|The catch and release zone of the Blue River|
I only recently learned of the Blue River from a friend of mine that lives in the Tulsa area. I was very intrigued, because "The Lady Blue" as those that love this river call it. Is only 100 miles from my driveway here in Denton,TX. The prospect of being able to chase trout so close to home got my blood pumping! A little bit of research and I learned that it's only a Fall and Winter designated trout fishery with Rainbow Trout being stocked between November 1st and March 31st. However, it is home to scrappy Smallmouth,Spotted Bass, Largemouth, Crappie, Catfish, and various panfish all year round.
I had a difficult time finding any detailed information about fly fishing the Blue. Oh sure, there is a lot of general information. What flies work well, where you can find lodging etc, but I was looking for more specifics about where I could access the river. Where the catch and release section that people kept talking about was.How do I get to the catch and release section of the river? Specifics like those I was unable to find easily. There just isn't a lot of helpful information readily available for a first timer to the Blue.
The Blue River Oklahoma webpage provides some good general information, but doesn't have any maps, and seems to be geared more towards someone familiar with the area.
For example, in the camping tab the descriptions of the camping areas are extremely vague. Like where it talks about camping area #1. "Area 1 runs downstream from Hughes Crossing and is one mile long" If you have no idea where "Hughes Crossing" is, that's not much help.
I found the most helpful information in a Yahoo group called The Blue River Fly Fishers It is a closed group, and you have to have a Yahoo account to join. I had to dig a little to find them, but it was well worth it! The members there are very helpful and knowledgeable about fly fishing the Blue. They provided me with three maps, and gave me detailed instructions on how to get down to the river. They also answered my question about where the catch and release section is, and how to get to it. I learned from them that the river had been stocked with Rainbow Trout on 11/5 and 11/7 in anticipation of the "Trout Derby" going on Veterans Day weekend.
I would have preferred to be able to find the information I was after just posted somewhere instead of having to post a question and wait for answers. Maybe I've become spoiled by the great webpages and forums chocked full of info that some of the other places that I fish have written about them.
In the end though, I found what I needed, and was excited about my first trip to the Blue!
So, with an excellent weather forecast for Veterans Day weekend. I made my way North on Hwy 377 Friday after work. The Blue River is located just North of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Here are the exact coordinates From Google maps to the parking areas of the river that you can use with your GPS. 34.361915,-96.588753 Direct link to Google maps page here
A few things I learned:
If you plan on staying overnight. The choices are limited. I ended up staying at the Western Inn just off of 377 in Tishomongo. It wasn't fancy, but served the purpose, and was cheap at $65.83 including tax.
There is no local fly shop. So, you need to hit your home fly shop before you head toward the Blue if you need to stock up on flies leaders etc.
If you need to buy an Oklahoma fishing license the only place in Tishomongo that you can get one is the lumber yard. They don't open until 8 AM on Saturdays. So, my bright and early start on Saturday was delayed about an hour. I had to drive 13 miles back to Madill Oklahoma to buy one at Wal-Mart. If you're coming from DFW I recommend stopping in Madill on your way to Tishomongo and buying yours if you need one. Or just buy one on online. I'm cheap so I wasn't willing to pay the three bucks they charge you to buy one online. So, instead I ended up spending probably ten dollars in gas driving back to Madill Saturday morning! So, after this little side adventure I was finally headed to the river!
Finally on to the fishing!
My destination was the catch and release section of the river. I had learned as I mentioned earlier that there was a trout derby going on. I didn't want my first trip to the Blue to be during a crowded trout derby. So, since the derby was not being held in the catch and release area that's where I headed. Coming out of Tishomongo on 377 North you take a right on Hwy 7 East. The first parking area you come to is on your left, and is referred to as "The West Parking Corral".
From the West Parking Corral there is a trail that leads to the catch and release section of the Blue River.Indicated in red on the map above. The trail is wide,mowed, and very easy walking. It's 1.7 miles from the parking corral to the river. So, it's a good 30-45 minute hike depending on how fast you walk. The trail "Y's" three times. You need to take the right fork the first time, the left fork the second time, which thankfully, there is a sign pictured below. Then left again at the final "Y"
The catch and release zone is very easy wading and at very wide section of the river.
I met a fellow fly fisherman on the trail and he told me that all of the trout stocking had been done below the catch and release zone for the trout derby. He also told me that the catch and release hadn't been stocked for quite a while. I can confirm this, because I fished the catch an release zone from 8 am until 2 pm, and never saw a trout. I did catch almost three dozen spotted bass however. Which was great fun!
I caught the first half dozen bass on a beadhead olive flashback wooly bugger with sparkle chenille size 12. I had unbelievable success though on an olive Near Deere tied on a 1/80 oz. jig hook. I have heard that the Near Deere is deadly on trout, but have yet to have chance to try it. I can report however that bass go nuts for it! There was a point where everytime I cast this fly a fish took it. Even when I just flipped my line out to side to take a step or reposition I got strikes!
Although I was slightly disappointed in not getting to catch any rainbows I still had a great time. I plan on returning to the Blue River soon, and fishing some of the other sections of the river. One of the great guys from Blue River Fly Fishers sent me this awesome map below the other day. It details the different sections,parking, and trails along the Blue.I wish I would have had it with me on this trip! So I'm posting it here for my readers. Feel free to save and print this map.
Fly selection for the Blue River
I had success on a Olive Wooly Bugger and an Olive Near Deere.
Other flies that work well according to the Blue River Fly Fishers
|#16 Beadhead Hares Ear||Dead drift under Strike Out indicator|
|#16 Elk Hair Caddis||March - When Caddis drys are hatching|
|Bead Head Zug Bug||January|
|Bead head squirrel||early spring|
|Flash Back-Pheasant Tail-Bead Head||all season|
|Olive Damsel Marabou with red glass bead thorax||last half of last season|
|Olive Flashback Nymph||March|
|Olive Mohair Conehead Mini Leech||February|
|Prince Nymph-Bead Head||Winter, especially good Jan & Feb|
I hope you enjoyed reading, and I hope to post another report from the Blue soon!