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This page was last updated: February 16, 2017

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Even More Trip Reports Below
I fished a half day at Meramac Springs (outside the park starting at the bridge). The morning was slow and the water was shallow in a lot of places. I then threw on the cerise worm and nabbed couple of good size rainbows. I focused on the deeper holes and had the worm hit bottom. Great day, in the 50s with no wind and a slight overcast. I contribute my higher success rate to the New Zealand indicator (thanks Dave Beerbower). Both hits were extremely subtle.
Brian Yost
Meramec Fishing Reports are Good!  (Thanksgiving Holiday):   Here are two reports from Meramec Spring park from Larry farrar and Brian Yost:
Larry Farrar met up with Joe Walker (who?) to kick off the winter Catch and Release season at Meramec Springs State Park Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The morning was chilly at 35F, overcast and no wind to speak of. We were on the water when the whistle blew and the only fisherman in the park for approximately 30 min. We fished the slow pool around the island at the top of the stream and had good luck. Fishing below the island in the faster water was productive as well. Most of the fish were taken on San Juan worms, mini (multi colored) eggs, and red soft hackles. Before leaving at noon we tried the slow pool by the island one more time. To our surprise the fish were still biting well on San Juan worms and soft hackles. It was a great morning on the water and a great way to kick off the holiday. Tight lines.
Outside the park at the "bend"
Brian with a nice fat rainbow
Another in the net for Brian as he fished mostly outside the park
Checking Out Meramec (Nov. 30th):  Five FATC went to Meramec Spring park and the Meramec river to check out the winter fishing.  Matt McClure, Jim Craig, Ron Berger, Matt Thal and Kenny Klimes arrived early in the park on this very chilly morning. Yes, it is winter fishing so be prepared with cold weather gear - don't take any chances.  The guys got in the water shortly after the siren and fished around the island first (at the beginning of the park).  They fished this area until lunch time and then headed outside the park to check out the fishing there.  Overall the fishing was good.  Fish were loaded in the "pool" around the island and in the riffles on the other side of the island.  In the pool you could see dozens of fish feeding in the film layer with their dorsal fins riding out of the water.  Soft hackles stripped slowly and continiuosly did the trick.  Also rubber legged stoneflies, midges, and flashback pheasant tail nymphs did well in the deeper stretches of park.  Outside the park we fished pretty much the bend area for about two hours.  The fishing here was overall fair.  The best place to fish was the deeper water just upstream from the bend, along the shoreline. Here cerise worms and variety of midges did well.  We departed at the siren and had fellowship dinner at Hicks BBQ.  It was great to get to know newcomer Matt Thal a little better along with our relatively new guys Jim Craig and Ron Berger.  We also saw FATC member Adam Hayes fishing the park also.  Just want to emphasize once more to make sure you have good quality cold weather gear.  The temperatures are dropping but the trips will keep coming.  Right now (Dec. 3rd) Cabelas has some sales on cold weather gear (tops and bottoms) and Sierra Trading Post has some sales on good merino wool socks,  check them out!!
Kenny Klimes, Jim Craig, Matt Thal, Matt McClure, and Ron Berger.  Is Kenny the tallest? Or is Jim Craig in a hole?
Jim with a nice fat rainbow from Meramec Spring park
Matt has a nice catch - not sure what he used - he wasn't telling
Matt Thal is Mr. Lunch Man!!!  He brought his own restaurant.
Ron Berger and Jim Craig enjoy lunch
With Connor gone it looks like Matt has to eat only Pringles
Kenny caught this guy on a soft hackle in the "pond" area
The guys are venturing outside the park - first time for some.
Jim fishes the bend on the Meramec river
Another to the net in the pond area
Looks like Jim had a good trip!!
