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Planned trip 9/22

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I am from fayetteville and we have a unforeseen forecast of 250,000+ bikers coming our way next week. What's that got to do with fishing? As a restaraunt our business is so bad during the first 3 years of that week we said phooey, and closed up shop. That being said I'm heading over to Quitman to my dads land with a small pond. Memory serving correctly its a bout 30 minutes from cow shoals access on the little red It has been years since I've been there, so searching for any advice on fly fishing with waders. I also have a kayak. Any access points or info that might put me closer to the fish would be much appreciated! Looking at the water it seems like the little red is my best option over bull shoals and norfork. I don't mind at all standing to be corrected. I'll look around on Google earth, but I trust people over computers any day. Thanks in advance 

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I hate cow shoals, it is tough for me there for some reason. probably a little early for the browns, but plenty of people will try it anyway. If you feel ambitious and generation cooperates, paddle up from swinging bridge, there are a couple small shoals between there and cow shoals that should have fish. Swinging bridge is a VERY productive section, lots of room to get away if you are willing to walk. Shoot me a p.m. and I'll try to get you some sowbugs if you dont tie, may not have time to get them to you. if you do tie ill send you some pics. Jealous you get to go, I'll be going down around the first of November for a few days. GOOD LUCK!

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First, let me say that I fly fish.  I used to do it a lot and I still do it a good bit, but I'm always going to use the best tool for the job.  If you're adamant about fly fishing on the LRR, then great.  You'll catch some fish I'm sure.  But if you're willing to jig fish it/crankbait fish it, you're going to catch more fish in areas that aren't really well suited for fly fishing.  Paddling the LRR and jig fishing from the kayak is tremendously effective.  I've never tried fly fishing from the kayak, only wading and from my jet boat.  But if you're used to fly fishing from a kayak, you might be able to do that just fine.  I say all of that only to say this - I'm not a fly fishing hater by any means, so my advice below shouldn't be taken that way.

If it was me, I'd carry my kayak down the stairs at Cow Shoals and paddle down to Swinging Bridge.  It's not an easy put-in my any means, but it's doable if you can carry your kayak down a lot of stairs by yourself.  I'd also ditch the fly gear (or at least carry a spinning rod so you can jig fish).  Most of the water is jig fishing water or crankbait water.  You'll pass through a couple wadable sections on the way down where folks fly fish all the time, and maybe you can spend most of your day in those places wading.  One is a shoal that has a name and maybe a walk-in or private walk-in access, but I forget what it's called.  You'll also go past John's pocket, which is a great area, but I'm not sure how great it is for fly fishing.  The spot I'm thinking about isn't wadable.

The area at the bottom/below the bottom of Cow is a great area year round, and holds lots of good fish.  Again, it needs to be fished from the kayak.  The water above swinging bridge we normally motor through for the last mile or so, so I'd be less inclined to paddle up from swinging bridge personally, but that's just my experience and Jtram's suggestion will put you on plenty of fish I'm sure.  If you start at Cow and paddle down, you're going to hit a lot of good spots.  If you're limited on time though, you might be better off just paddline up from Swinging Bridge, which is certainly an easier put-in.

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Also the Norfork has had wadable water in the mornings.  If they follow their generation schedule, you could put in before daylight, paddle down to some of the good stuff, spend most of your day there, and head out when the water starts coming up.  That's not bad if they're only switching on one unit at lunch time.  If they turn on two, the paddling might get a little intense.

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I'm thinking I'll go scout the area in the morning and if it looks manageable bring the yak back the next day. Is there plenty of walkable river upstream from swinging bridge? I've never been there. Also the thing I DO remember about cow shoals was the steps. My kayak might be the end of me if I try carrying it down there. Just looking for a place to roam around really. Regarding the generation, what's it take to make it unfishable?

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similar to Norfork imo 1 unit is fast, 2 is more than I would do in a yak until you get around lobo. the wade water around swinging is 100 yds above the ramp on the west side to 1/2 mile below the hwy. My best day for browns ever was from a boat with 2 units chunking cd-7s. Something like 20 browns in a half day. 

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I take my kayak on the LRR all the time and fly fish from it.  The Cow shoals to Swing bridge is a great float, but like hoglaw mentioned you have to negotiate the steps.  The bridge to Lobo or Libby if you want to carry your kayak up the stairs is good also.  My recommendation would be to bring the kayak and float something....the river is awesome to float.  You can use the SB access and paddle as far up as you like.  With no generation it's no problem.  You could also do the same from dripping springs and wade the hourseshoe or paddle to rainbow island or mossy...I've done that also.  With 0 generation you can paddle from any access up and back.  Right now they are generating in the afternoons for ~3 hours...so you'll likely never see high water.  I have posted several trip reports with pictures on my blog...last from 9/2...but there are many more if you feel like searching.  

http://looknfishy.blogspot.com/2015/09/find-your-time.html

 

I like to drag my yak up the dry side of the shoe and wade or float the other side....you can do that as many times as you feel like dragging back up...30 yds or so.

 

IMG_4580.JPG

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Wound up wading at cow shoals. Complete opposite of what I've been fishing at beaver but fun nonetheless. Shallow and very fast current, lots of mending. Midges grey and red 6-8" under the indicator yielded me 6 nice rainbows. Checked out the hatchery area and caught one just about every cast by the ramp with a dancing caddis. Pretty sure they were all stockers a the guys with the spoons on the bank were cathing them literally every cast. Probably gonna check out swinging Bridge tommorow 

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