Posts Tagged With: Crooked Creek

Now That’s A Carp


Nice note from Thomas Fletcher and a pic of this hefty Crooked Creek Carp after he and his father spent a day on the water with Duane Hada.

Love that small water fun, thanks guys


On July 23, 2014 my Dad and I went with Duane Hada as our guide to some remote spots along Crooked Creek. It was a great day!! We fished all day and caught smallmouth, Ozark bass, bluegill and a GIANT CARP!! I always learn so much and bring in great fish with Mr. Hada! The day with him was certainly one of the highlights of my summer _ Thomas Fletcher

If anyone want a day of fun on the creek with Duane call us on 870 435 6166

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Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser_Tying Video Series

Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser, tied by Ben Levin


WHEN IT comes to Ozark Smallmouth and our wild rivers and streams, its hard to go past the knowledge of our guides Duane Hada and Ben Levin.

Both of these guys have Ozark waters in their veins and dig smallies with a passion. Duane’s Craft Fur Clouser has been a staple of our summer warmwater fly bin year after year. Together with the Creek Crawler crawdad you just can’t have enough.

The Clouser tie is a dead ringer for our Ozark creek minnows, and the boys have been rocking the smallmouth already this season. Check the evidence here. And don’t forget our Smallmouth Class on June 14.

Once again this was a fine piece of work by Brian and Jenny Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks _ each of the finished videos that come my way blow my mind _ and I was there. Thanks guys

Hook: Umpqua U502
Dumbbell Lead Eyes Medium Gold
Belly: Extra Select Craft Fur White
Krystal Flash Copper
Lateral Line Extra Select Craft Fur Black
Back Extra Select Craft Fur Medium Brown or Tan

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Hunka Hunka Smallmouth Love

MeKenzie Hada with a hunka Crooked Creek smallmouth

It’s getting to be time _ MeKenzie Hada sent in this pic yesterday after heading out on Crooked Creek with her father smallie guide, guru and artist Duane _ get in early for your Crooked Creek trip.


Spent the afternoon on Crooked Creek with my dad… we thought you might want to see this beauty of a smallmouth


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Dally’s Smallmouth Class _ June 14


JOIN us on June 14 for our ever popular Smallmouth Class, led by Duane Hada and Ben Levin.

This class is heavily booked every year, as one of the best deals going, and a whole bunch of fun to boot.

The morning class session will be indoors at Dally’s Ozark Flyfisher and will consist of a power point presentation detailing 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.

Class Name: Smallmouth Fishing the Ozarks

Class Date: June 14, 2014

Times: 8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Morning at the Shop & Afternoon on Crooked Creek

Instructors: Duane Hada & Ben Levin Class Fee: $200

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Crooked Creek: One Last Look _ Gabe Levin

Smallie tail _ all images this post by Gabe Levin


It’s easy to forget about smallmouth when the weather turns cold. Too often do I find myself rushing out my front door on my days off to beat the crowds on the White or the Norfork, when I should be ambling care-free out my back door to the creek, a stone’s throw away, where I can spend the entire day in solitude, enjoying the finest and most challenging sight fishing in the Ozarks. A recent float on my favorite little piece of the Crooked Creek put me within clear sight and close range of hundreds of dandy smallmouth, largemouth, and carp, reminding me not to skip out on creek fishing just because it’s November. The weather was clear and calm, the last of the fall colors still clung to the trees, and I saw no one on the creek save the deer, turkey, bald eagles, mink, and other native inhabitants.


The catch, by Crooked Creek standards, was average. But the fishing – and there is a difference between fishing and catching – was superb. Low, crystal clear water this time of year makes the fish very visible, yet incredibly wary and selective. You may remember from my posts earlier in the year that big bass in small water require stealth and patience. This time of year they demand it doubly so. It can be a frustrating game, but all the more rewarding when it works.


