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Bennett Spring State Park
Fishing Report
This page was updated 12/23/10



This report was submitted by Matt Steck of Wildwood on 11/27/11

Date of trip: 11/26/11
Times fished: 8:00am - 2:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Rainy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded
What Worked: Glo-bugs

My father and I planned a day at the park despite the enormous storm on the radar. We got there at 8 and tried to quickly landed some fish before the storm hit. I landed four and missed about 10. The storm turned out to be light rain and it heated the fishing up. We were one of the few there and we were the most successful. The November egg bite worked great. We caught twenty fish, nothing spectacular, but not one under 12 inches. Not a bad day at all.


Sounds good to me. I love the habitat at Bennett -- just don't like crowds. Late November is the time to go, in my humble opinion!





This report was submitted by Jake _________ of Troy, IL on 5/3/11

Date of trip: 6/15/10
Times fished: All day
Air Temperature: Hell on Earth
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded
What Worked: Black & yellow maribou, white jigs, pink jigs, fur bugs

My grandpa, my friend Chase and I took a trip down to Bennett Springs just like we do every year. I love it down there. It's like my second home. We got there about noon, went out and fished a little bit. Not much the first day -- a few bites here and there, but the water was really high. The next couple of days we fished on top of the waterfall, from buzzer to buzzer. I bet we caught at least 65 fish a day each. They were tearing up everything we put on! My elbows were sore for at least 5 days. I got a fly rod and started learing how to do that, and I caught my first trout on a fly road that trip! It was so much fun! Be back down there 6-21 through 6-26 cant wait!


Uh, oh. Catching a trout on a fly rod leads to addiction!





This report was submitted by George Magyar on 3/20/10

Date of trip: 3/19/10
Times fished: 9:00am - 2:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded
What Worked: Marabou Jig, Wooly Bugger

My brother and I arrived at the park about 8:30 AM. We met up with a friend who fished down at the Whistle Bridge on the Zone 2 side with a silver tinsel jig and caught his limit of 4 trout in 7 casts. I decided to go up to the headwaters of the spring because it was not nearly as crowded. I used a olive/black wooly bugger on a new 3/4 wt. fly rod and caught 3 nice trout. Later the wind picked up so I switched to a tan jig on a spinning rod. I caught 2 more. Switched to a John Deere jig and caught another one. Broke for lunch at 1:30 PM, and headed for the Whistle Bridge again. By the time we went down there it was almost 2:00 PM and the place looked like opening day! I decided to pass on fishing, but my brother tried a few casts without any results. We headed for home at 3:00 PM. Had a nice time, but there were way too many people for my taste, next time I'll try Mill Creek or some other out of the way place.


I'm with you brother! Thanks again for the help George.





This report was submitted by James Horton on 3/8/10

Date of trip: 3/1/10
Times fished: Horn to horn
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Minnows and ...minnows

11th opening day in a row. I was very aware that this March morning was considerably milder than most opening mornings,I am used to the eyes of my ultra-lite freezing up on me between casts. When the horn sounded at 6:30am I was shocked by how few fisherman there were at the spring in relation to opening days in the past. It was not elbow to elbow as has been the case in the past. I fished down below the swimming pool, in the riffles . The water was moving rather quickly and the fish were aggressive. I even had time to take a nap on the bank up against an old oak tree. Caught 22 , left with 4 all over 2lbs. Great day...


Nice! Thanks James.





This report was submitted by STLFisher of St. Louis on 10/2/09

Date of trip: 9/11-9/13
Times fished: All Day
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Very Low
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Crackleback, Zebra Midge, Tri-colored Glo-bug, Black Wooly Bugger

Took a much needed trip to Bennett with some buddies from college. This is only my second time fishing for trout and my first time with a newly purchased fly rod. After 3 weeks of praticing I was ready to test my newly found skills.

We arrived at Bennett on Friday morning around 10:45 and after hitting the fly shop and eating a quick lunch we hit the water by noon. Holy Cow the water was low and very very clear. You could see bottom everywhere and I could see my 3lb tippet in the water...wow! We started at the Whistle Bridge and worked our way up to the Bluff hole in zone two. I managed to pull one out of the bluff hole on a zebra midge. That was the only fish I saw anyone catch! It was my first on the fly rod as well. I now have another obsession.

We continued to work our way up zone two and my buddy caught a few under the bridge just down from the dam. They were really nice sized fish...both in the 17-18 inch range. I began to heat up and started catching fish stripping a crackleback. I am now really enjoying my fly rod. The horn sounded and I had 6 fish and my buddy caught 8. We met up with the rest of our group that arrived during the evening and got ready for Saturday.

Saturday:

Suprisingly it wasn't that croweded at the horn, but the fishing was still very slow. How slow? Well the local fly shops were advertising it as c-. You know it is tough when they say that! I managed one fish in the first 3 hours on a crackleback and saw many empty stringers. Tough conditions.

My buddies headed to breakfast at 10:00 and I met up with a late arrival from STL that was itiching to fish. We went back to the hole below the damn in zone two and I started stripping crackleback's. Someone turned on a light switch. In the next hour I pulled in 15 fish. I could not possibly stip it any faster than I was...really powerful strikes too. I lost an estimated (according to other anglers)4lb'er that I had on for a good 5 minutes. It finally broke me off on the bridge. I was not very happy, but I shook it off pretty quick, and retied. The catching continued. My buddy had caught a few at this point, but was getting pretty frustrated. He kept saying I was making him look bad:) That was true!haha. Anyway, he decided to take a break and I needed to eat. I had been fishing since 7:30 without a break and it was now 3:30 in the afternoon. I was getting pretty tired...stripping can be exhausting after all that time.

I took a quick lunch break, and was back on the stream within the hour. Our entire group of 10 fished around the bluff hole. I managed a few, but it was pretty slow for the group. We did see an amazing sunset that in itself would have made the trip worth it. I caught one small trout before the horn. Oddly enough I did see a couple largemouth bass (definitely not smallmouth) hanging out. I was surprised they were that close to the spring with the warmer water downstream. Good size too...probably 3+.

Sunday:

Started of slow and stayed slow. I caught one at the horn and then 2 more by the hole below the dam. By noon most of the group was leaving and my buddy and I decided to try zone 1 for a few more hours. I caught a few fish when a family of fly fishers came up and began to crowd me and some other fisherman out. I could sense frustration. I didn't really bother me until they started casting downstream cutting off my casting lane. I politiely asked them to stop, but the mom of group made some remark about my casting abilities. She did not intend for me to hear, but I did. I just quietly kept my mouth shut and just started winging my fly upstream and across cutting off their casting lanes. The fisherman across from me gave me a knowing smile. The family finally got the point and left, much to the delight of the rest of us. Ironcially, enough I began to catch fish by casting upstream and letting a black wolley bugger just drift down stream. I never would have caught those fish if it wasn't for the arrogant family. Thanks whoever you are!

We left for home shortly after and all in all it was a great time. I met a few other really nice fisherman on the stream including a very nice fly fisherman from Kansas City who was more than hepful. All in all I had a great time with my budddies and manged to pull in 30 in pretty tough conditions. I can't wait to go back.


Fantastic report! Certainly won't be the last time someone will try to crowd you out of spot. Sad, but true, that some folks just don't have manners. Thanks a bunch for helping.





This report was submitted by Jarod Jones of Bolivar on 3/10/09

Date of trip: 3/6/09
Times fished: 11:00am - 5:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: #18 Grey Scud, #6 Wooly Sculpin

First part of the day was slow, picked up a few on grey scud below the bridge in riffles. Then moved to zone 1 and had a hay day fishing a wooly sculpin on bottom. Caught nice fish all in the 2-pound range.


The mighty wooly sculpin! If memory serves, you got those flies from me, and if so, it's an interesting story. I was ordering flies from my tyer in Kenya, and a friend asked if I could have him tie up some special wooly bugger-ish hybrid streamer flies. He wrote up a description of the mix of colors and materials he wanted, and the wooly sculpin was born. It was nothing like what he wanted or had even envisioned (must have been the language barrier), so he opted out of the deal, and I bought them for myself. What a great accident. For everyone else out there, it's basically a wooly bugger with a spun deer hair head & collar, like a muddler. You can tie them with a conehead bead or not. You can weight them with lead wire. You can use wool instead of deer hair (like a woolhead sculpin). The combinations are endless. And they do catch fish, and they were invented purely by accident by a guy in Kenya who's never seen an American trout stream. Ain't life grand?





This report was submitted by Cody Triggs of Shawnee, KS on 12/29/08

Date of trip: 12/26/08
Times fished: 10:30am - 4:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Grey Scud, San Juan Worm,
Zebra Midge, Small Nymphs

We arived at the park around ten and got set up. The weather was really great, 62 and cloudy. Unfortunately there was not much surface action going on, so the key was to go small with midges/scuds/nymphs/worm immitators. Over the course of the 5-1/2 hours of fishing I caught around thirty fish with one being a brown. Not that many people out, plenty of water to fish. I cant wait to get back out and enjoy the C and R season again.


Nice. Thanks again for the help Cody.





This report was submitted by Jarod Jones of Bolivar on 12/2/08

Date of trip: 10/17/08
Times fished: 10:00am - 12:30pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Very Low
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: #16 Crackleback, #20 tan midge dry

Fishing was great. If you catch a winter day that temps will reach mid-40's to mid-50's hit the water. On this day an unbelievable Hatch was going on. The surface water was all dimples for about 45 minutes. I put on a size 20 tan midge dry and had a hit almost every cast for 30 minutes. Even the times that it wasn't all dimples the fish were very active. Sometimes you can't beat winter fishing.


Sorry I missed it! Thanks Jarod.





This report was submitted by Jerry E. of Union on 10/18/08

Date of trip: 10/9 - 10/12/08
Times fished: All day
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Glo-bugs, Rooster Tails

The highlight of the trip was my wife getting the first real lunker for our family... 3lbs 12 oz rainbow... it is already at the taxidermist. Truly, the fishing was slow and other than the first hour or so of fishing, they were not biting very much at all. My best results were in zone 2 using rooster tails or glo balls. We did see a very unigue thing on Friday morning... the "older" gents and I were casting our tails and jigs, when we noticed a "convention" of fish just below the bridge... all we had to do was drop a glo ball in the middle of this and immediately we all starting catching and releasing with nearly every drop in... it was amazing. One of the gents had been fishing at Bennett for over 25 years and said he had never seen such a thing. I can't wait for my next trip.


