I keep wandering over to the meat bins, salivating at the sight of all that gorgeous deer hair, flash, and schlappen we just got in from streamer tying extraordinaire Mike Schmidt. When the temperature starts dropping I want to grab the eight weight and chuck something substantial, but alas, that time is not yet upon us. Now is the time to enjoy the changing of the season – the turning leaves, the brisk mornings, the cackle of eagles watching from shaded bluffs. Now is the time to guzzle autumn brews, restock firewood, and tie more midges. The dogs are still panting and the hoppers and crickets are still clicking in the tall grass. Soon it will be scotch or bourbon by the roaring hearth, and long feathered streamers hanging from the vise, but not yet.
Author Archives: ozarkflyfisherjournal
IF YOU happened to be on Facebook last night you might already have caught up with this one but check out the order for us Mike Schmidt just finished up.
As one comment said what a mess of hair, flash and feather. We have some new colors and some new sizes heading south and after Mike’s visit down South we will be adding a new pattern come December.
Roll on some big water and hungry brown trout
When I was invited to hop in a drift boat with two Tasmanians on Monday, I knew I was in for a cultural experience and a lot of laughs. Steve Dally’s old mate Steve “Stinky” Butler came across the pond for a visit and a shot at some North American brown trout, and was rewarded with a couple of good fish from both the White and the Norfork. Fishing with these two blokes not only expanded my vocabulary of silly Australian expressions, it exposed me to a variety of Euro-style leader setups and strange Tasmanian flies like the “Carrot” and the “Shrek,” a souped up woolie which took a nice long brown from the White. Just quietly, I rigged up Stinky’s rod with a filthy American rig consisting of indicator, split shot, and egg fly just to mess with his sense of fly fishing etiquette, but apparently Tasmanians, especially those aptly named Stinky, have no quarrels with fishing dirty. We proceeded to whack rainbows in silly quantities while floating down the Norfork before spotting something large working the edge of a mud-line coming from a small tributary full of fresh runoff from the morning’s deluge. Stinky made one cast at the seam with an egg pattern that was immediately devoured, and seconds later the fatty pictured above was airborne, provoking shouts and obscenities of various cultural origins. Stinky played the fish like a man who’s used to measuring browns in “kilos,” and was soon smiling with fish in hand.
Who else would release a pictureless cover for their 3-year anniversary issue but the crew at Southern Culture On The Fly.
A quick scan has revealed Brian Wise’s tying video of Tommy Lynch’s White Belly Mouse, a great article from Allen Gillespie on Federal funding of the TVA tailerwaters to our east and much more. Check it out.
NICE WRAP for our boy Chad Johnson’s Freaky Frog being selected as one of the 20 “Hottest Flies of 2015” by Gink and Gasoline Blog.
There’s a lot of good stuff in the article, Blane Chocklett’s Game Changers; the new Sparkle Minnows from Montana Fly Co and a nice foam bodied Caddis you will see in here next spring.
YOU MIGHT think the crew here, the guides, shop rats and shop dogs get plenty of water time, working this close to one of the world’s finest trophy brown trout fishery.
The truth of the matter is between our myriad of schedules, families guide trips and a 7-day a week fly shop to operate make it hard to co-ordinate fishing days. So we snatch moments, in our downtime, afterwork, or a morning, a few hours here and there to fish with buddies, dogs and a sense of humor.
It’s a hard school with little leeway for errant casts, missed takes, wind knots and the myriad of other pitfalls we all face as fly fishers. No quarter given, or asked for and leave the egos behind: pretty much like a trip with your own fishing buds.
So here is a glimpse behind the façade: a couple of hours here and there with hoppers and streamers. And a look at the prospects ahead for streamer fishing through the winter with Gabe, whacking two fish over 25” in about 3 hours of streamer fishing
Dally’s weekly fishing report tends to be well slathered with pictures of big brown trout, which showcases what the White River is famous for, but with the late season hopper-brown report already posted yesterday, I think this week would be a good chance to highlight some of the other finned beauties that inhabit these waters. Our rainbows, cutthroats, and Norfork brook trout are too often overshadowed by their large brown cousins, but with the brown trout spawn upon us, now is the perfect time to show love and appreciation for all trout regardless of shape, size, color, religion, or political affiliation. The fat rainbow pictured above took a deep drifted egg pattern on high flows, while the beautiful cutthroat pictured below fell for a well presented Root Beer midge on low flows. Fish like these are the norm on the White River, the unfairly described “filler” between brown trout encounters, but sometimes a little bread and butter is all that’s needed for satisfaction, and they deserve a little time in the spotlight too.
Mick Spaulding getting it done late season with Mr Bill
IN YET another sign of how weird 2014 has been, our own Bill Thorne and good mate Mick Spaulding went out hopper fishing on the White yesterday in October.
