For the fishing guide, the occasional non-fishing vacation is necessary, if for no other reason than to diversify the day to day sensory experience. A land based sport like baseball is a fine distraction from the river; its relaxed pace and tradition of brats and beer create the perfect opportunity for river rats to enjoy time together thinking of something other than fish. When nine trout bums from Cotter (where there are no bars) find themselves in St. Louis for a Cardinals game, though, you can be sure that a sampling of the town pubs is in order, and some of the innocence of the original plan is lost (or intentionally drowned) along the way.
The Cards lost the game and I certainly drowned some of my innocence, much to the entertainment of the group, but I believe the goal of the trip was met nonetheless: everyone got to let their guard down for a little while without worrying about flies, flows, or fish. Spending time away only deepens our appreciation for what we do and where we live. Though we get burnt out on fishing from time to time, a short trip to the city and a medium strength hangover are enough to remind us that we’re really damn lucky, actually, to be trout bums from Cotter.
Minimum flow or less than one unit can be expected until at least noon, which continues the string of luck for wade fishermen. Wade fishing and personal water crafting are both excellent ways to approach the water, and the usual subsurface standards are taking plenty fish: Redneck, Root Beer, and Zebra midges, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Copper John nymphs are all great under an indicator. Small Woolies and Soft Hackles are great on the swing. The surface can be searched effectively with small terrestrial hoppers, beetles, and ants, and doubly so when complimented with a midge or nymph dropper.
Minimum flow until about 1 or 2pm provides more good wading water or a nice easy float for the kayak or pontoon angler. Root Beer midges, Harvester midges, Hunchback Scuds, and Sunday Specials are favorite drifters. Soft hackles, Griffith’s Gnats, and Cracklebacks are fun on a gentle swing.