Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday Trout - Sunday Carp

Charlie has gravitated to the next level of fly fishing for carp.  He is now catching carp on dry flies.  In the last week or so he has caught six carp on a dry fly pattern.

Charlie has created a pattern called the Thistle Missile and it looks a lot like a thistle.  He brought me one at work the other day, and I'm sure proud he did because I hate spinning and clipping deer hair. 

I took the Thistle Missile to the creek today hoping to see a surface feeding carp, but there wasn't any.  I'll just have to wait for that special moment. 

The creek's flow is really diminishing and the leaves are now falling faster than ever.  I only spent an hour on the creek today and probably shouldn't have went at all.  I had 100 things to do today, but knowing myself there will probably be 99 of them left undone at the end of the day.  Too bad procrastination isn't a virtue.  If it was... I'd be one righteous man.

Charlie has promised some pictures of the carp he caught on dry flies, but he's going out of town for a while.  I'll get them up when he gets back. 

Here's the catches of the day. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A River Of Remembrance

Sometimes on the road to life we are thrown a curve ball, that is so fast and breaking, it's completely unexpected and throws us way off balance.  This past week was such for me. 

For the better half of this month my expectation of opening day on Blue River, with the trout being in place, has grown daily.  However, I also learned this past week of the passing of my dear friend Francis.  Francis and I not only worked together for seventeen years, but also enjoyed many a fine fishing trip.  During our friendship, Francis was always good to invite me to his wonderful family outings, and quiet simply... he was a good friend.

Although my plans today were to simply fish for these pretty fish, I'm now here to remember Francis.  It may seem odd to many that a man would bring his sorrow to the river, but that's what I doing today.  Such an act is not out of character for me - it's something I've done a number of times over the years.  In 2001, I attended part of the memorial service for my fly-fishing friend Curtis Hughes.  Part of his memorial was held on Blue.  I've also come here to mourn the passing of my mother, my wife Susie, and my companion dog Smokey.

I believe the reason I turn to the river for healing is in my belief that fly-fishing in not a thing we do, but rather a place we go or a place we are taken.  It is a place of peace and reflection.  I use the river as a healer, and the fly rod is the instrument used to connect with the river.

Stepping out of the prairie schooner shortly after seven, the brisk morning air greets me.  This morning the temperature is only six degrees above the freezing mark.  I head for Cottonwood Pool and the trout are indeed waiting for me.  Within thirty minutes, my hands are beginning to sting and hurt, and this reminds me of a cold March morning when Francis and I fished for the famed crappie of nearby Cumberland Pool.

It isn't long until a good sized group of anglers gather around Cottonwood Pool, so I decide to go elsewhere.  No matter where I go today, the bows are waiting, the water echoes, and my memories of Francis come to the forefront.

The pretty fish are quite rewarding today, and each brings a small measure of calming pleasure to my soul.  These tidbits of calmness slowly over-ride the lingering sadness that is bouncing around in my heavy chest and racing mind that constantly seems to ask the question..."Why?"

The trout are at Cottonwood Pool, Chuck's Ledge, the Island, the Riffles, and the Boulder at 17.  Glory Hole was a disappointment with only a few fish that showed interest.  But, at Glory Hole I remember a spring day that Francis, along with family and myself, cooked beef bourguinon in the Dutch oven.

With each trout that comes to hand, the healing continues.  So many of these trout today bear the parr marks that screams their youth.  I could not have brought myself to take any of their lives even if I wanted to.

Around eleven o'clock, I head back to the crossing and my day gets much lighter in seeing the familiar faces of Jon and Kay Bolig.  They both are fly-fishing due to Jon finally converting Kay over to the gentle sport.  Most intriguing is Kay's pink fly rod...and she is catching trout.  I visit with Jon and Kay for fifteen minutes or so and decide it is time to leave the river. 

