Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blue River One Fly Event

Friday morning I headed up to the Blue to attend the First Annual One Fly Event.  The organizers and "chefs" Barry, Merc, Charlie, and Ralph hosted one heck of an event.  I reached the river about 12:30, with Merc, Barry, Ralph, and Charlie all ready seat up base camp.  It wasn't long after we all hit the river for a couple hours of fishing.  Barry and Charlie both showed me around the "low water crossing" which was an area that I had avoided in the past because of the crowds. The water was gin clear, and I only managed a strike in run that Charlie brought me too.

After we all got back to camp, I felt that I needed to get my mojo back, and get at least one fish before night.  So I took off for Area 2 promising Barry that I would be back by dinner.  I knew a couple very small runs in Area 2 that most spin casters avoid for some reason even though they are only two feet from the shore path.  Sure enough I landed a bow in some fast water on my "go to fly" the Hare's Ear.  Yes, I know Merc my nickname is now "H.E."

A great dinner of grilled chicken wrapped in bacon, along with chicken pot pie and vegetables cooked in dutch ovens replaced all those calories we burned on the river.  Wishing that I had brought a tent, I retreated back to my "inn" room about 8:30.

The next morning when I got to the river the temp read 36 degrees! A temperature we hadn't seen in a long time this winter.  For you folks that are wondering, don't worry the car was parked.

After downing some of Ralph's coffee all the attendees started to arrive.  We learned that the mystery fly was to be the orange soft hackle .  I was paired up with Jason Williams who lives up the road from me in Pilot Point.  We headed off to the "boulders" in the S. Wilderness Area after discovering that we both had previous success there.  The first hour turned out slow for us.  I netted only one, and we each lost one of our only two flies.  We travel back down river with Jason stopping off in a run that he knew had fish.  I elected to travel further down to hole that I had previous success in.

This hole I knew for sure could get me at least 5 fish, and I was surprised that nobody was in it.  So I attached the last fly I had, and got excited about going into battle with the bows.  After letting out some line in my hand I threw my arm back to start the motion of casting.  Coming forward with my arm, I felt probably the worst feeling any fly fisher wants to feel when he/she knows there are trees behind you.  You got it, I snagged that darn fly into a tree branch that was way out of my arm reach.  In all my excitement I managed to loose common sense, and didn't look behind me for obstacles.  So my day of competition was over.

With that all behind me, I stuck on my trusty Flashback Hare's Ear with a red zebra midge in tow.  Sure enough I landed 4 more bows, with dozens of strikes on top of that.   Just to add the early misery, I never lost a fly the next 2 hours!

Jason showed up and told me that he had lost an 18 incher!  He told me how she jumped in the air, and then headed for an underwater brush pile.  He did all he could do to keep out of it, but that gal got in that brush and snapped his line.  It seemed like he and I had some of the worst luck with these soft hackles.

I told him to come stand where I was and start throwing his line into the hole.  Sure enough Jason landed fish after fish.  One being good enough to take place of that lost 18 incher. 

I didn't get much  fishing in after that.  Every time I put my camera away after taking a picture of Jason with a fish, he turned around and hooked another one up that needed a picture taken.  That was okay though.  I enjoyed taking a break and taking pictures that he could share with his family.

When the event was over we all sat around once again restoring all those burn calories with some of Ralph's great chili.  So good that it deserved two bowls.

Here's Jason, Matt, Charlie, and Barry all pounding down Ralph's chili.

In closing I have to say to Charlie, Barry, Merc, and Ralph that you boys did real good!  I think probably most of us have never participated in an event like this before, and certainly never met so many people from the forum.  Jason, I had a great time and look forward to your offer to teach some of the "warm water" fishing that's so popular down in this neck of the woods. Gentleman, I thank you.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Catch of the Day"

I got back in the car this past Friday and headed up to the Blue River after a week long of shopping and eating during the Christmas week.  It had been almost a month since the last time I had fished the Blue.  The alarm went off at 0500 and I have to admit my body was telling me to stay in bed because of all the activities that had taken place leading up to this morning.  Nonetheless, I hopped in the car and made it to the river by 0830. 

I fished the South Wilderness Area after having an email discussion with a soon to be friend in Barry Shrader.  The river wasn't too busy around this time and I saw folks coming off the river having already caught their limit.  I walked up to about the forth trash barrel after the little crowds died off  This first step into the water was an  important one because I was testing out some new Cabelas breathable waders that my wife bought me for Christmas.  It very tough at time for me to keep money in my wallet living less than 5 minutes from Cabelas in Fort Worth. Simply put they worked out nicely and for a non-fisherman,  "Well done Mrs. Haney".


For the most part I found the fish today to be stacked up in certain holes. This maybe due to the fact the state had just restocked a couple days earlier.  Some areas were void of fish, while others were like a buffet line.  My first fish were caught on a #12 wooly bugger. After loosing those to snags I decided to tie on a #14 BH Olive Hares Ear with a flashback that I put together the night before.  I have found the Hares Ear to be my "go to fly" no matter if I'm fishing for trout in Oklahoma or back in my home waters of New England.  I don't know why but when all other nymph flies have failed me, the Hares Ear comes to my rescue.  I've got a whole buch of natural colored versions tied up in my box, but I've never tried an oliver colored version before.  I fished it as the lead fly about 3 1/2 feet under an indicator with San Juan worm as a trailer just for the fun of it.  Alot of people like the San Juan Worm but for me it has never caught a fish, and after today that statistic still holds true. 

