Steve with Dick's 23+" brown
The White River has been on fire and Richard Ruesenberg and his college buddy Jim Aylsworth timed it just right. Nine browns to 23″ and a bunch of big ‘bows to 20″ all on the back of one of the heaviest shad kills in many years.
Who's a Happy Chappy _ Dick Reusenberg after landing his biggest trout in 14 years
In fact the shad kill was so heavy last weekend fishing was shut down from the Dam to below Rim Shoals. Monday and Tuesday we had lower flows and lighter shad kills. The fishing was very good on Monday Dick picking up an 18 1/2″ brown topping his previous largest fish on a fly rod. Less than an hour later Dick was tight to a 21″ brown. Two personal bests in a day.
Dick's 21" Bull Shoals Brown
Jim wasn’t missing out either with a nice brown of his own around 17″ followed up on Tuesday with a great 18 1/2″ brown. Jim was also absolutely buried by an unseen monster brown (by behaviour and attitude) underneath an infamous deadfall in the middle of the river. That was a fish we wanted bad.
Jim with a beautiful White River brown. Look at those spots
The boys also banged a bunch of pig rainbows over the two days. Some of these fish were just round, bellies distended, stuffed full of shad. Dick, a dry fly addict like myself, actually caught a couple on top, big solid takes. But basically we were fishing deep, under Thingamabobbers. Jig patterns, John Barr’s Meat Whistle, and Zonkers did the trick.
Yesterday was a different story as we started at the Dam but were blown off the water by a massive shad kill. At first the fish were on the bite, and we were looking for even better fish. But the sheer volume of shad left our flies unmolested by the trout. We could have run downstream early in the “hatch” to stay ahead of the shad “plague”. But we were banking on a reduction in flow and shad like had been the pattern on the previous days. So we pulled out and trailered down stream.
One of 5 last afternoon browns for Dick
This was where Dick’s hot hand paid off, finishing with 5 browns for the afternoon, the best that 23″ beast which had everyone fooled as a log. This fish was so strong and so tough it was incredible. It literally would not come off the bottom.
Some truly great memories and great company guys. Come back again.
Chris Heppel and a great White River Brown
Something about a note I’d written to a flyfisher about a future trip on Saturday night leapt to mind as I stood at the front door Sunday morning, geared up a ready to head out. The forecast had been cold temperature but SNOW wasn’t mentioned. I started laughing and called Bec who was up putting the finishing touches to my preparations (a hot delivered chilli and cornbread lunch). It couldn’t have been better, I was tempted to call the fly fishers I was heading to meet, Chris and Dick, but I’d let them enjoy the anticipation too.
Dick Wittenberg and his early morning brown