Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Monday, November 30, 2009

Santy's Reply - Warp Speed X 10

Wow...that was fast!

Seems like Santy has two lists he keeps. One is the "What I Want For Christmas List" and the other is the "you know what" list. Looks like I'm on the latter.'s his reply.

Dear Barry,

This is to acknowledge that we did receive your wish list letter at the North Pole. I want you to know that I gave your wishes careful consideration. However,...after retrieving your file from the naughty or nice database I did find, should I say this,... well there were a number of red flags that popped up if you will.

The left side of the list was rather lengthy and I simply can't list all the infractions therein, so I just want to highlight a few so you'll know exactly where you stand.

For example, there seemed to be an incident at the workplace where you decided to take a roll of shrink wrap and completely engulf a co-workers vehicle. That in itself is not so bad but unfortunately the poor guy was expecting the birth of his first-born child that day...which did take place. To compound things, there was a torrential rain that came and this poor chap spent two hours cutting the shrink wrap from his car so he could rush to the hospital to witness the birth of his child...which we now know...he missed.

That's not very nice Barry.

The second thing that stood out also involved another co-worker. It seems this guy drove a pickup to work each day and parked in such a manner that once he left work he approached his vehicle from the front. In other words Barry, and this is something I'm sure you studied vigorously...he never looked at his tailgate. For some reason you decided to tape a sign on his tailgate that read "I just married my sister!". Barry, the poor guy got the living crap beat out of him that same day in front of the Golden Chick because of that sign.

That wasn't very nice either Barry.

Then lastly. It seems you developed some bizarre pattern or infatuation of breaking wind in the early morning hours and pulling the covers over Miss Carol's head. I'm sure Miss Carol relishes each of those memorable occasions.

You're kind of a sick puppy Barry.

Long story short ain't getting squat on that list. You're getting in "not a" dadgum thing.

On second thought however, since I have to come your way anyhow, you can expect two things from me on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve as I fly over your house I'll toss you a couple of packages of size 12 streamer hooks (Mustad 9672's to be exact), in hopes this will be enough to keep your little demented mind pacified for the coming year.

The second thing you can expect from me Barry is this. On Christmas Eve at eleven-forty-ish (like you said), you'll be standing in your front yard, drinking beer, scratching your butt probably, and peering up in the sky as I fly by.

Barry...look for my middle finger.

I plan on painting it fluorescent orange just to make sure you see it.

Ho, Ho, Ho, and Merry friggin Christmas you little prick.

Oh, by the way...the middle finger thing was the idea of Mrs. Claus.


Cyber Monday For Fly Anglers

Today is that day that many outdoor based retailers are offering great deals to fill those Christmas stockings.

If you are an on-line shopper you might want to take a quick look at what some of these retailers have to offer because many of their bargains end tomorrow.

I've picked out a few just to entice you and I hope you enjoy our visits.

Cabelas. Better act soon.

Bass Pro. Yep, their promotion is coming to an end soon too.

Orvis. Orvis is the King Kong of the fly fishing retailing world and they have some good deals going.

L.L. Bean. I love L.L. Bean and they are one of my favorite outdoor retailers.

Hope everyone finds that perfect fly-fishing gift.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Letter To Santy

It's time to get your "What I want for Christmas" letters mailed off to the north pole. I mailed mine yesterday and want to share what's on my list.

Dear Santy,

How's it hanging big guy? Figure you and the boys are pretty hooked-up right now so thought I better get my list to ya. This year's list is about the same as last years which brings me to another subject. Try not and be such a cheese ball this year - tis the season of giving you know!

Here's the list.

Sage TCS 4 wt. 9 ft. Fly Rod
Ross Airius 4 wt. Fly Reel
Okuma Helios H-56 5 wt. Fly Reel
Orvis Wonderline 4 wt. WF (get some backing too)
Froghair 6X (A whole bunch of it)
Fishpond Blue River Chest/Lumbar PaCK
Another set of LL Bean Waders (They're great)
Whiting Olive Grizzly Buggerpacks (Two packages please)

Well, that about wraps it up Santy. Figure you'll be flying over my house around eleven-fourtyish or something so I'll be standing out in the front yard drinking beer.

Merry Christmas to ya Santy...and give Mrs. Claus a big wet one for me.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Water Temperatures And Strategy

Looking at the coming weather predicted here on the prairie ocean it's time to think about how the cooler water temperatures will effect our fishing strategies for the bows of the Blue.

Over the years I have tried to keep hand-written notes as to the weather, sky conditions, and water temperatures while fishing at Blue. I must admit that many times it's difficult to read my own writing but non-the-less through these notes I've developed my own theory about water temps and capturing trout.

Again, this is just my theory and has no concrete basis as if it will work for anyone else...but hopefully my synopsis will.


When the water temperature is fifty or below:

Fish the deep pools.
Dead drift nymphs bouncing them on the bottom.
If fishing streamers then fish low in the column and slow in the action.

Fish during the middle of the day.

When the water temperature is between 50-55:

Again, dead drift the nymphs on bottom or use tandem rig so as to have a middle column trailer. Increase speed and movement on streamers.

Fish mid-morning to evening.

When the water temperature is between 55-65 (optimum):

Look for the risers and match with dries. Drift nymphs and also swing. Drift, high stick the wets and take the swing and let rest. Swing the streamers and rest, then strip.

Fish all day long.

When the water temperature is between 65-70:

Oh boy...stress is building up in the bows. Look for risers, fish small nymph patterns. Look for spring-creek confluences and fish the shade. Panic strip streamers from shaded banks.

Fish early.

Once more...these are moves or decisions that have worked for me over the years.

