I’ve been fishing off and on all winter, but last Sunday was my first outing with the drift boat since probably late November or early December. It was a windy day on the MO which is usually the case in March but it was good to get the boat out again. I diverted from my norm and floated from Craig down stream to Stickney Creek. For many years I have fished from Holter dam to Craig with the occasional float below Craig. This year I am planning to get to know the water below Craig better. Things started out a little slow which isn’t surprising this time of year with water temps at 36 degrees, but I was hoping for more of what I experienced the previous weekend which was incredible. Once I got on the right fly (an olive wooly bugger with black hackle and tail) I killed them. Well not really I did release them. The thing that pissed me off was there was a guy 100 yards down stream form me that had a fish on every time I looked up. I changed flies a couple of times trying to get it right but hadn’t found the right one yet. Then he finally got tired of hauling in fish and started walking back toward me along the bank. I had waded in to the bank and was again changing flies and trying to get some feeling in my feet. He stopped and showed the fly he’d been using which was a black bugger. He gave me one and wished me luck. I tied his fly on and picked up a couple of fish but still didn’t do as well as he did. This was probably because I was following him in the run and was fishing the water he had just fished 15 or 20 minutes before. I decided to break for lunch and a cigar then went to a different spot I had wanted to try. I tied on the olive and black bugger and after a few casts was in the game with a fish on every 3 to 5 casts. This last Sunday however it was not quit as good. There was still plenty of action as I was getting lots of strikes but for some reason wasn’t hooking up very often. The wind got worse and the day wore on and I was just about ready to bag it and head for the take out when the wind died down to almost dead calm and I started fishing a run I never tried before and had several tugs and managed to hook up with a few of them. Finally the sun was getting low and some storm clouds were getting close so I called it a day. It was still calm and quiet. I opened a bottle of Fat Tire and lit a cigar then headed to the take out. It was a perfect ending to a challenging day of being battered by constant wind. After loading the boat I drove to Head Hunters to pay my shuttle bill. When I got there they were just closing up so I said I would catch them next time I came through. They know I can’t stay away long. Then the young daughter of one of the owners (about 8yrs old) looked up at me with eyes the size of silver dollars and excitedly informed me in no uncertain terms that she caught 15 fish that day which her mother quickly confirmed. I told here she would have to teach me how to catch fish some time. It was great to see someone so young get so excited about fishing instead of video games. It did an old fisherman’s heart good and gave me a little hope that maybe in 20 or 30 years there will still be some body around to give a shit about our rivers and the fish in them. If the wind isn’t to bad maybe I will get out and chase some leprechauns on the river then at Joe’s in Craig.
Best wishes & good fishing