Jump to content

Meramec Near Unger Park Report 6/22


Haris122

Recommended Posts

I figured I try the report thing since I went out friday late afternoon/early evening.

So I went out on the Meramec by Unger Park, walked to the north facing portion of the meramec, kind of across the river from the Greentree Park Access a few hundred yards before the river takes that 90 degree turn south just to check out what that portion is like.

I got there with plenty of sun still left, and a large chunk of that section of the river, near that bank was pretty shallow (river had probably been receding for days now around there) but I decided to still give it a shot. Despite some activity all over the place, I got nothing to bite. I saw plenty of Bighead carp schooling up again, and more activity near the opposite bank, but aside from the carp I was not able to make out any other species that might've been acting up. The water on the opposite bank in general seemed plenty deeper but the actual bank was essentially non-existent on large chunks off that side (just a 8-10 foot steep drop off into the river). Anyhow, I wound up little by little making my way further west down the bank with that cheap Conquer white/blue 2" shad crankbait, without any luck. Eventually I camped out near a tree in the river just opposite from the boat ramp on the Greentree Access, as the water there was getting more rapidly deeper and i figured the structure might help a bit.

Anyways, I put some corn on one of my rods, to see if I can catch anything with it just sitting out there while I throw around the other rod with that crankbait. Eventually I sloppily managed to put the chunk of cornear on the hook somehow without it falling off on impact with the water and then focused on tossing the other one around.

After a while of no action I decided to try out one of the value bin cotton cordel deep running crankbaits (I think it was called "pearl shad") to better get the attention of something that might be camping out near the bottom by those trees but no luck with it either.

I kept moved down the bank a little further west, near some rock pile, and tried casting around there, but still no luck. Managed to make out a foot or foot and half long gar, kind of checking things out before it saw me and bailed out, but aside from that, didn't make out anything else.

Finally I came back to my other rod, and reeled it in (no luck either). It was getting dark, so I figured I cast a few more times, before I head out, and bam, one of my last planned casts I hook something a bit downstream of the tree I was near, and boy it gave me a heck of a fight. I was afraid it was going to get loose, but thankfully it didn't. I felt like for a change it wasn't a gar, cause though they fight good, they tend to jump around trying to shake the lure off, and this one wasn't doing that. Anyways, a couple of minutes later, and what do we have, a nice tough 14-15" Drum (first time I caught one). I know drum (or gar for that matter), aren't too thrilling catches for most of you guys, but I'm a rookie and honestly, getting a fight like that to salvage 3-4 hours of not even a single other bite, was such a rewarding feeling. And the fish was a pretty good sized one too for me personally. Anyways, I let that baby swim off after it recovered, and even though it was just one fish, it's a successful day by my standards.

Only got a blurry pic of it, as it was pretty dark, and I didn't feel like stunning it with the flash or maybe messing it's eyes up somehow, with such brightness but it is what it is.

post-13174-0-92309200-1340434601_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing wrong with drum. While I've often been disappointed when I first hooked one and thought it was a big bass, they are actually a pretty cool fish. And if you like to eat fish, drum are the only freshwater member of the same family as redfish, and if you find a good blackened redfish recipe a drum will taste just as good or better.

It sounds like you are learning, but here are a few perhaps helpful hints...

Forget about the crankbaits for the most part. If you are limited to bank fishing, the only good places to use crankbaits are places where they are likely to get hung up and lost because you can't wade out and reach them. Get a few spinnerbaits and use them instead of the crankbaits, since they are less likely to get hung up. Other than that, I'd mostly use soft plastics if you are seeking bass or even walleye. A curly tail grub on a jighead, swam by reeling slowly so that it is traveling just above the bottom and occasionally ticking the bottom, will catch about any gamefish, and is reasonably snagless.

On rivers, structure is one thing to look for but the other really important thing is current. Find moving water on rivers like the lower Meramec, and that's where nearly all the bass will be in the summer. That's because it's also where most of the bass food is, as well as the most oxygenated water. And speaking of bass food, look for minnows in shallow, moving water, and get a minnow trap and toss it out where you see minnows. Live minnows will catch any kind of gamefish, along with catfish, gar...about anything that might eat a minnow. You can fish with other stuff while waiting to catch some minnows, and then try the minnows anywhere it looks good. The other good live bait is nightcrawlers. You can wad them on the hook and fish them for catfish, or just hook one through the nose and catch bass, walleye, or other game fish. You might, however, have a lot of trouble with sunfish nibbling them off your hook. If you do move to another area, or just put on a small piece of nightcrawler on a small hook and enjoy catching the sunfish.

