Most Recent Trip Reports and Pictures
This page was last updated: March 23, 2017
PAST FLYFISHERS AT THE CROSSING
FLY FISHING TRIPS ARE BELOW!
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Even More Trip Reports Below
2017 FATC Charity Dinner HUGE Success (Jan 28th): I want to thank not only our sponsors for the awesome raffle donations this year but also all of you that attended this year's charity dinner. We had sixty men meet at the Falls Golf club for great fellowship and superb food. A big thank you goes out to Jeff, Autumn and Karen from the Falls Golf club for their hard work and hospitality. The night was filled with videos of the past year, raffle winners and our FATC award winners for this year. Sid Aslin was the recipient of the Lew Smith "Spirit of Fly Fishing" award and John Walker received the Bob Chott "Servant's Heart" award. The FATC brought in over $3200 in donations from our raffle for our two charities this year, Casting for Recovery and Rescued Heart/Project healing Waters. Great job guys!!! It looks like the big raffle winners of the evening were Jeff Layton and Bob Aslin, with TWO prizes each - Congrats guys!! Probably the best part about the evening was being able renew old friendships and make new ones. Thanks to all the guys that helped pull this all together. Check out all the pictures from the evening.
Back to Montauk (Feb 3): A big trip to Montauk was planned for this day. Seven fly fishers headed down to Montauk this time. We have been so occupied with fishing the Meramec river that it was nice to see a different water. Lee Armstrong, Miles Meyer, Bill Lowry, Kenny Klimes, Martin Jones, Craig Dull and Tom Kelly ventured off to Salem, Missouri for what was forecast to be a cold day. But fortunately for us the sun came out and the day was darn right beautiful. Believe it or not but we had the whole place pretty much to ourselves. I guess the cold temperatures scared a bunch of people off. Fishing was good overall. The best flies were the midges and woolybuggers. Yes, I know - which is it, big or small flies? The important thing was to make sure you were fishing deep near the bottom. Most rainbows were in the 12 inch range with a couple 15 inchers taken. It was a fun trip as seven of us got to know a little more about each other. We ended the day with a BBQ dinner at Hicks BBQ in Cuba (and everyone had dessert except Kenny - I think he's watching his manly figure). Catch and Release season ends soon (Feb. 13th) so one more weekend to go then no fishing in the parks until March 1st
A Day to Remember (Feb 8th): It's been a long while since I last fished with Terry Seaton. Terry was in the very first fly fishing class I taught - two years before the Flyfishers at the Crossing was even a thought. It was his enthusiasm after he learned to fly fish that got me thinking about continuing the class - which led to the FATC today. It was a late decision to fish as Terry texted me the afternoon before and I couldn't pass up the time to spend with Terry on the water. We were going to hunt for the browns of the Meramec river so we got to the park early (7:30am opening time) and on the water before 8am. We went to spots where we knew the browns were hiding and started with soft hackles. But no luck after about 15 minutes so we went smaller with midges and the catching began. Red midges and P&P midges seemed to do the best but we also tried different colors with some luck too. The important thing was a good dead drift and the midges on the bottom. The browns were in the fast moving water. We worked our way down stream and at noon had a nice lunch on a log and talked about fishing and other stuff. After lunch we fished well downstream with midges and soft hackles. Several big fish were lost - small hooks and barbless?? We stopped at Dry Creek and walked back the beginning and fished for another hour or two. Here we discovered a new fly that we hadn't thought of using. I noticed at the end of my swing that several browns were actually chasing my white wool indicator. So we put on a white leech and white woolybugger and the big fish started smacking it. Several big browns were caught (13 inches) and lost. Terry ended the day with a nice 16-17 inch rainbow. get out and experience the great fishing on the Meramec river right now before the weather and river gets warmer.
