Fly Fishing on White River
Low water and windy conditions make for some awesome fishing on the White
A few days ago, I took a couple of my regulars out fishing on the White River at Rim Shoals. The water was dead low after over 24 hours of no generation at Bull Shoals Dam, and by the time we got to the ramp, the wind was blowing HARD out of the south.
We rigged up and got out on the water as quickly as possible. Since the wind was blowing upstream, I did not have to do much rowing to get up near the shoal at Jenkin’s Creek. We meticulously worked our way downstream, fishing out of the drift boat, and we were picking up quite a few rainbows on pretty much any nymphs we drifted below an indicator. There was no point in fishing the moving water areas during the middle of the day because they were packed, but by moving away from the masses, we were able to basically have hundreds upon hundreds of yards of prime water to ourselves.
After hammering fish just above the middle island, I snuck around the backside; rowing my hardest just to get downstream into an area that sees very little in the way of pressure because it is difficult to access on foot or with a heavy river boat. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, we caught as many fish as we cared to catch, and I know we were approaching triple-digits by the time we called it a day. We did get out and wade in a few of my favorite spots, but primarily, we used the drift boat to meticulously work every deep hole and cover as much water as possible. The guys I took out had fished with a different guide near Gaston’s Resort the day before, and although they worked harder with me, their productivity was two-fold at Rim Shoals – it always pays to get away from what the status quo is doing and stick with the patterns, spots and techniques that you know will produce fish based on the conditions at hand.
By the end of the day, we were all pretty exhausted from battling winds that were frequently gusting over 30 miles per hour, but the fishing couldn’t have been any better. The entire White River is full of chunky rainbows, and there are good browns everywhere, as well. Although it would have been nice if the winds were a bit more relaxed, it just goes to show how excellent the fishing can be when the water is low and the wind is blowing upstream. The wind-chop creates cover for the trout, so they almost always are actively cruising in search of food when conditions are like this. If the wind had been coming from the north, it would have affected where and how I fished, as the current would have been much faster. There are so many little tricks that one learns from spending years on the same stretches of water, and this is why hiring a guide pays off with respect to learning how to approach any fishery in the country based on the conditions and the type of water you are fishing. A lot of guys avoid the long, slow pools like a plague, but these are the areas to be when it’s windy; plus, most of the big fish will hang out in the deeper cuts when the river is dead low.
Fly fishing on the White River is amazing right now, and March is typically a better month than February, especially for larger browns. It will be windy most days, but as you can tell, that is a good thing if the water is low. The Norfork is also fishing well, and because that river is smaller and more protected than the White, it often offers a respite on days when the winds are absolutely brutal.
Some final points…
I will be putting on an extensive streamer presentation at this year’s Sow Bug Round up on Saturday morning (March 19th). This annual event held in Mountain Home, Arkansas is like a small fly fishing convention, and it is a great chance to learn more about the sport, try all the latest gear and equipment, and to meet many of the sport’s luminaries.
Be sure to stop by and check out as many presentations as you can before hitting the water, and if the lakes stay low, both rivers should be perfect for wading during the entire event. My seminar is called “Streamer Fishing for Big Fish”, and it is designed to quickly help interested anglers become proficient at all the different ways that streamers can be fished, along with basic explanations on how to tie some of my most effective patterns.
For more information on the Sow Bug Round, check out their complete Web site at:
There is still time to sign up for the on-stream skills workshop on March 12th , which is a full day of learning as much about fly fishing the Ozarks as possible. To check out more about what this value-oriented day is all about. Learn more about our programs and events by clicking on the link.
I will also be hosting one class a month during the prime time season of my guiding schedule because these classes are getting some great response so I feel it is important to keep them going all year. The classes are held at Shepherd of the Hills trout hatchery from 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays only. March 12th is our next class for the month of March, and it will be tied in to the on-stream skills workshop, as well.
Newsletter for Feb/March is out on the site. The full version is being sent out tonight for subscribers only. Enjoy!!
Please give me a call or drop me an email if you need any more information about any of these fun, upcoming learning opportunities or if you have any detailed questions.
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