Cold weather produces a shad kill _ Malcolm Royce taking advantage _ Davy Wotton pic
A cold blustery day, 30,000 cfs of water and shad, and that for sure fired up the Browns at Bull Shoals dam as Malcolm Royce, President of the Ozark Fly fishers in St Louis found out when he connected with 6 trophy browns plus many fine Bows.
The gulls were flying high and swooping as they picked off the shad close to the dam outlet, always a sure sign there are either shad or chummed up remains of fish bait on the menu.
I decided to start the day with some surface fished shad patterns which resulted in little interest, time to change. My many years of experience fishing a shad kill leaned me toward rigging up with a indicator rig, not so easy as you might think, you need the right flies set at the general taking depth. All be it there is a another option at times l will use and that is more or less a free line drift with no indicator, which can be more deadly than a indicator drag drift which is what it is.
That said if fish were interested to take top water, that would have been the way to go. I suspect that due to the speed of the water surface and the majority of the shad were well churned up in the water column the fish had no need to check our the surface.
That may change when we see some lower water, assuming there is a good generation taking place, which is needed for a good shad kill.
You may find on some days a couple of feet below the surface works good for others it may need to be as close to the river bed as you can get it. Easier said than done when you have some 30,000 of flow rate, and a requirement for very long leaders and at times added weight, as both the former plus controlled drift are need to maintain flies at depth without excess drag
Today we do not have to worry about the one fly rule which gives us the option to use two flies that differ either by size and or combinations of tied pattern. Which was my choice for Malcolm to fish, DW dying shad patterns which have in past years proved to be the ticket.
Two flies also allow for you to fish at different depths, one way or the other the trout will see them and they did.
Davy Wotton. 2/12/16