Sounds like a great time, and congrats to your wife... even though you chose the wrong taxidermist! :-) Thanks for the report Jerry.





This report was submitted by Chris Mustoe of Kansas City on 8/5/08

Date of trip: 7/21/08
Times fished: 8:30am - 6:30pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Midges

My brother and I drove down Sunday nite and fished all day Monday. Started in Zone 1 a few hundred yards above the dam. We had some success on midges, but none on dry flies, no fish were rising, but tried out some black stone flies (caught 1) and some griffiths gnats, and pheasant tail nymphs, but midging was the ticket. Then proced to zone two below the bridge and did well in that area using midges. Did not have to fish too deep, looks like the fish have come up off the bottom and are now suspending. Will be back in the second week of august, nice to see the stream getting back to normal. All that being said, another friend of mine went down two days later and did not have much success using the same flies. Maybe my brother and I hit the right day. One more note, 7x tippit produced much more fish than 6x.


Welcome aboard Chris. Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Randall __________ of Ozark on 7/16/08

Date of trip: 7/5/08
Times fished: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Glo-bug

My friends and I started fishing about 1 in the afternoon. We threw out spoons, roster tails, and a variety of stuff without luck. Then we moved to the spillway below the hatchery and threw out a glo-bug with a weight about a foot and half above the egg, letting it drift. In no time, I had my limit, and so did my girlfirend. My friend and his girlfirend caught their limit, too, and it looked like everyone also had fish on their stringer.


Thanks for the report, Randall.





This report was submitted by Robert Neu of Lawrence, KS on 6/8/08

Date of trip: 6/6/08
Times fished: 10am - 2pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: John Deere, Olive Crackleback, White Mini-jig

My dad and I left for Bennett Springs with severe thunderstorms in the forecast for the whole state of Missouri. Luckily the weather held off, and only sprinkled on us a couple times. The fishing was great, and was definitly the best that I have seen since early May. The best fishing was still on, or near the bottom with the John Deere mini jig catching fish after fish. We also had good success bouncing an olive crackleback off the bottom, below a split shot. Everyone around us seemed to be catching plenty of fish and having a lot of fun. I hope this report helps some of you, best of luck, and good fishing!


Thanks Robert.





This report was submitted by Kevin M. of St. Louis on 5/6/08

Date of trip: 5/1/08
Times fished: 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Zebra Midge

When I left Springfield around 12 it was pouring down rain, but I decided to go fishing anyway, because that was the last bit of time I had free before finals. I thought all that rain was just going to travel down Highway 44 and get me at the park, but it didn't. I actually stayed clear the whole time! Anyway, the water was slightly high, enough to make wading a little more fun, and the color was a tad off. The fish were biting though, especially on black and silver zebra midges. I think I caught every single fish before lunch on that fly. And when they stopped eating the black and silver, I just switched to an olive green and red. I was able to pull some big browns on a foam ant pattern that I tied up, but other than that it was zebra midge all the way! Happy fishing!


Thanks Kevin. Hope finals go well!





This report was submitted by Robert Neu of Lawrence, KS on 5/4/08

Date of trip: 4/27/08
Times fished: 7:00am - 2:00pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Brown
What Worked: White & Red BH Nymph

At the opening horn there were a lot of fishermen, and some pretty brown water which looked to be 1-2 feet above normal. Fishing was still decent, with my fishing buddy and I catching 6 nice fish each in the 13-16 inch range. The fish were down deep, requireing long indicator lines, and added split shot to get down near the bottom. The pattern of fly did not seem to matter as much as the color, with the usually hot red, white, and chartruese catching the most fish. It also is important to be down near the bottom, which was were all our action came from.


Welcome aboard Robert, and thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Mike Tobin of St. Charles on 3/14/08

Date of trip: 3/12/08
Times fished: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: White & Black Jigs, Little Cleo Spoons

Got to the park around 10:00 or so -- crowd was large due to the 72 degree weather. Even if you caught nothing it would have been a good trip. Caught my first in the spring on my fly rod -- thought it was a brown the way it fought! Took about 5 minutes to land it and release it -- it was using the current to it's advantage. Caught it on a tiny white jig.

Moved over to zone 2 and got my spinning rod out and started throwing my favorite spoon -- little cleos. Caught a couple of nice fish. Got to be around 1:30, so I decided to go back to the spring area and get the fly rod back out. Changed to a small black jig and caught a really nice one between the spring and gauge house. Great day of fishing!

Fish ON!


You said it, brother! Thanks Mike.





This report was submitted by Randall __________ of Rogersville on 3/20/08

Date of trip: 3/8/08
Times fished: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Powerbait Eggs

I threw in a white jig and made it walk but got nothing. Let it drift one time and got one hooked, but when I was reeling in it got off. So I threw in a Kastmaster and Little Cleo -- nothing. Then tried white powerbait eggs and got one. Threw it again missed many times and ended up only catching 2, but broke the line on about 3 fish. My dad caught 3, including a 13" brown that he had to let go.


Thanks for the report Randall. If you're breaking off fish, it's time to loosen your drag. When the fish runs, he should be pulling line off your reel. It takes longer to land them, but your break-off rate should drop down to near zero.





This report was submitted by David McGowan of Columbia on 2/11/08

Date of trip: 2/3/08
Times fished: 4:00pm -- siren
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Crackleback, Wooly Buggers

After fishing the Niangua River, I went up to Bennett Springs. The water was very high up there also. I mainly fished the end of zone 2 and caught about a dozen stripping wooly buggers and cracklebacks, mostly deep. There was a lot of surface action on some little grey fly hatching but I couldn't figure out what it was. I threw every dry I knew of and would watch the fish look at it, then hit a real bug on the surface less than 2 inches away, repeatedly. Talk about frustrating. I'm a real novice at dry fly fishing but I guess that is what they call "selective" feeding!

{click HERE for David's Niangua River report}


You got it! Basically, when you can't figure out what they're hitting on the surface, you have to not only consider the bug, but also the stage of the bug they're hitting. For example, a #22 Adams dry might have worked, if they're feeding on adults drying their wings or laying eggs. But they might have been eating the spinners and spent-wings, OR they might have been eating the emergers. Trying to solve the mystery can make one lose his religion, but it's fantastic when get the formula right. Thanks again David.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 11/30/07

Date of trip: 11/30/07
Times fished: 8:30am - 1:30pm
Air Temperature: Frigid
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: #22 cream midge, #18 red beadhead zebra midge,
#18 red bead head copper john, #14 peach egg.

Got on the water at about 8:30 this morning. It was frigid but warmed up later on. Fished for 5 hours. Fishing was good. Fished Zone 1 only. Hot flies: #22 cream midge, #18 red BH zebra midge, #18 red BH copper john, and #14 peach egg pattern. Too many fish to count. Caught (1) real nice kype jawed brown today ... estimated at 18-19". Took him between the start of the island and the first handicap pier. The water is low and gin clear.


Thanks again for the help Michael. Here's a little-known fact for you Trout Hunters to digest. Water filters out the light waves the deeper you go (which is why it gets darker as you dive deeper), but the first specific wavelength to get filtered out is red. What does that mean? Red is a great fish-catching color, but the deeper you're fishing, the less it matters!





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 11/25/07

Date of trip: 11/24/07
Times fished: 8:30am - 12:30pm
Air Temperature: Freezing
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Peach Egg Pattern

Finally got out to enjoy the C&R season. Cold and cloudy day ... never got above 37. Fished for about 4 hours. Had the Zone 1 island pretty much to myself. Started out drifting a peach egg pattern 3.5' under a strike indicator on 5X tippet. Never switched from that pattern. The catch-n-release was consistent all morning. Most of the fish were in the 10-12" range with several real nice "kicker" fish pushing 17-18". The C&R season is a great time to get out and enjoy the trout parks without all of the crowds.


That is a fact. For many of us, it's the only time we can force ourselves to fish the trout parks, since the crowds are often so light! Thanks Michael





This report was submitted by Scott Strack of Murphysboro, IL on 11/3/07

Date of trip: 10/26 - 10/28
Times fished: 7:30am-9:30am & 4:00pm-6:30pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Partly cloudy
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Tangerine glo-bug, chamois fly,
white floss mini-jig, griffith's gnat, renegade

My son and I decided to go to Bennett for a little end-of-the-season trip. We arrived Friday around noon. The remnants of the low pressure front that had hung around since the first of the week was finally moving on. By mid-afternoon, skies were clearing and temperatures were very comfortable.

Afternoon fishing was rewarding, yet not overly productive. Most fish appeared to be preoccupied with spawning rather than feeding. I did manage to land a nice keeper brown trout on the chamois fly. I admired the brilliant fall spawn colors and quickly sent him on his way. A few minutes later, I hooked and landed a very nice male rainbow of 17 1/2 ". As evening approached, I swithched to dries and was not disappointed. The action was fast and furious for the next hour on both the Renegade and Griffith's gnat. A real bonus for the end of October!!

Saturday morning came with clear skies and much cooler temps. We were surprised to see that very few other anglers were at water's edge when the siren sounded. That morning, we were treated to non-stop action. The egg pattern was unbeatable!! I stopped counting after catching and releasing 30 fish in the first 2 hours. After taking a midday break we again continued the assult with dry flies. As with the previous day, the action was incredible. I don't know if there is a more enjoyable sight than watching a trout rise to and take a fly from the surface.

Sunday morning brought much colder temps than the previous morning. We awoke to find a heavy frost on the windshield before making our way to the stream. Unlike the previous day, there were many more early morning anglers streamside. fishing action proved to be much the same as the day before with both the egg pattern and chamois fly taking the lions share of fish. One slight obstacle we had to overcome was icing of the rod guides. Fortunately a little Stanley's ice-off paste and warming temperatures made this a temporary inconvenience.

We headed home later that afternoon quite content with the success of our late season efforts. I am looking forward to the start of catch and release season. I highly recommend it as a means to combat the winter doldrums.

Best wishes and great fishing,
Scott


Thanks Scott. I also recommend the winter park season as a great opportunity to catch fish that are acting wilder without having to compete with crowds. And as many of the non-park waters get slow due to VERY cold water, the parks stay active with water tamps staying around 50.





