Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Brief Report On Blue River

Fishing Thanksgiving Afternoon

In deciding to pass up many things associated with Thanksgiving such as Macy's parade, football, and extreme early shopping, afforded a perfect opportunity to hit Blue River.

Van went out ahead of me and by the time I found him he had ten fish under his belt.  The first hour for me was a struggle only catching three fish, but I believe that fortunes can change and later downstream they did.  In a twenty minutes period fourteen bows came to hand one after the other.

Here's a brief rundown of how the fishing was.

Conditions:  Sunny day with temperatures hovering around fifty degrees.  The wind direction was variable as was the speeds.  Water clarity was excellent and the pressure on the river was light. Water temperature was not taken, but it didn't take long for numbness to occur in the lower extremities.

Flies Used:  The majority of the first ten fish Van landed were taken on the bugger brown.  Later, he would trail a size 16 Pheasant Tail and the rest of fish was taken by that pattern.  He would end his day with close to 30 fish to hand.

The first three fish for me came on the bugger olive, with the other two taken on a Brassie.  Downstream I tied a size 14 Copper John on beneath the bugger brown and the Copper John would take the next 14 fish.  The bugger brown did not attract a single fish.

Pictures of some of the pretties landed Thanksgiving afternoon.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fly Fishing Thursday On Blue River

Beating Mother Nature... almost.

A Thursday afternoon is as fine a time as any to spend a wee bit of time fly fishing on the Blue River.  Yesterday everything seem to lay out fine for me.  My young boss at the mercantile store needed a ride to our Tishomingo mercantile and in his request I found some leverage

The deal I made with young boss was he would indeed be transported by yours truly, if... I could run over to the river for an hour or so.  Handshake deal, we were good to go. 

Stopping by the bunkhouse I gathered the gear and soon we were on the road.  On the drive down I felt like I had just pulled a coup... a great triumph, if you will, because here I was getting to fish before the Arctic blast of air hit later in the day.

After dropping the boss off I headed straight for the river only stopping at Scotty's for a bit so I could fetch the "less litter on Blue" boxes Chris Adams had built.

At the river it was hard to keep from noticing how emerald the water looked on this day.  There was an overcast sky with a southerly wind, and the color of the river cause me to have concerns about the effectiveness of the bugger brown.  But, to the bugger brown I stayed true and paired him with an olive WD 40.

The first two trout would escape before reaching my hand, but the third came in for the touch courtesy of the WD 40. The next cast would result in both the bugger brown and his mate to be lost and on their way to the locker deep below. 

Tying another bugger brown on, I once again paired him with a WD 40.  However this time the 40 was in the color red.  The next ten casts resulted in nothing so I decide to move on upstream.  Upstream started out the same way... little action and some very subtle takes.  Finally, the bugger brown brought in a trout.

Then, the action slowed again and I begin to wonder if I was suffering from pattern fatigue especially with the emerald colored river in front of me.  Off came the bugger brown and on went the bugger olive.

First cast with the olive resulted in a fish and two more would also come to hand.  Olive color, in emerald water, under an overcast sky. 

So, here I was on a Thursday afternoon standing in the river feeling pretty good about beating the weather.  Mother Nature must have read my mind or saw that smirk on my face because it was about then the rain showers came my way. 

The showers weren't constant and certainly not down-pouring, but they came in waves - one after another.  Of course the rain gear was back at the bunkhouse and all I had on was a light sweat shirt.  The bait fisherman that had been on the bank near where I was fishing called it a day in light of the recurring rain showers, and the fellow told me he hadn't caught a single trout anyway.

After the fourth or fifth wave of rain shower I also decided to call it a day, so I gathered my effects. waded out of the river, and shoved off for the home harbor.  The fishing today certainly wasn't hot and heavy and I would leave with only five trout to my credit.  But, they all were wonderful in their own way.

One thing about that old cowboy hat I wear... it keeps a lot of rain off of my skinny frame.  And, most certainly a little rain will never hurt this hat - it could use a good cleaning for sure.

Very few souls on the river today and in a way that is sad.  Why so many are not coming this year to take in the love this river gives freely is puzzling to me.  On the other hand with so few souls fishing we don't have to worry about claim jumpers.

Gold Mining And Claim Jumpers

There are times on Blue River we will find a certain pool, run, or stretch of water that yields bow and bow.  It is like a gold mine and we suddenly go from fly angler to gold miner in the eyes of many others.  To them, it appears that we have indeed struck the mother lode of trout.

