Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

How's Fishing?

Must be good.  Our customers have been literally dashing in the door, grabbing more lures, and dashing out. they can't wait to get back to fishing.  It seems like moss woolies and wooly buggers, and salmon and brown marabou.  The fish have stomachs full of snails, so an olive RGN should work really well right now, too.
Today the wind is the biggest challenge, and this weekend is forecast for showers off and on.  Sunday will be perfect!
Also there is the Missouri Trout Fisherman's Association annual May Tag Derby.  You can register at the Lodge from Friday, May 19th at 7:00 pm to Saturday, May 20th until 8:00 am.  Great prizes to be won for catching a tagged fish.  Contact Chris Gann for more information at 314-640-1595.

Of Interest

I've had a couple of conversations recently with anglers about catch and release fishing. It became apparent that I needed to educate myself a bit on this topic. From reading information from the Missouri Department of Conservation, looking at multiple websites that address this topic, and talking with a few people that I trust, the following information is what I came up with to share.

Originally trout were brought here to Missouri on railway cars in milk jugs from other parts of the country.  I'm making this point to illustrate that these are pretty resilient little critters.  That being said, there are certain things that they can't live through.
If you catch a trout and put it on your stringer, you can't legally take it off the stringer and switch it out for a larger one.  Once the trout is on the stringer, it counts toward your limit of four for the day.  It's possible to attach a trout to a stringer and have it survive, but most anglers are not able to do this.  They may think they can, but a trout that lives for a couple of hours is not what we are talking about here.  We want a trout that swims away and lives on for it's natural life.
Another important factor is how the trout is physically handled.  They have a mucous coating on their skin that protects them from disease.  If this coating is disturbed, they can get sick very quickly.  Using cotton gloves or cloth can help preserve this coating.  It's also important to avoid the eyes and gills.
When removing the hook, try to back it out with forceps or a hook remover.  If a fish has swallowed the hook and lure or bait, it is best to accept that fish as one of your four for the day.  A second best choice is to cut the line and leave the hook in place.
A trout that is held out of water for longer than 30 seconds has a much lower chance of survival.  It was suggested to me by Brandon, who works at the hatchery, when you pull the fish out of the water - hold your breath.  When you need to breath, the fish needs to be back in the water.  Trout cannot breath air any more than you can breath water.
 If you would like to photograph your catch, cup your hand over the eyes to calm it while it's still in the water and get a firm grip on the tail.  Move the hand covering the eyes to underneath the pectoral fin with one finger in front of the fin and the rest of the hand cradling the body of the fish - not squeezing it.  The fish's heart, gills and liver are directly above this fin so great care must be made to be gentle.
When returning the fish to the stream, continuing to support the underside of the fish, face the fish upstream to get fresh water running through the gills until it swims away on its own.
I've watched over and over the beautiful ballet that anglers at Bennett do who are good at releasing fish.  The fish is carefully drawn in without exhausting it and, when close enough, a pair of hemostats releases the hook.  The fish is never touched.  A little sore mouthed, as they say, and perhaps a little wiser, but unharmed.

Water Conditions
At this point - Wednesday afternoon,  the water clarity is much improved.  If this trend continues depends on the amount and kind of rain that we get in the next few days.

One of the budget cuts that the government is planning is eliminating the site that measures the flow and levels of the rivers and springs. I will continue to give reports on the water conditions, but they will be objective and the result of physical observation.

The notice on the USGS site is as follows: NOTICE: Streamgage data collection activities MAY BE DISCONTINUED at this location on July 1, 2017, due to lack of funding. For inquiries concerning this streamgage, contact Paul Rydlund (, 573-308-3572) or Shane Barks (, 573-308-3674).

May 17, 2017
Bennett Spring
Gage house level is 3.22 feet, down from over 5 feet just eight days ago.
Daily Discharge levels:
All discharge numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 87 in 1977
25th percentile is 143
Median is 180
Mean is 254
75th percentile is 330
current level is 314
Max was 894 in 1995

May 17, 2017
Niangua River
Gage House reading (water level) is 2.67 feet.
Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
Minimum was 78.5 in 2012
25th percentile is 143
Today's reading is 252
Median is 280
Mean is 619
75th percentile is 827
record high max was 2460 in 1995

What's Working?

