11 June 2023

DFF June Outing

We headed to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River Tailrace just below the Lake Lewisville Dam on Sunday for our monthly outing.  While the ambient temperature was a little warm, the water temperature was a nice, cool 74 degrees F.  As they so often are when the dam is generating, the Buffalo were thick as thieves, and after about 15 minutes of fishing, I landed one.  Cody came to help, and I finally have a decent picture with a Smallmouth Buffalo, though I need to adjust my Buff better, so that I don't look so much like a nun.  Though many Buffalo were hooked and several landed, the carp would not take any offerings I made.  Cody was able to hook two with a CodyBugger, and farther downstream, he hooked something that fought in slow motion with slow deliberate headshakes.  Somehow, whatever species it was came unbuttoned and left us pondering what in the world Cody hooked.  It was another great day on the water.

10 May 2023

98th Species and the Countdown is On

Today was the DFF outing to the Brazos River.  Several attendees cancelled due to the rains that moved in 13 hours early.  It wasn't a heavy rain, a hard rain, or falling fast enough to raise the river water levels.  It did affect the water clarity, so it was a mostly blind casting kind of day.  That was okay by me, as I hooked five species, landing four, and none were Sunfish, except the odd Largemouth Bass that has a possible distended jaw and no traditional LMB markings.

I had seen what I though was a carp playing about in skinny water near downed trees holding on the upstream side of a bridge pillar.  I targeted it, but no luck, so I began fishing the waters behind a big boulder.  Nip, nip then a pick up and recast, and BAM, FishOn.  It what was a serious comedy of errors, I somehow managed to land the Bigmouth Buffalo and snap photos.  Still amazed the fish didn't come unbuttoned, but it didn't, and so, I hit the 98 mark.  I added a White Bass, a Channel Catfish, and a strangely marked Largemouth Bass, and then targeted one and enjoyed six additional hook-ups with Spotted Gar.  It was a marvelous day on the water!

15 April 2023

DFF's Sugar Ridge Ranch Outing

 The club's favorite, annual outing is to Sugar Ridge Ranch during peak Bluebonnet season and the Ennis Bluebonnet Festival.  Always well-attended, the four ponds and wildlife offers an almost-guaranteed day of catching, but this year, I learned of a new skill I have--I can mimic a turkey hen effectively enough to garner the attention of a Tom Turkey! 😁  I also petted a hen turkey, worked on my roll cast, and hooked the same bass I landed five minutes previously.

We loved another day at Sugar Ridge and appreciate the kindness and graciousness of our hostess and hosts.  

09 April 2023

Nolan River's Not White Bass

 As Cody was out-of-town visiting his family this Easter, Momma and I enjoyed a good, but quite Easter dinner and afternoon fun.  After hearing from several DFF members who attended the March Nolan River Outing, I decided to fish the Nolan at a time many found most productive this odd-weather spring.  Going prepared with White Bass flies, I was shocked at the low, but steadily flowing waters.  Where I caught fish in previous years were high-and-dry this year, and I could not find the White Bass.  Not to be dismayed for long, I kept seeing Gar, almost stepping on some of them.  Keeping on my rather flashy fly, I set to work.

In my life, I've had six gar hook-ups with only one being luck.  The other Five were purposeful targets in the last two years.  I don't target gar the way I hear most presenters discuss, which is a "Crossing the T" method, with the gar being the stem and dragging the fly perpendicularly to the gar, the "T" crossbar.  The reason I don't do this comes from a SCUBA show I saw friend William Seals give at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (and many times since his 2013 presentation).  When the diver would feed the fish, even though the bait was dead, every time the Gar fed, it sidled on its prey, and when it ate, it was a quick jerk of the head to no more than the 11:00 or 1:00 o'clock position.  Once, I saw the gar backpedal to get in align in order to feed.  Sometimes, they align close to their hinge--prey was small--and sometimes, they aligned closer to their nose tip--prey was larger, but regardless, they ate from the side and never head-on.  It remains the same for whether they are in captivity or the wild.

