Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Blue Christmas

A seaman is meant to be at sea.  Now, most would think with holidays and shore leave granted, that I would be content to stay dry docked at the harbor home.  However, with the eldest daughter two states away and a grandson at the extreme northern part of this prairie ocean I found myself pacing the planks. 

This wouldn't be the first time I had sailed to Blue River on Christmas day and this year my buddy Van Stacey would also hoist the iron.  At Blue River we both threw anchor around 9:30 and headed straight to the current.

Having tied a red ass Frenchie the night before, I was excited to see what this lad would or would not do  Above Cottonwood Pool I sent him out on his maiden voyage and it didn't seem like he had been wet anytime at all until a bow slammed him.  My reaction was a hard thrust skyward and with these two dynamic actions heading in different directions, the red ass was lost at sea.  Sad ending for a chap that had just been brought to life.

 
Fortunately I had a backup red ass Frenchie... a rather battle worn one I must say, but he would have to do.  At the end of this outing his service would prove to be exemplary. 
 
I only sent two flies out Christmas day.  The olive wooly bugger would also serve well alongside the Frenchie.  For Van, it was also an olive wooly bugger and one of his Marabears.  Once the action slowed on both, he reluctantly tied on a Frenchie and lo and behold if he didn't start catching trout again.  Old sea dogs like me love to smile when those occasions come around.
 
 
 
Van and I would fish only above the crossing and then below.  It didn't seem like it mattered where we sent out our offerings.  The trout seemed to be in each location.  It wasn't a lot of trout, mainly one or two here and the same at the next spot.  The Island was pretty much taken by two other anglers, so we migrated downstream to the Flats and Riffles and better trout action there.
 
At the end of our short outing we had managed about thirty trout souls to our hands.  All were returned to live a little longer. 
 
 
On the way out I had to stop by and take a picture of these Blue fans celebrating the Christmas season.  Hope everyone had a merry one.
 


 


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Picture Perfect

My last two outings to Blue River have been grand and enjoyable affairs. On Sunday, I got to meet some new anglers at Blue and put names to faces.  Also, on Sunday I got to fish with two great buddies in Van Stacey and Michael Mercurio.  The fishing wasn't fast and furious, but still quite rewarding.  Starting out at the Flats below the Island, three bows came to my hand courtesy of the olive Wooly Bugger.  Van was having success down in the riffles with the Marabear that he ties. 

We eventually migrated upstream and Van started at Cottonwood Pool catching two in rather fast order.  I positioned myself about thirty feet upstream from him and tied on a Frenchie in pink under the bugger.  The trout fell in love with the Frenchie.  Landed five in the same run while Van was catching more further upstream at this point.  Michael Mercurio was long overdue and I had a good idea of where he might be ... visiting his girlfriend Seventeen.

Van and I took a break at Scotty's for coffee and then headed downstream in Area 1.  As we neared Seventeen I saw a familiar fellow standing in the middle of this magnificent little pool doing what he does best - drifting.  Mercurio had been there awhile and reported good success with the Partridge and Orange soft hackle.  He is probably the best drift fly fisherman I know and it's mesmerizing watching how he works his rod and line. 

Van and I would join him at Seventeen and further up, and all of us were capturing trout.  I finally tired of the indicator and decided to high stick an olive bugger and this technique worked best. 

 
 
 
 
 
Blue River is as pretty as I have ever seen. Her flow is back to what it once was and it seems to be staying at this fantastic flow.  Our day would come to an end Sunday and for me it didn't look like I would get to return until after the News Year.  However, the report that huge amounts of rain were predicted for this weekend led me to think of a way to return to the river soon.  Necessity is the mother of invention.
 
I got to the mercantile store at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.  Got my work done and was out the door by 11 o' clock headed to the Blue.  My plan today was to explore and see if the rains of this season had dispersed the trout. 
 
I started out across the river and it was here my exploration of fishing pools of possibility began.  It was capture a fish in a certain pool and then move to the next while in the process of answering the question, "Have the trout spread out?"  The answer, "Yes!"
 
