White River Basin Fly Fishing Report
First of all, I want to apologize for the lapse in reports, but things have been hectic with the holidays coming up, along with all of the enhancements and changes I’ve made to my website. Never hesitate to call me or email me if you are in need of updated fishing conditions or any other information. I love talking to all of you, and I enjoy helping everyone out.
I really focus on my fly tying this time a year, and a major project I am working on is putting together different fly boxes for each of the fisheries in the area. There will be a Taneycomo box, a White River box, a Norfork box, and a Roaring River box to start with. I have also been tying streamer boxes, crawdad boxes, and nymph boxes, so be sure to check out the “Flies for Sale” page over the next week to see all of these new products listed. In the winter, when the guide business slows down, I also do commercial tying for Blue Ribbon Fly Shop in Mountain Home. If you are down in Arkansas doing some fishing and you want to try some of my flies, be sure to stop in and let Larry take care of you. Please keep in mind that I am always willing to do custom orders and boxes, so if you ever are in need of quality, locally-tied flies for the White River Basin fisheries, just drop me a line.
The fishing has been all over the place pretty much since the beginning of December. As you may or may not know, the Corp of Engineers has cracked open the flood gates at Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams in an effort to improve oxygen levels and to drop the lakes as quickly as possible. The additional water has only been equivalent to an extra generator or two, but when you add more water to full generation; it makes for pretty heavy flows. For this reason, very few people have been fishing the White and Norfork over the last three weeks, but those who have are catching some fish. Streamers are working in and around any sort of current-breaking structure, and be sure to do whatever is necessary to get the pattern deep and in a hurry. Nymph fishing has been surprisingly productive, but it does take more weight than normal to get the fly down to where it needs to be. Focus on submerged gravel bars with nymphs. Soft current areas near the banks are also holding lots of nice fish. San Juan Worms, eggs, and large bead head nymphs are doing the trick. This time of year, with respect to worm imitations, it is all about fluorescent red and bubblegum pink. Look for the gates to be closed very soon (the Norfork gates are already closed), but heavy generation will still persist on the White and Norfork for at least three more weeks. Once the lakes get closer to normal levels, water flows will decrease dramatically. Barring heavy rains, this should occur sometime in mid-January.
Over the last few days, flows on Lake Taneycomo have been cut in half. Now they are running two units pretty much around the clock. This reduction has made for some really productive fishing around the outlets and near the islands in the Point Royal area. These are perfect levels for drift fishing, as you will get bites just about anywhere when using standard high-water rigs and patterns. Worms and eggs are to go-to flies right now. It is hard to predict exactly what will happen on Taneycomo over the next few weeks, but it would not surprise me if the water did get shut down at some point very soon. The Corp is making room for the water in Beaver Lake, but at some point, they will have lowered Table Rock Lake to a desirable level. Regardless, the fishing is “on” right now, and the rainbows are in excellent shape.
As some of you may know, Summer and I are expecting our second child sometime in January, so please wish us luck, and we are both very excited. I promise to keep everyone updated, and I will continue to post reports as often as I can. It looks like 2010 is going to be a great year for fly fishing in the Ozarks, and I am very excited about the prospect of catching many of the trophy fish that are prevalent. All the trout fisheries are reaping the benefits of the extended high water we have experienced over the last two years.