Steve Dally's White River Fly Fishing Guide Service

Reports

Saltwater Texans Converted

Kevin Vincent from Houston with the trout of a lifetime

John Boatwright and Kevin Vincent’s annual sojourn north to fish the White with me is a classic. Most of their fishing time is spent on the Gulf Coast chasing hardpulling saltwater species.

But the whole White River streamer bug has bit them hard. Last year in some big water they moved some seriously big browns but the deal couldn’t be closed. This year the fever was on them. The guys fish hard, wind doesn’t phase them, and they deserved a big fish. And it took some doing with water levels yo-yoing, some crazy wind, threatening storms but their general silliness is a godsend during the flat periods. Its really hard to row straight when you are crying tears of laughter.

The guys get it. Yeh we are all big kids playing with expensive toys and very determined to find a trophy brown, but its really all about the fun, comradeship and some laughs.

Friday was all about numbers, try 20 browns to 19.5″ but none bigger; Sunday we nymphed up a goodly amount but low water and a bunch of wind made the streamer fishing a chore. Saturday we did 2 floats after a slow morning we bounced downstream for the toad and some others.

For the record Kevin’s fish went 25 1/2″, ate a prototype white streamer of mine about 8″ long on an 8wt, 15 lb test and a type 6 Rio Outbound line. John had a fish of similar class all over one of my Super Bunnies but it somehow missed both hooks.

Looking forward to seeing you guys back.


February Past and Spring Outlook

 

February What A Month

FEBRUARY, it seems like its lasted for ever, but its been a lot of fun.

We have had high water for streamers and low water for wading, deep snow and bitter cold followed by 70 degree blue sky days. A lot of hours on the oars and some on the throttle and even a few with a rod in hand. We had a bunch of friends around, which is always good and one heck of a nice brown to finish off the month.

Its feeling a lot like spring, with some wind, warm and and caddis can’t be far away. This year’s hatch could be epic, and last year was crazy good. Everyone talks about the Mother’s Day Caddis on the Arkansas, our hatch lasted for 3 months last year. Right now every stone you turn seems to be covered with cases.

With the amount of low water we have been having the dry fly fishing should be crazy good. Stay tuned.

Norfork Rainbow

 

Snow on Norfork
Shuttle Running at Dusk

We got snow to dig out from

Good friends, food and beverages

Red Nails and Streamers


A Day On Dry Run

Lynsey hooked up and Nate taking pics _ Rabecca Dally image

THE day after Christmas I had a buddy in town, Nate Horn from Mississipi, but was rostered in the fly shop. Nate had heard the tales of Dry Run Creek, and negotiated with our youngest Lynsey to be his entre into this fantastic under-16 fishery.

Nate’s something of a favorite of the girls, which is how he was able to get Lynsey into those way too big waders. It was pretty chilly which is why everyone looks like the little brother in “A Christmas Story”. But here’s a pictorial of Nate and my wife Bec’s photos so you can share in the fun. I wish I’d been able to be there.

A nice chunky brown in the net _ Nate Horn image

 

Mother and daughter on the Creek _ Nate Horn image

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Would You Rather Be Inside

 

Yep its cold in the mornings, the sun is bright, the water levels fluctuating. But c’mon do you want to spend another day on the couch?

Some times you just need to say to hell with it and go fishing.

 

 


Winter Streamers

Fellow guide Ben Levin with a sweet fish this week

 

ITS been fun getting back out the big stick, big flies and on some bigger water the past week for some streamer fishing, some of the best fun you can have with your waders on.

We really have had some productive trips throughout winter hucking the big stuff, and last weekend I had the first decent shot on some better water with regulars Robert Hime and his son Mason. Robert’s become a streamer addict, invariably his first question is will we be streamer fishing? He’s landed several with me in the 20″ to 22″ range but the truly big one has eluded the net. Mason though he has a fine cast hadn’t really got into the streamer bit

That might all change after our session last Saturday morning when he landed 2 nice browns including one pushing 20″. Robert landed a couple in thelower teens and stuck one of my baby brown flies into a really good fish, but the hook popped out on some violent headshakes. It was a good sign for things to come.

