Missouri's only self sustaining trout occupy one of the most gorgeous creeks in the Ozarks, and while the fish may not draw your attention the experience will.
I’ll start this post by saying Crane Creek is not for everyone. Its an experience not necessarily a bucket list destination by any means. However it is perfectly positioned just 45 minutes from Springfield and just 30 minutes from Branson. And if you’re down in Cotter or Mountain Home, Arkansas and you’re tired of fighting the flow rates on the White or Norfork River then Crane Creek offers a fun get away and change of pace from the larger water.
Crane Creek runs directly through the town of Crane, Missouri. It has solid access throughout the town at both the town park and the baseball fields. About a mile downstream from the ball fields there is an extensive stretch of Conservation land on each side of the stream offering more good access. The water itself is rather small as you would expect it varies in width anywhere from ten to twentyfive feet wide. It is a swift moving stream with many deep holes that offer the best fishing.
Most fishing must be done under an indicator in the spring and summer in order to reach the fish that seek out the cooler water in the depths of the many deep pools that make up the creek. Typical flies such as scuds, small san juan
worms, and a variety of nymphs can all catch fish. In the morning and evening dry flies can catch fish as well. The fish themselves are not very large at all, most fish are six to ten inches long but the possibility for larger fish from fourteen to eighteen inches does exist. What makes Crane Creek so amazing is that all fish caught are part of the only self sustaining population of trout in Missouri.
Casting at Crane Creek is key to success. Most fishing is done in close quarters with brush on either side of the bank. Small roll casts and side arm flings are all things you must have in your arsenal to fish this style of small stream. The fish can be spooky so short double halls are important as well. When dry fly fishing it is important not to slap the water with your fly because an aggressive ripple can spook fish immediately.
I would urge anyone in the area that is looking for something new or different to make the trip to Crane Creek to fish for the only “wild” Missouri trout. Don’t spend a day cooped up inside because the dams on Lake Tanyecomo or The White River are releasing too much water to handle.
For more information and a great map of the area visit: http://cranecreektrout.com/fishing.htm