MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 18, 2013

Fly fishing clinic to span two days on Illinois River

By John Kilgore
Phoenix Outdoors Columnist

— Looks like the upcoming month of February is turning out to be a great month for anglers and I’m not just talking about the Bassmasters Classic on Grand Lake.

Earlier in February, there will be a two-day workshop for fly fishing  at Tenkiller State Park.

Anglers interested in fly fishing can learn the sport Feb. 8-9 at the Illinois River Fly Fishing School. The clinic will be based out of Tenkiller State Park and will feature instructional sessions as well as hands-on practice on the banks of the Illinois River.

Long-time instructor Mark Patton says the clinic lays a good foundation for both amateur and experienced anglers. While he “starts from the ground up,” Patton said even those familiar with fly fishing can benefit from the instruction.

The clinic will offer in-depth information on equipment, tackle assembly, knots, flies, casting, and tactics and will include on-stream fishing instruction. According to Patton, participants will leave with a better understanding of fly fishing by learning how the equipment works and why it performs the way it does when operated properly.

Upon completion of the Illinois River Fly Fishing School, Patton said participants will be ready to begin fishing by themselves.

“A guide right now in some places is $400 a day,” Patton said. “I try to get people to where they don’t need a guide.”

The clinic costs $150 and includes orientation on Friday night as well as Saturday morning sessions. Anglers are encouraged to stay and fish Sunday.

Spots are limited, and registration is required by calling (405) 340-1992.

Meals for the event are available for $30, or participants can provide their own. Participants are responsible for their lodging and can book a stay at Tenkiller State Park directly by calling  489-5643 or nearby Greenleaf State Park by calling (918) 487-5196.

Fly rods will be available for loan on Saturday, and participants who own their own gear are encouraged to bring it with them to the clinic.

Participants should dress for outdoor conditions and bring a hat, sunglasses, coat, rain gear and flashlight.

The “welcome session” begins at 8 a.m., Friday, Feb. 8, after cabin check-in, and all indoor sessions and meals will be held in the Community Center located immediately north of the state park office. For more information or to register, call Patton at (405) 340-1992.

God has truly blessed me over the years but one thing I don’t have is coordination.  My fly fishing buddies are enticing me to give it a try this spring. I’ll let you know how it goes.

John Kilgore’s outdoor column runs Fridays in the Phoenix. You may contact him with news or other information at (918) 348-9431 or at jkilgoreoutdoors@yahoo.com.