Jump to content

Central Mo Creek Fishing


Recommended Posts

I couldn't make it down to the Ozarks (though plans are in the works for next weekend) but I knew I had to get some fishing in yesterday. I have several creeks that I like to fish just a few miles north of the Missouri River in central MO. These streams mix the fish species of the slow, turbid streams of the north with what you would typically expect to find in an Ozark stream. Largemouth are the predominant bass species in most, but most of them have had a surprising number of smallies in them too, at least in the past.

I decided to fish a creek that was really good a couple of years ago, but had been absolutely hammered by the drought last year. Before the drought it was a productive smallmouth stream, more so than any other I'm aware of north of the MO river. But the drought essentially made into an intermittent stream for months at a time last summer.....to the point where the riffles were dry ground and the pools were mostly just a few inches deep. Needless to say, many of those smallies did not make it through that, because even the water that was available was bath-tub warm. I hadn't fished it but once or twice since the drought, and those trips had been unproductive to say the least. I wanted to find out if it was still worth fishing.

As you might guess, this summer has been a lot kinder to this creek. It was running at normal low water, but there was still a good amount of flow through the riffles, keeping the stream cool and oxygenated. What a pleasant sight that was in contrast to this time last year! It didn't take long to find out that the stream was far from dead. This stream is quite thin and clear, so I was walking along the creek, looking for fish to sight-cast to. It didn't take long to find a 14 inch largemouth bass. This stream is not heavily pressured in any sense of the word, and the bass didn't think twice before slamming at my Rebel Craw. Given how little water was in the stream last year, I have no idea how a bass this size managed to survive, but I would soon find out he was far from the only one.

In the cool weather of the evening, the bass fishing on this little creek was as good as it had ever been to me. The largemouth bass eagerly attacked my Rebel Craw. Then I switched over to a Tiny Torpedo for a bit of variety and it made little difference in the speed of the action. Every deep pool was thick with bass, truly a sight for sore eyes. This stream was supposed to be dead, I had thought, and yet in one years time it had managed an incredible bounce back. I have no idea where those fish hid last summer but they were clearly tougher than I thought.

The one thing that was a disappointment; despite catching quite a number of bass of variety of sizes, I did not catch (or even see) on smallmouth bass. They used to be a significant portion of the population on this creek. Of course one fishing trip is no sample size to go on, but it did make me wonder if they got hit a lot harder for reasons that would seem obvous.

Perhaps the most fun I had all day is when I stumbled on a massive pod of gar. The gar were not large, so despite having an light set up I decided to go after them. I spent what I would classify as an embarrassing amount of time simply watching them strike in vain at my Tiny Torpedo (as their hard mouth would not allow me to actually hook them.) They would just keep trying over and over again and didn't get bored of the game for at least 15 minutes.

I guess that's what I like about this stream. It's where two aquatic worlds seem to come together. On one hand, it feels like an Ozark stream, with the largemouth bass more than happy to bite the same Rebel Craw I'd use for smallies in southern MO and the plentiful longear sunfish as beautiful as ever. On the other hand you'll find carp and gar and other signs that you're not too far from the big muddy river. These "transition" streams between the Ozarks and the northern plains hold a fascination for me that I don't ever get tired of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are many small streams that are direct tribs of the Mississippi in south mo that have similar characteristics, but they are typical ozark creeks in upper sections, with a short transition to lowland streams. Once in a while you'll find a lowland fish in the upper reaches, but hardly ever an ozark species in the lower waters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of the central Mo. and most of the Northern Mo. Creeks and rivers have stretches where the bottom and banks are not just mud and clay, and you'll even find some bluff holes, gravel bars and rock gardens on those streams. Those stretches serve as a home range to whatever Smallmouth might be in the stream.

If you concentrate your time only in those stretches you'll be surprised how many smallies there are in "yucky streams" like the Loutre, Cuiver, Boeff, Auxvasse, the Salt tribs, ect.

They certainly deserve mote attention than they get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They certainly deserve mote attention than they get.

I agree-but I'm glad that they don't get that much attention. On the stream I fished Saturday, I think I've seen one fisherman in two years of fishing it on and off. To say that some of these streams are "unpressured" is a massive understatement. Now this creek does have its pollution issues (you better not eat the fish) and is far from perfect, but still.

You know I like fishing Ozark streams, but I'm thankful that many people only like Ozark streams. It leaves the vast majority of the stream mileage in this state open to those who want to explore it with few if any other fisherman around.

There are many small streams that are direct tribs of the Mississippi in south mo that have similar characteristics, but they are typical ozark creeks in upper sections, with a short transition to lowland streams. Once in a while you'll find a lowland fish in the upper reaches, but hardly ever an ozark species in the lower waters.

It is a bit jarring to find traditional Ozark species and big river fish all in the same pool. If you get much further downstream from where I was fishing it gets really slow and you're fishing for catfish, carp, etc (with an occasional largemouth mixed in there.) But in the transition zone you can catch both. I'm hoping the smallies survived the drought but we'll see. A couple of trips not catching/seeing them is not enough to come to any conclusions.......but not a great sign either, especially since it's pretty much gin clear and you can see just about everything that's in a pool you're fishing.

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.