This report was submitted by Kris K. of Columbia on 10/25/07

Date of trip: 10/19 - 10/21/07
Times fished: All Day
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Very Low
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Brown Roaches, Trico's, Hare's Ears

Lowest and clearest water levels I have ever seen. Strikes were very very soft. Kudo's to a fellow fisherman who showed me nymphing a Hare's ear looking bug with a Crackle Back for an indicator. I learned something new and want to encourage helping out your fellow fisherman. The use of a Crackleback for an indicator worked GREAT! The slighted hesitation or wiggle got me 5 fish in the first 6 casts. His Crackle was custom tied with more hackles than most. Man what fun it was. Thanks for the site.


My pleasure! Using a dry fly as a strike indicator is fairly commonly known as a "Hopper-Dropper" rig, since most people use a BIG dry for the indicator -- often a grasshopper. Thanks for the report Kris.





This report was submitted by KRA of Waterloo on 10/22/07

Date of trip: 10/20/07
Times fished: 7:30am - 4:00pm
Air Temperature: Sultry
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Everything we put on

All I can say is WOW! That was not a day of fishing but instead a day of catching. A friend and I got there at the whistle, started in the riffles below the entrance bridge, and we did not move any more than 100 yards until we got off the water at 4 PM.

The water is very clear but has a great flow. We started off with my version a glo-ball, but I call them my sloppy balls. They do not have the prefect round look. My friend kept with that pattern for 2 hours and it was non stop action. After replacing my 3rd sloppy ball, I decided to try some nymphing. I started out with a Pheasant tail and Zebra black Midge, both size 20. Again the fish were all over that and I never had to change my flies for 2 hours. We then switched to a size 18 Hot Orange BH Virus Nymph, multiple San Juan worms, Size 22 Buckskins. Size 22 RS2 (gray). It all worked! The biggest fish of the day were the 4 nice browns in the 17-18" range.

Okay, I tried fishing the Green Butt Soft hackles I just tied but had no takers in a 15 minute time frame. I did manage to take a few on the Crackleback. But since that action was a lot slower, I switched back to nymphing.

I do have to say all the fish in the park are a really nice size. I think the smallest one I caught was a 10" fish. Go to BSSP if you can, I think my next trip there will be Monday Nov 12.



NICE! Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Mike Hunsicker of St. Charles on 10/22/07

Date of trip: 10/16-10/19/07
Times fished: Mornings
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Very Low
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Mepp's Bumble Bee, Crackleback, John Deer, Bedspread

Caught lots of fish every morning just above the whistle bridge in zone 2. Ultralight with #2 pound fluorocarbon ine is a must. Fly fishing for me was slow through most of the lower section of zone 2, but I did great below the dam using a chartruse crackleback. There seemed to be something taking off the surface all the time. There are a lot of fish in the stream and they are really nice in size as well. Caught fish close to two pounds every day. Smallest fish that I caught all week was 10". Even caught a nice size brown next to the whistle bridge. Winter fishing should be great!


Hopefully so! Thanks Mike.





This report was submitted by Jerry Eckard of Union on 10/19/07

Date of trip: 10/13 - 10/17/07
Times fished: 7:30am - 6:30pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Silver Wulff, Griffith's Gnat,
Hackleback, Glo-bug, Chamois Fly

This was the most enjoyable and productive trip ever to Bennett Springs... even though Saturday was very slow, the rest of the days were most productive, especially after I started concentrating on fly fishing instead of spinning... silver wulffs,Griffith's Gnats, Hacklebacks, chamois and my own creation fly produced the best results, especially on Tuesday. I have already booked my trip for next year.


Many thanks Jerry!





This report was submitted by Corey _________ of Perryville on 10/2/07

Date of trip: 9/30/07
Times fished: 7 hours total
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: #16 Adams, #18 Olive Scud, Small White Dries

This was my first time to the park, and I was amazed at how nice it was. I started out at zone 2 about 50 yards below the bridge. On my first cast I had a hit on my olive scud. I tried the riffles with my scud but couldn't get anything to take it. I noticed that there was a lot of fish splashing the surface, so I put on the #16 adams and had a few takes within about an hour. I moved upstream and didn't really have much luck with it. I tries a lot of different dries, but I couldn't find the match :s I switched to a white globall and had no luck. But for my first trip I will say I LOVED the place and will be back soon.


Sounds like you did pretty darn well for your first visit. Thanks Corey.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 10/2/07

Date of trip: 9/27-9/28
Times fished: 7 hours total
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks, egg patterns, mini-jigs

Got down to BSSP on Thursday mid-afternoon. Was suprised by the large size of the crowds. Brought 13 to the net in a couple hours of fishing. Caught about half of the fish in Zone 1 dead drifting a peacock mini-jig and the other half in Zone 2 stripping a chartreuse crackleback. Friday morning started at the horn fishing the riffles in Zone 2 and brought 39 to the net by 11:00. All of these fish were caught in water that was 12-18" deep. All fish took either a peachy king glow ball or a burgundy micro egg (#18). Also, had lots of LDRs. Had a good time ... looking forward to the winter C&R.


Thanks again Michael.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 9/23/07

Date of trip: 9/22/07
Times fished: 7:30am - 11:00am
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Zebra midge, cream midge,
crackleback, renegade, egg pattern, mini jig

Large crowds for a September Saturday. Started in the riffles below the bridge in Zone 2. Had pretty good action for the first 1.5 hours on a peachy king egg. Caught around 20 before the action slowed. Moved up into Zone 1. Caught a couple on a olive mini jig then the action stopped. Switched to a crackleback and caught a couple then the action stopped again. Switched to a renegade. Fished the flat area just before the dam. The stream flow was a lot slower than it has been all year. The drift was agonizingly slow. In fact it seemed the renegade was sitting still. If I just let it sit, eventually I'd get a take. This also worked with a cream midge. Took around a dozen on the renegade and cream midge. Pretty happy with the dry action in the middle of the morning. Before leaving I fished the faster water around the first handicap in Zone 1. Took several additional fish on a white egg pattern. Pretty good morning ... just kept changing patterns as the morning progressed.


"Pretty good morning"???? Sounds fantastic to me -- especially since you only fished 3-1/2 hours! Thanks Michael.





This report was submitted by Mike _________ of Kansas City on 10/15/07

Date of trip: 9/11 & 9/12
Times fished: P.M.
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin clear
What Worked: Red Zebra Midge

Fished BSSP in the afternoons both days, from about 4pm to close. Fished primarily the shallow water just below the bridge at the hatchery. Fished the faster water where fish were holding and feeding, using a red zebra midge, size 16, nickel beadhead, nickel rib, at about a depth of 12-14" under a small stike indicator. Thursday afternoon I had to change my fly 4 times as they were just torn up from the hits. Friday was a bit slower, and I alternated between the zebra midge and a size 16 copper brassie with copper beadhead, both worked, but the zebra midge was the biggest producer by far. Caught a few in the 14-15" range, nothing of any great size, but most of the fish were full of eggs. A couple of great days on the river.


Welcome aboard Mike, and thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 9/3/07

Date of trip: 8/29-8/30
Times fished: Various
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Cracklebacks, zebra midges, mini-jigs

Contrary to rumors, there are still many fish in the park. Fished Zones 1 and 2 in the park Thursday and Friday. The fishing was great. Zebra midges worked early. Cracklebacks and mini-jigs worked throughout the day.


Thanks again Michael.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 8/27/07

Date of trip: 8/25
Times fished: 7:00am - 3:30pm
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Cracklebacks, egg patterns, mini-jigs

Went to the BSSP on Saturday. The water is still up and off color following the flash flood earlier in the week. That being the case, normal trout park fare was in order. Fished only in Zone 1 and caught fish stripping cracklebacks on both floating and full sinking lines. Also, took fish on peachy king and white mini egg patterns. The hottest ticket of the day was floating a brown roach mini-jig about 4 feet under a strike indicator. At times, the action was fast and furious. No big fish. The weather was pretty nice (not too hot), the crowds were pretty large, the fishing was pretty good. I'll try to make it back out again before the Labor Day holiday.


Thanks again Michael.





This report was submitted by Jay Schubert of Nashville, IL on 8/20/07

Date of trip: 8/17-8/19
Times fished: Mornings & Evenings
Air Temperature: Sultry
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: John Deere mini-jigs, chartruese cracklebacks

The fishing overall seemed kind of slow. It didn't look like anyone around us was really tearing it up. We caught the majority of our fish on john deere mini-jigs at the source of the spring. It was our first trip in which we learned a ton, so hopefully we make more out of the next trip. Bennett is a beautiful place with great amenities. Even for the 90 plus degree temps we had, there seemed to be a bunch of people fishing. I did see my first fly hatch, but I don't know what species it was. They were a very tiny fly, smaller than an #18 griffith's gnat. Even though the fishing was slow, overall it was a great trip.


Glad you had a good time. Many thanks for the report. BTW, you were probably looking at a midge hatch.





This report was submitted by Preston _________ of Sesser on 8/24/07

Date of trip: 8/11/07
Times fished: Morning
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks, renegades, conehead muddler minnow

Fished two days at the park and on Saturday caught around 15 all on dries. Most of the fish were caught on renegades or cracklebacks. Seemed like the olive crackleback was the choice bait. I only fished zone 2 wherever I could find a spot where the people were limited. Pretty good outing, since the heat was really on. Sunday was a different story. I caught 6 fish and then I broke the tip of my rod. I broke it on a big brown....... that i missed and then slaped the water with my rod.. Let's not tell Cabelas that though .


Cabelas is really good about replacing broken stuff, no questions asked. Bass Pro does the same. Ain't they just wonderful? Thanks for the report Preston.





This report was submitted by Scott Strack of Murphysboro, IL on 8/1/07

Date of trip: 7/30
Times fished: Evening
Air Temperature: Sultry
Weather: Partly cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded
What Worked: Sulfur crackleback

Monday evening (after fishing the Niangua) we went to the park to see if the fishing was any better there. The park was very crowded for a Monday. The girls nymphed, while I chose to get out my 4 weight and dry fly. My fly of choice was a size 12 sulfur crackleback that produced results almost immediately. I continued to get several hits throughout the course of the evening on this rig.

Most of the other anglers I saw and talked to were complaining that fishing had slowed dramatically over the weekend, most blamed the July heat. One of the locals, however, seemed to catch a fish nearly every cast as we talked. He was more than happy to show me what was working for him. Turns out he was using the same crackleback fly that I had, only he was fishing it exclusively as a wet fly stripping it about 3 inches at a time. I probably watched him catch 8 to 10 fish as we stood in the same area and talked fishing.

Click HERE for Scott's Niangua River Report.


