Report From The Field – Meramec River

I fished the Meramec in and out of the trout park on the day before and after Thanksgiving. The water in the park was high and cloudy but outside the spring branch it was high and clear which made for some of the best fishing I’ve ever had on that river. I have to say that I fell in love with the river all over again.


I got to the park at about 11:30 and was surprised to see that it was as cloudy as it was. There was probably about 8 inches of visibility and a lot of current so I knew I was going to have to go big and bright. I started fishing a heavily weigthed size 8 stonefly nymph that really will get down in a hurry and with the fast current that was a must. I dropped a red San Juan worm about a foot below that with no success. From watching the half-dozen or so other people in the park I could tell it was a pretty tough day of fishing. I saw one guy spin fishing with white jigs doing pretty well (pretty well being a relative term). After a few hours, I put on the miracle fly and started seeing some results. The first fish came just above the suspension bridge and was about 14 inches of pure fight. The next cast I connected with a rainbow that was just a hair over 20″ and about 4-5 pounds. She fought pretty hard at first but tired out after maybe thirty seconds and just shook her head until I got her in. I managed to get a quick picture before my camera died then started the reviving process which took at least 15 minutes, maybe a full 30. I’m pretty sure she was a hatchery fish stocked in the river for the catch and release season that was on the downhill slide because the fight was not long and she wasn’t out of the water for more than 30 seconds at most.

After that, I wandered down past the bridge into the river and all I can say is ‘wow’. I kept fishing the miracle fly and caught 2 dozen fish, all rainbows in about 2 and a half hours, including a rocket of a 16 incher that got into the current and took me almost to the backing, wrapped me around a deadfall and somehow managed to end up in my hands. I saw one other person fishing the stretch I was on and he left after less than 30 minutes so I guess it really had a lot to do with the pattern. As a matter of fact, I only caught 2 fish both days on a fly other than the miracle.

I learned a lot that day about where to fish because as I was walking downstream through one stretch, pretty much being too lazy to reel in and only wanting to fish the riffles, I started getting hit. When I actually looked at where I was fishing, it made sense that I was catching. Not paying close attention to the water almost cost me about a half-hour of the best fishing I’ve had on that river. You can be I won’t make that mistake again.


I stayed away from the park on Friday, but I fished the river which was still high and clear. I kept with the miracle fly and caught consistently all day. The current was still a bit stronger than I’m used to but it didn’t take long to work it out. In all, I caught around 30 trout, none over 15 inches but all vibrantly colored and hard fighters. The real trick was to stay out of the water when possible and fish far away. With a good drift, you can set the hook far away.

I also talked to a trapper that evening who told me something that kind of bothered me. The otter population has exploded. I guess that’s good for them but he said the difference from even five years ago is pretty staggering. With the increase in otters, look for a significant decrease in gamefish and suckers.

In all, it was a great trip and I’m glad I decided to bring the flyrod down for the Holiday. If you’re going to be through the Cuba/St. James/Rolla area in the near future, I would suggest making a stop here.



~ by troutdoctor101 on December 3, 2009.

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