I awoke to the awkward buzzing of the alarm
clock on the nightstand. I rolled over and
wrestled with the clock briefly in a clumsy
effort to turn it off before it woke my wife.
Sitting upright in the bed, I realized she was
already up. I could hear her rummaging around
in the kitchen and the smell of brewing coffee
filled my nostrils - an unmistakably welcomed
smell at 4 AM.
Yes, 4 AM...I decided to get up early and head
to the trout stream below Table Rock Dam before
dawn. The on-line generation schedule said they
had shut down the water at midnight and would not
resume generation until about Noon. I should be
able to get in some quality wade fishing time with
After a couple of smokes and as many cups of coffee,
I loaded my gear bag, a 4-weight rod, and my waders
into the Jeep and slipped off down the driveway into
the darkness. I arrived at the access behind the
Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery just as the first
hint of light caressed the Eastern sky. There were
a few other cars and trucks in the parking lot, and
four men donning their waders and assembling their
fishing poles. As I climbed out of the Jeep I lit
another cigarette and grabbed by boots and waders.
I took a quick drag or two on the smoke as I walked
over to the nearest picnic table to climb into my
waders. I sat down, enjoying the still of the
predawn summer morning. I paused for a second
to soak in the sights and sounds I love so much.
I took another puff on the Marlboro between my
fingers. And then the horn that warns of the
beginning of power generation and the attendant
rising water broke the morning air. Argh! Drat!
Dag-nabbit! And double-drat! Shaking my fist in
the direction of the dam, I silently cursed the
power company employees who must have nothing
better to do than to sit around and conspire
against me - posting bogus generation schedules
just for their own amusement. I knew that
somewhere there was a power station attendant
giggling mercilessly as he peered down at me
with binoculars from the station control room.
"Curse you, Southwest Power Administration! Curse
you, I say! Do you hear me? Someday...somehow...
I shall have my vengeance! Do you hear? Vengeance!"
There! I'm glad I got that out of my system.
For those who have never had the wonderful
fortune to fish a tailwater fishery like those
in the Ozarks, just remember - it's not all
a bed of roses. Until next week... ~ Ken
Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University
in 1988, and spent the next several years serving
in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst
and Russian Language translator. He is a veteran
of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Leaving the
nation's service in 1993.
Ken is also a published outdoor writer and historian,
having penned articles and stories that have appeared
in several national hunting publications like North
American Hunter magazine, on GunMuse.com, in regional
and local newspapers, and historical and literary
journals. He also provides hunting and dog training
seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods
retailers nationwide and works with other outdoors
businesses and conservation organizations in the
fields of public relations, promotional marketing,
fund-raising, and advertising. He also is a partner
in Silver Mallard Properties, LLC. He currently
resides with his wife, Wilma, their Weimaraner,
Smoky Joe, and their Labrador Retriever, Jake, in
Branson, Missouri, where he founded the
Branson/Tri-Lakes Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in 1998.