Fly Fishing Weekend Report Jan. 2 – 4, 2020
White River & Norfork
Predictions for Low Water
Beaver Power Pool 1120.43/ Top Power Pool 1130.0
As of right now the lake sits at 1122.03 with the spillway release at 7,950 with the flood gates open at a foot and one generator online pushing 3,900 cfs, so total being released is 11,850.The lake seems to be dropping pretty fast, about a foot roughly every two days. Once this is done I believe we will start seeing low water on Beaver .Beaver has been storing this water for quit some time and we will never know why the Corp does what they do.Top power pool is 1130 which means Beaver can only store ten feet of water.I believe one reason why they don’t get too nervous storing all this water above power pool is because they don’t get the run off that Table Rock and Bull Shoals gets, and the fact that they can dump it if they want.From what I see they seem to store it and let the other tailwaters go down before they dump another heavy load of water. All I know is they are doing a better job getting water where it needs to go, but it sure hasn’t left a lot of low (wadable) water for 2019.This might be the trend if we get heavy rains. In 2019 we got 60 inches of rainfall. So keep that in mind going forward. If we do, then I would say we will have a high water year all year.
Table Rock Power Pool 915.0/ Top Power Pool 931.0
Table Rock is sitting great at 915.98 with a steady three generators running pretty much full time.We are keeping up with Beaver dumping all that water on us for the most part and I believe we will see this trend until we stay at power pool with Beaver at Power Pool.Once this happens then we should start seeing better water, but if we get rain instead of snow like we did last year then here we go with more generation.A plus for streamer fisherman and not so much for the wade fisherman without access to a boat.
Bull Shoals Power Pool 659.0/ Top Power Pool 695.0
The water is also in great shape here as well.Like I said, might be a concern for all those streamer fishermen that plan to arrive in a few weeks and some are already showing up from out of state that plan on doing guide trips for a few months.It’s always a gamble when you are up against tailwaters.
Just have to go with the flow and mouse at night if we do get lower water that isn’t idle for streamer fishing.
The lake only has less than a foot before they are at power pool, but we still have the water from Beaver that will dump into Table Rock and then Bull Shoals.
If they continue this trend then I would say we still have a few weeks before we see low water, but who knows.
Norfork Lake Power Pool 553.75/ Top Power Pool 580.0
Just a few days ago we started seeing low water during the daylight hours. This is due to we are at power pool finally.Right now Norfork Lake sits at 553.73, so we are in good shape for sure as far as low water for the time being. So all you wade fisherman, this is your place!! The downfall though is the water is stained big time.I’ve seen this water like this pretty much all year. If you are asking why, it’s because of the floods we’ve had on NFOW with all the debris sinking to the bottom of the lake and also the lake turning, but it’s more of the debris than anything.
Who knows how long it will be like this, but I’ll take it because we got some floatable water and I love drift boat fishing more than motor boat fishing, but they both have their purpose and you have to have both fishing in Arkansas that’s for sure, unless you just like fishing the White.
Jeremy’s Weekend Wrap Up
Hope everyone was able to get out there and enjoy some fishing with this crazy good weather for January.
It sure has been a mild winter which is a good thing if you ask me. I was finally able to meet up with Phillip over at Gaston’s Resort to organize the fly bin and added a bunch of local staple fly patterns for the White River basin.
It was a long time coming, but we finally got it done and it looks awesome!
The best part about this project is everything we took out and discontinued is being donated to the local Girl’s and Boy’s Club.
I love seeing this and getting more kids into the sport.
On another note, Lisa and I were able to spend the weekend together with the kids.
We rarely get to do this because we work around each other’s schedule so getting time off together only happens in the winter months.
We keep a camper at Copper John’s Resort so it’s always good to sit by the fire after a long hard day of fishing or doing stuff with the kids.
Speaking of fishing, Jim who is one of our regulars was able to join us as well.
This was more of a relaxed trip with a little bit of work, little bit of fishing, little bit of bowling and eating some good food at the 178 Club in Bull Shoals. Gaston’s restaurant, where we really frequent a lot was closed and will reopen February 1st.
We decided to hit Norfork Friday afternoon since we got a late start driving down that morning and then meeting up with Gaston’s before we were even going to fish.
The good news is Phillip was in a meeting so I decided to wait and do the bin Sunday or Monday and get over to the Fork with Jim while we still had time. By the time we got the boat in, shuttle done it was around 1:30pm.
Since it gets dark around 5:30pm, it didn’t leave us a lot of time to baby the float and really fish McClellan’s the way I like too.