However,  worm did try its best while in the water and what I have to show for it is "My Catch of the Day" below.  Yup, I caught a 3 inch rock with it and brought that very lethargic rock to hand.   I know there are many of us who have lost hundreds of flys to a rock, but I bet there are very few of us that can say I won this battle and caught the rock!

After this, the Hare's Ear won the battles and fish were being caught.  Right on the top lip of the mouth is the Olive Hares Ear in the picture below.  I find that the hook normally sets in this part of the trout's mouth when I'm nympying.  I have no idea what that says about my fishing style.

I headed up to Scotty's for a burger when I ran into Charlie, Mike, and Barry for the first time. We exchanged greetings and conversation then headed back to fish the South Wilderness together.  I can say the only that happend for me was a big ZERO.  No fish, not even a rock.  I lost my only pride and joy Olive Hares Ear in the trees. From there I tried a natural color but all I got to show for it was two poor hook sets that the fish said "not today".  Barry, Mike and Charlie headed a little further up river and they later told me they hooked into some fish.  Ugg....I should have followed them.  However, with 1530 approaching I needed to be home for dinner.   Another day on the Blue with good weather, good fishing, good friends, and a not so good "Catch of the Day".

Take care,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Opening Day

Thursday Dec 1st 2011 was to be my "Opening Day" for the Oklahoma Trout Season.  I've been delayed in starting the season this year because everytime I wanted to go it either rained, the wind was blowing to all get out, water was muddied and of course home projects existed.  This day however I prepared do what ever it took to take the 2hr 15 min drive from my home in Ft. Worth to the Blue River in Oklahoma.

The drive started out like they all do, leaving the driveway at 5:45am trying my best to ensure I haven't forgotten anything (its a long drive to find out you forgot your waders).  A stop at my favorite donut shop in Gainsville for a couple donuts and some coffee.  I feel like the owners should know me by now, but then again they only see me a few months out of the year on the weekends.  Nonetheless they are always very pleasent people.  On the drive through, Whitesboro, Madill and Tishomingo I was expecting the places to look a little different since its been so long, but they all looked the same as last time.  Maybe thats a good thing.

I pull into the parking lot for the Blue's C&R section around 8:30 am with the sun is already clear in the sky.  After getting out of the car with the temperature at 42 degrees I reached in the backseat for my sweater and here is where I realized I forgot sweater.  With only a tee shirt and fleece, I'm praying the Sun Gods shine all day. After 10 mins of suiting up with gear I find that I'm plenty warm and the 1 mile walk in will certainly get the blood flow going.

On the walk in I realize very quickly that these grasslands have turned a bright green in some areas.  I remember hearing of the fire that took place this past summer and the evidence of it are clear all along the east side of the trail.  The soil must have alot of nitrogen in it to grow back this green  The fire damage is evident all the way from parking lot to the very southern edge of the C&R section.  I call it damage but in someways it cleared away alot of dead brush and you can see into areas of the prarie that you never saw before. 

The fishing for me today was pretty good considering I haven't been out in 4 months.  I primarily kept today's tactics to flys and methods I know best.  I wanted "opening day" to be beneficial to me and trying new tactics will wait for one of those days when my mojo is beefed up a bit.  Tandem rigs were the method early with sets that included BH Hares Ear, Copper John's, Pheasent Tail, Zebra Midges.  For some reason I have found that I enjoy fishing small flys on the Blue with nothing normally bigger than a #16.  That tactic worked okay pulling in several fish, but I wonder if the fish were having a tough time seeing the flys in the murkey water.  I broke my own Blue River rule an tied on a #12 Hares Ear and that did the trick.  The fly probably looked like the size of a softball to the fish compared to the ping pong ball size fly I was throwing earlier.  The water was low and fishing side channels that in the past produce fish were entirely vacant. You had to stick to deep pools if you wanted fish.

Later in the day I figured since I broke my own Blue River rule, I would try some streamer fishing.  The afternoon consisted of using Wooly Buggers and the Green Weenie.  The flys seemed to entice the larger fish to strike and the fish of the day measured around 18". I unfortunetly did not take a picture of the fish because he looked tired after the fight and I didn't feel good about keeping him around any longer.  All I can say is it was very difficult for me to use just one hand getting a grip so I could get the fly out.  I have found that I probably release fish faster than most. I think it has to do with me getting scared that I'll do real harm to the fish and I would really be heartbroken if I ever did a fish harm because of my handling. You call me a softy, because in all my time fishing I have never kept a fish that I've caught.  This is coming from a fellow who grew up in New Hampshire whose house's backyard was litterly the Sugar River.   These two photos are only the second set of photos I've ever taken while fishing.  The big fellow regained his strengh and swam off to the bottoms after I froze my hand in the water holding him.

On an overall scale I would say most of the fish caught today were on the smaller size.  After catching the one big fellow I knew there were others in there, but they would have to be caught on another day.  I promised my wife I would be home for dinner by 6:00, so around 3:15 I started the mile walk back out.  Passing by burnt trees and armadillos running back and forth, I thought back on the day and knew that albeit a late one, today was a good "Opening Day"

Take care....