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Fish Bones 09-18-2005 09:40 PM

What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
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[img2="left"][/img2] What's Out There to Fly Fish For?
By Dave Whitlock

As I was growing up in Oklahoma's warm waters, all I had to fly fish for was bass and sunfish. Nothing had spots except an occasional accidental channel catfish! There were no trout, no grayling, no salmon... poor Okie from Muskogee, I used to think. My young brain had been tattooed from reading magazines, books, and catalogs that fly fishing wasn't fly fishing unless I was wading a cold, clear stream where colorful, spotted torpedoes broke the surface for graceful, sail-winged, blue dun colored, floating mayflies. Oh, to be among the privileged trout and salmon fly-fishing elite!

Well, I got an education, a job, vacation time and joined the 'real' world of fly fishing back east, up north and out west! It was fantastic! Then when I was about 30, I started to change my thinking. Why? Well, for several reasons. First, two or three weeks of 'real' fly fishing a year was just not enough. It was also becoming harder to find and more expensive, plus my wife and kids were learning to fly fish and needed more of my time. At that point, I had also begun considering an occupation change from petroleum research to fishing!

The more I thought, remembered and looked around, the clearer it became to me that almost at my doorstep there was an abundance of cool and warm water creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes loaded with wild game fish that we could access after work and school and on weekends or holidays. So we began to revisit some eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas past favorite spots and explore new ones. Every place was a new adventure, and with just a few tackle and fly modifications, we caught an amazing variety of fish on flies. There were largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, blue gill, green sunfish and at least eight or 10 other species of sunfish! But that was just the beginning. I also caught drum, sauger, channel catfish, carp, chubs, gar, bowfin, fresh water herring, shad and bullfrogs! What fun! All these species have their own special qualities.

So, do yourself a favor this season. If you haven't already discovered the other, more abundant fun part of fly fishing, those warm and cool water, fresh and salt water fish that'll gobble your fly, try them out in your 'home' waters. Chances are, you'll find more elbow room, have more success and perhaps even more fun fly fishing...and definitely more often.

Article courtesy of Dave Whitlock at Fly Fishing with Dave and Emily Whitlock in the Oklahoma Ozarks

rrichie 03-07-2007 05:45 PM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
Thanks Dave, you are truly a man after my own heart!!

aroostookbasser 03-19-2007 04:04 AM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
Amen Brother Amen...............

Memphis 04-04-2007 03:14 PM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
I'm hitting my first lake on my first go at fly fishing this weekend! I am completely stoked! Thanks for the article!

Colorado Cajun 04-04-2007 04:13 PM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock

Originally Posted by Memphis (Post 10325)
I'm hitting my first lake on my first go at fly fishing this weekend! I am completely stoked! Thanks for the article!

That's awesome! Good luck!

Taylor Davis 06-28-2008 07:43 PM

your aticle
i read your article in the july issue of fly fisherman. i just wanted to say how god it was and your tips relly helped alot.

Taylor D.
tie one on -------<*))))))<

freebird630 06-18-2012 09:41 AM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
I lived in Colorado for 21 years and I fly fished a lot for trout in the rivers and lakes there and I caught a lot of nice rainbow trout, cut's and browns. I moved to Arkansas 10 year ago and bought a bass boat and I have been spin fishing for bass, crappie, and catfish.

Well I recently got the bug to start fly fishing the lakes and streams here for warm water fish and your article was refreshing. I also plan on going north and fishing the white river and little red river for trout occassionly. The deal is I have a large lake adjacent to were I live and several watersheds close by so I also plan on belly boating on them as well.

theboz 06-18-2012 12:59 PM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
Mr Whitlock I have been reading your articles for so many years and they still inspire me. Like you I had no trout close by so when most kids caught bluegills as there first fly caught fish I started with bluefish , stripers and flounder. Thanks for many good articles over the years!

wolfglen 01-07-2015 10:35 AM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
Hi Dave:

It's been many years since we first met at the FFF conclave at the Campbell Inn in Roscoe, NY on the Beaverkill/Willowemoc.

What a pleasure knowing you all of those years. I hope that you are enjoying the trout carving I gave you at the FFF outing in Florida a few years back and of course we can remember with a smile the time we first met and your rental car ran away from you and down the hill at the Campbell Inn.

Yes, I love warm water fishing too. My latest venture is in learning more about tilapia fishing with flies here in Florida.

For my fishing school here at Wolfglen, I stocked two of my ponds with tilapia, bass, bluegills, war mouths. The bass got big and fat and then too cagey from being caught time after time, the blue gills do what they always do and the war mouths along with the bass keep the tilapia from over populating.

However, it's the tilapia which make the great fly fishing training tool, they're fish on retainer.

People think of tilapia as pure vegetarians, but they're truly omnivores, eating grubs, worms, nymphs, etc.. They just don't have the inclination to chase things for dinner.

However, they do respond to insect hatches just as do trout, that is, when y there are no insects on the surface they usually don't respond to that dry fly as readily. Unfortunately, we don't have that many aquatic insect hatches in the south like they have mayfly and stonefly hatches. When we do, the tilapia take them in.

But on the bright side, there's a way to "create a hatch"

That is, create a food source that the fish like but is not normally available.
You might think of this as chumming, but it's really the same as "creating" a hatch.

I "seed" areas on a regular basis with a mixture of rolled oats, floating catfish food, sinking catfish food, cracked corn and 1" pieces of cooked spaghetti, rice and things like that. Now these "desert foods" for the tilapia become treats and they can be imitated by brown beetles, yellow sallies, white inchworm flies, gold ribbed hares ear and such.

Now when you start a "Hatch" they become just as selective as trout after being caught and released a few time. You can even put a water hose in the pond to create a surface flow to teach how to make drag free drifts and the fish become sensitive to drag.

Tilapia can stand a great degree of over crowding and stress from catch and release. They can be just as cagey and wary as trout at times and like trout be just as suicidal. One never knows.

All the best to you Dave and hope we get together at a show soon sometime.

Jack Montague
Wolfglen Fly Fishing Schools

Rip Tide 01-07-2015 11:01 AM

Re: What's Out There to Fly Fish For? - by Dave Whitlock
This is a 10 year old re-printed article from Mr Whitlock's own website

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