Author Archives: ozarkflyfisherjournal

Advanced Nymphing Techniques Class: Jason Randall, April 11


WANT TO improve your nymphing skills to catch more and bigger trout in our tailwaters?

We are excited to welcome back outdoor writer and fly fishing teacher Jason Randall for his Advanced Nymphing Class on April 11. This class has been filling lecture halls across the country this fly fishing show season

The class will start in the Flyshop for a rundown of the theoretical concepts and then move to the river for hands-on learning..

Jason will be teaching  techniques to improve approach and presentation and to master the tuck cast, plus European and tight line techniques. The class will also study various styles of strike detection and the advantages and disadvantages of each, offering alternatives to the “bobber” style of strike detection.

Students need to bring a rod, reel and leader.



Advanced Nymph Fishing Techniques Class with Jason Randall

Class Date: April 11, 2015

Time: Starts at 12 noon. Class duration is 5-6 hours. Have lunch before arrival

Class Fee: $ 100

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Get Ready for the Caddis


IT’S definitely time to get ready for the caddis season with just a few days left in February. The big bugs will start moving in the drift as soon as we get any sort of warming trend and it won’t be long before we start seeing them popping off downriver at least.

I’m trying to find some time to sit down and tie up a bunch of Murray Wilson’s “Messy Caddis” for this coming season in a light and dark color combinations.

Don’t fear the size of hackle on this bug, its meant to be long and wispy and downright, well Messy. The Henry’s Fork Hackle is perfect just as it is, whether you are tying big start of the season 12s or the 16s for the regular part of the season.

Match the dubbing and wing/hackle colors to your preference. And don’t forget the Frog’s Fanny

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 2/25/15

Willie’s last effort before heading home results in a donkey – never stop casting! Steve Dally image.

The madness of February is winding down, and many of our yankee streamer addicted friends will be heading home soon, to return again next winter. One of the highlights of the season is surely Chris Willen’s hard earned and well deserved fish. Chris has been joining us for some winter streamer fun on the White River four years in a row now, and finally got a truly big brown, the fat 27″ female pictured above. It was a nice way to wrap up the month of February, but just cause the Michigan boys are gone doesn’t mean the streamer fishing ends – some of the winter’s best big fly action runs well into March, basically until spring warmth brings out the caddis. So keep working your double hauls, backhanded casts, and strip sets, there’s still plenty of time left to stick a hog.

Stewart hung this rare two-foot rainbow on a streamer in the White River while fishing with Gabe Levin.

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Willie Finally Gets His …

DONKEY!!!!! _ Barry Annalora image

FOUR years, countless casts and many more strips, hours spent tying trout flies, many many mowed bucktails and plucked saddles, and at least one box of corndogs our great mate Chris Willen finally hung a good one.

If you look back through these pages you will find Willie’s tale of woe, for one of the fishiest cats, a ridiculous fly tyer, great caster and killer guide, he couldn’t find a biggun, until Monday. The tale of the tape was 27” with an 17” girth.

It was a lot of fun being there my friend. And if you dig throwing the big chicken, you should take a run up north with Willie for the muskellunge.

Barry Annalora image

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 2/19/15

Blake Morse happy with the results of a day spent with guide Alex Lafkas.

Another solid week of February streamer fishing comes to a close for the Dally’s crew, and another group of anglers goes home with stories to tell and photos to back them up. Doubtless they will go home with fingers, toes, and other extremities still stinging from the cold, but they also are bringing home a grin that says “it was all worth it.” Many experienced streamer fishermen have made the White River their annual getaway in search of trophy browns, and many others arrive here to broaden their trout fishing experience and learn new skills. Regardless of skill level, all will leave with newfound appreciation and addiction for the spirit of winter streamer fishing. That is, the “whatever it takes,” “embrace the grind,” “go big or go home” attitude that is necessary to find success chasing big smart fish in wintery conditions. If it was easy it wouldn’t be this much fun.

Solid effort is met with solid reward for new streamer fishermen Bruce (top) Tom (middle) and Mark (bottom).

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White River Trophy Bows _ Davy Wotton

Duane Hada’s Trophy ‘bow from the weekend: How do we get more of these? _ Duane Hada pic.


