There is still good wading out there right now. Steve Dally image

YOU have to feel for those evacuating their homes along the Arkansas River this morning, as flood waters from the west and north pour through and past the State.

The concept of wading low and clear water below Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams this morning while a couple of hours drive south there is catastrophic flooding might seem a little weird.

But the White River Dams are build to contain water in these flood event, until rivers like the Arkansas, Black, Mississippi subside, and the worst of the rainfall has really gone around us here.

Bull Shoals is about 62% of flood pool, Norfork is about the same as is Beaver. Table Rock is at 2% of flood pool full. You can likely expect low flows, at least for the overnight and morning hours until the all time flooding on the Arkansas is into the Mississippi.

At some point this year we will be getting heavy flows to dump what has been held back in the dams, and looking at the alternatives (if you don’t like high water fishing) is what this weekend’s All Species Odyssey is all about.

We love trout, but there are plenty of other Ozark species to while away some hours. Our lakes are way under-utilised as fly rod destinations, and the creeks too.


Look for the lower overnight flows on the White if you want to wade or like some steady nymphing. Midge hatches are heavy but you can find a few late to the party caddis kicking around.

Nymph with Jigged Princes, green Devil Jigs, Dally’s Tailwater Jigs and Birds Nests trailed by Ruby, Root Beer, and Whitetail midges. On minimum flow try swinging Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle in caddis green or Davy Wotton’s Skating Caddis.

The rising water is still hard to fish due to lots of clumps of algae, being torn free but staying close to the dam and fishing worm flies and DW Whitetail midges can be good.

Norfork River:

Expect minimum flow until about two or three in the afternoon. Root Beer midge is king, but Hunchback Scuds, small Pheasant Tail nymphs, and Whitetail midges are strong too. Griffith’s Gnats are taking fish on top. Try swinging Anna K’s just for fun. When the water comes up, drift or twitch Meat Whistles, Ice Picks, and Sparkle Minnows for a bigger fish.