Meramec Strong (Feb 13th): Bill Byington, Bob Beckett and Dave Beerbower decided to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on the Meramec River. The day started out cold and we had to fight ice on the guides, but it warmed nicely and ended up being a beautiful day to fish. Dave christened his latest bamboo rod, an 8’ 5wt with a nice rainbow on his second cast. We started on the curve and worked our way down to the riffles and beyond. All caught fish and Bob caught the biggest of the day, a whopper at over 20 inches. The flies that worked best were black wooly buggers, scuds, pheasant tails and an assortment of soft hackles in the riffles. There were only two other fly fishers on the river all day. Finished the day at Hicks BBQ for a perfect day of winter fishing.
The Miracle Mile: Fly Fishing in Wyoming in February? We must be crazy! Yeah like a fox. My son Logan and I took a special trip on Feb 10 to go fish the Grey Reef on the N. Platte River, 25 miles west of Casper Wyoming. The day before we left on the trip wind speeds were clocked as high as 99 mph in Larimer County Colorado where we live. We questioned our sanity but stayed with the plan and prayed for the best. Casper, WY is about 5 hrs north of our home in Northern Colorado. While driving on I-25 Friday afternoon we experienced 65 mph gusts and continuous wind. It rocked our SUV and the highway was littered with many tractor trailer rigs and other vehicles overturned by high winds. Things began to calm down as we reached Casper at dusk. We stayed on the Grey Reef Friday and Saturday night in a very comfortable cabin with Cowboy Drifters. A surprise snow had had hit the area about one week prior. Tempertures were higher than normal and there was quite a bit of runoff for this time of the year. We had planned to float the Grey Reef from Alcova Reservoir down to the Lusby boat access, a distance of 9 miles. Ledge Creek which is a major tributary of the N. Platte/Grey Reef was “puking” and the lower ½ of the river looked like chocolate milk. Three other boats from Cowboy Drifters stayed with their plan to fish the Reef and they managed to have success on the upper section. Fortunately, we drew the best guide and he strongly recommended we make the 45 mile drive and go up high to fish the Miracle Mile section of the N. Platte. Our guides name and new friend is Ryan Hemkens. Ryan came from the streets of St. Louis, studied with the Jesuits at SLUH and attended the University of Wyoming where he earned degrees in Fish & Wildlife, Aquatic Entomology and Video Production. He has been fishing the mile since he was 12 yrs. old and has been fishing it regularly for 24 yrs. He has guided a Vice President, Hall of Fame Quarterback and many others on this stretch of the river and has earned the respect of many guides who call him Mr. Mile. He has also lived and guided in Vail Colorado, Jackson, Wyoming, Belize and even worked at Feathercraft in between his many other pursuits such as guiding big game hunts. Was it coincidence or divine intervention that we met Ryan? I don’t believe for one second it was chance. We followed Ryan over to the Miracle Mile which was an experience in and of itself (see photographs). Ever drive on dirt road that is completely snow covered at 50 MPH down the center following a guy pulling a drift boat at 7,100 feet elevation for 45 miles without seeing a building or another approaching vehicle through some of the most beautiful wild country imaginable? The N. Platte and the Miracle Mile have been ranked at the very top of the best rivers in N. America by American Angler magazine and others as providing very high quality fishing for huge fish. The Mile is an extremely fertile tail water that was named by Curt Gowdy during an interview in an episode of “The American Sportsman”. For the younger guys who may not know Gowdy, he was a Wyoming native and famous broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox. The Mile is located between two large reservoirs (Pathfinder and Seminoe). The most common misconception is the distance between the two reservoirs, much over a mile in length (5 ½ to 15 miles depending on water levels in Pathfinder). The three of us and Ryan’s dog Ruby got on the water about 10:30 am after setting up our shuttle at the take out. It was a bit windy but not near as bad as Ryan experienced on the Mile a week prior when wind gusts hit 75mph and he had to pull the boat through ice and row back up thru each of holes many times to give his clients a chance at a fish of a lifetime. 