One wild, native bass, sighted, stalked and perfectly fooled, is worth more than ten easy rainbows. Slow down, take your time, treasure each individual fish and admire its colors and details. Enjoy the quiet beauty of the creek and all its inhabitants, aquatic and terrestrial. Count your success not in numbers of fish caught, but in the number of times you find yourself looking around, thinking “Wow, this place is cool.”

Dally’s offers guided float and/or wade fishing trips on Crooked Creek. Call us to book a trip in 2014, the smallmouth bite is really good anytime from April through September. _ Gabe Levin

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Late Summer Smallmouth On Foot _ Gabe Levin

Bright Ozark Smallie _ Gabe Levin pic

Late summer on our wild Ozark smallmouth creeks has been rejuvenated by unseasonal rain and Gabe Levin has been taking advantage _ enjoy his article and some awesome pics, and you’ll find our how you can join in too.

Cool, clear, flowing water…. shade aplenty…. picturesque boulder-studded pools patrolled by hungry, hard fighting brown bass…. absence of other humans. If you’re not considering Ozark stream smallmouth when you’re making your fishing plans, these are the things you’re missing out on.

Normally our bass creeks are warm, stagnant, and parched this time of year, but nearly a foot of rain in early August created an unseasonable flood that effectively hit the reset button for the smallmouth and now has conditions right and fish feeding aggressively. Both the Buffalo River and Crooked Creek will currently float a canoe or kayak in their downriver, deeper stretches. If you prefer floating, focus from Hwy 65 down on the Buffalo and between Hwy 62 and Yellville on Crooked.

Gorgeous water _ Gabe Levin pic

To find the most shade, the most solitude, and the most eager fish however, it’s a smart idea to ditch your watercraft and set out on foot. The upper reaches of even the most popular Ozark streams often go untouched in summer because the water is too narrow and shallow to float, and most people don’t walk very far from access points. This neglect of small bass creeks creates near wilderness-like fishing experiences for those willing to pack a lunch and leg it out. Don’t limit yourself to named and developed accesses with parking lots and boat ramps. Many of my favorite spots are a good bone rattling drive down dusty, washed-out farm roads. I couldn’t tell you how to get to most of these places even if I wanted to. Just pull out the old paper atlas (relying on your smart phone’s GPS in Ozark backcountry is a good way to wind up lost) and start searching. When you do find a honey-hole, it’ll be that much more rewarding that you found it.

What to bring:

Sturdy footwear – Closed toe wet wading shoes or even your wader boots paired with neoprene booties will protect your feet and grip slippery bedrock much better than sandals.

Sun protection – Just because the water is warm and comfortable doesn’t mean you should spend all day in shorts and a tank top (unless you like 2nd degree burns). Lightweight wading pants and long sleeve shirts are best, along with your sunscreen, broad hats, glasses, Buffs, sun gloves, etc.

Water – If you’re hiking then you’ll be sweating and you won’t be able to keep beer cold anyway, so just bring water…lots of it. Some snacks will keep you from heading back to the truck too soon as well.

Dennis Jowaisas caught this good un on Crooked Creek last week with Gabe’s brother Ben as guide _ Ben Levin image


How to fish:

Right now creek bass are annihilating crawdads all day and chasing minnows early and late, so that makes your fly choices pretty simple – heavy crawdads and Clouser minnows fished on the bottom, and poppers or floating minnow patterns fished early and late. Five weight rods will suffice but sixes and sevens will cast big heavy flies better. Medium action spinning rods rigged with 6-8lb. line and soft plastic tubes or grubs are extremely effective as well, if you’re not too proud to use such equipment.

Your approach and presentation will be way more important than your gear however. Late summer smallmouths in small water are aggressive but also very aware of your presence, so don’t waltz and crunch your way down to a calm, still pool full of big fish. Approach the pool carefully, remain in the shadows if possible, and observe for a few moments before casting or disturbing the surface. The biggest bass will usually hold near a big rock or log in the downstream end of the pool or in the deepest part of the pool, wherever that may be. The fish’s hiding spot may be submerged in midstream rather than on the bank – every pool is slightly different and just when you think you’ve got them figured you’ll walk right up on an 18 inch smallmouth unexpectedly and send it fleeing under a boulder.

