Tag: fly fishing lake texoma texas

Monday Afternoon Sidewalk

| June 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Good Monday afternoon! Welcome to the Sidewalk of life.

This is the day and place where any and all topics are fair game, but the fairest of all if fly fishing. If you are only here on Mondays, you may have missed the fact I got blown off the water last week, and also got sent home with my tail between – from Lake Texoma. So much rejection in a single week … makes me wonder … what the heck is the deal!

I always relish the excuses when out fly fishing with someone else, or even the excuses I make to myself when no one else is there to tell. It’s too hot, cold, early, late, windy, calm, clear, cloudy, wrong fly, wrong line … the list is as extravagant as needed to put my spin on missing the target completely with a shotgun.

Yes, we got to put eyes on some carp Thursday before being blown completely off the lake, BUT, we couldn’t get them interested. The VARIABLES were too great, and the actual number of fish too few – I was back on the trailer by 1-pm. The day before on Texoma? I had all kinds of proof positive that Texoma was in the FULL-ON position, including a small armada of boats sitting just off the riverbed … sitting and sitting … with a bunch of perfectly straight rods on board. I was (here comes the excuse) too late perhaps, as that armada was staked out  when I got there just as the 7-am chime rang.

TEXOMA WAS so slow in fact, I decided to pound some rocks for smallmouth bass, but again (here comes the excuse) the water was pretty warm for that kind of action. Once I realized the clock had struck and I was a fat pumpkin, I headed for the park on the Oklahoma side, and low-and-behold there were hundreds and hundreds of buffalo, drum, common and grass carp (huge) up shallow rooting around, and scaring out in huge groups pushing huge wakes. Not a fly was eaten, I assume (here comes the excuse) because they were in some kind of spawn mode — at least that’s what all the play looked like. IF YOU want to go after them, contact me and I will give the exact coordinates for that location. Texoma is a big lake.

RAY ROBERTS was harder to believe. All I can honestly say is; where there was recently water, there is no more. It APPEARS THAT the lake is dropping quickly – due to heat evaporation or consumption. And the water that’s left? Boiling temperature can’t be far off. We had two storms that went right over the lake – early Wednesday and later Thursday, but really? Winds are a problem once again this week, but if I can get out early enough, I will do that OR hit the road for some small pond action somewhere.

I FEEL THE NEED, THE NEED FOR TUG! And I want to get that story on my new Axiom II TFO Fly Rod done and in the queue as well.

Thanks for reading. I am driving straight toward major changes in my schedule coming in July, changes you will appreciate as opportunities and avenues for information will be blown wide open. More on that news as the countdown begins on about the fifteenth of this month. Needless to say, life changing events forthcoming (once again). Let me predict: I’ll be bothering you more than ever!!

Rain on the Sidewalk Plus Lake Texoma Striper Blitz

| June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments


Thunder rolls around North Texas this fine Monday Morning, giving me cover to put out a “Sidewalk Column” that has a little more meat on the bone …

I have multiple confirmations that it is once again one of “those times” on Lake Texoma, Texas. For those of you who fly fish: Just because Texoma has all the character of an ocean, it doesn’t mean you can’t drop a fly line and catch magnificent freshwater striper as long as your arm. And I’m talking about full-length arms when I say that! The word is they are running top-to-bottom, and even in close (see my archives for nearshore kayak spots).

There are tricks to the trade of a fly for the bite of a big striper on Lake Texoma. Sure, topwater is topwater, and if that is on? we have to whack-a-mole on that all day long. If not on top, we have to open the drawstring on the bag of voodoo that catches striper on fly – AT DEPTH.


Like it or not, Texoma is a place that calls for multiple fly rods – multiple heavy fly rods. If you want to bring a knife to a gun fight, I can’t help you. We’re talking about getting a full sink line out and away from the boat with a big bait pattern on it. AND we’re talking about having a rod (ready to go) that can launch a topwater fly into the middle of a blitz – WITHOUT blowing the school out. So dust off yer’ 8’s, 9’s and 10’s. This is why you have them, right?

So we have heavy rods for:

  • full sink line
  • topwater
  • pounding the rocks for smallmouth in between


The hardest part of using a sink line (for me) is learning to be patient with the sink. The water is deep, and the sink is slow, slower than you think. I want to feel my fly scratching the bottom before I even think about starting a retrieve. Snags? Oh, hell yes. That just tells me I am in the zone.

Remember YOUR LEADER needs to be solid fluorocarbon and at least a fifteen tip. That is part of the rub – bigger diameter leaders sink slower and ark sooner than small ones. That weight also allows you to pull hooks free from most rocks (check your points after a snag!).


Presentation? We don’t need no stinkin’ presentation during a striper blitz. We need some distance and very little accuracy. I mean … can you hit a fifty-yard square target at fifty feet? Still, you have to launch a lunch worthy of an eight-pound striper. Saltwater lines with a heavy tip and true float means switching to monofilament leaders. And you might have to dial down to an eight or ten pound tip to keep the floating character of the fly, although does it really matter that much during a blitz? Nope.


If you can’t get a grip on the striper action, or it takes a break? Chase those huge smallmouth bass along the rocks of Texoma. You’ll find them just about anywhere there are rocks, and rocky points jutting out (dam turnarounds). I still think you’ll need to be deeper than you want, but dialing down to a six or seven weight can give your arm a break while you watch for the next blitz on the horizon. MAKE THE MOST USE OF YOUR TIME AND EFFORTS ON Lake Texoma, Texas! It takes so very much time and effort to do this lake properly and safely.


I knew you’d ask about flies eventually. Meat, bring the meat. These fish are used to big gorging meals of bait. So much so, in fact, I wonder why more people don’t saltwater chum for striper on Texoma. Imagine a frozen chum-ball putting out the dinner bell? If you can call them up by slapping a paddle on the water? Chumming could fill a boat, couldn’t it? Bring the meat, BIG meat.

TIE YOUR OWN flies! My thinking on deep striper fly fishing has evolved when it comes to my hook selection. My first years were marked by expensive saltwater hooks that had devastating penetration – Tiemco 600SP’s. Nowadays, I like the circle hook option. Why? They are still sharp, although they do not penetrate skull bone – THEY DO hang the lip and THEY DON’T let go. It allows for the delayed recognition of a take that we often experience with deep flies and heavy sinking lines. They hit to stun (we miss that feeling), then they bite and are on – and we feel that!


Another complication of the sinking line stalk of striper on Texoma is that these fish are rapacious. If they see a fly lallygagging by them? Nope. They want the chase and a head-on stun kill and then eat. Fast retrieve – as in two-handed-rod butt-tucked-under-your-arm retrieve. This is a “complication” because it quickly takes a fly out of the striking depth (check your electronics often).

Thanks for reading today. The rain kicked on during this writing this morning – pretty sorry weather-heads we have on TV in North Texas! So my morning photo shoot is cancelled, and I guess I have to actually extinguish one end of my candle for the day. Have a fantastic week!

texoma striper

Conventional caught striper – Lake Texoma Texas – thanks to CS Keating! Who’s that fat boy in the picture?

A special thanks to Mr. Keating for being the boots-on-the-ground for that Texoma inspiration. I am going to have to get me some of that this week (if nothing else gets in my way!).


I am zeroing in on dates for a South Padre Island, Texas, week(s) in the fall, and there are spaces for other fly fishers who want to hit the best saltwater habitat and action in Texas – on a budget! I am not guiding on this trip, but simply hosting a home base for DIY’ers to come-and-go fish as they please and pay for lodging by the day. Yes, I will gladly show-and-tell you what the action is and where it is – a boat is not absolutely necessary!!!

Look for this to develop on a new page of this site called, “DESTINATIONS” – coming this week.


Pilot Point, Texas, is another Texas destination that is going to be featured on this new page as well. Here’s a link to the Western Son Distillery story that ran recently in the Denton Record Chronicle – Western Son courtesy DRC. Unfortunately, for my tastebuds, Whistle Post Brewery has brewed it’s last beer.

Monday Morning Sidewalk Mixed Bag of Treats

| September 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Hurricane Relief North Texas Fly Fishing Trimming Skiff Going Coastal

I found a mixed bag on the sidewalk today, and this is what it had in it …

As you read Friday, the Lydia Ann Fly Masters Tournament is cancelled because the infrastructure in Port Aransas / Rockport is so damaged. Yes, the cameras have moved on, but I will be on the ground in that part of Texas next week.

There’s a new four-legged companion in crime potentially coming my way … I am giving it a lot of thought, and in this world as it now is? I could use a therapy dog for a lot of reasons – we all could! We will see; the timing of that trip south next week is a bit precarious. But, how often is one asked to write for Drake magazine unfettered and open ended?

Not one to make things easy, I imagine that drive from Houston to Rockport to be challenging and worthwhile. On the other hand, it sure would be smarter to keep the story local to Houston (where Clyde is parked now), and get in-and-out clean and simple. This weekend job has my you-know-what in a tiny vise, and the tiny handle continues to turn slowly – with no relief in sight.

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Texas Fly Fishing Report – Texoma Striper Action Easy to Find NOW

| July 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Spotlight on Lake Texoma Striper summer action on fly – all you need to know right now!


Lake Texoma Striper on Fly 2017HOT

If you are looking for a break from the heat, don’t head to North Texas! It’s crazy hot here now, and that heat has evacuated the flats where I fish the most – on Lake Ray Roberts.

I just love throwing down definitive words, like “evacuated,” because it triggers a response from lurkers who make it their mission to prove me wrong. They go out, torture themselves, in adverse conditions … and sure enough … they blast the airwaves with their proof of life, and superior abilities. All I can say today; you go boys and girls!

Texoma Striper FishingTexoma striper (August 2013) when guest on board with C.Keating. 


I was off Texoma before the high heat of the North Texas afternoon yesterday. My plans to redeye to the coast were waylaid earlier in the week, when I should have left, for the 800-mile round trip.

There were enough photos of striper on social media outlets, that the seed of chasing the saltwater fish on a North Texas lake seemed the most viable alternative. All I had to do is find these constantly moving fighters. That’s always the rub with Texoma’s striper population.

Dink striper are everywhere – from the release waters below Possum Kingdom lake, the release waters at Texoma’s Denison Dam along the Red River, and by the hundred-thousands on Lake Texoma proper.

Based on my extensive memory banks of fishing history stored here (not in my head), I recalled a time, about this time of year, when the striper “blacked out” the electronics of the boat I was on – along a fairly short area next to, and parallel to the dam.

The great thing about that location, on a lake as huge as Texoma, is that it is close to a boat ramp – right up against the dam at the Lake Texoma Spillway ramp, which costs $5 to use and is operated by the USACE. So bring your fiver and a pen to fill out the envelope!


The first thing you’ll want to know is: If you are hunting striper on Texoma, there are two ways to do it – 1) look for birds (which is inconsistent and seasonal), and, 2) use ELECTRONICS to locate fish. Let’s see … rely on birds or space-age technology? I will take the technology, and watch for birds. Is that the right answer BoB?

If you have never heard the word, “Blackout,” it’s a term for when the imaging on the electronics shows a school of fish so dense that it blacks out the sonar image with a solid mass of fish off the bottom of a lake. I’ve seen a few blackouts, and seeing them on electronics is a lot like when you are playing a video game and you’re headed toward your personal best, or have just beaten your personal best and have one space ship left to blast with. It’s a rush.

I didn’t see any blackouts on my Helix 5DI-SI yesterday, but in talking to guys at the ramp, they were more experienced with the location, and made the call “blackout” within 100-yards of the ramp (location 1 for you!).

What I did see Thursday morning was a slow start that hit speed about 11:30am. At that time I was beginning to see “strands” of fish on the Helix, but the reason I call it a “strand” is because they were (unless I was off to one side or the other) in narrow moving bands along the original river bed in an area from Perot’s to the launch (location 2 for you!). I saw occasional surface push action, given away by the splashing and almost instant appearance of birds.

