Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Carp Redux 2011 - Record Heat Carp

It appears that Oklahoma is going for a record in 100 degree days during the month of June.  Undoubtedly, the record will fall come tomorrow and then there are three days left in June with predicted 100+ days.

It's hot!  In chatting with fellow fly-fisher Robin Rhyne of McKinney, Texas this morning, I told Robin that it's so hot right now the fish I am catching are already fried.  Of course it's not quite that hot, but still it's quite miserable.

It's not just the heat, but, the extreme drought too.  Over 70% of Texas is suffering from extreme drought and here on the prairie ocean we're experiencing the same.  The drought is taking a toll on the local waters and the stream that serves as home to the grand golden ones has become thin - as skinny as I've ever seen.  Currently the stream is running at 3 cfs compared to the normal 18 cfs for this time of year.

When fly fishing for carp in thin and narrow water, there is no room for mistakes.  Everything, whether it be our approach, our casts, presentation, and patience becomes twice as important.  With the thin and narrow water, we find ourselves closer to the fish... and that means they are closer to us, which translates to them being able to detect us easier.

Not having any opportunities to fish in the last four or five days, the addiction was getting the best of me today.  Problem with today, however, was work and I wouldn't get on the water until 11 a.m., and the sun was already blazing at this time.  I would only last an hour, but, did find a couple of carp.

There really wasn't that many carp out, at least early in the expedition.  The few detected were in muddy and shaded water and to fish them would had been nothing less than an hopeful attempt.  Heading downstream I do encounter two young carp feeding underneath a log jam.  With the patience of a heron I wait for the fish to exit from under the fallen lumber.  Finally one does and the gift I bear is offered to the youngster.  He likes the gift and comes in for the branding.

Using an orange body soft hackle with black beadhead, I would miss a couple of more opportunities as the carp eat the fly.  Thirty minutes into the trip the heat was already telling on this body, so I decide to go back upstream. 

Upstream, there is a group of carp on the feed and the olive and black Carpolo Charlie goes on.  The Carpolo finds another young carp.

Although I wanted to stay longer I've come to listen to what the body tells me and it was quite apparent the heat was having an effect, so, I leave the creek and grand golden ones for another day as they swam under a blue sky with white-stretched pillows.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Prairie Ocean Wildlife

Wildlife officials in Oklahoma are saying there is something to whistle about with the recent spotting of black-bellied whistling ducks.

Recently, a pair of the most “un-duck-like” ducks has been spotted in McAlester. Residents have spotted and photographed two black-bellied whistling ducks perched on what was left of an ice storm-damaged maple tree in their urban backyard.

“I like all critters, I’m a wildlife guy that has been duck hunting all my life, but I’ve never seen something like this,” said Danny Giacomo, McAlester resident whose yard the ducks have been visiting. “I look forward to seeing them every evening about 8 o’clock with the sun highlighting their beautiful colors.”

Black-bellied whistling ducks are widespread in the tropics of central to south-central South America and in Texas, Arizona and coastal Louisiana.
According to Mark Howery, Wildlife Diversity biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, sightings have increased in Oklahoma over the last decade. Within the past 10-12 years, the black-bellied whistling duck has become a regular breeding species in McCurtain County with nests documented so far this year in Broken Bow and at Red Slough WMA. Over the past decade, they have been recorded in at least seven counties including Tulsa, Kingfisher, and Osage

“It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of these ducks, because they are part of the exotic waterfowl trade,” Howery said. “These ducks are primarily a combination of wild-born ducks moving up from Texas, or escaped captive birds.”
Howery thinks their northern movements are due to their adaptation to human environments. "These are wetland birds, and like many wetland birds, they are mobile and can move around from season to season following rainfall patterns as wetlands dry up in some areas and fill up in others,” he said. “Outside nesting season, they will wander for feeding areas.”
This duck species has some goose-like behaviors, but a diet and bill shape that is more like that of a dabbling duck.
“Black-bellied whistling ducks are their own tribe of ducks,” Howery said.
Black-bellied whistling ducks eat a variety of insects and seeds. They can be spotted perching on trees or nesting in tree cavities.

