Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 121 - Trout Season

Conversations With Carp - Charlie's Latest Dialogue

I've been miserable here of late.  Trout season at Blue River is quickly winding down and I cannot get to the water.  Being held captive by the block and mortar I stay sullen and cranky. 

The block and mortar feeds my family however, but you see the river feeds by soul and the soul is on a fast.  There is simply something wholesome about the woods and water.  I find nothing wholesome about block and mortar.

The only thing that has kept me remotely intact is Charlie's scouting and success reports.  Charlie came down with an early case of carp fever, but yesterday his temperature broke.

At the pasture we call Forty Foot, Charlie got his lasso around three different golden beeves.  Two would come to Charlie's hand for branding with the third breaking the tether.  I believe this is a first for Charlie also - catching carp in February that is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 120 - Trout Season

Celebrating Nature

The Arbuckle-Simpson Nature Festival is a celebration of the outdoor resources overlying and around the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer.  This year on April 27th and 28th, the 6th Annual ASNF will take place.

Last year I had the pleasure of doing a fly-fishing clinic on Blue River.  This year, fellow angler Kevin Harris of Ada, Oklahoma will be conducting an anglng for the small mouth bass clinic on Blue River. 

New to the festival this year is a Dutch oven cooking gathering, demonstration and cook-off.  The organizers of the ASNF asked if I would help to recruit Dutch oven cooks from the local area and points far. 

Donny and Linda Carter, both members of the Blue River Fly Fishers will be attending the cook-off as will Vernon Forester, also a member of the Blue River Fly Fishers. 

The Dutch oven gathering and cook-off is an effort to introduce the general public to the joy of cooking in the outdoors in cast iron. 

The public will be treated to samples of the Dutch oven cooks and all the recipes will be judged by a panel selected by the organizers of the festival.  One recipe will be crowned as best of the best and that cook will be awarded a plague along with a new black pot. 

If there are any interested Dutch oven cooks that would like to join in on the fun then please contact me at my email address. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 119 - Trout Season

Feathers For The One Fly

To me, the 1st Annual One Fly event is exciting.  This season's event is the first such event ever attempted at Blue River and that seems special somehow.  Secondly it is going to bring a lot of names to faces and not only can bolster, but also bond the wonderful fellowship that exists amongst the brothers and sisters of the angle.  Lastly, it's for a good cause - that cause beingthe raising of funds for support of Blue River and particularly the future of the Catch and Release area. 

Of course all of us want to the event to go well, for if it does then there will certainly be more to come in the years ahead. 

When thinking about the event I knew that "gimmes" should be a part of the festivities.  One participant in the One Fly was the first to step forward and donate a gift, which has still yet to be announced.  Mercurio was quick to donate some of his Aztec Angler caps and I can speak for these caps - they're nice.  Charlie Wright is handcrafting cane walking sticks for everyone attending and then there is more.  There are fly tying DVDs, a brisket that's just waiting to be smoked, some possible fly collections (if those flies I ordered by mistake arrive) and now six sets of genetic tying feathers. 

The genetic feathers promised by Tom Waits of Hackle and Tackle in Blanchard, Oklahoma arrived over the weekend.  There are six sets of two different sizes of hackles and they should tie some dan-dan-dandy flies that will capture many fish.

Here's the fine feathers.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 118 - Trout Season

Conversations With Carp - February Talks

Last month I caught the first carp I'd ever caught during the month of January.  Today was another first.  Never before had I caught a carp in February.  Usually it is mid to late March before we have any chance at these creatures.

It was surprising how active and playful the carp were today.  They were flashing, chasing one another, and breaking the surface.  At times it almost looked like activities when the spawn is on. 

Starting out with a Crazy Charlie the carp were showing no interest at all.  But, a spunky little spotted bass sure would.

Since the carp seemed uninterested in the Crazy Charlie I tied a Clouser on, but the golden ones were snubbing their snouts at this pattern also.

Then came the olive and orange Carpolo Charlie, but no results.  A crawdad pattern followed the Carpolo, but again nothing in the fashion of fancy came from the carp. 

Then the Carpolo Charlie black and olive with slightly longer legs went to sea and as a minute and ever-so-slow strip was being employed I felt a heavy heave.  I reacted with a double side sweep hook-set and the battle was on.

Today's carp was a nice one for this little creek - about twenty-four inches long.  However, the battle lasted longer than it should so I stayed in contact with the fish in the water to make sure there was a complete revival. 

It felt good to see this grand and golden one swim away quickly.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 117 - Trout Season

A Message To Beer Drinkers On Blue River

There's nothing wrong with drinking a little beer - I'm a big fan of it myself.  With that being said, it should also be said that there are places to drink beer and places not to drink beer. 

