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.

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!

Outing to Local Lake 16APR2022…

Well, the good news is that the wind stopped howling out of the South. The bad news is that its howling out of the North. Temperatures yesterday were 84F and sunny but today it was 51F, rainy and overcast. That’s a typical Oklahoma spring…the weather is always terrible on the weekends.

Between gusts of wind and rain showers, we managed to get out and fish for an hour. She caught 2 little largemouth bass and I caught one. And I do mean little. We figured that the front that moved through would push them back into deeper water and we were correct.

The look on my face says it all

What can I say…it beats staying at home. Some times you just have to go fishing and that’s exactly what we did. The weather looks great next week but my weather app shows more chances of rain for next weekend. Go figure.

Nothing to be done but to muddle through it and wait for better conditions. Besides, soon enough I’m sure I will start complaining about the heat! Catch you on the next one.

Local Lake 03APR2022…

We decided to fish a local lake that we hadn’t fished in quite awhile. It requires a boat so we loaded up our Jon boat and headed out. I know that I did a post previously where I explained why I don’t own a boat…but I consider this a glorified beer can more than a serious boat. But they do serve their purpose. Besides, we can’t tow much behind a Subaru.

And of course it was windy

This was going to be Zips first outing on a boat and we were curious as to how he would do. It ended up being nothing to worry about as he really enjoyed being out on the lake. I like this dog more each day!

After inspecting the entire boat…he decided to curl up and relax.

I took my new Smith TRMK-423UL rod and the 2021 Diawa Presso 1000 and I have to say…it performed really well. A couple of times it should have broken and didn’t. I’m impressed!.

This bass made multiple runs underneath the boat and the rod held.
Nice Crappie! They were on the beds so we released them to fulfill their duty of creating a future population.
Several chunky little Largemouth Bass were caught.
We each caught several Crappie.
We caught several little bass.
I was constantly manning the tiller. Most of the time I had the stern pointed into the wind and the motor on Reverse #2 just to hold our position to some extent.
We even caught a few perch.
Zip likes boat rides.
Another Crappie
Crappie

Once the sun fully came up, the wind really started building and we decided to get off the lake. We have a storm system rolling in later tonight. Typical Oklahoma Spring weather. We fish every opportunity that “time” and the “weather” allows. Thanks for reading…

See you on the next one!

Lake Fishing- 02APR2022

After a full night of rain, we didn’t have much hope of catching anything but decided to go anyway. If nothing else, we’d be able to stretch our legs as well as letting Zip run all over.

We decided to take our bigger rods since we were hoping for White Bass or even a Striper. In the end, we caught nothing but rays of sunshine.

Her first time out with her new Yeti Panga 28 backpack.
Zip on “Alert”

Interestingly enough…in the picture above, Zip keyed in on a Beaver that we didn’t notice.

Beaver (Castor canadensis)
He wasn’t scared of us and never went far from that tree. We left the beaver alone and continued on our way.
Changing lures.
Zip always stays pretty close…so that’s good!
Retrieving a stuck lure. Water temps right now are around 54F.
Mission accomplished.

It’s still early in the season and our weather patterns are all over the map from 84F down to 31F…and sometimes, that swing is in one day. Factor in the spring rains and its a toss-up if we can go fishing. And being back to work hasn’t made it any easier. We’re relegated to only fishing weekends at this point.

Her setup.
My setup.

Zip is getting better on the car rides so that is a huge plus. I feel like I’m starting to ramble so I will finish this post up and say “Thank You for reading it.”

We’ll catch you on the next one!

Local Lake Outing 27MAR2022…

We had planned to go fishing today as the weather forecast called for sunshine and about 70F for the high. We waited for the temps to hit 55F before we headed to the lake.

I was using my Apia Grandage Lite 61 with the Abu Garcia MGX Theta 1000s and she opted for her Daiwa Iprimi 62UL and her Daiwa Presso LTD 1025.

I REALLY like this rod!

When we arrived there was one other car there, a guy who was taking pictures of the lake. As we were gearing up, another car pulled in and they bailed out to claim “their spot” while their dogs ran leash-less all over the place. We find that weird since there are plenty of good places to fish along the shore. To each their own.

Little bass with voracious appetites.
Water is still pretty cold…but the bass are definitely moving up.
Zip is coming along nicely…
Eventually he went for a swim.
Our total for today was 7 bass in the hour we were there.
He was torn between myself and my wife.

After the wind started picking up and more people started to arrive (it’s a really small parking area) we decided to call it a day. We picked up trash on our way back to the car and visited with a few fishermen along the way. It was great to get out, the fishing is beginning to pick up and the sunshine felt great.

We have had some decent rainfall recently and as you can see in the picture, the lake level has come up about 2 ft. Outings like this are enough to whet the appetite, but we are still waiting for things to stabilize.

On a sidenote, we went to the MLF (Major League Fishing) Expo yesterday that was in Tulsa. We walked around and saw a lot of interesting products. Even though we don’t do that type of bass fishing, some of the items were really neat. I got to talk to the Abu Garcia rep and play around with the new Zenon Baitcast reels (VERY NICE) and the Zenon spinning reels. The Abu rep was very sympathetic in regards to the JDM tackle they make but don’t import into the US. He didn’t understand the reasoning behind it…and like us, orders it from Digitaka and other places.

We also visited the Daiwa booths and asked about their range of JDM gear and got several silly excuses in response. They blamed shipping and other such nonsense. Their US catalog is completely void of the gear we like and use, which is to be expected. But we knew before going that it would be highly unlikely that we would find anything for our needs at this expo. In fact, just inquiring about ultralight rods raised eyebrows in every booth we visited. They were politely dismissive but it was still kind of funny. The tech-centric approach and the sheer cost of gear was astounding. And it blows my mind that there are boat motors that cost as much as my car! If I was still fishing bass tournaments, I’m sure I would’ve seen things differently…it’s just not my thing anymore.

Until next time…

Elk River Recon 19MAR2022…

We finally managed to carve out some time to make a reconnaissance run up to Missouri to check out the Elk River.

We drove 306.5 miles and were out for 6hrs 47mins.

Again, this idea started with a blue line on a map and subsequent research showed that it had potential. We like to visually check out an area before committing to an extended trip.

Our first stop.
Extremely shallow. River channel is on the opposite side.

Access is limited to this river from what we could observe along our routes. There are canoe livery’s everywhere and renting a canoe seems to be the best option if we decide to commit to fishing this river.

And of course Zip went with us.
He was quite content to sit and watch us fish.

We proceeded to head on over to Pineville since my wife found an access point to the river on a map. I think it was called the City Of Pineville Elk River Public Access.

One acre of land next to a bridge. It does have a “boat ramp” if you can call it that. Lots of rebar and metal pipes in the river around the bridge.

In all honesty, we weren’t super impressed with what we saw and it looks like this will be a madhouse during the summer. The sheer number of canoe rental companies was astounding and hints to our trepidation. In all likelihood we will fish this river at least once. If we could find a long section to fish without staring into peoples windows things might be different. Who knows, maybe our first impression was wrong. I hope so anyway. It was still fun to get out and explore new waters. Hopefully the weather will begin to stabilize some and we don’t get too much rain in a short period of time. But the fishing season is definitely right around the corner and we’re ready for it.