Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bubba Bugger Blues

Last week I wrote about John Haney and commented what a fine seafaring man he is.  This week I bring you another tale of a fellow that is also a salty sea traveling man of the fur and feather. 

Early at the mercantile store on Wednesday I opened a dispatch from Scott Dittner.  After reading Scott's accounting of his recent voyages on Blue river I felt compelled to share his offering and therefore indulge me as I do.  Scott wrote the following.

"I have had back to back excellent fishing days on the Blue.  Last Friday I went to the CR and caught some of the huge trout that Matt & crew have stocked for us this year.  They were large and a load to land.  Today I went to the South Wilderness all the way to the end and the trip didn't start out too well.  I started to unload and managed to leave wading boots and net at home.  I could get by without the net but the wading boots were a bit of challenge.  I had wore a pair of athletic shoes and after loosening the shoe strings and curling my toes I got them on.  Then the first 3 strikes I had broke the line.  Switched to some new tippet and that made the difference.  Last week the trout were big offensive lineman, strong, and hard to move, today they were like wide receivers and backs.  They were quick strike, swift, changing directions and all over the place.  I caught fish solid from noon to 5.  Of course I had to use my new Chris Adams, Bubba Bugger specials and they performed great.  I was afraid to lose one so I switched to a copper john, hare's ear with some pink at the top, and bead head nymph with some purple.  My toes thawed out after turning on the heater high but it was so worth it.  Pack "all" of your gear and enjoy the Blue."
On the Blue,

Now I must ask what lad or lassie could not want to hit the Blue after reading such a report as Scotts?  It wasn't long until I pulled anchor from the mercantile store.

I knew my time on the river today would be short.  My grandson was en route from Tulsa town to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with me.  I've always hoped grandson would be a sea-going man like me and when he was a wee lad, only six or seven years old, he did fling the fur and feather.  However for a decade and half that more, the miles have separated us and this old sea dog doesn't travel like he once did.  I still remain hopeful that grandson will come back and pick up the rod and chuck the fluff once again.

It was my plan once hitting the river to throw anchor at Desperado Springs.  At the top of the hill I took the downhill short-cut to Desperado.  I call it a short-cut even though it may not be at all.  At the end of the day I would leave the river taking the same course and avoiding "Heart Attack Hill", something I like to do anytime I can. 

Arriving at Desperado, I find eight anglers already there.  Seven are on the near side with only one being on the far bank.  I decided to go across the way and positioned myself well downstream from the one lone angler already there. 

On the far side, an angler will find him or herself surrounded by the alders and it makes for tight casting situation with the roll cast being the only real option.  Today, the wind would be a nemesis.  It was a strong northerly beast blowing across my body from the right to the left.  Being a right handed caster I was left to employ a low profile side arm roll cast.  Certainly, there was a choppy sea to fish.
The Frenchies, along with red asses, thread midges, copper johns, and rs2's were left in the box today because the olive Bubba Bugger got the call for sea duty.  The Bubba Buggers had arrived about a week ago and it was time to test the sea worthiness of these gems.  Although, I've had the pleasure of fishing these patterns for years due to the generosity of Chris Adams, it has been sometime since I've had a full set. 
Even though some of my favorite patterns had been relegated to the locker, I had to open the box and have a look at them.  What I saw was a bunch of sad faces.  They wanted to sail through the air and plunge into the drink, dive down into the deeper currents, have a look-see around for a trout to entice.  But, the Bubba Bugger went on the line and those in the box had the Bubba Bugger Blues.
Before sending the Bubba to sea, I watched the other anglers for a good spell to see if the trout were on the bite.  What I saw was not encouraging, for none were reeling in trout.  As it would turn out these eight anglers were a collective fishing together.  When I would end my day, so would these anglers and as a group they had a total of nine trout.  So, the fishing would be somewhat slow this day.
Sending the Bubba out to sea, there was no response to the offering.  Having to side arm roll cast was putting me a wit short of the channel I wanted the fly to explore.  Finally on the third casting attempt I got the distance and the Bubba produced the first trout of the morning. 
The bite was not hot and heavy on this morning, but still the Bubba would attract five trout from the same channel. 
The trout seemed to grow pattern-weary of the olive Bubba and I thought about tying on the black. However I then thought about those poor chaps that had been relegated to the locker and it was more than I could bear.
The Bubba was retired and the pink Frenchie was called for duty.  It didn't take long for the Frenchie to pick up where the Bubba left off. 
My outing would end spending an hour and half that more on the river.  Ten trout souls were met this day.  The Bubba met five and the pink Frenchie met five.  I wish there would have been more time and a trip to Coyote Pass could have been possible.  However, that will have to wait until my next voyage. 
Last week this area received a good two inches of rain, but the river is still as clear as a bell. 



