Thank goodness the epic flood release scenario that the Corps of Engineers warned about over the weekend did not come to pass. The rain on Monday night was less substantial than predicted, temporarily muddying Crooked Creek and Buffalo fisheries, but not warranting massive spillway release from Bull Shoals Dam. Bull Shoals Lake is hovering at capacity, and we’re seeing turbine release of around 15,000cfs currently. This is clean, cold, bottom release from the lake, making for excellent trout fishing in the river. Barring another major rain event, which is nowhere in the current forecast, we could be looking at great fishing on the White for weeks to come.
Summer fishing on the White is a favorite among local fishing guides, as the trout gorge on insects small and large. The sulfur mayfly hatch is going on right now, perhaps a bit difficult to predict in terms of exactly when and where it’s happening, but certainly happening with enough regularity to trigger trout to feed, including quality browns. Steady high flows on the White will concentrate hatching insects in the current seams along the margins of the river, and trout will take advantage of the concentrated food, feeding in active pods of rising fish. These actively feeding pods can be targeted with dry flies and soft hackles (Parachute Sulfur, Silverman’s Stacker, Comparadun, Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle in orange or yellow) for some really exciting sight fishing.
When sulfurs aren’t hatching, a great way to catch fish is to nymph the margins of the river with a good ol’ fashioned Pheasant Tail nymph, a standard choice for summer on the White. Jigged Pheasant Tail is a nice heavy choice to sink fast and great presented in tandem with a Ruby, Root Beer, or DW Super midge. Other effective sulfur nymphs include BH Sulphuric Humpback Nymphs and brown Super Sinkers. Large rubberleg nymphs like Jig Stone are also a summertime favorite and will take many a big fat brown this summer. It’s also not too early to start trying large foam terrestrial patterns like Fat Alberts and Western Ladies. Streamer junkies might find a bruiser as well chugging CJ’s Sluggo or Dally’s Lap Dancer.
Norfork watershed took a worse hit from the recent rain than the White. Norfork is running at 10,000cfs which is pretty difficult to fish. Conditions will improve once Norfork Lake clears out a few feet of water and spillways get turned off. Crooked Creek and Buffalo also jumped way up from Monday’s rain but they are dropping fast and should be fishable again as early as this weekend. Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser, Hada’s Creek Crawler, and an assortment of Boogle Bugs are warmwater essentials around here. A #8 Electric Blue Damsel Boogle Bug is a pretty sure bet for tempting all manner of feisty little fish to the surface for hours of wet wading fun.