Random Ramblings of a Redneck Fly Fisherman
Summer Patterns…...BLAH Summer for most fishermen means it is time to dust off the gear and get after it. Here in the Ozarks we are spending the vast majority of our weekends on the river beating the water to death and going for that next 20’’ Brown or catch a trout on a fly that you tied that you SWEAR will be picked up by Umpqua within the month. Everyone has their reason to be on the water. The Ozarks brings a variety of obstacles that aren’t presented to anglers in other parts of the country. Montana and Alaska have their Bears. Arkansas has their LongBoat Power Bait Drifters, but Missouri has a unique set of Summer Hurdles. I hope to seriously and hopefully comically list a few of these obstacles.
Having a Degree in Entomology is not a necessity in order to pick up a Fly Rod and catch fish. This Hatch is without a doubt the easiest to identify and most prevalent throughout the Ozarks starting Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day Weekend. Some of the best tiers in the world have yet to tie a fly that can mimic the sheer shape and size of this river dwelling Titanic. Canoes folks…..if you haven’t figured it out yet that is what I am talking about. Throughout the summer I am passed by hundreds of floaters and every time I have one person that lacks river etiquette or just any common sense at all. For example today I woke up at 4 AM got my stuff together and headed to the Current River to get a headstart on this hatch. This hatch is notorious for showing up late and most have throbbing headaches from their campsite shenanigans the night before. I was on the water by 6:15 and was absolutely crushing fish. Well to my surprise I hear a canoe upriver that sounded as if it was trying to hit every single rock in the river. By then it was 7:30 and the fog had lifted slightly, but still made it difficult to see at any real distance. By the time this individual came into view his canoe was sideways and he had no paddle in either hand, BUT both hands were on a bong that he was “talking into”. By the time this floating Cypress Hill concert realized my presence he knew he was busted. He then slowly set down his smoking device and picked up a paddle and began paddling like someone was chasing him only to hit the rock I was fishing. He did not flip. HOW…..I do not know. His canoe filled at least halfway with water and he managed to keep a straight face like nothing happened. In the moments after I laughed harder than I have in a long time. Well it entered my mind to head for the truck and make my way home, but decided to make a few more casts. I immediately started catching fish again. Floaters that are able to stay in their crafts present no immediate threat to these fish. The fish have become so seasoned to their activity that this hatches ruckus has become white noise.
- Spider Man
Walk to your favorite hole through the woods… I Dare You!! Most folks that Fly Fish in Missouri know that on our smaller river systems in order to get to the big fish you have to walk. When accesses are limited it requires you to walk through some burly ass Ozark Jungle. Now if you are afraid of spiders then you might as well fish next to the access and work on your casting because no Missouri spiders are going to make the endangered species list. I am fairly attentive and by no means a spider expert, but I think that 1 spider will make a web and then inhabit 1 web. Well if that is the case then Missouri has a spider problem. MY DEAR GOD webs are everywhere! I understand that spiders are a vital part of any healthy ecosystem, but beware when walking through the woods because you will eat several webs.
- Little Johnny is not an Engineer
We have all seen it. Hot summer days and mid afternoon folks flock to the river to cool off. Parents sit in lawn chairs and listen to Freebird on repeat while their children swim and for some reason become skilled engineers and build dams in the middle of the river. I have to admit some of these structures are legit, but for the most part they will be washed away in the next high water event. We need to let the river do what is does. We build enough things off the river to interrupt its natural flow and water table, so lets chill on this Engineering activity.
These 3 obstacles are just the beginning of what we face in Missouri throughout the Summer. Any true Trout Bum views Fly Fishing as an avenue to relaxation. Nature's Xanax that doesn’t charge $20K per pill. It is my belief that knowing these obstacles and planning accordingly will in turn make you a better angler. Lets Face it, like most things fish have to eat. Find the right approach and put a hook in a fish’s face.