I would welcome comments from other Blue fly-fishers as to other strategies. Simply post a comment and add your thoughts.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Another Thanksgiving On Blue

Trout Season 2009/2010 Trout Fishing Day 10

This was my twentieth Thanksgiving to work at the same place and I guess I should be quite thankful for that fact. And...I am. I'm particularly thankful this year because the job situation looks like I may find myself adrift on the sea of joblessness at any time.

Today also was my eleventh year in a row to spend at least part of Thanksgiving day with the Lady Blue.

Battling a chest cold and feeling rather crummy the thought of not going at all crossed my mind but still I was compelled to go. Spending time with the river seems to have become some kind of requirement of my very existence. Fishing didn't seem all that important today...just being there did, but still I would put on the waders and cut the waters.

At Chris's Pool the risers were crazy and there was a mixture of black and grey bugs on the surface. Convinced I could entice them with a soft hackle I flung that sucker and hoped for the best. The wind was giving me more battle than the bows at first but finally I got into a rhythm and met a couple of bows.

Down in the channel there was a flurry of activity so I waded there. In the channels is challenge fishing, at least to me, because of the tight casting. However, if you can pull the cast off the fishing is priceless. More bows would be met in the channels but the bows actually got the best of the jousting with more strikes than I.

Today I was thankful for the chance to be on such a special natural occurring river as Blue. She is quite special.

Hope we all will remember our troops this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oklahoma Wildlife Department Becomes More Proactive

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is now offering an additional chance for the outdoor community to address issues, concerns, and hopes.

The wildlife department has always held public hearings partially as a requirement and to gain input on specific topics that affect the department and the sportsman. But now, the wildlife department is taking it a step further by announcing Town Hall meetings where the format won't be so structured.

This is the perfect chance for the sportsman or woman to get involved in the development of new programs and policy changes within the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

Here is the wildlife departments news release.

Sportsmen will have a new opportunity this year to voice their thoughts on wildlife, hunting and fishing related issues at one of several town hall meetings held across the state by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
“These town hall meetings are a chance for sportsmen to have open discussions with Wildlife Department officials about matters that affect them directly,” said Micah Holmes, information and education supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “In the past, the Wildlife Department has held public hearings where discussions are usually limited to a posted meeting agenda, and while the Department will still collect formal comments on proposals, these town hall meetings provide a better opportunity for sportsmen to discuss other matters on their mind.”
At each town hall meeting, visitors will have the chance to speak with Wildlife Department officials about a range of topics of their choice. Law enforcement and wildlife and fisheries biologists from the Wildlife Department will be on hand to answer questions and facilitate discussion.
Meetings are scheduled for Dec. 7, 8, 9 and 11 at locations statewide. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. The following is listing of dates and locations:

December 7, 2009, 7 p.m.
Enid – Central Fire Station, 410 W. Garriott

December 8, 2009, 7 p.m.
Ada – Ponotoc Technology Center, 601 West 33rd
Jenks – Tulsa Technology Center, Riverside Campus, 801 E. 91st Street
McAlester – Kiamichi Technology Center, 301 Kiamichi Drive: SW corner of Hwy 69 and Hwy 270
Lawton – Great Plains Technology Center, 4500 W. Lee Blvd

December 9, 2009, 7 p.m.
Muskogee – Muskogee Public Library, 801 W. Okmulgee
Clinton – Senior Citizen Center, 323 S. 8th Street

December 11, 2009, 7 p.m.
Oklahoma City – Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Auditorium, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd.

In addition to the new town hall meetings, the Wildlife Department also will be hosting three public hearings Jan. 11-12. One of the three hearings — to be held in Oklahoma City — will have an agenda that includes a slate of proposed rule changes to Oklahoma's hunting and fishing laws, while two others held in Miami and Pryor will have agendas limited to fisheries topics.
Unlike town hall meetings, public hearings discussion is limited to a pre-established meeting agenda that includes a slate of proposed hunting or fishing rule changes. Examples include increasing opportunities for hunters and anglers and adding new laws to better conserve wildlife. The meeting agendas will be posted online at Dec. 1, and the public can comment at the meetings or online.
“If you are not able to make one of the public hearings, we encourage you to provide your comments through anytime before 4:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 2010,” Holmes said.
Additionally, those interested can submit written comments by mail to our main office in Oklahoma City (P.O. Box 53465, OKC, OK 73152).
Meetings will be held at 7 p.m. at the following locations:

January 11, 2010, 7 p.m.
Oklahoma City – Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Auditorium, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Miami – Miami Civic Center, 129 5th Ave NW, Banquet Room (Fisheries topics only)

January 12, 2010, 7 p.m.
Pryor – OSU Extension Office, 2200 NE 1st Street (Mayes County Fairgrounds) (Fisheries topics only)

Fly Of The Week

The Brassie

They say dynamite comes in small packages and this saying is particularly true when it comes to this simple pattern the Brassie.

The Brassie is simple in design and quite easy to tie. Consisting of only two materials - fine copper wire and dubbing, this fly will cause an explosion of activity in the trout community.

Having a body of copper wire adds weight to the fly and gets it down into the column. The Brassie can be nymphed alone or used as a dropper or trailer.

Originally the Brassie was tied as a copper body fly but now with the introduction of colored wires it can be tied to produce a varied scheme of colors and possibilities.

Tie this pattern in sizes 12 to 20 for best results. I use a curved caddis hook for the Brassie.

Good fishing!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend Fishing

Trout Fishing 2009/2010 Day 9


It seemed like Saturday was a near repeat of Friday and I was greeted with the same grey soupy sky while riding down the prairie ocean trail.

