I’ve heard from a couple of concerned anglers recently about boating on the White and North Fork. The most significant concern I have heard has to do with unsafe operations (i.e., lack of courtesy towards others). This of course is an issue of enforcement and for those who may not know, there are currently laws in place to address the safety issues:
27-101-202 (1) No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, personal water craft, or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person; including, but not limited to, weaving through congested vessel traffic, operating within one hundred feet (100′) of a towboat that is underway, jumping the wake of another vessel too close to such other vessel, or when visibility around such other vessel is obstructed and swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision shall constitute reckless operation of a vessel.
27-101-202 (2) No person shall operate a motorboat on the waters of this state at a rate of speed that creates a hazardous wash or wake upon approaching or passing vessels, including, but not limited to, a wake that causes other vessels to take-on water, or a wake sufficient to toss occupants of other vessels about in a manner to cause injury or the risk of injury.
27-101-202 (3) No person shall operate a motorboat upon the waters of this state within one hundred feet (100′) of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, anchored boat, dam, intake structure, or other obstruction at a speed exceeding five (5) miles per hour unless a contrary speed limit shall have been established in the designated area. However, in no case shall any motorboat be driven in a manner or at a speed that exceeds the safe and reasonable limits under existing circumstances.
We encourage the public and recreational boaters to advise AGFC enforcement immediately if you witness any violations (fishing or boating) so that they can respond and hopefully take care of the issue while in progress. The officers cannot be everywhere at the same time so they depend on the public’s assistance to make them aware of any issues.
Call 800-482-9262 and try to get the other boat’s registration number, if possible. If you know the violators by name, even better. Your assistance in reporting these violations will hopefully alleviate the problem and lead to a more pleasant and safe experience for others.
At the suggestion of one of our anglers, we are going to consider putting out some information about these laws at the access areas to inform anglers who may not be aware the boating regulations exist.
I’ll be more than happy to discuss further if needed. Please pass this along to other anglers as you see fit.
Barry Turner and Gabe Levin enjoying some creek time _Gabe Levin image
The Ozarks have more to offer than just trout. Brothers and regular shop customers Barry and Emil Turner asked me to show them something different during their two days of guided fishing this week, so we sampled our best local warmwater streams, Crooked Creek and Buffalo River. Slowly carving their way through thick forest, boulders, and limestone bluffs, these streams offer a variety of scrappy bass and panfish, unique river scenery, and often a good deal of solitude. Conditions are highly variable and the fish are wild, native, and moody, so it’s best to approach these streams with wonder and humility.
Crooked Creek fished beautifully, giving up 6 species and a lot of laughs. We had to walk the drift boat through several tight turns and drops, but that’s just the kind of place that keeps the crowds away. Usually the path to wild fish is stacked with obstacles. Buffalo River flows were high and dingy, making the fishing challenging, but an easy row through a spectacular limestone canyon cannot possibly go wrong. The boys had never seen the Buffalo before, so the scenery alone made the day. If you’re wanting to experience an Ozark warmwater adventure yourself, our team has the knowledge and the desire to take you there: Gabe Levin
It’s said that fortune follows the brave, but when it comes to our Ozark tailwaters fortune goes to the patient and the persistent. Right now its payoff time for the persistant and patient among the waders.
On the White at least there’s been plenty of wading available and plenty of smiling faces around among the wade only afficianados: payoff for a pretty hard run for the last 12 months. (If you recall the summer deluge, started in May, just when the water was ripe for minimum flow).
It really is time to jump on the offerings while it lasts: I daresay generation will increase if the temperature push into the 90s.
We all love to wade, there is an essential freedom and connectedness in being in a river. Watercraft, for me at least, were freedom to go where I couldn’t walk, to reach the fish that others can’t.
There is plenty of that water on the White and Norfork when she is wadeable, not necessarily devoid of people, but way less than you will find at the accesses, which are mostly 6 miles apart.
I was talking to one veteran customer today, a wade fisher, who has never fished beautiful stretches like Shoestring Shoal, or Redbud, or the Rough Hole fishy water less traveled. Islands like Cane Island, the Narrows, Roundhouse and others can be fished safely and easily on all sorts of water flows, from minimum on up with something as simple as a kayak.
Not to mention access to the Buffalo, Crooked Creek and other streams which are really firing right now.
Click onwards for the rest of this week’s fly fishing report
Check out this program by the AGFC to aid crappie research
Have you heard about the new “glow in the dark” crappie that have been stocked by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in eight Arkansas lakes? To see the actual glow, you’d need special glasses and look at the fish under blacklight. But it’s all part of a program trying calcein, a phosphorescent dye, to help a University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff researcher and the AGFC track crappie stockings over the next year.