Monday, June 30, 2008

Special private look at Rainbow Springs

Also called Double Springs. Doubles the size of the North Fork below the lower outlet. Spring comes from beneath a high hill at the base of a ledge/rock pile. It flows about 150' east and then divides north (about 150 yards) and south (about 3/4 mile) before the two outlets enter the North Fork of the White River. The property is strictly private. Permission of owner was granted to me.  ENJOY !!!

Fishing Report - 6/22 - 6/27

6/24 - Caught a 15" Brown just at total dark, size 10 Kauffman Stone Fly with a Prince drop; he took the Stone Fly; also surprised caught a big goggle eye on the next cast; I mean big (about 9-10") and just as black as they come.

6/25 - Caught 2 smaller rainbows at Kelly Ford at 6:00 AM on dries. Size 16-18 Blue Winged Olives in the fastest part of the chute. One was par marked. Didn't measure but I'd say 8" and maybe 9-10".

6/26 - Caught a 15-16" rainbow at Jacks Riffle at 5:50 AM. Lost one too.

One of the guests that left the day I arrived caught 8 Rainbows on dry flies; mostly on a version of Elk Hair Caddis (real light hair; almost white) size 16 around the mid stream rocks and sand washes, very early in the morning.

I am was humbled by this stream; although I only fished about 4 times in the week for two hours each.

(sorry for the bad pics but the light was poor and I was worried about reviving the rainbow)

Few more underwater pictures - North Fork

Using my new and inexpensive Pentax Optix waterproof camera; I took the following on June 25th, 2008. All photos taken near the falls about. Click to enlarge.

Trout's-Eye View of the shaded Bank at ROLF

Taken from the bottom; about 18" under the surface looking up and toward the bank; between the boat ramp and Jack's Riffle. June 26th, 2008.

Fawn at Whispering Pines

This fawn was sleeping under the Whispering Pines cabin for several days; now I think there was two. He/she was anything but tame and darted through thee woods every time he saw me. Saw June 23, 24, 25.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Smallest snake I have ever seen (Ring Neck Snake)

I cute and gentle little adult Ring Neck snake found 2 years ago by River of Life Spring in the rocks; he was release completely unharmed after we examined him.

Double aka. Rainbow Springs looks like a rainbow

Old autumn picture make the water look like a real rainbow.

Ouch !! Sting Weed

More commonly known as Stinging nettle is painful when you drag your leg across it. I just did it yesterday in a garden with a mature plant I did not see. They are not dangerous; do not contain  poison, they just seem to reach out and hurt your legs when you least expect it. In fact, the leaves are highly edible (tastes like spinach), and the roots are use in many beneficial drugs. Just Ouch !!

As the weather turns HOT; look at the cooooool picture

A mid winter moon; taken from my North Fork campsite in January 1986. It snowed by morning.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Missouri’s Ozark trout streams have patches of bright green plants growing in the spring branches or along isolated gravel bars.   That plant is Watercress, the same herb you can sometimes buy at the local grocery store.

Nasturtium officinale that is now widely distributed in cool spring fed streams.  Watercress is part of the mustard family and has a pungent peppery taste that makes a nice addition to a salad or as a garnish.

Trout, Goat Cheese, and Watercress Spread


skinned trout fillet cut into 1 inch cubes – salt to taste
two small shallots
juice of quarter lemon
Lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter
Sufficient white wine, of your choice, to poach salmon
4 oz goat cheese
1 cup chopped and loosely packed watercress.

Rinse watercress several times in clean water.  Pick over carefully to remove any remaining  sowbugs or scuds and snails.  Chop coarsely.

Melt butter in pan and sauté finely chopped shallots.  Add cubed trout, lemon juice and wine.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.   Remove from pan and let cool.

Flake the trout and add the goat cheese and chopped watercress and mix gently to blend ingredients.  Add lemon zest and correct seasoning as needed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Missouri's Pines - The Shortleaf

Shortleaf pine covered much of the southern 1/3 of the State of Missouri. it is our only native pine tree.  It was always mixed with oak and hickory but there were much larger and older stands. It has been seeded and seedlings planted in Missouri since about 1945 and is making a comeback over it's native range. Shortleaf Pine is a yellow pine with lots of knots. 

ROLF has many stands of Shortleaf Pine, some older pine and many offspring seedlings. The North Fork river is unique in that there are places where the Shortleaf pine runs all the way down to the river.

About 75% of all pines in Missouri were cut down and floated down a streams to mills, were they were cut and shipped all over the USA between 1880 and 1910.

Queen Anne's Lace

Starting in mid-late June and running through July this member of the carrot family covers most fields near the North Fork and ROLF. It is always a harbinger of warmer weather to come. Common in fields at ROLF.

Diamond Back Water Snake

Common to the North Fork, this heavy bodied water snake is often confused the the highly venomous Cotton Mouth Water Moccasin. They are frequently killed on sight; which should not be done. These snakes have a bad temper and will run if pursued and bite and writh around if cornered. I see many of these snake about 18 inche long and their diamond pattern is very clear.  Observe this snake and move on; please.

Invasive Honeysuckle versus the Whip Poor Will

This plant has overspread eastern Missouri during the past 10-15 years. Used a chainsaw to cut it down a year ago April (2007), and it is back and bigger than ever choking out all native bushes and covering partly sunny areas with complete shade; thereby causing native part sun loving wildflowers to die off.

