Author Archives: ozarkflyfisherjournal

Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 12/18/14

A happy angler with trophy in hands from last winter

Ahh winter in the Ozarks…not too bad a place to be. I just got back from a long drive out to Idaho Falls to buy a Clackacraft, and let me tell you folks, we’ve got it good down here on our winter tailwater. If you’re in Idaho right now and you’re going outside, you’re either crazy or going skiing, or likely both. We are truly blessed to have a year-round fishery right here in our backyard. Winter is a perfect time to fish the White too – crowds are thin, fish are hungry, and the winter landscape has a naked beauty all of its own. That’s right, I said naked beauty.

The weather forecast for Christmas week is looking balmy, highs in the 40s and 50s, scattered sunshine, little chance for winter storms. You couldn’t ask for better weather, unless, of course, your planning a Christmas visit to the subtropical Marshall Islands in search of bonefish, but I’ll brag more on that when I get back with some pictures to back it up. Typically Christmas week you can expect to find plenty of wadeable water, with power demand down a bit from workplaces shutting down, but then there’s usually a morning spike in flows that will satisfy those looking to throw streamers on big water. There’s no better place to fish Christmas week than the White (at least in this country).

Conclusion of a winter’s streamer outing

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Rocking Reds

Big Red

IF THERE is one thing guaranteed to alter the mood of a peaceful gathering of fly addicts and their long suffering partners it’s a bunch of trophy fish pics.

We, about half the Ozark Fly Fisher’s crew, our wives and buddies were gathered up at the Arena Sports Bar Saturday night ordering dinner and blowing the froth off a couple when my phone started going ballistic. Good mate Kevin Vincent was similarly ensconced over dinner just south of New Orleans after a hectic couple of days chasing some big reds. And now I was seeing the results.

I have to say it took me a while, until Mississippi Johnson raised the point, to see that proudly worn over every monster red was one of our Dally’s Logo Truckers. KV likes the navy hat, he’s been through a couple now and there have been a steady supply of big fish involved.

 

Guide Jarod Malone and Kevin Vincent with 45.5” of Louisiana Red _ 32 pounds

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Ben’s Eye View of Chile

 

OK here is your chance to end up in this gorgeous scenery. We have been given some open dates with Ben Levin down in Chile. And if this sequence of images from his first week at Martin Pescador doesn’t inspire wanderlust then you might want to check your pulse.

Give the shop a call on 870 435 6166 and we can get the ball rolling for an amazing trip this Northern Hemisphere winter.

 

 

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Baby Bonnies Growing Up _ Bill Thorne

 

You have probably seen a few pictures of Bonneville Cutthroats that have been caught on the Norfork and White in the past few months.

As one of the volunteers that have been on the business end a garden hoe, digging artificial redds, I can tell you these photos are a sight for sore eyes! Are they positive proof that we have a viable population of “Bonnies,” no, but they are proof that we have had some success using the “Whitlock-Vibert” box to plant eggs and with a little luck we may establish a wild strain of naturally reproducing Cutthroats in our tailwaters.

AR’ White River TU Chapter #698, made a commitment to plant 50,000 eggs a year for a minimum of 5 years (and probably more), in the Norfork Tailwater and White Rivers. So far 150,000 eggs have been distributed in the Norfork Tailwater and 100,000 in the White.

These photos if nothing else will help fuel the volunteer efforts for future work days. We know we have some obstacles to face in our attempts to successfully establish a new wild strain of fish in our rivers. The fact that sculpins and the huge population of apex predators (Brown Trout), will both feed on our young “Cutties”, it may be tough to achieve a high survival rate. But, the fact that 10” fish are being caught is a great start.

We are really excited to show off our new baby pictures and hope they will inspire some of you to come out next spring and join in the fun.

Bill Thorne

AR Council Chair, Trout Unlimited

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November Redfish

SO WHAT were y’all doing in November? Chances are you were stuck at work like me rather than taking the opportunity to head south to the Gulf like our friends George and Barbara Nichols.

The end of the year is a great time to slip away (ask Chad, Bill and Ben) and head out after some redfish, either quantity or quality. Thanks for the report.

 

A great Louisana redfishing trip mid-November. 30+ reds, including 20, 25, 29 and 30 pounders _ George D. Nichols

 

 

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 12/11/14

Jeff Boks ratchets up the bar a notch with this gorgeous streamer caught White River brown

Every week more and more brown trout are leaving their spawning habitat to return to their favorite feeding lies. Many will continue spawning activity well into the new year, but each week the number of big fish actively hunting increases, which increases the chances of connecting with a legendary White River brute. Right now there are die hard streamer addicts all over the country hunched over their vices creating meaty goodness in preparation for the madness of the White River winter mecca. But for the next 2-3 weeks, prior to the arrival of the drift boat hoardes, the river is uniquely empty and waiting for savvy locals armed with 8wts and 8 inch flies. So get out there and stake your claim on one of the greatest trophy trout rivers in the world.

On a side note, there have been a few confirmed captures of Bonneville Cutthroat trout in the Rim Shoals area recently. The little gems are about 10 inches or less, but the simple fact that they are alive confirms the success of local Trout Unlimited chapter’s efforts in introducing the sub-species to our river. Nice job guys! Hopefully these little guys can evade the hungry browns, survive to adulthood, and reproduce. Here’s a photo to help you identify – please release unharmed anything you catch that looks like this. Bill Thorne will produce a more detailed report on Bonneville status soon.

