Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oklahoma's Wildlife Expo 2012 Coming Soon

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife will be hosting their Wildlife Expo, September 28th through September 30th, 2012. 

One of the great things about the Wildlife Expo is it's the perfect opportunity to introduce children to the wonders and activities of the outdoors.  For children their is archery, fishing, kayaking, ATV riding, mountain biking, and shooting a shotgun, just to name a few of the activities.

For all ages there are opportunities to visit numerous displays and information booth, attend seminars on survival skills, game calling, hunting dog training, Dutch oven cooking, and fly fishing among other outdoor activities.

The event is totally free and is designed to instill an appreciation for the wildlife and natural resources of Oklahoma.

For a complete schedule of activities visit the wildlife departments information page.

Wildlife Expo 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fly Fishing For Carp - Lazy Sunday Carper

Was I ever worthless today.  I'm talking about a total case of laziness my friends. 

I awoke this Sunday morning the same time as usual, which is something I can't seem to not do.  After shuffling around the bunkhouse for an hour, I decided to drag my lethargic butt to the mercantile store to take care of something in need of taking care of. 

Then, it was back to the bunkhouse where I read some outdoor reports and a couple of blogs I follow.  Eventually got around to ordering a couple of shirts from The Fiberglass Manifesto and in doing so I wondered if this might be the highlight of my day. 

Finally, about an hour before noon and during intermittent rain showers I hit the creek to see what the carp were up to.  It really wasn't the ideal day for carping - completely overcast sky, rain drops now falling at a steady clip, and a lack of energy on my part.

At the creek it didn't take long to discover I wasn't the only one who was lazy this day.  The carp were too.  I could see them - just kind of hovering in the water column - like a day at the poolside drinking ice tea or a Tom Collins.  And... they sure weren't interested in eating. 

Finally a mud cloud was spotted, along with the faint image of a tail.  A black body with red stinger Curiosity was put into the liquid mud pie and eyes were fixed on the tail.  The carp didn't budge an inch so a little strip was employed and that's when the tail waved and lurched forward.  A soft hook-set followed by a firm follow-up resulted in a solid hook-up. 

I would get one more decent shot at a carp, but this opportunity would be problematic.  Fishing narrow and shallow water there was a carp about fifteen feet upstream from my position.  In between the carp and me was an overhanging tree branch that almost touched the creek.  Not wanting to move another inch, out of fear of spooking the fish, I would have to cast sidearm and hope the fly line would be a curve ball.  From the get-go I figure I would blow this cast, but much to my surprise the fly landed about a foot directly in front of the carp.  As soon as the fly hit the drink, a young bass hopped on it and robbed me of a possible carp tally.
After the bass, I went further upstream where I discovered the catfish had a little more energy and enthusiasm than the carp. 
Catfish on a fly has been crazy this carp season.  Charlie and I together have probably caught 100 catfish without wanting to. 
After this catfish this afternoon, my laziness became worse.  So, I take my worthless self home and take a lazy man's nap. 
Lazy is good... sometimes. 

This Heron Needs To Learn To Fly Fish

For a good number of years now I have watched the heron fish while I'm fly fishing whether it be for carp on the local creek, or trout on Blue River, or just about any stream or waterway I'm on. 

The heron stalks fish with amazing poise and grace.  The patience these creatures own is remarkable in itself.

Evidently though, the heron known as the Green Heron is a bait fisherman.  You've got to watch this video showing how this bird uses bread to lure his prey.  Makes me wonder if this particular bird isn't a reincarnation of a bait angler long since passed.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fly Fishing For Carp - Taking What Comes

With Texas and Oklahoma in the middle of a rather severe outbreak of West Nile virus, outings have been few lately.  I hate using bug spray because sure as sun rises in the east I'll eventually touch my neck or arm and get that bug spray on my fingertips thus transferring it to the fly.  And... when that happens there goes the carp streaking the other way. 

