Monday, December 1, 2014

In Good Company - Little Red River

After returning from the family vacation in Branson, MO on Wednesday, I made plans to fish with some friends on the LRR Friday and Saturday.  I was going to be in my kayak while they would use their drift boat.  Plans were made and wouldn't you know it...changed.  While getting fat at the table on Thursday my brother expressed some interest in trekking up with me.  SO, I let the guys know and we made new plans for Friday.  They would run a shuttle for us and we would all meet at a predetermined shoal around lunch.  Wade some and all float/fish back to the trucks.

Checked the generation schedule, like any responsible yaker would and learned that 1 unit was suppose to be online starting at 7 am ending at 10 am.  No biggie, we'll be out or close to the take out, before the water reached us.

Dirty flow catching up with us.  Thought about waiting it out, but it was getting late.

Having overeaten and talked about fishing all evening I was ready to go, NOW!  But I made myself wait for everyone else.  The cell phone alarm goes off at 4 am...I know it b/c I was up at 3 am and heard it...somehow I remembered to set the alarm before I went to bed.  But forgot to turn it off when I woke up early.  Now I'm doing, the "please stop beeping," quiet but in a real hurry shuffle.  Trying to get the cell phone turned off before my kids wake up and my wife breaks my fly rod over my head (remember we're staying with the we're all in close quarters.  It was a close call but I managed to save the day.  Went from "Zero to Hero" in 2 seconds flat!!!

I met my brother in a commuter parking lot.  We load his kayak and hit the road, arriving at Swinging Bridge access around 6:30 am.  It's cold around 32f, but warming to 50f by the afternoon.  We unload and I get the call that the guys have made it into Heber with the waders my brother needs.  I drive up to get the waders and give them my spare key to shuttle my truck down river.  I was warned the waders might have a small leak, but never passed on that info to my brother.  I figured a small leak was better than no waders...PLUS, I wasn't wearing them...PLUS PLUS, everybody knows you only replace waders when they leak, meaning -  extra waders are always leaky waders.  More on that situation later.  As we're BSing, I get the word that the COE started generating at 5am...what...those turkey's.  Now I'm in a hurry b/c they got the drop on us, no time for small talk, time to make wake.  SO, I rush back and we hit the water fast.  Fishing went like this:

My brother was spin-fishing and did really well.  He caught too many to count on small jerk baits and small crappie tubes.  I started with a sowbug and caught this small brown 1st.

Followed that with a few bows.  Didn't take many pictures on Friday b/c the water was on the way.  It wasn't fast for me, probably b/c I was going to fast.  Caught ~10 on different nymph patterns.  Around lunch the water found us.  It was dirty and rose fast.  We decided to pass up the shoal.  No way we could wade with an extra 3 feet of water on it.  The other crew had a drift boat so they stayed and fished out the afternoon.  I tied on a streamer and pounded the bank as we tried to stay ahead of the muddy flow but drew no interest.  Throwing streamers from a kayak on 1 unit is possible but not the best situation.

As we make it to Lobo, my brother is complaining about how cold his foot is...I laughed and told him about the leaky waders.  When he removed his boots his left foot was soaked. times.  "Black Friday" now affectionately named "Frozen Foot Friday", and ended in a laugh.

Saturday - A new day, a new plan...1 yaker and 1 drift boat throwing fly's in 20+ mph winds...why not?

Started the morning at 4am, but didn't have trouble sleeping or shutting the alarm off.  Planned on meeting the crew for breakfast before hitting the river.  Made a fuel stop and realized I lost my credit card (had it the night before)...oh no...that's not good.  I'm trying to figure out the right words to use when I tell my wife, that some how I lost my cc, but she needs to call the bank b/c I'm fishing and don't have time.  Short story goes...I don't meet the guys for breakfast b/c I was sending a text with just the right amount of sorrow, thank you's, and your the best.  I get the follow up text...expecting some bad language, I read it w/o hesitation, b/c...well y'all know why!!  Reads something like this..."sorry babe, I took it out last night when I was ordering something off the internet, and forgot to put it back."  AWESOME news, I'm not in trouble and she may or may not feel a little guilty for the grief she put me through!!!!  Time to fish...and I really enjoyed the day even in THE...25-30 mph winds.

Fishing went like this:  Got dropped off at Lobo, guys shuttled my truck to Dripping Springs.  We planned to meet at a predetermined shoal and fish until lunch.  On the way, I ran into a feeding frenzy...bows rising all around me.  Caught about 15.

Nice bow, hard to judge the size b/c the net is the size of a ceiling fan.

They were quick to take a olive zibra fact they stripped it clean of the olive thread.  That action caused me to be late to the party on the shoal.  Received a text from the boat guys, making sure I knew which direction was down river.  Off I go trying the catch up...never really did....more on that later.

Upon arriving, I get the news that everyone's catching fish.  A nice brown had been caught and lots of bows.  Sweet news...let me in on that action.  So I tie on a prince and swing it for about 20 minutes...w/o any takers.  Try a few other bugs and have the same luck.  It was lunch time so we take a break and hatch a plan to fish down to the take out and wade a few places.  Great, b/c this place is void of fish...except the ones all the boat guys are catching.  Guess my buddy felt sorry for me b/c he gave me a couple of his hand tied fly's to try.  And guess what came back into my life.

Standing and fishing from a kayak in my new Orvis SS waders = no problems. Great flexibility and durability (tested the durability - I'll explain in a later review of the waders)
The winds were terrible but the fishing was going pretty good, so I didn't really mind going backwards (against the flow) or helicoptering out of control.  I even landed a bow with the paddle in 1 hand and the fly rod in the other.  I guess I ended up with about 25 bows
Doesn't she look lonely - yak w/o a paddler

The day was almost done and we had about 2 miles of river to cover.  My detour in the morning had caused us to be slightly behind schedule.  I told them they could leave me but they refused.  My bad or maybe not...I ended up in the boat after all!!  Out of the wind, kayak in tow!!

Most of my trips are solo but it was a pleasure to fish with guys who know way more about fly fishing than I do and were very willing to share their knowledge.  Good times with great people!


  1. Hoping to hit little red again next month. I need to be more proactive with strikes. Wading. Nymphing and some buggers.

    1. Next month should be great. I hope they stick to an afternoon gen schedule. Plenty of wading opportunities if they do.

  2. That last 'Bow was a football for sure. I still need to hit the Little Red. It is on my bucket list but just far enough away that I never seem to make it there. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I know what you mean. I want to hit the NFOW and so many other streams in MO but I never make it past the White and LRR. In fact this yr I haven't made it to the White. It's the same drive to fish for reds, SMbass, and trout. Decisions!