Before the day would end I would fish Area 6, Teds Pool, and Seventeen.  All produced trout. Only two flies were used - an olive Wooly Bugger and Pink Frenchie.  They were either fished alone or in tandem.  It was a fruitful day. 
 
I had time to do two short videos that I hope shows some of the intimate water I enjoyed today.
 

 
 
                                    video

 
video
 
 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blue River Fly Classic 2016 Announced

Entries for the Blue River Fly Classic are now being accepted.  The event will take place on March 5th, 2016.  Here are the rules, regulations, general info and entry form.

There will once again be a luncheon provided on Blue River for this event.  Vernon Forrester and the Forrester Chuck Wagon crew from Forrestburg, Texas will be cooking for us.


Blue River Fly Classic 2016


General Information



Date Of Event: March 5th, 2016

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



Purpose:



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 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.



Rules:



*A single and same pattern will only be used. . NOTE: Contestants will be given two 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 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 15th 2016.



A copy of the general information, rules, and entry form will be available December 15th, 2015. To obtain an entry form contact fishingcowboyblue@yahoo.com  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:



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.



Blue River Fly Classic

Entry Form

Date of Event:  March 5th, 2016

Entry Deadline:  February 15th, 2016





Name:_________________________________________________

Mailing Address:_________________________________________



City:____________________  State______________ Zip Code_________



Email:__________________________________________



Cell Phone*_____________________________________

*This is the cell phone you will be carrying the date of the event.  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 $35.00.



____ Yes, I want to buy ____ raffle tickets at $1.00 each for the NFL Bud Light Smoker.



____ 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



I will deliver all entry fees to the Blue River Association where they will be held until the event is completed.  Once the event is completed the Blue River Association will issue payment to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife in support of the Catch & Release area at Blue River.

Fair Winds And Following Seas

Each time I hoist anchor to sail to the river Blue, I expect to find fair winds and following seas upon my arrival. Sometimes the gods favor me... sometimes they don't, and on my most recent trip I was certainly not in favorable status.  The wind was pushing the waves toward me instead of assisting me in my endeavor of casting the fur and feather.

Usually I keep a keen weather eye, but on Saturday morning I was quite surprised with the conditions.  Not so much the balmy mist, but the steely gray overcast skies.  Certainly there is nothing wrong with overcast skies - it can be some of the best fishing we can hope for.  However, I set sail early and daylight was slow in the coming.  Not being the most patient person I plowed in the river under low light conditions. 



Owning a long history of starting out with streamers, I commissioned an olive wooly bugger to sea duty and sent him down a sea lane.  As the bugger came out of the swing, I felt the tug of a trout.  At hand, it was a pleasant sight to see that this trout had some good size to it compared to most I had met this season.  The bugger was sent out again and another trout came in.  Then another, and another.  But then, the outstretched arm of an alder grabbed the bugger and kept him.  Hanging there on the gallows it seemed a cruel injustice for such a fine lad to lose his life after having proving how sea worthy he was.

Standing in the river I searched in vain for another olive wooly bugger and that was about the time I realized I had left a fly box in the sailing vessel and I also realized there was a significant leak in my waders.  Void of olive, a black bugger was called to duty and he too would find trout, but not at the same clip as the olive.  The black bugger was lost to a bad tie by this angler so a brown bugger was sent out and yes... trout came, but at no match for the performance of the olive.



The action would slow.  There was some activity on the surface so a partridge and orange was put in the current to test the sea worthiness of this pattern.  The partridge and orange was quite favorable to the trout as it would take the swing.  The trout seemed to grow pattern weary quite easily Saturday morning. 

All morning a down and across cast and taking the swing had been employed.  But, with action slowing down it was time to put on the indicator and drift some patterns through the dark emerald colored pockets.  A hares ear and pink Frenchie were called front and center.

 
Drifting through the flats resulted in three more trout to hand.  It didn't take long for the pink Frenchie to prove himself.  This wasn't the usual pink Frenchie I use.  This magnificent little bug had a red tail.  I had been at the Flats all morning and it was now time to sail downstream to a favorite stretch of mine called 17.
 