I shamelessly scavenged Bill’s pics off his Facebook page report _ but that’s deserved when you go out having too much fun on the river on your time off.
Fun day of hopper fishin…Mick’s 20 incher was the biggest, but check out my “smilin” teener… Bill Thorne
Mr Bill _ good times
It’s definitely not the first time we have had some pretty good late season hopper fishing. Three years ago Ben Levin put one of his fly fishers on a 29” 10lb+ brown at Bull Shoals on a hopper on October 31 _ another year with a long Indian Summer.
If you walk through grassy areas there are still hoppers around and until we get some seriously cold nights will keep doing their thing, which happily involves tempting trout.
WE HAVE been up to our ears stocking the walls with stuff, cheap discounted bargain stuff for our annual Fly Fishing Fair sale.
We have discounted stuff from Simms _ waders; clothing; wading staffs to touch on a few items; Fishpond vests, limited numbers of Sage and Orvis rods, Waterworks Lamson and Orvis fly reels, and discounted flies.
There are fishing materials including bobbers, tippet, tools and fluorocarbon and a host of fly tying materials.
You will find Wasatch cocobolo tying tools, some hard to find genuine Thompson Pro vises, GSP thread, mink body patches, some killer Mirage Accent flash, saddle hacks and necks, Tiemco, Daiichi and Mustad hooks.
Swing by the shop while you are in town for this weekend’s Fly Fishing Fair and check out the deals or see some of the items online here.
Living and working so near the water allows us enough opportunities to go fishing together that we don’t always have to put serious, focused effort into catching fish. In fact, the less serious outings are often therapeutic, especially after a long day in the shop. Adult beverages, various forms of tobacco, canine companions, experimental flies, and a general goofball attitude make for a relaxing and entertaining evening. Throw a good brown trout into the mix and you’re really living right. Maybe it’s the guide life that creates a need for pressure-free silliness, but there really is no substitute for an outing on the river with good friends, where the collective interest identifies with something greater and more important than mere fish catching.
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 now a couple of changes 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. Chad Johnson also graciously agreed to shift his Do It Yourself Redfish class to 9am, so he can take part in one of the major Saturday night auction prizes.
I expect bidding to be very high for a day on the water with author and presenter Jason Randall and Chad on the river Sunday. Two seats will be auctioned off. The Fair organisers were extremely appreciate of Chad stepping in at the last moment and this really is one of the headlining auction items.
So to recap Ben’s Ozark Smallmouth class is now primetime Saturday at 12 pm. Chad Johnson is also offering his extremely popular Do It Yourself Redfish class at 9am Sunday while I’ll running my trout behaviour class “Find ‘Em & Feed ‘Em at midday
Our good friend and guide Davy Wotton is teaching his awesome onwater Mastering the Wet Fly class on Friday but this is now closed as it is full.
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. Plus Jason Randall , who ran some awesome classes with us last year is also back at Conclave with some cool classes
Streamer addicts will also enjoy our mate Brian Wise’s take on fishing Schmidt style streamers on Sunday.
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
Sat. 9am – 9:50am ‘Catch your Trophy: Get in the Mind of Large Trout.’ – Jason Randall -Matching your fishing strategy to the feeding strategy of large trout to catch bigger fish. Once you understand hypertrophic fish, their default diet and default feeding strategies, they become more predictable. Based on the second book, ‘Feeding Time; A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What, Where and When Trout Eat.’ Sat. 9am – 9:50am Seminar Rm. No attendance limit. FREE
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
Sat. 11am -11:50am ‘Old School Wet Flies.’ Jason Randall Covers the often lost art of the many ways to fish with wet flies and soft hackles. How, when, where and why to fish with this effective technique. Covers patterns, rigging and fishing techniques. Do a tying demo of the fly patterns discussed. No attendance limits. Program will be on Sat. 11am – 11:50am, Seminar Rm. FREE
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
Sat. 2pm – 2:50pm ‘Seasonal Angling Strategies: Fishing the Winter River.’ Jason Randall Understanding the winter river and how it affects trout and their prey. Based on seasonal changes in the river, the composition and density of prey organisms in the drift, you can identify the limiting factors and predict where trout are found and what they should be eating. Seminar Rm. Sat. 2pm – 2:50pm No attendance limit. – FREE
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
Sat. 4pm – 5pm ‘Seasonal Angling Strategies: Fishing the Summer River.’ Jason Randall Understanding the thermal behavior of rivers and how it affects trout and the prey they feed upon during warm weather. Predict where trout hide and how their feeding behavior is affected when the water temperature rises. Also covers how to handle fish caught from warm water to improve survivability after release. Seminar Rm. Sat. 4pm – 5pm No attendance limit. – FREE
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
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 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. Seminar Rm. – Sunday 12pm – 12:50pm – No attendance limits – FREE