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Fly Fishing Guides and Info
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During the past week, we have had rain (just a trace here in Cotter), cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped three and eight tenths feet to rest at four and five tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is twenty nine and five tenths feet below the top of flo Utream, Table Rock fell one tenth of a foot to rest at two tenths of a foot below seasonal power pool and fourteen and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped a foot to rest at three and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool and five and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with heavy generation. Norfork Lake fell two and one tenths feet to rest at three and one tenth feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and twenty one and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had moderate generation and no wadable water.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation, with limited wadable water in the near future. At the current rate of drop, I predict that we will reach power pool in two weeks.
Hopper season is here. Many guides are banging the bank with grasshopper patterns. Add a nymph dropper (ruby midge) to increase takes. If the grasshopper is hit or sinks, set the hook. My favorite grasshopper pattern is a western pink lady.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a Y2K (#10) with a pheasant tail (#10) suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more active. My favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
On the Norfork, the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#14, #16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a pheasant tail dropper (#10).
Dry Run Creek is stained but still fishing well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is on and there many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.