You certainly can't argue with success, but I think that guy was short- changing himself! If you fish a crackleback in a traditional western fashion (cast across, mend up, drift dry, swing wet, strip in), you'll often find fish hitting in all areas. He may have been outfishing you at that moment, but when they stop chasing a stripped fly, his fishing will stop, but you'll continue catching them. Thanks again Scott.





This report was submitted by Marion Charboneau of Atchison, KS on 7/24/07

Date of trip: 7/16-7/23
Times fished: All day
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded
What Worked: Glo-bugs, cream midge (somewhat)

Took a vacation trip to Bennett Spring with a friend. Started out extremely poorly (Only 3 fish from Sunday evening through Tuesday evening between the two of us). An angler who'd been successful took us under his wing, and we began having success on Wednesday drifting peach, yellow, and white tri-color glo-bugs under an indicator (Fished them 3 ft deep and more). My friend had great success with these at the hatchery outlet and below the dam, but less so for me. I did very well just above the dam with the same. I also did fairly well with an orange glo-bug with a red dot above the dam.

The fishing was very on and off, early and late tending to work best. There was a rain on Wednesday night and the fish started hitting much lighter after that. Plenty of strikes, but often hard to hook up.

I did have some success in the evenings on the surface with a cream midge in size #22 in zone 1. There's some hope for dry fly action, though the hatch was erratic--some evenings good and some evenings very limited.

Overall, I'd give the fishing a C grade. A lot of fish in the 12-14 inch range. One brown trout caught on a cream midge--14 inches (my first brown ever!).

A couple of other observations: I saw several anglers having success stripping streamers with full sinking lines just above the dam. Also, be careful. I didn't see it, but I talked to several who witnessed two men nearly drown above the dam. One slipped into deeper water, filled his waders, and then panicked from the shock of the cold water. The man trying to save him nearly got pulled under by him as he thrashed around. Someone luckily reached out with a fly rod and pulled them in.


Sounds like a tough trip, but catching a few on dries always makes up for slow fishing. The interesting thing about the multi-colored glo-bugs is how they look under water. As they roll through the current, the color-changes take on the look of a strobe. It's quite cool.

BTW, it's important to make sure everyone is aware of an old wives tale concerning your waders. The story is that if you fall in and your waders fill up, you'll be pulled to the bottom. For this reason, many people pull their wader belts extremely tight in an effort to keep water out. Stop doing this! If your waders fill up, you can swim around just fine. After all, water doesn't weigh anything under water, right? The hard part is pulling yourself out of the water, since water is 8 pounds per gallon once you're on the bank. By tightening down your wader belt, what you're doing is making sure you'll have two air-filled balloons trying to turn you upside down when you fall in. A wader belt serves only two purposes. First, it gives you a place to hook your thumbs when talking to another fisherman. Second, when it's hot, you can roll your waders down to waist height without them falling down.






This report was submitted by Mike Hunsicker of St. Charles on 7/29/07

Date of trip: 7/13-7/15
Times fished: Different times
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded
What Worked: Cracklebacks, Prince Nymphs, Beadspread, 1/32oz Black &
Yellow Jig, Black & Yellow Roostertails, Power Bait

The weather was beautiful, and the crowd size was down. With the exception of one fish all of the fish we caught were over 15". No browns this time all rainbows. There was a big hatch Friday evening, but I couldn't figure out what they were feeding on, but I did pick up a couple anyway. My wife caught caught a couple in zone 3 and I did pretty good not great but satisfying.


Thanks Mike. Sometimes, all you need to just enough.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 7/16/07

Date of trip: 7/13 - 7/15
Times fished: Various
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Red Beadhead Zebra Midge, G-bug, Crackleback

Hadn't been out in several weeks. Took the wife and spent the weekend at BSSP. The crowds were huge. Tried to find some solitude without much luck, ended-up fishing the fast water area (below the bridge) in Zone 2. Never moved from that area the entire weekend. Got on the water Friday at around 6:00PM. Caught around a dozen before the siren. Caught all of these fish stripping a #12 olive crackleback. Saturday morning: got on the water just before the siren; caught fish consistently all morning on red #18 BH zebra midges, #20 brassies, and #16 white g-bugs. The afternoon bite was much the same as the morning. Once they stopped hitting on one pattern, switched to the next and the action picked up again. Saturday evening picked up a few fish on renengades, cream midges, and cracklebacks. Even took one fish on a tan elk hair caddis. All of Saturday's fish ranged from 10-16". Too many fish to keep count. Sunday morning I fished from 6:30AM-8:45AM. Used the same patterns as Saturday morning with the same success. Hooked a "giant" on Sunday morning. The fish hit a red zebra midge and took me into the backing on a downstream run. I ran after the fish and recovered some line, with the rod bent almost double (8.5', 5 wt.). Had the fish on for almost 10 minutes. Eventually my 6X tippet gave out. I estimate the fish at 24"+. Oh well ...


For that reason, I strongly suggest that everyone fish using rodeo rules. If you can ride him for 8 seconds, it counts! Thanks, Michael.





This report was submitted by Glenn Covington of Blue Springs on 7/10/07

Date of trip: 7/6-7/7/07
Times fished: 6:30-11:00am
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: 1/32 White Crappie Jig, White Gulp Plastic Worm, White Power Bait

Hadn't fished Bennett Spring since I was a child. Took my family and my in-laws. My 9 year old son caught his first trout on the 6th and then his first limit on the 7th. He cried on his way home, because we had to leave, just like his old man 37 years earlier. This was a special trip that I will never forget. All total five of us caught 27 trout in two days.


Don't make the boy wait 37 years to get back! Glad you had a good trip. Tell your son Trout Hunter said congrats. Thanks Glenn.





*** This report was submitted by Tim Homesly of Cassville on 6/27/07

Date of trip: 6/27/07
Times fished: All Day
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: beetles, ants, apricot glo-bugs, pheasant tails

Fished bennett today, water mostly clear, you can see about 8 feet into the water, fishing was very good today, most of my fish were caught on #12 beetles, #14 ants and caught some fish on apricot glo-balls, and a few on pheasant tails #18's the glo-balls were #18's also. Had a shower about 11:00 a.m. this seemed to make the fishing even better, and then the sun came out and the beetle and ant fishing got real good.


Thanks to Tim for continuing to help us out with reports. Tim is the owner of Tim's Fly Shop in Cassville. Be sure to visit him when you head down to Roaring River. His contact information is:

Tim's Fly Shop
Rt. 4 Box 4088
Cassville, MO 65625
(417) 847-4956






This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 6/24/07

Date of trip: 6/23/07
Times fished: 8:00am - Noon
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: #12 Olive Crackleback, #20 Brassie, #20 Foamback RS-2 Emerger

Just returned from Colorado, I guess that report is for another board. Fished BSSP for a few hours on Saturday morning. I estimate I caught somewhere between 15-20 (all rainbows). Fished in Zones 1 and 2. All Zone 1 fish and several Zone 2 fish caught on a crackleback in the "slower" water. Used the brassie and RS-2 in the faster water with a split shot and a strike indicator in Zone 2. Overall, the action was pretty good. Coming up on the doldrums of summer .... use light tippet and look for current. Fish early and late.


It's going to get worse before it gets better! Thanks Mike.





This report was submitted by DS of St. Louis on 6/18/07

Date of trip: 6/15/07
Times fished: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Scud, Griffith's Gnat, Midges

Arrived at around 11 am, more crowded than I would have anticipated for a Friday morning. Started off with a brown scud size 18 and the fish were just attacking. Caught eight before the pattern stopped producing. Switched to a little 22 midge pattern and caught 7 more. Around 2pm the fish started taking some surface flies. Switch to a griffiths gnat and caught 4. Surface feeding slowed after an hour and I switched back to my midge. Ended the day catching 23 but was hooking into fish left and right all day. Overall, the fish were on fire on Friday.


More dry fly action at Bennett! I'm gonna have to make a trip out there before they change their mind. Thanks DS.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 5/21/07

Date of trip: 5/20/07
Times fished: All Day
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Cracklebacks, Pale Evening Duns, Renegades

Fished the park over the weekend and had a great time. Way too many fish to count. Fished all day Saturday and half the day on Sunday. Pretty consistent on olive cracklebacks both days in Zones 1 and 2. The Saturday evening dry fly action was good. There was a decent hatch of PEDs. Used #18PEDs and #16 Renegades with good success. Didn't catch any of the MTFA tagged derby fish this weekend.


Sounds like a great time. The one drawback to Missouri trout fishing is that there are limited opportunities for dry fly action. There's nothing more fun than watching one rise to the fly.





This report was submitted by Blake ________ of St. Charles on 5/20/07

Date of trip: 5/20/07
Times fished: Buzzer to 9:00am
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Orange, White or Yellow Power Bait

Went down on Friday and caught nothing. Saturday limited out. Sunday caught two trout. All together, caught 6.


Sounds like they made you work for them! When the fishing's tough, it just makes the catching all the more better. Thanks again for the help Blake.





This report was submitted by Mike Tobin of St. Charles on 5/13/07

Date of trip: 5/11/07
Times fished: 12:00 - 5:00pm
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Brown & White Rooster Tails, Silver/Lime Spoons

A great day of fishing! Caught 2 rainbows right off the bat between the dam and bridge (near the bluff). Moved over closer to the bridge and caught my first brown on a silver/lime little cleo spoon. I have caught tons and tons of rainbows, but this was my first brownie, so it was special. It seemed like it "played out" more, but maybe it was just me. What a beautiful fish! Caught several on a brown/white rooster tail. Caught a total of 8-9 trout, released all. Seemed to catch most towards the bottom near structure. Everyone seemed to be catching a lot, weather could not be better - left when I saw a thunderstorm moving in. Great day!


Glad you had such a good time. I agree with you that browns often seem to have more fighting endurance than rainbows. I also agree that I could just be imagining this! Thanks Mike.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 5/5/07

Date of trip: 5/5/07
Times fished: 6:30am - 12:30pm
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Crackleback

Fished Zone 1 in the park today. The weather was beautiful and fishing was very good. Too many fish to count today. I'm confident it was my best day of the year. Caught almost all my fish on cracklebacks. All rainbows today. Kept a couple for dinner. All fish hit the crackleback while I was aggressively skipping it just under the surface at the end of the drift. The water is clearing up and nearing normal flow. It was Kids Day in the park and it looked like everyone was having a good time. I sure did.


