Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fly Fishing For Carp - A Perspective

There are times I enjoy casting a fly to carp holding thirty-five or forty feet away.  To me this presents more of a challenge in capturing carp.  At  these distances we lose total eye contact with the fly and depend on watching the behavior and movements of the carp to know when it's time to go for the hook-set.

Over the last three years I've caught a good number of carp making a roll cast of thirty-five or better feet and it's always rewarding to bring a fish to hand from these longer distance casts. 

However, there have been many times I've watched carp spook well before the fly ever hits the water. It is if they can see the line coming their way while the line is still in mid-air. 

This ability they own in seeing a neutral color line in flight is simply amazing to me, and for a long time it was a head-scratcher. 

To understand how these fish can see our line in the air, all we have to do is look at the phenomenon known as Snell's Window.  Snell's Window is a portal that fish, other creatures, and humans can see through the surface of water.  Snell's Window is derived from Snell's Law named after Willebrord van Roijen Snell.

As anglers, the thing we need to remember is the size of the portal's diameter is 2.26 times the depth of the fish.  So, if a carp is in one foot of water the diameter of the portal is 2.26 feet.  The carp just upstream is in two foot of water and his portal is 5.52 feet (diameter). 

The carp I cast to at longer distances are usually holding in about three feet of water and therefore have a diameter portal of surface vision of almost seven feet.  Once my fly line entered the plane of their vision through Snell's Window they could easily see the line. 

There are ways to combat the advantage Snell's Window give to fish.  Keeping a low profile, wearing muted or natural blending colors, and making side-arm casts will serve as tools we can use to keep from spooking the fish we seek.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Talks Over Coffee

My one full day away from the mercantile store is quickly becoming rather enjoyable.  I like the cool, crisp, and fresh air of morning time.  Today I took a cup of coffee with me to the creek and on a sandy shoal I sipped every drop as the morning slowly announced itself.

The fishing this morning was most excellent.  The last seven carp that have come to hand has been on the same pattern.  I'm beginning to think the stinger on this pattern looks like a worm to the carp.  I've only tried two colors of stingers - tan and red, and they both have produced.  This morning it was the red stinger that took the carp.

By eight o'clock, three carp had come to hand.  By nine o'clock one more had come my way with three carp being missed from early hook-sets.  Other species included bass, catfish, and bream. 

Here are some pictures from this morning.

Everyone have a good and safe Memorial Day weekend.  Remember our fallen heroes.

Semper Fi


Friday, May 25, 2012

Conversations With Carp - After Work Talks

Time so precious, time so scarce - there are so many things that compete for our time.  From hacking out a living to spending time with family, or participating in a fund-raiser, community event, and passing on freely our passions in life to others so they too can enjoy what we love.  Our time is often a sought after commodity. 

Sometimes the song we live, leaves little time left to give.

Lately, there has been little time for this angler to get to the water and the creek.  As it is with this disposition I own I tend to be less happy, less fulfilled, and much less rosy when the creek and the fish elude me.

It can be argued that the key to dividing our time is through prioritizing.  Prioritizing is easy for some, difficult for others and finding myself in the latter I often struggle with decisions regarding time.

It's not the amount of time fly fishing at any given time.  I am well past the days of six or eight hour days on the water.  What holds my fancy is a short hour or so each given day.  I use this short portal of peace as a release mechanism where I can scour my soul of the busyness of the day.

This past Wednesday there was deep-seated ache within me - a longing for just a little time on the creek.  A gnawing type of thing it was.  It felt like wanting to be satisfied, but knowing your not, and also knowing the fix was just a decision away. 

After work, I went straight to the creek.  The gear in tow was a fly rod, flies, and a camera.  Absent was waders, wading boots, lanyard, and the broad brim cowboy hat I always wear to shield the sun. 

At the fringe of the creek, I stood in black dress shoes and dress khakis.  I took my white dress shirt off and left it in the schooner.  On the creek this day I looked like anything but a fly fisherman for carp. 

