Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Casting Pool

About two minutes from my prairie homestead on the prairie ocean is a place I go to cast a fly line and all that involves. I call it the casting pool. The casting pool is a narrow and long streamflow that gently and serenely makes it's way to a confluence with other waters.

Unlike the casting pools at Cabelas or Bass Pro Shops this one is within the beauty of nature. The main reason I like to come to this place to cast is because of the people that come here for various reasons and add to the appreciation of the outdoors. Some people come to take their daily walk or take their dog on a daily walk. Some come to paint a masterpiece or finish a novel. Some come to meditate and practice their discipline. And then, there is the fly-caster who comes to practice or simply enjoy part of the beauty of being a fly-caster.

If the casting pool has a proper name I do not know what it might be. Speculation would lead me to believe it would have to be called Vendome Stream or Flower Park Stream. The casting pool is the result of an artesian well flow that has been flowing since I was a kid and even earlier than my existence. At one time this area was private property and show-cased one of the most popular swimming pools in Oklahoma - the Vendome Pool.

When the Vendome Pool was in operation it was the place to be when I was a kid. You could swim all day, lay on a sandy (man-made) beach, dive off the high board, slide down the slide, meet girls, and later in the evening you could play billiards above the shower and towel area. Later on a steak-house was added, rock bands were hired to play, and it was simply a hot place to be. I'll never forget the rock band called Wheatstone Bridge. They were a Oklahoma grown band and they imitated Grand Funk Railroad...actually they were better. Also during this exciting time of my youth the Bellview Plunge was in operation and it was touted as the largest swimming pool in Oklahoma. Both owe their fame and existence to the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. In the 1970's both pools closed and the Vendome was acquired by the National Park Service becoming a part of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

A fly-caster can come to this place and not worry about hooking a fish because they're are none. This stream simply flows on it's way to join Travertine Creek and then shortly after that the two together join Rock Creek. It's a web of nature. I don't know exactly what it is about casting that relaxes me so much...I just know that it does. And I know that I wouldn't feel nearly as relaxed casting at some fly shop, Bass Pro, or Cabelas compared to the comfort I get when I'm at the casting pool here on the prairie ocean.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Well Used Vacation Day

I didn't call in sick today but I did burn a day of my 2009 vacation time. I learned a good lesson during 2008 which leans to the old saying "use it or loose it". I lost a full week of vacation time because I simply couldn't find a way to get away from work to take the darn time off. My New Year's resolution though was to use all my vacation time this year and I am holding true to that resolution.

Shoving off from my prairie homestead about fifteen minutes before sun-up I was excited about the prospects of the day. Five minutes down the trail an early morning coyote darted in front of the prairie schooner and I had to back off the ponies to keep from running him down. Guess the coyote was finishing a night out or on an early morning breakfast task.

Pulling into Scotty's I hitched the ponies up long enough to get one of Scotty's breakfast sandwiches. Those puppies are good...fried egg, sausage and cheese on buttered Texas toast.

Arriving at the parking lot at the crossing I decided this was as good a place to start as any. It was still about thirty-five degrees but not bad...just enough to make your hands hurt.

I picked the honey hole above the crossing but after ten minutes I hadn't even received a bump so I went downstream to the flats. At the flats I managed one tiny bow and once I did I moved further downstream. My plan today was to fish the entire campground area.

I passed the riffles and went to where they plunge pool into the top end of Ted's Pool. Here I took my second bow and again it was time to move on.

Now I was headed for the bottom end of Ted's Pool just above Horseshoe Falls. If you like taking small trails you'll love where I was today. From the plunge pool of the riffles you can pick up some small trails that will take you to Horseshoe Falls. Taking these trails prove to be a neat and enjoyable experience but watch the briars - they're thick.

Once again at Ted's Pool it was bow after bow but I didn't want to sore-mouth too many of them. I stayed long enough to get my bow count up to nine and decided to go on dowstream eventually working my way down to Seventeen. At Horseshoe Falls I didn't get a bump and give it about ten minutes, plus I picked up some dang trash off the falls. The river seemed more littered today than usual.

At Horseshoe Falls there is water coming over the fringes but the entire middle of the falls which is the majority of this structure is barely wet. There are just trickles of water here and there.

I carried the trash I had in hand to the campsite at the bluff above Horseshoe and then decided to take a brisk walk back to the parking lot to get the Prairie Schooner. Along my hike I noticed some campsite improvements that Matt and crew have been working on. At campsite four I picked up the trail back to the river and once again found a big mess along the river bank.

Take a look at that big wad of fishing line that was simply tossed down on the bank. Discarded fishing line can become a death sentence to fowl, fish, and other aquatic creatures. Crap people...pick up your trash!

Personally, I think littering on Blue should carry a minimum $1000.00 fine. That stiff a fine should break people from sucking eggs and throwing their crap down on the bank or worse in the water. Maybe there should be a five cents surcharge on every container, package, or vessel of Power Bait, Salmon Eggs, or other baits. That nickel surcharge per container would be earmarked to the State to help cover their costs of their employees having to pick up other people's trash.

I drove down to Seventeen to fish it and there were a few bait fishers already there when I arrived. Sam's Rock looked inviting so I parked my butt there and watched the water for awhile. Seventeen look fairly void of fish but then I saw a trout splash the top of the water. I tried my best to ignore that splash and tossed a bugger. If there were numbers of trout at Seventeen they didn't want a bugger or nymphs. Thinking about that splash I decided what the heck and tied on a dry. The dry chosen was Ralph's Ole Gray and with the first cast Ole Gray found a bow. Three casts later Ole Gray found another but two bows would be it at Seventeen.

