Most Recent Trip Reports and Pictures
This page was last updated: April 19, 2015
PAST FLYFISHERS AT THE CROSSING
FLY FISHING TRIPS ARE BELOW!
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Even More Trip Reports Below
The Sensei is Back on the Water! ( Feb 6th): Two FATC, Jim Franke and Sid Aslin, were in a slump. Trips taken but very few fish. They decided to do a courageous thing and visit the Sensei, the Obi Wan Kenobi of the fly fishing world! They climbed the mountain and asked the Sensei, "Would you give us extra instruction to make us better fly fishermen?" The Sensei, sitting with legs crossed and eyes closed, said nothing. They waited. Then the Sensei opened his eyes, looked them in the eye and said, "Let's go fishing!!" Yes, that's exactly how it happened!! Jim, Sid and the Sensei headed to Montauk for a day of "Instructional fishing". A cold morning followed by a cool afternoon and blue skies gave them all a glorious day to fish. Starting at the top of the Current river the gang was lead downstream, fishing each hole with precision. Midges were hatching everywhere so they went with dead drifting midge larva - P&Ps, red, and black. Cracklebacks (blue) brought the trout up to the surface. Trout were caught and lessons were learned. The swifter water produced the most fish as the clear slower water made the trout leary. Check out the pictures to see that Jim and Sid learned their lessons well. The Sensei is willing to instruct if the grasshoppers are willing to learn - just ask.
Tough Day at Montauk but Another Graduate (Feb 9th) : Based on the weather report, several FATC members thought it was a good day to go fishing. Mike Bisaga, Charlie Prestian (our newest FATC graduate), Matt McClure, and Matt's son Sam headed down to Montauk to take advantage of the final day of Catch and Release season, Sid Aslin was already down at Montauk, so we joined up with him. The weather report was cloudy to start the day and chilly, but would warm up and clear up by mid day. Unfortunately, this was NOT the case.
The day did start out chilly and cloudy, but it just seemed to get worse as the day went on. The high never got above the mid 30's and there was a constant wind blowing. To add to that, it appeared that someone had come into the park over night and removed all the fish. Sid had been fishing all weekend, and noticed a significant difference in the number of fish between Monday and over the weekend. Not sure if it was the front that took the temp from the 70's on Sat to mid 30's on Monday, but something happened to make the fish disappear. No excuses, this just made for a much more challenging day of fishing. We tried all the flys suggested by Kenny, who was there on Friday, and nothing seemed to work.
As it turns out, Charlie was onto his first "fish" fairly early. As evidenced by the picture, it technically was a fish. Maybe a little small, but we didn't really want that to be his graduation fish. We had a tough going through lunch. After lunch we decided to try something different, and Charlie hooked into one for the biggest rainbows I have seen at Montauk in a while, while stripping a black Woolly Bugger, and then another. This was a good start after lunch.
With all the pressure off, we headed to the campground area to see what that was like. Not much better, but we did end up finding a few in the fast deep water on a red San Juan worm. Just about quitting time there appeared to be a hatch going which brought several fish to the surface.They didn't seem to take anything on top, so just as we switched to a soft hackle, we got a couple hits, and then the siren went off. Overall, not a bad day, and congratulations to our newest graduated FATC member, Charlie Prestian.
Montauk Still Good Until Front Moved In (Feb7th): Joe Walker and Larry Farrar made the decision late Saturday night to head to Montauk Sunday morning to fish. Both expected the temp to be 46F in the morning and were surprised when it was 33F. Once the sun came up the temp started to rise and the light layering was enough to stay warm. The water was clear, low and slow. From the time the whistle blew until 2PM fish were caught regularly on Red & Partridge and Orange & Partridge Soft Hackles. The trout would not take them on the top or subsurface but loved them when they were sunk under an indicator. Fortunately there were plenty of soft hackles in the fly box as 13 were used between the two. The fish really beat them up which is a good thing. Hope each of you got out this winter season and caught a few fish. In less than three weeks the parks will be parked for the regular season. Now is the time to make sure your equipment is in good working condition, you've tied your favorite flies and made sure your waders don't leak. Tight lines. Great report Larry! A good technique dead drifting soft hackles. Sounds like the soft hackles turned the trout on!!