Looking at a twenty-foot wide stretch of water, the milky image of a carp was showing about three-quarters way out.  On the end of the tippet was the fly I call the Curiosity.  The fly sailed toward the carp and upon entering the drink and beginning the descent, the image of the carp moved and soon disappeared.  Less than five seconds later, the leader suddenly moved upstream.  With a wrist snap, a  hook-set come to bear fruit.  An afternoon conversation with carp begin.

If I'd been geared correctly I would have entered the creek to land this fish, but the dress shoes and pants were on.  When the fish wore down, or so I thought, I tried to beach him when he suddenly bolted downstream again throwing me off balance.  Trying to gather my balance I unintentionally lowered the rod tip and somehow the leader wrapped around a tree limb.  The carp was tugging at the tightening line causing a see-saw motion on the leader.  Fortunately I had one of Robin Rhyne's furled leaders on and they are tough.  Stretching the rod arm and rod as far out as I could and lowering the rod tip into the water the wrap was reversed. 

Wasting no time I quickly bull-dogged and beached the carp.

After releasing this fish... I wanted more.  But, the time issue came front and center so I left the creek feeling much better than earlier in the day.  It doesn't take a lot to scratch an itch.

Our friend Charlie has pulled up lame.  A bothersome issue with his foot is preventing him from doing what he loves - stalking and hunting the carp. 

He has resigned himself to staying in one place or area and waiting for the carp to come to him.  This is an example of a patient angler and Charlie has such a virtue. 

Despite of his lack of mobility he's been doing well with the fish, which include carp, catfish, drum, and the pan-fish. 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Furled Leader Special

I've been using Robin Rhyne's custom furled leaders for years now and couldn't be more pleased.  If you fish as much as I do then furled leaders will save a good deal of money over mono leaders. 

As far as performance Robin's leaders are spot on.

Robin is currently offering a special on his furled leaders and he often runs specials on his custom tied flies.

I received this message from Robin today.

 Old black water, keep on rollin' Mississippi moon won't you keep on shinin' on me"
This song always made me think of fishing. I suppose it means many things to many people but me, yep, fishing.

It's warming up, time to get out there and wet wade. Grab some leaders and get going!

To see all the products Robin has to offer visit his website

To make things easier I've included the leader ordering portal below.
Furled Leaders Selection

Carp Flies For Chris

There have been a number of times over the last ten or twelve years that fly-fisher Chris Adams has gifted me with some of the wonderful flies he creates - he is a talented tier.  Now I have a chance to repay his kindness because Chris is in need of some carp flies.

It seems he has a trip planned to the Upper Lower Illinois River near Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  On previous trips Chris noticed carp in this river and with the growing interest of capturing carp by fly, Chris is good for a try. 

Last night I tied up a gaggle of carp patterns for Chris to take with him on his float trip.  Included in the lot are Carpolo Charlies, Crazy Charlies, the Curiosity Carp fly, San Juan Wormballs, Carp Tease, and the War Pony. 

This will be the first ever attempt of catching carp with flies for Chris. 

I hope he makes it look easy.  

Floyd's RVs Memorial Day Event

The good people at Floyd's RVs are having a Memorial Day Sale from May 21st to May 28th.  Floyd's RVs is Oklahoma's largest RV dealership and have been doing business for years.

RV camping adds so much to our outdoor lives.  Owning a RV is where great outdoor adventures begin.

Check out the sales and celebration events by visiting Floyd's RVs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fly Fishing Oklahoma Panfish With Hoppers And Poppers

When I was a kid my favorite thing to fish with was poppers.  Poppers of red, poppers of green, poppers of white or chartreuse.  Some poppers had feathers, other had legs and sometimes they had both. 

I spent many a weekend on the Brown family farm and the three stock ponds they had were well used by a couple of wide-eyed kids fascinated with fishing.  Just across the road were several other ponds and the bluegill and goggle-eye sunfish were huge in these hidden waters. 

