Merry Christmas Everyone! Those lucky enough to get away with fishing Christmas week have been blessed this year with the gift of mild weather. Every day of winter fishing allowed that does not result in cold fingers and toes is indeed a gift. Though there is a bit of rain forecasted for Saturday, it appears the mild temperatures will remain through the weekend and into next week, and skies will be clearing starting Sunday morning.
River conditions remain much the same as they were last week with the exception that Norfork spillgates are now closed and flow has resumed from the turbines. Volume coming from Bull Shoals Dam is approximately 26,000cfs turbines and spillgates combined. At this rate of release, Bull Shoals Lake elevation will drop within power pool in 5-6days, but precipitation may extend the amount of time it takes to clear out the flood storage by a few days. The estimated date of spillgate closure at Bull Shoals is now moved back to Jan 4, but it could happen sooner.
Those out on the water this week have been enjoying not only the beautiful weather but dependable fishing as well. Steady high water on the White is stacking fish on inside bends, gravel bars and grass beds. Deep dredging with meaty offerings like large egg and worm patterns, Cheeto attractors, shad patterns (AR Beadhead, white Wooly Bugger, Sparkle Minnow) is highly effective, just use long 3-4x leaders and ample split shot. Stripping small shad-like streamers (Lunch Money, Whitlock’s shad, Ice Pick) around slow current seams is a good bet. Stripping big streamers (weighted Double Deceiver, weighted Twerking Minnow) is a ton of fun when browns are willing to chase.
Norfork has one unit worth of flow coming from the turbines during daylight hours, allowing for some limited wading at both Quarry Park and Ackerman access, with more and better access for those experienced enough with their personal watercraft to float the river and stop at key spots along the way. Shad patterns (AR Beadhead, white Wooly Bugger, Puff Daddy) are still working some even with spillgates closed. If the fish won’t take white for you, revert to old faithfuls like orange egg, pink worm, or get sneaky and show them a Hunchback Scud pink/tan, a good ole fashioned Hare’s Ear nymph, or a Root Beer midge.
Dry Run Creek is another option for getting outside with your kids or grandkids while this beautiful winter weather lasts. Stop in at Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher for some extra eggs, worms, and midges on your way to the creek. And don’t forget the BIG landing net.