Today, I meet 42 trout.  Today, I miss at least 100 trout.  I'll admit that today I was terribly rusty in my fly-fishing for trout life.  The reasons I missed so many opportunities is because I was using too big a pattern for such small fish, and it took me awhile to realize the trout were double-striking the fly. 

Today could have been a 100 fish day.  Today could have been a day just to sit along the riverside and take it all in.  And today, could have been a day to remember and fish, and heal... and I did both.

I give thanks and leave the river.

On Line Trout Derby Registration

If you wish to sign up for the Blue River Trout Derby, then print this form, fill it out, and mail it along with your $25.00 derby fee.

Blue River Trout Derby
Registration Form

Neither the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce nor any individual or organization assumes responsibility for damage, injury, or other problems which arise directly or indirectly from anyone's participation or involvement, in any way, in this event.
Having read and understood these conditions, the undersigned agrees to participate in the event.




Send pre-entry registration and check or money order for $25 to:                                                     

Trout Derby Scotty's Blue River One Stop
4501 S. Bullard Chapel Rd.
Tishomingo, OK 73460

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Beer Can Fly?

Beer cans and bottles.Image via Wikipedia
Gosh darn, dog-gone it!  I want some of these patterns!

Beer Can Fly catches big sucker.

Enjoy and have fun!
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Wind Blown Expedition

The wind just about blew me off Rock Creek today.  The gusts had to be somewhere in the range of thirty miles an hour and the steady riffle on the creek at times were more like white-caps. 

I spent an hour and ten minutes on the creek today, and the first hour didn't catch a thing.  But, in the last ten minutes the action heated up.

Upon arriving at the creek, I immediately went into a stalking mode.  I've learned much about stalking carp, but two things in particular seem to stand out.  One thing is that it's quite easy, when stalking carp in water that is twenty to twenty-five feet wide, to fixate on the open water or far deeper water.  However, it's always best to check the inland, near, or shallow water by the island, sandbar, or bank.  Oftentimes, when we don't check this water first, we end up spooking a carp that we never noticed.  This is particularly important this time of year with the creek being the color it is.  These carp blend in so very well with the bottom of the creek they are quite easy to miss.

The second thing when stalking carp is to slow down, and then slow down some more.  I think this has been the most difficult thing for me just because I tend to be a hyper-active individual.  So, to counter my excited self, I make myself walk backwards when stalking carp.  It doesn't matter if I'm walking upstream or downstream, I walk backwards.

My entire stalking adventure was a big disappointment.  The strong winds of today created blankets of leaves on the creek.  I started out with the Prizefighter trying to place it in the clear water between the tears of the leaves blanket.  I was getting no interest with the Prizefighter so I switch to a brown and orange Backstabber.  Same drill - place the fly in the tears.  No interest from this fly. 

Giving up on the stalk I go back downstream and decide to fish blind.  I change patterns to a black and olive Backstabber and put it on what I thought was a shadow of a carp.  The fly hit the surface and I waited.  Shortly, I thought there was some movement in the tippet, but with the strong wind I wasn't sure.  Then I actually felt a bump and the line started to move so I set the hook.  A nice twenty-five incher came to hand, but unfortunately I waited too long to set and he swallowed the fly way down deep, so I cut the tippet in hopes this creature will live.

Now I am left with an olive and black Carpola Charlie and again I put it on what looks like the shadow of a carp.  This second carp actually picked the fly up and ran with it.  These two carp came to hand in less than ten minutes after that hour of disappointment.

Carp number 125 on Backstabber

Carp number 126 on Carpola Charlie.
I gave thanks and left the creek.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Prizefighter - Round Two

Yesterday, the new Carpola Charlie Prizefighter got his first taste of Rock Creek, but his debut performance was cut short due to a sudden onslaught of rain.

Today, the Prizefighter returned to Rock Creek for round two.  "Let's get ready to rumble......!"

It didn't take lone for a challenger to step forward and put on the gloves, but the Prizefighter scored a TKO on this 22 inch carp. 

