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  1. 3 points

    Rim Shoals 9/18

    I took the boat to Rim Shoals this morning and ran to an area that is somewhat protected from the heavy flows we are having (14k cfs). Got out of the boat and I could see 4 or 5 trout holding in a run just below a couple of big rocks. First cast I hooked a nice rainbow on a Y2K but it broke off on the 7x tippet. I retied and caught another 5 rainbows and 1 cutthroat in the same run. Once that spot slowed down I moved downstream and picked up another dozen rainbows on the Y2K/pheasant tail dropper combo. When it was time to quit I walked back to the boat and made a cast in the run where I lost the rainbow earlier. The indicator went down and I had another nice rainbow on. I finally got her in and when I went to remove the hook I saw my Y2K that I lost earlier stuck in her jaw along with the Y2K on my rig. Guess she really liked Y2k's. Here's a couple of pics...
  2. 1 point
    Back in the 1970s and 80s, several regional outdoor writers, including as I remember Larry Dablemont as well as a couple Arkansas Game and Fish guys, wrote several articles in regional magazines extolling the virtues of the fishing for big smallmouth on the Kings River, which fired my imagination to no end. I did make it to the Kings sometime around that time period. As I remember, I floated from Trigger Gap to the Hwy. 62 bridge one day, and from the bridge down to the next access the next day. I remember the float above the bridge being somewhat of a disappointment, as there was barely enough water to float and it was quite clear. Back then, I thought that all the best smallmouth waters had to have some color, like the Meramec, Big, and Bourbeuse that I was used to fishing. I don't remember much at all about the lower float, so it must not have been all that great, either. I have a few photos of the upper float, but not many, and I was really into photographing my floats back then and I've always been a sucker for photographing bluffs, so there must not have been that many impressive bluffs on either float. But I had seen some photos of the river farther upstream that looked really cool, and I kept it in the back of my mind that one day I'd do a float from Marble down. I even stopped one time at the Marble Access on the way to somewhere else just to check it out. It was VERY low, just a trickle of water, and there were several filleted remains of...spotted bass? I certainly didn't remember seeing or catching any spots on that float below Trigger Gap...something made me think I caught a few below Hwy. 62, though. Later on, I read from Dablemont or somebody that the big smallmouth had disappeared from the Kings. So the idea of floating the upper river went further onto the back burner. So this summer, when I started thinking about my annual three day solo float, the Kings didn't pop into my mind at first. But my secret creek that used to be so spectacularly good fishing had been a little disappointing the last couple years, and I started entertaining thoughts of floating somewhere else. Somewhere new, maybe? And finally I thought of the upper Kings. I checked the water levels a few weeks back, and was somewhat shocked to see that the only gauge on the Kings was reading 50 cubic feet per second. That's low. I don't consider a stream to be floatable without a lot of dragging and scraping bottom unless it's at least 75 cfs. I checked to see what the exact location of the gauge was, and was even more surprised to see that it's a bit downstream from the river's biggest tributary, Osage Creek. Wow, if it was that low below Osage Creek, how low would it be upstream? I started making backup plans while watching the gauge occasionally. Well, the Kings got a good rise a couple weeks ago, and it seemed to be keeping its level well above normal for this time of year. Looked like the Kings float was still on. In fact, I really like my solo float to be on water that IS a little too low for anybody else to think seriously about floating it, and the gauge was still reading well above 100 cfs. I finally decided that the Kings was my choice. On Tuesday I called Kings River Outfitters at Trigger Gap to arrange a shuttle from Marble down to their place. "There's not enough water to float up there," the guy said. I explained that I was used to floating streams that were too low to float, and expected to have to get out and walk some of the riffles. "Okay, as long as you know what you're getting into," he said. I made the five plus hour drive to the vicinity Wednesday afternoon, staying at a nice little motel in Berryville overnight, and met my shuttle guy at 8 AM Thursday morning. We drove up to the put-in at Marble, and my first good look at the river up there was just about what I expected...fairly clear, and the riffle at the put-in looked to be flowing about 50 cfs. Yep, I was going to be walking some riffles, but I'd probably be able to float most of them at that level, though I'd scrape rocks on most of those I floated. I loaded my two coolers, and two drybags with all my