Not always, but to a fair degree just the same, when we are prospecting and hit it big like just described... we will get company.  Now, there's nothing wrong with company calling if they bring along a reasonable knowledge of etiquette.  However, far too often etiquette is no where to be found. Anglers will simply wade in on you, crowd you out, throw across your line and generally be rude about it all.  I call them claim jumpers.
There is plenty of room on Blue River.  Let us all be respectful of one another.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fly Fishing Blue River - Leisurely Outings

A Nice Afternoon Outing

For me, there always seems the need to make decisions when fly fishing the Blue River.  Should I go upstream or maybe down?  Do I want to stay in the camping area or explore a wilderness and the braided water therein?  What kind of water do I wish to fish - slack water, riffles, a run,  or maybe a stretch of water that is a treasure chest of pockets?  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

On a recent outing I decided to go downstream for a change, to a pool that bears a man's name.  Now, I never got to meet the namesake of this place, but I will say he favored a mighty fine stretch of river.

The weather was amazingly mild for this time of year and the fall season was in full color.  The river was also in good shape and as clear as gin in some places.

As I always do I started fishing with a searching pattern.  Normally my first choice is the bugger brown, but for some reason on this outing I decided to give old olive a go.  The bugger olive took trout on the first three drifts, but then was lost at sea due to a poor tie that I made, which speaks of my continuing battle with my vision... a story that gets worse if you continue with this read.

With the bugger olive at the bottom of the sea, the bugger brown was called to action.  The bows liked the bugger brown equally as well and more bows would come to hand.  The fishing wasn't all that hot and heavy... about a dozen bows in an hour of fishing. 

I took the glass rod on this outing and I do love fishing it.  However, with the 9 ft. leader, an indicator to boot, and the bugger on the end I did have difficulty roll casting the rig against the strong southerly winds of the afternoon. 

This is the time of year that shadows grow long and the winds are prevalent.  The longer I stayed the stronger the winds became and after a good hour and maybe half that more, it was time to head to the bunkhouse.

On the way out of the river area, I stopped to chat with Scotty as I commonly do.  The subject of trout fishing this season came up and Scotty reports this has been his slowest November in many years.  As to why... he has his own speculation.  I have my own theory and it's much different from Scotty's.

I too have noticed how there are fewer people in the river, on the banks, and in the campsites and remote parking areas.  Is trout fishing on the skids?

For sometime now, the studies and the data have shown that fishing overall is on the decline.  As to exactly why, I haven't a clue, but each year fewer people renew their fishing licenses and fewer apply for new licenses. How will this trend bode for the future of trout fishing?  Not well I would dare argue.

Trout fishing in Oklahoma is partially dependent on revenues through the sales of fishing licenses.  If that revenue continues to slide, then budgets begin to grow tighter and there is more competition from different programs for those budget dollars.

Hopefully, things will improve and the anglers will come back to this lovely little river.  I suspect there are a lot of things on people's minds right now - Christmas is coming up, and then there is all the confusion about health care, and to tell you the truth the economy is not all that strong after all this time.

As for me, I will continue to come to the river at any chance I get.  I have to, I want to. 

Rivers, Cell Phones, Cameras, Glasses, And Me.  

Although the afternoon outing was fine, it just wasn't enough so another one was planned for the following morning. 

Van was going to meet me on the river so we could fish together, but first he had an appointment with a tree up in the north wilderness area.  It's deer season you know.

I went back to the same stretch of water I fished the prior day and started with the brown bugger.  On the first cast a bow came to hand, but after that I seemed to develop a huge problem getting a hook set.

Meanwhile, Van showed up and with his bugger brown he started plucking bows from a nice little pocket of water. 

My failure to hook fish continued as Van kept finding bows.  The bows would be on awhile and then cycle off.  Besides the bugger brown, I think Van trailed a WD40, and Copper John also. 

It was getting time for me to go and if I had left then, things wouldn't have turned out the way they did.  Standing near Van I noticed a bevel shaped boulder across the way and it was by water I had caught a good number of trout on prior outings.  So to the boulder I go.

Standing on the boulder I decided to tie a different dropper pattern on.  These days, to tie on I have to take my regular glasses off and slip on a pair of strong reading glasses.  With the reading glasses on, I placed my regular eye wear at the top of the pouch of my waist pack.  No more than thirty seconds later, I lost my balance and as I corrected myself, the glasses fell out of the pack and hit the boulder.  No big deal really, except for the glass lens somersaulting through the air into the drink.  I dredged the bottom for awhile, but it was a hopeless cause. 

