Dry Run and the Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival

Its been a wild couple of weeks and the way it looks the next two weeks will be more of the same.  The Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival is Nov 3 and we are getting everything together to make that a great first event.

After our rush moving adventure last week, my girls knew just how to calm me down and get me back into a semi-relaxed state, a day trip to Dry Run.

We awoke without the sound of an alarm clock sunday morning, had breakfast at the house (the first time I had done so in a few months), through the gear in Jeepers and headed out.  The Girls had not been to the shop in a couple of months so we “swung” by on the way out.  Of course they both needed new Buffs and Kam saw the New MFC Trout Print Ipad cases and got one of those too.   After grabbing a few extra flies, we were off.

The drive up 65 is always a nice trip, but the leafs starting to change and the heavy morning cloud cover made it especially enjoyable. There is no better time to enjoy a Sunday drive in Arkansas than a cloudy Fall day. The blaze orange and reds of the maples illuminate what would be at any other time of the year a dreary sky.  As you will find out I have somewhat of a sickness on when I choose to go fishing.  The cloudier the day, the more I wish to be on the water.  Light Rain, cold, and even snow forces me to get out of the house and travel to the nearest (or farthest) destination to get a line wet.  I have passed this affliction onto my kids.  This was done by taking them on one of their first trips to Dry Run in late fall 3 or 4 years ago during a cloudy, drizzling rain.  Their  first adventure to Dry Run started with a stop at Wal Mart to buy ponchos.  When we arrived at DR, astonishingly we were the only souls there.  It was the girls and I, my buddy Barry (known as “gingerbeard”) and his son Tyler and a stream full of Trout.  All that really needs to be said about that day is every time the rain picked up, we would ask the kids if they wanted to go to the car and the answer was always “No, lets keep fishing.”  The affliction for inclement weather fishing was past.  So a cloudy day now results in a trip somewhere.

Back to Sunday, If you get the chance to make the drive this week, I would highly recommend it.  Especially the drive from Mountain View to Calico Rock.  The Sylamore Forest was in full color and it is sure not to last.

We arrived at Dry Run at around 2 and again were the only Car on the lot.  I threw on my waders while the Girls rigged up the rods for what was sure to be a great afternoon. I was admittedly probably a little over hyped for the experience.  The sugar high from having waffles and syrup for breakfast and the follow-up Rockstar was taking hold of an already hyper personality.  Not to mention knowing that your kids have a real chance at landing a trophy fish every time their fly hits the water gets me amped up.  So we started down to the creek Kori, then Kam leading the way.  As we walked down the side-walk along above the creek you could see several trout podded up in the pools below.  The setting itself is beautiful.  A tree covered, small, stone lined creek, clear jade tinted water with scattered shadows of the aquatic inhabitants moving forward and aft gathering the nutrition needed for their daily balancing act against the constant flow of water that both brings their food source to them and creates the resistance that cause them to need more.  As I glanced back up I noticed that Kam is taller than the railing that she use to be the same height  as.  Kori is now scouting out where she wants to fish and then telling me “I want to go to the hole.”  When we first started coming it was, “where do we go?” “What do I need to use?”  Now Kori knows where she wants to go and what she wants to fish with.  She can tie her own fly on but lets me tie the first on.  The coaching from the sidelines is not needed, but is still given.  Some of the advice taken but done so begrudgingly.  It is pleasing to know that she has learned to go it alone but also a little heart wrenching  to know I am not needed as much.

Kori started off with a streamer  on  an 8wt Sage tossing an Olive Butt Monkey.  Once she found the right retrieve and watched several chase the wiggling wool and rabbit strip across the pool she landed a couple of nice rainbows.  Kam went to work below the fall with some midges. After they fished those two holes out and got warmed up,  we headed to the “Midge Hole” where we had seen a slew of Browns stacked up on the way in.  The girls then alternated back and forth, pulling out 14 to 17 inch browns one after another.  There were a few rainbows scattered into the mix.  The biggest fish title alternated back and forth with both blonde heads shooting towards the Measure Net each time they landed one to check the number at the nose and tail to see who had claimed  the lead. The fish were full of their autumn colors  that matched those of the turning leaves around them.  Full of life and acrobatics as they struggle to release themselves from the deception of steel and thread trap that had only moments before looked so appetizing.  Kam hooked another and this one refused to come to the top.  It ran to the far end of  the pool and sank deep onto the bottom.  I had to get out and walk around the scrub brush lined bank to get to the pool as Kam continued to hold pressure on the line.  As I walked up to the pool, I could see the line penetrating into what I though was the dark shadowed bottom of the creek.  As I slipped into the cold, calm water it erupted with action as what I thought was the bottom was fish stacked so thick that I could not tell with all the splashing which fish the line was tethered too. Then  the shimmering butter and gold body sprang from the water and I thrust the net forward.  Kam saw me make the thrust and dropped the rod to race to me to see her bounty.  As I pulled the net up from the water I felt no resistance…the fish was gone. The  slack that had been created when the rod fell had released the hold the barbless hook had on the jaw of the fish.  Lesson learned, do not let up till your sure it’s in the bag.

Kori had a similar take while casting a streamer at the foam of the waterfall.  As the fly seemed to struggle in the turbulence of the fall a large rainbow came up to take advantage of the seemingly stranded meal.  We all watched as the fish rose and attacked the fly and the hook was set.  Slack in the line would again become the enemy of the capture.  We caught a few more and then the “Warden” (I’ll pay for this later) said it was almost 6pm and we still had a 2 hour ride back to the house so it was time to go.

Nimas is closed on Sunday so we headed straight back to a sub-par meal at the Bell in Mountain View reliving the days events on the way home.

If you have not taken your child to Dry Run, Pack them up and head that way.  It is truly a state treasure.  Come by the shop and we will get you hooked up with what you need to go, or get you hooked up with a guide.  I would venture to say that there is no other resource in the state or nation that will get a kid more interested in fishing and possibly a trophy fish.  Just remember to observe the rules and spend the time to make sure the fish is revived and taken care of while in your care.  Enjoy and hope to help you get a “Rod Bent” soon.

“The fish you release today may be a gift to another, as it may have been a gift to you.  — Lee Wulff”