Kids Day is always a blast, and it's certainly fun when you happen upon THE fly that the fish want. Thanks again Michael.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 4/28/07

Date of trip: 4/28/07
Times fished: 7:00am - 2:00pm
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: White Globug, Peachy King Weighted Globug Black-n-Yellow Marabou, Olive Crackleback, Olive Leech

Caught and released 24 rainbows in Zone 1. No brown trout today. Took fish on a variety of flies and had to change flies frequently. The water is still up and moving pretty good. Beautiful weather, it was almost balmy (it's time to put up the neoprenes and breakout the breathables) and the crowds were pretty heavy. Tiny white glo-bugs took the most fish. Most fish caught using a 7.5', 3 weight outfit, 5X tippet, strike indicator 3-4'. The catching came in bunches today with periods of nothing in between.


Glad you had a good trip. Thanks again for the help Michael.





This report was submitted by Kevin _________ of St. Louis on 4/25/07

Date of trip: 4/24/07
Times fished: 1:30pm - 7:00pm
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Pheasant Tail, White Caddis, Black Crackleback

I arrived at the park around 1:30 and started fishing around two. The second I stepped in the water the rain really started coming down! It was warm though, so the rain really didn't bother me. It actually helped the fishing alot. There was a nice caddis hatch after the rain stopped. I caught about 3 with the caddis and then the fishing started to die again. The sun came out for about 2 hours, and it started to get really humid, and the fish just didn't want to bite! But right before the second round of rain, the fish really started moving in the water. So I put on a Pheasant tail and caught about 3 or 4. And then the fishing died again when the rain ended.

After a while I got bored and started trying new techniques. I used a black crackleback and swung it across the choppy water after the main entrance bridge. To my surprise, this turned out to be the best technique! I ended up catching 6! It made my day to know that technique could actually work!


Yes, it is a great technique. Many people think of the crackleback is just a great pattern, but it's really nothing special. It works well, just like the Griffith's Gnat and the Renegade -- two similar style flies. The trick is the technique. Cast it up and across, mend your line once or twice, and drift it like a dry. Right before it begins to swing out below you, twitch it under the surface. Let it swing subsurface for several seconds, and then start stripping it in like a streamer. You'll hook dry fly fish when it hits the water, wet fly fish on the swing, and streamer fish on the strip. It's like fishing three flies at once. It also works great with a G-bug, if you can keep the marabou tail dry enough to float. This technique has been used by Western fishermen for 50 years with no-hackle dry flies and soft hackle wets. It's just taken a while for midwest fishermen to catch on. Thanks Kevin.





This report was submitted by Eric Abernathy of St. Louis on 4/23/07

Date of trip: 4/20-4/22/07
Times fished: All day
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Prince Nymphs, White Marabou Jig, Renegade

My brother-in-law and I fished off and on all weekend at Bennett. The water was high and moving fast. You had to cast pretty far upstream to get in position. Everyone there seemed to be fishing deep. Fishing was slow but seemed like it picked up as the weekend progressed; I guess because the water levels were going down. I tried almost everything in my fly box and caught some with a crackleback, white marabou jig, and a renegade. The fish definitely weren't coming to the top very often so, dry fly action was limited. My brother-in-law and I did have luck on a prince nymph fished deep. The trip was complete with a hole in my waders and nearly being attacked by a snake protecting its nest. It wasn't the most successful trip; but any day on the trout stream is better than any day at work.


Welcome aboard Eric. Yes, the high water this spring is giving people fits. Actually, higher water often benefits the fish. It adds oxygen to the water, and it kicks up the insects & scud. This, however, tends to push the fish to the very bottom of the river. The friction of the water against the river bed slows the current there, and, of course, that's where all the bugs are. In other words, if you can cast a fly with half a pound of lead on it, you're GOLDEN! If not, you might as well go home.





This report was submitted by Jerry Eckar of Union on 4/18/07

Date of trip: 4/17/07
Times fished: 7:00am - 10:00am
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Yellow & Black Rooster Tail

OMG...

I finally found the honey hole after three days of glorious fishing... and lets just say that I found it in Zone 2 between the dam and the "pipe"...after trying every jig, color, fly, midge, and glo-bug, they finally decided that the RoosterTail would be their delicacy of the day... got my limit in 3 hours, and some good size ones too... BTW, watch out for the rocks while wading - diving while wading is not advised... :-) I will return!!! and so will my WIFE!!! Yep, she is now hooked too... and she got her limit on kapox of various flavors, with a glo-bug or two for changeouts.


Yep, some of those rocks are like greased bowling balls. I've been swimming at Bennett once too many times myself. Welcome aboard Jerry, and thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Mike Tobin of St. Charles on 4/17/07

Date of trip: 4/16/07
Times fished: 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Gold Little Cleo Spoons, Silver Spoons

Fished zone 2 by the chute area, near the bluff. Water was higher than expected, lots of fly rods and strike indicators out and about. Felt good to get in the water, threw a 1/6 little Cleo spoon, gold (my "go to" lure when I am at a loss at what to throw). Got results right away. One jumped about 4 feet out of the water. Tons of fun with 2# and an ultralight. Caught one every 6-7 casts. They turned on heavy (caught around 6 in a row) and then turned off in traditional trout fashion. The only bad thing about a 1/6 is you may lose some to brush piles on the other side - they are worth the risk, however, because they respond so well in fast, deep, murkey water. That is probably why they only sell the real light ones at the pro shop - they do not want the brush and trees on the other side to look like Christmas trees :)


Ain't that the truth. I used to have a buddy that located good fishing spots by finding the trees with the most bobbers hanging in them. Thanks Mike. Good to hear from you again.





This report was submitted by Mike Weidman of Paola, KS on 4/14/07

Date of trip: 4/14/07
Times fished: 7:00am - 11:30am
Air Temperature: Frigid
Weather: Snowy
Water Level: Very high
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Peachy King Glo-ball Jig

Fished in a wet and snowy blizzard this morning. It reminded me of Great Lakes steelhead fishing. This April weather is crazy. The spring branch was very high, off color, and flowing fast. Caught 12 rainbows and 2 browns. Kept 2 small rainbows for dinner. All fish hit the peachy king glo-ball jig bounced along the bottom in the "slack" or slower water eddies. Most of the fish were caught in Zone 1. The largest fish 18.5" was caught in Zone 2 where the hatchery stream meets the spring branch. Felt fortunate to catch the fish I did. I didn't see any other fish caught. Used a 5 weight 9 foot outfit, 4X tippet, strike indicator set at 4 foot, and used split shot to get the glo-ball down. The crowds were down because of the horrible weather. Helped a few guys out that hadn't even had a hit. Had a great time. Looking forward to next weekend, maybe the weather will be better.


I never have a problem fishing in cold, rainy or snowy weather, but I absolutely hate fishing when the water is up. On the smaller creeks, a bit of a swell with just of tinge of color can actually help the fishing, but high water on bigger rivers like Bennett can make you lose your religion. Thanks for the report Mike.





This report was submitted by Mike ___________ of Kansas City on 4/10/07

Date of trip: 4/6 - 4/7/07
Times fished: Mid-day & evening
Air Temperature: Freezing
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly Clouded
What Worked: Olive Peacock Wooly Bugger

Fished Zone 2 primarily this weekend - found success in most of the holes on the river. Had great success in the hole under the bridge below the dam fishing the wooly bugger suspended below a small strike indicator at the same level the fish were holding. Caught 15-20 fish out of that hole alone. At 11:30 am, the fish were still quite deep, and only caught a couple. About 2:30pm, came back that hole, and the fish were holding at about 2-3 feet below the surface feeding. I adjusted the depth of the bugger each time for success. Also caught several fish in the creek running out of the hatchery back into Bennett Spring. There were a lot of fish in the riffles and runs, and the were more than willing to take the bugger or a size 16 zebra midge - olive or black. At the point where that small creek off the hatchery enters Bennett, where there is still good current, fish were holding, and hooked up with several nice fish there. Most people were fishing the deeper water, and I was actually catching fish right behind them in the current. A natural drift of either the bugger or the midge worked.


Fishing that little feeder creek was always one of my favorite tactics this time of year -- forgot about that until I was reading your report. One thing folks should remember is that trout that are holding in faster current are generally there to feed. Never ignore the riffles & chutes, if you see fish there. Thanks Mike.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 4/6/07

Date of trip: 4/6/07
Times fished: 7:00am - noon
Air Temperature: Frigid
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: White Glo-bug, Peachy King
Glo-bug Jig, Olive Crackleback, White Marabou

30 degrees and the wind was howling. Had to make several trips to the truck to warm up. Caught and released 18 rainbows and 3 browns in Zone 1. Spotted some giants and fished them hard but couldn't generate any interest. Kept alternating between baits. Real light takes on the glow balls today. Missed quite a few fish. There was no doubt about the crackleback and white marabou fish ... they hammered the fly. It was so cold today that at one point I looked up and counted only 6 vehicles in the area.


Sounds like a good trip. If we can survive a little discomfort, the benefit is almost always solitude. And if you can pull that off in a trout park, it's definitely sweet. Thanks again for your help.





This report was submitted by Michael Weidman of Paola, KS on 4/1/07

Date of trip: 3/31/07
Times fished: 7:30am - noon
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: White Glo-bug, Champagne Glo-bug

Fished the park at Bennett Springs on 3/31 from the starting siren until noon. It wasn't too crowded, because of the threat of storms. Caught and released 19 Rainbows in Zone 1 on #14 white glo balls and champagne glo ball jigs. Hooked one giant rainbow just outside of the spring hole that finally pulled off after 5 minutes on the hook (Oh Well!). All the landed fish ranged from 10-15 inches. Started out using a 9', 5 weight outfit and switched mid-morning to a 7', 3 weight rig. Lots of fun with the lighter rig. Overall, I'd rate the fishing as OK. The spring flow was pretty good and most of the fish were caught with the fly bouncing off the bottom. Fine tuned with small split shots to get the rig near the bottom and used a strike indicator.


When things are slow, DEEEEEP is usually the way to go. They say 90% of trout are caught in 6 inches of water -- the bottom 6 inches. Never took a survey, but it sounds accurate. Thanks Michael.





This report was submitted by John __________ of St. Louis on 3/29/07

Date of trip: 3/29/07
Times fished: 7:30am - noon
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Black & Yellow Marabou, Super-duper,
Brown Glo-bug, Red & White Glo-bug

This was my friend's first visit to Bennett Spring. We are teachers and normally go to Maramec Spring during spring break, but today we decided to do the extra hour of driving. The weather was great, comfortably cool and partly cloudy. Started to rain a bit as we were leaving.

