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11-14-03 - The springhead of Bennett Spring.
The first rainbow to make the "wrong decision" and try to eat a Tucker Nymph!
Another Rainbow, again mistaking my Tucker for a tasty meal.
Third rainbow of the day, and the last fish landed. The Tucker isn't quite performing to expectations, only 9 hits for the day. GRR....

11-14-03 - 3 Days in Misery (Missouri?)

Waters Fished: Bennett Spring
Fish Caught: 3/10
Outing Date: 11-14-03
Weather: Rain all day
Air Temp: somewhere in the 30's (or at least it felt that cold!)
Water Temp: Didn't Take It, relatively bathwater
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: CLEAR
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph
Pattern Color: original gold BH pattern
Fishing Quality: This is more challenging than I expected!

Talk about a walking popsicle! I arrived on my flight from O'Hare to the Springfield/Branson Regional Airport around 10:00 pm on Thursday night. My best friend (who is now down there for his master's at SMU) picked me up and by 7:00 am we were out the door and headed to Bennett Spring State Park for the "Winter Catch & Release" season opener.

We got out right at the Springhead by about 8:45 am after stopping along the way to get our licenses. Wow! It's just like Paradise Springs. Really, no kidding, almost the same size, crystal clear water, deeper of course in the center but you get the idea. We both rigged up and right away it was clear to me that these very very "learned" trout....chasing but not biting the Tucker Nymph! I switched up sizes, was already on 2lb tippet and a roughly 14' leader...only thing left to do was to find what they'd bite.

Well, it turned out that they WOULD take a Tucker Nymph, but it took a lot of patience. We spent our entire day in "Zone 1", the fly-fishing only section while spending the entire time FREEZING in the rain. Well, we weren't really all that bad, both of us had rain gear, but once I landed that first heavily spotted rainbow and got my hands wet they just FROZE. Putting your hand into the springwater was actually was relatively "Frickin' HOT!"

Not much else to say, we fished until they blew the horn that signals "end of fishing for the day". Three gorgeous rainbows with another 7 lost before coming to hand. We ended up at the pool at the very end of Zone 3 for our last 30 minutes of fishin' time; let me tell ya just as Jim K. had described it, there were all the trout sitting on the bottom facing the wrong way. Normally you don't get to actually SEE that even when you know it's happening. Well, another angler was having some luck with jigs, and a retrofitted Black Wolley Bugger produced a pounding hit from what looked to be a brown, about 16" or so. He took me into the rocks of the bridge abutment and well, fish off!

There must be something more to it, but at this point I hadn't figured it out yet. BTW, little white midges and mayflies were coming off and/or falling periodically throughout the rainy day. I tried a Griffith's Gnat, size #20 (the closest in size to what was coming off), they just weren't buyin' it. This isn't Trout Heaven or Trout Hell, but overall a pretty nice first day considering the size and color on those rainbows! Oh, and for those of you wondering where A & E are, THEY BAILED on fishin' all weekend! Bought two extra rods just so we'd have enough equipment to go around...yes, MP has a "sh*tlist" and they're on it. Then again, who cares, I was FISHIN IN MISSOURI with my best friend, only his 8th day on the water ever!


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