4th Annual FATC Dinner is a Success! (Feb 16th): Our 4th annual FATC dinner was a huge success this past Monday. Over 75 men showed up at PM BBQ on a snowy day to partake in great fellowship. The name tags indicated who were guests and who were FATC members and Kenny charged the guys to find a "new friend" that evening! The evening started with a few "rules" on how the three different raffles were to work. Once that was established the guys did an awesome job buying up raffle tickets throughout the night. A silent auction sold every fly fishing book we had and the big ticket items kept the guys in suspense on who's ticket would be called next. It looks like Mike Mikulin and Bob Aslin were some of the big winners throughout the evening. Kenny kept the evening rolling (give him a mic and he'll talk forever) with news of our fellowship and where we are headed. Mike Bisaga talked about the Stream team and Tom Kelly pitched the Fly Fishing Film Tour coming to St Louis March 19th. Talk, raffles and fellowship filled the night. New guys were excited about joining the FATC while old heads got to catch up with old friends. Over $1500 of fly fishing items were raffled. A special THANK YOU to our sponsors: WoolyBugger Fly Co, FeatherCraft Fly Shop, RiverRun Outfitters in Branson, CutThroat Leaders and our brother fellowship "Hooked for Life" in Durango, Colorado for the wonderful donated gifts. The big prize of the night a custom made net with a Brodin bag handcrafted by Gary Elliott went to Kevin Suttner. We would also like to thank PM BBQ for putting out superb food and drink and allowing us the full run of their restaurant. Check out the pictures of the evening below. A special thanks to all the guys that helped out throughout the evening from handing out the name tags, loading and unloading gear, selling tickets and taking pictures - thank you!! SEE PICTURES BELOW!!
Meramec River Checked out Mar 5th : Two FATC members checked out the Meramec river just after the cold weather broke last Thursday. The snow melt caused the river to drop to 32 degrees. We lost all feeling in our toes, the fish were lethargic and unresponsive. I think they were as cold as we were. But always things learned - we pulled a branch out of the water loaded with fat green caddis larva. They are getting ready as soon as the weather and water warms up so you be ready (figured a size 14 - 16 scud hook would do for these fat guys). We put on our line exactly that, two casts lately a nice rainbow. The weather is breaking - we will keep abreast of the best areas to fish.
Sensei, Two Grasshoppers Fish Montauk (Mar 9th) : Stan Patton and Charlie Prestian took the climb to the top of the mountain to ask if the Sensei would join them and instruct them in the art of the fly fisher. The Sensei agreed to abuse them, I mean instruct them, and off they went to Montauk. The weather was prefect to fish, foggy in the morning with gray clouds and mild temperatures all day. No hatches in the morning to speak of so the Sensei had them go deep to find the wily trout. The day started with shouts of "mend, mend, mend". Others near by couldn't figure out what was going on - a military fly fishing school perhaps? But trout were put in the net and "light bulbs" came on as the grasshoppers learned more and more. Midges worked great in the morning while an afternoon hatch brought the soft hackles out. Even a few hits on the dry fly brought smiles. A successful day of learning and catching as the Sensei smiled watching his grasshoppers stick it to the Montauk rainbow. Afterwards the Grasshoppers treated the Sensei to Mexican food. Mexican food? Shouldn't it have been Chinese?? The warm weather is coming and the hatches will soon turn on the trout. So get out there today.