Larry is a big time local tournament bass angler that works with me at the mercantile store.  During the fall and winter he also likes to go to Blue River for the trout. 

Friday mornng Larry was telling me about his Thursday afternoon trip to Blue.  He had hiked into the south wilderness and stopped at Desperado Springs.  While standing on the bank there he noticed three fishermen on the east side of the river that seemed, according to Larry, more interested in drinking beer than fishing.

To begin with we are not allowed to carry beer or any other alcoholic beverage into the wilderness areas or have on the banks of Blue River anywhere.  Beer must be consumed in campsites or parking areas. 

Larry continued his story by saying the most frustrating thing was how these guys were chuggin' their beer and then tossing the empty cans in the river. 

Now, I don't know who these Bozo-like characters were, but they should consider themselves lucky.  Lucky in the sense that a game warden wasn't standing where Larry was and the warden didn't see what Larry saw.  Most assuredly if a game warden had been there to see these events he or she would have had a sudden spike in blood pressure and the tickets would have started to fly. 

Not being absolutely sure what the fines would have been, these clowns would have not only received a citation for having beer on the river, but a second ticket for littering.  The total price tag would have probably been around $400.00, which isn't enough in my opinion.

I still believe the only way we will ever get people to stop trashing Blue River is to fine the hell out of them.  First offense should be no less than $500.00.  Then, if the offender decides to become a repeat offender, they should be banned from Blue River altogether.

My opinion may sound a little harsh and radical, but I believe it is a perfect and just judgement for those uncaring and thoughtless clowns who throw trash on Blue River.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 116 - Trout Season

The One Fly Genetic Feathers

In today's mail dispatch there was a most wonderful sample of the genetic tying feathers that Tom Waits of Blanchard, Oklahoma is donating to the 1st Annual One Fly event at Blue River. 

Right now Tom is in Wisconsin and he says as soon as he gets back he'll be sending the feathers.  The sample I received today was awesome and will tie some really nice flies. 

In additon to the sample of feathers Tom sent he also sent a whip finishing tool he creates called the "Midge Rapper".   Tom explains that is designed to handle really delicate threads, which is gong to come in realy handy.


These feathers, to me, are precious and certainly won't end up as an accessory for someone's hair.  Like I said they will tie some dog-gone good flies. 

I can't wait to see which contestant will have the luck of the draw at the One Fly and receive Tom's feathers. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 115 - Trout Season

One Fly Scorecard

Click On Image For Larger View

Last night I got all the One Fly contestant score cards finally printed off on card stock.  The score card is pretty simple actually. 

Each trout you catch will count as one point.  Based on the length of each trout caught you will receive additional points.  So... for example if you catch a 14 inch trout you will put a "tic" mark in the column on the left that corresponds with that particular length category which is 12" to 16".  For that 14 inch trout you will receive a total of 4 points. 

Since this contest is taking place ten days into the month of March and since we are having unreasonably warm weather there is a good chance to pick up a small mouth bass.  If you do... then you will receive a bonus of 6 points!

Each contestant will be given a score card and ink pen housed inside a Zip-loc bag.  It is up to each contestant to measure or guesstimate the length of the fish.  And of course this is the honor system and all of us are quite honorable people so no problems there.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 114 - Trout Season

The Season Of Confusion

The calendar is saying that we are still deep in the winter season.   Today though, nature seemed to indicate else wise with bright sunshine and a temperature that reached 73 wonderful degrees. It's been, for the most part this winter, a season of confusion.

During trout season I get excited by gray, overcast and almost damp days.  Somehow the trout fishing always seems better for me on the pewter-like days.  I must admit the sunshine and spring-like weather today was rather nice. 

Not being able to get to Blue River to try and trick the trout, a trip to the local creek to see what the grand and golden carp had on their mind was in order.  It was time to do a little scouting in other words.

One of the things I like best in the pursuit of carp by the fly is the hunt.  It's that hunt that intrigues me, and within those moments when I'm stalking... when there suddenly appears a ghost out of the water before me... I can feel my heart rate change.  It's the adrenalin... that rush of excitement laced with hope, but buffered with doubt. 

This afternoon I went to one of our carp pastures we call the Beach.  In the last couple of seasons Charlie and I have seen as many as forty carp in this short stretch of water.  Today, I counted ten. 

Though the weather is nice and the air temperature is saying spring more than winter, the water temperatures are still on the cool side.  I still believe many of the carp are wintered. 

The ten carp I encountered were suspended... lethargic at best... showing no signs of needing to eat. 

One thing I've come to learn about carp is that they seem extremely social in their existence.  They form in communities and it is there that they socialize, play, love, and eat together in the herds they form.