10 lbs fish are a real possibility on the Miracle Mile. We were the only boat on the Mile for the entire day, although we did see a few brave wade fishermen, including some guys from St. Peters Fly Shop from Ft. Collins, near where we live. Ryan rigged up our 6 weights (7 weights would be best, but they are not yet in my fly rod arsenal). There was no hatch, virtually all day and a stomach pump latter on a rainbow revealed only one small scud. The rainbows are preparing to spawn so we naturally went to an egg pattern. Beads to be exact, with size 8 Mustad mosquito stinger hooks, 1 ½ ” back per WY regulations. Two eggs and a leech with another stinger hook 1 ½” behind the leech. We fished size 3X leader and tippet with an indicator and three small split shot to get down. We hit our first fish after about 45 minutes. There is a learning curve to fish from a drift boat in windy cold conditions. After Ryan gave us some expert coaching, Zen philosophy, visualization and relaxation techniques we got with the program and began hammering fish. Logan is relatively new to fly fishing and he did an awesome job in difficult conditions while learning casting an awkward rig, line discipline, hook set and then rising to the challenge of landing monster trout. All but one of the many trout we caught were wild fish. All were big quality fish. The fish on the Mile have a reputation for being “Hot” (hard fighting) and this proved to be the case. These are not fish which come to the net easily. What a day! Probably just another day at the office for Ryan, but for Logan and I it was very special to experience this together. We even got to see a bald eagle. Conditions were not easy. The day was overcast, cold and windy but for Wyoming in winter, it was a very mild day. It took more than 24 hours to regain full feeling in my fingers but the skin did not peel off, so there is no permanent damage. We will definitely be back to fish the Mile with Ryan and hope to see him on his next trip to Colorado. If you love to catch large wild trout that fight very hard in an awesome setting I highly recommend putting the Miracle Mile on your bucket list.
Fishing with Him (Feb. 15th): I normally never fish alone. Actually in the past ten years I have probably fished alone once. But I remember that day very well because I had a chance to fish with Him. I didn't plan on fishing with Him this time but everyone I asked (it was last minute decision) couldn't make it. So when I went to bed the night before I decided I'd do something else the next day. But I kept hearing that voice inside me saying, "go fishing tomorrow, I'll go with you." So I did. I was the only one on the river, well, of course He was with me. As I fished I slowed down and enjoyed the beauty that He had put here for us to enjoy. I caught a lot of fish this day but each one I caught I took the time to examine their beauty. Oh, I got stuck a few times and had a few tangles but kept my patience. And then was reminded how much life is like fly fishing. We get stuck or tangled in the things of this world and lose our patience and many times miss the beauty that is around us. After fishing the entire section of river that I wanted to fish, I started again at the section where I began. He put another on the river with me in the afternoon. We talked, and shared stories of the river. I gave him one of our P&P midge flies (which I was having luck with in the afternoon hours). Maybe a friendship was made. Isn't that what He would have wanted from me this day? The day was over and time to head home but I enjoyed and learned a lot about life this day - the important things in life - His glory and beauty, relationships, patience, etc... It will probably be a long while before I fish alone again and that's ok, as long as I remember the lessons of today. Oh yea, almost forgot - it was an awesome day of fishing!!
Meramec River Hat Trick (Wed., 2/22/17): John Walker, Pete Drochelman & Tom Kelly enjoyed a beautiful day of fishing on the Meramec River. Despite the early morning clouds, the day was ideal with afternoon sun & temps in the 70’s. Due to localized rains the night before, the river was a little muddy & more chocolate brown in color. As such, the fishing was a bit more challenging. We did manage to catch a few fish, pulling off the Meramec Hat Trick (Rainbows, Browns & Small Mouth Bass). Most fish were caught by stripping leach patterns or woolly buggers. Best colors were black, brown & moss green, all with flash. Despite the tough fishing, a gorgeous February day & fun times together made for an excellent day on the water.
