White River

Berry’s fishing report, April 19, 2012

Posted by John Berry on April 19th, 2012
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During the past week, we have had a significant rain event, warm temperatures and windy conditions. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam fell three tenths of a foot to rest at four tenths of a foot above power pool of 654.00 feet. This is forty and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool.
Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose five tenths of a foot to rest at six tenths of a foot above power pool or fifteen and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell three and one tenth feet to rest at four tenths of a foot above power pool or nine and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we have had lower generation. There has been no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell three and eight tenths feet to rest at nine tenths of a foot above power pool of 552.00 feet or twenty seven and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had heavy generation with additional flows entering the river through the flood gates earlier in the week and the elimination of the flows from the flood gates later in the week. There has been little wadable water. The Corps of Engineers has been aggressively drawn down the lakes to prepare for spring rains and they are now all within inches of power pool. We should receive wadable water this week.

On the higher flows that we received this week, the key to success has been to drift brightly colored San Juan worms and egg patterns below an indicator. You should use a leader/tippet combination of twelve feet or longer and heavy weight (AAA split shot or heavier). To increase the takes, suspend a dropper fly beneath the lead fly. Productive choices would be copper Johns, sowbugs and fluttering caddis nymphs. Concentrate on fishing the bank, submerged islands and weed beds.

Another productive technique for this high level of generation is to bang the bank with large articulated streamers on a fast sinking sink tip fly line (250 grains or heavier). In order to cast these flies on these lines, you will need at least an eight weight fly rod. Suggested flies are butt monkeys, sex dungeons and zoo cougars. This technique is heavy work and not for the casual fly fisher. It will not produce large numbers of trout but can generate some big fish.

The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals, which has received some spectacular caddis hatches in the afternoon. Many anglers have reported success banging the bank with size fourteen elk hair caddis. The trick has been to get very close to the bank and achieve a perfect drag free drift. When there are no adults coming off, try a caddis larva or prince nymph under an indicator. Another hot spot has been Rim Shoals. For a nominal fee Rim Shoals Trout Dock will ferry you to wadable water and pick you up when you wish to leave or when the water rises.

Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and clear. The water temperature is at the level for the Smallmouth to be active. Some anglers have reported success with Clouser minnows and crawfish patterns. 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.

There has been generation continuously on the Norfork. On higher flows, the best technique has been to drift brightly colored San Juan worms (red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and egg patterns (pink and orange). Here again banging the bank with large articulated streamers can produce some large trout. When the flood gates were open, warm water fish escaped from the lake into the river. This is a great opportunity to catch stripers, walleye, gar and other species on the river. You are encouraged to remove them, as they are predators with a taste for trout.

Dry Run Creek has been productive. The weather has been mild and it has drawn lots of young anglers taking advantage it. Spring break is over and it is much less crowded during the week. There is an opportunity for a bit of solitude at times. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Be careful to carefully revive and gently release all fish. This is a precious resource.

The water level on the Spring River is lower and clearing. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season has not started yet and we have much less traffic on stream. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot spot has been the Dam Three Access. The hot flies have been brown woolly buggers with a bit of flash, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.

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.

The North Arkansas Fly Fishers will have a fly fishing class at the Van Matre Senior Center beginning Monday, April 23. The class is free to members. Non members can join the North Arkansas Fly Fishers at the first class and participate for $15.00. Contact club president, Mike Tipton, at (870) 404-8845 for further information.

Practice water safety and always check conditions before you leave home.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

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