Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Bows At Ted's Pool

Last night I sit down at the tying table and created a foursome of buggers along with a couple of flashback pheasant tails because I knew I would be visiting Blue again today.

I walked into Scotty's about five minutes after eleven and immediately saw something that holds my fancy...a cardiac on a stick. Corn dogs are wonderful aren't they? I know very well that corn dogs aren't good for me and my health issues, but the way I have it figured it's doubtful there are corn dogs in I'm going to eat as many as I can now. Oh, I grabbed a Coor's Light too because I know dang well there aren't any of those in heaven.

With corn dog in mouth, Coor's Light in left hand, I gathered the reins of the prairie schooner with my right hand and slapped leather across the butt of the ponies and we made trail to the river. The corn dog and beer never had a chance and they were gone in short order giving me a satisfied palate and buzz at the same time.

After walking four miles yesterday in the south wilderness I was looking for something different today. I turned downstream in Area 1 and slowly passed the sandbar, island, flats, and riffles and all were pretty much void of people but I passed all these spots up. Further downstream I slowed again to look at Horseshoe Falls and saw four anglers there. Horseshoe Falls is an area I don't fish much and was pretty much the kind of area I was looking for today. Further down there were a few risers at Glory Hole and I passed them up too. Can't believe I passed up risers. At Seventeen there were a host of anglers so I made the circle drive and went back to the bluff above Horseshoe Falls and hitched the ponies there.

The bluff at Horseshoe Falls is an anthology of granite boulders that are time worn and telling. Fissures in the boulders suggest icing that occurred millions of years ago. Many scoff at the idea of icing this far south while others believe in the "snowball earth" theory. Regardless of which thinking is right, some event took place to cause such scarring and unique structuring in these rocks.

Directly above Horseshoe Falls is Ted's Pool. Now, I don't know who Ted was because I never got to meet him but I do know this stretch of water has held his namesake for as long as I can remember. Ted's Pool is a long wide stretch of water which basically can't be waded. Some of the deepest water on the river can be found at Ted's Pool and the lower end just above Horseshoe Falls has some pockets or holes that have to be fifteen or twenty feet deep. I waded out about fifteen feet onto a ledge and cast upstream into the dark green water with a red-ass bugger. Today required an agonizing slow drift and gathering strip allowing the fly to fall deep enough into the column. Once the fly fell deep enough a slow gathering strip was employed and that is when the strike would come. The bows today were low and slow but they were quite eager. Just like yesterday, but not as quickly actioned, it was a bow with every cast. There were two anglers on the bank to my right using spinners and they weren't getting any results at all. I could tell that their retrieve was much too fast and the lure wasn't getting low enough in the water column. After I battled eleven straight bows I decided to fish Horseshoe Falls.

I only had to wade about thirty feet to get to Horseshoe Falls and there were four other anglers fishing here. I was kind of sandwiched in between anglers and alders so I simply made some short roll casts off the falls. The bows at Horseshoes had a no-hitter in mind for me and for a time I thought they were going to pull it off. However, I started casting across a current and fishing through the swing. Even this proved challenging because if you came out of the swing to quickly the results was nada. I took several bumps before I finally landed a bow and the bow community had to settle for a 1-0 game. I found it amazing in wading just thirty feet I went from a rich pot of bows at Ted's Pool to basically nothing at Horseshoe Falls.

I stayed a few more minutes at Horseshoe before deciding to go look upstream. The middle of Horseshoe Falls barely had any water coming over it today but had good discharge on the fringes.

Going back upstream I looked at the water below the crossing and decided to give it a dozen or so casts. I waded out onto Chuck's Ledge and the bows here were also looking for a shut-out. I still had the same fly on which was the red-ass bugger. I took one bump and then a rock took my red-ass. I tied a yellow tail bugger on and captured one bow but then that damn rock took my yellow tail. Next, I tied a fluro-bugger on and made short casts of twenty feet directly upstream and found a pocket that had bows. I stayed long enough to capture three more bows and then it was time for me to go.

The river looked really good today and although there were anglers there wasn't that many people on the water today.

Tomorrow's weather looks really promising and I'm tempted to be back with Blue but guess I better not chance it with the workplace.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas Present

Today, being the day after Christmas, begin as a wonderful present to me. I walked out of my house on the way to work at five this morning and was greeted with a rather balmy temperature of sixty-six degrees. Not only was the temperature quite pleasant, the wind was lying low which was contra to what the weather forecaster's had predicted. I knew very well if I hit the work-place and hit it hard I could be on the river Blue in just a short time.