Matt Thal with a rainbow
Montauk - Graduates, Dry Action and More (Dec 5th):  The days are getting shorter and colder but that isn't stopping the FATC from getting out on the river to fish.  A group of four headed down to Montauk with the mission of graduating new comer, Rick McMichael (no, he really didn't play for the '85 Chicago Bears).  Dave Beerbower and Jim Craig (no, he wasn't the goalie for the '80 USA Olympic hockey team) tagged along to hear Kenny yell, "Mend, Mend" all day.  The guys got on the water at around 8:45am and fished until lunchtime.  Kenny took Rick up between the boulder and the dam to practice casting and different techniques.  He caught two fish early to graduate but his very first fish, a big 14" rainbow, he dropped in the water before the picture.  Come on man!! But he did help his cause with another trout shortly there after for his graduation picture.  Congrats to Rick (now how about some Bears tickets!) The morning fishing was slow for the other guys so we talked strategy at lunch. Kenny and Rick headed to the beginning of the river (near the spring) and Dave and Jim started half way down from the spring area.  Kenny and Rick did well upstream during the afternoon as the trout turned on.  Dave and Jim reported that they too did awesome as a small hatch got the trout a little eager to eat.  The best flies were: midges (P&P), cerise worms, copper johns, soft hackles, elk hair caddis and Griffith's Gnat.  Big fish of the day were pushing 16".  We had the river almost to ourselves and the weather was rather nice during most of the day.  Congrats to Rick on his graduation.  We celebrated at Hicks BBQ again. I think we better buy shares in the restaurant since we go there so much.  Get out there a fish - best time of the year!
Kenny Klimes, Dave Beerbower, Jim Craig and Rick McMichael
Rick's first trout on a fly rod!!!  BUT HE DROPS IT BEFORE THE PICTURE!!
Ok, one more time and we are not going to lose this one.
Ok, graduation picture on the second fish!!
Jim Craig puts a nice fish in the net.
Dave with a beauty caught on a soft hackle or a dry fly....
Kenny with a fat rainbow caught on the P&P midge.
Montauk rainbow
Beauty of a trout in the net
Rick with a very nice rainbow. This one yanked the rod right out of his hands.
Rick is getting the hang of it now. In the net!
A 'bow on the cerise worm for Rick
Dave with another beauty.  I think he is near "Walter's Stretch"
Kenny's fat rainbow in the net
Kenny with another nice rainbow.
Fish on!!
Rick is on fire this afternoon
This fish was naked and we could only show you the head!
Several fish in the 15 - 16 inch range
Dave with a rainbow on a dry fly
24  Degrees? Fishing? - Are You Crazy?? (Dec 16th)  Some people just don't get it.  Why on earth would someone go fly fishing and be outside all day when it is 24 degrees? Because we love it!!!  Matt McClure, Sid Aslin, Connor Peters and Kenny Klimes said nothing was going to stop them from going fishing this cold day or would there be something? A 6:30am meeting at the YMCA started the adventure - 21 degrees and windy.  The four headed to Meramec (it is closer and in case we get too cold we can get home earlier - RIGHT!!!??)  As they entered the park they were not the only crazy persons there as they met a young college student, Bradley, who decided to fish too (but he wasn't prepared with only jeans and a hoodie). The plan was to not go too far away from the car so they fished around the island at the beginning of the park.  With finger tips freezing they hit the water (which was warmer than the air above). The "pond" area was loaded with trout, all swirling and feeding but on what? Soft hackles came out of the boxes and it seemed the smaller the better (like 20s and 22s).  We had good luck if you weren't curled in a ball freezing.  The afternoon seemed better fishing as the guys had to fish small flies most of the day.  Dry flies and a woolybugger coaxed a few to the net also.  Kenny picked up the two biggest fish of the day - both 16 inches.  Matt faked like he had to go to the bathroom which we found out was heated so he could warm up. At lunch, hot tea, cocoa and soup brought smiles to their faces.  The best flies of the day were Elk Hair caddis, soft hackles (size 20) in light colors, Trico adult dry fly (size 22), woolybugger and an occasional odd ball fly (Black Magic?).  Despite the cold, the day was filled with laughter and brotherhood.  We left at 4pm (no siren - I think it was frozen). A little rain/sleet started to fall - little did we know what was in store for us.  We decided to eat at the CrackleBarrel and had a great meal - until the guy next to us asked, "Where are you guys headed?". "St. Louis!", we said.  "Did you know the roads are backed up and pretty much at a stand still", he said.  So we stayed in the Crackle Barrel for an additional hour playing checkers and eating dessert, until we thought it would be OK to head home. WRONG!! To make a long story short, we were at a stand still on HWY 44 for over 2 hours, crawled along for another 2 hours and all got home after 11:00pm that night - but safely home.  So you never know what may happen on a FATC trip. And yes, all of us "bonded" on the trip.
