Author Archives: mountainriverjournal

White River Browns _ with Clint Wilkinson

Great looking brown for Darren Watson on a guide trip with Clint Wilkinson


REALLY nice report in last night from one of our guide team, Clint Wilkinson.

  Here are a few pics from last Sunday. The final total was 13 browns between 16-23 inches and about 60 rainbows all caught on sunday specials. Not too shabby.

When you also take into account the seriously nasty, windy, conditions clint and the guys has to deal with phenomenal fishing.

Another great brown

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Fishing Report 4-7-11

A 7lb Bass off Bull Shoals


SPRING has sprung in the Ozarks and there an abundance of riches for the fly fisher. Caddis are thick on the river, hillbilly coho are pushing up the rivers and the black bass are turning up on the lake.

Such is the life of an Ozark fly fisher at this time of year, where the biggest question is where to head, which is why this week’s report features Journal regular Jeff Hearn’s very handy 7lb bass, caught on conventional tackle in about 15′ of water. Jeff’s been priming us to hit Bull Shoals over the next few weeks as the water warms and the bass come up into easy fly rod range.

Smallmouth Guru Duane Hada was also in the shop this morning, hanging out and tying some caddis, and he reported that the smallmouth fishing was starting to fire as well, with Crooked Creek low but floatable. Fish the Hada Creek Crawler in tan

We have also been hearing decent to very good reports this week from the White Bass runs across the Ozarks, including at the upper end of Norfork Lake and found some ourselves up on Bull Shoals.

But its the trout, and the caddis hatch that has everyone grinning around the shop this week, particuly with the last 48 hours of low water. We have had bigtime reports from all our guides, and plenty of customers as well from Buffalo City to the Narrows.

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Categories: fishing reports, flyfishing, journal, Norfork, rainbow trout | Tags: , , , ,

Deluge of Trout


KTLO.COM reports that the looming Federal Budget crisis has forced the Norfork National Fish Hatchery to dump four to six time as many trout into the White and Norfork as would normally be stocked, over the next two days.

Hatchery manager Craig Eaton warned that if the stalemate continues for a month future stocking levels may decline. He also said he hoped that community volunteers would help out at the hatchery during a Government shutdown, with 8 hatchery employees to be sent home if the shutdown occurs.

Read the full report here

If you want to help out the hatchery by volunteering the best point of contact is the Friends of the Norfork Fish hatchery

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2011 in Pictures by Kevin Brandtonies

White River Brown on the Line

THE Year so far has been spectacular (and is continuing that way) so it was a nice suprise to get a glimpse into our mate and guide team member Kevin Brandtonies days on the river.

Well since Kev is one of the good guys with a serious sense of humor, we had no qualms about harassing him into sending us some, the surprise was that they landed so fast, it only took Chad 6 weeks.

So enjoy some of the good times with Kevin’s pics and check out his blog

Nice Bull Shoals low water brown. Kevin Brandtonies at right

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Smallies a freshwater tarpon? might explains how they fight _ Ben Levin pic

THE native Ozark smallmouth are a treasure for their sheer beauty, wild habits and their feisty nature. New research from Florida shows that not only do smallie’s use the same tactics as the silver kings but also that tarpon are descended from an ancient “brownie”.

According to the report in

“Bodily, the tarpon exhibits a lot of adaptations for saltwater life, but uses them in the same exact fighting tactics as a smallmouth. But with the structures that really count, in the tarpon skull, you have a smallmouth bass.” Florida researchers.

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Caddis Blitz Is On

John Kind with a fat caddis fed cutthroat

Its spring, the dogwoods are pink on the banks, and we have blue skies, caddis on the wing and the White River trout are up and eating.

And what is more we have some low water back in the cycle with Bull Shoals down both shut down for 6 hours last night and from 10am today.

The caddis have been prolific and the Journal found some serious dry fly activity at Rim Shoals Saturday afternoon on a guide trip. A size 14 olive elk hair caddis was about all, and a half decent drift, was about all you needed. Oh and some dry shake to keep the fly up and floating after all the fish hooked. Yup it was that good.

As per normal the dinky little riverborn rainbows and browns were up first but as the frenzy continued some everyday 12″-15″ fish jumped on the bite, and sporadically a few fish 2″-3″ bigger joined the party. But as the activity continues some browns 20″ and better are sure to come out to play.

And the Journal wasn’t the only one of our guides enjoyed the warm up in conditions, with just about everyone on the water over the past week. Clint Wilkinson and Davy Wotton smacked the fish subsurface Sunday despite some seriously gusty conditions, Ben Levin and Marc Poulos have been bringing in good reports and Chad on the water today.

The spring caddis is a phenomenal hatch, that ranks up there with the famed Arkansas River Mothers’ Day Caddis event in Colorado. This is a hatch not to be missed, and our guide team can negotiate the up and down water conditions to get you into the hatch.

