Most Recent Trip Reports and Pictures
This page was last updated: May 19, 2017
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Even More Trip Reports Below
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me a good fly fisher. And when I fly fish I feel His pleasure"
Dream Stream and Landon Mayer (Mar 15th) Matt McClure had the pleasure of fishing with Colorado guide, Landon Mayer on the Dream Stream (South Platte between Spinney reservoir and Eleven Mile reservoir) during the spring break period. He sends us some awesome pictures and trip report. I recently had the opportunity to spend a day on the Dream Stream with Landon Mayer. The fish were ferocious fighting fish. Hooked up 10 big Bows and landed 5. The fish were so active that after they were hooked many went crazy and wrapped the line. (Those were the ones lost at the end of the fight) which in every case took 75-100 yards of stream to land. Unbelievable fights.
I learned an enormous amount regarding the art of technical fishing. Sight fishing and creeping up casting on one knee in order not to spook the fish. Typically you get 2-4 cast opportunities per fish until they spook out on you. Therefore it was extremely important to make every presentation occur in the zone of the fish. Goes to say that I was far from perfect but I honed my skills as the day went on. Wow! So much to learn about the sport of flyfishing. A spectacular day on the river and Landon and I agreed to make it a yearly trip. Here's a few photos to share.
Lake Taneycomo II is in the Books (Mar 17-19): Another successful Lake Taneycomo (LT) trip is in the books for the FATC. This trip saw Bob Beckett, Craig Dull, Tim Trog, Jason Edwards, Jim Franke and Kenny Klimes head down to LT this past weekend. The generators were off the majority of the time and the guys were able to wade wherever they wanted. They arrived Friday at noon, ate lunch at Dana's, visited RiverRun Outfitters fly shop and checked into the condo. They were on the water by 2pm and the fishing was on. The catching was plenty as the rainbows ranged from a small 8 inches up to a couple of 16's caught. Funny though, the little guys fought really hard. Fishing was best on Saturday as the Corp ran a little bit of water for about three hours and the fish turned on. The flies used varied on the time of day and the rises we saw. The best flies seemed to be the Tiger Tail, Soft hackles, midges (especially the P&P), scuds, and the "cranefly larva - mop". One thing that never disappoints at LT is the water is always ice cold! It was a great trip and the guys got a little closer in their friendships. The food was plenty and Dry Fly only fell in once (sorry, Dry Fly just had to mention that). Also, leaky waders seemed to be the order of the trip also - maybe time to check your waders?? Well, one more LT trip to go for this spring. Oops, almost forgot. We met Tom Love (new guy) on Sunday and he had time to fish with us in the morning. And we found out on the way home that John Palmer showed up Sunday afternoon to fish a few days. Now is the time to fish LT!
Another Graduate - Meramec Good (Mar 22): Kenny took another new graduate to the water this day. Jim Kladney, who completed the 2017 winter class, headed to the Meramec River with Kenny Klimes and Dave Beerbower to test his new found skills. The day started out pretty cold but warmed up towards the afternoon. The guys immediately headed outside the park to the river and started at the "bend". Only a few fish were caught there so they hit the next spot at the riffles across from the house. Jim worked on his dead drifting and yes, you could here the words, "mend, mend" a few times. A handful of browns were caught there and as they moved downstream they had lunch on the island log. After lunch the fish turned on and more browns and rainbows were caught. In the deep holes the rubberlegged stonefly brought fish to the hook and in the shallow riffles it was the soft hackle that brought them to the net. After turning over a few rocks the guys found that small gray scuds may be the ticket and they were as they caught many fish. Dave had much luck and fun fishing dry flies (a parachute emerger fly). The flies of the day were the rubberlegged stonefly (black), soft hackles (partridge and orange), gray scuds, P&P midge, dry flies, and the "cranefly larva - mop" even caught a few. The fish fought hard and the browns and rainbows were of decent size 10 - 15 inches. Jim caught a beauty rainbow that he fought for several minutes until his Sensei lost it at the net. Sorry Jim! We met a nice young man, Alex Chang - pictured below, who was doing very well Czech nymphing with two heavy weighted nymphs. I liked his style as he went right into the trees and root wads to get his fish! It was a good day on the Meramec river. Not sure how long this good fishing will last so get out there now. We celebrated Jim's graduation at Hicks BBQ.
