Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Waters

A fishermans home waters holds a special place in their heart and soul. It could be a local farm pond, tiny spring creek, or large lake...wherever it is, it always reminds a fisherman of where he came from and how far he has come as a fisherman. You can travel all over the world to fish all the exotic and legendary waters that this world has to offer, but there's just something about coming back to a place where you know every hole, pool, riffle, stump or brushpile like the back of your hand.

What I consider my home waters is a lake in northeastern Oklahoma called Grand Lake O' the Cherokees. Five generations of my family have wet a line in this beautiful lake. My grandfather built 4 different fishing docks on this lake many years ago, two of those we still own to this day and visit regularly. Hell, my father has retired to one of these docks and lives the dream by fishing almost every day for largemouth bass on this lake. I cut my teeth fishing on this lake with standard tackle. All the way from catching bluegill with a cane pole from the dock walk-way to chasing largemouth bass in my small 10ft Pelican boat that I took all over our wing of the lake with 2 marine batteries and a Minn Kota trolling motor. We've caught 1000s of crappie from under our docks over the years...and filled our stomaches with fried crappie many, many times. This lake will always be a special place to me. I can't wait till my daughter is big enough to start catching bluegill...and the cycle will start all over again.

As far as trout waters go, its hard to say what I'd consider my home waters. I'd almost have to say that it would be Roaring River in Missouri. The lower section of that little stream I know like the back of my hand. Althought the MDC has manipulated the stream with "improvements" over the years, the fish still stack up in the same old spots and I still find myself standing on the same rocks that I did when I was a young boy.

But recently, I've began fishing the Lower Illinois River below Tenkiller Lake extensively for trout and stripers. Its a small tailwater fishery that is stocked regularly with rainbows and browns. Its not a world-class tailwater fishery like what you find on Taneycomo, the White, or the Norfork tailwaters but its a solid fishery that always produces fish when I go. Its a joy to fish, to be honest, as the quality water where the trout stack up is few and far between. This makes them rather easy to find and easy to catch. Its not technical fishing by any means at all but its quite satisfying to be able to drive just over an hour from my front door and be on some good trout water.

Now being from Oklahoma, I can't claim that my home waters are some great bass lake like Lake Fork or some legendary western trout river like the Bighorn but the waters that I do have close to home offer some great fishing, great stories, and great memories to last me a lifetime.

Home waters is where the fishermans heart is...

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