We had a marvelous morning of fishing, the stream seemed quite normal and clear. I was surprised about the small number of fishermen, my experience at Bennett in the past has been during the summer with larger crowds.

At the siren, we started just above whistle bridge, and eventually made our way up to the bluffs. We caught most of our fish on the upper end of the bluffs. I guess that we caught and released at least 35 fish between the two of us. We used a variety of lures, but a black/yellow maribou worked well at the whistle, then I switched to a super- duper (copper w/red tip) and that also worked well. As the day progressed, we did well on glow balls, both brown and red/white. It seems that switching lures frequently was a good strategy.

A very memorable day on the water, especially for my friend, who had a great experience for his first time at Bennett.

By the way, there was a little girl, probably no more than ten years old that caught a brown just below the whistle bridge on a worm -- it weighed in at just under ten pounds. Talk about a grin from ear to ear..............


I should say so! I once witnessed a girl about 6 years old catch a 20-incher there on a Snoopy pole. She was standing about 10 feet away from a guy with maybe $1000 worth of gear on his person. Hate to admit it, but I was laughing on the inside. Thanks for the help John.





This report was submitted by Bond of St. James on 4/2/07

Date of trip: 3/27 - 3/29/07
Times fished: all
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks, Scuds, Midges

One of our family traditions is to spend some of spring break in one of the spring cabins. It seemed like zone 1 had a lot fewer fish this year. The weather was ok, not too crowded, but really worked for the fish. I finally started going to zone 2 and, even though it has more people, it also has more fish. I caught three really nice ones, including one a big brownie on a crackleback I made from a latex glove. But the best thing was that my nine-year old son caught his first couple of trout on his own. He is pretty hooked now and that is as it should be.


That's a wonderful thing. My son (8 y.o.) has hooked a couple on his own, but he's still yet to completely land one without assistance. Can't wait. Thanks Bond.





This report was submitted by Kevin Miller of Linn on 3/27/07

Date of trip: 3/26/07
Times fished: 7:30am - 1:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Olive Wooly Bugger, Y2K, Pheasant Tail

What a treat, a Monday spent fishing instead of working! I started the day just below the dam in zone 2. Caught a few on the Y2K, than I switched to a PT nymph and caught a few more. I then moved downstream below the riffle and caught another on a soft hackle. Next I tried an Olive Wooly Bugger and caught three or four more. I decided to move and went back above the bridge and caught another on a midge pattern. I ended the day above the dam in zone 1 where I caught 4 or five more, including a smallish brown. They ate all my wooly buggers, so I decided to call it a day. It was great to have so much room to move around at Bennett. I love to fish the parks on weekdays!


That's a fact. Regardless of the various complaints about the trout parks, they are all top-quality trout waters with big springs and plenty of forage. If you could fish them alone, it would almost seem like a storybook. Thanks Kevin.





This report was submitted by Michael __________ of Paola, KS on 3/11/07

Date of trip: 3/9/07
Times fished: 6:30am - 1:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Rainy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: White Glo-bugs

Fished in the rain most of the day. Caught and released 31 rainbows and 1 brown in Zone 1 in the park. Used #12 white glo-bugs, 5X tippet, small split shot weight, and a strike indicator. Nothing over 15 inches for the day. It was good day and rain kept the crowds down.


Sounds like a great trip. It's nice to hear that there are some browns present. Thanks Michael.





This report was submitted by Matt B. of St. Louis on 3/6/07

Date of trip: 3/6/07
Times fished: 11:30am - 6:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Peacock Bugger, Cream Midges,
Near 'Nuff Crayfish, Griffith's Gnat

Despite the numerous complaints that I overheard from other fishermen about there being "too few fish", the fish being "too small this year", the water being "too clear", etc., I felt like I had a pretty good day. Stripping/sight fishing with a big crayfish fly isn't something I try too often (for trout), but I really enjoyed it. In the afternoon some cream-colored, midge-sized flies came off and there were plenty of rises to them. Met with some success targeting the most active feeders. I also had lots of interest from 10"-12" rainbows while twitching a Peacock Bugger (thanks to the guy from Reading's for recommending those) on or just under the surface.

I did a little nymphing (w. indicator) at different depths and didn't "catch" any trout, but actually foul-hooked more than a few while picking up for the next roll-cast... not sure why I kept hearing folks whining about there being too few fish. If you're snagging them accidentally, it would seem like there might be quite a few of them swimming around down there.

The weather was great. The food at the lodge was good. I caught fish on streamers and dries. I wasn't at work. You won't hear me complaining.


Geez, that's just nuts. Too few fish at a trout park is funny enough, but the water being "too clear"? Good grief! Some people just need to complain, I suppose. You did the right thing right off the bat by checking with Charlie Reading for some advice. Not only is a good guy, but he absolutely knows what he's talking about. In 1990 or so, he's the one that gave me my first real lecture on how to sight fish productively. Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Dave B. of St. Charles on 3/21/07

Date of trip: 3/1/07
Times fished: All Morning
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Marabou and Rubber Leg jigs

Been leeching off the fishing reports here for a couple of years, felt it was time I finally contribute something. I did very well (and the other 4 guys in my group too) quantity wise and had 15+ by noon fishing the dam at end of Zone 1 and under the bridge. I agree with the reports of "smaller fish than usual" especially for opening day. The average size was maybe just a little smaller than typical, but the big difference was that very few lunkers, 3+ lb were caught. Normally we see several 3-5 lbs and a few 6-8+ lbs. After first day fishing there were only 5 on the lunker board and just 1 over 4 lbs. I used white, black/yellow and green/brown jigs fished deep in the holes and had good luck all morning and the same results the next day. I had 8 fish Friday morning by 9 am just in time to clean up, pack and go home.


Welcome aboard Dave! Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Mike Noll of St. Louis on 1/16/07

Date of trip: 1/12 & 1/13/07
Times fished: Various
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Rainy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Light Cahill, Wooly Bugger

What a crazy trip, rain ice snow cold... but fishing was great. I mostly fished around the bridge and dam. The two feeder creeks that come into the stream right above the bridge were stacked with fish. I still cant believe the amount of fish I caught on top... Nothing big but about 30 fish Friday and 75 on Saturday. Power went out Sat night in the cabin and decided to call it a trip... water was getting higher late Saturday. I guess it will be real high by this weekend.


Wow! You sure can't complain about catching 100 trout in two days. Glad you got out when you did, though. That kind of success can get a man killed -- refuse to leave the river in the middle of the ice storm and get hit by a falling tree branch or something. Thanks for the report Mike.





This report was submitted by Darin Penrod of Kansas City on 12/11/06

Date of trip: 12/11/06
Times fished: 8:00am - 2:30pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Crackleback, Renegade

Started at the opening horn. Did well on a #8 renegade in the a.m., probably 10 to hand. In the afternoon a small hatch came off at about 1:30 p.m. Tied on a #14 crackleback and proceeded to catch 10 in less than 20 min. Fished what i believe is the flyfish only area at the spring. Nice way to spend a day off.


Welcome aboard, Darin. Winter is a favorite time for many to go fish Bennett and the other state parks. It's one of the few times you'll find such high quality water where trout are behaving and feeding naturally. Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Tom Clements of St. Louis on 11/5/06

Date of trip: 10/22 - 10/25/06
Times fished: 7:30am - 6:30pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks & WoolyBuggers

The trout were biting so the weather really did'nt matter (but it was chilly in the morning). We had our best luck on pale yellow and olive cracklebacks in the morning, then black or brown woolie buggers in the afternoon. We would start in the morning above the dam fishing down towards it. In the afternoon we would fish above the Holland dam. Friday, the 25th, was the only day that it really rained hard, but it did'nt slow down the fishing. Our youngest son was home on leave and had a great time fishing those four days. Talked to the naturalist there on the 23rd. She said that Bennett would probably be the last park to see any inprovements. That Roaring River was in "ICU" mode needing the most attention. We where at Montauk in early Sept. when they were pouring the pads for the liquid oxygen tanks up by the catch & release area and down by the main hatchery. Hope to get in on some of the winter fishing here in St. Louis.


Good to hear from you, Tom. Nice way to finish off the trout season, with 4 days on the water. The winter trout park season should be good. The Maramec hatchery workers put in dozens of trophy-sized trout on Wednesday 11/8, just for the winter season. I imagine the other parks did the same thing. And everyone knows the city lakes are always stocked with big fish for the winter season.





This report was submitted by Leo Crook of Independence on 10/3/06

Date of trip: 9/28 - 10/1/06
Times fished: 7:30am - 7:15pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: White & Multi-color Jigs

Weather was excellent, water was extra clear, which made fishing tough. Had best luck later in the day for good size. Had to look for their hiding spots. Had best luck with the "bed spread" and the tri-color "Jimmy Hindrex", and crickets. Weekends at Bennett are just never long enough.


I don't care where you're fishing, the end of the day is always a sad event, even when you do it for a living! Thanks Leo.





This report was submitted by Tom Clements of St. Louis, MO on 9/30/06

Date of trip: 9/25 - 9/29/06
Times fished: All day
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks, Wooly Buggers

This is my first report online, so please bear with me. I got down to the stream about 8:00 am Monday the 25th. Tied on a pale yellow crackleback in a size 12. I hooked up on my third cast just above the Holland in zone one. For me this was a good sign. I fish a sinking line so I normally stay with wet flies and the Backs and Buggers did not let me down. I don't count fish but I do count my blessing for being able to get out and fish. I will say that fishing was good enough that I did all my fishing between the spring and Holland dam. I was there for the siren the rest of the week. Wednesday was the only day I stopped fishing during the day, hey I took the wife to the outlet mall in Osage Beach. You got to keep them happy. The wind picked up Thursday and it cooled off on Friday, but the fishing was good the whole week. I saw the stream was low below the dam between zones 1 & 2. The best I can tell is the streambed got washed out below the CCC bridge. Where the water used to fall off the bottom of the dam 8 or 10 inches now it's more like 15 or 16 inches. To end this report on a good note I caught a lunker above the Holland Friday morning about 8:15 am. He (I could tell by his bottom jaw) hit on a #6 olive Woolly Bugger. I got him in, netted him, removed the fly and turned him loose. The guy next to me asked why and I told him I've got two on the wall and the wife said "no more". Any way it took a long time for him to get to that size, its not in me to end it on a grill in a pan. We are going back down the last full week in Oct. Oh be still my pounding heart.


Sounds like a great trip. October is one of the best times on the trout stream, with the newly chilled air, changing leaves, and brown trout starting to feel perky again. We'll look forward to your next report. Thanks, Tom.





