The weather is delightful in North Arkansas and the fall colors are peaking. Air temperatures surpassed eighty degrees yesterday and today, but the forecast shows a cool front coming in Friday and temperatures returning to the normal autumn range of forty to sixty degrees. Eagles are soaring the bluff lines and perching in tall sycamores on the river bank. Whitetail bucks can be seen drinking from the river and sometimes swimming the river’s width. Otters and mink hunt busily along rocky banks for unsuspecting trout. It’s a outdoorsman’s paradise out there.
Lower water on the White has made for some fun and easy fishing. Flows are fluctuating between about 3,000cfs and about 9,000cfs – lower water in the morning, then a gentle rise all afternoon. All sorts of techniques and flies can work in these conditions. Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, and Devil Jigs are a great first choice, and adding a Super Midge, Redneck Midge, or Ruby Midge makes for a killer combo. Egg patterns work well in the fall of course, and are quite effective fished alone right on the bottom. On warm afternoons there can be good hatches of tiny fall caddis, many of which are about a #20 and tan in color, but a #12-14 Elkhair Caddis holding up #16-#18 Sunday Special is more than sufficient when there are bugs on the water. Also on warm sunny afternoons, there’s no reason why terrestrial dry flies like Evan’s Baby Foam and Fat Alberts won’t still work. Additionally there have been some isolated hatches of Blue Winged Olives on cloudy days – small Parachute Adams are good on top when this is happening, and small Iron Lotus nymphs are good subsurface.
Norfork is running a partial generator during the day, at around 2,700cfs. The water is a little stained in color, but fishing well with egg patterns, Pheasant Tail nymphs, Hare’s Ear nymphs, Sunday Specials, Super Midges, and Hunchback Scuds. Sparkle Minnows and other small flashy streamers can be good in the fast water around rocks and downed trees.