“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can learn from books.” – John Lubbock
Camping has become very popular for many Missourians. Camping venues, state and private, fill up rapidly on the weekends and some places are booked weeks in advance. They bring everything from RVs loaded with all the conveniences of home to the simple tent. Whatever makes them happy.
At the age of 66 I still prefer tent camping. I have been known to just roll out a pad and sleep on it. The simpler the better. I have a one man tent and a 3 man. I use the one man for one nighters and the 3 man for extended nights in one place.
There are so many choices for campers in Missouri. There are 41 state parks with over 3600 campsites. From lakes, rivers to trout parks there is a campsite waiting for you. Fun for the whole family. mdc.mo.gov
You can also find an abundance of privately owned parks throughout the state. Campers have so much to choose from in the state of Missouri.
Bennett Spring State Park is located in Lebanon, MO. It is comprised of 3216 acres and the spring pumps out 100,000,000 gallons of water daily. A trout hatchery is located within the park providing the rainbow trout that are stocked each night. The number of trout stocked depends on the number of people fishing the day before. There is a dining lodge that serves delicious meals daily, cabins and there are 5 campgrounds that range from primitive to full RV hookups.
I arrived on the evening of June 28 and spent time familiarizing myself with the park. I did a little fishing but to no avail. They blow the siren at 6:30 a.m. and anglers begin their quest for rainbow trout.
The next morning I was ready to go but found the banks and water filled with anglers. I fished the fly and lure zone. I hung one that got off about 5 feet from me. By the end of the day I was the king of catch and release. I caught them and they released themselves before I could get them on the stringer.
I talked to a gentleman that had limited out in 45 minutes. Daily limit is 4 rainbows. He was using what they call glow balls. So off to the store I went to buy some.
The next morning I was ready for them. I started at 6:45 a.m. and had caught my limit by 8 a.m. The glow ball had worked its magic.
Another popular lure was a rooster tail.
On this particular day the rainbows weren’t fond of the rooster tail. They had Zone 1 where you could only use flies. In Zone 2 you could use flies and lures. Zone 3 was soft plastic and natural bait.
However I did limit out this morning.
The park was well kept. The only real complaint I had was that Zone 3 the plastic bait/ natural bait area was 90% shallow fast moving water which made it extremely hard to fish. That area was definitely short changed. Zone 1 flies only was the best of the 3 zones. Ample space for fishermen. Zone 2 is nice but every morning fishermen are parked in the water about every 4 feet.
If you are going to go to Bennett Spring I would recommend that you learn to fly fish and get you a good fly fishing rig. If you want to start fly fishing they rent fly rods and reels and even waders.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Walden Henry David Thoreau
The definition of nature is the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities. It is also defined as the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations. One could say that nature is everything.
There is a saying “Stop and smell the roses.” Relax and take time to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. Stop stressing out, overthinking or complaining. My version is “Stop and drink of the beauty of nature.”
As spring draws near camping season comes into view. The weekend warriors who live in the cities and suburbs will begin their assault upon the campgrounds. They appear in the parks pulling their 30 foot campers loaded with all the amenities of home. I don’t think this is what Thoreau had in mind when he advocated that people leave their urban and industrialized areas to explore nature. He felt that “modern life” robbed people of their best selfs and that living in harmony with nature was essential. In today’s society the campgrounds are so overpopulated that they are nothing more than smaller communities of which they were trying to leave behind.
In Missouri the rivers and Ozark streams become heavily congested with weekend floaters occupying rafts, inner tubes, kayaks, and boats. Sadly the amount of litter left behind is mind boggling. Thoreau often wrote about the importance of preserving the wilderness and the importance of living in harmony with nature. His ideas are completely lost on the minds of the majority of weekend revelers. One can see the evidence if they float the rivers on Monday morning. Sandbars and gravel bars are littered with aluminum cans, trash, and an occasional tent. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you pack it in pack it out. It is that simple. My motto is is,”Leave it better than you found it.”
