Dally’s Fly Fishing Report 3/8/23

James McClure came a long way for this

The countdown to the Spring Equinox is nearing its completion as we eagerly await the coming of misty mornings, warmer weather, and caddis caking our sunglasses as we motor upstream. We received a taste of spring weather this past week, as we saw many windy days in the upper 70s.

Rains over the early weekend brought an influx of runoff to the area and that, mixed with varying temperatures, has left generation on the White in a state of flux. The steady 12-15,000 cfs we enjoyed in February has been replaced by hourly changes in the range of 5,000-15,000 cfs. Spring is the season of change and Bull Shoals dam has jumped on the bandwagon.

Mark Rorex fishing at Bull Shoals with Duane Bell

The White continues to fish fairly well. Though the shad kill has dwindled dramatically, we are still seeing shad from time to time. Be prepared with mops, meat whistles, and the like the moment you see shad, especially downriver (think Cane Island or even Three Chutes).

Fish are still turning on to these meaty morsels. In periods of lower water, like the 5,000 cfs we saw recently, turn to staples like the Rainbow Warrior on sunny days or a Jigged Hare’s Ear works as a more natural bug in preparation for the coming caddis.

Bill Lemme fishing with guide Luke Coffey

Larger browns are already eating caddis pupa and emergers like Nick’s Fat Caddass. Rainbows will pick off the Lightning Bug Jig trailed behind an orange Slush Egg all day if you are looking to add numbers to the net.

The Norfork has had steadier flows, though its either minimum flow for long periods or 3,000 cfs for long periods. If history is any indicator, we may get to experience a bit of a daphnia bite in the coming weeks. Be prepared with orange Cheetos, Blobs, and Slush Eggs if this takes place.

The daphnia bite can be nothing short of epic when it’s on with both numbers of fish and quality of fish brought to hand. Trailing these with the standard midge offerings, Tailwater Jigs and Sunday Specials will make for a solid day on the ‘Fork.

Crooked Creek is shaping up nicely. The recent warm weather and rain has turned the smallmouth bite on, though it may slow down again as colder temperatures settle back in.

Look for the bass to still be in deeper holes. Dredge the streambed with heavy minnows like the Stay Hungry Streamer. As they move shallower, throw flashy silver minnow imitations (Sparkle Minnow in Smoke) in the dingy water.

The forecasted weather is very stereotypical of the arrival of Spring. As of this writing, the 10-day forecast shows 7 days of rain.

Rain is a welcomed sight, especially if you hope for solid generation throughout the summer (hoppers, anyone?). 

By Tadd Fore