walk out about 30' from shore and walk downstream parallel with North Bank looking back towards shore. I go over 100yds down seeing nice fish but nothing too overwhelming. Figuring we were about out of luck for the day I walk the same path back up stream towards Mark looking the same way back towards the bank but this time with the light at a different angle. Pretty tight against the bank I do a double take on what looks like about a 30" rainbow. I look again...That's EXACTLY what it was!!!.... and things start to get a little interesting.

I give Mark a little whistle and give him some military type hand signals showing him how to get in to the river and next to me without any commotion. He knows the routine and he does just that in fairly short order. When he sees what I see he gives me the same kind of reaction as I had. This is no ordinary fish.

As Mark was approaching me I was tweaking a set up so it would work for us in the slow and shallow water where that fish was holding. Mark took the stick and in short order had the right drift going over that fish. He was no pushover! A few good drifts and he'd slowly turn downstream and settle in to a new spot not far away. Not spooked but probably bothered by our little float making rings now and then. One real brief take saw a quick head shake and a disturbance in the water before the hook pulled out that had a whole different kind of power look to it.

He was always putting himself behind a little something that made a good drift difficult. He never was spooked by us though so he stayed in the area enough where we could usually keep in contact with him so we would just gently slide back in to position each time and start trying to get some good drifts over him again. One of his little re-locals put him smack dab in the middle of the channel in shallow water with no obstructions on either side of him for a chance at a good drift. I remember commenting to Mark..."that's the best opportunity we've had right there." Mark was ready for the challenge.

People tell me I see fish very well. I think anyone on the water as much as I am is probably pretty good at it and will probably get better at it the more time they spend there. Having said that, Mark probably sees fish better than I do. It only took him 2 or 3 casts to lay it down in front of that fish on that wide open dinner table where he now sat...Mark saw the flash of white in his mouth when he sucked in the scud (float didn't move) and he stuck him sure and quick.

Pretty big one right? Well...after he thrashed his head out of the water a few times like a crocodile eating a small native child....calling him "big" would be like calling Lebron a pretty good basketball player.

So he's stuck in the mouth and he kind of paced back and forth in that little 20' pool where we hooked him. Marks trying his best to steer him away from trouble...our first bit of fortune happened when he decided to get out of the shallows (clearing the boulders) and headed out for deeper, cleaner water. Harder for us to follow him there but far less snaggy and that was a good thing. It's not often that a big fish comes to net without a little chaos involved. This one provided plenty. Mark hooked him way down the North Bank closer to Rebar. The fish made a move towards that Rebar current but I was able to get in between him and that and steered him back upstream and in the deeper (less snaggy) channel.

COUNTLESS back and fourths in that stretch between Rebar and outlet #2 (OK, maybe just 2 or 3) with Mark walking as fast as you can walk through waist deep water and me trying to intercept him from above and trying to redirect him away from the outlet crowd (1) and those lovely "habitat" boulders" (2) they put in ...ultimately...unsuccessful at both.

First big trouble had our fish heading straight to the outlet crowd after we had already walked about 200 yd's upstream. I usually give folks a heads up like...."Excuse me, we have a big fish on here...would you mind if we come through?" Mark was a little more direct...."get your lines up we're coming through".

It worked! Everyone backed away and the fish basically swam through the crowd and on upstream a little more. Many quick "thank yous" ...and "much appreciated" from us and on we went. Everyone in the outlet saw the fish and they all stopped to watch the show. We couldn't "stop" that fish with the equipment we had (6x....seriously...6x!!!...) so we did our best to slow him down. A couple times Mark was able to turn him and I got pretty close to slipping the net on him but when he saw the net he was gonzo again screaming off line while Mark clutched his cold dead fingers to the old Giant Killer itself, my old Loomis Streamdance 4wt.

From outlet #2 the fish moved over to the south bank directly across from #2 in the middle of that cluster f**k of boulders over there just waiting for the worst to happen. Mark knew what to do and #1 is stay as close to a big fish as you can. That way you can keep the rod and line high in the air to reduce it from snagging on boulders and stumps etc.

*** Some say you have to use heavy line and heavy rods to land a fish like that. I say you'll NEVER get takes from fish like that if you do so what's the point? I say you just have to know HOW to land them with lighter lines and rods...and I have the pictures...just sayin.***

So we're about 15 minutes in to this battle now and our gladiator is slowing down. Hooked on the trailer fly (which is about 1 & 1/2' below the lead fly) occasionally when that fish took off directly away from us...the lead fly would catch or snag on the back briefly making him that much harder to tame. But in the end when that lead wasn't catching on a fin Mark was able to turn him and get him close.

One last, desperate attempt by that fish to break us off had it swim in to the middle of a group of boulders...then swimming in a circle around them??... it was looking like our efforts were about to come to a bitter end. Mark and I are probably 20' - 30' from the fish towards the end and when the fish started circling the boulders I moved up quick...held the line up high with my hand so it wouldn't catch the boulders...it did once still, but didn't break ...and our big boy slide back in to open water ...and running out of ideas.

This fish was still pretty hot but certainly not the steam he started with. He gave me an opportunity when he broke free of the boulders initially. With us trying to unwrap him from the boulders it made the water around us a little cloudy. I was about 10' from Mark and he fish made a slow turn towards me. We're in about 2' of water at this point. I see him coming my way so I lower the net to the bottom hoping to intercept him. He comes right for me...I slide the net a bit to the side when he gets close....and one of the best stalk, hook and catch episodes I'VE ever been a part of ...comes to an incredible end.