The creek was in surprisingly good shape today, still somewhat blurred however.  A steady wind causing the surface to riffle increased the difficulty in seeing the carp.  I didn't have the luxury of standing on the bank, an island, or sandbar.  Today, I had to wade the creek, which is not a good thing when chasing carp.  When we are in the creek we start to push water and that's like a siren to the carp. 

It didn't take long for the second challenger in the form of a smaller and young carp to come forth.  This fellow was one of the many young carp I've been seeing lately.  Seeing the abundance of young carp is encouraging because it tells me their community is healthy.  Carp grow quickly so the youngsters I'm seeing now will be twenty plus incher's by next spring.

The Prizefighter made short order of the second challenger and we continued upstream.  For the next quarter of a mile or so, not a carp was to be seen and the creek seemed to get more blurred.

It was time to call it a day and wait for the creek to clear a little more.

I gave thanks and left the water. 

A Different Look At Lady Blue

Rainbow trout that was caught before and relea...Image via Wikipedia
With trout season upon us, I thought some of you may enjoy taking a different look at the river Blue. Of course all of us that frequent Blue knows what she looks like on the surface. However, few of us gets a chance to see this river breath under the surface. I think you'll enjoy watching the river rocks dance as the springs percolate.

Springs Of Blue River
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Damp Debut For The Prizefighter

With little over a week to go before trout season arrives at Lady Blue, I'm still creating different Carpola Charlie carp flies.  Last night I tied one called the Prizefighter.  So named because of the colors black, blue, and purple... the same colors most of us would be if we were silly enough to call Mike Tyson a chump. 

Today I wanted to send the Prizefighter on it's maiden voyage, but a rather severe thunderstorm came roaring through about mid-morning.  The storm was short in duration, but intense enough to blow away Miss Carol's Halloween-themed backyard. 

My thinking though was I could get to Rock Creek before the creek blurred with the storm being as short as it was.  Arriving at the creek a short while later, I found out just how wrong I was.  The creek was already milky and the strength of the storm had dislodged thousands of leaves that were near their twilight. 

Trying to cast the Prizefighter and not catch a leaf looked to be nearly impossible, so I decided to find me a spot and just wait for the shadow of a carp to come by way.  This process was a totally agonizing and slow venture.  However, there was a shadow about fifteen feet out, so I sent the Prizefighter sailing.  It wasn't long until the tippet starting travelling downstream and I set the hook - so I thought.  The hook-set didn't hold and the carp swam away.

The rains came back suddenly, but I wasn't ready to quit my quest for a carp to test the Prizefighter.  For the next hour I continued to try and find a carp somewhere between the fallen leaves and teardrops from heaven.  It was a daunting task. 

A little ways upstream there was a narrow channel.  The current was much faster than normal and quite milky color, but here was a group of eight or ten young carp.  Each carp was somewhere between 14 and 18 inches in length.  I put the Prizefighter amongst them and one youngster took it.  By the time I got him to the beach, I was in a downpour and decided not to risk getting the camera wet.

I stood in the pouring rain another ten minutes or so before grudgingly hollering calf rope.  The Prizefighter will have to wait another day to show his stuff. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Dog Tag

A lot of people wear dog tags.  Some wear their personal military dog tags and some wear the dog tags of a family member who was in the military and didn't make it home.  Others wear designer dog tags as a fashion accessory. 

I wear a dog tag around my neck.  Now, my dog tag is not my military dog tags, and it's certainly not a fashion accessory.  The dog tag I wear is a real dog tag. 

I'm always excited and eager when trout season at Blue River rolls around.  However, for the last several years my excitement has had the company of a tinge of sadness.  The dog tag I wear belonged to the best friend I ever had - my companion dog Smokey.