clothing, camping gear, and miscellaneous stuff into the solo canoe. I'd picked up a couple of the more expensive high tech coolers recently, and they were considerably heavier than my old cheap coolers, so the canoe seemed to sit lower in the water. I had plenty of ice in them. One held my food, the other my beverages and water. I started down that first riffle and dragged bottom with the rear of the canoe a lot worse than I thought I would, so I stopped, and reloaded everything to balance my load better. The river looked pretty good for fishing, and I was excited to be fishing new water, but it took a while to catch the first fish, and it was a largemouth. So was the next one, then I caught a couple spotted bass. Finally a smallmouth. I was trying topwater without much success, but my homemade crankbait was catching a few, as was a spinnerbait. But the fishing was disappointingly slow. There were nice looking pools, but a lot of the river was bedrock bottomed, and even the bluff pools were different from what I was used to. The geology was such that the bluffs were layered in thin beds, and the cliffs came right down to the water and then the solid rock sloped off into the middle of the pool. Because of the thin beds of rock, there wasn't much big chunk rock underwater, just solid, flat bedrock with ledges. I just didn't think it looked like great habitat even in the deeper pools. And the low flow meant that there weren't many deep, fast runs, just shallow riffles and bedrock bottomed pools. But the landscape was gorgeous. Some of those bluffs were a hundred feet high, came right down to the water, and the river had undercut the base until you could paddle all the way back under the overhangs. This upper river is, in some ways, pretty civilized, with a lot of cleared land and cattle, but those bluffs were really cool. I planned on floating from Marble to a bit below Marshall Ford the first day, so I kept moving. It's a little over 11 miles between those two accesses, and I hadn't gotten on the river until after 9 AM, but I knew I could float til nearly dark...I don't cook my meals on these hot weather trips, so all I would have to do was set up my tent, which takes about 10 minutes. I was floating over about 75% of the riffles, though almost never without scraping bottom. My biggest early problem was a private, torn up low water bridge that I had to portage over, and portaging required almost completely unloading the canoe. Then I came to a stretch where I was having to get out and walk nearly every riffle. I wondered if this was a losing reach, a geological term where part or all the flow of a stream sinks underground to emerge again farther downstream. This went on for about a mile and then there seemed to be more water again, though I didn't notice any inflow. I finally caught a very nice largemouth, about 17 inches, on a walk the dog topwater, and a few decent smallmouth, 13-14 inchers. I think I ended up with about 40 bass for the day, almost evenly divided between the three species. The spotted bass were fat and as good as any of the bass I caught that day, and since they are native to these streams I was happy to catch them. In mid-afternoon I passed three guys in kayaks, and I wondered if they were the reason the fishing was slow, but after I passed them it didn't get any better; in fact, it got worse for a while. Then it picked up a bit, then finally just about died by the time I came to the second low water bridge that required portaging. At least this one had been furnished with ramps on both sides that appeared to be specifically for portaging canoes over it, but I still had to unload the boat again. There was a big sign saying "Marshall Ford, 1 mile downstream". I figured that some people would be confused and think they had come to the take-out, even though Marshall Ford has been a high bridge for a while now. There had been no lack of good camping gravel bars until I passed under the bridge, and then it took more than a mile farther before I found a usable bar that didn't have a lane coming onto it or a cabin next to it. I finally picked a small, narrow bar with barely enough flat area to pitch the tent, a half hour before dark. It was a picturesque spot, though, with a smooth, colorful sandstone cliff opposite the bar. I'd noted that the geology had changed in the last couple miles, with the bluffs floored with that smooth sandstone instead of the shelving, undercut limestone, and there was more chunk rock in the pools. I set up the tent in nearly the last light, and brought out my smoked chicken leg quarters, potato salad, and cole slaw out of the cooler, with a cold sweet tea, and ate as the stars began to appear. A single mosquito buzzed around my ear for a bit. It was warm, so when I went into the tent I lay atop the sleeping bag, reading a Kindle book on my cell phone until my eyelids drooped. I was up at daylight, and quickly broke down the tent, loaded the canoe, and started my day of fishing. And as the morning went along the fishing got better. I hate to admit this...I've never been a big fan of the