The steaming jungle that is Arkansas in August makes me wish sometimes that I could transform into a trout, swimming in 55degree water, or a smallmouth resting in the shade of a bluff.
But since my lack of gills forces me to stay hot and dry above the water’s surface, I guess the next best thing is to hang out in and around the water as much as possible. Blessed as I am to live in a place with plenty of cool, clear water, getting wet is a daily summertime ritual, as routine and natural as coffee in the morning.
The only question to consider is not if, but where to get wet. Crooked Creek’s overhanging trees provide a shady oasis to soak up all your worries. Wading waste deep in Boogle Bug heaven is better than air conditioning.
And the wetter you get in the White River’s stinging cold waters, the more you forget about the burning sun overhead – something about numb toes makes it impossible to sweat. Then there’s the reservoir – the biggest swimming hole around – endless deep, cool water hiding all manner of finned creatures.
There’s no wrong choice really, as long as you get wet, it’s the right choice.
Minimum flow and excellent wade fishing continue every day until about noon, at Bull Shoals, but jump downstream and fish till around 6pm at Rim Shoals.
These periods of low water can be fished effectively with all kinds of techniques from nymphing to swinging to dry flying. Probably the most productive fishing will come from drifting Ruby, Root Beer, Redneck, Super, Whitetail, Zebra, and Rainbow Warrior midges under an indicator.
For achieving faster sink or covering deeper water, add a tungsten beaded nymph on the line such as a Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Sunday Special, or Micro Mayfly Nymph. Swinging Wooly Buggers and wet flies like Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle can be deadly in the moving water.
You all know that crashing the banks with big terrestrials during high flows can produce big browns, but you can catch quality fish on minimum flow with terrestrials too. Downsize a little to #8-12 hoppers, beetles, and ants, and focus on the riffles, runs, and chutes where fish have less time to make the decision to eat.
Minimum flow until noon is providing great morning wade fishing with the usual culprits: Ruby and Root Beer midges are strong, as are Hunchback Scuds, Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle, and small dark Wooly Bugggers.
One unit in the afternoons is best fished with large split shot, San Juan Worms, and various midge patterns as a dropper. Streamer fishing on sink tip lines with Double Deceivers, Sluggos, and Twerking Minnows is a great way to target quality over quantity.