the year of the lake

WILL 2021 be the year that the lakes, in particular Norfork Lake, decide the winner of the All Species Odyssey, next weekend.

Norfork and Bull Shoals Lakes are huge impoundments with a myriad of species ripe for a big score for Odyssey teams. After two years there have been few lake scored fish, with no stripers or hybrids, no walleye or drum.

But most fly fishers are more familiar with rivers and ponds, and for the first two Odyssey events both Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes have been way up in flood stage. This year Norfork is expected to be around 68% of flood stage, high but not at the levels of previous events, perhaps opened the door for a sharp, lake savvy team.

We have 19 teams lined up to date for the third running of the Odyssey, our celebration of the fly fishing riches here in the Ozarks. Two-person teams race the clock to catch and release as many species as they can from our target list.

Teams will be competing for almost $5000 in prizes and giveaways from our sponsors including YETI Sage and RIO, Fishpond, Smith Optics, Simms Fishing, TFO, and Orvis.

Every entrant will this year receive an awesome gift bag including an 18oz Rambler bottle with Chug cap courtesy of Yeti to help them stay hydrated during the grueling event. Fishpond is also providing its own brand SPF 15 lip balm for all contestants.

The Odyssey will start at midday June 19-20, and competitors will fish until 8pm. Fishing resumes at 6 am Sunday and runs until midday. Competitors need to return to Dally’s in Cotter for the awards ceremony at 1pm.

Late entries will be taken up until June 17, with the form below and the $150 team fee. There is no refund of team fees after June 4. Each species must be photographed, with our unique control item, and submitted to the Odyssey HQ via our tournament app. The images will be used to authenticate species and score each team..


Winning the event will take fly fishing skills, knowledge, stamina and outright cunning. And as many teams in the first two Odyssey events have discovered, a healthy dose of luck will help.

The rules are simple: teams of two fly fishers will compete to see who can amass the most species, size doesn’t matter. Fishing will only be conducted during daylight hours (see rules) but fishers can use the closed fishing period to change locations, refuel and plan strategy.

If you want to target Norfork Lake its a great idea to read some of our accompanying articles including the Odyssey Waypoints piece which includes maps. Its also smart to remember there are accesses close to the east side of Mountain Home, including Cranfield Park/Public Use Area and Pigeon Creek access