The Japanese honeysuckle is spreading across Missouri destroying the understory of oak-hickory, pine forests; changing the natural environment. For instance,  the Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) of favorite birds in in decline in Missouri largely due to invasive honeysuckle. Whip-poor-will's nest on leafy forest floors; clear of understory. They are quickly disappearing across eastern Missouri; and headed west. He lives up to his latin name "vociferous" as anyone who has been outside at night in the summer in the Ozark hills knows. John Burroughs once counted 1007 whip-poor-WILL calls, then a one minute resting period then another 790.

For more information on protection and damage;

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jon Boats at Falls 1929 and 2008

These pictures are from my grand-father C. M. Patten in 1929, when he spent 2 weeks at Rainbow springs and took 2-3 floats on the North Fork and of a friend of Myron McKee's and his newly made Jon Boat from 2008. Only difference --- about 80 years.

Monday, June 16, 2008

WOW. A Green Snake

The Green snake is common in the trees along the North Fork where he blends  in so well. Occasionally, one falls in the river and has to quickly swim to the bank, a bluff, or anywhere to get out of the water. I photographed this one in late April 2008.

Current River Style Jon Boats

This is the Current River style boat. My grandfather got the plans in Doniphan on the Current River in about 1920 and hired local boat builder from near Steelville, MO. on the Meramec River. These boats were built on the site where they were to be used and launched. It usually took a boat builder about a week to complete the boat and 2 paddles. Ours were always 24' x 4' (width at the center) tapering to 18" at the bow and stern. 

When completed they were sunk for several days to swell the wood and close any leaks. It took 5-6 men to roll them over and empty them and they would then dry for several days in the sun. Total weight was about 250-300 pounds dry. I watched the last one built in 1960 (I was 13). They used local woods; sassafras, hickory, and some quarter-sawn white oak where straight grain mattered; like gunwales.

In 1960; the price of the wood was $47.50; labor was $100; total $147.50. In 1960 the bottom was made from plywood. Prior to that the bottoms were planked. We had boats built in 1906 (gig boat), 1921 (lost to flood), 1930, 1947 (broken on truck from float return trip), 1952 (lost to flood), and 1960 (sunk in 1969). Total price in 1921 was $38.00.

All of our boats were built from the same pattern; except prior to 1920 our family used gig boats to float They were up to 28' - 32' long and only 2-3' wide at the center with an up-swept bow and stern. The were also common of the North Fork of the White River.

As far as the pictures go; to is our 1930 Jon Boat, next; in the 1930's our boat at Huzzah Meramec junction; next to right is our boat in 1949 at Saranac Spring riffle, next to right in beginning of 3 boat float at Onondaga Cave before the bridge in 1926, next; is the hog trough at the town of Scotia on the Huzzah Creek about 1947.

Getting them back after a float was hard to do without a trailer; usually on a long bed truck with additional oak 2X4" 16' long under the boat for additional bracing to keep them from snapping in half on a bumpy gravel road.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Snowy day on the North Fork

Eastern Hognose Snake

IS THIS SNAKE DEAD ?? Nope, just playing possum. This is an Eastern Hognose or Spread-head (Ozark term). They are so interesting to observe. If you encounter one, they try to run, if they can not get away, they will coil up and shake their tails like a rattle snake; even hiss loudly and strike out; if that does not work to scare you off, then they writhe around on the ground like they are fatally injured; all the time, watching your reaction.

Finally, the play dead, and roll over on their back, allow their mouth to open and let their tongue hang out. If you roll them back over on their stomach, they will immediately roll over again and will continue this "act" until you leave. I have seen a few of the these snakes in sandy places where there are lots of frogs at ROLF.

These snakes are harmless; they won't even bite. Please do not attemp to harm or kill Missouri's snakes.

Red Winged Blackbird

Very common along the river. Particularly noticeable in the spring when they are calling. They spend most of the time on the river bank in the shrubs. They are not a permanent resident of ROLF, but the do come every year to nest.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Good sized Northern Water Snake this May 2008

I saw him along the North Fork banks on a cool morning. He is not very aggressive like they can be because her is real cold. These snakes are beneficial and should  not be harmed or teased in any way. The are falsely accused of being poisonous moccasins but are harmless. Also pictured  (on top) is a pretty large one from 2006 up river near Blue Springs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Old tackle - C. F. Murphy Trout Fly Rod; 1862-1863

Charles Murphy was one of the earliest American rod-makers to work with bamboo.  No matter who made the first one, most people agree that Murphy was probably the first maker to build a rod with all sections made from 6-strip bamboo and also the first rod-maker to produce 6-strip rods for sale in the commercial marketplace. Only 15-20 of the 200 rods Murphy made are know to exist.

He was a colorful Irishman, a professional firefighter in New York City, and a consummate woodworker.  He moved to Newark, NJ in the late 1850s.   In part, it's hard to tell who did what first, because Murphy, Ebenezer A. Green, Thaddeus Norris, Samuel Phillippe, and J.C. Conroy and even William Mitchell lived reasonably close together and visited each other's workshops.

Marty Keene first discovered some very early 6-strip rods with unusual, tiny cupped areas in the shaft above the grip.  Other rods have what A.J. Campbell referred to as 12 mysterious blackened pin pricks in the same area.  That one is no mystery.   Early rod-makers would plane their hardwood rod sections on a special plank that had 1-2 sharp-pointed thin nails driven through from the bottom side of the plank.  You simply pushed your rod section down onto the nail to keep it from sliding during two-handed planing.  The black pin pricks are shown here. 

From the Steve Patten collection.