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Labor Day Weekend Report

ozark trout fisher

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Well, I had planned to do a three day trip to leave Friday and get back Monday, fishing the Current River as well as some of the wild trout streams. Due to factors beyond my control, I couldn't get out of the house until noon Saturday and I had to be back by this afternoon...You know how it goes sometimes. So it was decided to just fish the Current, because I didn't have time for much else.I wish I had some pictures of big trout, but unfortunately this just wasn't the trip for that.

I got down to the regular place on the lower part of the Blue Ribbon stretch about 3 PM, set up camp, and went to see how the river was doing. The temperature was 93 degrees, and it was sunny. I need not tell you that those are about as bad of conditions for trout fishing as you could ask for. I fished through the afternoon, but all I saw were trout sulking on the bottom of the holes, apparently not liking this heat anymore than I did. I was not seeing the tell-tale silver flash of fish nymphing in the riffles, a sight that almost always greets you on this river. I tried everything but I knew I was just beating the water...The river was dead, and nothing I could do was going change that. I wasn't even dissapointed. When I saw the forecast I knew exactly what I was in for.

This went until about 7 PM, when some caddis began to come off. Then the trout began to come alive a little, although the feeding was sporadic at best. Still it was a beautiful evening to be on the river, with heavy mist giving the stream an otherworldly feel. I tossed dries until after dark, and one small brown was brought to hand.

I woke up at a little after 7 this morning, and the weather was blessedly changed. The temperature had dropped some 30 degrees, from the 90s down into the mid-60s, and the sky was cloudy. Wet wading even felt a little chilly.I was just struck by the beauty of the river, the bluffs, the heavily wooded mountain sides, the clean, cold water. This more than anything else is why I love this river, why I can never seem to get it out of my head. In any case, the river was an entirely different place this morning than it was last night, anything but dead. There didn't seem to be many bugs coming off, a trico here and an olive there, but the trout seemed to be up on the surface and intercepting just about every single one. I tried several things first, but eventually I settled on a dry-dropper rig with a #14 Ausable Wulff and a #16 Hare's Ear. I should have just clipped off the dropper, as the fish all wanted the dry (it's so rare and so pleasant to catch more on the dry than the dropper here that I wondered briefly if I was dreaming). This was simple fly fishing at its finest, just fishing the riffles, watching the big, white-winged dry fly until an eight inch brown came and smacked it off the surface. As you've probably picked up by this point, the fish ran really small today, but catching them on the surface completely made up for that in my mind. There were plenty of 8-10 inch browns around, the biggest one caught running only 14 or so inches. I didn't catch a single rainbow, and I didn't see very many either. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but it does make me think that the rainbow trout boom that occurred in this part of the river due to the spring floods may be starting to die down a little. It's back to the brown trout for sure, and I for one am totally good with that. Besides the Ausable Wulff, I also did fairly well on a Pheasant Tail Nymph (which is what took the 14 inch brown). Egg Patterns are what I usually rely on down there, and you can believe I tried them. The trout had no interest though, indeed they did not even induce a single bite.

The feeding fish seemed to be concentrated in the riffles, but then again, I always do best in the riffles on the Current...That may just be my style of fly fishing. The higher up accesses were really crowded (Tan Vat was the worst, not even what I'd call fishable), so I didn't even wet a line up there. The crowds weren't too bad down where I was-I only saw one other wading fisherman, although the aluminum hatch was there in plenty. Anyway, it was a good trip, no great numbers of fish, no great size either, but you can't beat getting them on top.

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