Sandra Mullins with her 23” rainbow from the Norfork this week
SPRING has sprung with a vengeance.
I know there will be caddis popping this afternoon, we have been seeing them this week on the sunny days. Roundhouse, Rim and down hill should be alive and there’s a similar forecast tomorrow and plenty of low water on the White, apart from a 3 hour push from 7 to 10.
Dowwnstream early then duck back up top or over to Norfork for the afternoon. Plenty of choices, and looking good for the Sowbug Roundup next week. Of course if you know the Ozarks in Spring, you will also know it pays to bring a rainjacket.
We have been dry for a lot of the winter and the lakes in the chain were getting down in power pool, but the last few weeks are topping the lakes back up, which is good news for later this summer. Norfork is a couple of feet from the top of power pool with the North Fork of the White running hard.
The 3 lakes on the White proper are also running with the tributaries to Bull Shoals Lake in Missouri I was crossing yesterday are high and running hard. But there is still a goodly amount of power pool, both Bull Shoals and Table Rock have 10% of power pool free and Beaver even more.
Right now the lake are soaking up the combined snowmelt & rainfall runoff while the White transports the waters from the unregulated tributaries downstream. Too much power generation could mean flood issues so there’s likely to remain some good wadeable water for a bit.
Now for the rest of this week’s report
WHITE RIVER: There has been plenty of minimum flow around this week with the warming temperatures and the runoff downstream, intersperses with some morning flows.
The high flow will hit Cotter around lunchtime but you can head back upstream, perhaps Wildcat or above to find more low water.
The usual fare, Wotton Midges, and the Rootbeer; Ruby and Redneck trilogy have been performing all week. You can run them behind a egg pattern or Y2k or even better a Prince Nymph or similar caddis pattern. There are certainly caddis in the drift, and on the warmer days caddis coming off.
One tip, if you are fishing midges early and you lose the bit hard, switch over to caddis patterns for the next month. The fish certainly get keyed into the green bugs. We have a whole range of new patterns this year, you are going to dig. More on that soon
The high flows are pretty trashy, picking up plenty of didymo and other weed when it comes up from minimum flow, but you can still pull some fish, either deep nymphing or streamer fishing.
NORFORK: The Princess of Tailwaters has been a little moody but equally is holding some fine fish as Sandra Mullins found this week on a guide trip with Marc Poulos.
The morning pushes have been turning up some shad, and its been worth pulling a streamer or two. Mid-size flies like 6” Double Deceivers or Drunk and Disorderlies.
On the lower flows the regular stuff is working well. Scuds and Davy Wotton sowbugs ahead of Wotton or Rootbeer, Ruby or Redneck Midges