Friday, November 21, 2014

No Assembly Required

My friend Chris Adams of Denison, Texas is a long devoted fan of Blue River.  Chris is also the creator of the most sought after fly on Blue River.  It's called the Bubba Bugger. 

Chris believes in giving back to a river that has given so much to him and since so many anglers want his Bubba Bugger he has come with a program called Bubba Buggers For Blue.  Chris is filling orders of Bubba Buggers for a limited time.  Now Chris will be the first to tell you that $5.00 may seem like a lot for a fly, but he points out that every single penny will be donated to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife in support of the trout fishing program at Blue River.  Great flies to fish with and some extra funds for trout stocking.  It's a no brainer.

I received my Bubba Buggers yesterday and Chris even sent instructions.  I'll let you read the instructions for yourself. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blue River Fly Classic 2015

Blue River Fly Classic 2015


General Information


Date Of Event: March 7th, 2015

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: $35.00 Per Contestant (Includes 2 Mystery Flies)




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 other donations 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 two flies of the same pattern for this event. Organizers believe that part of the difficulty of this contest along with a strategy in this event is the management of the flies.  (Example:  Checking your overhead and behind you before casting.  Reading the water as well as you can for structure that may snag your flies.)  


*All contestants will receive the same pattern and the pattern will remain a mystery until the start of the event. When a contestant loses their flies then that contestant is out. If the contestant loses their 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.

*Split shot of any form may be used as a weighting technique.  Bead heads slipped on a tippet will be allowed as long as the bead head does not touch the eye of the fly and is at least placed six inches above the fly.


*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 15th 2015.


A copy of the general information, rules, and entry form will be available December 1st, 2014. To obtain an entry form contact  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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sea Duty

The arrival of winter, the season of quiescence and death, is still five weeks away.  However there are many, here on this southern current of the greater prairie ocean, that will argue winter has made it's presence known early.  A massive arctic front steamrolled in earlier this past week.

The leaves, being subject to freezing temperatures along with the will of the wind, are now letting go of the hands they have held since early spring.  Some of the leaves land on the ground while others light on a current making their way slowly downstream. 

The wind wishes for a dance from the leaves and with a strong breath the performance begins.  Leaves begin a tumbling somersaulting style dance recital across the cold ground that has become a ballroom performance platform. 

Mid-week I received a dispatch from John Haney.  John is as fine a seafaring man of the fur and feather as any I have come to meet.  Last season John didn't make one voyage to the river Blue due to an injury to his hand - an injury as severe as a gaff hook wound.  Needless to say the lad is way overdue for sea duty at Blue River.  John said he planned on sailing to the river Friday. 

I returned John's dispatch and explained that if I could somehow pull anchor from the mercantile store I would meet him at the river.  At work Friday I pleaded my case, with Oscar winning fashion, to the young captain in charge of the mercantile store.  My performance must have been a grand presentation because the captain said, "shove off".  With my gear already stowed, I set course for the river in my new dinghy.

I arrived at the river at exactly eight bells and looked for John's sailing vessel in the main harbor, but it was not there.  John had told me he planned a course to the Ancient Boulders early, and most likely if the fishing was good there he had yet to leave.  I made it across the river headed for Ted's Pool where I told John he would find me. 

At Ted's Pool, three flies would be enlisted for sea duty.  A new fly this season is the Iron Lotus and this lad was employed as the point man.  Trailing would be the Frenchie pattern.  I would begin with the pink Frenchie and hold the chartreuse Frenchie in reserve. 

The Frenchie has yet to fail this sailor and it's been employed numerous times.  It didn't take long for the trout to find a fancy for this lad.  It was only one degree above the freezing mark, but I had a smooth sea lane to fish.  The wind was just enough to make the bones ache a bit.  I knew that this would be a short outing and when all was said and done I had spent less than an hour on the river. 

The Iron Lotus had found two trout with the pink Frenchie finding eight.  Normally the trailing fly always out performs the point fly, at least for me.  The pink Frenchie was retired and the chartreuse Frenchie was called to duty.  Four more trout would come to hand by way of the Frenchie. 