We as a whole need to learn to respect Mother Earth and what she has given us. Preserve the magnificent beauty of Mother Earth so that future generations can enjoy it. We don’t know what we have until it is gone.
“I love nature partly because she is not a man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.” – Henry David Thoreau’s Journal
The St Francois River is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is 426 miles long and meanders through northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri.
In the springtime they have kayak races on the part that goes through Silver Mines Park. Fishing is fair with a large variety of fish.
They were calling for a high near 70 degrees for today. That was all I needed to hear. I was river bound. I decided to try a new place that I had found. It was on the St Francois River in an area I had never fished.
I really didn’t think the fish would be hitting anything that I had in my tackle box. Just 3 days ago the high for the day was 9 degrees and a front was moving into the area today bringing rain with it. Well that wasn’t enough to stop me. I loaded the yak in the truck and headed out for a day of peace and relaxation.
The air temp was 55 degrees when I got to the river and the water temp was damn cold! It would not be a good day to flip the yak.
The water clarity was clear and water level was normal for this time of year. I didn’t go upstream 20 yards before I had to get out and pull the yak through the riffles. Once through there was a good 300 yard stretch with numerous deep holes and lots of structure and cover for the bass to suspend in. I knew to get them to hit I was going to have to drop my lure right under their nose.
I knew as cold as the water was I was going to have to fish a slow moving lure. This time of the year bass are lethargic and slow to attack the food source. So my choice was a pig and jig and a Charley Brewer slider worm.
The morning really started off slow. Not one single hit in 4 hours. Then a little after one p.m. I got a hit and set the hook. Didn’t appear it was going to be much of a fight then I guess it decided, not today bucko and the fight was on. After about 5 minutes I got it close enough to the boat so I could see it. OMG!!!!! He was big. My heart started beating 200 beats a minute then crap: I forgot the dip net.
Well he dove under the yak and popped up on the other side. With the help of the cold water it tired quickly. I got it up to the yak and I lipped it and put it in the boat.
OMG! What a beauty. I put it on the board and it was a hair over 20 inches. I admired its beauty and returned it to the river. It was a spotted/Kentucky black bass.
I caught two more spotted/Kentucky black bass.
All in all it was a great day. When I pulled out of the river it was 68 degrees. I felt good. I really needed that.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is very much appreciated. Remember to spread the love and be kind to each other.
All photos are property of Double D Acres LLC and May not be reproduced without written consent from me.
Pickle Creek in Hawn State Park near St Genevieve, MO
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” – Anne Frank
What a beautiful day here in the Show Me State, Missouri. Mind boggling weather I tells ya! I don’t know what the high was today but temps were in the sixties. I have a feeling we are going to pay for this beautiful February weather we have been having. Well me and the little woman decided to take a trip to Hawn State Park.
Hawn State Park is located in Ste. Genevieve county near Ste. Genevieve. The park is made up of 4,953 acres and was established in 1955.Inside the park boundaries are three state designated Natural Areas. They are Pickle Creek, LaMotte Sandstone Barrens, and Botkin’s Pine Woods.
Bluff on Cripple Creek
The park offers camping, fishing, picnicking, and has three trails for hiking:Whispering Pine Trail – 10 miles, Pickle Creek Trail – 1 mile and White Oak Trail. There are 9 campsites open all year. They have fifty camp sites. They have full service and primitive sites. There are also some walk-in sites. They also have a day use area for picnicking and an open picnic shelter that can be reserved.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”– John Burroughs
How many of you out there have and have not took advantage of states’ park systems? If you have never taken the time to just go somewhere and immerse yourself into the serene, peaceful, relaxing atmosphere of nature it is time you make plans to do it “yesterday”. Have some alone time with mother nature and let her have the time needed to heal you. I use that time to recharge my spirit and to cleanse my soul. You will also learn a lot about yourself.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed it. Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.