The sighting of these unique ducks portrays Oklahoma’s ecologic diversity. Oklahoma ranks as one of the top ecologically diverse states in the nation, home to everything from antelope to alligators.

Courtesy of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Prairie Ocean - Campsite Cooking

Fly fishing has led to a greater enjoyment of the outdoor life.


If you want to include some really lean protein in your diet, then consider venison.  Miss Carol and I recently came into ownership of some ground venison and it didn't take us long to conjure up a dish. 

Here's what you'll need to fix Venison Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

You will need:
8 large cabbage leaves
1 1/2 pounds of ground venison
1 small yellow onion - chopped
3/4 cup of cooked white rice
1 - 24 oz. jar of Marinara sauce
3/4 cup of shredded green cabbage
3/4 cup of shredded red cabbage
Bacon grease
Salt, pepper, and paprika

You will want to prep by chopping the onion, cooking the rice, shredding the green and red cabbage and par-boiling the cabbage leaves.  Par-boil the leaves just long enough to make them pliable and then remove then to cool.

In a mixing bowl combine the venison, chopped onions, rice, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.  Mix well.
Next, mix your red and green cabbage together.  Place enough bacon grease in Dutch Oven just to grease the entire bottom.  Now add shredded cabbage to make a bed.

Place a heaping tablespoon of Marinara sauce in each cabbage leave.  Then add about 1/3rd of a pound of the venison mixture.

It's time to make the rolls now.  Your first fold will be from the bottom or narrow end of the leave.  Simply fold up.

Now fold each side.

Lastly, fold the top or broad portion of the cabbage leave and then flip the roll.

Place all the rolls in Dutch and and cover with the remaining Marinara sauce.

Cook the cabbage rolls at 350 degrees for one hour.  For a 14 inch Dutch Oven you will need 14 coals on bottom at 21 on top.
Plate over Alfredo noodles. Enjoy.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Outdoor Gear

My, my, my... never a better Father's day have I had.  This year, instead of the usual tie, do-dads, knick knacks, or yet another set of pajamas... stuff I'll actually use came my way.
First, there was a new Lodge cast iron skillet.  Being a aficionado of cast iron I simply can't get enough of this wonderful utensil.  Simply cannot wait to lay some hickory smoked bacon in this skillet and start it on a long life of wonderful seasoning flavors.
And then... there was this.  For a long, long time I've been hoping for a survival metal match and today I received one.  But, but... this isn't any ordinary metal match - it's custom made, complete with a deer antler handle.  This wonderful and beautiful tool will produce some high intensity sparks.  All that will ever be needed, in addition to this tool, to start a fire is some good tender.

Show me the woods and campfire. 

Catch you in the woods.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carp Redux 2011 - Hot Water Carp

The temperature here on the prairie ocean was 103 yesterday.  The temperature today is predicted to be 103 also.  Maybe twenty years ago I would've fished in such extremes... but, those days are gone. 

Last night I tied two new Carpola Charlie carp flies in olive and brown, and olive and black with variegated legs.  The Carpola Charlie was a killer pattern last season, but, has seen little action this year. 

Getting on the creek about mid-morning it was easy to tell the carp were active and mudding frantically.  Any chance of seeing lots of carp was slowing drifting downstream within the clouds of muddy water. 

Downstream in the shallows of one pasture there was a stray beeve - a lone grazer.  Looking into the possibles pouch, I spotted the olive and brown Carpola tied last night and this warrior went on and was sent sailing toward the carp.  Carpola landed about eight inches above and to the side of the beast and quickly disappeared from sight.  However, in watching the behaviour of the beeve I could tell he was on it.  Quick lift of the glass rod and the beeve suddenly went on stampede.  He was peeling line like nobodies business and took me near the backing.  I had to turn him because he was headed for a brush pile.  Fortunately the tippet held.
Carp are such gallant fighters.

Scale missing from battle?

The weather forecaster promises a cold front to arrive next week - on the first day of summer actually.  How ironic.  Until then, I'm staying cool.

Catch you in the shade.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Prairie Ocean News - Making Fishing Memories

This is well worth reposting and therefore it's done.  From the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. 

Volunteers needed to help make fishing memories for children with illnesses.

