Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 7-31-2015

Nathanael Ferguson with a nice hopper brown _ Nate Ferguson pic

THE big water is a different ball game that asks different questions of our fly fishing techniques and skills.

There is a whole different speed when you are up over 10,000 cfs, plus the extra depth, and it just looks big flat and wide. The gradients and contours, the pools, runs and riffles and islands so familiar on lower flows are covered or disguised.

The fish are still in the river, in places where there is respite from the current and access to food. And in many ways the third key need for fish, security, is easier to find with the extra depth. It’s a little extra edge when it comes to the quality fish.

The higher flows, bigger fish put more strains on our gear. Salmonids are masters of using current and with the extra water pressure the margins of error between landing a fish and breaking off are narrower.

High water leader systems often feature long level flourocarbon mid sections of 2x or 3x to penetrate the water column better than tapered leaders, moving to 5x tippet. To get a stronger connection, I use tippet rings, to get around that big stepdown in the leader. The tippet ring also means I can ditch the triple surgeons and use stronger knots on either side of the ring like the Davy Knot or Eugene Bend (my preference).

Check regularly for knicks and abrasions in your tippet and midsection when nymphing, and for windknots if you are going with hoppers, nymphs or streamers. Its never a good feeling watching the fish of a lifetime swimming away.

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Getting Started on Dry Run _ Ben Levin report

Gavin Gross, getting a Dry Run Creek education with Ben Levin _ all images Ben Levin



Gavin Gross, eight years old, got a taste of flyfishing last Sunday. It was the first time he ever held a fly rod, and his enthusiasm couldn’t have been better! A quick crash course on how to wave the thing around and we were drifting flies over big fish a rod length away on Dry Run Creek soon after.


All together, the most fun was watching the excitement multiply and burst out of him with each fish. He was already throwing mends and setting the hook like Bill Dance halfway though the day.

The fish piled up, and there were bigger ones lost, but I’ll let the pics speak for themselves. A huge success for his first day fly fishing, and he is already begging his dad for a fly rod. Sorry Glenn, you’re probably going to have to produce one at some point!

Ben Levin




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AGFC Urges Anglers To Minimize Fish Stress on Norfork


THE AGFC is urging anglers on Norfork Tailwater to minimize catch & handling stress on trout, particularly in low water, due to higher than normal water temperatures.


Hello All,

I know some of you are curious about what is going on at Norfork so  I obtained some more detailed information from the Corps of Engineers. 

Many of you have seen that the water is running around the sides of the gate (if not, see attached picture). The gate was blocked by the bulkhead to allow painting of the gate and rehab on the side and bottom seals.  When the water came up in Lake Norfork, the work by the contractors was halted- this was outlined in their contract with the COE due to concerns for safety when the water got to a certain elevation.  The side and bottom seals are off and could not be replaced in time to prevent leakage.

We (AGFC) went out and measure temperatures today (July 28).  Temperatures throughout the river ranged from 60.2 F to 67.1 F (we took temperatures between the Dam and just upstream from the confluence). There were no signs of dead trout, but several anglers reported today that captured fish were stressed upon release.  That is not unheard of when temperatures increase in the tailwaters.  I urge you all to be aware of fish handling right now and try to reduce stress during capture as much as possible, especially if you plan to release the fish. The good news is that during generation, temperatures drop back down to the high 40s, providing adequate relief. If water gets any warmer, I will consider implementing a stocking restriction on Norfork until this situation has been resolved.  I will let you know if we get  to that point.

Because of the lake elevation in Bull Shoals right now, the COE is unable to give any channel capacity to Norfork above the daily minimum (firm power) [i.e., they cannot generate more than they are at this time].  Inflow into Norfork is close to outflow levels with the weekly rains they have had in southern Missouri.  Therefore Norfork has continued to rise.  However, it is 64% full, compared to 90% at Bull Shoals and 80% for the 3 lakes on the main stem White River.

Reservoir control in Little Rock will send a note to the Operator at Norfork and ask that they give special attention to Norfork conditions (i.e., asking that they closely watch and make sure that minimum flow continues to operate at all times during non-generation, whether that be from the siphon or speed-no-load).  I assure you all that both the COE and ourselves are monitoring this situation closely.

Hope this clears up some of the speculation about what is going on.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks, Christy

Christy Graham

Trout Biologist Supervisor

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Time for the Long Rod

Nate with a fistful of 10’ rods in the shop yesterday

THERE is no substitute for have the right tool for the job when required.

