Heading toward hardwater

Heading toward hardwater

With water temperatures hovering around 35 degrees a couple of calm nights with ambient temps in the 20’s will lock up many backwaters. Ice was blocking the new Albin ramp until a couple of days ago. Temps in the upper 40’s and a strong south wind blew the ice out of there.

We won’t REALLY see ice up til the tundra swans move out. They are still here in force.

Quality fish destined to be released into grease the past week or so have either been slack bellied or with partially digested 6″ shad in their gut. With water temps in the mid-30s walleyes aren’t eager to eat. but they are opportunists, A 6″ shiner fluttering in their face has been too much for a couple of them.

A striking presentation is another in-your-face technique which often results in a hook up. My go to baits this time of year are a HUGE Northland puppet minnow with a minnow head on the bottom treble and a Vibrations Tackle Teddy cat ith either a minnow head or entire minnow impaled on the back of the bait. One of those little rubber bands used to keep a hook in a senko keeps the bait on the Teddy Cat longer. Yesterday the active fish were holding in 22-27 fow. But that was yesterday.. Tomorrow is another day!

The giant redear I couldn’t keep

The giant redear I couldn’t keep

Fishing pool 9 and the Tri-State area is gonna be ugly for the next several days–wind rain, cold front, rain & more rain. The fish are already wet, of course. But the seasonal change we are about to weather will have a definite impact on presentation & location of the most sought after species.

All three of my boats are ready to go. Come Monday hoping one will get wet from flowing water.

Those who have shared the boat with me over the decades know that a trip is more than just catching fish. River lore and fish tales are part of the experience.
Fishing has dominated my life for over 60 years. There is a thumbnail pic of me and my sister, The Bean, crappie fishin’ back in 1960. It appears as part of a spread in the latest BIG RIVER magazine about trends in hunting/fishing. I was 9 back then. The Bean was 6.

A dozen years later she caught a hybrid redear sunfish which I am STILL jealous of. Dimensions? The redear was a platter–not a plate! WE were fishing a farm pond in southern Illinois which bordered Crab Orchard Nat’l Wildlife Refuge.

The pond was owned by Prof. Marv Rimerman, a portly little Jewish guy who was passionate about journalism and fishing. We had a symbiotic relationship.
Marv taught me how to be a journalist. I coached him and Marshall & Danny–his two sons on fishing.

A massive southern oak on the refuge fenceline produced the biggest buck I have ever harvested. Quit counting deer in 2000 @ 100 animals. Several good ones are on the wall. The horns of this bruiser were last seen in southern Illinois when i graduated SIU and became a newspaper editor. Details of all aspects of that caper still bring a chuckle & headshake to this very day. Remind me and I’ll share it next time you jump in my Lund.

This blog was supposed to be about the Bean’s dreadnaught redear. But my writing is like the River. It goes where it takes me. You can come along or jump out of the boat.

Marv’s pond was managed by SIU Fisheries, the Ichthyological counterpart to Ft. Deitrich, Md or maybe the Wuhan Lab. The gain of function on Marv’s pond was sterile redear sunfish so massive they would make Jonah break into a cold sweat and hop the next Greyhound to Ninevah.

There was only one caveat for fishin’ Marv’s pond: every hybrid sunfish had to be carefully and immediately released.

On the other side of this equation was Dr. Rimerman’s quest for fair, accurate and unbiased reporting asmy major mentor in journalism. Rimerman hailed from Baltimore where he set up the city’s CATV system. He came to SIU to teach the new media: cable TV.

State-of-the-art gear was a 1/2″ black & white video recorder. I sometimes worked for Marv as an intern/reporter for Carbondale Cablevision–a side gig for Marv when he wasn’t doing professor stuff.

Perks of my work were few. The singular highlight was going for pizza and beers with Marv and Buffalo Smith after a shoot to promote Smith’s upcoming appearance at the SIU arena. Who was Buffalo Bob Smith? He was the man behind the iconic HOWDY DOODY !

Pizza & beer revealed the reason for this kid show’s untimely demise. It involves a potted plant (not a pot plant) which was a stage prop and a young lad from the “Peanut Gallery” who couldn’t hold his corn. Gonna have to get in the boat to hear the finer details of that caper, too.

ANYWAY the real thrust of this blog is about journalism. Today, this is a dirtier word than anything with four letters. There were two framed black-and-white photos on the wall behind Prof. Rimerman’s desk: Marv interviewing Nixon and Marv interviewing JFK for Baltimore cablevision, prior to the 1960 election.

