Hannah and I rolled in to the Ramada Inn parking lot, in Mountain Home, around 9pm on Friday (03/11/11) night. Even though I was dead tired, Hannah had me rigging her rod up in the hotel room and making sure everything was packed up so we could get an early start to Dry Run Creek on Saturday morning. Everything in its place and meeting Hannah’s approval, we turned in for the night.
After a restless night of hotel sleep, we were up early and on our way to the stream by 5:30am. Since Hannah has been tying her own flies, she likes to pick what she fishes with. She chose a red san juan worm, with a pink thread body; she chose well as the fishing was pretty crazy and we went through all 6 of that version of the worm she tied. I quit counting at 50 fish in the 3 1/2 hours we fished in the morning, but Hannah swears she caught 75 fish. At one point, she went 8 for 8 on 8 straight casts.
In addition to the snot rockets she was catching in the creek, she did manage to catch a few over 20″ and a really nice heavy rainbow. With all the netting, the net I was using finally broke. I really liked the size of the Brodin Patagonia Trout Bum net I have been using, but the yoke on the net just isn’t worth a damn, and this weekend it finally died on the last fish of the day (the solid rainbow in the photos below). In addition to all the fish she landed, just like any Dry Run Creek trip, it wouldn’t be complete if she didn’t loose a few really nice fish as well.
The creek wasn’t terribly crowded in the morning, and we ran into several father / son pairs who were extremely friendly (particularly the guys from Mississippi and the guys from Texas/Memphis), and if it weren’t for the Dallas connection we wouldn’t have gotten the Hannah/Dad photo below (thanks again). The heat was really turning up, and Hannah was ready for a break (and something to eat) so we headed back to the parking lot where we ran into Matthew Millner who was guiding a young man on the creek, and finally got to meet in person; which is always cool.
We de-wadered, and headed over to Mountain River Fly Shop to stop in and say hello to Steve Dally, and look for a new net. After a quick chat with Steve, we were on our way to Big Spring in Cotter (another youth-only stream) with our new Measure Net Boat Net and lighter in the wallet. We weren’t going to fish, but after spotting a serious rainbow, she quickly grabbed her flyrod, and slid down the grassy hill for a shot at it (only to line it), and like that it was over. We were beat, and hungry, so back to the hotel. After some lunch and a nap back at the hotel during the heat of the day, we headed back to the creek for the afternoon around 3pm (I wanted to make sure that we were there at dusk, and didn’t want to get there too early). Fishing was pretty much the same as it was in the morning, and she is really getting good at mending.
Unfortunately, the fishing wasn’t the story for the afternoon. It was the crowds as well as the people breaking the rules; adults fishing and live bait. Shortly after arriving, we are down on the creek and an adult guy walks by casting a snoopy pole carrying a cup of night crawlers. I mention to him that this is a kids only trout stream and live bait isn’t allowed, and that the fine is quite large if he is caught. He responds “I know.” and goes about his merry way and walks back to the group he was with (of 2 more guys and kindergarten age boys). Not twenty minutes later they are all fishing intermittently, so I decided to teach Hannah a lesson and went down and acted like I shot video of the guys (I would have, but not sure how to use the video function on my phone yet) and then let the guys know that because they were still fishing we were going to go up to the parking lot and call the AGFC. Well, I didn’t have the AGFC phone number in my phone, so after calling around I gave up on reporting them (the Hatchery was already closed, so i couldn’t talk to anyone there), and we went back to fishing. We didn’t run in to the group of guys again in the afternoon. As we fished our way upstream, we come upon a woman and then a man casting a fly rod, while their teenage looking boy was sitting at the picnic table. I again act like I am shooting video and confront them, they tell me it was the first time that they did it all day (that doesn’t make it right), and they hurriedly pack up their belongings and head out. The thing is, with all this talk of the Hatchery losing funding, a little weekend enforcement on this stream during the weekends would probably go along way to helping to fund the hatchery (I understand that these are actually two different pockets, but Dry Run Creek wouldn’t be like it is without the hatchery.
So after playing conservation agent for the afternoon between netting fish for Hannah, we were both tired and decided to call it a day. We headed back to Mountain Home for dinner, and then back to the hotel. It was a good day, and we were both looking forward to tomorrow.
Day Light Savings Time is a bitch, especially when you forget about it and are at your destination an hour before sunrise. We caught some sleep in the Jeep and waited for light. We were back on the river and Hannah was catching fish Sunday morning. Within the first twenty minutes, Hannah was hooked up with a nice rainbow and I was off, trying to net it. I really need to work on my netting skills, but the new Measure Net Boat net that I purchased on Saturday was a little different than my older net an there was a definite “sail” affect when the net was in the current. Needless to say, the first PIG of the day was lost; completely my fault.
We moved upstream and got to see a pig of a rainbow with a stocker size rainbow in its mouth and trying to eat it. We watched this play out for about 20 minutes before the rainbow gave up and let go of the fish and swam off. Hannah was fishing the same run where Parker hooked a big fish a few years ago, and Hannah was determined to do her best Parker Wise imitation. After some fly changes, a sowbug was the ticket and a pig of a rainbow took it on the first drift, and shot up stream in the pool at least 50ft. Hannah had him buttoned up pretty good, so I gave chase as he was hung up on a rock. Once the fish saw me, he was off again, and downstream just as far (with me in pursuit). He eventually got up underneath the bank and was just siting there working on her line. I waded over to see if i could make a net attempt, and that was it…..the 5x snapped. Hannah was pumped and excited, the first words out of her mouth were “That was Awesome.” With that mental picture in her head, and a 4 hour trip back to St. Louis ahead of us, I decided we would call it a day and head out. What I didn’t know I was in for, was listening to Hannah tell me that I really need to do a better job netting her fish most of the way home. It was the end of another great trip to Arkansas, and we are already planning the next trip down there.