Actually I got a little earlier start Saturday leaving the bunkhouse about ten o'clock. John Mellencamp rode down with me and I always enjoy what he has to say. About half way to Blue, on the side of the road was a dead doe that had given her life not for the thrill of the hunt but rather at the grill of a damn vehicle. Eyes wide open, glaring like black mirrors...what a terrible waste on the prairie ocean and a sad sight to see.

Today, I decided to fish the island even though it was heavy with anglers. Unlike yesterday I decided not to use the soft hackle but stick with the olive/yellow split-tail bugger and with the very first cast I met the first bow of the day.

Again, the bows were frolicking but I paid them no attention and kept presenting the bugger. The action wasn't fast and furious but rather steady. The frolickers were certainly a distraction but for the life of me I could not see what was causing their explosions on the surface. It had to be small...very small.

Fishing for an hour and a half I would leave the river coming to know nine more of the bow community.

Trout Fishing 2009/2010 Day Ten Fishing


Today I got an even earlier start leaving the bunkhouse at nine-thirty but having to ride into Tishomingo to make a delivery would end up putting me at the river about the same time as Saturday.

This morning there is no soupy sky and the sun is trying to burn off the wide spread haze. The fog is heavy-breathed on the trail down which causes me to pull up on the reins a couple of times along the trail.

I decide to stay around the crossing both above and below. Lots of fishers on the river today but the fishing is slow to say the least. After an hour I have only three bows to my credit - one taken below the crossing, the other two above on the bugger.

I keep wanting to go to the island but it is covered with people. Continuing to wait, a chance to fish the island finally comes open... and to these sweet waters I go. The fishing is even slower at the island and the risers are going nuts. I try Ole Grey and get two takers but no hook-sets. Then I dress Ole Grey and start getting lots of refusals. Evidently my dressing screwed Ole Grey up. There are thousands of grey colored mayflies up above in the wide water so I'm convinced this is what the bows want but it's just not working. I have another look and see some black bugs mixed in so I go to a Griffiths Gnat (way too large) and it produces absolutely nothing.

Starting to think emergers I try a hare's ear and get one take but that's it. Then comes the red midge larvae and I catch two.

It's about this time the big bows show up and they are a threesome. They travel together and even have a tag-along in the form of a small trout. These poor creatures have been tossed and flung at since derby weekend and they are as nervous and guarded as a community of Meerkats.

Kids are having a great time splashing in the middle of the Island pool which doesn't help the fishing any. I give up...and decide to go downstream.

Downstream with the bugger back on I quickly catch four more bows which brings me to nine just like the day before. I am's time to go.

The river is as clear as I've ever seen her and the level is still good but diminishing every so slightly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fishing A Wet As A True Wet

Across the prairie ocean this morning there was a grey slate colored envelope engulfing the whole. As it is with an overcast sky I have this belief that the fly-fishing will be good. With an overcast sky there's no glare or casting of shadows. Therefore to the river Blue I traveled.

I arrived at Scotty's shortly before noon and he was cooking Scotty burgers so of course I had to have me one to go. You can't go wrong with a Scotty Burger.

At Seventeen as I was killing the burger I noticed the riser's popping up in the pool below. Yes...the noses were coming up...not abundantly but enough to make a fly angler want to toss a dry. In the Prairie Schooner I had already convinced myself that the noses coming up were after midges but once I got to the river's edge I realized how wrong I was.

The bows were after a mayfly with the color grey, or Adams, and to me they seemed a rather large size. My best judgement told me size 14 but I usually don't carry a dry that large to the river Blue. However, I remembered Ralph James Ole Grey pattern and I just happened to have one about size 18. It went on the tippet.

The first five minutes of casting resulted in absolutely nothing but eventually I would get two takers...just couldn't get a hook in them. Then...the noses went down appearing not to return for sometime.

Standing there in the river I kept thinking about how the riser's were acting with their fast and hurried almost panicked like rises and this led me to believe that a wet in the surface film would capture bows. Even though there were Mayflies on the surface... sometimes it's hard to distinguish between a surface rise and emerging rise.

I tied on a soft hackle and decided to fish it as a true indicator, no weight, just fly. It worked like a charm.

Cast and drift, cast and high-stick, plus the cast and swing all produced, and the most rewarding part of my hour at Seventeen was that trout were captured in all parts of the pool. I ended up with seven to hand and each came from a different area of the pool. I will say the favorite presentation of this wet for the trout was definitely "on the swing".

Leaving Seventeen the next stop was Chris's Pool and here the riser's were frolicking also but I completely ignored that fact. Unlike Seventeen, the bugs at Chris's Pool were black as midnight. I stuck with the soft hackle and cast it across the wide spans of the lower end.

I must have missed twenty fish at Chris's Pool. Casting across the spans leaving the slack in the line made it rather difficult to get a hook-set. I would end up bringing another three bows to hand. After bow number three the poor soft hackle looked as ragged as I, and it didn't look like it would fish anymore.

However before leaving I looked at the extreme lower end of Chris's Pool where the channels are, and it was there a flurry of frolickers was taking place so I waded down. At the channels there is a rock I call "Diamond Point" and you can stand behind it and cast downstream in the channel. It's a tight cast but with care you can pull it off. Today, I should have pulled bows out of that channel but that soft hackle was definitely done. I left the pool, and the soft hackle fished as a true wet today will go to the retirement village for flies in the ole fly-tying room.

His life was short...but well spent.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Stay For The Fly-Fisher

At Blue River, one of the most frequent questions we get is about lodging for a weekend that's near the Blue.

Unfortunately, the availability of lodging near Blue has been a fleeting thing in years past. There was one local lodging facility but in the last year that business has opened only to close, re-open but then close again.

So I would like to suggest a special lodging facility that will put you in close proximity to Blue and serve as one of those charming, unforgettable stays.