Smallie water _ Gabe Levin image

It’s important to target the biggest fish first because you’ll only get a few casts before every fish in the area knows you’re there. This next part is the most important advise I can give you: Don’t cast to the fish – it will likely spook or inspect and then refuse your offering. Cast near the fish and let it’s curiosity work in your favor. The fish will come looking eventually and will see your crawdad on the bottom, where it is supposed to be, rather than seeing it enter the water from above, which crawdads don’t do. Be patient and let the fish come to you, then tease the fish’s curiosity with short strips and twitches. If the fish hasn’t seen you, that should be more than it’s instincts can handle. Once hooked, the fish will try to get under it’s home rock, and if you can stop that, it will then jump and try to shake your fly from its mouth. Fun stuff folks.

One last thing – smallmouth are native and wild in Ozark streams, and they are slow growing fish, so be nice to them. I crush my barbs and release all smallmouth.

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What We Do

Once again, dabbling in video. Thanks to all of those who played in front of the camera. It’s a slice of what we do here on the White River system

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One Big Ole Smallie, Levin & Hada



If Sunday’s smallmouth class with Ben Levin and Duane Hada  wasn’t enough proof, check out the above picture from yesterday. That is one toad of an Ozark smallie, in the email I received from Ben Levin along with the following text

The angler: Tony Phillips of Tennessee

The fish: 20 inch smallmouth bass

The fly: Duane Hada’s Creek Crawler

The place: Very local

Ben told me earlier the creek was in fine shape, even after the deluge of Tuesday, infact the extra water should allow the smallies to thrive this summer. But if you want to get in on an awesome Ozark smallmouth experience  book up a trip with the guys _ but you will have to wait until June as they are booked out through the end of the month. 870 435 6166. Looking like being an awesome summer

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Dally’s Smallmouth Classes _ May 19 & June 1


IT’s taken some serious organization but we are unveiling date for 2 of our most popular classes ever for May and June.

Smallmouth gurus Ben Levin and Duane Hada will lead our highly successful Smallmouth Classes, the first class will be on May 19 and the second on June 1.

The morning class session will be indoors at Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher and will consist of a power point presentation detailing 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 Marc. Participants will receive intensive 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.

Class Date: J May 19 & June 1, 2013 # of People in Class: 8

Times: 8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. Lunch 11:30a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Morning at the Shop & Afternoon on Crooked Creek

Class Fee: $200. Call the shop on 870 435 6166 to book. Full payment required to book, no refunds on these classes, but we will try to “sell” your spot to our overflow list in the event of an emergency.

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Ben Levin Talks Smallies at Trout Unlimited


BEN Levin will be speaking at the Trout Unlimited White River Chapter in Mountain Home Monday Night.

Ben’s talk will cover smallmouth fishing in The Ozarks, with a lot of emphasis on Crooked Creek and smallmouth techniques. Last season was a great one on the creeks with some fine fish caught. Get yourself dialled in early for 2013

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Down Time on the Crick


AMONG the crew around here I’m considered a little weird, and not just for the obvious reasons. While we are all a bunch of trout lunatics, we have some very very serious smallmouth addicts, like Duane, Ben, Chad, Clint and Marc.

Don’t get me wrong I dig some warmwater action: white bass in spring, bluegill on twig rods, I’ll chase gar at the drop of a hat (like Monday when Chad and I ended up schooled despite vast shoals of the beaky beggars) and farm pond bass will get me very excited.

If it wasn’t for Duane Hada’s call, a couple of hours before I was due to head to Reno, I probably would have gone to the river yesterday afternoon with a couple of hours of free time. Duane called in very excited about finding a bunch of carp on Crooked Creek up on top eating hoppers. “They are 10 to 12 pounds and I just cant stop them,’’ he said, “Come on out.’’

