Winter in the Ozarks throws all kinds of weather at you. While it’s normal to have sunshine and temperatures in the 40s-50s, it also gets surprisingly frosty for an area that is considered part of the South. Deep snow and frozen rivers you won’t see, granted, but cold rain, sleet, and intermittent periods of temperatures well below freezing are certainly on the menu. With holiday gifting on the horizon, now is the time to assess your cold weather gear situation, or that of your fishing friend or loved one, and fill in any gaps. Insulated tops and bottoms, fuzzy hats, gloves and socks, and a waterproof shell are all necessary equipment over the next three months when fly fishing the White River system.
Dawn on the White is being met with a big push from Bull Shoals Dam, up to around 14,000cfs. Sometime between 10am and 12pm there starts a reduction in flow, back down to around 6,000cfs. The initial rise is usually trashy with bits of moss and leaves, and the hard falling water tends to lock the jaws of trout, but if you can position yourself on stable flow, regardless of volume, the fishing is pretty good. Egg patterns are a winter time staple for dredging the river bottom, and San Juan worms are good as well. Trail these with Dally’s Tailwater Jigs, Hare’s Ear Jigs, Devil Jigs, and Rainbow Warriors. Twitching sculpin patterns like Mike’s Pec and Sculpito is a good idea on 6,000cfs; on 14,000cfs, aggressively strip large profile streamers like Dally’s Twerking Minnow, CJ’s Big Johnson, and Lafkas’ Modern Deceiver.
Norfork is running one generator at around 3,000cfs during daylight hours, which is a perfect fishing level on this waterway. Indicator fishing is good with eggs, Blobs, worms, trailed by Hunchback Scuds, Sunday Specials, Wotton Super and Whitetail midges. Effective streamers include Cone Head Wooly Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, and Slump Busters.
The weekend weather forecast looks beautiful for fishing with plenty of sunshine, low winds, and daytime temperatures in the 40s and 50s.