Fishing Trip 9 JULY 2022…

We had a cold front come through last night with the forecast calling for a high of 97F on Saturday. After a week of 100F+ temperatures we were happy and decided to go fishing. The alarm went off at 0345 and we were on the road by 0425.

We arrived just as the sun was coming up and the temp was 74F, but very humid. We couldn’t wait to get in the river and start wading, hoping it would cool us down.

Zip was constantly racing back and forth between the two of us.

Zip is really coming along and his confidence grows with each outing. He has started swimming on his own and crossing the river on his own as well. I think after the Cossatot River trip he figured out that swimming in the river was a good way to cool off.

He doesn’t mind getting wet anymore.
He’s smart enough to stop in the shade!

We ended up catching 20 fish in the 4 hours that we were there. Only one was decent but we didn’t bother taking pictures of them. We each were wearing our old Simms Flats Sneakers to see how my glue job on the sole worked out. Short story: it didn’t work so these might get retired. It’s sad really, since the uppers are in great shape but the soles are SUB-PAR for sure.

I waded in to cool off and I guess Zip thought I was drowning so he came to “the rescue!”

And now for what is probably the dumbest decision I have made while fishing.

Apparently someone had a pop-up awning set up on the river bank. I noticed 4 mounds of rocks and dug into them to find dumbells that were used to anchor it down. As anyone who has read my blog knows…I can’t stand seeing trash in my rivers. So yes, I loaded them in my pack to haul them out. My wife took a 10 pounder while I took a 10 and a 20 pounder. For the math majors out there…4 corners and 3 dumbells= the fourth mound had a big rock as an anchor.

The Yeti Panga 28 hauled the load with no problems. Not ideal nor comfortable but we made the 3 mile hike back. I need the exercise and I could use some dumbells for the house. Unfortunately, my decision to haul them out pretty much ended the trip. Neither one of us felt like continuing downstream then hiking back up in the full sun and heat. Plus, we had a group behind us and I wanted the weights.

The spoils!

I did get to test a new rod on this trip and thoroughly enjoyed using it. I also tried out a Shimano Scorpion BFS reel and REALLY liked that one. I will probably do a post on both soon. We are still having internet issues. The technician was out 4 times last week and ran a bunch of new wire and all sorts of other stuff to no avail. Last we heard, they would be back out on Monday. We currently have 11Mbps available to us and it is difficult to get blog posts out. Hopefully we will have more posts soon…Take care.

Fly Fishing Brushy Creek…

I gave the Loop Opti K2 9ft 4wt fly rod a good workout. This is a very easy and forgiving rod to cast and was a pleasure to fish with.

Squirrel Tail Leech BH #8 flies

Last time we were here we were stopped by a deep pool that prevented us from going further upstream. This time I found a way across and continued up about another half mile. The fishing was good and if we return, I’d like to push up and see more of the river.

Where I needed to cross
On the other side
New water to fish

We both caught a lot of fish until the sun and heat drove us off the river. We headed back to camp for lunch and a cold one and to set up the solar panels to charge the battery pack.

Zip liked his fan!
We weren’t the only ones recharging batteries.

Fishing Baker Creek for the First Time…

We noticed on our map that there was a Creek that flowed into the Cossatot River about 5 miles down from our camp. Early one morning we decided to give it a go. Upon arrival we noticed it was covered in weeds along the creek bank and we were a little hesitant to venture in. I’m not a fan of snakes and this sure looked liked a good place to encounter one.

Just downstream from the Baker Creek Bridge

I ended up going in first while keeping my eyes peeled for Copperheads or Water Moccasins. I didn’t want Zip running wild through the weeds since he’s never seen a snake and I’m not sure how he’d react and we didn’t want him to get bitten.

We fished the Creek for about an hour and a half until it narrowed to a trickle. Our fears were unfounded as we never encountered any snakes. We caught several Longeared Sunfish and lots of Smallmouth. Several of each were decent sized considering how narrow this creek was.

The humidity was really high that morning and we were both drenched in sweat when we returned to the vehicle. We explored the area a little more before returning to camp. We ended up swimming in the river for about an hour to cool off.

Cossatot River Trip…What Worked.

