Bull Shoals Dam | White River – Browns Hitting On Top!!

Today had a slightly different twist compared to the first day of the “official shad kill.” It had to do with our planning and the anticipated generation schedule for Wednesday’s water. The clients were so thrilled that they requested an early start, and we hit the water around 11 am. With the water being lower for an extended period, I had concerns about whether we’d see the same shad activity as the previous day. My hunch proved right. There were only a few sporadic bursts of shad activity, but when it happened, the trout leaped high into the air, almost as if they were giving themselves away. Witnessing this spectacle is truly special, and my excitement for this bite never wanes. I eagerly anticipate each new day. I still have October 12th and 13th available if you’d like to partake in this amazing experience. The only condition that would make it a no-go is if they cease generating. But rest assured, I always have a backup plan: floating the Norfork in a drift boat, targeting big browns with indicator rigs in shallow water. It’s a thrilling experience, especially if you haven’t fished here in October. The reason for this is that the browns are heading toward Dry Run Creek, and I aim to intercept them as they move up the river post-spawn. In essence, both rivers are offering fantastic opportunities right now!

gregg white river brown trout shad kill
josh 24 bull shoals dam white river brown trout
gregg white river rainbow trout in spawn 9 27 23

At the end of their last day, my clients inquired, during the ride back to Gaston’s, “Why did we stick with this plan throughout the day, even when the shad activity wasn’t as pronounced as the day before?” I always emphasize to my clients that when trout get accustomed to a particular pattern, they can key in on it for weeks, even without a shad kill. In fact, I started throwing white patterns a few weeks before the kill, because for the past two years, we’ve had shad kills throughout the entire month of September, and we were catching plenty of fish. Embracing unconventional thinking and trusting my instincts is why I pursue approaches like this. I believe that fish get into patterns, and who’s to say they don’t simply recognize that it’s time to start targeting white. Moreover, when you consider using a white mega worm all year in a put-and-take fishery, it’s because these trout are accustomed to encountering fish guts from all the cleaning stations along the river. It’s all about conditioning the fish. To succeed, you must think like a fish, not just like a fisherman.

Oh, and if you’re looking for these patterns, we have everything in stock. You can drop by the shop or conveniently purchase them right from our website. The patterns we’re using include the Wiggle Minnow, Gurgler, Zoo Cougar, and Arkansas Beadheads.

josh 20 inch brown trout
josh & gregg double brown trout bull shoals dam shad kill

Yesterday, it was clear that the word had spread like wildfire. There were around thirty boats on the water, but the crowded conditions didn’t seem to matter because everyone was reeling in fish. I’ve come to rely on the last two hours of the day when about eighty percent of the anglers call it quits. That’s when I focus on targeting the bigger fish, as they tend to emerge and become more active once the river traffic subsides. Since Lisa and I don’t work for an outfitter or have a strict 8-to-4 schedule, we’re willing to put in the extra time and effort to provide our clients with the best possible experience. The entire month of October promises to be an excellent time for brown trout fishing.

Note: When handling these fish at this time, it’s crucial to be extra cautious. Gregg inadvertently squeezed a trout while taking a picture, causing her to release her eggs in the boat. This incident clearly indicates that the rainbows are in the middle of their spawning process. I’ll be taking extra care when handling the fish as well.

rainbow trout eggs bull shoals dam
dusk white river arkansas 9 27 2023


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