For a good eight years, Smokey and I spent a lot of time on Blue River.  Now, Smokey wasn't the kind of dog that many associate with being an outdoors dog.  He was in fact a miniature poodle.  But let me assure you, Smokey loved the outdoors and he was always over-excited about getting to go to Blue.  When we would pull up to a camping spot, Smokey would jump out the window if I didn't get the door open soon enough.  As I unpacked our gear, he would be on one of his expeditions - exploring both high bank, low bank, and then on to the woods. 

We spent many a night together, camped out in our tent.  We shared the same sleeping bag.  We sit on the bank of Blue many an hour, or at least I sit on the bank and Smokey sit in my lap.  And, we shared many a can of Beanie Wienies. 

I have yet to get another companion dog, and perhaps I never will.  Miss Carol has a little dog and she's pretty sweet, but she's definitely Carol's dog.  I have taken in some homeless cats since I figure everyone wants a home and a bite to eat on a regular basis.  But, I don't know that I can let myself get close to another dog.

I think I'll put the dog tag on my lanyard, and this way whenever I'm on the Blue I can  have the memory on the outside of me... instead of the inside of me.

Carp Crazy

The smallmouth of yesterday damaged the thread wraps on my last remaining Backstabber.  So, I went straight to the vise after work and created another one in the rust orange and black color scheme.  Now, Zimmerman, the man who created the Backstabber always ties his with a feather collar.  Zimmerman uses a hen feather, but since I'm out of said feathers I've been using a large partridge.  Actually, a lot of the Backstabber's I tie I don't even put on a collar and they seem to work just as well.  It's my belief that the success of this fly is in the simplicity and the marabou action.

I fished a newer stretch of water that neither Charlie or me ever named.  It's a fairly hard stretch to fish because of the position of the sun and the narrowness of the creek in several places along the stretch.  If you land a carp in one of these narrow stretches, then you need to get him to the beach or sandbar quickly.  There are a lot of downed trees here. 

The Backstabber took three more carp today and I'm thinking it's time to give it a rest.  Charlie has been concentrating on his newest find that he wants us to fish dry flies only.  As a matter of fact he named this stretch of water "Dry Gulch", so dry flies only it will be.

Think over the next several days I'll stay on the vise trying to create some dries the carp will be interested in. 

Here's today's pictures.

Been noticing a lot of younger carp lately.

Rio Introduces Carp Line

If you wonder if carp by fly will ever catch-on, then take notice of what the folks at Rio have come out with.  Rio now has a new selection of specialty lines for pursuing the wiley carp.

Check out Rio Products and take a look at their new carp line.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Foraging

My first thought today, after leaving work, was to take care of some of the stuff on the bunkhouse to-do list, which seems to be growing exponentially.  But... my second thought was that since the list has, and continues, to grow... it shouldn't hurt to wait one more day, and I could make a trip to the creek.

The time spent on the creek today was almost exactly an hour.  The fishing was most rewarding... one of those awesome experiences that come quite rarely.  I used one pattern the entire hour I was on the water.  The burnt orange and black Backstabber was the warrior that sought the echelons of fish today and he performed brilliantly.

In the short hour I was there, I come to meet three more carp - one Common and two engaging Mirror carp. The Backstabber was not selective today, also finding a smallmouth and a young Drum.  There was a mild cold front that came through today and I wondered how, or if, this would have an effect on the fishing.  From the observations made, here of late, the bass species seem to be foraging for the cold weather season that waits to arrive.

The leaves are really starting to let go now and many of the trees are starting to flame in colors that range from burnt orange to scarlet and dull brown to golden.  Nature is quite pretty in her harvest bouquet of colors.

Here are today's warriors.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One Last Trip

Although Charlie and I may not be practicing carp by the fly as much as we were, we're still out there.  We fished together yesterday, for a short while, and fishing with Charlie is always a great pleasure and learning experience.  Charlie has found yet another pasture and it is a most beautiful pool of water.  Upon his suggestion, we plan on fly-fishing this new discovery by dry flies only, which will prove most challenging.  As we were wrapping up yesterday, I told Charlie my wishes to fish his Pasture one more time before trout season begins.  Today, I did just that and happy I made the trip. 

