Thursday, July 23, 2015

How's Fishing

There hasn't been a lot of large fish brought in lately, but generally the consensus is that fishing is better than just okay.  Interestingly, brassies have been one of the best things to fish with.  Yellow, red & white, pink & white. moss green, everyone seems to have their favorite color and swear that it's the ONLY one!  You can bring your fly rod to use again.  We have had angler after angler coming into our store to get their fly rods set up with new leader (often with sinking leader) and tippet.  A little bit of top action has been reported late in the day, but it's still those that are fishing deep that are catching fish.
Last week I shared a chapter from the book written by Jim Washabaugh titled "Fishing the Missouri Trout Parks".  The article was well received by you, the readers, so I am continuing on to the next chapter titled "Spin Fishing with Jigs".  Jigs are one of the most popular lures used at Bennett and hopefully there will be some small idea planted here to improve skills.

Marabou Jigs are highly effective and have taken many of the lunkers and record fish caught in the parks over the years.  Examples include the 15 pound rainbow caught by David Summers at Montauk in 1977, the 16 pound 12 ounce brown caught by Gilbert "Butch" Enke at Montauk in 1990.
As pointed out earlier, although marabou jigs are artificial lures, they meet the definition of "fly" under Missouri law.  They may therefore legally be used in "Flies Only" and "Fly Fishing Only" zones in the parks, regardless of the type of rod used.
The most effective jig colors to use are black and yellow in combination and solid white.  Other colors such as brown, beige, olive, and solid black are good, too.  Carry an assortment of sizes, ranging from heavy 1/16-ounce jigs down to tiny "Micro jigs" weighing only 1/128th or 1/256th of an ounce.
The weight jig  you use is determined by the current's speed, the depth of the water the trout are feeding at, and the distance you must cast to reach your target.  You should normally use the lightest jig that conditions allow.  When using a large jig, shorten the tail to just behind the hook.

Fishing a Jig Without a Float

To rig for fishing a marabou jig without a float, simply tie the jig on the end of your line (using tippet material when necessary).  If additional weight is necessary to achieve the casting distance you need, crimp a 3/0 split-shot on the line about 12 inches above the jig.
Thoroughly wet your jig to ensure it will have proper action, then make your cast.  In deep water let the jig sink to the bottom foot or so.  start by fishing the jig with a slow jerking retrieve that makes the jig's head bob and dive.  Then experiment with different retrieves until you find exactly what the fish want.  Try to impart action to the jig by vertically bouncing  your rod tip.  Remember not to bring the jig back too fast.  Entice the fish and give them time to hit it.  quickly set the hook when a strike is felt.
Trout usually hit jigs because they are hungry, but they will hit them in defense of their territory, too.  You can use this to your advantage when trying to catch a lunker you've spotted.
Carefully position yourself directly upstream from the sighted fish and drift your jig down to it.  Let the marabou flutter right in front of the trout. In areas where it's permitted, adding some Power Bait to the jig can help, as can adding Power Bait jelly or liquid trout attractant.  Make sure your jig act like it is a small fish invading the trout's territory.  Keep at it.  The big trout will eventually get tired of being teased and let the little challenger have it.  Then  you'll have a fight on your hands that  you'll be talking about for a long, long time.  (Note from Lucy - scented bait/lures are not allowed in zone 1 or 2 at Bennett Spring State Park)

Fishing a Jig with a Float

Park trout often will hit a dead-drifted jig more readily than one that is actively retrieved.  Like any other subsurface fly, the best way to dead-drift a jog with spinning tackle is to fish it under a float added to the line.  The amount of distance the float is from the jig depends upon current velocity and the depth of the water you are fishing.  A good starting point in waist-deep water is a distance of 3 or 4 feet.  Fishing the jig 2 feet or less off the bottom is usually best.
To fish, simply cast up an across then let the float and jog drift downstream in the current.  In very slow moving water it often helps if there is a light breeze to add a very slight action to the jig.  Lightly twitching your line every 10 feet or so often helps entice fish to strike.
Watch your float carefully. When it hesitates or moves unexpectedly, set the hook.  If greater casting distance is needed, add small split-shot directly above and below the float on the line.  If the float starts to sink under the additional weight, switch to a larger float.  Experiment with different colors and sizes of jigs, as well as the depth your are fishing them.

What's Working?

From the fly box:
brown with red tip or Aqua cracklebacks
weighted crackleback
brown or black weighted woolly bugger with spinner
woolly bugger- bead head, olive and brown or brown
mega or Weaver's Whopper worm
possum hair roach

Zone one & two:
Possum roach
yellow brassie, red & white brassie
1/8 ounce marabou - pink & white, moss, gingersnap
Marbou: gingersnap, white, black & yellow, yellow
tinsel sparkle jig
Glo Ball- jimi hendrix,
rooster tails: bumble bee, many other colors

Zone 3:
Red worms, Power bait scented.
pink mouse tail
chunky cheese or chartreuse PowerBait

Lunker Club
July 12, 2015
Richard Hayes from Overland Park, Kansas
2 pounds on a jitterbug

Water Conditions

The Spring is getting lower and clearer every day. There is a bit of clearer water in zone 1 and very close to normal levels, although the current is still very strong. Color continues to improve.

July 22, 2015 for Bennett Spring

Gage house level is 2.56 feet - down from 9+ feet on July 2nd.
Daily Discharge levels:
All numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 78 in 1940
25th percentile is 111
Median is 134
Mean is 142
75th percentile is 159
current level is 306 - down from 15,000 on July 2nd.
Previous Max was 273 in 1994

July 22, 2015 for Niangua River:

Gage House reading is 2.91

Daily Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
minimum was 17 in 2012
25th percentile is 41
Median is 72
Mean is 90
75th percentile is 116
Max was 276 in 2013
Today's reading is 345

Fishing Times
July from 6:30 to 8:30

August from 7:00 to 8:00

September from 7:30 to 7:15

October from 7:30 to 6:30

Weather Forecast

Friday             A 30%chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. South wind 6 to 8 mph.
Saturday        Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 93.
Sunday          Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 92.
Monday          Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 92.
Tuesday         Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 93.
Wednesday    Mostly sunny, with a high near 90.

Calendar of Events

July 25th 9-12 am -Wayne Simpson fly tying demonstration at Weaver's Tackle Store. He will be tying Hoppers and Beetles and Spiders! (oh my!)

July 28th & 29th - moss cutting

July 28th - Fly tying class at Weaver's Tackle, Tenny Nymph, Lime Trude -df, will be the flies tied. All are welcome. No charge for class or materials used in class.
Last class for this year!

August 8th  - Missouri Trout Fisherman's Association Kansas City Chapter       Trout Derby. Fund Raiser for Project Healing Waters and MTFA. Registration at Park Store Fri night 7 PM to close and Sat. morning until 7 AM.

August 22nd - 9-12 am -Wayne Simpson fly tying demonstration at Weaver's Tackle Store

August 25th & 26th - moss cutting

September 22nd and 23rd - moss cutting

October 10, Holland Derby

October 20th and 21st - moss cutting

October 31st - end of regular fishing season

November 13th - start of catch and release for 2015/16

February 8th, 2016 end of catch and release season 2015/16

Quote of the Week

Sure we have faster rods and better mono, but I like the fact you can't buy your cast.
Author:  Chico Fernandez

Thanks for reading,

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