Thursday, September 30, 2010

The long lost lake

I was on my way to Busch wildlife one day after work, but I was dreading the drive out there and the future commute on the way home. I was taking a different way and drove by a neighborhood that I was familiar with. I began to think and remembered that my cousin in law's family still lived in the area. I immediately envisioned the small lake that belonged to the residents of this community. I decided to make a rash decision and quickly ducked into the neighborhood. I called my cousin to get permission to fish the water, and I began to remember how beautiful the lake was even though it is nestled on the out skirts of the city.

I assembled my rod and quickly got down to business, as I approached the waterline I could see some large black watery shapes on the surface. I began to see all sorts of cruising blue gills on the surface and tied on a small hopper. I began to catch fish left and right, and the first three or four fish fit neatly in the palm of my hand. I found a very small cove that had a medium sized stick up in the middle of it. I placed a cast right next to the structure and gave the little hopper a twitch. The surface erupted in a violent flash as a very decent blue gill began to strip line off my reel. I landed the fish and was pleasantly surprised to have caught such a decent blue gill so close to home in a lake that I have written off for at least a good five years. I placed a cast in the same place and with the same surface strike had another decent pan fish on, which I slid onto my reel because I am still new to fly fishing and it is nice to reminisce. I quickly landed a very strong and very nice looking red ear, which I photographed and released back into the murky depths.

I found myself catching fish after fish and after I changed to a rather large pink and white hopper, I began to catch some pretty nice looking bg's. I know I shouldn't have felt this way but on a couple of good fish, I was hopping that they would spit the hook. I had to hoist every fish up a good three to four feet onto the bank but I decided this was a great problem to have. I left the non stop action of the cove and began to pick off cruisers near the shore. I worked my way down to the rock dam and fished my way into the corner of the lake. I entered an area that is relatively shallow and threw my big popper in the bend in between the shore and the dam. I looked down at my phone and saw that my hopper was no where to be seen and there were ripples on the water. After what seemed like minutes I reacted and set the hook to immediately gave the fish the line that it so desperately needed as the he began to take a very strong run. I worked the fish for a little while and brought up a bass which at that moment looked like a whale. I was so happy to land this guy because he was very dark green and very bassy. I have been on a hunt for bass and this is largest bass I have brought to hand on a fly rod.

The best thing about this place is that it is hemmed in by trees. The steep shoreline and dense trees make the casting interesting to say the least. The lake is amazing because there is very little fishable shoreline and a large amount of water. It is very tempting all of the islands and coves that are just out of casting range. In the end I am very happy to have rediscovered this lake and I cant wait to explore its depths and unlock its secrets. I hope to get into the water and target some bigger bg's and crappie. The icing on the cake for me would be to track down some larger bass in the many coves and brush piles that dot the father end of the lake.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fishing in the city

Being that I am a transplant from California, I usually associate cities with traffic, smog, and too much competition over public land for outdoor activities. While I keep pushing my wife to move to a remote location in Colorado, Oregon, or Montana I find myself at peace with living in the STL. I can easily fish three bodies of water near my work and at least that many from my home. I find solace in the fact that I can get away from the stress and madness of my life and unwind on any number of waterways and inpoundments that Missouri has to offer.

I made my way to forest park to fish until dark and in the hopes of landing a few bg's and bass. I worked the shoreline near the shallow end of the lake and fished a small hopper. I quickly began missing hit after hit of rising fish trying to fit the hopper into their rather small mouths. Finally I found a blue gill with a large enough mouth to take the hopper. I caught a couple more bg's that were pretty small and that fit in the palm of hand. I had a blast fishing the hopper and I even tempted a small bass that fought very handsomely on the end of my 3 wt fly rod. All in all it was a great way to end the day, I can hardly wait till this lake is filled with trout. On the ride home I caught myself dreaming about cold weather and fat trout and how excited I would be to fish them without a 3 or 4 hour drive.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just another pond

I drove out to my in laws in anticipation of a road trip to Montauk State park with the guys(Will and Chris) and waited rather impatiently for the next morning. I decided it would be a good idea to pregame, so I headed to one of the many ponds that dot the area in which my folks live. I usually skip this one pond in particular because while it is not widely known it is very visible to highway traffic. I decided to fish this little pond because of the open banks which turned out to be a very nice perk. I quickly tied on a little hopper and began to tempt some fish into a tasty morsel. I became impatient so I retied a very nice looking olive woolly bugger and yes Will it did have flash. I soon found myself fighting a very healthy long ear around nine inches. I must have fallen into some amazing fishing time warp because within a thirty minute span I had landed four more long ears and a very nice blue gill. I worked the bank around the pond till I came to a small cove that was choked with weeds and massive cattails.

