Fly Fishing the Ozarks During Thanksgiving


For the past 30 plus years my family, usually my father and my two sons…have made an annual pilgrimage to Nebraska to pheasant hunt for the week; it’s not that we aren’t social…but seriously, hunting for the week just sounds like a better plan! Over the past few years the trip has been limited to my oldest son, Harrison and myself. We are both fairly proficient and have a nice pair of bird dogs, so each year we have a day or two extra and since Missouri is on our way home…well, you get it…we stop off for some much needed fly fishing.

This year was no different, in fact we started a bit early and I was able to arrive in central Missouri, on the Niangua River, a day early and fished the day of Thanksgiving. The weather was incredible and to my surprise the fish were active and eating…which means a great afternoon was had.

I started off just below the point whereby the spring (Bennet) meets the river and worked my way down stream for about ¾ of a mile. As you can see by watching the video I had the unique occasion of catching three species of fish; rainbow, brown and smallie, in the first ten minutes. I continued to catch smallmouth as I made the change to a fly and gear that would allow for me to land as many as possible!

Knowing the weather was going to be much tougher the next day, Friday, we were up early and off to the spring…and on the water by the horn at 8am. My first cast was a success and the rest of the day followed much the same way as the fish were up in the water column, eager to follow and eat. The rain was supposed to begin in earnest by 10 or 11am and right on time…the skies cut loose. At age 56 I am no longer interested in hard rain, fishing and 44 degrees…so, Harrison and I went back to our room, watched some sports, had a sandwich and then returned for the afternoon.

Just like the day before, the smallies were on the prowl. Along with a slew of trout I was able to catch and release a load of smallmouth and what awesome fun that was! All in all, it was a great day and a half of fishing and simple what the doctor ordered for my own spirit. If you have any questions regarding Bennet or the fishing….shoot me an email at and I will do my best to help you out.

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