Now my natural inclination is toward 9’ and shorter sticks. But then again I also like Worcestershire sauce on my eggs, stick shifts, Vegemite and I wrap my thread clockwise when tying. I don’t expect y’all have to be the same.

But right now 10’ rods are definitely the right choice to fish the bigger water on the White and Norfork. I’ve been running a 10’ 5wt Sage One, which like a lot of the top-end ten-footers, are now lighter both physically and in terms of swing weight than 9’ rods of not that long ago. But equally there are some very good long rods priced from $200 in the shop, that will get it done.

The major benefit of jumping to a longer rod is in line control, being able to mend a longer length of line more easily, and to swing more line on a hook set. Some aficionados also simply prefer the feel of the longer sticks when casting. And right now on the high flows, line control and hook setting, especially with the long leaders are major issues.

On the con side, is more weight, and more casting effort over the course of the day. I also find personally I’m not as accurate with the longer rods, less of a issue with our nymph fishing, but why I prefer 9 footers for hitting the banks with streamers and hoppers.

I’ve also seen a lot of hooked pulled out of trout with the 10’ rods, particularly 5wts and 6wts, where it seems easier to overpower the hook, but this might be simply a lack of familiarity, driving operator error _ solution: fish the rod more.

But to my tastes at least when you step up from 9 foot rods for heavy nymphing stick with the same rod size: i.e. if you fished a 5wt daily stick with a 10’ 5 wt for high water. Going to the longer length is going to give you a lot more grunt from the mid-section down through the butt, and going up a rod size as well can be overkill and give you a heavier rod than you need or perhaps desire. Basically there’s not a lot of difference, if any, between a 10’ 5wt and a 9’ 5wt at the tip, but a whole bunch at the butt.

I’ve had customers fishing a Sage One 10’ 5wt and its proven popular with good casters and those less so, but it’s a powerful tool. Nate digs the 10’ 6wt but for highwater here I’d lean to the 4 or 5wt unless I was planning an Alaskan trip.

I have similar feeling towards the 10’ H2s, that the pick of the litter is the 4wt and 5wt. There is also the 10’ 3wt in the H2 series, a great wading rod you can put the wood to that trophy brown or handle some wind. The TFO BVK 3wt and Sage ESN are extremely light in the tip, for the short-casting Euro-styles and best kept as low water specialists.

Orvis’s Recon and the other BVKs are a great option if you don’t want to commit to big money for the premium rods. The BVKs have been our best-selling rod for the past few years, offering incredible performance for the money. The Recon is gaining some momentum as well on performance at a budget.

Stop by the shop and checkout the range, put then through their paces and see what works best for you. High water might become a lot more fun.





  • ONE: 10’ 4wt $795. 10’ 5wt $795.


  • Helios 2: 10’ 3wt $795; 10’ 4wt $795.
  • Recon: 10’ 4wt $425; 10’ 5wt $425.


  • BVK: 10’ 4wt, $274.95, 10’ 5wt $274.95, 10’ 6wt $299.95
  • BVK Conversion Kit: 8’ 3wt & 10’ Butt section: $374.90
  • Professional Series II: 10’ 5 wt $199.95
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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 7-22-15

James Mecham and a great hopper eating brown this week with Marc Poulos _ Marc Poulos image


With the prospect of some high water ahead, I went back to the brutal days of ‘08, when the water was even higher and it went longer. And you know what _ the fishing was pretty good.

It will take a little adjustment getting back to the big water, the long fairly level leaders, 10’ rods, big bobbers, and the faster drift down stream. If you don’t fancy the bobber tactics, the hopper bite is getting going, and there’s plenty of activity on streamers as well.

Marc Poulos put James Mecham onto the awesome specimen above, which looks better than most fish of its 23” length. And we have heard of some other good ones being caught as well. Yep its different out there than what we have experienced the past couple of years, but there is a plenty of entertainment as we learnt in 07 + 08. Get after it.

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AGFC Trout Management Plan Meeting August 13

The AGFC Trout Management Program will be hosting a general public meeting on Thursday August 13th, 2015  to discuss the current status of the Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters.  The meeting will be from 6:00-8:00 PM in the McMullin Lecture Room, Dryer Hall, on the Arkansas State University campus in Mountain Home.  I  will be giving a presentation about data collected during recent years and discuss upcoming projects planned for the rivers. We’ll also discuss recently completed projects.  There will be plenty of time for questions at the end of the meeting. Multiple representatives from AGFC will be in attendance, including our new Chief of Fisheries, Chris Racey.