I hoped Monday’s piece showing off Duane Hada’s trophy 22” rainbow might spark some thoughts on how to improve the numbers of trophy rainbows alongside the monster browns in the White River.

But I wasn’t expecting such a well thought out, detailed response, as I received from Davy Wotton last night, in which he outlines the key factors limiting rainbow trout growth and how they might be tackled. Share this around and feel free to add your own thoughts.

So here’s Davy’s piece

A recent post raised the question,, that we should see further regulations to protect trophy Rainbow trout.

In answer to that my first question would be, what is considered a trophy Bow for the White river system ?

Historically the rivers did produce many bows in excess of 5 to 10lbs and a good number over that, that begs the question as to why. The answer is very simple, long term survival, which is not the case today for many reasons such as.

Bear also in mind back then there were no trophy zones.

1. In days past fishing pressure was not what it is now. The local population was not what is now, increasing fishing pressure.

2. Access.. Once again way more boat ramps compared to the past .

3. Today compared to the past, more or less personal boat craft can access easily any part of the river. In the past there was not the number of trout docks now present, which also allow for increased rent and 

    guide activity.

4. Stocking, compared to what is stocked now not even close, which also begs the question that potentially there was more food sources available for a less number of fish with less fishing pressure.

5. Management policy at this time offers little advantage for Rainbow trout to survive other than designated trophy zones, assuming that there is no illegal fishing activity, which we know there is.

6. Mortality..By percentage of angling activity mortality for rainbow trout is high. Stock fish have little chance for long term survival at best, harvested or otherwise such as predation from other species.

7. Water.. Low water levels are generally not conducive to long term rainbow trout survival. We know that during high-water years rainbow trout growth is enhanced mainly due to higher percentages of long-term

   survival. Downside is once lower levels are the lower norm those fish are caught, the gains are lost.

8. Min flow has many advantages,  also negatives. Min flow now allows more or less boat access for the entire river. In the days of zero generations boat navigation was somewhat limited, that to some extent

   allowing fish to survive in low fishing pressure zones, such as Bull Shoals dam, Rim Shoals and the Norfork river in the designated catch and release zones.

9. Brown trout.. We know that the 24in size limited has potentially increased the number of larger browns, could same apply for Rainbow trout. Under current regulations l doubt it for many reasons outside of designated trophy zones.

Survival is the key, no argument about that. There are only 3 effective measures that can be introduced.

1. Catch and release with restricted methods of fishing such as we have in trophy zones.

2. Slot limits in restricted zones, with restricted methods of fishing, no bait and barbless hooks.

3. Use only of barbless hooks in restricted zones. Interesting is the some States do not enforce this regulation, it considered not practical to enforce. In the case of fly fisherman a high percentage do use barbless hooks .( Studies show that there is no significant increase in mortality by fly fishing activity.)

That said all the above requires angler compliance and law enforcement.

Further under current stocking policy for Rainbow trout we might see a situation that fish numbers will exceed available food sources in new designated no kill or slot limit zones.

As of now other than Bull Shoals Dam trophy zone, Norfork river and Dry Run creek,  the odds of catching Rainbow trout in excess of 16ins are very low indeed, unless they were fish stocked above that weight, which at times they are when the hatcheries need to reduce the numbers of larger fish.

By today’s standards a 20 ins Brown is not that special for the White River system, by far a 20 ins Rainbow is a much more worth while trophy in my opinion as are 20 ins Cutthroat trout, both of which are few and far between.

Odds are if you catch 20 browns 1 will be 20 in, you might catch a 1000 bows to catch one above 20 inches.

Do l have a answer? I doubt we will see further catch and release zones for the White river,  would slot limits work, possibly, but where would that be possible ?  My only thought here is the section below Rim Shoals to the confluence of Crooked creek or the lower section of Shoestring shoals.

Either way it is not a easy situation to address.

High water generations are a short term answer, long term that’s not going to happen.

Davy Wotton

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Nathanael Hangs A Donkey


It didn’t take the new kid long, getting a streamer education from one of our good buds Jeff Boks from Fayetteville on Tuesday, and hanging a 25.5” fish.

Though Bill is muttering about too many shuttles and not enough fishing time, meaning he had to give up the seat to the young fella. But he did say it with a grin.

The guys hit it right with Nathanael also picking up the solid 22” down below. Somedays its worth hanging out in the snow.

