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Bill Butts

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About Bill Butts

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    Green Sunfish

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  • Location
    Springfield MO
  • Interests
    Fly Fishing for the Temperate Basses - Striped, Hybrid Striped and White Bass, Fly Tying, Writing, Photography and Cooking.

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  1. When i read that you kept 123, i was assuming White Bass and wondered what happened to the longstanding limit of 20 per angler on that fishery. So, before i replied i looked it up. Apparently, this is either the first or second year that the 20 White Bass limit in all Grand Lake tributaries was changed to the statewide "No Limit, except where otherwise specified". Anglers do need to understand the statewide limit for Hybrid Stripers is 20 with no more than 5 being 20" or longer. Does anyone read the regulations differently?
  2. Like many of our fellow White Bass fishers, you are already thinking ahead to spring. The Spring River is one that seems to warm up a little sooner that most rivers in our region. I have kept a fishing journal of my trips for quite a few years and the earliest i have had a decent day of stream fishing for Whites was on the Spring River on February 22nd several years ago. It was a warm late winter which helped. More important than the date is the water temperature. I have to admit that I didn't record the temp in my journal that day, which is the opposite of what I suggest all people who chase early spring White Bass make a habit to do. Another suggestion if you have a boat is to launch at Twin Bridges and go upriver and find the deepest water in the river channel and fish small baits (plastic or hair jigs, or Clouser Minnow flies) deep and with a slow retrieve. When the water is cold, less than 60*, the metabolism of White Bass is slow so they are not aggressive and seem willing to grab smaller baits more willingly. The bites will be soft, almost like a Crappie just mouthing your bait. In this scenario in the early season, you will catch small males mostly, but in good numbers if you locate them. Lastly, keep in mind that the ODWC has been planting very good numbers of Hybrid Stripers in recent years, so the future is bright for opportunities to catch some of these tackle busters on this fishery. Please share your experiences, as there aren't many on this board who report on the Spring River. It is a beautiful river and wonderful fishery!
  3. That was a great report! A very good example of how important it is to be persistent and always have a plan B, C and so on. Many would have never fished at all once they saw the muddy water, and some would have tried the muddy water and then quit. Great job in being "relentless"! BTW, did you check the water temp where you fished, and possibly on the Little Sac, too? If you keep a journal of your experiences, water temp is a very important factor to track in the early spring.
  4. It goes without saying that every year (spring fishing) is different, but it's important to keep in mind the most important factors for success on spring run White Bass and their larger cousins: Water levels in the lakes affect where you will find the most fish. Generally, the best areas to focus are the first 3-4 major shoals above lake water to find the greatest concentrations of spawning fish. Right now, for example, if it was early April and the water levels were the same as today, the first few shoals above lake water would be much farther downstream than in normal years. With the lake levels of all the White River lakes being quite low, this would require a very different access approach for fishermen to find the most productive areas. Popular fisheries like Beaver Creek, James River, Sac and Little Sac Rivers and the North Fork of the White are all very low in stream flow as well as the lakes they feed into. Wading and boating access would be different, so proper planning is wise. Having said all the above, we all know that in a matter of days river and lake levels can change. By the time the calendar gets to April, we could be looking at a very different set of water level data in the region. And, in high rainfall springs the Whites can venture many miles upriver which dilutes the concentrations of fish up and down the river. Water temperatures in the rivers affect the actual timing of spawning fish. White Bass, one of the Temperate Basses that include Stripers and Hybrid Stripers, will spawn in water that is as cool as 58*, but in the Ozarks region the strongest spawning usually occurs at temps give or take 65*. The rivers will get an influx of small male Whites for days or weeks prior to the actual spawn. I've always found that 50* is a good benchmark for males to come into the river, and the closer it gets and stays near 60* the more fish will be found. There are even some large female Whites caught very early, but until the water temp is right, those females are usually upriver temporarily to feed before retreating back to the deeper lake water of the river channel. Another water temp factor to keep in mind early in the season is that a sunny day can warm the river water a few to several degrees, which raises the metabolism of the fish and therefore their need to feed. So, the best time to fish early in the season is mid to late afternoon, after the water temp reaches it's highest for the day. A warm rain can have the same affect, and a cold rain the opposite affect of cooling the river and lowering the metabolism of the fish. In addition to the above, I would also make the following suggestions for the greatest odds of success from year to year. First, keep a fishing journal of all your experiences. This is particularly important in the early season when water and weather can change quickly. Keep records most importantly of not only your success rate, but where you fished, the water temp, water level and clarity, and the atmospheric factors of temperature, sun, and barometer. Next and very importantly, network with other fishermen who have the same interest. This board is a great resource for many things, but what you need is a small group of trusting fellow fishermen who can share their (including yourself) successes and failures on a daily basis throughout the spring. And lastly, realize that success fishing for the Temperates is largely based on finding them, so timing is utmost important when someone tells you they have been "on fish". Do your best to have some flexibility to be able to break away and get to the river. This is hard for many, but know that it is a worthwhile factor if you can arrange it. I hope this will be helpful to some of you, have a great Spring 2017! Bill
  5. Laker, that is very cool that you've fished the C&R program every year. I had forgotten the exact year, until you revealed it. That program became my favorite time to fish the parks, due to the relative low pressure and the winter beauty. My parents lived inside BSSP from 77 to 87 and thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace and abundance of wildlife of the winter seasons there. The program's concept was first introduced by well-known author, artist, conservationist, Dave Whitlock, to the Springfield Chapter of the Missouri Trout Fishers' Assoc. just a few years prior. 1973, I think. He said that he had communicated with the MDC and received no resistance to the concept of a winter C&R program. (Dave was a resident of Oklahoma at the time) The Springfield group then initiated a more direct request for a pilot program to at least be tested, which it was, And as they say, the rest is history. It would be interesting to see a chart of the usage of the fisheries in the winter, if they keep one. In the early days, as you know, you had to submit your fishing license to get a daily C&R tag, so tracking usage was simple. With specialized clothing technology for cold weather, most anglers can now enjoy reasonable comfort in about all but the most extreme cold temps. What awesome resources we are fortunate to have in Missouri State Parks.
