Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mystery Flies Arrive Under Tight Security

The mystery flies to be used in the Blue River Fly Classic are in place and under extremely tight security.  I assure everyone that I will remain most accountable in this matter and as much as I like all that participate in our one fly single patterns events, you must know I will be above any type of bribery. 

At this point only myself, one other gentleman that helps set the event up, and my three dogs know the identity of the mystery fly.

Security was so high this year, I asked for the flies to be delivered by armored truck and yesterday afternoon said truck arrived at the bunkhouse.

The first year we had the one fly event, I put Sadie in charge of guarding the precious box of treasure that was tucked away in the fly tying room. 
Although Sadie did a good job the task seemed to cut into her nap time, so when year two rolled around I asked Drift if he would assume guard duty.

And, even though Drift was quite diligent in his duties, I decided that this year with security higher than ever it was time to bring out the bigger dog - Riffle.
Riffle can be quite the sweet dog, but he has a mouth habit - almost like an oral fixation, and always has to have his teeth clinched down on something.  And that something could be the tukas of someone trying to get a peek at the mystery flies.
The mystery flies are beautifully tied and I truly believe that everyone will be quite happy to fish this pattern. I expect some very high scores this year. 
The "Guess The Mystery Fly" game will begin soon, so stayed tuned. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trout Season Approaching Mid-Point

License Renewal Time

For those who renew their fishing license each year, don't forget to do so by Tuesday of next week.  It's hard to believe that another fishing year has flown by like it has, but we will be ringing in 2014 come Tuesday evening.

To renew your Oklahoma fishing license simply go to and you'll find the link there for renewal of licenses.

Don't get caught short because of your rushed schedule and forget to renew.  It's terribly embarrassing to get on the river and then realize that you are void of a current year fishing license.

Catch And Release Scheduled For Stocking

In the next two weeks, the Catch and Release section at Blue River will be stocked again.  The January stocking is the second and final stocking of this special area.

Sometimes I wonder how many of us realize how fortunate we are to have a catch and release section at Blue River.  Catch and release areas on a river that is classified as "put and take" are quite rare.  Over the years this area has grown in popularity and will most likely continue to do so.

Here's a video from Shannon Drawe of shot back in early November in the catch and release area.  Shannon was test driving a 3 wt. TFO rod, and as you'll see in the video, the 3 wt. TFO had a good bent-over workout on this trip.

Going Pink On Blue

Pink it's my new obsession
Pink it's not even a question
Pink on the lips of your lover, 'cause
Pink is the love you discover


Yes, I have fallen in love with a pink fly.  The Pink Frenchie to be more exact, but more on that later.

Yesterday on the Blue, Van Stacey, Scott Dittner, and yours truly had a most excellent day.  Our destination was the south wilderness and we couldn't have asked for a much better day.  It was a whit cold early in the morning with ice in the guides forming, but once the sun rose above the eastern horizon a nice warm-up begin.

The first hour, and half that more was not productive at all.  Scott and I begin at Desperado Springs and we didn't get a bite.  I was fishing a Copper John under a bugger and Scott had a bugger on, but I can't remember what he was trailing.

Van arrived and we moved on up to Coyote Pass.  Here Scott would find a trout and Van would also, but I was still at zilch.  Due to low light and the river being a little dingy I swapped the Copper John out for a black bugger.  On the first cast a trout latched onto the black bugger and took it with him.  Moving on upstream I started thinking pink, and after the Pink Frenchie went on the tippet the trout started coming my way. 

All three of us started finding trout.  At the end of the day we were close to a sixty trout day as a threesome.  About mid-day it was a great pleasure to see Jason Williams, Dan Brockett, and two of their buddies fishing the ancient boulders.  They came off the water, even though they were catching trout, and we had a nice chat.  The foursome were also having an excellent day on the river with good numbers to their credit.  Now, they were headed to Scotty's for a burger and then to the north wilderness. 

Scott Dittner with bow on line.

Van fishing a twenty bow pool.

The Pink Frenchie also found a turtle.  The creature was released unharmed.

