Monday Mornings Can’t Get Any Better Can They?

| February 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

fly fishing for sand bass in the muck fly art friday throwback thursday #flyfishing

WELCOME! I’ve made a few trips into the big ugly City lately, and I can honestly say the roads are getting a bit better. Nevertheless, I hope you are here today, safely and without adrenalin coursing through your system – from some unexpected encounter on the byways of North Texas. The roads here can still jump up and bite you hard if you don’t, “Keep your eyes on the road, and your hands upon the whee-el,” as Jim Morrison said.

There was a segment in yesterday’s Sunday Morning about a young girl scout who decided to use honesty when selling her load of Girl Scout Cookies. The piece on morality punched all the buttons, she honestly graded all the cookies – “truth in advertising” and the piece wrapped with, “Honesty can, and will prevail.” (Her box sales count is at more than 23-thousand now) Funny thing is, this site was founded on the same principle; fish, or no fish, tell the truth. And when fantasy steps in? Have it step in with both feet – fictional characters doing fictional things.


I’ll be honest with you, I sometimes fail to see the attraction of fly fisher to muck through the mud and briars of Texas creeks … in pursuit of billions of sand bass that are only attempting to satisfy their procreative instincts. They eat like stoners with the munchies, and fight like banshees, and then in the last bit of irony; they’re released by most fly fishers to continue what? Their carnal pursuits? To be caught again and eaten by those fishermen who have the good taste to eat these tiny tacos that taste good? If you’re doing all this work to catch a sand bass? Eat it for God’s sake! – is all I can think to say.

I guess this all came to my awareness when I was trudging through some thick, ankle grabbing briars on Saturday in primitive parts north of Lake Ray Roberts, Texas. Seeing where “civilization” had intruded on the creek’s obvious attraction, with trash, tracks, tires and trails that lead all around this area; I couldn’t help but wonder if I could get a backcast out of some bend in the creek. Wading was beyond the question. These creeks, which sat dry for years of drought, are filled to the brim with chocolate water – both runoff and backwash from Ray Roberts, a lake full of water.

I cast my best sand bass fly on a bend, but instantly knew the party hadn’t started here yet. Those tell-tale bumps and brushes and little munches from juvenile sand bass were nowhere to be found. And the insider info on huge (to three pound) crappie? They are not there either. Will this next round of weather this week inspire them? Will the authorities open Ray Roberts Dam again, so soon?

From where I live, it’s a drive to anywhere, the muck the lake, or wherever … and that leaves more time to think Jack Handy (deep) thoughts on the drive. I am still wondering, and determined to “write out” my curiosities on why this fascination with the muck exists, and just as importantly what I am missing in this ooze.

Stay tuned, and subscribe soon. Because that’s the only way you will know exactly when and where to sink your “muckety-muck” boots and waders knee deep in the Texas tradition of the spring runs in North Texas. Me? The clean white deck of the skiff is calling my bare toes to the edge – with a long clear backcast, and a taco to catch.


It’s interesting to see, accurately, just who is reading and who visits for this Monday thing, and never comes back (thanks to new technology). No, I don’t know WHO YOU ARE, but I see the numbers trail off the rest of the week – after this Monday thing. I would like to invite you back for the launch of a “new day” to visit Texas Fly Caster, and that’s going to be “Throwback Thursday” starting this Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a day when I throw back a story from the past – it may be paid content for free, and it may be some long forgotten DIY trip to parts unknown. I do these regular postings in the hope that you will enjoy the past along with the future adventures to parts still unknown – AND FIND YOUR OWN GOOD REASONS for visiting Texas Fly Caster all during the week!

We also shifted our Art Tuesday back to its original spot – Fly Art Friday. That seems to be a natural spot, and it gives me some time to put fresh eyes on fresh artists and get fresh information on what makes these artists tick. This week will be the most difficult of the year to fill these columns because I have a few photo shoots to punch holes in the timecard. Work is a good, if extremely rare thing to have these days.

I also hope you have plenty on your plates this week! Time is quickly flying by, and the days are noticeably longer, adding much to our good attitudes. All many of us have to do is survive what we do, to do what we want when we can.


| February 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

TPWD Announces New Paddler Camp Sites on Iconic Devils River

AUSTIN – The Devils River is one of the premier paddling and fishing destinations in Texas, drawing outdoor enthusiasts each year to enjoy the preserved natural beauty, excellent sport fishery, and native wildlife along its clear waters. But the river is not for the faint of heart.

“Due to the remote location of the Devils River, safe, reliable, and legal camp sites on the river are in short supply,” said Joe Joplin, Devils River State Natural Area superintendent. “The average paddler doesn’t make 15 miles in a day, and if they do, it’s not enjoyable.”

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), along with local partners, aims to change that. To help create safe conditions for the recreational use of the Devils River and help minimize trespassing issues, the TPWD River Access and Conservation Area Program (RACA) will open two paddle-up-only camp sites March 1.

According to Timothy Birdsong, Habitat Conservation Chief for TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division, the new pack-in, pack-out camp sites aren’t designed to add more paddlers to the river, but rather to provide safe and legal stopping points for the daily limit of TPWD permitted paddlers.

