One of my main fishing goals this year was to help others achieve their goals (where possible based upon proximity and scheduling). The main focus has been to get my daughter's goals met. She has goals to catch five new species that she has never caught before, to catch two new species of sculpin, and to catch a total of 40 different species for the year. Up to this point her life list was only at total of 34 species. So we would have to work on getting her on new species. With my travelling between Missouri and Maryland, I have been able to find species that she has not caught previously and fish those spots when she is in Maryland. I have posted about those trips previously. When in Missouri, I have focused on getting her in front of some of the more difficult species either due to their resistance to being caught or more likely the distance from our house.
I have been also thinking about trying to fish a spot where I have seen and caught plains topminnows previously. This is a small creek just south of Rolla. With that in mind, I planned a trip first to a creek and a small river that are "on the way" to Rolla. At the first creek there was the opportunity to catch several minnows, darters, sunfish, and bass. Since she had not yet caught a smallmouth bass this year, Livie was fishing a 1/32 oz tube jig with a green pumpkin body/chartreuse paddle tailed slider. We were upstream from an overpass and I had her try to cast near the rip rap on the far bank. I tied on a perch colored whopper plopper and cast under the bridge. Livie immediately got bit by a decent small stream green sunfish. Then another. At that point I made my first cast and as the bait "plopped" a few feet got bit by a 8 inch smallmouth (my first of the year ), which for this creek was not a bad sized fish. Some 12 to 14 inch could be caught here, but with the low water, weren't likely to still be in this tributary. Livie made a cast to a shaded part of the water and caught her first smallmouth of the year.
I made a couple of more casts with the WP and got slaps at the bait by sunfish and smaller bass. I then switched to the micro rig with a #26 Tanago hook with a tiny piece of redworm. I caught the first western mosquitofish of the day and my first of the year. I had seen a couple of male northern studfish that had some of their breeding coloration. I caught one on the micro rig. Not as colorful as some that I have seen or received photos of from other OAF members, but a nicer one than I have caught previously.
While looking for those guys I noticed a small school of minnows that did not look like the schools of bleeding shiners swimming around us. I dropped the bait and caught a bluntnose shiner. Livie was catching green and longear sunfish and at least one more smallmouth. I got her to take up the micro rig and she caught her first mosquitofish of the year.
She never did catch any of the bluntnose shiners, since they kept dispersing when she got close to them.
A little discouraged by not catching on the worm she resorted to what she does best - hand fishing ! She caught the following critters by hand.
We got to the confluence of the river and I could see smallmouth in the big pool below the confluence. We threw a few things at them but only landed a couple of small smallmouth bass and sunfish. Had a 16+' smallie look at the WP but not commit. Upstream from the confluence I had a huge blow up on the bait. I made a second cast and nothing until the bait was about 25 feet from me, It was passing right through the transition from the deeper channel to a shallow ridge and got blasted by a nice chunky 13" largemouth (yes we Follys can catch bass as well).
Livie swithed from hand fishing to a Trout Magnet trout crank and got into a thick bunch of large green sunfish. You just can't stop the selfies!
With the heat, Livie was wearing down. So we headed down to Rolla to get something to eat, drink, and try for plains topminnows. Livie was feeling worse, so I went out and scouted the creek to see if I could locate any of the topminnows. I found a couple only. The water was really low and most fish were really spooky. Our redworms were dead and breaking down in the heat. So I put a small piece of chartreuse plastic from a trout magnet jig on a #16 hook and let Livie fish in the shade of the bridge while I went after the topminnows. I also had on a much smaller piece of plastic on the #26 Tanago hook. I could only catch northern studfish. The juvenile topminnows were too small to get hooked and the one adult that I now saw avoided this bait. I switched to a white/pink piece and found a pod of three topminnows further down the creek. They avoided the plastic bait. Meanwhile Livie was catching bluegill, longears, and small green sunfish on most every cast. She found one of the redworms that had not fully liquefied and brought it to me as I stood near that pod of fish trying not to move and spook them. As soon as I got the worm near them they took interest and I caught one of the three.
Livie then switched positions. That spooked the fish and it took about 5 to 6 min for them to return to a spot where she could reach them and not spook them. She got bit and once again we were not able to hold onto the fish for a photo. She did not want to try to catch the last one from the bunch or to look for others. Called it quits! Livie caught three different species that put her total for the year at 32 species. So now we are in the countdown phase towards her 40 fish goal. She also has caught 16 new species so far to add to her life list! Just need to find some new sculpin. I am looking hard in Maryland and may think her best bet is going after some marine species.