There have been only two outings in the last week - an hour yesterday afternoon and a couple of hours this morning.  This morning looked iffy at best with dawn revealing dark and threatening clouds. With a significant chance of rain predicted for tomorrow I knew it was go today and take what comes or stay home and twiddle my thumbs.  To the water I went.

On the way to the creek I stopped at the convenience store for a cup of coffee.  The working girls waved me on as I stopped at the counter to pay for my "sissy" coffee as they call it.  With an Annie Oakley cup of Joe in hand I went to the upper shallows above the pasture known as Honey Hole. 
At the upper shallows, one of Charlie's Creek Critters was tied on and it took less than two minutes to target a surface-sipping carp.  The Creek Critter is weighted and not wanting to change to a dry pattern I took the chance of this carp following the fly down in the column.  The fly landed about eight inches in front of him and as he nose dived for the fly I went into blind mode.  A little twitch, a little pressure felt and rod tip straight up.  An early morning connection had come to bear.
Quickly leaving the upper shallows, Charlie's Pasture was the next stop.  Charlie is in Denver visiting grandchildren.  Before he left he gave me a tip about this pasture, sharing that the carp were congregating further downstream from the pasture itself.  About two-thirds of the way up to Charlie's Pasture, I saw what he was talking about - carp hugging the far bank.  A twenty-five foot roll cast into a trio of carp and one ate the Critter right away.
Proceeding upstream to the island at Charlie's Pasture, the next carp would come on what I call a "cheap shot".  This fish was only about twelve or fifteen feet out.  Dropping the fly from my hand into the water next to the bank I flipped the fly to the fish.  It landed two feet above the carp, further than I had intended, but the fish swam straight for it and ate it.
Traveling another thirty feet upstream I see a cruising carp.  Generally I don't cast at cruisers, but this guy looked like he was scanning the surface so the Critter went his direction.  The carp took it mid-column and that is always exciting to see take place.
Yesterday afternoon I went out for an hour.  It was mostly an unproductive trip.  Winds were high yesterday causing a good chop on the water and I would have to find shallow water to manage one carp.
After the last carp this morning, the Creek Critter was showing some wear and tear.  As I release the last fish back to his watery Hilton, the thunder was rolling my way.  Looking to the western sky where the thunder was sounding, a lightning bolt found ground.  With the storm coming and the Creek Critter looking done, it was time to go.
As I sit down to make this post, the rain begin to fall.  Praise the rain.  It's not going to be a lot of rain, but there is more promised tomorrow. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fly Fishing Still On The Skids

The magazines of my youth were Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and Sports Afield.  All three magazines covered both hunting and fishing along with camping and survival articles. 

These days when I buy a fly fishing magazine I fully expect the content including the advertisements, to be dedicated to something fly fishing. 

In recent times I've read a good number of articles addressing the decline in fly fishing.  From what I can gather from these articles there has been a steady decline now for as long as ten years.  Only recently have I found one article that declared fishing has turned the corner and is on the increase, but that's the whole of fishing and not just fly fishing. 

Evidently the decline of fly fishing continues.  The other day I purchased the current issue of Fly Fisherman.  As it is with me I always begin reading fly fishing magazines at the back, because normally the best article is the last and in this issue of Fly Fisherman this holds true.  Ed Mitchell does a delightful job with "Lucky With Landlocks". 

After reading Ed's article I started thumbing backwards through the magazine and it wasn't too long until I come upon a page that showed about fifty guys and gals in camo gear with either guns or bows.  So, I flip another page and there is more hunting and for the next 14 pages it is all hunting.  Turns out this is a rather hefty advertisement insert by the Sportsman Channel. 

There's certainly nothing wrong with hunting, nothing at all - it's part of our heritage.  But again, when I buy a fly fishing magazine I want gear reviews, destinations, fly tying patterns, techniques and species, and conservation.  And yes, I expect the advertisements to be about fly fishing, not a turkey call. 

