For the inexperienced, or newcomers to the area, the deep fast flows of the White during heavy generation can be intimidating from both a wading and boating standpoint. It can also be daunting in all that volume to try to locate the right depth and speed of water where fish feel comfortable feeding. I’ll admit I felt a little unsure of myself the first few times I guided on flows over 10,000cfs. But the simple truth is the trout don’t stop eating when the water is high – if anything changes, the larger trout in the river feed more when the water is high, upping your chances at a trophy fish. If high water fishing is unfamiliar or intimidating to you, consider hiring a Dally’s guide to get you started and boost your confidence. The Dally’s crew has been producing quantity and quality fish over the past week, and having a blast helping customers land well conditioned fish in heavy flows!
Ben Levin sums up a stellar recent trip with the Tucker clan of TX:
Chase Tucker and family rolled into town from west Texas to try fishing the White River in Arkansas for the first time. Their normal family routine included fishing mostly on Taneycomo, but with respect to the Missouri portion of our river, I think they’ll be giving the Arkansas side some more attention now.
Hopper fishing was good to us with a number of nice browns rewarding their persistent efforts, along with a steady bite nymphing between hopper runs. It had already been an awesome day, but Eric’s 23″ brown on the last drift of the day capped off a ridiculously good time with these guys. Pictures kept flying back and forth through the day between the other boats in their party, fishing with Gabe and Kevin further downriver, who were whacking great fish as well and keeping us on our toes.
A huge thanks to the whole group! Gabe, Kevin, and I had a blast and we look forward to seeing y’all again!
Often times you can catch high water fish on similar drift rigs to what you would normally use under low water or wadable conditions, only longer leaders, larger flies, and heavier weight. For example, a typical low water drift rig might include a #14 San Juan worm, a #18 midge of some kind, and a #4 or 6 split shot set 3-5ft. under a small indicator. The high water version of this same rig is a go to setup for me, consisting of a #10 San Juan worm, a #14 Wotton midge, and a AAA split shot set about 8ft. under a large indicator. But by no means is drifting deep and heavy under an indicator the only option during high flows. High water carries with it a broader array of both aquatic and terrestrial prey items than low water, which opens up a multitude of fly options and techniques. Hopper-dropper combinations have been effective close to the banks. Specifically, Fat Alberts and Western Ladies with heavy #14 pheasant tail or hare’s ear droppers have been working. Streamer fishing is also a fun way to challenge your skills in search of a big brown. Try weighted bugs like Circus Peanuts, Conrad Sculpins, Cheech’s Leech, and others tied with lead eyes or FishSkull heads.
Generation has been off until noon or close to it most days, offering the best wade fishing opportunities around at the moment. On low water, Ruby midges, Root Beer midges, Hunchback scuds, and small Pheasant tails have been performing well. Afternoon and evening flows of two full units turn the river into a deep fast chute, but quality fish can still be had using high water drifting techniques (deeper, bigger, heavier), terrestrials along the banks, or weighted streamers.
Report by Gabe Levin