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Al Agnew

Fishing Buddy
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Everything posted by Al Agnew

  1. That's great, JD...Mary is coming up on four years with no problems from hers, probably as healthy as she has ever been. It's a great feeling.
  2. I've said this before, but what really pisses me off is that it would be easy to put a stop to this. Just have the county deputies show up every weekend night for a few weeks and arrest everybody they find that's even close to doing something wrong, and make it known that they'll keep doing it as long as there's a problem. The word would get out pretty quickly that it's no longer a place to party. Dang it, that is part of their jobs. Just a bunch of arrests for underage drinking would be enough. I get sick and tired of losing accesses because law enforcement won't do their jobs. It's like if people were constantly shoplifting at the local Walmart, and instead of having a police presence for a while and arresting everybody they caught, they just closed the Walmart.
  3. Definitely a big one. I knew there had to be some big fish in the river, especially after I caught the one 20 incher, but I just don't have any idea on how to avoid catching little ones long enough for a big one to take your lure. It's also possible that some really big fish come up the river in the spring out of the Columbia, and maybe they go back to the big river earlier in the summer.
  4. I actually had hair about like that for a while back in my early years!
  5. Regarding "structure fishing", I read Fishing Facts magazine religiously for several years and learned all about the whole Buck Perry thing. I put it to use and caught a lot of bass and won a few local tournaments back in those days. I was catching big fish on channel swings and subtle drop-offs on the local lakes pretty regularly. But as the years went by, maybe I just stopped fishing lakes enough to keep up with the times, or maybe it was something else, but those spots that had once been pretty obscure and known to only a few with good electronics and a lot of time on the water became known to just about everybody and fished to death. Maybe that's why those flats that Wrench talked about are good these days...they aren't sexy enough structurally for the average angler with a depth finder to think of fishing. Nowadays, you see a lot of big tournaments won by guys fishing the banks and pounding cover, not fishing in the middle of nowhere on a drop-off. Now not all banks are equal and not all cover holds fish...you gotta find the particular banks that have subtle differences that hold fish, as I'm actually finding in river fishing for smallmouth. Used to be, I'd just float a river and fish everything I came to that looked like it could possibly hold a bass, and catch them regularly all up and down the stream. Now, on the heavily pressured streams (those big enough for jetboats and bass tournaments), there are good banks and long stretches of water that seem devoid of fish, and a lot more fish are hanging on subtle drop-offs, current seams, and transitions, and not in the cover along the banks.
  6. You can drive through the Badlands in a couple hours just sightseeing, or plan on a little more time if you want to do a lot of photography (some wildlife, including bison). Or spend a full day driving the Badlands and parts of the Black Hills. Cool landscape. Emigrant gives you more options on the Yellowstone than Gardiner as far as floating and fishing. The fishing is a little different between the two places. Gardiner to Yankee Jim Canyon provides lots of cutthroats along with a decent population of rainbows and some browns, and is basically two days of floating. From below Yankee Jim through Emigrant and on downstream there are a lot fewer cutthroat and more rainbows and browns. If it doesn't matter which kind of trout you catch, the cutthroat in the Gardiner area are a little easier to catch, but for other things, including more spectacular scenery, Emigrant is great. Parks Fly Shop in Gardiner is the place for info, flies, and guides up there, but Anglers West in Emigrant are VERY good for guided trips. If small, wild, native cutthroat on a small creek is your thing, it's a quick drive up the Mill Creek valley as far as you can go, where you'll find closed in brushy rock strewn upper Mill Creek, with a lot of easily caught little cuts that eat Stimulators with abandon. But take your bear spray! At some point you might allow yourself a (long) day to drive the Beartooth Highway. One of the most scenic drives in America. Go through the park to the Northeast entrance at Cooke City, take the Beartooth through the mountains and down into Red Lodge, and then to I-90 back all the way to Bozeman, then up the Gallatin River valley and to West Yellowstone and hence to Old Faithful if that happens to be where you're staying at that point. Like I said, a LONG day, but if you start out at daylight you'll see a lot of wildlife and not much traffic through the park getting to Cooke City...park traffic usually doesn't crank up until 8 AM. Might be too long a day if you want to do much stopping. Living in Livingston, we usually do it from our house and back around to our house, which is somewhat shorter, and we don't always stop in Red Lodge. If the womenfolk like cool little shops, Red Lodge has them aplenty. Or if staying somewhere else at that point, just drive up the Beartooth through the mountains and turn around and come back...but it's well worth seeing no matter what. The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman is well worth a half day if you have time. Great dinosaur exhibits and lots of other very interesting stuff.
