Dally’s Fly Fishing Report: 5-24-17

Geffrey Davis with a hefty White River brown on Tuesday: Image from guide Steve Dally


IT would have been a quality day on the White River even without the beast pictured above, and more needed than I knew.

I enjoy fishing with U of Arkansas poet Geffrey Davis for many reasons, a goodly proportion of which revolve around the conversation, which can run from teenage peurile gags, admittedly most mine, to the psychology of fly selection, the craft of writing and other weirdness. It’s challenging and funny and entertaining, and at least for me makes me think about more stuff than fooling fish.

Yesterday we talked a lot of about the things that keep us from fishing, not all of which are bad. Geff has a young family, and the path of a poet might be the most brutal of any writer, his next book is at his publisher.

The slings and arrows of life can make it hard to get away. But sometime, even the obsessive, can talk ourselves out of doing something which ultimately gets us through those tough times.

Fishing Buddies moving away, the water is too high, its too hot, too cold, I’m too busy, the excuses mount up and pretty soon months have gone by and no fishing has been done.

We have all been through this self-defeating loop. And the only way out is to just go fishing. In our case it was an email reminding Geff I’d promised a trip, 12 months ago with a fellow writer and fly fishing lunatic Miles Nolte. That trip fell apart but to get Geff on the river.

Then we caught the fish above, and we turned into schoolboys, with silly grins and whoops and hollers.

It’s the White River system: beautiful, capricious, powerful, captivating, rejuvenating. A place I love calling home.

Book a trip with our guide team, break the slump and learn something new. Try the

And now for what is working on the rivers this week.

Steve Dally

Cory Bryan with one of the feasting worm eaters caught with guide Jonathan Murray this week


Bull Shoals continues to shed water with a mix of generated cold water and a reduced run of spillway flow to equal around 24,000 cfs. It’s big high flows but down subsurface there is a feast going on.

Browns and rainbows are dining out on the sudden influx of drowned critters, worms, grubs and more from all the ground which hadn’t been wet for over 12 months.

The trick is long leaders, big indicators and heavy split shot to get down to the party. Shallower runs and softer current make like easier but finding flooded grassbeds and islands iseasier if you are familiar with the river.

San Juan Worms of a variety of colors and styles, are all working:try pink, red and wine for first choices, and its not a bad choice to run it behind an attractor egg pattern.

Hunks of flesh, or white buggers can work equally well as an attractor, imitating a hunk of flesh from the fish which didn’t survive the trip from the top of the dam to the tailwater below.

Some have survived howver and there are reports of stripers, walleye, gar and even paddfish cruising around. AGFC trout biologist said state limits on all these species applies to the tailwaters not the more restrictive Bull Shoals limits. For instance wall eye and stripers can be taken in the catch and release zone at any size up to a maximum of 6 fish of each species.

Streamer fishing is productive in the low light conditions, fish Double Deceivers, Viking Midges, Tweking Minnows and Sluggos


Norfork is fishing exceptionally well on the morning low water, though motorised boat traffic is restricted to Colonel’s Corner.

Fish Sunday Special, Crusty Ron’s and weighted egg patterns ahead of Ruby Midges and Super Midges.

On the high afternoon flows eggs and worms fished deep are the ticket