Fly Fishing Report - White River Streamer Time

Before we get into the report, let's update you on the water situation and where I think we are heading as we go into next month.

Beaver - Current Power Pool is sitting at 1126.82 so it is up six feet from normal pool which is 1120.43

I believe the Corp is waiting for Table Rock to drop back down to their main power pool and then I foresee the generation becoming more around the clock. As of right now they are generating nine hours each day and running 56 MW which is roughly 3,800 cfs. So, if anyone is looking for low water to wade this would be the place for you. The only problem is don't plan on hooking a bunch of brown's, it's mostly small stocker rainbows, but they can be fun if you want to play the numbers game.

Lake Taneycomo/Table Rock - Current Power Pool is sitting at 918.41 and dropping a foot roughly every three days. So as of right now it is up a little more than three feet above pool which is 915.0. When I say dropping, it's because we have been only been dumping the runoff from James River and the other smaller tributaries that dump in as well from mostly up north of us in the Ozark/Springfield area. We are also running five flood gates off the top which is another 5,000 cfs. So total cfs is 14,600, with 9,694 from the 150 MW and the rest from the top. I really don't see this changing for another three weeks or so. I'm hoping once they get Table Rock back down to normal power pool we will only see the 150 MW which would be better for everyone fishing. To be honest, and this is just my opinion and strictly is related to fly rods, Taneycomo doesn't fish as well once they get above the two units which is 100 MW. Once they get above that, alot of the pools and drop-offs that trout like to hold in are gone. The current gets too strong and they leave these spots that are big time producers. I will touch more on this subject once I get the newsletter out. I will give you the secret spots for success. It will be under the "Guide Tips" section of the newsletter.

White River/Bull Shoals - Current Power Pool 677.28 and dropping very slow as of right now. Current power pool is 659.00 so the lake is up eight feet. From what I see on the generation chart, it is showing they are running 7,000 cfs from the slues/conduit gates for maintenance (which won't last that long) and 260 MW which is roughly 16,000, but three hours ago they started running 100 MW which is 6,600. So, who knows why or what is going on with what the Corp has in mind for the White River. If they are actually doing that then it is 13,600. I'm sure this will change, but Bull Shoals Lake can store thirty feet above power pool so no need to worry. The lake won't get too full, but one thing I can guarantee you is you'll have great water for streamer fishing for the month to come.

Norfork Lake/North Fork Tailwater - Current Power Pool is 560.17 and also dropping slowly, around a foot every four days. Current power pool is 553.75 so it is up a little over seven feet on the lake. They are running both units which is 77 MW at 5,739 cfs. So, in a nutshell, I don't see anything changing for at least another month or so. Just so everyone understands why we never see low water anymore is because we keep getting these five to six-inch rains every month or two and then it is taking the three months or so to get rid of it. And one thing I'm seeing totally different from years past is the Corp is doing a way better job of releasing it instead of storing it. We just can't store water anymore because of all the floods we've had in the previous years. It really hasn't been a big factor on the White River, but Norfork and Table Rock/Taneycomo has had some serious damage to the homes and docks along the river. We can also perhaps blame it on "Global Warming" or some other force of mother nature that keeps dumping more rain these days.

White River Fly Fishing - Weekend Report

Since this is probably where I'll be spending the next few months, I really won't have much to say about the other fisheries.

Until I see a significant change at Taneycomo or Norfork I'll be spending my time chasing brown's with big streamers.

This is the time to do it and you might hook into the biggest fish of your life!

I had Darin who is a streamer junkie from PA over the weekend. We had great conditions on Friday with cloud cover and rain, and when I say rain, I mean a cold rain.

We started the day at Cane Island and the plan was to drift as far as we wanted until we either saw more pressure or if the bite was getting slow.

White River cane island
Darin Releasing White River Streamer Brown

 

Some areas are better than others, but when you are streamer fishing you really want to work all the water because you never know where that big one is holding so to waste a bank because you don't like the look of it is not the correct approach when going into streamer game.

That is why I like using drift boats more in this type of situation, but the new Power Drifter is the best of both worlds.

We still use it as a drift boat, but if we want to hop to the opposite bank it's great to have the motor and the other reason is because you can go further down river and now have to worry about getting a shuttle because it doesn't take that long to get back to the ramp you put in.

This time around we stayed up top each day and then floated to Cotter and then motor back up around 10 miles in the 60/40 jet that takes use around 35 minutes.

The reason why we didn't go further down river is because more guides were down there so I knew those fish were getting more streamers than the fish up top. But from what I can see now is the bigger fish are definitely getting caught downstream verses up stream.

Friday was our best day because of the conditions. We hooked three good brown's, but Darin lost them all and sometimes that happens when you are a bit rusty.

He hasn't fished this style in a while so it took getting the hang of it all again. We did manage to hook at least ten smaller browns, but the big one's got the best of him that day.

Ragdoll Streamer Brown
Upper Stretch White River - Streamer Brown

 

Some areas are better than others, but when you are streamer fishing you really want to work all the water because you never know where that big one is holding so to waste a bank because you don't like the look of it is not the correct approach when going into streamer game.

That is why I like using drift boats more in this type of situation, but the new Power Drifter is the best of both worlds.

We still use it as a drift boat, but if we want to hop to the opposite bank it's great to have the motor and the other reason is because you can go further down river and now have to worry about getting a shuttle because it doesn't take that long to get back to the ramp you put in.

This time around we stayed up top each day and then floated to Cotter and then motor back up around 10 miles in the 60/40 jet that takes use around 35 minutes.