Know the Meramec! (Feb 21st): Four FATC headed to the Meramec to fish - to chase the browns actually. It was a trip of learning and catching. Miles Meyer and Bill Lowry had never been downstream on the Meramec and Barry Dunnegan was going to finish his "graduation" into the FATC. So I, Kenny Klimes, took them on an adventure - well, sort of. It rained the night before and the morning we fished. The rain stopped about 11am but the clouds remained the entire day. Meramec lesson: ALWAYS check the water levels and flow rate before you go! Where to do that? - on our web site (Links page). Even though the rains came the water was still low, slow and clear, which was good for us. The next day others went - the day was beautiful but the rains from two days previous finally hit the river and made the levels higher, faster and cloudy - they didn't have as good luck as we did due to the conditons. So always check because you could drive all the way there to find out it is "unfishable". We started the morning at the riffles across from the cabin and worked our way downstream until we hit Dry Creek. Browns were caught all along the river - not in great numbers but enough to keep us satisfied. We made our way back up to the beginning for the afternoon and finished around 4pm. We practiced techniques and used various flies. Top flies seemed to be midges, flashback scuds, copper johns, soft hackles, and wooly buggers (white). Most of the fish caught were browns in the 10" - 13" range. If you haven't had the cahnce to get out on the Meramec to catch the browns you better do so before the weather gets too nice and the crowds show up.
Big Browns on the White River: Here is a trip report from Scott Drooger. Steve Lauer, Jeff and Terry Kratky Michael Burgess and I went fishing Feb 19th-22nd. Weather was fantastic and water levels were low and slow. Wade fished Sunday and Wednesday am. Due to the warmth, a small caddis hatch was already taking place. Fish were taking red zebra midges, predominantly.
On Monday, with a guide, we continued with White gut fly and red midge dropper. Steve and I landed 50-60 fish before lunch. The success continued into the afternoon.
Tuesday, we fished just below the dam for some big browns. Egg patterns worked best. Steve landed three monster browns. I was only able to turn them. Much harder to see the take and much more finesse to hook, for me. I still caught a nice Bow and a beautiful Brookie.
Amazing trip with great buds!
Meramec Again: Matt McClure sent us this trip report: Connor, Sam and I went to Meramac to attack the Browns. As we were getting ready Jerry Lybarger showed up so we all went as a group. Water was up a little and moving faster. The water was clear and you could see many Browns however it was challenging to catch them. They were hunkered down. We tried many flys and never were able to find something that they were consistently interested in. Seemed like we would catch a couple and then have to move onto something else. After fishing the stretch by the cabin we moved up to the bend. Jerry stayed at the cabin stretch area and worked hard but caught browns. The bend and primarily the stretch before the bend fished well. Primarily Rainbows but a couple Browns were caught in that area as well. The flys we used were dual rig nymphs, soft hackles, beaded soft hackles, caddies, cherise worm, egg patterns. Overall a very relaxing day and good weather. Fishing was more challenging but we all caught fish. Sam caught his first Browns. For those going to Meramec they are back to charging the park admission fee of $5.00.
Last Chance Fishing (Feb 28th): This report was sent in by Dave Beerbower. Gary Elliott and Dave Beerbower decided that they did not want to be two of the expected 1000 fishermen at Meramec Springs for opening day, so the went on February 28th to close out the catch and release season on the river. The weather was warm and breezey, and the guys were on fish right away. There were some other fishers on the river, but nothing like tomorrow. We caught rainbows and browns, many with beautiful colors. The griffiths gnat, zebra midge and egg pattern were the favorite flies this day. We got rained on and the thunder chased us off the river at 2:30. All in all, a fun day of fishing.
