Author Archives: ozarkflyfisherjournal

Wading Water with Rain All Around


THE big question on the phones this week has been “are y’all able to fish up there” and the answer ha been that the flows are low, there’s wadeable water most days and the fishing is rocking.

If you live anywhere south or west of Mountain Home, you might think that is a little surprising given the monsoonal rainfall totals that have occurred in May, in south Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

Certainly we have has a wet 3 month period, but our rainfall totals are around 2” high than normal, instead of the 20” or better in Tx/OK.

And Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams and the other upstream are doing the job that they were built for: holding back the White River catchment flows, while the natural run tributaries like the Buffalo River, Crooked Creek and the Black and Arkansas Rivers, are allowed to crest and drop to natural levels.

Beaver Lake is the only one in the chain at high levels: it has a relatively small flood pool and was holding water to keep Table Rock at lower levels. Table Rock is trying to repair a couple of damaged turbines so has been supplementing generation with spillway releases. Bull Shoals has plenty of flood capacity left.

But at some point flows will increase which could mena some great streamer and hopper fishing later in summer.

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Hank Patterson in NW Arkansas June 6


We have brought the Hank Patterson movie to NW Arkansas and want everyone to have the opportunity to see it. This will also be a great fundraiser to help support Reel Recovery Arkansas.

Hank will be joining us via a Skype call before the movie and we will be doing a live and silent auction. We are partnering with the Illinois Watershed Alliance. They will be having kids activities all day in Cave Springs. Fishing Derby, Archery, fly tying, etc. Then at 6pm we will begin the “adult” festivities. Ozark Beer Company will be on site to help with the libations.

Again, I ask that you please help us get the word out about our event. Thanks for your continued support of Reel Recovery.

Zachary Hoyt

State Coordinator – Reel Recovery Arkansas

.   Hank Patterson’s film Reel Montana Adventure

What:                Reel Recovery Retreat film

                        Hank’s film

Reel Montana Adventure Trailer

Beer for sale by Ozark Beer Company

Food Truck will be present selling hot dogs and brats

Live and Silent Auction

Where:              Illinois River Watershed Sanctuary

219 S Main St, Cave Springs, AR 72718

When:               June 6, 2015  6:00pm – 9:00pm

Cost:                $15 donation to Reel Recovery

Tickets:            Available at McLellan’s Fly Shop
18 W Sunbridge Dr, Fayetteville, AR 72703

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A Day with Dave and Emily _ Jim Dugan

Emily releasing one of Brenda’s 20+” fish _ all images Jim Dugan


Over 50 years ago I picked up a fly rod for the first time. I have fished in many places some with great success, others were disasters. One of the smartest things I did concerning fly fishing was taking a class with Dave Whitlock and his wife Emily.

My wife, Brenda, and I took the class last week, we drove home promising ourselves to take it again next spring just to get a tune up. Here are a few pictures from a fantastic day.

I told Dave that he had showed me enough efficiency technique that I could now fish two hours in just one hour. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise, Brenda caught more and bigger fish than I did. I blamed it on the guide, she had Emily.

Dave with a target he developed for presentation practice.


Dave setting a presentation target for me. Yes he is 80 and I wouldn’t wade there.


I was showing Dave how not to take a fish picture.

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Early Morning Jungle Tarpon Video

Spool it up and watch when you need a lift (particularly 1.30 on)

Amazing _ Enjoy.

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Welcome MeKenzie Hada to the crew.



IT seems like MeKenzie Hada has been around this place for years since she was wandering along in the wake of here larger than life father, our friend, artist Duane. It seemed she was always smiling happy and usually Duane would be showing off photos of her holding monster fish.

Now MeKenzie’s all grown up and gone off to college, so when she mentioned she was looking for a summer job, we jumped at the chance to bring here into the Dally’s family here. She’s fun, way nicer than most of us crusty older guys and is one of the fishiest characters we know, particularly when it comes to the Ozark creeks.

MeKenzie, (don’t worry if you forget the capital K _ she confessed this morning she didn’t know the K in her name was capitalised until grade 7), ties well, can help with your casting, and is a great source of advice on smallmouth fishing.

She might be an Ozark creek rat but there is some wanderlust in her soul, having taken mission trips to India and twice to Brazil and is off to Honduras in late Summer, plus some time in Campeche. So those fish pics now include tarpon and peacock bass.