Kenny Klimes, Connor Peters, Matt McClure, and Sid Aslin
A nice meramec Rainbow fooled on a tiny soft hackle.
Matt McClure has a rainbow on the line.  Fish on!!
Connor brings one to the net he fooled on an Elk Hair Caddis
Connor with a trout fooled by the Elk Hair caddis
Sid enjoying some hot tea and a sandwich - and staying warm.
Connor and our new found friend Bradley - He froze and left early - be prepared for winter fishiing!!!
Kenny and Matt trying to stay warm
Matt has a fish on!
A nice Meramec rianbow
Sid has one in the net - caught with a soft hackle
This 16 incher was fooled by a 22 Trico
This one was fooled by a 20 inch light colored soft hackle
The guide and the client - does the guide hold the fish or does the client - and who caught this one?
A beauty of a 16 incher
At a dead stop on Hwy 44 for over two hours
Rain Doesn't Stop Fly Fishers (Dec 23rd):  Fly fishers fish through rain, sleet or snow.  Our fly fishers do also!  With predictions of cold rain for most of the day nine fly fishers became five in a short time.  But the five were rewarded with a fun day (and not too cold) of catching fish.  Sid Aslin, Matt McClure, Connor Peters, Rick McMichael and Kenny Klimes braved the forecast of the day and visited Meramac Spring park and the Meramec River (yes, again, I spelled them correctly).  The plan was to check out the report that the river has been being stocked with browns but with one of our relatively new graduates (Rick) we decided that some of us would fish the park and some would test outside. Both were rewarded!!  The fishing in the park is still good.  Throw very tiny light colored soft hackles - size 18 to 20 in the "pond" area around the island or rubber legged stoneflies in the deep pools.  The boys that went outside hunted the newly stocked browns and also did well.  Their fly of choice was the black zebra midge.  Notice the "tag" next to the left eye of the brown in the picture below. Each month of stocked browns has a different color - this one is white.  IF YOU SEE A CHARTREUSE LINE AND AN ORANGE LINE PLEASE QUICKLY RELEASE - THESE BROWNS ARE CARRYING TRANSMITTERS INSIDE OF THEM FOR A STUDY.  BUT PLEASE REPORT TO US OF PLACE AND TIME OF CATCH.  In the afternoon everyone went outside the park and fished for browns.  Yes, it rained - mostly in the afternoon but was light and actually not very cold either.  We all had a great day - lots learned too.  But the fish of the day was caught by Sid Aslin - I have never seen a bigger rainbow in my life.  It took two to hold it for the picture - see below.  There are trips going each week.  If you can go let us know and we will put together a trip for others to join you.
Kenny Klimes, Sid Aslin, Matt McClure, Rick McMichael, and Connor Peters
Rainbow fooled by a size 20 light olive soft hackle
Yes, it rained - but wasn't bad.
Rainbow on a rubber-legged stonefly
Conner fishing outside the park on the Meramec river
Matt with a brown caught in the riffles in front of the "cabin"
Rainbow caught in the park
Brown caught in the Meramec river
Check out the "TAG" next to the left eye of the brown.  This tag is "white" - it will be next to the left eye for the 2016 stocked fish. The white line....indicates which month.  You will see other colors for different months.
A double of browns
Some of the guys fishing the browns
Connor was on fire in the riffles.
Sid Aslin and Rick McMichael with the catch of the day.  BIGGEST rainbow I have ever seen!!
Midge, Midger, Midgest (Dec. 27th):  Three FATC decided it was time to check out the Meramec river for Browns.  Kenny Klimes, Matt McClure and Jim Craig headed to Meramec on this beautiful Tuesday.  The plan was to head out of the park as soon as they could to beat any other fly fishers that had the same thought.  They started the day in front of the cabin/open field riffles and did well with midges in the riffles for browns.  Once they worked that area they headed down stream fishing all the way to Dry Creek.  Several spots produced fish.  They tried rubberlegged stone flies but it seemed that only midges would catch fish.  So it was zebra midges, P&P midges, red midges and the like....  Several browns were caught in the 10-12 inch range and then mostly rainbows a little larger in size.  They ate lunch at the pylons (the trail out) and fished inside the park the last two hours of the day.  Soft hackles and cracklebacks caught a few fish but it seemed like the trout wanted midges.  They should re-stock the browns again the first or second week of January so be ready.