Charlie's Pasture is a most serene and peaceful place.  The carp that live there are magnificent creatures - probably the most striking of all carp in Rock Creek. 

I started out with a burnt orange and black Backstabber pattern, and the second carp I cast to would become carp number 114.  He was one heck of a scrapper and I had to get in the creek to land him, which really wasn't a good thing.  Once entering the creek, the rest of the carp community went on high alert.  I fished the remaining carp with the same pattern for awhile, but they were in a panicked frenzied.  I changed to an olive and black Carpola, but they also avoided this proven pattern. 

Deciding to give them some time to settle down, I went upstream to the shallows to look for carp there.  Carp were not to be found, but the bass were out in good numbers.  Deciding to target bass until the carp could get their nerves settled down, the Carpola took a pretty and feisty smallmouth. 

Thinking it was time to go back downstream, I tried the Carpola once again on the company of carp, but they seemed to recognize it immediately.  Wondering if they were indeed recognizing the fly and remembering the recent fate of one of their brethren, I decided to try a fly and get away from the black color scheme of the previous two flies. 

The Carp Carrot goes on.  Somehow I managed a long roll cast that fell within one foot of the far bank.  The water was clear as gin here and I watched a carp swim to the fly.  It looked like he ate it so I gambled with a hook-set and the gamble paid off.  This carp took me far upstream, which was good because that is where we would have to go so I could land him.  He became number 115. 

Trout season is only two weeks away and I'm ready for the pretty fish.  But, I don't think I'll be able to just simply walk away from these magnificent fish known as carp. 

Here are today's pictures.

Taken by burnt orange and black Backstabber

This guy liked the Carp Carrot

Carp Carrot found the upper lip.


Carp Carrot worse for wear.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Counting Down As The Count Goes Up

There is less than three weeks until trout season begins at Blue River.  Here lately, my mindset is Rainbow trout and Blue River.  However, the end of my tippet and dry patch says everything carp.  I need to be gearing up for trout when I am geared for carp. 

It's Charlie's fault.  I've tried to quit carp on the fly several times now, and thought I was done on June 1st when carp number fifty was brought to hand.  As a matter of fact, I didn't fish much at all through June and July, but Charlie did.  With Charlie's fishing expeditions came those wonderful and entertaining dispatches.  I say dispatches... they're words, exciting descriptive words... accounts of his adventures, outings and success.  With each new modern day telegram, e-mail if you will, my curiosity was intrigued a little more, and sure enough, gradually and slowly I migrated back to the carp on the fly crusade. 

Yesterday, carp number 110 came to hand and that's his picture below.  I should be thinking trout, but I am captive by carp. 

There have been several failed attempts to stop my fly fishing for carp obsession.  Just last Sunday, I enlisted the help of Miss Carol in my meager effort to start gearing up for trout season.  I asked her to enter that fly-designing/mini-fly fishing museum located in the spare bedroom of our home.  I do remember Miss Carol suggesting that the contents might qualify for a future episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive", and I must agree with her analysis. 

"Okay Carol, I'm looking for my trout flies, and keep an eye out for the split shot sizes four, six, and eight.  No, no, no, those are carp flies.  Trout flies, trout flies!  You know, the hare's ears, pheasant tails, soft hackles, little fellows like that!  Oh, there should be three new spools of tippet in here too - just bought them two weeks ago at Bass Pro.  Strike indicators!  I hate them damn things, but since I don't see so well, and slower on the trigger these days, I have to use them.  So keep your eyes out for those dad-gum things."

As far as being ready for trout season, I'm in bad shape, so in an effort to get more inspired I am offering some information for those that may be new to Blue and will be fly-fishing her for the first time this season. 