Tan Vat/Below the Cable Have High Water From Snow Melt (Mar 12th): John Walker and Tim Graham took the day off to fish the Tan Vat area. The snow melt had the water at a high water mark and with more cfs water flow than it has seen there in a year. But that didn't stop this dynamic duel from giving it a go. They were surprised to meet the Sensei!! (see pictures), who was also fishing the same area. So the three joined forces to chase the wily trout. The three fished Tan Vat until about 1pm, had lunch and gave below the cable a go. Fishing was slow most of the day with about 15 trout being caught between the three. The best flies happened to be the black zebra midge, P&P midge and a small leech pattern. The snow melt turned the river slightly cloudy and fast but very cold for the Current river. It was a great day of fishing and comraderie. At the end of the day the two said their good byes to the Sensei, who disappeared into the woods to not be seen again. As the weather warms so will the waters and the trout will become more active. Don't not go fishing because you think it's not ready yet. It will rock at anytime now!!
Anyone Hungry? Lake Taneycomo (Mar. 20 -22) Our first big Spring Lake Taneycomo trip went off without a hitch this past weekend. Five FATC members hit the ICE COLD waters of Taneycomo - Terry Seaton, Craig Dull, Jim "don't call me Jimmy" Franke, Kenny "Ok then call me Kenneth or Sir" Klimes and our new Chicago member, Ron Fiala made the trip. The guys got there Friday at noon and after a nice BBQ lunch at Dana's, they hit River Run Outfitters to pick up a few flies and advice. In the condo by 1pm and on the water by 2pm. For two, it was their first time to Lake Taneycomo and they learned quickly that the water is COLD on the "como". One generator ran for the entire weekend (25 units) raising the lake level to around 703.5 feet and flow around 1200 cfs. We all had to work on our mending but the flow was easily managed by all the guys. The fishing was average to good with midges being the best fly to use. Black zebra, red, and P&P midges did the best while soft hackles in light colors (orange or green - had to go with both colors just in case you are color blind). At times the trout would tail (slowly come to the top and sip midges in the film layer) and using small soft hackles ( size 18) would provoke a strike. With the water being so cold we felt that the trout were still in a winter mode and midges were the fly of the trip, Cracklbacks also worked. The flow and depth stayed consistant the entire trip. Slower water was around Andy's house. Biggest fish of the trip was 17 inches with several caught in the 15 - 16 inch range. Many of the trout had awesome colors that you can see from the pictures. It was a fun weekend for the guys as we flew in a chef to cook our dinners for us (Ok, it was just Terry doing the cooking but it was better than any restaurant). We even had to take a few pictures of the meals. Everyone gained at least 3 pounds on this trip. Some lessons learned from the trip: Size does matter - and sometimes they like it small. When you are fishing in areas where the flow is fast don't take chances trying to cross or when near deep holes caused by boulders or trees don't get too close - wear your waist safety belt. And if you have a jimmy loop on your vest - you have an expensive vest! Our Spring Taneycomo trip is always one of our best - sign up next year before someone else beats you out.