This report was submitted by Mike Hunsicker of St. Charles on 9/12/06

Date of trip: 9/6 - 9/10
Times fished: Morning & Evening
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: jigs black/yellow and ginger, dry flies mosquito and grifiths gnat, nymphs geen/black midge and bh pheasant tail

There are lots of good fish in the spring branch, and the crowd size was down now that the kids are back in school. Fished spinning tackle with jiggs in the morning and fly fished in the evenings. My best success was fishing zone two with a #18 tungston bead head green midge under a small float. Remember that 7x flurocarbon tippett is a must use because the water is so clear the fish detect anything larger. Caught a few nice-sized browns in zone one!


That's certainly good news about the browns. They've been struggling with the warm water all summer, but the increased activity means the water temperature has been more consistently at that 61 degree point that brown trout are best at. And that means the Autumn migration can't be far behind. Yay for us! Thanks for the report, Mike.





This report was submitted by Dale ________ of Shawnee, KS on 8/30/06

Date of trip: 8/30
Times fished: 7:00am - 3:00pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks & Nymphs

Evidently the slow fishing from the hot summer weather is over. The fish were on a feeding frenzy. Fished Zone 1 and 2 with mostly green crackleback or small bead head nymphs. Lost count around fish 30 or so. It seemed that everyone on the river was catching fish all day. I saw one old timer release at least 15 fish in a 45 minute period by the hatchery outlet. Most fish were the standard 12 - 14" rainbow with 4 rainbows near 20 inches and 1 brown at 15". As perfect as the day was I still get frustrated with the invading of personal space from other fisherman. There were very few people in the park yet others would come within 15' or so even with similar water wide open near by. That and with more non-flyrodders in the fly fishing only section make the trout parks somewhat of a letdown.


Thank goodness its finally September. The last 6 weeks or so have been downright tough almost all across the state. We all feel your frustration regarding crowding at the parks. It really wouldn't be that bad if fishermen would mind their manners. Suffice it to say that there are a bunch of fly fishermen who can't wait for the fish for fun season to open at the parks.





This report was submitted by Fr. Marion Charboneau of Atchison, KS on 8/13/06

Date of trip: 8/6 - 8/11
Times fished: Various
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Very Low
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Beaded Nymphs & Woolly Buggers

I fished zones one and two of the park for the week. I characterize the fishing as rather sluggish, but since it was my first time at a trout park, it's hard for me to make comparisons. That said, a day's fishing produced roughly 3-4 fish. My best day was Thursday (caught 6), and my worst Friday ( caught 2). I had my best luck with woolly buggers in the usual colors and beaded nymphs drifted under an indicator, particularly typical Gold Ribbed Hare's Ears and Pheasant Tails. The fish wouldn't look at beaded Prince nymphs except for one spurt on Thursday in which I caught 4 fish in about 15 minutes near the hatchery outlet. Glo-balls produced a few fish as well, and a couple fish hit scuds. There were some small pale "mayflyish" insects present on the water in the evenings in zone 1. Trout were willing to take these from the surface, but with one exception, ignored my very iffy attempt to match them with a dry fly. I kept forgetting to pick them up at the flyshop, but the small pale morning/evening duns and other related flies looked very much like them. Someone who went after them with one of those might have some luck on the surface. The fish I caught often came right after tying on a new fly and/or in pairs (i.e. tie on a black woolly bugger and immediately catch a couple of fish). You'd start thinking think you'd found the magic combination. Then it would go dead. Switch to a different fly and it would happen again. I don't know if that's typical of fish in the park, but this happened just about every day. Last but not least, my biggest fish was a 15 inch rainbow. I saw 3 brown trout and another fisherman reeled one in on a jig. None appeared to be legal size.


Welcome aboard, Marion. Your report sounds typical of trout parks in August. Trout across the state (especially larger ones) are typically sluggish this time of year, and the requirement for continuous changing of flies is also typical -- not just in the parks, but in the wilder waters as well. That said, trout park trout are just weird, in every other sense of the word. You can match the hatch perfectly and offer beautiful and delicate presentations and catch nothing, while the guy next to you is tearing them up on a piece of chamois tied to a hook. Go figure. Many fishermen overlook the scud pattern at Bennett, though, which is a primary forage item for Bennett fish. When fly fishermen are struggling, scud patterns are often the secret that very few seem to know. Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Kevin ________ of Glendale on 7/25/06

Date of trip: 7/21/06
Times fished: 7:30am to 3:00pm
Air Temperature: Sultry
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: WD40's, Flashback Pheasant Tails

Took a day trip from a vacation at Lake of the Ozarks to explore Bennett Spring. Fishing seemed slow and the other fishermen I talked to confirmed that the few previous days had been a little better.

It took about 4 hours of trying numerous flies and lures to figure out a pattern that worked - tried buggers, glo balls, jigs, rooster tails, Rapalas, crankbaits, dry flies, several different nymphs and clousers in zones 1 and 2 with no success. Eventually found that tiny nymphs with no weight on the line fished through the faster, shallower riffles produced fish. Ended up landing 4 and losing about a dozen in the last 2 hours. We ended up hooking fish on WD 40's, Flashback PT's, green copper johns, and bead head soft hackle hares ears - sizes 18-22. I talked with the other fishermen in the same riffle who I watched having success, and they were using various other small soft hackles swung through the riffle tail outs.

I'm not the biggest fans of the parks - big crowds, some inconsiderate fishermen, and trout that usually don't behave like trout turned me off of them several years ago - but I was taking my in-laws and wanted to see a new park so gave it a shot. I got about what I expected from previous experiences at Meramec and Montauk, but was happy in the end that my 17 year old brother in law landed his first trout - 3 actually - and all on a fly rod. I might have created a new flyfisherman. Other highlights from the day were the 3 kingfishers I watched diving all over zone 2 and yet another mink sighting - I'll bet not the same one from the Meramec, though!


There sure have been a lot of mink on the rivers this year. The trappers should have a good season. Thanks for the report, Kevin.





This report was submitted by Bond of St. James on 7/21/06

Date of trip: 7/12 through 7/16/06
Times fished: various
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks, Copper Johns

My family and I camped at Bennett last week, and I got in a lot of stream time, thanks to their swimming pool and another Johnny Depp movie. I fished from the spring to the Whistle Bridge, but had the most fun in Zone 2 from the little rock bluff down to the hatchery outlet. Even though the park was crowded it wasn't bad early and late. I caught about 3 dozen trout and lived through some big storms.


Thanks for your continued help with reports, Bond.





This report was submitted by Ron Metts of Bourbon on 7/7/06

Date of trip: 7/6/06
Times fished: 6:30am to 9:45am
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Pheasant Tails, Glo-bugs

I went out and started fishing in zone 2 at the bridge. I caught 5 there and then moved to zone 1. I caught about 15 more up there switching between glo bugs and pheasants tails. Overall it was a good day.


Our thanks to Ron for continuing to help us out with reports.





This report was submitted by Bond of St. James on 6/23/06

Date of trip: 6/23/06
Times fished: 6:30am - 4:00pm
Air Temperature: Steamy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks, Copper Johns

Hit Zone 1 and tried a few old standards and a few experimental flies, but only got serious action with green cracklebacks and then copper johns after the sun got up. I took a break and went to visit Charley Reading and he said choronomids - green with black heads on #16 scud hooks were hot. When I went back it rained. I waited it out and tried Zone 2. Had a little luck with ants but did best with a gold c-back. There was a guy fishing about 20 steps downstream from me that was the best caster I've ever seen. He caught a lot fish, too. One of the best things about that trout park is getting to see masters in action.


Thank for the report, Bond. Everyone should make it a point to visit with Charlie when they're at Bennett or the Niangua. Some say he's a bit abrasive at times (aren't we all), but he's a great guy with a ton of knowledge about fly fishing both for trout and smallmouth.





This report was submitted by Bond of St. James on 6/2/06

Date of trip: 6/1/06
Times fished: Morning
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Cracklebacks

I tried several sizes of soft-hackles but had no success. A moderate caddis hatch began at 7 am so I switched to cracklebacks and caught five. Went down to the hatchery outlet in Zone 2 and the density of fish was great enough to walk across and not get wet. There were a lot of guys there too, like piggies at the trough.


Yeah, they do like to crowd the outlets -- fish and fishermen alike. Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Zach Luechtefeld of Beaufort on 5/31/06

Date of trip: 5/26-5/29
Times fished: Whistle to Whistle
Air Temperature: Sultry
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Stimulators, Ants, Hare's Ears, Creepers

Went fishing last weekend. Caught a ton of fish Friday. No one will believe me, but I caught 34 fish Friday -- in one day! Thats my personal record. I caught most of them on an orange stimulator. I also caught some on ants and hares ears. But there was a spot where some smaller trout were stacked on top of each other like they are in the hatchery. I would just set my fly down in the water and almost instantly get a fish. The rest of the weekend was a little slower. Monday got up and went fishing in the spring -- caught one nice fish that weighed two pounds. Over all I had a great weekend.


When you can find a crowded feeding lane like that, catching fish almost gets tiresome. Okay, not really. Thanks again for helping us out with reports, Zach.





This report was submitted by Andrew Maienschein of Jefferson City on 5/26

Date of trip: 5/22/06
Times fished: 10:30am to 5:15pm
Air Temperature: Balmy
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Secret Bait & Worms

It was a nice afternoon in the park. Spent the day in zone three from the suzy hole up to the bridge. A fair amount of people fishing in zone three, but not too crowded. My finance and I caught several rainbows -- nothing too big, average size. But, we caught more brown trout that day then I have seen in my whole life! None over the legal size, but they would have made decent rainbows. Side note we also latched on to a couple of nice size sucker fish, like there was a school or something.


Thanks for the report, Andrew. Sounds like a good trip. That's strange about the browns. They shouldn't be migrating up into the park until September. That's worrisome -- maybe something wrong with the water temperature in the Niangua???





This report was submitted by Ron Metts of Bourbon on 5/14

Date of trip: 5/13
Times fished: 6:30am to 12:30pm
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Above Average
Water quality: Milky
What Worked: Powerbait & Jigs

Started fishing at the buzzer in zone 3 with powerbait. Landed two fish about 12-13in. At seven o'clock moved two zone two fishing various jigs and landed 10 more throughout the day. It was a good day of fishing. The park was crowded though being kid's day.


Good to hear from you again, Ron. Thanks for the report.