More New Guys Fishing (Mar 29th): We welcome two more new guys into the FATC this week. Mike Oldani, graduated from the FATC winter fly fishing class, and Patrick Gallagher, a soon to be USAF Master Sergeant, joined us from Ft Leonardwood to catch some trout on this day. Dave Beerbower, Jim Craig and Kenny Klimes joined the new guys at Montauk State Park. Mike was on his graduation trip and did an awesome job as Kenny went over the techniques taught in class. He hardly had to yell at him ;) Everyone caught fish on this cloudy day. The guys missed the rain until the drive home. They fished the fly fishing only area in the park and caught trout on a bunch of different flies - midges, copper johns, soft hackles, woolybuggers, leeches and yes, that cranefly larva thing (Dave, shame on you!!). The park emptied out around noon and the guys pretty much had the whole place to themselves. Congrats to Mike and Patrick for becoming part of the brotherhood. Please check the water levels before you go fishing - right now, due to the rains, the Meramec is high and will be tough to fish. Check the calendar for trips but if you have a day off to go please let us know and we can arrange others to join you. We ate at a buffet in Rolla on the way home. I won't give you the name because I don't think we will ever go back.
Sleep, Eat, Fish and Eat - Final LT Trip (Mar 31 - Apr 2): Well, the final LT trip for the Spring is in the books. Miles Meyer, Bill Lowry, Matt McClure, his sidekick Connor Peters and Kenny Klimes enjoyed some awesome fishing at Lake Taneycomo. As usual the guys departed STL around 8am, made it to Branson by noon, ate our traditional lunch at Dana's BBQ, hit the Riverrun Outfitters fly shop for supplies, checked into the condo and went to fish. Friday was a learning day as three in the group had never fished LT before. Fish were caught but mostly Friday was learning the lay of the lake - where to fish and where not to. On Saturday the fishing turned on and it was a successful day for all. We also met up with the campers and on Saturday we made the lake look like Montauk on opening day. But the lake is huge and everyone had plenty of room to "whack" fish all day. More big fish were caught on this trip than the other two (see pictures). Saturday night was filled with discussion on fishing, what flies worked best and the eagerness to eat Kenny's food - which was all made from scratch (not)! We even watched what is now being called the greatest women's basketball game ever - Miss.State ending UConn's 110 game winning streak. Sunday saw even better fishing with bigger fish caught - the so called smart big fish at our feet didn't stand a chance. This year on each trip, we have had one person go swimming in the COLD Taneycomo - thank goodness for the dryer in the condo! The best flies of the trip really depended on the conditions and where we were fishing. Soft hackles, tiger tails, scuds, cracklebacks (or cracklejacks, or Hasselhoffs, or whatever you wanted to call them), and midges worked the best. This group made Kenny proud as these boys could EAT - especially Bill and Miles. If we needed anything finished off they were right there. Matt brought his new toy - a drone and took some awesome video from close up to 300 feet up to over a 2-3 miles away. Truly, it was a great trip with some great friendships made. Check out the awesome pictures.
The Lake Taneycomo Campers (Mar 30 - Apr 2): The campers this year were Mike Bisaga, Dave Komor, and Mike Chambers in a camper, and Andrew Holderby and Mike Oldani (just graduated on Wednesday) in a tent. The trip started out with a lot of concern about all the rain we’d been getting, and bad memories of last year’s inability to fish at the lake due to high generation levels. A call to Gina at River Run Outfitters however, reassured us that Table Rock was actually low, and that Taney was indeed fishable.
We arrived, set up camp, and gathered plenty of firewood early enough on Thursday to try the lake for a couple of hours, but high generation forced us to go to River Run Outfitters and a good local Bar-B-Que place instead. That first evening was split between enjoying a roaring campfire and tying up a couple of Mop Flies for each of us.
Friday morning started off with a Crow stealing a zip-lock bag of trail mix off our picnic table. He ripped it open like he had used a razor blade, and he and the other birds helped themselves to the spilled treats. We got him back later by tossing out a couple of bourbon soaked cherries for him. We didn’t see him anymore after that, and figure he may still be hungover.
We accessed the lake at the access by the hatchery, but ended up working our way downstream to just above the condos, where we met up with Kenny and his crew. Andrew did the best on Friday with JQ Streamers and the Ruby 2 midge larvae, and he and Mike O. both caught their best Rainbows ever on Ruby 2’s. Mike C. caught his best Rainbow ever (about 17 inches) on his first cast with the Mop Fly. Just as we worked our way back to the hatchery access that afternoon, the dam (damn) horn sounded to announce renewed generation.