If I have a favorite series of poppers it would be Accardo.  The Accardo Miss Prissy, Spook, and Bream Killer are among my favorites.  When it comes to hoppers I like Dave's Hopper or anything that looks like a grasshopper pattern.  Foam body hopper patterns work well also and the Chernobyl is hard to beat.

In Oklahoma, much like the rest of the country, panfish, sunfish, perch, bream, or whatever name you have for them can be easily found in the waters.  These feisty fellows frequent streams, creeks, rivers, small ponds and large lakes.  One of the wonderful things about panfish is they're always willing to entertain. 

After work today there was an hour to spare and instead of pursuing conversations with carp, I grabbed the popper and hoppers and headed for the creek to visit the panfish. 

A ritual I own is to always wash my hands in the creek mud.  Here in the local creek we have deposits of Black Sulphur and it's pungent enough to hide any scent of chemicals, tobacco smoke, food, or anything else our hands come in contact with.  Of course washing you hands in mud results in dirty hands, but you are ridding yourself of the scents that can repel some fish.  You can always wash your hands at home later. 

Laying the selection of poppers and hoppers on the grass, I selected patterns one by one and offered them to the panfish.  It didn't seem to matter what I selected, the little ones were voracious today.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Blue River - Frequently Asked Questions

For over a decade I have been fielding questions from people interested in learning more about Oklahoma's Blue River. 

The popularity of this special and unique river continues to grow and therefore I think it appropriate as much information as possible be put forth. 

Therefore I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about the Blue River along with the answers. 

Q.  Is there a daily charge for camping at Blue River?
A.  There is currently no charge for camping at Blue River.  However to camp or visit Blue River all persons (unless otherwise exempt) must have a license or passport.  Basically, any fishing or hunting license that is offered for Blue River will cover your stay at Blue River.  However, make sure the license you have purchased covers your entire stay.  In other words a one day fishing license will not cover a three day excursion at Blue.

For anglers if a person is under 16 or over 65 they are exempt from having any type of license.
For hunters if a person is under 18 or over 65 they are exempt from having any type of license.
If there is any doubt as to what you need to gain access to Blue River consult or call Scotty McCarthick at 580-371-9288,

Q.  I just want to visit for a day.  If there a day-use fee?
A.  There is no day-use fee.  However reference the answer directly above.

Q.  Where can I purchase a Wildlife Conservation Passport?
A.  The Wildlife Conservation Passport can be purchased on line at the wildlife departments website

Q.  Can I carry more than one fishing rod?
A.  Yes, you can carry as many rods as you like, however you can only fish with one rod at a time.  There are no exceptions.

Q.  Are RV's and campers allowed at Blue River and is there water and electrical hook-ups?
A.  RV's and campers are welcomed at Blue River.  All campsites at Blue River are primitive with no electrical or water service available.  There is an on site dump station at the Blue River headquarters building.  RV and camper owners are encouraged to fill their tanks before entering Blue River.  Generators are allowed to run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Q.  Are dogs allowed at Blue River?
A. Yes, dogs are welcomed at Blue River.  Owners are responsible for keeping dogs in their campsites, parking areas, and in their control at all times.  Family dogs are not allowed to roam freely and if they do then the owners will be required to keep the animal on a leash.  Dogs have been separated from their family at Blue River and the stories rarely turn out good.  So, bring your family dog and keep your friend in your campsite. 

Q.  We like to ride horses.  Is horseback riding allowed at Blue River?
A.  This answer comes directly from the area manager at Blue River.

Horses are allowed except from Oct. 1 thru Jan. 1 and April 6 thru May 6, during those times they are not allowed at all. People can ride horses wherever they wish on the area but we request that they clean up after the horses on roads, trails, and especially in the campsites. Those who do not will be issued littering fines. Also horses have a habit of chewing the bark off of trees when tethered to them so they must be kept from destroying vegetation. Also, riders must be in compliance with the wildlife conservation passport regulations and may only carry weapons appropriate for the seasons open at that time or in compliance with the self defense act.