My Subaru Forester Sport worked great on the trip and we encountered zero issues with it while driving all over the forest via logging roads. The Thule Cargo Box was a last minute addition and worked as expected. It held our Gazelle tent, folding chairs and our rod tubes.

Dometic 11L water jug
Pumping water straight into the jug
Taking turns.

The Dometic 11L/3gal water jug ended up being ideal for our camping setup. It was easy to carry down to the river and refilling with our Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter. The quick connect fitting was a nice feature and eliminated any hassles. A 3 gallon jug is a lot easier for us to manage.

The SetPower RV45S refrigerator was a nice addition. It was easily powered by the vehicle in transit as well as by the battery while in camp. The battery can power this fridge for about 2.5 days but anytime we had sun in the afternoon, we charged it up. You never know when cloudy weather will set in for a few days. And it was great to have a cold beer at the end of the day!

Cossatot River-Ed Banks Site #2…Banner Day!

We left camp at 0600 and drove the 5 miles over to the Ed Banks Access point. After a quick scout around we noticed that the far end of the river crossing had been repaired and that we could continue up-river to the Ed Banks Site #2.

Ed Banks Crossing

We had never been to this campsite and it was nice to be able to fish a new area. It is the most remote campsite in the park with only a picnic table and tent pad available. Few people camp here.

At that time of the morning we had the river to ourselves and the temperature was in the low-70’sF.

She caught the biggest smallmouth of the trip!

We each managed to catch our Personal Best Smallmouth on the Cossatot River at this access point. Both fish fought hard and were worthy of respect. They were released back to where they belong.

The first full day of our trip turned out to be the best as far as fishing went.

Return to the Cossatot River…

This year we opted to fish the Cossatot River again. This was our first longer trip with Zip and we weren’t sure what to expect. It seemed easier to pick a place we were familiar with until we knew how the dog would get on with week long camping.

After a four and a half hour drive, we turned onto the forest road and stopped to air down the tires.

Our gear in the back of the Subaru

This was also our first time out with a 12 volt refrigerator. I did a previous post on the LiFePO4 battery build that I did to power the fridge.

SetPower RV45S Single Zone Fridge
Two 50 watt panels charged the battery during the day

We got up early every morning to fish and returned to camp around noon and deployed the solar panels to keep the battery charged up. It worked out well since it allowed us to escape the worst of the heat and we could relax in camp a bit. We could also use that time to dry out our gear and re-rig if necessary.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the river was up quite a bit due to all of the recent rainfall. We were worried about wading certain sections but that proved to be irrelevant since it was dropping fast.

We also timed our arrival for Sunday afternoon hoping that the weekend campers would be gone. It wasn’t to be as there were other like-minded campers spending the week in the camping area. The first day was also the hottest as the temperature hit 96F and it was difficult to stay cool. We ended up putting a fan on Zip to help him cope with the heat.

We made several trips down to the river to get Zip wet and he thoroughly enjoyed that. Coupled with the fan, he was good to go.

It was definitely good to be back on the Cossatot River and we had high hopes that the fishing would be good.

Practice With Centerpin Rod and Reel…

I ordered a Blood Run Skein Cane Centerpin Rod which was 13 feet long and has 4-sections and is rated for 6-10 pound line. It definitely casts a lot better than the Crappie rod I was using last time. Coupled with a Kingpin Imperial 475 Centerpin reel, it made casting a dream.

I practiced casting for about 45 minutes until I felt that I had the hang of it. In the end, the Cross-body Wallis Cast seemed to be the best for me. In time I will practice a couple of other casts just to have options.

I ended up catching 3 Largemouth bass while the wife caught 7 Crappie and 2 Largemouth bass.

I had been waiting several days for the weather and my work schedule to cooperate so I could get out and practice. I did get a few “bird’s nests” while casting which were not fun to untangle, but I think that after a couple of more casting sessions, things should smooth out a bit.

I still feel that this is a viable option for some of the rivers we fish and will test that theory out soon. Stay tuned for that. See you on the next one.

River Trip 15MAY2022…

We were awakened last night by a strong thunderstorm and a heavy downpour. We debated about continuing with our plans to fish the river on Sunday. Needless to say, we headed to the river a little later than normal. As much to fish it, as to see how much it had changed from the recent flooding.

