November through February is guide Jess King’s favorite time to fly fish on the Lower Mountain Fork River.
“While most of the country’s trout streams are locked in the deep freeze, the trout fishing on the Lower Mountain Fork is red hot,” said King, owner of Three Rivers Fly Shop in Hochatown.
“The trout fishing is great all year long, but winter provides more fishable water, less crowds and the most predictable dry fly fishing of the year.
“December is the perfect time to fish with Blue Winged Olives nymphs and dry flies.”
While King certainly has a financial incentive to lure visitors to the Lower Mountain Fork River – in fact his comments were taken from a news release from the McCurtain County Tourism Authority – he isn’t just blowing smoke.
Donny Carter of Stratford is a frequent visitor to the Oklahoma’s best trout stream and often provides fishing reports to me.
“I was down there last Tuesday (Dec. 4) and the small browns were everywhere,” Carter said. “To say the least, it’s pretty exciting. Hope these little guys really take off and we’ll have an even better brown trout fishery.
“The brown trout fishing has still been very good and I caught several of them on the Elk Hair Caddis and the Adams. I really enjoy watching trout surface to your fly.
“Kind of like top-water bass fishing, no difference. Both can give you heart failure. I only fished in Zone One and found surfacing trout in all areas. There were plenty of small mayflies coming off along with some black caddis. Both of my dry fly patterns worked just fine on those hatches.”
The Lower Mountain Fork River offers 12 miles of trout habitat. The Lower Mountain Fork is a tailwater fishery flowing out of Broken Bow Lake and includes a 3.8-mile trophy section where boats and barbed hooks are banned.
“Good fishing can be expected throughout the day,” King said. “Cold, cloudy, windy, wet, and just downright winter weather can produce a lot of fish and some big fish.”
State wildlife officials are now stocking trout in Oklahoma waters from a new hatchery in Nebraska, and anglers are reporting catching bigger fish on average.
Including the Lower Mountain Fork River, the Wildlife Department offers another year-round trout fishery on the Lower Illinois River near Gore.
The state’s winter-only trout areas also are now open: the Blue River, Lake Pawhuska, Robber’s Cave, Lake Watonga and Lake Carl Etling.
On Jan. 1, the state’s newest winter trout area will be open for fishing, Medicine Creek in Medicine Park.