Current River — April 26, 2003

Last week someone someone emailed me regarding one of my posts on an email list, about heading down to the Current River for 5 hours of fishing as “Hard Core,” I don’t know about that, but Craig and I met up at Denny’s on Saturday at about 3:45am and were at the TanVat access on the Current by 5:45am. We were a little skeptical about being able to fish the river, given all the recent rains (the usgs gauge took a huge spike on thursday/friday and was at 2.4 on friday night when I went to bed, but had fallen to 2.3 by saturday morning when i woke at 2:30am). We pulled into the TanVat access and there were 4 vehicles in the lot already (2 of whom looked to be camping), and a group of 3 guys fishing the big pool at the access — i thought for sure we were in for a crowd upstream. We quickly suited up and rigged our rods and took off for the walk upstream. After Craig pointed out several deer in the big field, and we checked the water level occasionally (with all the fog, the water looked up considerably — but it wasn’t up that much).

We stopped at a big deep pool upstream from TanVat and began to fish. I hooked up with a 14″ rainbow on a tan/ginger mohair leech on my second cast — i thought to myself “at least i won’t get skunked.” About 10 minutes later I hooked up and landed a solid 17″ rainbow on the same mohair! Definitely not a bad trip. The rainbow had beautiful colors, and was landed quickly and still had lots of fight in him, as when we were trying to take a photo I lost her back in the water (although the photo wouldn’t have taken anyway, because I forgot to put a flash card in my digital camera!). I had landed 2 fish before the whistle in the park — not bad. Craig was still o- fer on the stream. We continued to fish the same run for about an hour, and didn’t see or hear another soul on the stream. The highlight of this run, was the fish that got away (what fishing story would be complete without one). I hooked into a seriously large fish in this run. Although I never saw the fish, as it held deep in the water and never came up close enough for craig or I to get a look at it. I knew the fish was a bigger fish, and was trying to get my line to the reel and fight the fish at the same time — it made a run down towards Craig in some faster water, and I almost had my line all up (thanks to the run by the fish) and then it turned and swam back towards me and the fish got enough slack and that was all she wrote. I don’t have a clue how big the fish was, all i know is that she was on my mohair for about a minute or so and I never got a look at her but my rod was bent over pretty good and Craig was ready with the net. We finished up at this hole, and decided to walk upstream.

On the walk there, we didn’t see or hear anyone else on the stream — and the weather was absolutely beautiful. Craig still hadn’t landed a fish, and wasn’t getting near the hookups i was. I was on fire at the deeper water in this hole — quickly landing 6 fish in a little more than an hour in this run. Still no one in sight. Craig moved down below me and fished the tail of the real deep water there. He missed a couple of fish, and then missed a very large fish TWICE. Then two guys came down from the park (or at least upstream of us) — one of them was fishing, and the other was shooting photos (complete with backpack, rod tube, and tripod) of the guy fishing. I wondered if they were doing an article on fishing the Current River. After quick hellos and the obligatory “having any luck” they quickly went on their way downstream about 150 yards and proceeded to fish and take photos. We went back to the task at hand — catching Current River trout. Craig and I traded spots in the run we were fishing, and I went down to see if I could get a look at that big fish that had Craig shaking. Craig finally landed a fish in the run i had just been fishing on a chili pepper mohair. I tied on a brown mohair and proceeded to fish, when it happened. A very large fish came straight up off the bottom and hammered my fly in mid-strip — missed opportunity. I threw back up in the same run and he hammered it again, only this time i stuck him albeit too hard and snapped my fly off. Talk about an adrenalin rush — watching a large trout take your fly less than 15 feet away! So if anyone catches this fish, i would like my mohair back please.

About 9:30 a large hatch was coming off — we believe there were 2 kinds of bugs, as some of them had about 1/2″ split tails and the others did not. They were landing on the water and crawling all over everything. The fish began to key in on them and start rising occasionally, but I was having too many hookups to switch. About 10:30 or so, we decided to start the walk back to the the access, quickly stopping to fish the first deep hole we fished in the morning right behind the photographer and angler. I picked up my last fish of the day — a 12″ brown.

This was by far my best day on the Current River — 9 trout landed (2 rainbows, the biggest 17″; and 7 browns, the biggest 15″ and skinny), 4 LDR’s, and many more missed opportunities all in about 4 hours of fishing. Craig didn’t get skunked and ended up with one for the day (a nice brown trout). We were not once crowded on the river at all. We did talk to another angler in a black ford expedition that had fished the Baptist Camp access this morning only catching a couple, but had dealt with some canoe traffic — i quickly gave him some tan/ginger leeches and we were on our way back to St. Louis (if the angler that I gave the leeches to reads this — shoot me an email and let me know how you did). 4.5 hours of drive time, 4.5 hours of fish time, 10 fish landed and many more missed, makes for a very long day of fishing — but what a day. — Matt Tucker

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