Maramec Springs Trout Park — December 28, 2002

I made it to the “Springs” to fish today with several other members of the St. Louis Fly Tying Yahoo Group — Jim, Jerry, Mike, Gavin, and myself. It was a beautiful day to fish. Jim, Mike and I met at the Eureka Denny’s for breakfast and to play musical cars. Ended up down at the park just in time for the whistle to blow while we were rigging up and putting on our waders. I quickly broke off 3 fish within the first 30 minutes of fishing (1 in the first set of riffles and 2 in the handicap hole) on a tan/ginger mohair leech on 7x tippet. It was slow going after that. I did see several people hooking up on fish — but most fisherman were complaining of a “tough” bite. I managed to bring one bluegill and one trout to hand on a b.h. v-rib midge before we broke for lunch.

Lunch, what can I say about lunch. IT WAS AWESOME. Those of you in this group that didn’t make the trip to fish with us, should have. We BBQ’d beer brats, hamburgers, and beans streamside. The meat along with the cookies and hot chocolate (complete with whip cream), was enough to turn the heads of all the other fishermen in the park. It was a great time. Jerry tought us the secret to good rod building — when showing someone a rod you built, keep it at a distance of 3 feet or more. We also discussed the “morals” of fishing with a globall, and other things. It was a good lunch and good conversation. It was fun to take a break from fishing and relax amongst friends. We broke from lunch about 1pm and headed back to the water for some more fish action.

Jim and I were planning on leaving about 2pm to head back to St. Louis. We each fished for about an hour — I managed to scratch one trout on a #16 renegade on my 3wt. I watched the drift, the take, and the hookup — i love catching fish on dry flies. It was pretty frustrating hour of fishing — there was a midge hatch coming off and the fish were pretty active feeding on top of the water. I however, had nothing in my fly box that looked anything like the small grey/black midge they were feeding on. I need to try and tie up some midges and emergers for winter dry fly action. All in all it was a great day on the water and the weather cooperated to top it off. The park was crowded with cars, and some of the holes had several fisherman in it (including one “ice fisherman” that didn’t pay respect to distances between fisherman and was very erotic with the way he was working the jig), but I was not crowded out of a hole with the exception of the “ice fisherman.” The water was still low and crystal clear — I can’t wait for the water to get high and muddy (i always seem to do better then). Will be heading to the Current or the Maremec this New Year’s day and will drop a line when we are back from that trip. — Matt Tucker

Maramec Springs Trout Park — Dec. 15, 2002

I met Jim Collins at Denny’s in Eureka at 6am and we headed down to “the springs” after a bite of breakfast and looking over his deer pictures from South Dakota. It was beautiful weather, and I expected all the “weekend” fishermen to be out — and they were. As we were leaving I counted 22 cars in the parking lot (that is alot for the C&R season). Fishing was not that crowded however, there was only one hole (my favorite hole, and also were I caught that 20″+ fish last Sunday, that was crowded. I wonder if it had anything to do with my photo and story being posted in the internet message boards (i doubt it, but you never know)?

We spotted 2 HUGE fish today — one was near the outhouse on the bank and it had something seriously wrong with it as it was floating really close to the surface and let me bounce my mohair leech off of its nose; the second fish was an easy 28″ and was ABSOLUTELY huge. We saw it on the far bank near the bottom of the park — it was almost impossible to fish too (I was given the task at trying to catch him, but Jim lost site of the fish and the stalk was over). It would have been a really horrible day fishing, but I managed to pick up 4 of my 5 fish within 30 minutes on the tan/ginger mohair leech on the far bank near the second spring. The biggest fish of the day was a nice plump 14″ fish — the other 4 fish didn’t have any size to them (oh yes, I also caught a chub minnow). In two trips, Jim still hasn’t caught a trout at the Springs (he did manage a rock bass though).

On the way back, we decided to stop by Blue Spring Creek and do some scouting. It is a very small creek near Bourbon, MO that has wild rainbow trout in it. We stopped at the two MDC access points off of HWY N and got out to scout the stream. We did see some trout — although not many and with no size whatsoever (but they are wild trout — something I don’t think I have ever caught). Jim noticed lots of insect larva on the rocks, and the stream did look very “fishy,” we left and decided that we would make it back in the early spring or perhaps when there is some snow on the ground and the water is a tad higher. We also stopped by the actual spring feeding the creek, it is a campground (a very nice campground), and noticed lots of stocked fish in that section of stream — but almost impossible for them to move downstream due to the series of spillways they have. — Matt Tucker

Maramec Springs Trout Park — December 8, 2002

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