Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

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. 


Dain Wise said...


I'm fairly new to the sport of fly fishing and really enjoy reading your blog. I was planning my own outing the blue river this week, and was hoping for a little advice. It seems like you've had a lot of success with the copper john and woolly bugger patterns. How are you fishing these? Do you you usually drift them underneath a strike indicator?

Any advice you have for me is greatly appreciated.



Barry said...

Hi Dain!

Yes, I fish them under an indicator in tandem fashion. Bugger is the point fly and the Copper John is the trailer or dropper. We've had some rain in the last couple of days, so if the water is a little murky then definitely fish the brown bugger. Black will also work in murky water. Good luck and send me a report. Going out tomorrow to the south wilderness.

Dain Wise said...

Thanks for the tip. Good luck tomorrow.

It's supposed to be warming up this week and I had a couple vacation days from the work that I either had to use before the end of the year or lose them. Perfect combination for a trip to the river with my dad. We're actually planning on hitting the Lower Illinois on Wednesday and the Blue on Thursday before the next cold snap moves in. We've done a bunch of spin at these rivers, but the more I get into trout fishing, the more I realize that fly fishing is the way to go.

Will you be posting about tomorrow's trip? I'd love to hear how it goes. The fishing report in the Oklahoman said the trout bite is on, so I'm hoping that holds true for the both of our trips.

Do you have any other fly patterns that work well for you at the blue? I picked up some midges, scuds, and bead head pheasant tail nymphs (I'm not quite tying my own yet). I'm even thinking about possibly trying a san juan worm, but if you have anything in particular that you'd recommend, I'm sure that it would warrant another trip to the fly shop.

Barry said...

Yes, I'll post a report about today's trip. All the patterns you mentioned will work well. You will want to include the Hare's Ear, and other patterns like the Rainbow Warrior, soft hackles, zebra midges and red midge larva. Good luck at the Lower Illinois and I hope you make Blue on Thursday.