Bennett Spring State Park, Missouri

markfrid

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I didn't get to Charlie's this time, but usually stop in. You're right, a real neat shop - kind of quirky. HE's kind of quirky, but don't hold it against him. Like a walking encyclopedia of fly fishing and very fair on his prices. He has tons of stuff, though he's not big on organization! But if you don't see what you're after, just ask him. Often he'll pull open a drawer somewhere and lay his hands on just what you were looking for.

By the way, they have a life-size replica of Charlie sitting by the wall near the cash register at the back of the tackle shop at the Bennett Springs Store (where you buy your tags). Intentional? I don't know, but I always say, "Hi, Charlie!" when I see it.

Mark
 

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HE's kind of quirky, but don't hold it against him. Like a walking encyclopedia of fly fishing and very fair on his prices.

By the way, they have a life-size replica of Charlie sitting by the wall near the cash register at the back of the tackle shop at the Bennett Springs Store (where you buy your tags). Intentional? I don't know, but I always say, "Hi, Charlie!" when I see it.

Charlie is a master, no question. Even his critics grant that. He's so passionate that it can rub people wrongly.

That's hilarious about the Charlie replica. I've got to get to Bennett.
 

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So did anyone brave the crowds on march 1st?

I looked at the webcam, though later in the afternoon. one could have fished at the stone bridge.
 

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Understood. Not everyone's cup of tea, for sure.

I must say, that I'd rather be fishing than doing anything in an office, even if meant fishing in trout park opener conditions.
Okay, you got me there; any fishing is better than no fishing.
It is a rite-of-spring for many. I have to say I've only seen pictures of opening day in the parks and it looks like shoulder to shoulder.

steve
 

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I talked to a buddy who drove down to Meramec Springs for the day and had a ball picking off fish with cracklebacks in amongst the bait-chuckers. The low clear water had the fish looking up.

Mark
 

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I talked to a buddy who drove down to Meramec Springs for the day and had a ball picking off fish with cracklebacks in amongst the bait-chuckers. The low clear water had the fish looking up.
Hard to beat a crackleback in Missouri. A very underrated fly overall.

Next year, I intend to go trout fishing and one option that's occurred to me is a trip through all of Missouri's trout parks and Taneycomo.

I've not seen any of those places aside from Bennett (which I really like).
 

markfrid

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Next year, I intend to go trout fishing and one option that's occurred to me is a trip through all of Missouri's trout parks and Taneycomo.

I've not seen any of those places aside from Bennett (which I really like).
Mr Flyfisher for men - What a great idea! And if you have a family, bring them, too. There are lots of great outdoor things for the kids at all the trout parks, even if they don't want to fish. And all the trout parks are located in really beautiful settings. Some of the prettiest places in the state, I think.

Mark
 

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Mr Flyfisher for men - What a great idea! And if you have a family, bring them, too. There are lots of great outdoor things for the kids at all the trout parks, even if they don't want to fish.
Trout parks are great for family, no doubt, though my trips have tended to be alone. I happen to be a monk and a priest, so celibacy is the rule for me. When I've had companion, it's been fellow monks.

I enjoy camping and fishing alone and do it purposely on occasion, but a straight week can get tough. A trout park is good for that. It gets some people near you, and the fact is, I've rarely had bad encounters with people in the parks.

I don't know if you recall the Sportsmen's Chapel at Bennett, but it's a pavilion with an altar near the east entrance. The Catholic church in Lebanon has a Mass there in the summers for the tourists. It's extra work for the pastor, so several times I've called ahead and offered to say the Mass for him.

It's a case of whipping up a quick sermon when the fishing is slow, and, around Mass time, getting out of the water and switching my waders for Mass vestments. I end up saying Mass in front of guys who were obviously just fishing, retirees in lawn chairs, Boy Scouts on canoe trips, etc.

It's an easy sermon, too, with all that natural beauty. If nothing else, the spring makes it easy to talk about something like baptism or israelites getting water from the rock in the desert, etc.
 

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My wife and I took a long weekend to Bennett this last weekend and stayed at Larry's with several friends. The stream was beautiful, but the weather was kind of iffy. Friday pm was windy and warm, then the front came through Sat am, dropping the temps from 65 to 35. Sat pm the rain quit and the sun tried to come out, but it was still blowing pretty hard. The fishing, though, was pretty steady despite the weather. Sun am was 29 and clear, with typical after-the-cold-front tough fishing. We caught fish, but the strikes were timid and super quick. The low, clear water seemed ideal for stripping cracklebacks, but we had very little action on that score. We had good luck on olive-themed mini jigs - John Deere and the Peacock with and without tail. I did best of all on a midge tandem rig in #20 - usually on a lead fly of P&P (Primrose and Pearl) with a dropper of olive or black zebra midge. The P&P is a popular Ozark midge pattern, especially on the White River and Lake Taneycomo. I don't have any thread called "primrose," but a Light Cahill uni-thread works great. Copper bead, yellow thread body, over wrapped with small pearl tinsel with some space between wraps to let the color come through better - and copper rib. Easy-peasy. Trying to get those little hooks out of a fish on a cold, windy day is a challenge though!

Friday night's menu was chicken and shrimp fajitas and Saturday's was bone-in ribeyes - with all the homemade salads, soup, vedgies, pies, cookies you could stand, plus everyone's favorite adult beverages. Dang - it was awful. And nobody had any fun. Whew!

Till later - Mark
 

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One year later - We took a Fri-Sat-Sun trip to Bennett on Nov 16 and hit the weather just right. Sunny and highs in the 50's, even 60 on Sat. Water was clear and the midges were thick. They were about 1/8" long so there was no matching them, but they got the fish active and looking up. Fished midge pupa patterns Fri and stayed hooked up on P&P, orange, olive and black. Saturday fished dry all day, mostly 18 para Adams. Not a match by any means, but a good float often got a slash, a refusal swirl or a hit. Enough hits to keep it a busy day - what a ball! Had the lower section of Zone 3 to myself most of Sat morning - awesome. Such a beautiful section of the stream we don't get to fly fish during regular season.

Sunday morning was 32 and drizzling. We fished for 30 mins, got cold and wet and pointed the horses to the barn. On the way home stopped at Uranus for fudge. As Dave Barry would say, I swear I'm not making this up. A little tourist trap they call Uranus, MO. Super tacky, but the dark chocolate pecan fudge is great. Enough butter and sugar to kill you, but you'll die with a big smile on your face.

Mark
 

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Sounds like a good trip, Mark. And to have the section to yourself is a real bonus.

I was at Montauk in October. Love the Ozarks!


Thanks,
steve
 

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Anybody going to hit the area this year?

I'm likely to be doing at least a long weekend to Bennet this June, maybe a more involved trip as I mentioned earlier.

Incidentally, I've been keeping an eye out for old photos and stories about BSSP's history and culture, cut and pasting them. It's been interesting.
 

spm

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I usually do a long weekend at Bennett, with family. Last year it was just after Memorial Day.

The history of our parks, and probably many other states', as well is interesting. Many were built by CCC during the depression. I love old pictures of the parks and would be interested in seeing what you have. Can you post them here?

steve
 

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Good links, FFfM.
Dillard Mill is a state historic site near Davisville, that is still operational. When I was there, there was a gentleman on-site and he turned on the mill to demonstrate how it worked. Dillard Mill Historic Site - Missouri State Historic Sites and Landmarks - Lodging Dillard Mill - Old Dillard Town Picnic Held Annually

Don't have a date, yet for this years Bennett trip.

Thanks,
steve
That would be neat. I got a chance to see a working gristmill once but didn't see it operate.
 
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