 
Fifteen years ago, 17 was one of the sweetest spots on Blue River.  The trout took refuge in 17 and it was nothing less than one big prime lie.  There would be times when the trout would be sipping midges and there were probably 50 or 60 trout all sipping in a harmony.  It was such a beautiful sight to watch I never wanted to fish the trout while they were putting on this show.  However, when the extended exceptional prolonged drought came about, 17 lost it's favor with the trout.  As this stretch of water became quite thin, the trout seemed to avoid taking shelter there anymore.  I think they felt threatened by their natural predators such as the heron, the cormorant, and the otter.  Now, the river is up in level and flow and the trout have once again made 17 their home.
 
The hares ear and Frenchie were drifted through a couple of fast runs and two trout came to hand.  The hares ear took one, the Frenchie the other. It was almost noon and I was totally wet underneath the waders so it was time to call it a successful voyage and sail for the home harbor.
 
Definitely high-sticking water.
 
I bet a dollar there's a trout by that boulder.
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stripping Down On The Blue

Sure... go ahead and call me nature boy, but I love stripping down.  No, I'm not talking about the kind of stripping down I practiced as a younger man.  I love stripping a bugger while it's down river of me on the prettiest little river; this current of the greater prairie ocean, known as Blue River.

It was another superb morning on Blue.  An angler could not ask for better conditions than what was waiting fishermen and women this morning.  Today, it had been nine days since the last stocking and I wasn't for sure how hard the trout had been fished and if there were a fair number or not left. 

Upon arriving at the river I already had a tandem rig tied on under a strike indicator so I simply started out with that offering.  However, I wasn't getting any interest at all.  I ripped everything off and put into employment a size 12 olive wooly bugger and sent the bugger out to sea.  It didn't take long for the bugger to prove his service.

The next ten casts resulted in ten bows to hand.  I could have stayed all day I guess, but word came of problems back at the mercantile store so I left the river thankful for the time spent. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A River From The Past Returns

With the exception of a little too much wind, Tuesday was an absolutely gorgeous day at Blue River.  The weather was so nice I decided to explore the south wilderness, which I have yet to visit this season. 

As I stepped out of the Jeep at the top of the hill parking lot, I could hear a familiar voice that I haven't heard in years - the voice of a river past.  It's a strong voice, not like the whisper we have come accustomed to over the last 10 years or so.  The rains of the spring and two significant rain events here of late have increased both the level and flow of Blue River.  She looks like the river I remember 35 years ago.

 
I decided to fish Desperado Springs and wanted to cross over to the east side.  It didn't take me long to realize that the floods had erected a number of obstacles in getting to the east side and let me tell you trying to get over there is a chore now.  I'm talking about one good cardio workout folks. 
 
Usually Desperado Springs is a awesome place and normally very kind to me, but it was a different story on Tuesday.  One fish to hand and that was it so it was time to head upstream to Coyote Pass.
 
At Coyote Pass I broke out a pink Frenchie - a favored pattern of mine and one that had not been fished this season. The Frenchie took a bow on the first voyage and another shortly thereafter.  Unfortunately, the pink Frenchie was lost at sea, but a new Frenchie tied out of CDC in the color olive went into action and picked up where the lost Frenchie left off. 
 
 
 
The wind continued to grow so I decided to call it a day around noon.  The fishing was a little spotty and I believe the increased level and flow of the river have given the trout reason to spread out into the many branches, forks, braids and channels of the south wilderness.  With the trout hidden in these areas an angler could have a really enjoyable day exploring this water that seldom gets visited. 
 
The flow of Blue River is holding steady at over 200 cubic feet per second.  The normal flow, or at least what we have come to know as normal, is around 50 cubic feet per second.  The river many of use to know is back.  At least for the meantime.  
 


Friday, November 6, 2015

The Tug On The Bug Is The Drug

There is no doubt that strike indicators help us capture fish.  There was a time I could nymph quite well without an indicator by simply greasing my leader and high-sticking through a tasty run of water.  But, my eyes and reflexes are not what they use to be so I have come to depend on indicators and again they do help us bring fish to hand.  That doesn't mean I'm in love with them though.  Often, I find them a real pain in the butt. 