The slow or non-current areas might have some catfish, drum, and carp, and maybe some crappie if you can find brushpiles in reasonably deep water, but the areas with moving water will have nearly all the active gamefish. In moving water, look for dropoffs going from obviously shallow water to deeper water (doesn't have to be deep, just deep enough that you can't easily see the bottom). Look for obstructions like logs, rocks, or old refridgerators somebody tossed out that break the current and form pockets of deeper water around them. Look for current seams where the direction of the current changes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool, thanks Al. I'll put those tips to use. I've been a bit scarce on using the soft plastics cause I haven't had much luck in the past with them, but part of that was also my presentation. But I will start it up again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was wanting to hit up that section to see if I could find some common or gras carp but sounds like the bighead are all thats there. Bummer.

"When you do things right, people wont be sure you've done anything at all."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure I saw some common ones a few days prior to this report, just a couple hundred yards further downstream, past the southward bend toward the I-44 bridge. And I also saw a dead one (definitely looked like a common carp) somebody had caught and just tossed on the bank to die (again just past that southerly bend on the river). So I'm pretty sure there are some, but definitely not in the quantities of the bigheads. Those guys looked like they had gathered for a convention or something.

If you don't have any luck on the river there, maybe just give the lake in Unger Park a shot. I've only had a little luck on it catching anything, myself. But I saw some guy catch a couple common carp in the lake, last time I spent a good chunk of time on it. I went to the actual lake two hours late this afternoon (only person there), and there was definitely plenty of activity going on. Put on some catblood stinkbait under a bobber, and had plenty of nibbling going on, but unfortunately I ended up setting a hook on a turtle that committed to it, instead of a fish. I could tell it hurt, while I tried to get the hook out of it's nose, but it seemed to be all right afterwards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure I saw some common ones a few days prior to this report, just a couple hundred yards further downstream, past the southward bend toward the I-44 bridge. And I also saw a dead one (definitely looked like a common carp) somebody had caught and just tossed on the bank to die (again just past that southerly bend on the river). So I'm pretty sure there are some, but definitely not in the quantities of the bigheads. Those guys looked like they had gathered for a convention or something.

If you don't have any luck on the river there, maybe just give the lake in Unger Park a shot. I've only had a little luck on it catching anything, myself. But I saw some guy catch a couple common carp in the lake, last time I spent a good chunk of time on it. I went to the actual lake two hours late this afternoon (only person there), and there was definitely plenty of activity going on. Put on some catblood stinkbait under a bobber, and had plenty of nibbling going on, but unfortunately I ended up setting a hook on a turtle that committed to it, instead of a fish. I could tell it hurt, while I tried to get the hook out of it's nose, but it seemed to be all right afterwards.

You need to keep going further upstream if you want consistent fishing. At a point 10 years ago you could say the closer you get to St. Louis the bigger the smallmouth get. This is not the case anymore. You may find an occaisonal monster around the area where you are fishing but I would venture to say that you could fish for 2 years and never catch even an 18" smallmouth, especially without a boat.

"Honor is a man's gift to himself" Rob Roy McGregor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As much as I like going out a little further away, and seeing what it's like at accesses and spots I haven't been to and enjoying the scenery, at the moment for the regular trips I'm restricted to what is close to me. But right now, I'm not that worried whether I hook exclusively Smallmouth or not. As long as there's some variety in what kind of fish I catch, the fight is good, and as long as I hook them fair and square, I'm happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But right now, I'm not that worried whether I hook exclusively Smallmouth or not. As long as there's some variety in what kind of fish I catch, the fight is good, and as long as I hook them fair and square, I'm happy.

That is the way to look at it. I've spent a lot of time over the past year fishing central and western MO streams that sort of meet the same description as the lower Meramec...Somewhat urban, polluted, off-color, generally unattractive to most people. And you know what? A lot of those types of streams have some good fishing if you can set aside preconceived notions. I've caught good smallies (as well as largemouth) in polluted, often turbid flows that most people assume can hold at most a few carp.

So I'd say keep exploring that stretch of the Meramec-once you learn its ins and outs you'll find something there that's worthwhile, I can just about promise. The concentrations of smallies that far down aren't high, but it never lacks in variety. Catfish, drum, largemouth, bluegill, whites, and walleye are some of the species I've encountered. Even some of what most people call "trash fish" can be fun to catch. Bowfin, a rather frightening looking fish which are relatively abundant in that part of the river and especially in the backwater lakes, are a great example. And they'll bite on almost all the same things you'd use for largemouth or spotted bass. They are ferocious fighters and if you can get over their looks are generally great sport and worth targeting. I wouldn't eat one though...

One piece of advice... If you can get ahold of even something as inexpensive as a $70 inflatable kayak, it will really open up a lot more productive water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Congratulations on the fish! Fishing is all about going out and having fun fishing no matter what you catch! Have fun learning more about the sport and good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.