Friday night was our traditional meal in camp, where we stuffed ourselves with venison backstrap fillets wrapped with bacon and grilled to a nice medium-rare on the campfire, a cheesy potato casserole baked in a Dutch oven, a yummy mixed vegetable and mushroom dish, and both cherry and apple pies, all washed down with an appropriate red wine. (Shhhh! Don’t tell the condo guys how good the campers really have it.)
Saturday morning started off with more fun with the birds. Dave intercepted a Tufted Titmouse who was going after what was left of a large Cinnamon Roll by running over and closing up the container. The bird retaliated just a couple of minutes later with a successful bombing run on Dave’s right hand. As Mike B. was at that time sitting immediately to Dave’s right, and then proceeded to have his best ever day of fly fishing, including his first ever Brown Trout, we’re pretty sure that being present at the right hand of someone who is anointed by a Tufted Titmouse is probably a better predictor of a great fishing day than the not always accurate uniform disbursement of cattle in cow pastures.
Mike B. proceeded to go nuts on the lake on Saturday. We drove to the condo parking area, and fished just upstream of the condo run all day. Mike B. and the trout literally wore out two Holographic Green Crackleback flies, standing in the same spot pretty much all day. A submitted photo shows one of the flies that was still catching fish on about every 3rd or 4th cast. This went on all day, and Mike B. ended up with a sore net arm from it. We’ll have to figure out how to tie the thing, but Mike B. has already christened it the Crackle-Jack Fly. Dave also did quite well with the same starting pattern, and Mike O. more than doubled his best day ever by fishing just the Ruby 2. Mike C. had a slower day, but did catch a nice ‘Bow on a brown Zonker Strip streamer fly, and a couple of others on Zebra Midge’s. He tried the Mop Fly again too, and got some hits, but the fish kept missing the scud hook hanging out from under the front of it. He tried to improve it that evening by tying a few with a 3 x long size 10 streamer hook tied in at both ends of the shank, but we didn’t get a chance to try this modification on this trip. Dinner was very good that evening at a very reasonably priced Tai restaurant in Branson, followed by another great recap around the campfire that night.
By the time we had camp broke down and cleaned up on Sunday, all but Andrew and Mike O. had to hit the road for home. We did stop at the high bluff overlook over the condo run, and shot a few photos of the lake, Mike O. and Andrew, and the condo crew from up there. The highlight of the trip back to St. Louis was a tire blowing out on the camper trailer just before we got to Springfield. Fortunately, this was right before an exit, and we found a level spot on the lower back lot of Lambert’s Restaurant (Home of The Throwed Rolls). The pit crew, led by Mike C., outdid themselves with an officially recorded time of just over 10 minutes to get us back on the road again.
Already looking forward to next year’s trip, but need to find an opportunity to try out Mike’s Modified Mop Fly somewhere else before then. But I’ll also need to bring together a Tufted Titmouse and a willing friend just before I try it. Any takers?
Meramec River - Just not ready yet (Apr 10th): Kenny took a chance this past Monday on a trip to Meramec River that, well, didn't turn out like he thought it would. With the water flowing at 850cfs and the depth reporting 3 feet, we thought that it would be fishable for the day. Jim Craig, Bill Byington, newcomer, Terry Gooding, along with Kenny Klimes gave it a shot despite the water charts. The Meramec river was fishable but you had to work hard at it. It was impossible to throw small stuff and dead drifting was tough with the speeds. So the gang decided to go "Big and Gaudy" and started to throw woolybuggers, Tiger tails and leeches. The browns did come up for them but ever so sporadic. You can see from the pictures the conditions of the river. Terry completed the fly fishing class and is now set for many fishing trips to come. Jim Craig caught a beauty of a rainbow. The river should be back to normal now so don't miss the browns.
Browns from the White River (Apr 12th): Terry Seaton sent us these pictures from his trip to the White River. It was sort of a family affair as Terry fished with his cousin, Brock. He is a guide for North Arkansas Outfitters. Looks like they done good!
