Good People - Good Water - Good Fish
The hunt to catch an Arkansas rainbow ended quickly. In 2018 I was on my 7000 miles California Trip, and I was a day behind due to enjoying Missouri for a little bit too long.
Mammoth Spring is one of the world's largest springs, with nine million gallons of cold water flowing hourly. It forms a 10-acre lake, then runs southward as the Spring River, a famous Ozark trout and float stream. Just below the spring is the Jim Hinkle Fish Hatchery and easy access to fish.
The morning I arrived, about 30 people were fishing in every good spot I looked. It is always a little stressful when you get to a new place. You don't know the people, etiquette, and how to fish. I finally found a spot. I could see everyone was ignoring me. A pipe perpendicular to the river was throwing out water from the trout hatchery, a perfect place! So I walked around everyone and on my third cast landed a rainbow. I looked like a genius.
Winter 2021 side note: I was a genius. I was driving through Mammoth Spring again and decided to finish for 5-10 minutes. I met a great guy who had just called it a day. He had been fishing for about 6 hours and didn't catch a trout. I thanked him for some fishing advice then he walked over the bridge to the parking lot, where he could easily see me fish as he was packing up. I went to my spot and caught three shad on three casts. Then saw a little hole laid a perfect line and grabbed another rainbow.
I rarely keep a trout for eating purposes. But, in this case, the trout was a little beaten up, so I did to feast on him. I left after that fish; the whole process took about five minutes. Maybe my fastest state.
Monmouth Springs with Brooke
Local Fly Shop
Spring River Rainbow