Fly Fishing Texoma at Denison Dam

| July 3, 2009


A little while back I said something about the possibility of a repeat of 2007 striper action below the Texoma at the Denison Dam tailrace.

It really wasn’t rocket science, if you were to connect the dots from that event to the same dots popping up this late spring the handwriting was on the wall for a bonanza of action on the Red River. And although I missed by about two weeks on when I thought it would turn on, the fun phenomenon continues to this very day.

I was able to get the kayak out today, and starting at the beach on the Oklahoma side, I paddled, fished and cruised all the way down to the I-75 bridge – the GPS shows it to be a four mile round trip. So that means it is two miles to the bridge from the Dam for those of you wondering.

Generation has been very predictable, starting at about 2-pm every day and running into the early evening. This means you will be treated to a veritable rock garden should you choose to fish in the morning, and you will be challenged when they open the gates around 2-pm. Or will you?

Once I was back upstream, about 30 minutes before they started generating, I fished the outside of some of the regular holes we normally fish from the bank with a little success. After the horn went off, I beached the kayak and tried fishing the generation. Finally, I found a sweet spot where there was maximum current right next to slow water — think reading trout streams. I finally found the right fly, a synthetic Clouser in green and white with heavy white eyes, a sinking line, and it was on. These stripers were double to triple the size of all those dinks that were being caught Sunday and they had the added strength of using the current to fight even more. I made quick work of the smaller ones on my six weight, and casted back in the current. I was caught in the “just one more” game.

The constant catching, about every third cast, was drawing the attention of an old guy near me on the bank. I set the hook on a larger fish, and it immediately hit the current and went seventy-five yards into my backing. I knew from earlier fish, that this could be more a factor of current than size, but then a telltale sign – a head shake that felt like a forty pound dog trying to shake off being trained to a leash. I moved along the shore to get an angle away from the current and hopefully direct him out of the current once I started getting backing back. At times it was a dead heat, no give and no take as he apparently just held on the bottom or in the current. The end of my fly line was still seventy-five yards from my rod tip, and I wasn’t about to give up the tension I was holding on the rod.

Finally, he began to give and I began to take back some backing. There were a couple more runs once he was in close, but after he lost the current, he lost the advantage. I landed him and lipped him (one of those Lippa tools is a must for this kind of constant striper action). The kayak had my Boga and tape measure in it, so I walked toward the kayak. When I passed the old guy he said, “You finally got the one you were after didn’t ya’?” “Yup,” I replied. I was seriously thinking about eating this guy, but I measured him at 22-inches and five pounds. I just thought he could maybe grow a little more as I revived him and released him to swim slowly away from the beach. That was my last cast for today.

He wasn’t as big as the 6.5 pound striper I caught Sunday, but he was certainly fatter. If the Sunday fish had been that fat … it probably would have gone eight pounds. Needless to say, I am trying to wrap my mind around a double digit striper now – even a ten pound fish would seriously push the limits of the gear I have been using these days. Who was it that said size and quantity don’t matter? Oh yeah that was me. Time for a bigger rod?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the latest issue of Southwest Fly Fishing for a story and photography on Ray Roberts Lake, Texas, as well as the latest issue of Lone Star Outdoor News for a story I wrote about this phenomenon at Denison Dam.

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Category: Fish Podcasting, Fishing Reports, North Texas

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

Comments (4)

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  1. shannon says:

    I will save some for you! Send pictures from Madison or Judith. Looks like I have a solid invite to Alaska, but have to hitch hike all the way. SD

  2. phastings says:

    I am off to Montana this week, to see the grandkids and a family reunion. I hope to get a couple days of fishing in, on the Madison and the Judith River. Goodluck if you go after those stripers today. It is going to be late into August before I get to go again.


  3. shannon says:

    Say Paul,
    Thanks for chiming in! There are a lot of folks I have fished with a lot more than you, that have never contributed a word. I haven’t seen the article in LSON yet, but hear they moved you to the lead – which is fitting. That story took some explaining (to the editor), so I can’t wait to see how it turned out. Looks like I have to hit Texoma again Monday. The kayaking was fun but stressful trying to beat the horn back to the OK put-in. Shannon

  4. phastings says:

    Good to see you got another nice one. I was up there Monday morning and did well. The weekend crowds were gone, and the fishing was good. I got there before sun up and from first light till sun up using a crease fly the action was nonstop. A lot of 18 to 20 inch fish. I hope it stays good into the fall, I too am looking for a double digit striper.

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