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During the past week, we have had several rain events (combined for a half inch here in Cotter), warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wins advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose three feet to rest at six and seven tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is twenty nine and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell one and one tenth feet to rest at two and five tenths feet above seasonal power pool and thirteen and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose two and six tenths feet to rest at seven feet above seasonal power pool and two and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose two and three tenths feet to rest at five and eight tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had heavy 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 above the top of power pool. With the quick rise in the lakes due to our recent heavy rains we can expect heavy generation in the near future.
The White has fished better. There are some caddis coming off in the afternoon. 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 pink worm with a prince nymph (#14) suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and off less stained. As the water warms, the smallmouths will be 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 has cleared substantially but has still fished poorly. 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 Y2K with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek has cleared but it is not fishing as well as usual. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10).
The Spring River is navigable and less stained. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over there are few 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 soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty five years.
JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 4/06/2018
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