Springrise @ Westover (Steelville, Missouri) — January 3, 2004

My annual New Year’s Day fly fishing trip with Craig was postponed a few days due to events out of our control, so we opted to head to SpringRise with a few other fishing buddies and build our fishing confidence in the 2004 year. I fished the private waters of SpringRise at Westover near Steelville, Missouri with Craig Peterson, Brent McClane, Todd Buttzlaff, Mark Kotcher, and John Nesselrode (and his two young sons). It had been a year since I had fished these waters, and was prompted to head back down there due to rumors of the property being sold in the near future. McClane, Todd, Craig, and I met at Denny’s at Bowles and I-44 for breakfast around 5am and were on our way by 5:30am. We were supposed to meet up with two more individuals from the OzarkChronicles.com message board, but they never showed up and we didn’t wait for them. By 7am we had arrived at SpringRise and started to suit up while waiting for Marty, the property caretaker, to arrive; just as we were pulling up our waders Marty pulled in and opened the gates. After paying the fees, we were set loose to fish the manicured waters. SpringRise is the only private trout water I have ever fished. It costs $37/person per day to C&R fish there, and they “limit” the number of rods per day (although I tend to believe there is no true limit on the rods). Today we were in luck, there was only one other individual fishing the property other than in our group. There is no need to go in to great detail about what the fish were biting on and who caught what on what, as SpringRise has been equated to some as fishing in a barrel. There are in fact times when it is fishing in a barrel and there are times when it is not (it depends on what water you choose to fish). The key fly of the day was a #16 or #18 tan scud, with Cracklebacks, Gray Sowbugs, green brassies, cream midge larvas, and I did OK with my Mercer Rag Sculpin (I caught a total of 6 on them). In terms of fish numbers it was a pretty good day, with everyone losing count of how many fish they caught. I can say with certainty that McClane easily caught over 50 fish, Craig caught over 30 fish, Mark caught over 30 fish, Todd caught over 20 fish (to his defense he left early), John caught quite a few fish (but he was trying to teach his boys to fish and wasn’t fishing that much) and I easily caught over 30 fish. The Dry Run Creek portion has changed allot since the last time I was there. There was hardly any flow in the upper sections and also hardly any fish as well. I walked this section of stream from where the Garden Stream dumps into the Dry Run portion all the way to the spring and only spotted a hand full of fishable pools and only a handful of fish. In the past, this was an area where you stood a good chance at catching a Brown Trout or two. When I got to the actual spring, it too looked low; perhaps all the low rainfall had taken a toll on these waters as well. I was a little taken back by the lack of care in the stream portion of these waters, it looked like some of the waters need to be mowed or dredged and the Dry Run Creek portion is now hardly worth fishing the upper stretches. I did get a chance to question Marty on the sale of the property, but he could neither confirm or deny that it was sold and only offered the comment, “they don’t tell me anything, I just work here.” So only time will tell if the place will sell, but as rumors go I don’t think it will be long before these waters are part of some private club. All in all it was a good trip, and I think we all have had our fill of fishing SpringRise for the year. On another note, I did take my new Fuji FinePix s5000 digital camera on this trip (3.1 megapixel, 10x Optical Zoom, 3x Digital Zoom) and took over 60 photos with it and am utterly impressed with the photo quality and zoom capability — I just wish there was an easier way to carry it while on stream. All in all, it was a great way to start off the 2004 year.

SpringRise at Westover — February 1, 2003

Yes, it was a great trip. In all we had 13 people show up (Me, Gavin, Brent, Joe, Andrew, Phil, Mike, Earl, Tom, Mark, Roy, Larry, and Scott show up at SpringRise (oh yes, and a man and his family from the small town of Deliverance that magically had truck troubles in front of the rearing ponds with a dip net in the back of their truck — remind us to tell you the story Gavin at the next tying night). There were 7 guys that met for breakfast at Denny’s (Mike, Earl, Brent, Andrew, Tom, Scott, and myself) — proving that I am not the only one that gets up at the crack of dawn when it comes to fishing.

