Dry Run Creek; A Quick Road Trip (The Lost Report)

2011-04-02pic010(Edited)(Resized)I just logged in to the site after a long summer hiatus and found this post that I hadn’t finished up from April 2011.  Because of the length of time, I am going to leave the post as-is, and just add the photos from the trip……after all the photos and Hannah’s write up are where it is at.


Oh the things we do for our daughters.  This weekend, it involved driving down to Mountain Home, Arkansas from St. Louis, Missouri to spend about 4 1/2 hours on Dry Run Creek, a truly magical place, with my 9yo Daughter Hannah and my very good friend (and a helluva net man), Brent McClane, before heading back to St. Louis for dinner on Saturday.

To put it simply, the fishing was phenomenal.  Hannah has really seemed to take to mending line (perhaps sometimes too much), but on this day it was what was needed.

In keeping with tradition, below is Hannah’s account of the fishing trip.


Hannah’s Fishing Story

By: Hannah Tucker

Dry Run Creek, AR


It started when I got home from school Friday. I ate two snicker doodles before we left. Then we left—we were on the road. We could not find a restaurant, so Dad and Brent said, “We should go to Missouri Hicks.” It was good! I had a pulled pork sandwich with sweet and spicy sauce, with good mac and cheese. I got two giant cookies. Then we left.

We were on the road again. I fell asleep and had to listen to Dave Matthews Band. I hate Dave Matthews Band. We got to the hotel. We went to sleep.

The next morning Brent’s clock was set wrong. That was really bad. We had to go to Western Sizzler for breakfast. I wanted chocolate-covered mini donuts. But I got voted out. It was o.k. I had a biscuit and bacon. F.Y.I., I love love love bacon. We got done. We were on our way.

We got down there and put on waders and our necklaces. I was ready to go. I fish to a fish and I got it! I was pulling back the rod, and I got a fish! It wasn’t that big, but that’s o.k. I caught a bit more, and then moved down the stream. Dad bet me $5 [I would get a fish]. And I got it. He still owes me my other $5 from the last trip.

O.k., back to the action! Now there’s a giant fish…1, 2, 3…wow, 3 big fish! I caught the smallest fish out of three. I caught a couple more fish. I went to go set down my rod and Brent was coming and he didn’t know it was there and he accidently stepped on my rod. But it was my fault because I put my rod there. But I still kept fishing…

Then I caught the biggest fish of all! I was so excited! And on a broken rod. I was doing my happy dance! It was so heavy I almost dropped it. But I didn’t. Thank goodness. That would be bad. Dad took some pics and I went back to fishing. I caught the two biggest fish. It wasn’t the best fish. The best fish was the one I caught before. It was still big.

We went home. It took a long time, but we were home. THE END.


Dry Run Creek; A Trip Report by Hannah Tucker

Dry Run Creek

This weekend I had the pleasure of spending Friday afternoon and Saturday morning on Dry Run Creek with my 8 year old daughter Hannah and my long-time fishing buddy Brent McClane, as well as the Wise family (Brian, Jenny, Parker, and Carter).  It was Brent McClane’s first trip to watch the kids fish Dry Run, and afterward, I am quite certain he feels that this is a special place and that many more states should create a special area like this for the future of the outdoors.  It is with that logic, that I have asked Hannah if she would do the write-up for the site and tell the story of our fishing trip.

Hannah’s Fishing Trip To Dry Run Creek

By: Hannah Tucker

My fishing trip started by meeting Brent at Crackle  Barrel.  We ate breakfast before we hit the road.  I had 2 pancakes and 2 pieces of bacon. (F.Y.I.  I love bacon and pigs are my favorite animal.)  After we ate Dad helped Brent move his stuff.  Then we left to go to dry run creek.  When we were in Rolla we stopped at Wal-Mart to get me a fleece coat.  At lunch we went to Fred’s fish house.  I had a pulled pork sandwich with French fries.  Once we left Fred’s fish house we were almost there.  Brent and dad wood not stop farting. Mostly Brent was farting.  I know because I sat behind him in the car.  About 1:00 on Friday we were  at dry run.  Brian, Parker, Jenny, and Carter came to0.  On Friday the flies I used were a worm and an egg.  Carter caught the biggest fish on Friday.  We fished some more and I hooked a big brown.  We went to an Italian place and I got chicken alfrado.  Me Brent, and dad went to a hotel.  We went to bed and fell a sleep.  When we woke up we went to western sizzlin.  I got a cinnamon roll and more  bacon.  Then we left and went back to dry run.  In  morning I hooked a giant brown.  We moved up stream and saw a bunch of fish.  I fished it and got some really beautiful  fish.  There were purple and red strips on the bottom of some of them.  I got tired so we left.  We went to Colton’s Steak House but it is not worth writing about.   The end.

