Springrise @ Westover (Steelville, Missouri) — January 3, 2004

My annual New Year’s Day fly fishing trip with Craig was postponed a few days due to events out of our control, so we opted to head to SpringRise with a few other fishing buddies and build our fishing confidence in the 2004 year. I fished the private waters of SpringRise at Westover near Steelville, Missouri with Craig Peterson, Brent McClane, Todd Buttzlaff, Mark Kotcher, and John Nesselrode (and his two young sons). It had been a year since I had fished these waters, and was prompted to head back down there due to rumors of the property being sold in the near future. McClane, Todd, Craig, and I met at Denny’s at Bowles and I-44 for breakfast around 5am and were on our way by 5:30am. We were supposed to meet up with two more individuals from the OzarkChronicles.com message board, but they never showed up and we didn’t wait for them. By 7am we had arrived at SpringRise and started to suit up while waiting for Marty, the property caretaker, to arrive; just as we were pulling up our waders Marty pulled in and opened the gates. After paying the fees, we were set loose to fish the manicured waters. SpringRise is the only private trout water I have ever fished. It costs $37/person per day to C&R fish there, and they “limit” the number of rods per day (although I tend to believe there is no true limit on the rods). Today we were in luck, there was only one other individual fishing the property other than in our group. There is no need to go in to great detail about what the fish were biting on and who caught what on what, as SpringRise has been equated to some as fishing in a barrel. There are in fact times when it is fishing in a barrel and there are times when it is not (it depends on what water you choose to fish). The key fly of the day was a #16 or #18 tan scud, with Cracklebacks, Gray Sowbugs, green brassies, cream midge larvas, and I did OK with my Mercer Rag Sculpin (I caught a total of 6 on them). In terms of fish numbers it was a pretty good day, with everyone losing count of how many fish they caught. I can say with certainty that McClane easily caught over 50 fish, Craig caught over 30 fish, Mark caught over 30 fish, Todd caught over 20 fish (to his defense he left early), John caught quite a few fish (but he was trying to teach his boys to fish and wasn’t fishing that much) and I easily caught over 30 fish. The Dry Run Creek portion has changed allot since the last time I was there. There was hardly any flow in the upper sections and also hardly any fish as well. I walked this section of stream from where the Garden Stream dumps into the Dry Run portion all the way to the spring and only spotted a hand full of fishable pools and only a handful of fish. In the past, this was an area where you stood a good chance at catching a Brown Trout or two. When I got to the actual spring, it too looked low; perhaps all the low rainfall had taken a toll on these waters as well. I was a little taken back by the lack of care in the stream portion of these waters, it looked like some of the waters need to be mowed or dredged and the Dry Run Creek portion is now hardly worth fishing the upper stretches. I did get a chance to question Marty on the sale of the property, but he could neither confirm or deny that it was sold and only offered the comment, “they don’t tell me anything, I just work here.” So only time will tell if the place will sell, but as rumors go I don’t think it will be long before these waters are part of some private club. All in all it was a good trip, and I think we all have had our fill of fishing SpringRise for the year. On another note, I did take my new Fuji FinePix s5000 digital camera on this trip (3.1 megapixel, 10x Optical Zoom, 3x Digital Zoom) and took over 60 photos with it and am utterly impressed with the photo quality and zoom capability — I just wish there was an easier way to carry it while on stream. All in all, it was a great way to start off the 2004 year.

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