Missouri Trout Odyssey (Day 4) — 2 More Missouri Trout Streams

The alarm went off at 4am, like the whistle at a trout park (loud and non-exciting). I jumped up and grabbed a quick shower and woke up Brian. We packed up the gear and were out the door in search of coffee and donuts as quickly as possible. It was during his time, that we finally found the Dunkin’ Donuts guy that sings when he is serving your donuts. He wasn’t much of a singer, he didn’t make a latte worth a damn, but he was a nice enough guy and it was breakfast. Besides, Brian not only has a way with the older female drive-thru workers; it appears he has a way with the slightly mind challenged Dunkin’ Donut workers too.

The drive from Branson to the Blair Bridge Access on the North Fork of the White River is a curvy son of a bitch during the daylight hours when you are a city driver. Combine that with icy conditions and nighttime conditions (the sun wasn’t up yet) and it makes from one long drive. We rolled in to the access around 6:30am and suited up in the cold and were soon fishing the run just below the boat ramp. One would assume that since this was Brian’s home turf the river would just bend over and let me have my way with it……..but like on my numerous other trips to the NFOW, the river made me its bitch with only 1 hook-up and plenty of missed strikes yet adding insult to injury Brian fished the water that i had been camped on an hooked a brown IMMEDIATELY. Fuck him.

The river is absolutely gorgeous, and there is definitely fish there, it is just that on certain times the river and I don’t see eye to eye; and the river tends to have its way with me like a whore on the east side. Brian picked up a fish, but saw the ass-whoppin’ that I was taking and offered to help…….proving it was karma I still didn’t pick up a fish. We laughed about it, enjoyed the scenery, and then reeled in and headed towards our last stop of the trip the Eleven Point River.

Neither Brian or I have spent much time on the Eleven Point River in the past, but we really need to not ignore the beauty of a trout stream. We rolled in to Greer Access on the Eleven Point River and re-rigged our rods, just in time to have Brian Sloss, the co-owner of Eleven Point Canoe Rental, to roll into the parking lot to say hello and offer up a few suggestions. We chatted for a bit, but needed to be in West Plains by 12pm (so technically we did all the fishing / driving in 3 1/2 days but we didn’t want to say anything), so we needed to get going on the fishing. We headed upstream and fished the area around the Hwy. 19 bridge. Brian and I both picked up a couple of fish rather quickly and were getting strikes and landing fish rather frequently just downstream of the bridge on an egg pattern under alot of indicator (8ft to 10ft deep). But all good things must come to an end, and we needed to meet Brian’s wife in West Plains so we reluctantly reeled up and headed back to the rig.

As we got back to the rig, we reflected on what we had just done. 20 trout streams in 4 days. Maybe it is impressive to some, and to others not. It didn’t matter to us. We had a hella good time, and with that we cracked the first beer of the trip and endulged ourselfs. After the beer, we peeled off the waders for the last time this trip, joked about running down to the Spring River in Arkansas, and headed back to towards West Plains our souls replinished with the trout streams of Missouri; 20 of them in total.

Missouri Trout Odyssey (Day 3) — 6 More Missouri Trout Streams

As has been one of the few constants on this trip, the alarm went off at 5am and we were both up with hot showers and feeling pretty damn good after a warm night’s sleep. We were checked out and in the rig by 5:20 and through the McDonald’s drive-thru for coffee and breakfast by 5:30 and on our way to Roaring River to take on the first stream of 6 streams we hoped to fish today.

We rolled in to an access near a cemetery on Roaring River. Neither Brian or I had ever fished Roaring River and were quite surprised by how clear the water was and how “fishy” it looked. The snow was coming down and it was DAMN cold, so we broke out an extra layer of clothes and the Buffs to keep our face warm. We fished up and down the stream to no avail, with no takes or even seeing a fish. The stream was very similar to Spring Creek that we had fished earlier in this trip in both size and clarity. We gave it a valiant effort, but in the end, Roaring River won this battle. Feeling tired and battle sore, Brian decided to leave his mark on the battlefield by dropping a deuce in the woods before departing. He took a photo of it, and I strongly hope he saw a doctor after the trip (and brought the photo) to make sure that nothing was wrong with his insides….it just didn’t quite look right.