There is still another week until the month of March arrives and with it the promised delivery of St. Patricks day (definitely a beer drinking occasion) and the vernal equinox.  And... a time the grand and golden ones grow restless in their wintered homes. 

Between now and then the search for the grand ones will be ongoing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 113 - Trout Season

Those Darling Damsels

One thing not lacking in the fly tying world these days is variation.  Being guilty to this party, there always seems to be one or another variation of a certain pattern that comes across that neon boulevard in my mind.

For some reason the Olive Damsel Marabou came to mind the other day.  This is a pattern that was put to good use on Blue River for trout five or six years ago.  In the last several years, however, the olive damsel has not been employed and I can't explain why.

In the past the olive damsel has produced trout to hand - perhaps not as well as some other nymph patterns but still served as a good pattern.

When it comes to this particular pattern I tie several variations and can't really say if one works better than the other. 

At the tying desk last night I begin to wonder why the olive damsel wouldn't work for carp.  As far as I know they could certainty attract the interest of the golden ghost especially if we tie them in slightly larger sizes than we would for trout. 

Then, there's that variation mentioned earlier.  What if rubber legs were incorporated with this pattern.  That most certainly seems like something that would attract the grand and golden ones. 

Better get to the vise and start experimenting because carp season is just ahead. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 112 - Trout Season

Countdown To One Fly

As of today there are twenty days left until the 1st Annual One Fly contest will take place on Blue River. 

Last Friday when John Haney came up to fish Blue he brought with him the $100.00 Cabelas gift certificate and now all prizes for the top three finishers are in place and ready to go.

Additionally there will be a number of prizes given away by random draw and these prizes include nine DVDs titled Six Great Trout Flies and this video was filmed on Blue River by several members of the Blue River Fly Fishers. 

Also, Michael Mercurio has donated a number of Aztec Anglers caps and these are really nice looking caps.  Charlie Wright has hand-crafted thirty cane walking sticks and these walking sticks also have the capacity to turn a fellow into a Samurai stick wielding warrior. 

There is also a bottle of fine spirits on the way, courtesy of one of the contestants, and some fine angler should be quite jolly, or quite jolly afterwards, once they receive this gift.

There will also be a good number of six pack flies given away and these are flies that can be used on any water for the most part.

Ralph and Charlotte Fullendwinder will be cooking a large Dutch Oven black pot full of chili and beans and this will ensure no angler will fall out from hunger during the One Fly.

Of course, more prizes may pop up between now and the day of the event. 

For sure, it is going to be a good day of fun and fellowship and hopefully be an event the fly angling community at Blue River will continue in the coming years.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 111 - Trout Season

Derby Results

Chris Adams and I have been fishing together on Blue River for twelve years now.  I can remember the first time meeting Chris - he was fishing a stretch of water that bears his name. 

When it comes to the trout derby, Chris has a determination that is quite rare.  Here recently he is best known for his Bubba Bugger - a fly that produces fish after fish for Chris and anyone else that tries it.  I think the success Chris has at the derby events is more that the fly he happens to be using.  He lays out a game plan and then he follows through on that plan.  He has the determination and staying power and he knows his fly-fishing well. 

Today, Chris was presented the Susie Latham Shrader memorial award for weighing in the two day heaviest stringer of trout. It was my honor in presenting Chris the award.  If I'm doing the math right Chris caught about twenty-one pounds of trout over the two day event. 

Congratulations to Chris Adams for another fine performance. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 110 - Trout Season

Derby Saturday

Derby Saturday turned out much more pleasant than the forecasters had led us to believe.  The forecast called for steady rain all day long, but, the only rain I encountered was on the way to the river.

Today was a pleasure for me because I finally got to fish with Van Stacey.  Van and I didn't get to the wilderness area until around 8 o'clock and began working our way up.  Van would pick up a fish here and there and I was culling the smaller fish. 

By the time we got to the wilderness Chris "The Machine" Adams was probably about through fishing.  As a matter of fact he told me that he had to wait until his nephew Matthew caught up with him.  Imagine that.

Chris and Matthew fish a honey hole if you will and if I'm doing the math right the two of them pulled 17 pounds of trout out of that one hole.  Not bad for a short morning on the water. 

I wouldn't get to this honey hole until probably 11 'o clock.  There was still some fish left remarkably and I would get three fairly nice trout to hand.  I suffered heartbreak twice while I was there losing two really nice trout - two pounds or better. 

About thirty minutes before hitting that honey hole I took a rather significant fall into the river.  Even though I had that walking/wading staff that Charlie made me, it's not going to help a guy who doesn't have the sense to not hop from a flat rock to a bevel shaped rock. 

I went down in the river up to the chest, bummed the elbow up, and cut the hand.  It was about that time, I think, that I told myself a beer should would taste good.  But... I didn't have one. 

