Chris and I finally made it to Fox Creek (one of the eight healthy streams Im trying to fish) and had some adventures there. While we didn't slay huge fish...ever, we did catch some very healthy, happy sunfish and chub. We also enjoyed some Boddintons on the way downstream. Most notibly, we fished ourselves into dark quite a way downstream, meaning that we had a dim walk back. I mentioned (stupidly) how this was the very same time/light/environment/conditions that I "caught" the cottonmouth a few days earlier. Not 45 seconds later, I heard Chris making evasive maneuvers to my immediate left. Apparently a large (guess what) Cottonmouth had come right up to his foot and slithered by. Close call. The real unfortunate reality of that episode was that it was right at the beginning of our walk back. That meant that every twig, rock and floating debris was a snake coming to get us.
Maramec Springs was the following morning. I met Ron at Dunkin' at 4 to drive down and we got there comfortably early. I walked onto the stream and saw things I never expected. I had an idea of what it might look like, but never having even seen a photo I had the pleasure of being blown away by the beauty.
The water was exactly 56 degrees and the air was in the high 80's. This made for an incredible fog that rolled on top of the water and grew with each cool breeze. The sun was still rising, and gifted us with scenes of rays breaking through the forest onto the stream in a true vision of golden warmth. I say "warmth" for a reason, and with futility. Ron (and everyone else) had waders. I had linen pants. I was mid-torso deep in the water for hours, shivering in August, and loving every minute of it.
While being the only person out of waders, I was also the only person fly-fishing. Ronnie had not yet fully converted to the fly, and did very well on his spincaster. Everyone did well; within about 45 minutes, all dozens of fishermen around me had caught their limit or at least had a brace of rainbows. The fishing was awesome everywhere, and sight casting was the rule. Oh, and while fly-fishing in the early stages of hypothermia ("Man Freezes to Death in August"?), I caught nothing. Come to find out later, this place is worthless for fly. Go figure. It sure was purdy, though.
Later that same day, we drove further down the Meramec River and I did a bit better than I did in the cold-water. I caught this relatively huge Longear. The floaters we were sharing that stretch of the river with seemed a bit puzzled at how I wondered over this "little brim."
Very long, very good story made short: Ronnie caught a gar on the fly. Comment on this post that you want to hear the story so that he starts his own blog and writes about it there. Flyrod. Gar. Fun.
The next day (I think), I was hunting carp at BWCA and having failed miserably at that, was happy to see the early signs of a Hex spinner fall at a pond. I was able to pick up and get some great photos of them...waiting for 8:30pm when the action would begin.
On the right side, the grey "can" is actually a dog poop pickup-bag dispenser. You can buy them at petstores, and have super cheap bag refills. I'll be using them to pick up the trash I keep complaining about at all the local ponds. So far, its been a completely unobtrusive addition to what I'd like to keep a Spartan fishing bag.
Sunday, Ronnie and I snuck out of St Louis in search of a secret trout stream described by a local of the area in which it supposedly resides. Another long, funny story made short: we caught shiners. Trout? Ha! ...maybe if we'd have used corn. (Again, post so Ronnie starts a blog; this one trip deserves a dedicated posting.)
Day 28 (and the search for the Mecca of trout in southern MO) ended with a trip to some secret ponds in a town on the way back home. Again, we failed to get into anything too serious, but it was fun fishing anyway. I caught BG...blah blah blah, but then I saw this. I still don't know what it is, but definitely made by animal(s). Its a tube of mud that sits on top of a deep hole in the ground. It looked exactly like an enormous earthworm casing. Any thoughts?
Day 29 had Chris and me out at BWCA again, in search of big Red ear. We got some (Chris really did, in addition to the 25"+ Channel he got just before I arrived), but the fishing tapered off and we boated/wandered/stumbled back to the cars and spent the next hour or so talking. The best part of fishing, and especially fly-fishing, is the friendships. It is, perhaps, one of the most important and fundamental pieces of what makes fly-fishing what it is (whatever that is), but cannot be bought at even the best fly shop, learned or practiced, or even sought after. It's something that finds you one day. This particular day, the friendship that found Chris and me began to change from "good friends" to "old friends." We aren't crazy, and we didn't spend a dime.