The annual get-together of the Blue River Fly Fishers was held this past weekend at beautiful Blue. This get-together has also become know as the Conclave of the Brotherhood of the Big Ass Campfire and was to be held Friday through Sunday. However on Thursday, Mother Nature decided to let it rain...and rain it did. The river came up rather quickly rising from 200 cubic feet per second to over 3,000 cubic feet per second.
Holding vigil at our designated meeting area were Ralph and Charlotte Fullenwider hunkered down in their beautiful "Ruff Diamond". Ralph was up most of the night getting a visual on the rising river and checking his Blackberry for email updates from those of us checking streamflow.
Ralph and Charlotte made it okay through the night but the morning sun revealed a swollen and mostly muddy river. The fly fishing for the weekend had pretty much been decided by nature.
However, we were greeted with a picture book pretty day with temperatures in the sixties and the foilage and trees putting on quite a show of changing colors.
Group members started to file in one by one at different times. On Friday night the king of Texas bullshitters, Ralph James, held court once again around the campfire and the stuff got pretty deep by 11 p.m. when we decided to call it a night. Temperatures Friday night got pretty cool for those of us who were tent camping.
David Dillow, pictured center above, couldn't make our weekend meeting but drove all the way up to deliver us a load of firewood like he has done for the last several years. Thank you Dr. Dillow, you are a trooper sir.
Jeff Joseph camped in a tent over the weekend but Jeff came better prepared than some of us and used a tent heater to take the edge of the cool night air.
The guy on the right is that king of Texas bullshitters I was telling you about and with him is veteran fly-fisher James Webster who has been wading Blue River for a long long time.
The highlight of our weekend would be our feast prepared from Dutch Ovens and over open flames. My gosh...did the gang do this right! We had some of the best campfire food that I personally have ever enjoyed.
Blue River Area Manager Matt Gamble broke bread with us on Saturday along with Matt Mauck of the south-central fisheries division. After lunch, Matt Gamble addressed the group about current issues in the wildlife community and then opened things up and fielded questions from the group. The wonderful thing about Matt as the area manager is that he is extremely pro-active and willing to listen and consider all ideas and suggestions.
Donny and Linda Carter showed up Saturday morning and brought Donny's little brother Gary and his family along which was a special delight. And, I want to say thank you to Linda for being such a great help. I had my hands full with too many pots going and Linda was extremely helpful in handling the detailed stuff. Thanks Linda.
Now talking about troopers Vernon Forrester is certainly a dandy one. Vernon couldn't make it for the weekend but drove from Texas just to cook his (what should be considered famous) Cowboy Potatoes and oh my gosh were they ever so good. So, a big thank you to Vernon and his family.
A number of issues were discussed with the Wildlife Department on Saturday including possible repair of the wooden Blue River sign on highway 377 with the Blue River Fly Fishers being involved in that project. Ralph Fullenwider brought this idea to the attention of the group.
Lane Kregel had an excellent suggestion that involves returning war veterans who have been disabled by the current wars. Lane told us of a collaboration between a fishing group known as Tailwaters and the Wounded Warriors Association. These two together try to make "special" fishing events possible for these veterans in question. Lane suggested such a program at the Catch and Release area of Blue River and it sounded like the Wildlife Department would be quite open for such a program to happen.
Hopefully, it will. I can't think of many better projects to pursue.