The fly of the day for me was the Pink Frenchie.  Of the nineteen trout I met, seventeen would come via the Pink Frenchie with the remaining two by way of the brown bugger. 

Scott used a variety of flies including the bugger, Copper John, zebra midge, red midge larva, and yes the Pink Frenchie. 

Van stayed true to his brown bugger and it's easy to understand why.  At one run, the brown bugger took twenty trout in a row. Now, I know that I gave Van some Pink Frenchie patterns a week or so ago.  However, he seemed reluctant to give this pink fly a go.  I took note that rather late in the day, he tied the Pink Frenchie on, which probably pained him to no ends to do so.  Well golly gee, he caught a trout using a pink fly.  I also took note that he left the river a short time later and I'm wondering if its because he feared someone would see him using a pink fly. 

Now, if Van truly doesn't like the color pink I think I know why.  He is married to my daughter and in their home is a room that is solid pink.  Go into this room and there is pink on your left, pink on your right, pink below you and pink above you.  In this room you can't escape pink unless you just bolt out the door.  Probably during the calendar year, Van will go in this room maybe once or twice and it's only if he has to. 

I like pink.  I can like pink because I am confident in my manhood and fully accept any sissy ways I might own... such as liking the color pink.

I mean... there is pink in our lives everyday.  If we feel good then "we're in the pink".  If something makes us happy, "we're tickled pink".  If we see a young lady on her way to the prom and she's wearing a pink chiffon dress then we think she is "pretty in pink".  So... I like pink.

As a young man one of my favorite cartoon characters was the Pink Panther.  When I was in the insulation business I installed Owens-Corning Pink Panther endorsed fiberglass.  Pink is not a color that is foreign to me.

I don't like everything pink - Pepto Bismol and pink eye come to mind, but most things pink I do like including Pink.

You might think I like Pink because I'm an older man, and she is a pretty, young and talented performer, but that's not the case.  I simply would love to sit down and drink a beer with Pink and just have her talk to me.  Such an encounter would tickle me pink.

Until I can find it in myself to let go of the Pink Frenchie, it will remain my go-to fly on the Blue River.  All I can say my friends is to... think pink.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mystery Fly Prize Announced

Each year at the One Pattern Fly event held by the Blue River Fly Fishers, we have a little game where entrants can try and guess the identity of the mystery or secret fly.  Of course the winner should receive a prize and it should be fly fishing related.

This year in trying to decide what the prize should be I wanted something practical - something the winner would surely use.  For example, not everyone who fly fishes ties their own flies so fly tying material or gear wouldn't be a lot of use to that particular person.  In trying to think what every fly fisher would or could use the answer became  easy.

The first person to guess the identity of the secret fly to be used in this season's Blue River Fly Classic will receive a 24 piece Copper John set.  Everyone can always use flies and this pattern is a dandy on Blue River and just about anywhere.

The guessing game will begin soon.  Good luck.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas From Blue River

Each year when Christmas rolls around, I break out the poem Blue Christmas.  The poem was originally penned in 2002, but it never seems to loose it's sense of timeliness... at least for me. 

Blue Christmas

Twas the day of the night before Christmas, the season of cheer,
Me and Smokey was on the Blue, cause trout season was here,
Then there came a sudden blizzard, we found ourselves snowed in,
We knew that on the Blue, Christmas Day we would surely spend,
So we pitched a tent, made us a fire, made the best of the situation,
Then came the dusk and with it, the night of Christmas celebration,
Me and Smokey walked to the river to gaze at the stars of the sky,
And thats when Smokey saw it...and then it caught my eye,
It was a bright burning red glow, that seemed to be way afar,
We knew it wasn't an airplane, or even a bright burning star,
The red glow came straight at us and then I heard that jingle bell,
I thought, "Is this jolly old St. Nick, Mr. Santa Claus pray tell?"

