Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Call For Conservation

Although it is with great excitement, anticipation, and joy when I get to visit Blue River each time, these days I almost dread what I believe I will see.

It seems to me that Blue is slowly wasting away of late, her level ever lowering. We received massive amounts of rainfall this past spring and early summer but the rain came in the form of torrential downpours, flooding occurred and most of the water simply ran-off. The Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer, which is the lifeblood of Blue, did receive a recharge but now the river continues to lower.

The fact is this area has been in an extended drought, remains in that drought, and is prone to drought. And, even though we have been in a long drought and prone to more drought conditions there are still those that wish to drill, pump, and remove tremendous amounts of water from the aquifer.

Although legislation was passed forbidding any new permits removing water from the aquifer, the mining company Meridian Aggregates was able to circumvent the law and now have a well drilled with a large permit in hand. Not only do they have a permit to pump water they also "scalped" the top of the aquifer in their mining activity and are now having to de-water the pit. Quite simply they are de-watering an aquifer that holds some of the purest water in Oklahoma.

More mining companies have set their sights above the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer. Vulcan Materials have been performing tests in the area and Hanson Aggregates has applied for even a large permit than Meridian applied for.

Water and the way we use it has become and will remain one of the largest issues we have to face as a society. Of course...humanity needs water for drinking and domestic use. However, we simply can't go around drying up our springs, streams, rivers, and waterways.

In the future we must make water conservation a daily thought and practice for in that future lies our future. We must insist that our community, state, and federal governments assist us in practicing water conservation.

In 1903 Theodore Roosevelt wrote and delivered the following. "We tend to think of our natural resources as inexhaustible. This is simply not true." Now, over one hundred years later I have to wonder if we have fully learned what Roosevelt was trying to tell us.

Today, Blue River is struggling in her stream flow. At the monitoring station at Blue, Oklahoma Blue is running at 32 cfs. If we compare this to the average over the last 71 years we see that the average is 110 cfs. The hydraulics and dynamics of this little river has changed.

Blue River can't speak for herself, but you can. I can't imagine a day in my life that this river might not be here. Can you?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Every Dog Has His Day

He was born on Christmas day 1999 and instantly became my constant companion. Being a solid black miniature poodle the name Smokey just seem to fit and so he was so named.

The following year I decided to start taking him to Blue River with me because I have always believed that all dogs, regardless of their breed, inherently love the outdoors. Smokey was no exception.

It didn't seem to matter where I waded in the river, Smokey was always right behind me usually struggling against the current. He was never groomed as a poodle but was kept full and his thick curly hair collected a lot of water that simply caused him problems in the river's current. More than once, I had to dive almost face first into the river to assist the little beggar.

In 2002, Smokey started giving the weekly Trout Scout report on Silly thing actually, a poodle giving a fishing report, but the visitors to the website seemed to get a big kick out of it and it brought a degree of celebrity to Smokey's life. These days when Smokey goes to Blue with me someone will walk by and say "Hey look, it's Smokey the trout scout". And of course as all dogs do, Smokey laps up the extra attention from the folks.

About a month ago I begin to notice some changes in Smokey. We have a daily ritual of me offering a tidbit of people food from my hand and Smokey started struggling to find the offering right in front of his eyes. Then, in my fly tying room I have a foot stool next to my chair and each time I tie Smokey is on the foot stool. He has become unable to estimate the distance from the floor to the stool and now requires assistance. My initial fear was that he was losing his eyesight.

About two weeks ago I took Smokey to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area for a walk. He loves his walks. We had been there less than a minute and that's when Smokey ran head-first into the trunk of a rather large oak tree. That experience pretty much confirmed to me that Smokey is going blind, and the veterinarian has further confirmed this sad fact.

Dogs have always played a profound part in my life. Seems like I have always had a dog. There has been Black Labs, Irish Setters, Black and Tans, Blue Ticks, Beagles, and on and on. All of my previous companions were good friends but none to the degree Smokey has been.

Yes, dogs have been important to me. In college I was a good student but in junior high and high school I was terrible. My mind was always somewhere else, probably Rock Creek since it ran right by the school system. I only read two books completely through junior and high school and they were both about dogs. One was "Big Red" and the other "Weep No More My Lady".

I know that this will be Smokey's last season of Rainbows for he will no longer be able to go. It will be my job now to guide him through life in the days that remain. The fishing report he does may stay up because it's a vicarious thing anyhow and can be done by an alter-ego.

I plan on taking Smokey to Blue River one more time this season. We won't go to fly-fish because it will simply be his day and every dog has his day.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bronchitis And Recession Is Screwing Fly Fishing

Although sad, but quite true, it has been ten days since I have sailed the prairie ocean enroute to Lady Blue. A two week bout with bronchitis has had me listless, tired, sick and tired of being sick and tired and longing to swing a bugger or drift a nymph.

This morning I felt some better but the temperature was twenty-two degrees and as the weather forecaster predicted the night before the wind would be howling. It wasn't only howling it was screaming and had a ferocious bite. looks like another day in the fly tying room creating more flies than I will ever use.

It's not only the bronchitis that is keeping me from fly fishing it's the damn recession. Oh sure, there are still some out there that tell us we are not quite to the point of being in a recession and to that I say bullshit. Crap...I'm not a pup and I have been through several recessions and I know quite well this is simply one more. I hate recessions! I hate it when people lose their jobs, homes, vehicles, and meager life savings they've worked so hard for. I hate recessions because it makes our government announce a quick fix by giving all of us a five-hundred dollar rebate with money the government doesn't even have which simply just adds to the deficit. Five hundred dollars isn't going to help the husband or wife who are about to lose their home.

Then, I hate recessions for another reason. It affects my fly fishing life. I'm a working stiff just like so many others. Not so long ago I could get to Blue River to fly fish and back home for a ten spot or less. These takes at least a Jackson. Jackson here, Jackson there, Jackson three times a adds up in a hurry these days.

I work in the grocery business and I'll be the first to admit that this vital staple of life is at an all time high and the worse is yet to come. At Scotty's Blue River One Stop you can enjoy one of the best hamburgers with all the fixtures, including tomatoes, you could ever expect. Tomatoes are currently $2.99 a pound which increases Scotty's food cost but he is taking it on the chin and staying firm on his antiquated asking price for the burger. The less profit for Scotty results in the less supply menu, in the form of merchandise, for us who angle. It's that simple.

In closing this rant I will suggest that the government in issuing rebates to every individual tax-payer should single out those of us who fly-fish and give us an additional five-hundred dollars. My rationale is that we are a pitiful lot with little self control, addicts if you will, and certainly we all will spend that extra five-hundred dollars in short order spurring the economy. So forget about what I said earlier, you know about adding to the deficit, because I need some fishing money now.