Craig and I headed down to Maramec Springs today on our first C&R trip of the season — alot later in the C&R season than we would both like, but a fishing trip nonetheless. We arrived at the Park at 6:30am (note to everyone, we left St. Louis too early — as the whistle didn’t blow till 8am). But the time was not wasted, as we were watching all the deer. In a very honest count of different deer, we saw at least 45 deer in the fields near the park and down to the Hwy 8 Bridge. None of the deer were bucks, but there were deer everywhere. I took several photos of them in the big field by the parking area (in one photo there is at least 12 deer in the picture). On to the fishing report.
We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to fish. It wasn’t too cold and not too warm (albeit the morning was kind of brisk). There was still a little snow left on the ground, so the scenery was AWESOME. Up until the whistle blew, there were only 3 cars in the park (at most during the day there was maybe 6 cars on the lot with people actually fishing — so it wasn’t crowded). Craig and I started our fishing our favorite hole, and Craig quickly snapped off a fish on the first cast — he was fishing an “orange ass” soft hackle on 8x tippet. I wasn’t having much look with hooking up with fish. Craig picked up a fish on the “orange ass”. I started out throwing a beadhead crackleback, and missed one fish. I then switched to a mohair leech and landed one, and missed one. Then Craig hooked into a NICE fish (very long) on the “orange ass,” he couldn’t remember if it was 8x tippet or 7x tippet (‘cuz at some point in the morning he switched). The fish was long and big, and he fought it for close to 5 minutes (it seemed like much longer). All the while, I was standing by with the net. Not that I did much good with the net. I missed my one opportunity to net the fish and a minute later as Craig was still trying to bring it in, it snapped his line. The fish was bigger than the one he caught last year (and photos of posted of that one). All in all, the net man missed his chance. So if anyone knows where to get a big boat net — i may need it to increase my success ratio. Andrew (lunkerlubber) showed up in the morning and started fishing, after brief hellos he was out of sight and on his way downstream.
A little later, fishing in the same hole, I hook into a seriously large fish on a #18 beadhead redass on 7x frog hair tippet. I fought the fish for a while (not as long as Craig had his on) and the whole time I was freaking out. By that time, two guys that were down there fly fishing had walked by and were stopping to watch to see if we could land the fish. Craig was determined to net this fish and got aggressive and within seconds after unleashing the net from his vest, he had the monster trout in it. The fish is my biggest fish for Meramec, and maybe my biggest anywhere, and was a solid 22 inches long and fat, I am going to guess an honest 4.5lbs. One of the guys standing by started taking some photos for me (I am going to drop them off at the developer tomorrow). Once I get the photos I am going to come up with measurements and most probably get a fiberglass replica of the fish (does anyone know of a place in STL that does replicas and about how much it costs).
So, here are the statistics for todays trips. I fished the following flies with no success: beadhead cracklebacks, crackleback, and tan mohair leech. I caught fish on the following flies: Olive Mohair Leech (1); Redass (2); Red V-Rib Midge (2); and elk hair caddis on 3wt (1). Craig ended up catching 5 fish, I believe all on the “orangeass,” but not sure. It was a great trip. The water level was normal (I prefer the higher water flows, and was hoping to see that with all the snow melt – – but that wasn’t the case) and the temperature was great. We stopped fishing about 11:45 and headed back to STL after a quick pitstop at McD’s. We will probably be back down there this coming sunday, as it is the season. — Matt Tucker