From the fly case:
weighted ginger woolie
bennett blue crackleback
Olive RGN's

Zone 1 & 2
Brown Roach
Possum hair roach
John Deere or angry Deere
Marabou - White and red, red & black,  gingersnap, shell & white, shell & brown
brown wooly (some with spinner, some without)

zone 3
power bait: yellow, salmon peach
florescent orange grubs, power bait
Orange & White worms

Lunker Club

Scott Westfall from Vandenberg Village, CA
2 pounds on a green woolie with a gold Hildebrandt spinner

Jason Dinwiddie from Lebanon, MO
3-1/4 pounds on a minnow in zone 3

Scott Westfall from Vandenberg Village, CA
2-1/2 pounds on an orange mini jig in zone 2

T.J. DeMore from Kansas City, MO
2-1/8 pounds on a black & gold marabou in zone 2

Fishing Times
May               6:30 A.M. 8:15 P.M.
June               6:30 A.M. 8:30 P.M.
July                6:30 A.M. 8:30 P.M.
August           7:00 A.M. 8:00 P.M.
September     7:30 A.M. 7:15 P.M.
October          7:30 A.M. 6:30 P.M.

Calendar of Events
Missouri Trout Fisherman's Associtaion annual May Tag Derby.  You can register at the Lodge from Friday, May 19th at 7:00 pm to Saturday, May 20th until 8:00 am.  Great prizes to be won for catching a tagged fish.  Contack Chris Gann for more information at 314-640-1595.

Saturday, 5-20-17
9 a.m. Spring Trail Hike.  Begins at the Nature Center.
1 p.m. Eagle program at the Nature Center.
3 p.m. Hellbenders in the Niangua River power point presentation on this endangered species at the Nature Center.

Do you like dulcimer music?   Mike Pace is playing in the nature center on May 26th at 7 p.m.  Feel free to spread the word!

Saturday, 5-27-17
10 a.m. Savanna Trail Hike, meet at the trail head above Bennett Spring.
2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Insects & Bug Puzzle Time at the Nature Center
8 p.m. – Spider Sniff at the Nature Center. Bring a flashlight for a night hike.

Sunday, 5-28-17
2 p.m. Nature Center video – The St. Francois Mountains of Missouri

June 10th,11th Free Fishing
Free fishing for all in state and out of state anglers state wide. .
Kids Free Fishing Day
Saturday, June 10, 2017 The annual kids free fishing day (originally in May).  special area stocked just for the kids
Time: 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM

Weed Cutting June 28 & 29 @ 8:00 AM

Weed Cutting August 9th & 10th @ 8:00 AM

Weed Cutting September 20th & 21st @ 8:00 AM

Saturday, September 30, 2017
New: Ladies Only Free Fishing Day. No tag needed, just fishing license if required.
Time: 7:30 AM to 7:15 PM

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Two day event October 14th & 15th.
The annual Holland Derby. A trout fishing derby to benefit the cancer society.
Time: 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM

Weather Forecast
Thursday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 84. South wind 8 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 1am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 66. Southeast wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Friday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. South wind 8 to 10 mph.

Friday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 66. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Saturday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Cloudy, with a high near 75. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 71.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 74.

Tuesday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69.

Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near

Quote of the Week
While baseball is among the sports (some might include golf here) that inspire a certain devotion, even fanaticism, fly-fishing leads its lovers into fundamental connections, inviting a slow dance with the whimsy of the natural world, a love affair with line and rhythm and simplicity. Angling delivers the wily spiritual satisfactions that come with giving yourself to something that offers only intangible payback.
Author:  Holly Morris
Published:  1997 essay on fly fishing literature in The New York Times

Thanks for reading!  Lucy


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