Sure, there are many who both fly fish and hunt.  For those folks there is Gray's Sporting Journal.  I guess it's an economic thing.  If it's true that less people are coming to fly fishing then the fly fishing tackle makes suffer, guides become bored, and magazine revenues go down.  Chalk the Fly Fisherman's decision to include hunting advertisement in their offering as... diversity.

It still kind of stinks though.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek - Going With The Flow

Sometimes the smallest critters pack the biggest punch.  While on the creek Thursday afternoon something bit me on the hand.  It really didn't hurt or anything like that, but itched like no tomorrow.  Friday morning I awoke to a completely swollen hand and not feeling too chipper at the same time - kind of like a night out on the town that went bad. 

I managed to drag my carcass to the mercantile store, but. by mid-morning this old body was pretty much spent, so I headed to the bunkhouse where I self-medicated - a terrible thing for a lay person to do. 

The critter bite must have been more than I thought because this morning I didn't awake until almost three hours later than I normally do, which is highly unusual.  And, being the sleepy-head I was this morning would put me on the creek much later than I like.

However, I got the most pleasant surprise once arriving to the carp water.  I reported several days ago that the creek had gained a little flow due to a one inch rain.  Somehow that flow has increased and the puzzling thing is we haven't had anymore rain... as of this morning.

Tying a black with red stinger tail Curiosity on the fly went out just a short distance.  The first carp of the morning took note and casually come up and sucked. 

The next fish would be a catfish that was every bit of four pounds and this would be the point I would pull one of my bonehead stunts.  I got the catfish up next to the bank and instead of taking one long step down into the water I decided to try and lift the fish by the tippet.  Of course the tippet gave way and the catfish took the Curiosity I had just tied last night.  Sometimes I do some really stupid stuff. 

On goes one of Charlie's Creek Critters and the search for carp continues.  A short distance down the creek there are wakes in the water so the Critter goes sailing.  The reward comes in the fashion of one of those fascinating Mirror carp. 

Leaving this carp pasture the second carp pasture explored would be Well Springs.  The sky this morning was completely overcast, which is good and bad.  Good for keeping temperatures down and this morning was absolutely beautiful with temperatures in the low 70's.  But, overcast skies can be bad in being able to see the carp. 

Again, keying on a wake the third carp of the morning would come in for the branding.  The Creek Critter has been one of the ruling flies this season.

A little further downstream, the fourth carp of this Saturday morning would be lassoed and also brought in for branding. 

Interruptions have always bothered me, and this morning there was a scheduled one.  Around mid-morning I was forced to leave the creek to meet with the appliance delivery man and claim Miss Carol's new washing machine.  After that was said and done, a second run was made at the creek.

On the second run it wasn't fifteen minutes before dark clouds begin to gather in a great congregation as far as this eye could see.  Then, the saving gifts from above begin to fall.  Hurrying back to the schooner, a cup of coffee was in order.  Walking out of the store with my coffee the rain seemed to have quit so it was back to the creek once more. 

No sooner than had I reached the creek bank, the sky really opened up and delivered a downpour.  It was only 100 yards to the schooner, but before I could get there every thread on me was totally drenched.  I loved it. 

It's my wish that this is the final post in the series "Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek".  Hopefully, after the wonderful rain today this will be finis.  


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek - A Bit Better

Wednesday morning we were blessed with a delightful rain that lasted a good hour and little more.  During this brief time the rain was steady, and upon checking the blue bird rain gauge at the prairie home an inch of accumulation revealed itself. 

The question became would this rain be enough to get our carp creek flowing again?  Although, I had my doubts, the only way to be sure was to visit the creek for a look-see. 

Much to my delight, and surprise, the morning rain had produced a flow - not much, but still it was moving water. 

