Fly Fishing Adventures

St. Louis Polar Vortex Fly Fishing Adventure

St. Louis Polar Vortex Fly Fishing Adventure


There are pros and cons to fly fishing during a polar vortex. When in southern Missouri, 10-15 degrees is so cold that almost no one is out fishing, that's the pro. The con, it's cold.  Not as bad had I been fishing in Minnesota where I caught trout two weeks ago, the actual temperature would have been -30 degrees! I consider myself pretty tough, but that’s just crazy cold. On to the report.



In between meetings, I had a couple of opportunities to check out some new water. My first stop took me to The Meramec River, just outside of Cuba, Missouri. (Fly fishing Cuba is on my bucket list, not sure this counts). My research took me to a very rural area with a couple of access points affectionately called Suicide Hill and Cardiac Hill, nice right? After deciding to check out Suicide Hill first, I managed to work down the rather treacherous hill to find some really great looking water. The only issue I found was that I was on the deep water edge of the water, and the bank was super wooded, not leaving an opportunity to fish. I climbed myself back out and headed back to Cardiac Hill.  



It was approaching 4:30 in the afternoon and the sun was going down. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to be exploring in the middle of the “Deliverance” looking territory. The hill was pretty easy, of course it was downhill. The river was gorgeous, but I wish I had more time. I wasted too much time climbing up and down Suicide Hill. I ran a black woolly bugger through a pool several times with no success. I will definitely return to this river in the spring. The word on the streets is there are solid trout, and excellent smallmouth fishing down the river a bit. On the way out, I ran the “Run” app on my Garmin watch. Solid, 8 minute workout!  



Knowing I was unsuccessful on my first Missouri exploration tour of the year, I felt like I needed to get on the board for trout in my second state this year. An unfortunate(ok, fortunate) meeting cancellation late in the day helped me make up my mind to get in the rental car and head to Lake Taneycomo. It’s a world famous tailwater below Table Rock Lake, near Branson, MO.  I’ve fished this water dozens of times, but haven’t been for 10 years. Time for a reunion! I had four solid hours in the car to adjust my hotel reservations and other logistical issues. After a solid marathon of phone calls to clients on the drive, I arrived in Branson. I checked into my new hotel, this place was a ghost town, changed out of my suit and headed to the river.  

Lake Taneycomo fishing is totally different depending on the number of electricity generators operating on the Table Rock Dam. They have had a ton of rain recently and all four generators were humming. This makes wading difficult as the water can wash you away quickly. Luckily, there are some places you can fish from the shore near the parking lot. Again, its a ghost town, not a rod in sight, I love it!  



Similar to other tail-waters, fish eat scuds and various midges regularly. I chose to fish a double fly set up under some weight and an indicator. The scud produced fish 2X the midge, but fish ate both. I was able to connect with five fish that afternoon before it was too dark and cold to continue. Time to warm up, catch up on some work, and get some dinner. I’d have the opportunity to get out on the water for an hour or so in the morning as well.  



The morning was awesome, I fished for 45 minutes, connected with five trout, all rainbows, and had a nice conversation with a local guy that was braving the “extreme” cold for southern Missouri. Taneycomo is famous for some GIANT brown trout. The browns managed to avoid me this trip. I’ll plan a swing through southern Missouri a couple more times this year, and will find them next time. Hopefully I can plan a night fishing trip to swing big streamers under the moonlight this fall. From my experience, that’s the best way to find the big browns of Taneycomo.  



So far, we have caught trout in two states, Minnesota and Missouri. Bringing a fly rod and gear on a business trip adds a fantastic element to the trip. Anyone can do this! I’ll be back in Rochester, MN in a couple of weeks and look forward to exploring some SE MN water once again.  


Reading next

Minnesota Trout on the Fly During a January Business Trip
Deep Snow Minnesota Fly Fishing Success (Failure)

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.