As you can see, it isn’t always about the fish catching when we take Kid’s fishing, but it is often the catching that will help hold their interest long enough to continue to do it.  Dry Run Creek never disappoints, and I look forward to every trip I get to take down there with Hannah.  Admittedly the report above leaves out alot of the fishing details, about the countless fish she landed or the numerous fish she lost (including the fish that Carter Wise later hooked and fought by himself); and maybe we should take note of that and realize that it isn’t always about the catching and to appreciate the entire trip; I know Hannah definitely reinforced that with me.  So, if you want more details of the trip, you will just have to ask Hannah….next time you see her on the stream or at her favorite fly shop.

–matt tucker

Ringing in 2011 on the North Fork of the White River

2011-01-01pic004(Edited)(Resized)New Year’s Day found Brent McClane and I on the North Fork of the White River again, using Brian Wise’s drift boat.  Since we had an empty seat, we coaxed Arkansas fly-fishing guide extraordinaire Jimmy “T” Traylor to come up and fish with us for the day.  Jimmy had only been on the river once, and had yet to experience the beauty that is the North Fork of the White River; so we agreed to meet him at Patrick Bridge Access to drop a vehicle and then head back to River of Life Farm and start the float.

The morning started off COLD.  After floating and fishing in waders and long sleeve shirts on New Year’s Eve, we were in full winter fishing gear complete with gloves, hats, and permafleece.  It was definitely a change, and we figured the fishing would suck, and it was slower than the day before….but it was still better than any of us expected.

We were into fish in pretty much the same fast water runs, just not as plentiful as before, throwing brown rubber legs and dropping eggs or worms or another rubber legs off of it, when we came to one of our first runs of the day below ROLF and pulled the boat into an eddy to get out and wade fish it.  McClane and JimmyT eached picked up some fish and we were just about ready to move on when McClane wanted to change something up and kept giving us the “one more cast” look.  He immediately hooked up with a fish, although didn’t know if it was the current or the size of the fish he was feeling; but it was solid.  As he is fighting the fish, JimmyT reels up and starts to head back to the boat when he takes a spill in the river as I am pulling out the camera and hopping out of the boat.  We toss the net to McClane and I help get some dry clothes to JimmyT, as it was 22 degrees and not the time to be wet.  JimmyT was in dry clothes just about the time McClane landed the nice brown in the photos below.  It was his biggest fish on the North Fork of the White to date and a great way to start out the 2011 year.  We shot a few photos and released the fish and continued on our float.

We spent more time fishing the usual spots and unfortunately spent way too much time fishing above the Blair Bridge Access that we didn’t have enough daylight to really fish the sexy water from Blair to Patrick, it was getting dark and were cold and wet, so we paddled out most of the way to just below Patrick Bridge and started rigging down the boat and rods for the trip back to Gainesville and then St. Louis.

McClane headed up to grab the Durango and backed it down the trail, across the backwater, and onto the gravel bar and the trailer into the river when all of a sudden the transmission starts slipping and the Durango keeps going backwards and won’t stop.  McClane was able to get it stopped, but the damage was done….as it wouldn’t engage any of the gears.  It was 5pm on Saturday (a holiday) in the middle of the ozarks without a good way to tow it out and figure out what was going on.  McClane is a life-saver in these situations and we tried all his tricks from rocking the vehicle to rolling it backwards (but not to far back, as that would have put it in the river), but none of it worked.  With that, I called Brian Wise and gave him the bad news that I needed him to find me a tow truck to tow us off the gravel bar and he went to work.

About a 1/2 hour later, tow truck on scene, we were winched off the gravel bar and up into the parking lot, where the tow truck driver had to disconnect the drive axel and get it lifted to take to Earl’s Dodge and have the transmission looked at.  He gave me the bill, and I couldn’t get him them money quick enough and we were on our way back to River Of Life Farm to pack up our gear and figure out a way to get back to St. Louis.  Big thanks to JimmyT for driving McClane and I to Cabool, Missouri to meet up with my dad, who got us the rest of the way back to my house.  Without friends like Brian and Jimmy, this weekend would have been a disaster, but in the end fish were caught and it was a helluva way to start out the 2011 year.

As for the Durango, after waiting a week to have the transmission guy at Earl’s Dodge in West Plains look at it, deciding it needed a new transmission and getting the approximate cost of said transmission, I opted to trade it in on a 2007 Jeep Commander 4×4 with 37,000 miles and purchased a lifetime jeep warranty for it (transmission failures be damned).  The Durango was a great fishing vehicle, its 155,000 miles included two Missouri Trout Odyssey’s, trips to the Smokys, and countless trips to the tailwaters and streams of the Ozarks.  Rest in peace Durangoo…..and I hope the “Save a Trout, Eat a Beaver” bumper sticker lives on.

Ringing Out 2010 on the North Fork of the White

2010-12-31pic005(Edited)(Resized)I couldn’t think of a finer way to ring out 2010 than drifting the North Fork of the White River with my good friend, Brent McClane.  This trip kind of just happened without much forward thinking.  Up until Wednesday (12/29/10) we were kicking around the idea of heading to Louisiana to try our hand at fly-fishing for Red Fish, but the pocket book, lack of planning, and our love for all things Ozark won out and we found ourselves driving towards Gainesville, Missouri on Thursday morning to pick up Brian Wise’s drift boat (he had promised a weekend away from his trout fishing bretheren, but did offer up the use of his boat……to which I obliged) and visit with them a bit before heading to River of Life Farm on the banks of the North Fork of the White River.