This report was submitted by Billy Stratton of Swansea, IL on 4/14/06

Date of trip: 4/13/06
Times fished: 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Below Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Crackleback, White San Juan Worm

I was on the Niangua with my family canoing most of the day but my mom let me stop at the park for a couple hours. I started out near the top of zone 1 with a white San Juan worm and caught one and hooked one, but then my clumsy half hitches started coming undone, and the body started falling off. Switched to a crackleback and sightfished. Was doing great and caught a few until, again, the hackle came loose. A guy to my right was doing awesome on a little pumpkin colored jig that was nothing but an orange lead head and floss. Moved downstream a little and caught one more on an olive dry with a stubby little marabou tail I thought of at meramec when a nice one hit a wooly bugger on the surface because I put a stiff dry fly hackle on it.


Thanks for the report, Billy. Stopping at a trout park for 2 hours of afternoon fishing usually ends with frustration, but sounds like did quite well.





This report was submitted by Kevin Miller of Linn on 3/6/06

Date of trip: 3/4/06
Times fished: 7:00am to 10:30am
Air Temperature: Freezing
Weather: Rainy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: #16 Hare's ear nymph, #18 Dave's Harvester midge

I started fishing in the fly only section with the Hare's ear nymph and caught about 5 or 6 fish. I fished there until I got so cold and wet that I went and stood under the bridge -- caught one more there. Then the rain slowed up a bit, so I left the bridge and put on a Dave's Harvester Midge. I quickly caught 3 more including a 14" brown. I than broke off my fly on a nice rainbow. I was tying on a new fly when my dad said it was time to go. I outfished my dad 9 to 6 :) He was using a marabou jig.


Ha! I'm 38 years old, and I still love outfishing my dad. It never gets old!





This report was submitted by Miles McClain of Lebanon on 12/11/05

Date of trip: 12/10 & 12/11/05
Times fished: Afternoons
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Blue Winged Olive, Red & Black Budge w/Tungsten Beadhead
What DIDN'T work: Light Colored Nymphs

With the temperature below 50 I had planed on fishing midges and nymphs all day. The bite was OK on Zug Bugs and Phesant tail nymphs sizes 14-16. I saw a few fish rising to some green colored bug (could not tell what it was) so I tied on a Blue winged olive and caught a fish on nearly every cast!! It was the best dry fly action I had all year. Easily caught 50 fish in three hours on Saturday with the biggest about 14". Not big but a lot of fun. A couple of people around me had caught larger fish. 16"-19", just not my day for the big ones. Sunday started off about the same. They still liked the blue winged olive size 14. The wind had picked up a bit and the bite slowed down after about an hour. I went back to nymphing with a red and black striped midge and caught a lot of small fish with one going about 14"-15". They would bite just about any dark colored nymph size 14-18. Over all it was a great weekend. I did not expect to be using a dry fly all day but I loved it.


It's fantastic hearing about true Western-style fly fishing working at the trout parks. It kinda makes one tear up just a bit. Thanks for the report, Miles.





This report was submitted by Eddie Brinkmeyer of Kansas City on 11/29/05

Date of trip: 11/27/05
Times fished: All day
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Cloudy
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Griff's Gnat, Adams, Olive Scud, Copper John

This day was one of those days that no matter what came out of the fly box, it worked. The fishing was slow for the first hour or so, but warmed up quickly with the temperature. I started out with the standard nymphs in Zone 1 -- scuds, copper johns, BH Pheasant Tails in size 16-18, and landed a dozen or so. Switched to drys around mid morning in zone 2. Disco Midge, Griff's Gnat, Olive/Grizzly Caddis in sizes 20-24. I fish with a 6 1/2-ft 2-wt. rod, which really makes it fun. The largest fish on top was a beautiful 17" bow. Gusty winds made it hard to present a dry delicately, so I switched to a BH Olive Marabou streamer. Didn't take long for a couple of nice browns to thump my offering. The nicest being around 16". All in all, an excellent fishing day, with the normal crowds of people of the regular season nowhere to be seen. I recommend the winter season at Bennett Spring to anyone wanting to learn the sport of flyfishing.


Thanks again for the help, Eddie. Bennett Spring is a terrific place to fish, except for the crowds. MO Dept of Conservation understandably wants to benefit as many fishermen as possible, but it seems they'll eventually have to do something to thin out the traffic. Maybe raise prices, drop the daily limit again, have a limit on the number of daily tags sold, or perhaps set up a catch & release area like they have at Montauk and Roaring River. At Johnson Shut-Ins State Park you may have to sit in your car and wait for a car to leave before they let you enter. It can be a pain, but it keeps the crowds under control. If you'd like to sound off about what the state can do to make the parks less crazy, click HERE to post your opinion.





This report was submitted by Miles McClain of Lebanon on 11/12/05

Date of trip: 11/12/05
Times fished: Morning
Air Temperature: Chilly
Weather: Overcast
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin Clear
What Worked: Caddis Flies, Midges -- red w/black stripes & tungsten bead heads

Fished Bennett Springs today from 8:00am to 12:00pm. Fishing was HOT, HOT, HOT all morning. Started with a hares ear nymph and caught a few. I noticed that there were fish rising all around so I switched to a tan bodied caddis fly and "tore 'em up!!" The real active fish were holding close to the large boulders in zone one. Most were small fish though so I decided to move down stream. Switched to a red and black midge and caught an 18" BROWN right away (my biggest of the year!!!) Moved down to zone two and caught a few more on the same midge. Once I knew where the actively feeding fish were holding I just moved from boulder to boulder and cleaned house. Great day of fishing.


Thanks for the report, Miles. You know, a reproduction of that 18" brown would cost you less than $200 at Ozark Taxidermy :-) -- end of shamless plug





This report was submitted by John Jackson of Erie, KS on 10/20/05

Date of trip: October 19, 2005
Times fished: 10am to 6pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Slightly clouded

The trout were very picky. Dry fly fishing was extremely tough. The fish were rising to some but the take was extremely light. Nymph fishing was the best with a olive/brown wooly bugger. I noticed there were not a lot of fish being taken. In watching other anglers you'd see a few caught here and there but mostly a lot of casting between takes. Overall, I'd rate the fishing at tough and below average. As always, just getting out was worth the trip and the fall colors made it a great day on the water.


Thanks John. It does seem like the trout parks have been hit-and-miss this month. We'll receive word that someone just tore them up one day. The next day, we hear you have to fight for every bite. Barometric pressure changes? Hmmm.





This report was submitted by Scott Turney of Grain Valley on 10/17/05

Date of trip: 10/14/05
Times fished: 10am - 6pm
Air Temperature: Comfy
Weather: Sunny
Water Level: Average
Water quality: Gin clear

Fished the park on Friday and Saturday. I caught plenty of fish in both Zones 1 and 2 on cracklebacks and Elk Hair Caddis's. Fishing was some of the best I have had there. I don't like to fish there and haven't been there in 3 years, but my brother needed an escape, (who doesn't) but needed it to be close since he flew in on Friday and back out on Sunday. Weather was perfect but also created a lot of fisherman as well. Cracklebacks were working the best of the 2 flies and worked both on top, and right below the surface.


How cool is that? I remember a time when trout park fish didn't know what a real bug looked like. Hatchery fish taking traditional flies is an indicator that they have become resident fish. Catch and release is a wonderful thing! Thanks for the report, Scott.





This report was submitted by Dick Solomon of Springfield on 7/13/05

My friend john and I went back to Bennett yesterday, and we did limit out but it wasnt easy. I should say KEEPER LIMIT, I don't do the the small ones we had plenty of them. I did find the John Deere Jig. The folks at Bennett sell them and I bought a couple. It did ok but my Little White Bomber took the prize for the day. I plan on tying my own version of the JD. BTW it has a Green Painted head with yellow eyes, olive green mariboo tail, and olive chenille.

Thanks again, Dick.





This report was submitted by Dick Solomon of Springfield on 7/8/05

My friend John and I waded in about 2:00 Monday afternoon July 5, 2005. We started just below the Spring down by the first handicap pier. Both of us used a small white mini jig with a weighted float. I caught my first fish on the first cast, and it couldnít have been a better day for fishing. We had a boat load by 5 and my elbow was killing me, I had switched to a fly rod and was using the same bait only in a different way. I moved down to the big open pool -- lots of floating slop all over the place -- but we kept bringing them in, my biggest of the day weighed a little over 3 lbs. -- big old sow. I stood next to a young lady who was having REAL good luck and she said she was using a John Deere Jig. I had never seen one so she let me peek and it was yellow and green like the tractor. Would like to tie some up if I can find one for a sample. Keep up the good news. Will write back on our next trip.

Our thanks go out to Mr. Solomon. If anyone can send us a photo of a John Deere Jig, we'll post it here.





This report was submitted by Greg Mitchell of Springfield on 5/1/05

I fished Bennett on Sat 4/30/05. The fishing was excellent. I was using a small nymph with a split shot and an idicator. I fished above the dam in zone 1 and just below the dam in zone 2. Most of the fish were stockers but did catch a couple in the 14/15 inch range. Water is up a bit and slightly discolored due the recent rains. Not as crowded as a usual Saturday due to the cool temperatures which Iím sure helped the fishing. I have fished Bennett at least twice a month last fall, winter and this spring. The fishing has been good to excellent almost every trip. Some days there have been more of the bigger fish than others. Winter was the best for the bigger 15 to 18 inch fish.

Thanks for the report, Greg. Glad to have you on board.





This report was submitted by Tim Homesley on 4/29/05

Fished Bennett springs yesterday, had been hearing rumors that the fishing was not good this year, well fish #'s seemed to be down, but it is april and they stock less fish for less fisherman, I still mangaged to catch 23 fish in about 3 hrs, #20 adams, small pheasant tail, and burlaps are what I caught most of my fish on, I also caught one nice(2lb) brown on a white mohair leech. It was a great day only saw maybe 20 fisherman and never was crowded and was able to take my time and fish like I wanted. 55 degrees and cloudy yesterday made for some good fishing it even sprinkled rain a few times, water clairity was clear.

Thanks to Tim for continuing to help us out with reports. Tim is the owner of Tim's Fly Shop in Cassville. Be sure to visit him when you head down to Roaring River. His contact information is:

Tim's Fly Shop
Rt. 4 Box 4088
Cassville, MO 65625
(417) 847-4956






Remember, if you go fishing at Bennett Spring, please be sure to send us a report about how you did. Click here if you would like more information on Bennett Spring State Park.






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