I learned a long time ago to not pay too much attention to the temperature, wind, water conditions, clouds, etc., when deciding whether to go fishing. I have had numerous days when I was glad I did not use all the reasons that it would not be worth my time to hit the river. I think too many people wait for the perfect day only to be disappointed when they finally get on the river. They most likely missed many good days waiting for the right condition.
I recently had one of those days when there were many reasons that I should not waste my time hitting the river. It has been a dry late winter and spring in some areas of the Ozarks and my favorite stream is very low right now. Low water means very spooky and elusive fish. Getting to some of the spots means walking through some very weedy areas full of ticks and snakes. Why waste my time? I knew this would be a tough day but I also had a chance to go wet a line and enjoy the sun on my back. I have learned that is good enough reason for me. Let's fish!
As I hit the river on this great spring Ozark day, the water was even lower than I thought and very clear. Very nice for a picture but very tough for fishing.
I took my time and approached each hole very slow knowing that I would probably get only one shot. Each hole proved my theory was right as conditions were very tough. My mind wandered to the thought that this may be a fishless day. It happens.
As the temperature warmed and the sun broke through the tree tops, I started noticing a few bugs coming off. Not just one variety but there were 2 or 3 different hatches in early stages with the warming weather. One of the bugs appeared to be a small tan caddis. This was the most prevalent but was very small. The other two I recognized as a black caddis and a yellow sulphur mayfly. These are both common on this stream in the spring. The black caddis appeared about normal but the sulphur was much larger than normal.
As I moved around and the air warmed with the sun, the bugs got thicker. I really enjoyed watching the large sulphur's coming off. With their forked tail, they are awesome to watch as they move slowly about the stream. About the time I was gazing around at the hatch, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. The hatch was getting strong enough that some trout had began focusing on the hatch in the tailouts. I don't need many swirls on top to get me to tie on a dry fly. These trout are not too picky so I tied on a larger Adams. I had black caddis flies but the sulphur's were thick and my thought was the fish were focusing on them. The Adams was the closest thing I had...or should I say the largest dry I had in this fly box. My first cast to the rising trout proved how picky these fish are as a nice rainbow slammed the dry. As I admired the catch, I heard another rise...and another. On my 2nd cast, another trout aggressively attacked my dry only to come off on the hook set.
Long story short, this went on for the rest of the day. I fished dries at every tailout and actually went back to some of the water I fished early in the day prior to the hatch starting. None of the fish were overly large but were all very aggressive and a blast to catch on a dry fly.
What a great day in the Ozarks.
You just never know when a day with less than ideal conditions will turn into a day that you were glad you didn't stay home. Get out and enjoy.