As I drove to the Blue yesterday morning there was a steady shower for my entire trip.  It wasn't going to be enough rain to make a change in the river and certainly not enough to keep me out of the river.  And, we need any rain we can get right now. I actually enjoyed driving in the rain... it slowed me down a little and gave me pause to notice things I might not otherwise.

 
I stepped into the river with that indicator on, but I knew I was going to fish without it this morning.  I wanted to go back to the days of simply casting a bugger and stripping it back.  I was standing on the top of a beautiful pool of water - one favored by many.  Anytime any of us can stand at the top of this pool, we most likely are going to get into the trout.  A down and across cast, count to five, take the swing, ride that swing out, pause, strip... and bam... set the hook! 
 
 
 

 

The tug on the bug is the drug as my friend Michael Mercurio likes to say and Michael is right.  The trout of yesterday morning were absolutely slamming the olive bugger at the end of the swing.  I use to like to fish all day, but anymore after capturing so many trout I'm quite content and enjoy taking in the beauty of the Blue.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and on Blue this is two fold true.  Blue River is thousands upon thousands of brush strokes making one grand masterpiece. No matter where you stand on Blue River you find yourself surrounded by natures handiwork.

 
 
Unfortunately there are those who seem to care less about keeping Blue River as pristine and clean as possible. For years now, many have remained hopeful that the trash problem on this river will somehow get better and I think for the most part it has.  However, a problem still exists.
 
 

 
 
A heads up to anyone new to Blue river.  If the area manager or one of the game wardens catches you with a fire on the river bank you're likely to loose some money.  Fire or alcohol is not allowed on the river bank and can result in a fine.  And, littering Blue River can also result in a citation. 
 
Please keep your Blue River clean. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Adapting To The Situation

The trout went in the river on a Friday afternoon.  That evening the rains decided to ramp things up a bit.  When daylight broke on Saturday morning and I was able to get my first look of the river after the rains I saw a constant and rather raged stream of chocolate milk flowing downstream and my hope went the same direction. As I stood on the bank with little hope at all of capturing fish my mind drifted to my mental fly box and the image of the bugger brown appeared.

When conditions are not in our favor it comes time to adapt to the situation and that was what it was going to take to catch trout on Blue River that how now turned brown.  Dark patterns in off colored water is the rule I've always employed.  The color rusty brown has yet to fail me in off colored water.  Black is another must have choice. 

It's not just the color that we choose, but more importantly the water we choose.  Look for the calm waters on the fringes, the shallows, the soft patches and soft seams and place your offering in these structures.  Fish will move out of the violent currents to conserve energy and that is why exploring the fringes is so vital to capturing fish under adverse conditions.

My first two outings produce eleven trout on Sunday and the majority of them came on the bugger brown. I had the pleasure of fishing with Ken Norris on Sunday and Ken was also capturing trout with brown patterns.  On Monday seventeen bows would come to hand and again primarily on the bugger brown. I fished with Ralph Fullenwider on Monday and met a fine gentleman and fellow jarhead Tom Leonard from Madill. Tom was fishing with glo-bait and had only found one trout.  We scrounged up a water bubble and tied on a bugger for him, but as hard as we tried we couldn't get a trout to hand for Tom.  He had several strikes, just couldn't get the hook-set.  Tom was having surgery the next day and will be out of commission until January when he plans on coming back and when I plan on getting a fly rod in his hand.

When Wednesday rolled around the river had cleared significantly.  Early Wednesday I got to fish with Jeramy Sellers for about twenty minutes, but worked called Jeramy away. Wednesday was a grand and fun morning fishing the bugger brown under an indicator, stripping the bugger brown across the faces of the trout full well knowing it would be to much for them to endure.  Then the soft hackles came out and were placed in the calm rifles where surface activity was revealing the hiding trout.  The partridge soft hackles would also be more than the trout could bear and they went into a frenzy of slamming the flies as they swung at the end of the drift. 

Later I would break out the small stuff like the TS midge and drift it through some runs.  I cannot overstate the importance of eliminating drag, including micro drag when drifting flies.  It can make the difference in capturing fish or not.

