The Spring Creeks of the Midwest may not have many "Native" fish but they do have plenty of wild fish. Most these fish are as native as you and I, these creeks provide a habitat for these self sustaining trout to thrive. The three species of wild trout here in the Midwest: Rainbows, Browns, and Brooke trout. Brooke trout being the only native species, which is actually a member of the Char family. The average size of fish found in these creeks are typically between 6-12 inches, we considered anything over 14 inches a solid fish. There are a few 20+ inch fish swimming in these waters and would make for a fish of a lifetime.
The small spring creeks provide a unique opportunity to fish like no where else. The fish can be ridiculously spooky, stealth is an absolute must. These are not the trout park fish that eat shit off the bottom of your boots while wading. Typically once these guys know you're there they'll quit eating and flee for cover. The wild fish are way more in touch with their surroundings and when something is off it makes it very difficult to get them to eat. We've discussed some of the techniques to help minimize spooking the fish before, but here are some of the major ones that come to mind. Slow down and minimize noise both on the bank and in the water. 95% of the time fish up stream unless there is no other way to fish a run or pool. Wear drab colors to help blend in with the background. Fish the longest leader you can get away with. This is where I would sacrifice length for line control. Having good line control and being able to place the first cast where you want it is more important then the length of your leader.
Finding fishable water in the Midwest is not difficult with the great online resource available. The local fly shows typically have good fishing reports, the DNR websites provide good outlined maps of public fishing spots, and also the message boards/forums provide good local information. There is a link to the Ozark Anglers Forum and the Driftless Trout Anglers forum on the Supporting the Locals page. Start planning now for your exploration next spring. There are a few weeks left to fish some of the wild trout streams here in Missouri, before the spawn starts. Although the streams do not close we typically leave the fish alone to do their thing. There are plenty of great places to fish during this time that are not dependent on the spawn. Also keep in mind that deer season has started and most of the conservation areas allow hunting, wear a bright hat possible spooking a fish or two isn't worth getting mistaken for a deer.