Last week, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission hosted an “open to the public” workshop, that addressed issues concerning the Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters. It was well attended by a very diverse group of individuals, with the common goal of how to improve our fishery, that to many in attendance happens to be their livelihood.
The goal of the workshop was to discuss the issues that each person found to be important, both good and bad, with both the White and the Norfork. As the evening progressed, and those issues were openly discussed, it became apparent that there were a number of people that shared a common interest. That interest was the protection of a very special trout called a Bonneville Cutthroat.
For those of you that may be new to our blog, this is a trout that has been “planted” in both tailwaters, as eggs in a nursery, called a Whitlock Vibert Box. While the beautiful markings and colors of this fish are enough to make you want to witness one up close, it’s clearly the story of the hard work by a diverse group of individuals that came together with a common goal, that makes this beautiful fish so special.
With that, lets talk about whats been working.
Now that the hoppers are starting to grab the attention of some really nice browns, try throwing Western Lady’s (pink or tan), Evan’s Baby Foam Hopper (purple), Willy’s Ant (black/purple), Fat Albert’s (black or pink), Jake’s Trigger Belly (lavender or black), Morrish Hoppers (pink or black), and Gas Bag Chernobyls as well. To appease those fish that might not quite be willing to come to the surface, try dropping a Rubber Legs pattern under a hopper/indicator and hold on tight!
The San Juan/egg combo is still a good option, but also mix or match devil jigs, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and midges (root beer and ruby) when nymphing under an indicator.
Also, continue to fish McLellan’s Hunchback scuds in dark grey, tan, rainbow, and orange. Wotton’s Whitetail Super Midges are still a great choice as well.
The streamer bite will continue to be strong in those flows exceeding 2 units. Try throwing: BFH Double Deceivers, Modern Deceivers, CJ’s Sluggos, Drunk & Disorderlies, and Dally’s Twerkin Minnows. Olive/Yellow & Olive/White in deceiver-style patterns are still consistent performer right now.
With the consistent 1 to 2 unit flows we have seen this past week on the Norfork, fishing is limited to primarily boat fishing.
Mayfly style patterns include: Real Meal Nymphs, Mercer’s Micro Mayflies, and Tactical Hare’s Ear Jigs, have been doing great. It’s also essential to have some Ruby and Rootbeer Midges, Olive Woolly Buggers, and McLellan’s UV Scuds in your fly box as well.
During those times of generation, streamer choices include: Twerkin Minnows, Sluggo’s, Drunk & Disorderlies, and Double Deceivers.
Warmwater (Crooked Creek & Buffalo River):
Both Crooked Creek and the Buffalo are at optimal wading levels, and floating (kayak/canoe) on most sections is great as well (getting a little skinny is some sections of Crooked). Smallies and Ozark Bass continue to hit crayfish patterns (Hada’s Creek Crawler & Whitlock’s Near Nuff Crayfish), baitfish patterns (Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser & standard Clouser Minnows), and topwater patterns (Boogle Bugs, Fat Albert’s, & Morrish Hoppers). For sunfish including longear and green try throwing: Boogle Amnesia Bugs, Rubber Legs, and small Fat Albert’s.