Scott Dittner and Ralph Fullenwider joined in on the fun and all of us were capturing trout, all of us were smiling, and all of us were feeling good. 
Scott Dittner
Ralph Fullenwider




A bow I caught at the pool I call 17.
 
 


 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Hungry Ocean

The time has now come to begin writing another chapter of history upon the Blue River.  Through school and college one of my favorite subjects was history.  I love the recorded word and such word gives us valuable accountings.  History teaches.  History illustrates.  History inspires.  We of the present ask questions of the past.

Over the last fifteen or twenty years, the Blue River has become a cradle of southern plains fly fishing.  It has become a continuing narrative of what it is to be a member of the fur and feather casting club.  In other words, and more simply stated, what it's like to be a fluff chucker.

This season I hope to not approach the trout with my usual presumptuous attitude... thinking I know all as to what these creatures want.  This season I hope to approach the trout with the clarity of a blind man.  I seek a deeper understanding of fish. 

Blue River is a hungry ocean and the native species take in her pleasures year round.  Come November, more mouths have the need to eat and Blue becomes a ravenous ocean.  Such a hungry ocean presents wonderful opportunities to teach others about species, their habits and habitat, and how to angle for these often elusive creatures. 

Each season a new chapter is begun and at some time the chapter is closed.  It is now time to begin anew and pen another chapter of the Blue River experience. 

The annual get-together of the Blue River Fly Fishers is November 7th at Blue River.  It is a festivity of food, fun, fishing, and fellowship.  Everyone is invited.  If you cook please come prepared to do so.  Many that attend cook in their Dutch ovens, but all offerings are appreciated.  Everyone should bring their own choice of drink, a chair to set in and if anyone has an extra table that will be greatly appreciated.  We will most likely meet in the main parking area.  Look for Ralph Fullenwiders Ruff Diamond motor coach and Steve Wolf and his camper trailer.  Lunch will be at noon. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Back To Black

I knew that I would be going to a Blue River that wasn't sporting her usual clear complexion, but I didn't think she would be so compromised that the fishing would be just darn tough.  We had several rain events the week prior with the most recent one being Thursday.  It was the event on Thursday that had everyone scratching their heads as to how Blue would change.  I figured I was going one way or the other.

 
I still not use to the time change that took place almost a month ago.  Somehow I keep thinking the sun will be up and rising by 7 o'clock, but that simply isn't happening and certainly wouldn't on this day with overcast skies being dominate. With time to kill I decided to fuel up for that burst of energy I was going to need.  I call it rocket fuel.
 
 
By the time I hit the river it was daylight and I proceeded to the south wilderness destination Desperado Springs.  Desperado has been very kind to me this season.
 
Now anyone that knows me or most likely anyone that meets me probably won't take me for someone who likes Amy Winehouse music, but I do.  As I stood on the bank and looked at the brown soup in front of me I was reminded of one of Amy's songs - Rehab, as I murmured the words, "No, no, no" just as Amy sang in the song.  The river was quite compromised... more that I thought it would be, and the toughness of the morning set in deeply. 
 
 
 
 
 
However, I was reminded of another Winehouse song "Back To Black" and I opened the fly box and selected the black patterns.  I've always fished dark patterns in dark water and it usually always works. Brown colors are my favorite colors to use, but sometime we have to go a little darker.
 
 
The three flies that produced trout on this day were not totally black, but certainly predominantly black.  One thing we need to remember is these fish are going to eat no matter what.  When the water is simply off color then we need to think color of our flies.  When the river is really off color and the flow is up significantly we need to think about color and placement of the flies.  When the flow is rolling we need to fish those soft patches and shallow fringes.  Fish will move to the sidelines to keep from fighting the extra volume and flow created by significant rain events.
 
The first fly to go to sea was Chris Adam's Black Bubba Bugger.  The first cast resulted in a missed hook-set, but the second attempt brought him in.  I was fishing the road side of Desperado Springs - that long stretch of flat, basically slow moving water.  I rarely fish this run, but three other anglers had claimed my favored place on the east side of Desperado.
 


