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GC GREEN COUNTRY SCENE If you can stand the cold weather, winter can be a great time of the year to get out of the house and do some fly fishing. And as an added bonus, winter is when the trout are most plentiful throughout most of Oklahoma. Fly fishing is a challenging sport that requires finesse and knowledge, but also practicing the proper casting techniques, including the traditional arcing, looping motion most people are familiar with. You can improve all of those skills at the Illinois River Fly Fishing School Feb. 24, on the banks of the Illinois River, by the dam at Tenkiller State Park in Vian, which is about 80 miles southeast of downtown Tulsa. “We’ve been doing this for 30 years, and by the way, that’s

before A River Runs Through It,” says Mark Patton, the school’s fly fishing instructor, referencing the Oscar-winning Brad Pitt movie from 1992 that sparked a surge in fly fishing popularity. Patton reports that fly fishing may be less pleasant when it’s cold out than in the summer, but it isn’t harder or fundamentally different. “The water temperature is colder, and what that does is it slows down the fishes’ metabolism, just like you,” Patton explains. “The other factor with that is that insect activity, which the trout feed on, changes. Typically, when it gets colder, we don’t have as many hatchets, the bugs coming off the bottom and becoming adults. But as far as everything going on underneath the surface, the same thing’s going on no matter what the temperature is.”

Most of the time, the only deterrent is how much you can stand the cold. On a day when it was 38 degrees outside, Patton says the conditions were good. Put on a good pair of hip waders, bundle up, and you’ll be fine.

to head into the water with that knowledge. One can be a productive fly fisherman without possessing a scientific background.

“Without wind, that is fairly comfortable,” he says. “You can gear up for that, with all the outdoor clothing now. Without getting into too much of the scientific basis, what my dad said forever, is we can expect to see insect activity on the stream when it’s the most comfortable for you. In the summer, when is it the most comfortable for you? Early and late. And in the winter, it’s most comfortable midday.”

“It’s extremely scientific, but you don’t have to fish knowing that,” he says. “Fly fishing got an incredibly bad rap for that for years, trying to make it too complicated. You had to know which species of mayfly was hatching at 2 p.m. Aug. 31. You don’t have to do that. And we approach it that way [during the clinic]. We assume that everybody is a recreational fly fisherman. How we define that is, you go on vacation and you just go fish. You’re not basing it on a certain insect hatching at a particular time. That’s how we approach it.”

A lot of scientific analysis has gone into establishing the guidelines behind successful fly fishing, but as Patton points out, it isn’t necessary

Patton and his group of fellow instructors will have you fishing like a pro in the course of a single day, lasting from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Take Me to the River While winter trout typically aren't as jumpy as they are in the summer, it's a great time of year to work on your technique for hitting the water in warmer months with more confidence. By John Tranchina

46 FEBRUARY 2018

Profile for Preview 918

February 2018 (Vol. 32, No. 2)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For 32 years, Preview 918 has been the best resource for disc...

February 2018 (Vol. 32, No. 2)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For 32 years, Preview 918 has been the best resource for disc...