If you thought the White was high last week, you should see it this week. 16,000cfs in turbine release combined with 11,000cfs spillgate release makes for a grand total of 27,000cfs coursing down the river corridor – a true monster of a tailwater fishery. Norfork also has spillgates open for a total release of 8,700cfs.
The Corps of Engineers is releasing all this water to gain flood storage space in the lake for the next deluge of rain over the Ozarks, which in this climate is a question of when, not if. At the current rate of release, Norfork Lake is expected to be back in power pool by December 20, just in time to produce some low water conditions and potentially epic wade fishing Christmas week!!! Bull Shoals Lake should be back in power pool by January 7, translating to more manageable rowing and fishing conditions for January streamer fishermen.
Speaking of streamers, stripping big flies is an effective means of covering this big water if you’re needing to scratch the itch sooner rather than later. Playing target practice with the flooded trees, accurately placing your 7″ streamer behind wide tree trunks on peninsulas and islands in the river has produced many a trophy brown trout on the White.
If streamer fishing is not your game, there are innumerable sections of flooded lawns and grassbeds on inside river bends where dredging worm patterns will most definitely produce fish, likely more so than streamer fishing. There are undoubtedly injured shad tumbling down the river as well, so drifting or twitching white flies around islands, current seams, backwaters, or anywhere the current and depth is manageable for a decent presentation is a good idea.
Dry Run Creek is another option to consider – the perfect place to spend time with your kids or any youthful fly fishing enthusiast. This small wadable water is holding tons of big fish right now.
Read on for specific fly choices.
In the streamer department, a big profile to get noticed in all the volume of water out there makes sense – think 7″ Double Deceivers, both weighted and unweighted, Viking Midges are a good choice as well, and by using heavy sink tips and targeting slower backwaters, even buoyant patterns like Dally’s Lap Dancer and Tiny Dancer, and CJ’s Sluggo are possible catchers. Smaller shad imitating streamers are a good idea as well: Meat Whistle, Sparkle Minnow, Lunch Money, Ice Pick. For drifting/dredging under an indicator, try big worms in pink or red, big egg patterns, Cheetos, AR Beadheads, White Wooly Buggers.
Same strategies and fly choices apply see above. Look for slower sections of water where you have a chance to get your flies down and in front of a trout.