This gravel bar is new!
It narrowed some areas whilst widening others.

I took my Loop XACT 9ft 5wt MF fly rod and the Loop Opti Dryfly reel. I caught 5 fish on a #6 grey and olive squirrel tail Bunny Leech with a 3mm bead head. The rest I caught on my Tailwalk Troutia 55L spinning rod. Zip was really curious about the fly rod and I was afraid of hooking him since he tried chasing the fly.

Mrs. Velox Seeker hard at it.
The river level was around 7.25 feet so MVS felt comfortable wading across at the same spots I did.

The whole time I was fishing, my phone, which was stowed in the backpack, kept announcing a Thunderstorm Watch was in effect til later this evening. So we kept an eye towards the sky as we fished.

I did manage to figure out two river crossings but will need a full day to figure out the main stretch. Hopefully we can get that done soon. And Zip actually swam one crossing which was something new. I’m glad he’s becoming more comfortable around the river. It’s no fun wading across while carrying him.

If you remember in my last post from this river, you might recall the picture of the tree that had been washed out. Well, it’s completely gone now and more than likely several miles down stream.

Watching Mrs. Velox Seeker fish.
Worn out pup.

I guess we had two milestones on this trip, Zip crossing the river on his own and also, not getting car sick on the ride! Although we caught 19 fish, the above mentioned milestones were the highlights of the trip.

It has gotten hot here quite a bit earlier than normal. It was 70F when we arrived at 0815 and by the time we left at 1300, it was 91F. It was actually too hot to wear waders as we were both soaked with sweat. And that’s fine by me as I prefer to wet wade.

All of the practice that I’ve put into my fly casting has paid off. It was really fun today and I hope to keep improving and learning. Have a Great Day and we’ll catch you on the next one.

Road Trip 07May2022…

My local area does not have a fly fishing shop so we decided to drive over to Fayetteville Arkansas on Saturday morning to check out one we found online. With all of the rain we’ve had lately we knew the rivers would be un-fishable so this was our “Plan B.”

The name of the establishment is McLellan’s Fly Shop and is run by a husband and wife team. When it comes to niche items, the wife and I prefer to shop local and support small businesses. So off we went on a 2 hour drive.

We also planned to visit a store called Pack Rat which is one of our favorites for various camping/outdoors gear. And along the way, I had dropped map pins of likely river access points for fishing.

Our first stop was the Chambers Springs Road Access Point but as soon as we turned off the highway we noticed a repair crew working on the washed out bridge. Without being able to continue further, that kind of squashed our river recon plans. Arkansas has experienced the same flooding that we have and there was high water, standing water and damage everywhere.

Eventually we made it to McLellan’s Fly Shop and proceeded inside. It was refreshing to see a legitimate fly shop after not having access to one for so long.

I was a bit gobsmacked at all of the stuff in there. When you don’t have a store like this and go inside a legitimate fly shop, it’s awesome. The co-owner who we will call Mrs. McLellan was full of knowledge and very helpful. And since they had recently got a puppy, we had a lengthy discussion about that. We also talked about supply chain issues, river conditions, fly selections and various other topics. It was a great visit. And I will say that their customer service is excellent.

Simms Flyweight Access Boots.

This boot was my main purchase. I had been looking at these online but being able to feel them in-hand and to try them on was the deal clincher and they ended up going home with me. I also bought a small Fishpond landing net, a few flies and a fly box and a couple of hats and extraneous items.

We also stopped in to look around at Pack Rat Outdoors Store but didn’t find anything we wanted or needed so we began the drive home. It was a long day but a fun day and we will definitely return to McLellan’s soon.

I apologize for not taking more pictures, especially of the flooded out access areas, but I was keen to get to the fly shop. Thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day.

First Attempt at European Style Nymphing…was a Fail.

We got up early and drove to the river, arriving by 0700. It was 46F and we could see our breath as we geared up to fish. We started the outing surrounded by cows and a curious bull. After several attempts to run them off, we finally succeeded.

The river was a foot higher than last weekend due to the rains. It crested at a little over 14 feet on Wednesday and was at 8.25 feet when we stepped in.