We look forward to providing you all with this information and hope you will be able to attend. Feel free to send to other interested parties.





Christy Graham

Trout Biologist Supervisor

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An Awesome Thank You


Dally’s Guide Services

I wanted to drop you a note letting you know how much I enjoy your guide services and fly shop. I have been on two guided days, the first in April 2015 with Chad Johnson, second on July 10 2015 with Gabe Levin, from the moment I contacted your shop the service provided was professional and efficient.

In April this was going to be a beginner’s trip, John and me had never been fly fishing from a boat. We were fortunate to get Chad as a guide. We were new to the White River, and first time fly fishing from a boat. Chad talked about the basics of the flies and equipment, this included detail descriptions what equipment we were going to be using and the proven techniques he has used over many years with great success. He was so patient with us, as beginners I’m sure there were more tangles, snags, and just plain beginner mistakes. We caught many trout including Browns and Rainbows John and I agreed our experience with Chad could not have been better. Chad’s wife made some Potato Salad for lunch just delicious. The bottom line, we could not have gotten a better guide and person to go fishing with.

In July, Pete and I decided on a Monday for a Saturday trip we were happy a guide was available. Gabe Levin is also an excellent guide, he communicated clearly instructions on how to improve your casting and more importantly getting the fish to the boat. His calmness helped me to not get too excited and “over fish” when a fish is on the line. He helped me improve my casting skills. His said “be Zen with the fish”. That day we caught approx. 100 fish, highlights included 17 cut throat, a 13 inch Brown. The day was hot 95+ degrees. Gabe had plenty of water soft drinks and tasty chicken and pasta salad for lunch.

When I spoke to Steve Dally in the parking lot he said “I would only have guides I would like to fish with”. That philosophy is what makes this guide and shop the place to go for anything Fly Fishing.

My next scheduled trip is October 22 with 3 of my close friends. I’m already looking forward to it.

Keep up the good work.


Henry Fatino

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SIMMS Warriors & Quiet Waters Limited Edition–Preorders


WE ARE excited to be able to offer pre-orders for a very special Limited Run Simms G3 Wader which will raise $100,000 for the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, which gives injured veterans guided and supported fishing experiences.

Not only will you have a very unique and great looking wader, built on the awesome G3 Guide stockingfoot, but you will be contributing to a great program.

But you will have to get in fast. We need pre-orders, including a 50% deposit, by July 30. Your waders will be available November 11, Veteran’s Day, this year.
The price is $545.95.

Normal G3 Guide wader sizing applie
s: so check the Simms G3 Size Chart or stop by the shop to try on a pair. Find our more about the Warriors and Quiet Waters program here.

FABRIC TECH: Lightweight 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell in upper / 5-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell in legs
• Micro-fleece lined, reach-through hand-warmer pocket with MOLLE webbing stormflaps
• Multicam® camo pocket, belt loops & top hem trims
• Warriors & Quiet Waters custom patch attaches to fly patch
• Zippered chest pocket & integrated utility tabs
• Includes removable Flip-out Tippet Tender™ pocket with dual-entry zippers & retractor docking station
• Patented front & back leg seams provide articulated fit, maximum comfort & mobility
• Adjustable elastic 1.5” suspender with opposing YKK® buckles for waist-high conversion
• Abrasion-resistant, built-in Gravel Guards with molded rubber boot hook tabs
• Built-in low-profile belt loops with 2” stretch nylon wading belt included
• Hourglass stockingfoot
Available Sizes: S, SK, M, MS, MK, MKS, ML, L(9-11)/, L(12-13), LS, LK, LKS, LL(9-11), LL(12-13), XL, XLS, XLK, XLL, XXL.

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 7/15/15

Susan Smith’s first big smallie on a fly. Ben Levin photography and guiding.

Normally I like to slather our blog page with pictures of brown trout, especially bigguns. Let’s face it, big browns are what make Arkansas trout fishing famous, they bring anglers from around the country and the world to our humble state to wet a line. Our tailwaters have developed a reputation for producing big browns, and that reputation overshadows the rest of the fishing around here and blinds people to the existence of tons of other really cool fish in the area. So today, no big brown mug shots for y’all. I want to give a couple of other beautiful gamefish a moment in the spotlight.