Today, there was a promise of hope for afternoon rain, but as I'm writing this post that hope has fizzled like a dud firecracker on the 4th of July.  Disappointing for sure - so close but still so far.  There is a chance for overnight rain.  Hopefully, those clouds of life-giving moisture will materialize.

Fishing hasn't been much of late.  I haven't been out much, but more than Charlie.  Tuesday afternoon, there was a spatter of raindrops falling so I decided to hit the downstream section of the creek where there is still ample water. 

After an hour on the creek I walked away having lost five carp.  Two were by quick release or poor hook-sets most likely, with the other three being from the carp snapping the flies.  This was quite unusual and something seemed awry.  Upon checking the tippet it seemed quite fine, but I changed it out as a precautionary measure. 

Yesterday was much of the same - two hook-ups with carp and defeated once again.  The perch are crazy right now with perch attacking or impaling themselves with just about every cast.  The same is true for the small bass and catfish.  Of course with the perch, bass, and catfish pursuing the fodder meant for carp, it certainly cuts downs on possible carp captures. 

After work today I stopped by the creek in hopes of a quick fix in the form of a carp.  Those of us who fly fish for carp know what a mercurial lot they can be and today they seemed particularly wishy-washy.  It was refusal, refusal, refusal.  And, the perch, bass, and catfish were there again.

I showed the carp stabbers, carrots, creek critters, the curiosity, and the mysis shrimp, but they just tucked tailed and ran.  Finally, I look in the fly box and find the smallest and most ragged Creek Critter I own.  This poor thing was so scarce it barely had any yellow deer hair left and both legs were missing.  Nonetheless, I toss it out and an over-eager young carp inhaled it.  Actually the youngster inhaled it a little deeper than I like, but fear not - the hook was de-barbed and it backed out with ease.  This pretty little carp is the smallest carp I've caught.  It's good to see young carp like the one today because it means things are on-going.

The most pleasurable part of this afternoon was meeting a young fly-fisher named Brent.  Brent is interested in fly fishing for carp and even though he had his fly rod with him today, time was short and he had to return home 90 miles away.

I invited him back to this creek and the wonderful carp that make it home.  I hope it rains more so Brent can come back to a nourished stream.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taking Education To The Outdoors

This morning I received a dispatch from a lady sharing a just published blog post about education and the outdoors.  Basically, this article touts the benefits of taking the classroom to the woods and water. 

I believe there can be a number of benefits gained, and education can be enhanced by including the skills, thrills, and experience of the outdoors to students. 

I was lucky - my school system was located on the banks of Rock Creek.  At lunch hour you didn't see me in the cafeteria or down at the Dairy Queen.  Nope... I was on the creek and the creek became my outdoor classroom.  Looking back now, I wouldn't change a thing.

So, I feel obliged to include and pass on to all the readers and fans of the outdoors, this blog post entitled "11 Proven Benefits Of Outdoor Learning", and it reminds me of the outdoor programs the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is encouraging in our school systems.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Word From Rio About Fly Line

To over-line or not to over-line.  Yes, that has been the subject of many a campfire or bank-side setting between or amongst fly anglers. 

I know master casting instructors and most have told me to always line the rod with the appropriate weight line.  Then, I have friends that have been fly fishing for many years and they say over-lining a rod helps their performance. 

Of course, a lot of the success depends on the rod too.  I've found with a "hard" or rather stiff rod, over-lining seems to help. 

In an article written by Lani Waller, he shares what matters most is you - that guy or gal that will be doing the casting.  "Forget science, if you can. And sometimes you can even forget the line recommendation on the rod – if you want to. What matters most in matching a rod and line are you, your style of fishing and casting and the kinds of conditions and circumstances you will encounter. Remember, the person who designed the rod, or the one who sold it to you won’t be there with you."

