Dear MMTU Members,
This month we met on Tuesday March 1. In spite of the fact that it was opening day we had great attendance. Among the attendees were three first timers, Kent Bourson, Chalen Jackson and Larry Sample. Well I think Larry has been before but it has been a long time.
At the meeting we had a very informative presentation from Erik Sanders on the brown trout egg hatching project. This project hopes to demonstrate the viability of using volunteers to place specially designed boxes with fertilized trout eggs in cold water streams and getting a good yield of viable trout. The boxes are designed to protect the eggs until they hatch and the sack embryos until they lose the sack. This method of introducing trout into streams is used elsewhere around the world and has been successful there. If this method is proven successful in Missouri it has a number of advantages. For one the fish that are introduced in this way will be wild and this makes them more likely to avoid predations than hatchery raised trout.
The analysis is not yet complete but the project appears to be very successful. The last placement had a higher yield per egg then the prior placement which was the first. This was likely the result of better technique from lessons learned during the first placement.
Learn more about the Brown Trout Egg Project: Brown Trout Egg Project main page
Anyone who would like to help can help us support the project when it is time to sample the stream. This will be done with large seines that take six volunteers to operate. If you are interested in helping please contact me and I will start a list of volunteers to call when we get the call to help from Erik.
Also Erik Sanders has fishing guide contacts in Italy and can get you in touch with some guides there.
We at the meeting thought it would be interesting to learn about that so I made an offer for Erik to present some information about trout fishing in Italy at a meeting in the Fall.
Our next chapter meeting will be held at Logboat Brewing Company at 504 Fay St, Columbia, MO, on Tuesday April 5th. We intend to have a presentation of Mike Kruse’s Flycraft boat which hopefully we can get into the parking lot or not too far down the street.
Okay that’s it. Tight lines everyone. Hope to see you meeting on April 5.
Trout Chess: First Times
By: Travis Figg
“First time” memories from my childhood have been popping into my head recently. The first time riding a bike without training wheels. The first time blowing a duck call in the blind. The first time holding a knife to help clean the day's catch. At the time they almost seemed like rites of passage, and to some degree they probably were. But they often led to the, "now that I can ride without training wheels, maybe I can try it with no hands” effect. (While this may look "cool”, it can also leave you sprawled out in the street with blood streaming down your face while your aunt freaks out and calls your mom.)
Growing up, I was blessed to be surrounded by mentors ( Dad, Grump, Popsy, Jason, and Jon to name a few), who took me outdoors. Whether it was showing me where to stand before a quail flushes, how to hold a fillet knife without chopping my fingers off, or how close the ducks should be before we shoot, they took their time and somehow kept their patience with me. I’m so grateful for the lifetime of adventures and memories those lessons have led to.
My first night in a pop-up camper happened to be with my grandparents on a trip to a nearby trout park. Their Viking camper spent most of its later years in storage, but once or twice a year they would take it out for a weekend excursion. This being my initiation into the world of "camping”, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was told there would be fishing so I was all in.
After running through the maintenance checklist with Popsy and hugging my parents goodbye for the weekend, my grandparents and I headed south to begin our 4 hour trip. Even though Popsy had driven the route enough times to make it with his eyes closed, I sat shotgun and was assigned the navigator role. With my nose buried in the paper maps from the glovebox, I gave Popsy the detailed directions I knew were essential if we wanted to reach our final destination. I felt like Magellan when we pulled into the campground.
Popsy and I set up and leveled the camper on our assigned cement pad and walked down the steep hill to the park’s “fly shop”. It wasn't obvious to me at the time, but since that fateful day I’ve stepped foot into many fly shops, and I can now clearly see this shop catered to the weekend indicator and split shot fishermen who held little concern for the difference between a caddis and a mayfly. Regardless of their choice of merchandise, it was a stark contrast to the rubber worms I’d become accustomed to tossing at bass throughout my youth. It was my maiden voyage into the world of shiny do dads that are “must haves” if one wants to be a serious fly fisherman. We walked out the door with our $2 daily trout tags, a spool of tippet, and a few spinning jigs. Popsy could see the excitement in my eyes, so instead of hiking back up the hill to our camper, we opted for the stream calling our names from just across the parking lot.
Throughout my youth I’d become accustomed to blind casting to bass in “fishy” looking pond corners surrounded by cattails, and bankside “hotspots” under overhanging willow trees. I’d fished those ponds and lakes often enough to know where the fish were most likely to be hanging out, but without being able to actually see them, I never truly knew if they were there or not. So as I slid down the bank and stepped into the park’s spring fed stream, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I could actually pick out the fish I was casting to!
