Brown Trout Release _ Steve Dally image

For those of you chomping at the bit to fish the high water for a change, your prayers may have been answered. A decent little wad of shad passed through the Bull Shoals Dam late last week and it has led to some awesome opportunities on the White River. With any luck we could get another dose of shad, prolonging our chances to rake in nice fish on white flies.

Though shad invariably slide through the dam throughout the year, they tend to sporadically find their way through the dam in large enough numbers to create a “feeding frenzy” in late winter and for the past 3 years in fall. Unfortunately, predicting these things is well above my pay grade and appears to be, for the most part, relatively unpredictable.

Brad Warrne found this solid shad kill eater with Michael Saladin

On the white river, though it is not as prolific as it was earlier in the week, “white stuff” is still working primarily in the larger afternoon bumps. I look for this to continue to dissipate unless more shad come through. Until then, wiggle minnows appear to be king. Pair these up with a dropper and you could be in for a good time. If you look around and everyone is throwing one or they simply do not appear to be looking up, try a meat whistle, mop fly, or a bead head.

Zach Ferguson came for trout and found a surprise fishing streamers with Adrian Hubbard

As a dopper, lightning bug jigs, zebra midges, tailwater jigs, and crossfit midges seem to be holding their own in the higher water. In the lower water, small girdle bugs (size 10 or 12), prince nymphs, hair’s ears, and egg patterns seem to be making good attractors. Pair these with a ruby midge, lightning bug jig, Frenchie, or tailwater jig and you should be set. 

Guide Logan Huff found some playtime on the shad bute

The Norfork continues to wait until the afternoons to turn on the water. With limited rain and clear water, more people have been willing to fish in the confluence area,  then run upriver when the generators start.

Bob Rennard with a shad kill smile out with Michael Saladin

For the most part, the fish seem healthy and willing to eat. Mop flies and meat whistles have been catching fish on the Norfork as well, it’s just a bit more rainbow heavy as would be expected. Egg patterns, mega worms, and Cheetos work well while the water is dirty. As it clears, try going a little more subtle. Girdle bugs, tactical hair’s ears, and mop flies are great ways to do that. Pair these with a ruby midge, Sunday special, tailwater jig, or a Frenchie and you should be good. 

Adrian Hubbard