Smallmouth Bass are of course one of our native gamefish, and the White River boasted an incredible smallmouth fishery popular with tourist anglers long before hydroelectric dams came to the area. Construction of the dams limited prime smallmouth habitat to the tributaries of the White, such as Kings River, Crooked Creek, Buffalo National River, and Sylamore Creek, among others. Dally’s offers guided trips on Crooked and the Buffalo, and the guides relish the opportunities to target our warmwater natives. The tricky part is getting here when conditions are right. Normally our best season for smallmouth is spring and early summer, before the creeks slow to a trickle. But with this year’s heavy rainfall, the free flowing creeks and rivers in the steep Ozark highlands flood very easily, and we are just now starting to see stable conditions after weeks of high water. It is likely that the best smallmouth fishing this year will be July-September, rather than the usual April-June. Barry and Susan Smith were lucky enough to get a rare drift boat experience on Crooked Creek with Ben Levin this week – not per usual for July!

Barry Smith’s fish of the day on Crooked Creek. Ben Levin picture and guiding.

Jordon Smith’s first cutthroat on a fly, fishing with Gabe Levin.

Another fish that often goes unnoticed around here is the cutthroat trout, not the little Bonnevilles planted by Trout Unlimited which are trying (hopefully) to gain foothold in the river, but the stocked Snake River Finespot cutthroats. Chances are you’ve probably caught one already and didn’t think much of it. Freshly stocked, they are small and silvery like the rainbows, without bold colors, fins, or markings – easily forgettable in other words. But when allowed to grow and mature, they transform into arguably the prettiest trout in our waters. Telltale markings include a yellowish tan body with many very fine spots (hence the name), bright orange or red fins and tail, and of course two orange or red slashes under the lower jaw. The Norfork typically holds some very nice cutthroats from Quarry Park all the way through the catch and release zone. The White River also holds some very nice cutthroats wherever they can survive long enough to mature – catch and release zones, and areas downriver that see less fishing pressure in general.

Gabe Levin

Henry Fatino’s best cuttie on a fly, fishing with Gabe Levin.

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Weekend Report _ Lyle Bellows and Alex Monroe


THESE killer brown trout images, plus a nice note, arrived in my Instagram feed Sunday from Lyle Bellows and they were too cool not to share. Thanks to Lyle and Alex, we love hearing how much fun y’all have on these waters.



This weekend my good friend Alex Monroe and I got the opportunity to fish the two finest tailwaters in the Ozarks. On Friday we fished the White with Dally’s guide Kevin (Brandtonies). It was a fantastic trip with both of us bringing nice rainbows to hand on a mix of hoppers and midges.

After our trip we asked the awesome guys at Dally’s for some advice on where to fish Saturday with our kayaks and they gave us the scoop. The next day Alex and I launched out kayaks at Quarry park at the Norfork dam at around 6:30 and they had just turned on one unit of water. The two of us caught several nice fish on Davy’s whitetail midges.

It was all rainbows until the last stretch of the float and I hooked up with the nice brown in the picture on a size 20 whitetail midge on 5x and the fight was on. I most certainly would not have been able to bring this fish to hand if it wasn’t for Alex’s beautiful netting skills. The both of us had an awesome time thanks to Dally’s.

Thanks again,

Lyle Bellows



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IFTD: Stay Up To Date With Our Updated APP



OUR Updates to our WHITE RIVER FLY FISHER APP are finally approved and its going to be the best way to stay up to date with all the new stuff we will be checking out at the IFTD in Orlando Florida over the next 3 days.

While we have some cool stuff coming on the blog the IFTD schedule means most of our updates will be headed for Instagram and Facebook, which you can peruse through the APP _ either the Iphone or Android versions. There is already one post up on new RIO tippet on our Facebook site.

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A Thank You from The Bowdens

Claire, her fine cutthroat and guide Marc Poulos at Dry Run _ Todd Bowden pic

Arrived home last night to a great thank you email and a killer photo from the Bowdens. Thanks so much..



My wife Elizabeth and daughters Kate and Claire went with Marc to Dry Run Creek last week and had a great time.  Marc is very good at his craft and I learned a great deal from him.  Please pass along the attached picture to Marc.  Claire is very proud of this catch and has shared the picture with all of her friends.  Thank you again.

Todd Bowden

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