  7. Beautiful fish! There is just no comparison between a wild trout and a stocker.
  8. If you want a raft type craft and don't want to row, check out a Water Master. One person raft that you sit on with your feet dangling in the water, so you control the boat with swim fins, but it has a set of oars for getting somewhere more quickly or running rapids. You can stop in fairly shallow water just by standing up and wearing the thing like a doughnut around you, and fish there for as long as you want. The only problem is wearing swim fins and trying to get out of the thing and wade or walk. I tried some high dollar swim fins that fold up again.st your shins, but they pretty much suck. Still trying to find a solution to that. But the thing is really sweet on the Yellowstone (I keep my Water Master in Montana).
  9. Well, I actually do that when I'm fly fishing for trout, unlike the way I fish for smallmouth. I agree with you completely about the good spots, and the only good way to fish them is to get in there with them. I have a friend who used to guide on the North Fork out of a big johnboat, and from June through mid-September he spent most of his time in the water at the back of the boat, not in the boat, holding it in the current so his clients could fish those fast water areas without getting out of the boat and possibly drowning. He's a good sized lad and strong, so he could hold that boat in the middle of a rapid, or hold it in water up to his neck in the perfect spot to really pound a good run.
  10. I have a friend who does nothing but fly fishing for trout, and is as good at it as anyone I've ever seen. From what he's said, the North Fork was just about the best trout river in the state for a several year period until the huge flood that tore out those bridges. It hasn't fished anywhere near as well since...in fact, he says it's maybe one fifth as good as it was before. And when I fished it with him summer before last, the last time I was on it, I really noticed the lack of tree cover along the banks through most of the trout water. This was still early, like late May, and the water temps were already well up into the 70s by the time you got to Dawt Mill; that lack of shade was really messing up the river. He said that the best fishing was now within the first few miles below the springs. I actually gave up on the trout about halfway through our float down to Dawt, and started fishing for bass (it wasn't all that great, either). There are just too many people fishing for them these days, though, and the word gets out about one stream fishing well and then it gets pounded by everybody at once. Current River was amazing with big browns a few years back...then some guys who kept every big one they caught started pounding it, plus a hot summer moved some of the big browns up into Montauk, where the nimrods cleaned them out. It hasn't fished the same since. I know where I'd fish for trout right now, but I ain't telling.
  11. “Where you going? Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you’re out with the boys to boast and brag.” "Ohhh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found youuu!" "darn your eyes!" "Too late."
  12. LAUNCELOT: We have the Holy Hand Grenade. ARTHUR: Yes, of course! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! 'Tis one of the sacred relics Brother Maynard carries with him! Brother Maynard! Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade! [singing] How does it, uh... how does it work? LAUNCELOT: I know not my liege. ARTHUR: Consult the book of armaments. MAYNARD: Armaments, Chapter Two, Verses Nine to Twenty-One. BROTHER: "And Saint Atila raised the hand grenade up on high saying, 'Oh, Lord, bless this thy hand grenade that with it thou mayest blow thy enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.' And the Lord did grin, and people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large --" MAYNARD: Skip a bit, Brother. BROTHER: "And the Lord spake, saying, 'First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out! Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thou foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.'" MAYNARD: Amen. ALL: Amen. I have to admit to being bad sometimes...when I get into an argument on non-Biblical subject on the internet and somebody starts quoting Scripture that has only marginal relevance to the subject, I always come back with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch verses
  13. GUARD: I'm French! Why do think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king! GALAHAD: What are you doing in England? GUARD: Mind your own business! ARTHUR: If you will not show us the Grail, we shall take your castle by force! GUARD: You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! ---Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur-king, you and all your silly English knnnniggets. Thppppt! GALAHAD: What a strange person. ARTHUR: Now look here, my good man! GUARD: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper!...... I fart in your general direction! . Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! GALAHAD: Is there someone else up there we could talk to? GUARD: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time-a!
  14. Not that it matters much, but I talked to Corey today and he said it was 6.4--well, actually 6.38. That really isn't far off the state record of 7 lb. 2 oz...12 ounces off. It was 22.5 inches.
  15. Let's see...20 inch rainbow from the Eleven Point, 22 inch brown from Current, 18 inch rainbow from Little Piney, 21 inch rainbow from Mill Creek. Also add in a 22 inch brown from the Meramec. Haven't caught anything big from the North Fork, though other guys in the boat with me have. Biggest I got from Crane was 13 inches, but I only fished it once. Biggest from Blue Springs Creek was 8 inches. Fished the trout section of the Niangua once, caught a couple 14 inchers. Have fished Taneycomo once, nothing over 12 inches, and have only fished the White incidentally when floating into it from the Buffalo, and have caught a few average trout there. Caught a couple big ones during the winter season at Maramec Spring and Montauk, but that's kinda cheating. Caught some that were probably 18 inches at Spring Rise (Westover Spring) and in Dry Creek below it, also kinda cheating. Also caught a couple trout in Huzzah Creek, probably from Dry Creek. I think that's the limit of my Ozark trout catching.
