Dally’s Fly Fishing Report 5-18-17

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Nick Garrett with a White River streamer brown: image guide Jason Loyd

It would be hard to argue that one of the most appealing aspects of fly fishing is its simplicity. Yes it takes a little time and effort to learn how to cast, and even more time to really get good at it. But beyond that, it really only requires a basic amount of equipment to get started. Much like a math equation, this simplicity can be changed when water flows become a variable.

Fly fishing our rivers can relate a lot to chemistry. The right equipment and conditions are like a balanced equation (Right Fly + Right Flows –> Good Fishing). Adding too much H2O to one side of an equation can make it seem unbalanced, and therefore affecting how you fish (Right Fly + Too much H2O –> Ask the Teacher (or just call the shop)).

While all this may sound somewhat intimidating, truly, the biggest difference is the depth and speed of the water, and how the fish relate to structure. It’s for this reason that our guides have compromised and adjusted to this high water, and have their clients nymph with longer leaders, under larger indicators with a little more of weight to get it down. Another bonus to these high water conditions, is that many of the larger fish move towards the banks in order to escape the brunt of the high flows, making it a prime time to target larger fish with big streamers.

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Jason Niles with a beautiful Norfork River Bonneville Cutthroat. image by guide Brock Dixon

White River:

At the time of this report, the combined turbine/spillway release from Bull Shoals was 24,800 cfs, with the lake level roughly 2 1/2 feet below the top of flood pool and the lake level dropping slowly. Again, nymphing with long leaders and extra weight is going to be the ticket in these higher flows.

Fish San Juan Worms, egg patterns, and Jigs (Devil & Pheasant Tail). McGee Rubber Legs would be a good option as well.

Streamers include: Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, CJ’s Sluggo, Schmidt’s Double Deceivers, and Lafkas’ Modern Deceiver.


While the Norfork has not been producing necessarily numbers of fish, the quality and variety has more than made up for it. The floodgates are now closed,  and the turbine release has remained just under 5,500 cfs (except for a few hours at night when the siphon is being used).

Nymphing San Juan Worms, egg patterns, & prince nymphs has proven to be successful.

Streamer fishermen can expect to do well on the same successful White River patterns – Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, CJ’s Sluggo, Schmidt’s Double Deceivers, and Lafkas’ Modern Deceiver.