Q.  Is alcohol allowed on Blue River?
A.  Yes, alcohol is allowed in designated campsites and parking areas.  Alcohol is strictly forbidden on the river or anywhere in the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area except for designated campsites and parking areas. Violators will be fined.

Q.  Are campfires allowed at Blue River?
A.  Yes, campfires are allowed in designated campsites.  Fires are strictly forbidden on the river bank and in the wilderness areas.  Fines for violating this regulation are significant.

Q.  I hear Blue River is a beautiful river, but people tend to litter.  Isn't there a regulation against littering?
A.  Blue River is indeed a unique, special, and beautiful river and sadly there is a littering problem.  There is a fine for those who litter on Blue River and this regulation will be enforced.

Q.  Can wood be collected for campfires? 
A.  Dead wood can be collected but no live trees may be cut.  Dead, unattached trees may be cut up.  Dead standing trees may not be cut up.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Conversatons With Carp - Casual Talks

Plan A was to take world-class fly fisher for trout, steelhead, and other fancy fish, Michael Mercurio, and turn him into a low-life carp by fly type of guy.  Michael is a busy guy however, traveling much in the business he does and today's hope was cancelled for another date. 

Plan B was to go with my soon-to-be son-in-law Van Stacey in his boat to the pasture Charlie and me called the"Big Pasture".  However, around five o'clock this morning I had a feeling Plan B was out the window also.  Winds today were predicted to be south by southeast at a speed of 30 miles per hour.  Rough sailing for any vessel and particularly for a smaller stealthier ship like Van's. 

Having recently acquired a full day away from the mercantile store and today being the first day of hopefully many to come each week, I couldn't bear the thought of not getting some time on the water.  The gear was gathered and stowed in the schooner and off we shove to Rock Creek. 

Although we have been more fortunate with rain this spring, compared to last season, we could stand more moisture - as the local creek continues to diminish.  The creek has scummed over in many places and as a whole the water is dingy at best.  Images of carp could be made, but seeing these beeves suck the fly was out of the question.  It would be all blind fishing this morning. 

If there is a Rock Creek grand slam it would be a carp, catfish, drum, perch, and bass.  This morning I caught carp, catfish, drum, perch, but no bass.  The grand slam escaped me. 

Only two flies were used today - a simple Carrot and Charlie's Biter Critter.  Unfortunately the Biter Critter would end up losing it's life at sea before the morning was over.

This morning was a casual ever-so-relaxing outing.  I was through fishing around mid-morning and thankful for the time spent with the fish.  As the weather heats up my fishing trips will be down to one day a week.  Hopefully, there will be some late evenings where I can get on the water and be able to see the carp. 

With the fishing over I make it back to the prairie schooner where the Byron Dowd Band goes in the CD player. Skipping over to track four, I rock it home with Pompeii's Dog

Good stuff. 

Owning a tendency to always drink beer after a fishing outing, but knowing the depths that the pilsner can take a fellow... I only have a couple.

I'll pursue the rest of it... later. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cheering Patagonia

I just want to stand up, clap my hands, and scream thanks to the people at Patagonia.

For a good while now the Patagonia company has led the way in pushing the initiative to restore rivers, conserve our streams and waterways, and raise public awareness to our fragile and dwindling fresh water supply. 

Here's a short video that tells more.

Find out more on Patagonia's current efforts through their Our Common Waters initiative.

Our fly fishing community carries a great sense of stewardship for the water and wild areas we use.  We know that water use to do what our passion calls us to do is not exactly at the top of the list in the priority of water use. However, since we do have this knowledge it brings us an even greater sense of appreciation for the water we do have, and the water we can enjoy. 

Learn more, get involved in water issues.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Too Many Talking

It's nice to watch the sun come up.  Rarely do I get to see a sunrise unless I step out the back door at the mercantile store.  Somehow standing on a concrete dock isn't the same as standing on a sandy shoal watching darkness give way to slowly approaching light and the promise of a new day. 