Wednesday Ben Levin and I snuck out for the first time in ages. Ben is solid people, a very good addition to our guide team at the shop, lots of fun to be around and a damn good fly fisher.

We’d been stuck in the shop longer than planned working through the Simms; Rainys and SA offerings for 2011 with rep and mate Eric Kraimer. The plan was to kidnap Eric for a few hours of water time, poor bugger lives in Texas so doesn’t get much trout time and he’d been working way too hard. Plus some sleazebag stole his entire collection of Rainy’s fly samples out of his truck earlier this year. So he deserved the break, but unfortunately his travel schedule was just too tight.

So I got to fish in Eric’s place instead of just running the boat. KIndly I sent the above pic to Eric who was driving to Little Rock _ his answer was unprintable here.

The streamer fishing should get even better as more fish get through their spawning ritual and starting looking to regain lost condition. Cold weather will lead to higher flows, and more opportunities to target the better fish.

Definately give me a call if you want to experience this side of the White River, and Norfork Tailwater.

Mason Hime with a nice Thanksgiving White River brown


Summer Luvin’

Joel Fulmer’s hopper eating brown trout

THE FISHING has to be hot when even a heat index of around 110 doesn’t raise question in the boat about heading in for the day. The last 3 days on the water have produced some phenomenal fishing, and some gorgeous fish and lots of fish.

Joel Fulmer, from Memphis, produced the fish of the weekend with big head coming fully out of the water, to engulf a Rainy’s Deer Hair Hopper. He and good friend Chris Heppel, who has appeared in these pages a few times, scored a bunch of fish on Copper Johns Friday, and a few stripping buggers and of course some on top. This was a big dark lanky maleeven better the previous cast he scored a 19″ brown on a Copper John.

For all my artsy fartsy photography and wanting to get it back in the water fast Chris’ lower res camera phone pic gives the best impression of size of this fish. Click to view

Saturday and Sunday I had Hardy Winburn V and Hardy Winburn VI, who had been sent in my direction a very good mutual friend. Number 5 and Number 6 have fished a lot together over the years, Canada, the Bahamas and the Little Red. But they don’t get to spend much time together these with the younger Hardy having attended college in Boston, and is now NYC based chasing an acting career. The kid has a good head on his shoulders, 3 movies under his belt and plenty of passion, I wish him well on that tough road.

We had scored  a good number of 12-16″ fish early, then things slowed up for us until we broke for lunch, rehydrated and re-energized. Back on he water things lit up. I recall Hardy V saying at one point “I’ve had 12 straight drifts and  landed a fish over 16”. They were all slabs, with one super thick 18″ fish and one nice 19″ fish. Day two we went downstream brown hunting, looking for a fish like Joel’s, and we hooked plenty of small ones, until Hardy VI nailed a nice 17″ brown.

Enjoy the pix

A really solid Bull Shoals rainbow going home

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Summer Fun Photo Essay

Dog Days Are Good Days

 

GROWING UP in Australia 5 minutes from a beach meant the summer relief from the heat was always about the water. In later years it became about lakes and rivers and mayflies, terrestrials and dry flies.

Last weekend I got a rare day off without commitments with my wife Bec, the youngest Lynsey and Madison, floating in the drifter from Wildcat to Cotter. Ive been doing quite a few guide days on this stretch and the lowish flows are very good.

Wet wading is pretty good unless you are on some fresh flow in the morning. Starting early and you might need some waders, its deliciously cool. The fly rigs are light and simple, often a dry fly is serving as the best indicator and there are some serious quality fish, though these are extremely challenging.

As far as fishing was concerned it was pretty good, but we weren’t going hard, swimming, photography, fish watching and just floating was pretty good. Madison got the bonus of chasing sticks in the river.

Bec lost a real trophy brown, after a great drift, but lost the handle on the line, and the slack was enough to enable an escape. Five minutes later I got sticked up when an extremely hot brown ripped me down the next shoal.

