Dally’s fly fishing report 9/23/21

Butch Johnson with gorgeous White River brown _ steve dally image

THE hint of fall in the mornings late this week is a wakeup call to get ready for the end of summer.

Fall officially started Wednesday, but its the low flows and chill mornings that are a reminder to test your waders for leaks, the laces and soles on your boots, and find a jacket, and maybe some fingerless gloves. But the warm afternoons, make packing a quandry.

I’m packing a pair of shorts and deck sole flip flops for those warm afternoons. A small dry bag to switch off layers is a handy accessory at this time of year if you are headed out with our guides.

On the other hand if you are wading the water temperatures have been climbing on these lower flows to much more comfortable levels. At these flows there is a chance of wading most of the daylight hours if you start upstream in the morning and finish at Rim.

And now for the rest of the week’s fly fishing report

A group of locals getting some afternoon wading in at Rim Shoals


The low flow fishing for waders and boaters has been solid on most days. You might have to fish a little further from the boat than on the higher water, but two fly rigs with various midges is standard

Popularity of the fast sinking Dally’s Tailwater Jig has exploded in 2021 whether teamed with the ever popular Wotton Super Midges or David Knowles Midge patterns. It also performs as a trailer behind bigger heavier patterns like Girdle Bugs and the like

The chill hasn’t been enough to quiet the hopper bite, which has been from solid to very good if you are in the right places. The trick is being in the right place. And with temperatures back to the 90s (and 50 degree mornings) through the middle of the week, there will still be some terrestrial action around.

Downsize your flies to 8s or 10s and target the likely lies with a little more stealth than on the high flows.

There have also been a dribble of shad coming through Bull Shoals Dam on those big afternoon rises for the past 3 weeks, not sufficient nor consistent to yell get here now, but worth chancing for a quality fish if you have nothing better rolling. Meat Whistles or AR Beadheads in tandem with midges or san juans can be a solid drifting choice


Norfork is offering solid wadeable periods through lunchtime, with afternoon flows being driven by the warm afternoons.

Soft Hackles like the Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle (yellow or red ) or the Anna K wither swung or teamed with small heavy midge patterns is a great way to work the fork. Sowbugs and scuds too haven’t left, though their popularity has waned.

And simple olive buggers swung through the tailouts is a great standby