Fly Fishing Fair Highlights


EXCITEMENT IS starting to build for this weekend’s FFF Southern Council Fly Fishing Fair, with fly fishers starting to congregate in campgrounds, and cabins across the area.

Some of these ritual annual gatherings of friends have been held over a decade, in some cases more than 2 decades, and its as much as part of the event as the formal proceedings at the Fairgrounds. Sure the name changed from the Conclave to the Fair, and now it’s a Friday, Saturday and Sunday affair, which is a better schedule for those with working commitments.

Friday night’s Welcome Dinner sounds like a fine affair with  FREE Burgers and Brats, soft drinks, tea and water will be provided. Beer will be a bottomless cup in a cool IFFFSOC cup that you can buy for $5.00. You keep the cup. There will be a Casting Game for prizes and live music Scott Chism and the Better Half from Hattiesburg Mississippi.

Saturday and Sunday are the major public days, Friday has the premium classes, but there are free classes all weekend, including 3 from our crew. We will of course be histing a booth at the Show featuring a bunch of new season products we have lined up to display.

Our Cotter store of course will feature our full range of products and our annual Fly Fishing Fair sale: WE have been unpacking boxes of discounted tying materials, tools, tippet indicators and more yesterday.

There is one change from the original program our boy Ben Levin missed the notice about the date change this year and double booked himself Sunday, so I took one for the team and swapped class times.

Ben’s Ozark Smallmouth class is now primetime Saturday at 12 pm, while I’ll have to be up early for my fish behaviour class “Find ‘Em & Feed ‘Em. which will now be at 9am Sunday. Chad Johnson is also offering his extremely popular Do It Yourself Redfish class at midday Sunday.

We are also stoked to see one of the headline presenters this year is Michael Schmidt from Angler’s Choice Flies in Ohio _  Mike achieved notoriety with his custom streamers, many of which have passed their way through our fly bins, but he has a bunch to offer in production tying techniques for every tyer.

Streamer addicts will also enjoy our mate Brian Wise’s take on fishing Schmidt style streamers on Sunday.


Saturday Highlights:

Smallmouth Across the Ozarks – Ben Levin – This 50 minute presentation will include details on when, where, and how to catch smallmouth bass on flyrod across the Ozarks, with particular emphasis on Crooked Creek and the Buffalo. It will also cover food and flies, special techniques, and conservation. Seminar Rm. – Saturday 12 pm – 12:50pm – No attendance limit – FREE

12 Sat. 10am – 10:50am Production Tying Techniques for Everybody – Mike Schmidt – Will highlight different setups, ideas, and techniques from production work that anyone can use to produce more consistent flies at home and faster. Sat. 10am – 10:50am – Seminar Rm. No attendance limit. – FREE

#16 Sat. 1pm – 1:50pm Trout Hunting With Meat – Michael Schmidt A brief history of streamers and how they have progressed, and then goes though gear, reading water, fly selection and action…basically is a good primer course to dial in streamer fishing. Will be offered on Saturday, Oct.4th 1pm – 1:50pm – Seminar Rm. – No attendance limit. – FREE

#19 Sat. 3pm – 3:50pm Production Tying Techniques for Everybody – Michael Schmidt – Will highlight different setups, ideas, and techniques from production work that anyone can use to produce more consistent flies at home and faster. Sat. 3pm – 5pm – Seminar Rm. No attendance limit. – FREE


Sunday Highlights

Find’em and Feed’em – Trout Behavior – Steve Dally – Locating feeding fish is the essence of every type of fishing. Our preferred quarry, trout may live in a myriad of different environments, but they follow the same set of rules no matter where you are fishing. This program looks at common factors in how, why, when and where of trout feeding behavior, with particular reference to the White River system tailwaters.

Building C1. – Sunday 9am – 9:50am – No attendance limit – FREE

Sunday 10am – 10:50am Fishing Mike Schmidt’s Streamers on Local Waters – Brian Wise – Streamer fanatic Brian Wise looks at when, where and how to get Schmidt’s streamer patterns to produce on local waters. Sunday 10am – 10:50am – Seminar Rm. – No attendance limit – FREESeminar Rm. – Sunday 12pm – 12:50pm – No attendance limits – FREE

Sun 12pm – 12:50pm Do it yourself Red Fishing -Chad Johnson — This presentation will cover things such as:

  • Safely Navigating through the Marsh
  • Where Red Fish live
  • Tips & Techniques to catch Red Fish
  • Fly Selection
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Johnson’s Freaky Frog _ White River Tying Video Series


WE HAVE been awaiting this fly with much anticipation, our mate, guide and new Umpqua Fly Designer Chad Johnson’s Freaky Frog.

