• Missouri Trout Quest

    Earlier this month a local guide shared an idea that I thought had merit. He proposed a challenge to catch wild trout from 5 out of 8 Missouri wild trout streams. Sounded like a more than adequate excuse to head off again to the Ozark's for a spring weekend. I called Randy to see if he was interested---no hesitation. Strategies, streamside tactics, and logistics were quickly discussed, leading to a plan. We would hit 4 streams in one weekend--two on Sat. and two on Sunday. We didn't schedule a fifth since we had already visited another stream multiple times this spring. We'd camp on one of the streams Sat. night, hoping there would be room in the campground. It had been more than 30 years since I had visited any of the streams that we were seeking....

    Left Saturday morning early with temperature and wind both in the low thirties--not a good sign.

    Stopped for a nutritious breakfast in Sedalia.

    We kept seeing creeks and rivers that were blown out as we motored southeast. Got really worried when we saw the Gasconade flowing chocolate brown since it drains the area we were heading to. Smarter yahoo's would have turned back but we didn't have that option since we had already entered the vortex of no-return. You've been there--on the edge where the chance for an epic failure of a trip is almost as attractive (for future story telling) as a trip full of good weather and big trout.

    After a 4.5 hour drive we arrived at our first creek. Water just barely colored.

    Fished this section for a while but no fish--beginning to have doubts. Moved upstream to try another section. After an hour, still no sign of fish until I saw this dogwood at the base of a nice run. I told Randy, if we were going to catch a fish on this creek it is going to be under the dogwood on a caddis.


    With the skunk off we both went on to catch several small wild trout--all on caddis even though there were no rises. The sun started to come out and we packed up and headed to the next destination.

    Turned out to be a beautiful day and stream. This is where we decided to camp. Earlier we had worried about room in the campground but as it turned out we had the entire campground to ourselves. Randy couldn't wait so he started fishing while I explored a bit.

    Randy was quick into fish.

    I decided to head back to camp and rig up. As I reached for my rod case, I got a sinking feeling. I couldn't find my rod. Then I remembered. I had broken the rod down but laid it on the roof of the truck and then forgot about it. Pieces of rod, line and reel are somewhere out there in SE Missouri.

    Fortunately, I had a backup but I had a fog of stupid hanging pretty heavy over me at that point. I entered the stream just up from camp just as the sun was setting to fish this run for the last hour.

    The river restored me, giving up about a dozen trout--all on caddis from this run. Nothing large but larger than we had been catching.

    At this point, we were two for two with two more streams to try. With the rod fiasco forgotten we settled down to some Oklahoma Joe's BBQ by the fire and spent a lot of time planning our retirements to make sure we could keep on doing just what we were doing.

    The next day we had a really tough time keeping to schedule. We both wanted to just stay put and fish right where we were.

    The last fish before leaving.

    But there was the plan and we were late for the next creek in the next drainage. We headed off cross-country.

    At the next creek we talked to a guy at one of the access points and got some tips about getting to the stream and what to expect then hit the creek about 12:00. The creek was beautiful but tough for us. We had to go subsurface on this creek. I forgot to take any photos except for a couple of fish.

    We had already decided that we'd both catch a fish or two and then be on our way but like I said we found this creek tough and it took a while before Randy landed his trout. Once he did it was off to our final stream.

    This site is just upstream from where this stream enters into the Big Piney. The Big Piney was flowing chocolate and we were pleasantly surprised that this stream was only a little off color.

    Our roles reversed on this creek. It took quite a while before I caught my first trout here but eventually I did. Randy on the other hand was doing very well with a BHPT at the tail end of a riffle. My luck changed when I switched again to a caddis.

    Mission accomplished. Each of us caught trout on each of the four streams. Dang, it was a fun weekend. We schemed all the way home trying to figure out how we could work out early retirement to do more of the same. I think we just started a tradition.....
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Missouri Trout Quest started by ksbioteacher View original post