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Ryan Walker

OAF Fishing Contributor
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Everything posted by Ryan Walker

  1. Fished the home waters twice this week. Tuesday with @Mofloatjunkie and today just me and the rain... Tuesday ( Delaware to Shelvin) was a transition day; falling water and high skies. We managed one GOOD smallmouth and a bunch of big GoggleEye. No discernible pattern, but a beautiful day to float with a new fishing buddy. @Mofloatjunkie managed to land a solid 18" fish at the blue hole... Today ( Jamesville to Hootentown) was rain, rain, and more rain. Water clouded up, and the CFS came up from 480CFS ( at Boaz) when I launched at 9, to over 700CFS when I got off the river at 3. I quite literally tried most of the flies in my box, switching up sink tips from intermediate to +300 grains; no dice. I believe my problem was not being able to keep the fly in the zone long enough. Time to switch... My friend Jeff Tatum with 19Delta Baits had painted some square bills for me in a unique crawfish pattern, and I figured I'd honor that token by smashing them into rocks, hanging them in trees and generally making a mess of things for the requisite 30 minute flyrod to spinning gear conversion period. Now I'm not a great ( or even good) crankbait fisherman, but I decided to target rocks and gravel behind structure, in eddies and along typical spawning cover. Boom! That was the ticket. Ended up with 18 smallmouth from 10 to 17" . In my opinion, the difference maker was the direction of the water. Falling water has always been tough. My thoughts are that fish are trying to figure out where to position, and why the bank keeps getting closer. Rising water brings more surface area, better DO and food. Much more desirable conditions... I hope to be back on the water early next week, but I think Mother Nature has other plans for us...If I get out, I'll post another report.. Free. The. Fighter!
  2. Thanks man! I'm pretty happy with my wilderness. It was good for fishing rivers.
  3. Man, y'all have some GREAT fishing up there! I have spent the past few years traveling Wisconsin and MN for work, and have gotten to "sample" some if it! Cox access is an MDC access in Galena Mo, on the James. Taylor is a shoal above Blunk access ( or, if you will, below Cox Access). Blunk is a road in Galena that ends in the James river, and is a popular access/launch point for upper Table Rock Lake or the lower James River. In my opinion, if you want to wade fish for 'eyes on the James, Blunk access is the place. You can walk the river up to Taylor shoals and fish it or some of the water above it. And there is ample wade fishing along that stretch of river. Water is a bit high now, but in a day or two it'll be manageable ( gully washers not-withstanding)... Look here on Google maps: 36.790025, -93.488606 Let me know if you have questions...
  4. Spent a great evening late last week floating from Cox to Blunk. Launched at 5 or so and blew through the upper 3/4 mile, started fishing at the big bend. Had the best evening for walleye I have had in years! Ended up with 13 to the boat, kept two for dinner and released the rest. Half the fish came on the fly rod ( clousers in purple and pink) and the other half came on smoke purple swimming minnows on an 1/8th oz head, fished near ( but not on) the bottom. Picked up a couple of good smallies and some big goggle eye as well.. Floated the stretch from Taylor to Blunk in the dark, listening to the peepers and watching the bats skim insects in the moonlight. A pretty perfect evening... Gonna hit it again early tomorrow, will keep you posted!
  5. We caught a few at Walnut Springs Monday. I saw a few at McCords Bend Wednesday. Hello cold front! They may still be at Walnut on the James. I know guys are catching them at the river mouths as well. It won't be too long...
  6. It may move the whites back a bit, but the SM/LM will still be there. Just slow it down. Saturday looks nasty. I have a feeling you'll have it all to yourself...
  7. Let me know if you do, would love to fish with you...
  8. I knew they were there, I guess I just didn't realize how many there were...I stood up in the yak for a good portion of the trip, and they were thick! Maybe it's the water level; less water, fish are condensed to prime areas..it was a good day all around...
