Long, but productive, day today. Left STL at 230am and floated the NFOW twice (lower section) with Dan Ritter and the guys from Chasing The Dream. We boated quite a few and stayed busy with plenty of chases, and even moved a couple of big fish…but no joy. Left the NFOW around 1pm, and headed for the Current to see what it looked like at 1600cfs at Akers. Cedar grove bridge was just covered and the water at Welch was moving….going to have to lower the max to about 1200. Could have probably floated Tan Vat to Cedar Grove in the boat today though. Good times as always, hope everyone else got out.
There are not many rivers in Missouri that allow trout fisherman to float in a drift boat through a National Park, but the Current River is one of them and at 825 CFS on the Akers Ferry guage, the Current River is just too damn sexy of a river to pass up. This is a float that Paul Chausse, Dan Held, and myself have been wanting to do for quite some time, but we were always waiting for the right river level, but Saturday, March 30, 2013, was the day. We put together this two boat exploratory trip to see how the section of river from Cedar Grove Conservation Area to Akers Ferry fished out of a drift boat. This trip I was joined by Evan Muskopf and Brian Carr in my boat and Paul Chausse had Dan Ritter and Craig Peterson in his boat. It was a good group of guys and we knew we were in for a good day on the water as we hooked up with a rainbow on a streamer within the first 30yds of our float and the day only got better….particularly with Brian Carr’s antics of finding interesting ways to fall into the river. We had a lot of fun this trip. This section of river is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverway National Park and is an absolute joy to float through with plenty to see. While we didn’t put huge numbers of trout in the boat, we all caught enough fish to keep us interested and the structure on the river and the scenery were more than enough to fuel us to get back down and do this float again. Out of a drift boat, this float is probably floatable down to around 425cfs or so at Akers Ferry. Here are the photos from our trip.
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.
Day 1 included the Current River, Barren Fork Creek, Maramec Spring, Meramac River, and Blue Spring Creek. 5 Streams down. Here are the photos from Day I.
This was a trip with a purpose. I was asked to write a 2400 word feature article for Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine on the Current River and needed to shoot down to get some photos for the story and do a little fishing while there. It is always convenient how those things work out. I called Dan Ritter and coaxed him in to a quick drive down to the river to get photos first and fish a little, and he was game. The fishing was a bit slower than both of us expected, but we were shifting from access to access on the river, trying to avoid the crowds and chase the light. In the end it was a good morning on the river with a few fish caught. The end result of the article can be seen in the May/June 2013 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine.
We could have ended the 2009 Missouri Trout Odyssey a day earlier, but unfortunately a goose egg on the Current River
was not acceptable, and besides, we had to drive back to Rolla anyway to get to Brian’s car and really wanted to spend an hour or two more on the Current. I will spare you a bunch of the details, but big streamers do in fact work on the Current River (in particular a Galloup Black Bottom’s Up
worked on this day). And with the hike back to the rig, the trip was over. There were no words, there was no ticker-tape parade (although perhaps they were throwing one for us in the town of Neosho), but we set out to do what we wanted to do and that was what mattered.
This trip is one that I encourage everyone to take. An old internet nemesis once told me to step outside of my box, and knowledge comes through experience not always success. At the time I didn’t get it, but as time evolves I am certain that the old man is right. As time goes by the man wasn’t a hater, he was simply trying to point me in the right direction. So step outside of your box from time to time, and visit those streams that you may not have fished before, chances are that you will head back to them. We did……and we will again…