Since getting out there on the first of February up by Bull Shoals Dam, I have not since found time to go fishing. This is because I have been busy paying the bills by tying flies, and as you have hopefully noticed; I have been spending a lot of time working on my Web site. The bite continues to be excellent on the White River, Norfork Tailwater and Lake Taneycomo, but the heavy snow of last week has caused the lakes to stop dropping as quickly as they were. It is so frustrating when little bursts of precipitation keep pounding the area right when the lakes are about to get to normal levels. Every reservoir in the White River System is around one foot above power pool. Generation has been nearly constant for the last week, but most of the water levels reflect light to moderate flows – this makes for excellent drifting conditions. San Juan Worms and egg patterns are winter fly staples. There has been little word on the shad kill lately, but I am thinking that the predicted upcoming cold weather should cause the year’s first significant numbers of shad to show up on the water. The heaviest shad kills will usually occur on the White, but the Norfork and Lake Taneycomo will almost always have a corresponding event.
At this point, pretty much everyone is crossing their fingers in hope if seeing some low water soon, but this frustrating pattern of heavy rains coming in just as the lakes get to power pool levels has been going on for almost three years. I guess this is “payback” from all the low water of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The near-constant high water has helped the fisheries flourish, and the numbers of big fish being caught is simply staggering, but it would sure be nice to have some lower flow conditions so that everyone can get in on the fun. I feel like a broken record saying this, but here it goes: if the rains hold off, there could be low water by next weekend, as the lakes are starting to slowly drop again. Of course, there is rain and snow in the forecast for this week. As a guide, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out these dynamic rivers, and my approach is to do my best to productively fish the conditions at hand. Still, I feel bad for those people who just want a little bit of wading water, but there is no sense in getting worked up over things that are completely out of our control.
The fly boxes offered on the Web site and in my newsletters have been selling really well lately, and I want to express my appreciation to everyone who has made a purchase. I will be putting together an option to order customized boxes on the site very soon. This way, everyone will have the chance to create a selection based on personal needs and preferences, and the specialized boxes will also still be available. My next project will be to create a killer sculpin box. Look for this product to be introduced in the upcoming newsletter for March.
Be sure to sign up for the subscription version of the newsletter to receive bonus content and special promotions – we have been receiving scores of accolades regarding the quality of the exclusive articles. Also, be sure to check out my blog at http://troutdoctor101.wordpress.com/ . I have just posted a comprehensive article about dry fly fishing the White River, Norfork Tailwater and Lake Taneycomo on the blog, and this piece is a must-read, if you have any interest in learning about the exciting opportunities to fish for large Ozark trout with dry flies.
My guide schedule is starting to fill in a little bit, but I still have many openings for the remainder of February and beyond. If you have ever considered a guided fly fishing trip on the White, Norfork or Lake Taneycomo, the next month is the perfect opportunity to act on this desire. The flows will likely be constantly fluctuating, which is exactly what we want in order to take full advantage of the shad kill, but these conditions will make it tough on those intent on wading the whole time. With so many big fish around on all the rivers, the fishing over the next month, or so, will be remembered for a long time. Be sure not to miss out on all the fun, and never hesitate to call or write me if you have any questions at all.