  9. Launched the ATAK at Blunks late this morning. Floated to the bend and paddled back. Fishing was good, I don't remember there being as many Spots in there as I saw today. Obviously the river is super low. Clear-ish and surface temp was hovering between 54-55F. Saw a large pod of whites at the bend, and a huge walleye in the pool just below the ramp at Blunks. Huge..Crept up on a LM that was sunning on the light gravel in about 2ft of water. It's always cool to watch fish and how they react and interact with their surroundings.. Caught a ton of spots and several good smallmouth, mostly on the Ned in green pumpkin and PBJ. Threw a streamer ( Ryan's Simple Bunny) for a while, and caught a nice spot and a smallie. I spent 20 minutes talking to the farmer that owns the land on the east side of the river, he's worried about the water levels and how much stuff is gonna come at him if we get a good rain. He also said that if the water stays low he won't have to deal with as many folks trashing his gravel bar...On that point we agreed.... If you read my White Bass posts last year, you'll appreciate this: I am seeing dogwoods and red buds blooming, saw a Tom (or a jake most likely) strutting this morning, and have yet to keep a white bass..I know they are moving on other rivers, and we found a decent pod of them earlier in the week at Walnut Springs, but if we were going by old wives tales, they should be in full reproduction mode right about now..Proof positive that we are having a very, very strange spring... Free. The. Fighter!
  10. Still low and clear...Fish look to be ok, but I fear if we don't get a rain soon, it will be in bad shape. We got 1/2" in RepMo Monday night...Didn't go very far...
  11. Spent the day(yesterday) with a couple from Little Rock. Parents of a good friend that had fished all of the Ozarks Tailwaters except Taney( they have also fished in Argentina, Africa, Brazil and a list of places too long to mention. Very interesting couple). We divided our time above and below Fall Creek, fishing gravel flats with chop on the water. Both areas fished well. No generation, and a slight breeze in the morning made midge fishing the ticket. We fished a tandem rig of Zebra midges and string things. Size 18 and 20 Tungsten Zebra's in olive produced well all morning. Any where we found chop and water between 2 and 5ft deep, we found fish. Spent the afternoon from just below Fall Creek dock to just above Trout Hollow. Again, gravel flats with chop and 2-5ft of water. We'd let the breeze push us down the bank, staying as close as we could to the east bank. When we ran out of choppy water, we'd motor back up and lather, rinse, repeat. Fishing was consistent all day. The Tungsten Zebra midge in olive with silver wire, size 20, was the most consistent pattern. The two biggest fish, a matched pair of 17' Rainbows, came on a red Zebra that I had coated with Clear Cure Goo. Red Tungsten bead, with copper wire. Size 16. We caught a few stockers, but overall the fish were nicely colored river fish, and fought quite well. Turned a decent brown, but lost him before he could get to the net... All in all, it was a splendid February day in the Ozarks!
  12. Hey Bob, Hootentown to marble grounds or mud bank as some people call it is just a shade over 6 miles. You do not need four-wheel-drive, but you will have to pull your kayak up the bank. It's not straight up and my wife is able to pull her kayak up fairly easily. Access it via McCall bridge Road. We fish it fairly often and are usually off the water by two or three in the afternoon, having started around daylight. Will be floating it Saturday. Hootentown to Kerr is close to 19 miles and is an overnighter, but in my opinion the best overnighter on the river. There are some great places to camp along the way On a side note, Hootentown canoe rental will shuttle your vehicle to either place for $20. I use them all the time and it's money well spent not to have to either burden, or rely upon someone else to make sure your car is there when you get out. One thing I know for certain; this time of year, if you have to float the weekend, going down from Hootentown is the only way to go. Most of the people I run into down there doing exactly what we're doing: Fishing
  13. I picked up a pair of Simms Intruder wet wading boots. Could not be happier. Built in gravel guard, very light and comfy. Will accept cleats or studs, and they wear like hiking boots. Little more expensive, but well worth the money.. https://www.simmsfishing.com/shop/wading-boots/intruder-boot.html
  14. Cool! I am very familiar! Some of my favorite waters! My wife is very allergic to cold, or we'd probably be in a cabin outside Rexburg or near Idaho Falls somewhere. Glad to meet you, hope to see you on the river again soon!