I knew the heartbroken tone when I explained I was about to head to Little Rock to catch a flight wasn’t due to the absence of looks and charm _ I’ve been there when the only thing standing between you and some serious trophy fish is the right X in tippet _ and on a dry fly as well.

Now carp on a dry fly will get me going to the Crick armed with some substantive tippet and a boxful of hoppers, plus a couple of emergency crawdads, following Duane’s vague directions “ Road …. turnoff …. access …. hike ….. upstream  …… big pool.”

A handful of luck and GPS had me landing in what I thought was the right spot but the pool was a bust, the angle of wind and sun meant I’d be walking through the fish before I found them. Downstream was a better bet, with the sun over my shoulder a high bank and a dark tree line to cut the glare. And in 50 yards I spotted a cruiser, so I gave him a look at the fly, nada. But as I gave up on the fish there was a rise form on the far bank, always worth a cast. There was a v-wake, a gulp and holy moly I was connected to my best ever creek smallie on a fly and a hopper at that. A fine start, maybe there is something to this smallie fishing after all.

I kept walking downstream, movements slow and deliberate, making sure I wasn’t backlit by the sun or silhouetted against the sky. Hoppers big and small were clattering out of the grass at my passage.

Another little riffle loomed and in the pool below it a big pair of lips would poke its way through the surface every few feet. Duane wasn’t telling stories. Trying to keep your heart rate to normal levels while you strip off line for that first cast is part of the essence of dry fly sight fishing _ and so is discovering a moment later you have dropped the line into a deadfall. I kept the same fly on that had taken the smallie, a #8 Moshpit Hopper, figuring lightning could strike twice _ I figured wrong,

So I changed to a #10 Rio Grand in brown and spotted a trio pushing up into some faster water, and promptly threw the worst presentation of the day, 4’ to the side of the biggest fish, but at least a couple of feet upstream. The carp meandered over to intersect the fly, stuck its lips out and sucked it down.

More through shock than anything else I lifted and set like I would on a hopper eating brown, and was left watching flyline disappear as the fish bolted for a monster deadfall. Fingers burnt and knuckles rapped, I finally remembered this wasn’t trout fishing Dorothy. Rod tip down and angled at 45 to the line will serve you much better. Later rather than sooner the carp was on the bank, where I comprehensively failed to get some decent pictures of my first carp on a dry. The wrist at the tail was too thick to grasp in one hand, and the fish was in no way spent.

I’m hoping Isaac’s deluge over the next couple of days won’t drown the hoppers out on the Creek _ it might not be trout but there is nothing floats my boat more than some serious dry fly sightfishing. I went for a couple and stayed for four just exploring _ late home from fishing again, I’m sure you get the picture.

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A Week In The Ozarks _ Chad Johnson Photo Essay

Chad with a hopper caught brown trout from the White on Saturday


“MISSISSIPI” Johnson sent in this report from a big week on the White last week including getting in on some early hopper action with a couple of Journal regulars.

Lee Reddmann and James Buie had a monster day on Friday. Earlier in the week Chad has set up a Corporate trip with 10 guys from the Chicago/St Louis area, all connected through the flooring industry. We split time with these guys on the White and Crooked Creek ensuring a real Ozarks experience. With seven guides on our regular list we can cater to large groups and develop a custom package to suit your needs on warm water or the tailwaters or both.

I’ll let Chad fill you in.

Tommy with a smallie of a lifetime, over 19” long

I had a great week on the water both on smallmouth and trout . I think it is a good time to start running a hopper dropper rig for the trout . Pheasant tails were good , super midges , ruby midges . And for the smallmouth it was hard to beat Hada crawfish and Boogle Bug poppers.

I want to give a big thanks to all you guys that booked the guide team here at Dally’s .

Thanks for the work !

Lee Reddman with a nice brown trout

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