 
 
The Bubba would capture five trout before being retired and the Black Molly was employed.  The Molly seemed to be rather popular, but this angler was doing a poor job in setting the hook and missed several opportunities.  However, the Molly would take three before giving way to the Black Gnat.  The Black Gnat would only find two.  Total for the morning would be ten trout and that was good enough for this angler.
 
 
 
There were a total of nine anglers at Desperado Springs on this morning.  I was the lone fly angler and the rest were both bait and spinner anglers.  Seemed like the bait crowd had a slight advantage as far as numbers.  Everyone was catching trout - certainly not every cast, but still stringer limits were going to be realized. 

I started back up the hill on the way to the parking lot around 10 o'clock.  The sun never made an appearance while I was on the water.  I do understand that it did break through around noon.

The trout are still in the river and there were a good number of perch nibbles Saturday.  The bass should be getting quite active in the coming weeks.  It's all good on Blue River.
 
Having rolled cast all morning long, my right shoulder was screaming at me and therefore I decided it was time for a little pain reliever at Scotty's store.
 
 
See you on the Blue. 
 

 

 




Friday, March 13, 2015

Fly Fishing Area 4

After Wednesday's great outing in the south wilderness, my plan was to return to Blue this Friday and fish all day with my good buddy Scott Dittner of Marlow.  I went as far as telling Scott I would meet him there.  However, about mid-morning I suddenly remembered I had told Trina, the young lady that works with me, that she could have Friday off so she could spend time with her daughter.  No way I was going to go back on that.

So, with Friday out and it being horribly slow at work this Thursday I decided to take off at lunch and head to Blue River.  My thinking was I could hit the river by 1 p.m., fish a couple of hours and be back at the bunkhouse before the evening news aired.

I decided to fly fish Area 4.  Area 4 can be a jewel to the fly fisherman or it can be one big challenge.  The lower end of Area 4 is also known as Chris Pool and it can be very accommodating to the fly angler.  This part of the river is fairly shallow and quite wadeable.  Of course, the bottom of this river is quite geographic and slow wading is always a good idea or carrying a wading staff is an even better idea when navigating Chris Pool.  In front of you are pockets - pocket after pocket and the trout are within and awaiting your offerings. 

For years I fished Chris Pool, but always found myself looking upstream at that long almost totally unwadeable stretch of water that few ever fish.  Even bank access is limited and this always told me that the inventories of trout just keep on building with each passing week.  So, this year I was determined to find a way to get a fly in that stretch of water. 

The place I chose to try and cast my fly is about 100 yards upstream from Chris Pool and I have to tell you it's certainly not a picnic.  I'm talking about down in the trenches, trench warfare, standing in a mud-pit that any self respecting pig worth his weight in bacon would be proud to call his own.  If the mud is not enough then there are numerous tree roots and branches that continually catch your fly line and oh... I forgot to mention the overhead obstacles that contain you to roll casting only.

 
To fish this area you will have to own a solid and fairly strong roll cast.  With the overhead tree branches you will only be able to employ a side arm roll cast to boot.  If there is any south or southwest wind at all, then your job of getting your fly out 30 feet or better is compounded even more.  However... if you can get your fly to where the trout are staged you can have a very good day.
 
I started off with the olive Bubba Bugger yesterday.  It was amazing how quickly the river had cleared.  First cast with the Bubba and a trout was brought to hand.  The Bubba would go on and take 6 trout, but then he was lost at sea. 
 
 
Next, the red ass brown bugger went on and again on his maiden voyage he connected with a trout.  The brown bugger would capture one more trout, but honestly the community I was fishing didn't seem really all that interested in the brown bugger.  Really not for sure if it was his body color or just his red ass. 
 
 
I retired the brown bugger and decided to go tandem using an aqua green Copper John as the lead fly and a size 16 pink Frenchie would be subservient.  The Copper John would capture two trout, but the Frenchie was the real star capturing three times the number of trout the Copper John did.  
 