We pulled in to Roaring River State Park near the park office / spring headwaters and quickly grabbed the rods out of the rig and were fishing by 8:30am. I have only fished Roaring River State Park twice before, and each time I had fished it I was amazed at the amount of “pigs” that were present in the waters. This time would be no different. I was throwing a tungsten bh copperjohn under a yarn indicator and picked up a couple of fish just in time to hear Brian yell for the net. I walked down (cuz a good net man doesn’t get all overly excited in the moment of action) just to see the hook pull out and Brian’s face of disgust. He had lost the fish of the trip, thus far, and he knew it.

Across the stream from Brian and I, was Tim, the owner of Tim’s Fly Shop and institution on the banks of the Roaring River. Tim was catching fish left and right, and to add to the slap in the face — Tim hooked up with the same fish that Brian had lost and landed it. Tim has a scale built into his net, and the fish weighed just a tad over 5lbs. We both continued to fish, and I was camped out over a serious pig of a fish only have foul hooked him just under the mouth. I put a huge amount of pressure on the fish, and the hook pulled out but the fish was gone. Que sera, sera. We were off to Tim’s Fly Shop.

Tim’s fly shop was on the way from Roaring River to Hickory Creek, so we stopped off (I was running low on tungsten bh midges) and talked to Tim for a bit. His fly shop has improved greatly since the days of his little white building (which is right next door still) to a log cabin that is nicely decorated and fully stocked with whatever fly fishing gear you may need. There were even local fly fishermen hanging out in there, definitely a cool place to visit, and Tim definitely knows the waters around his fly shop.

We headed out of Tim’s Fly Shop towards Hickory Creek around 10:30am. Hickory Creek is a put-and-take fishery near the town of Neosho. Neither Brian or I had held out much hope for this stream as we couldn’t get any recent stocking information about it. We rolled in to the Neosho City Park, parked and found the stream. It was DAMN cold now, and the wind just wouldn’t let up. The eyelets on our rods were freezing with every cast, and we were both throwing meat at the fish (which meant stripping / dripping buggers and wet fans). The stream was definitely not the most scenic we had been on this trip, and won’t win the award anytime in the future, but it does provide a trout fishing outlet for those in the area and if I was in the area, I would be grateful for it. Fishing sucked though, with Brian only rolling one fish and me not seeing or feeling a damn fish. Cold and beaten, we had 3 more streams we needed to fish today, so we reeled up and were on our way back to the car, when we realized that gangs are everywhere…..even in the Ozarks….as there was gang graffiti written on the road and on one of the local water towers. Apparently there is a push to legalize marijuana in the little town of Neosho, and they are quite artful gangstas too. Fearing for our lives, we decided to mount up and exit the town of Neosho as quietly as we rolled in.

It was close to 1:30pm by the time we rolled in to our 4th trout stream of the day, Capps Creek. Capps Creek is another put-and-take fishery but this has got to be one of the most scenic streams I have ever had the pleasure of fishing. It could be the fact that you are fishing next to a mill that was built in 1848 and that there are actually trout in the stream. The snow and wind were still coming down, so that hampered getting good video or photos (I am a pansy when it comes to wet snow) but we gave it an effort with our point and shoots. Brian hooked up with the first fish, just under the spillway and that was all the fish that Capps Creek would give up in the brief time that we spent here. I had two hook-ups, LDR’s, but no fish landed. There is no doubt in either of ours minds that this stream does hold some fish and it is the only put-and-take fishery that Brian and I are actually excited about getting back to fish it. Not only from a fishing standpoint, but the photography subjects that are present on this site are enough to keep you busy for an entire day. But we had two more streams to fish so by 2:30pm we were on our way to Crane Creek.

Brian and I were both excited to try our and at fishing Crane Creek. We hadn’t done much homework as to where to fish this stream, but we were excited nonetheless. We parked in town near the Crane City Park and fish around the bridge area. Stealth is the name of the game on this wild trout stream, where McCloud strain rainbows survive, or so we had been told. We put on our “A” game of taking turns fishing and shooting photos (it was still snowing / raining, so we didn’t bust out the video camera at this site or the DSLR). As dark was approaching, we decided to leap frog each other, so I hiked a trail down along the back of the baseball fields to be approximately 20ft from the stream and get busted just as my head popped over the bank. Man the fish on Crane Creek are S-K-I-T-T-I-S-H. Brian rounded the corner, just as I had my hat handed to me by the fish and we both decided to head upstream and give it a go just above the bridge. With long downstream drifts Brian was able to get 2 hookups, but no fish landed. He fished upstream, and I took my shot at the pool just above the bridge. On my third or fourth cast, WAM, fish on. I yell up to Brian and he comes running just in time to see me hoist a nice creek chub out of the water (notice I said “Fish On” not “Trout On”). It was at that point that we decided to reel in and head towards night fishing on Taneycomo. The one thing that will stick out about Crane Creek, other than how skittish the fish are, is how DIRTY the stream was. This was the dirtiest trout stream we had been on all trip, perhaps other sections of this stream not in the city aren’t as bad, but the section of stream through the city left lots to be desired. And I also can COMPLETELY see how this stream would be a haven for snakes in the spring / summer months.

We roled out of Crane Creek towards Branson and Lake Taneycomo with 16 trout streams fished in 3 days, and we were on our way to night fish the 17th stream of this trip. Lake Taneycomo is home to the Missouri State Record Brown Trout (and previous record as well), and is home to some seriously big fish. The reports of late, since the high water, has not been that great from a big fish standpoint but the numbers of fish caught have been good.

It was 6:31pm, when we rolled into the parking lots near the outlets on Taneycomo. There was only one other car in the parking lot and we saw only a couple of headlamps in the waters. I don’t understand it about night fisherman. Turn the damn lights off when you are fishing, don’t spook your fish. There was one guy fishing just downstream of us that had his light shining all over the river and it was on almost constantly. I just don’t get it. It was plenty light out, from the lights at the hatchery and dam, yet this guy was putting on a laser light show with his flashlight. Perhaps he was signaling the ganstas in Neosho. I guess we will never know, as when the wind picked up he headed in and left Brian and I out there freezing our nuts off.

It had been a year or so since I had been on Taneycomo, imagine my surprise when walking out there is a HUGE DEEP hole that is upstream of Outlet # 2. I had no idea it was there, and no I didn’t fall in it, but would have had Brian not said anything. Brian set up and fished this section and I headed upstream towards the cable. The Kelly Gallop Sex Dungeon was the name of the game for me this evening with my 6wt. Which created quite an adventure in the wind and at night. Brian picked up two fish on streamers, and I was again “O’fer” with only one hook-up and one massive strike. We fished until about 8pm and decided that 12hrs+ in waders was enough for the day.

We were cold, wet, tired, and hungry as we headed on to the strip in Branson to find a place to eat. We settled on a Mexican joint that served pretty good food (again, i think that would get downgraded if we weren’t fishing) but “it would eat” and was warm. We had fished 18 Missouri trout streams and had two more to finish out our trip. The weather forecast was for an inch or two of snow and possibly some freezing rain, and by the time we finished dinner neither of us wanted to drive the 2hrs towards Gainesville, Missouri so we grabbed a room at one of Branson’s Super8 motels and settled in with hot showers and about 2 hours worth of computer time transfering stuff from cameras to the external hard drives and what not. But we finished it, and were in bed by midnight again for some seriously needed sleep with 18 Missouri trout streams being fished in 3 days and 2 more to go.