As Gavin had said, the “feast” was the finest outdoor meal I have had EVER. Lots of food — Deer, Sloppy Joes, Chowder, Salad, Deer Sausage, Cheese, crackers, Cookies, Brownies, Beer, Wine, etc (and I am not listing it all). The conversation was great as well. Nothing like sitting around a table of food with 12 other fly fisherman for about an hour and a half drinking and eating — one is bound to learn allot (and I did). Also, I too will attest to Mike’s tool of trout torture. It was really cool. The stomach pump and the kick net were very interesting. It was a trip to see the different aquatic life in the stream and then match it with what was in a trout’s stomach (no globalls or pellets found).

The fishing was good too. I didn’t have near the kind of numbers day one can have down there (Brent had a 40 fish day), having only brought to hand about 13 or so (10 before lunch and 3 after lunch — kind of makes you wonder…..). But I think the funniest thing to happen to me while down there was either me hooking and landing a dead/decaying fish or me snapping off a decent size fish and it swimming around with my scud in its mouth and my tippet still attached to my indicator (so you could easily spot the fish swimming down stream, because the indicator was on top of the water). Gavin later hooked my indicator (not the fish), and landed the fish (of which he said was close to 20″). Several of us brought down the FRS radios, and that was a hoot. I won’t steal Mike’s thunder but he caught a fish that brought him into his backing twice on his 2wt. At one point during the fight when the fish was taking line he keyed his radio and we could here the fish taking line of his reel like a mad man. The radios were a good time — I think I will start carrying mine more often, it beats yelling across the stream. All in all, it was a long fun-filled day. We got there about 7:30am and didn’t leave till about 6pm or so (refer back to the deliverance reference). I will definitely coordinate another day like this in the future, as it was a BLAST. — Matt Tucker

SpringRise at Westover (Steelville, Missouri) — October 13, 2001

I traveled down to Springrise today, in the rain, with two other friends to fish. We had a most excellent day! We all caught big fish. And we all caught fish on all different types of lures. The biggest of the day was appoximately a 6.5lb rainbow — although I, nor the other guy that was with us, witnessed this catch ;>). My biggest was another fish that went close to 4lbs (maybe a little bigger) — it was a really dark male rainbow that I caught on a size 20 midge pattern. I caught several browns on several different nymph patterns and scuds. I also caught a couple of larger rainbows (3+lbs) on a variety of flies. I didn’t catch probably but, at most, 20 fish — but they were all bigger than normal. One of the guys that was with me caught several nice fish — I made one helluva a net man for him — his biggest being at least a 5lb female rainbow that flipped out of the net once while in the air (the C&R net that I have was too small) and we thought we lost her, but she was still hooked. He hooked several in the 3 and 4lb range. I had several hooked that were close to 5lbs — but small tippet and lack of a sufficient “net man” made landing them difficult (if anyone goes down there and catches a large 6lb+ brown with a size 16 pink scud in its mouth, I would like my fly back). Most of our fish were caught before noon, and before the downpours. We got caught all the way up the “Dry Creek” when the storm moved in, and were left with one helluva walk. All in all, it was a great trip. I took alot of pictures and will be taking them to get developed and will share them with you all soon.

SpringRise at Westover (Steelville, Missouri) — September 23, 2001

Well, i have done it. I went to Springrise today with a buddy of mine and caught my first fish on a fly that i tied. My first fish was a nice 2lb rainbow that hit my black wooly (with the Krystal flash that Gavin showed me how to tie with the peacock herl). My second fish on the same fly was a 4lb rainbow. Then i proceeded to take 2 browns — one about 3lbs. IT WAS AWESOME TO CATCH FISH ON A FLY THAT I TIED MYSELF. Fished the rest of the day in the Garden area because the water level in dry creek appeared to low and water too warm. My friend caught several fish on some brown wooley’s that i tied — he hooked the biggest fish on the day (probably about a 5lb), but it snapped off. It was a great day to fish. Can’t wait to make the trip again soon.