  16. Yep, if you caught an 18 inch or better trout out of all those locations, then it would be an accomplishment...though come to think of it, I've caught 18 inch or better trout out of four of them as it is. Does that qualify for anything?
  17. I'm up to seven of them...only two I haven't caught a trout (or fished) are Barren Fork and Spring Creek.
  18. Waiting for what Snagged's biggest is...mine was 22 inches, and that was before I started fly fishing; caught it on a deep diving crankbait. A buddy of mine caught a 29 incher, a couple days after he'd caught a 29 inch rainbow...well, he was fishing with big streamers after dark.
  19. Al Agnew


    Scariest thing about hospitals is the MRSA infections that seem to breed there. Doctors in hospitals are being a lot more careful about keeping patients as sterile as possible, but there's still the chance that you go in for surgery on something and end up dying of that nasty infection. We always get flu shots. Haven't gotten an actual flu in a few years, but this winter got a nasty cold, horrific cough, lasted longer than usual, about two weeks, three weeks of healthiness, then last week I got it again. Just now over it. I was coughing so hard I got woozy a few times. Mary was about to kick me out of the house because neither of us could sleep.
  20. Yes, the USGS site may be wrong. I've very seldom seen the USGS sites being wrong, but it happens, especially if the river changes at the gauge after a flood, and since the creek has been pretty stable for a while, it would make sense that it's the lower flow. If the river is at 280 cfs, that would be very good. I actually like a winter flow that's a little above normal, because it reduces the number of places the fish will be. If you know what a given height in feet signifies on Crooked Creek, it makes sense to keep using it. But as I said in the other thread, flow in cfs is a universal language, the same for every stream. A given height in feet on one stream is NOT the same as that height in feet on another, but 200 cfs is 200 cfs no matter which stream you're looking at.
  21. Don't know whether you followed the discussion on the USGS gauges in the smallmouth fishing forum, but again I'd recommend going by the flow in cfs, not the level in feet, which means nothing unless you're already familiar with what a given level in feet means on that particular river. The flow right now is 865 cfs, not 300. And that's a LOT of water. Maybe fishable, maybe not, but a lot more water than I'd like, considering the normal flow (the median flow in the table on the USGS gauge website) is 163 cfs this time of year. 165 cfs is a nice, easily floatable flow on ANY stream the size of Crooked Creek at Kelly's Slab. 300 cfs is okay, not too big and fast. 500 is really pushing it, and I would really hesitate to float it at more than 800 cfs. Since it's been fairly stable the last few days, it might be clear enough to fish, but you're going to be really working to slow down enough to fish effectively, especially given that you need to fish very slowly in the winter.
  22. Several years ago I began writing a book on the Meramec River system. It was a project that proceeded by fits and starts; I finished the preliminary writing fairly quickly but then spent a lot of time rewriting, adding to, changing, and getting the book read by a friend who is a writer to get suggestions on changes. At present the writing part is more or less complete, but I'm still collecting photos and illustrations, and exploring possibilities of publishing it. It has been a lot of fun doing. Today I decided to put the opening chapter on my blog, with some of the photos and illustrations I plan on using in that chapter. So if you want to get a sneak peak at my working cover and the opening chapter, you can go to riversandart.blogspot.com and read it. I still don't know when it will be completed and published, or how I'm going to publish it. But let me know how you like the first chapter. There will be chapters on each floatable river; Meramec above Maramec Spring, Maramec Spring to Onondaga, Onondaga to Meramec State Park, Meramec State Park to the Bourbeuse River, and lower river. Upper Big River (down to Washington State Park), lower Big River, upper Bourbeuse, lower Bourbeuse, Huzzah and Courtois, and a chapter on selected smaller streams within the basin. There will chapters on history, geology, ecology, and environmental challenges. The history of the Meramec Dam and other dams once planned for the rivers is in there.