Stumbling on the slick stream bed rocks, I made my way upstream in my oversized waders. When I came to what I thought looked like a promising spot, I peered through the crystal clear water and spotted my target. He was a plump stocker Rainbow with neon colors outlined against the pebbled stream bed. I wanted so badly to hold him in my hands and examine his vibrant colors up close. I’d seen pictures of trout in Field and Stream magazines, but one look at this fish told me those two dimensional images paled in comparison to the real thing.
Having zero knowledge of what would encourage a trout to bite, I tried every variation of retrieve I could think of. He just sat there ignoring each pass of my offering. I was like the freshman picking his nose while asking a senior cheerleader to prom.
At some point, I realized I was hungrier than the trout. So I stumbled up the bank to meet Grammy and Popsy at a nearby picnic table for lunch. “You were in that same spot for quite a while”, Popsy said between bites of his sandwich. “Yeah, there’s this one fish down there I’m working on”. He let out a soft chuckle and returned to his snack. After devouring my lunch, I sprang up and started grabbing my gear. “So, are you going back after him?” I think he knew the answer to the question before he asked it.
I ran down the same path back to the stream, and found my earlier casting position still unclaimed. I tied my spinner back on, looked downstream, and to my surprise the fish was still loitering beside the same rock. Determined to outwit him, I restarted the cast and retrieve process.
For whatever reason (probably out of boredom on his part), after what had to be at least 20 more presentations, he turned his head and chased down my fleeting baitfish imitation. At the moment of attack, my heart rate doubled. It’d been a long match, and I finally had him in checkmate! Once in my hands, I just held him and admired his beauty with complete awe before securing my prize to the stringer.
Blown away with excitement and pride, I scaled the stream bank and turned toward the big hill. I was going to head straight to the campsite and share today’s victorious news. But before I could take a step, there stood Popsy. “You got him!” He’d been standing there for who knows how long watching my aquatic chess match with that fish. He had an ear to ear smile on his face that expressed how excited he was for me.
***I spoke with Popsy last week to let him know I’m writing an article about THE FISH. I asked if he remembered that moment. Even after 25 years, he could recall the details better than I could.
That first chess match with the stocker Rainbow in the trout park was enough to start a lifetime challenge between myself and those awesome fish. The “that ones” I’ve met in the past as well as those I know I’ll come across sooner or later are the reason I spend hours at the vise, study blue lines on maps, and put so many miles on my truck. When I remove a hook from a “that one’s” jaw, my first instinct is to give him a "good game” handshake. Instead, I always find myself audibly saying “thanks for the fight buddy”, while releasing him back to his home.
Although I’ve changed my playing pieces from spinning rods and Rapalas to bamboo rods and small dry flies, the allure of “chess with that one” is still as mystical as it was on that first trip. I’ve had several other “that ones” since that first trip. Some I’ve claimed “victory” over, some I haven't yet landed, and some I’ve caught but almost feel I need to again to prove to myself it wasn’t just luck.
Cheers to all the “that ones” out there.
To those of you whom I’ve managed to fool, thank you for the dance. To those yet to be landed, I Haven't forgotten about you!
"May your dries always float, and your drifts be drag free. And may the dimples of raising trout, bring out the kid you used to be."
An Idea for Energy Independence
My nephew and some friends in Jefferson City have figured out how to truly be energy independent (not just from foreign, but also from domestic oil!) They bought electric and hybrid cars. They charge them with cheap electricity from solar panels on their houses.
I did a quick search for electric and plug-in hybrid cars, and the prices are less than you might expect. A Prius plug-in hybrid now sells for less than we paid in 2008 for our straight hybrid, which can still get up to 50mpg on the highway. https://www.edmunds.com/electric-car/articles/cheapest-electric-cars/
My 9 foot rod fits inside of our Prius, but if you want a bigger vehicle to haul your gear, you can get an electric pickup https://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1130049_where-are-the-affordable-electric-pickup-trucks and stop buying gas. Did you know Motor Trend's Truck of the Year is the Rivian R1T? https://www.motortrend.com/awards/best-truck-of-the-year/
Stay safe and share your stories and pictures for the newsletter, web site and Facebook page. Please send your photos as jpegs for the newsletter
Hope you are getting lots of time to fish,
Council Climate Change Coordinator