When talking to my buddy Jerry the other day, he directed me to his local (Rogers. AR) paper and a story they ran about one of our favorite streams from days gone by. Big Sugar Creek.
I’m not sure how we came to know of this beautiful little stream located in southwest Missouri, but for a number of years his family and mine spent many days enjoying its beauty and its fishing, and thanks to Jerry, the reading of the article filled my day with memories of the times we spent there.
A few years ago I learned that it had become a state park, and while that designation surely was deserved, I just know that a “someday” repeat of those quite days will not be possible due to the crowds that must be there now. In all of the times that Jerry and I fished it, I cannot recall ever seeing another angler. Sure, the creek had its share of picnickers on pretty days, and of course it had its share of canoeists when the water level was high enough, but the average weekend was just about as empty as the picture above. (And speaking of that picture...back in the day there were no digital cameras, so I could dig out no shots from the archives to show you. This one was copied from the article that Jerry directed me to.)
The guy is standing at the low water bridge near the community (if you can call it that) of Cyclone, and just upstream of where he is standing is a long glassy pool, whose “glassy-ness” is perfectly matched by the streams bottom. “Greasy” might be more descriptive. This spot was our starting off point for fishing the upper reaches of Big Sugar, and stepping off into the water in tennis shoes was a sure way to test ones coordination and balance. We had never heard of studded wading shoes at that time, so negotiating the algae covered, fifty yard long slab was the price we had to pay to get to the better water.
I’m not kidding...it was slick. So slick that more often than not I would be on my hands and knees at one point or the other, trying to get across it. But it was worth it. Whether we were outfitted with our fly rods or our ultra-light spinning gear, we always managed to catch fish. And some nice ones too. Four and five pound smallies were not unheard of, but Big Sugar’s bluegills and smaller bass were great fun on the light tackle as well.
On another front...
The evening skies have been reminding us daily of the coming winter weather. The past few days have shown us not the more familiar and recent summer-time skies of puffy cumulous clouds, but the stratus clouds so common in the winter months. Looking toward Mount Pisgah in the west (12 miles as the crow flies) we have seen some beautiful sunsets...each one reminding us that cooler weather and better fishing is right around the corner.
And speaking of seasonal changes...
I don’t want to hear any whining from the black bears this coming year. In recent years they have complained constantly about their lack of food...as if their dietary deficit gave them license to raid our trash cans and bird feeders. This year’s mast crop should keep them close to home (their home!)...content to gorge themselves on natures bounty instead of ours. Check out this photo taken right out of my office door. For the past week the acorns have been falling like rain! This shot, taken beneath one of the larger oaks on the property, was not staged. The entire ground beneath this huge trees canopy looks just the same.