Spring is progressing nicely on the White River. Redbud blossoms have peaked, Dogwood blossoms have opened up in the past three days, and the green dust of tree pollen sticks to stagnant water. The green-ness of the Ozarks is intensifying by the day, starting at bright Granny Smith green on the river banks and fading into paler and paler shades as your gaze climbs the steep hills, terminating in the deep forest green of the cedars on the ridge tops. Turkeys are gobbling, cardinals are singing, and fledgling eagles wait impatiently on the nest for their mother to bring them a trout.
Flows have been much more stable this week than last; we are seeing less of the drastic up and down, and more stable high water, which allows fish to stay put a little longer and nestle into a feeding pattern. It seems that lots of nice fish got comfortable this week on rocky bank structure and flooded grass pockets. Quality trout were caught on everything from worm flies to caddis nymphs to streamers.
Tomorrow’s flow projection for the White looks different than the past few days, with steadily rising water culminating in an impressive 270mwh (~17,000cfs?) at 11am, then stepping back down to about 10,000cfs for the rest of the day. That hard rising water will carry lots of debris that trees are shedding right now, so it would be advisable to either stay in front of the push or get behind it once the water has dropped and stabilized in the afternoon. Bull Shoals Lake is only about six inches above power pool, so it’s possible that very soon we’ll see more low water, or at least more of the big rise and big fall.
Davy Wotton worm flies have been strong – both the Prism and the Dynamite worm. These can be paired together with split shot and a caddis pupae dropper such as a Fat Caddass or a classic jigged Prince nymph for a deadly combination. Sunday Specials and Super midges have been very good as well, especially when suspended in slow moving seams. Large heavy rubber legged nymphs are also catching nice fish including trophy browns, when drifted perfectly along bank structure. Stripping streamers can be good early, late, or on cloudy days; try Ice Picks, Sex Dungeons, Mini Viking Midges.
Flows have been mostly stable at one unit. Daphnia cluster flies are strong, as are San Juan worms, Hunchback Scuds, Whitetail midges, and Pheasant Tail nymphs. Large rubber legged nymphs are worth a try, and stripping Sculpitos and Skull Head sculpin imitations over the bottom of the pools can be met with a thump.