There were a few headaches in meeting Chad’s standards on this pattern to make sure it cast, and fished properly which meant it was a few months late. But its been garnering plenty of attention both in our fly bins and with fly fishers and tyers across the country. The Freaky Frog was featured on the cover of Eastern Fly tyer magazine this summer.

If you want a sample or don’t want to tie this awesome topwater fly click here.

Video produced by our mate Brian Wise from Fly Fishing the Ozarks.

Materials List
Hook — 8089 Size 2
Frog Foam — Olive
Foam Ant Body — Large Black
Sheet of 1/8″ Tan Fly Foam
Silly Legs — Hopper Yellow Perfectly Barred & Olive/ Black Flake
Eyes — Hareline 5/16 Oval Pupil 3D — Red/ Black Pupil
Prism SLF Dubbing—Olive— Multi — Laminated Synthetic
Thread — UTC 100 Olive GSP
Stainless Wire Weed Guard
.035 Lead Wire

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Test The New Sages At The Fly Fishing Fair


SWING BY the Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher or Sage booths at the Fly Fishing Fair next week and try out the hottest new Sage rods, the SALT and ACCEL rods, and Grace outfits.

The new SALT is a really muscular stick, despite its light feel, that isn’t going to back down in the face of coastal winds, and powerful fish. We are looking forward to strapping one of these up with an Outbound Short Type 6 line and one of the new 8” plus streamers we have been working on since summer to go chase some big brown trout.

The ACCEL is a real revelation, a deliciously smooth, lightweight modern rod without an $800 price tag. Using technology one generation backwards, and some sweet tapers there is a lot to love about the ACCEL. There are some particularly sweet rods for our fishing, the 5wts for all around fishing, the 8wt for streamers and the 6wt is getting a lot of attention from our crew as our next hopper rod.

The Grace series comes in 2 models an 8wt and a 5wt, and is an eye popping pic, from the rod and reel case to the Rio Gold line and the 3200 series reel and rod itself. But it’s not all about the Pink, though this will be high on the list of buying decisions. I really dig the 8’6” rod 5wt, while the 9’ 8wt I’m going to be playing with next week. I know someone who is a pink fan and who needs her own 8wt. SHHHH.

We  also will have a bunch of the new Intouch low stretch flylines you can also check out  _ the Intouch Gold, Grand and Xtreme Indicator_ we have been running these all summer on our own and on guide rods. They are at their best when you need feel on the hookup: soft hackles, buggers, streamers, plus they are lethal on dry fly hookups.

The big question of course, would the low stretch result in more breakoffs on our standard 5x rigs with our fly fishers. The answer pleasantly was none.

The Intouch Xtreme Indicator might the best line for bobbers and nymphing I’ve used, and Ben and I have really notice newcomers to the fly rod really getting results off this line. The taper really turns over nicely, powerfully but without the clunkiness I’ve found on indicator lines in the past. I’m not sure the low stretch has as much advantage in nymphing situations as say bugger fishing, but we’ve caught a lot of fish on it.

These are definitely worth looking at.


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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 9/25/14


Banning Collins, our TFO/Lamson/Umpqua representative, getting some White River love while fishing with Steve Dally. Dally photo.

Ahh the beginning of Fall. What an awesome time to be out on the water. Cool mornings, bright clear blue skies, low humidity, it’s enough to put you in a good mood regardless of how the fishing’s going. But then the fishing has been steady as well, and customers in the shop this morning seem to be in beaming high spirits, so life is good in the Ozarks, and I don’t mind it at all. Our company man Banning Collins certainly picked a good time to test the waters, as you can see in the photo above, proving he’s not just a gear nerd.

Vallerie Greer hoists a fat brown from the Norfork on an outing with Chad Johnson.

With the cool mornings and warm afternoons it becomes more important to dress yourself with the proper layers in order to stay comfortable all day. Come check out our new sweaters, jackets, base layers, and insulated pants and shirts. We’ve got a great selection of warm hats, caps, Buffs, and gloves too! There’s no better feeling than being the first guy on the water, all toasty warm in your new gear and catching fish while the crowds wait for mid morning sunshine.

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Holy Smokes _ A Biggun


Bill and Gabe had a fun time working with this fishy crew from Georgia last week, giving them the good oil on the myriad of ways to fish our river system, including some big fish hunting techniques and fly patterns to use.

And thanks to Charles Gilbreath for sending us this note, detailing the result.

This was a White River brown caught on a sculpin fly purchases at Dally’s.

It was caught by Joseph Fincher  of Silver Creek GA on 9/15/14. It weighed 13 lbs, was 31 1/2 inches long with a 17 1/2 inch girth.

Heck of a fish right there Joseph.