Stop in and say hi _ she is the nice one



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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 5/27/15

Justin Turner’s 22″ brown caught while fishing with Chad Johnson

The weather and water were kind to us poor fly fishermen today. Beautiful blue sky, light breeze, temps in the eighties, and some willing trout of the quality type. Father and son Barry and Justin Turner of Louisiana were lucky enough to spend the day with Chad “Mississippi” Johnson – good grief I could hear the drawls coming from that boat a mile away. But dang those country boys can fish: 3 browns landed, one hooked and lost, plus scores of fat bobos.

Me I’m not so lucky, I got to go fishing with the Tasmanian devil himself, Steve Dally. It’s a good thing we didn’t invite a third mate, cause Steve always brings enough camera and recording gear to fill whatever vessel he climbs aboard. The bloody bugger had me rowing him all over the river so he could point his camera at various sights and sounds. After touring several scenic venues for an interview, he finally settles on the perfect combination of light and sound, then sticks the equipment in my face and starts asking me questions!

All silliness aside, only those of us who have to put up with him understand the amount of work he puts into the social media side of the fly shop, which in the end, is what brings in customers and pays our bills. So we don’t mind rowing him or his heavy stuff around. And besides, Steve has been in the boat with me for all three of my biggest brown trout. Heck I should drag him along every time as a good luck charm. We did manage a few nice trout in the midst of all that drama anyway.

Steve’s “guide 20″ (it measured 19.5″)

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Beaver Spillway Open


We feel for our friends in Texas, Oklahoma with the pounding of rain they have copped this spring, but in Arkansas only the western fringe has seriously heavy rain.

THE US Army Corp of Engineers announced yesterday that Beaver Lake spillways gates had been opened to cope with the excess flood water. Beaver has been kept high while work has been done on the damaged turbines at Table Rock.

Spillway releases had been used to supplement the working generators on Table Rock, to keep the lake level down. Beaver is expected to crest today at 92% of its relatively small flood pool, while Table Rock is holding around 7% of flood capacity.

Bull Shoals is currently at 25% of flood pool and Norfork at 18%

Statement from the USACE below


We began spillway releases at noon today from Beaver Dam.

The seven spillway gates were opened one-half foot releasing 3,700 cubic feet per second in addition to the 8,500 c.f.s. being released through the turbine generators. The total release is 12,200 c.f.s. The lake is cresting today at 1,129.1 feet above sea level.

Future rainfall may cause us to adjust releases at Beaver Lake.

Lake elevation forecasts can be found at the Little Rock District water management website:…/repor…/remote/lakfcst.htm.

Please use caution when boating and fishing below the Beaver Dam while water releases are in effect. For more information, contact the Beaver Project Office at 479-636-1210.

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Spring Rains and Ozark Smallies _ MeKenzie Hada

Tadd Fore with the biggest smallmouth of the day _ MeKenzie Had image

With the spring rains we’ve been getting, the bigger smallmouth streams (The Buffalo and Crooked Creek) have not been in any shape to produce a good day of fishing.

However, if you’re like me you can’t stand letting the rain prolong the wait to get your rod bent by some smallies. This past weekend my parents, boyfriend, and myself set out to find some fishable water way up in the hills. If you go looking you can find some clean waters in the upper stretches on some of our Ozark creeks.

Surprisingly, the water was crystal clear and each bend seemed to hold a pool of a few spawning fish. Though not our usual day of smallmouth fishing, we left satisfied catching several decent size fish mainly on sculpin and Hada Creek Crawler patterns. Of course, my boyfriend caught the pig of the day (this is becoming a reoccurring pattern).

And, we couldn’t pass up going after some nice size gar too!

The other good thing about our Ozark streams is they don’t take too long to get back in shape after the rains stop. And the water we are getting now means the creeks will be in awesome shape through July and August.

Tadd and a gar

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Unplugged on the Buffalo _

HEADING SOUTH ON HIGHWAY 14 out of Yellville, Arkansas, there’s an abrupt decline in civilization as the tree canopy closes in and the road begins to wind and drop toward the bridge at Dillard’s Ferry. No more gas stations. No more car washes. No improved pastures or homesteads. Just a couple of B&B inns and canoe livery shacks, opportunistic endeavors that support a clean-flowing river.

