Author Archives: Steve Dally

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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Davy Wotton Winged Wet Hare’s Ear/March Brown




A winged wet Hare’s Ear as traditional and elegant a fish catcher as you will find.

Winged wet flies date back the early 19th Century UK, a time when the vice was considered a subversive influence, bamboo hadn’t really taken over from wood, and a light trout rod might be 12’ long. While other conventions of the time, buckled to progress the winged wets remain.

Wet fly master and White River guide Davy Wotton demonstrates his winged wet technique on this classic pattern.

“The winged wet hares ear is one of the old traditional classics that will catch trout in any water they can be found. It’s particularly good during the caddis season and when water conditions are warm and trout active to all manner of food sources.”

If you want more of Davy’s tying or wet fly fishing skills check out his DVDS, or book a trip (870 435 6166)

Our thanks to Davy for the demonstration Brian and Jenni Wise Fly Fishing the Ozarks for the video production



Tail.  Few fibers of hen pheasant hackle or tan hen hackle. Or 3 strands of bronze mallard.
Body: Hares ear dubbing or SLF Whitlock number 1 Red Fox thorax.
Rib: Fine flat gold tinsel.
Wing. Either rooster ring neck pheasant or hen pheasant secondary wing quills.
Hackle: Hen pheasant neck or Brown partridge or tan/brown hen pheasant hackle

Video produced by Brian Wise: Fly Fishing the Ozarks
in conjunction with Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher, Cotter Arkansas.

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Now That’s A Carp


Nice note from Thomas Fletcher and a pic of this hefty Crooked Creek Carp after he and his father spent a day on the water with Duane Hada.

Love that small water fun, thanks guys


On July 23, 2014 my Dad and I went with Duane Hada as our guide to some remote spots along Crooked Creek. It was a great day!! We fished all day and caught smallmouth, Ozark bass, bluegill and a GIANT CARP!! I always learn so much and bring in great fish with Mr. Hada! The day with him was certainly one of the highlights of my summer _ Thomas Fletcher

If anyone want a day of fun on the creek with Duane call us on 870 435 6166

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A River Evening _ Photo Essay

White River gold


Madison, Ben and Gabe Levin





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Gabe Levin looking ahead to fall with Simms new Coldweather Shirt; Story Work Pants, and Buy Local Trucker, plus the new waterproof medium Boat Bag.


IT’s really too damn hot to think about fall clothing right now, but given the way this year has been running it could be just around the corner, like those chilly October’s I recall when I first got to Arkansas.

Gabe did take some convincing to climb into some of the new gear we really dig in today’s 95 degree heat, but promise him some icecream and anything is possible. But Simms do really have some cool stuff for staying warm in the chilly days of fall and the depths of winter. You can check over some of the new stuff which has already landed here and we will have some more stuff coming in time for the Fly Fishing Fair.

The Story Work pants have already been heading out, some for weekend wear, some for work and even some for school _ these are a light jean with a great look _ a jean cut khaki is about as close as we can estimate. The Coldweather Shirt and Pants have proven themselves for a couple of seasons now.

We really dig the new color in the men’s Fall Run Jacket, and especially the introduction of the women’s Fall Run Jacket _ these things are awesome, warm light and as much at home on the river or sitting in the bleachers for a football game.

The new boat bags, have some awesome design, the Kinetic Jacket at $250 is an awesome deal, a waterproof jacket for wading or boat fishing and a sleek design you can wear anywhere.

And there is more to come.




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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 9/4/14

Tom stuck this rotund 26″ brown fishing a hopper with Marc Poulos.

The end of summer draweth nigh, but many an evening of hopper fishing remains. In normal years July and August are our hottest months and usually hold the best hopper fishing, but this summer has been a little mild, with only a couple weeks so far of brain melting heat. It’s anyone’s guess as to how that will affect the rest of hopper season, but generally we continue to catch nice fish on terrestrials well into autumn. Only a couple years ago Ben Levin had a client catch a 28″ brown on a hopper in October – they’re wearing jackets in the photo! My only concern is that I’m just not seeing the numbers of mature grasshoppers out there that I see in normal summers. But then again, browns are opportunistic predators when eyeing a potential meal, and may not give a hoot how many naturals they’ve encountered or whether it’s still hopper “season.” I suppose the sensible thing to do would be to forget the calendar and keep fishing hoppers until they ain’t workin’ no mo’.

