Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve Part 1

| July 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

Snake Farm and Bait in Medicine Park Oklahoma
Any place that sells bait and has live rattlesnakes … you have to go!

A fine old friend, ok, a fine older friend, dropped an idea on me late last week in an effort to talk me out of going to Port Arthur, Texas. It didn’t take much to talk me out of Port Arthur since all the boards I hit to get information yielded absolutely nothing of value to a fly fisher fishing out of a kayak. (Did I mention some fishers believe that fly fishing from a kayak is like balancing a ball on a ball?)

He told me about the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve just west of Lawton, Oklahoma. Being so far north, and being anything but a Texas snob, I was easily persuaded to head north instead of south. There was that moody little thing called tropical storm Bonnie in the Gulf of Mexico that would probably render Port Arthur useless anyway.

About 180 miles mostly west, and some north, lies the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve, and according to Richard, it is a little secret that has yet to be discovered. Not only are the vistas John Wayne dramatic, with (small numbers of) massive free range American bison and longhorns, there is a little town sunken into a creek valley just waiting to be found.

I discovered the secret; it’s significant other (SO) friendly in a real funky-cool kind of way. That’s because just outside the Reserve lies Medicine Park, Oklahoma, nestled into a small run of a creek that has been civilized (dammed for effect) within the downtown, more like village, and as you will see from the drive-by video, it gushes with charm and could be a fantastic get away in the cooler months.

Speaking of cooler months, weather in this part of Oklahoma reminded me of the 1950’s musical “Oklahoma” … “where the wind comes sweeping down the plains” … there’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING to stop that wind from coming through in any direction at any given moment. If there are storms out on the plains, the wind will blow out, and then within minutes, reverse and blow the opposite direction as the storm begins to draw air back into its unstable column.

The weather was one factor that blew me back home late Saturday evening instead of spending another night in Doris Campground. The weather up until Saturday evening included massive amounts of heat, a wind that blows all day and dies at night, leaving nothing but the drone of a million cicada and occasional sleep suspended above beads of sweat. Saturday, about seven in the evening, the clouds were gathering, and a wind that was coming from the south abruptly switched to the north – almost knocking me completely out of the Native while I was standing and casting. It’s the first time I’ve fallen in the Native and I landed squarely on the seat. Note to Native; I may not like some of your overpriced accessories, but you seat can take 170 pounds falling from almost six feet directly on it – unimpeded.

There are a series of lakes within the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve, a National Park, and they offer a variety of fishing environments that will only satisfy an angler if they are fishing on the water. A kayak will give you access to a lot of water, more than you could possibly cover in a three-day weekend. If you are onshore, four hours will probably be all the time it takes to hit all the areas that are accessible and pounded by everyone and their dog. Did I say pounded? How about pounded, and then hammered.

Medicine Park and Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Reserve

Thursday Part 2 – On The Water & Video from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve (as long as I can get to internet access in the Weminuche!)

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Category: Fishing Reports, kayaking, Oklahoma Report, On The Road

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

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