Monday, March 16, 2009

1st day out on the Missouri

After spending most of Sunday morning waiting to see if the wind was going to die down, I finally made my decision to take a trip to the upper Missouri below Holter Dam. It was now just after noon, the sun was covered by a haze of clouds and the temperature reached in the upper 40's to low 50's. Perfect fishing conditions in my mind, but lets not forget the wind! Gusts were reaching upwards of 40 mph and a relentless 25 mph wind kept my fly line from fluidly flowing back and forth. I was definitely displeased that I was unable to feel the full potential of my new rod and experience the full capability I know it owns. My first stop came mid way up the river to the Mid-Canon boat launch access near Dearborn. As I pulled into the lot, I saw one vehicle with an empty boat trailer. I thought to myself, this will be perfect, no distractions, I'll have the river all to myself. Little did I know, just down the road from the lot about 50 yards was a couple of guys with 3 or 4 youngsters with two black labs. As I was rigging my rod, I couldn't help but hear the screaming of the kids, the barking of the dogs, and the loud obnoxious music coming from the tailgaite of their Bronco. Didn't think much of it and thought I would just make my way downstream to get a little more peace and quiet. After finding a nice little run about 400 yards downstream, I tied on a size 14 pink scud, put a little weight on and an indicator. I only got a half a dozen or so casts before I was frustrated with the wind. With wind at my back, I couldn't even get a false cast in to start my dead drift upstream again. On top of the frustration, all I could hear (I'm 400 or so yards downstream mind you) was the sound of those dogs barking at each other and the sound of the owner obnoxiously barking back as loud as he could, imitating the annoyance of his dog. I respect the fact that these guys have the gumption to bring their dogs and kids down to the river on a windy Sunday afternoon, but to immaturely imitate the sound of your barking dog for 10 minutes is a little childish and should be done at home. Impassioned, I decided to make my way back to the car and head further towards the dam. Driving along, I decided to get off the Interstate at Craig, and take to frontage road all the way to dam. The last time I had driven that road was back in high school, and was surprised to find I never payed any attention to the numerous fishing access pullouts. I decided to go all the way to the dam to investigate the flow and to look for any possible areas to throw the rod at. I got out of the car and I immediately noticed the wind had picked up. Damn, I thought, I picked the wrong day to start out my season. I snapped a few shots of the dam on my camera, took a quick look at the river and its surface for any activity. I decided my day would just have to be more of a scouting event. I made my way back down the road and looked at all possible spots I would fish on a nicer day. Many exist and cannot wait to try them out! I stayed on the Old Highway and decided to pull over across my initial spot at Mid Canon. I saw a nice little riffle and decided the least I could do was to get out the seine net and check what aquatic life resides there. I waded out to the middle of the riffle, about a foot and a half in depth and kicked up the river bottom a bit and held my net downstream of it. I was surprised at my find! A fat ass olive colored grub, a couple little orange worms, a few 20-22 sized mayfly nymphs, and some small midge larvae. I noticed the wind had laid off a bit and couldn't resist tying on a red san jaun with a size 20 flashback pheasant tail dropper. I was able to dead drift the rig on the bottom about 12-18 times with no sign of a strike. I was sure I would hit something, but it just wasn't my lucky day. Conquered and ashamed, I made my way to my car. On the way up the bank I looked up and found myself staring at a startled billy goat who had just come over a rocky ridge just on the other side of the road. A moment later, I could tell he felt unthreatend and made a move as if to say "we're good". Just then I watched as not one, not two, but six more made their way over the rocks into my view. Turned out to be five billys and two nannys. Once again, I snapped some photos and thought it was a great way to end my day. I got back in the car and was on my way. I followed the highway all the down through the Prewitt Creek area scanning the river for runs, riffles, pools and eddies. Although my first outing this year resulted in no fish, I was pleased I made the attempt and for the most part, enjoyed the windy Sunday. Next time I post, I hope to tell you about to nice brown trout I expect to land!

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