The Sulphur Springs Inn in Sulphur is within thirty-five or forty minutes of Blue River and also serves as a launching point to explore the other natural outdoor wonders of this area that are so richly woven together.

Sulphur Springs Inn does have that certain charm to it and I won't go as far as describing it as "old world", but it is certainly from an earlier and actual historic time in this area. I can't describe the allure the Sulphur Springs Inn would take a poet to do that, however, I will say I know you'll enjoy your stay.

You see...if you are a fly-fisher then you're going to be talking fly-fishing at the Sulphur Springs Inn because co-owner Charlie just happens to be a fly-fisher too. And Charlie... knows Blue quite well, along with being a devoted fan.

Find out more at Sulphur Springs Inn.

Map Of Blue River Public Fishing And Hunting Area

As a future quick reference I am publishing this map of the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area. I will post a link to this post in the sidebar of the blog and that way it will be a handy reference for all who are new to Blue.

Map is courtesy of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

For a closer look simply click on the image.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fly Of The Week

Over the years at Lady Blue, the Partridge and Orange soft hackle has brought me a tremendous amount of fun in battling the bows.

I usually fish the Partridge and Orange as a trailer off of a weighted nymph or even a streamer and usually it is the fly of the two that captures the fish.

This soft hackle pattern does quite well drifted by itself under an indicator with a little split added to get it slowly down in the column or you can fish it like it is a drowned adult insect.

When tying the Partridge and Orange one key is to keep the hackle quite sparse so one...maybe two turns of the feather is enough.

It's a fun and productive fly and one you do not want to be without when on the river Blue.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mi Amigo

I always enjoy to hear from Michael Mercurio from Arlington, Texas. I particularly enjoy knowing when he's headed for the Lady Blue because when Michael plans a trip to Blue he packs a big bag of enthusiasm not just for Blue but for fly fishing as a whole. Michael is really on fire for fly-fishing besides being one of Blue's biggest supporters and fans.

You see, when he's not partaking in the pleasures of Blue he's heavily involved in the famous waters of the San Juan. Michael is partners in Aztec Anglers and a director of the San Juan River Foundation. He also stays busy with his blog at flyfishpimp. Hell'va unique name huh?

Last Friday, Merc was up in the C&R and he and I agreed to meet at Seventeen at the end of the day to swap flies, visit, and maybe fish a little. Well, Michael was running slightly behind and I had already taken my waders off when he showed up. Anyhow, Michael couldn't leave without fishing Seventeen, which I believe he loves as much as I, so Miss Carol and I followed him down to take some pics.

I tell you what...I've seen some good drifting fly-fishers but Michael's line and hand control is simply awesome. The fly line coming out of his hand looks slick, almost fluid-like and it's a wonderful artsy thing to watch. I asked Michael what kind of line he had on and I believe he said Rio. May just have to get me some of that stuff.

When he got his first fish at Seventeen on Miss Carol and I bid Michael farewell and left him to his water. We knew it was getting late for him and he still had a drive back to Texas so we certainly didn't want this showman of fly-fishing somehow feeling obiligated to perform any encores.

Visit Michael's blog at flyfishpimp.

Derby Sunday

2009/2010 Trout Season - Day Eight Fishing

Miss Carol and I broke camp on derby Saturday because she had to work Sunday plus rain was predicted for Sunday and there's nothing worse than trying to deal with a wet tent.

At home Sunday morning Carol's alarm clock sounded like a siren from hell at 3:30 a.m. as I literally pushed myself from a horizontal position. I was still wore out from derby Saturday.

After several cups of coffee I loaded myself in the Prairie Schooner and headed for Blue arriving shortly before six o'clock. Chris Adams was up so being the true bum I am at times I was able to panhandle a good cup of coffee from this brother of the angle.

At six-thirty I had found a vacancy and believe it or not... it was just above the crossing. I quickly threw down stakes claiming my wellspring of good fortune that no man would be so bold to try and take.

By seven...I had my six derby trout...all remarkable size to any.

I now found myself with about six hours of time to kill on the river so I drove back to Seventeen and had myself a little beauty nap. I'm told that nap was a waste of time as far as cosmetic therapy...but it sure felt good. Had me a beer about mid-morning and then drove to Scotty's to counter the effects of the beer with a cup of his coffee. My poor body doesn't know what to expect.

I decided to fish a little more and before derby Sunday was said and done I must have caught thirty or more bows.

The rains came about eleven and that sent many people a-packin' and the attendance at the final weigh-in was light.

There was 190 participants in this November's derby which is a light crowd compared to the record of 283 set back in 2002.

Scotty did say he would like to see a bigger crowd for February, so stayed tuned folks...I figure we'll be working on that goal.

Back To The Fly Rod

2009/2010 Trout Season - Day Seven Fishing

It was a good twenty minutes before day break on derby Saturday and I found myself standing on the bank at Seventeen trying to reserve a spot for Miss Carol.

You see, Miss Carol picked up the fly rod early last season and actually done quite well with it. However her concerns being in the water and wading unfortunately sent her back to the bank and the jars of Power Bait and salmon eggs. She had decided to bait fish for this year's derby.

At the first sign of light she came to the river and took her position that I had been squatting on and I went about my way entering Seventeen and drifting flies through the pockets and runs.

Within thirty minutes I had my derby fish in the basket and was pretty well through with that part of this derby thing. Two hours later I looked at Carol standing on the, looking rather sad so I gave her a holler asking her "Why don't you get your waders on and try the fly rod?"

Almost eagerly she replied "Okay!"

