Quick Reports - Flys

May 28, 2014

Flys and Guides

Detailed Fly Fishing Report 5-28-2014

Tanycomo: Low water and a few browns hanging up top!

Lake Taneycomo Brown trout 5-26-2014As of lately we have been seeing a lot of low water in the mornings with a few days of steady generation here and there. For the most part, it’s been great to start seeing longer periods of water to wade. If you are into night fishing, that has been an option too. The Corp seems to be turning some generators on sometime in the afternoon around 2-3pm. It’s starts minimal, but by the time it’s over they are running anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 cfs for six hours or so.

Algae is one of the biggest problems for us. The steady generation we had for three months during the winter caused the moss to grow and we see the results when the water is off. It’s not as bad in the morning when you start out because the generation is washing it out. By the time the low water hangs around in the morning and the sun starts to burn it off, it will actual break off from the bottom and start floating on the surface. It becomes a nuisance because you will be collecting it on your fly about every drift, especially when you are playing a fish. This will take some time and we will need to see a lot of low water for a long period of time to get control of the algae.

Note; If you notice in the shallows, you will see long stringy algae. That’s what has been growing from high water. This is actually causing the trout to have to work harder to get to the food source that is on the bottom. The trout will have to eat a gallon of moss to get to one scud! lol.

What are the best flies to use?

Jason mayo Norfork Brown TroutIf you plan on fishing patterns on the swing, whether it’s a streamer like a wooly bugger or small emerger like a soft hackle etc., you won’t have any problems until later in the day. In the morning from 6am until 10ish you should be alright as far as not collecting moss on your fly. Nymphing is kind of the same way, softer current seems to be where the algae collects. If you stay in the faster current it’s cleaner water and the moss/algae doesn’t collect as easily.

Since we are in this weather pattern where we have light rain and mostly cloud cover in the morning and occasionally the sun peaking through in the afternoon, it’s hard to figure out what to use. One guarantee is when we have is wind. When we have wind at Taney, that equals dry fly fishing with terrestrials like the big ugly or crackleback’s fished on the top. Ants are still working well. If you haven’t read my recent ant report, you might want to. Great action on ants can be had. Yesterday I had two trips and the afternoon trip we managed to hook over forty trout fishing ant patterns.

The weather has been unpredictable as of now. I’ve been fishing a number of patterns depending on sun verses cloud cover. When we do have clouds, I use flies that are fished on the bottom. When we have sun I go to midge type patterns. I think one thing that gets overlooked is the various midge patterns you can fish at Taney. The typical midges that are being used 90% of the time are zebra midges with black bodies and gold, nickel and copper beads coupled with red and olive bodies. I think people are missing out by not fishing black tungsten beads with various bodies with different colors of thread. I hate to say it, but when I’m out there every day seeing folks fishing these same ole’ types of flies, they’ve been striking out. Yes these midges work, but these are the flies that fish get educated on faster because these particular patterns are getting fished more than others.

Dave and Jeff Norfork Double BrownsI’ve been fishing nothing but midges with uni-thread bodies in rusty dun, olives, browns, and rust with black beads and catching three to one more than on the traditional zebra midges. I think the bead has everything to do with it too. I think copper, nickel and gold are great for the sun, but the black is good in the gloom/cloudy days. It also works great in the sun. Overall, this is the best way to fish midges in my book. So if you are a tyer, make sure you start tying midges that I just described. The wire needs to be black in size (BR). This will increase your odds the next time you fish zebra midges, I promise.

All the other stuff is working as well such as sculpins, (but they will collect moss when stripping them) scuds in grey and tan, sowbugs in gray, wd40’s in gray, rs2’s in olive and brown, loop wing emergers in olive, soft hackles in red, black, olive and rusty colors, cracklebacks with peacock green bodies, mega worm in white, small woolies in olive shades and of course the miracle fly in yellow, which I’ve caught a brown on everyday at Taneycomo going on eight days. Don’t overlook this pattern. It’s crazy what you can do on it.


