Outdoors Notebook — DU events, a Blane Chocklett visit and some RRFF news

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

With Texas and Oklahoma clashing on the Cotton Bowl’s gridiron surface tomorrow morning, it’s time for the annual Red River Showdown between the Longhorns and the Sooners.

Regardless of who wins the Golden Hat tomorrow, a similar clash of both sides of the Red River will be taking place over the next couple of weeks. Except this time, it isn’t the burnt orange from Austin or the crimson and cream from Norman that will gain bragging rights for the next year.

Instead, it’s the ducks of the Central Flyway and North America as not one, but two local Ducks Unlimited fundraisers prepare to take place over the next 12 days.

First up will be the 2021 Bryan County DU banquet, a dinner scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant. Doors for the southern Oklahoma DU dinner open up at 6 p.m.

For information on the Bryan County DU event, please contact Chris Dorman at 405-517-7187 or Scott Walker at 870-279-2623. You can also get additional information at www.ducks.org.

A few days later, it’s time for the Texoma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited to host the group’s 46th annual fundraiser at Denison’s Hilton Garden Inn hotel on Hwy. 75 right across from Texoma Medical Center. That quacker backer event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19 and will see the doors open up at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $60 in advance for singles and there are also sponsor options available with a variety of ticket numbers attached to each level. The sponsorship levels are $300 for Bronze, $750 for Silver, and $1,500 for Gold.

For tickets, sponsorship information, and local banquet information, call either Newt Wright at 918-557-2622, Paul Terrell at 903-267-4108, or go online at www.ducks.org.

Blane Chocklett in Dallas — Blane Chocklett, originator of the Game Changer fly pattern, is coming to Dallas next weekend. In fact, the well-known fly angler is scheduled for a full day of activity next Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Tailwaters Fly Shop near the Trinity River.

As one of the biggest names in the modern day sport — the Virginia fly angler operates the New Angle Fishing Company guide service for smallmouths, muskies, and striped bass — Chocklett has served on the board of the American Fly Tackle Trade Association, is a signature fly tyer for UMPQUA Feather Merchants, and has served for numerous years as an ambassador for the Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) fly rod company based in Dallas.

Chocklett revolutionized the fly tying world a few years ago with his Game Changer pattern, which utilizes a series of shanks and micro shanks to give a fly an ultra-realistic swimming motion that game fish just can’t resist.

After several years of runaway success with the Game Changer and other patterns, the regular contributor to Fly Fisherman magazine authored a book earlier this year entitled “Game Changer.”

I have a copy, and if you fish for Texoma stripers, Lake Fork largemouths, or Gulf Coast redfish, so should you. The book will be available for sale next Saturday at Tailwaters and Chocklett will be autographing copies from 11 a.m.-noon.

Interested? If so, the event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and will give attendees a chance to tie flies and cast TFO fly rods with Chocklett, enjoy a cold beverage or two, learn more about the sport of fly fishing for apex predators in freshwater and saltwater, and get an autograph or selfie with the future fly fishing Hall of Famer.

In short, Chocklett will be on hand to discuss all things fly fishing, show off the entire fleet of TFO fly rods — including a new model bearing his name — and even offer in-depth fly tying instruction for those who sign up in advance for a paid fly tying class.

That class, a master session with one of history’s best tyers and fly design gurus, has only 15 open spots available and costs $175. The two-hour class will see materials provided by Tailwaters but class participants will need to bring their own fly tying vise and tying tools.

To sign up for the fly tying class or to learn more about Chocklett’s mid-October visit to the Tailwaters Fly Shop at 1933 E. Levee St. in Dallas, call 888-824-5420 or e-mail the shop at tailwaters@tailwatersflyfishing.com .

Red River Fly Fishers Resume Meetings — Staying on the subject of fly fishing, news came this week that the Red River Fly Fishers club is resuming its in-person meetings, welcome news for local enthusiasts of the fly rod.

The longtime local group, which paused its in-person gatherings shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep across Texas in March 2020, actually held its first in-person meeting in more than a year as the group gathered earlier this week on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

The RRFF group also plans to move forward with more of its regularly scheduled monthly meetings in the months ahead with gatherings now happening at the Eisenhower State Park Rec Hall. Future meetings are reportedly scheduled for Nov. 2, Jan. 4, and Feb. 1.

Finally, after the February monthly meeting early next year, the RRFF group will also hold it’s 2022 Red River Rendezvous fly tying event, an event that was cancelled earlier this year at the height of the pandemic. Visit www.rrff.org for more details.

Hunt County CWD Reminder — With the start of the early archery deer season in Texas and the regular season start looming next month, TPWD biologists are asking that hunters and landowners throughout the area and the state be mindful of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) this fall.

That reminder, of course, comes on the heels of several new cases being discovered earlier this year, including a finding at a captive deer breeding facility in nearby Hunt County.

If your deer hunting plans take you to Hunt County this fall, do note that TPWD has established a “Hunt County CWD Zone” and two check stations. That means that if you hunt in the county and harvest a deer, you’ll need to present the intact, unfrozen head of any susceptible species killed there to one of the designated check stations in Terrell or Quinlan within 48-hours of take.

For more information, visit the TPWD website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/#checkMap.