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Streamer Fishing the White with Steve Video


FINE work here by Scotty Kennedy from MS, who captured the highlights of a trip with Steve on the White Last week. Scott and his father Warren came over last weekend to sample some of our winter streamer action and hit it pretty well.

The only downside was the cold temperatures kept zonking out his GoPro battery, so no takes on film, but a 23.5” brown release is pretty cool.

Thanks mate

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Duane Hada Painting Class _ March 7

Duane and the results of the January class _ ridiculously coo

Our friend, guide and master artist Duane Hada is hold his popular Watercolor Class in the fly shop on March 7. Bring along your favoriteriver scene and Duane will lead you through the process to create a painting worthy of hanging on your office, cabin or lounge.

Duane’s classes have been enormously popular and we have watched a bunch of smiling pupils wandering out the door with trout and river scenes over the years after discovering their hidden artistic talents. Quite honestly all of these would look at home on our walls. It is remarkable how Duane can tap into these talents.

The Class will run from 9am to 4pm with a limit of 8 spots. The fee is $125 for the class, payable in advance. Bring your own painting materials (see the materials list by clicking through) or for $17 extra Duane will furnish all the materials you need

Call the shop on 870 435 6166 to secure your spot. Since places are limited this is a no refund class, but we will hold a waiting list in case there are any late vacancies.

Click through for more details

October 11: Duane Hada Watercolor River Scene

Time: 9a.m-4p.m. Lunch: 11:30-12:30

Class Fee: $125

Click for more details.

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Big Bow for Duane Hada

Duane Hada with a heck of a nice rainbow caught over the weekend.


Big brown trout are pretty dang cool, but a 22” rainbow away from Bull Shoals is seriously impressive.

I was blown away when I received this pic from the “Headless Hada” with scant details and one heck of a rainbow. Duane did own up it was caught on a bead head Hare’s Ear soft hackle from our fly bins.

It would be pretty cool to see some sort of protection for the poorly regarded “truck trout” rainbows. When they have been in the river as long as this fish, and survived the gauntlet of shore lunch trips, weekend warriors, fly fishers hands, brown trout, herons, kingfishers and more, they have a dignity all their own.

A hot rainbow of this size is a heck of a lot of fun to catch. It would be interesting to know how many eggs this hen had laid in redds over her lifetime so far, trying to pass on some superior genetics..

So what do you think: a slot limit for rainbows, or expanded catch and release areas as is proving so successful on Norfork?

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 2/13/15

This week’s haul with big flies on the White River and Norfork River was nothing short of spectacular. If you haven’t tuned in to the blog this week, it would be worth your time to check back at the previous couple of posts just for the big brown eye candy. In addition to Cain Royalty’s epic two days with Steve Dally, and Chris Willen’s hard earned and well deserved fish, the fly shop owner Jim Dugan landed a big sleek hen fishing with Gabe Levin, and Chad Johnson and Alex Lafkas both racked in several big fish as well. Chad and Alex are usually too busy and too humble to share many pictures or stories, but rest assured these boys are out there fiercely hunting big fish. Then there’s our friend Barry Analora, who fishes religiously for trophy browns day and night, at least 5 days a week – he probably has more two-footers to his name than anyone I know. I think he caught another one or maybe two this week, and I’ll credit him as a persistent and skilled angler, but none of his friends really get excited anymore about his big catches. Yep, Barry got another one. Big deal. Enjoy the pics and read on for fly suggestions and water flow reports.

A close up view of Cain’s 25inch male. That mouth can fit some rather large and meaty prey items. Steve Dally photo.

Shop owner Jim Dugan happy with his reward for three days’ hard fishing. A long and tall hen.

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The first White River brown for Cain Royalty 26.5 _ all images Steve Dally


I could get all long winded about the last two days on the White with Cain Royalty from Ohio, about the water flows, the casts he made. How Kelly Galloup’s streamer class in Montana is amazing preparation from fishing the White River in February. How we lost an even bigger fish at the net on day one.

But instead I’m going to say he is one of the best streamer fishers I’ve floated and a great guy to spend a couple of days in the boat with, and let the pictures tell the story. C’mon back mate.


Day 2 _ blue skies low flows: 25” of Awesome

Last fish and the only hen: 23.5”


21.5” _ looks kinda small here



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