Thanks guys, guess we will be seeing y’all back soon.

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SIMMS GEAR: Guide Tough

Simms Guide Ambassador Chad Johnson and his ‘06 Simms Rivertek Jacket.


A FEW week’s back I was filling out the Simms Repair form for my G3 Guide waders, to get some new feet fitted, and stumbled over one question, “What Year Did You Buy Your Waders”.

I bought my first pair of G3s, nine long years ago. That was before minimum flow; before Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher; before the 100-year flood; before Mountain River Fly Shop; before the iphones, Apps, Thingamabobbers, Abel Nippers & Go Pros.  Heck that’s nearly 20% of my life..

The wringer they have been put through, you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, a litany of wader crime which includes getting run over, stabbed with rebar, and bounced down a scree slope at Rim, not to mention covered in floatant, salsa, gasoline, and more than one flavor of adult beverage. The Rim Shoals spill was good enough that I’m still carrying a scar from gash that should have been stitched. The only damage to the G3s was a scuff.

I related this tale to our resident Simms Guide Ambassador Chad Johnson, and he started sharing similar stories of extraordinarily long-lived and much-loved Simms gear. Mississippi and I also share a reputation for being hard on gear _ indeed its been said of both of us that  “he could tear up an anvil with a rubber mallet”.

So we summoned the Levin boys, and brought in the stuff we rely on year in and year out, to keep us warm, or cool, dry, and looking good, well the last point could be a matter of opinion but better than we deserve at least. Most importantly, it lasts like nothing else we have tried, and we have tried a lot.

Read on then drop in and see our huge range of Simms products


Chad Johnson:

2006 Rivertek Jacket (pictured above):  I have as been as rough on this coat as possible a couple guide stints in Alaska and have used it for years here . I wanted a new raincoat for a while just couldn’t justify buying a new one when this one still worked so well :) I finally picked up a new Simms coat and I loan this one to customers all the time. You can’t go wrong with Simms!


‘06 Rivertek Midweight Zip (at left):  I am still wearing it today: it is my 2 layer over a waderwick light weight (from the same era Ed. Note). I do around 80 days a year on this piece and its still just as good as the day I bought it enough said !


Steve Dally


Flyshop Selfie for the D.L. Windstopper Jacket


‘06 Double Layer Windstopper Jacket: This piece has attained legendary status among Simms wearers, and the clamor when it finally left the lineup was so loud they had to bring it back last winter. It was always seen as a pricey jacket in its day but I’d probably got my money out of it before the decade turned.

Fall to spring I wore or carried this pretty much daily, whether I was guiding or working in the shop or going out to dinner. It’s still warm and comfortable, and makes you feel good every time you shrug it on. I put it on for the pic and still haven’t taken it off.

 ‘05 Superlight Shorts: There’s no way a pair of shorts this light should take the abuse of 8 summers, indeed I reckon these have some sort of magical powers. Firstly magical in the sense that my wife always reckoned I look better than normal in those shorts, and that’s something worth paying for in itself. Secondly, these have been coated in winch grease more times than I can count and come out of the wash clean as a whistle. Fish slime, yellow mustard from river lunches, morning road coffee: nothing sticks.


Ben Levin _ 2010 Guide Boots:

These boots have been through 5 guide seasons o the White and 2 guide seasons in Alaska hiking loads and running from bears. There is lots of support in these boots and a super tough hard hull to protect my feet.

I don’t use them as much on the creeks when I’m hiking miles and miles because of their weight, and they are heavier than my other boots, but when I’m on the river working hard I love the way they keep my feet from getting beaten up.

I’ve worn the tread  down flat on the soles but they still grip.

Editor’s Note: (We told Ben when he handed over the boots he could get them resoled with new Vibram too)


Gabe Levin: Simms G3 Waders ‘07:

My beloved G3 waders were given to me as a high school graduation present, and in the seven years since, they’ve hung in there like a crafty old veteran despite being rode hard and put up wet. I can’t say I’ve been kind to these old waders; actually, I feel the slightest bit of guilt when I think of all the abuse I’ve put them through.

Forced marches through briars and barbed wire, thigh deep plunges into stinking muddy marshes, left for days wadded up unwashed in the trunk of my car, and the strangest part is, despite all of this, I think my waders still like me.

I finally had Simms put some new feet on them – maybe I’ll take better care of them in the next seven years, but I doubt it.

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Geobass: Papua New Guinea


EPIC, JUST too damn epic for words. Let it load on HD and watch the last 2 minutes over and over.

Just damn.

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COME ALONG TO two days of free seminars with living legend Dave Whitlock at the Gastons Vistors Center in Bull Shoals on November 1 & 2.