Smokey let out a big bark, and I said "No my little friend!"
”A less than warming welcome, we certainly should not send”,
The sleigh came hovering over the crossing, slowing to a stop,
The sleigh was full of toys and presents from bottom to the top,

Santa said, "Whoa Dancer, slow down Prancer, and you too Blitzen."
"Santa hears those trout a calling, so Santa is going fishin'!"
Santa stepped from the sleigh and put on his waders and creel,
Then reached into the sleigh and produce a fly rod and reel,

His face was full of content, as he tied a bugger on his line,
Then he cast his fly into the water with a snap of thrice time,
A trout came up and took the bug and Santa gave a "Whoa!"
He landed the trout, looked him in the face and cheerfully said...."Ho Ho Ho!"

Santa gently removed the hook and said "My friend, you're free to go."
Smokey and I could see so plainly by the light of Rudolph's red nose glow,
And the trout slipped back in the stream in the Blue's beautiful pool,
Santa put up his gear because he knew having fun was the Blue rule,

By now a large crowd had gathered on the banks of the river,
And a message Santa had for all, Santa would now deliver,
Santa said, "So-long Mr. Coyote, Mr. Owl, Miss Trout,
So-long to your sir, and Smokey the trout scout with a snout."

Santa continued. "For you my friends, my present is so very clear."
"It's a present for all and each of you, a present to your hearts dear."
"May the sun shine ever so brightly, may these waters forever flow."
"May these trees always blossom, and these grasses forever grow."

Santa got back in the sleigh and it slowly ascended in the air,
Me and old Smokey were silent.....all we could do was stare,
The sleigh went in front of the moon and it's glowing golden light,
We heard Santa say, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Merry Christmas Everyone.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Mad Dash To The River

Thursday was a horribly slow day at the mercantile store.  I guess many folks are busy trying to get those last few gifts under the Christmas tree.  I found myself pacing back and forth, from one end to the other of the store and there was an uneasiness in me. 

That uneasy feeling stems from me constantly watching the weather, and in that I knew another northern front was headed our way and expected to arrive on Friday.  If a fellow didn't get to the river on this day, then it might be a week or better before conditions improved. 

Shortly after the lunch hour it became more than I could bear and I informed my young boss I would be taking a very long lunch break.  I assured him, however, that my return to the store would be imminent and he should not worry his young self.  My mad dash to the river was on.

Of course I just wanted, and needed, some river time.  But, there was another reason I wanted to hit the Blue and see if the bows were frisky... or not.  On Sunday, I had fair success with the Frenchie fly pattern and all this time the question on my mind asked if this pattern's performance was a fluke or real deal?

Wednesday night I churned out a bit more than a gaggle of Frenchie patterns in sizes 14 and 16 of the colors pink, chartreuse, and olive. This pattern calls for ice dubbing for the thorax, but due to my fly tying material inventory under some kind of austerity currently I used rabbit fur.  On Sunday, the rabbit fur didn't seem to matter at all to the trout - they seem to rather like it. 

I think fly tying is a marriage between the tyer and material.  As a tyer, I should never let myself become divorced from the vital materials needed.  Besides, this philosophy I carry is also a good excuse to go out and buy more stuff. 

I arrived at the river at almost exactly 2 p.m.  It was, for the most part, overcast with the sun making sporadic and feeble attempts to break through the soup in the sky.  The wind was solid and unrelenting straight out of the south.  The temperature was comfortable, even with the wind.  The river today was a pretty as I have ever seen her.  She is still showing that unique emerald hue, clear as a bell in most places, and today the river just looked fresh.  However, I am sad to report the flow and volume is diminishing.  Hopefully this weekend's rains will replenish.

