Fly Fishing the Blue – Redux

| January 5, 2017

fly fishing blue river oklahoma #flyfishing

Blue River Oklahoma trout

File Under “Catching Up to Do”

I broke away from another fitful slumber, as they all are these hard days, and tried to remember the checklist in my head from the night before. It’s easy to forget what you don’t remember, and therein lies the rub.

Going to the Blue River in South Central Oklahoma, and narrowing yourself down to the catch-and-release area of the Blue River, is something of Mother Nature’s “Let’s Make a Deal.” Last time the deal was that I forgot my gloves. “Too bad,” says Mother Nature, “I’m going to freeze your skinny little digits into a useless crimp.” And she did. So I triple-checked for gloves this time. Good. Everything else seemed to be in place, or within a range of places that were all thrown in the back of the Yota. I threw in a few extras for any other deals Mother Nature deal – a slip fall and wet clothes, so plenty of dry clothes. All those mid-layers in double supply.

I knew the wind was going to kick at some point, so I went from the TFO 8’ BVK 3wt to the TFO 7’9” Lefty Kreh Finesse 4wt for this outing. I threw in the three piece TFO FSG 3/4 fiberglass rod for backup, or maybe some extra fun if the wind died. That meant not having my favorite trout line (the Rio MTX GPX on the 3wt).

It was dark outside, but not so cold. The preload of the bike the night before helped my attitude greatly. Note to self: Wife wants her bike back now. All the various weights and functions of clothes were thrown in on top just because I did not know for sure if Mother Nature was going to play her games.

I burned my way up from Denton to Tish doing speed limits all the way, which is unusual for an old-man-driver like myself. All speed forward in order to arrive and meet friends there at same time. Along the way, probably just over Lake Texoma, the texts started coming in, and I remembered; I told the two separate groups I would be at the parking lot at seven, they never said they would be.

There was no waiting around when I hit the parking lot. It was a hitch it up, hitch it on and ride. The Blue River catch-and-release area looked to be all to myself with only one other car in the lot – and they were probably hunting. Gloves on and gone.

I could feel that old leg burn as I put the power stroke to the pedals, and wondered aloud, “How did I get this weak?” Sure the pack weighed about 25-pounds, but I used to weigh 25-pounds more myself. Skinny is, as skinny does … I guess.

Sure enough I had the uppermost fall all to myself. I broke out the 4wt, and lined it up. I only thought about using my glass fly rod – the 3/4 TFO – for about a second. The wind was already topping the trees, and a few leaves fluttered. Funny thing about this little river, it really does funnel the wind right down the gut so many of those windy days past. Heck, one time it ended my day early. Mother Nature won the deal that day.

Fly Fishing Blue River Ok

It took no more than three casts, and a newly arrived synthetic took a hold. I could tell by looking this fish wasn’t going to make the wall of fame, and went slack to save the stress. The little rainbow shook loose in an instant (barbless of course), and I dropped back into the bottom of a fall’s dead zone where two currents canceled each other out.
Yet another take, and I was beginning to see what the story was. There was a crop of newbies scattered in with the previous crops, and the newbies wanted to, needed to, be schooled. The fishing went on awhile, and my Fort Worth friends showed up, let me clue them in, and started fishing. The fish in the pool are still slabby but not near the length I’ve seen in past years (and remember it has been years for me). Nevertheless, the newbies flew like kites on strings, and the experienced fish looked for a way to give my fluorocarbon leader a wrap and a shake. Four pound fluorocarbon is amazingly strong!

I had pretty much nailed down where the fish were in this stretch, and like it or not, they were seriously concentrated in the same area as last time – once again. That was certainly disappointing, as a synthetic easter egg hunt needs more geographic dispersion – to hold one’s interest, and spread the growing number of fly fishers around a bit more. I found singles in other spots, but my two-cents worth is; these fish need to be spread out a lot more than they are.

TIP: These fish turned almost completely off once the sun was exposing the pool most directly revealing every rock, and many fish. I would take a break for a couple of hours when the hole you are on reaches max sun exposure because those synthetics are smart enough to know they’re vulnerable.

Blue River fly fishing father and son

JH and his entire family passed my friends on the trail and JH arrived as the shade had again started to cover the main hole. Fish were rising everywhere and sipping (emergers). JH and his son were too far away to ask what fly he was using below the indicator, bur I think it was black and probably a zebra midge. We are still in the simple phase with these fish folks. And a lot of times it stays simple for the whole season. JH and GH immediately began to educate the trout rising for their evening shade feed. It’s a fine thing to watch: Father teaches son, and they both teach fish a thing or two.

I had been done for awhile, but was still interested enough (and wanting to store energy for the pedals), so I sat and watched, did some rude whooping and cheerleading – to see if I could break their concentration. After about six trout, it was time for me to go. I pedaled back to the lot, like the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz, all to beat the cold and dark that were coming on winter fast.

All-in-all not a bad day, and if I had left out the hours of direct sun, and taken a nap instead? a great day. The wind did come along early midday, and was part of a minor cool front that did smash a few of my casts, but settled back down quickly. Most of the leaves are gone, and less of a problem than when they first started falling. Water clarity was very good, and I read the temperature was at 45-degrees, although I think it was warmer.

There’s not much else you need to know really, but below is some of that confidential information that might make a little difference in your Blue River Oklahoma fly fishing experience. And yes, some of it is probably repeated from the last Blue River story.


[ppw id=”152695324″ description=”Blue River Techniques” price=”.25″]

Start off BOLD – Woolly Bugger, Mop fly, San Juan Worm, and I am wondering a lot about some REAL bait simulations like – small bass-like Clousers and even a sculpin.

FLY WEIGHT IS CRITICAL – Losing flies in these underwater conditions is easy. There is a lot of submerged lumber, and if you get past that, there are rocks that grab flies too. REMEMBER – The weight of the fly has to be enough to get down to the fish, get a realistic drift, and resist current’s attempt to raise the fly out of the feeding column.*

Fluorocarbon is absolutely your best choice, and take as far down as you can. I run a 4# Seaguar Invis-X, and if they made a 3# or #2? I would run that instead. (9-feet) REMEMBER – It is harder to get a heavier leader down, and to stay down in current!**

You are running flies that (for your sake) should be barbless. I find an extremely light rod, like those mentioned in the article, give these fish enough shock absorption through the rod … to keep them buttoned. A short 3-weight or 4-weight will do the trick, and keep you out of the trees a lot better.

Like the last article said; basically up, down and all around. Although I am having a lot less success when casting up pond than when casting down, or on a dead drift swing. My first choice now is a dead drift swing that finds the slower (NOT THE SLOWEST) water next to the food conveyor belts.

It’ll be colder than it registers there, and the wind will find you no matter what! Be aware and KNOW BEFORE YOU GO. You best days, will often be the worst weather days (how many times have I TOLD YOU!).

The two highlights with asterisks * and ** go together for the main lesson. These two things dictate whether your fly is in the strike zone, or not. Be attentive to both, and make adjustments. Early in the day I was catching well on a weightless SJJ, but then as the sun came on the water, I had to get deeper. I switched to a weighted SJJ, and was right back in the zone. If you get out there and you are not feeling the love, and you know your other variables are good, try moving your fly up and down in the zone.


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Category: Culture on the Skids, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Trout, Hot Spot, Oklahoma Report, Paid Reading Content

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