There are basically three main areas and one special reg area at Blue River.  The three main areas are the Campground Area, the south wilderness (Landrum Wilderness), and the north wilderness (Landrum Wilderness on east side and Bill and Valerie Plaster WMU area on the west).  Then there is the Delayed Harvest/Catch & Release Area.

The catch & release area is one-half mile of river, while the other six miles or so of river is designated as put and take.  Just because it is put and take water, doesn't mean you can't practice catch and release in these waters. 

The reason I'm pointing this out is because in the whole of the fly-fishing world, there seems to be some abrasive air, or discord, between the catch and release crowd and the keep for the dinner table folks.  Personally, I respect both disciplines as long as they are legal and within wildlife department rules and regulations.  In other words, I certainly will not serve as custos morum.

If an angler wishes to keep fish for the dinner table and he or she stays within the limits, then they should be spared fatwa from someone with a different discipline.  At the same time, if the wildlife department allows us to slip the trout back in put and take water, we shouldn't receive denunciation from the other side.

Please be aware that the catch and release water is strictly that... from opening day until the last day of February, and then the area is open for harvest.


To fish Blue River, you must have an annual fishing license, regardless of whether you live in state or not.  The trout stamp requirement will disappear January 1st, 2011. 


One of the most frequent questions I get each year is about lodging near Blue River.

If you like to talk fly fishing and don't mind a short drive to Blue River then check out Charlie Wright's historic bed and breakfast, Sulphur Springs Inn.  From November 1st through February 1st, Charlie offers a 50% discount to all fly-fishers staying at his inn.

Now, if you are looking for a quicker way to Blue and want a cabin experience, then check out Blue River Landing. This rustic cabin will sleep up to eight and puts you about fifteen minutes away from the river. 

I'm going to go look for those split shots again, and hope this information helps a little to those coming to Blue for the first time this season.  

Good luck this trout season. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More Than We Can Bear?

Line art drawing of a black bear.Image via Wikipedia
Black bear season in Oklahoma is a month long season running from October 1st through the 31st.  The season ends either when time runs out or 20 bear are harvested.  Last year time ran out with only 19 bear being harvested.  However, this year something new was thrown in the mix.

In years past, only hunters over the age of sixty or hunters with physical disabilities were allowed to hunt with a crossbow.  This year however, anyone can hunt with a crossbow. 

Standing in line at the Bass Pro two Saturday's ago, there were three people ahead of me and all three had a crossbow to purchase.  That sight told me there would be a lot of new faces or hunters in the woods this hunting season. 

Black bear season 2010 opened October 1st... and closed October 1st.  Not only was the 20 bear limit reached, it was exceeded by eleven bear being taken for a total of 31 on opening day.  Wildlife officials report at least 20 of the harvested bear were taken by crossbows.

I'm quite sure there are more than a few unhappy or disillusioned Black bear hunters this morning, and how could we not blame them.  Some of these hunters put in a lot of effort, and time in the woods in hopes of getting what should be a unique hunting experience in Oklahoma.  The new crossbow allowance certainly gives a big advantage in the hunt.

The question now becomes whether wildlife officials are going to have to look at the season differently?  Another question becomes will they look at the crossbow allowance for everyone with a discerning eye?

The only thing I can liken Black bear hunting in Oklahoma too, when comparing it with fishing, is having the opportunity to fish a stretch of trophy trout water.   Do we not want such an opportunity to be challenging as it can be?  Shouldn't that stretch of water have special regulations to insure it is challenging? 

Does everyone in hunting circles getting to use crossbows, cut short the experience of hunting and the thrill of the hunt?  I think many will argue yes, that indeed it does. 

It will interesting to see the reaction and decision of wildlife management regarding Black bear season and the use of the crossbow by everyone.  Hopefully, a new plan that will be more equitable to both hunter and animal will come forth from this one day season of 2010.

I say hopefully, because if it doesn't it may be more than we can bear.
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