Dally’s Fly Fishing Report: 9/30/22

Shad isnt the only game: Robert Hime score this solid brown with Ben Levin

Large groups of shad continue to spill through the dam during the afternoon bumps out of Bull Shoals Dam.

A factor often overlooked is just how often the shad come through still alive and kicking. This opens a unique opportunity where the angler essentially has free reign to fish as they please and still be replicating the “hatch”.

Chris Pham with a big grin fishing with guide Morgan Guss

Wiggle minnows continue to be the primary tool as indicators with a dropper of some sort underneath, but don’t forget that these were created specifically to strip like a popper. Light short strips followed by long drifting pauses closely resemble the wounded shad. Stripping white game-changers, Clouser minnows, and other small white streamers have also been getting a lot of attention.

Fishing these on floating line around structure can lead to some exciting and sometimes questionably excruciating visual experiences. If you have not fished a shad kill before, you will find that they will gorge until they simply cannot eat anymore, much like me with all-you-can-eat pancakes at IHOP. Unfortunately, this can happen relatively quickly.

Tim Ogan (at rear) found this hefty shad kill brown with guide Luke Coffey

The trick is to continue to creep down river.  Your goal is to stay just in front of the wad so you continue to fish the still-hungry fish that are starting to cue in on the drifting morsels. This can be a bit challenging, but if done right can produce some pretty exciting opportunities.  

 Though fishing the shad kill has been the main topic of discussion lately, the White has had plenty to offer. Small girdle bugs, hair’s ears, and prince nymphs have been producing some nice fish while also serving as an attractor.

Kristen Hime in on the fun with guide Ben Levin

As you travel down river, the fish have started to appreciate some more colorful options like blobs, egg patterns, and mega worms. Pair these with ruby midges, tailwater jigs, soft hackles, and lightning bug jigs and you should be on the right track.

If you are looking for a change of pace, streamers have been doing pretty well. White game changers, mini viking midges, and other small to medium streamers seem to be getting some love even in the lower water. Try sticking with sink tip or even standard floating line and fishing around structure.   

The Norfork has been fishing well and producing some quality fish. If you are looking to wade fish, early mornings are for you. It does seem like that window may be getting shorter and shorter though. The water has been turning on mid-morning and along comes the boaters.

Egg patterns, mega worms, and blobs have been decent attention grabbers. Ruby midges, Tailwater Jigs, soft hackles, and Sunday specials have been the primary eye candy.

Thumper Dry Run rainbow for Joe with guide Adrian Hubbard

  If you find them to be a little temperamental, simply downplay the flashy attractor for a hair’s ear, Sunday special, or small girdle bug for a more natural look.