Time on the creek has also been rare lately.  Seems like when there is a window of chance something comes along and slams it shut.  In the last week it has rained twice and both times was enough to cloud the creek.  Then there are simple day to day activities that tend to catch up with a fellow and vie for time. 

During the month of May, weather in Oklahoma often demands attention.  There's been a lot of cloud cover and threats of storms lately.  Yesterday, fellow fly fisher Donny Carter captured a funnel forming just a short way from his prairie home.

Today, however, promised to be a nice day and I found myself burning a morning of personal time and watching that sunrise I speak of. 

There has been much interference in the communication channel and hopes of conversation with carp.  It seems everyone has something on their mind and simply want to get a word in. 

The drum have stopped being closed-lipped and suddenly want their time at the table of talks.

Catfish are still wanting their say-so including this fellow that also wanted to fight. 

And of course there are always these chatter-boxes. 

This morning started off much of the same with a drum being the first fish to hand.  Next came a catfish, and then after about a half-dozen perch, or so, I finally spotted a favorable carp.  This fellow has just finished a feeding frenzy and he looked to still be hungry.  As a gift, I sent the offering of a War Pony and the gift was quickly accepted. 

Meanwhile, over at the Sulphur Springs Inn, Charlie has been casually making trips to the creek in search of communicating with carp.  Sometimes he goes early, sometimes late.  And, like me, he has also met with interference in the conversation channel.  However, Charlie has broken through most of the fray and picked up several carp with his Biter Critter and new version he calls the Sweet Critter. 

He picked up one carp using a run-of-the-mill black bugger and tried to take a picture with a camera that owns a broken lenses.  A camera with a broken lenses doesn't quite take the good picture, but a picture... still it is. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Conversatons With Carp - High Level Talks

This morning, standing on a high bank overlooking the creek, I knew there was a carp up against the bank.  The fish was out of sight however, hidden by the overhanging shrub and vines.  The waiting game begin.

After five minutes or so the carp emerged.  Once the fish was out ten feet, maybe a little more, Charlie's Biter Critter was flipped to this beeve.  Fly landing on the right side the fish made a hard right flank and sucked the critter in.

High level talks begin.

With the bank being about eight feet above the creek this angler wasn't about to Geronimo like I would have in a younger day, instead opting for the ol' butt slide down the bank.  Of course there was some grapevine in the way and the rod had to be worked from one hand to the other, but all worked out and the carp came in for the branding.

I was fishing this morning with ill weather approaching.  The western sky was full of thunder - thunder that continued to increase with the rumbling serving as a warning signal.  About the time the carp was returned to the creek, the sky turned dark blue and it was easy to see it was windswept. 

Although I was reluctant to leave, it seemed best to do so.  Time on the water, here of late, has been rare.  Increased pressure from the mercantile store has left me, for the most part, high and dry. 

When I fail to get time on the water my spirit becomes restless.  The walk in life is short.  We should make every minute count, but few of us do.  The daily stress of simply getting by gets the best of us. 

It is only when I'm in the woods or on the water that calmness claims my soul.  It is in these places that I can breath.  These are the places that worries take flight.  In the woods or on the water I stand straight, shoulders square, frown gone, eyes clear, taking in all of the wonder. 

Hopefully, a way to spend more time in the place I should be will come this way. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Charlie's Biter Critter

The hot fly for carp, here of late, has been Charlie's Biter Critter.  I say hot fly for carp... it's been hot for everything that swims it seems.

According to Charlie, it's an easy tie and the interpretation is left to the tier.  Colors and material can vary from tie to tie. 

One note on this fly that was noticeable as soon as it was tied on is the beadchain eyes.  These eyes are glossy and really stand out. 

Charlie sent the ingredient list and tying instructions and again the tie is up to interpretation. 

It fishes quite good.