As I walked across the top of Horseshoe Falls, there were bugs - lots of bugs.  Bugs in the color dark brown or black and skittering everywhere.  About 100 feet upstream I could see the trout keying on these critters, but that stretch of water is almost impossible for the fly fisher to get to without some kind of sailing vessel. 
I walked out on the ledge that Van and I favor whenever we come to this particular place.  It is deep here and I'm not sure exactly how deep, but I do believe it is one of the deepest runs on the Blue.  I would be fishing under an indicator today, but did not set my indicator to the depth of this run.  In other words, I fished it much more shallow than the rule of thumb tells us to.
Although I came to test the Frenchie, the chartreuse Copper John from my last outing was still tied on and I sent him sailing to the sea lane.  The first two casts resulted in two eats, along with two misses, which I seem quite prone to doing these days.  However, they say the third time is a charm and on the third cast the first bow of the afternoon would come in for branding.
Leaving the Copper John in action, two more bows would come my way.  The wind was so prolific today it interfered with the angler getting a natural drift.  The wind was blowing from downstream to upstream and here I was casting upstream for a downstream drift.  The indicator basically was floundered by the wind.  Usually when drifting I let the drift do the work, but today in order to capture a bow a little twitch had to be employed.
After three bows had been landed, I relieved the Copper John of duty and tied on a size 15 pink Frenchie.  As I put the Frenchie in the drink I wondered if it would indeed produce or not.  My answer came sooner rather than later.  The Frenchie seems to be the real deal.
The pink Frenchie would go on to capture four trout.  With time growing short I decided to try a size 14 chartreuse Frenchie.  This color didn't seem to be as attractive as the pink, but did manage one bow before my time was up. 
I wish I could have stayed all afternoon and more so I wish I would have had some company.  From where I was fishing I could see a good 1/8th of a mile upstream and twice that much downstream, and there wasn't a soul on the river.  The Blue looked quite lonely today.
In the white wagon at 3:28, I drove off the river having the pleasure of meeting eight citizens of the trout community at Blue.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Good Juju Bugs - Bad Juju Bugs

Today was a day I have been looking forward to for the better part of a week.  Michael Mercurio was traveling north from Texas, Scott Dittner was traveling east and south.  Later on I would find out that Boone Merhman was also traveling north from Texas, and Mike Littrel sailing south.  Everyone was on their way to fly fish on Blue River.

Boone and Mike planned on hitting the catch and release area early, and then catching up with Michael, Scott, and me later on in the south wilderness.  Michael, Scott, and yours truly had agreed to meet at 9 o'clock and head straight for the south wilderness, and this is exactly what took place.

Before heading out this morning, I hit the mercantile store and built a Christmas gift basket for Miss Gloria at Scotty's.  For the last three or four years I have taken her a gift basket and I knew if I didn't get it delivered today I might not get it there at all due to a tightening work schedule and more ill weather headed this way.

Right after dropping the basket off at Scotty's, I look down the road and there comes Scott Dittner.  We chat a while and then decide to head to the meeting spot with Mercurio... figuring he was dragging ass.  However, Mercurio was already in place waiting on our asses that seemed to be dragging. We shoved off and hit the wilderness.  

Mercurio is probably the best nymph fly fisherman I've ever met.  Most times I fish with him he smokes my butt in good fashion.  Scott has become one of those guys who has twenty, thirty, or more fish days.  However, there are times that capturing trout are a hard fought battle and unfortunately this would be one of those days... at least while I was there.  Mercurio and I would have to cut out mid-afternoon, but Scott would end up staying to fish with Mike and Boone. 

It's happened to me many times... more times than I would like to tell.  It's almost like you have flies with good Juju, or flies with bad Juju.  Today, I seemed to have a couple of patterns with the good Juju.

One of the good Juju flies was the Copper John.  Fishing it at the lower end of the south wilderness, this pattern would take the first half dozen trout.  I would have left it on, but after tying several flies of a pattern I had never fish before I wanted to give that pattern a chance.  The pattern was the Frenchie... a good Juju pattern also.

The Frenchie is a fairly easy fly pattern to tie.  If you have enough material prepped and ready to go, then an easy ten flies can be finished in an hour or so.  This pattern was created by Lance Egan, and his creation has a huge following.  The guys at have created an excellent video showing the materials and process in creating this pattern.

I tied three different colors of Frenchie's last night - one in pink, one in chartreuse, and one in purple.  Starting out with the pink, the trout was quite interested.  After several fish, the pink Frenchie was lost to the sea.  Then the chartreuse went on.

The chartreuse picked up where the pink left off and more trout were showing interest.  After exploring this downstream pool, it was time to go upstream.

