I am going to try and post a nice evening picture of The Evening Hole where I have been fishing the last few nites.. The only sad thing about this picture is the Oklahoma deptof Wildlife fisherys biologists want to take bull dozers and narrow this part of the river to a small stream and distroy all the existing insect habitat on the left side of the pic. I need your help in preserving this beutiful scene in Beavers Bend State Park.
Yea... we definitely have a touchy situation here regarding what Oklahoma has planned for this section of the river. I will try to remain neutral for a little while until I have a chance to gather all the facts.
The plan will definitely change the scenery and the present insect population in that area. What Oklahoma proposes is to basically add a good bit a length to Spillway Creek as we presently know it. That idea turns some folks off while it appeals to others... especially those who enjoy small stream fly fishing.
Of the folks that I've spoken with on this topic... it appears that the majority is in favor of this project. But that's only my personal observation.
I now encourage all forum participants to dive in and give their opinions
I can see there being benefits to both the plan for changing this section as well as leaving it as is. I also will say that I am no expert on the total effect of either option, and will wait to see what position the LMF Foundation supports and support their decision. Does anyone know if that group has endorsed one choice or the other?
Also if anyone has maps or diagrams of what the state is proposing, please give us some images or links. I think that would be helpful info for all interested in the matter.
This has become an area of increased interest amoung some of the people I have spoken too in the last month or two. I had a chance to attend Lone Star Fly Fishers Club Meeting last Tuesday Aug. 16, 2005 where Paul Balkenburgh and James Vincent, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation presented a program on the Lower Mountain Fork River.
From what I gathered from them is that it will improve the fishing in the area in question. I believe they have already started with some of the improvements on the lower portion of the Spillway stream with good results. It was my understanding that they are just waiting on funding at this point to complete the Evening Hole Project. I also understood that the position of the LMF Foundation supports the project by matching funds with ODWC in order to get projects like this completed.
I have fished the Evening Hole and it is a beautiful area. I have not had the success that Mike has had but that does not make any worst for fishing.
I personelly can see the benefits of this project from a fishing point of view but it may improve or degrade the area of it's scenic value depending on what you like to see in a trout river. Both have there advantages and disadvantages. One point of interest is that the ODWC boys mentioned that this project will lower the temperature by one degree which in some small way inproves the survival rate of the trout in the long run. One more thing there is a good deal amount of silt build up in the Evening Hole and according to the ODWC boys it would not cause any adverse effect to the lower portion of the river if this project goes through.
I'm trying to ride the fence as much as possible here if you can't tell. I like the Evening Hole for scenic value but I also like the ideal of producing more trout in a small stream situation that this project is geared toward.
If there are any other LSFF members that can shed some more light of this subject please share with us your views. Gordon Bryson any thoughts or anything that I may have missed or missaid. Trust me it is not my intention to misqoute anyone.
For some more info and a different point of view you can read some of the post on Jesse King's web site owner & operator of Three Rivers Fly Shop just out side of Beaver's Bend Resort Park.
I suppose there are a few things to keep in mind. One thing is that the LMF is a much better trout fishery that it was 10 years ago. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has made some good decisions over that time to make it a quality trout stream. They don't make rash, off the cuff, decisions regarding stream management. They spend hundreds of man hours researching the total impact of all proposed projects. These are biologists who are heavily trained in what they do. They should be given their due amount of trust.
Overall, I think the Evening Hole Restoration Project is a good one. It will increase the amount of quality fishable water. Most of the Evening Hole is presently a wide body of water full of silt with very little flow. Oklahoma plans to restructure the stream with the proper grade to length ratio that will only enhance the fishing. Also, they are not disregarding cosmetics. True... during construction the scenery will be poor. But they have a plan to improve the appearance after the construction is complete.
The "Oklahoma Boys" know what they're doing. We don't always agree with them... but they are doing what's best for the LMF as a whole. I certainly wish they would do more specifically for fly fishing. I wish they could give us more "fly fishing only" water... or more "catch and release" water. But they can't. They have studied that too. The overall affect on the LMF, if certain new regulations were added, is deemed undesirable. So... we must share the river with the "bait chunkers".
I don't pretend to be the expert on this topic. I have done a little research as to how and why they're taking this approach. It seems to me this is a good thing.
As always... I am open to any opinions that any of you have on this topic. Please weigh in.
Fishermen: I would like to take exception to this quote by Steve. "Overall, I think the Evening Hole Restoration Project is a good one. It will increase the amount of quality fishable water. Most of the Evening Hole is presently a wide body of water full of silt with very little flow."
Steve, I think good discussion brings out the truth. Take no offense when I disagree with you or if I am not afraid to call my own Oklahoma Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries to account. I will praise them when they do good, but I will not sit idle when they are WRONG. A Degree or Job title does not make for good judgement in itself.