It was now past time to go.  The drive back to the bunkhouse wasn't all that bad as long as the sun hid behind the clouds.  But, when the sun would break through the brightness caused problems and I found myself constantly squinting. 

The drive home gave me time to think about all the things I have drowned in this river and other places.  Over the last six or seven years, I've drowned five cell phones, three cameras, and now a pair of glasses. 

As I tried to watch a football game, without my glasses, I begin wondering what else I could possibly drown in Blue River and the only possible answer I could come up with was... my silly arse.

Such is fishing.  Things happen from time to time.  They'll take place here, there, somewhere, somehow.  It just goes with the territory.  And, on the bright side there is always good ice cold beer afterwards.


Monday, November 11, 2013

The Magic Of The Midge On Blue River

Each season, I tend to take a family, or classification of aquatic life, and work that pattern all season long in an attempt to learn as much as I can about this particular category. 

This year I'm exploring the midge.  Midge is a general term for many small flies.  At Blue, we are looking at the family of chironomidae mainly in the pupae or larva stage. 

The midge or chironomid are an important food source for fish and in this case the trout.  The chironomid also serve as good indicators as to the health of a waterway.  Their presence, or lack of, respectfully speak to the health or whether possible pollutants are present.

For me there is something magical fishing midge patterns.  The selection of midge patterns we have to choose from is wide and varied and trying to tie new patterns is fascinating also. 

Generally, I always trail the midge pattern I'm using below a nymph, streamer and in some cases another midge pattern.  So far the best colors I've found have been black, followed by gray, and red comes in a close third.  However, it is early in the season and the few outings I've had so far may very well not be indicative of what the colors have shown thus far. 
So far, I've concentrated on midges size 20 with a few 18 patterns thrown in.  Now, it's time to go down in size and explore the 22, 24, and maybe even try to thread a 26. 
One thing I believe, particularly when it comes to my tying of the midge, is that I often tie too thick or large even though my finished products are quite scant.  Most aquatic insect life is much smaller than we imagine when at the vise. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blue River Fly Classic Is Set

The date of the Blue River Fly Classic, formerly known as the Blue River One Fly, has been set for February 22nd, 2014.

This is the third year the Blue River Fly Fishers have held this event.  As in the past, 100% of all proceeds will be donated to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The Fly Classic is a single pattern, single fly event with each contestant getting the same exact fly.  All contestants have the opportunity to buy a mulligan fly. 

Points are awarded on length of fish and species of fish.  The top three finishers will receive prizes and certificates.

Here are the general rules and entry form.

Blue River Fly Classic 2014

General Information

Date Of Event: February 22nd, 2014
Place: Blue River Public Fishing And Hunting Area
Time Of Event: 7:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m.
Starting Point: Main Parking Lot Campground Area Blue River
Blind Pairings Will Be Prior To Start Of Event
Entry Fee: $25.00 Per Contestant


The purpose of the Blue River Fly Classic is two-fold. First, the mission of this event is create a day of greater fellowship among the fly fishing community on Blue River. Secondly, this event is designed as a fund raising event with the totality of monies raised by entries fees and mulligan flies going directly to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife in support of the Catch and Release section at Blue River. Funds will be monitored by and through the Blue River Association a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


*A single and same pattern will only be used. . NOTE: Contestants will be given one fly and will also be afforded the opportunity to purchase a mulligan fly. The mulligan fly is by no means mandatory and is of the choice of the contestant as a strategy or avenue to further support fund raising. The cost of the mulligan fly will be $10.00 and this fee will also go directly to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

*All contestants will receive the same pattern and the pattern will remain a mystery until the start of the event. When a contestant loses the fly (or flies) then that contestant is out. If the contestant loses the fly (or flies) and wishes to continue fishing for the sake of fishing then that contestant must turn their score card over to the person they are paired with.

*Contestants will be allowed to retie their fly, but must notify their partner they are doing so.

*Dry flies as strike indicators will not be allowed.

*Scored fish are fish brought to hand. Each contestant must alert their partner when a fish is brought to hand.

*Each contestant is responsible for keeping their own score card.

*Each contestant should devise a way for measuring fish that are caught. Length of each fish scores additional points. 