Call the shop on 870 435 6166, talk to Steve, Chad or Faye and we will get you lined out

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The Musky Tribe Hits The White

Brad Bohen ties a Hang Time Musky Streamer at last night's presentation


OUR Huge thanks to Musky Country Outfitter’s Brad Bohen for adding a bunch more “frequent driver” miles to deliver a presentation on Wisconsin drift boat musky fishing last night.

Brad lit a fuse under the Journal a couple of years back on musky on a fly rod and it was pretty cool seeing him fire up a bunch of friends and customers with the same passion last night. Our hosted trip to Musky Country is definately ON! We have a prime week of dates picked out for some big musky, all we need to do is finalise some accomodation and then we can go live, so stay tuned.

Don't you want to see what eats this fly?

Brad is not one short of a word or a quotable quote, particularly when discussing his passion, and he had several, one being “become your fly, when discussing presentation and action, which will stay with me for a long time.  He was also quick to pick up on the similarities in approach, single mindedness, and techniques between our trophy brown trout streamer fishing and musky hunting. “We are all after that one apex predator”.

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Categories: journal


A great White River trophy for on of Duane Hada's fly fishers

MARCH is coming to a close and the caddis bite is well and truly on most days, and some much needed rain is returning.

Lake levels on Bull Shoals and Norfork are climbing once again, both gaining a foot over the week so far alleviating the drought conditions we had been facing. But for the waders, who have been enjoying some great low water conditions, weekend flows have generally been low.

 There have been some great captures over the past couple of weeks but few better than the one our mate Duane Hada dropped by to show us, a gorgeous 28″ brown trout caught by one of his fly fishers on a guide trip last weekend. Guiding of course isn’t Duane’s only talent, his 40-painting exhibit “The River White” is on its last week in the Fly Shop.

If you haven’t seen his works make sure you drop by the shop this weekend for a last glimpse of the exhibit in this are for a while. And the fishing is sure to be pretty dang good as well.

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HOPE y’all enjoy our Streamer Season highlights video almost as much as we did making it.

This winter the streamer season was spectacular particularly after Christmas, though we scored some very nice pre-Christmas fish with very few people on the water. January started well and kept getting better into February.

The up and down nature of the water in February meant being in the right place at the right time was critical and all our team did well. After all 14 fish between 24″ and 32″ is world class streamer fishing _ and all fish in this class were carefully taped.

Putting it simply there is no-where like the White River for producing this style of streamer fishing, and our guys have been working very hard to get very good at putting their fly fishers on quality fish, particularly when the flows get tougher to read.

Our style of streamer fishing requires some passion and commitment, and that is something our guys have, and we love teaching and sharing our methods.

We are expecting the prime season, to fill fast, with repeat customers from the last two seasons, and those that missed out.

Call us on 870 435 6166 and talk to Steve or Chad. Its an experience not to be missed.

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One Hungry Brown

Barry and the glutton

Our yankee mate BarryAnalora, sent us this pic last week of a seriously gluttonous brown trout, he and the kids found on the White.

Barry and his crew, live just around the corner, and while he’s probably lived in Arkansas long enough to aquire a southern accent we still can’t help give him a hard time. Barry had taken the kids out baitfishing, when they hooked this nice 20″ brown, with about 12″ of rainbow trout down its gullet. You would think that was enough breakfast but the pig couldn’t help eat a shiner.

As we keep saying if brown trout grew 15″ long we’d need a way bigger boat.

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Where have all the Feather Gone?

Wander into most fly shops in the land and its hard to find those long premium hackles, and we are no different. The craze has been for women’s jewellery and hair adornments, which was around last year and an underground fashion accessory.

But a big West Coast hairdressing show in January took it mainstream and the crunch came on, and now there is even video (courtesy of Prices skyrocketed, and neck and saddle hackles became hard to find. Initially it was the long wide saddles in colors like grizzly and ginger, and the louder dyed grizzlies. But as the demand soared finer feathers, preferred by western dry fly types in 10s and 14s.

Our website was hammered in one weekend in January with jewellery orders in Hawaii and hairdressing in california, cleaning out thankfully a lot of our less popular tying colors, so we restocked some of the good stuff , and then that went too and its been hard replacing good stock. We have been able to score some feather on special orders, but that is just in and out.

Brad Bohen had just been at the Whiting Hackle Farm when he stopped in last week, saying most of the imminent processing was already committed to existing orders. But dropped a ray of hope among tyers with a report out of Montana that with feathers hard to find leather might be the new thing. We can hope.

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Davy Wotton’s “Top Ten White River Ties” Master Tying Class

Davy Wotton and pupils at our last Master Classes

The Mountain River Fly shop is once again proud to host Davy Wotton Master Tying Class on Saturday april 16.

The class will cover Davy’s Top 10 flies for the White River. The list will include midges, sowbugs, soft hackles and several flies not previously covered in Davy’s Master classes.

The cost will be $90 for the full day class starting 8am. Call the shop on 870 435 6166 with a credit card to secure your spot. As with previous classes, since demand is high there will be no refund once you have booked your spot.

Categories: "White River", Articles, Fly Tying, journal | Tags: , , , , ,

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