White River

Opening day fishing report, 2/1/12

Posted by Phil Lilley on February 2nd, 2012
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Tom and I arrived at the boat ramp just below the Bull Shoals Dam on the White River this morning at 7 am.  Randy Waggoner, good friend from the Kansas City area followed us into the parking lot.  All of us rose early for the trip to the river to see what opening day in the upper catch and release area would bring.

Only one boat and trailer in the lot–I was surprised.  But it soon filled up with eager anglers in search of the same thing–a chance at nice trout that had not been disturbed for 3 months.

We put in and promptly headed to the upper reaches of the river, starting our drift with white 1/8th oz barbless jigs on our lines.  We guessed right.  White was the color and the fish were ready to eat.

Gulls pounded the water at the dam face where the water was coming through the dam which meant shad were coming through from Bull Shoals, a fishermen’s dream.  It’s pretty exciting to be at any tailwater when there’s shad coming through the dam.  Trout have a eating contest and big fish win!

Randy and Tom both had fish on their first casts.  I tried desperately not to catch one first thing… I told the guys it bad luck (kiddingly) and I managed to miss two bites before throwing out again and hooking my first trout.

We stayed in the middle of the river for the first dozen drifts, then worked the south side.  Guys seemed to be catching more browns over on that side and it proved right.  We boated 26 brown trout up to 19 inches on the day, all on white jigs.  Rainbows- we lost count, but none over 18 inches I believe.  We did see several browns over 20 inches caught and released on the day.

We’ll hit the river again at 7 am and fish till noon.  Then Randy has the boat to himself the rest of the day.  His buddies join him tomorrow night for the weekend of fishing.

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