To address the above quote lightly...If you walk the Evening hole from top to bottom you will find that It has a little silt on the edges for Grass and insect growth. All of the river has silt. It is a very wadable section of river with depts simular to zone 2 in spots. I see this section of the river used every weekend. The only reason we have few fish is that Paul only stocks at the bridge. If we are lucky a few fish survive the spin-casters that follow the stocking truck.. I have fished this section the last three eveings and have had trout rising 360 circle of my fishing position in the middle of the river..
We will loose quality fishing water, and a section of a beautiful scenic river to a rock bottom fishing channel designed for the bait-fishing spin-caster.
We need to support projects that provide for increased trout size and longer life expectancy so that they may learn to eat mayflies. I feel most fish stocked in spillway creek, and the bridges live less than a week. We can do better than that.
First of all... let me assure you that in no way do I take offense from you, or anyone else, disagreeing with me. This forum is a "discussion group" that encourages different opinions. I certainly do not expect folks to take my word for anything just because I say it. What I'm hoping for out of this thread is for various opinions to be expressed and some facts revealed so that interested readers can make their on conclusions and develop their own opinions.
This is the perfect type of discussion for this forum. This is great. I just knew this thread would get some passionate responses. Thats why I placed your post on the front page.
There is no doubt two passionate sides to this dilemma. Both sides are convinced they're right. Perhaps neither side is 100% correct nor 100% wrong. I can't say for sure. I am not that deep in the facts. I am certainly no biologist.
I have asked Paul Balkenbush, Jesse King and Sid Ingram to share their points of view so that we can all hear the sides of some more major players. Hopefully they'll join in on this discussion.
OK... so perhaps a better choice of words on my part would have been in order. The Evening Hole is obviously not "Full" of silt. It does, however, has much more silt than I like to deal with. I suppose every fly fisher has their own preference when it comes to their fishing water. Silty area don't bother some folks. Others prefer more of a rocky bottom to their stream.
Regardless of the outcome... I suppose I'll be fine with the final decision. I am not that passionate regarding either side. I've been OK with the Evening Hole to this point because I just don't fish it any more... so if it doesn't change then I'll be fine. If the restoration does take place and it turns out to be a bad move... then we'll all feel bad and will wish that it had never taken place. If the restoration does take place and the outcome is as good as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation thinks it will be... then that will be great, and in my opinion, will be better than the present conditions.
I remain a level headed and open minded individual. My opinions can always be changed if the information leads to that. I encourage more folks with more opinions to jump in. Until my mind is changed, however, I will continue to support the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Evening Hole Restoration.
My name's Mike Birdsong and I'm a resident of McCurtain county. I fish the LMF river quite often and guide a few days a month to help out with the over run of bookings through the Beavers Bend Fly Shop. I have served on the Lower Mountain Fork River foundation as a board member.
I support this project and trust that the Oklahoma Wildlife Department has the best interest for the river in mind. There is more than meets the eye (or ear) about the Evening Hole project, it's supporters, and it's opponents. Feel free to contact me through e-mail or private message, and I'll be glad to share my views about all of the three mentioned above.
I guess I'll throw in my opinion on which I prefer. I actually prefer smaller streams and/or more turbulent water. I'll readily admit that a large factor in this preference is that I feel much more certain I know where fish will hold in water like is found on spillway creek rather than on a wide, mostly flat river. I enjoy catching fish on dries as well, but I get more enjoyment out of the methodical and technical prospecting involved in nymphing turbulent water. If the decision on what to do were up to a vote, I would not vote solely based on personal preference. I would vote based on what can be scientifically shown to be best for fish survival and growth, and for what will offer the greatest sporting enjoyment for the most anglers.
On that last point, I think the plan to narrow the Evening Hole might have the benefit of offering more turbulent water to those who don't feel comfortable wading the rougher sections of Spillway Creek. I have waded the Guadalupe at 1000 cfs, the Roaring Fork shortly after runoff, and Oregon steelhead rivers, and I think Spillway Creek has some spots that are tougher to wade than any of those. The angled slate-like bedrock with a slimy coating of algae will sometimes be too much even for all of my 250 lbs anchored with cleated felt soles. I wouldn't recommend wading those sections to most people. If the Evening Hole project will create tubulent water that is more easily wadeable for our less able angling peers, that could be a great benefit.
On the other hand, if prime trout habitat is created that can be reached easily from the bank, we may find still more corn-equipped cretins with piles of dead trout next to them that will take multiple limits on multiple trips in one day. I'd hate to think that all of that work and the down-time during construction was nullified by its affect of aiding poaching fish killers. Consideration of this possibility should be included in any cost/benefit analysis regarding whether to proceed with the Evening Hole Project.
Paul Balkenbush e-mailed me a copy of both the detailed Evening Hole Restoration plan (in text format) and his Power Point presentation he shows at the meetings he attends. I uploaded these to a file sharing website. You can access both files by Clicking Here.