I learned a lot this past weekend about fly fishing for trout. Four days ago, terms such as prince nymph, zebra midge, roll cast, mending line, dry-fly, thingamabobber and high stick nymphing meant nothing to me. Clousers, wooly buggers and muddlers were all I knew. Tip of the iceberg in the fly fishing world.
This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, four of us took a trip to Broken Bow, Oklahoma (a short 3 hour drive from North Dallas) to fly fish for trout. My first time to the Lower Mountain Fork River. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. I knew nothing about fly fishing for trout. Which flies to use, where to use them, how to cast for them, how to set the hook. Nothing. Thankfully, Evan, Boris and Chad took me under their wings and showed me the basics.
We met up Friday evening around 5:30 at the Beaver’s Bend Fly Shop. After checking in and getting the keys to our cabin, we quickly unpacked and threw on our waders and geared up. Our goal was to throw dry flies at the evening hole. Unfortunately, after about 45 minutes of fishing, mother nature kicked in. We were rain geared up but packed it in at the first sign of lightning. Unable to fish, we spent the rest of the evening setting up our rods and game planning for the next day. Several beers were consumed during the rain storm.
Day Two Part 1
Saturday called for an early wake up call; 4:30am to be exact. After coffee, a quick bowl of cereal and plenty of water, we were out the door by 5:15am. It was a comfortable 68 degrees with 100% cloud cover at sunrise. A nice and welcoming break from the sun. Fishing was unexpectedly slow early on. Chad hooked up first, then Evan. Boris and I blanked. I spent most of the morning watching and learning. Watching and learning how to properly high stick nymph, how to roll cast and how to effectively mend my fly line. It took me a while to get comfortable but as the morning progressed, my technique improved. We fished with #16 to #18 Prince Nymphs as our attractors and #20 to #22 black/brown/red zebra midges as our droppers.
Day Two Part 2
From 5:30am to 11:00am, we had 2 trout on our stringer between the 4 of us. Time to regroup. On our way back to the cabin, we stopped at the Beaver’s Bend Fly Shop to stock up on nymphs, midges, pheasant tails and dries. Eddie, the shop’s owner was kinda enough to give us some pointers on which flies to throw and where. We thanked him and were on our way back to the cabin shortly after. The AC filled cabin to regroup and rest in between fishing was pure luxury. Waders off…we ate, drank, retied and game planned for the balance of our day.
Day Two Part 3
It was 1:00pm and most fishing holes were occupied. A little discouraged, we ventured out, refocused and determined to get on some fish. After 2 more hours of fishing and only 2 more fish, we loaded back up on the truck and headed up towards the spillway. At this point in the day, we were simply scouting for holes since all known trout spots were already being fished.
Twenty minutes in, I was on my first small brown trout. A few minutes later, Chad was on. Then Boris. Evan had hiked off into the distance in front of us and opted to get in some hiking. For the next 2 hours, Chad, Boris and I were hooking up every twenty minutes or so. Rainbow after rainbow, net after net. Photo after photo.
Evan soon joined us after not having much luck on his own. We owned that stretch of river for the next 3 hours. Lined up side by side, we happily casted our lines and caught fish after fish after fish. At one point I looked up and noticed an audience of people watching us cast in unison. It felt special. I felt special. All fish were caught on #20 to #22 black/brown/red zebra midges.
Excited and running on pure adrenaline, we raced back to the cabin around 5:00pm Saturday. We had trout to prep and put on ice. Chad gutted all 12 keepers at the river. For the next hour, he filleted and deboned them all and properly seasoned them with oil, lemon, salt, pepper, bacon bits, mushrooms and crouton bits. We wrapped them up in foil and set them in the fridge for dinner later on that night.
Once dinner was prepped and ready, we quickly redid our lines with dry flies in anticipation for the evening hole hatch bite. It wasn’t dark when we reached the water and after a quick check in with the game warden to make sure all hooks were barb-less, we started fishing. As expected, the evening hole was packed. I managed a small one early on. The sun began to set shortly afterwards and it quickly became dark. Very dark. A bit uneasy wading in chest high water with zero visibility. We did have our headlamps on, which helped a little but the bugs became unbearable. One of us suggested to not wear deet. Horrible idea. We headed back in.
Before sleeping Saturday night, we all had planned to wake up at 4:30am on Sunday to fish again. I opened my eyes at 9:30am Sunday, slept right through the alarm. Needless to say, we needed sleep. Check out was at 11:00am. Evan and I had to get back to Dallas so we hit the road. Luckily for Chad and Boris they had the pleasure of staying for a few more days, so they did. They fished the river until Monday evening. Their bite was on, with the largest trout measuring 17″ and 11″ in girth.
In all, this trip to the Lower Mountain Fork River was likely one of my most memorable fishing trips. Everything was perfect…the lodging, the fish, the food and most importantly, the company. We were lucky to catch a ton of fish, but even luckier to have made new friends doing what we all love, fishing. I already want to go back and will be planning a trip back sometime in the Fall.