Edawrd R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were the professor’s gold standards. Rimerman was a staunch democrat. But you never, ever saw that in his reporting or that of his minions.

Today extreme bias in reporting has replaced the unvarnished truth. Our nation will vote on the most critical mid-term election in US History next Tuesday.

My advice to y’all from this old school journalist is this: believe only what you see. Question what you hear. Inflation, gas prices, crisis at the southern border with fentanyl /human trafficking, $25 billion in modern arms—and a million Afghan girls/women who won’t taste freedom again–is America’s Afghanistan legacy. China’ quest for world wide domination and the potential with nuclear war with Russia are REAL. If you look closely, eyes wide open, vision correct for media spin, maybe you can find some truth.

The River is an unforgiving and dangerous place. That’s the truth. Our Republic is in imminent danger of going down the River forever. That’s the truth too.

Afghan girls will never be able to vote. Will this be the legacy for American girls, too? Think about it. Pray about it. Seek the truth. Then exercise your GOD GIVEN right: Vote on Nov. 8!!

Crazy good fishin’!

Crazy good fishin’!

What a month October was! The River flowed like an old style bathtub–hard to mix the cold water & hot water until everything was just right.

Water temps dropped to 44 mid-month, then rebounded into the 50’s. Walleyes responded by sliding a little deeper–the 16-18 foot contour. Grass has been a major, MAJOR factor. A single hook presentation the the venerable Taylor Tackle Killer jig has put grins on lots of faces on folks fishing near dam tailwaters.

This has been the best fall crappie fishin’ I’ve seen in years. The 2019 year class which happened in the year of perpetual flood is now a herd of fat-backed 12-inchers–with fair representation of 17 & 18 year classes in the system.

My wife, the Admiral, put her PB in the boat this fall: an honest 15 incher. Most outings have produced at least a couple fish tickling 14″ on both side of that line.

Most fish have ben biting 4-6 feet down over 10+ fow. But there are some places where the bigger fish have been holding bove brush about twice that deep. For these fish a little Northland Tackl jigging spoon in “wonder bread” pattern tipped with a minnow has been a red-hot killer!

Yesterday I filmed a show with the Fishing Roots folks for You Tube. Fishing Roots videos have a Wisconsin-centric focus. Fishing Roots is the brainchild of Phil Barefield, son of legendary Wisconsin guide Ron Barefield. Rotten Ronnie and me have been serious runnin’ buddies for almost 40 years. I have yet to encounter a more competent outdoorsman. Ron’s grandson, Gavin, is a You Tube star in the making. Eventually this young buck will get the velvet worn off his rack and get back to focus on what’s truly important in life.

But I digress. Phil & Ronnie wanted to shoot a fall crappie video. I put 3 slabs in the boat on the wonder bread jig before Ronnie even got his rod rigged. it didn’t take long to put a show in the can.

With water temps bumping 52 we figured a Z-Man Ned head with a Swimmerz paddletail would be too much for bass to resist. Both LMB & SMB tend to congregate in very small areas in late fall–usually near small, steep breaks where they can move 20′ vertically and maybe 10′ horizontally once they seek food.

Casting the Ned head within a foot of shore thn hopping it down to about the 12′ contour produced a bunch of respectable fish for about an hour. Then we saw gulls dipping below a wingdam about a half mile downstream.

The Bill Lewis Lures MR6 in a ghost shad pattern proved irresistible on the magnum whiteys!

With water temp in the low 50’s e decided to check a couple of wingdams with the MR-6 to see if bass were home. Tried to convince Ronnie that the bass were clustered in the deep pocket mode. If we could get through the weeds all we would likely catch was walleye.

A FAT marble-eye garwoofled Ron’s MR6 on about the 4th cast. Like a couple old women we argued about the length of the fish. Ron was convinced it was 22″ .I said it wasn’t over 19″. The old dog tried to fudge by half an inch when putting it on the boat ruler. Even squeezing the tail he could only make it stretch to 19 7/8″ making it a giant, barely legal sammich. This and another fat 18 incher were enough for a couple of meals.

Time to load the Lund. Today is Thursday. Maybe the last perfect weather day of 2022. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. If I were you–I WOULD GO FISHING!

Eyes & Slabs

Eyes & Slabs

Keeping a detailed fishing diary will make you a better fisherman. Before heading out on yesterday’s trip I checked data for the past 2 yrs. on that date. 2019 was an outlier due to constant flood. This yr. will get an asterisk for low water just like ’06 & 1988.

Data both years showed water temp in the mid 40’s. In 2020 the bass were still suicidal on a Rat-L-Trap bite. Last year it was chilly. Found active walleyes in 22-23 fow.

Clients this year wanted to target walleyes/crappie We didn’t find the active in ,10 fow–even though the temp had warmed 5 degrees up to 53 over the previous 48 hrs.

Walleyes “stairstep” into deeper water in the fall. Reverse is true in the spring. We found active fish in 16-18 fow , dragging hair & meat. Short fish. When a 13″ slab hit a 1/4 oz jig & minnow it was clear the River was talking to us.

Switched to crappie fishing. On the trip 2 days earlier crappies were biting extremely light.4 ft. down over at least 10 fow. Had to got to a floro leader. A double uni joining it to hi-vis braid FOUR FEET LONG was a perfect strike indicator!

With water warming up beyond 50 the fish were aggressive. No need for floro. Bigger crappies tend to relate to a little different structure than average fish…when fishing this particular structure you’ll only pick up 1 or 2…but watching a thick 13-15 inch slabber do the Stevie Wonder head shake as you try to ease it out of hiding is a bona fide thrill!

Skitterin’ Crappies

Skitterin’ Crappies

The River has gone through profound seasonal change in the past week. Water temp has dropped below the magic 55 degree mark . The bass bite will still be on fire for a few more days–especially on sunny afternoons. But from now until we lightfoot out on the hardwater again the easiest fishin’ will be for crappies and walleyes.

The extreme EXTREME low water levels change a number of things going forward. For the short haul maybe the biggest impact is visibility of 3+ feet. A floro leader is seldom necessary in offering a feeding presentation on the Miss. Now using low-vis might actually improve your catch.

Walleyes get the most attention from mid-October til ice up. Slab crappies are an often overlooked resource. Crappies are the species which started a life-long fire in my belly for fishin’. It didn’t occur to me until just a couple weeks ago that technology is getting in the way of putting october crappies in the boat.

Seeing marks of crappies hiding in the brush on your electronics is just peachy–until you try to pull ’em out of the brush and into the boat Old school tactics are still the most efficient way of bringing a thickback papermouth over the gunnel.

Although tools like ‘live target” can reveal crappies crusing in open water which can be taken by pitching a little tube , feather or hairjig on an ultralight, bona fide slabbers are tucked tight against the branches in wood, suspended about halfway down in the water column.

Most years this means fishin’ 3-4 feet down over at least 10 fow. With super clear visibility (for the Miss) active fish are holding a little deeper. Maybe 6 feet down. Regardless, conventional wisdom that says you can fish too deep for crappies but its real tough to fish too shallow is pretty close to absolute truth.

A 98% vertical presentation is the best way to hook up. This means a pole at least 10 ft. long. 12 ft. is even better. Since fish are suspended at essentially half a pole length down the best way to catch ’em is patiently snaking fish through the branches then swinging them into your open hand when they come to the surface.

When a fish is still in the water it is essentially neutrally buoyant BUT once 2 lbs. of silver is flopping in the air with a light wire hook in the papermouth’s ultra thin upper lip the membrane WILL tear and the fish of dream will likely get off.

I modified an old telescopic fiberglass canepole by add a trout landing net to the skinny end. Once the fish is on the surface you can usually slide the net under it and hoist it into the boat.

Just realized this blog is an example of poor creative writing. It was supposed to be about skitter fishin’, should have started down that trail in the 1st five paragraphs. ANYWAY….

When I first got introduced to this technique back in 1956 the Hildebrndt spinner introduced in 1899 was state of the art tech. Making mini trolling passes 12-18″ long inches above the brush with a lip hooked minnow on a light wire hook is almost irresistable to suspended crappies.

The “safety pin” spinner of a classic Beetle Spin which came on the scene in the early 1960’s allowed the option of a short,fluttering drop at each end of the trolling pass triggering even more fish.

This blog was supposed to reflect the finer points of skittering technique. But I ran out of gumption for providing free wisdom. Need to rig up a couple walleye sticks to prepare for my paying job. So, tight lines til next time

55 by the weekend

55 by the weekend

Pool 9 is within ONE FOOT of the lowest River levels have been in this century. But with increased siltation since 2006 the water column is less than it was back in 1988…maybe 1967.

Water temp today was still @ 61 degrees. With a brutal NW wind and projected low temp of 36 overnite I think temps will drop to 55–the magic number for bass until the temp drops to about 52…when walleyes start feeding with a vengeance

The combination of siltation and record low River levels have created a situation where navigation beyond the channel is flat out DANGEROUS.
Almost all backwater action for pannies is off the table. Fish are still there BUT you’ll take out a lower unit getting to them.

The only upside to low water is significant reduction in the nasty eelgrass. It is possible to fish cranks without picking up a limit of salad. pretty much.

As we approach the 55 degree benchmark LMB will provide the easiest fishin’ with crappies suspended over wood in at least 10 fow the next closest bite to a sure thing.

The nutso bass bite will last until we see 52 degree water temps. My go to has been a Z-Man TRD ned on a 1/10 jighead. Pretty much a fish on every cast…once you find ’em. hint: main channel rocks are key!

We are in a period of seasonal change. When this happens it takes awhile to get on active fish. Under stable conditions it takes me at least an hour every With seasonal change. Maybe longer..

The river is still a democracy The fish get a vote too. All i know is you can’t catch fish if your line isn’t in the water!

Dropping Like a Stone

Dropping Like a Stone

USACE projections call for pool 9 to drop like a stone over the next 24 hours, down to 621.0 @ Genoa. Usually they project 10 days out. As of 8 a.m. no projection hs been made. We haven’t seen water level this low since ’06. Could be headed for a historic low level–baybe lower than ’88 or ’67 !

But the ONLY constant on the River is change. What goes down must eventually come back up–and then some.

navigation for the short haul will be profoundly hazardous away from the channel. Even launching a boat can have challenges–like backing of the end of a ramp. I carry a come-along in the truck for this possibility. Mitigation means getting wet, but cheaper/easier than alternatives.

Just secure one end of the cable around the trailer axle, the other end to the bow strap eye of the boat and rachet the axle up from the obstruction, using the vehicle to pull the trailer forward to usuable ramp with the boat providing floatation on the other end.

Hope you never have to do this. But having been in this pickle once myself and helping others several more times, it is a tip you might tuck away.

Fishing in the backwaters is beyond challenging. Gonna take my 14′ jon to remote spot which has been holding some quality perch this morning on a fun fishin’ mission. When fishin’ the Miss you need AT LEAST three boats…a good deep vee, a flatbottom & a canoe/kayak.

If you’re looking for a good backwater/skinny water boat I’m selling a 12′ Polarcraft jon on a Spartan trailer with an essentially NEW 2.5 h.p. Yammie (only 4 hrs. on it) and 40 lb thrust MinnKota Edge for the brother-in-law price of $1500. Pretty firm on that. The Yammie cost me a grand. Only used twice.

Back to fishin’ …Water temp yesterday was 67-69 degrees. LMB are starting to stage on the main channel rocks. Bluegill bite here remains almost too easy.

Walleyes are most active for an hour after dawn & an hour before dusk on the main channel rocks. Fog can make the morning window challenging, even borderline dangerous.

When not actively biting many catchable eyes are sliding just downstream, scattering and loafing over sand in 9-13 fow

Crappies are amping up in fall pattern about 4′ down over at least 10 fow relating to wood.

SMB fishing is HOT on the west side of the River late afternoon. Quality pike are cruising deep weed edges. Chatterbaits , big tandem spinnrbaits & RT 97 Rat-L-Traps have been killer.

Perch are where you find ’em. i’m gonna go drop shot in 18-24 INCHES of water and bring home enough for supper.

consistent success on the River is taking what she gives you and moving forward from there. Right now the ultra low water reveals a lot of structure which will eventually hold fish. Eelgrass–the scourge of Sept. is not much of a factor right now.

I wanna thank the growing number of folks who follow this blog. My remaining time on the planet grows shorter every day. Passing the straight skinny on to guys like Taylor & his brother Connor are a major motivation.

i’m more than a decade older than the age of both these brothers combined. But when these up-and-coming tourney guys said they fish for the fish — not the glory on the WAT circuit which is catch-and release I held nothing back.

tight lines y’all. those yellow ringed devils are calling my name

Hot Bite Coming!

Hot Bite Coming!

With the USACE predicting a two-foot rise in River level over the next week the stage is set for fantastic fishin’ in the weeks ahead. Over 3″ of rain muddied waters downstream from tribs, but the rising water also pushed much clearer water into backwater areas that load from downstream, esepcially those on south end of River mainstem islands.

We’ve been at or near historic low levels for over a month, limiting access to thousands of acres of very productive water. With the River rise we will be able to safely navigate to these areas again.

There are also countless migration corridors away from the main channel which fish push through as river levels rise or fall significantly–just like a monster buck moving from bedding areas to high quality food sources in very cold weather.

The most important survival drive for fish is the predator/prey relationship. Fish will follow their food source. The food source will stick close to escape cover to keep from feeding the next link up the food chain, while chowing down on targets of opportunity.

It takes me at least an hour to figure out fish location and activity level every single day. A major key when looking for species like bass or walleye is figuring out what they are eating and how to avoid other predators that are trying to eat them.

Birds can be tremendous bird dogs! This is especially true as forage species lose escape cover as weeds begin to die off. Herein is a whole ‘nother blog. For this one, just remember to watch the birds instead of your rod tip–sometimes.

Water temp, clarity, mud, bubble or bug lines are also key when reading the Immortal River. Subtle changes in current reveal a tremendous amount of info on fish location. For the past month these subtle queues have been on the river mainstem due to low River levels. Going forward th ability to “read” the river applies in backwaters and running sloughs.

Recently I guided a nationally known angler who wanted bluegills. Bluegills often stage on or near rocks in the River mainstem in late summer with low water levels. We started at a place where I boated a limit of quality fish in 48 minutes just the day before when out prospecting for the trip with him. The hot ticket was a 1/8 oz drop shot presentation with a tiny ice fly 8-10″ inches up the line.

We only boated a couple decent fish in 20 minutes. I noticed the drop shot sinker wasn’t allowing seductive placement of the fly due to a slight increase in current.

Reading the bubble line just 20 feet further upstream it looked like there might be just a little less current. We moved 20′ and spotlocked. He caught gill after gill until he had enough and wanted to go chase bass.

There was an area not far away where bass were crushing small minnows tight on the rocks–same reason gills were nearby: FOOD!!

A 3″ paddletail in shad pattern was what these bass were after. He hooked up on the first cast. Twenty minutes later we agreed to move on if he went 10 casts without hooking up. We were there for over an hour.

Not trying to brag, just illustrate how subtle little changes in location/presentation can make a world of difference. Sophisticated electronics can CONFIRM you hunch on fish location–but old school “reading” the River is often what it takes to get into the ballpark.

There is only one way to develop this skill set: time on the water! Don’t think I’ll fish today. the fish need time to figure out where they are headed. Well, maybe I won’t fish until this evening. Humidity is near 100%. This means the static tension on the surface will be high. should be a 3’+ bubble trail behind a buzzbait.

Think I’ll start where the bass & pike should be and tweak location/presentation accordinly. If I find ’em they likely won’t be there tomorrow. But it will be a good place to start!

Seasonal change

Seasonal change

Last weekend the skies were overcast with heavy, dark clouds for a solid three days. By Monday morning water temp had dropped from 78 to 76. by Tuesday it tumbled four more degrees to 72–not just on the River mainstem, in quiet backwaters, over 5 fow too…on a sunny afternoon.

I’ve kept a fishing diary for over 40 years. For the past 20 years many entries have been on Miss. River pool 9 where I work as a guide when not ‘fun fishin’. Pool levels on Aug. 1 haven’t been this low since 2006. In that year water temp dropped to 72 on Aug. 24.

Profound siltation since ’06 on the pool has changed the paradigm of fish behavior in profound ways. I’m no scientist. Just an old River Rat. It is what it is. Let’s go fishin’.

When water temp drops to 72 many aquatic weeds start to die off. The most obnoxious of these is eel grass, which comes down the River in bales til almost freeze up, limiting lure presentation and even location options to show fish the hook.

We’ve had to factor in eelgrass for 3 weeks on pool 9 for 3 weeks already. Almost a month earlier than the general norm. Is this due to siltation? Dunno.

For the past several years when water temp drops to 72 there has been a profound panfish bite in remaining green weeds in the backwaters which continues into early October. As of yesterday the pannies hadn’t showed up yet. Maybe because of low water levels. Dunno. It is what it is.

I’ve had trouble finding active jumbo perch lately. Only got into ’em a couple times. Literally a case of here today, gone tomorrow, with timing of the active bite window not really a factor.

Bluegills have been aggressive on mainstem rocks. This happens every August at low summer pool levels. They will likely slide away in about 2 weeks and the “buck” bass will move in. Happens every fall.

Walleyes have been almost as elusive as perch for the past week or so–even with willowcats. They are somewhat active early & late. But with heavy fog in the morning about 70% of the time prime time is from about 6-8 p.m–and getting shorter as daylight is too.

This has been the best summer for SMB in YEARS! Once again, rocks are a key this time of year. The frog bite for LMB has been okay, with largies also hitting Beavers in running sloughs next to current edges. Personally, I’m not keen on chasing these green carp…unless that’s what a client wants to do.

Channel catfish are also–and pretty much always–easy above driftpiles & snags in 6-12 fow over a hard sand bottom with a moderate current. This pattern should continue until water temps drop to about 66 degrees.

Bigger pike have been cruising mainstem rocks in deeper water–probably cuz there is so much food there.

The Upper Miss is my favorite water for a number of reasons. 130 species of fish. Unlimited variables in habitat & impact from weather conditions. Momentary changes in fish activity due to passing towboats. River stage. Water clarity.

It takes me an hour every single day to figure out what the River is trying to tell me. It is a democracy. the fish get a vote, too. Sometimes they vote “no”, if you’re not where they live with what they’ll eat when the polls are open. Case in point, walleyes right now. Evening bite. Cients usually wanna fish during banker’s hours.

It is Wednesday. Aug. 17,8:40 a.m. Still heavy fog in the valley. Lord willin’ I’ll be on the River by a little after 9. fun fishin’ today. Think I’ll go catch some smalljaws on East side, mainstem rocks. Start with a Pop-R if the fish tell me they’re eating on the surface. Probably switch to a Z-Man TRD tube with a snort of Liquid Willowcat if the fish say otherwise.

No such thing as a sure thing. But for the past month SMB have been pretty close. Will probably stop @ a dozen–or so–depends on what the fish tell me. Probably home by noon, regardless. 60+ yrs. as a fishin’ junkie, a couple hours to get my daily fix. My gutter is a hammock a couple miles from the river bank. Should be a perfect afternoon for a little snooze.

Get Ready for Fogust

Get Ready for Fogust

Yesterday morning I launched @ 07:10 @ New Albin Ramp to pick up clients @ Blackhawk for 8 a.m. trip. No fog until arriving at the ramp. NOrmal time to Blackhawk is about 4 minutes, enjoying the vies. Yesterday the fog was SO THICK I didn’t arrive until 07:57.

Normally morning fog is a consideration about half the time in August. This year fogust showed up mid-July. Water temp yesterday as 76–down from 82 a couple days earlier. Isuspect it will bump up again with hot weather forecast this week. But when the heat wave passes, expect temps to drop quickly to low/mid 70’s triggering fantastic fishing.

Exactly the scenario for panfish, pike & bass since the temp went down! Not so much for the walleyes. Struggled on one trip–even with willocat. Blaming a major mayfly hatch, BUT the pannies didn’t seem to mind. Bartered a couple of Northland panfish jigs for 4 nightcrawlers. Put pinches of crawler on tiny jigs fished on walleye rods and caught a respectable number of perch, gills and crappie in the last hour of the trip.

Eel grass has been a factor at times already. Sometimes you can get away from it by switching sides of the River. Sometimes you need to go to a single hook presentation with a split shot or barrel swivel about 18″ up the line to keep the bait appealing long enough to provoke a bite.

The Ol’ Miss is one of the most dynamic fisheries in North America. Character of the bite can change drastically in as little as five minutes due to a wind direction change that impacts barometric pressure, a passing towboat or a dozen other subtle reasons. This is part of the reason i love that river so much!

It takes me at least an hour every single day to figure these dynamics out. The SMART play is listening to the River and harvesting the bounty she wants to give up.

Species-specific pursuit in a waterbody that has over 130 species can be beyond challenging. Something like a major mayfly hatch can put the ki-bosh on your very best plans BUT if you listen to the River you can usually find SOMETHING to stretch your string.

I have seven open days remaining In fogust as of July’s last day. I’m not foolish enough to say that you’ll catch fish. But I will promise you’ll exit the boat a better angler than when the trip started.

Pride & unfiltered sarcasm are probably my 2 biggest character flaws. Only God’s unseen hand on my attempts at mastering the immortal Mississippi has any impact on personal humility.

Far as the other flaw goes, those who refuse to eat the flesh of the cloven hoof need not call. Chops will be busted. Witty retort is encouraged. gotta go get the boat rigged for tomorrow’s adventure