Back in Kansas. I was pretty excited when my district manager asked if I wanted to go back to KC for the Grand Opening of the Orvis Leawood store. When I was there about a month ago I met some cool people and was looking forward to seeing them.
|Up early to try and find some carp|
I also wanted to see some more of the fishing that the area had to offer, including some more carp spots. I called Nathan, the fishing manager and asked if he would be interested in fishing a spot he really likes called Taneycomo, which is in Southern MO, about a 3.5 hour drive from KC. He was raving about how big the browns are that come out of there and assured me that the fishing would be good.
|Trail next to the carp stream|
The weather left something to be desired for the first couple of days. I flew in on Wed and it was really windy and rainy until Friday. It didn't matter much though because all I did was work from sun up to sun down Wed, Thur, and Friday. I did get a couple hours on Friday during the middle of the day to get out and explore a carp spot but didn't see anything.
Saturday morning I went out with Joe and we had a shot at a couple big carp but failed.
The big day was Sunday.
Nathan, his wife Sarah and baby Henry picked me up at my hotel at 5am. We stopped after about an hour and a half to drop the baby off at Nathan's parents place, and then drove the final couple hours to Branson MO, where Table Rock Lake is located. Taneycomo is the tail that drops out of that lake. If you've never been to Branson, it's basically the Wisconsin Dells with a shit load of Southern Babtist churches.
The drive was gorgeous, the leaves where turning and we were in the northern part of the Ozarks. I couldn't wait to get my line wet and try for one of the massive trout I had been hearing about.
My excitement quickly abated once I saw the parking lot to the public fishing area. At first I was just mildly concerned, because Nathan and his wife didn't seem surprised at all at the 30 or so cars parked in the FIRST of two lots. I figured there would be enough room and fish for everyone. Well, I was correct about there being enough fish, but I was definitely wrong about there being enough room.
The first thing we did was look at the fish ladders to see if there were any trout headed up to the hatchery. I don't know why, but I thought that we would be fishing for wild fish, definitely not the case. Every single fish in the river comes from the hatchery and there are something like 16,000 fish or more per mile of this river.
When I finally looked over the staircase leading to the river it was like something out of a nightmare. The river was literally lined with "fly fisherman" and spin casters. We had to find a hole in the lineup and get in. We walked behind some dude and made sure he saw us, then I guess we weren't fast enough so he decided to brush us with a back cast. To make matters even worse, the water was only about 2 feet at its deepest point, it was like a goddamn trickle and you could see all the trout just swimming around everywhere. They had no fear at all of people and would just swim up to your feet to eat the stuff kicked up from the bottom. I couldn't believe it.
At this point I would have driven straight back to Kansas City and spent the rest of the day carp fishing, but Nathan and his wife had really gone out of their way to take me down here, and we did drive over 3 hours so I had to make the best of it. Luckily Nathan and his wife are happy, fun people and that kept my spirits high.
I caught a trout on a little Sculpin pattern after about an hour. The idea had been to strip streamers for the big browns, none were caught all day.
I put on a nymph rig for a while just to change it up a little and caught a couple of fish on a scud and a disco midge but didn't really get any satisfaction out of it. Most of the guys around me were hooking up from time to time and I'd bet 75% of the hookups were false hooks due to the low water level, and drifting flies over reds. The other popular spot was right where the water comes out of the hatchery. There were probably ten guys lined up as close as possible to the entry to the hatchery drifting nymphs under indicators. Fun?
I guess in summary I would say that it was a sad place to fish and I'm really grateful to have thousands of miles of awesome trout fishing here in CA, and back home in Wisconsin that I can always count on. If you're going to MO or Kansas to fish, just bring the Carp and Bass gear, or take a trip to the White River or Little Red river way down in Arkansas.