Current River

Current trip – 4/1/16

Posted by Phil Lilley on April 1st, 2016
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Smallmouth - 15 inches Current River 01Apr16 (2).JPG

I was able to get Friday off from work and with hopes of finding and catching a current river darter and a knobfin sculpin I headed down to fish the Current. I figured my best bet for the small fish would be Ashley creek. So I hiked down from Baptist to Ashley. I stopped to fish the big S bend below Baptist with no luck other than one brown trout follow. I did see what I’m pretty certain was a 5″ lamprey attached to a rock in the riffle as I was crossing the river. Instead of using my waterproof camera to take its picture, I tried to catch it with my big holed net. Needles to say I did not catch that fish. I saw in the “Fishes of Missouri” that the least brook lamprey has been collected in the upper Current previously. Still have a bad feeling about seeing this type of fish in this river.

I got down to Ashley and was greeted by 50 head of cattle. Really not happy about seeing cattle along this creek and the river. Some damage to the banks was evident. I fished Ashley with no luck on the current river darter. I caught several rainbow darters, stonerollers, and bleeding shiners.

I then focused on fishing the Current below the confluence. The water was running clear. I have caught good trout and some smallmouth in this section in the past. I tied on a 1/16 oz tan marabou jig and landed five smallmouth bass (first ones this year). The first one must have been feeding heavy or thinking of spawning looking at the size of its belly.

Smallmouth - Current River-Ashley creek 01Apr16 (2).JPG

Kept fishing the jig while heading back upstream. I wasn’t seeing a whole lot of fish following my baits. I got to one of the better holes. There was a lot more sand and less rock on the bottom, but still a lot of large structure, i.e., boulders and laydown tree. I did have a couple of fish follow the tan jig including one larger fish after casting between two of the large boulders. I switched to a 1/8 oz chenille body and marabou tail jig and cast right back between the two boulders. That larger fish hammered that jig. I thought I had a big brown, but it was a 15″ smallmouth with a blocky body. This was the heaviest smallmouth I had caught in the Current to date.

Smallmouth - 15 inches Current River 01Apr16 (2).JPG

Still no trout. I lost that jig in a root wad further up the river. There were some deeper runs just upstream and I switched to a float and fly/microjig combo. I did not have any follows in the two runs that I fished. I did end up catching a knobfin sculpin before I got to one of the deep bluff holes. Again there was a fair amount of sand on the bottom. I made a couple of casts to the head of the bluff hole using a John Deere microjig. I missed one strike and then caught a longear sunfish. As I was reeling that fish in, there was a giant brown trout (24+ inches) following the sunfish. I switched to a rapala countdown in rainbow trout and got the trout to follow it twice. It just followed and circled the bait and never contacted it. No other baits that I threw into that hole even got noticed.

Further upstream where it gets rockier and shallower, I put on a Rapala UL jerkbait in brown trout pattern and fished the fast water. First cast into one of the current seems, I caught my first trout of the day, a 18″ brown.

Brown trout - 18 inch Current river 01Apr16 (1).JPG

I got it revived and back out in the river. I caught one other 13″ inch brown trout that was really dark orange. After that I had no more looks for the next 1/4 mile of river. Worn down by the cold wind and water temps, I called it a day and headed home. Not as many fish as I would have liked, but I caught a one new species and several nice fish. This was much better than a day at work.

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