When Black Friday Comes

| November 22, 2021 | 1 Comment

Welcome to the Monday Morning Sidewalk – the original and first, but no longer the only, Monday fly fishing outreach column. We’re dedicating today to Friday, and how fitting is that? Share the love.

– Shannon 11/22/21

Can you believe it? It is already Black Friday week for the USA, and if I have to walk to a pond to do my “Black Friday Fly Fish,” by gosh, I will! The thought of this Black Friday fly fish puts all the past Black Fridays into clear perspective with the passage of time and viruses.

First, the Thursday Thanksgivings that precede a Black Friday Fly Fish, start to become a more valued memory as the participants past slowly begin making their departures. And stresses and strains of those departures begin taking their tolls on the DNA strands that remain. These times are so charged … with and by so many things. That is all the more reason to dwell more on the greatness that is fly fishing, a sport that contains the base to all acids, balance to all scales and the commune of all communes.

Past Black Fridays had our band of merrymakers in places like, Galveston, Texas for those long-gone massive flounder runs. We had more than a few Blue on Black trips to the Blue River – just up the road in Oklahoma. This Black Friday? Another Blue on Black seems to be the cure to burn off the fog and get back to the water. Someday, maybe it will just be a factor of where I want to fish on another Friday that just happens to be black. Hope springs eternal.

MEANWHILE

Meanwhile, if you are wondering what the Blue River in Oklahoma is all about? Put simply; it is what it is. I see it as (literally) a fishing park, for our purposes A FLY FISHING PARK. It is an aquifer fed river running through a place that is strewn and sewn with ancient boulders and rocks, and has been farmed and fed to cows over decades. The Blue River springs up on your satellite images like a ribbon of green cutting through a indistinct and otherwise monochrome landscape – true Sooner country (once the Natives were evicted).

The Blue – once you are familiar you can leave off “River” – is short and sweet. But there’s a separate, and unequal, part of the Blue that can actually reward and punish fly fishers in ways more typical of a challenging trout river – not in South Central Oklahoma. The Blue’s catch-and-release area has generated some large trout over the years, and because it is catch-and-release, the fish get bigger and “slabbier” over time. It is my favorite Blue destination. Over the years, I have caught hundreds of healthy stockers in the catch-and-release section of the Blue. I have also caught big fat zeroes as well. The catch-and-release can be so moody that, I have the suspicion that it is heavily, and I mean HEAVILY poached. 

I like it so much that, if guiding were legal there, I would do that all season long. But … no such luck follows me. So if anyone wants to go hit the Blue, you know where to find me – just give me a day’s notice and we’re there. KEEP IN MIND: Weekdays rule everywhere in Oklahoma fly fishing, and the Blue is no different. HERE ARE THE REGULATIONS for – BLUE RIVER OKLAHOMA.

For one reason or another, I have been inconsistent on the Blue in recent years. The stocking starts in the beginning of November and continues through February. If the budget is not gone, and the weather is holding? I seem to recall some fish dumps in early March. HOWEVER, March 1 is the kill date for the catch-and-release area. Whatever fish are left from the poachers, are legal to take beginning March 1 (a humorous sign used to say February 29). As with all stockers, they congregate tightly for the first 24-48 hours before they realize they are no longer captive. And that’s when the fun begins – in catch-and-kill zone and in catch-and-release zone.

The Blue is a fantastic place for beginners who want to fly fish for stocker trout, use their trout gear – from studded rubber boots, to wading sticks, nets, waders and small SHORT rods. Flies? There is nothing terribly challenging here. It is also a great place to expose kids (WITH SUPERVISION) to fly fishing, and conventional trout fishing. Heck! I might even take a spinning rod to the kill area this Friday! Fishing conventional tackle (in the kill area) is like bringing a gun to a knife fight. Conventional gear is allowed in the catch-and-release as well, but barbs must be squished (I like that word better than “smashed”). It all just depends on how much you want to feel the tug, I guess.

The weather in that part of Oklahoma does make for a variable that can shorten viable days, and leaves can also be a problem when they fall in full. Honestly, my best days – BEST BLUE RIVER Fly Fishing DAYS – have been the ones with ice on the guides, overcast, threat of snow, with snow, with ice forming … and frostbite forming – absolutely THE BEST!

Here is my list of Blue River articles. It leaves me wondering just how many years I can do this little river before I’ve / you’ve had enough?

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Category: Adventure, Blue River, Body-Mind-Soul, Culture on the Skids, Fly Fishing for Trout, Oklahoma Report, On The Road, Soggy Bottom Boys

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.
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