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  1. Like
    FishnDave reacted to Phil Lilley for a article, Naknek River Report, October 26-31, 2019   
    I'd never gone up to Naknek this late... not many people have except locals I'm told.  And even then, didn't see but a couple of boats on the river today.
    Stayed at Katmai Trophy Lodge near the "rapids" on the Naknek, owned by the Johnson family.  They also own Naknek River Camp at the head of the river, at Lake Camp.  The camp is closed because all their water lines are exposed, above ground.  KTL is a regular lodge with power (electricity) and indoor plumbing so they could stay open all year, if there was fishing to be had. 
    I went up to spend time with good friend, John McCloskey, one of their main guides at KTL.  John did a spey casting clinic for us at the resort last December.
    John had 3 clients this week from Georgia.  They are clients of his on his home waters in north GA.  Jason, Jane and their 9 year old son John.
    John specializes is swinging flies and the Cooke's were there to partake.  The river was a little high and off color due to rains and an east wind.  John says the rainbows don't like dirty water.  Water temp was 43-44 degrees. 
    We had a variety of weather.  Three days of winds in excess of 40 mph and a couple "breezy" days.  Rain everyday except one.  But temps stayed decent - 45 - 53 degrees daytime and rarely dropped below 40 at night.  Unseasonably warm, but always windy and rainy.  I'd call it normal RAW Alaska weather for late October.
    Fishing was good the first day in spite of heavy winds but the bite steadily slowed down each day, like the rainbows were leaving the river.  We were seeing some flesh flowing by but not much.  Nothing else for them to eat really except may be a sculpin here and there.  They winter in Naknek Lake and will migrate there about now.  John says they stated one week too long.  But the rainbows we did catch were impressive.
    They swung flesh and sculpins and I threw my spinning gear and 1/8th ounce jigs.  I used mostly 4-pound line but did use 6-pound occasionally.  The bigger the rainbow and easier they were to land, mainly because they were so fat with flesh. 
    We fished flats - fast water spots with depressions and rocks holding fish and depths not more than 3 feet deep.  That's what made my jig work, they hit it even if it was real close to the surface - and the swing or worked out in front of me.
    I landed 3 - 30+inch bows, 6 bows between 25 and 29, one at 20 and 2 about 15 inches.  I lost a couple - one at the net and one broke off.  The best color was black/purple and sculpin/ginger a close second. 
    John played around with the jig and loved it.  He couldn't get over how effective it was.  I know he hooked several rainbows and landed one that I saw.
    They caught a half dozen swinging flies.  I know Jason landed a couple pushing 30 inches.
    They saw one bear.  I wasn't fishing at the time though so I didn't see it.  We didn't fish any other areas - stay below the Counting Towers and across from King Island.  There were 2 other guide boats out all week with 2 clients each... that's it.

