Flows from Bull Shoals Dam are starting to stabilize now around 10,000-12,000cfs, with increases up to 14,000-16,000cfs late in the afternoon. Stable water that doesn’t rise or fall too much or too frequently is best case scenario for fishing, as fish are much more comfortable and predictable when their environment isn’t in a constant state of change. When the water is high and stable like it is now, it makes for great fishing around bank structure where hungry trout take up positions behind rocks and logs and wait for food to drift by.
The high stable flows should help kickstart everyone’s favorite summertime fishing: dry fly terrestrials. The dry fly bite has been inconsistent over the past couple weeks, but with July fast approaching on the calendar, everyone is itching to start trying. Go-to dry fly terrestrial choices for the White include Western Ladies, Wiley’s Ant, Fat Alberts, and Psycho Ants. When fish won’t come up to eat, fishing Rubberleg Jigs and Jigged Girdle Bugs around bank structure is a fun and effective way to nymph for big fish – it has been working well over the past week. In slow current seams fish will suspend and feed mid water column on whatever emergers are adrift in the current. Egan’s Frenchie, Super Sinker, Tactical Copper John, and DW’s Super Midge have all been killer patterns for suspending in slow water or dropping under your dry fly or girdle bug. When all else fails, going deep with split shot and pink San Juan worms always seems to catch fish.
Norfork is flowing a steady two units, fast, deep, and clear, and fishing well at times and not so well at others. When fishing is good, Jigged Pheasant Tails, Super Sinkers, DW Whitetail Midges, and Hunchback Scuds are all good choices. When the bite turns off, one explanation might be the incredible amount of Daphnia in the water, which is difficult to imitate because of its incredibly small size, yet the fish feed on it until they are full. The FM Blob fly successfully imitates a cluster of Daphnia in the water, and can sometimes turn the tables when fish will take nothing else.
Crooked Creek is flowing low and clear after a couple weeks without significant rainfall. Now is the time to get out on the creek and do some wet wading – it will cool you off on a hot day, and you won’t find much wading opportunity for trout right now. Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser and Creek Crawlers are staples and work well in the moving water where the shoals enter the pools. In slow deep pools, fish the shaded water with small Boogle Bugs and thread head Rubberleg nymphs.