I should have turned around because the spot called for an expert cast without any room for error. I hung my next three casts into the cattails and the aquatic foliage that ringed the cove. I gave it one more try and placed the olive bugger a foot from the opposite bank, within seconds I was rewarded with a giant swirl next to the bank. I had hooked a great fish and it began taking line rather quickly, I soon decided that I was in over my head because I had failed to see that there was no where to land the fish. The weeds and cattails ringed this area of the pond so I lifted my rod over shrubbery and I threaded the needle through many other obstacles. Just when I thought I was ready to land this thug of a pan fish i was faced with an overhanging tree that I had to cross to safely land the fish. I got on my hands and knees while fighting the fish and put a leg into the water to side step the twisted tree. Finally I was able to lift the fish into the weed free bank and brought the fish to hand. I sat down and replayed the epic battle through my head, this fish had fought valiantly and i marvelled at the size of this fish. This was the biggest fish I had ever caught on my fly rod and I must say it was an amazing battle on my three weight. After all was said and done I had caught a couple small bass and around six or seven very decent long ears and hefty blue gills.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Montauk the final frontier for trout(in Missouri)

After the second fail at Meramac I raked my brain and begged local fly shop proprietors for information on good trout areas for the newly initiated fly fisherman. I was directed toward a few choice waters and my research was confirmed by many local industry professionals who pointed us toward Monatuk state park. I have always wanted to fish this area because it is far larger then Meramac Springs and More importantly less crowded. This trip started very early at the place where our trips always do which happened to be at Dunkin doughnuts. We left the city around 3:30 and made the long journey passed Meramac Springs out towards Salem and eventually passed it to the park.
The stream unfolded out of the fog as if out of a dream, shrouded in mist and revealing itself little by little. We waded around and found a good spot to start and saw a few spincasters reeling in fish left and right. This trip was Begining to resemble the failed attempts at Meramac, oh no. This was rectified after a few hours we tied on some of my home made glow bugs and started to hook fish. I did not say land fish because I lost three or four rather nice looking trout right before I tried to bring them to hand. i must say that I am truly obsessed with trout in the overall scheme of freshwater fly fishing. I know they get a lot of publicity but I have loved trout ever since I was young guy out there in the mountains of Southern California. I finally brought one of these beauties to hand and marvelled at the sheer strength of these trout which were no bigger then seven or eight inches long. After this Willl and I were fully intune with fishing the mighty glow bug and catching trout that seemed uncatchable. I had a great day and caught a few nice trout and Will finally caught his first trout. He is officially becoming converted to what is reffered to as a trout bum.
We fished so hard and so long that we neglected food and water for more then seven or eight hours and we barely made it to Wills car which was in and out of air conditioning. During the ride home I slipped in and out of a choma like state and could keep myself awake. I think that this was more heat induced and by the time we arrived home I definatley had a fishing hang over. Great conversations and great fishing what more can a guy want out of life.

Mermac the sure thing...

Will called me and set up a quick road trip for some localish trout. He was anxious to fish Mermac Springs after I raved about the trout there and how they literally jump onto your stinger, I told him it was a sure thing and we would be done fishing within a few hours. let me clarify that I have been fishing Mermac Springs for years now and consider my self as knowledgeable about the trout as a local. Well I have fished there with a spinning set up using small jigs that I have tied myself, and have never thought that the fishing would be that different with fly tackle. Boy was I wrong.
Will and I met at Dunken donuts which I decided to to not partake in because I am on a rather strict eating regiment. long story short I eat healthier now and feel better so I try to avoid temptation when I can. Don't worry I make a huge exception for local indigenous adult beverages. We made the quick drive to St. James and arrived just as the alarm sounded the beginning of the fishing day. I decided to start with my spinning rod because this was my third or fourth time with fly tackle. I caught a few fish early on and decided to start keeping them because I love fresh trout. I decided to release a decent fish because I wanted to keep fishing. Will had trouble and could not buy a strike and I wondered to my self what was wrong. We would find out later that trout at Meramac get hammered by every fisherman in St. Louis so they are very shy about taking a fly. We left around ten in the morning and I tried to rescue the day by taking Will to an access point down river that I have caught a good number of bass and panfish.
We got into the warm water spring and this time I was equipped with my fly rod and was a little nervous to say the least. I watched will pull in some beautiful looking greens and longears and that helped me to practice my cast and just get the fly to the fish. After we traveled down a large dog leg bend i found a very shallow slack water pool on the left hand side of the river. I began to catch blue gill after blue gill and a small crappie. On our way back up river Will spotted a decent Gar and he tried to talk it into to eating his fly. I was borrowing a TSW (or Tylers secret weapon) which I failed at casting toward the Gar. Will egged me on and the next cast was spot on right in front of the fish and it opened up its gruesome looking jaw to take the fly. I hesitated not believing that the fish had taken the fly, so I set the hook and tried to land this salami with fins. The fight was on and midway through Will rather smartly asked me if I had Gar gloves. I thought about it and said, " what the hell man you know me enough to know that I did not pack chain mail gloves for unhooking sharks and other saw toothed fish". Thankfully Will took charge and tried to unhook the gar but grabbed the leader which snapped as the torpedo like gar tried to death roll. Oh well I was extremely happy with that result because it ended with out Will or I being impaled by this very angry fish. Long story short we renamed the fly the secret Gar weapon because we have never known a gar to hit a fly. I did my research and found out that Tyler happened to be a nine year old fly tying prodigy that was fully sponsored by fine outfitters such as simms. This has become a running joke which usually pisses me off because I am frustrated by this kids success. Anyways it was a great day to be on the water. This trip was a turning point for me because i am now fully converted to to all things fly fishing.