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Dances With Smallies

9/11/2016 Stream Smallie Smackdown

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The company I work for has a mentor program.  I didn't have a preference on a mentor this year so I was randomly paired with a guy from an entirely different area of the business that I would not have likely met otherwise.  The first couple times we met we discovered that we had a mutual obsession for all things hunting and fishing.  About a month ago, we met for lunch and he was showing me pictures from his trip flyfishing for bonefish.  I said that was awesome and proceeded to show him pictures from my stream smallie adventures this summer.  His eyes got big and he said, "Whoa, I love stream fishing for smallies!  Where did you go for that?  I just moved back here a few years ago and have been looking for places like that!"  Now, I am usually highly secretive of the creek data I've accumulated and keep it pretty close to the chest, but after getting to know this guy, I've discovered he's a great person and an ethical outdoorsman. I also learned he is as secretive as me and I learned later that he has some good creeks I didn't know about ;).  Therefore, I told him that I have a couple places we could wade fish, but I wished I had a canoe to travel down stream to some accesses I've found.  He smiled like a kid in a candy store and said he had a canoe that he could load up and we needed to go! 

Well, Sunday was the big day.  I met him at 5 a.m. to drive a few hours to our take-out to drop off my car.  He said that at one point his truck said 49 degrees F.  I'd believe it because when we got to our put-in it was pretty chilly.  The creek was running perfect and clear.  We got on the water at sunrise and it was still chilly for this time of year.  The bite was pretty slow for the first hour or so.  Then it started warming up and fishing got red hot.  I'd have a hard fighting smallie on, then he would, or we both would.  This continued on the rest of the morning and we were having so much fun we lost track of time.  We made it down river to where another creek joins in, about a mile or so from our put-in. At this point we had caught 40+ fish.  The other stream was pretty stained from rain a day or two earlier.  It was sad to see the crystal clear stream we started out on turn brown.  It was probably all for the best though because we had another six miles to go and it was already well after 1:00.  We laughed at how much time we spent on the first mile and then hurried our way downstream.  

We didn't fish much on the rest of the trip, but did manage to catch another 15-20 by trolling and stopping a couple times at spots we just couldn't pass up.  We both agreed that next time we need to spend more time on this lower stretch because we had to pass on some really good looking water.  Luckily, my estimate of how many miles we had to go was right (for awhile I was thinking I greatly underestimated the mileage) and we were off the water by 6:00.  Although we ran out of fishing time, we had a great day.  We achieved the stream bass grand-slam by catching smallmouth, largemouth, spotted bass, and rock bass.  I caught one rock bass the size of my hand.  We also caught various sunfish and I had a huge gar hit a Ned rig right at the boat.  We didn't catch anything real big but plenty of 12-13 inch smallies and my friend caught a nice 14+ incher.  I also caught my first ever mean mouth bass.  Thanks to you OAF guys I could identify it.  Otherwise, I would have just thought it was a really weird looking smallie (sorry, no pic).  All fish were released.  We also saw a lot of other wildlife including a big soft shell turtle, three water moccasins, and three northern water snakes.  It was a fantastic day that will forever be imprinted in my memory.

2016-09-11 smallie1.jpg

2016-09-11 smallie3.jpg

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DWS

Sorry that I missed this.post earlier in the year. Sounded like a great trip. Glad you were able to ID the meanmouth. Would love to catch one of them. Congrats on a great multispecies creek trip!

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I missed the post also. In the past, I fished the Osage and several of its tributaries for about 6 years. I witnessed a spotted bass invasion. It went from one or two spots a year, to almost 50/50, spots to smallies in some sections.  My first mean mouth, had me stumped. 6 yrs later, I had caught many of these bass. One thing that stood out was, that no two looked alike. Some were lack of a better word "pretty". Actually, I didn't mind catching mean mouths,  If it wasn't at the cost of the loss of true smallies. The other observeration that I made was their size. I never caught any meanmouths over 12". They may have existed in the waters that I fished. I just never caught any. Also, most spots were under 12". Although, I did catch a 17", once. Below are pics of a mean mouth, spot, smallie. All caught within a few minutes of each other. Notice the horizontal lines on its lower half like the spot. But, other than that it resembles a smallie.

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