Every year Jason King and Nick Groves make the 3200+ mile round trip from Ontario to Cotter for the Streamer Lovefest, and a few days on the water hunting a beast. This year they got one, with Jason’s big male, pictured above on a Galloup streamer, reward for years of commitment to big flies, big fish and winter road trips.
Hey brother, what an incredible end, last bank with the sun setting, the horseshoe falls out… Can’t wait to see it on the wall next year. Thanks again for all you do dude!
It was such a great night and awesome to see your wife smiling and in good shape Cheers JJason King back over the border yesterday
Commitment is the name of the game when hunting trophy browns. Casting an eight weight, 30ft sink tip, and stripping a 7inch fly all day for three days is a commitment in itself, and a steep learning curve for most anglers when the realization is made that lobbing it all out into the river and pulling it back isn’t good enough. Accurate delivery of the fly amongst the entanglement of bank structure, awareness of the depth and location of the fly during the retrieve, disciplined line management, rod angles, and hook sets, are all prerequisites to success. Throw in early mornings, late evenings, subfreezing temps and gusting winds, and you have a real test of commitment.
“Catching” occurs in short windows of opportunity sandwiched between long periods of simply tough “fishing.” If you don’t embrace the grind, your opportunities will sneak up on you and slip away unnoticed. The potential for the trout of a lifetime is ever present, as evidenced by Jason King’s fish pictured above and Steven Seaton’s big female earlier this week, but part of the commitment is accepting that fishing isn’t fair. The fish don’t care if you’ve earned your opportunity or not. They don’t care if you’re Lefty Kreh or Joe Dirt. There is not a set number of casts you must make, dollars you must spend, or flies you must try.
Let’s just face the truth directly now. Only a small percentage of White River anglers will catch a two foot brown trout this year, or any other year. If it was any more than a small percentage, it would be a fantasy river in our dreams. Satisfaction with your experience will depend on how you define success. If it’s a picture of you holding Moby Dick that you want, and all the social media fame that comes with it, you’ll likely go home with a big helping of humble pie. If you want to work hard to improve your streamer fishing game, with a focus on the process instead of the results, then success is already within reach.
Dan from New Mexico is an average fly fisherman. He won’t mind me saying that. He hasn’t mastered a single haul much less the double haul, and many of his casts land well short of the mark. But Dan fished his ass off for four days and internalized many of the instructions I gave him. His loops got tighter, he learned to water load his seven weight, and his back hand cast went from non existent to 45 feet. On the morning of his last day Dan caught a 23.5inch brown, his personal best. That’s real world success, and that’s what we’re all about at Dally’s.
Read on for specifics on flows and flies.
Flows have been between 14,000 and 19,000cfs approximately, popularizing weighted streamers like Bait Fish Head Twerking Minnow, Alex’s White River Deceiver, Viking Midge, Lovechild Sculpin, and Sex Dungeon. These flies go nose down when allowed to sink, which helps get down immediately off the structure instead of relying on the sink tip to pull them down. Bull Shoals lake level is dropping and nearing “power pool,” which is where we would expect to see more fluctuation in tailwater release. Already flows dropped to 10,000cfs last night, so until we get more precipitation in the upper watershed, expect to see more raising and lowering of the river level in the near future. At 10,000cfs and below it’s time to start using unweighted streamers because often the desired depth of retrieve will be only 2 to 3 feet. Double Deceivers, Twerking Minnows, Modern Deceivers, Sluggos, Souper Cougars are all good choices. The erratic side to side motion of Sluggos and Souper Cougars can be especially good when getting down deep isn’t a priority. Reduced flows will also open up more fishable seams and riffles for dead drifting eggs, worms, and baitfish patterns like Sparkle Minnows and AR Beadheads.
Two units still during daylight hours and often round the clock. Norfork Lake is also getting closer to power pool and we would not be surprised to see more reduced flow in the near future. Weighted streamers or deep drifted baitfish patterns are good for two units. Look for fishing to improve rapidly if flows are reduced to one unit which will open up lots more fishable riffles, seams, and runs.