  2. Like
    FishnDave reacted to Phil Lilley for a article, Lilley's Lake Taneycomo fishing report, September 11   
    Unedited... I wanted to get this out because there's some interesting info about small rainbows and the shocking survey from last night.  I may add more and of course, some might be edited after Marsha gets through with it  
    Generation has all but halted on Lake Taneycomo this week, something we haven't seen for a couple of years!  With no flow comes the new reality of what the lake now looks like at low water... and it's changed quite a bit.
    We have noticed that the lake seems lower than it used to be, but again, it's been a long time since we've seen this and ALOT of water has gone over the dam in those 2-3 years. 
    It's changed the bottom in many areas, especially in the trophy area.
    Just below the dam, the gravel has moved down and filled in holes.  Runs have moved, changed.  It's changed where fish hold.  It's changed how anglers fish the wading areas below the dam.  But more thing has changed -- the trout today are much bigger and healthier than they've been in many, many years.
    The channel at the Narrows is much narrower and not as deep.  Some of our guides have said they've hit bottom trying to go through.  There's a big gravel island at the Narrows too - one you can get off and wade from!
    The gravel is covered with algae but it's also full of bugs - sow bugs, little worms and scuds.  There's sculpin all over the bottom too.
    Pondweed.  It's an aquatic vegetation that grows all over our lake in the summer.  It's a real menace on the lower lake, choking off docks and banks.  But up here, it houses tons of bugs and small fish.  
    Lately, we've seen quite a few small rainbows.  When I say small I mean 3 to 5 inches long.  These trout are full finned, beautiful colors, and appear to be naturally spawned in the lake, not stocked.  There's been some discussion on this, guides, locals and conservation experts.  One thought makes sense.  We've had a good, natural spawn this last winter/spring, which may or may not happen each year.  Because of the additional pondweed in the lake, especially in the trophy area, these rainbows have survived being eaten and are thriving.
    Thursday night, Missouri Department of Conservation officials performed a shock survey in which several boats shocked, took measurements and released fish in the upper lake.  One thing they found is when they shocked the pondweed beds, it would light up with small fish - rainbows, chubs, sculpins and other small forage fish.
    Oxygen readings since the water hasn't been running have stayed well above 6 parts per million which is good.  Fish are fighting real well with no signs of faltering.  But we have noticed with people who use live wells that don't keep the water running all the time on their catch, those fish die pretty quick.  Keeping trout out of the water for a long time will stress it to the point it will not survive release.  Please don't  ~Catch, Kill and Release~.  Be very careful with your catch if you want to release them.  Cut the line if the hook is buried in the fish's mouth.  Handle them with a wet hand or a wet cloth, if you have to handle them at all.
    There's been a lot of algae break off the bottom and float to the surface.  We see this every year about this time.  It can be a pain to fish through but it doesn't hurt the fish.  We've noticed with rainbows have sought the cover of this stuff and take midges off the surface right in the middle of it.  We've been catching these feeding trout on several small lures under a float any where from 6 inches to 5 feet deep.  I've been fly fishing and using Zebra Midges, size 16 in bright red and  green, the P&P (primrose and pearl), brown and even white.  The olive micro jig has been working good as well as the Berkley Pink Worm.  Use 2-pound line for the best effort but 4-pound line is good.  Our water clarity isn't the best since they aren't running much water.
    Night crawlers are still king of the big trout and the hot area is from the Riverpointe Estates boat ramp to Short Creek.  Use 4-pound line, a small split shot and a #8 short shanked, bronze hook.  I'd put the shot about 18 inches above the hook and use half a worm, hooking it one time in the middle and inject a little air in the worm using a syringe.  This will float the worm off the bottom.
    With the water off, we're throwing 1/32nd ounce jigs using 2-pound line and doing pretty well working the jigs close to the surface, especially during low light times - early, late and on cloudy days.  Dark colors are working the best - black, olive, sculpin, brown and combination colors.  Keep switching till you find the one they want.
  3. Like
    FishnDave reacted to edyer for a article, Fished the last seven days.   
    We always come down from Michigan to share your beautiful lake and fish the Aunt's Creek Association Buddy Tournament.My buddy Dale and I came down last week Friday. We had just got the news that the tournaments were called off. We each drove our own boat and trailer down with planes that our teammates would come later to join us in the tournament. We also expected four others to join us. Then the Coronavirus stated getting more people infected and shutting down more stuff, everyone else decided to stay home.We figured we could socially distance ourselves on Table Rock, so we have been fishing out of our own boats, trying to stay within a mile of each other the past week. we fish about 6-8 hours a day, and compare our catches and stories. The first day, 3/21, was very tough. I caught one 2.5 pound largemouth and Dale got skunked. The next day we stayed between point 9 and Aunt's Creek. I caught a 3.5 pound smallmouth and a Spot. Dale caught a ball Spot. I believe it rained in the morning on Tuesday. We fished the Aunt's creek area again. I had five keeper smallmouths and a 40 inch Striper. Dale got skunked. The next day, we took a ride up the white towards Campbell. I caught 14 spots, two smallmouths, and two largemouths. Dale had 12 spots and two smallmouths. Next day we went to Kimberling City. I caught Two nice smallmouths, three 3 pound largemouths, and a nice spot for 17.68 pounds. Dale had a nice bag of four smallmouths and two spots for 16.86 pounds. We are kind of competitive. Thursday we went up the white again, and I only had three keepers, but one was a 3.65 small jaw. Dale had about a dozen, with a couple of smallmouths and the rest spots. Today we went back to Kimberling City and Dale had seven with a couple of real nice spots, one over 3 pounds.I had five fish, buttony three keepers which include a couple of small jaws, and a big spot. The majority of the fish Dale caught were on a 5/16 round ball jig with a smoke/purple Yamamoto 4 or 5 inch grub, or a 3 inch Kalin Grub.Keeps his boat in 25-30 feet and makes a cast award shore and slowing reels it back, trying to keep it near the bottom, without getting slimed.Most of my fish were caught on swim baits, using a 1/4 ounce Shin Spin jig with a 3.8 Keitech. I also caught a few, including the 3.65 smallmouth, on the 5/16 jig with a 2.8 keitech. The day I caught the Striper, I caught all five keeper smallmouths on a finesse A-Rig thrown very close to the flooded bushes. Much like a spinner bait. I tried a spinner bait, but couldn't get bit on it.Trying to decide where to fish tomorrow. Still haven't caught a big bass(I did lose a five pounder on Tuesday) Tried to net it by myself, and I should of boat flipped it. Glad it wasn't in a tournament. Still would like to have a 50 fish day. but with the water levels going down, I don't think the bite will turn on. We are leaving early Monday to head back to Michigan. Good luck everybody.

