White River Fly Fishing Report – Shad Kill Alert February 9, 2010

Reports From The Field - Flys

February 9, 2010

Shad Kill Update – Shad are COMING THROUGH AT BULL SHOALS!!! Get down here NOW!!!

It is funny how there has been so much chatter on the Internet regarding the prospect of a decent shad kill up until a few days ago. At that point, the talk stopped.  So, I did some digging around, and I received confirmation that there are shad coming through Bull Shoals Dam. Everyone clams up when the actual shad kill event gets going. Apparently, the shad are not coming through extremely heavy, which is very encouraging news. It can get really tough if the trout see millions of shad right off the bat – if that happens, the fish will get comfortable and lazy knowing that they have an easy meal available anytime they want it.

The fishing below Bull Shoals Dam is heating up with white streamers, and the trout being caught are mostly good size. Flows have been at a four to five-unit level for the past few days, and considering that all of the lakes in the White River System are just above power pool levels; flows are likely to be very unpredictable over the next week or two. This is actually a good thing for shad kill fishing, as it seems that the slightest rise in water can turn the fishing on. On the White we have a saying: “What goes down must always come up”, so fluctuating water means many small rises in flow will occur. Rarely will the shad bite last all day long. The current generation pattern should provide several good opportunities to hook into a huge fish throughout the day.

I will be out guiding for a few days over the next week, so I will have some first-hand reports coming out soon. It should be exciting, and my schedule will probably get hectic after the word about the shad kill spreads. If you have ever been curious about shad kill fishing, the next couple of weeks should be “prime-time”. Travelling to try and take advantage of any type of “hatch” is going to have risks involved, but the beauty of coming down to Arkansas or Missouri in hopes of hitting the insane shad bite is that even if the conditions end up not being conducive to the best action, the “normal” fishing will still be productive. This is not an “all or nothing” type of deal.

Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions regarding getting in on the shad kill. Shad will likely start showing up on the Norfork and Lake Taneycomo very soon, so things could get a little crazy down here. At a minimum, the fish will key-in on shad patterns for the next month, but I’ve seen good shad kill fishing go well into April. Every day and every year is different, so the only way to not miss the best opportunities is to spend as much time as possible on the water. I know I will be out there all the time.

There will be a fly tying class at Lilley’s Landing tonight (Tuesday the 9th) at 7pm, and there will be another session at Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery below Table Rock Dam on Saturday at 2pm. These classes are a lot of fun and they will be of benefit to fly-tiers of all skill-levels.

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