The weather may not be able to make up its mind right now, but the water is reasonably stable and predictable. It’s quite common after heavy periods of rainfall for Bull Shoals Dam to hold back the flood waters and release a nice steady 2-4,000cfs like we’ve been seeing. These are perfect levels for super productive nymphing/midging. It’s enough water to make river navigation easy and the fish less spooky, but not so much that you need giant indicators or big chunks of lead to get down. The fishing is simple and it’s a pleasant enough time to be on the water – sunshine, light breeze, tons of wildlife, and willing fish.
The caddis hatch continues on sunny afternoons, offering up little windows of dry fly activity. I’ve also had luck in these situations fishing the shallows with a small caddis pupae, such as a Z-wing #18, high in the water column, just a couple feet under a Palsa or small indicator. Otherwise the usual suspects are producing well fished through the deeper runs and holes – Prince Nymphs, Sunday Specials, various caddis pupae, and your favorite midge. I like Wotton’s Super Midge in black at the moment, but the Ruby is hard to beat as well.
Expect low flows until noon, which can be fished very effectively with Root Beer midges and scuds under a Sunday Special, caddis pupa of your choice, or egg pattern. Afternoon they’ll crank it up to a full two units or 6,000cfs, in which case you’ll need major depth and weight on your rig to get down to the fish, but it’s well worth the effort with some nice fish being caught on the high water. Try a large egg or worm trailed by a Sunday Special or #14 Wotton midge.