Yesterday I spent two hours on the river and today I would do the same.  No... I didn't capture 51 trout today like I did yesterday.  Those days are rare and come around every now and then.  I walked away from the river having met 17 trout and pretty much had to work for each one of them... as far as casting. 
 
I guess I could fish seven days a week if I only had the chance.  Here we are living in a world where we are connected by greater and newer technology coming our way almost every day.  These things are meant to connect us, but here we are living more disconnected than ever it seems. 
 
One reason I love to fly fish is the connection I feel with fish.  Fish, for me, have substance.  If you ask me whether I'd rather talk to you on the cell phone or stand next to you in the river, what do you think my answer would be? 
 
See you in the river. 



Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Best Trout Fishing Still To Come

Some of the best trout fishing at Blue River takes place in the month of March.  However, this great opportunity oftentimes goes without the audience that one would think would assemble.

Being on this river for almost 40 years has taught be the art of observation and each year I see mostly the same thing happen.  When November rolls around each year there is a sudden rush of trout deprived fans that cannot wait to get to Blue River.  Around the middle of November there is the first of two trout derby events at Blue River and this event has created it's own culture over the years.  December still brings fairly nice weather and the crowds keep on coming to Blue.  In January we will find the real die-hard trout fans wrapped up in overalls, and layered beyond belief donning a pair of waders and standing in the middle of river.  In February we find the faithful and after the trout derby takes place is when we see the declining of numbers as far as people making trips to Blue to trout fish.  I've seen it year after year.

When March arrives it's almost like the lion has fallen asleep as the lamb takes control.  In other words, interest in trout wane as warmer weather offers other fishing opportunities.

Fishing during March and also during the month of April can be awesome.  Not only have the inventories of trout built all season long, the bass and pan fish community become active, along with catfish and Redhorse sucker - all which can be caught by way of fur and feather. 

Wednesday of this week I decided to take Scotty the proceeds from the Blue River Fly Classic.  Scotty had already told me that the snow melt and the rain on Monday had caused the river to go off- color and that a fly fisher might have a hard time.  I was determined to go fishing anyhow.

When I arrived at Scotty's he was filling propane tanks for a customer so I went inside and waited.  Once he came in I give him the proceeds and even though it was only 10:30 in the morning I went ahead and order a Scotty burger to go.  Then I shoved off for the south wilderness.

I got in the river about an hour before noon and sent out an olive Bubba Bugger, and the action started right away.  It was a trout with almost every cast.  On trout number 15 I would end up loosing the Bubba Bugger and I believe this is a good illustration of the need to re-tie our flies after so many catches. 

 
 
 


A dark brown 1/64 oz. Micro jig fly went on and this fly would produce even better than the Bubba Bugger.  I am convinced that the fall rate of this fly had a lot to do with it's success.  The trout were grabbing this fly within seconds after it's landing.

 
 
 
In less than an hour I was up to 30 trout and determined to get to 50 before calling it a day.  Guess my thinking was 50 would be a nice number to stop on, but then I remembered that old son-in-law Van was on the river Sunday in the south wilderness and he stopped on 50... so I needed 51.  I needed 51 just to show Van that the old man here still has it every once in awhile.
 
 
Number 51 came on an olive 1/64 oz. Micro jig because I lost the brown Micro jig to a trout for not practicing the re-tie discipline after 20 or so trout caught. 
 
I do believe an angler could have caught 100 trout yesterday if they were willing to stay all day.  I wanted to stay longer, but too much to do back at the bunkhouse.  I think the success of the day paints a picture at how good the trout fishing can be in March and this often carries on into April.
 
Scotty is going to try and promote trout fishing in April by having a weekly largest trout contest.  No entry fee required, but you do have to register at Scotty's One Stop.  There will be two weekly winners - largest trout fly fishing and largest trout spinner or bait fishing.  Each winner will receive a $25.00 cash prize and a Scotty or Gloria burger.  Dang... you can't beat that.
 
 
 
Beautiful day yesterday and I enjoyed the walk in the wilderness as much as the fishing.  As I was leaving I walked past Desperado Springs and there is a good flow of water gushing from the spring right now.  And yes, I did retrieve that plastic bottle and carry it out.