Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gasconade River, Osage County

The Gasconade River in Osage County, Missouri stood in marked contrast to the Big Piney River. It was wider, deeper, faster, and generally poorer for fishing.

Looking downstream from Pointers Creek Access pre-sunrise.
 While the Big Piney had many deep holes with steep rocky banks, the Gasconade was full of featureless plains under the surface, which made fishing challenging at worst, and difficult at best. Still, Kyle and I managed to combine for ~30 fish through the day.

I had no problem catching small Largemouth Bass on the Gasconade River. This monster measured in at just over 9".

We floated from Rollins Ferry Access to Pointers Creek Access, which was roughly 8 miles. We heard from a fellow kayaker that the distance can be covered in a little over 2 hours when the water is up, but the water was way down last Saturday. In fact, it was only flowing at ~1300 cf/s instead of the average of just over 3000 cf/s! The slow speed of the river, coupled with our desire to fish more than paddle, made for a pleasant 6 hour journey.

The Gasconade River just as I like it: empty.
When we launched the kayak at 6:15am there was only one other group in the parking lot, and they headed upstream after launching their jetboat. We wouldn't see another group for ~6 miles, and in the end we only saw two other boats total. We were surprised to see a handful of empty trailers at Pointers Creek around 12:30pm and over a dozen upon our return to Rollins Ferry at 1pm! I was thrilled to generally have the river to ourselves for the entirety of the trip.

The day started out cool and cloudy, but it didn't take long for the sun and heat to overtake the river.

I had trouble right from the start. After having a perfect trip on the Big Piney, I quickly lost two lures and a lot of line to the Gasconade. I believe I ended up losing five lures due to my own miscasts.

At the time of this photo, this was my personal best Longear Sunfish (6 1/8").
Still, we eventually found some fish with the lures. I was king of the Largemouth Bass, while Kyle seemed to exclusively hook Smallmouth Bass. I also managed to bring in some good-sized Bluegill (8 1/8") and Longear Sunfish (my personal best, 6 3/8"). Kyle also brought in a Goldeye! Forgot to get a photo of that one, though. He also managed to lose a very large Largemouth Bass that was likely over 2 lbs.

It's always fun to catch big Bluegill. This 8 1/8" fish was photographed underwater just before bringing him into the kayak.

The trip was relatively uneventful until we pulled up next to a half-dollar sized map turtle. Kyle lunged at it with his hand, and the next thing I knew we were both bobbing in the water with an overturned kayak! Kyle ended up losing his rod and reel, while I lost a box containing my favorite lures, my folding net and my fishing journal. We also both lost our cell phones to water damage. The worst part was that we were only 1000 ft. from Pointers Creek Access!

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