Chasing Stripes

If you have been wondering why we are all excited over something with stripes instead of spots, this might help.

Awesome fly eating hard pulling and spectacular looking species, great friends, the same awesome Ozark Mountain scenery and a bunch of your favorite fly rods. What’s not to like.

Bill made the comment Sunday, after his first hybrid (and these things grow to 20lb) that it put a bigger bend in his 8wt stick better than any redfish he drives a thousand miles to find. At this time of year these fish are like a trip to salt every afternoon.





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Chasing the Stripes

Becca with a lump of hybrid white/striped bass

ITS BEEN a frenzy really. Rerigging reels, swapping out flyboxes, not to mention tying new flies.

The white bass/hybrid/striper run is upon us and we have been switching between trouty gear and heavier stuff. There’s some bleary eyes what with staying up late, and getting up early. Its like being back in streamer season, just the flies are smaller and the targets pull harder.

There’s a lot to love about these species, the native whites, their anadromous cousins the striped bass and the hybrid of both species. If largemouth bass are the sportfish of the American heartland, trout the fish of the mountains, then the striped bass is the gamefish of the north-east.

But they do pretty dang well in freshwater impoundments, including Norfork + Bull Shoals Lakes as this article attests.

The spring White Bass run was actually my introduction to Ozark fly fishing and I spent several seasons hunting them hard, with my buddies Todd Moncrieff and Mike McLellan, on the runs out of Beaver Lake and Table Rock. But I’d only dabbled on these lake _ until Friday’s outing with our speaker for Saturday’s temperate bass seminar, local guru Bill Butts, and Chad Johnson.

It was a hoot, Bill is great fun, and Johnson and I shared a stick, and I picked up some nice video (coming soon). The hybrids were on, Mississippi scored a good ‘un, Bill kept racking them up and I finally notched y first (quite small) striper, along with hybrids, a gar and a turtle (of all things).

Sunday after close Bill & Sara, Gabe, Tiffany, Becca, Mike, plus Chad and I headed back. The fishing was a little tougher, but a hoot nonetheless. Bill and Becca notched their first hybrids and I broke a fish off on 10lb then the next cast landed one around 6lbs.

If you dig streamer fishing on sink tips, or are looking for something to do on high water days, and want a fish that pulls, drop by the shop and ask us about these runs, which are prolific across the Ozarks in Arkansas, Missouri,  Oklahoma and Texas.

Hope you enjoy the pics as much as we enjoyed getting them ..


Bill Butts and Chad having fun

Bill and his hybrid

Becca was pretty excited about her first hybrid

If it ain’t chartruese ….. one of Johnson’s new baitfish ties got a workout

One of a few doubles

A first …


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Campeche Tarpon Trip _ Ben Levin Report


Our hosted trip to Campeche for baby tarpon with Duane Hada and company was an absolute blast! Everyone, including myself, is in anticlimactic shock coming back home to the real world after four days of sun, seafood, amazing new friends and hospitality, and of course, reckless silvery game fish that will hook you for life from the first jump.

This trip was a lot of firsts for all who came…several had never been saltwater fly fishing, or even held an 8wt before, and the fact that everyone scored one of nature’s most challenging game fish on a tough bite speaks volumes about the fishery.

Campeche is like nowhere else when it comes to number of shots at juvenile tarpon. Once there we were all casting at fish in no time in water that ranged from mangrove creeks and lagoons to open bays and flats. When you see 50-100 tarpon in a day it’s not a question of if, but when!

Duane’s personal record down there is 27 tarpon landed in one day! While they are not the big boys, 5-30 lb fish that are in the air half the time are all a person could ever ask for on 8-9wt rods.


It is a fishing experience that Lefty Kreh has called one of the most enjoyable places to catch tarpon anywhere. I am already in the works on putting together another trip for 2014…more to come on that later. For now, enjoy the pics, and a huge thanks to everybody who came!




Naif, Duane and a Campeche buddy



Ben with one of many


Mike George Hunting Tarpon

Campeche sunset

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Lafkas’ Modern Deceiver _ White River Fly Tying Series


If our winter streamer guiding is akin to the proverbial duck paddling on a pond, serene on the surface and a flurry of activity underneath, our friend and colleague Alex Lafkas might just be the motor fuelling the frenzy.

Lafkas might really be one of the fishiest cats I know, and after 15 years in the business I’ve met quite a few. In part its driven by his incessant curiosity,  and questioning of every component of catching big trout. And despite that quickfire Yankee conversational style, he has an amazing capacity to absorb information, categorize and file it away for future digestion. Its frenetic fun when he lands kicking starting the more mellow southern style.

The funny thing is, having spoken to many of his clients over the years he’s been with us, the hyper Lafkas we get to live with is replaced by the mellow guide Lafkas _ all the hard work is done before the trips.

Getting him in front of the camera was surprisingly easy in the end, multiple schedules fell into place, something I was enormously grateful for. He’s been a big influence on a lot of our tying with few beg pardons.

One of the early prototypes of my foam headed Lap Dancer was greeted with “Dally, that’s not a fly it’s a lure,” and then he went and bought some heads, just to see for himself. That’s our Alex questioning even his own opinions, and never afraid to shift gears. Hence there’s been a lot of thought gone into the fly above, even the somewhat controversial decision to dump the eyes.

I’ll just say it swims really well. Tie some, fish it, try your own colors, perhaps even add some eyes, switch it up and above all fish it. Its what Lafkas will be doing.

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Cutthroat Trout At Cotter Trout Fest



COME ALONG to the Cotter Trout Festival kick-off Friday May 2 and enjoy the sounds of gypsy jazz band Cutthroat Trout. We were very happy to help out to bring the Fort Smith band to the stage. Its going to be a fun night.

The Cotter-Gassville Chamber announces “Cutthroat Trout” Gypsy Jazz Band and greatly appreciates the combined sponsorships of North Arkansas Fly Fishers, Dally’s Ozark Fly Fishers, and Ozark Mountain Trading Company making it possible to enjoy this music live for our party on the River. – Have a listen….

The 13th Annual Cotter Trout Festival Kicks off with a party… Friday evening, May 2 and is for everyone. The 6th Annual White River Artists Plein Air “Quick Draw” takes place in Big Spring Park from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. And following the judging we’re all invited to enjoy a full plate BBQ dinner, presented by Kathy and Roy L. Sisco. Appetizers compliments of the White and North Fork Rivers Outfitters Association and homemade desserts are part of the treat.

Dinner is served at 6 p.m. and is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 12.

Come join us for art, music and mingling on the White River

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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.

Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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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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