October 29, 2016

Missouri Trout - part II

In my last post, I chronicled an outing with Alan Leucke fishing for wild rainbows. It was a great day catching some pretty amazing fish. Later the same week I fished in Missouri again, but it was a totally different experience.

My son in law was introduced to tenkara while living in Arkansas. He has caught many warm water species but had not caught any trout using his tenkara gear.  So, to help him get the chance to catch trout, I took him to Roaring River State Park near Cassville, MO. What an interesting place.

From Wikipedia: Roaring River State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Missouri consisting of 4,093.38 acres (1,656.53 ha) located approximately 8 miles (13 km) south of Cassville in Barry County. The park offers trout fishing on the Roaring River, hiking on seven different trails, and the seasonally open Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center. The original park was acquired in 1923, and developed between 1933 and 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration.

CCC Lodge

We arrived at the park entrance at about 0930 and made our first stop at the park store. I already had a Missouri fishing license but he needed one, and we both needed park permits. When we went to the back of the store, to the permit desk, we were met by a young woman who was striking the classic "I'm so bored" pose that we almost started laughing. She didn't even look up when we asked for two permits. She pointed to a form to fill out then asked for $3.00 each. I pulled out my credit card and then she looked up and said in an annoyed voice, "cash"! 

Anyway, we got our permits pinned on (they must be visible at all times) and drove up the river and found a place to park. It being midweek, there were plenty of places to fish, even though there were more people fishing than in any place I had ever been before. I bet this place can be crazy on a weekend!

The river is spring fed and there is a large hatchery near the spring. The Missouri Department of Conservation manages the trout fishing and releases trout into the river daily during the summer. The river looks somewhat channelized with rock dams to make pools and breakup the flow. There are fish in every pool, dozens of them. 

Pink dot is the Park Store

This is not a wild and scenic river. 

Trout everywhere. 

At first I thought it was going to be easy fishing there, but then I remembered that those trout see hundreds of people, flies, spinners, plastic worms every single day. The stupid ones get caught and eaten, so the survivors are pretty well educated. They're not "Henry's Fork" smart, those trout have their PhD's, but they are smart enough to survive. 

After observing some rising trout I decided to go with a dry/dropper combination. I used a #16 black ant parachute as the dry and a #18 beadhead pheasant tail nymph as the dropper. I used my Suntech Fine Power NP56 with a 13' #3 line with 3.5 feet of 6X tippet. This worked very well. Within just a few minutes I had landed my first Roaring River rainbow. Same with my son in law. He hooked and landed a few right off the bat. With the Fine Power 56 setup I could hit almost anyplace in the section we were fishing without moving much. 

Fish on!

My son in law's first trout with tenkara.

We hooked enough fish that some people from other pools came over to our pool, but were polite enough not to step on our toes or cross lines. For a guy that fishes alone in the isolated mountain streams of Idaho that experience was pretty unnerving.

His second tenkara trout.

Anyway, we had a fun couple of hours and caught well over a baker's dozen, mainly on the dropper. By noon it was hot and humid and time to go home. 

A dark hatchery rainbow. Still, they're pretty fun.

I'm not sure I'll fish Roaring River State Park again soon, but it was an interesting experience and I did catch trout. I didn't see many other fish caught by other anglers, so we must have been doing something right.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your two experiences. You are wise man to be out of state during rifle hunting season! Your story of lurkers coming over to your spot reminded me of a guy who always muscled in on us on the lake where our cabin was in Minnesota growing up. My Dad cured him of this by hooking his tackle

    box with a big treble hook and pulling it into the lake! One of my best fishing experiences was below the Norfork Dam on the North Fork of the White River in Arkansas. I would love to try tenkara fishing there. If you get a chance to fish it there are nice brook and rainbows present. Looking forward to hearing about more Idaho experiences soon. Les in Idaho.