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....