Read more from Lani Waller and his article:  The Perfect Match

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In Teaching Fishing

Many of us have heard it, or said it, numerous times.  The future of fishing is in our youth.  Sound familiar?  Sure it does and it makes perfect sense.  It may be time, however, to add to this statement and it should go something like this.  The future of fishing is in our youth and people willing to teach them.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is thinking along these lines because they have added an introduction to fishing to their menu of outdoor education in public schools.  Fishing joins the outdoor education curriculum roster along with hunting, archery, bow hunting, and the wildlife department is considering a pilot program for shotgun sports.

Outdoor editor for the Oklahoman, Ed Godfrey, published an article that explains the wildlife department hopes with this education program. 

In the article, Colin Berg of the wildlife department states, "If we don't have hunters and fishermen in the future, we may not have wildlife in the future."

Read all of Ed Godfrey's article "Oklahoma Department of Wildlife making it's mark."

Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek - Another Trip

There were drops of hope on my windshield this morning as I made my way to the mercantile store.  A bit of servitude would be given to the store but not much, for other things were on my mind.  The morning shower never developed into a full rain event, but at this point nothing is prettier than the sound of rain - nothing smells better than the scent of rain. 

I made short order of it at the store because unfortunately I own one of those minds that never gets rest.  In short - things bug me.  On my mind once again was the dam and that bush plugged into the outflow pipe. 

Back in the creek the wade begin.  For some reason this is a tiring wade, but this morning it was enjoyable because new carp water was discovered.  Although it was hard seeing the beeves, I did actually see about ten and then from judging all the mud clouds encountered, I'm estimating there are 30 - 40 carp in this stretch of the creek. All the more reason to try and get some flow going.

At the dam, I slid down the steep face of the dam and grab hold of the bush.  With a hefty tug, the bush dislodged.  What followed was the most toxic, nasty looking water I've ever seen.  The flow increased immediately, but that was short lived and soon went back to a trickle.  The sludge that come out of pipe hit the water below and begin to spread like a threatening spectre across pool.

The water immediately above the dam is not deep at all.  The water is resting on basically one large sand bar that has developed overtime.  The dam has acted as a stopping point for the filling sand and taken away the natural distribution process of a creek.  Upstream, a ways, is a stretch of water close to half of a mile in length that has a good amount of water.

Charlie thinks this outlet is what he calls a "low flow outlet", designed to allow water to continue to flow during low flow periods.  Whatever it is, it isn't working properly.  Most likely it's going to take a backhoe or a horizontal bore to unplug this mess. 

Right now our goals are (1) Locate someone that has knowledge of the construction and functioning of this dam, (2) encourage the owner or caretakers to fix the problem, and (3) establish a maintenance schedule to keep this outflow free of obstructions.

Besides these things we need some good heavy rain and this is where there might be good news. 

This afternoon this parcel of the prairie ocean is under a severe weather warning.  Usually with severe weather there is rain and hopefully the rain will be substantial.  Just a three or four inch rain could turns things around for this little creek.

Then there is next week and within next week rests a lot of hope. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek - The Dam

This morning I went in search of an answer to a question that has been heavy on my mind here of late.  With the creek struggling as much as it is and with the flow having ceased in the upper sections of the creek the question, for me, became was something restricting the upstream flow?

For years, I have heard of a private dam upstream but never have I seen it up close.  Using Google I located the dam on satellite imaging.  From the google map it looked to be a nicely done construction.  However what couldn't be determined was whether the builder had included some kind of water release in the structure besides overflow from the top of the dam.

Right after sunrise I entered the creek a quarter of a mile downstream from the dam.  Less than 25 yards upstream, the place this part of the creek ceased to flow was encountered.

Not far upstream the creek suddenly widen to 25 or 30 feet and this run was probably a good 100 yards or better of standing water two feet or so deep.  The water was simply trapped and couldn't flow downstream.

At the end of this long and wide run, the creek skinned down to a stream of two or three foot water and I knew then the dam was just ahead.  As I made a bend, there in front of me stood the concrete testament of a man's work for whatever reason he had in mind.

