The flood gates finally closed Sunday on Broken Bow Dam and state wildlife officials have resumed putting trout in the Lower Mountain Fork River in McCurtain County.
Trout was stocked in the river Thursday and fishing has resumed, although severe flooding has changed the stream.
“Not all the areas on the trout stream are easily accessible, but people can get to most of the places they are familiar with,” said Paul Balkenbush, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Flooding wiped out two foot bridges and a highway bridge that allowed anglers to reach main fishing areas. Pools that held trout are gone or changed.
Balkenbush said it is a “high priority” for state wildlife officials to return the popular trout stream to its previous condition, but he is unsure how long that will take.
“Spillway (Creek) is basically a whole new stream,” said Donny Carter of Stratford, who fished the Lower Mountain Fork on Wednesday, his first trip there since the flooding.
“It’s still the fast running stream it’s always been, but all, or nearly all the previous pools and holes are gone or changed.
“The walk bridges are gone but what was left were some very deep and large pools. Getting to the stream is a little more difficult due to the trees and the banks being scoured. The stream itself has really been scoured.
“The stream bed used to have a darker coloring to it. Now it’s very light or even yellowish-red color. If anything good comes out of this, the rocks are not near as slick. I didn’t get baptized once this trip.”
Lost Creek – built by the state Wildlife Department just three years ago – is lost again, Carter said. The creek is completely filled in with rock and gravel.
However, the fishing was fantastic on Wednesday, Carter said.
“I caught trout, and large trout, all up and down the creek. It was pocket-water fishing at it’s finest. Any marginally-sized pool at all held trout. I was throwing in pockets no bigger than a bathtub and only knee-deep.
“From the Spillway down to where the Cold Hole Bridge used to be, they’d hit just about any fly you threw in there as long as it wasn’t too big.”