So far May is churning out some pretty solid fishing excursions on a variety of water, from trout on Bull Shoals and Norfork Tailwaters to smallmouth on Crooked Creek to bass and crappie in the reservoirs…..May is a pretty safe bet most years. The caddis hatch continues on the tailwaters, and there’s plenty of fair and mild weather to go around. It’s an incredible time for fishing the Ozarks.
White River has mostly been running around 3,000-4,000cfs which is showing good caddis activity some mornings and most afternoons. Hot caddis pupae patterns include Nick’s Fat Caddass, Caddistrophic Pupae, Mercer’s Jiggy Caddis, and the ubiquitous Riffle Nymph. Don’t neglect the dry fly either – E/C, E/Z, and Razor Caddis are all effective on the surface. Midge patterns are also strong. Tailwater Jigs #18, Root Beer and Ruby midges, and DW Whitetails are all killer midges. There have also been some brief morning bumps of higher flows that necessitate longer leaders and split shot to get the nymphs down, and perhaps a San Juan worm as an attractor.
Norfork is mostly at two units or just under 6,000cfs most of the time, requiring long leaders and plenty of split shot but producing great fishing for big fat beautiful rainbows. Choice patterns include Blobs and San Juans as attractors, with Tailwater Jigs, Sunday Specials, Tailwater Sowbugs, or DW Whitetails as droppers.
Crooked Creek is running swift but clear, and yielding some hard pulling smallmouth bass on Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser, Stay Hungry Streamers, and Sparkle Minnows. A 15ft sink tip line is handy for getting your minnow pattern down to where the bass are hiding.