One of the allure’s of fly fishing is the adventure that comes when you take the time to “hunt’ for those small, overlooked creeks and streams (or sections of) that many times are literally right in your own back yard. It’s those “secret spots” that hopefully only you and few select ‘locals’ know about. Yes, Mapquest, Google Earth, and Rand McNally all have their place and can play an important part in this adventure, but sometimes it’s who you know (and how you ask) that can really pay off. With that said, be mindful of the fact that you may be in for a little more adventure than you planned, like when your new ‘local’ BFFFF (Best Fly Fishing Friend Forever) that assured you that he knows the farmer, turns and says “Shh!, don’t close that gate so hard!”
Living here in the Ozarks, we are very fortunate to have our share of ‘off the grid’ places, that we can go and find a few fish that, as far as we know (or hope), seldom see a fly. But that certainly is not just true for here. I think this would be the case no matter where you live. It really just comes down to how much you’re willing to look, who your BFFFF is, and how hard you closed the gate!
Due to the lack of precipitation and mild temperatures, flows have, for the most part, remained the same. We’ve seen windows of wadeable water at or a little above minimum flow (between 700- 1400 cfs), but mostly between 2,000 and 4,000 cfs.
Wade fisherman can continue to expect to do well with both nymphs and small streamers with the minimum to one unit flows we have been seeing.
Midges (ruby, rootbeer, & diamond in size 18), pheasant tails (in sizes 14, 16, & 18), devil jigs (red and copper in sizes 14 & 16).
Also, try throwing a Strollis Quill Body Jig (size 14) by itself or in combination with a colorful attractor fly such as a Y2K or Keller’s Hot Worm.
Streamer fishermen should try throwing sculpin imitations such as large olive woolly buggers, FS Bunny Sculpins, and Conrad Sculpins.
Other productive streamers include CJ’s Mega Minnow, Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, Schmidt’s Viking Midge, and Double Deceiver.
During those times when wadeable water is available (which have typically been in the afternoon), nymph fisherman can expect to do well with Garrett’s Purple Death (size 18), Clint’s Sunday Special (sizes 16 and 18), midges (root beer and black & purple zebra in sizes 16 & 18), pheasant tails (size 16 & 18), hunchback scuds (size 16 & 18), and tailwater sowbugs (sizes 16 and 18).
Small sculpin patterns like FS Bunny Sculpins, Slump Busters, and Cone Head Woolies, are also productive when stripped slowly over the bottom. Other effective streamers are Bennett’s Lunch $, Kraft’s Kreelex, and Galloup’s Barely Legal.