I left Seventeen and stopped at another spot that's never produced well for me but today was a different story. Finding a small honey hole I took five bows in short order.

Glory Hole was the next stop and Glory Hole was also good to me today offering up five bows.

I still hadn't fished Area 2 so upstream I went but upon getting there another angler had the spot I wanted to fish so I left it to him. I ended up the day with twenty-one bows which is an excellent day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wonderful World Of Buggers

Without a doubt the wooly bugger is a fly we don't want to be without when we're on the river Blue or for most of the waters we fish. Can we build a better bugger? I don't know that we can but we can certainly make tremendous adaptations to the basic bugger.

For a long time I tied all my buggers using chenille as body material but I've gotten away from that standard over the last five years or so. These days I mainly use dubbing for the body of the bugger. Sure...I still use chenille...standard colored chenille, variegated chenille, and even sparkle chenille and they all work wonderfully. But I like the dubbed body look and the slimmer body that it makes.

Now we can use all kind of colors on our buggers. We can tie a solid olive or black bugger or we can tie a bugger with an olive tail, black body and olive hackle. We can finish buggers using the same colored thread as the main thrust of the bugger or we can give it a red throat or black throat. We can use a variety of material for the tailing of the buggers. Buggers present all kinds of possibilities.

I have a friend who likes to turkey hunt and he really seems to enjoy it. I have more turkey feathers than you can imagine and I really don't tie that many flies that call for turkey. Recently I started tying buggers with turkey material particularly with the soft fibers or what is commonly called aftershaft. I like them so far and I think they will fish well.

I don't know if one bugger works better than another but the one I've always been able to count on is one I call the olive split tail yellow. This bugger has just a hint of yellow in the tail on the bottom. I truly believe this is the fly that has kept me from the thralls of the skunk fairy for over seven years now.

Buggers come in all sizes, colors, variations, and one's creativity is what make them so fun to tie.

This is a bugger using the turkey aftershaft I was talking about. I call this one a red-throated tuft tail olive.

Simply changing colors we can have a red-throated tuft tail black.

Grizzly always seems to be a good choice for a bugger and this particular tail is a fan tail with gray body.

This is a red-throated red split tail olive. Another great taker of trout.

Here is a dubbed marabou body red-throated black marabou bugger.

Now buggers may not be our fly of choice but for sure they work. A bugger is not my favorite fly...I prefer a Hare's Ears, Midge, or Adams any day. But one point we can't argue is that buggers work and they work well most of the time. Buggers fall in that "if it ain't broke don't fix it" category.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Review Of The L L Bean Wader Review

It's been almost a year now since I purchased a new set of waders and chose L L Bean. Upon receiving my new waders I wrote a review here on this blog because there existed quite a discussion about high end waders versus cost effective waders. The review I wrote was very favorable for my cost effective L L Bean's and you may ask whether my opinion has changed after a year. Well, here's the review of my L L Bean wader review.

I still like them! I've worn them at least fifty times by now, been through thickets, thorns, briars, and even met a couple of broken tree limbs and I'm still high and dry - not a single leak. Now, that's saying a lot for a pair of waders worn by yours truly because I tend to be haphazard and rough on stuff.

Back in November I purchased a cost effective pair of L L Bean wading shoes and the verdict is still out on these puppies. I like them but they have yet give me the sense of being real sturdy and durable. Time will tell and I'll certainly pass on information about these wading boots.

So, after a year the "cost effective", "I told you so", "I'd spend $300.00 on a good pair Barry" L L Bean waders are doing just fine and my skinny butt is dry in the river.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In Front Of The Front

Today it was almost sixty degrees by the time Miss Carol and I got to the river Blue. On the way down we both noticed how wet the trail was, like it had rained but it hadn't. Heavy dew was glistening on the prairie grass making a shining like carpet out of the grasses. The "arctic express" was still somewhere in the upper plains headed south toward the prairie ocean and expected to arrive early on Sunday.

Now, the old salts of the river tell us to always fish in front of a front because this promises excellent fishing. Walton tells us when the wind is out of the south it blows the bait in the fishes mouth. Today, I was fishing in front of a front with a strong south wind so you would think my catching would be excellent wouldn't you. was in a way. I caught bows and that makes for a dandy day but I had to really work for the dozen I battled in the three hours I was on the river. For me today there wasn't any pockets with bow after bow but rather one or two and then it would be time to move on. The bows really seemed off the bite to me.

Miss Carol went with me today and she donned her waders and carried her rod but she really didn't want to fish so I didn't push the issue. Carol was busy doing her "collecting". She likes to look for things left behind by others (artifacts of modern man) and things that nature has discarded. I did convince her to explore the "Scatters" with me and today we walked across five braids of the river and there were several more in front of us but we left them for another day.

I ended up catching all my bows on olive buggers today. I actually started off with a size 16 beadhead flashback pheasant tail but got zero results which really seemed strange to me. I ran into a couple of other fly fishers and they were also using nymphs and they too weren't having any success at that point.

I fished the bugger by swinging, stripping, upstream, down, and even under an indicator. The action was sporadic to say the least and I had to wade from pool to pool, pocket to pocket to find the bows.

As I went upstream I found a spot on the bank I could attempt to make a decent roll cast. I found a couple of bows in a seam there but what was driving me bonkers was the risers in the middle of the river with me no room to make a back-cast and this particular part of the river was simply not wadeable. I left the risers to their frolics.

I went just as far upstream to reach the Ancient Boulders and waded across the river to a spot that usually holds bows. It was here I did better than any other place that I fished today. I battled five bows in about fifteen minutes while Miss Carol took a siesta on the bank. We both were pretty much done for the day and shortly headed back downstream on our way back to our prairie home.