Coming back to the river at Seventeen dressed like any self respecting fly angler Miss Carol entered in the middle and we crossed over to Sam's Rock. It was here she started to drift...yes olive/yellow split-tail bugger through the run directly in front of her.

Although she missed a number of takes and most likely got sick of hearing me say "Mend, mend, mend!", she took two bows in fairly short fashion. The action then slowed and it was time to try something else.

Out came the Partridge and Orange and I tied it on as a trailer to the bugger. Three more bows came to Carol's hand and now she needed only one more trout.

After a break Miss Carol struggled to find bow number six so we headed for the Island below the crossing. Here in this sweetest of sweet spots she had number six on four different times but never brought any to hand. Carol would end her day with five bows under the belt.

For me personally this derby Saturday was the best derby experience I've yet to have. There was no hurry or rush to capture fish, the weather was absolutely perfect, and I got to spend some wonderful time with Miss Carol...time that reminded both of us that we truly are each others best friend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trout Tuesday

Trout Season 2009/2010 Day 6 Fishing

David was taking the last bite of his Scotty Burger when I approached the table and asked if he'd tossed the trout yet? He told me no and that it'd be several hours later this same afternoon which told me my timing was a little off as far as watching the stocking. I do love to watch the bows go in the river.

Today was my second attempt at my new plan of being able to spend time at Blue by manipulating my work schedule. On Tuesdays I can end my day at the Tishomingo store around the noon hour and also I can elect to make Tuesday a half-day...which I hereby announce I elect to do until further notice.

After talking to David, Scotty and I had some business things to tend to regarding his website. Scotty gave me some information from the Oklahoma Tourism Department regarding his site and I told him I'd take care of it once I got back to the bunkhouse today.

While in Scotty's I decided to have a look around to see how well he was stocked for the upcoming Derby this weekend. To me, it looked like Scotty had a small fortune in Power Bait for the bait anglers and spinners for the spin fishermen. The store was quite well prepared for this weekend's onslaught of trout aficionado's.

I also checked the most important department, at least to me, at Scotty's store which was the adult beverage section. It looked in pretty good shape too but I did remind Scotty to order a little know...just in case.

The river was absolutely beautiful today with crystal clear water in some of the more shallow stretches. The sun kept playing a game of peek-a-boo shining brightly for awhile then hiding behind some of the lofty, billowy, cradling-like breasts of a caring mother clouds. Just being at the river today was nurturing.

Around 1 o'clock I stepped in the river at the near side of Seventeen and today I really didn't expect much action. The last stocking was last Thursday and it was my understanding that with that stocking there were some loss of bows. Also, the river was quite pressured this past weekend which for sure thinned the numbers, so today I was just hoping for a glimpse of a bow.

With the same pattern I've used for the last four outings...the olive/yellow split-tail bugger, I flung that offering into the lower end of Seventeen. I had spotted the sweetest of pockets and using a mend, drift, high-stick presentation I met four bows in a matter of minutes.

After bow number four I cast a little upstream and hung my bugger on a rock. Determined not to loose that wonderfully, delightful, producing fly, I waded through my own fishing water which is not a smart thing to do but non-the-less the dirty deed was done. Retrieving my fly and finding myself in the middle of the river I decided to fish another mouth-watering pocket in front of me. Here, I would meet two more bows.

Since the water at Seventeen was crystal I decided to wade back to the bank and then wade up to the boulder upstream. Today was the first chance I have had this season to fish off the boulder.

If there were any bows around the boulder area they certainly wouldn't have won any congeniality awards today because they didn't give me so much as a howdy-do.

I bid those boulder bows, or lack of, farewell and stumbled back down to Seventeen but this time I was on the far side. It was time to do some swings through the lower end and this presentation brought two more bows for a total of eight. I was done.

I guess I could have stayed longer on Blue today...I was done by 2:30 p.m. but as it is with most things we do...moderation is key and this has become quite apparent to me in capturing bows.

And I might add, I seem to be very good at the moderation end of it these days.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just An Idea

I've never known or learned of a fly-fisher on Blue that has got into serious trouble while on an outing at the river.

However, with accidents being accidents we never really know when one is coming our way. Being an optimist I hate to even suggest such a thing could happen at Blue but I never let my optimism outweigh the realism.

So I'm suggesting that you add one thing to your fly-fishing arsenal if you haven't already done so. It's a simple device called the whistle.

I would think that a whistle would go a long way in case of a slip and broken leg or a slip and bump on the head, waders full of water hanging onto a clump of alders. Even when we buddy fish we often get good distances from the buddy and the sound of a whistle will travel far.

I've worn a lanyard for years and love how effective they've been for me so a whistle is fixing to go on the lanyard as soon as I can find one.

There is one company in New Mexico that makes a nice lanyard and the whistle is included.

The lanyard with accessories above is available from Fly Dawg. You might want to check it out.

Nine By Nine

Trout Fishing 2009/2010 Day Five Fishing

Although this morning I was feeling one-hundred percent better than twenty-four hours prior, I started not to even go to Blue with this being my next to last day of vacation. I figured my old body could use a rest and there are plenty of chores to do around the bunkhouse and most importantly the boss wants them done. However, with a little more thought I concluded that I can rest tomorrow and also get the chores done. So, in the Prairie Schooner I went.

I arrived at the parking lot at 7:35 and walked down to the crossing and went about twenty-five feet upstream to Cottonwood Hole. The water at Cottonwood Hole is extremely easy to read and it didn't take me long to spot a slightly downstream pocket. With the same olive/yellow split tail bugger I've been using all week, I started drifting that fly through the pocket.

The bugger found seven bows in a very short order. There were two other fly-fishers standing on the crossing casting upstream and they weren't having any luck at all. After bow seven I spooled up and got the attention of one of the crossing fly-fishers and suggested he take that pocket before someone else got it. He nodded he would and I hope he did. He should have made a killing there.