Lake Taneycomo #2 Four Generators Running - A Bust?? Not Really! (Mar 27-29): We had many FATC headed down to Lake Taneycomo this weekend - around 8 were camping, 3 had a condo for four days and our group of five, made up of Tim Trog, John Walker, Dave Beerbower, Tom Kelly and Kenny Klimes, stayed at Lake Taneycomo. Before the trip started it looked like a bust - heavy rains caused the Corp of Engineers to blast four generators all weekend. Lake Taneycomo was 9 feet above the wading normal and the flow was 10 times as fast as normal. So our five decided it was time to go to plan B. We set out for Branson Friday morning with an intermediate stop at Bennett Spring to fish for three hours. The water was high there also but fishable as everyone in the group caught fish with Tim pulling in around six. On our drive down to Branson we checked every river we crossed - all were high and chocolate brown. We didn't feel good about the trip at this point but lesson number one - never give up on a trip because of what you "think" it will be like!! We arrived in Branson and as we thought Lake Taneycomo was high and fast. We put plan C into effect as we headed to Roaring River State park on Saturday morning. The park water was slightly higher than normal from the rains which was perfect for fly fishing! The fly fishing area was empty with our five and two other fly fishers (two Tenkara ambassadors). We caught lots of fish that day with John Walker getting a big 17-18 inch rainbow (he even picked up a "I released a Lunker" patch). Midges and soft hackles caught the most fish. We fished from around 10 am until 4pm and it was a beautiful day on the water. After fishing we visited the "Big Fish Pond" in the park and got to view some 24 - 26 inch Browns and Rainbows. The drive back to Branson was filled with talk of a great day. During dinner and while watching the NCAA basketball tournament, we discussed our plan for Sunday or Plan D. We noticed that some areas in front of the condo were cleared of brush and we thought maybe, just maybe, we could walk out far enough in the water to fish a seam or two. Success! We fished for several hours in the ice cold waters of LT and a couple of us were very successful using scuds. So our Sunday turned out well fishing LT. OK, it wasn't the perfect trip but Timmy, Davey, Tommy Boy, Johnny, and Kenneth made it a good one with fun times, good food, some great singing and awesome fellowship. Some big fish were caught too. Trips like this produce good friendships and some day maybe even old friends - you know, " Old friends, casting in the park, telling fish stories till it's dark, old friends, old friends" Sorry Roger, I changed the words around a bit (at least he ain't a movie star!).
SEE PICTURES OF TRIP BELOW!!!
The LT? No the Montauk Campers: Six FATC members, Mike Bisaga, Dave Komor, Bob Chott, Jerry Lybarger, Sid Aslin and Andrew Holderby, with the camping group decided to head down a little early and make a longer weekend and get in a little more fishing. As we arrived in Branson Thursday afternoon, we got the email from Kenny with the river forecast. Not good. Since we were already there, we headed to camp to get setup and discuss our plans for the weekend. We also had noticed every creek we crossed on the way down was very high and muddy, but we were convinced that it would not affect us. After Kenny's email, and talking with a few locals, we decided that we would need to come up with another plan. Just for future reference, we found out that 1 inch of rain in the Branson area, raises Table Rock lake by 1 foot! It had rained 2 inches last week. We woke up Friday morning and started calling around to see what our options were. We called River Run Outfitters, Roaring Rivers, Bennett Springs to see what we could find out. We knew we were in trouble when we called River Run Outfitters, and they confirmed we were better off going to play golf than try and fish, and we also got a raving fishing report from Bennett where they said, "It's not horrible". Not exactly the kind of report we were looking for. Being a little more flexible, our plan B was to head to Montauk to spend the rest of the weekend. Water was high and off color, but very fishable. We headed outside the park below the cable on Friday when we arrived. Fishing was not easy, but just about all of us managed to catch a few. Saturday we woke up to tents, camper and the ground covered in snow, and fairly heavy snow falling until noon. I think that worked to our advantage to keep some of fair-weather fisherman out of the park that day. Fishing was very good, however, don't tell the Sensei, but the "flys" of the day were the egg and San Juan worm. I think the off color required a little bigger presentation. Saturday evening it got down into the high 20's, but all of our campers were prepared. Sunday morning, the rivers had cleared up a bit, and the sun came out, and the P&P was a hit. Several fish in the 17" range were caught. Overall, I think we made the best of the situation, and everyone had a couple of good days fishing.
