Norfork Tailwater

Lori’s day on Dry Run Creek

Posted by Phil Lilley on June 21st, 2012
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I returned from a recent guide trip and parked my river boat. I walked into the house and I noticed several paper plates that had a variety of flies spread over the dining room table. It looked like someone had fallen into the river and was trying to dry their flies out before they put them away.

I dropped my keys on my armoire and went out the back door towards our guest house. My brother in law was visiting from Memphis and had fished that day on the Norfork. Lori had guided for Blue Ribbon Fly Shop on Dry Run Creek. As I neared the guest house, I saw a pair of waders that had been turned inside out, in order to dry them thoroughly, hanging on a hook. Obviously someone had gone in. It turned out to be my wife, Lori. I must say that this sort of thing happens from time to time. It happens to me and it happens to others. If you are wading, you will eventually slip and fall.

It went down like this. Lori was guiding a fifteen year old young man on Dry Run Creek. With some one of this age and fitness level (he was a talented golfer that had competed in a major tournament the day before and finished in second place), she will take them to one of the more remote sections of the creek that has a bit of hazardous wading to get to. He had hooked a trophy trout and Lori was entering the water to net it. She tread on a section of bedrock and her feet went out from under her. The current is very strong in that section and she was swept downstream. It took her a minute or two before she was able to get on her feet and return to the task at hand. She quickly waded over to client and deftly netted his trout. Not only was Lori able to focus on netting the trout but she dumped the water from her waders and finished the day. That is the mark of a true professional. She did not let her own discomfort limit her client’s enjoyment of his day on Dry Run Creek. They landed twenty five trout. The largest was a twenty six inch male brown trout with a very serious hook jaw.

When we sat down and talked about the situation, Lori said that she thought that her new Orvis wading boots had not performed as she thought they should. We had both recently purchased new wading boots with studded rubber soles because they are less likely to carry Didymo from one stream to another. This decision was precipitated by the State of Missouri outlawing the use of felt soles. We often fish there, especially on the North Fork of the White River.

She had chosen that particular boot because they were designed for women. She had been disappointed from the beginning with the fit and now she questioned the traction provided by them. I compared her new boots to the new pair of Korkers wading boots that I had waded in that day. Mine had thirty percent more studs that were well distributed over the entire sole. The fewer studs on her boots were all installed on the outside edge of her soles and there were none in the center. We think that the stud pattern and limited number of studs provided contributed to her fall. The boots cost about the same amount.

Lori and I spend a lot of time on stream and we depend on our gear. We buy the best we can find and expect it to perform. When it does not meet our expectations we are not only disappointed but are forced to act. We are going to return the wading boots to Orvis along with an honest evaluation. We have already ordered her a new pair of Korkers, which come with two pair of interchangeable soles. One with studs for use when wading in slippery conditions and one with no studs for use in the boat and easy wading conditions like gravel bottoms. They also have a ratcheting lacing system (BOA) that replaces laces with stainless steel aircraft cable for a convenient and solid fit. I have worn mine for a couple of months and love them.

The lesson learned here is to carefully evaluate your gear before you purchase it. If something does not perform as expected, return it. Demand gear that meets or exceeds your needs and expectations.
Sam S. asks: How can I beat the heat and still catch fish.
Sam, fish early and fish late. The middle of the day is definitely slow under these conditions.

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