Everyone we have floated on this stretch has had a hoot _ and as a nice break in the afternoon we have been stopping off to see Jamie Crownover at Hurst Fishing Service, where you can grab and icecream or popsicle, and for many of the women fly fishers a proper restroom.

Lonely Mayfly at Wildcat

Ant Eating Brown

Lynsey learning the oars

 Join us for some fun


Updating River Information

Just went through and updated the White River and Nofork generation patterns articles in light of some recent information and incidents on the river.

The White River and Norfork are great places to fish, its a pity that the safety and needs for information to stay safe isn’t better supported by the US Army Corp of Engineers and SWPA.

Our guide isn’t comprehensive and doesn’t cover all eventualities. But there is one rule of thumb err on the side of caution _ or book a guide.

Click here for

Understanding Generation The sites, and what they tell you

Putting it All Together: What the information means on the rivers


Updated Photo Galleries

Just been through updating the photogalleries this morning with pics from this year. Hope y’all enjoy


Fly Lines _ What Not To Do!

A Fly Line in Terminal Condition

SOMETIMES it pays to check your gear before you hit the water.

I was heading out for a drift boat float this week when I was selecting a rod for the day, just one I wanted a simple day. I hadn’t fished my Z-Axis 5wt for a couple of months, but it was only when I hit the water I realized why.

The Rio Gold flyline I was have on the Z was well past its use by date. Which was exactly the reason I hasn’t been fishing it _ Can you say DOH! I can honestly say now that a new flyline, rather than the one I was fishing (and later photographed above), is going to change the way you fish. The real message though is change them before they look like this

I had more snarls tangles and general aggravation than I’ve known for a looong time. So I figured y”all might like to see what an old flyline looks like. Click the pic can see them larger and check out all the dark lines running across the fly line.

First off let me say this flyline was a sample from the first year of the Rio Gold. Yeh I liked it so much on the Z it had become a permanent fixture. Its been fished by me, my wife and fishermen on guide trips since late 2007. Seriously its probably been out on 400+ days with less maintenance than my mates at Rio would recomend.

Its not like my other flylines don’t get maintained, and changed regularly, particularly my guide reels. This spool though had ended up being my own personal line over the past year of its life. I’d actually acquired a couple of  Rio Gold WF5Fs in the interim. One went to a charity auction and the other ended up in shop inventory when we got low.

Now look at the pic below, which will give you a pretty good idea of what all those dark likes become _ cracks. Its a wonder this flyline was floating at all and probably a tribute to the Agent X technology that it would.

See what all those little lines are

Not that it was going through the guides all that well either as you could imagine. The surface was pretty rough and ready but it was one section in particular that I’d find sticking. Heck I spent a while looking for a non-existant knot.

But that sticking section back in the head (just as I’d get a decent load on the rod, was proving a problem.

 

This pic shows the source. Yep I’d peeled off a chunk of the coating which was putting a hitch in the giddy-up as the line was coming in or out of the guides at speed. This was all to the hilarity of my fishing companions.

So here’s the lesson, check all your flylines regularly. If they look like this replace them.

Bad language carries a long way over water.

PS: A new Rio Gold is now installed.


The New Look

 

I HOPE you all enjoy the new look for the Blog, we worked out last night. It really seems to make the photography pop, and allows much bigger images. All the better to show off your big photos Hortense.

But as always when you are dealing with large image files there are concerns over loading times. I’d appreciate a little feedback if anyone’s computer is staggering under the load, let me know if you are on dial up etc.

Cheers

Steve


On The Crick – Photo Essay

Lunker Longear on the Crick

 

DUCKED out onto Crooked Creek this week for a promised TXL 1wt-panfish on water test for the Mountain River Journal. The dog stayed at the house so I could concentrate more on some pic taking this time. But you know what, the fishing actually sucked me in and despite catching 8-10 smallies on the little twig, got home to discover only 1 smallie pic. DOH!

But these longears made up for it, they simply have the coolest colors and some serious attitude. Look how far down this monster longear sucked that Boogle Bug. Enjoy the rest of the pics.

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Weird Cloud Formations Monday

Looking west from Denton Ferry Road

Monday morning I was set to hit the water early, but the Child Bride wasn’t rising for work at 6am so we breakfasted late. I was heading out the door when I had a  phone call for a forgotten appointment with new sales rep Terry Beeson.

It was Terry’s first trip on the road for his new employers Hendrix Outdoors, so I couldn’t blow him off, besides he a mate and fun to be around. But I couldn’t even con him into some research on the river.  So I was driving along Denton Ferry Road, and some freaky cloud formations started rolling in.

Its turns out not only were they new to me but to a lot of even weather experts.

The clouds are a new type of cloud being considered for inclusion to the International Cloud Atlas by the World Meteorological Organization. The cloud is called Undulatus Asperatus which means roughened or agitated waves. The cloud is under review at this point because scientists are trying to determine if a specific set of atmospheric conditions are required for this cloud to form. The cloud is considered rare, has most often been seen on the plains of the United States during the morning or midday hours following a thunderstorm  _ from KY3.com

I wasn’t the only one wondering what sort of storm was going to hit. There was an exodus off the river at the Wildcat Ramp like you woulnd’t believe. I was watching the storms push in, split then weaken through Weather Underground’s local radar service which works really nicely on my new Blackberry 9700. Its got way better graphics than my old 8800 phone and I can zoom in much more precisely on the river to track storms. Its a really nice safety net in this part of the world.

Hence I was going fishing while others were heading home.


Just Dinking Around

Small and Gorgeous

THERE is a whole bunch to be said for warm creeks, light fly rods, dogs and panfish. I could have loaded up the boat yesterday, packed in sulphurs and nymphs and some river rods but it all just seemed so serious.

Besides Madison the black lab terrorist had been missing out on water time in recent weeks. And she isn’t a huge fan of the cold waters flowing in the White. So we headed out to Crooked Creek with a boxful of poppers, a few crawdad patterns, some baitfish profiles and an icechest full of cold drinks. It was going to be warm.

Madison on the Creek

This was supposed to be a laid back trip, grab a few panfish photos, fish a lightweight one weigth for kicks. Till I discovered I’d brought along an empty tube to the TXL, which meant I ended up fishing a 9′ 4wt Z-Axis.

I was pretty surprised we had it to ourselves even on a Wednesday, but alone we were. Ozark creeks are gorgeous, the Buffalo and Crooked Creek are well known in our area, but I’ve fished and floated the Kings and War Eagle to the West. The banks are green and lush at this time of year, the waters clear and cool, and just fine for floating, swimming or wet wading.

The only downside is with the late spring rains, you might be better off floating, otherwise its some serious bush bashing, and neither really appealed yesterday. So we took up the 300 yards of bank or so and played, first with the poppers, which produced a  bunch of smaller panfish, and a few better sized ones which I comprehensively failed to hook. The better fish took these without the usual ravenous hunger, more like the delicate trout sip on a spinner.

Small but bright

A switch over to a white foam slider brought up the wake and flash of a nice sized smallie from a cluster of submerged boulders, I stopped the retrieve hoping to trigger a strike, but it had the opposite result and that fish wasn’t to be found again.

Actually while my target species was panfish there’s largemouth in here too, and I pulled a handful of small ones crashing baitfish along a bank. The Z was probably a better rod for tossing small Clousers, especially if I’d connected to the better fish which sucked in a crawdad pattern and to round out the day I picked up one small smallmouth as well. There would have been pics of these if I’d managed to handle fish, rod and dog a little better.

 The dog discovered how much run swimming in warm water is, that Dad gets crabby when you try to eat the fish off the hook, and he’s not really impressed when you try to go hunting fish on the far bank. All in all a great day on the creek, and probably just what we both needed.

One Happy Dog


The Dry Fly Bonanza Continues

First trout on a sulphur for the season

TWO DAYS off I I went to play again _ yep house chores abandoned, the White was low and sulphurs were on the wing _ call it research. Tuesday I ducked out with Jeff Hearn and spent the day at Rim, today I grabbed a couple of hours further upstream, dry fly only.

There was a pretty good sulphur emergence for a couple of hours and the fish keyed onto them pretty quickly. But with this hatch only a few days old the bigger fish are still holding deep and feeding subsurface. After the sulphurs faded there was a short but heavy Rhyco hatch _ yeh I’d left the caddis box at the house. But with thunderstorms dumping heavy rain in Eastern Arkansas daily there looks to be some great chances for dry fly fishing over the next week. Get in fast so you don’t miss out.

Fishing Carter Brooksher at Rim on Sunday had show how close the sulphurs were to breaking wide open, and it also gave us a good look at some tiny caddis, which looking tanning at a distance in the right light but up close had the slate-gray wings and green bellies of the Brachycentrus. There were still a few Rhycophilia still coming off as well. Carter had landed a bunch of fish on my Skippy Nymph (a botched attempt to tie the Skip Nymph on a 6 word description alone which has proved itself in several sulphur hatches). Incidentally for those not of Australian descent Skippy was a long ago childrens TV program featuring a grey kangaroo _ Lassie with a pouch and gumleaves you might say.

 I’d changed the wingcase material on a whim and it seemed to be working, so I wanted to test it myself, plus work on some wet fly techniques while we were drifting. If we found some sulphurs coming off all the better.It pretty much all worked out. Jeff scored a bunch on his Czech nymphs, the Skippy nymph worked, and I picked up the top fish on a dry late in the day after a pretty cool thunderstorm.

Jeff Hearn's gorgeous Rim Shoals Brown Trout

The wet fly thing was extremely productive, seriously I was blown away, though my techniques were rudimentary at best, but I learnt a bunch.  My Welsh friend Davy Wotton, the master of wet fly techniques in this country, has indicated its worth many  times. But I guess I wasn’t a believer.

 I’ve used soft hackles myself for a bunch of years, and worked up my own series of favorites, the Tailwater Soft Hackles, which due to circumstance are primarily used in midge hatches wading . This winter I’ve been dabbling with some heavier versions for dead drifting on higher flows, hence the name Dead Drift Soft Hackles. I’ve also been working on some new colors to fish the spring caddis and summer sulphur hatches.

When Jeff abandons the Czech nymphs and starts coming through his fly boxes for wets, you know you are onto something. Its going to be a lot of fun bring on these flies, and techniques into a new way to fish, which doesn’t involve staring at a bobber.

Come along for the ride.


Four Days On The White

A quality Bull Shoals Rainbow

IT was four interesting days on the river late last week and through the weekend starting off with some torrential downpours on Wednesday night.

Thursday morning the dog wakes me at 3.45am, with an upset stomach, and I stumble outside into the rain, before I realised it was raining _ hard. The two subsequent trips outside over the next 45 minute make sure I’m well and truly awake at 4.30am so crank up the coffee and start tying a few more flies for the days ahead.

But in all honesty I was a little concerned as rain beat down, what would the river hold for us. Only one thing was certain the best water would be underneath the Bull Shoals Dam. And so it proved for two days with Pat and Rich Connell and then for half a day with Carter Brooksher.

A nice rainbow for Pat Connell

It was Rich’s first time fly fishing for 30 years since he and Pat were together out in Wyoming, and he picked it up pretty well. There is always lots of reward on the White when you get your presentation right. Flies of choice were red midges, worms and sowbugs. Even better the rain cleared, for two perfect days on the White.

Carter wasn’t so lucky _ a friend of mine artist Bob White sent Carter and her group of 3 likeminded women in my direction several months ago. The group was reduced to 3 early on, then on Friday night reduced to one. Judy and Jan were stranded in Atlanta by the same storms which woke me up on Thursday morning. Carter spent 5 hours at Branson airport waiting for her friends, so it was understandable she was a little flat on day one.

When she asked about starting later to recuperate I said no worries as for the past 2 days the bite had got stronger during the afternoon, but I didn’t see the switch coming. We popped fish pretty decently till 2pm and then the wheels fell off as it got slower and slower. And the glitches kept piling up, and loose lid had flooded part of our lunch with ice water,  my phone broke, somewhere I lost the box of split shot of a particular size I needed. My phone went belly up and unpacking that night I upended a pile of fruit salad all over the floor. It had been one of those days, though Carter was foregiving I badly wanted a better result to show her really what the White had to offer. Plus I have a lot of admiration for Bob and didn’t want to let him down.

Up before 6, with the family out of town crank up some tunes, a couple of cups of coffee repack and out the door. I took a punt that the river had cleared and headed way downstream to Rim Shoals. The world tipped off its axis the previous day was back on track, and we smoked them, early on eggs and worms and as the water cleared shifted to wet flies a technique Carter is takign back to Colorado, then as we started to see some sulphurs, onto the Skippy Nymph.

By 2pm I could see that Carter’s arm was aching, she’s an itty-bitty thing, and the fight in those Rim Shoals fish was surprising even for a woman who has fished Argentina and New Zealand. For a break we ran downstream and watched the Bald Eagle chick for a while. And she left with a smile on her face, as did I.

It had me sweating for a while, but it was nice to be able to help Carter enjoy her visit despite her 3 dear friends not being able to make it…


Lynsey Kicks Butt

 

Lynsey and I on Dry Run 3 years ago

 LAST Friday as we were bopping fish up at the Dam, I received a text message from my wife Rabecca. Normally I duck most texts, phone calls etc while I’m working on the river, but hers generally have a purpose and this was a good one

Lynsey, my youngest stepdaughter, had won hot pink fly rod and reel for scoring the most fish of any of the girl participants in the Mountain Home High School’s fishing club outing to Amon Lake. Typically, her first comment when I had a chance to talk to her was that she had caught, and released, more fish than most of the boys.

Lynsey is also the character of the 3 kids. She’s probably the sassiest, and funniest with a wit way older than her 14 years. I end up the butt of most of the gags too, and she makes me laugh, though her independance of spirit, while admirable, can be equally infuriating at times.

The High School has a pretty decent program of after school clubs and I was a little shocked when she jumped at both the fishing and fly tying clubs this year. Over the years I’d introduced/indoctrinated all 3 kids into fly fishing, I guess its pretty pervasive in our lives, but I’ve tried not to be too pushy about it. If they want to go I’ll take them, but every so often I’ll ask.

Lynsey is the most natural, Crystal would be just as happy knitting, and Derek the eldest probably loves it the most but like me had to work to earn the rewards. But Lynsey has something of a gift, our sessions on Dry Run Creek showed that, she picked up mending though she were born to it, discovering on her own, some slick, delicate little rolls, I’ve had a hard time teaching to adults. And she can flat out just catch fish. Now she loves to sightfish, and hunt the better fish.

But on the other hand trying to get her on the water with me  is almost impossible. So too my gentle question whether there was any way I could help either club. I guess having a weird Australian step-dad is something of an embarassment.

But you know that just makes it better to see her go off and do it herself, join the club, tie the flies (though she has a vice and access to a truckload of materials at the house), all because she wants to is way better than me taking her to the river under sufferance. Yep I’m pretty damn proud of her.

Oh and a big thanks to Mr Hargett and the other teachers who help out the class, plus the sponsors who offered up the prizes for the outing. Go Bombers.


Caddis Continues

Brown Trout on The White

SNUCK out between chores on some low water and the Caddis were crazy good again. And half the people coming into the shop have been trying to tell me that the caddis are done. No they aren’t as thick as a couple of weeks back but that just makes it all the better. Dry fly magic indeed.

I was supposed to be guiding an old friend for the first time on Monday, but with the hideous weather forecast, they postponed. I knew today was going to be good, unfortunately they had other commitments, but I didn’t know how good.

I managed to fool that big brown I fluffed last week, somewhere over 20″ or thereabouts, another couple of browns just at the 20″ mark and a 19″ cutt, plus a bunch of smaller browns, rainbows and cutts in the mid to high teens, who were jumping all over the flies I was trying to feed to the browns.

The craziest thing there was just myself and one other guy, a local Bob Jensen, on the water on one of the more popular shoals. Up above the shoal my mate Davy Wotton was guiding a couple of people, he told me tonight they fished dries all day and both got grand slams.

Enjoy the pictures, best I could do by myself.

23"

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90 minutes of Fun

MANAGED to get a little personal time on the White this afternoon, with a box of dry flies and a couple of spools of tippet, and one very happy dog.

My dear wife has just gone through gall bladder surgery, so understandably I’ve been tending to her care, fetching and carrying and spending ay too much time watching cooking programs. To her credit she gave me a shot at the water on Tuesday but honestly she was too sore to leave.

Part of her rehab is to get up and about so we found a nice grassy shaded bank where she was able to sit and watch while Madison the black lab X anarchist came with me.

It was Madison’s first wade outing, and not wanting to spoil anyone else’s water time, she was on a leash tied to my belt, which was about as much fun as it sounds. Well Maddie had a good time and I still caught some fish, but combining long leaders, current, flies, leash and a leaping pup in a short space isn’t a good idea.

At least I kept the hooks out of the dog, but I still fluffed the take on one seriously big brown feeding on top, but the prime casting position would have meant Madison was swimming. There’s always another fish, and so it turned out with this kinda snakey but long brown.

But my time on the water today did nothing to change my earlier opinions on how crazy good this hatch is. Every brown in the river is up shallow in bright sunlight and feeding hard. It can’t last long so get in now.

 Enjoy the rest of the pix.

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White River Dry Fly Magic

Adam Teal, KS, with a 17" dry fly White River Cuttthroat

THERE is no other way to describe the dry fly fishing on the White River right now than amazing. Our spring caddis hatch this year would rival anything on the Arkansas’ in Colorado (famed for the same caddis hatch) or on any of the other famous western dry fly waters. The White is better known as a nymphing river but this hatch is as good as anything I have fished out west, in Michigan or even my homewaters in Tasmania.

Just how long these phenomenal conditions will last is anyone’s guess, so get in now. I have my first weekend off since early March coming up and I’d love to share the dry fly action with you. Put me to work 🙂

Adam with his great 19" rainbow on a caddis dry

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2010 Conclave Mountain Home

Don’t miss the 2010 FFF Southern Council Conclave in Mountain Home September 30 to October 2


What a Weekend

Casey with a fat 18"+ rainbow at Bull Shoals

What a long weekend. Three days on the river, 6 fly fishers, torrential rain, bright sun, caddis on top, 50 mph wind gusts, a tornado warning, midge hatches, plenty of laughs and some quality fish. I crawled into bed Sunday night rode hard and put up wet, and I wasn’t coming off longer stretches like a couple of colleagues.

Friday, Sunday I was working for Kevin Brandtonies who had a big group in from northern Mo. Saturday I took out long time customer Pat Connell and his boss Fr Steven Boes.

FRIDAY: was spent at Rim Shoals, drifting among the disturbed moss and algae from dam releases. The algae has been riling a lot of folks, but I told Casey and Rob just to concentrate on making sure they got a dead drift.

The theory being in a dead drift the flies are travelling at the same speed as the current so they won’t pick up moss as badly as a dragging fly or worse one being held across the current. Plus it kept the guys minds on the job, and Rob in particular did well, picking off some nice fish on caddis.

 After lunch I had Matt and Rob, Matt was the only guy skunked in the morning, and his luck turned in a big way picking up four fish in the first two drifts. But the caddis bite slowed, even spaghetti and meatball rigs slowed. So went went and tried some dries along the edge. Both guys had a hoot with this.

 

 
 

Fr Steven Boes and Pat Connell staying on the job through a downpour

SATURDAY: Woke to heavy rain thunder and lightening but a check of the radar showed it would go through in a couple of hours. Kevin and his crew were headed to Norfork, so I went to Bull thinking the crowd might be slightly less.

Fr Boes, who insisted I call him Steve, is a relative newcomer to fly fishing, coming to the sport by way of his first love technical rock climbing. Pat, who is very well travelled as a fly fisher was really keen for me to get him into some fish and show off one of his favorite places. And on way lower water levels the Dam showed off her good side.

 The guys caught a lot of fish despite the intermittent thunderstorms which kept rolling through, including one which brought some 50mph winds and looked quite tornadic. The conversation was wide-ranging and highly entertaining. Fr Boes is the national executive director of Boys Town, the Catholic organisation based in Nebraska caring for troubled boys.

I’ve fished with 3 of the management team now, courtesy of Pat, and I have to say all the bad press the Catholic Church has been copping lately tends to over shadow there are a whole bunch of good people going above and beyond in organisations like this.

We did well on Davy Wotton Whitetail Midges in red and black and later in the day on some sowbugs. Fr Boes developed a nice feel for the fish durigng the day and landed the fish of the weekend, a heck of a nice rainbow a goodly bit over 19″. The pics are coming.

SUNDAY: Back to the Dam with Kevin, Clint Wilkinson and Will Brandtonies. The fishing was different to the previous day, definately a few fish has been sorelipped the day before, but we were finding more quality fish over 17″.  And they all had big deep bellies.

Casey and Micheal were a hoot working on their own little competition. The guide, knowing the day was proving a little tough and attention to the job at hand would be the key, kept egging them on. All in good fun. By the afternoon the guys had even both caught enough fish that they had basically forgotten about competition and were delighting in each others captures. A lot of fun

Whitetails were the fly of chocie and the fish were definately on them. Good morning of fishing, after lunch things becaame a little more sporadic, but we finished up the day with several really nice fish again.


Junior’s Monster Brown

 

Junior and That Fish

I had an email land in my inbox this week from my old stomping grounds on the Beaver Tailwater of an absolute hawg of a brown.

Nope it wasn’t a fly rod capture but its one of the most strikingly beautiful monster fish I’ve seen in a long time.

Junior Mullins, the son of my colleague and Beaver guide Lisa, bagged this 33″ long, 23″ girth brown on a jig while fishing for walleye. Lacking a net he was forced to lip the fish, tearing his thumb up pretty nicely. Big wraps for Junior for releasing this fish.

Beaver isn’t well known for fish like this, but it always held a few. In fact tucked away from view, but yet within a stone’s throw of one of the most popular fishing spots you could almost always find 2 or 3 big fish laid up on the bottom. BTW I’m not too concerned about hot spotting these fish, apparently their sanctuary was lost during the flood in ’08 and is now under 2′ of gravel.  But then to reach them required a long cast, and get your fly to the right depth was almost impossible because of the current and accessibility. To compound the problem inevitablely when the fish were in this spot they were absolutely not feeding.

I and a few others worked these fish quite a bit, even at night, and finally decided they were only catchable when they weren’t in this quiet spot, their sanctuary, instead when they were activelyhunting usually on overcast days or at night.

Often these fish would take when you weren’t quite set. I lost one one morning when I felt some serious weight but my frozen right hand refused to open fast enough to let the line slide. I’d misjudged the temperature and was fishing without gloves.


Speaking In Columbia Tuesday

 

I’ll be heading north to Columbia, Mo to speak to the Capital City Fly Fishers, Tuesday night, about the White River and its amazing fishery. I’m working away on a couple of new slideshow presentations, it started off rejigging one, but I had sudden inspiration. So we shall see which one gets finished first.

Either way it shoudl be a fun night and I’m hope to open a few more eyes to the possibilities of high water fly fishing. Yep we all love wading but if you want to fish more you have to adapt to the river conditions. The meeting will be held at the Bass Pro Shop in Columbia at 6:00 p.m. If you are in the area drop on by.

Speaking of speaking to clubs, I have several different programs available now for clubs and organisations and if your looking for something a little different for your meeting schedule drop me a line.