Two New Members to the FATC (April 10th): Montauk and several FATC members welcomed two new members to our fellowship on Firday. John Chi and Wayne Sebasty became official FATC as Sid Aslin, Dave Beerbower, Matt McClure, Pete Drochelman, and Kenny Klimes took them to Montauk. John Chi already an accomplished fly fisher caught some trout with us and Wayne Sebasty had Sensei Kenny breathing down his neck most of the day to become an official graduate of the FATC fly fishing class. Screams of "mend, mend" and "cast as if there is a wall behind you!" could be heard throughout the park this day. It brought a smile to the others who have been in Wayne's shoes before. But Wayne did an awesome job a caught well above the average amount of trout for the first time on the water. Congratulations Wayne! The gang pretty much fished the fly fishing only area. And yes, it was crowded for a Friday. The water was up slightly from all the rains (about 6 inches and the clarity was just a little cloudy but not bad). Trout were taken all throughout the day on midge larva, pheasant tail flash back nymphs, soft hackles, leeches, and wooly buggers. Fishing was fair to very good depending on who you talked to this day. A small mayfly hatch started in the afternoon but not big enough to get the trout aroused. The guys were so into the day that they fished beyond their scheduled quiting time (finished around 6pm), had a fellowship dinner at Hick's BBQ in Cuba and all got in trouble when they got home around 10:30pm. But it was an awesome day to get into trouble so I don't think any of us minded. Get out there and fish now. The hatches will start soon and don't let the weather dictate when you go - just do it.
Cardiac Hill is Up and Running: Sunday, 12 April 2015 - Meramec River – Cardiac Hill - Successful flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymph, Black Soft Hackle, rubber leg Stone Fly. Bob Chott and Bruce Sheffield fished the Cardiac Hill area on the Meramec River on Sunday. Beautiful day on the river and the fishing was good. Within 10 minutes Bruce landed a 14” brown trout and 10 minutes later had his 2nd 14” brown both on a black Soft Hackle. Bob had hiked up to the Gar Hole before starting to fish, back down stream, using a combination of a Beadhead Pheasant Tail and black Soft Hackle. Throughout the day Bob landed a number of 16” plus Brown trout. Most taken on the Beadhead Pheasant Tail nymph. All but four of the fish were Brown trout with 3 rainbows and one small mouth bass being caught. The brown trout had right eye and left eye tattoos and pectoral fins clipped for markings. We pretty much had the river to ourselves as we only saw two other fishermen and a guy in his john boat that came by twice. Yes, we survived the long walk back up the hill :-)
All the Best,
Last Minute Change Brings Success! (Apr 17th): Larry Farrar and I (Kenny Klimes) were supposed to take two newcomers out for a fishing trip. The plan was to head to Montauk and get the newbies on to fish. But a last minute change had both new guys cancel out on the trip. So Larry and I discussed other options. Bob Chott gave glowing reports of Cardiac hill just a few days before. I suggested it and Larry said, "I've never been there before" What?? I hadn't been there in years. Well, that settled it, we were off to Cardiac hill. Cardiac hill can be a tough place to fish at times but we figured with two experienced fly fishers we could figure it out. As we approached the river and started to cross, I went down. "I've fallen and can't get up" With help from Larry I made it back to my feet. Hopefully not an omen for the rest of the day!! We walked all the way to the "gar hole" before we started fishing (as recommended by Bob Chott) and fished our way downstream. The water looked awesome and the day was beautiful and we felt good about catching fish, and the fish came. Big browns and chunky rainbows were the prize. As you can see from the pictures we had a great day. Larry caught the big brown for the day, a 17+ inch pig on a peachy worm or a pheasant tail nymph - we weren't sure because he had both flies in his mouth. The best flies were black and white leech patterns, peachy and cerise san juan worms, pheasant tail nymphs, copper johns, and P&P midge. The browns liked the bigger flies while the rainbows took the rest. We fished all the way to Suicide hill area which unlike years past was passable, which allowed us to fish the boulders just beyond. Larry made the quad-fecta, catching a brown, rainbow, sunfish and a giant chub in one day!! Actually Larry was pulling out state record chubs throughout the day - looked like five pounders from where I was standing. Overall this was a very special day - both the fish and weather cooperated. This was the last place that I got to fish with one of my best friends, Ben Hynds, before he died. I felt his presence this day - thanks for the great day, Ben. No, the story doesn't end here. Everyone who has fished Cardiac hill knows that you still have a long walk to the car - we made it, but with covering all that river and the hike up to the car, we are both sore this Saturday morning. But we are smiling!