Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chapter 58 Day 30 - Trout Season

The Ebb And Flow Of An Oklahoma Trout Stream

In the first three weeks of November, Blue River was the beneficiary of extra trout.  Of course, all who love fishing for trout were pleasantly pleased.  However,  for some of us, it was a sad comment on the demise of Oklahoma's first year round trout fishery - the Lower Illinois. 

Several things came together at once in the demise of this precious tail water.  A leak in the dam, that supplied a constant flow of water, was repaired this past summer.  Then there was the exceptional drought and the record heat of 2011.  All these things worked together causing flow and water quality problems in the Lower Illinois river.

In September, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife suspended trout stocking.  In October, there was a significant fish kill.

Good news is the stocking has been resumed at the Lower Illinois, but, the future of this beautiful trout stream is cloudy at best.

In his article for the Amarillo Globe News, Ryan Shelton shares his story in "Death Of A Trout Stream".  Shelton describes his arrival  at the Lower Illinois on opening day of trout season - not knowing about the issues surrounding  the river. 

What he found, what he saw, most certainly served as the catalyst and motivating factor for Shelton penning his article. 

In that piece, Shelton includes a quote from Scott Hood, President of the Oklahoma Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  Hood said, "It's a problem that can be solved by putting pressure on the government." 

Shelton goes on to include the names of two elected Oklahoma officials that can help at the federal level. 

As members of the fly-fishing community we should always fight the good fight when it comes to our fishing water.  It is our duty to save every inch and every ounce of our fisheries. 

I invite you to read Ryan Shelton's complete article and have included the link below.  I also encourage you to contact the two elected officials mentioned in Shelton's article and let them know the Lower Illinois can not be lost as a trout fishery. 

Death Of A Trout Stream.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Barry,

I read your atricle. I don't think that drought acn be mitagated, natural as it is, even if exterme as of late. But, the operation of the dam is another thing. I can see the fixture of the leak as a proper dam maintenance object, no one wants a dam to burst, even if in this case highly unlikely. But a river below a dam with a valid fishery, trout or warm water, is criminal. "Allocated" water is simply money talking, someone doesn't want to take care to give a little, be it irrigators or municipalities. We have problems here also of a similar nature and in a variety of places. I wish the best for this situation.


Gregg

Barry said...

Thank you for your words Gregg. It takes all of us together in this struggle to hang on to our vanishing fishing waters.

Again, thank you.

Barry

Jon Williams said...

I had no idea ! I knew Blue was getting their stockings, but I wasn’t sure why. I live in southwest OK. Blue is a 100ml trip for me & Illinois River 200ml. I usually opt for Blue & some months I’m lucky enough to make 4 trips to Blue. A trip to the lower Mt. Fork is a rare luxury to me, but having an actual trout habitat in our State is a rare & precious commodity. It’s comforting come Spring when the Blue’s season ends. Thanks for posting this!! I took TU’s advise & wrote Inhofe. I had some trouble contacting Boren though. There’s no contact link on his site. He either never posted a link, or……..hopefully he took it down as a result of an overwhelming response to this issue. Instead he has 4 separate contact USPS address’s posted. Either way thanks again for your blog.
Jon Williams