Kenny Klimes, Jim Craig and Matt McClure
Matt strikes first with a brown in the riffles
A beautiful trout
Jim working the riffles with a midge
A nice Meramec rainbow
Kenny with a rainbow in the woods or was he just posing?
Hey, Jim what's in the net??
Jim pulls one out of the woods!
A Meramec river brown - check out the white strip tag next to the left eye.
Kenny must think it's an awesome day.
A little rainbow from the Meramec
Montauk - Last trip of the Year (Dec.30th):  With the year 2016 coming to a close, we just had to close it out with a fly fishing trip.  With everyone busy for the holidays three FATC did get out and fish Montauk on this beautiful Friday.  Matt McClure, Kenny Klimes and Martin Jones decided to check out the fishing at Montauk State park.  As early arrivals they found the park empty except for a car or two - could they have the river all to themselves?  No, it was too good to be true as fly fishers appeared more and more as the weather warmed up.  It wasn't too crowded as the guys had plenty of room to fish most of the day.  This was Martin's second time out so he was eager to improve his fly fishing skills.  With midge hatches happening all over and no trout hitting the surface the guys went to midging below and were rewarded immediately.  P&P, black zebra, red, purple, tan midges all did well.  A few fish were taken on woolybuggers and a soft hackle or two but it seemed that midges ruled the day.  The morning hours were better than the afternoon but fish were caught throughout the day.  Most trout ranged in the 12-13 inch range with several caught that were a fat 15 inches.  Kenny even tagged into a sucker that decided to suck up a midge for itself (see picture).  One note - Kenny used the New Zealand indicator system the entire day and was very impressed.  It is so sensitive to the takes and worked well even with two flies and a small split shot.  You will probably see him using it more in the future.  One thing to remember when using it - the less wool you use the better.  It was a fun day of catching.  Don't miss this winter catch and release season by working too hard - take a day off here and there to relax with us.
Kenny Klimes, Martin Jones, and Matt McClure
Matt with the first catch of the day near the upper portion of the river
A tiny but beautiful rainbow
Martin finds one in the net
Nice rainbow for Martin - he looks happy
Kenny brings one to the  net
This guy fell for the old P&P midge - must have been hungry
Matt with another beauty from Montauk park
Matt takes a closeup of this pretty 'bow.
Well, would you look at that!!  What is he doing in the net?
Martin with a very nice fat rainbow - this one wasn't going to get away.
Kenny with a nice fat rainbow caught in "Walter's Stretch"
Another big rainbow - check out the tail - it's hhuuuggggeee.
Weather Cold but Meramec River is Hot!! (Jan 11th):  Despite the wacky weather we have been having - freezing one day, then 60 degrees the next - I'm proud to say the FATC is going fishing.  Dave Beerbower, Gary Elliott, Jim Franke,  and Kenny Klimes met up with Jerry Lybarger to fish the Meramec river.  Knowing that the Browns are there and the rainbows, it was time to concentrate on some fishing!!  The gang went immediately outside the park and were the first ones to hit the river.  I say that because we got the prime location right off the bat as six other fly fishers (yes, six - on a Wednesday??) showed up later and had to start their fishing further downstream.  The browns are in the riffles and runs for sure.  Being winter of course midges seemed to be the fly of the day.  Soft hackles, some dry flies and wooly buggers were used and caught fish but more fish were caught with the midge larva - the P&P, red midge, black zebra and brown midge.  The New Zealand indicator system was again a big hit and when used seemed to bring more fish to the net.  As the day progressed and got warmer the guys worked their way down stream, fishing all the way to dry creek.  They fished the obvious holes and pulled fish out of all of them. Jim and Kenny met up with the "Missouri Trout Hunter" who was guiding two men from Kirkwood.  Of course Kenny pitched the FATC to them. It was a good day for all as all caught fish - browns and rainbows.  On the way home we ate at our favorite mexican restaurant.  It was 48 oz margarita night special and with Kenny not having to drive, you can imagine who went for the special!  If you haven't fished the Meramec river yet this winter - don't miss your chance.  If you have never been there before I'll even draw you a map of every hole!