The outlet folks who had stopped to watch, started cheering.. and Mark cant believe what lies (half way) in my net. The list of superlatives reserved in your brain for really cool things just didn't seem like enough in this case. Your brain just isn't wired to see a trout that size.





Troutzilla! That's what Mark called him.

Of course, it was the black Soft Shelled Scud #18 on 6x fluorocarbon tippet. Measured against my 28" net the tail hung over by quite a bit...Mark called it 32". It may have been. We're safe with 31" for sure. Girth was at least 22" - 23". I know we'd probably get another inch or so if you lay them out flat...pinch the tail... blah, blah, blah but I'm just not going to do that because I know it's the deathnaill for that fish.

What an incredible moment for a great guy. We snap a few pics (mostly with his head in the water) and we send him off with plenty to spare.

Be honest...how many big (record) fish stories have you heard or seen around here (or anywhere else) where the fish lives? Zero that I know of including some state record fish. I'm sure the haters will deny the events of our day. Why wouldn't you certify a fish that may be a record they might say? To what end would be my question? The fishes certainly. When you look at a fish like that you just wonder what kind of life that thing has lived. How many times it has probably escaped death in one form or another. The absolute BOSS of that river! Pretty good chance he's been caught and released in his life before. Lets thank the people before us that did that.

It never even entered Marks mind about keeping that fish even though he knew what he potentially had caught. There's a culture out there too obsessed with glory. I'm really not one of those holier than thou types chastising people about killing a fish. I'll eat a walleye or crappie and yes, even a small trout now and then. Our policy here of course is we always release the fish we catch that are over 20" and that includes potential state records. That fish earned the right to live and it would literally make me sick to know that it died at our hands. Hopefully it doesn't wander in to an outlet and get snagged by the wrong person. And hopefully someone else will get a chance to get a hook in to that fish and have the same kind of fun we had with it.

Safe to say that bad boy has been "hooked" more than he's been caught. He didn't have any residual hardware on him which makes me think he's only come up top recently. And how fortunate were we that he gave us a day to remember.

Remember a couple weeks ago I said I thought I saw a bigger male rainbow with the 30" female that Bob caught? That may have been our boy? Although with all the huge rainbows swimming around and dropping for us lately it may have still been a different one?

Last fish of the day! Another Walk Off Grand Slam!


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October 1st -
My friend Mark from Lousiana left the mrs at home this time (sorry Antionette) and brought his buddy and first time fly fisherman Mitchell for a few days of wading.

If you follow the CORPS website and it's daily schedule....don't! Man they have been doing 180's on what's scheduled vs what actually happens. Lately though, it's been wrong in a good way and once again, we had all day water off for wading and we had a great time.



Mitchel, the new guy was just killing them on the black SS. After a little on stream lesson of the game he picked it all up very well and quickly lost count (he was trying earlier) of how many fish he caught. He had tried it himself yesterday. After his first fish caught today just a few minutes in he said..."well, I just doubled my lifetime trout catching totals". He's going to have to work at it to do that the next time out.

The bite was crazy good! Fish all day long and EVERYWHERE we tried was hot. We didn't land any big browns even though we tried for them for a while. We caught a few but they didn't seem in the mood for playing today so we hit some other haunts.

Always on the lookout for new opportunites I took a stroll back in to some landlocked pools in the lower section (I call them the Lower South Pools) and found a nice pod of fish trapped in a little 50' x 10' pool. I bring Mark back there to play around with them and we had ourselves a great time on a nice little piece of water that most people dont even know exists.









A very strange and dead calm flow hit the upper sectionfor a spell but as soon as they started getting back to normal then it was just more fish than you could ever want.

We saw and even hooked a few big ones today but they always seemd to get the better of us in one way or another. At the end of the day we're cranking them in at a particular good spot when I see a big wake moving towards where we were fishing. Gift wrapped like an early Christmas present...that fish comes up and sits nice a pretty right in from of Mark.Once he ID's him he starts putting some good drifts over that fish.

He quickly connects with that guy but only briefly and the fish moves off slowly. It was a monster!...and we were afreaid we had lost our chance.

We look and look and look some more as I didn't think that fish left the area. With a chop on the water he was hard to see but to our pleasant surprise we found him sitting pretty in deeper, but very accessible water. Mark was ready for him and started laying down some great drifts again.

If you listen to this website you'll know how often I talk about the small window of "correct" you need to have to catch a big one. The set up, the flies, the presentation....big fish will take a fly like a small fish will...they just wont go very far for it and it better be drifting past them naturally.

Mark got that done in a big way and as we watched a particulaly good drift approach our target, that fish took that bug in a surprisngly aggressive way. Mark was quick on the set and our bad boy does what most bad boys do wen they get hooked....thrash their head on teh surface a few times to no avail then..."I'm outta here".

Mark gave chase and like a champ...made farily short work of a rea lbig fish! He made the proverbial big runupstream (6x tipett) and we got him to do exactly what we wanted him to do and that was to head in to shallow water.

These big guys are so thick and so "deep" that if you can steer them in to shallow water, they will occassionally turn on their sides and get disoriented long enough to get a net around them. That's what our big boy did and Mark steered him perfectly in to the flats. If you can keep turning them in the process they will usually put themselves in to that position and if you're ready...like we were...then you net the biggest trout of your life like Mark did.













It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He and his wife started their fly fishing careeres with us a couple years ago. Now, it's rare you dont see them holding up something impressive every time we get together. Last time they fished with us was October 4th this year. Antoinette kept telling Mark to take a picture of his fish he was catching and he kept saying..."nah, I'll catch something bigger".

Touche' my friend. And now Mark has big fish bragging rights around the house for a while.


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