Dave and Jeff Norfork DoubleWell……things have changed since the last time you read my report and watched the footage (on the right hand side of the webpage). The siphon is now broken and not in working shape. The Corp of Engineers has resorted to opening one flood gate to keep the aeration and minimal flow active. I’m sure you think that’s good news as it keeps the dissolved oxygen levels high. The downfall to this is, it is raising the temperature of the tail water side above what the trout would like to hold in. If this keeps up I see the trout going back into the White. A few things to think about though that bring up some debates.

1. Why would the Corp just run a generator to keep the water staying cold instead of changing the water temperature from mixing warm water on the lake side mixing in with cold water on the tail water side?

Dave Zimm's Norfork BrownThat’s a good question and I’m sure a lot of people are saying the same thing. It really boils down to understanding how this whole thing works and who knows why they do what they do. All we can do is hope for the siphon to be fixed in a hurry or everything they have worked so hard to do by improving this fishery will be a bust in the sense that the trout won’t stick around. It could take months to pull them back in the river. Implementing the siphon has made this one of the best trout fisheries we have in the Ozark’s. I think it’s even better than the White.

2. They could keep it the way it has always been by leaving the flood gate off and just leaving the tail water the way it has always been.

I understand they need oxygen to always improve the oxygen situation, but now they have a bigger problem on their hands. Warm water doesn’t mix well with the trout. I believe low oxygen levels won’t hurt the fish as much as warmer temperatures. We’ve all seen what the floods did with our trout. I know many of Tanycomo’s big browns are dead from the floods and it will take years to see the results of a bunch of big fish that we once had. I’m sure there are some, but not like the numbers. I think of big fish like elderly people. Hot weather and elderly people don’t mix. With hot weather and the result can be fatal. I believe the same for trout. Browns are a hardy fish, but not like we would think, especially older trout. I’m sure the older, bigger trout that are in the Norfork will find colder water.

One thing that makes me scratch my head is…… If they keep the flood gates on and still ran some cold water from the generators like they’re doing, is that enough to keep everything balanced out and keep the trout from leaving. Some things to think about….

In Conclusion –

I’ll have to go see for myself, if the results are the same. I’m still seeing big fish pictures from some of the guides so as of right now there are still some big browns staying in the river. I don’t have a trip over there for another week or so, but I plan on keeping in touch with some of the locals. I’ll keep you posted.

White River –

Jim's last cast Lake Taneycomo brown TroutI haven’t been spending any time over there because the Norfork has been fishing great all fall and even into spring. If the Norfork declines due to the siphon not being fixed in a timely manner, then I’ll be spending some time on the White. I’ve heard the river is fishing great and the bigger browns are starting to hook up. That’s a good sign for the hopper bite. I believe you could go over there right now and have some success on hoppers. Sulphurs are coming off, so make sure you have some yellow emergers in your fly box. That’s going to be the “trend” right now, but all the other stuff will work like sowbugs, midges, san juans, caddis pupa, soft hackles and of course the miracle fly in yellow (oregon cheese).

The water hasn’t been too bad on any of the fisheries as far as big water and for the most part we are seeing low water with a little generation in the afternoon. There are lots of wading opportunities so make sure you get out and take advantage of it. You never know how long it will last. Right now we are in good shape to have a low water summer. Of course, when it gets hot, they have to sell power. Even then, I don’t think it will be all that bad for big water. If we get a few big rains that dump a lot of inches, this report won’t make much sense. It changes by the week so make sure you stay posted on my Facebook page at FlysandGuides or check back and read the most recent report.

Dave Zimm's Norfork Tailwater BrownAll the fish you see in the pictures are trout that have been caught on the Norfork or on Lake Taneycomo in the month of May. This is the results of just a few clients that spent some days with me. If you want in on this action send me an email and we can make a trip of a life time happen for you. Come as a guest and leave as a friend and has a better fly fisherman!!

If you would like to know more about fishing on Lake Taneycomo or Norfork in Arkansas and how they work well during certain times of the year you can send me a email directly to [email protected] if you are interested in booking a guide trip. Feel free to visit us on Facebook, If you really liked this article, +1 above – check us out at +flysandguides (Google+) or send us a tweet with a question or just to say hi. Check out the Fly of the Month!

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