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Late Current Report - Going for Browns 26Feb17

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I went down and fished the Blue ribbon section of the Current on Sunday the 26th. I was looking to catch brown trout to meet a personal goal I set for the year. I just needed five more browns to meet that end. As I was heading through Montauk, I had really no idea on how many people would be camping in the park or fishing in the blue ribbon section three days prior to the trout park opener. I really didn't see many camp sites full as I drove past. There was just a single car at the access point when I pulled. I decided to head down stream about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile and fish a couple of decent pools and runs before I headed upstream. I was committed to stay on the water to meet my goal.

I started with 1/8 oz zig jig  and fished the fast water heading into the top of a pool that I knew held fish. The only action was when I sunk the point of the jig into some of the wood lining that run. When you are wade fishing you don't have much option if the water is too deep to really change the angle on a hung bait. I didn't break my line, just the hook point. I switched to a 1/16 oz jig and then a 1/32 oz to fish the main body and tail of the pool. I had fish follow the jig, but not commit. I went further downstream fishing the jigs in the runs as I went along. I got down stream to one of the deeper holes. The last time I fished this hole, there was a blow down on the bluff bank. Now there was that same tree and two other blow downs on the near side of the hole. It made for an interesting wading situation. With the deeper water, I put back on a 1/16 oz jig and cast upstream in the open water between the trees. I hooked and landed a 10" male creek chub. He was colored up and primed for breeding. I didn't get any other hits on the jig as I made casts closer to the big rocks that I have caught large trout from in the past. I switched to a rapala countdown and got bit by what would be the largest trout I would encounter that day. It  came to the surface where I could get a good look at it and then got off. Though I knew that it was not likely to get this fish to bite again, I switched to a couple of different baits and had no other hits. Disappointed, I made my way back upstream.

I put back on the countdown and fished a run that I seem to catch a fish almost every time that I fish it. I made an upstream cast to the far bank and ran the bait just in the seam between the deeper water with the rock bottom and the smaller gravel/sand bottom. I would change up the speed of my retrieve and just as I slowed it down - FISH ON! I got my first brown of the day in the net. I kept with the same bait and the variable retrieve and cast up near the head of this run and hooked the largest brown that I would land that day - 17+" and probably 2.25 to 2.5 lbs. Took off as soon as I let it go.

No 297_17 inch brown trout - Current River - 26Feb17.JPG

As I headed back upstream I ran into fresh boot prints, but did not see any fisherman. Not surprisingly I also did not have any bites in the obvious runs and pools until I reached one of the larger pools in this stretch. It's hard to fish this pool effectively. I saw a large splash near the large boulders that I was going to run my baits past. I cast first just below the boulders, Nothing. Then the money cast which landed 10 to 15 feet above the splash that I had seen. The fish hit as the bait passed the splash zone and it felt heavy, unfortunately it came unhooked. At this point I had been on the water for about 2 hours and covered about 3/4 miles of water and only 2 fish landed with 4 trout bites.  I went back to the access and got a drink. There were now two new vehicles and the one there previously had left. Also another car came in with three guys. I headed upstream and followed new boot tracks. Even though I knew at least one guy was up ahead of me and three guys were coming up behind me I still fished several of the traditional holes an runs that I have caught fish in the past just in case one was willing to bite.

After fishing several spots I had no bites, which was in line for what I had expected. Several of these holes had much more sand and silt built up covering the preferred rocky bottoms that I normally find these trout.  Maybe we need a good 2-3 foot flooding event to wash out some of this material. I finally met up with one of the fishermen. I could see his buddy well upstream from the two of us. I told him that I would go well up ahead of them through the woods to let them fish without disturbance. As I passed the guy upstream he was headed downstream or at least that’s what it looked like to me. I went another 100 yards upstream of him. Much of the water between us was a mix of boulders, bluff rock, chunk rock, gravel and sand with deeper water along the bluff bank. I wanted to fish the “S” curve just upstream from where I came out of the woods. I was changing my leader and bait when I noticed that he was headed back upstream. He would cast and then walk upstream 10-20 feet then cast again. Just as I was done retying he was right next to me. After a brief discussion, I left and headed further upstream without making a cast.

