Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trip to Westover

A friend and I headed to Westover Farms on Wednesday for some trout action in a very scenic part of Missouri. We hoped to get into some big rainbows and the possible Steelhead stocker.

The fishing is skinny water and pretty tight quarters. A lot of roll casts and digging flies out of trees/bushes/grass were the order of the day. The fish being so close and tight in also required some stealth. The fish didn't spook too easily, but you did have to be careful: a shadow or careless rod-tip would definitely shut them down for a bit.

Hookups came pretty quick, which kept us going in the cold. We started about 7am and the temperature was hovering above freezing, I thought. Ice buildup on our lines and guides told us different; it really was cold that morning. Our hands were numb, but the fishing was good enough to keep our minds off the cold and ice.

Later, it warmed up and the fishing got better as the trout became more active. They didn't fight much in the morning, but came to life a bit more as the sun came out. Holding on to the fish for unhooking was hard enough since we landed them quickly and our hands were less than fully functional--we didn't bother with too many "Here's my fish" photos!

Matt had been here before and was my experienced guide for the day. He is one of those guys that is fanatical about fly fishing and really knows how to read the water and fish. I lost count of how many he brought to hand.

I had the pleasure of fishing my ZXL that returned repaired from WA a couple of weeks ago. It did a great job of handling the water and fish.

This was the first outing ever that I brought a net and it helped tremendously in landing fish quickly and safely. Definitely something I'll carry normally now, and since I don't wear a vest/chestpack it is wonderful that my wading jacket has a D-ring for a net release. My netting talents need work, though.

The fish were healthy, most of them very fat and all had better color than a normal stocker. Again, the net really helped limit landing-time and speed their return to the water. If you don't carry a net now, consider it. Mine cost a whopping $15 dollars (so I don't worry about banging it around).

I also had the fun of taking out my second self-built rod: a 6'0" 2/3wt on a Sevier blank and PacBay UL seat. For a $15 blank, I was VERY impressed. It was great for the tight spots and yet could really reach out without too much work. A good haul on the forecast sent line out as far as I ever needed it there. I fished that little stick for the majority of the day, caught the majority of my trout on it, and had a blast doing it. There really is something satisfying about catching and landing fish on a rod you built that has your own handwriting on it. Very happy moments were had on the water with that rod.

Matt and I fished until 6pm, so 11 hours total. Unfortunately I had to get home so was responsible for cutting our day shorter than either of us liked. Our fly boxes took a good hit from losing flies in trees, but a lot died good death of just being torn up by fish.

There also was a General Store that we were told has "hot food, beer and coffee" but what we found was anything but that description. It offered cold sandwiches and colder service. I still cannot believe that place or lady; I can't even start to describe it. Matt and I left jaws hanging open having no idea what just happened. Tips: When in Cuba/Steelville--carry cash, do not go looking for a bathroom on your own, and say NOTHING bad about Walmart.

Air temp: upper 20s to mid 60s
Water temp: ~54
Water level: low
Water clarity: Clear to very clear
Flies that worked: 20 Adams, 18 black ant, 12 brown hopper, 24 white midge adult, 20-18 Renegades, 24-22 Griffths Gnat, 22 Black-faced midge


  1. Looks like it was pretty fun - skinny water though! Whew!

  2. Will
    Great post, there is something about fishing with equipment you created yourself, such as the fly rod you were referring to. That is like using someone else fly rod on a fishing trip---it just doesn’t work for me. I know you guys enjoyed the trip, but when it gets to ice on the guides ---well it might be a little too cold for me. The place you were fishing is similar to Rose River Farms in Virginia. You can go there and fish all day for 75.00 per rod which is not bad considering you are in quality trout all day. It was good you had a friend along who knew the water. That is what I am looking for on the Caney, and I think I found a guy the other day there who offered to take my son-in-law and me on a float trip in the spring down the river. That is the best way to fish that river because the areas my son-in-law fish is pressured a lot, so all you are going to land most of the time is stockers. Glad you guys got into some good size trout. Thanks for sharing. Bill

  3. Enjoyed the post, thanks for sharing it with me. As Bill said, it's great when you are using a rod you built or a fly box full of flies you tied. Something a little more special about that.