I typically find gar in slack water, near the shore, surrounded with good cover.  I spotted one 15 feet from me with his head facing downstream; I cast downstream about 20 feet and parallel to the gar, pulled the fly upstream past his left side at a bout a five inch, constant but not fast retrieve.  He did not take the fly, but he reacted, as his fins started moving, but he held his position.  I cast again, lined the fish, got the fly line off his body (he never moved or reacted to the fly line), pulled the fly parallel to the gar, and he ate hard, close to his hinge.  I strip set; he thrashed, and the fly worked its way closer to the tip, but a harder strip set stuck.  I got him in the net.  Once in, he opened his mouth, the fly dropped out, and I tried to take him from the net for a photo, but it was just too awkward, so I snapped his photo in my net.  Voila! not only was this my first gar to-hand, Mr. Spotted Gar made my 97th species on the fly!

30 March 2023

DFF Outing

Spring has sprung within the Dallas Fly Fishers and so have the springtime outings.  We held our first White Bass Run Outing last week, and this week we decided to fish the ponds and Brazos River access at Latham Springs Baptist encampment.

The Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush were in early bloom full and thick, and the fish ate hungrily and often in spite of the quite cool temperatures.  River and lake fishing were healthy and robust.  If we had kept the number of Crappie we caught, what a fish fry we could have had and the numbers they would have fed!  Amongst the successes were field testing flies and catching my 96th species on the fly, an Orangespotted Sunfish.  In addition, I think I now have caught all of the Sunfish species swimming in Texas' waters.  They are such fun, particularly due in part to the aggressive nature with which they attack a fly.  

The club outings are fun to enjoy with fellow fishy folk, and rather sadly, this was Cody's and my first foray into an event and fishing this year.  Though late on wetting a line, at least we started with a bang!

My 96th species on the fly!

29 March 2023

2023's First Line Wetting

 Life has been busy, and Cody and I have just not had the opportunity to fish.  I had to visit a fellow DFF Board Member, and he graciously provided us with rigged rods and allowed us to fish his ponds.  We only had about 30 minutes, but we were guided to just the right spots.  Thankful for good, fishy people and to finally get to fish!  We do have an outing tomorrow where we will get to devote the day to fishing, so all will be well.

24 September 2022


 The Dallas Fly Fishers held a Basic Fly Fishing Education class today at the Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area.  I brought my fishing rig to target those carp and buffalo that abound in the Lake Lewisville Tailrace.  I had targeted these species in the Spring after our entomology day but came up empty handed.

These species are everywhere, take just a bit to spook, and I don't think it was possible for me to catch one after the fiasco in the spring.

I fished for two-and-a-half hours before giving up and calling last cast.  I had hooked several, spooked dozens several times over, but I just wasn't feeling the love.  I used a brass conehead CodyBugger, cast one last time where I began my casting that day and yielded nothing for my efforts.

I don't know why now or what the combination was, but it was FIshOn!  Several others watched who had also fished for these oh so picky fish and hollered congratulations form the shore.

I netted it and took a weak selfie and added my 96th species to the list!

06 March 2021

Springtime with the Tenkara

 I had hopes that my hand would have been healed by now; it is healing, slowly and steadily with more steps forward and fewer backwards, so I'll take that.  One difficulty I'm still experiencing is the ability to grab a fly line and retrieve a fighting fish, regardless if it's a small or large fish, that strong pincher movement is just not happening.  However, TenkaraUSA keeps me on the water, my rod tip bent, fish in the net, and provides me with happy days.  I'm now up to three species on the rod--Sunfish, Largemouth Bass (I know they are in the Sunfish family, but it's an IGFA species, so I'm counting it!), and Nolan River White Bass.


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass 2

"The Claw" at work

Fighting fish with The Claw is hard work

Nolan River White Bass

23 August 2020

The Gift of Tenkara

2020's summer has not been kind to our family.  One instance was me breaking my dominant arm while fly fishing in Pass Creek near South Fork, Colorado my first day on vacation!  The following week, I had surgery to repair both my radius and ulna.  Wanting to be able to still enjoy fly fishing, I began seriously investigating Tenkara Fly Fishing, since that can be accomplished with one arm.  While researching, my uncle called to talk, check on me, and wish me a speedy recovery, and during our conversation, I enthusiastically told my uncle all about Tenkara Fly Fishing in great detail.  A few weeks later and with the help of my cousins, my uncle gifted me with a Tenkara USA Rhodo Rod and Tenkara Rod Co. Crossbreed fly line.  Our postman, Rance, had no idea the joy he delivered when he brought that rod and fly line to our doorstep!

