Minimum flow has returned to the White River this week, offering up great wade fishing opportunities. Although the water level begins to rise around 10 or 11am, the water stays low and wadable at the Narrows until almost noon, low and wadable at Wildcat until 1pm, at Cotter and Roundhouse until 2pm, and at Rim Shoals until 3pm. There is no better way to beat this July heat than to stand knee deep in 58 degree water, happily hooked up to feisty trout.
Fishing from a boat on the higher flows in the afternoon has been stellar as well. The summer terrestrial bite is on, and the sulfur mayfly hatch continues, giving the trout two great reasons to look to the surface for food as the water rises. On sunny afternoons the sulfur hatch is prolific, and nice browns will position themselves high in the water column in the current seams just off the banks, gently sticking their snouts out of the water and inhaling drifting mayflies. If there is cloud cover and fewer mayflies the browns will gladly smash a well presented foam dry fly imitating the beetles and cicadas that plop helplessly into the water from overhanging trees along the banks.
Tomorrow’s flow projection is the same: minimum flow until 10am, and then steadily rising water the rest of the day, leaving room for wade fishermen and boaters alike. The weather too looks stable heading into the weekend: hot and sunny every day, which means plenty more mayflies are going to hatch. It’s going to be another incredible weekend to wade fish the White River or to hire one of Dally’s competent guides to show you some high water strategies.
Read on for specific fly choices.
A number of mayfly nymphs are kicking butt right now – Micro Mayfly #16 brown is strong, Sloan’s Mighty May sulfur is spot on, Frenchie Jigs are strong, and the good ole Pheasant Tail nymph is hard to beat. Wade fishermen should do well swinging Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle in orange, or the classic Partridge orange wet fly. Dry sulfurs like Parachute Sulfurs, Comparaduns, and Silverman’s Stacker Cripple are a must when fish are looking up and snouts are breaking the surface. Plying the banks with terrestrials as the water rises is great for an aggressive rise – try Juicy Bugs, Western Ladies, and Fat Alberts.
Flows were shut off until 1pm yesterday and until 2pm today, and scheduled to be off until 2pm tomorrow. That means even more wade fishing opportunities are available. Root Beer midges and Hunchback Scuds are standards and must be tried. Otherwise look for hatches of sulfurs, midges, or possibly crane flies and be ready with a selection of dries (Parachute sulfurs, Parachute Adams, Griffith’s Gnats, Comparaduns) and wets (Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle, DW’s Juicer, Partridge orange soft hackle).
Warmwater opportunities are available on the creek for smallmouth, largemouth, Ozark bass, green sunfish, longear sunfish, and carp. Float in kayaks or wade from the AGFC access points. Come prepared with Hada’s Creek Crawler, Whitlock’s Near Nuff crawfish, Sexy Stone rubber legged nymphs, and Boogle Bugs.