Unfortunately, the storm system that ravaged parts of Missouri and Arkansas on New Year’s Day also took its toll on our fishing trip.  We woke up to 62 degrees and a cloud system moving in as fast as I can remember ever seeing one move in.  With cell phone reception being spotty, we searched for a brief signal to check out the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center web site to see what the outlook for weather is today and then checked the various warnings and statements issued.  What we found was the the NOAA had issued a statement essentially saying that there was to be “Extreme” weather today.  McClane and I knew we were in for a treat and discussed storm chasing for the day, but knew we were way late in the game and didn’t think we had enough time to get in front of the storm as it was already 7:30am.  So we opted to not drop the drift boat in, and headed to Blair Bridge Access to wade fish until the storm hit us.

We got a good 2 hours of fishing in before the storm hit, and the fishing was solid as we were picking up rainbows on brown rubber legs and various different droppers.  I managed to land two dink smallmouth and a small brown trout, and McClane picked up a number of young of the year rainbows.  With the thunder rolling, the lightening starting, and it as dark during the day as I can ever remember it, we headed for the car just before the rain hit and headed back to ROLF.  We stopped for cell coverage to check our messages and had plenty of messages telling us to get off the weather, as well as messages from concerned friends about our homes back in St. Louis as apparently the storms had started hitting St. Louis or were about to.  After a couple of quick chats with my wife, who was down in our basement as there was a tornado about 7 miles away in Fenton), all was well and we continued our drive back to ROLF.

By the time we made it back to ROLF, the storm had passed and we were looking at windy conditions and blue skies.  We grabbed some quick chow, asked Myron to run a shuttle for us to Blair Bridge Access, and we dropped the drift boat in and set off on a 4 1/2 hr float.  We immediately got into fish, again on brown rubber legs and various droppers, as we floated downstream.  The fish were holding in the faster water, and it seemed that every drift was rewarded with at least a take.  We stopped off and wade fished a couple of the runs and swapped on and off of the oars, but we had a stellar day on the river bringing well over 30 fish to boat and had hook ups / LDR’s with close to as many fish.  It was a fun day on the river, fishing with temps in the 60’s and falling on the last day of 2010.

Just above Blair Bridge we ran in to a guy on a pontoon with a black lab.  He was definitely a friendly fellow, as we had ran into him just as we put the boat in, but fished pretty slow to give him some room between us and pretty much didn’t see him up until this point.  He was a friendly guy and we chatted a bit, before moving on.  He was the only person we saw fishing on the river all day, and it made for a pleasant day.

We finished the day back at ROLF grilling porterhouse steaks, potatoes, and vadellia onions, and were off to bed by 9:30 tired from a great day of Ozark fly fishing.  It was a perfect way to end 2010.

Reconnecting With The Past; a Trip Report of Sorts

2010-10-16pic008(edited)(resized)This weekend I was supposed to be down on the White River, with Brent McClane and Evan Muskopf; but a basement remodel, a crazy work week, and generally needing to be responsible kept me at home this weekend (and Evan was running in to many of the same issues as I was), so the trip was rescheduled.  Sensing that I still needed to get out, even if just for a few hours, Brent got me to skip going into the office this Saturday and run down to Trout & Sons Marine in St. James to look at a new jet boat, check out the put-in and take-out on the Meramac, and maybe if time allowed pick up a few fish for the smoker at the trout park.  And with that, the plan was solid.

We met at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and caught up on personal stuff and hit the road by 7am.  By 9am we were done at the boat place and on our way over to the trout park for some fishing.  Man was that place packed.  We almost just took off for the river, but no one was fishing the skinny water up near the cable so we fished for a bit, I picked up 3 or 4 fish pretty quickly and Brent soon followed with 3 or 4 of his own.  Mine were not big enough to keep, but I swear that I caught one with par marks and white tips, but Brent caught one that would go about 15″ or so and the others were standard trout park slime rockets; nothing exciting to write home about.

It was a good day to get back to our roots and do some people watching and the sort; and definitely reminded us both of why we like the solitude of the rivers and the winter; people are just plain crazy during the Catch & Keep season.  For me, the most enjoyable part was playing with a new piece of photography equipment that I got and hadn’t put to the test yet.  I had purchased an underwater bag for my digital slr, but was pretty hesitant in using up to this point; but something was different today and I threw my backup camera in it (Nikon D70 w/ 18-70), sealed it properly and started to snap a few frames.  It will take some getting used to, and definitely need to modify a few things with it; but I was pleased with the results for a first effort.  You can see the results in the gallery below.  Hope everyone else got out this weekend, even if only for an hour or two like I did, it is good for the soul.