Monday, July 13, 2015

Trout Fishing Report for Bennett Spring

How's Fishing?

The hatchery manager, Mike Mitchell, sent out the current tag and fish numbers for month and year comparison.  This year to date there have been 61151 tags sold compared to last  year when there were 60331 sold.  The month of June is down, however.  There were 18826 tags sold in June of 2014 and only 16221 sold in June of 2015.  The highest number of tags sold was 2002 when there were 24, 976 tags sold.
The number of fish stocked in 2015 was higher than 2014.  In June of 2014 there were 42976 (2.26 per tag) and in 2015 there were 38710 ( 2.39 per tag).

The biggest number of phone calls we have been getting here at Weaver's have been for an update on water conditions.  For the color and appearance of the water, a phone call is the best way to know this.  For those of you that have a computer and are computer literate there are a couple of sites that are very informative (and can be accessed any time and isn't grumpy when you want to know at 5 a.m. ) the USGS sites for Bennett Spring and the one for the Niangua River.  I use both in this report for the current conditions.  The interesting thing to me has been how the water level has gone down so dramatically but the discharge rate - how fast the water is flowing - has continued to be really high.  The Niangua is still very high as well as fast and is backed  up into the zone 3.  The water is beginning to clear in zone 1 but it will take a while before the entire Spring branch is the beautiful aqua blue that we love to see.
Despite this, those who are catching fish are catching bunches of them.  If you can find that little eddy or if you fish closer to the shore in the slower moving water, you may find where the fish are laying low.  One of the things that I have noted is that even some of the die-hard fly rod anglers are temporarily switching to their ultra light spinners.  I have a quote from the book 'Fishing the Missouri Trout Parks'  that talks a bit about some really excellent choices for the type of water we are experiencing now.

This is from a section called "Spin Fishing with Artificial Lures" written by Jim Washabau.
Since bait fishermen are excluded from much of the water in the trout parks, it is important for you to be able to fish with artificial lures if you want to fully enjoy all that the parks have to offer.
The following artificial lures are highly effective:
Rooster Tail
 Original Worden's Rooster Tails are in-line dressed spinners made by the Yakima Bait company of Granger, Washinton.  These reasonably  priced lures come in various colors and sizes, either with a single-point hook or a treble hook.  The Rooster Tail's heavy body makes it easy to cast long distances and enables it to quickly sink down to where the trout are located in deep, fast moving water.  Although white is hard to beat, also carry other colors such as yellow, pink, and brown in 1/8, 1/16-, 1/24-, and 1/32- ounce sizes.
Woolly Worm and Spinner.
A wet fly with a small Colorado spinner added to it, the Woolly Worm & Spinner combination effectively imitates a minnow swimming through the water.  Lighter than a Rooster Tail, it is better suited for use in shallow water.  Brown, black and gray woollies all perform well.  When fishing in bright sunlight, gold colored blades are most productive.  Under low-light conditions, silver spinner blades are best.  Additional flash under low-light conditions can be achieved by combining a silver spinner blade with a woolly worm that has a body tied with silver tinsel.
These lures are proven performers in the trout parks, with good reason.  In addition to being highly visible, they make vibrations that trout feel in their lateral lines and are extremely easy for fish to locate.  Since there is no slack in the line when they are being retrieved, strikes are easily felt and a very  high percentage of hits result in hookups when they are used.  Heavier line can usually be used with these lures with no noticeable decrease in the number of strikes received.  Fewer fish hooked are therefore lost due to break-offs.  These lures are particularly well suited for use in the parks during the very productive early morning hours.
The main difference between these two lures is that the Rooster Tail is weighted and the Woolly Worm & Spinner is not.  You usually need to add split-shot to the line above the Woolly Worm & Spinner when spin fishing to add weight necessary for casting and to get it down to the right depth.  Split-shot needs to be added to the line above a Rooster Tail only in very heavy current or when additional casting distance is required.  When adding split-shot to the line, crimp it on between 12 and 18 inches above the lure.  The amount of weight you use depends upon water conditions, but a single 3/0 split-shot is a good starting point.  As with other fishing techniques, trout depth and current velocity determine precisely how you rig your system.
The Rooster Tail and the Woolly Worm & Spinner are both fished basically the same way.  Cast your spinner across the stream and let it swing downstream as it sinks.  When it has reached the necessary depth, give the rod a jerk to start the blade spinning as you begin the retrieve.  Retrieve the lure at a slow constant speed that is just fast enough to keep the blade spinning.
When you are fishing blind, as is often the case early in the morning, it is important to cover the area you are fishing very systematically.  When fishing a spinner across a strong current, your lure travels through the water in a downstream arc as you retrieve it.  In order to cover the maximum amount of water from one casting location, on each subsequent cast you should vary the length of the cast and the angle you are casting across the current.  You will achieve best results when your are able to determine the exact depth the fish are feeding in the water column and concentrate your efforts there.
In addition to the Rooster Tail and the Woolly Worm & Spinner, there are a variety of other lures that can be used to catch trout n the parks.  These include Mepps and Panther Martin spinners and tiny Rapala and Flatfish plugs, among others.

What's Working?
from the fly box
red or blue holographic, or Aqua cracklebacks
weighted crackleback
brown or black weighted woolly bugger with spinner
mega worm
possum hair roach

Zone one & two:
1/8 ounce marabou - pink & white, moss, gingersnap
Brown roach
Marbou: gingersnap, white, black & yellow, peach
tinsel sparkle jig
Glo Ball- jimi hendrix, easter egg, white with red dot or pink dot, dark red
rooster tails: brown sparkle, black sparkle

Zone 3:
Red worms
pink mouse tail
chunky cheese or chartreuse PowerBait

Water Conditions

The Spring is getting lower and clearer every day. There is a bit of clearer water in zone 1.  The Niangua is still very high and the lower part of the Spring branch is backed up and high.  

July 7, 2015 for Bennett Spring

Gage house level is 3.10 feet - down from 9+ feet on July 2nd.
Daily Discharge levels:
All numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 81 in 1934
25th percentile is 117
Median is 143
Mean is 156
75th percentile is 183
current level is 544 - down from 15000 on July 2nd.
Previous Max was 322 in 1995

July 7, 2015 for Niangua River:

Gage House reading is 5.88 and heading steadily down from 11.5 feet on July 10th.

Daily Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
minimum was 48 in 1996
25th percentile is 135
Median is 168
Mean is 232
75th percentile is 311
Max was 753 in 2006
Today's reading is 3290 -over 4 times the highest record for this date.

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 

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 92.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 91.

Friday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 92.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 92.

Sunday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 92.

Calendar of Events

July 14th - Fly tying class at Weaver's Tackle, Baby Doll, zug bug, and johnny rotten will be the flies tied. All are welcome. No charge for class. Beginners start at 6:30, regular class at 7pm. All materials for flies tied are provided and classes are free.

July 21 - Fly tying class at Weaver's Tackle, black ant, adams Parachute, and a sparkle spinner will be the flies tied. All are welcome. No charge for class or materials used in class.

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.

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

The angler is never a has-been. He enjoys a lifetime of participation which continues through noon, then on into the sunset, and even into the eventide of life.

Charles K.Fox

Thanks for reading,

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