Took a day off from fishing to do some work......not really, I just went fishing! Bet I had you going though! ;-) But I just took the day off and hit the "Big Piney" river! I have told you about her many times! I have a lot of good old memories of this old river from about 8 yrs old until now! That's a long time and many float trips ago!
This old river is full of goggle eyes, and small mouth bass and it has a good population of large mouth bass too! I just grabbed the canoe and put in the river at the mason bridge access on hwy 32 west of Licking, Missouri. I floated down to the slab town access, which is roughly 10 or 11 miles on the river. It's a beautiful float trip and the scenery is out of this world!
I took only my 2 ultra lights and a box of light or small lures! I tied on a beetle spin with a brown twister. and shoved off to a day of just me and nature. Now this story kind of takes a twist because I am going to tell you about the trip, and also explain what I believe is good conservation. Most of the fish I caught were still full of eggs and I noticed the large mouth bass where on nests in the backups!
I have watched this old river grow and change in many ways over the last 47 years and believe me when I say, there has been a time or two when I was very concerned about the old river and her fish population. Today it was catch and release, just have fun and kinda just take a census of the river, once again.
I caught goggle eyes and small mouth bass all day steady and the bite was real good all day! I caught several keeper goggle eye. Now here is a point that I want to get across, They implemented this creel size a few years back, and the fishing was ruined, it seemed to me and others. But the conservation had biologist taking surveys of the fish caught and they came up with this.
They also did this with small mouth bass and found the same thing!
they implemented a creel size on the small mouth bass and basically made it a catch and release stream. Now when I was a kid there was lots of great big goggle eyes and bass, But I had witnessed without realizing, that the river was Not the same. Gigging season you could see all of the piney and fish were small and far and few between!
Now in a relatively short time the rivers fish population is better by far and getting better each year after the spawn! I caught close to a hundred nice goggle eyes, and 50 or 60 small mouth bass with a lot of the small mouth between 1ft and 23 inches. These river smallies are a blast to battle on an ultra light, they just seem to go where they want to go!
I will support these creel size limits and because I see it at work, I watched a bountiful river, go down hill and then back up hill, only because of a careful watch eye,local fishermen and conservation and biologists working together to ensure the future of our lakes and streams! While I don't agree with all of the conservation activities, This one is right on!
I had a wonderful day once again, and learned a little bit more about myself and what makes me do and think about being a conservationist and doing my part to contribute to the future generations of fishermen! If nothing else, just returning and maintaining nature and its wildlife, which I feel is the responsibility of all fishermen, and anyone who cares! If we respect our rivers and streams then nature will in turn reward us with her beauty!
Looking forward to the next adventure on the old piney, and once again she logged a good trip in my journal and I know there will be many more, if the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise!
So, Until next time, Keep your hooks wet and your lines tight, and remember to practice and maintain good boat safety!