Working our way upstream we come to Coyote Pass.  Scotty and Merc go further upstream while I stay at the Pass.  There are three other anglers here so I bide my time and let them fish.  One angler moves upstream and I take that water, but only one fish comes to hand.

Further upstream I fish the trout hotel and it seems there is full occupancy at this stretch.  The chartreuse is doing quite well until a tree limb takes his life. The purple Frenchie goes on, but meets with great failure.  Then the Lightning Bug goes on and also meets with great failure... and Scott and Merc experienced the same with the Lightning Bug - zero eats. Where's that Copper John?

The John goes back on and one more fish would be taken bringing my daily total to 17.  This would be the end of my capturing fish this day. 

Making our way to the Cove, the bad Juju still lingers on the flies of Merc and Scott and by now we are all scratching our heads as to why - they're damn good flies fished by damn good fly fishers.  Merc tells me it's almost 1 o'clock and I swear it doesn't seem like we've been on the river for an hour.  My time, and Merc's time is short, but we plow on hoping for more fish. 

At about this time, Mike and Boone along with Boone's wonderful furred friend Josie arrives.  I so regret not getting a picture of Josie who is a magnificent specimen of a bloodhound and so well mannered.  Mike and Boone had a good outing in the catch and release and now they were exploring the south wilderness. 

As Merc and I was beginning our walk out of the wilderness, I kind of made a bet with the remaining three.  I bet them that if they went all the way to the top of the south wilderness - a place called Dividing Line Falls, they would really get into the fish.  I hope I was right... I hope I win that bet...  and not because I like to win bets.  I do like people really getting into the fish though. 

Good Juju, bad Juju... it happens and that's not what is important.  Spending time with folk you really like is what's important.  The problem is... these opportunities don't come around often enough.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Landlocked And Fly Tying

This past week the prairie ocean took the polar plunge.  The north Texas area got slammed and most of Oklahoma didn't fare any better.  Making a fly fishing trip to Blue River was out of the question at least over the next several days.  It didn't take long for those cabin fever doldrums to set in.

However, as any good sea faring chap should do, I used the down time for much needed fly fishing maintenance and part of that included tying up a small amount of two different patterns.  After that initial try I continued to tie until I had a good dozen or so of each.

The two patterns that were on my mind in the warmth of the fly tying room was the Copper John and the Lightning Bug. Now, the Lightning Bug was a fairly easy tie for me, but the Copper John pattern gives me a little trouble.  This is one pattern, for me, that if the proportions are not exactly right then the finished product looks a bit... off.

The under body taper on this pattern is particularly important as the length of the copper body and then there is the abdomen, which also has to be well proportioned.  Out of a dozen or so finished Copper John's, I may have had five that I was absolutely delighted with.  The others will have to do as scrubs I think.
My first mate Drift was intently at my side over a three or four day period while I leaned into the vise tying more and more flies.  He is a dedicated friend for sure and I guess if he could have tied a few flies for me he would.
For sure I am not the most organized fly tier.  I tend to cram a lot of different materials on my desk at once because my mind wanders from pattern to pattern.  With everything that is needed to tie different patterns at my disposal I can quickly switch gears and dive into a new pattern with ease.  No, I never become confused having to deal with 38 different materials in front of me. 
For the most part I concentrated on the two patterns I mentioned.  After finishing the lot of Copper John's, I tackled the Lightning Bugs. Actually, there would be two different variations of Lightning Bugs.
One variation calls for pheasant tail to be used as the legging material.  The other calls for that fine product CDC.  Which will fish better remains to be seen, but I leaning toward the one dressed with CDC.  Sunday will prove to be a fine testing day for these creations.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blue River News

Keep A Weather Eye

As of this writing, area manager Matt Gamble is advising travelers to Blue River give due consideration to making a trip at this time because of road conditions.  The roads in the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area are still iced over and extremely difficult to navigate.

The cold trend looks to continue through next week with things possibly improving around Thursday of this coming week. 

February Trout Derby

Organizers have announced the dates of the Presidents Day Weekend Trout Derby and those dates are the 15th and 16th of February, 2014. 