Missouri Trout Odyssey (Day 2) — 5 More Missouri Trout Streams

The alarm went off in Hotel Durango at 5am this morning, and I quickly rose out of the rig to take a leak campground style (with nothing more than my underwear, t-shirt, and sandals using the world as my urinal). A quick tap on Brian’s tent and we were breaking down camp and loading up the rig. We were extremely close to Blue Spring Creek and probably could have grabbed another hour of sleep — but we were anxious to get on another one of Missouri’s wild trout streams.

Blue Spring Creek is the closest publicly accessible trout stream to St. Louis and it offers the chance for anglers to fish for a self-reproducing wild trout population. The stream isn’t for the faint of heart, and fishing is often done in close quarters with very little casting being done and wading is always kept to a minimum. This is one of the streams that I was most excited about getting on, and we had chosen to fish a stretch that I had fished several times in the past and had done quite well drifting v-rib midges and tan/ginger mohair leeches. So we were walking into the woods near the stream just as the sun was coming up, with a faint turkey gobble heard in the background. Today was going to be a good day, you could just feel it.

Because Blue Spring Creek is a smaller stream, Brian and I took turns fishing the first run. The stream had changed since I was last on it (more than a year ago), but not that much. I was suddenly reminded why I should have brought the 7ft fly rod with me, that I have fished it with in years past, as the confines are tight here. We fished our way upstream with little more than one missed take, when Brian yells at me to not take another step and to look down. We were standing near a sprung trap that a trapper had left. Which normally isn’t a big deal, but this trap location wasn’t marked which led us to thinking how many more were not marked and perhaps not tripped. We made the conscious decision to fish the remaining run from the water — which generally proves to be useless — and it held to tradition and once the feet were in the water, we were not afforded any takes. We had probably spent too much time here this morning, before we decided to leave, but it was pushing 9am and we had 4 more trout streams to fish, so we hiked back to the rig.

Next on our list was Maremac Trout Park and the Meramec River which we had hoped to knock off our list very quickly. We had already seen some terrific trout water on this trip, and we were quickly reminded why we preferred our previous stops over the trout parks. The stream was crowded, and manners were at a minimum. This is the stream that I learned how to fly fish on, but other than fishing near the top of the park, i realized that I hadn’t missed fishing this stream in some time. As I set up at the top of one of the pools and Brian set up just below it, we were greeted with the Meramac Spring Dance as illustrated by a guy wearing rubber footed boots trying to cross water he shouldn’t have (he did earlier and had his clothes out on the handrail to dry, prior to him crossing back over). It was funny, but the guy acted like it was no big deal. There wasn’t much to write about the trout park, it is trout park fishing, and we didn’t hook up with or catch any pigs so there isn’t anything to write about here. We fised our way down to below the bridge, where Brian eased down the bank and quickly picked up a rainbow just outside of the park to add a Meramac River fish to the list. We hiked the far bank back to the car (whic was parked at the top of the park) and were both relieved to get the northern leg of our trip in the books.

With little to eat, other than a granola bar and bottle of PowerAid, we stopped off at the Jack-In-The-Box in St. James, where Brian was a hit with the drive-thru lady. She really wasn’t much of a looker, but I think if Brian would have asked her to be camp whore for the weekend…..she would have been down with it (literally). He does have that sort of way with the women drive-thru workers. I don’t know what we were thinking but after a breakfast that consisted of tacos, egg rolls, jalapeño poppers, supreme croissant (spelled “sprm crosnt” on the drive through display), and a breakfast burrito along with 2 large sodas we felt really good and the waders would hold in the smell nicely for the remaining part of the day.

With 3 streams down, we headed down I-44 to finish up the day with the Niangua River and Bennett Springs. We rolled into the Bennet Spring Access on the Niangua River around 1:30pm, where I quickly found the nearest toilet and disbursed with the breakfast pleasantries of the morning. The Niangua was a bigger river than either Brian or I had expected and both of us quickly determined that we will be floating this river in our drift boats in the near future. We talked down the bank and started fishing in the first run at the access. I was throwing a tungsten bh copperhead under a yarn indicator. I picked up the first fish with a nice little rainbow. Brian headed off downstream to another section of water and was rewarded with his first Niangua rainbow. With numerous fish out of the way and only an hour or so left before the whistle blows to stop fishing at Bennett Spring, we reluctantly reeled up and headed in to Bennett Spring State Park.