  23. So let me try once again to explain why cfs is preferable... Quite simply, it's a universal language. It's a measure of the volume of water going by a given point at a given time interval. It doesn't change from stream to stream, it's still the same volume of water flow. So if you know what 150 cfs looks like on your favorite stream, you can immediately picture that it looks the same on any other stream. Like I said before, I've never laid eyes on the Little Niangua, but if I decide I want to float it, and look at the gauge and see it's flowing 150 cfs, I can picture that flow in my mind on my home river or any other river that I've floated at that flow, and know it will be similar on the Little Niangua. But if I see that the level on the Little Niangua is 6.0 feet, I have no idea what that means unless I do a lot of sleuthing. 6.0 feet on Big River at Desloge, my home stretch of my home river, is really high, like really honking, three feet or more or above normal and almost certainly muddy as heck--it's about 900 cfs. 6.0 feet on the Little Niangua looks like it's about 110 cfs. That would mean to me that it's going to be easily floatable at the upper end--and if there's a lot of difference between the upper end where the gauge is and a lower section, it might be 200 or more cfs down farther and maybe getting just a LITTLE high. On your home river or another river you're really familiar with and have kept track of what the level in feet signifies, sure, you're comfortable with it and it works perfectly well...for those rivers. But cfs works just as well once you get comfortable with it. And unlike the level in feet, you can translate the cfs to other streams that you're NOT familiar with. Couple that with the median flow, which is shown on the flow in cfs graph, and it's like one stop shopping. You know what normal is for that time of year and you immediately see how close ANY river section is to normal. And actually the little table of daily discharge might be the most useful piece of the whole site, because it tells you the present flow, the median flow (normal) and how low the river CAN get (minimum) and how low it will get during a fairly long dry spell (25th percentile flow) that time of year. Plus, the 75th percentile figure is usually somewhat close to the highest flow that will still be fishable, though that's a lot less reliable. So I look at the Niangua above Lake Niangua gauge for right now and look at that table. Minimum is 182 cfs, which tells me that section of the Niangua will never be too low to float, at least not this time of year. 25th percentile is 224 cfs, and I can picture that in my mind because I know what 200-250 cfs looks like on the Meramec at Steelville, a stream I fish a lot. Median is 349 cfs, and I can picture that too on the Meramec. 75th percentile is 766 cfs. Okay. Right now it's at 1530 cfs. Looks pretty high. I can picture THAT on the Meramec, too, and it's kinda at the extreme upper limit of fishable for the Meramec at Steelville--if it was that high in the middle of the summer I'd be pretty sure it was muddy and too high. The only thing that would make me change my mind is looking at the graph and seeing that the Niangua has been steady at that flow for several days. So while it's higher than I'd prefer, maybe it's clear enough to fish. I can't get ANY of that from looking at level in feet.
  24. Drew, did you float a lot farther downstream than where the gauge is located? That doesn't makes sense that you found it easy floating at that flow, but if you were a day's float downstream, in the section you floated it might have been about double what it was on the gauge...50-80 cfs. I'm just guessing since I'm not familiar with the Little Niangua. That's always a bit of a monkey wrench...not every stream is well covered by gauges. The Bourbeuse drives me nuts because it has two gauges, one on upper end above the usually floatable sections, and one near the lower end. Neither tells you much about the middle portion of the river. And the North Fork is a lot worse yet, since the only gauge is down where it runs into the lake, and tells you absolutely nothing about the river above Rainbow and Double Spring. Gasconade isn't very great, either...highest gauge is at Hazelgreen, which is below the mouth of the Osage Fork so it doesn't tell you a whole lot about the upper river. I thought that maybe the one gauge on the Little Niangua is enough, given the short length of the river, to be fairly good at covering the whole floatable section, but I could be wrong.
  25. Well, I missed all the drama, so let me address Wrench's question about 75 cfs being floatable no matter what the stream... Here's the deal, Wrench...streams that are big enough and wide enough to make 75 cfs way too low to float...simply never get as low as 75 cfs. The closest one I know that would give you that problem is the lower end of the Buffalo in Arkansas, pretty good sized river with some wide riffles, but it does occasionally get that low by late summer/early autumn. I've floated it at 75 cfs, and there are plenty of wide riffles that you can't float cleanly, and a few that you'll have to get out and walk. Running Clabber Creek Shoals is a matter of picking which rocks you don't mind hitting as much. But the Niangua below Bennett Spring, the James below the mouth of Finley Creek, the Meramec below Maramec Spring, Current River anywhere, Black River below Lesterville, North Fork below the springs...they simply never get that low. So you don't have to worry about whether they are still floatable at 75 cfs. So in reality, the only time that 75 cfs figure comes into play is on streams that DO get too low to float. And on any of those streams, the 75 cfs figure generally holds true. Understand, that's not floating everything cleanly. You will still scrape bottom on some riffles, and if the riffle is really wide compared to the average riffle you might have to walk it. You also might have to walk in split channels. But it's the minimum that's doable without TOO much work. 100 cfs is better and 150-200 is optimal. So yeah, if you tried floating the middle Gasconade at Jerome at 75 cfs it would be bad...but you'll never see anything anywhere close to that low on that stretch of river. And I'll try once again to address some of the other questions in a bit.
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