Lake Taneycomo (LT) - The Chicago Boys and Da Kid (March 3-5) Well our first LT trip this year is in the books. It was a special trip to get old high school buddies together for a fishing trip. Kenny Klimes called da Chicago boys and asked if they would like to join him for a trip. Ron "the Berwyn Bear" Fiala said he was in while Craig Baldacci said he could and would like to bring his friend Ken Bryan - the answer was YES!. So we needed one more guy to make it five so we opened it up to the FATC. Jon O'Connor (now know as da Kid - a 29 year old with four old farts in their mid 60's) jumped on board and we were set. Jon would get much wisdom by living with the Berwyn boys for a weekend!! The Chicago boys stayed with Kenny at his house on Thursday and all drove to Branson on Friday morning. After a visit to Riverrun Outfitters fly shop for some gear and flies, da Boys checked into the condo and headed out to fish LT. Craig had never used a fly rod before so I worked with his cast for a bit and set him free. Ron and I being long time fly fishers were ready to show the other three how to do it. But Craig being a pastor must have had an in with the Man upstairs - because immediately it was Craig yelling, "Fish On!" and then again "Fish On!", and again "Fish On". It was not only embarrassing to Ron and I but we were getting a little PO'd. Actually it was awesome that Craig was hammering fish left and right. Friday afternoon we were outfished by Craig so we vowed it would change on Saturday. Saturday was an awesome day of fishing - for all. The trout were not as "big" as usual but they fought hard no matter their size. The best flies overall were just two - the Tiger Tail and the red Soft hackle. Didn't really need any others. Look up how to tie the tiger tail on RiverRun Outfitters web site. Sunday was another good day of catching. But the best time of the trip was the fellowship and the wild stories told by the Berwyn boys and yes, da Kid did get wisdom. We ate until we could burst. It was a great trip. Craig and Ken headed back up to Chicago as Kenny, Ron and Jon headed back to STL. They even stopped to get fudge in Uranus (I'm not kidding) Missouri. One LT trip down and two to go!
"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"
Graduation Time Again - Montauk (Mar. 10th): It's that time again with the winter FATC fly fishing class completed that the guys are getting on the water to "graduate". This time Jon Copeland was in the barrel and made the trip to Montauk with Kenny Klimes, Dave Beerbower and Jim Craig. Dave and Jim took off to fish until lunch and Kenny and Jon went out to get practice the techniques that were taught in the classroom. Jon did great as he was on to fish very early in the day. He would of had his first trout sooner but he lost him right at the net - tough luck. But shortly there after he brought several to the net for the epic photo shoot. The guys all met for lunch and fished together the rest of the afternoon. Jon had an awesome day as did Jim who was nailing the trout with a wooly bugger. The top flies of the day were midges, woolybuggers, cracklebacks, soft hackles and the "new" crane fly larva (actually a mop fly that looks very much like the crane fly larva). Yes, I did fish with it to test it out and - well, it caught fish. I will add it to the web site fly tying page if you interested - don't buy the material though I have plenty to share. Congrats to Jon! Spring is approaching and it's time to get back on the waters (if you missed the winter season).
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.
Spring Break Challenge ( March 14th) - Here is a report from Mike Harvey fishing with his son, Blake, in North Carolina We drove out to North Carolina for Blake's spring break and while there it has become a tradition that he and I go out fishing while I'm here. We found a new spot that I discovered online that was within an hour of our cabin. It's called Jacobs Fork River in South Mountain State Park. We went with only the online research we'd done and weren't sure what to expect. Turned out to be a great trip and a beautiful place! We started by trying to nymph, but, quickly discovered the fish were in small fairly shallow pools and they weren't interested. I noticed they were sipping the surface so we tied on a white dry fly and bam! So, we fished the rest of our time with dryflies and caught 4 a piece and Blake had the two biggest fish of the day! Some have told us they were Brook Trout and others Browns with a Rainbow thrown in here and there. So, I'll let the experts tell us exactly what we caught. Regardless, they were nice colored fish and fiesty! A great father son trip and a tradition we hope to keep up!
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.