We settled into an area of “sexy” water and Brian quickly put a beating on some fish with a nymph setup. I was struggling on this section of water and we both hopped in the rig to check out the rest of Bennett Spring since neither of us had ever fished it, and I had never been here before. We rolled up to the headwaters in time to see a man and woman dive team taking thier gear off in the parking lot (they must have dived the spring earlier). By this time it had started to rain just a little bit, off an on, so we headed back and found a parking lot to get a little bit more time in the water. This time, I fished while Brian rolled the camera. It wasn’t pretty, but right at 4pm I was rewarded with what would be the best brown trout of the trip a nice 16″ fish that was fairly fat. Both Brian and I were pretty pumped by the success we had had today, and there was still some daylight left, so we headed back to the Bennett Spring Access on the Niangua River and both of us fished in the cold rain until dark and continued the success we had had earlier in the day on this stream. It is safe to assume that the Niangua has earned a special place in the minds of both Brian and I and more people should experience this stream and neither of us can wait to put our drift boats on it.

I won’t lie, after 12+ hours in waders, we were both looking forward to a little road time after fishing 5 streams today. And road time was definitely what we were going to get — in the dropping temps, rain, freezing rain, and snow — as we drove towards Cassville, Missouri.

Because of the drive time, we opted to stop at Cracker Barrel in Springfield, Missouri for dinner and to get something to warm us up from the cold day of fishing. It was as we were slowly sinking into our warm chairs after dinner listening to the wind and rain, that we both decided we were going to opt for a cheap motel room somewhere near Cassville.

We settled on a fairly new Super8 in Cassville and got checked in to the our room just as the snow started to dust the parking lot. The night attendant, Walt, was checking his maps for mileage between Houston and Cassville, simply because there wasn’t anything better to do on a cold night. We set up the laptop and got the video and photos transfered to our external drives and finally hit the sack around midnight or a little after. 12 trout streams down and 8 to go.

Missouri Trout Odyssey (Day 1) — 7 Missouri Trout Streams

After a night of getting gear organized, rods rigged, and things generally ready to go for the 1000+ mile road trip to Missouri’s trout streams, the alarm went off at 5am. Winter camping at Montauk State Park is always relaxing and quiet as there were only a handful of other campers there and there were no RV generators to contend with combined with only a couple of locals driving through the campground at night.

4:45am. I crawled out of my bag and exited the Hotel Durango to go wake Brian up in his tent and begin the morning process of breaking camp. We were stowed away and ready to go alot quicker than I would have thought we were, and soon we found ourselves driving towards the TanVat Access on the Current River in the dark.

The logistics of this trip were pretty important. We needed to keep daylight driving to a minimum and maximize fishing time and the number of streams that we could fish. We identified Montauk State Park as a good starting point for the trip and laid out our plan of attack for the 7 streams we were going to fish today. We simply need to fish the Current River before the fishing hours within Montauk State Park to make this work.

The Current River is a great river. Sure it receives quite a bit of fishing pressure, but the pressure it receives is worth it because the fishing can be that good. We rolled into the TanVat Access around 6am to find two guys already unloading from their truck and rigging up. Brian and I kind of stalled and waited to see which direction these guys would head before taking off. They promptly headed downstream, so Wise and I headed upstream to the high bank and the first run just above the parking area. A Psycho Prince nymph under a yarn indicator was all the was needed to put the first fish on the board for both Brian and I. Brian was on the board with the first fish, as I was up-top shooting photos / videos, but after he hooked up we traded spots and I promptly hooked up and lost a fish (indicator, tippet, and fly) only to hook the same fish again about 20 minutes later and get back my previously lost Pyscho Prince, indicator, and tippet. We both had a laugh over that and decided we needed to move on to the next stream as this was also our first taste of running the video camera and fishing at the same time. This proved to be something that is very time consuming and requires constant coordination between the guy at the camera and the guy fishing.

