Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 4/17/14

Dogwoods overlooking the White River. Steve Dally photo.

There’s so many options for a fly fishing excursion in the Ozarks this time of year, it’s a wonderful problem to have trying to decide what to do with my last three hours of daylight after work. Should I chase the caddis hatch on the White and look for browns sipping in shallow water, or should I run to the mouth of a lake tributary looking for white bass and crappie? Or perhaps I should race home to Crooked Creek and try for a fat pre-spawn smallie. Whatever the game, it’s hard to go wrong on a sunny afternoon with redbud and dogwood blossoms waving in the breeze.

It appears that some lovely warm weather is going to settle over the area for the next week, with a couple of spring thunderstorms mixed in of course, but conditions are looking right for a culmination of good caddis fishing, white bass runs, and smallmouth moving onto beds. If SWPA decides to dump some extra lake water down the river, we may be in store for a good spring streamer bite on the White as well.

Brad from PA with a gorgeous streamer caught brown fishing with Steve Dally. Steve Dally photo.

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Dally’s Smallmouth Class _ June 14


JOIN us on June 14 for our ever popular Smallmouth Class, led by Duane Hada and Ben Levin.

This class is heavily booked every year, as one of the best deals going, and a whole bunch of fun to boot.

The morning class session will be indoors at Dally’s Ozark Flyfisher and will consist of a power point presentation detailing smallmouth habitat, techniques, and foods in the Ozarks. Participants will learn about gear, rigging, reading water, and seasons from Duane and Ben, longtime smallmouth experts. Duane and Ben will also demonstrate tying several of their best patterns.

The afternoon will be spent learning correct presentations and fishing techniques while fishing Crooked Creek with Duane, Ben, Chad, and Gabe. Participants will receive one on one instruction on smallmouth tactics while wade fishing one of Arkansas’ premier bass streams. Pupils should come prepared to wade fish the afternoon (wading boots, warm water clothing). Bring a five or six weight rod if possible, otherwise guides will provide rods if necessary.

Class Name: Smallmouth Fishing the Ozarks

Class Date: June 14, 2014

Times: 8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Morning at the Shop & Afternoon on Crooked Creek

Instructors: Duane Hada & Ben Levin Class Fee: $200

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Win A Killer Fly Selection _ White & Striper Seminar


ROCK ALONG to our free White Bass, Wiper and Striper seminars Saturday with Ozark bass guru Bill Butts and you could win a very cool box of killer “underground” patterns from the man himself.

We had Bill set up a dozen killer patterns you will learn about in the two seminars at our shop in Cotter:

  • You can choose between Bill’s introductory White Bass 101 which will be held from 10:30am -11:30am.
  • Or for a more detailed presentation Bill will hold his Fly Fishing for the Temperate Basses from 12:30-2:30.

If you haven’t fished for these species before these are truly a highlight of the spring season in the Ozarks. Pound for pound any of these species will tow a trout backwards, and when you see the size of the hybrids and stripers in our waters, you will get the attraction.

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NAFF-Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher Tie-In _ May 17


ROCK along to the first quarterly North Arkansas Fly Fishers/Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher Tie-In on May 17.

It’s not a class, but you will probably learn quite a bit; it’s not a meeting, so there will be plenty of entertainment, and even better it will be free.

Come along with your vice, tying light, tools and materials and spin up a few patterns, with some likeminded folk.  We should be able to accommodate 8-10 tyers at a stint, so tyers will be asked to trade places to ensure everyone gets a turn.

Tyers are asked to donate 1 fly into a tie in box, which will be raffled off.

Tying will start at 1.30pm and run till 5.30pm on May 17

WE plan to kick-off

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The AuSable River _ “The River” trailer

We have written before of the beauty of the AuSable River _ Now get to experience the River through the eye of Robert Thompson’s camera. He explores the people, the history, and the challenges of Michigan’s Au Sable River. It is the centerpiece of a DVD to be released later this week.

The DVD contains the main feature “The River,” which is two hours long (plus two bonus features); The Brothers Brown (the full version), which was part of the 2013 Fly Fishing Film Tour; and Summers, about legendary Michigan bamboo rod maker Bob Summers.

The DVD is also a fundraiser for The Anglers of the AuSable, so a portion of the proceeds from every DVD sold will benefit the river.

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 4/10/14


Shop regular Corey Dodson hangs a two-footer. Mick Spaulding photo.

You’ll hear a lot of theoretical talk around the shop about “streamer season” being January through March, which is normally the best time to target aggressive, post-spawn browns on big streamers. But in reality, tossing the big meat is a great way to target big browns any time you have consistently high water, like now, or any other time of year. Corey’s two-footer pictured here was certainly hungry, and we’re hoping that more fish of this caliber will go on the hunt as SWPA continues to send excess water rushing deep and fast down the Baxter and Marion County banks.

Spring rain is still coursing out of the hills and hollers, keeping the smallmouth and white bass creeks a little cold, but every day the sun shines brings us a little closer to what’s considered good fishing conditions. Soon you’ll have to decide whether you want to chase the caddis hatch, the white bass run, or the smallmouth bite. Crooked Creek is clearing up quickly, and in the meantime, some tiny creeks that shall remain nameless here do clear up faster and can scratch the itch in a pinch.

A small but beautiful early spring smallie. The light buttery blonde color is unique to small, crystal clear Ozark creeks.

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Trout Unlimited Annual FundRaiser Evening _ May 10


The White River Trout Unlimited Chapter annual fundraiser evening is on the the most fun nights on the calendar. Tickets are now available in the shop, $35 a single; $50 a couple.