*This entire event is based on the honor system.

 *Deadline for entering is February 1st 2014.

A copy of the general information, rules, and entry form will be available November 1st, 2013. To obtain an entry form contact or or  An entry form will be sent to you as an attachment. Print the entry form, fill it out, include payment and mail both in. You will receive a confirmation email once your entry is received.


Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers.  Prizes will be announced at a later date.

There will be a number of give-away prizes also in a random drawing.

The organizers are trying to acquire tee shirts for this years event, but that has not been confirmed as of yet. 

Blue River Fly Classic
Entry Form
Date of Event:  February 22nd, 2014
Entry Deadline:  February 1st, 2014


Mailing Address:_________________________________________

City:____________________  State______________ Zip Code_________


Cell Phone*_____________________________________
*This is the cell phone you will be carrying the date of the event.  This is for contact reasons only.

Check appropriate boxes:

____Entry Fee enclosed (Please check or money order only) IMPORTANT:  Please make check or money order payable to the Blue River Association.  Entry fee is $25.00.

____ Yes, I want a mulligan fly on the date of the event for $10.00.

____ Indicate tee shirt size:*  M  L  XL  XXL Other________
* We are hopeful of acquiring tee shirts for this event.  If we are successful in doing so we would like to know the size you would wear.

____ Sorry, I can’t make the event but would like to make a contribution.

Total enclosed:___________________

PLEASE NOTE:  Make check or money order payable to Blue River Association.  However, mail completed entry form along with fees to the following address.

Barry C. Shrader
Blue River Fly Classic
700 E. Wynnewood
Sulphur, OK 73086

Monday, November 4, 2013

Celebrating Another Season Of Blue River Bows

The Beginning

On Wednesday of last week I received a text from Ralph Fullenwider.  It was a simple dispatch that said, "The trout are in the river and they are nice."  Ordinarily we expect the trout to go in the afternoon before the official start date of trout fishing at Blue, but this year they went in a two days before November 1st. 
The annual get-together of the Blue River Fly Fishers was scheduled for Saturday and that Friday for fishing and that's exactly what would take place.
The Fishing
Scott Dittner and I had agreed months prior to the opening of trout season that we would meet on the river opening day.  Actually, Scott got in the river shortly before I did and just like last year we begin our trout season at the sandbar below the crossing.
The fishing was hot and heavy as it usually is after the initial stocking.  The trout were eating buggers, egg patterns, hare's ears, Tellico's, Bloody Mary's, and a variety of other patterns.
When Ralph Fullenwider walked down to the island, I told Scott I was going over to visit with Ralph.  Ralph and I started fishing together and it was here that I brought the size 20 midge patterns to trail behind the point fly. 
Of the next twelve trout that would come to hand, the midge pattern would capture ten and the bloody Mary would only take two.  Midges are prevalent on the Blue River and it's always a good idea to have a varied selection of these little dynamos.
The fishing would end early for me on Friday because of work.  When I left the river Scott was still in the river and still had a bend in his rod.
The Gathering
Saturday morning came and I arrived early at the Ruff Diamond, which serves as our focal point for each and every event we have that involves food. 
We've been having these gatherings for many years and I do believe this year's event was one of the largest we've ever had.  Lots of new faces and some fantastic people came to the annual get-together for the first time.  And... the food was outstanding! 
I've been a big fan of Dutch oven cooking for many years and on Saturday it was my pleasure to meet a gentleman who loves this art form as much as I.  Steve Wolf got into Dutch oven cooking a short while back and now he is hooked.  It was amazing to me how many tips I picked up by watching Steve and then his food was out of the park good. 
After everyone had lunch, most of us wasn't worth a flip and many started heading back home. 
The Project
This season on Blue River, the Blue River Fly Fishers will be pursuing a project that was suggested by the area manager of the river.  The project has a simple goal and that is to not only prevent more litter on Blue River, but to encourage visitors to carry out more than they carry in.
Six different stations will be erected and inside these stations will be free mesh litter bags.  Visitors to Blue can take one of the bags and as they enjoy their day they can deposit any trash they generate and maybe pick up some of the trash left by others. 
We've already had the signs made that carry the message and these are durable powder coated painted signs that will withstand weathering and fading. 
The theme on these signs is "Blue River - Too Beautiful To Litter". 
I think that says it all.
Scott Dittner and yours truly.  Many thanks to Scott for getting the signs made.