Bonneville capture by Becky Chase while fishing with Brock Dickson

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Some Attitude Adjustment with Davy Wotton

 

  Insta hook up

 

Some 20 years or more ago l wrote a article for a UK magazine, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying regarding how weight addition would alter the attitude of a fly. This was well before the days when bead heads became popular, which as we know today are added to the vast majority of nymph and streamer patterns.

The article included how lead wire or lead shot would alter how the fly drifted or animated based on how much and where that weight was added. For example if the weight was added at the rear end of the fly it would alter how they fly presented as opposed to weight added at the head end of the fly either on the hook or above it on the leader/tippet.

There is no doubt that bead headed fly patterns have a place but not always. That said by a simple process the fly fisher can for the same fly pattern used have many options in so far as altering how that fly will fish and by what attitude or movement it can be presented be that dead drift or with animated movement such as fishing wet fly, soft hackles and streamers.

This will also change the relative position of the hook point.

So here is the deal.  l carry with me a box which contains tungsten beads of different sizes and colors, size of bead is of course related to the weight. Many of my fly patterns are not adorned with a bead head included on the hook shank.

l now have many options to change the fly by the addition of bead size and color, or number of beads used,  more to the point by the addition of the bead to the tippet or leader above the hook eye it will cause the fly to fish hook upper-most.

There fore as a example… You can have many variations of say woolly buggers or other streamers in your box without bead heads. By adding a bead above the fly the hook will fish up and not down so very much, reducing the hang ups. It will also allow for you to fish the fly much slower.

More to the point it will also change dramatically how your fly animates ( Subject to how you fish it and with what fly line you use ) as the further effect is that the bead is able to move freely above the hook eye.

This method works equally well for nymphs, wet fly and soft hackles.

More or less you have now changed the fly in such a way as it acts like a jig, but it is not a fixed position as such.

Davy Wotton. 2014.

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So Much Water _ First Issue

 

 

THE FIRST issue of our own fly fishing e-magazine for fly fishers throughout our region, So Much Water, is now out.

Kevin Smith has done a really nice job with the first issue, which features plenty of regional content, a White River article, plenty of gorgeous images, fly tying and food.

I dig the mix of video, music, imagery and articles. Kevin’s also calling for more content for future issue, so it you write, take photos or video, or tie jump right on in.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Boys Down South

“Looking up the River” _ image by Chris Franzen

 

IT was enough to get me coughing and spluttering into my morning coffee and thinking extremely unkind thoughts about a couple of our crew _ Monday morning jealousy.

Somehow Ben Levin and Chris Franzen have ended up sharing a cabin at Martin Pescador Lodge in Chile: two Southern lads going to meet some truly southern trout. And watching those two as roommates through a long guide season would truly be entertainment.

Ben of course is one of our senior guides and good buds, he is a lot of fun to fish with: obviously he isn’t going to around for the normal February-March blitz but we are booking trips for Ben in April/May.

Like Franzen, Ben is a pretty talented photographer and writer, so we are hoping his promise of monthly reports on doings down south will be fulfilled.

Franz’s stint as shop rat was too short but it was highly entertaining. His career since then has included a couple of stints guiding in Alaska, and a brief time learning to build fiberglass boats: that was about as successful at nailing his feet to one place as our own.

Yep, the beggars: wish I was down there with them.

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Dry Run Creek Trip

 

Steve,

It was great meeting you over the Thanksgiving break during our trip to Dry Run Creek. As I mentioned, I had brought my son Brooks to the Trout Unlimited youth camp earlier in the year and Brooks (9) fell in love with Dry Run Creek. Thanks again for your help with getting the right gear for the creek and also for your generosity in donating the Orvis fly fishing outfits for the kids camp. We got a lot of use out of our rod this past trip! This time we brought his three brothers and several friends along to experience the great fishery.

 

Click to read on …

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 12/4/14

Browns want meat

A spur of the moment streamer fishing outing Tuesday left Chad, Steve, and myself all thinking the same thing: it’s time to start tying streamers. We all shuffled through our briefcases of big flies, trying different colors, profiles, and actions to trigger a response from brown trout, and were successful to a degree, bringing several average sized fish to the boat. Not surprising – a dark, damp, cold day on the White combined with high water usually spells success when playing the streamer game. Nothing like a little taste of success early in the season like this to get your wheels turning.

December is the perfect month to cull your streamer box, tweak your favorite patterns, and test new ideas so that you’re locked and loaded for the new year. Test is the key word here – speaking from experience here, I’ve tied several flies recently that look beautiful in the vice, but upon introducing them to their subsurface job site, they simply failed to show the action I wished to achieve. These specimens are nice to look at, but quite frankly, they won’t fish well and they were a waste of my time – but by testing them I now know I need to change up my recipe a bit, which will help me avoid the same mistakes next go ’round. Trial and error is the only way to roll. Come stock up on streamer tying materials, chain yourself to the vice for a couple hours, then jump to the river for a test swim.

Trophy hunting weapons at the ready

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The View Underneath

You might remember Dave Dressler’s drove video of Chad and Abe fishing at Rim Shoals a couple of week’s back, the aerial shots lending to the beauty of the river on a glorious fall day.

Then I stumbled across this video of the other view of a river: An view into the species living or utilizing the waterway: which perchance is the estuary of the Noosa River in Australia. There will be plenty of specie’s you won’t

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