  4. Like
    FishnDave reacted to Bill Babler for a article, Float-N-Fly Primer March 4 2020   
    White River Outfitters Guide Service

    Let's face it, there are lots of ways to catch fish on Table Rock that don't involve getting snarled up or having a Master Fly Caster's certification.  In Springtime is there a better way to catch big fish other than fishing a barbed wire contraption that's named after a Southern state.  Probably not, with one exception, the Float n Fly.

    The Table Rock Lake,  Float-n-Fly history goes back to a guide by the name of Bill Richey.  Bill went to Dale Hollow Lake one early Spring and they fished the fly and had really good success.  A light switch went on and he thought that will work on the Rock big time. 

    Bill introduced both Bill Beck and myself the the technique and we kind of took off with it winning multiple tournaments and guiding clients to the biggest bass of their life with it.  I caught my personal best Table Rock Bass on the fly, at 10.1 pound.  Bill caught 2 over the 10 pound mark and also had a 12 year old girl, catch a 10.3 on it.  My biggest on a guide trip was a whopping 8.3 pound a client caught about 6 yrs. ago.

    The Float n Fly works between late January and May if lake conditions are correct.  We have not had a good year for it for the last 4 or 5 yrs.  Good year is clear water, pool between 914 and 917 and if possible small shad die off.  This is the perfect year as they are just inhaling it.  I hit 3 different bluff ends today after guys fished A-rigs on them and caught keepers right behind them, no problem.

    Fishing a Float n Fly is a bit like a Ned in that it is pretty slow fished, but a better analogy is you fish it as if your were flipping a jig in a bush.  Cast it out and let the fly settle, bounce it or jig it several times and then rinse and repeat.
    Both Bill and I bought specialized equipment for the technique.  We both bought St. Croix rods that were 9' as they are tournament legal in most derby's.  Some do not have length specifications and you may use any length rod you wish.  i prefer a 10' to 12' rod.

    Any good large arbor spinning reel, at least 3500 series works great.  Spool the reel with the 10 lb. braid, you select brand, it don't matter.  I like white or hivis yellow.  Just like a fly line you can see it and tell if you have to much slack.

    You need a Mr. Crappie high Vis float and a 3 way swivel.  I use a Spro 3 way.  First you attach your swivel to the float then you put your braid on one arm of the 3 way.  I use a palamar and pull it super tight.  Then for your leader you want to use carbon as it sinks.  Bill Beck used 4lb. but I think 4, 6, or on the outside 8 works OK.  8 is easier to cast.  At this point attach the carbon with a improved clinch with at least 6 wraps.  I'm using 14' of depth right now as these fish are suspended deep, as deep as 30' and they will still come up for it.

    There are a ton of companies making Float n Fly jigs/flies.  The best by far not even close is the Spro Phat Fly in 1/16th. in blue or shad.  My favorite is the blue. It has a super sticky Gamakatsu size 1 nickle hook that you need to be careful of.

    There are a couple of things you now need to do.  First you need to trim the fly back a bit.  Yes its looks like a waving tail would be better but its not.  Trim the fly.

    Attach the fly to your carbon leader with a 6 twist improved clinch and put the knot at the rear of the eye so the fly rides level, cinch the knot tight and it will stay at the back till you get bit.  There you have the basic FF rig.

    Correct posture for the fly.

    Incorrect posture for the fly.
    After you have it attached use gulp or some type of attractant on the fly, you can pretty much just sop up the tail with it and that great.