Whopper Plopper, but for some reason I decided to try one, and for the first time, it was almost magic. The water had gotten clearer...yesterday it had about 3-4 feet visibility, but it was 5 feet or better by the time I'd gotten to camp last night. The walk the dog topwater was producing a few fish, but the Whopper Plopper was doing better by far. Lots of smallmouth, almost none of the other two species. By the end of this day I had caught 113 bass, with only one spotted bass and two largemouth. Most, however, were small, under 12 inches. When I would get a strike from a 13-14 incher on the Plopper it was vicious, and often I thought it was a big one until I had it on long enough to get a good look. I remember one 14-incher that really shocked me. A couple weeks ago I'd damaged a tendon in my left arm, my casting arm. I could cast okay backhanded, but I had to use two hands on a forehand or overhand cast, and my elbow was still sore and weak. This fish clobbered the lure as it neared the canoe, and then drove toward the rear of the canoe so hard that it nearly jerked the rod out of my hand and really HURT my arm. In late afternoon, the best fish of the trip blew up on the Plopper, coming completely out of the water and knocking the lure three feet. I twitched it once and the big smallmouth came back and got it. It measured 18 1/4th inches. I got strikes from a couple others that missed that might have been that big or bigger, but given the way I'd overestimated some of those 14 inchers when they hit, I can't say that for certain. It's 16 miles from Marshall Ford to Rockhouse, the next access, and the bluffs, while different, are even more impressive in some ways than those undercut cliffs upstream. Some of them are over 200 feet high. I had planned to stop for the evening a mile or so above Rockhouse, but again there just wasn't the perfect gravel bar, so I kept fishing and passed the access, going nearly two more miles downstream before picking out a huge, high bar adjacent to a wooded bluff. I'd covered more than 16 miles. But one reason I'd floated so many miles is that the habitat was getting worse. There were longer stretches of shallow water with very little cover between the good pools. Some stretches were bedrock bottomed, others were wide, gravelly bottomed pools that looked good from upstream but turned out to be a foot deep when you got into them. So I'd paddle through those long unproductive stretches to fish the good water. I passed a creek called Dry Creek, which actually wasn't very well named, because it was flowing enough water to increase the flow of the river by a good 25%. Now the riffles were all floatable--except I soon began to come to very wide, gravel riffles that were two inches deep all the way across. I later passed another creek that was flowing fairly well, but not enough to make a lot of difference. The second night I ate smoked pork chops, bothered a bit by no-see-um gnats in the hour or so before dark. Since I'd floated so far the second day, I only had about 5-6 miles to go. And the habitat was no better. The sheer bluffs had disappeared, too, and the scenery was less interesting, plus the very wide, inches deep riffles became very common. I only caught about 20 smallmouth, biggest about 16 inches, mostly again on the Whopper Plopper. I'd noticed a pattern the day before and it continued on this day. There would be a few fish at the head of a decent pool, but the larger fish seemed to be near the tail of the pool. Some of the pools were really nice and deep with big rocks in their upper portions, but would shallow out about halfway down. Those pools had few fish willing to bite. But if a pool stayed fairly deep toward the lower end there would often be a couple bigger fish in the lower portion. And while there were some nice logs here and there, I caught basically nothing on wood, every fish came from those chunk rock areas. I reached the old, breached low water bridge at Trigger Gap early in the afternoon, and floated over the gap in it, then downstream a half mile to the Kings River Outfitters access. All in all, it had been a very interesting trip. But I have to say I was disappointed in the overall habitat. And often, I noticed a pretty bad smell...I think there are a lot of industrial chicken farms near the river. I was actually surprised that the water quality seemed as good as it did. I also wonder if the habitat was a lot better back when Dablemont and the others were touting the Kings, because it didn't really look like the kind of water that produce huge numbers of big fish. But it had been a good solo trip, with perfect weather, great scenery, and sometimes good fishing. The wildlife was kinda lacking...I saw two deer, and a white goat standing on a rock watching me go by, the whole trip, along with a bunch of vultures. I also noted a lot of huge redhorse suckers, something I've seen on other Arkansas rivers. Do these rivers not get gigged much? You never see big redhorse in any numbers on Missouri streams. All in all a good trip, though I'm not sure I'll do it again any time soon.