Quick trip to Meramec River (Apr 14th): Kenny Klimes and Martin Jones made a last minute trip to check on the Meramec river after it's high and fast water all last week. It was still slightly faster than normal but not bad - very fishable. You can see from the pictures that the water is still off color but you could see the bottom and the Browns. It's funny how the river has changed after the flooding a little over a week ago - new holes and new trees down. They caught more different species of fish on this trip than most - browns, rainbows, smallmouth, blue gill and a water snake! Yes, Kenny had a hit, set the hook, and a water snake just happened to get in the way. It flew out of the water and hit him right in the face!!! No, he didn't scream like a little girl but did do a little dance. Best flies were midges and caddis larva early in the morning but later they went to cerise worms, woolybuggers and the tiger tail (which did very well). Martin caught his first brown trout ever - too bad he dropped it back in the water before we could get a picture :(
Fishing all alone (Apr 18th): I hardly ever fish alone. In the past ten years, I have probably fished alone no more than three times. I love the comradery with others on the water. A chance to share the experience with others is what I prefer. But on this day I couldn't coax anyone to join me so off I went - alone. I decided on an afternoon trip to the Meramec river. When I arrived I had the entire river to myself - well me, the trout and the Man upstairs. I started on the water around 1pm. It was a peaceful day, partly cloudy and in the low 70s. I started at the bend and it was very good. At first, midges seemed to be the fly but later I switched to the tiger tail and the trout, both browns and rainbows loved it. From the bend I made my way up to the first riffle (across from the MDC house). I could see the browns but they weren't interested in anything I threw at them (maybe over fished?). I then walked to the second riffle. It's much deeper now since the heavy rains of a few weeks ago. The fishing there was fair but turned on again from the pylons to Dry Creek. The best fly there was a red copper john. After Dry creek, I headed back up to the bend and fished for about another hour with great luck on the red copper john. I must have "bagged" at least 30 fish for the day - not bad. I had several big trout on the day (one pictured below). So moral of the story get out and fish the Meramec river and don't let me fish alone again!
I Knew I Shouldn't, But I Did It Anyway - Montauk - (Apr 25th): Well, a big trip took place this past Tuesday (Sorry, you missed it Patrick!). Nine, yes Nine, FATC hit the river at Montauk. And we complain it's too crowded? Al Blair, Matt McClure, Bill Byington, Kenny Klimes, Tim Klotz, Sid Aslin, Jim Craig, Barry Dunnegan and Bill Lowry made the trip to Montauk. When we arrived we found the river slightly higher than normal and a little cloudy but very fishable. Everyone headed in the park except Kenny, Matt and Jim, who went to Tan Vat to check it out before lunch. Tan Vat was also higher and faster than normal but the guys did very well with several 15 inch rainbows caught. No browns were taken so I'm assuming that they haven't been stocked yet this year - could be wrong. Everyone met up for lunch (see pictures) and told stories of their exploits from the morning. Everyone said they were on to fish and told of the best flies they used. In the afternoon everyone fished in the park and fished in the fly fishing only area. A special shout out to Sid who was "on fire" in the afternoon. He was catching fish left and right - he was so hot he decided to cool off by taking a swim!! The flies of the day were the Cerise worm, red San Juan worm, North Fork black stonefly, copper john and elkhair caddis. It was a beautiful day and perfect temperatures. Actually, I have to say this was a fun day with all the guys. After fishing we headed to Hicks BBQ in Cuba. We had a huge table and laughed at the stories of the day. Now, how did we get the "title" of this trip "I knew I shouldn't but I did it anyway"? You'll have to thank Al Blair for that as he ordered the famous Ory's "Chernobyl" spud for dinner (see picture below). We aren't sure but we think he spent the night on the throne!!??
Virginia Trip and Project Healing Waters (May 3rd - May 9th): Four of our FATC have just completed what I think is the most rewarding fly fishing trip we have had since the beginning of the FATC. Dave Beerbower, Dave Komor, Mike Bisaga and Kenny Klimes represented the FATC in Virginia at the Project Healing Waters (PHW) event at Laurel Campgrounds. PHW Fly Fishing, Inc.™ is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. It was a most rewarding weekend not only for the veterans that attended but also for us. It looks like the event was so successful there is talk of having two per year.
A special thanks to Becky and Dave Beerbower, who opened up their North Carolina vacation home to us and feed us when we weren't attending the PHW event. Becky is an awesome cook and I think we gained 5-6 lbs each. Dave K, Mike and Kenny met up with Dave B. on Wednesday night after the long drive from STL to N.C. It would have been a shorter trip but the guys happened to get lost just over the MO and ILL line. On Thursday Dave took us to the Watauga river for a little fishing before the PHW event. Beautiful small narrow streams, we caught browns, brookies and rainbows. In the evening we went over the plan for the weekend.
