Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A First Timer's Guide to The Lower Mountain Fork River


A First Timer's Guide to The Lower Mountain Fork River


The most difficult part about fishing a new river is preparing for the unknown.  This guide will help you plan a successful trip to one of the best trout fisheries in the south. Hiring a guide can quickly get you up to speed when fishing a new area. If you are like me, the best part of the adventure is exploring new territory on your own.

The Lower Mountain Fork offers 12 miles of designated trout fishing from the Broken Bow Reservoir Spillway downstream to the U.S. Hwy 70 bridge.  It offers a variety of types of water from small fast creeks to big open water with deep pools. No matter what your skill level or style of fishing you will find something that works for you.

When I began researching the Lower Mountain Fork, accurate information was hard to come by. Most of the maps and regulations had changed. In fact, it was near impossible to find current well marked maps. Many helpful forums exist with post recommending flies to bring and holes to try, but if you don’t have someone to show you the way, you'll waste a lot of valuable fishing time. If you bookmark this article on your smartphone you will have all the resources you need for a great day on the river right at your fingertips.

WHEN TO GO
Fishing is good year round, but park attendance is highest from late spring until school starts again. This popular river can get busy on the weekends, but if you plan your trip during off peak times you will have access to more areas to fish. Knowing where to start your morning will help you secure a great spot before the crowds arrive.

Trout are stocked year round, but planning your trip close to a stocking date may increase your odds. The trout stocking schedule is updated as needed.

Check the Power Generation Schedule Website before you plan which section of the river you will fish and make sure you call the automated generation hotline for the most current information before you set out (866-494-1993). If they are generating electric, the stretch below the powerhouse will be unfishable and you will want to get a spot above it before the park gets crowded. Generally speaking, this area is a great place for a first timer to start. When you're ready to try a more technical zone you can venture below the state park dam and if your lucky it will be less crowded.

GEAR
Knowing what gear to pack will help you travel light and still be prepared for any situation. I recommend a 9 ½’ 4 or 5 weight rod. A 7 ½ ft leader with 5x tippet will work well for most situations. You can get away with only taking floating line. If you have a shorter rod, you may want to bring it to fish Spillway Creek. Casting room is a little tighter in this area. The rocks are slick so bring a good pair of boots and maybe even a wading staff if you plan on going to zone 2.
  
Beavers Bend Fly Shop is located inside the park, so stop in Eddie will be happy to help you with a selection of flies. Some of their website's information is a little outdated but the forum has a wealth of good information on the river and flies. You can also check this hatch chart so you can tie a few flies before you leave. Keep in mind these are stocked trout and are usually not as selective as older more adapt fish on the river. If one thing doesn’t seem to be working for you try something else. Hint: small nymphs and crayfish imitations are good year round.

FEES AND REGULATIONS
Daily park entrance is free, but a resident or nonresident fishing license is required to fish. The annual license is the best value if you plan on two or more trips a year. The annual license expires the last day of the calendar year.  You can purchase a license online or once you get to town. I got mine at the Broken Bow Wal-Mart. They are open 24 hours and someone was able to process mine at midnight!

This map is the best I found for publicly known fishing hole locations and other park areas and landmarks of interest. I recommend you print a copy for your trip. When you see the park maps you'll thank me later! Also, familiarize yourself with the fishing zone map so you understand which special regulations apply to you.This information can be found inside the park and on the Oklahoma Wildlife Department Regulations Website. (see trout and trout area regulations) 

LODGING  
Accommodations can be found both inside and outside the park. Camping and cabin facilities are available within the State Park and below the Re-regulation Dam. For information call the park at (580) 494-6300. If you want to stay in a cabin make sure to plan ahead.

OTHER INFO
Check out the current fishing report posted by Rob Woodruff. Rob is a full-time Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide with over 30 years experience. He has a degree in Entomology and teaches seminars on a variety of other fly fishing and fly tying subjects. I feel like I should mention I'm in no way affiliated with him, but if you would like more information on his services check his guide webpage for more information. If you've had a good experience with another guide or have a tip for our readers please share a comment below. Take a moment to like our Facebook page for future updates and reports. You can also subscribe to our Youtube page for more fly fishing videos.

Good luck and tight lines!