Ending up with close to seven pounds of trout I weighed them in and headed for the prairie home where an Epsom salt soak was surely awaiting me. 

Soon as I weighed in it began to rain so that was all the more reason to not stay for the ceremonies. 

Tomorrow is derby Sunday and a brand new day. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 109 - Trout Season

A Most Pleasurable Day

Today was a joy.  In the south wilderness I fished with John Haney, Chris Adams, Michael Mercurio and the four of us had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Scott Dittner.  Scott was an absolute joy to be around and explore the river with. 

And then, he bought all of lunch. Thanks Scott. 

The weather was pleasant all day long with most of the morning delivering an overcast sky.  The river was a little more stained today than when I was there on Wednesday morning, but, the fish didn't seem to mind.

These trout are beautiful creatures and they have some size to them - two pound trout are quite possible right now. 

Chris had his Bubba Bugger and he was ripping some lips.  Merc was doing what he does best - nymphing.  John is also an excellent nympher and he had his favorite spots and Scott did best on nymphs also - copper john's and a red hot wire nymph.  My fish all came on brown, olive, and black buggers.

After lunch, Merc, John and Scott were going back for more, but, I needed to get back to the prairie home.  Chris... well he was busy tying up more Bubba Buggers for the trout derby this weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 108 - Trout Season

An Ill-Fated Trout Derby?

What it is about my body and the month of February I have not a clue.  December - no problem, January - no problems there, but, come the month of February and there is definitely a problem for this fly angler.

It was a year ago tomorrow, I was on Blue River pitching a tent so I could get a good and early start to trout derby Saturday.  Upon waking up Saturday morning I knew right away something wasn't right with my body.  The whole derby weekend I struggled to stay on the water and this year, right now, I'm wondering if I might be doing the same this weekend. 

If I make the derby, and I will unless this malady I currently own grows worse, it will still be at best an ill-fated trout derby for me. 

You make the best of it you know.  Just get out there on the water and try to get your mind off of what ails you.  Water is healing, most times, and I am hoping for a healing this weekend - along with some nice trout. 

So, right now I'm going to hit the inhaler, chug some NyQuil, and chomp a jalapeno to see if that dandy will cut some of this crumbled up crud loose. 

Of course, a twenty-inch bow would help too. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 107 - Trout Season

Fishing In The Rain

The planned outing with some friends went by the wayside today because of the iffy weather.  The forecast called for rain and it indeed did. 

Having scheduled a vacation day, it seemed best to make the best use of the down time and go ahead and hit the river.  Yes, it rained on this angler a good portion of the morning. 

Upon arriving at Blue, I went by the campsite of fellow fly angler Chris Adams, but, evidently Chris has changed campsites, so I head on to the wilderness.  I was the only soul in the wilderness this morning. 

The fishing wasn't spectacular at all.  I'd pick up a fish here and then move to another spot and pick up another and on and on.  The brown bugger and a purplish/black glitter bug was the producers this morning. 

The river is really beautiful right now and is growing crystal clear.  It may have just been me, but it seems to be flowing better and about eight or so inches above normal.  That's a good thing though. 

I didn't stay long in the wilderness today and as I was walking out the stocking truck was coming in, so the fishing should improve over the next couple of days - hopefully.

Driving off the river it was apparent that nobody was fishing, so I stopped by Scotty's store and asked him what the deal was.  He speculated nobody was fishing because few have been catching fish here of late. 

Hopefully the weather patterns will improve and that will improve the fishing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 106 - Trout Season

The Other White Meat

No, I'm not in the pocket of the Pork Council or anything like that.  I'm talking about colors of rather full-figured flies; those larger chunks of protein the trout sometimes fancy. 

There are times on the river Blue when the river reaches a certain degree of clarity.  During these times if the water temperature is on the rise, then the color white can produce quite well. 

Two of the largest trout I've ever caught at Blue river have come on a white streamer.  The day I caught one of those big boys, my friend Bruce Dixon caught the largest trout he ever landed on Blue using the same pattern. 

During the majority of trout season at Blue River the colors that produce the best, as far as streamers, are olive, brown, and black.  With these colors doing so well, for us who angle for the trout, it's rather easy to leave the white streamers behind.  There are times, however, that white is the go-to color. 

Not only can white streamers such as the cactus pearl white above entice trout, they are also dynamite for smallmouth or spotted bass in Blue. 

The above pattern is a really easy tie.  White thread, white marabou for tailing, cactus pearl chenille and a gold beadhead. 

