Norfork Fishing Report
April 11, 2010
Confronting the challenge of fishing the current conditions below Bull Shoals Dam
I took a family of three out on the water yesterday, and the significance of this event was that it was my first high-water guide trip with three anglers in the boat. My new Supreme is wonderful to fish out of, and I am putting the 5-feet of extra room to good use. Although fly fishing out of the boat with three people takes increased awareness and the willingness to share the space, these types of trips allow more friends and family to fish together.
Plus, splitting the cost of a guide trip amongst an extra person will save some money. It is great to be able to offer the three-angler option to my clients.
David, Jeremy, and “Pops” we beginners eager to delve right into the sport of fly fishing. Before the trip, Phil, of Lilley’s Landing Resort helped me arrange the purchase of some good, beginner setups for my client’s upcoming experience. They were able to familiarize themselves with their equipment before going out on the water, which always helps. Waders were purchased on the way down to the area at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri. Both the TFO fly rod and reel outfits and the Simms waders they bought worked flawlessly.
I decided on Bull Shoals Dam because the water is quite high on all of the tailwaters I frequent. Since yesterday was a Saturday, I felt that the number of other fishermen on the Norfork stretch could be overwhelming for my neophytes, and if nothing else, the Bull Shoals Dam area allows for plenty of room to spread out. The water was running at the six-unit level, so it was rocking and rolling. We found some slower water and went to work there – the results were immediate.
Every so often we would adjust our positioning, but for the most part, the action was so steady that we did not have to stray far from our original starting point…until our success started getting the attention of other anglers. Some folks just have to try and muscle in on you when everyone is having fun, so I let some other people move in, thinking that we could scrape up a few bites out in the main channel.
Drifting the big flows proved fruitless, which gave me a little bit of insight into why my previous spot looked so good to the other fishermen on the river. After awhile, we once again found some open slack water and went back to work. The total number of chunky rainbows landed was pretty gaudy, and my clients had a blast. It’s nice when everything works out. The upper White is fishing well on some pretty heavy water right now, and the crowds are thinning out from the spring rush. The typical high-water flies like San Juan Worms and Miracle Flies are doing the trick. I wish I had some pictures to show off, but I left my camera at home. This happens to everyone, and not having a camera is a great way to ensure a remarkable day on the water.
High water is going to be prevalent for at least another week, but Table Rock Lake is only a foot above pool, and flows have been cut back significantly of late. Beaver Lake is holding excess water, so dead-low water may not occur on Taneycomo until that reservoir is drawn down to pool, but you never know. Norfork continues to run at just over the one-unit level, and this river is fishing well for numbers. The water is clear compared to the White, but crowding has been an issue on the ‘Fork. On the White, the water gets pretty trashy just a few miles below Bull Shoals Dam, so keep that in mind if you plan on trying to drift some of the areas further downstream. This junky water should improve with each passing day. I will be guiding on the Norfork tomorrow, and I will let everyone know how it goes – hopefully we’ll have the place to ourselves on a Monday. Also, if you haven’t checked out the blog recently, be sure to give it a read. We have updated the theme and there is lots of new content available. Please let me know what you think of the changes and enhancements.
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