Looking downstream there was a rather tall fly-fisher standing on the sandbar which was amazing to me with the river being up. From a distance it looked like Dr. David but I couldn't be sure. Even if it was it wouldn't have done me any good to go down there, because my short ass can't get out on the sandbar. If it was Dr. David I am sure he did well there... or at least I hope he did.

I was back in the Prairie Schooner by 8 o'clock. I looked over at Smitty's camp but he wasn't up yet. His pups were quite rowdy though. I decided to go down on Area 1 and have a look.

There were a lot of campers today in Area 1 but few fishing. Guess I could of had any water I wanted but chose to stop at Glory Hole.

At Glory Hole, with the same fly, I decided to fish the downstream end of that stretch. Trying to drift that bugger through the downstream end is quite a chore because the water really speeds up there, but I was able to catch two more bows in about five minutes.

I learn something each trout season and this past five days I've learned the importance of manipulating and feeding your fly into a pocket. To do that requires a lot of extra work but if you can get it down it will result in more hook-ups.

After the two bows at Glory I had decided to go back to the bunkhouse. Up on the road I ran into young Cody and he was riggin' his fly rod. Cody is not so young anymore...he's got his own pickup and he's driving. Guess Cody is coming of age. He politely informed me his intentions of entering the fly-fishing division at the trout derby and I hope he does. Cody may just be a teenager but he's good enough to win...I guarantee it.

I was back in the Prairie Schooner by nine o'clock and had nine bows under the belt so it was nine by nine today.

Tomorrow I'll rest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Indecision And Indigestion

Trout Season 2009-2010 Day Four Fishing

This morning I had a bad case of indecision and indigestion.

Last night when I was trying to figure out what to do for supper I remembered how much Miss Carol loves broccoli so I fixed a Dutch Oven ground beef, broccoli rice casserole in the Dutch. It turned out rather nice according to Miss Carol and I thought it was rather good myself. Actually I absolutely gorged myself on the stuff.

This morning when I opened my eyes I immediately realized I was suffering from the aftermath of my hog-like eating habits of the night before. I was one sick puppy.

But, I had made plans to hit the river and particularly tag along with Donny Carter and Jamie Webster up in the Catch & Release. I got to the C&R rather early and there were already cars there. Sitting in the parking lot I was heavy with indecision. I theorized that if anglers were already here this early, and Donny and Jamie were coming then chances were there was going to be a crowd up in the C&R.

It doesn't take many to make a crowd up there. I finally decided that since I was local and have the opportunity to fish the C&R much more than those who have to travel, it would be better for me to not add to the crowd and wait another day. Besides that, I kind of invited myself along with Donny and Jamie because I thought it would be a good opportunity to take some good pictures without me trying to handle those fish and snap the photo...which is always a disaster.

I left the C&R and went to the main area driving to the south wilderness. At the south wilderness I had even more indecision and certainly more indigestion. I almost just started the Prairie Schooner to leave but then though I would give it a try even though I didn't have the stomach or legs for it.

I hiked up to Coyote Pass Falls which is the second barrel. This place always produces for me but today there was nothing going on. I could have went on upstream, but again... no stomach or legs, so I packed out.

The water up in the south wilderness was in good shape in the fast runs but the long stretches were still off-colored.

In the main parking lot I thought about just going to the bunkhouse but realized if I did that I would have a "skunk" day which I haven't experienced in seven years. That was unacceptable. I decided to try the Flats.

On the way to the Flats I ran into Smitty and Smitty had his furry friends with him. I usually see Smitty about one time a year at Blue and to me he's one of those unforgettable characters. Smitty had thrown stakes in the parking lot and told me he, and his friends, were staying for a couple of weeks.

At the Flats, Robert Murphy was coming out of the water as I was entering. Robert said he'd had a good morning at the Flats using the olive-yellow split-tail bugger which was exactly what I had tied on. Robert also offered a tip. He told me even though the pattern was a beadhead he had added an extra split.

Now, anytime Robert offers a tip I take it to heart and I also added a split and that seemed to be the ticket. With the extra current you have to get the fly down in the column. Once I found the pocket at the Flats the action was on. I quit on bow number ten and number ten came within thirty minutes after starting.

Leaving the Flats I walked back to the parking area and thought about visiting Murphy at 17 but was feeling worse than ever. I packed my skinny ass in the Prairie Schooner and headed for the bunkhouse.

Once at the bunkhouse I grabbed the Rolaids and Rantidine and made myself an over-the-counter drug cocktail.

I'm feeling much better now but broccoli is certainly going to be off the menu for some time to come.

That stuff can hurt you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Orvis Christmas Stocking Stuffer?

Orvis is offering a twenty fly selection for $9.95 plus free shipping. That's not a bad price at all and since Christmas is just up ahead, this might be a good stocking stuffer.

Orvis offer.

L L Bean Waders Still Holding

The L L Bean waders I decided to purchase two years ago, and the subject of much discussion among Blue fly-fishers, are still leak free and holding up quite well.

I know that many said I would better off buying an "expensive" pair of waders but I have to tell you I've never been more pleased with a set of waders. The L L Beans are simply wonderful and evidently tough because I am rough on equipment. Just today I got wound up in some briar's but the waders came away unscathed.

Trout Thursday

2009-2010 Trout Season - Fishing Day 3

I actually got an early start on Thursday climbing in the Prairie Schooner about 7:30 a.m. and heading for Blue. I threw Cocker in the disc maker and he was "feeling alright" and I was feeling pretty good myself.

