Friday, July 2, 2010

Peruque Creek and Big River

I had the fun of fishing both of these yesterday on a day off. I actually re-fished LaBarque, but was run off that water early by something awful (only 2 people know and they won't talk). I had the plan of continuing to pursue fishing and catching in each of the eight streams, so I hunted Google and Google maps for an easy target that had some kind of park access.

Peruque Creek came up as the winner since it borders Dames Park in northern O'Fallon in St. Charles county. A quick drive out there got me to the southern and wet end of the park where I put my car out of the way, loaded up, and started looking for an open area to get to the water. Finding none, in fact each place I looked seemed more choked than the last, I doubled up my insect repellent and charged through 30' of the thickest "meadow brush" (for lack of better terms) I've ever seen. I immediately lost sight of not only my boots (glad I chose those to wear today), but damn near my entire legs up to my hips. I found that walking like a drunk Munchkin swinging my legs and feet in and then outward allowed me to catch and then stomp down a lot of it. It looked and felt ridiculous, but I figured it was my best chance for avoiding the metropolis of snakes, spiders and ticks that I was surely in.

After finding the main tributary to the creek and then the creek itself after another 50' of the same brush and Munchkining, I set to fishing it. After an hour with no fish, no bites, no rises except the very convincing but ultimately useless ones from the dragonflies, I gave up. The bank was muddy; the water was muddy; I was muddy. Even my reel, somehow, was muddy. I retreated through what I thought was the same 50' of nastiness that I came in through, but instead took the shortcut through the 65' of it and landed well north of my car.

I decided then that my pursuit and goal is modified--I just have to fish the creeks, not necessarily catch anything from them. While I may be able to go back one day with some 12X tippet and a #28 fly and land a trophy darter or topminnow, I just never want to go back there again. Fish or not, I did see a great example of a large adult male midge; that was as much fly fishing-related wildlife I encountered.

So I moved on to the Big River afterwards, hoping to possibly vanquish my fishless streak there. I had the option of skipping over it in my quest, since I had already fished it and by the new rules--that allowed me to cross it off. The Big River, however, has a reputation of having a great stock of fish, many of them on my favorites list. While in the case of the Peruque, not catching fish is just wise time management, but in the Big, it would have been lazy or defeatist. I'm happy to say that I almost immediately began catching fish, which came as some surprise to me.

My options were limited by drunken, local swimmers set on making as much possible noise with both their mouths and bodies. Only rarely were any of those sounds identifiable as human. I stayed upstream 90% of the time. The one time I ventured downstream I was asked by a pair of adolescents floating by if the green-handled golf club that was presently stabbed into the river bed was mine. I wanted to explain to them how ridiculous their question was (what would I do with a bright green putter while Im fishing??), but I decided to just take in their courtesy and reply that custody of the club was entirely up in the air. They pulled it out of the mud like Excalibur and found more use, apparently, for it on their float downstream than I did for fishing with it. I went back upstream and got back to drifting flies across currents.

See the rest of the pictures here:

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