Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How's Fishing

The water has slowed way down and the levels are still very nice.  The weather is great and is forecast to be a little warmer for the next week.  Mild and dry.  It still feels like summer but the days are so much shorter and you know the leaves will be turning soon.  The tag numbers are up and that shows that there are a lot of smart anglers out there.  They know that this time of  year is perfect for a trip to Bennett.  As far as the best lures - the Bennett Blue crackleback is still going strong, as well as green, pearl or chartreuse.  Renegades and double trouble - consistently good.  Check to see that you have some winged ants in your tackle box as well as a couple of crane flies.

I found a nice little article on fall fishing that I would like to share with you.
It's written by  Dave Karczynski who lives in MIchigan, but it seems like useful information for trout fishing here, as well.  He writes:

Summer has left the building.

It’s around this time of year that the trutta army starts to splinter.  Some drop the rod and pick up the bow or gun and hunt elk, deer, birds.  Others start their long-awaited two-handed enterprise of the year. This week’s column goes out to the guys who want to keep trouting, or if you’re like me and have been caught up hucking the big stuff at toothy beasts these last few weeks, to return to the finesse roots of the sport before winter swoops in to limit your options. Last week I had a great conversation on the subject of fall opportunities with my friend Alex Lafkas, a guide at the top of his game and a threat to brown trout from Michigan’s Au Sable to Arkansas’s White River and quite a few places in between. Whether you’re looking for numbers of fish or The One, here’s what lies ahead for the committed trout bum from here on out to the New Year.

Dry Flies

September heading into October places us just at the tail end of the terrestrial season, with just a bit of good dry fly opportunity left.  “Save that effort for the middle part of the day, sunny days being best,” Lafkas advises.  There are still plenty of fish willing to look up, but temperatures play a more important role in their willingness to commit to a fly in the film.

Optimal dry fly locations change a bit as well. With the low water characteristic of most rivers in early autumn, fishing to bankside structure is no longer par for the course.  Instead, turn your attention to the center of the river, that area where you typically get your spring and summer wading done. Those mid-river seams and bubble lines can be the dry fly angler’s meal ticket this time of year.

A parting tip to the late-season dry fly angler: carry ants. And make sure a few of them have wings. This is the time of year to be on the lookout for the coveted/hallowed flying ant hatch. Some go their whole lives without seeing one, but those that have know that it’s some of the best surface action you could hope to encounter.


Lafkas with a post-spawn streamer-caught pig.
According to Lafkas, there’s an easy explanation for the fall streamer bite—the spawn. “Everything in the fall is dictated by the need to spawn, and the need to spawn is just another way of saying the need to eat.” Late September usually kicks of this bite, and the following few weeks typically represent excellent fishing for both numbers of fish as well as size.  That said, size of fish is not always proportional to size of fly this time of year. Until the first good fall rains bump up the CFS and stain the water, it’s best to downsize and de-color. Smaller flies, more natural colors and less flash is the way to go. Afficionados of the mega-streamer take note: there’s both challenge and reward in this fall finesse streamer game (your shoulder thanks you in advance).

The period extending from the end of the spawn to the beginning of true winter is one of your best shots of the year at an honest-to-goodness big fish.  Year in and year out, Lafkas catches some of his best browns in the week between Christmas and New Years.  “Fish have bled calories during the spawn, and they really want to get pack on some insurance weight before the real cold weather hits.”  These fish got big because they don’t make mistakes.  The post-spawn bite is one of those times of year when they get a little careless. Take advantage of this.


On rivers with significant summer weed growth, fall represents a time of expanding nymph opportunity—those slower seams and slots are finally free of green and open for business. It’s also time to break out that ‘other’ box of nymphs.  “Stoneflies and midge larvae are my go-to flies in the fall,” Lafkas says.  “There isn’t a whole lot of caddis or mayfly activity this time of year, and those bugs that are present are small. But a fish will move, and sometimes move a good distance, for a meaty prince nymph.”  If migratory salmonoids are present in your system, egging in the slots behind gravel can also make for some truly epic days.


Fall is a great time to be on the upstream stretches of your favorite river. Angler numbers are down but fish densities are up: those summer fish numbers have been added to by migratory browns and rainbows from the bigger waters below.  And these fish will be above average in size.  According to Lafkas, one reason so many good fish are caught in the fall is that, well, they’re finally catchable: “Those big fish spend a good part of the year on big, slow, featureless flats.  There’s not enough time in the year to cast efficiently to them. But once they come up in to the skinny water, they hold fast to structure and as a result are easier to fish to.”

So there’s your siren’s song, in case you needed coaxing. Plenty of fish, including some big boys, no one around, and weather that’s just not too hot or too cold but just right. Sounds like a reason to get some fresh air. Not that you needed the excuse.

MidCurrent Fly Fishing

Dave Karczynski's writing has appeared in The Flyfish Journal, Fly Rod & Reel, The Drake, Fly Fusion and others. A Robert Traver Award winner, he lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he teaches writing and photography at the University of Michigan.

Water Conditions

October 4, 2015 for Bennett Spring:

Gage house level is 1.93 feet

Daily Discharge levels:
All numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 78 in 1938
25th percentile is 98
current level is 125
Median is 108
Mean is 140
75th percentile is 134
Max was 829 in 1997

October 4, 2015 for Niangua River:

Gage House reading (water level) is 1.71 feet

Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
minimum was 26 in 1993
25th percentile is 38
Median is 43
Today's reading is 45
75th percentile is 79
Mean is 80
Max was 379 in 1994

What's Working?

From the fly box:
Aqua cracklebacks - (also known as the Bennett Blue) still at the top of the list
pearl cracklebacks, gold crackleback
light or dark brown RGN (fished 2 to 2.5 feet - dead drift)
Black ants - some with wings
Prince Nymph

Zone one & two:
Marabou: olive, gingersnap, salmon & white, shell & brown, orange
Glo Ball:, original tri color, jimi hendrix, salmon with red dot
mini jig, peacock grub with tail. peach fur bug
rooster tail - brown glitter, grasshopper, yellow dalmatian

Zone 3:
yellow glitter orange power bait
trout magnet, mealworm or salmon
pumpkin seed marabou

Lunker Club

September 23, 2015
Gary Garck from Erie PA
2 lbs on a stimulater  in zone 2

September 25, 2015
Jeff Endejan from St. Louis, MO
2.5 pounds on a brown marabou jig in zone 1

September 26, 2015
Logan Detering from Eureka, MO
2.5 pounds on a white Rooster Tail in zone 1

Roger Muskopf from Freeburg, IL
2.25 pounds on a minnow in zone 3

Pierce Tiefenauer (age 8) from Festus, MO
2 pounds on a white san juan worm in zone 1

September 28, 2015
William Elmore from Chandlerville, IL
2.5 pounds on a red fire crackleback in zone 1

Ken Eberhardt from St. Charles, MO
3 pounds on a nymph in zone 1

October 3, 2015
Cody Tumlin from Ozark, MO
2.7 pounds on a crackleback in zone 1

Weather Forecast

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76. Northeast wind 3 to 5 mph.
Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 57.

Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 79.
Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 59.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 79.
Thursday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 58.

Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 71.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 51.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 73.

Fishing Times

October from 7:30 to 6:30

Calendar of Events

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

There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process.

Author:  Paul O'Neil

Thanks for reading!  Lucy

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