Fly Fishing Report | Late January-Early February 2020

Reports From The Field - volcom2278

February 5, 2020

Fly Fishing Report – Late January-Early February 2020

Beaver – Current Power Pool is sitting at 1128.72 so it is up almost nine feet from normal pool which is 1120.43

Crazy that since the last time I wrote a report it actually is up two more feet. We just can’t seem to bring these lakes down because of two reasons. One is the Corp isn’t doing what they need to, to draw the lake down in a timely manner and the other is we just keep getting hit with heavy rains. Being that we are also coming into our rainy months, this isn’t a good sign at all for low water

Taneycomo/Table Rock Lake- Current Power Pool is sitting at 916.53 and still rising and probably will for a few more days, but now that Beaver Lake is even higher, I suspect flood gate water (just turned on the flood gates today) for another few weeks. So as of right now it is up a little more than a foot above pool which is 916.53. The spillway release is 5,000 on top of what they are releasing with the turbines which is three units at 150 mw which is 9,752 cfs.

White River/Bull Shoals – Current Power Pool is sitting at 666.51 and rising. Current power pool is 659.00 so the lake is up a little over seven feet. From what I see on the generation chart, it is showing they are running 16,564 cfs from turbines. It’s really hard to tell what the Corp plans on doing with flood gates. I guess we sit back and watch the YO-YO effect. They always say what they are going to do, but never stick to any type of game plan. My plan would be to dump and dump fast since we are coming into the rainiest months. The prediction going into Feb/March would be more high water for streamers. Not a bad way to hunt for big fish, but you’ll have to work for everyone.

Norfork Lake/North Fork Tailwater – Current Power Pool is 557.60 and rising from NFOW. Looking at the graph chart right now it shows 2,380 cfs which normal pool is around 450 cfs. It may raise a little more, but being that it isn’t controlled by dams the runoff shouldn’t last long and should probably raise the Norfork Lake a few feet. Like I say all the time, we will see low water here before we see it on Taneycomo or the White River.

Fly Fishing Report – Two Reports In One

I’ve been a busy bee with streamer trips on the White River. It’s hard to be two places at once so my apologies for getting a late report out.  With that being said, fishing remains tougher in these high-water conditions.

With all the streamer traffic I’ve been concentrating on the lower White River from Rim down to Steamboat.  Most of the time I’m putting in at the confluence and either motoring up or down and when we get tired of chunking streamers and the sun starts to shine down out drive into Norfork and indicator fish it.

I won’t get into details because we lost the fish, but we hooked into a rainbow that was pushing eight pounds. Very big fish for that river or for any tailwater we fish around the Ozark’s. We actually thought we were hung on a log since we kept hooking it, but this time when I motored up to get the fly loose, we saw the fish come up to the top of the surface.

We couldn’t believe our eyes and then the fish went right back to the same log and broke us off.

They don’t get big for no reason so I guess we will have to hope we get another chance, but we all know it is hard to know where these fish live on any given day, especially when the water is constantly changing.

Jim's White River Streamer Brown Trout Tucker Shoals


Jim and his boy tied it together so it was more than just throwing another fly. He wanted to make his son proud.

You wouldn’t believe this, but it actually caught the biggest brown of the trip.

It was a very small version of the Sex Dungeon and it was yellowish olive and really looked good in the water.

I learned something for sure, sometimes when everyone is throwing big meat in high water, you might want to switch to something smaller.

I’m glad Jim got to go home and share that story with his son.

It sure made my day and reminds me why we do this.

Making those special memories for people so they can always have them to share with friends and family.

White River Fly Fishing – Weekend Report 1/24-1/26

The first weekend I had Jim and his buddy for a three-day weekend. They had a big group of twenty staying at White Hole Resort, but only two of them fly fished.

They wanted to stick to streamer fishing the whole time so that’s what we did.

They were fairly new to it so the goal here was to get them dialed in.

We had great conditions, cloud cover, rain on a few days, but we seemed to struggle finding the big fish. We managed to hook smaller brown’s, but with all the pressure these days the fish seemed to be more educated for sure.

We did get one good one and the funny thing is, Jim asked if he could throw one of his streamers and of course I said go ahead.

Jim's White River Brown Trout Tucker Shoals

White River Fly Fishing – Weekend Report 1/31-2/2

Harvey came into town to do a week worth of fishing. This guy has a Stealthcraft Power Drifter as well.

That’s actually how I meet him. He was on the White River and because he has a boat like ours, we struck up a conversation.

We pretty much clicked right off the bat and now I consider him a good friend.

In March he has hired me for week.

He plans on being a guide out west and was about to go to a guide school to learn the ropes.

Harvey's White River Brown - Streamer Fishing Harvey & Sue Norfork Brown Trout - Nymphing

He called me and asked if I would do it instead so of course I said yes.

