Meramec red ribbon section... That stretch of river has its' moments. It is easily accessible from either "Maramec Park" or further downstream of Dry Fork at "Cardiac" & "Suicide" hills. The fishing has been erratic the past few years. Some say the river has been in decline since late 1990's. I only started fishing that water in 2007 but I too have noticed a steady decline in productivity the short time I have fished there. The Meramec is prone to flooding. With the weekend rains we have had it is blown out. My minimum wading level on that river from the springs down stream to Dry Fork Creek is a discharge rate of 750 cfs. As of this response the river is at 4170 and rapidly falling. I have waded that stretch of river at just around 800 cfs but it is tougher. Here is a link to the USGS river gauge:
USGS Current Conditions for USGS 07013000 Meramec River near Steelville, MO
To access this stretch, enter the park, pay your parking, do not buy a daily tag unless you want to harvest fish or fish the park and the head downstream until you see the bridge. Cross the bridge, which is essentially the confluence of the spring and Meramec river and head downstream. There is a little trail that you can follow downstream a ways. Be careful it is a bit narrow with a few fallen trees. It is also right on the edge of the bank and the bank here is more of a ledge. You don't have to be a Navy SEAL to navigate the trail, but do exercise common sense. You do not want to enter the water at the bridge or just below unless you want a good dunking or at least 12' tall. Follow the trail until you spot a small house/cabin. It is all of a 5 min walk. There is a quasi beach there and I believe it is where the stockers are released. Either way it is a good point to assemble rods, rig up and enter the river. The river here is wide and skinny when the river is behaving. Pebble lined bottom makes easy wading. There are small riffles here and the channel with its' seams are clearly defined. The river is wide with plenty of room for back casting. Fallen trees with root wads line the far bank and are obvious locations that hold fish. You can wade back upstream and fish both sides of the river successfully all the way to the park or head downstream. Like I mentioned earlier I believe that MDC releases stockers here and if memory serves you will be here later this month. It might be a good time to get your dad into some fish.
Try to avoid the weekends if possible unless you like the fellowship of canoes. Your arsenal of flies can be any eastern or western patterns as the fish aren't picky. Bring along suspension devices/indicators for this stretch of river. Make sure you bring a few yarn bugs to ensure your pops success, (egg patterns, Y2K's, etc...) as the trout you are going to run into here have been institutionalized and are used to reacting to "trout chow".
Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else.
Tight lines for now,