Kenny, Jim, Dave and Gary.  Where's Jerry??
Nice rainbow in the net
A brown from the riffles - check out his tag color behind the left eye. It looks orange.
Closer look at a tagged brown - Orange tag
Jim has his first of the day (Kenny breathed on him)
Small but beautiful brown - most stocked are between 10 - 12"
Kenny found this bigger brown - about 13" - in the shallow riffles
Jim Franke with Jerry Lybarger in the background
Jim with another nice catch
This rainbow was just too pretty to not take a picture of him.
Jim pulled this guy out of the logs!
Nice brown from the Meramec river (this strain of brown is from Virginia)
Big fish of the day - a 15" rainbow caught in a run just before dry creek on a P&P midge.
Kenny Klimes, Brian Yost, Bob Beckett and Jim Craig
Brian concentrating on his dead drift in the Meramec River
We ran into Adam Hayes, FATC member, near where Dry Creek runs into the Meramec River
Jim has a nice rainbow in the net on a soft hackle
Jim with a nice catch in the pool around the island
Jim and Brian, in the background, working the waters
Looks like Bob has a trout coming his way.
Bob caught this rainbow on a soft hackle
Rainbow fooled by an olive Mohair leech
Another 'bow falling victim to the leech pattern.
Meramec River Rising and Fast (Jan 16th):  After the ice storms and rain, we knew that the Meramec River would be effected.  But we didn't know by how much so we decided to try it out anyway.  ALWAYS check the water levels and speed before you go on a trip specially if you are going to the Meramec river. Since the Meramec has been very low and slow the increase in levels and speed from the storms weren't enough to chase us away.  Brian Yost, Bob Beckett, Jim Craig and Kenny Klimes celebrated Martin Luther King day on the water.  Rain was forecast for most of the day but actually didn't come - just a few sprinklers here and there.  Our plan was to fish the Meramec river but soon found out that the rains had impacted the river by increasing the speed (CFS) and the depth.  This didn't cause a problem as much as the leaves and debris that were in the water.  We fished to  Dry Creek with only a few fish caught or lost.  After lunch we decided to go back upstream, fish the bend and then the park.  Funny, we ran into several fly fishers that we knew. We ran into Adam Hayes, a FATC member, on the river near Dry Creek and Brett Goldschmidt and Alex Zambrano fishing the bend.  We are hoping that Alex and Brett will be "future" FATC members.  Brett is working to start a similar fellowship at his church, The Journey.  Once back in the park we fished mostly around the island until the siren.  Bests flies were the rubberlegged stonefly, mohair leech, and soft hackles.  Small flies did not work as well with the cloudy, fast moving water - mostly due to the large amount of debris in the water from all the storms. We were going to eat at Hicks BBQ on the way home but Kenny accidently blew past the exit - so it was Mexican food in Sullivan.  I think we will have to let the Meramec river settle down for the next 5-6 days.
Meramec - Back to Normal/Fishing Well (Jan 27th):  Connor Peters and Matt McClure fished the Meramec river after it "settled down" from the rains and ice storms from the previous week.  They didn't say much about it except the catching is back on.  Browns and rainbows most of the day as they fished to Dry creek.  Most browns were caught in the fast moving water using midges and soft hackles. We are expecting one more stocking in February so hold on to your hats and don't miss this awesome fishery.
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.
Terry gets the first fish of the day
The browns averaged from 10-13 inches
A very nice healthy brown made "the mistake"
We had several doubles throughout the day - here is a double selfie - no fish were harmed in taking this photo!
Kenny with a fat 13 inch brown
Terry with a very nice catch
The fishing was great all day
Midgeing was on fire
a big brown that attacked a white woolybugger
Kenny with another brown
Terry pulled this one out with a soft hackle
Check out the green tag behind the left eye.
Terry ends the day with a 16-17 inch rainbow caught on a white egg-sucking leech.
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.
Bob Beckett, Bill Byington, and Dave Beerbower
20+ rainbow
Dave christening his new bamboo rod
Bob fishing the bend

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!!