“Mastering Dry Fly Fishing with Sulphur’s on the High Waters of the White River”

Mastering Dry Fly Fishing with Sulphurs on the High Waters of the White River

I hope everyone had an amazing Father’s Day! I spent mine doing what I love most: dry fly fishing. It was a much-needed escape, and there’s truly nothing like watching a trout delicately sip your fly—or sometimes, aggressively crush it. Those moments are thrilling, and while the hook sets can be challenging, they’re incredibly rewarding, especially when you land the big ones. The joy of this sport is unparalleled!

Recently, I had the pleasure of guiding a new client, Steve from Texas, who’s been fishing with me since last year. Steve loves this fishery so much that he bought some land here and is building a house. Though he’s relatively new to dry fly fishing from a boat, he’s eager to learn. The transition from wading or still water fishing to navigating currents and casting downstream at a 45-degree angle can be tricky. Coupled with mastering the varied hook sets depending on the take, it can be a steep learning curve. But that’s where we come in—to coach and guide you to success.

A common challenge I see is anglers not taking the time to look downstream for rising fish. Many are used to casting alongside the boat like they do with indicator rigs, and breaking this habit is tough. Another issue is the constant casting and watching the fly, instead of slowing down, being patient, and waiting for the right moment to cast into the feeding lane. It sounds simple, but it’s quite difficult if you’re not used to this style of fishing.

Back to Steve—these were some of the challenges he faced. It’s not that he isn’t a skilled angler; he is. Most people who sign up for this are. However, achieving accuracy and distance in casting takes practice. With a few days of dedicated effort, though, it becomes second nature. The key is to enjoy the journey, and before long, you’ll be hooked, returning year after year for more. The serious anglers are the ones who start catching more, and once you experience the thrill of topwater action, you’ll be booking multiple days or even investing in a boat.

With that said, the White River continues to run big water around the clock. Some days, the water is clear earlier, but at times, it’s still clearing up from the massive 340 MW release, which translates to 21,500 CFS—a tremendous amount of water. The bugs and fish thrive in these conditions, but if the water is too murky, the fish aren’t as active, which can be tricky if we get a late start. Yesterday was a perfect example. Jake and I didn’t get out until 5:30 in the afternoon. When we launched at Gaston’s ramp (open to the public), we noticed the water was off-colored and dirty, forcing us and other guides to head upstream. This crowding can be a challenge, but you have to find your spot and make the best of it. Despite this, you can still catch fish, and guides will eventually shift downstream as we search for the best spots.

This trend is likely to continue. Bull Shoals Lake is six feet above the power pool, and with the hottest months ahead, we’re hopeful the Mayfly hatch will last until the end of July. If the water flow remains steady and strong, the hatch should persist, but if it drops, we could see it end early, as it did last year in mid-July. If you haven’t experienced this and are following our reports, we still have some dates available in July. However, to get the best results, you should be proficient in casting with double hauling. If not, we can still get you in the boat and show you the ropes while you enjoy this unique opportunity.

For those interested in purchasing some of these bugs, click here to get the only one you need! We believe we are the only ones offering the version with mustard color dubbing, and trust me, the color matters. While several patterns can work, this one is the best. Additionally, we’re running a promotion on these Sulphurs, offering 20% off all the ones pictured on the homepage under “New Arrivals” from this Friday through Monday morning at 10 AM. Don’t miss out on this special deal!

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