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.



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


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.


*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  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.

Blue River Fly Classic

Entry Form

Date of Event:  March 5th, 2016

Entry Deadline:  February 15th, 2016


Mailing Address:_________________________________________

City:____________________  State______________ Zip Code_________


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.