I can’t wait to put him under my wing and get him ready to pursue his passion and dreams.

Again, since we have high water, I told him the same thing, streamers are our best option with a little bit of bobber fishing.

After picking up his girlfriend who flew in from Washington the two were able to get in four days of fishing.

She is also going to guide school and they plan on opening their own guide service in May.


She actually the one who hooked into the big rainbow we lost, but she redeemed herself on a good brown on the Norfork.

Streamer fishing was a little tough for us, but we managed to hook a few decent fish on the trip.

After Sue had to fly back to Washington, Harvey was still here for a few more days.

Lisa came down to join us so we were off to do some more streamer fishing.  She decided to try one of the new Swimming Jimmy’s and it worked for her.

Lisa White River Brown Trout - Streamer Fishing Kelly Newman Brown Trout - Streamer Fishing

The cool thing is Friday when we got done fishing Cotter to Rim, when we were taking out, we bumped into Polly Ann Landgraph and Kelly Neuman.

We got to talking and the next thing I know we got in Kelly’s boat for a morning to get to know him and fish.

Harvey was in his boat with another guide from Tennessee named Dustin Martin, but he would rather be called “Dirty” so that’s what we call him.

Great guy and great fisherman too.

The plan was to fish Cotter and go all the way to Buffalo to see if the streamer game was any better if we got out of all the traffic.

It seemed like until we got to Ranchette down to Buffalo the bite was tough this day.

We put in at Cotter around 8am.

We fished pretty hard from Cotter to Rim with little luck, which was crazy because the day before Polly Ann stuck a two-footer and Kelly got a few in the 22-23 inch range.

Once we got around the bend downstream from Shoestring Shoals, we started hooking browns.

It was a sunny day so we knew that wasn’t helping us, but what did help is we didn’t see anyone else running streamers.

With nobody down there we all managed to hook a brown a piece.

It was a great day with all us guides getting out to do a little fishing and getting to know each other.

Once Lisa switched to olive peanut envy the bite was on.

We threw white, white and chartreuse, brown mottled skull head streamers, but the fish weren’t having it.


Jeremy's White River Brown Trout - Streamer Fishing Buffalo

We all know that olive is good in the sun, but when you get stuck fishing what you know works, you sometimes forget about the other patterns that always produced.

After it was all said and done, Kelly ended up giving us some trips and we look forward to getting to know Kelly in the future and I think it will be a great relationship for the years to come.

Lisa’s Report From the Field February 1st 2020


Saturday Morning, Harvey and I decided we would go see what all the fuss was about up at the dam.

We put in at Gaston’s and ran up through the fog, as we made the bend up from Cane Island, we started to see some boat traffic.

By the time we made it to Newland’s it was clear we were going to have to get a spot in line.

As we continued our journey north the waters became more and more turbulent and our hysterical laughter and sense of wondering just how many boats were up at the dam continued to grow.

Finally, we made it through state park and before we ever made it close to the boat ramp on the golf course side our eyes had seen what they wanted to see.

It was everything everyone had said and more the  motor boat version of the opening day of trout season at Bennett Springs State Park.

We decided it would be best if we started heading back down stream, so I turned the boat around and got our drift on downstream.

2020 Opening day at Bull Shoals Dam

We loaded the boat earlier that morning armed for the streamer game.  Harvey had one rod that was set up for deep water nymphing, so after throwing the streamer back and all the way thru Cane, we fished the cerise micro san Juan and was able to pick up a few rainbows, we tied on a sunrise yellow egg and it worked well too.

After a few break offs and reties we were down to about six inches of 5x and it was time to regroup.

Since this girl and a her fishing buddy for the day forgot the boat bags at camp.

So we loaded the boat, went and filled it up with gas and had a little lunch at Gaston’s.

We decided we would wait for the dam to thin out a bit and we would go back and hit it for an hour or so before dark.

Word on the street was the browns wanted the POS, baby yellow eggs, and cerise worms.

Harvey rigged up an Oregon Cheese Miracle Fly and a cerise squirmy worm dropper and I decided to try the POS with a cerise jumbo worm dropped off it.

Harvey's Bull Shoals Dam White RIver Brown Trout Harvey's Bull Shoals Dam Rainbow Trout Opening Day

Within the first drift Harvey had a brown on and then shortly after stuck something nice, that unfortunatley we never got to lay eyes on.

After a while I decided I would fish, row the boat, and try and keep Harvey on a good drift.

One late hookset later I was left with a balled up mess of flies and tippet and sun was starting to set.  So we will never know how the POS would produce on that day.

In the end Harvey stuck some nice rainbows.

He got to laugh at me a little and we can both scratch the opening of the dam section on the White River below Bull Shoals lake off of our bucket list.

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