With my first glance of the dam the question I had in mind was answered.  About half way down from the top of the dam is an eight or ten inch pipe.  This morning there was only a trickle of water coming out of the pipe.  Upstream from the dam the water is stagnant and looks to be a couple of feet below the top of the dam.  This pipe goes through the dam where I imagine there is an elbow with a standpipe. 

So, the builder of this dam deserves credit for incorporating some kind of release.  There does appear to be a rather hefty restriction in the pipe by way of some kind of shrub or small tree that has apparently taken root.  This morning I had no solution as to how to free this obstruction and upon inquiring I have learned the owner of this dam lives in Florida and I have no contact information. 

I don't know exactly how I feel about dams.  On one hand I know they have created a lot of wonderful tailwater fisheries.  On the other hand though I also believe they have changed or altered the natural course of things... and fish and their habitats. 

With answer in hand it was time for me to leave.  Instead of wading back downstream I cut across a pasture and pick up the road for a quicker return to the prairie schooner.  Saving time was important this morning because I hoped to battle just one carp.

Traveling to Charlie's Pasture, where there is still inflow from a confluence, a rust colored Creek Critter of Charlie's hand went out across the flat water to the far bank.  A carp absolutely slammed the fly on the blind and we began a chin-chin.

I'll have to say that for a small young carp this was the toughest fighting fish I've had on the rod in a long, long time.  This little common carp simply would not quit.  Finally I decided to walk-the-dog and took him downstream where he could be gently beached in three of four inches of water.

The thought of staying longer was on my mind, but breakfast with Miss Carol sounded good too.  Miss Carol won out. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chronicles Of A Struggling Creek

Hope Dissipates

Clouds began to build out of the north this afternoon.  Were they clouds of promise?  Clouds of possibility?  Or would they become clouds of disappointment?

Within half of an hour later the wind grew strong, trees begin to sway, and the thunder rolled.  There seemed to be a faint scent of rain.

Not a single drop fell here on this parcel of the prairie ocean.  Hope faded... quickly evaporating into the bone-dry air.

Now, the clouds are building once again and there is more promise... more potential.  Tomorrow looks even better.  We are so desperate for rain.

Saucering the coffee after taking supper I quickly leave to check on the carp in Rock Creek.  Not just carp I should say - all aquatic life.  Charlie and I have begun to make daily checks on the conditions of the creek and the life that exists within and along. 

Things are happening quickly on Rock Creek.  My first spot was the small falls I documented recently showing the creek has ceased to flow.  Today, I was amazed at how much the creek has regressed from this falls.  The water has receded at least six feet in the last couple of days.

Looking upstream I can see that the carp pasture Honey Hole is quickly becoming choked with leaves.  It's 45 days until autumn, but it's so hot and dry the trees are letting go of their once green, now gold, orange, and brown hands.

Going downstream, there is even more despair.  Here there is no inflow at all and this long and narrow section of the creek is even more choked.  Struggling hard to see any signs of carp, nary a swirl, back, or riffle can be found.

At risk here on this creek is more than fish.  All forms of aquatic life are in jeopardy.  Then there are the creatures that water from this creek such as deer, raccoon, possum, squirrel, and there is even beaver on this creek.  The fowl such as the heron depend on this water also.  I saw no death on the creek today and was delighted to see life still in hope of better times to come.

With today's check of the creek, my spirit lifted upon traveling back upstream to the upper shallows.  In a pool of standing water that has no inflow, there are five carp gingerly feeding in water no more than eight inches deep.  They looked to still be strong today.  But, as the bacteria and algae blooms continue to build and the oxygen declines they will lose strength. 

There is still hope.  It's not too late for the carp, perch, bass, beaver, mayfly, the occasional caddis, and all the creatures along the banks.  It's not too late, if just the rain will come. 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oklahoma Under Statewide Burn Ban

This past Friday, August 3rd, Governor Mary Fallin issued a statewide burn ban in Oklahoma.  The statewide burn ban supersedes all county burn bans already in effect. 

