The Ultimate Ozark “Tailwater” Resource
This page provides information about the productive fly fishing on the White River and Norfork Tailwater in Arkansas. These rivers are world-famous for huge wild brown trout and high numbers of big rainbow trout.
The food sources on the White River and Norfork Tailwater are prolific due to nutrient-rich water, and the trout can grow up to an inch-a-month during certain water conditions.
There is no more fun and productive fly fishing experience than fly fishing on the White River or Norfork, and it is always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced guide when planning an Ozark Mountain fishing trip.
Welcome….to the White River and Norfork Tailwaters in northern Arkansas. For those of you not familiar with these prolific fisheries, please explore the wealth of information we have compiled…for your Ozark fly fishing veterans, we’re sure this source will become a favorite because we will not withold useful information. FlysandGuides.com is not merely a “guide site”.
We have much more to offer than the typical “rah rah” type of entity that is so common when searching about an area to make a destination. This site is designed to be a cohesive, informative, and easy to read source on anything and everything pertaining to the White River and the other quality tailwaters in this system.
As fly fishermen, we have become tired of the “secret society” that seems prevalent in our sport. Instead, we feel that sharing knowledge and being personable will help this sport more than some outdated “mystique”. And really, it all comes down to fun.
If we can show people something they enjoy and perhaps become passionate about, that gives us great satisfaction. Reports will be UPDATED as much as we can after we go fishing, and we will always be receptive to any and all questions. So enjoy the site, and please drop us a line to let us know what you think.
What makes the White and Norfork
The White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater) and Norfork Tailwater are year-round trout fisheries located below huge U.S. Army Corp of Engineers dams. Because of this, water levels are unpredictable, and subject to rapid rises and drops. It’s really pretty wild. Most wading is done when there is no power being generated at the dam. During these times, the rivers “shrink” into nutrient-rich “spring creeks”. Crossing the river is possible in many places, and the trout are literally everywhere. Although we love low water conditions and the wide range of effective techniques that can be utilized, it is really the high water that provides the fuel to accelerate the growth of the fish.
Some studies have shown that trout can grow up to an inch a month during prolonged periods of power generation. With eight generating units at Bull Shoals Dam and two at Norfork, anglers have to always be aware of their surroundings and be ready to change their methods of fishing at a moment’s notice.
Fly fishing can be excellent on even the highest of water, but it’s best to learn boat fishing from someone who knows the rivers. Regardless of whether the water is high or low, or if the weather is warm or cool, quality fly fishing can be had almost any time.
The White River Basin is geographically central, and one of the best values in fly fishing.
Something for all fly fishers… FlysandGuides.com is designed to be a resource for fly fishermen to learn about an often misunderstood fishery. We will always be truthful with respect to prevailing fishing conditions and what to expect.
It’s not always possible to wade these rivers, but boat/drift fishing is a blast and worth trying…we catch most of the really big fish in high water. If lake levels are “normal”, there is a pretty good chance that there will be low water somewhere (please check out the site for more info on understanding how this whole “dam” thing works), and if the lakes are high behind the dams, the rivers will operate in accordance to their flood plan (which usually means 24/7 releases of water).
For these reasons, there is a little bit of something for fly fishers of all skill levels. There are chances for big fish, and there are chances to catch lots of numbers of fish, often in the same areas. The food sources are prolific, especially the scuds, sow bugs, worms, and midges (plus much, much, more).
So it’s important to bring an open mind with you along with the waders, rod, flies, etc.
This section of the website is devoted to the Lake Taneycomo Tailwater outside of Branson, Missouri. I cut my teeth on this section of the White River below Table Rock Dam before moving to Arkansas. Taneycomo is interesting and worth fishing for several reasons.
First of all, the upper stretch (the first three miles) is managed as a trophy fishery with bait restrictions and a slot-limit. These regulations have created a river with tons of nice rainbows and browns, and fish concentrations here rival those found anywhere in the country.
Another thing to understand about this tailwater is that it is technically a lake because of a small dam on the lower end of the Taneycomo.
For this reason there is a very slow water dynamic during low flow periods, but the water closely resembles many stretches of the White and Norfork. Sight fishing is excellent here for large fish.
Since moving to Arkansas to open the Fly shop, Jeremy and Lisa no longer take guided fishing trips on Lake Taneycomo. We do however have hours upon hours guiding and fishing the water system and can steer someone to the right flies for the right water conditions on that particular body of water. They shop is stocked with staple Taneycomo fly patterns that work well in other tailwaters in the Ozarks.
This fishery is definitely worth knowing about, and it is only 1.5 hours from the White River in Arkansas. The fall is prime time for huge browns on upper Taneycomo, and there is great dry fly fishing year-round. Please let me know if you have any questions about the prolific trout fishery on Lake Taneycomo.