An adaption of this pattern is one I call the Lone Ranger.  The Lone Ranger has a black conehead and in the tailing there is a single strand of silver flash incorporated on both sides.  Thus, we have the colors of the famed masked man with his black mask, white hat, and silver bullets.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 105 - Trout Season

Unconventional Means

In the fly fishing world, there has been a long held conversation on the subject of flies used that are considered proper and flies that we use, which are held taboo. 

If we listen to the purists out there they will quickly tell us the only way to truly fly fish is with a dry fly and an upstream cast.  Nice discipline no doubt - laden with great sentiment I'm sure.

Then, we have the traditionalist - those that hold high the classic, standard, or conventional flies such as the wet patterns, nymphs such as the hare's ear and pheasant tail, and soft hackles such as the partridge and orange. 

However as pleasant as it would be to always fish with dry patterns and no matter how much we love the patterns that have become classic and conventional, there are times these flies will not produce a fish to hand and it takes something unconventional to salvage the day. 

Of course I'm referring to the flies that teeter on the edge and often fall into the labeled category of "junk flies". 

The two most reviled flies, patterns that cause the purist and traditionalist to curl their nose and furrow their brow, are the egg pattern and San Juan worm.  The contempt for these two patterns from the ever-so-lofty ones is legendary - having been cussed and discussed for decades and still remains the subject at hand at many a fly tying or fishing gathering.

Over the years I've come to meet some very good and talented fly fishers that use unconventional methods and these anglers catch a lot of fish.  These are the anglers that fly fish for what brings them pleasure, and it seems to be battling fish. 

Personally, when I go fly fishing I want to capture fish - I don't have to catch fish to enjoy myself, but, I sure want to catch fish.  Years ago, a rather famous angler described it best probably.  Zane Grey said something along the lines, "If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."  That's how it is for me personally in a way, but, in not lying about it... I still like capturing fish and if I have to I will go the unconventional route to bring a fish to hand.

Never have I used an egg pattern even though I have said patterns in my arsenal.  When it comes to the San Juan worm I've seen days when the fish are snubbing their nose at the best of the best classic or standard patterns, but, tying a San Juan worm on will produce a fish... and then another... and then another.  Junk fly?  Okay maybe... but who is catching fish?

I think before the purists and traditionalist lamblast, or banter at best, those of us that use unconventional methods they should examine their own methods a bit further.

Now, the purist crowd has every right to hold their convictions highly.  Indeed, their discipline is an admirable one.  However, even though their elitism puts them in a  special category, it does not at the same time give them leave to degrade some of us other regular anglers.

Then, the traditionalist need to look at those classic patterns they favor and examine exactly what has happened to the ways these flies are presented.  In other words, does a bead head placed on a hare's ear change the status of that pattern?  I think it does. 

What about the woolly bugger?  Does the woolly bugger belong in the category of standard/traditional/classic patterns?  There is little doubt regarding the popularity of this pattern - having been touted time and time again and the world's best fly.  But, is it a truly a traditional/conventional pattern or is it a...junk fly?  Most likely, ninety percent or more of the woolly bugger patterns used hold a gold bead head and that in itself challenges the classic/conventional pattern category. 

Of course the woolly bugger is meant to imitate a leech, small bait fish, or crawdad, but to be real honest about it, the bugger looks like none of those things to me.  The bugger, to me, looks like something that wasn't born in the water, and it's a stretch for me to imagine it looking like something that slipped off a bank or lost it's grip from a tree branch.  But boy... the darn things catch fish like no tomorrow. 

I believe we will see more and more fly anglers using unconventional flies in the future - flies consisting of vivid colors, with streaks of flash and synthetic materials. We'll see more micro jig patterns, that like the woolly bugger, look nothing like anything natural.  We'll see some of the standard nymph, emerger, midge, and soft hackle patterns take on new bright colors with wild imaginative materials.

There is a reason we will see more unconventional patterns being used on the water and it's because the fish is a curious creature.  Fish, owning the curiosity they do, often take a swift response when their curiosity is peaked and this leads to their capture. 

And... since I like capturing fish, raising the curiosity of fish will remain one of my strategies on the water.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 104 - Trout Season

Back To Blog

It has felt good.  Being away from the laptop much more than I normally am for the last week has been rather resting and enjoyable.  Sometimes, we have to take a little mental rest and refresh. 

During the week away from the blogosphere I didn't get a whole lot accomplished and it was all by design I'll have to tell you. 

Fishing was mostly out of the question because of work and ever-changing weather patterns.  So, I just relaxed and did some other things I enjoy doing.

On day 99 of trout season I think I may have turned the laptop on twice - once around five in the morning to check the mail and then once that evening.

On day 100 I tied flies.  Trout flies, carp flies, some "Cool Bugs", some white streamers, and of course brown buggers. 

On day 101 I processed more entries for the One Fly contest and begin to print the score cards for the contest.  Printing the score cards using card stock requires me to print them one at a time since the printer is a little cranky and doesn't want to cooperate fully. 