The fly that seem to be the best overall color was the skull heads in the olive and yellow that Andreas Andersson tied up for me.

I saw a lot of other fisherman throwing more white than any other color so I didn't want to fish that color at all.

Usually I do when we have cloud cover, but the water was clear and I know have a lot of confidence throwing olive patterns whether it's olive and yellow, yellow and brown or olive and brown.

I also like them to have some sort of mottling effect to the pattern so I like to incorporate barring feathers and marabou's.

Evening Streamer Bite - White River

We ended up fishing all day from sun up to sun down on Friday and I always look forward to the "witching hour" at the end of the day.

That seems to be the time the bigger fish want to play and eat something right before dark and sure enough Darin had another chance to redeem himself after losing three good one's that morning.

We had another few chances and we ended up hooking one decent brown at the end of the day.

All in all, Friday was our most productive day out of the three because the next two days we had sunshine.

Saturday our plan was the same, get out super early to have a chance at hooking something bigger before the sun got higher up.

We started again at Cane Island because the pressure. Nobody was really paying that much attention to throwing streamers. The traffic got busier once we got into Wildcat Shoals.

Darin was throwing a 280 grain Airflo Shovel Head that Kelly Galloup designed for the White River. It also comes in a 330 and I had that spooled on one of my rods.

In comparison to the Rio Outbound Short in the 400 grain. they all seem to sink at the same rate for the most part.

Little Brown Streamer Eater - White River

It really boils down to the fly you are using if you want better sink rate. The light style patterns seem to ride higher in the water column and in return you are only hooking the smaller browns unless you are fishing an area that has a shelf or skinnier water,  but in this 16,000 cfs you really need to stick to helmets, skull heads or tungsten cone heads.

I like coneheads the best because they sink and cut through the water quicker. The fly has to be down at the bottom to get the bigger fish to relate.

The difference in what we did the last two days is fish super early and then be down at Cotter by 12- 1pm when the bite would slow down. We would get off the water and put back on around 4pm until dark. That is always my game plan when the fishing slows down on the streamers.

We could've fished indicator rigs, but Darin wasn't up for that. So, we fished hard and then headed back to the camper, warm up a bit and ate something that was hot and prepare for the evening. This seemed to have the best results for staying more active on getting eats.

Lisa was also able to join us on Saturday and Sunday, since it was a one person trip and Darin doesn't mind Lisa going; and at times welcomes it, so it was good to have two streamers going instead of one so you could figure out what color was working better than the other, but to be honest I really don't think that matters as much as where you put the fly and how you fish it.

We threw several different patterns and we got eats on all of them. We just never got the "ONE". It seems like from other posts from other guides or outfitters, there was one to two bigger fish caught each day and they all seem to be downstream from Wildcat.

It really is all about the decision you make sometimes that either rewards you or keeps you guessing that you should've went downstream.

I plan on doing that this next weekend after the Streamer Lovefest at Dally's Fly Shop Saturday evening.  Be sure to check it out.

Lisa has never been, so I will be joining her so if you get a chance to go we hope to see you there!

Lisa's Report From the Field

From time to time, Jeremy gets clients in the boat that allow me the opportunity to join them in all the fun.  Darin is one of those special guys, he has endured quite a few trips with me looking back over the last couple of years.

We have gone down the Norfork nymph fishing in the raft, when his guide went MIA.  He has drove to Taneycomo and streamer fished with me when Jeremy was struck by the flu, and we have even went down the White River in one of the foggiest of nights that I can ever remember, after the shaft on the lower unit got bent shortly after he got on the water the first day of a three day run.

Something always happens and this trip was the same, but like all his trips, it always works out in the end.  I still have a boat, Darin learned to row on the fly, and that Airflow line can be twisted 253 times and still cast like a dream!

We got on the water shortly after seven, after I was able to safely deliver Jeremy's waders and his not so tight fittin boots.

We went straight to the start of Cane Island and I sat out setting up the Go Pro cameras and rigging up the cotton candy skull head that I decided to go with.  Half way down the run Darin was hooked up and we got the pic and I was ready to wet a line.

I got nothing, and then some more of the same, then it started, the frantic pilfering through my streamer boxes.  Darin picked up another, it was starting to look like a big donut for this girl and I was not diggin it.  I finally picked up a smaller brown and was so unfocused that I set the hook with my stripping hand lifted my rod and the trout went sailing to the other side of the boat.   No good, bad fish karma was starting to set in.  Other than a few rainbows and good company, I will probably forget about that day all together.

Sunday morning, we set out with another bright blue bird sky day in store, that coupled with some intense wind it was starting to look like a bad weekend.

After going after them with double deceivers, fat heads, and peanut envies. I decided I was done and I was going to have to get down, so as much as I have avoided slinging the skulpin head flies in my box but  today was going to be the day.

It was time, I figured I had enough layers on that if I got struck, the bruises and blood would be minimal.

That was the ticket, the quantity of fish went up and finally a small slab of butter for this gal.

Lisa Streamer Fishing - White River across from Copper John's Resort

We continued to beat ourselves down throughout the morning.  After our afternoon lunch break we sat out again and I kept with the olive sculpin head streamer continuing to pick up bows, I switched to a white meat whistle and got a few pecks and then started to get dark, so back to the streamer boxes I went.

I found a black and chartreuse lap dancer I tied up last year and with the last drift of the day I was able to get it done.

Next weekend I hope to have another shot at the ONE we are all chasing, but I would say with all the traffic that will be on the water, with all the streamer junkies in town I will probably come up empty handed, but hey one might as well try!

Lisa Cane Island Streamer Brown

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