New Water Discovery
Fly Fishers tend to be creatures of habit, and I’m no different really. We all tend to fish the same sections, the same flies we know will work. But sometimes just trying something new and unfamiliar is a joy in itself.
When I arrived full time on the White I spent the first 8 months really trying to step up my knowledge of the river without the pressure of guiding to become intimate with its habits under different flows, the holding places, the rocks, eddies and current lines.
That was the grounding, then its a matter of water time watching the cycles year after year and with this river, seeing at as many different water levels as possible. Through all this time I’d focussed my efforts on the first 36 miles from Bull Shoals Dam to Buffalo City, plus the Norfork. But Ive had a hankering to explore more water, particularly downstream of Buffalo City. So when Michigan guide Alex Lafkas (who ran our streamer class at the shop) suggested Buffalo City to Shipp’s Ferry float I was all over it.
To conditions were predictably ugly for streamer fishing, bright and sunny with high wind, we’d have preferred rain and taken snow, but when you have limited windows to fish together you might as well take them.
Alex took first shift on the oars and with a bright yellow fathead variant on the rod I had a nice brown of maybe 20″ taking two snaps at it within a few hundred yard of the ramp and a way bigger fish swipe another 50y on.
This would be the last real action for a while. But it was damn pleasant trying to figure the impossible, the vagaries of trout behaviour, fly design, including why in the heck would a 10″ rainbow try and eat an 7″ red and yellow streamer.
The scenery was spectacular. From the bluffs of Buffalo City into the cut banks, and forested hillside below it. There is some really nice territory we plan on fishing more this coming season, both with streamers and regular drift nymphing. One stretch in particular had both Alex and myself salivating at the prospect of fishing during hopper time, its classic profile looking more like some of the western meadow streams _ the question will be of course water temperatures at this time.