On day 102 I read.  I read old fly fishing articles and some new material.  Reading seems to open the mind and I enjoy it thoroughly.  Also on day 102 came news of a wonderful give-away gift for the One Fly contest and begin getting ready for my fly fishing outing with John Haney from Texas. 

On day 103 John and I did not go fly fishing.  The arctic front came rushing in late Friday afternoon, so John and I opted for a day that would be prove much more comfortable.  However, on day 103 I did travel to Blue River to meet the gentleman that has purchased the little piece of heaven next to wildlife department property.

Today is day 104 and I am sitting here waiting for the promised snow, freezing rain, sleet or just plain rain that the forecasters have promised.  If it's going to get here I wish it would hurry up because there are some fishing trips line up for next week. 

Going to the tying desk right now and kick out a few patterns.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 98 - Trout Season

Slowing Down A Bit

Sometimes... it's good to slow down just a tad bit.  This trout season has been one of the busiest for yours truly and there are still a good number of things on the horizon that are demanding attention. 

This coming week there are two scheduled outings on Blue River not to mention scouting for carp here on the local creek to see what those rascals are up to. 

Then, next week there is a special outing with several of us troutsketeers entertaining a couple of guys that help make our fly fishing for trout lives possible at Blue River. 

Just beyond that is the President's Day Trout Derby - a two day event at Blue River where friends come together in the pursuit of competition. 

And then, there is the One Fly event at Blue River and this event is shaping up better than any of us could have expected.  It now looks like we will have close to two dozen participants and everything is just simply coming together quite nicely. 

Outside of fly fishing there is another outdoor event coming this spring and it will demand a lot of attention from this fellow who loves all things outdoors.  The Arbuckle Simpson Nature Festival will be held April 27th and 28th and one of the venues is a Dutch oven gathering and cook-off.  It seems I'm pretty much assigned to get everything going smoothly on this event, which will be held at the 1880's recreation Sipokni West Old West Town near Pennington Creek in Johnston County. 

So, there is a lot going on and therefore some down time is much in need. 

Think a week or ten day vacation is in order. 

See you a little later on.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 97 - Trout Season

Tying The Carpolo Charlie Carp Fly

With no chance of getting to the water this weekend, the best was made of time by tying some carp patterns for the upcoming season. 

Gregg in Idaho and I have been exchanging a lot of information regarding carp by fly fishing here of late and I'm enjoying every single minute of the dispatches from Gregg. 

He recently sent me a recipe for his variation of the carp fly known as the Mud Bugger and some of these dandies are coming to my fly tying table soon.  In exchange, I'm making this post detailing how to tie the Carpolo Charlie carp fly so Gregg will have an understanding of how to tie this particular pattern.

The Carpolo Charlie carp fly is actually an easy tie.  You will basically go through the same motions you would tying a Clouser pattern.  Of course the materials are quite different. 

Color schemes are left up to the tier's imagination, but I've found that olive is usually a good bet for one of the two colors.  Best producing color schemes have been olive/orange, olive/yellow, olive/black and olive/brown. 

It doesn't seem to matter which color you tie in that will serve as the bottom portion of the fly.  In this regard the bottom portion is the material you'll tie in first (or on top of the hook shank) since this fly is counter-weighted and the hook-point will ride up. 

Here is how to tie a size 10 olive and orange Carpolo Charlie.

You will need:

Size 10 streamer hook
1/8 (Medium) black bead chain eye
Orange 6/0 thread
2 strands of round rubber legging (pumpkinseed colored)
Root Beer Krystal Flash
Orange Marabou
Olive (blood quill) Marabou. 

We start by running our thread wraps down the hook shank and then tying the bead chain in on top of the hook shank about three-fourths way toward the eye of the hook.

With thread directly behind the bead chain eyes take two strands of rubber legging and cinch down and wrap backwards toward bend of hook.

Now take three strands of root beer colored Krystal flash, double the strands around the thread and tie in at hook bend.  Advance thread forward to a point directly in front of bead chain eyes.  Wrap flash up to the thread and tie flash down with thread wraps bending excess flash backwards as you would a flash wing.

Make sure thread wraps are in front of bead chain eyes and tie in the orange marabou using a figure eight wrap with two soft wraps around the material in back of the bead chain eyes.  End thread wraps in front of bead chain eyes. 

Rotate vise and tie in clump of olive marabou with thread wraps only at front of the bead chain eyes.

Build thread head and whip finish using a fail-safe whip finish and a final whip finish.  I tend not to use any head cement or clear nail polish out of possibility of it leaving a scent the carp will detect.

