KW Morrow, White River

July 26th, 2004

The Tailwater Conspiracy
By KW Morrow (silvermallard)

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 any luck.

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

About 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, 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.

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