The Missouri Trout Odyssey is a trip that Brian Wise and I dreamed up more than 4 years ago. It originally started with each of us trying to bluff the other one into a “megatrip in the ozarks”, then it morphed in to how many streams can we fish and how fast can we fish them. What has resulted is a helluva appreciation for all the trout water Missouri has to offer and a great time in the process, with lots of stories, pics, and videos along the way. Each MTO is something that really can be explained in words — photos and video do it best. But the best way to experience it is to get out there and do it yourself…..besides it is only 1200+ miles and 21 trout streams over 4 days. As the years go on, less and less planning go into this trip, but we finish every trip telling each other that this is the last year we do it…..only to come back a year or two later and do it again.
After 3 days of being on the road, we finally reached our final day, and the two streams we were looking most forward to fishing; the Eleven Point and the North Fork of the White. We also had to fish the Trout Park at Montauk State Park, due to some poor planning and not being able to fish the park on a thursday during the C&R season. We left the confines of our Branson hotel early on Sunday morning and headed for our comfort stream….the NFOW. This is the river that Brian Wise guides on and it is the river that I try and fish every chance I get. Pointing our car in the direction of the river was the easy part, getting there…..not so much…thanks to a massive storm that was settling over the area. We drove through some torrential downpours and thunder and lightening, only to get to the NFOW just as there was a slight break in the storm. Like a good woman, the river didn’t disappoint, and provided us with our largest fish of the trip and probably the most photogenic as well. In a race to beat the rain, we quickly hit the car and headed towards the Eleven Point and met up with Brian Sloss of 11pt Canoe Rental, and like always the 11pt produces in both scenery and fish.
“Trust in Garmin,” were the words both Wise have uttered many times over the years while on an MTO trip. This last day was pretty special though, as Garmin took us what must have been the most direct route to Montauk State Park, but probably not the fastest, as we traversed various dirt, gravel, two track, highway, and a stream crossing or two on our way to our final destination — Montauk State Park. It was one of the more memorable and scenic drives of the trip; mainly because neither of us had any idea where we were or how to get out (much like the first night of this MTO, when we drove in circles in Mark Twain National Forest looking for a place to camp that wasn’t partied on by the locals). We hopped out of the Jeep just in front of the rain and ran down to the ditch to eek out a fish or two, then it was time to take off the waders and settle in for the quick drive back to Licking, Missouri to sort out the gear and hear our separate ways……another Missouri Trout Odyssey completed……..
Plenty of memories, stories, photos, and videos, to keep us appreciating all the different trout water Missouri has to offer. Day 4 included a ton of miles and the North Fork of the White River, the Eleven Point River, and Montauk State Park Trout Park. Here are the photos from Day 4.