I moved back along the dam about 10am, and ran electronics in regular sonar, and side-down scan – in multiple lines parallel to the dam. The height of the dam on the lake side gives you an idea that the depth drops off steeply and the fish can be holding up next to the dam to exponentially more depth – just 20-30 yards away from the dam rocks. BEWARE – There are what are called “turnouts” on the dam where piles of rocks were left extended off the dam for the original construction trucks to turn around after dumping their loads (a major structure for smallmouth bass catching by the way).

Since I didn’t see anything on the imaging, I went back to the boat launch area, down-scanned and waited for the fish to come. In a classic whack-a-mole move, as soon as I got to the launch I saw massive topwater action – about 1/2 mile long and 200-yards wide, just off (west) the dam by about 1//4 mile off the dam (location 3 for you!), and that was 11:30am – birds and all. I powered up and chased, but high winds shut down fly casting in the wide open middle lake. In all the action I saw, most of the surface blows looked like dinks. There was one exception and the were closer to the Oklahoma side, and all were big and the size of that school was smaller than the rest (their lip smacks flew a foot in the air). I think that would be what you would want to hit, but I was too far away and the whole thing was happening in seconds.

I caught one dink there with a silver spoon before they went down (and I thought) to hole-up at the dam. I ran the dam again, but still no blackout. It was starting to get hot, and I was running low on fuel, so I decided to get close to the ramp and scan there, but one boat (the one that made that “blackout” call) was on the only school around. So you can ASSUME that the schools are small and tight. And you’ll have to follow them as they move, and they can move FAST.

Here’s my list of tips for striper on fly on Texoma right now:

  • A kayak will do the job
  • Location – Perot’s to the spillway ramp
  • Time – be there at sunup and don’t plan to be there after 3 (unless they are biting of course!)
  • ELECTRONICS – See the Fish
  • Full sinking fly lines
  • Big bait patterns weed out the dinks (flies 5-inches or longer!)
  • Sharp hooks
  • Heavy rods
  • Fluorocarbon leaders – less than 10#? – take you take your chances (straight 15-20)
  • Super fast retrieve
  • Visual – birds and blowups are your only option without electronics
  • Visual – Birds will land and stop onshore BEFORE the fish blow up nearby!
  • Set yourself up ahead of the action – think about waiting (on the spot) for that 11:30am mass off the center of the dam
  • SAFETY FIRST – This is a huge lake that can turn on a dime. Take all precautions and a marine radio
  • Take your kid or a youth who needs to see and catch fish – THIS IS the action they will remember

This pattern includes a water temperature of 84-degrees at the surface (July 20, 2017). I think that as the water heats up further down, that previous pattern – fish below the thermocline, holed-up at the dam – will kick in. You won’t see much, if any, surface action in those temperatures – dinks perhaps.

Good luck! A full day is probably a waste of time, but the evening bite can be good without warning. This is what WAS happening. You tell me what IS happening now!

Monday Mornings Flying By This Summer!

| July 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

Good morning and I hope you are having a great summer! Blink, and it’s almost over isn’t it? We finally turned the corner here in Texas, with temperatures breaking through the 100-degree mark last week. I was surprised to find out that this heat takes a bit more out of me than it used to, and the recovery time (a frustrating waste of time!) now takes about a day – for a day on the water.

smallmouth bass texoma texas


That realization came when I spent the early part of Friday on Lake Texoma with a friend and his son. They were prefishing for a tournament there Saturday, and the Dad is a competitive bass fisher who has one of those glitter boats that goes fast, real fast. We went from one end of the lake to the other, with the last run to home being about 20-miles! I was on board to learn about where fish are, specifically smallmouth bass, and help them with their prefish.

I did manage to catch a smallmouth and a few largemouth to help their cause on what was a very calm day for Lake Texoma. That calmness allowed the heat to concentrate hard on us – like a deep basting. The next day? I was pretty worthless. However, the learning will translate well – into how and where to fly fish for smallmouth bass on Texoma. One other observation: We only saw one guide boat on Texoma, and no striper action at all. I’m being told that a huge number of the striper population on Texoma is gone — washed through the dam and now in the Red River below Denison Dam. And we all know what happens once they’re in that area below Denison Dam don’t we? 

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