As record heat temperatures fall by the day along with extended drought and high winds, Oklahoma has become a tinder box.

Thousands of people each summer seek the outdoor resources of Oklahoma in search of camping, fishing, swimming, along with hiking and wildlife watching opportunities.  Those going to the outdoors are asked to report any and all signs of fires.  All forms of fire in the outdoors are now prohibited. 

Currently there are a number of wildfires stretching across the central part of Oklahoma and hundreds of homes and structures have been lost.

Conversations With Carp - Said And Done

With a crestfallen spirit this morning, I kept looking at the dry falls, and bed downstream, on upper Rock Creek. I questioned god once when my wife died, but I'll never do that again - it's not my place.  Still, however, I often wonder why some things have to take place. 

Last Saturday I posted a picture of the minimal flow on upper Rock Creek and have posted the picture again.

This morning I took this picture below that shows what can happen in one short week when we are absent of rain.

There is a tremendous community of fish and other water life in this area of Rock Creek and now all this life is at risk.  The carp that Charlie and I so love may very well become stranded and begin to perish.  If it comes to that I'll begin to rescue the carp and take them downstream to where there is a confluence.  Some will say that is interfering with natural selection, but I no longer believe in natural selection because the activity of humankind has terribly altered and affected that pure process.  The pale horse is at the fringe of this creek.

As far as continued conversations with carp in this part of the creek - all is said and done. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Conversations With Carp - Too Hot A Topic

It was 114 degrees in Kingfisher, Oklahoma today.  Here, on the southern current of this prairie ocean where Charlie, me and the carp live... it was only 109. 

It's hot everywhere here.  Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are trapped under a heat dome that just won't seem to move.  It seems like the weather in Oklahoma dominates weather news these days.  Just today, there was a report that reveals in the month of July, 64 heat records were tied or broken.  Also, we learn that the time period from January through June of this year was the warmest recorded period on record in Oklahoma.  This past Monday, Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency because of the heat and exceptional drought. 

Over the last several weeks I have found myself conflicted whether to continue to pursue the carp.  I have indeed cut my outings by more than half and only go out in the cool of the morning or evening.  It is to wonder though, if my outings are wise at all. 

There are a number of fly anglers for carp that I exchange with and many of them keep telling me that as long as the carp have water they'll be fine and it's okay to fish them.  As much as I respect the advice of these anglers that have been at this game longer and know more than me, I must follow what my gut, heart, and soul tell me. 

I've been fishing long enough to be able to watch and observe the behaviour of fish and get a feel for how they're... feeling.  When I encounter carp in the early morning hours still acting lethargic, it tells me that these creatures are slow to recuperate from the blistering temperatures of the day prior.  To capture and battle such a stressed creature will only add to the stress, in my opinion. 

I know that carp are durable and tough... survivors for sure... and what many call rough fish.  Rough fish they say, but I look at them as sweet ruffians in the riffling tears of time.  Creeks, streams, rivers and waterways are the collection points of the tears of humankind - they always have been and will always be... as long as they exist that is. 

Many who begin fly fishing cannot capture, keep, and kill enough fish when they first begin.  Eventually though they reach a point where they make transition from fisherman to angler and it is there and then... they ask themselves if everyone else that fly fishes kill fish like this, how long will there be fish to angle?

A dead carp is a dead carp.  A living carp presents a challenge and it's that challenge that draw us who prescribe to the fur and feather in the pursuit of carp.

This morning a dispatch from Charlie was received and he is beginning to see what I'm seeing and suggesting we leave the creek carp be awhile.  Hopefully, the scorching temperatures will break soon and we can resume. 

Until then we will look to the big and deep water of the large lake pastures.  These pastures are, for the most part, uncharted water for us and present a huge challenge. 

However... it's the challenge that we love, isn't it.