Susan with a beautiful 20″ White River bow she caught fishing with Marc Poulos.

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New Davy Wotton Whitetail Midges

Redhead Whitetail Midges: Black at left and Hare’s Ear, middle and right

DAVY WOTTON’s Whitetail Midges have been one of the hottest performers on our tailwaters since we started putting Davy’s patterns in our bins back in ‘06.

These flies are consistently good. Now we have a couple of new versions, the RedHead Whitetails in Hare’s Ear and Black, in both 14s and 16s currently. Read Davy’s August report for more details on this productive pattern. Shop here.

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Traveling West

Received these photos from my partner Jim Dugan earlier this week, from their annual sojourn out west, where he and Brenda got to spend some time hanging out and fishing with Derek and Janelle De Young.

Where to next ? _ it’s a fair bet it will involve trout and bamboo ….


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FFTO Short Strikes Video Series _ Dry Run Creek

CHECK out the first instalment of Brian Wise’s “Short Strikes” video series, with some awesome footage of Dry Run Creek.

I have been throwing around the idea of starting a web series for around a year. Never knowing where to start, how to wrap my head around it, and just general questions I had put it off for a while.  But after a little bit of looking through some footage (ok, LOADS of footage) that I had been sitting on for a while, and a couple of good fishing trips….I decided it was time to start putting this thing together.

I’m really looking forward to see where this is going.


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August Report and Whitetail Midges _ Davy Wotton

John Nurge, nails this fine 24 incher wet fly fishing with a DW Daddy fly _ Davy Wotton image


August despite the  days of high heat, both l and my fisherman experienced some awesome days on there on the river, frequent days of 50 to 80 fish, many fine browns from 16 to 24 ins and a number of class bows from BSD. Many methods working depending on location l chose to fish and what we chose to do which could be dries, wet fly and nymph, all be it wet fly techniques and nymph generally proved to be the better for the larger fish. COE also for the most part favored us with good generations, lower tail water flows and later in the day high water flows which was good when we took out at lower levels and motored back to the dam. It all matters at the end of the day.

Now l am frequently asked about my White tail midge history so here it is.

Back when l lived in the UK l was a serious competitive fly fisher, fished at International level for my country Wales and many other events that were hosted in the EU. Back in those days 60/70/80s to some extent what we know now was not, in many cases it was still the order of fishing the traditional wet fly as that was what was generally accepted as the way to go. That said during this time stillwater flyfishing began a serious advance so far as use of more imitative fly patterns representing the natural food sources which in the case of stillwaters was primarily chironomids also called Buzzers in EU. That also brought about many new techniques using very long leaders and different fly lines, dry, intermediate, sink and full sink lines to enable the flies to be fished at the depth the fish were cruising.

That said there were early imitations for chironomids, the best known at the time called  Bells Buzzer, a very simple fly, floss body, silver rib, a tuft of white hackle at the head and a ugly thorax of peacock herl. It worked but not as good as many of the newer patterns that followed.

In those days aside from selling fly materials l also tied flies commercially, about 60 to 70,000 a year. I also had innovation in so far as developing new fly patterns, many of which are still around to day and produced by other commercials sources.

Some of my early chironomids incorporated Peasalls silk bodies of different colors over wound with poly taken from bread bags, other options were added such as wing pads and breathing filaments. After reading a book by my late friend John Goddard who wrote in my opinion the best publication to date related to UK stillwater food sources  it came to my attention that the means by which a chironomid moved was by thrashing its tail filaments. Its Caudal fin. That inspired me to add a small tail of white marabou which had great movement, thus the white tail midge was born back in the 80s.And what a success it was for me on the competition scene. And that was way before the days of bead heads.

I fished the White and Norfork rivers often before l chose to live here and had at times messed around fishing WTMs with good success. Subsequently l later refined my patterns to suit our waters with newer materials, not to mention adding bead heads., all be it there will be times l use the flies without beads heads.

That said there are times that it is important to closely match the hatch, that said overall so far as these rivers that is generally not the case. I can guarantee that if you carry a range of the different WTM patterns you cannot fail to catch fish assuming you rig the system right, which is correct relationship from your indicator for the water depth, and you use both choice of size and color to suit the conditions.

In fact l would go so far as to say it is the number one fly to consistently catch fish on the AR tailwaters, as it has also proved to be the case from many other rivers from East to West.