Arriving at Blue I hit Chimney Falls about 8:30 and my plan was to start here and walk into the south wilderness area. However, a conversation with one of the campers there revealed he had information that the south wilderness area wasn't stocked past Desperado Springs. The story sounded plausible to me so gears were switched.

After landing two bows at Chimney I headed downstream to Glory Hole. At Glory Hole there were five or six anglers already there so I took the extreme downstream end which is my favorite anyhow. Armed with that olive-yellow split tail the action was really hot for the first thirty minutes with seven more bows under my belt. Then the action shut down for the bugger so I created a tandem with a hares ear and partridge orange. I cast it a couple of times but my mind was wandering and I kept thinking about 17 so to 17 I go.

At 17 I decided not to wade across the river but stay on the near side and step out into the river just a couple of feet. With the tandem rig I took six more bows in short order and it ended up being a tie between the Hare's Ear and Partridge and Orange with three each.

I will tell you that the leaves are getting to be a problem in the river already. I caught as many leaves today as trout, so be advised that you'll contend with the fallen foliage for sometime to come.

About 11 o'clock I decided to go to Scotty's for a couple of brews. Matt and the boys just walked in ahead of me getting ready to have lunch. On my way out of Scotty's, Matt caught me to tell me they would indeed stock the Catch & Release about 1 o'clock. That's a good thing folks.

Back down to the river I decided to try the Flats again but today the Flats seemed sterile so I waded downstream to the riffles. The riffles were really running fast and I tried high-sticking through the current taking only two more bows. The extent of my fishing day would end at the riffles with a total of seventeen bows met.

The water is much much clearer and this river is in really good shape.

As I left the river I stopped at Scotty's again and he paid me $120.00 for the sale of the fly-tying videos. That with the cash I have here at the bunkhouse adds up to $195.00 and I'll mail that to the Wildlife Department tomorrow.

Back to the river tomorrow and maybe the Catch & Release or the south wilderness.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Here's....your sign.

One of the topics presented to the Wildlife Department at the Blue River Fly Fishers get-together this past weekend was the condition of the sign at highway 377.

As can be seen the sign has fallen into a state of disaray and is in much needed attention or repair.

Area Manager Matt Gamble explained the process the department would have to go through in getting the sign repaired and went as far to say that it might end up being a replacement project instead of a repair project.

Several involved in this discussion thought the sign had significant sentiment and historical value since it has been in place so long and designed after signs of the early National Park System.

When the fly-fishers made an offer to help with the cost of such a restoration project the Wildlife Department said first they would have to inspect the sign to see exactly what the extent of damage is. And, that certainly makes sense. It could very well end up being a case of extreme decay and damage by insects such as termites.

However, if there is anyway of saving and restoring this sign, I for one think that course should be pursued. The sign somehow simply speaks "the great outdoors" and since the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area has a history of it's own...I figure this particular sign does also.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One At 17 For Eleven

2009/2010 Trout Season - Fishing Day Two

I cleverly devised this plan at the workplace where I will be in Tishomingo each Tuesday and of course I'll only be nine miles away from the river. I figure this new plan of mine is going to add about twenty additional fishing days at Blue this season. Today, I put my plan to work but there were a few hitches. I got hung-up at one of the other stores and got a really late start going to Blue.

I arrived at Blue at about one o'clock and decided to spend some time with beloved 17. I would end up spending one hour with 17 and meeting eleven bows.

I could tell you that today was a totally different story from yesterday and I would be telling you the truth. And, I could tell you today was just like yesterday and still be telling you the truth. Today...was a combination of both.

At the bank at 17 I noticed how much clearer the water here was today, compared to the Flats yesterday, so I decided to tie on an olive-yellow split-tail size 12 bugger and fish it as we normally would fish a bugger.

My first down and across cast with a swing resulted in a strike but no hook-set. My second cast would end up the same, but on the third cast I met my first bow of the day. The down and across presentation with the swing would take six bows but bow number six unraveled my olive-yellow split tail.

Next I tied on a red ass olive bugger same size and on the first cast met another bow. But after bow number seven there was nothing. It was then I decided to try what worked yesterday with that being a straight across cast and mend like crazy. Three presentations this way brought three bows and worked quite well until bow number eleven. Then everything shut down, and I couldn't have bought a bow after that.

Before I left however I decided to tie on a Crackleback trailer with the bugger and the first cast resulted in a strike but no hook-up. I made twenty more casts and it was nada, zilch, nothing. It was time for me to go.

Even though I had only been with Blue for an hour it was a good hour but I had pressing things at home to tend too.

Again today I didn't dare take the camera into the river because I'm still not confident in my wading abilities with the extra flow and still somewhat dim waters. The river should be excellent in the next couple of days.

On my way out I saw Chris Adams fly-fishing at Chris's Pool. I didn't stop and bother him because he looked extremely contented. I left Chris to his water.

Monday, November 2, 2009

First Bows Of The Season

Since last Thursday, I've went on and come off of vacation three times now. It really sucks I have to tell you. Saturday, Miss Carol and I laid plans to be on Blue River this morning with a great degree of ease. You see Miss Carol knew that Laura Adams would be there and I knew that Chris would also be there. Since the girls only get to see each other several times a year, it was crucial (to Miss Carol) that we make this trip. Besides that, I wanted to fish with Chris since he and I have been fishing together at Blue since the year 2000.

But later yesterday afternoon another problem arose at my workplace and instead of sleeping in a little later I found myself having to get up at the standard time of 4:30 a.m. to go to the workplace. You know what...Miss Carol went with me to lend a hand so we could get done in short order and get to the river. What a girl.

At 10 a.m. I hopped out of the Prairie Schooner at the crossing and sent a message with Miss Carol telling Chris to come to the Flats below the Island. The message was delivered and as the girls started their friendship circle, Chris was gearing up to meet at the Flats.

