Post by flyfishermann1955 on Jan 30, 2017 21:01:03 GMT -6
I made it over to the Lower Illinois on Monday (30 Jan). Parked at the parking lot below the powerhouse (where there is a bathroom) and fished downstream and upstream from there.
Good news: The river is still flowing crystal clear and I caught a dozen fish.
Bad news: After 3 days (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) of no water release, the river is low. If you're not fishing on top, or just under the surface, you're going to be cleaning a lot of "green plant material" off your fly--and I did!
I caught fish on these flies: # 12 Mop fly (olive): 1 # 12 Beaded-thorax soft hackle (tan): 3 Micro leach (olive): 6 (This is the Landon Mayer pattern, but I pimped it out with a large bead). #20 Zebra midge (white): 2
Fishing, actually "catching", was better in the morning. I caught all 12 between 8 AM and noon. During the 1st hour, I was removing ice from my guides! Between noon and 2:30 PM, I missed 2 strikes.
Are there any guesses as to when the Lower Illinois River will be wadable and fishable again? Currently the flow rate seems so high that I think it would be very dangerous to venture out into it. There is literally no bank showing anywhere that I could see. The water level was well up into the trees. The only activity I saw was a few people actually bait casting from the observation deck just below the powerhouse. The water level really wasn't that far below the deck. Amazing how it has changed from earlier this spring!
It will be releasing for at least until the end of June or mid July. If we get more rain it will probably be mid July but if not it will probably be closer to the end of June. Most likely the water will be pretty warm my the time they stop releasing so trout fishing might have to be put off to reduce trout death. Thankfully if it's still cool enough the striper will be coming up and we can focus on getting some striper until the water cools off enough to trout fish again
The Muskogee Area got hit with 5.7 inches of rain over the weekend (6/17 - 6/18). The Tenkiller lake level was almost down to below the flood pool but now I'm sure the flows will start increasing again. It looks like your mid July estimate will be the better one.
Here's a pic I took in early May right next to the powerhouse outlet. Looks like a typhoon!
Last Edit: Jun 14, 2021 22:26:52 GMT -6 by darrelln09
Post by troutbum54 on Jun 19, 2017 20:25:58 GMT -6
I believe if the upper Illinois and other tribs didn't pic up as much rain further north then it shouldn't affect it too much! From what I'm seeing it looks like they're still releasing with 2 gates at around 3500-4000 CFS so maybe there won't be too much to worry about
Anyone been on the LIR lately? I've never been at all, but some friends are looking into some places later in October, and this could be an option. Where's the best place to camp? Gore Landing? Other recommendations?
Post by darrelln09 on Sept 22, 2017 20:10:15 GMT -6
I plan on going to the LIR next weekend when cooler weather is in the forecast. Camping-wise, Gore Landing is pretty small and at the wrong end of the river for me. There's a place called Mar-Val about midway up that has RV and tent sites but I've never checked it out. If I were to camp there I would go above the dam and pitch my tent at Tenkiller State Park. There's a nice marina there as well as other things for the non-addicted flyfishers to do. It's not too far (3 or 4 miles maybe?) from the Watts WMA, where I usually fish, and could even be closer to it than Gore Landing.
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2017 20:20:39 GMT -6 by darrelln09
Camp up on the lake at Tenkiller State Park or one of the COE campgrounds. It's just a few minutes away and much nicer than anything on the river. Marval's is nice, but the fishing's not as good as it used to be because the state no longer stocks down there. Another issue -- within a few days, the lake will be down into the conservation pool. This will mean high water temps due to less generation. I would definitely focus my efforts on the 1st 2 miles of the tailwater (between the dam and the Watts walk-in area). Hope this helps. Good Luck! Dan-o
Post by darrelln09 on Sept 23, 2017 11:19:56 GMT -6
There is really no comparison between the LIR and the LMFR. It's just so much smaller. For instance, the spillway creek at the LIR is about 1/8 of a mile long and I've never seen anyone fish it but me. In addition, the length of river above the powerhouse discharge is about 100 yards - and it's usually full of bobbers.
That being said, from February to May of this year (that's the full extent of my newbie fly fishing days) I had several very enjoyable days in and above the Watts WMA section of the river. I'd say there's a good 3 or 4 miles of nice wadable water there. The heavy rains in June really screwed things up by causing non-wadable flow rates and really murky water clarity but things are calming down now. I do think, though, that it will be another month or so before the fly fishing picks back up. I believe they will start stocking again around the end of October or early November.
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2017 8:36:27 GMT -6 by darrelln09
Post by troutbum54 on Sept 30, 2017 21:58:57 GMT -6
So I took a trip to the LIR last night but discovered that the water was a bit to warm and the dissolved oxygen a bit too low. Instead of chasing trout I opted to get after the larger residents of the stream to test how my 10’ 2wt would fair with a brute on 6x tippet. Needless to say she works phenomenally and boy was it fun... other than running down stream to get her in the net