White River

Fishing trip report, Tuesday, April 17

Posted by Phil Lilley on April 19th, 2012
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Duane, Mona Cheri and I headed for the White River yesterday about 5 am.  We arrived at Wildcat Shoal Access a little before 7 am ready to spend the day on the river chasing big browns and rainbows.  We were excited to see and fish the big caddis hatch we’d been hearing about.  The caddis didn’t let us down!

They were running 4 units at Bull Shoals dam at 60 cfs- later in the day it increased to 165 cfs.  I pulled a jon boat over with a 25 hp motor.  Wasn’t sure if it would be a problem running over the shoals – I wanted to run up to the Narrows.  I had no issues at all.

We boated up to the top of the island at the Narrows, got out and waded around the island for a while.  Mona Cheri caught a few rainbows drifting a mega worm (white) while Duane found a pod of small rainbows and caught a few on a streamer.  About 8:15, the caddis started to hatch.  We got back in the boat and started targeting rising fish against the bluff bank for the rest of the morning, into the afternoon.

We’d drift the bank and look for feeding fish. They’d be in groups of two and threes, not everywhere but fairly consistent.  We’d get lookers and refusers.  We’d spook a few with a bad cast or they just flat wouldn’t pay any attention to the dry.  We used mainly Elk Hair Caddis, light cream colors.  The caddis hatching were at least 3 different shades of brownish cream and they got thick quick, stayed thick all day pretty much.

We caught several browns and rainbows, all were fatter than fat, probably with caddis seeing they’d been hatching everyday for the past 2 weeks.  I’d see fish darting around under the surface too, I bet eating emergers.  But we weren’t prepared as well as I’d liked to have been, not having any good caddis nymphs.  We did try some zebras and I did catch one brown on a black Zebra but that was after one took my dry… complicated story but I did have him on the dry in the beginning but was on the dropper when I got him to the boat, both in the mouth.

We pulled out at 3 pm and headed to the dam.  Stopped for a break and something to drink.  Put in at the dam access and started throwing white 1/8th oz jigs and drifting egg and mega worm patterns.  Duane tried a white chammy worm he ties and that ended up doing the best on the fly rod.  But the white jigs were the best at catching trout.  Caught some decent browns and nice rainbows, all fat and hard fighting.  Toward dark, I switched to black and man they came alive.  Both Duane and I caught some quality rainbows and one brown, big fat and very wide bodies.  Most were over 18 inches but nothing much over 20.

Duane did catch his first ever cutthroat.  It made his trip, I think.

Last fish of the day… a 20 inch walleye caught on a black jig.

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