Now, to the fishing part of this. I was most surprised that the river hadn't cleared more than it had on Monday morning. Don't get me wrong...Blue is trying to clear but still has a ways to go. At the Flats the fringes had a good ten inches or so of visibility, but five or six feet out into the pool the visibility dropped to just a couple of inches.

For my first fly I stuck with my now proven theory that brown patterns work in dingy brown water and I chose a size 12 conehead brown bugger with a slightly lighter brown hackle. On my third cast I had my first strike but no hook-set. I would get three more strikes without hook-sets before I finally would find a bow.

I learned two things quickly about these Monday morning bows. They wanted the color brown and they wouldn't accept anything less than an almost perfect dead drift...even though it was a bugger. On this morning, you could forget the down and across with a swing thing, and you could forget about all the combinations of strips that can be employed. The bows wanted a dead drift period. At first I started with a straight across cast and high-sticked that sucker and that presentation worked until I wore it out. Then it was time to cast across and slightly upstream and mend like crazy. I can't emphasize the mending part of this too much. It was mend, mend, mend, and get the drift where the bugger is going at the same speed of the water. Eleven trout later, I lost that bugger to a rock fish. Going to the fly box I saw I had only one more and decided to save that for another dingy day.

Next came a size 18 Flashback Pheasant Tail and yes I had to use a damn strike indicator with this little sucker. I'm still resisting strike indicators even though I know the dadgum things work and they worked today taking three more bows.

Meanwhile I noticed Chris changing flies a lot. Come to find out Chris decided to make this a pattern day. If he tied on a pattern and it didn't produce shortly he would change it. If he tied on a pattern and caught one bow...well he change to another pattern. In other words...Chris was having fun and he caught the bows today also.

The wading today was tough with the off-colored water and swifter current. Chris finally broke out his wading staff and I found myself wanting and wishing for one. I settled for a tree branch I found along the fringes. However, I want to point out for reference that once the sun was positioned overhead the visibility improved quite a bit. So, in future cases where the river is off-colored, the time of day and sun position is something we might want to consider.

Long story even shorter is that baring any rain, and none is expected, Lady Blue should be in excellent condition by this weekend for all you casters of fur and feather.

I'm back off vacation for two days it looks like. Hope to go "back on" vacation by Thursday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Watery Affair

The annual get-together of the Blue River Fly Fishers was held this past weekend at beautiful Blue. This get-together has also become know as the Conclave of the Brotherhood of the Big Ass Campfire and was to be held Friday through Sunday. However on Thursday, Mother Nature decided to let it rain...and rain it did. The river came up rather quickly rising from 200 cubic feet per second to over 3,000 cubic feet per second.

Holding vigil at our designated meeting area were Ralph and Charlotte Fullenwider hunkered down in their beautiful "Ruff Diamond". Ralph was up most of the night getting a visual on the rising river and checking his Blackberry for email updates from those of us checking streamflow.

Ralph and Charlotte made it okay through the night but the morning sun revealed a swollen and mostly muddy river. The fly fishing for the weekend had pretty much been decided by nature.

However, we were greeted with a picture book pretty day with temperatures in the sixties and the foilage and trees putting on quite a show of changing colors.

Group members started to file in one by one at different times. On Friday night the king of Texas bullshitters, Ralph James, held court once again around the campfire and the stuff got pretty deep by 11 p.m. when we decided to call it a night. Temperatures Friday night got pretty cool for those of us who were tent camping.

David Dillow, pictured center above, couldn't make our weekend meeting but drove all the way up to deliver us a load of firewood like he has done for the last several years. Thank you Dr. Dillow, you are a trooper sir.

Jeff Joseph camped in a tent over the weekend but Jeff came better prepared than some of us and used a tent heater to take the edge of the cool night air.

The guy on the right is that king of Texas bullshitters I was telling you about and with him is veteran fly-fisher James Webster who has been wading Blue River for a long long time.

The highlight of our weekend would be our feast prepared from Dutch Ovens and over open flames. My gosh...did the gang do this right! We had some of the best campfire food that I personally have ever enjoyed.

Blue River Area Manager Matt Gamble broke bread with us on Saturday along with Matt Mauck of the south-central fisheries division. After lunch, Matt Gamble addressed the group about current issues in the wildlife community and then opened things up and fielded questions from the group. The wonderful thing about Matt as the area manager is that he is extremely pro-active and willing to listen and consider all ideas and suggestions.

Donny and Linda Carter showed up Saturday morning and brought Donny's little brother Gary and his family along which was a special delight. And, I want to say thank you to Linda for being such a great help. I had my hands full with too many pots going and Linda was extremely helpful in handling the detailed stuff. Thanks Linda.

Now talking about troopers Vernon Forrester is certainly a dandy one. Vernon couldn't make it for the weekend but drove from Texas just to cook his (what should be considered famous) Cowboy Potatoes and oh my gosh were they ever so good. So, a big thank you to Vernon and his family.

A number of issues were discussed with the Wildlife Department on Saturday including possible repair of the wooden Blue River sign on highway 377 with the Blue River Fly Fishers being involved in that project. Ralph Fullenwider brought this idea to the attention of the group.

Lane Kregel had an excellent suggestion that involves returning war veterans who have been disabled by the current wars. Lane told us of a collaboration between a fishing group known as Tailwaters and the Wounded Warriors Association. These two together try to make "special" fishing events possible for these veterans in question. Lane suggested such a program at the Catch and Release area of Blue River and it sounded like the Wildlife Department would be quite open for such a program to happen.

Hopefully, it will. I can't think of many better projects to pursue.