    Casting and retrieving and fishing the rig needs some explaining.  With 14' of leader below the float it takes a while to get proficient.  First this rig is light, so you are casting or lobbing the float, the fly and line just follow, somewhat like a fly cast.  Pull out at least 3' of braid to the float, dangling your leader and fly in the water as far as you can reach out with a 10' to 12' rod.  Length really Really helps. Back cast the float and watch your back cast, when your fly hits the water, lob it forward at height and it will shoot right out there after a little practice.  If your a fly fisherman no problem, Phil lilley was casting it better than me in about 5 minutes.  The trick is watching your back cast making sure the fly is completely behind you prior to coming forward.  Easy Peasy.
    When the fly hits the water it takes a few seconds for that to sink.  Wait about a minute and then jig it several times and repeat.  If nothing raise your rod tip as high as you can reach and them smoke it in as fast as you can turn the reel handle.  Reason,  You cannot slowly reel 14' of 4 or 6 pound test leader thru pole timber, cannot be done.   Reel in fast and the fly will come to the surface following the float and rethrow to a new location.
    Strikes can be very easy or the float is just gone.  Sometimes it starts walking,  just like crappie under a float.  When setting the hook set to 12 o'clock, this is a lift and not a snap or you will break that light line keep your rod very steady in that straight up attitude, allowing the rod to absorb the shock of the fish.  Keep a big bend and if you need to use the trolling motor to pull the fish out of the pole timber to deep water, making sure previous to fishing that your drag is very loose.  The better the reel the better the drag.
    Float n fly does not work well in wind or choppy water, it is best as a smooth water technique.  It's hard to keep slack out of your line and for some reason the fish don't like the constant action of the chop.  Go figure
    Location, most any bluff end or runnout pole timbered fast drop point  I usually make a dozen cast per location and if nada, hit the road.  At times they will get on the bluff walls in the small cuts and pole timbered pockets, where ever fish stage Pre or Post spawn.
    Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Beaver or any of the White River Lakes it will catch them between now and May.
    Watch your electronics, if I see suspended fish in the 10 to 30 foot range off those points they will eat it.  Don't be intimidated by it and you will catch your biggest bass, maybe of a lifetime right here on the Rock
    Good luck
  5. Like
    FishnDave reacted to Bill Babler for a article, Kimberling City March 3rd. Float-n-Fly   
    Current Fishing Report KImberling City, Mo. 3-3-20  White River  Outfitters Guide Service

    Can you see the Mr. Crappie Float?
    I have tried and I have tried, I have put in more than enough time from point 2 to point 5 and I just cannot get it to happen.  I guess you can call it fishing, cause you sure can't call it catching.  I can scratch a few out of pre-mo locations, but that is totally that.  Those fish are just not where I can get at them or they just don't like my junk, and I'm thinking that's a big part of it.  I'm sure its a matter of time till my old tricks work again down here, but for now they are thinking most of my lures have been in a Kitty Litter Box and not a tackle box.

    Man that was a dark one.  
    UPDATE:  Kimberling City this morning and wouldn't you know there are fish in the lake, that want to snap.  I fished a float-n-fly off bluffends from 6:30 till 9:00 then, the wind started I had 15 solid keepers with a 4 lb. largemouth anchoring the string prior to the wind event.  Lots of really nice 2.25 lb. jaws, and enough K's to keep you setting the hook.

    Ouch, that's sticky
    I moved around quite a bit and caught them on every end I tried.  Spro Fat Fly set at 14 ft. below the float using 6lb. Invisx.  Boat in 40 ft. to 70 ft. Fish suspended in the 20 ft. to 30' range and they would come up and eat it.  

    Young One's like it too
    I fished some straight wall bluffs with pole timber and they were not on it on the fly but if you sat off a way you could swim a Keitech after counting it down to 30 and  catch some nice K's  Trouble is you will lose some baits, depends on how bad you want to catch 

    Most catches are top lip.

    If their mouth is big sometimes it goes a little deeper, especially if the fisherman is sleeping.

    Lot's of really nice Jaw's were after the floater.

    And, some K's too.
    Wind started howling at 9 and I couldn't catch any more float fish as it will not work in the wind very well, but I continued for another hour to catch some swim bait fish.

    Tried the jerker but got the same response that I have been getting, they no likey.
    Good Luck
  6. Like
    FishnDave reacted to netboy for a article, Pretty brown 11/9   
    They shut the water down on Bull Shoals because of flood conditions downstream so there has been some great wade fishing the last few days. Took the boat to a favorite shoal and got out and waded. Caught quite a few rainbows and this nice brown. He hit a ruby midge dropper beneath a peach colored egg. I lost a real pig of a rainbow also. Looked to be in the 25" range and really fat. Hook just pulled out.  Hopefully we will get a few more days of low water before they open it up again.  

  7. Like
    FishnDave reacted to netboy for a article, 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...

  8. Like
    FishnDave reacted to Blue Ribbon Fly Shop for a article, Access points that offer great wading and wonderful fly fishing water on the upper White River   
    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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