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Fish In A Barrel


Justin Spencer

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Headed down to the White yesterday with my Father in law and Brother in law. After they got their Hills Bros coffee can full of worms I loaded my flyrods and off we headed to the dam. With trout boat in tow I was assured we knew where we were going but I had no clue never having fished the tailwaters. After finding no boat ramp at the park I suggested we ask someone where we could put in, but that suggestion was met with deaf ears. I then suggested we work our way toward Gaston's as there must be a ramp somewhere down there. Finding a ramp at Gastons I slipped into the office to see what I could pay them to put in there and was kindly allowed to put in free of charge. Feeling guilty I bought a few Zebra midges as that seems to be the go to fly as of late. Off we went out into the mighty White, which was dropping as I believe all generators had been turned off. We went slightly downstream above a small riffle and anchored so the boys could throw their worms. After attempting to fly fish from a stationary boat I quickly went to drinking beer and watching them fish. My father-in-law caught a small rainbow rather quickly but after another 20-30 minutes no more were landed. Finally I was able to goad them in to letting us drift a little and I quickly added 2 small bows to our total, one on the midge one on an egg. As quick as I was able to land and unhook the 2 fish I was again instructed to anchor up as we were now below the riffle. Another fruitless 30 minutes of worm fishing resulted in two more beers for me, and my trash talking finally got us moving again. By now the river had dropped some and we had to carefully pick our way back upstream. We finally made it above Gaston's as close to the next riffle as we could get, and yes you guessed it, anchors aweigh. Twenty more minutes with nothing but another beer and I again got them moving. In less than 10 minutes I caught 5 fish and had one hooked as quickly as I could get the other one off. I think all of these were on the egg. I finally convinced my brother in law to pick up the fly rod, and while he struggled some he did manage 2 small rainbows in a relatively short period of time (his first two trout on fly I believe). By the time I convinced my father in law to pick up his fly rod the wind was howling and we were being pushed back upstream making drifting difficult. He had several takes but was too slow on the hook set and finally gave up. We headed toward the ramp where I picked up the fly rod for one more drift and was again quickly rewarded with the best fish of the day, a 16" brown which was promptly released. Next time if the water is low I think I'll just have them dump me out and I'll go wade while they anchor up and catch nothing. The main plan was to go learn what it's like to catch trout on fly rod so they can get the feel for it and maybe have some success on the NFoW. I told them not to bring the crutch because they wouldn't fly fish, and hopefully they now realize that the 10 fish that were caught in about 30 minutes of fly fishing came alot easier than the one fish on worms in a couple hours of fishing. For me it was a great day on the White, a wonderful fishery where the fish seem more than willing to take a fly when you get a good drift. Look forward to hitting the Norfork tailwater in the driftboat next time with no can of worms as a crutch.

"The problem with a politician’s quote on Facebook is you don’t know whether or not they really said it." –Abraham Lincoln

Tales of an Ozark Campground Proprietor

Dead Drift Fly Shop

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I've stayed at Gaston's too many times to count (They let us keep our big Labs in the cabin) and I know the exact riffles you're talking about. They probably spent more time removing moss and rock snot of their rigs than actually fishing. Too bad. One of the biggest Browns I've caught on fly gear was from the rifle at the tail end of their property.

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Moss didn't seem too bad, the water was nice but rather nondescript and subtle changes compared to the free flowing rivers I'm used to. Nice thing was drifting the flat water still produced fish after fish. I still like the challenge of the smaller waters better, but this is a great place to catch some fish and for those new to fly fishing, what a place to catch the fly fishing bug. Saw some big browns while motoring upstream but I was just trying to catch fish, not specifically big ones.

"The problem with a politician’s quote on Facebook is you don’t know whether or not they really said it." –Abraham Lincoln

Tales of an Ozark Campground Proprietor

Dead Drift Fly Shop

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I'm not sure how far Gastons is below the dam, but from the dam down to the state park is closed fising this time of year and the state park area is catch and release.

There are several places to launch a boat or wade on the White. Two very good books for locating fishable water and access are 1)Home Waters and 2)Flyfishers Guide to Missouri and Arkansas. I know Home Waters is available at Blue Ribbon Flies, and I think I bought my copy of Flyfishers Guide there too.

As for fishing Norfork, there are just two accesses on the river. The boat launch below the dam and the Ackerman Access. Only the dam access has a boat launch. There is an access on the White just below the junction of the White and Norfork. Not sure if there is a boat launch there, but you can take out there if you float with a kayak, canoe etc.

There's a fine line between fishing and sitting there looking stupid.

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