Current River (Licking, MO) — March 26, 2005

Craig Peterson and I left St. Louis at 5:00am for what may have been the last trip taken in Craig’s fish car “old jap.” It served its purpose well, and took us on many good fishing trips — but it was time for the car to be retired. We were headed to the Current River this morning to try our luck at an area below Baptist Camp Access. When we left STL it was 55 degrees, but the temperature never got above that (and in fact when we got off the water the air temp was about 45 degrees). It had been awhile since Craig and I went on a solo trip, and we were due. Time to catch up on each other’s career paths, family life, and plan out future fishing adventures.

As we drove down the gravel road through the park and in the direction of Tan Vat Access, the waters were crowded with anglers in Montauk Trout Park (to think that two months ago the same waters were vacant of anglers) and we both mumbled something about being glad we were not standing in that mess. We drove past the Tan Vat Access at about 7:30am and to our pleasant surprise, there were no cars at the access and only two tent camps set up. But we had some exploring to do downriver of Baptist Camp Access, so on down the road we went until we arrived at Baptist Camp Access at about 7:40am.

We hiked downstream until we could not take it anymore, and had to fish. We ended up hiking to some new water that neither Craig nor I had fished before, and were considerably farther downstream than the previous stretch we fished with Norm Crisp in February. Fishing was tough. The morning found us throwing streamers with limited success (more lost fish, than landed fish). I broke off a nice fish on a rag head sculpin, and had several follows only to not get a strike. Craig picked up one fish on a white angel hair streamer that he picked out of my box. It was a slow morning to say the least, but we were on the river — so it wasn’t all bad. About 11am, I was frusturated and decided to switch to a crackleback. As is almost always the case, the crackleback produced and I was rewarded with a nice 12″ brown with beautiful red spots. I finally got the skunk off of this trip and was hoping for things to turn around. Turn around they did. After going all morning without seeing other anglers, we were greeted with canoers and kayakers and at least 8 other fisherman and no other fish. We opted to hike / fish back to the access and were packing our waders away about 1pm.

It was a tough day on the water, with only 2 landed fish to show for between the two of us. It was a great day, and it was very encouraging to see the number of fish in the stream. We did spot several fish in the 18″ range, but couldn’t get a strike. It was a great day on the water, and unfortunately it will be my last for awhile, as the next trip isn’t planned yet……….Fish Hard.

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