I did just that!

I was off the job by 9:30 a.m. and gearing up shortly thereafter. My goal was to sail to Blue and fish the kingdom of the south wilderness for the first time this season.

From my home port I plotted the east by southeast course and sailed the Prairie Schooner to the mooring harbor of the south wilderness. My thinking along the course was that the south wilderness would give me some solitude from the crowds but upon mooring the schooner in the harbor of the south wilderness I counted at least a dozen other vessels that had also docked there.

But still this was proving to me a most perfect day with some much needed time off of work, a completely overcast sky, and extraordinary temperatures. The one thing that was making this less than a perfect day was the toothache I had in tow. But, once I hit the trail on my way to the kingdom of the south wilderness I never once noticed the throbbing of that bottom jaw tooth.

Trekking on the main trail, I decided to take a diversion into the Scatters. The Scatters is a unique area and I have often wondered if the bows work their way down from the upstream stocking point which is Coyote Pass Falls...about a half-mile upstream. This question has been particularly on my mind with the low water conditions this season has experienced.

Again, the Scatters is special. The river braids, forks, diverts in six, seven, perhaps eight different courses and there is pool after pool, riffle after riffle, emanating from falls after falls. The old salts warn us to be careful in the Scatters because it is easy to get turned around and loose your way...and I can certainly see their point.

I looked for pools to plop a fly into to test my theory about the bows migration. I fished four different pools and only found one bow so I think it can be said that the bows do indeed work their way down. However, if one plans on fishing the Scatters in hopes of battling bows it will prove to be a challenge. There are countless fishing opportunities but I hold true to my belief that the bows are few and far between in conditions like we are experiencing.

Exploring the Scatters on an overcast day also brings an enchanting air to the adventure. With the overcast sky the life in the air can more easily be seen. Remnants, pollen, and life-giving seeds can be seen floating through the air.

The rock formations, trees, and tranquility of the Scatters adds to the experience of an enchanted and special place. For me today this was especially true being that it was an overcast day. However, even on a bright sunlit day with the sun filtering through the trees, the same experience can be had.

The number of falls within the Scatters is the most amazing thing. There has to be at least a couple of hundred falls ranging from six inches high to two or three feet high. Within this half-mile or less of river the elevation of Blue surely falls by three, four or maybe even five feet.

I eventually waded out of the Scatters and went directly to Coyote Pass Falls. Here I tied on the Flash Back Pheasant Tail and cast upstream. My goodness...I must have found a magical pot of Rainbows because it was a bow with every cast. After the tenth bow my Pheasant Tail no longer had a Pheasant Tail and was looking quite ragged. I kept fishing it and caught about five more before I decided to go upstream and explore more of the south wilderness kingdom.

I made my way to the Cove and it was here I found six other anglers. I spoke with a couple of anglers and then told them I would get out of their way. I walked around and squatted on the falls upstream watching a young fly-fisher upstream fish for the bows. He was casting upstream and drifting and stripping back. I figure he had a bugger on but never asked. I decided to plop a bugger down in the water directly in front of me and quickly took a bow. After three or four more plops I still had only one bow from the Cove so I proceeded upstream.

Walking upstream I passed a couple of bait anglers on the bank fishing wide and flat water. About fifty feet past them I saw the same exact water and an access to the river. The access brought me to a bank about three feet above the river with that wide, flat, dark emerald water. It was water that did not look inviting especially with the trees and brushes on my left and right. But, I decided to give it a shot. The trees and brushes started a quarrel with my fly-line right off the bat but I found a narrow avenue that I could make the twenty-five foot or so roll cast. I was doubtful as to the results.

Was I ever wrong!

Again, it was a rich, fertile, well propagated pool of dandy, colorful, and healthy bows. Cast after cast brought fish after fish. I couldn't believe it myself because this is not my favorite kind of water. At this point I realized that the inventory of bows in the kingdom of the south wilderness is currently outstanding!

I continued upstream wanting to go all the way to Dividing Line Falls. Usually, I walk as if I'm in a hurry but not today. I gingerly walked the trail like a man walking his dog. It was neat.