  6. You have exciting new opportunities ahead of you from your new location in Indiana. Call or go visit (Springfield MO native) Derrick Filkins at the FlyMasters of Indianapolis shop. All the best!!!
  7. Phil.....Simms has a great custom program. They of course are premium priced but never disappoint. Price only hurts once. Consistent performance on the water is hard to argue. Simms delivers and backs their products with service and satisfaction. All the best! Bill
  8. Hey OTF! When you get settled in Indiana, I would suggest looking up Derrick Filkins at Flymasters of Indianapolis, a very long-standing shop in Indy. Derrick is a great friend who grew up in Springfield and will understand your perceived pain of leaving our great Ozark region. He and his crew can give you some orientation to your new home area, I'm sure. God's speed! Bill
  9. Which business in the shopping center did he go into?
  10. Thumper, are you wanting to learn about Temperate Bass species on a specific fishery, or what is your primary interest? Do you fish with conventional gear or fly tackle, or both? If you are looking for fishing reports, on Beaver or Norfork lakes (which have all 3 of the Temperate species), the AR Fish and Game (AGFC) has a very good weekly report that you can request to be emailed to you automatically. There are multiple reports on each fishery, and they are really pretty good. Ditto for Greer's Ferry, which is of course a premier Hybrid Striper (I don't like the disrespectful term "wiper") and White Bass fishery. The Hybrid Striper and White Bass fishery of Truman Lake is phenomenal, particularly in the summer and early fall if there is a good volume of water flowing thru Truman Dam that creates a current in the main lake. Regular reports from marinas and guides up there are not easy to find, but it is a fishery well worth the effort to learn if 6-12# Hybrids get your attention and passion. There are a number of Temperate fisheries in eastern OK, too, if you are interested in learning any of those. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation also publishes and distributes a weekly fishing report via email, if you request it. If you would like a little more info on that region, I'd be glad to provide the names of some of the fisheries and available species for you.
  11. That is a great explanation, Al. Thinking of your second home area in Montana, the Yellowstone River begins its 600+ mile journey from Yellowstone Lake, inside Yellowstone Park (actually originates above the lake with two primary tributaries), flowing north into MT, then east and north again to its confluence with the MO RIver just over the ND border. The MO then continues southeast across western ND and southward across SD, before becoming the SD/NE border as it flows eastward, then again turning south becoming the NE/IA border for a ways, and then the KS/MO border, and finally across MO from KC to St. Louis where it joins the Mississippi. Over 2,000 miles from its headwaters, the Missouri is the longest river in North America. Sorry for the diversion, back to the topic at hand.......People who live in my area (Springfield) are fascinated when they realize that Greene and Webster counties are relatively high, and contain the headwaters of the following: Sac, Little Sac (both feed Stockton Lake), Pomme De Terre (feeds PDT Lake), Niangua (feeds Lake of the Ozarks), Osage Fork of the Gasconade and Gasconade (join the Missouri River), Beaver Creek (just a mile south of Webster county line, feeds Bull Shoals Lake), Finley Creek joins the James River (feeds Table Rock Lake). All, except the James (Finley) and Beaver, are northward flowing river systems.