  15. Hey! Sorry for the confusion about that, not sure what I did the night before, cause I drove right to Mud Bank that morning.. We spent a week+ in Idaho last fall, fished the Henry's Fork,Snake and a bunch of the Yellowstone streams, love that state! Go see Ozarks Smallmouth Alliance on FB, love to have you contribute!
  16. Floated from Hootentown to Marble grounds yesterday. Great trip, water is in great shape, and the fish were agreeable! I like this float because it's usually other fisherman you run in to, so the crowds are lighter. Fished the flyrod only, and caught fish on Mohawk Sculpins, and a new favorite fly called the "Equalizer" ( pic below). Fish were aggressive and full of fight, colored up nicely and seemed eager to chase a fly. No need for a sink-tip on this trip, most of the smallies we caught were actively chasing baitfish, so the action was fast, with a majority of my strikes on a fast strip-strip-strip-pause-strip retrieve. I tied the Equalizer in olive/brown, olive/white, and white/tan, varying the head color from bright to dark, but the best combo seemed to be the olive/brown with a contrasting, lighter brown head. Free. The. Fighter!!
  17. Floated from Hootentown to Marble grounds yesterday. Great trip, water is in great shape, and the fish were agreeable! I like this float because it's usually other fisherman you run in to, so the crowds are lighter. Fished the flyrod only, and caught fish on Mohawk Sculpins, and a new favorite fly called the "Equalizer" ( pic below). Fish were aggressive and full of fight, colored up nicely and seemed eager to chase a fly. No need for a sink-tip on this trip, most of the smallies we caught were actively chasing baitfish, so the action was fast, with a majority of my strikes on a fast strip-strip-strip-pause-strip retrieve. I tied the Equalizer in olive/brown, olive/white, and white/tan, varying the head color from bright to dark, but the best combo seemed to be the olive/brown with a contrasting, lighter brown head. Free. The. Fighter!!
  18. River is in great shape! Got to fish with all my boys, which was a blessing. I fished mostly Ants, Beetles and other terrestrials, best fly was a fly called the "Hippie Stomper"! My nephew fished Trout Magnets in black and yellow with good success. Boys fished white/grey or black and yellow jigs under a float, also with good success. I hooked one of the biggest trout I've ever hooked on a dry fly, at the top of the C&R pool ( just below Dry Hollow), but lost him and did not get a picture. Probably caught 15 in the two hours we fished then it was was Waterslide time!! God Bless, and tight lines!
  19. Fished the James Thursday, parking at the confluence of the Finley and walking as far down as I could before it was over my head. Fished streamer patterns all morning, mostly a fly I have grown to love called the Mohawk Sculpin (pics below). Fish are in fine shape, and the river has good water as well. Hooked plenty of fish and saw several deer, plus one really confused Tom turkey that didn't get the memo that Turkey season was over! Like I said in an earlier post; the river has changed, as it always does, but is in great shape. I found fish in "new" spots, and some in the old reliable spots as well. Didn't see any beds, so I'd say the spawn is officially done or the floods washed the beds out. I'm going to kayak this stretch, to Hootentown, Tuesday and will post a report after. Now that Memorial Day has kicked summer off, my fishing days will be during the week, either in the evenings or when I'm not traveling. I like people, but in small doses, and not on the river unless they are with me... : Mohawk Sculpin, size 4 Here is some footage from a previous trip:
  20. Happy Memorial Day! Fished the James Thursday, parking at the confluence of the Finley and walking as far down as I could before it was over my head. Fished streamer patterns all morning, mostly a fly I have grown to love called the Mohawk Sculpin (pics below). Fish are in fine shape, and the river has good water as well. Hooked plenty of fish and saw several deer, plus one really confused Tom turkey that didn't get the memo that Turkey season was over! Like I said in an earlier post; the river has changed, as it always does, but is in great shape. I found fish in "new" spots, and some in the old reliable spots as well. Didn't see any beds, so I'd say the spawn is officially done or the floods washed the beds out. I'm going to kayak this stretch, to Hootentown, Tuesday and will post a report after. Now that Memorial Day has kicked summer off, my fishing days will be during the week, either in the evenings or when I'm not traveling. I like people, but in small doses, and not on the river unless they are with me... : Mohawk Sculpin, size 4 Here is some footage from a previous trip:
  21. God always gives us what we need. Not always what we want.. Took a trip to the James but started in the Finley above the confluence. Fished down to the shoal on the James below the confluence. Took a good fall caused by a tree branch that was unwilling to yield to my authority. This unexpected gravity assisted landing caused me to slow down, and pay attention to my surroundings. Man the river has changed. When it's ready, I'll post some video to illustrate this. Personally, I think it has changed for the better. The big piles of gravel that were stacked downstream of the Jamesville bridge are further downstream, and more dispersed, creating some very interesting pocket water. The cuts in the limestone on that stretch below the confluence are still there, but partially filled with gravel,creating a nice deep pocket above the shoal. I started with a sculpzilla in Olive, size 8, stripped through the deeper runs, and picked up a couple of good fish. The first good fish I caught had a half digested, 4 inch slick in his mouth and a another in his throat ( with a full belly to match), so I switched to a clouser, added a split shot, and started swinging it through the deeper runs. Picked up a couple of more good smalljaws and a big goggle eye before it was time to go. The fish in the picture picked up the clouser mid-swing, in the slick water below the Jamesville bridge, and was really, really strong. Flow was ~200CFS and the water temp, in my estimation, was low 60's. These fish are too special to keep, let them go and let them grow...
  22. What a beautiful morning to be out! Water was fairly consistent at 3-3300 CFS. Still kinda dingy, but clearer than it has been. Boated from Lilley's up to the Island below Lookout and waded for a bit. Caught most of my fish there on a size 16 trout crack, dead drifted. Got back in the boat about 930 and fished from the dam back to below Fall Creek marina. Caught fish on a variety of flies: sz 16 tungsten Zebra midges in olive, size 16 San Juan worms in natural, the trout crack, and one crazy fish that took an ant when I got bored with the nymph. No real pattern to speak of; change the fly, catch a fish, repeat. Not fast and furious, but a fun morning just the same. Lots of gunk floating by, and the water, while not too dingy, was a weird color-almost iced coffee brown in some spots. Not sure what to make of it. I'll post a video that shows what it looked like about this time last year; stark contrast. Word to the wise: They are dredging and diving just up from Lilley's, and have no-wake buoy's out. They will remind you, sternly, if you are going too fast ( ask me how I know that). Also, and on a personal note- I made the rookie mistake of leaving my Simms G4's on the back deck of the boat to dry. Took off down lake for a cruise and when I got back they were gone. If by some miracle you find them, keep them but return the Orvis nippers in the pocket, they were my Dad's...Thanks! Trout Crack The Taney portion of this video was shot about this time last year ( I think). Look at how clear the water is!
  23. Thank you sir! Yes, it has. The first half of the video was the lower wire road and the second half the upper. There were runs on the lower that I didn't recognize from just a few months previous.
  24. Sorry this is late, I was in Wisconsin traveling. So here is what all three of them came back with:http://flyfishingreporter.com/fly-fishing-abrams-creek-tn/ Abrams Creek http://www.flyfishingsmokymountains.com/eplr.html- Little River ( they said to fish above Elkmont) http://www.flyfishingsmokymountains.com/dcw.html -Deep Creek- Native brookies.. Hope this helps!
  25. Check this site out: http://www.flyfishingsmokymountains.com/ I was there two years ago with a couple of buddies that live close. I'll get names of creeks we fished for you and post them tomorrow.
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