            Seventy-five boat-owning volunteers are needed July 16 to help take a group of children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses fishing on Lake Texoma.

            The children are campers at Camp Cavett, a weeklong camp that offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses. Each year, part of the week’s festivities includes a fishing trip in which anglers and boaters from across Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana volunteer their time and their boats to spend time fishing with the campers.

            “Some of these kids have had a tough time over the last few years, but they’re just like any other kids — they love to go fishing and take a boat ride,” said Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
           Gilliland volunteers each year and said some of the campers do not get to fish at home, either because their conditions will not allow them to fish easily or because they are in the hospital too much to find time. Getting the opportunity to go through Camp Cavett gets them involved in the outdoors, giving them something to look forward to and broadening their appreciation for the natural world.

            “Both the volunteers and kids have a great time. It is something we all look forward to," Gilliland said.

             The July 16 fishing event is a “fish-for-anything” derby, with prizes for campers who catch the largest black bass, panfish, catfish, striped bass or rough fish. A free cookout is provided for all participants and volunteers following the day’s outing on the lake.
            Boaters and anglers interested in participating can register as volunteers online at Volunteers must arrive at Lake Texoma’s Catfish Bay by 6 a.m. and sign in with camp staff. Each boat will be assigned up to three campers and a counselor, depending on boat capacity. Tackle, bait and life jackets for campers are provided, though boaters are encouraged to bring additional life jackets if they have them in sizes adult small or adult medium.

Photo Caption: A youth camper is spotted fishing at Lake Texoma during last year’s Camp Cavett with volunteer Glenn Cunningham of Piedmont. Camp Cavett offers outdoor experiences to children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell anemia and other childhood illnesses, and each year anglers and boaters come together as volunteers to take the campers fishing on Lake Texoma. To volunteer, log on to


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Prairie Ocean - Tools Of The Trade

At our bunkhouse, Miss Carol and I do the majority of our cooking outdoors.  There's something that's just earthy or wholesome about cooking outdoors, at least to us. 

Whenever we are using our cast iron and Dutch ovens, I am mindful of the early explorers, settlers, and the cattle drive cousie.  Sometimes I think I was born way too late.

Here are some of the cast iron tools we use when preparing our meals.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Carp Redux 2011 - Under The Influence

Chances are I should have just stayed at the bunkhouse today. 

First off, the prairie schooner was out on loan and away from my wagon mastery, and it just so happens that the lanyard, carp fly box, and carp rod were stowed in the wagon of the schooner. 

Leaving the mercantile store at noon, I was able to persuade sweet Carol in letting me have the brown pony, and therein was the chance to get to the creek.  Without my precious carp gear, I grabbed a rod (not meant for the carp) and a poorly tied Carpola Charlie (tied it way too bulky and it fishes like crap). 

Getting to the creek around 1 p.m., I knew there was only 45 minutes before my duty of fetching Carol was scheduled.  Standing at one of of the more significant, in size, pastures, it was easy to see the carp were extremely active in mudding.  This large pool looked like a ginger-colored milk shake. 

Although I missed the carp fly box, the carp rod, and the lanyard... the one thing more importantly missed was the polarized sunglasses.  They are vital.  The only saving grace today was the cowboy hat I wear... it has a wide brim and that helps shade the sun. 

Forty or more feet out, the images of carp could be seen, but, getting a fly to them would require what I call a "prayer cast", where we simply cast and pray like heck the fish will stumble into it.  This didn't seem a good option today.

After about twenty minutes there was a waving orange colored tail about fifteen feet out, so the crap-tied Carpola Charlie in olive and black was flipped to the fish.  Immediately my attention was turned to the tail, but suddenly the corner of my eye was caught by the image of a rather good-sized Mirror carp coming from the bottom.  This fish sucked the fly mid-column and it caught me so off guard it was too late.  Going for the hookset anyhow, the fly landed in the arms of a young tree some ten feet behind me. 

I was peeved.

Another ten minutes passed and it was nearing time to fetch Miss Carol, but, just five more minutes... please, and I'll be damn, if another Mirror (maybe the same one) came toward the bank.  The fly was again flipped and the darn fish took the fly mid-column.  I saw the fly go in the fishes mouth! 