Material list for Critter:

Scud hook size 8,10
Bead chain eyes gloss iridescent med/large (yes they came from Walmart)
Dubbing of choice (contrast off hair) or peacock herl
Deer or elk hair (this flairs, but any hair likely will do)
Rubber leg (I use spinner material)


1. Mount bead chain eye on outside of hook close to hook eye. Placement is important as the shank bends slightly at the hook eye and you want the bead chain to capture the slight bend so the hook gap will ride up toward vertical. Mounting on the outside kicks a little debris when stripped.

2. Cover the hook shank with contrasting dubbing of choice or peacock herl.

3. Flip hook in vise so the point is up.

4. Stack hair of choice, cut length from front of bead chain to rear of hook bend. The amount of hair controls the fall and helps hook point to stay up.

5. Place cut end of hair at the front of the bead chain and tie in at rear of bead chain. The wrap is about 1/8 inch from cut end. This wrap will cause the hair to flair putting a head on the eyes and covering the hook gap.

6. For a touch of contrasting rubber, just add a couple of rubber strands to the top of the hair stack before tying in. Cut so that one end crowns the head and the other ends roughly at the hook bend.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dutch Oven Cooking - Southwest Swiss Steak

As they say... this recipe is da bomb!

I think one of the secrets to the delightful flavor of this recipe is the roasted peppers.  When we roast bell peppers it simply causes the flavor of the pepper to bloom. 

We had this for supper last night and at the end there wasn't anything left except a little of the sauce. 

So, I am glad to share this recipe and the below "what you need" and "how to do it" instructions are based on a 14 inch Dutch Oven.


What You Need

4 portions of tenderized bottom round steak
Lawry's seasoned salt
2 gloves of garlic
1/4 cup of canola oil
2 tbs. butter
3 slices of hickory smoked bacon (cut into one inch squares)
all purpose flour for breading the steak
1 10.5 oz. can of Rotel with lime and cilantro
1 15 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. oregano flakes
2 tbs. sugar
3 bell pepper - one yellow, one red, one green
2 stalks celery (take rib off of celery)
3 pinches of celery leaves (chopped finely)
1/2 cup of water
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 medium yellow onion (slice into rings and sliced again)
4 oz. Sugar Snap Peas

Ahead Of Time

Season the steak portions with Lawry's seasoned salt and paprika.  Use enough to sprinkle both sides of steak, but don't coat completely overpowering the steak.  Set steak portions aside. 

Get grill or open flame going for roasting the peppers. 

While waiting on the flame, prepare the celery by slicing into 1/4 inch slices.  Finely chop the celery leaves.  Cut both ends of the Sugar Snap peas off.  Set these ingredients aside awaiting the addition of the roasted peppers.

Once flame is hot roast the pepper creating a char over about 60% of the pepper surface.  Let the peppers sit and cool.  Once cool remove most of the char and then chop coarsely and add to other vegetables.

In a bowl, mix the Rotel, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worchershire sauce, garlic gloves (smashed and slashed), oregano flakes, and the 2 tbs. of sugar.  Mix well and set aside to allow the flavors to meet.

How To Do It

Have the Dutch oven charcoals ready.  Coat the steak portions in flour.  Add canola oil and butter to warmed Dutch.  Brown the steak on both sides in Dutch Oven. 

Next, add the prepped vegetables along with the water.

Now, add the bacon slices on top of the vegetables.

Finally, pour the sauce mixture over the mixture.

We will cook this recipe for an hour and half with fourteen coals on bottom and twenty-six on top.  If your coals look spent half way through then prepare more coals. 

After cooking, let rest in Dutch for ten minutes, then remove lid and let rest an additional five minutes before. serving. 

The roasted peppers along with the contrast of the sugar against the Rotel, and the Sugar Snap peas brings a lot to the flavor of this creation. 

Of the course there is the bacon.  Bacon is a magic food.  Bacon goes good with anything including... bacon. 

We served this over a bed of rice and this dish goes well with a southwest avocado and cucumber salad.