“The reaches of river between Baker’s Crossing, and the Del Norte and Dan A. Hughes Units of our Devils River State Natural Area are relatively long distances, so we strategically added these camp sites roughly mid-distance to create a more safe and enjoyable experience for paddlers,” Birdsong said.

TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said by adding the two new paddle-up only campsites, the organization is setting the conditions to ensure permitted paddlers can explore the river safely and maintain the high standards of river stewardship that will preserve its unique beauty for generations to come.

“I’m proud of what the TPWD River Access Conservation Area Program and our Devils River State Natural Area have been able to do to address the desires and concerns of both local landowners and devoted Devils River paddlers,” Smith said. “This is a win-win deal for everyone who appreciates and respects this iconic Texas river.”

To help promote river use etiquette and river stewardship by paddlers, TPWD is partnering with the Devils River Conservancy (DRC), a nonprofit organization made up of landowners and conservationists whose mission is to preserve and protect the Devils River and the lands within its watershed. Through this partnership, both organizations will be collaborating on an educational video and Devils River Paddler Manual that will be distributed among local guides and vendors to prepare paddlers for overnight trips on the Devils River and help address issues encountered on the water.

“The Devils River is a precious and delicate resource; it cannot sustain unmanaged human pressure without degradation,” the DRC said in a statement provided to TPWD. “The Devils River Conservancy is happy to partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in engaging landowners in the active management of recreation on the Devils River.”

“We hope that the implementation of the designated campsites will decrease the overall impact of human pressure on the river while honoring the private property rights of its land stewards,” the statement continued. “Moving forward, this partnership aims to cultivate the ‘leave no trace’ ethos for the protection for this wild and beloved Texas River for generations to come.”

These new paddle-up-only camp sites are the newest additions to TPWD’s statewide network of 19 River Access and Conservation Areas, which offer improved angler and paddler access to more than 100 miles of Texas rivers. The program is funded through federal grants provided by the United States Department of Agriculture and through philanthropy efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

A Devils River Access Permit is required for all trips on the Devils River that access the two units of the Devils River State Natural Area or these two new paddle-up-only camp sites. Visit the Devils River State Natural Area website for reservations, maps, permits and other information.


Rain Mostly Kept at Bay on Water Wednesday in North Texas

| February 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

flyfishing daingerfield lake chain pickerel texas weather #flyfishing van vleck tornadoes texas rain map

Texas Fly Fishing Dangerfield State Park

3Ms Courtesy Photo 2017 Daingerfield State Park Texas.

We had a close brush with much needed (on a yard level) rain over the past two days, but today is a bright sunny day with no rain on the radar for about another week. All we recorded here amounted to barely an inch of precipitation. Just in case you think rain is all about water, it’s not! These cloudy rainy days also trigger fish bites in lesser known places – like Daingerfield Lake in East Texas.


Daingerfield is a lake known for its abundant, perhaps overabundant, supply of chain pickerel. These East Texas chain pickerel have proven to be extremely susceptible to the fly year after year. But they really come out to play on overcast days more than any other time. So I was not too surprised to hear that this past weekend was not so productive for the 3M’s at Daingerfield.

Daingerfield is a fantastic place to pursue an unusual fish, in a very beautiful setting; surrounded by pine trees, a smallish lake that is completely fishable by kayak. It is perfect for family overnights. It also has crappie, largemouth and sand bass in fair numbers. The lake is a no wake lake, meaning you can bring a boat in, but you can’t go fast enough to make a wake. Why would you want to anyway? This lake is tiny by boating standards, and the quietness is one of the first things that will strike you Metroplexians – right between the ears. This lake is close, and is truly an ESCAPE from what ails you.


We did have a sweep of rain across North Texas earlier this week, which is great news; it keeps the lakes topped off, and puts pressure on the USACE to release water leading into Spring 2017. Those water releases are key to: 1) the sand bass bite in creeks, 2) big releases in rivers that trigger hybrid bites, and 3) enhances our carp habitat everywhere. Right now, we are looking at consecutive year setting itself up to be off the charts for fly fishing inland Texas waters.

What is not included is a run of very bad weather that hit the Texas Gulf Coast yesterday. Van Vleck apparently suffered the brunt of these unusual February storms. This is dangerous stuff for those of you fly fishing the Texas Gulf Coast.

The map still tells the tale for Texas, plain and simple.

Texas Drought Map 22017

See more details here TEXAS DROUGHT MAP

Special thanks to the 3M’s for sending in their photos from Daingerfield this past weekend!

Port Aransas Potters On Cotter

| February 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

texas fly fishing art #flyfishing saltwater fly fishing

Potters on Cotter Port Aransas Art

Potters on Cotter, Port Aransas, Texas.


If you do get down to Port Aransas, Texas, be sure to check out Potters on Cotter this month. I have not checked in (to let them know I won’t be there), but February was the month they were supposed to have visiting artists who make fish art from molding fish in clay.

So they (Mississippi Mud Pottery) visit Port Aransas, go catch the fish, make their art and then make their meal (from the same fish). Since there are two fish exactly alike on the salt, that means no two art pieces from different fish – ARE ALIKE.

Brenda Barnett does keep up with the Potters on Cotter Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=potters%20on%20cotter.

My article on the gallery is at – https://texasflycaster.com/tag/potters-on-cotter/ .