  3. 1 point

    September 3,4,,5

    Went down to Stockton after the holiday to enjoy some week day walleye fishing. Tuesday the 3rd had only one keeper and probably 15 shorts. Wednesday the 4th wife and I both limited. All nice 16" to 18" fish. Had to work for them and sort though another 18-20 short fish. Wednesday the 5th we went out in the morning, needed to quit fishing around 10 AM to get stuff ready to head home. I limited, and the wife caught three. Fun trip! Was nice to put a few in the boat as I struggled with the high water this summer! All fish caught on small flats in 12-18' of water. Bottom bouncing at 1mph. WM
  4. 1 point
    I was able to get out early today - a lot of fog as you would expect given the temps. I went just past Short Creek, right before the boat ramp, staying on the side with the houses and let the current take me down to Trout Hollow. I threw a brown, sculpin jig towards the bluff wall into the deeper water giving it a pop as I retrieved it, much like what Phil and Duane do on One Cast. I really got into into the numbers and better size but it was off and on, not steady like yesterday. Side note, I had to laugh as there were two guys in an aluminum boat that decided to plant them selves, as in anchor, right out from short creek....and as the numbers of boats increased they would move from one bank to the next.... I think they were the boat traffic calming device....much like a round about. I came in for a few as the traffic picked up and decided to take a young couple that I had met a couple of days before out as they were having no luck off the dock.....that is what happens when you are fishing for trout using a cat rod!! We went up just barely past Trout Hollow and I put him on the jig and gave her the Float / Power worm rig.....for never fishing that kind of rig nor trout she really schooled us two guys....pun intended....I felt a bit sorry for her husband as she was really enjoying catching more than him!!! So yeah the PW and Float is still the deal out there!!! Stay safe and have fun C4F
  5. 1 point
    I post these on my phone so excuse the typos. I’m down here with family again and last night I stayed up late playing cards. Put in at Cooper at 9 and ran to the cable. Threw jigs and fly fished until 2. It was on from ding to dong. It stayed overcast till noon and they were biting. Saw Babler, Chuck and a multitude of other guides and all were catching. I don’t mess with em much just lay on the board and snap a picture. The last dark one is 16” all the rest just under that Tubing on Tanlerock tomorrow with the kids but I’ll be back out Monday.
  6. 1 point
    Just for general information, Phil and I flew on Alaska Air out of KC. We chose to fly first class for several reasons, one being the distance of the journey and others being very marginal price difference when you took into account we were taking lots of weighted luggage, especially a gun. Alaska has very similar baggage restrictions as other airlines with the exception that you may include in your luggage an oversize bag if it is caring sporting gear. Not overweight, but oversize at no additional charge and this really helped us. Also we were fed and watered in a proper manner and not thrown a sack of chips or peanuts. Makes a difference when your in the airplane for nearly 8 hrs. Nice Breakfast on Alaska Airlines We arrived at about 11:45 in Anchorage and hustled a bit to get a couple of loaves of bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. to take on our float. Food was going to be provided but I'm glad we took the bread as it really worked out well. A note on the Mountain House food provided. It was really good. and a two person portion is really for 3 people. It is filling and easy to prepare. I think the only meal we could finish without leftovers was the B&G. I did take lots of condiments and extras and they highlighted it very well. I would not be afraid to take Mountain House for a couple of weeks at a time, its that good. Especially the Biscuits and Gravy, simply outstanding. We had fish two nights and Phil cooked the fish. I made most everything else. He cooked Char fillets on the grill and fried Sheefish. Both were excellent. We mostly boiled our drinking water or used water purifying bottles. Alaskan Adventure Lodge at Sleetmute, formerly know as the Holitna River Lodge is owned by Dan Paull and girlfriend Jami. It is not an easy place to get to. Really there are only a couple of bush flight companies flying in there. We flew with Sound Aviation. Bill and Beth. It is quite an operation and they fly non-stop daily to most of the villages in the area, hauling food, sundries and lots of people. We had a dog on our flight home that had a fish hook in its tongue so they get passengers of all types. It is the Bush. They fly a 6 passenger retractable sheel Piper and by next