Maramec Springs Trout Park (St. James, MO) — October 18, 2003

I made an uncharacteristic trip to Maramec Springs Trout Park today for the Catch & Keep season. The reason for my trip was for an Ozark Fly Fishers (OFF) outing. Ozark Fly Fishers is a St. Louis based fly fishing organization that is fairly active, and which I am a member of (although I am not a very active member — having never attended a regular club meeting yet). Mike Swederska is the Outings Chair for OFF, and had planned a “Buddy Outing” that would pair the clubs more experienced members with those that are just getting started. I consider Mike one of my fly fishing and fly tying mentors, having learned allot from him since getting started — thus I was quite shocked when Mike asked if I would give him a hand with “instructing.” Mike and I made plans to meet up at 5am at the Denny’s in Eureka for breakfast prior to driving down to the park for the whistle. When we got together for breakfast, I found out exactly what I was in for — Mike and I were the only “on-stream” instructors and there were 6 students (Al Bourisaw, the Education Director for OFF was down, but due to a recent medical procedure he couldn’t cast or anything — but he was there for encouragement). After rigging up my rod and throwing on my waders and what not, the fun began. Mike promptly assigned me the married couple of Mark and Mary Jo, and I thought I was relieved that I only had 2 students (but secretly wondered if Mike gave them to me for a reason). I helped them select flies (they were throwing buggers and leeches) and off to the top of the park we went. I will only say this about Mark and Mary Jo, if I were ever to be blessed with enough talent to be a guide it would be the potential for clients like these that would keep me from doing it. However, separately they were fine to work with — but god forbid they get within casting distance of one another. I didn’t fish that much, or hard, and spent my time answering questions or showing them why the fish feed where they do and what not (even had to instruct them on how to wade — as neither had ever waded in a trout stream before). I did hook up with two fish (one above the island) and one below the island in the deep water (both on leeches); but I didn’t get a proper hook set on either and promptly lost each fish. I left Mark and Mary Jo and headed back to my Blazer to get my 3wt and some tiny flies (and 8x tippet). I decided to take Mark and Mary Jo down the far bank and spot fish and try to explain fish behavior (and maybe even catch one or two). I dropped each of them in the water, and they fished downstream for a bit — which is when I gave up and went to visit with Al and Mike. I did drop down to the water on the far side occasionally and proceeded to get looks at a #18 brassie under an indicator on 8x tippet. They were having as horrible of luck as I was having and it was almost lunch time, so we broke for lunch. I ate my two packs of peanut butter crackers and bottle of gatorade and was back on stream to actually get 15 minutes of fishing in — no luck. After everyone was finished eating, we decided to switch students (Mike was now in for a fun filled afternoon) and I took Dick and John downstream to try and show them how to fish streamers. They were perfect students, each knew how to cast and only had questions that were great, and they didn’t expect to catch a fish and just wanted to learn how to fish a wooly bugger and a leech. I could sense that they were ready for a break, so we headed back up the far bank and I tried to explain to them fish behavior and why they are holding where they were holding. It was a BLAST, because they would ask questions about what I was telling them and they weren’t bickering with each other. We got off the stream by 3pm and met up with Mike and played around with all the different rods in his rod bag (trying to show the difference between weights of rods and what not). By 3pm, Mike had only landed one fish. Fishing was tough today for everyone involved. All in all it was a good day on the water, and good practice for my trip this Thursday to the Norfork River. Tight Lines………

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