Friday: We headed to Virginia in the afternoon after seeing some of the sites of the Boone, NC area and met all of the players for the weekend. Our Virginia FATC members were there, Jonathan and Tyler Pierce, Josh Williams from Dead Drift Outfitters, Tom from Laurel Creek campground, and our four veterans for the weekend, Wicks, BJ, Ron and Cody. Our meet and greet alone was an awesome experience as we spent five hours together and enjoyed a steak dinner to cap off the night. We organized into three groups of guides, vets and fly fishers for the Saturday fly fishing.
Saturday: The weather was threatening with rain but the morning started out cloudy and cold. That would not deter the excitement of fishing some awesome Virginia streams for some native trout. Kenny, Tyler and Cody headed out to some secret locations while Dave B., Jared Pierce (another of our Virginia FATC members) and Ron went to a remote area. Mike , Dave K. went with guide Josh and vets, Wicks and BJ. The groups fished all day with cloudy skies in the morning and pouring rain in the afternoon. But that didn't stop anyone from fishing and the Vets were having a blast (do you think that they have been in worst conditions??). When the guys returned in the afternoon the talk was about nothing but fishing. Who caught what, who fell in, who had a brookie, a brown or a rainbow - there were smiles all around. The guys shed their gear and prepared for an awesome dinner. The special surprise for the night was to be serenaded by a mountain band equipped with banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass. Kenny even popped up and did a country dance for the group. PHW presented certificates to all the groups that sponsored the event (see the pictures for ours!). There were a lot of speeches made by the different groups and gifts given to the veterans. We presented Josh Williams with an official FATC cap and made him a honorary member of the FATC. Josh was an amazing young man and Christ follower. Josh was an Iraq veteran and lost his right arm in an accident when he returned home. Hate to say it, but he can tie knots and flies on faster than most of our guys! A Big Thanks to Jason Edwards and Woolybugger Fly Co. for providing caps and T-shirts for the guides and veterans.
Sunday: We met up again in the morning at Laurel campground. After breakfast we broke out the fly tying gear and tied flies with the veterans and guides. The talk was about fly fishing and doing this again each year. At noon we said our goodbyes and headed back to Dave's home to plan one more day of fishing with our Virginia FATC guys. A nice dinner out in Boone with some ice cream and fudge for dessert capped off the night!
Monday: Our four FATC guys met up with three of the Virginia FATC guys (Jonathan Pierce, Tyler Pierce and Butch Heath) to fish Wilson Creek in Virginia. After a fellowship breakfast at a local diner that served the best hash browns "In The World" we fished Wilson Creek together. The river rock in the streams here made walking difficult at times (we were dead tired after each trip). Brookies, rainbows and browns were caught on the Wilson. For a few seconds Kenny had the biggest trout of the trip with a 15 inch rainbow caught by high sticking a stonefly nymph. But then Dave Komor pulled in a 16 inch rainbow just upstream from him to take the prize. He caught his on a CQ streamer. After a full day of fishing all of the guys made their final rendezvous and said their goodbyes and promised to fish together again soon. The STL FATC had dinner together and then headed home Tuesday for the long drive home. Can you name the top ten most fiercest and ill tempered animals in the world? We can!
We plan on more trips to Virginia. If you have the chance to go on one of these trips please don't miss it. You will be overwhelmed by the experience.
Time to Get Fishing - Meramec River (May 17th): Here is a report from Jim and Mike as they attempted the Meramec River after the tremendous floods we have had - it's ready! Jim Craig and Mike Oldani were able to make this flshing extravaganza trip. The extravaganza plans, took a detour. We could not gain access to the current river because, Tan Vat/Baptist Camp access were still closed from the flooding. We decided to head to Maramec Spring Park and, fish outside the park on the Meramec river. We had to walk through a obstacle course to gain access to the river (see photos). Once at the river, the water conditions were high, fast, and furious, again the flooding was the issue. This made fishing challenging but, from Jim's brilliant technique of using a sinking leader. We managed to catch a few browns and rainbows. The flies that had the best results were buggers, soft hackles and zonkers. Olive was the color of the day. It was a fantastic and fun day of fellowship. Our day continued by following each other to Fort Leonard Wood to spend the night (Patrick G. we were thinking about calling you). We headed to Springfield the next day, to bring our daughters back home from college.