Dally’s Fly Fishing Report 3/31/22

Gorgeous Norfork hen by guide Marc Poulos

Hot, cold, sunny, rainy, windy and beautiful, and heck all in about 5 minutes. Welcome to the Ozarks in springtime: anything is possible, and if you don’t like the weather wait an hour or two.

We are at the end of March and I got an ice-cream headache running down river yesterday afternoon. Today the forecast is beautiful, and I plan on enjoying the sun.

The warmth of the sun, and some lower flows is what we need to kick the caddis hatch into gear. Most years, in the recent past, have kicked off caddis with some wadeable (or dang close to it) flows Sowbug week, to warm the little beggars living in caddis cases. But it was tall flows all week this year.

Ella Lax with a beefy rainbow off Dry Run Creek with Mike Sexton

You might also recall last year’s brutally cold February resulted in abnormally cold water temps last spring, which delayed the early part of the hatch. Since the caddis only emerge after they have had sufficient days at a warm enough temperature, we need a warmup to get things kicked off

It’s coming, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the mean time.

Steve Parson’s found some good browns at the Dame yesterday with Steve Dally

WHITE RIVER

Hugh Smith under blue skies found a nice shad eater

There is a little café latte pouring into the river below Crooked Creek but the White has emerged from Wednesday’s deluge in pretty good shape.

Right now it’s hunt and peck for numbers, trading spots and tactics to stay onto a bite.

Shad at Bull Shoals Dame was good over the weekend after a late week flush of the tiny baitfish into the White. It’s going to be interesting to see if the cold temps of Wednesday night and last night will delivers us a little more shad kill action this weekend.

A shad mop deep, or the “dry-dropper” approach can be pretty productive if the trout have had their appetite’s whetted but a flush of naturals.

Tom Emerick with a handsome male

A deeper rigged mop with a trailing Tailwater Jig, in Zebra, Ruby or Cranberry is also a productive choice, or perhaps a nondescript caddis trailing.

NORFORK:

This brown was solid, Beth Holler fishing with Duane Bell

If you are on the Norfork today keep your eyes on the flow. There were whispers, without confirmation, running around that *(lowish) flood gate flows might start today. Since Norfork Lake is only 6% into the 26 foot plus storage capacit for flood waters, flood gate releases might seem unlikely.

But flood gates have been opened to maintain the drawdown on Beaver Lake, while maintenance is conducted on one of the two generators inside the power house. It would not be a leap to see a similar proposal on Norfork, so stay alert for changes in flow.

Fishing deep with blobs and Tailwater Jigs, Davy Wotton Midges has been productive on the high flows, as well as shad patterns

John Holler on a good White River brown with Duane Bell