I missed!  Again! 

With the first Mirror carp that took the fly mid-column there was a Keystone Light tucked under my right arm, which just so happens to be my hook-set arm.

With the second Mirror carp that took the fly mid-column the same Keystone Light was squeezed between my knees.

Hmmm....  is there a correlation? 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Begins With "C"

The Carpola Charlie carp fly begins with "c".
Of course, our friend the carp begins with "c".

Alas, the catfish also begins with "c".
Having less than an hour to spare, I waited until almost 7 p.m. to catapult to the creek thinking the searing heat would be absent.  The problem, however, is at such an hour the sun is deep in the western sky creating almost total shade on the water.  I couldn't see squat.

Fortunately I had a beer in tow and sit down on a sandy shoal to take in the suds.  With only a couple of sips down the hatch I saw a swirl in the pool directly downstream.  With a rather desperate Hail Mary attempt, the Carpola Charlie penetrated the plunge and almost as soon as the splashdown took place, the swirl turned toward the direction of the fly.  The fly and fish collided and there was a rather noticeable jolt in the leader, followed by a quick lift of the rod.  It was easy to tell the hook-set was quite solid and at that point I would have bet my last dollar I had a dandy determined carp on. 

It was a catfish, with the Carpola Charlie planted in his upper lip.  Catfish are okay... it's just the hope was for a carp. 

I left the creek without a carp.  Catfish begins with a "c"... so does choke.  

Grand Grandchildren And Fly Fishing

Right now, here in the middle of June, we are experiencing July and August like temperatures.  For this old salt of the water that equates to slowing down a tad bit... as far as time on the water.

The truth is... this body is growing older and I'm not the pony I use to be.  The heat hurts.  Dehydration comes way to easy.  The cramps are, at times, unbearable.

Crap... I can't hop across the rocks like I use to, and now I've have finally accepted this fact that really chaps my ass.  Hey... it's just life.  I'm living the dream man!  Yeah right.

I guess all of us who love fly-fishing want to leave or pass on some of our fishing experiences in an attempt that the art will continue.

When grandson Tanner was eight years old he has his own set of waders, rod, and everything necessary to fly fish.  Tanner and I, along with friends such as Jonathan Boeck, spent some good time on Blue River chasing those beautiful and bright Rainbow trout.  Unfortunately, Tanner would move a good distance away and we didn't get to pursue the art.

Now... there are grand-daughters.

Since it's so hot, I decided to ease-up a bit and concentrate on passing on the fly-fishing culture.  Granddaughter Brilee spends a good time with Carol and I, so on her last visit I took her to a casting stream. 

Putting a four weight rod in her hand, Brilee also received about five minutes of verbal instruction.  As she stood parallel with the stream I simply said, "Go". 

Now, if you would have been there you would have thought Brilee had a spey rod in her hand because she was flinging the darn thing.  And... that was okay.  The important thing was she took an interest... the refinement can come later.

The most impressive thing to me about Brilee was she wasn't a bit intimidated by the rod or the fly line zinging by her head.  She just kept flinging. 

Plans are to get in her in the water and on some fish soon. Perhaps, one more generation of fly fishing faithful will be born.

Brilee with four weight in hand, giving it a go.

Confidence in a small package.

There's another grand-daughter named Payton.  Payton is like this world-class softball player so I know getting a rod in her hand this time of year (softball season) is out of the question.

However, there is always fall... and trout season at Blue River begins in fall... and I hope Payton doesn't blow her arm throwing a runner out at first.
Payton going for gold.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

And Why Do Carp Jump?

It's a question I've found myself asking over and over.  Charlie and I call these jumping carp clown carp because they are reminding of a circus clown doing somersaults and acrobatics. 

For quite sometime it's been my belief that these carp jump in order to cleanse their skin, fins, or some part of their body.

Jim Burns over at LA River  Fly Fishing has now asked the question and even put a poll up to get other opinions from the fly fishing for carp community.

Visit the LA River Fly Fishing blog and participate in the poll... it will interesting to see the answers. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Carp Redux 2011 - Short And Sweet

Stepped into the creek at 12:30 today, which is the wrong time at this time of year.  It was hot... no, it was hot and humid.  The air was thick and like a blast furnace. 