I arrived at the Waters of the Ancient Boulders and without a doubt this is the toughest place on the river, in my opinion, to wade. With the wind howling at this point the wading would be tougher. I waded out as far as I could stepping on the round exposed boulders as often as possible. However, round exposed boulders have submerged beveled sides and deep crevices that they root from. When I went belly-button high I stopped because I had Miss Carol's Camera in my shirt-pocket and didn't want to compromise it or my good graces with her.

Two casts were made to a favorite pool and both casts produced bows but then it was like someone shut the light-switch off. I turned my attention upstream to that dark emerald water and once more it was like after fish. I was done!

On the way back to the Prairie Schooner and the two-mile walk in front of me, I checked each trash barrel for cans. I only found a few but they'll end up with the rest of my cans on the way to the recycling center.

All in all today I guess I battled close to thirty bows. It was a wonderful day after Christmas present.

Adding to my pleasure of having such a day for a present was how Lady Blue looked today. In spite of prolonged drought, she actually looked quite vibrant and healthy. On the sail back to my home harbor I stopped at the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery to take a look at Blue's little sister Pennington Creek and she also was looking better.

I haven't wanted anything for Christmas for a number of years now. But...this year I did and it was some form of precipitation on the Prairie Ocean. I didn't get that. But, the weatherman is saying there's a good chance we will tomorrow so tomorrow may be a "two days after Christmas" present.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two Bows And Distress On The Prairie Ocean

This past Sunday was quite an unpleasant day for me. I found myself going to the workplace and upon arriving there I carried with me a sense of dread. I had a most unsavory task to do which was to tell a young man he no longer had a job. For me...I just soon take a ass kicking. The lad in question indeed had some problems in dealing with the wonderment of simply being young. He couldn't seem to find a balance between responsibility and having a good ole time. I reminded myself of an old saying, "Every man has his troubles", but this wasn't the case of a man but rather a case of transition from boyhood, with seeds to be sowed, to the threshold of becoming a man. I fulfilled my dreaded deed and afterwards felt terrible.

As it is with my workplace I have figured out ways to excuse myself for a couple, maybe three hours, so at a time around mid-morning I decided to do just that. I needed to get away from the events of that Sunday morning and go somewhere to cleanse my mind of what had taken place at work.

I walked out of the store and hopped in the prairie schooner stopping at the house long enough to get my waders, rod, and camera and to the Lady Blue I pushed the ponies. I stopped along the way to take a picture of a drought ridden lake which is becoming a more common sight on the prairie ocean. The prairie ocean is in distress and we are in urgent need of moisture.

I stopped by Scotty's long enough to hang a lost and found poster about the two pieces of the four piece fly rod that Lane Kregel found in the catch and release area. Lane seems determined to find the owner of this gear. From Scotty's I went straight to Seventeen which has become my refuge at Blue. On this day I found solitude at Seventeen.

I waded into the river knowing I had less, much less actually, than an hour to seek the bows. I only wanted to commune with a couple of bows and as it would turn out two bows are what I met.

I named the first bow "Prize Fighter" because this bow seem to have that kind of attitude. The second I called "Splasher" and with both bows I was surprisingly pleased with their size...they were about normal for stockers at this time in the season. I had two bows and it was time to go. I had to get back to the workplace...that wretched place that gives me the means of getting by and buying some fly fishing stuff from time to time. It's one hell of a vicious circle.

Before I left I took another picture to record evidence of what the prolonged drought on the prairie ocean has produced. I've been on the Blue and the prairie oceans for quite some years now and I am seeing more and more signs of distress with both.

On the way back to the workplace I decided to take a short-cut and drive between two of the mining quarries that exist within the prairie ocean. The quarry to my south is the newest quarry and the subject of the latest threat to the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. Actually, this is the quarry that has scalped the quarry and now de-watering their mining pits. The quarry to my north is a silica plant and has been there for as long as I can remember. They've been operating for years without much scrutiny because they are established and water simply wasn't the issue years ago as it is today. But...I found something very interesting.

I crossed a feeder stream that actually had noticeable streamflow to it. I probably passed a half of dozen other feeder streams along my way that had absolutely no stream flow. What I was seeing wasn't a natural flow, but flow from "de-watering". Pure and fresh water from the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer is going downstream on it's way to the Red River to mix with the salty saliva of the Gulf. That's sad.

This past Sunday I experienced distress at the workplace and then found distress on the prairie ocean. However, I had one hour of wonderful solitude and reflection on the river Blue. Blue didn't take away all of the heaviness on my mind but in the time I was with her those concerns seem to dissipate in thin air.