Trim the length of the legs to your liking.  Experience has shown, in the water we fish for carp, that the length of the legs is best when trimmed to a length of 3/4's past the bend of the hook.  However, experiment with different lengths according to the water you fish. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 96 - Trout Season

Good Day For Tying Carp Flies

With an early morning call to Scotty's One Stop, Gloria answers the phone.  I ask her if she happens to know what Blue River looks like after yesterday's rain and she quickly tells me she doesn't.  About that time a couple of fishermen walks in the store and I hear Gloria ask then if they'd been to the river and if so, what does it look like.  In the background I hear the words, "Muddy, muddy, muddy.", and that pretty well told me there would be no fishing for me or Van Stacey today.

A couple of hours later my duties at the mercantile store are complete and I head to the prairie home to tie some flies.  I've been torn here of late as to what patterns to tie.  At this time of year with trout season more than half way over and carp season looming on the horizon, I can't decide whether to tie trout patterns or carp offerings. 

Carp offerings won out today.  It would be a good day to tie Charlie some more patterns.

In addition to the Carpolo Charlie and wormball patterns, I tied some Carp Carrots using cdc and hen hackle, Clousers, and Crazy Charley patterns.  Left to do are Backstabbers, Mysis Shrimp, and Crawdad patterns. 

Mostly though, I want Charlie and myself to have plenty of the Carpolo Charlie flies because they seem to be our ticket to successfully battling the grand and golden ones. 

The Clouser patterns have produced best when casting to carp in deeper water where the carp tend to hang on the far side of the bank.  It's exciting to watch the carp follow the this fly as it falls in the column and oftentimes they will suck the fly while it's on the fall.

The Carp Carrot has been one fly that will produce when nothing else will.  As to why I haven't a clue, I just know it works. 

The Crazy Charley was a crazy producer in the spring last year.  Probably 90% of the carp I brought in, before the weather shut us down, was on the Crazy Charley. 

There are a lot of other patterns still left to tie and soon I'll be in full carp pattern mode.  Gregg from Idaho recently told me about the Mud Bugger patterns and hopefully I'll be tying some of those dandies soon.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 95 - Trout Season

More Video From Blue River

About three or so years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Byron Dowd.  At that time Byron along with one of his friends Byron called SteveO were coming to Blue at a regular clip.

This trout season it was quite noticeable, to me at least, that Byron was missing in action on Blue River.  It was easy to understand though because Byron is one of those guys who seems to have a lot of irons in the fire.  One of those irons seems to be his passion for music and performing, and with that taking up a lot of his time he hasn't been on the water as much. 

So, I sent Byron a message several weeks ago asking about his whereabouts and suggesting he consider entering the One Fly contest. 

The good news is Byron is checking his schedule to see if he can make the One Fly and as a warm-up, most likely for this event, he did in fact make it to the river this week. 

He was good enough to share his day on the water through a video he created using his new toy - a Go Pro Hero 2.  In watching Byron's creation it makes my feeble video attempts with my regular camera even more weak.  Going to have to get one of those Go Pro Hero puppies soon. 

I asked Byron if he'd mind me sharing his video with the rest of the brothers and sisters of Blue River and he said, "No problem my friend". 

So with all this being said, here is Byron's video that covers several parts of the river including the catch and release. 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 94 - Trout Season

Fly Fishing Falls Creek

I had the pleasure of making a new friend today.  Phil Hocker came by the mercantile store today telling me he had been by four different times trying to catch me. 

It turns out Phil is an avid fly fisher and he also follows this blog quite regularly.  So, we got to talking about fly fishing in general.

We talked about Blue River, the Lower Mountain Fork, Pennington Creek, Rock Creek and then the subject of Falls Creek came up.  Phil was under the impression that the trout were not at Falls Creek this year. 

However, I quickly informed him they were since the butcher in the meat market was there just this past Saturday.  As to how many were still there I didn't have a clue.  Our conversation continued for another ten minutes or so and Phil had to bid goodbye... he was on his way to the knife building supply place in Davis, Oklahoma.

After Phil left I kept thinking about our meeting and particularly Falls Creek.  Falls Creek has been the subject between me and another friend of mine - Van Stacey. 

Van is the man in my youngest daughters life and he's darn good to her so naturally I like him.  I like him for another reason too - like me, he's an avid outdoorsman.  For some time now we've been trying to plan a fishing outing, but something like the weather always seems to come up. 

This weekend we had talked about hitting Blue River, but if we get the rain they say we are... then Blue is going to be blown.  To counter that possibility, I told Van, just the other day, we should consider Falls Creek.

When I left the mercantile store today I thought it best to run over to Falls Creek just to make sure there were still trout and the butcher wasn't blowing smoke up my arse - which he is inclined to do at times. 