The headwaters of the Current River at Montauk State Park were next on our list, and we promptly headed to the C&R area where we were both rewarded with quick hook-ups. As Brian and I separated a bit and fished different water, I heard the call for “net” only to hurry downstream to see the tippit break on a nice fish Brian was trying to land (it took a globug egg). We fished our way to towards the Hatchery Office and our vehicle and I was rewarded with a nice rainbow on a Black BH Crystal Bugger in the big pool just above from the Hatchery Office.

We loaded up and started the trek towards the Barren Fork Creek. This was one of many highlights of the trip, as the drive from Montauk State Park to the Barren Fork Creek is one of the most scenic drives I have ever been on in Missouri. We drove past Akers Ferry and got to see the ferry still in operation across the Current River, then we were rewarded with hellacious views from atop the Ozark foothills that rival those I have seen in the Smoky Mountains. Simply gorgeous. On hindsight, I wish we would have pulled over to take a few still photos from this area — but we had fish on the mind. This is a trip that I will be going back on (but ensure you have plenty of gas in the tank, because there is not much out there).

I had only loosely GPS’d the access points using my computer, and since neither one of us had been to the stream before we really didn’t know what to expect or where we were going. To put it simply, the Barren Fork Creek is in the middle of NOWHERE. We didn’t know how remote it was until we were getting ready to leave, but more on that later. The Barren Fork is a small super clear stream that rivals the other wild trout streams in terms of scenery. We fished the access close to a Church and near the headwaters with the spring and struggled our short time on this stream. We didn’t spot a fish or see much holding water. We were walking out with our tails between our legs when a truck pulls in and blocks the Durango in. Much to our surprise (bars of Dueling Banjos were playing in my head) it was the Shannon County MDC Officer that had come to check on us. After quick hellos and checks of our coolers we got to talking and he was telling us about the vast public land that Shannon County has (over 135,000 acres of public land to hunt/fish on and only 8,000 residents in the entire county) he let it slip about some stream improvements that were done on the stream several years ago. At my asking, he did better than tell us about the stream improvements, he offered to lead us on the 1/4 mile hike down stream to these undercut banks that they built on the stream. By far, this was the best trout holding water we saw on this stream. As I shot photos and talked to the Agent, Brian tried his look at fishing the water where he was promptly rewarded with a strong take. But alas no hook-up or fish landed. The Agent wanted to check out the status of the stream bank improvements and we needed to move on to our next stream, so after he was done looking at the stream we hiked back out and we were on our way. That was my first enounter with an MDC Agent while fly fishing in Missouri and I was impressed with his professionalism, knowledge of the area, and willingness to just hang out and talk with Brian and I. The residents of Shannon County are very lucky to have him fighting for them.

We pulled out of Barren Fork Creek and headed towards the town of Salem, Missouri which would provide us with fuel and lunch for the rest of the day. As we barreled through a Burger King drive-thru (our only nourishment thus far) and towards the Mill Dam Hollow Access on the Little Piney we threw out the possibility of knocking off the remaining 4 streams today in less than 5 hours of drive time.

We rolled into the access on the Little Piney around 2:00pm and after saying hello to two spin fisherman that were heading downstream, we were on the water. It wasn’t long and the Pyscho Prince delivered again on a new river, for Brian. I had opted to fish the water nearest the access and was picking up fish with a Tungsten BH Copperhead midge under a yarn indicator. I think both of us could have finished the day out on the Little Piney, but we had to hit 3 more streams before the day was over so we headed back to the rig and on to Mill Creek we went.

