Norfork Tailwater News: AGFC

FROM AGFC Trout Biologist Christy Graham:

Hello Everyone,

As you may recall, I sent you all an e-mail last month regarding round the clock generation on Norfork.  Since that e-mail, the Corps has not been able to get the lake down to an elevation of 553 ft.

In order to make another attempt to drop the elevation in the lake, the Corps opened a sluice gate on Norfork Dam this a.m. (see attached press release).

Using the sluice gate is just one option to try and get water out of the lake faster.  The other option is to release additional water through the spillway gate.  The spillway gate option would not be preferred, since water temperatures in the lake on the surface are very warm (over 80 F).

We (Trout Program personnel) were on the river this morning to monitor temperature and Dissolved Oxygen levels both before and after the sluice gates were opened.  Dissolved oxygen levels were actually improved and temperature was lowered.

The only negative was that the water became quite murky when they started to make the release.  Although a nuisance to fisherman, murky cold water is much better than hot, clear water for the trout.

You may also notice that the siphon will be running around the clock for the time being.  Nothing is wrong with it, it is just another way to get more water out of Norfork Lake.

Since this is the first time they have used this type of release for water, they are only going to do it on weekdays (Mondays-Thursdays) for about 8-10 hours when folks are working in the dam and able to monitor the releases. They will not release from the gate Fridays to Sundays or on the 4th of July.

My contact estimates it will take up to two weeks to get elevation down, barring any more major rains between now and then.  If they didn’t do alternative releases, it could take up to a month or more to release the water to the level they need to get that gate fixed.

Thanks, Christy

Click Through For the USACE Press Release

Continue reading “Norfork Tailwater News: AGFC”

Dally’s Fly Fishing Report:6-24-16

Brookie: image by Mason Brannon, Riverstone Outfitters

Mason and George Brannon booked two days with me through Dally’s shop and got treated to a rapid-fire tour of the best of our trout tailwaters.

The two fished everything from Bull Shoals to Rim Shoals, Norfork as well, and caught fish everywhere they went. Mason brought along a fine camera to document the fun and his own brand of fly rods, supplied by his business, Riverstone Outfitters.

A super slow 4wt proved perfect for enjoying the subtleties of midge fishing, while a meaty 5wt turned over big foam dries aimed at fast water seams. It was a solid introduction to Arkansas trout fishing, and included a slam to boot!

Gabe Levin, holding George Brannon’s big ‘bow: Mason Brannon image

Continue reading “Dally’s Fly Fishing Report:6-24-16”

Fly Fishing Truth: It Depends

The moment of truth: a bent rod and the fly in the air: Steve Dally image


If all fishermen are loose with the truth, then fly fishers must be the spin doctors: professional grade moulders of reality. Where empty-handed baitfishers head home, smelling of beer and worms and laden with excuses, we adorn ourselves with small-batch, bourbon-scented theories.

Truth in fly fishing is more malleable than any flat-bill, as ephemeral as the foam on a craft IPA. Truth in fly fishing depends where you stand and we are wading the River Post Modern.

If trout were as sharp-eyed, canny and  sophisticated as we make them out to be surely they may notice the hunk of steel emerging, like an alien probe, from the nether regions of our imitations.

Our spotted idols, selective in their tastes, wouldn’t fall for Velveeta, Jolly Green Giant or Squirmitos, instead preferring the dry fly upstream.

Trout, according to the ruminations of fly fishing writers, live in a world of black and white, where rules are followed and nevermind the grey. Trout eat bugs when and how they are supposed to and of course for reasons known absolutely to the scribe.

I once read that asking an economist for business advice was like seeing help from a sex therapist who didn’t know any women. I can’t help but wonder which fly fishing writers have met many fish. Continue reading “Fly Fishing Truth: It Depends”


Just part of the stuff

CLEAN out your fly fishing &fly tying closet and pick up some treasures, at the Trout Chicks Fly Fishing Yard Sale, this Saturday, June 25.

The TU Chapter 698 Trout Chicks and Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher have combined to organise a monster yard sale featuring fly fishing and fly tying items.

So far the collection insludes, collectible rods and reels, vests, packs, bags, flylines, fly tying materials and a whole bunch more. Donations can be dropped off at Dally’s Fly Shop in Cotter anytime before the 25th. You will receive a donation slip for your taxes.

And mark your calendar so you don’t forget to visit us there on Saturday, June 25th, 8 a.m. – Noon. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Trout Chicks are a group to encourage women’s participation in our Trout Unlimited Chapter, through fly fishing our Ozark waters. The group meets at Dally’s once a month.

Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 6/16/16

summer brown trout _Steve Dally image

Yep it’s hot. Fry an egg on the parking lot hot. Standing knee deep in the water isn’t a bad place to survive the summer though. Survival tip for wade fishermen: don’t wear much of anything under your waders! No jeans or thick pants of any kind. Wear a thin moisture wicking layer like Simms WaderWick Underwear.

I prefer wet wading myself – once your feet and legs go numb you don’t feel the pain! Wade fishing Buffalo, Crooked Creek, or any other warm water stream is heavenly right now. Water temps in these creeks are in the upper 60s, perfect for a swim. For wet wading creeks I recommend Simms wading boots with gravel guards and light, quick drying pants or shorts.

Staying hydrated is key to having a fun day in the heat. We have tons of chest, waist, and shoulder packs capable of carrying your gear, snacks, and plenty of water. Lightweight long sleeves, broad hats, Buffs, and sungloves will all keep your skin from crisping in the sun.

Yes it’s hot, and yes it’s better to sweat than to burn. You know what feels amazing? Dipping your hat and Buff in the White River and returning them to your head – oh yeah. You know what feels terrible? A 2nd degree on your neck, shoulders, and arms.

I’ve seen a lot of people wilt in the heat because they didn’t drink enough water and they didn’t cover up enough skin. If you’re not downing a bottle of water every hour or two you’re drying up, and if your skin is exposed to direct sun for 20 minutes, it’s burning you. Prepare for the heat. You’ll fish better, have more fun, and you won’t go home with a headache or sunburn.

Fishing is great folks! Don’t let the heat keep you indoors. Read on for flows and flies.

-Gabe Levin

Nowhere better than the river on a summer day _ Steve Dally image

Continue reading “Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 6/16/16”

Trout Need Water Flow

A brown trout waits for food to be delivered – then pounces! from the Cawthron Institute on Vimeo

Trout and native fish need more water than we think.

New research on New Zealand’s famed trout rivers has given scientific credence to a long-held angler suspicion _ that taking water from rivers is bad for trout.

Cawthron Institute project leader Dr John Hayes said “A river acts like a conveyor belt delivering the drifting food to the waiting fish,” . “We’ve shown that as flow declines, the diminished power and transport capacity of a river results in less drifting food. A new computer model that our team developed predicts that this translates to fewer, or more slowly growing, fish.”

Most models used to predict how much water a trout population needs use a 40-y-o Colorado model which uses physical habitat, including water depth and velocity, and substrate composition and cover, to figure how much was fish need, but drifting food availability is not considered.

According to the report the New Zealand model takes into account the difference between how much energy the fish consumes versus how much it expends, when foraging for food. The computer model simulates how water flow dislodges and transports aquatic invertebrates, how trout forage in the current on the drifting prey, and how this can be quantified in the currency of energy to predict fish numbers and growth rates. The model can be used to test hypothetical scenarios of stream-flow and habitat, and also takes into account depletion of the drifting invertebrates as fish eat them.

Read the full report here