White River Fishing Report May 22 & 23

Reports From The Field - Lisa Bellue

May 30, 2020

White River Fishing Report May 22 & 23, 2020

Emily’s Day

The start of Memorial Day Weekend brought in a bunch more than crowds of Americans honoring the fallen men and women that served in the U.S. military.

Crowds of vacation goers ready to break out the sunscreen and enjoy the first summer holiday since the Covid-19 crisis.

It brought RAIN……lots and lots of rain.

Several inches fell in parts of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas within minutes in some areas.

Creating flash flooding that washed out low water bridges and turned most of the normally clear water on the White into what appeared to be a river of chocolate milk into the already maxed out White River Basin.


White River Cutthroat

Jeremy and I have been shuffling boats around while he is waiting on the finishing touches on his new Supreme boat, so it’s been a bit hectic at times but we are blessed to have clients that are willing to fish outside the normal 9-5 window and who are ready and geared up to hit the water in-between the storms.

Emily was on the books with her first trip with me in the Power Drifter for Saturday the 23rd.  Emily and her father Drew have been out in the drift boat on Taneycomo with Jeremy and myself several times and have done some trips on the White and Norfork, but this trip was a gift from her Father for her 18th Birthday and a little something before she left for basic training for the Air Force.

When we first booked the trip the Caddis bite was in full swing and I was hoping to continue doing the same bite when I had Emily.  I spoke with her Dad Thursday evening and he gave me the run down on their lodging and when they would be arriving.

Jeremy and I had a last minute two boat cancellation on Friday, so I had a little freedom on when to get Miss Emily out. We decided that if the weather allowed we would just try and split the trip over two days and get in on some better flows.  Unfortunately,  it rained most of the night Thursday and into Friday.  Which did nothing for my hopes of a Caddis bite.

Emily's White River Rainbow

The rain finally moved on in the afternoon and Emily was ready and waiting at the boat ramp with her boyfriend Zane.

We headed for the dam as that was the only clear water around.  Emily wanted to throw her new streamer rod but I decided we would wait for the generation to stabilize before we tried that.

I was also focused on getting Zane a fish since it was his first time on the White.  Zane fished the Oregon Cheese Miracle Fly and I had Emily rigged with the same but in Golden Nugget and within a few minutes Emily, set the hook and I saw the huge flash and realized we had something good on.

She was fishing a softer rod and that fish was putting quite the bend in it.

Jeremy had met me at the boat ramp before my trip as I had forgot my boat bag and a net, due to my early onset of memory loss and much to my surprise he brought the smallest net we own to the ramp.

Thankfully, Emily played the fish like a pro and finally got it to the close enough that I finally put the small net around it and with a little shake of the net the rainbow was in!

With the conditions we were dealt, I decided to stay on the nymph rigs and continued to pick up some nice rainbows and a cutthroat on Miracle Flies, Micro San Juan’s in Fl. Red and Cerise.

With the uncertainty of the weather for Saturday and having to wait my turn to get back in the boat we pushed through the  dropping water and much to my surprise the generation went to zero.

This was definitely making a poor case for the streamer game and breaking out the new rod.

When I started to see the rocks and islands appear I quickly switched them over the Megaworm.  I fixed Emily up with the peach and Zane ran the chartreuse.

As the fog rolled in, Emily noticed the twitch and out of the water came the brown she was looking for.



Those sly 20 inchers have found their way off her hook before and she was not having it this go around.

It continued to jump and my heart was racing as all I wanted was that fish to stay down.

After five aerial stunts in the low water I broke out my tuna can of a net and scooped him up.

That fish was as close as they come to breaking out little hearts but in the end we left the water with our hearts full and our minds filled with an enormous sense of achievement.

Saturday evening, we fished up by the dam for another couple of hours in hopes of finding Zane his brown, but it looks like it was this young lady’s weekend as we finished the day with a few more solid rainbows to wrap it all up.

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