The addiction that is mine simply got the best of me.  Feeling challenged in body and soul, I needed to feel better.

The Mysis Shrimp has been missing in action lately so it went on as an offering to the grand and golden ones.  A lone carp was spotted; a cast... a unremarkable cast was made and fortunately fell lightly and within acceptable range of the creature.  In watching the fish it was easy to see notice was taken.  Attention turned to leader and then there it was... that ever-so subtle movement.  Side sweep hook set and fish to hand.  Picture taken, fish released, and the creek is left behind to another day.

A stop at the beer store and then to the prairie home.  Short, sweet, and to the point.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bass, Carp, And Summer Early

Seems like summer has arrived a little early here on the prairie ocean.  Yesterday, the thermometer reached 96 degrees, and today... was a repeat performance. 

The creek continues to struggle even though we have received some rain over the last thirty days.  Most life in and along the creek seem to be holding their own especially the Johnson grass - which most certainly is thriving.  Right now, the Johnson grass is about a foot taller than this fly-fisher and that makes it about six foot and seven inches.  There are few things I can think of that are more aggravating to the caster of fur and feather than Johnson grass and that grainy millet the grass wears as a crown.  I swear this grass, also known as switch, seems to somehow reach up and out and grab the flies we are trying to offer.

When temperatures get to be where they currently are, I'm forced to limit my fishing activity due to some heat problems of years past.  It's either fish early or late, and if that doesn't pan out then time on the water is limited to a couple of hours.  Yesterday, I fished an hour shortly before noon.

Carrying that sweet fiberglass rod, the first fish of the day was a spunky bass that believed he was wall-hanging size.  This fellow put quite a bend in the glass and just wouldn't give in or up easily. 

Although I'm trying my best to protect the carp, those grand and golden ones, from those who wish to end their lives... I'm still fishing for them.  In order to protect this special creatures, out of the way efforts won't be a problem.  If I have to park at one location and walk a long ways to get to the actual fishing spot... I will.  In addition, the locations fished will no longer be divulged.

A young carp came to hand using the same orange pattern that took the bass.  Seems like all the fish, particularly the perch community, favored the color orange on Saturday.

Calling it an outing around the noon hour, a return trip to the creek would take place late in the afternoon.  Two more carp came to hand on the orange colored fly, but, one wouldn't count because the hook somehow impaled in the top portion of the fishes snout.  In other words, the hook was outside the mouth.  The other carp was a young twenty inch Mirror and this little fish took me within two or three feet of the backing.  What a tremendous determination to win and this is why these fish have my admiration.

There is a tremendous amount of life in the creek right now even with the water level being low.  The fry were slashing the water with a frequency they would make one think their numbers would equal a krill community. 

The rest of the late afternoon was spent admiring the life along the creek.  It was a good day.

Future meal for fish or fowl?

Beautiful butterfly contrasted by ugly mud.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Prairie Ocean - Campsite Cooking

Fly-fishing has led to a greater enjoyment of the outdoor life.

Whenever fly-fishing is not possible, another great passion is campfire, campsite, outdoor cooking.  Here are some of the dishes fixed in cast iron and on the grill in the last several days. 

For Memorial Day we prepared slow grilled pork spare ribs and served them on top of creamy potato salad, draped with roasted peppers and two opposing sauces.  

Along with ribs and potato salad, we fixed brown sugar baked beans in the Dutch oven.  Oh, how sweet it is. 

Tonight, the bunkhouse crew wanted Mexican so we prepared crab stuffed Anaheim peppers draped in enchilada sauce.  For the stuffing you will need crab meat, cream cheese, about 4 ounces of Mozzarella, 4 ounces of pimentos, and 4 ounces of finely chopped yellow onion.  Combine these ingredients to a substantial, but still workable blend.  Bake seeded and naked peppers in Dutch for twenty minutes, then fill with stuffing and bake for another fifteen minutes. Drape with enchilada sauce.  

These beauties have a sweetness on the front end and a bite on the back.

We served them with tamales, Spanish rices, and an avocado-grape tomato-crumbled egg salad. 

All of this can be easily cooked at the campsite.