Fourteen trout souls would come to meet the flies offered and the angler that presented them.  Fourteen trout souls would return to the sea - a "deep six" of sorts.  Less than three quarters of an hour had been spent angling at Ted's Pool and this included a five minute delay as a result of a bight in the leader.  Missed hook-sets often lead to a boomerang effect and birds nest with the tandem rigging.  It's best to simply cut the lads loose and rebuild a new tippet system. 

When you're the one standing in the river catching trout at a steady clip, others take notice and before you know it you have lots of company.  Such was the case Friday at Ted's Pool.  The landlubbers were wishing for the water that was producing trout for this angler and it wasn't long until I felt surrounded by an armada of high sea pirates.  Being quite content with the results of the day, I yielded the water with the treasure to those long faced chaps standing on the bank.  Poor souls.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Too Lovely To Litter

Last trout season the Blue River Fly Fishers took on a project suggested by Matt Gamble, area manager of Blue River.  The project is called Too Lovely To Litter and it's an anti-littering effort.  If you're new to Blue River and are not familiar with this project here is a short video that explains how it works.  You'll have to excuse the video please and keep in mind I was out of breath after a long hike and also dying for a cold beer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quality Outing

There are definitely some very nice fish in the catch and release section of Blue River.  This past Friday would serve as a day I would meet some quality fish, fish with quality friends, and have quality weather to enjoy.

Thursday evening Michael Mercurio gave me a ring saying he was coming to Blue on Friday to fish the catch and release.  I had already scheduled a day of vacation to fish Blue, but had no plans on making the journey north.  However, upon learning Merc was coming I wanted to spend time fly fishing with him.

When I arrived at the corrals Friday morning, Merc was still a half hour or so away.  I went ahead and started the walk because I knew my sea legs simply weren't with me as of yet.  When I got to the river I begin fishing the middle section.  On the very first cast I took a pretty little bow and that fish would be the only one I would take a picture of.  I try to get these creatures back in the water as soon as I can and on Friday and in doing this practice I almost screwed up royally.  I would end up releasing a fish too early and fortunately when Merc saw the trout listing to the starboard side he was able to net it and revive it completely.  Thanks amigo.

After catching several bows in the middle I travelled to the top and this is where some quality trout showed themselves.  The first bow I would meet was a beautiful 16 inch lass taken on a brown bugger.  Switching to a pink Frenchie at first and later a chartreuse Frenchie, I would find seven more pretty Rainbow trout.  When action slowed on the Frenchie patterns a size 20 Zebra Midge was the ticket.
I didn't know Merc had arrived and was having an outstanding morning in the middle.  He has held a long time strategy of fishing buggers early and nymphs later in the day and that strategy always seems to work for him.  He landed several 16 inch plus fish and one that would push five pounds. 
Late mid-morning it was our pleasant surprise to run into Byron Dowd.  Byron had began in the middle also catching several and then headed to the top from where I had just finished.  I had to leave a couple of hours earlier than Merc and Byron were planning on leaving, but Merc sent me a report that Byron did very well at the top. 
Merc would send me a pic with the message "Quitting on this one", and ended what can be best described as an outstanding day. 
Fly fishing is more than simply catching fish.  Much of the fly fishing experience is enjoying the resource you are visiting and discovering as much as you can.  I found one of the springs that help nourish Blue River and took a short video. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Return

Much like the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, come November each year fly anglers flock to the nourishing water of Blue River. Trout season is now in full swing.

Fly fishing at Blue River is many things to many anglers of the fur and feather.  It's a chance to catch some wonderfully colored trout or a chance to catch up with friends that have been absent since the last season.  Fly fishing this unique little river can also be simply a chance to be a diminutive part of something far greater.

For this angler, it's all of the above and perhaps more.  In the book of Proverbs we will find the passage, "Like cold water to a thirsty soul".  I think that pretty much sums it up for me. 

Saturday was opening day and the trout found turned out to be a pleasant surprise as to the size of some of the creatures, their good coloring, and the spunk that they owned. 

Fishing was somewhat insane with large numbers of trout being brought to hand.  Many different patterns were being tried and most seemed to work with ease.  The brown bugger that played second fiddled last year to the pink Frenchie made a roaring comeback on opening day taking 90 percent of the trout hooked. 

Opening weekend also marks the annual get-together of the Blue River Fly Fishing community.  This year's crowd was a little lighter than last years due to so many having other obligations.  We do go and get ourselves all busy you know.  However, the fellowship was wonderful and the food was nothing short of amazing. 

Here are some pictures from this Saturday.