GPS’s are a funny thing. It seems that if it was ever a public road, Garmin calls it a road and the drive from the Little Piney to Mill Creek, I am quite sure, could have been done without setting tire on pavement. Mill Creek is a small spring fed stream that meanders through typical Ozark bottom land and is home to a wild population of some of the most colorful rainbows that Missouri has to offer. At 3:30pm we were pulling into the new Bohigan Conservation Area access on Mill Creek. This was the Friday after Thanksgiving and both Brian and I were surprised at the number of people fishing Mill Creek. There were vehicles parked in several locations. We chose to check out the area nearest one of the springs and headed in to the stream. As has been my experience with this stream in the past, we were stood up with little more than a wet fly and wet waders to show for it. Realizing that we were going to struggle this afternoon on this river and that daylight was dwindling, we reeled up and headed towards Spring Creek.

Brian and I had fished Spring Creek once before in 2006 just after a period of extremely high water and did not fair very well with only 1 fish between the two of us. We were ready for a rematch and were on the water fishing by 4:30pm. We had previously learned that former Senator Jack Danforth owns property upstream of the access that we were fishing and had rumors of his family being fly fisherman and private stream improvements on his property — so we held up hope that this stream yields a healthy population of wild fish. However, our trip on this stream was cut short when a father and son rolled through the stream crossing and into the access we were fishing to “empty” their muzzleloaders from their afternoon road hunt (they were out of the woods way too early to be doing anything but road hunting). As the son set up a plastic bottle in the direction we were fishing, Briand and I decided it was time to reel up and head back to the vehicle. Just as we made it back to the vehicle and had our packs off, the first gunshot was heard and there was nothing but a dirt hill between us and his target. So we left Spring Creek with only 1 take and zero fish landed — but the belief that fish can be had here with the proper amount to time (we were hear for less than 45 minutes).

As we rolled out towards I-44, it was almost a joke that we were going to fish the Roubidoux at night. Neither of us had held out hope for fishing the Roubidoux and neither knew much about the stream as I had only briefly fished it once before. We rolled into the Waynesville City Park at dark (6:30pm) and quickly went to work throwing streamers off of the handicap fishing platform. This was probably our most feeble attempt at catching a fish that we threw up in the 4 days of fishing. The Roubidoux is a put-and-take fishery and from reports that we had heard the locals line up when the stocking truck arrives and there are hold-over trout in the stream but getting to them requires knowledge of the stream and access away from the access points. The Roubidoux offered little more than casting practice to us on this day and after about an hour of casting blindly in the dark we decided to call it a night and head back towards the Meramac River valley and wherever we decided to place our camp for then night.

With nothing more than a Whopper & fries for nourishment for the day, we opted to stop at a Mexican restaurant that is right off I-44 in Rolla (it is behind the Mobile station near Fast-Food row). The food was warm, and good (but to be honest warm dog piss might have been good about this time) and afforded us the chance to talk about where we were going to camp for the evening and our assault for tomorrow. We settled on camping at Onodaga State Park as it was close to our first stop in the morning, Blue Spring Creek.

There is something to be said for sitting around a camp fire after a long day in the car and on the river. It afforded us the chance to sit back and relax in the pitch dark (other than the campground hosts, we were the only campers that we could see) and just appreciate the Ozark winter. I think I finally crawled into Hotel Durango around 12am or so; looking forward to tomorrow.

Missouri Trout Trip — We Attack At Dawn.

There is something about leaving for a 4 day fly fishing trip on Thanksgiving Day that just makes your balls bigger.  It is trips like this, that really make you think……man I am a lucky bastard.  Brian had all his gear loaded up in his Santa Fe, and was not only leaving for a 4 day trip, but he was going to have his wife and kids drop him off at the campground with his gear.  On a hope and prayer that I wouldn’t bail on the trip………like that would happen.  What started as a joke between the two of us, quickly developed into planning an extended road trip over the course of 9 days, snowballed to us deciding a month ago to try and fish 20 Missouri trout streams in 4 days. I think we were each secretly wanting to call each other’s bluff, but sometimes that is how the best trips take shape. We chose Montauk State Park as our central meeting point, since Brian was driving up from Gainesville, Missouri and I was traveling from St. Louis. Here are some pics from that first night at camp.  Not much of a story yet……