It was more of a rushed float, but it was good to finally see some lower water longer than a few hours that we’ve had pretty much all year.
One thing I noticed right off was how bad the water color was. It’s very discolored and I wonder if that has effected the bite somewhat.
I’ll have to go back and really fish it slow to really know, but the time we were there we caught fish both on midges in the shallower runs and nymphs in the deeper water and in the shoals.
We stayed pretty consistent with hooking fish, but nothing big and no brown’s to speak of.
I’ll have to go back which I can’t wait and see how it really is fishing.
Lisa was fishing the White with Decker because since she arrived later than I did so we just didn’t have time to meet up and fish the Fork. They threw streamers and did well. The big difference was the cloud cover. It seemed like everybody throwing streamers that day did well.
The next day which was Saturday, we had bright sunny day with a 15mph wind that made it a bit chilly, especially when driving the 60/40 jet up river. I knew that it was probably going to be a tougher day with these conditions, but we stuck it out and gave it our best.
We didn’t catch a ton of fish, I think three smaller browns’ and some bigger rainbows, which is really cool to see because in my years of fishing the White, you just didn’t see bigger rainbows, but you do now and they are chasing streamers!!
Of course I’ve hooked every species of trout on streamers, but when you start seeing the rainbows getting bigger it adds to the experience of not only just hooking big brown’s, now you have a shot at a rainbow over twenty inches.
And that is exactly what happened to Jim. We turn the corner at Wildcat and he hooked into a beautiful rainbow and it was a shocker. It really made me excited for what is in store for the fishery since they implemented new regulations.
Jim is growing as an angler and it’s always a joy to see them develop into their own skill set, making their own decisions. He actually opened his box up and picked out his own streamer, which I probably wouldn’t have picked out the one he did, but it worked and I think it had a lot to do with all the flash in the pattern.
It sure looked good in the water with the bright sun and that rainbow did too. I was very excited for Jim, because I had a lot to do with his growth so it is always great to see your hard work paying off and the passion you have for the sport.
Sunday Lisa and I decided to head to Gaston’s and get the fly bin done and not fish. Jim headed back home, but before leaving we ate breakfast at the campsite with our neighbors.
They got a new griddle for Christmas.
It was pretty cool! They also built a fire so we got to eat next to it and watch the sun come up. We wanted to fish, but we had to get home and put all that Christmas stuff up. All in all it was a great trip and laid back. I also filled up Two River’s Fly Shop with some flies they were getting low on. All in all, made some money, fished a little and got to spend some time with the family.
Report from the Field – Lisa Bellue
Friday January 3rd
My first weekend of the new year was spent on the White. Jeremy left out for the Norfork trying to get in on the low water in the afternoon with Jim. While I was on the White in the late afternoon into dusk with Mike. We started the afternoon with a bit of sunshine and used the Cerise Micro San Juan worm, since I already had it rigged up from Taney.We were able to pick up several this way and then decided to run the Mega worm. Peach in the 1/80th below a pinch on indicator was doing well in the softer water and Mike wanted to the run the Red Mega with a White Mega underneath a larger float.This technique worked well but I tend to never double rig a Mega due to the constant fouling that will happen with the top fly. Mike clearly has more patience than I, as I did notice the top fly wrap more than once.But like he said, “it’s workin!” After the sun went behind the clouds, we quickly changed over to the streamer game.
I threw some larger patterns at them, but in the end the smaller staple patterns like Peanut Envy’s, Circus Peanut’s, and a Bottoms proved to be more productive.
Darkness was soon upon us so I flipped the lights on the new drifter and motored back to the ramp.
Saturday January 4th
Jeremy and Jim decided to give the White a try after playing in the dingy water at the Norfork the day before. We woke up to bright blue bird skies and slightly windy conditions, so we didn’t get in a hurry to hit the water.Nonetheless, we stuck to the streamer game to keep up with all the cool kids. After a few casts I was soon reminded how a certain someone is always on the sticks, so I gave up my perch and let Jeremy wet a line.We did manage to bring several fish to the boat but nothing of any size. The fish of the day was an absolute brute of a buck rainbow that took an Andreas Andersson tied Green and Black Sisu that Jim pulled out of his box.I even remember telling Jeremy to, “look out Jim’s going Fire Tiger in the back of the boat” and within two casts he was hooked up!Other Streamers that worked on that particular bright sunny day was an Olive Conrad Sculpin tied by none other than myself and another Andersson Sisu in Ginger.