Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mildale Farm - Open House & Fishing 4-28-2012

Bill & Ron & I had a great morning checking out the Mildale Farm Open House and fishing day. The park is somewhat hard to find, down between Gardner and Edgerton. It's a Johnson County property but not a public park, and I think about 700 acres. And you normally can't get in since it's by reservation only. It's used for big events, and things like weddings. But they open the various ponds for catch-and-release fishing on this open house day, and because of this, there's not much fishing pressure at all. The 3 of us ended up fishing 4 ponds primarily. The first one was a bust, but an employee there turned us on to a remote pond that ended up being a gold mine. I don't remember ever having such a great day of fishing on a pond. Once we got into them, we were catching many decent sized blue gill, largemouth bass, sunfish, and lots and lots of crappie. We were able to catch quite a few blue gill  in the 8 - 11" range, largemouth in the 10 - 14" range, and crappie in the 10 - 13" range. And what a beautiful day too. We saw perhaps a dozen other fisherman, but with so much water there was no competition. This park also connects up to the future Little Bull Creek park, which will add several thousand acres. My camera I keep with me finally ran out of space (after almost 3 years of taking lots and lots of pictures). But I got some photos before that happened; see below.

One of the main houses at Mildale
Main party barn
Bill & Ron

Saturday, April 21, 2012

TimberRidge Adventure Center - Open House & Fishing

Ray and I decided to check out the Open House at the TimberRidge Adventure Center today, which is located South of DeSoto and K-10 next to Kill Creek Park. It's only open for reservations, so we had not been there before. We were pretty impressed with the secluded park, which includes a nice fishing lake, climbing tower, challenge couse, archery range, big shelter, canoes & kayaks, etc. It's a great place for corporate events, scouting or children events, or even weddings. We enjoyed some fly fishing, as the water was pretty clear and there were quite a few fish (it's all catch-and-release fishing). We managed to catch quite a few fish - largemouth bass, blue gill, and sunfish. We saw some very large catfish as well. Here are some pictures.


Climbing Wall


Blue Gill


Largemouth Bass

Yours Truly

 Canoes & Kayaks

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring River Ark 4-11-12 & Montauk

We had a very enjoyable 4 day fly fishing trip to the Ozarks last week, primarily fishing the Spring River in Arkansas. We also spent 2 half days at Montauk State Park in Missouri on the way home. Attending the trip were Dan, Jim, Ron, Rocky (coming back from S. Carolina), myself, and a friend of Dan's from Nashville, Rick. The weather cooperated for the most part, with a little interruption on Friday morning; most of that bad weather missed us. We stayed at the Riverview Motel in Mammoth Springs Ark., which has a nice view of the river. We fished a couple of campgrounds, as well as the Bayou and Lassiters. Dan & Rick stayed a little longer and fished the island area below Dam 3. We caught quite a few fish, with many being nice sized, although no real big monsters. Mostly rainbow trout with a few browns thrown in (and I caught an unusual Longear sunfish the first afternoon). The best flies seemed to be wooleys, prince nymphs, bedspreads, glo balls, and a few others here and there. Dries didn't seem to work well, even though lots of surface activity, and that seems to be the case on this river for us. It was fun to watch Rick make his first try at fly fishing, with an extreme amount of enthusiasm and curiosity (see his separate comments at the end of this report). I was lucky enough to be there when he caught his first fish and got a couple of pictures. Dan really put the pressure on him mid day when he told Rick that he was going to sit on the bank and watch him fish and not eat lunch until Rick caught his first fish. Sure enough, about 5 minutes later, we had "fish on". There were hardly any other fishermen on the stream, so that was very nice.

Friday we drove up to Montauk (after realizing we couldn't fish the White River due to heavy water as we had hoped) and stayed in the small town of Licking Mo at Scenic Rivers Inn. The park was a little crowded but we got some good fishing time in, although it was pretty slow in catching for the most part. After being skunked for a while with Jim and Rocky, I told Rocky I needed to try a small weightless midge, and he whips out his box and gave me one of his home tied flies. Sure enough, that was the trick. He had a productive fly there. The fish were feeding close to the surface in the mossy areas. Ron and I also fished the Current River just below the park and landed several very nice fish. Dan and Rick spent all their time fishing the river farther down (mostly around Tan Vat) and had a lot of fun walking down the stream and catching a few nice ones (on a variety of stuff). There were fewer fish down there but very few other fisherman and very pretty areas. A few of us decided to try the catch and release area in the park. I was lucky and caught a rainbow in the little stream on a caddis and 4 rainbows up in the bigger pond (which was full of moss and gunk this year, really bad). 

See some pictures below or for the complete album, go to:

Ron, Terry, Dan, Jim, Rick, Rocky

Spring River

Pretty Rainbow fish

Rick's first fish on a fly rod!!!

Spring River

Nice sized rainbow trout

Here's how you do it . . .

Nice brown trout

Dam on Mountauk State Park

 Nice catch

Current River below Montauk State Park

Sometimes one rod is not enough!

Here are a few comments from Rick:

When I embarked on this journey a few months ago to learn the art of fly-fishing, I had no idea what a fascinating trip it would be.  My great guide and friend, Dan Zimmerman, immediately started flooding my brain with knowledge - fly rods, waders, lug boots, vests, fly-lines, leaders, tippets, Cabela's, Bass Pro, Wooly Buggers, Nymphs, Caddis, Glow Balls, dry flies, streamers, what flies work and where, strike indicators, knots for securing lines, knots for securing flies, bug patterns, stream patterns, tail waters, spring waters, generator flows from the Dam, trout streams, trout stream maps, MO waters, spotting trout, how trout think, casting, forward cast, back cast, roll cast, shooting line, mending, casting into different flowing water, why trout strike a fly, fly presentation, water temperature, Rainbow's, Brown's, upstream, downstream, setting the hook, landing the fish, full details of the one's that got away, and so on...

I set out last Wednesday to see if I could incorporate all of this knowledge into my first fly fishing experience.  Along the way I discovered the marvelous whole world of fly fishing.  Sure, in many ways it's a solitary sport...but the solitude a interspersed with great moments of adrenaline, satisfaction and camaraderie.  Rocky, Ron, Jim, Terry and Dan were the best teachers a novice could hope for...careful not to give too much advise but also more than willing to give up some of their own experience to enrich mine even more! They had all the techniques down - from casting to telling stories - which really showed me the essence of the sport; the connection with others and the outdoors.

Oh sure, it can be frustrating at times, but for every "skunk" I experienced, the rush of landing a beautiful Rainbow trout is beyond description.  Those few moments of immortality is what drives you to fish for another 8 hours with minimal bumps - oh to live another day to out-smart a fish.

To my new friends, thank you for making my inaugural experience as an angler truly memorable and exhilarating.  I have only one question: where and how soon is the next trip??

Thanks guys!