No trip to the North Fork of the White River would be complete without an evening of pizza and beer at The Antler in Gainesville, Missouri. After a day on the river on Friday (11/19), we found ourselves at The Antler enjoying Blue Moon on tap (surprisingly) and some pizza. It was another late night and early morning, as we rose and hit Skeeter’s Cafe to soak up the alcohol from the night before.
On Saturday, we were met with slightly warmer temps and cloudy skies. We decided to float from River of Life Farm to the Patrick Bridge access and rolled down to the river unloaded and ran our shuttle as Kyle Kosovich (Long Boat Outfitters) and Randy Hanner (aka “Randy F’in Hanner”, member of the USA Fly Fishing Team) were rigging up their boat and going to float with us for a portion of the day. Randy and Kyle are good guys and they hung with Brian Wise, Evan Muskopf and I at The Antler the night before, trading stories and what not; good times, but I digress.
The morning started out slow as we chucked streamers (Sex Dungeons, Peanut Envy’s, and Circus Peanuts, along with a couple of Fly Tying Contest entries and some Brian Wise patterns specifically for the NFOW). We stopped and got out to wade fish, when the first fish was picked up on a streamer. We each saw the rainbow come from about 15ft away, and Evan was rewarded with the nice bow. Brian mainly messed with video, which left me at the oars for a stretch, and Evan was rewarded with the first brown trout of the trip just below “the rock garden”; a trend that would continue for the rest of the float.
It was another good day on the river, as we hadn’t seen anyone else on the river until we floated by Sunburst Canoe & Campground, where we were greeted by pleasantries from the guys on the bank as we floated by. Shortly just below their access, I was rewarded with a nice brown on a clouser minnow imitation. After hopping out of the boat to get some photos; my search for a 20″ fish out of the NFOW still continues; but they are definitely out there. t was a good fish to end the trip with and had we had any beer left, it definitely would have been a beer fish. The rest of the float was done pretty haphazardly, except when we got around the islands, where each of us fished. Evan did manage to pick up one fish, just above Patrick Bridge, on a Fly Tying Contest streamer. We got some photos and floated the rest of the way out, content with two solid days on the river.
All in all it was a great way to reset the soul and clear the mind. We are already putting dates on the calendar for a follow-up trip, which will happen in the next couple of weeks. You can see the photos from Day 2 of the trip below: