I fished the upper Current this last weekend, and am just now getting around to writing a report about. I started off the weekend with a hike/deer scouting trip in a Conservation area high in the Ozark Mountains, but by late afternoon Saturday was on the river fishing. That evening, I fished a stretch of the Current River where the fishing is decidedly marginal. I did this for two reasons-I wanted to have a couple hours to fish (evening was nearing, and this stretch was pretty close to where I had been hiking) and also because I wanted to see some new water. There are two stretches of the upper Current River-the White Ribbon area, and the Blue Ribbon area. The Blue Ribbon area is what other states would refer to as "Gold Medal Water". It has an 18" minimum, a daily limit of one, and a ban on bait fishing. It is only stocked once a year, but has an excellent trout population, consisting mostly of holdover and wild fish. The White Ribbon area is another story. While the habitat is just as good, it's managed as general regulation water, and you can keep 4 fish daily, with no size limit of bait restrictions. Most of the trout are garden variety stocker rainbows in the 11-15 inch range, although locals have been known to pull a huge brown out of there on occasion. That is the stretch I fished Saturday evening.
As you might expect, the fishing wasn't very good, but it is an extrodinarily pretty stretch of river, and there were some trout-just not as many as there should have been. I caught 3 fish by the end of the evening, all on a big Stonefly nymph.
Then I set out looking for a pull-out to camp on (nearly all the ground is public in that part of the state) and finally did. Then I warmed up the Campbell's Chili, ate, and hit the sack. What a wonderful way to spend a day.
The next morning, I fished a little known access point up in the Blue Ribbon stretch. Actually it's not little known, but you have to hike in to get there, and as such is an unpopular place to fish. The fishing was just immensely better up there, even though the habitat was almost exactly the same. Up there it's mostly brown trout (the Current River is odd in the fact that you find more browns upstream and more rainbows downstream), and they were there in ample numbers. I fished a little nymph rig, skipping from riffle to riffle. I fish fast water better than slow water, so I skipped past the deep, beautiful pools, even though I know they hold a lot of nice fish. I really love pocket water fishing- I love the challenge of finding fish and the ease of catching them when you do find them. Anyway, by the end of the day, I managed to catch a lot of nice brownies as well as some beautiful little wild rainbows. What a nice river and what a nice couple of days.
(for further info and pictures, take a look at my blog, the URL of which is in my signature. I'd post the pics here, but I honestly have no idea how.)
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach