Steve Dally's White River Fly Fishing Guide Service


Low Water Trouting

Rainbow Release

THERE has been goodly chunks of low water despite the heat, and the fishing has been very very good. The midge hatch at Bull Shoals, once the sun climbed over the hill, was spectacular indeed.

The big water has been coming of an afternoon, keeping the river cool and the fish happy. I played at Rim Monday afternoon with only 3 other fly fishers. Hare’s Ear Parachute Hoppers were gobbled with abandon.

 Yesterday morning I joined Jeff Hearn at Bull Shoals for an epic morning. Midge’s (Ruby, Jujubee and Camel) were the ticket though my mate Mike McLellan’s Hunchback Scud did very well as well. The horn blew at midday, and we all chose other duties but it would have been an easy jump down river and the sort of fun I had monday.

Late summer and fall looks like being spectacular fishing, so jump fast if you want to come play.Weekends in September are going to be at a premium, I think I might have only the last two left vacant,

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

Low Water Floating Fun

You will forgive me not shaving

ITS seriously nice to be back on the White River on low flows, and happily I’ve had a few days playing on the water with some good friends.

Bull Shoals Dam is back down below below flood stage for the first time in a few years and we are getting some lower overnight flows, and the odd night with no generation, the latter situation should become more common as August moves on. And the fishing has been pretty good, with some nice browns coming to hand.

Its also been very nice to be back in the driver’s seat of a drift boat for a few days running, with some of the old tricks coming back. We will definately be doing more trips out of the Clackacraft in the right conditions, everyone has enjoyed it immensely.

Drift boats are quiet (and to some proper fly fishing vessels) and definately nice to run on the low flows. The downside is you get one shot at the fish on your path downstream since they pretty much are a one way vessel. The Supreme River Boat is very efficient for honing into fishing, and allows you to cover way more river. They are both great tools for a specific job, being able to offer both types of craft means more ways to give y’all a great day on the river.

The Clacka At Repose

But back to the fishing. The fish number have been silly good on relatively simple low water rigs, just two flies, no split shot and smallish indicators or a big foam ant to suspend them. Its pretty easy to catch a bunch of fish, and we have managed some better fish, the number of double hookups has been crazy.

Paul Kauerz celebrates his 30th anniversary with a dry fly cuttie

Its actually warm enough to wet wade, though the first 10 minutes, and any deep hole after that will have you huffing and puffing a bit, its actually nicer than stiffling in your waders.

Out on the river with good friends

It really is a great time to be here. Just bring plenty of sunscreen, a big broad brimmed hat and a sense of adventure. We have the boat stocked with plenty of cool water, staying hydrated is a serious issue _ and we also have a spot for an icecream or a cold candy bar on the way down stream.

Familiar scenery from a different perspective

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.

Hopper Time

Hopper Time Is Coming

FOUND this hopper on the Fly Shop Wall yesterday. Grabbed a handful of Rainy’s Grand Hoppers, and my Blackberry for a camera. Pretty surprised how well they turned out. Hopper time is some serious fun, and the fish are looking up.

A foam hopper or ant with a mayfly profile nymph, Copper John, Lightning Bug, or a Pheasant Tail, slung underneath is a damn fine way to spend a day, when we are on light or zero generation. Enjoy the pics Read the rest of this page »

Low Water Browns

Jeff Hearn with a nice low water brown trout

SOME days its just enough to share some water time with good friends, sunny skies and some hungry fish.

Yesterday I was even luckier though it didn’t start out that way.

Another successful release

Read the rest of this page »

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.



Brown Trout Fever

As mentioned last week we had some high entertainment with Jim and Brenda Dugan. During the fight of both of Brenda’s brown Jim recorded video which captured some of the high drama, laughter and some occassional dodgy language.

Jim asked me to put it together for their family, describing it as the “how not to net a big brown video” . I copped a fair bit for missing early shots on both fish, but can I use the excuse my net wasn’t extending; or how about I was dodging rocks, tree, docks and fish diving under the boat??

Actually the second fish, out of camera shot, went into the net u-turned and back out before I could lift: browns are always entertaining, and it doesn’t matter how you net them if they go back healthy.