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Roaring River State Park

by Jeff D
(Overland Park, KS)

Mottled Sculpin

Mottled Sculpin

While I originally had planned to attend the Sowbug Roundup, as it approached I found my budget didn't have enough flexibility to afford a stay in a decent hotel. I did have enough money to camp at Roaring River State Park, though, as long as I lived on a diet of oatmeal, power bars, and ramen noodles. Just like college, including cheap beer for the end of the day!

On Friday, I encountered the same winds that Chris et al experienced down in Arkansas. Like Chris, I had to use multiple BB shot to keep the line from blowing all over the place while using the Seiryu-X 64. I did catch some fish on my trusty micro egg fly.

In the very late evening on Friday, the wind died down a little and I broke out the Seiryu-X 45 with a size 3.5 line and did a bit a tenkara fishing and caught a few fish on size 20 Stewart Black Spiders. I was looking for a barbless replacement for the Daiichi 1640 size 14 2XS hooks, and I found it in the Firehole Sticks 413 in size 20. It's almost exactly the same shank length but with a much wider gape.

On Saturday morning I drove to a lower access point in the bait zone to try out the Seiryu-X 45 and 64 and red wigglers. What I didn't expect was the sheer number of micros in the area! As soon as the worm hit the water, the worm was swarmed by various cyprinids and the worm was stolen! I should have switched to micro fishing gear, but again the wind kicked up a bit so I went back to my campsite for lunch.

As I sat in my camp chair looking at the river directly behind my campsite, I noticed a whole pod of rainbows lined up and rising in an area where a shallow run dropped quickly off into deeper water. I jumped back into my waders and went down to the river with the X-45 and 3.5 line and the Stewart Spider. I had to contend with the wind, but luckily it was blowing quartering downstream, so I was able to get some decent drifts and caught enough fish with that combo that I decided to just try another line and fly combo.

I ran back up to my campsite and switched out the orange 3.5 level line for the 4m Fujino Ice Blue line and a size 20 kebari tied with a starling hackle and an olive hare's ear dubbed body. This actually worked very well, as I used the very end of the Fujino line in the water to keep the line from blowing around. I stopped counting the fish I caught from this one hole. Then whatever was hatching (I suspect midge pupae) stopped and I took a break.

I went back for the evening fishing the X-64 and using one of the Nakazima ball floats to anchor the line and caught a few more fish on the micro egg. Right at the very end of the day, I tried using the Flying Dragon carp rod and a gnarly sculpin bugger just for kicks but no takers.

Sunday I got to fish with Chris and Alan, which is a real treat. I caught a few trout on both the X-64 keiryu style and the TBum 36 tenkara style. Then I decided to join in on the micro fishing. It's just too fun! I caught a southern redbelly dace on a size 30 killer bug, and several sculpins on a size 16 Frenchie jig. People might think you're nuts for fishing for micros in a trout park, but they're the ones missing out on the fun!

Comments for Roaring River State Park

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Mar 30, 2018
Fly pics?
by: Timothy HD

Could you post a pic of your micro egg and sz 30 killer? I am working on sz 30s and need inspiration.

Mar 30, 2018
by: Les Albjerg

I love hearing stories! I think camping out and roughing it leads to the mystique of a fishing or hunting outing. My elk and hopefully moose hunting partner just bought a big trailer that we will be taking this year. The thought of luxury felt good for about 2 minutes.

I fished micros for the first time last year. What a blast! I'm going after the Shoshone Sculpin this year. It is only found in about a 20 square mile area.

I need to explore the micro sites as I am not too adept at this type of fishing. Jeff, I am jealous that you got to fish with Chris! Keep us posted on your guide service. How aggressive is the take from a sculpin?

Mar 31, 2018
Size 30 flies
by: Jeff D

The trick with REALLY small flies is reducing bulk. I use Veevus 14/0 or 16/0 thread exclusively once I get to size 18 or smaller flies. It's amazingly strong stuff for such wispy thread. When adding materials, less is definitely more! Keep thread wraps to the bare minimum and don't try to make anything fancy. The simpler the fly, the better.

The other thing you'll need is either a strong pair of reading glasses or one of those goofy headset things with interchangeable lenses. I have the latter and it helps immensely, and it even has a little light that shines on the fly!

The trick with the tiny UKBs is separating the strands of the yarn, and then twisting one strand up tightly so it doesn't create so much bulk that it blocks the hook gap. However, I think when tying this small I'm going to start using the dubbing instead of yarn. The tiniest wisp of dubbing on the thread allows you much more leeway in body profile, especially near the hook gap.

Mar 31, 2018
Sculpin attack!
by: Jeff D


Once the sculpin sees the fly move a bit, it pounces on it! Getting the hook set is tricky, but the sculpins themselves are pretty aggressive feeders!

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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