Wow… I hit up Alton Lock and Dam again. Water temps are starting to cool and at least some fish are feeding. As has been the case all year, water levels are low and clear! I ran into all sorts of fish this time, but the action was hit and miss requiring lots of treacherous hiking over worn rip rap walls. Day 1 I started with a drum followed by a smallmouth, both on the big crayfish pictured later.
That is my first ever St. Louis smallmouth!
I hiked back a side channel branch and landed a bunch of grass carp, some drum, a few gar, and even a bowfin! That doesn’t happen every day. In the evening I ran into a bunch of Hybrid Bass landing about 6 of them, and then they were gone.
Bowfin on a tiny carp fly (same as below)
Grass Carp on a size 8 Scorpion Gaper Headstand Backstabber
Headstand Backstabbers on Scorpion Gaper hooks size 8
Hybrid Bass on Size 6 Scorpion Gaper Squirrel Tail Clouser
Squirrel Tail Clouser on size 6 Scorpion Gaper hook
On day two, I fished and hiked my way downstream about as far as anyone should ever care to walk. At the point where I stopped heading downstream I also got into a good sized group of Freshwater Drum. These fish tend to be caught along rocky drop offs and points with good depth and boulders.
This Rip Rap wall drops off to depths of 10-15 ft quickly and also pushes out into the current (which there isn't much of these days). Look for fish in the upstream pocket of such " small outcroppings" or anywhere along rip rap walls or wing dikes. In low current conditions try to find the most current!
Fish will seldom bite unless your fly is ON the bottom! In this case I was using a size 2 weedless hammerhead Roughdub.
The Most Bad Ass Crayfish I Have Ever Fished
Weedless Hammerhead RoughDub Crayfish in the Water
The whole trick is to get the fly on the rocks about 8-20 ft down and creep it up the bank wall with some dunt dunt dunt burst to get that crayfish vibe going, followed by slow creeping. You will see or feel the hit…usually right around the time your about to pull your leader through your rod tip….right in close. Sometimes long casts and leaders are required to get the fly in the right depth and possition…and of course your full array of whatever sinking line/head you like to use. I have a full float or a full sink (which isn’t real friendly) so this time I used up to a 15 ft leader and the heaviest big rattle crayfish I had(forgot the split shot). All in all I had a great time landing in the neighborhood of 30 fish, not bad!
Big shout out to Dan Frasier for the Scorpion Hooks, so far so good! Dan is involved with CarpPro.net and is doing a Carp on the Fly podcast everyone should check out!….I know I learned a lot of stuff from the first airing, I wasn’t expecting that!