Chris Adams of Denison, Texas has donated a combination gas/charcoal grill.  This grill has three main burners, a side burner, and charcoal pit.  Value of this grill is approximately $270.00.  Scotty's Blue River One Stop is offering chances to win this grill at $2.00 each, or 3 for $5.00.  Anyone who purchases $20.00 worth of chances will be listed as a derby sponsor.

The sale of chances on this grill help offset the cost of putting on the trout derby.  The cost of special order trout has sky-rocketed over the last couple of events and the Blue River Association could use help in covering the expenses of these special events so many have come to enjoy.

Too Lovely To Litter
Everything needed to launch the "Too Lovely To Litter" project on Blue River is in place and in the hands of wildlife department personnel at Blue River.
The goal of this project is to prevent litter and trash on Blue River.  Another goal is to encourage everyone with each visit to carry out more trash than they carry in.  If all of us carry out just a little with each visit we make to Blue River, then we all will have a much cleaner and healthier river.
There will be six stations constructed on Blue River and visitors will find them in the main campground area, the south wilderness, the north wilderness, and the catch and release area.  We hope everyone will take advantage of this free litter bag offering. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Missing The Roar

It seems like each year I miss more and more things about Blue River.  A good example is a channel that once had water and fish in it.  Now... it's dry.  Sometimes it's a small falls where not so long ago the river gushed, but these days there is only a trickle.  I miss the flow of this river so much it saddens me often.  Lady Blue today, is nowhere near as vibrant and she was back in 1981 when I first came here. 

The thing I am missing the most about this river is her voice.  It wasn't that many years ago that anytime we parked at the south wilderness entrance we could hear the roar of the river once we stepped out of our vehicles.  Now, the river has been hushed and even if we intently try to hear her voice... it is only a whisper.

The roar I use to hear, while standing high on the hill at the parking area, came from Desperado Springs and the upstream waters known as the Scatters.  The river braids, forks, and basically scatters in this area and one of the tallest falls on the river is located within.  At this place on Blue River, the river resonated in an outdoor cathedral with natures voice as the chorus.

As to why the Blue River is suffering these days is up to speculation I guess, but I have my own opinion and I blame all the mining going on west and north of the river area.  Mines are basically giant bore holes in the earth and once they puncture the aquifer, the water comes flowing up.  For the miners to continue to dig, they then de-water the pits and there goes precious lifeblood downstream - completely away from this area.

It's sad.  I want to hear the roar again.

On my last outing I chose the south wilderness as my fishing destination.  Arriving late in the day I knew there wouldn't be much time to waste so I didn't venture far into the wilderness, but did venture far enough to be rewarded handsomely by the trout.

The bugger brown is a sad chap these days.  On the last several outings he has been relegated to the role of front man.  The bugger brown leads, while a smaller pattern such as a nymph or midge gets all the attention. 

On this particular outing the bugger brown once again led the way for a standard Copper John.  It wouldn't take long for the Copper John to find the first fish of the afternoon.  There would be many more to come.

The river was in excellent shape with good clarity.  The water I was fishing was a fairly wide pool, and with alders behind me the roll cast was the only cast to be made.  Trout after trout would come to hand and they were all on the Copper John.

The Copper John would take a dozen and half that more bows, and poor bugger brown hadn't had any success.  I then decided to give the Copper John a rest and tie on a slightly different size and different colored cousin of his - the red Copper John.  I was simply curious if this fly would do as well.

The red Copper John picked up where cousin standard left off and bows continued to come to hand.  In a short hour two dozen bows found there way to my hand and the bugger brown was still skunk. 

About seventy-five or more feet out I saw evidence of more trout activity so I worked my way over to this place.  Here there was a sandbar to wade out on and therefore I waded until the river was at the seat of the waders.

I had taken a spare pair of waders on this outing because I couldn't remember why there were spare.  It didn't take long before I felt the river trickle down both my legs and suddenly I remembered what I couldn't remember about the spare waders. 

After catching three more bows I could tell I was totally wet so out of the river I waded.  Before making the hike up the steep hill, I sit down on a rock and thought about the wonderful afternoon I had just had and called it... good.