  12. First of all, this has been and continues to be a very good discussion. Thank you for reporting the presentation info from AGFC to stimulate this dialogue. As many of you know, AR decided to discontinue Hybrid Striper stocking on Norfork Lake, too. Greer’s Ferry will continue to receive only hybrids as they have for a long time. Their other marquee striper lake, Ouachita, will continue to be stocked only with stripers. The reason of impact on the crayfish population in Beaver is fascinating, surprising to me since all the Temperates (Striped, Hybrid Striped and White Bass) are known to be pelagic (open water roaming), but nonetheless hard to argue with if they did stomach sampling. I hope they did the stomach sampling several times to be sure it was not just an anomaly of seasonal timing. Though I reside in MO, I have spent countless days on the White River above Beaver in the spring over the past 18 years. It is well known, even if you don’t bait fish, that crawdads are very effective bait for whites and hybrids (and walleye) during the spring spawning period. I’ve seen fishermen use all sorts of live minnows, including shad and (not live) shad guts, and even chicken livers. (and I thought those were best wrapped with bacon and grilled) On Norfork Lake, one of the strong reasons for discontinuing the hybrid stocking that was communicated by AGFC fisheries folks was the low importance of the specie (hybrid stripers) on that fishery. In angler surveys, Striped Bass on the Norfork fishery were far more highly valued and preferred by a very large margin. I would fully expect the same to be true on Beaver, if they studied angler preference. You have to respect the focus and commitment of requiring scientific data to support stocking requests by the AGFC upper management staff. That has to be fundamental to long term successful fisheries management, regardless of the species. AR, MO and OK all have wonderfully dedicated fisheries folks, and we should all take the time to express our gratitude to them, and their upper level management, whether in person or by written/electronic communication. That being said, I really appreciate and agree with the former AGFC employee, “Notropis” (his board name, and contributed to this discussion, sorry I don’t know him), that it is truly sad when the Commissioners of any of the states carry a personal agenda to influence and override solid fisheries research. I’ve seen it in MO an AR over the years. For those who have followed the Bull Shoals Striped Bass stocking discussions over the past several years, before MO jumped into the arena, you may recall that AGFC fisheries proposed an official stocking plan for stripers in their management plan. I was in email communication with them in 2009 when they requested 22,000 stripers to be stocked yearly or every other year. That requested plan was denied, and I’ve never seen any further communication that indicated a proposal for any stripers to be stocked in that fishery. Apparently, the AR fisheries staff fully believed there was scientific support for stocking Stripers in Bull Shoals or they wouldn’t have recommended it. Their fisheries staff for Bull Shoals and Norfork has changed since that time, so it would probably be a moot point to even attempt to reconstruct that process, but their proposal would be documented somewhere in the fisheries proposals of the state despite being denied. Regardless, and as I previously mentioned, we have wonderfully dedicated fisheries folks in AR, MO and OK who truly care about improving the viability of all the species they support in the short and long term. Let’s agree on our mutual and wonderful fishery opportunities, and approach our differences with effective and respectful communication to work toward the best solutions.
  13. This is a good discussion..... Norfork Lake will also see discontinued stocking of Hybrid Stripers, consistent with their new management plan. AGFC has wonderfully dedicated fisheries biologists who use all the research and resources available to evaluate fisheries and make quantified recommendations to improve and sustain the quality of fisheries in AR. I believe there has to be a trust factor in all of this. While I am disappointed with the decision to eliminate Hybrid Striper stocking in those 2 fisheries (Beaver and Norfork) that I have enjoyed for nearly 20 years particularly during the spring spawning time when they ascend the tributaries, I respect the decision to focus on improving the overall Striper fisheries. From the countless conversations I've had with fisheries folks over the past 25 years, it is pretty well understood that extreme water level fluctuations significantly influence the forage base of the Temperate species (Striped, Hybrid Striped and White Bass). During normal to moderately varied water level periods, Temperates are known to focus almost 100% on the shad specie(s). But in extreme and usually brief high water level periods, they are opportunistic feeders on other forage options, including the aforementioned crawdads. They have to eat when their metabolism dictates. Additionally, what we don't see or hear enough is the results of research that is done to quantify the impact of the Temperates on various fisheries. The reality on most, and perhaps nearly every, fishery is that there truly is a very good balance established over time on fisheries with either Hybrid Stripers or Stripers, or both, that directly benefits keeping the forage (shad) base in balance for all species. Research has proven the beneficial effects on growth rates of bass species, crappies and walleye. Yet, countless naysayers have closed their minds to scientific research proving the benefits. As the AGFC stated in their Norfork plan, nothing is etched in stone and if continuing research would ever indicate the need and benefit for Hybrid Striper stocking to be re-established, they will certainly consider that. As with our dedicated fisheries folks in MO that I believe we have good reason to hold in high regard and confidence, I choose to believe in and support our southern neighbors to pursuit their work to improve the fisheries of AR for the good and enjoyment of the majority. To all professional fisheries folks out there, keep up the great work! Bill
  14. As usual, Marty, great report with text and photos for a great cause!!!
  15. Wow, what a great and well deserved tribute to one of MDC's best and most effective fisheries guys in my lifetime (60 yr)!!!! Jim Low really did his homework to research and articulate Spence's career and passion for fishing and hunting. I hope that other biologists in MO and across the country will read this and take to heart his dedication and professionalism. All the best to you, my friend, Spence!!!
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