I was now fishing sections of river that I had not fished in years. So it all became nostalgic in a way. I would think about fish that I had caught or lost in these spots in the past or how the water ran past a rock or rootwad in the past. So I knew what cast I would make when I got to a long sweeping bend in the river that has a deep undercut on the outside bank. I had tied on a floating rapala and made the cast and I didn’t get bit until the bait was about 6 feet from me. The brown came towards me and jumped while throwing the bait. Now the dilemma, the leader was past my first guide, so is this a caught fish. I deliberated this for a while and decided that since I had no “reel” control of the fish that it became the third lost fish of the day.

The section above this sweeping bend fishes like a pond. So I cast towards the woody cover on the far side. I got to see the fish come out of the treetop and hit my bait. I tried not to horse the fish and got the 15” brown into the net. Now I was three and three on the day. It was just after 2 pm as I was resting I saw a mink up on the bank and watched it as it headed down to the treetop that I just pulled out that last fish. I was just below a section of the river where many years ago I had spooked a giant (>24”) brown while heading upstream. On that trip, after a couple of hours I was able to come back down stream to that same spot and snuck up to position myself for a cast. I made that cast and the fish bit. As she rolled I saw her tail. It looked wider than my hand as it broke the water and then she was off. That image haunted me for years until I finally caught a 23.5” brown trout (still my PB) from this river. I made a cast to that same spot. The cover had changed a bunch. I still got a solid hit on the bait, but this fish did not get hooked. I switched back to the countdown and headed further upstream. I lost another one that hit the bait as it passed through the hole below some bank brush. It threw the hooks when it jumped. Down 3 to 4.  50 yards upstream I caught and landed my fourth brown, a 13+” fish, at the head of a hard “S” curve bend in the river. I have evened it up 4 to 4.

I have caught many fish in the past in the next long bluff hole. I felt confident that I would at least get the opportunity to land that fifth brown. Unfortunately due to a couple of laydown tree, the water was too deep for me to wade and fish effectively through most of that hole. I could only fish the tail and then the head of the pool and not the middle. No bites or taps at the tail of the pool. I got up on the bank and circled to the head of the pool. I could see trout and suckers on the bottom near the woody cover. I got some looks on the countdown and then I switched back to the floating rap. I caught my first Current river brown trout in 2002 on an F9 original sliver/black rapala. Now I had on one of my hand painted floaters. I made a cast upstream towards the center of this large wood pile.

300 Logjam - Curent River (1).JPG

My retrieve was twitch, twitch, reel then twitch, twitch, twitch, reel and repeat. I could see two trout following my bait. I let the bait pause causing it to float slightly and first trout hit the bait and missed getting hooked, but the next one got caught. This 12” brown was not the largest, but after 8 hours on the water and nearly 5 river miles of hiking and hard wading it was one of the best fish that I have ever caught.

No 300_12 inch brown trout - Current River - 26Feb17.JPG

This fish represents 14 years of enjoyment on the Current river and the 300th brown trout that I have caught in Missouri. I had to stop several times heading back to the access, sometimes to just take in the scenery and other times mostly to rest. On one of those breaks, a gray shape moving along the bluff top 80 to 90 yards away caught my eye. I watched it as it came into and out of view as it proceeded along the bluff top. This was only the second bobcat that I have seen in Missouri. On one of the last rest stops, I was just sitting listening to the drops of water coming off of the bluff and the soft gurgle of the river as it passes me. Could hear a kingfisher chittering as it flew above the river and a couple of squirrels barking in the distance. I sat and thought that these might have been the best sounds of the day only to be surpassed by the head and tail splashes of a brown trout on the line and the not so silent prayer of “stay on, stay on, please just stay on!”

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32 minutes ago, bkbying89 said:

The Current is a special river to many of us and you captured it well.

The Current has been by far my favorite river for many years. Over the years I have fished other trout waters across the state and each have there own fascination, but I always return to the Current. Actually I have fished all of the other MDC designated trout waters across the state. However, I make it down to Current as many times as I can each year.

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