The North Arkansas Fly Fishers is hosting the seminars, a program which has brought to town some excellent speakers. But few can match the expertise and personality of Dave: the artist, fly designer, author, teacher and gentleman.

The Saturday seminars will cover his Nymphing system, a fly tying demo, casting techniques, tailwater tactics and conclude with a book signing. Sunday starts will smallmouth bass techniques, fly fishing the ozarks, a fly tying demo, Dave’s stories of “Fish Experiences” and a book signing.

Don’t miss this.


Dave Whitlock and Chad Johnson chasing brown trout on the White.

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Fall, the Fly Fishing Fair and Simms

New season Simms in stock.

Left:  Kinetic Jacket; WS Flap Cap; Guide Mid Top; Cascade Soft Shell Pant. Right: Flexfit Snap Back Hat; Fall Run Jacket; Rivershed Sweater 1/4 Zip; Big Sky Belt; Story Work Pant.


THESE grey damp days have a taste of fall about them, and with the Fly Fishing Fair in the offing we have been loading up with cooler weather gear, new rods and fly tying materials.

The revamped Fly Fishing Fair, held from October 3 through 5 is going to be a fun event, with a revamped scheduled and entertainment. Click for the Schedule. You might enjoy the live music and fun on Friday night; sign up for the Mike Schmidt streamer class, who provides many of our killer streamer patterns, a wet fly class with Davy Wotton.

Chad Johnson is doing a redfish class; Ben Levin teaching about Ozarks Smallmouth; and I’m doing a class on how to “find and feed” trout in rivers. Check the programs here

You’ll be digging the new Simms gear for both men and women: the women’s Fall Run Jacket is going to be killer, just like the men’s version has been: ultralight weight and very warm. The Primaloft One insulation, unlike down retains insulating properties even when you do something odd like dunk your arm netting that big fish.

The new Kinetic Jacket, features Primaloft Gold insulation in the core areas for heat retention and stretchy Polartec WindPro is a very “fishy piece”, seeming designed for those tough cold streamer days when you are making cast after a cast for a big fish.

We also have 3 very cool, very techy “sweaters” that have been attracting a lot of attention the Guide Pro, Guide Core and Rivershed 1/4 Zip; some quickdrying jean cut khakis in the Story Work Pant; and the very cool soft shell Cascade Pant in stock. Plus there are new waterproof boat bags; new waterproof waist packs and much more. Check out some of our new range of Simms here.

We have the new Sage SALT and ACCEL rods in stock; the new Waterworks Lamson Reels are in transit; and the new Rio low-stretch lines have been leaping off the shelves.

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Redbud Shoal Aerial

IF YOU need a little relaxation this afternoon you could do a lot worse than dial this video up on HD, stick some headphones on and lose yourself in the flowing waters of the White River.

Thanks to David Dressler for the video, pretty awesome.

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 9/17/14

Ben Levin guided David Johnson to this spectacular 25.5″ September hopper eater. Notice the low light conditions.

When it comes to the end of the “season” for a certain type of fly, experienced guides will tell you – “it ain’t over till it’s over.” Take for instance, the end of summer and terrestrial fishing. Ben Levin would be the first to tell you that foam hoppers can continue to pull big fish well into autumn, and all our other guides are also having some success recently on hopper outings, when conditions allow for it. Yeah it’s still summer technically, but the cool overcast days that feel more like autumn seem to be the best brown trout days lately. Looking back through the photos over the years, it seems those willing to stick with hoppers a little longer can find toothy critters willing to rise to the foam well after temperatures start dropping and most anglers are thinking about egg patterns. Point is, forget the calendar and fish what works until the fish quit bitin’ it!

Randy Graves with a sleek, midge caught brown, fishing with Ben Levin. Again, notice the low light.

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 9-12-14

Summer on the White _ Sara Thomas image


  IT SEEMS, for the next week at least that the brutal heat of summer is done. The long range forecasts are showing a few days in the mid80s but that will be the extent of it, which for most folks means some pretty nice fishing weather _ and probably some extended wading water.

It was a shock this morning to have to dig out a jacket, not just for the drizzle but for the cooler temperatures. The weekend ahead is looking particularly good, marking the shift for the fall weather trend, which should continue into October, according to the extended forecast.

Now I’m going to bet the house on the forecast but the next month is looking sweet, not too cold and not too hot, a trend which will lessen the need for 24/7 air conditioning. And in general less power demand means less electricity generation, and hence more low flows and wadeable water on the Norfork and White.

So its time to drag the waders out and make sure any holes are patched, or sent off to Simms for repairs, as they will become much more important in the coming weeks. Find your baselayer or fleece, check over your jackets, all the stuff you have had hidden away for months.

And now onto the rest of the fishing report this week:

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