Still incapable of quite a lot, I couldn't rig the rod myself, so Cody had to also learn about Tenkara lines.  Having watched several videos himself, Cody set to tying knots, adjoining lines, and tying my fly (a CodyBugger christened my rod), and we headed to a very small pond in our town.  Neither of us had fished the pond, but we figured there just had to be fish in it.

Finding a shady spot near a downed branch, I made my first cast and was rewarded with several hits.  Talk about excitement!  I continued to adjust to the Tenkara-style of fly fishing, though not in the traditional sense, as I was fishing warm water that wasn't moving!  Finding another shady spot with overhanging branches and switching to a topwater grasshopper, I had fishing slurping, hitting, and aggressively slamming that fly, which now has little bite marks in the foam body and one less antenna and leg.  Still though, I had no hook-ups.  Cody selected a wet fly pattern with a size 16 hook, and it was FishOn!  I hooked a Green Sunfish first, but I failed to execute the hookset correctly, so I had an LDR (long-distance release).  I did manage to land my first fish--a small but aggressive Bluegill.  Then, at dusk, I told Cody "Five more casts," and on the first of the five, Bam! FishOn!  A bigger, hungrier Bluegill grabbed my fly on the second twitch.  I thought I'd exercise my winged hand by trying to hold the line in it and the rod in my good hand, but that didn't work too well.  However, Cody patiently helped me get the fish and the rod situated and then snapped my photo.  My fish weren't World Record fish, but they brought me great joy and taught me a thing or two.  

I have much to learn about Tenkara, but it was a great christening!  My Dad, who passed away suddenly in June, put my first fly rod in my hand to help me heal from breast cancer.  My uncle put my first Tenkara rod in my hand to help me heal from a broken arm.  Fly fishing truly is a powerful gift!

29 June 2018

Conejos River

On Thursday, we took a break from fishing and rode the train from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO.  It was a great adventure!  We returned to fishing on Friday.  We headed back to The Meadows to try and fish some areas we didn't hit on Wednesday; Cody fished it well, while I only had one species, but I got to add to the species list with my catch.  After enjoying our packed lunch, we headed up above Platoro Reservoir and fished the headwaters.  We were amazed at how well hidden the fish were in the faster moving headwaters, and how close to us they were--9 feet or closer.  Interestingly, we caught no Rainbows.

One of Cody's Several Browns--Love the Sparkles

Another Brownie for Cody

Conejos River between The Meadows and The Pocket Water

They had my attention for about 30 minutes
Added White Mountain Sucker to the Species List!

So Carp-like

Headwaters above Platoro Reservoir

First of two Browns in the same area

Second Brown; they were almost side-by-side

27 June 2018

Conejos River Anglers

After first learning of the Conejos River and Conejos River Anglers from TroutFest 2015, we joined TWFFers in Southern Colorado and booked our day.  Our guide was K.K., and he took us into the Rio Grande National Forest to fish the Meadow and the Pocket Water sections below Platoro Village.  The morning action was grand, but due to unseasonably high temps, drought conditions, and fishing pressure, the afternoon action was slow in the public waters.  Still, we landed quality fish numbering in to the double digits, so it was an excellent day of guided, wade fishing!

Fishing The Meadows with K.K.

The Trout LOVED the foam Mayfly
Brown Trout Happiness

Brown Trout Happiness, Squared 

Cody's Rainbow Caught in Skinny Water

Fishing the Pocket Water

26 June 2018

Platoro Reservoir Conejos River, Colorado

To escape from the Texas heat, participate in TWFF's unofficial outing, and to redeem our Conejos River trip won at the Fort Worth Fly Fishers auction from the Conejos River Anglers, Cody and I headed northwest; Cody pulled the RV, and I pulled the kayaks.  We camped at the Conejos River RV Park just east of the Rio Grande National Forest for a week.  We fished on our own, with Conejos River Anglers' guide K.K., from our kayaks on Platoro Lake, and waded the Conejos River headwaters into the reservoir.  Temperatures were mild; fishing was grand; and the wildfires had not yet begun.

Deep, cool, and clear

Brown Trout

Rainbow Trout

My first Kokanee Salmon

Moon rise over Platoro Reservoir

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