Fly Fishing Oklahoma
The Best Fly Fishing in Oklahoma
Oklahoma isn't known for having the greatest fly fishing opportunities, but there are plenty of chances to hit several streams around the state in the hunt for trout. Winter offers the most options for anglers looking for trout as seasonal trout streams such as the Blue River, Honey Creek at Turner Falls, and Medicine Creek will be stocked throughout the cold weather months. The only year round trout fisheries are found on the Lower Illinois River and Lower Mountain Fork on the eastern side of the state. These are excellent locations for beginning anglers to hone their craft and learn the basics of fly fishing.
Fly Fishing Medicine Creek
Just northeast of Lawton, OK, Medicine Creek flows from Lake Lawtonka and is stocked on the first week in November. The creek is stocked repeatedly with rainbow trout through mid March, anglers are allowed to keep 3 trout per day. The stream is wadable throughout much of the creek with a few areas that have become overly silted and more difficult to traverse. The creek will have a stain with any rains moving through the area but can run clear after runs of drought. Insect hatches are limited here but midges will hatch in fair numbers during overcast days in the winter. Targeting trout just after being stocked can be relatively simple. Junk flies such as mop jigs, squirmy worms, and eggs will make short work of the trout. After trout have seen some pressure, small nymphs and zebra midge patterns will be the go to flies of choice. Be sure to keep these flies as close to the bottom as possible to see the best results. Larger and flashier patterns such as a woolly bugger can pull hungry stockers out of denser cover as well. You will also pick up a few sunfish and bass on warmer days.
Fly Fishing Honey Creek at Turner Falls
Not far off of I-35 just south of Davis, Honey Creek runs through Turner Falls Park. This park is stocked privately by the land owners and offers year round camping and trout fishing in the winter months. Stocking begins at the end of November and runs through March depending on the water temperatures. This is the closest stocked trout stream for visitors from Oklahoma City and anglers are allowed to keep 5 trout per day in the park. Honey Creek runs clear through much of the winter and tends to clear faster than other trout streams following heavy rains. Fly fishing here is typically limited to nymphs. While flashier and larger patterns such as the various junk flies and woolly buggers, will work well early in the season, smaller patterns will shine later in the season. As the temperatures bottom out in January and February, the trout will gravitate to the deeper, slower water pools. Light indicator rigs will achieve the best drifts in these stretches with zebra midges in the size 18-20 range seeing the most action. Getting your rigs down with a heavier, size 12-14 pheasant tail or hares ear nymphs can be equally effective.
Fly Fishing the Blue River in Oklahoma
Located just outside of Tishomingo, the Blue River is a popular spot for campers and trout fisherman from Oklahoma and Texas to get outside in the winter. The Blue is stocked from the first week in November through March. Anglers can keep 3 trout per day on all sections except the catch and release area toward the upper section of the river. The river can be difficult to wade at times with the large chunk rock outcroppings and heavier flows. The river can blow out quickly during winter and spring rains, so caution is recommended for first time visitors. The most consistent sections are the stretches along the lower campground and the pools above Highway 7. The catch and release area is certainly the easiest location to find numerous and typically larger trout during the season. With fair conditions, the fly fishing can be relatively simple. Junk flies such as mops, worms, and egg patterns reign supreme in the slow moving currents and deeper holes. If the water clears, smaller flies can become more productive as trout will become more skittish and wary. Targeting faster moving water will place anglers around more aggressive trout.
Lower Illinois River Fly Fishing
The Lower Illinois River is one of Oklahoma's two trout streams that are stocked year round. The best trout fishing on this section of river is found during the fall and winter when the water levels are at their lowest. Spring rains and generation from the dam during the warmer months of the year make wading difficult to nearly impossible. Heavier stocking in the winter months leave large numbers of trout opportunistic for passing meals. Fly patterns are not as important at this time as are anglers' drifts. Junk flies and small nymphs are always on the menu in the winter. Slowly stripped weightless woolly buggers can also be deadly on active trout. During periods of heavier activity, midge hatches can cause trout to look to the surface for food. Trout that have managed to survive in the river for several weeks will also look up for meals. Dry flies such as griffiths gnats, matt's midge, cracklebacks, and small adams variants will fool rising trout in the back of tailouts and in shallow water. One rarely used tactic that can be equally effective is swinging soft hackle flies. This tactic will work well in several different water types.