year will have a 12 passenger online hopefully They seem to always be a bit late and we were late both going and coming. We really pushed it coming out as we got to our terminal only 25 minutes prior to boarding for our home flight. SOUND AVIATION The flight to the Lodge via Sleetmute was just about as interesting a flight as I have had in Alaska, with the diversity of geography just outstanding. The peaks and ruggedness of this area is simply an unforgettable site. Flight from Anchorage Picture Arrival at the Lodge we were met by Dan, Jami, Terry, and Rodney that is their main staff with also another staff of 3 guides. We stayed in the Trapper Cabin. Small useful and to the point. Table, chairs, wood stove and bunk beds with comforters, pillows and small sheeted beds. Phil in front of the TRAPPER CABIN Their Lodge and big garden was just to the right. We had several meals in their lodge served family style and very good, especially the garden vegies and rasberries deserts fresh from that garden.. Jami has cooked in Alaska camps for several years. The dining hall is at the rear of the lodge and their kitchen and living quarters are in the front. They don't seem to mind a bit about coming into their space but we were cautious about it, as we both know how that feels. They have a community restroom and shower house attached to the back of the lodge with two sinks a shower and potty. Nice hot running water during generator hours, which I believe are 6 AM to 1 PM and then again from 4 PM to 9 PM. Everything is on a generator and gas is 5 bucks a gallon. Not really bad but logistically its hard to get. It is delivered once a week from an air carrier out of Sleetmute, about 40 miles down stream. View from the front of the Lodge. We saw Moose in the river bend and also a pair of Beavers Tuesday morning we packed up our considerable gear along with their camping and food for the several day float and packed the boat. Rodney their camp handyman and general great guy was going to take is 60 miles up the river by boat and we would float back. He took us about 55 and Phil saw a gravel bar he liked and I will tell you that one move by Phil really made our trip. More later. Boat packed for Holitna River trip The river is quite large at the lodge and gets larger as it heads for the Kuskokwim Going up river it starts to change to a more traditional fly fishing wade able type of water and really this is what we found we were looking for. Where Phil and I camped that first two days was the best water for our type of fly fishing. This water held huge amounts of spawning chum salmon and grayling and char were feasting on eggs. Great for beaders, nymphers and jiggers. We used a bead a jig, a mop fly and streamers to catch chum, and silver salmon as well as char and grayling, with the grayling almost at will. I had 5 on my first 5 casts with a bead and then 5 more in 5 casts with a mop. Phil could catch them one right after the other on a Lilleys Jig. Holitna River at our first camp site, traditional fly fishing water After unloading and sitting up our camp we caught quite a few fish. The idea was to pack the raft and start down the river on Wednesday morning. We got up to a flat raft that had a leak Rodney had pumped it up with an electric pump and left us a hand pump that we later found out had the guts out of it. We texted the lodge for a new pump or a raft repair and of course they could not arrive until Thursday so we had two nights at the first camp. That was super as it had the best fishing. If we were to do it again we would have gone up to the confluence of the river another 35 miles and made that float picking us up just about a day downstream from our first nights camp. We didn't know this. I'll talk about the Sheefish in a minute but they really need to accessed if that is your primary fish on the lower river from the lodge. The second night a two raft party floated by that had started on the upper river and said the grayling and char fishing were outstanding also further up. We both surmised at the end of the trip that a 5 night float from the confluence and then a two night lodge stay would be the best of both worlds. Raft set up ready to float Rodney got us floating by 11:30 on Thursday and that first day was fantastic on the upper river. Phil was catching char and grayling at will and we found a slack that was totally full of red salmon and silver salmon. We caught just about all the silvers we wanted to and could have continued to catch and catch but we strolled on. Great day on the water. Nice 4 person tent with fly, provided by the lodge We slept dry and comfortable every night. Phil had a cot and his pad and I just used my pad and bag. I never got into the bag as it was quite warm. I just spread it over me like a down throw. We also had some fantastic camp fires that Phil built every night