When I got to Falls Creek guess who else was there?  Phil!  He had his rod packed in his car and so there we were. 

Falls Creek is an intimate little creek hidden high in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, Oklahoma.  The trout water flows through property owned by the Southern Baptist Convention and this place becomes a vacation spot and place of worship for thousands and thousands of young people each summer.

One thing Phil and I learned about the Falls Creek trout is they have a unique ability, it seems, to spit a fly out faster than you can blink an eye.  Phil had several takes and sudden releases and the same was true for me - two on a bugger and one on the Delektable Lil Red Spanker. 

Phil finally got a hook to stay in one bow using a Pistol Pete pattern.  We both had been seeing a good number of rise forms, but at best they were sporadic.  I could see the mayflies floating around my face and it was easy to tell that a size 18 Adams would match.  The closest thing I had on me was a size 20 Ol' Gray, which is a poor man's version of an Adams.  Ralph James come up with this pattern.

Tying the Ol' Gray on I targeted the head of a falls and as soon as the Ol' Gray lit down upon the film a sixteen inch bow sky-rocketed out of the water completely jumping over the fly.  How cruel a thing for me to watch. 

The caretaker came by to collect my $5.00.  Yes, they charge $5.00 and I think it is primarily to keep everybody and their dog from coming up the mountain.  In conversation with the caretaker he shared with me there was nowhere near the number of trout there were earlier in the season - a lot had been taken out.  If you take them they cost $1.50 each. 

I was well past my allotted time at Falls Creek and drove over to bid Phil so-long.  Phil had a different idea though.  We had been fishing the lower pool at Falls Creek and he was going to the upper pool.  He asked me to go, but again, I was well past Miss Carol's curfew. 

It was a good day today - I made a new friend, fished with that new friend and spent some quality time in a peaceful and relaxing place high in the Arbuckle Mountains.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 93 - Trout Season

Fishing With Them There Bait Chunkers

They're nice guys.  Lonnie is from the same settlement I hail from and his son Mark arrived here on the prairie ocean on Tuesday, after flying in from Washington State. 

Lonnie and Mark wanted to go trout fishing, so a fishin' we went. 

The toughest part for me was my ignorance of bait fishing for trout.  Of course I knew that Power Bait, salmon eggs, corn and a variety of other baits work, I really didn't know how to rig the baits.  Scotty at the store was our salvation however, and after loading up on Power Bait, Power Worms, marshmallows, meal worms, and salmon eggs we were off to the river.

The river was still a little stained today, kind of a putrid green tea color.   It wasn't off enough though to totally throw fishing out the window though.  I think the biggest problem we had this morning was the fishing equipment on hand - rods too big, line too heavy and thick, and bobbers that were larger than a silver dollar.

Without any doubt, I saw Mark get a number of strikes, nibbles or whatever them there bait chunkers call them and it was almost undetectable because of the size of the bobber.  However, we persevered and continued on. 

It wasn't too long until Lonnie got into a quality fish using a marshmallow and meal worm combo. 

The first half hour or so I stayed with Lonnie and Mark to make sure they were doing okay and once they were I decided to leave them there bait chunkers to their water and try to find some fish of my own. 

My morning would start with tragedy however.  The brown bugger, the Duke of Marabou Brown, became floundered on a limestone outcrop and the poor lad would give his life at sea.  Attempt after attempt to roll him loose proved fruitless, so the tether that held his life was broken and a sailors prayer was given. 

The tragedy would be more than I cared to bear.  The smallish fish were very active on the surface keying on those damn miniature bugs, but, I ignored them.  Tying on a prince nymph a trout came to hand and then come a cousin of the brown bugger and this chap found three more trout. 

It was shortly after capturing several trout that the morning became somewhat freakish.  Dark clouds rollled in, followed by thunder, and then the streaks of lightning showed prowess, then rain and finally there was... hail - a steady downpour of hail-stone about the size of peanuts. 

Before the weather came on us, I got to watch a good number of them there bait chunkers and none were catching trout, but one was catching, or caught I should say, something else.  At first it appeared he had a lunker trout.  Once he got the fish up to the bank though we would all discover it was a common carp - a good size common carp.  I'd left my net with them there bait chunkers on the far side and in using the net, (which was a little on the small size for this fish), the carp was knocked off the hook. 

Wish Charlie could have seen the carp - the fish took chartreuse colored glo bait. 

The weather sent me and them there bait chunkers to our schooners to wait it out. It probably wasn't forty minutes or so before the skies cleared and the sun came out.  With the sun, a steady and aggravating north wind showed itself also.

After the skies cleared or maybe it was once the storm came through - the fishing died. 

Overall, it was a nice day on the river with them there bait chunkers. Like I said, they are nice guys - very nice guys.