Successful fundraising provides the volunteers of your local Trout Unlimited Chapter the funds needed to focus on TU’s mission: Protect, Restore, Reconnect and Sustain cold water fisheries.

Our May 10th event will include an auction, music and dancing. A light buffet and cash bar, silent auction and bucket raffles are also part of the evening. Watch this website for more details as they are developed.

Donations to this fundraiser create a fun-filled event in which the profits further our conservation and education programs such as: three more years of Bonneville Trout egg planting; habitat work on the North Fork and White rivers; equipment for Trout in the Classroom program, (3 schools participating and 3 on a waiting list) our summer Youth Camp and smaller projects through-out the year.

We appreciate and need your support for our continued efforts to provide education, habitat and conservation work for the waters you, your family and friends fish in.

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Guatemalan Sailfish _ Colin Griffin Photo Essay

Colin with a spectacular sailfish

Landing in my inbox this weekend was a series of pics from regular Colin Griffin who with a group of friends headed to Guatemala after sailfish on fly rods recently.

I serioulsy dig the leaping sail pic below, which I’m guessing was on Shawn Taylor’s rod. Looks like a great trip with some awesome captures on a fly rod.

Thanks Colin







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Just Rubbing It In ….


I guess it was time for some payback. I have been known to give Ben Levin a hard time about his supply of images/articles for the Journal, especially since he is the only member on staff with an English degree and his tardiness with such things is legendary.

But here we have popping up mere hours after he and Duane Hada landed with their group in Campeche, Mexico comes a photo of Ben in the very cool new logo hat, holding a nice juvenile tarpon, which I’m sure has put a huge bend in his Sage rods and leapt all over the ocean.

I knew I should have grabbed that last seat. Maybe next year.




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THIS had to be be fastest moving fly box in the lower 48 _ if it was entered at Oaklawn there would have been an inquiry and blood testing.

Duane had been kicking the idea around since we had a chat at the Sowbug Roundup. Last night, on the eve of leaving for Campeche, he grabs one of our MFC boat boxes with the plan to give it his own artistic touch.

By 8am he was packed, in his truck and pulling into the shop carpark, with a completed original painting on one side. The idea was for this to go up for donation at the Trout Unlimited banquet.

By 10 am it was sold and out the door. Once Duane and Ben get back from chasing tarpon we will get him to work up another. Pretty cool and I’m sure he will take custom orders _ price to be determined according to your wishes.

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The AC Caddis

YOU MIGHT have noticed the weather has been a little up and down this year, even as we stroll into spring.

After the winter blasts it seems like everything is late, the buds are just starting to pop on a few trees in my yard, and its been the same way with our caddis.

Our spring caddis hatch is ready to roll, as we have seen under the right conditions awaiting the confluence of water flows, sunlight and temperature. Certainly The super-cold water coming out of Bull Shoals Dam, certainly hasn’t been helping, but if you have struck the right combination, like last Sunday, the bugs will go.

Since the caddis fired early last year on the basis of a warm winter, and a long hot summer, the bugs have had enough days at the right temperatures to mature. We have been fishing caddis imitations deep for several weeks: Prince Nymphs, Pulsating Caddis and Davy Wotton’s Translucent SLF Pupa with good to awesome results. All we need for some dry fly action is the trigger, when the heat of the sun can overcome the cold water. The good news is we can probably expect the hatch to continue deeper into May this year.

We are seriously stocked up for a killer caddis season with our favorite dries, pupa and soft hackles.

But as always I went hunting to see if there were new patterns worth adding, or stocked up on some we sampled last year.

The AC Caddis has a lot of the features I tend to like in dry flies, and in our hottest dry pattern the E/C Caddis. It’s a low rider, with plenty of meat sub surface, a parachute hackle helping out. But the curved hook lends a little different profile and the use of dun hackle instead of grizzly is a nice touch. This one should be hot.

As we mention in the Caddis Dry Fly Opus the Arkansas Egg Layer is going to throw a few people. The elk hair wing, and green eggsac is pretty familiar, but a purple body?

Purple has been a hot western dry color for a bunch of seasons now. And the Arkansas River in CO, for which this fly is named, has remarkably similar hatches.

Can’t wait to give it a spin on the late afternoon flights of the egg layers. 




Rainy’s Olive Hi-Viz Parachute Caddis is another good one particular when you have a lot of the dark winged Brachycentrus around. But I brought this one in for everyone who has a tough time spotting their dry among all the adults.

The hint of sparkle in the dubbed body add some variety in your box as well.


THE Apple Caddis must be a Golden Delicious not a Granny Smith. I may have tied the body a little different color but I dig a lot about this pretty simple pattern.

This one is one for the light wing caddis we have already started seeing.



We have also added some very cool new pupa patterns, I’ll be trialling over the next few days.

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 4/3/14

John Naill’s first streamer brown, and a pretty one at that, fishing with Ben Levin. Photo by Ben Levin.

Caddis, thunderstorms, gobbling turkeys, blooming “sarvice” trees – all the signs of spring are upon us, and with them comes all the anticipation of excellent spring fishing. A few nice browns have already been caught on dries, and the best is yet to come once the lakes get down low enough to allow more minimum flow. Powerful pre-spawn smallmouth will be hunting aggressively as the creeks approach 60 degrees, though the rain pelting the fly shop roof right now might delay the action a few more days. At any rate it’s time to fix the leaks in your waders, upgrade your rain jacket, stock up on caddis for trout and Clousers/Creek Crawlers for bass, and be ready when the weather breaks – we’re on the cusp of great fishing.

A fine Wildcat brown caught on top. Mick Spaulding photo.

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