The weather is comfortable, the scenery is grand, and the water holds many a fish. It’s a beautiful time to be out on the water in the Ozarks. Whether you’re jet boating on a tailwater for rainbow trout – taking in the expansive river while feeling the cool air rush across your face, or kayaking a warmwater stream for wary smallmouth – dipping the paddle carefully in the crystal clear water so as not to disturb the bass sulking in the shadows, there are many ways to take in the beauty and grandeur of Ozark waterways. And right now, the changing colors of autumn have the whole place very well decorated.
The White is still flowing around 13,000-14,000cfs continuously. Hoppers (Fat Alberts #12, Western Ladies #10, Chernobyl Ants), large nymphs (Girdle Bugs, Jig Buggers), and other such bugs of summer are still taking trout on a regular basis. Tailwater Jigs, Devil Jigs, Super Midges, Rainbow Warriors are all reliable producers. Egg and worm patterns are of course effective and are best fished deep with split shot or with a heavy fly such as a Jig Bugger as weight.
Norfork Dam is operating spillway release temporarily as an effort to increase dissolved oxygen levels in the tailwater to keep the trout healthy through the lake turnover period – when water coming from Norfork lake tends to be low in oxygen. Total release from turbines and spillways has been increasing incrementally, and currently amounts to 5,500cfs as of most recent reading on the chart. Fish seem to be surviving just fine, actively feeding, fighting hard, and swimming away strong. Effective fly patterns include the Blob, egg patterns, pink worms, Sparkle Minnows, Girdle Bugs, Frenchies, Rainbow Warriors, Sunday Specials, Hunchback Scuds, and countless more.