Good trout fishing on the Lower Mountain Fork River near Broken Bow is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Year-round trout fishing is offered on 12 miles of the river, five of which goes through beautiful Beavers Bend State Park.
Along these 12 miles anglers will find diverse water from fast-moving creeks to big, open water with deep pools. It’s Oklahoma’s premier trout fishing destination for fly anglers.
Jess King, owner of Three Rivers Fly Shop in Hochatown, provided the following fishing forecast for fly anglers as the transition begins from winter to spring in the coming weeks. For fly fishing, it’s all about trying to match the hatch.
“Mid-February through March we will be expecting to see the small (size 20) blue wing olive mayflies finishing up their season the larger spring insects will be emerging,” King said.
“March brown mayflies will be hatching by Feb. 15. These range from size 16 to size 12 and can be found throughout the 12 miles of managed trout stream.
“Tan caddis will be found hatching in the riffles throughout the stream, and they are typically size 16. Hatches will begin midmorning to late afternoon as the water warms.”
King said 1½-inch to 2-inch threadfin shad often are seen in the river below the powerhouse and are a favorite food of both rainbow and brown trout.
In February and March, anglers on the river should prepare for both cold and warm weather. The weather can be cold and windy one day and springlike the next.
Lake levels are also unpredictable at this time of year, so water releases through the powerhouse cannot be forecast ahead of time, King said.
But the five miles of stream inside the park are not affected by the water releases and receive most of the trout stocked by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, King said.
Along the red zone (as defined in the Oklahoma Fishing Guide) of the designated trout fishing area, anglers are restricted to using barbless hooks and artificial flies or lures.
The daily limit is one rainbow trout, a minimum of 20 inches, in the red zone. The daily limit is six rainbows elsewhere.
“The red zone offers exceptional fly fishing opportunities but can become crowded,” King said. “If you want to escape the crowds, do not come right after a stocking.”
The Wildlife Department stocks trout every two weeks in the Lower Mountain Fork, and a tentative schedule can be found on the agency’s website, www.wildlifedepartment.com.