The Annual Preseason meeting last week was very informative. We'd like to thank the Bennett Spring park rangers and hatchery staff for their presentations and answering all of our questions. On opening day the hatchery will put 6000 Rainbows in the stream with about 75 of those being considered lunkers -over 3 pounds. During the season, the fish will continue to be graded and judged by the 12" average rule. Not more than 5% of fish released are allowed to be below 10". Fish that are under 10" when they are released will not likely grow any bigger in the stream. Given the huge number of fish released every day, those 5% can start to add up. One suggestion to limit the number of small fish in the stream was to ask those anglers who normally practice catch-and-release to keep four small fish each time they fish. This would start to eliminate those fish who fail to grow and, as a result, are caught and released repeatedly. Weaver's Tackle will donate a rope stringer to anyone who would like to do this. Our hatchery manager, Mike Mitchell, would like to get feedback on this question of fish size and has asked anyone who has a stringer of these very small fish to bring them to him at the hatchery. He can also be contacted at 417-532-4418.
Opening day will be on a Thursday this year. Mr. Ray Thomas from Quincy, Illinois will do the opening day honors.
Traditionally, an opening on this day of the week draws a smaller crowd. Based on previous years, the park is expecting to sell about 2011 tags. Daily tag costs will remain the same as last year: $3/day for adults and $2/day for children. When you buy your tag, you will be informed of the ban on all porous-soled boots and waders, including felt-soled waders.
If you currently own porous-soled waders or wading boots, you have a couple of options to bring them into compliance with the new regulation. One option is to have your boots resoled. I don't have specific names of cobblers who will do this, but have been told by more than one person that the cost to do this is about $50. Another choice is to put rubber cement or contact cement on the entire sole of the boot. Directions for this process are found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_
For those who would rather replace their waders, there are many good-quality wader options. Many brands have advanced rubber soles that provide much better traction than the traditional rubber soles you might be familiar with. We recommend Caddis, Chota or Frogg Togg boots which all have ecosmart grip soles, also known as sticky rubber.
If you fish in any stream other than Bennett Spring, you need to wait 48 hours before fishing at Bennett to allow all of your tackle to dry thoroughly. If it's not possible to allow everything to dry (wader cuffs, fly line, shoelaces, nets, etc) it should all be washed in a salt solution. You can make your own 20% salt solution by dissolving 2 pounds of salt per gallon of water. When using a 20% salt solution, soak your equipment for 3 minutes. A 5% solution can be made with 7oz of salt per gallon. When using a 5% salt solution, soak for 20 minutes. This does the same thing as putting salt on a slug. Bleach solutions can also be used, but it can ruin the fabric of waders so it is not recommended for use.
Some of you will notice that the Holland Dam has been reworked. This was done partly because of flood damage from previous years accelerating the erosion of the shores, and partly to cause more air to be incorporated into the stream to raise oxygen levels. The Spring draws from very deep pools and naturally has a lot of Nitrogen present. This is harmful for fish in too large of concentrations -similar to a diver getting the 'bends' when he rises too quickly. In small fish, this causes stress, and stressed fish do not grow well. Another result of the reworking of the Holland Dam is that the pool level above the dam is slightly higher - about 2".
The hatchery is starting phase two of it's renovations. The raceways will be scraped out, sealed up, and will have new concrete floors. This will provide a cleaner and healthier environment for growing fish stock. Hatchery tours will be available every other Saturday during the season.
• The Spring is currently putting out 198 cubic feet per second.
• The water level measures 2.29 feet at the Gage House and is dropping.
• The water is the very pretty blue green that Bennett is known for and clear.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 59. South wind 17 to 20 mph decreasing to between 9 and 12 mph. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56
Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 50.
Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 53.
Friday: Partly cloudy, high near 57
Saturday: Partly cloudy with a high near 53
Sunday : Sunny with a high of 55
Calendar of Events
Last day of Catch & Release Season was February 13, 2012
Weaver's Tackle Store will open Tuesday February 28th, 2012
Opening Day for the regular fishing season is March 1, 2011 at 6:30 am to 6 pm. Daylight savings time shifts the fishing times to 7:30 am to 7pm on March 14th.
March 1, 2012 - opening day breakfast at the church in the park. It's a youth fund raiser. Cost is $5 for biscuits & gravy, eggs, sausage, potatoes & drink. Runs from 6:30 AM until 9 AM or until the food is gone.
Starting in March there will be hatchery tours the first and third Saturday at 10:00 AM. More information to come.
April 10 & 11 is moss cutting
May 5, 2012 is Kid's Fishing Day
May 22 & 23 is moss cutting
June 9 & 10th is free fishing weekend
June 26 and 27 is moss cutting
August 7 & 8 is moss cutting
September 18 & 19 is moss cutting
November 9, 2012 is first day of Catch & Release Season
On March 1st - 6:30 am to 6 pm
March 14th to April 1st - 7:30 am to 7 pm.
April 1st to April 30th - 7:00am to 7:30 pm
May times are 6:30 am to 8:15pm
June and July hours are 6:30 am to 8:30 pm
August is 7 am to 8 pm
September is 7:30 to 7:15 pm
October's hours are 7:30 am to 6:30 pm
Farewell to a Friend
Many of you knew and were friends of Jim Meyer. I am sorry to tell you that he passed away on February 14th of this year after a valiant, but sadly brief, bout with cancer. He was one of the first people we met when we moved here. He taught us so much. Not only did he guide us on how to fish for trout in this area, but he also exemplified the character of the people that call this area home. He was honest and generous. He was active in his faith and loved his wife, Mary Anne, and his family. He played golf, hunted, fished, loved to travel and did all of it as much as he could while still running his very demanding business, Jim's Wholesale. The world is a better place for his having been in it. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Thank you all for reading,
Quote of the Day
No sport affords a greater field for observation and study than fly fishing, and it is the close attention paid to the minor happenings upon the stream that marks the finished fly angler.
George M L La Branche
The Dry Fly and Fast Water - 1914