In recent months l also introduced two new versions, the Red head White tail and the Red head hares ear white tail, both of which have great success both for trophy Browns and scores of Bows.  Typically l rig a 2 fly system to 5x, normally a size 14 and 16 as often the fish will favor size or color.   Or in the case of lower flows l may go with a size 16 and 18 or a pair of 18s. But once again always experience prevails when it comes to catching fish, right !

Ian Cooper with a fine 22 ins BSD bow which took a Red Head hares ear size 16.

The current range of WTMs includes. sizes 14/16/18   Bead heads would include,  Silver/Nickel/Gold/Red/Copper

1.        Black WT

2.        Red    WT

3         Black and pearl

4.        Black and silver

5.        Crystal WT

6.        Red head black WT

7.        Red head Hares ear  WT

8.        Copper gold WT

9.        Super midge WT

10.      Orange silver WT.

Bill Wegrzyn with one of the trophy browns he caught that took the red head black white tail.

Many anglers are somewhat confused about what is a wet fly, in my book its simply not a fly that sinks, it is a definite tradition so far as the pattern of that fly, many of which go way back to the early 1800s in the UK from whence wet fly fishing has its roots, which was same also in my case when l learned how to fly fish, it was with winged wet flies, which are deadly if you know what fly to choose and how to present them under the prevailing conditions.

Such flies with names such as the Invicta, Wickhams, Hares ear, March brown, BWO, Iron Blue dun, Watsons and Freemans Fancy, Dunkeld, Butcher, to name a few.  For many fishing soft hackles or wet fly is simply a means of casting across stream and stripping the flies back, granted it will catch some fish but there will also be 100s you will not catch by that means of presentation, there is far more to the relative skills of wet fly fishing than simply that which is generally the easiest approach.   One has to learn all the methods of presentation from dead drift upstream to up and across and down and do so by controlling the flies dead drift with at times animation. It is a high level skill make no mistake about that.   That also requires the use of different fly lines and in some case very long leader systems as much as 18ft at times, with 2 to 4 flies mounted on detached droppers. Long rods are mandatory, there is no way you can fish many of these methods with short rods, it cannot be done, period. Ideal is at least 10ft if not 11, 3wt at times, 4 being overall best.

I will tell you this that White river Browns, can hardly resist a well animated top dropper, they nail it.

Now looking forward to the fall when those Browns really start to turn on.

Tight lines all.


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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 8/29/14

Zach Spaulding’s big ol’ hopper brown. Mick Spaulding pic.

I wish I could have been there to see the look on Mick’s face when he netted this brown for his son, Zach. A laid back flatbrimmer type, Zach no doubt kept his cool through the event, but I’m certain Mick had to be approaching hyperventilation. Check out Mick’s blog post  for the full story on the 12 year old’s 24″ capture – I believe a sticker is due.

If you haven’t noticed, there are ALOT of people out there throwing hoppers down the banks of the White River right now – to the extent that the browns are probably starting to whisper to each other, “Hey, buddy, don’t eat that piece of foam with rubber legs, it’s not worth it.” Yeah, it’s our own fault for advertising the hell out of it, but business is business and fishing is fishing – you got to make hay while the sun shines ya know? Obviously there are still some pigs out there willing to eat if you’re in the right place at the right time, the proof’s in the pictures, but this weekend there are going to be fishermen in every place all the time. I’m not being cynical or whiny, just pointing out that pressure is a real factor when targeting big, smart fish, so be kind to other fishermen, patient with the fish, and enjoy yourselves. Happy hunting y’all.

Jerrod’s thick shouldered hopper brown. Steve Dally pic.

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Color of Browns: August 2014 Edition

Recovery _ Steve Dally pic

SALMO TRUTTA, the brown trout, in all its glory from the White River system. We have been seeing plenty, big and small. Here’s a little tribute to our spotted quarry. There’s more to be had…..





Finz _ Steve Dally pic


Hopper eating Brown caught by Patrick Gilbert _ Austen Salomen pic uploaded to our app

Chrome sided streamer fish _ Steve Dally pic

Cotter Brown caught by Austen Salomone _ Patrick Gilbert pic sent to our App


Chance Maxville fish and pic up loaded to app

Jerrod Thomas Wildcat brown

Jerrod Thomas. Wildcat hopper brown _ Steve Dally pic

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