Form, Function, and Fishing
Last week the ice thawed out and temperatures rose briefly to tease us about the coming of spring. With that reminder, I thought I’d touch on another public use at Duck Creek that should be around the corner once winter begins to lessen its grip.
Up north legendary fishing trips are made in the pursuit of northern pike and muskies. The nicknames of these fish include wolf fish, devil fish, or slough sharks. However, in the southern half of the US, great sport can also be found when fishing for chain pickerel, a smaller member of the pike family, but no less the attitude of their Yankee cousins. In southeast Missouri, these fish lurks within the rivers of the Ozarks and in certain locations in the flatlands of the Bootheel. Pool 1 at Duck Creek is one of these locations and is ideal habitat for these ambush predators. A hint as to “why” this is a perfect location can be seen in their coloration. Chain pickerel are draped with an olive chain pattern covering yellowish green scales that mirror the light scattering through water and submergent vegetation. This is seamless camouflage that allows these hunters to blend into their surroundings and wait for minnows to come unknowingly towards their end.
Records in the Region:
If there is one thing that Pool 1 doesn’t lack, it is aquatic vegetation so if you want to land a chain pickerel this is the spot for you. To verify my argument let’s look at the records. The state record for pole and line is a 5 lb 1 oz chain pickerel that was caught at the Clearwater Spillway by George Burlbaw in 1974. This shows that we are in the right region. To refine our scope and put the bullseye on Duck Creek we just have to look at the bankline fishing record. This record is held by Gordan Thorton who caught a 6 lb 3 oz chain pickerel in 1977. Now these are huge pickerel, which is why they are long standing state records. To be considered for a Master Angler Award a chain pickerel only needs to be 3 lbs or 23 inches. I have it from a good source that you don’t have to go back 40 years to pull a fish this size out of Pool 1.