No signal, no service. Nothing to do but fish, shoot photos, and float a great river with good friends. _ Tosh Brown

CHECK out Tosh Brown’s report and his stunning photo gallery on our Buffalo River adventure.

The photos are ridiculously good.

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Dally’s Fly Fishing Report _ 5/22/15

Dave Bauer acquires the coveted “slam” with Marc Poulos

The weather may not be able to make up its mind right now, but the water is reasonably stable and predictable. It’s quite common after heavy periods of rainfall for Bull Shoals Dam to hold back the flood waters and release a nice steady 2-4,000cfs like we’ve been seeing. These are perfect levels for super productive nymphing/midging. It’s enough water to make river navigation easy and the fish less spooky, but not so much that you need giant indicators or big chunks of lead to get down. The fishing is simple and it’s a pleasant enough time to be on the water – sunshine, light breeze, tons of wildlife, and willing fish.

Sam nails a 20″ White River brown with Marc Poulos

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Penny Pabst with a sweet Crooked Creek smallmouth from our 2012 Class

GET set to fly fish the Ozarks in the Natural State and for our native fish, with our Smallmouth Weekend May 30 & 31.

Learn to tie the most effective smallmouth patterns out there from the Ozark Smallmouth Guru himself Duane Hada on Saturday. Sunday back up with our ever popular Smallmouth Class: with a morning classroom session with Duane and Ben Levin. Then head out onto the water to put the theory into practice under the tutelage of our smallmouth guides Duane, Ben Chad Johnson and Gabe Levin.

It promises to be a killer weekend and a great way to prepare for our new Buffalo River drift Boat floats _ either the day trips or the awesome multi-day Lower River wilderness float.


Duane Hada will be tying the “Hada Creek Crawler”, and other effective smallmouth patterns. A demonstration and step by step tying process for making this highly realistic and most effective crawfish pattern. Both a teacher, and an Umpqua fly designer, you will enjoy Duane’s easy going instruction.

Duane is a person whose artistic skills and creative innovation combined with his lifelong fishing knowledge will help you create better looking, fish catching patterns. Bring your own vise, light and tools, Duane will provide the materials. Cost $75. 8am to 4pm


The morning class session will be indoors at Dally’s Ozark Flyfisher and will go into smallmouth habitat, techniques, and foods in the Ozarks. Participants will learn about gear, rigging, reading water, and seasons from Duane and Ben, longtime smallmouth experts. Duane and Ben will also demonstrate tying several of their best patterns.

The afternoon will be spent learning correct presentations and fishing techniques while fishing Crooked Creek with Duane, Ben, Chad, and Gabe.

Participants will receive one on one instruction on smallmouth tactics while wade fishing one of Arkansas’ premier bass streams. Pupils should come prepared to wade fish the afternoon (wading boots, warm water clothing). Bring a five or six weight rod if possible, otherwise guides will provide rods if necessary.

Cost $225 per person. 8am to 4pm. Bring your own lunch.

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New Logo Wear In Stock

Duane Hada’s Gyotakyu print of a 25” White River brown on one of our new shirts


Just in time for summer our newwest logo gear and some special projects we have been working on for a good while.

The shirt above is always going to be a special one for the Levin brothers and myself, after the 25” brown trout dies in our hands as we tried to revive it. It’s the only fly caught brown I’ve seen this happen too in 8 years on this river, and to have it happen to such a spectacular trophy moved us all.

So to honor that fish, and the other browns who form such a big part of our lives and livelihoods we sent it to our friend, colleague and artist Duane Hada for a Gyotaku print, the traditional Japanese method of fish printing. Since we practice catch & release avidly its not often a brown trout can be found for a Gyotaku.

We enlisted the Cotton Company in Mountain Home to find us a quality shirt for this signed print and you are going to love this soft feel 100% cotton shirt. Dusky Khaki $32


The shirt was so nice we also grabbed the Green Tea women’s version for our new Dogwood Logo, modelled at left by Crystal and Becca.

Cap sleeves and a vee neck are modern and feminine. You will want to wear this one all summer long.

Shop here




Finally we have a test run of a traditional style Orvis Open Air Caster ladies shirt in small with the Dogwood logo on the cape. This is a really stylish shirt, and we are thinking about doing other sizes.

Shop here

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