Fly fishing for trout on the White and Norfork Rivers has been outstanding recently, giving up big numbers and quality fish as well. The smallmouth fishing on our local streams has made such a surge in the past two weeks however that it is worth highlighting in this week’s report. Both Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River have fallen and cleared up to near perfect floating and fishing conditions, after running high and muddy for nearly a month straight. It’s smooth sailing over all the rocky shoals in your canoe, kayak, pontoon, or drift boat. Smallmouth and Ozark Bass are aggressively gobbling up minnow and crawfish flies. Every boulder, ledge, and log seems to be hiding something hungry that bends a 6weight nicely. Clouser Minnows, Hada’s Creek Crawlers, and Whitlock’s NearNuff Crawfish are the go-to choices, especially those tied with larger lead eyes to get down in the strong current. Enjoy these pics from Ben Levin of Ozark warm-water treasures:
There is wadable water most days well into the afternoon if you stay below Wildcat, with a push up to 6 or 7,000cfs coming sometime late afternoon to early evening. Wouldn’t be surprised to see that push much bigger and more often in the near future as flows in the lower watershed recede. Caddis are still present but waning as thoughts turn to sulphurs and terrestrials. Prince nymphs, Sunday Specials, and other caddis pupae flies are still fooling a ton of trout, as are the favorite midge patterns like Rubies, Root Beers, and Wotton’s collection. The time for Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Flashbacks, and other mayfly nymphs is nearly upon us though, and it would be smart to start carrying these summertime standards in your box. Terrestrials and streamers too on high flows are always a good bet for sticking a big brown throughout the summer months.
Good wade fishing opportunities abound on minimum flow, which we’ve seen every day at least until afternoon. The usual suspects of course: midges, scuds, and soft hackles are the low water culprits. On the full two generators in the afternoons/evenings, you need a boat to get to the fish and some lead to get your flies down, but the bite is still on. Hoppers and streamers would be a fun gamble in these waters too, possibly producing something a bit bigger.