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8/6 Trip Report And Stream Overview - Long


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This is a little late and very long. Went to the Mtn Fork a week ago Saturday with my good friend Terry. The mtn fork is about 3hr 15 min from Tulsa, short enough to be able to make it a day trip, but far enough to make it a really long day.

We had been having record heat in OK for the last several weeks and the first week of August was the hottest part yet. We were getting up around 110 every day the past week and Saturday wasn't going to be any different. I packed about at a dozen bottles of water for the day knowing it was going to be a long hot day.

I have been fishing with Terry regularly about 2 years now. He was a pretty good spin fisherman, but was pretty much new to flyfishing when we first started to fish together. The lower Illinois below Tenkiller has been the main place we fish with occasional trips to MO/Ark to fish the white, north fork and roaring river. We were both getting the itch to fish this weekend and with the lower IL being a muddy mess, something different was in order. So we decided to make it a long day trip to the Mtn Fork. This would be my third trip to the Mtn Fork and Terry's first time there, so it still has the feel of something new and different.

Terry picked me up at 530 am and we were on our way. After a slow stop for breakfast at the Okmulgee McD's, we eventually got down to the Broken Bow area a little after 9am and stopped in at the Three Rivers Fly Shop. We saw that the generation schedule called for BB Dam to be down until mid afternoon, so we wanted to get guidance on whether the lower river below where the generation enters was going to be a viable option. We were told that the water temps were too high down there and we should stay in the spillway creek and upper red zone area. Three times down there now and I still have never seen any of the lower section of the fishery. For those not familiar with this fishery, the great thing about it is that there is a substantial section of good fishable water that is above where the generation hits the river.

After looking around the fly shop for a while, we finally made it to the river around 10 or so. Parked at the bridge at the bottom end of spillway creek just above where lost creek begins.

Here is an overview of the upper section of the Mtn Fork. The picture below from google earth will help with this desrcription.


Broken Bow dam is really 2 dams with a mountain in the middle. There is a western dam and an eastern dam with the eastern one being more in line with the original river channel as far as I can tell. The flow from the western portion of the dam enters spillway creek. Spillway creek runs a little over a mile before it runs into the original river channel. It is the royal blue line on the picture. I love spillway creek, although the regulations on this stretch is pretty much anything goes with a limit of 6 bows. Spillway is extremely high gradient and seems to get a pretty constant flow that I would guess is probably 100cfs. There are drops and chutes about every 100 feet or so. It kind of reminds me of the steeper sections of the frying pan or the big Thompson around Estes Park. After a mile, spillway goes under a bridge and dumps into a long deep pool. This pool seems to be very popular with bait fishermen. At the bottom of the deep pool, the stream makes a right turn and enters the mtn fork channel.

In the middle of the long deep hole, a side stream is diverted from the right side and flow a third of a mile or so through the woods. This is lost creek which is shown in yellow on the picture. Lost creek is similar in width to the hatchery outlet at Bennett Springs or to Dry Creek at Norfork Dam. There are probably about 10-15 pools along its length each holding fish, some of them quite a few. Generally, each pools is only big enough for 1 fisherman. At the bottom, Lost Creek dumps back into the Mtn Fork main channel.

Back at the deep pool at the bottom of spillway creek, special regulations start and run to the bottom of the evening hole on the Mountain fork. This is about a half mile and shown in red on the picture. The flow is the same volume as spillway creek (less what got diverted to Lost Creek), but is much lower gradient and more like the water on the Current below Baptist. There are 4 or 5 holes along this section.

The link here is a video clip of the TU On The Rise episode shot at the mountain fork. This clip is all taken in this special regulations stretch between spillway and the evening hole.

The last minute or so of the clip is the s curve that dumps into the upper end of the Evening Hole.

The top end of the evening hole starts with the S curve followed by about 100 ft or so or really nice riffle water. Below the riffle is about 300 yards flat water with some structure and little scoured out areas. This seems to be the most popular section for fly fishermen although the one time I fished it, it wasn’t really my favorite spot.

The evening ends at a bridge. I haven't fished below the bridge, but it snakes around for a mile or so where the road crosses again. There is a small dam just below here, so this section is more like a small lake. When I have seen it, this section is full of kayaks and swimmers. A little ways below here, the outlet from the eastern side of the dam enters. When they are generating at the dam, this is where the water comes in. So, everything above this point that I have described is unaffected by generation at the dam. I have never been below here on the river.

Anyway, back to the trip report

To start out, we worked our way down lost creek for an hour or so, picking up fish here and there. I was fishing a Stimulator/dropper rig with a cream colored midge as the dropper fly. There was one hole near the end that had a ridiculous number of fish in it. Caught 2 or 3 here and lost 2 or 3 more. Had several of the “golden” rainbow trout in it.

The bottom of lost creek dumps into a really nice deep narrow run. Casting is kind of tough here as overhanging trees line the right bank. You kind of have to wade under the trees and cast sidearm to fish it. Caught 5 or 6 here including two 16-17” bows. Terry went on down past me and went to the riffle area at the top of the evening hole. We picked up a half dozen or so in the riffle at the top of evening hole. By this time, it was about 1pm and we were getting really thirsty and hungry, so we started heading back to the car. It took us about an hour to get back to the car as wel played around in lost creek again on the way back up.

By the time we got to the car, we were pretty beat and hungry. The 107 heat was taking its toll. Drove into Broken Bow (15 minute drive) and got something to eat at Sonic.

We eventually got back to the river about 4pm and parked at the same spot at the bottom of Spillway creek. This time our plan was to work our way up the bottom of the high gradient spillway creek. The previous two times I have been to the Mtn Fork I have fished the upper end of Spillway creek (there is a parking area at the upper end) but I had never been on the bottom half. The first few pools above the bridge had people fishing or swimming in them, so we had to hike up a ways to get past them. Terry and I started hop-scotching each other working our way up from pool to pool. I was having trouble keeping my stimulator floating in this really fast water, so I ended up switching to a thingamabobber rig. If I was any good at Czech nymphing, this area would be ideal. Most pools produced a fish or two. Terry found one really good hole that he caught 2 or 3 out of. As I was walking past him to go above him, he called for me to fish in his spot. I ended up getting several out of there as well. We ended up working about 2/3 of a mile up spillway until we finally called it quits at about 7pm.

By the time we got back to the car we were both exhausted and hungry. Drove back to Broken Bow and had dinner at a decent Mexican restaurant called Papa Poblanos. After that, we hit the road and got back to Tulsa about 1130.

It was a very long and tiring day, but a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures. With the extreme temperatures, I went without my usual chest pack and instead fished all day with a lanyard and kept a single fly box in my shirt pocket, so I didn’t have room for a camera.

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I've only fished this area one time and I wasn't too impressed. However, after reading your report and watching that video, I'm thinking about giving it another chance. Nice report and thanks for all the info.


We all make decisions; but, in the end, our decisions make us.

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I've fished it during the winter and really liked it. You can add the area below the re-reg dam as a good place to fish then. Also, after Labor Day (I think) they pull the boards used to dam up a swiming hole at the bridge by the fly shop and that opens up a couple of good riffles upstream along the R/V campground.

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I've only fished this area one time and I wasn't too impressed. However, after reading your report and watching that video, I'm thinking about giving it another chance. Nice report and thanks for all the info.

That place can be tough at times then it can be great. I had my best days with a dry fly on the Evening hole area last April. Spillway is tougher but fish can be caught. I caught a 4 lb. rainbow out of spillway a couple of years back. I've found that if I can't get them on the fly rod to take the spinning gear and throw crankbaits, they tear up the rapala brook trout pattern.


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