Where to fish the Lower Illinois River
The best sections of the Lower Illinois for wade fishing are found closer to the Tenkiller Dam. Fishing the side and below the two islands are the most productive locations where anglers can find the best haunts. The water here runs at a slow to moderate pace which is perfect for stocked trout. The middle section can be more difficult to wade and may be an easier float. The lower section of the WMA is also easier to wade but trout fishing is not what brings anglers to this section. As the weather warms in later spring, striped bass will move into the river to feed on shad and trout. These striper will hold close to cover and the deeper holes in these sections while the water is low. During water generation they will move to areas where they can stalk unsuspecting trout and gizzard shad.
Fly Fishing Robbers Cave
Robbers Cave sees the least amount of pressure of all the trout streams in Oklahoma due to how far it is from any substantial population. It fishes very similar to Medicine Creek, though the water is typically slower. The creek here is stocked from November 1st until mid March when the water becomes too warm. Anglers can keep 3 trout per day at Robbers Cove. Drifting nymphs can be problematic with the slower current so opting for small streamers and weightless buggers will garner more attention from the trout.
Lower Mountain Fork Fly Fishing
Without a doubt, the best trout fishery in Oklahoma, the Lower Mountain Fork tailwater below Broken Bow Lake draws anglers from all over Oklahoma and Texas. With convenient camping at the Beaver's Bend Campground, anglers can spend their entire weekend exploring each section of the Lower Mountain Fork. This River has undergone some dramatic changes in the last decade following the massive flooding which occurred in the mid 2010s changing much of the rivers hydrodynamics and stream bed. The fishery did recover though the insect populations were slower to bounce back after the substrate displacement. While most visitors spend time fishing within the Beaver's Bend State Park boundary, there are trout located below the Old State Park Dam as well as the Re-Regulation Dam above Hwy 70. Anglers won't typically find the numbers of trout in these reaches but there is no better location to find hefty holdovers in the river.
Where to fish the Lower Mountain Fork
The first area of the Lower Mountain Fork that is easily accessible to the public is found just below the dam. Parking along the small service road on the west side will put you within a short walk from the river. The large pool below the dam has higher densities of trout and receives far more pressure from shore bound anglers. A short walk further downstream and the trout will disperse as the river braids around the chunk rock and short pools. Here fly anglers can pick apart the short plunges and seams with small densely weighted flies for the best results. Sight fishing can be very productive on sunny days with low wind. Smaller indicators will help anglers avoid spooking finicky trout. Euronymphing will also be incredibly effective here with perdigon, walts worms, blow torches, being excellent options with a small zebra midge on the tag.
Further downstream, within the park, anglers can fish between the first two bridges on Beavers Bend Rd. This section is artificial only water and includes the very popular evening hole. Brown trout and rainbow trout can be stocked here throughout the year. While this area typically sees the most pressure from visiting fly anglers, the abundance of trout in the section can assure success for everyone. Trout here are typically more knowledgeable on the flies in most anglers fly boxes. Junk flies are less productive here and smaller natural flies such as hares ears, pheasant tails, and caddis imitations will produce more along with more vibrant patterns such as a rainbow warrior and bling bling midge. The most fun to be had on this section of the stream occurs first thing in the morning and the last light in the evening as the largest hatches will begin. These hatches tend to last from mid Spring through mid Fall. PMDs, sulphurs, and other members of the ephemeralla genus. During the warmer months hexes will also hatch all night long. Dry flies can be very productive during these lowlight hours. Size 12-16 Adams variations trailed by smaller emergers will yield the best results at these times. Midges will also hatch throughout the year with larger hatches occurring during winter along with some BWOs. These hatches can be frustrating as trout will rise consistently and become very selective. Keep your tippet light and your patterns smaller than size 20 with several smaller emergers at the ready. You will see more bites but your hook up ratio will also fall. Spring may see some caddis hatches. These hatches will typically occur closer to the middle of the day and cause trout activity to pick up. Though these aren't completely consistent it never hurts to carry some elk hair caddis in the size 14-18 range.
The lower sections of the river are best fished with the standard junk flies used on the other waters in Oklahoma. These stretches can be feast or famine depending on the day. Be cautious when wading below either of the lower dams as the rocks can be EXTREMELY slippery. Anglers with felt and spikes can still get into trouble in these areas at certain times of the year. Anglers may also run into spotted bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and walleye in this lower section of the river when throwing buggers and small streamers.