This wasn’t there last weekend.

I decided to only take my Syndicate P2 ESN rod and give that method a solid go. After 3.5 hours and losing two smallmouth I needed a break. I felt like I failed at Euro nymphing even after trying multiple configurations and flies. I definitely have some homework to do.

I tied up a leader late last night and it worked OK. I was able to cast pretty well after about 15 minutes with me untangling my flies twice before I figured it out. I just never felt that I could get my nymphs/jigs down deep enough so I need to do more research. The current was much stronger than last weekend for sure.

Mrs. Velox Seeker opted not to wade across because she felt it was outside her comfort level so she stayed close to shore which limited her fishing. If I’m being honest, I don’t blame her. Wading back upstream was a struggle for me and I was out of breath when I came ashore.

Fishing some pools

After a quick snack and sip of water, I grabbed her spinning rod and put on one of those new 4.5 gram jigheads we just bought and waded across the river. First cast and I hooked a decent smallmouth. They were hugging the bottom near the edges of the gravel bars and would attack from there. It was cool to see them surge up and hit the lure. That’s why I wanted to increase the weight of the jigs we were using. I needed something to drop deep in current and these worked. After Euro nymphing for 3.5 hours and not bringing anything to hand…this was a nice confidence boost. I caught 3 more good smallmouth before handing the rod back over to my wife and returning to the Euro nymphing rod. She attempted to wade out to that spot but the current repulsed her and she came back. It is a combination of the flow rate and the gravel under your feet being swept away with each step. It can be a little unnerving to those who don’t wade a lot. Not to mention, she doesn’t weigh as much as I do.

Yes, I cheated.

We each fished for another hour or so and decided to call it a day. Total catch for the day was 6 with three of them being decent. I love testing theories and trying new things. It helps when you’re proven right 😉 We both got a good workout and are already feeling the results of the exertion. But it’s a good kind of pain.

And of course, we have more storms coming tonight and tomorrow. May is always a rainy month in Oklahoma so we are not optimistic about our chances for going fishing.

Thanks for reading!

River Trip 23Apr2022…

We hit the road at 0515 hoping to be on the river by 0700 but we were 15 minutes late. Sunrise was at 0640 and the temperature was 67F with 22mph winds. I wanted to take the fly rod but opted not to since I knew the winds would continue to increase throughtout the day.

Early worm gets the bird

We had a near miss with Zip as he decided to chase after the two geese in the background of the photo above. I called him back and he came running but wasn’t paying attention and fell off the gravel seam into deeper water. He started dog paddling without making progress and he started drifting across into deeper water. I waded in at and the last second (the water depth was quickly approaching the tops of my waders) managed to grab him and drag him back onto the gravel bar. He was much more careful after that.

At least he said “Thank You”
Filling my Sawyer Squeeze water bottle
Nicer than carrying a bunch of water bottles
Refreshingly cold water
A good fishing buddy!

I was using the Daiwa Presso ST 62ML rod with the Daiwa Presso LT 1000 reel. My wife was using her Graphite Leader Bellezza RV 642UL with a Shimano Twin Power C2000S reel. We decided on using heavier rods due to the wind. We experienced periodic wind gusts of 30-45mph while on the river. Sometimes we had to anchor hard with our feet and brace ourselves. Wind AND current can be tricky at times.

This is actually a pretty good rod.
Mrs. Velox Seeker

We each carried a Yeti Panga 28 for our gear. Hers contained dog necessities while mine ended up being filled with trash. Even with all of my fishing gear inside, I still managed to haul out 2 beer cans, 2 plastic bottles, a beer bottle and an empty 5 gallon jug. Leave it cleaner than you found it!

She caught 6 Velox and I managed to catch 12 with one being decent.

The river was in great shape and we can’t wait to return.
River slo-mo

Nothing recharges my internal batteries like being on a river. We had a great time and enjoyed fishing at a leisurely pace. Zip did really good and we look forward to future outings with him. The winds have been a real problem for us lately and we are hoping they will calm down soon.

We’ve been receiving these advisories daily.

I am truly grateful to be married to a woman who loves to fish as much as I do. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time!