that were a pleasure to watch. Nice Camp Fire Our camp was elevated on Friday night and we caught several silver salmon and pike. It was on a beautiful turn in the river and you could see for several miles down stream,. Phil with Pike Saturday we got into a more traditional Sheefish location and caught 3 sheefish and several silver salmon. Mostly caught on a jig in a deeper hole. Also the NE wind started to blow and we thought we might be in trouble as we were rowing right into the teeth of it. Sheefish Our Saturday night camp was on a wind swept bank and Phil did a magnificent job of anchoring our tent. He had to reanchor in the night as the wind was howling. We had to be picked up on Sunday as it was just to tough going right into that stiff N. wind. As I stated earlier the reason for the Holitna float was for sheefish. We wanted the Kobuk for lots more sheefish, but could not make that happen, it is at least a year in advance for that type of float. The upper Holitna is beautiful and I hope one day to perhaps see the upper river beyond where we started but again there are so many rivers to run and probably not enough years left to make a dent on them. I will tell you we were both in very good shape for this float and shared completely in the camp work and rowing. I had been on a 4 month fitness plan getting ready and Phil is most always in good shape. I was doing 200 setups, 200 15lb. weighted arm curls a complete stretching and loosing program and a 40 minute exercise program on a bike with a lot of cardio prior to the trip. It made a huge difference as we were both very strong rowers and had energy left over at the end of the day. Phil is a way better lifter of weight and he handled the heavy lifting. Either Phil or I would be happy to help anyone on this trip so just email us if you want to go. Also here is the best jig that the lodge used for most everything from salmon the sheefish, I tied this one this morning. I also got a kick out of one of the guides saying he lover the Whopper Plopper for Pike. They caught most of their sheefish on the jig, hardware and soft swimbaits like the Keitech. I think they said they used the BP brand as they were longer lasting. I also saw bags upon bags of Zoom Flukes lying around. Jig The brand is Jake's Jigs and they are popular through out Alaska and the pacific NW. I have seen them on Kodiak and at times they use them in the salt for mooching. I have several I'm going to send up to the Lodge for Dan to tie. Jake's Jigs Thanks for watching and a big thanks to Rodney, Terry, Dan, Jami, and Bill and Beth at Sound
  7. 1 point
    This one-mile stretch located directly below the dam is known for its big fish, shallow water and challenging fishing. The trout in this zone have seen every fly in the book, and most of the water resembles a big spring creek with slow and skinny water. There is one pretty large shoal area, but this is where most of the crowds congregate because the majority of fly anglers prefer to fish "familiar" types of water like riffles and pockets. The shoal can fish pretty well, but the slower stretches hold less-pressured fish that are often quite visible. A good strategy is to walk to empty areas and before fishing, study the water to get an idea of how the fish are behaving and look for likely holding spots. The slow water below Bull Shoals Dam fishes best when there is some wind chop on the water, as this makes the fish far less spooky than they are when conditions are slick. Weighted flies like scuds, Zebra Midges and sow bugs work very well during low water, and keep in mind that your indicator often only needs to be set a foot to a foot and a half above the fly. 6x tippet will really increase your odds of success. During periods of light generation (one and two units), there are some good places to wade on the golf course side - start by parking in the lot that is as far upstream as you can drive, and there is good water to fish from that bank all the way down to just below the boat ramp when the water is not running hard. Bull Shoals State Park: If the water is low and you are not having much luck with those tough fish in the catch and release area, drive downstream to Bull Shoals State Park and look to start near the "Big Spring" access area. Most of the water in the Park is slow and deep, but there are always loads of eager fish due to the area's high stocking rate. Still, don't get lulled into thinking that there are only stockers in Bull Shoals State Park - there are plenty of nice rainbows and huge browns to be found in the both deep holes and shallow-water runs. Dew Eddy Shoal is located downstream of Big Spring, and this is a gorgeous piece of water for both nymphing and dry fly fishing, but keep in mind that Dew Eddy fishes best from the opposite side of the river than the access point. If you do cross the river, always be aware of rising water because the horn is rarely audible this far from the dam. Bull Shoals State Park is the last good fly fishing access for several miles, so a boat is needed to fish the river from the Park down to the Narrows. The Narrows: This new access is located off Denton Ferry Road a mile or two upstream of the Wildcat Shoals Access. The best spots are found on both sides of the island, with the deepest water (and most fish) located on the far side. Every year, fly fishermen get in trouble in the Narrows area because the water can come up very quickly here, which often makes getting back to the access point difficult (or impossible). Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid the temptation to walk way down stream - the lower tip of the island is as far as we recommend going, and if you do get into a situation where it looks like you will not be able to safely cross the river on the near side of the island, remain on dry land. A boat will come by and help eventually, or if worse comes to worse, call one of the nearby resorts to request a lift. Program the numbers for White Hole Acres, Stetsons and other docks into your cell phone if you plan on fishing the Narrows. Nymphs and dry flies work well in this area, and if you are fishing below the surface, be sure to use enough weight to get your fly near the bottom. For the most part, bigger nymphs in sizes #14 to #8 work well almost anywhere on the White during low water - the Bull Shoals Dam catch and release area is one of the only sections where really small flies are necessary. Wildcat Shoals: This popular stretch of riffles is loaded with fish, and there are scores of really nice browns in the section where the riffles slow down and the water gets deeper. Try exploring with a hopper/dropper rig, as this set up will tell you where the fish are and what types of flies they are looking for. As with everywhere on the White, constantly be aware of rising water levels. For the most part, there is no reason to wade more than half way across the river in the Wildcat area, and if you can get to the bank on the side of the access during rising water, it should not be a problem to get back to your vehicle. Roundhouse Shoals Cotter and Roundhouse Shoals: There is some decent access right in downtown Cotter, with the best water located around and upstream of the bridges. Dry flies like caddis and sulphurs work well in the backwater area upstream of the parking lot, but most of the fish are small there. The "big" side offers up some nice structure, but the water is flat and moving, so it can be somewhat technical. If the fishing in Cotter is not what you are looking for, drive downstream a mile to Roundhouse Shoals; there is a large dirt parking area and access to some great fly water is relatively easy. The flat water above the riffles fishes well when there is some wind chop, and there is some fun water for fishing dries and small nymphs on the back side of the main island where the shoal is. Stripping flies like large soft hackles and Wooly Buggers works well in the main shoals, but this can be a challenging spot for dead-drifting techniques. As you move downstream from the access point, the water slows down and gets deeper, making this is the area to fish hard if you are after one of the many big rainbows and browns that call the Roundhouse area their home. Rim Shoals: This catch and release zone is very popular amongst fly fishermen, but access to the best water can be tricky without a boat. One productive strategy is to walk upstream to Jenkins's Creek Shoal along the railroad tracks, but be aware that there is some very deep water along the moss beds at the lower part of this riffle. Below Jenkins's Creek, the river is wide and deep, so safely and effectively wading this section is generally not worth the effort. The main shoal is accessible via a parking area downstream of Rim Shoals Resort, but this is often a very crowded spot. It pays to cross the river and walk downstream if you are looking for some space and bigger fish. Rising water can make crossing back to the access point difficult, but Rim Shoals Resort offers shuttles to and from the island which allows anglers to fish with some peace of mind. This is another trout dock number that is worth programming into your cell phone. **There are other accesses downstream from Rim Shoals all the way to the Norfork's confluence with the White, but walking in is pretty difficult. The spots mentioned above offer up more good fly water than one could fish in a lifetime, and never be afraid to try several different techniques and flies until it becomes clear as to what the fish are looking for - the White is known for its fickle fishing at times, so what worked well one day may not elicit any interest the next day.
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