WELL as they say in the Ozarks, if you don’t like the weather wait a few hours.
In the past week we have had everything from tee shirt fishing to big fluffy snowflakes and freezing rain.
Jason Loyd and I had a crew from Connecticut last weekend fishing in cold persistant rain that had us grateful for the shelter at Kings Landing and a hot lunch. The forecast snow didn’t materialize down on the river until we drove up onto the ridge lines, courtesy of that warm river water.
We just managed to warm up earlier in the week and we are enduring a cold night tonight. Get out your winter woollies for the next two days before we roll back into sunny conditions and into the 50s Sunday and Monday.
All in all the right gear and being prepped for the conditions makes it comfortable, even enjoyable.
The water flows has been bouncing even more than the temperatures. You would generally expect the high morning and evening flows due to the lower temperatures morning and night. With the lakes operating below flood pool, we are seeing pretty low flows during the middle of the day and weekends.
Then there are the inexplicable up and downs in flows (typically during the middle of the day) which leave fisherman looking for patterns somewhat mystified.
The streamer bite has been up and down, as the fish are moving multiple times during the course of the day but there are still solid fish feeding like predators should. There have been a surprisingly solid numbers of largemouth bass hitting streamers right now, having moved from the wild run creeks out in the White looking for warmer temperatures.
On the lighter flows 6″ Deceivers, Twerking Minnows, Bangtails, Sluggo’s and Tony Dancers are all attracting attention.
On low flows, try sculpin patterns, buggers and sparkle minnows
There is a lot of spawning activity upstream of Cotter , which means less browns with the nosebag on, being more intent on producing the next generation of White River trophy trout. Egg patterns and midges or sowbugs fished away from the spawning redds can pull plenty of rainbows and cutts looking for a winter meal.
Clint’s Sunday Special, Tailwater Jigs and Wotton Midges are all must carry flies
You will pick up the odd brown, but be mindful to get them back in the water fast if they are dropping eggs or milt, no matter your technique. That’s the next generation on the floor of your boat.
Norfork has been open to the waders for good chunks of time every day over the past week until today, as the lake touch flood stage. Keep an eye on the flows over the weekend.
At this time of year scud and midge patterns predominate, and add a beaded glo-bug as an attractor in most rigs