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John Berry Fishing Report 1/06/2011

John Berry

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During the past week, we have had a minor rain event, cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam rose eight tenths of a foot to rest at four and five tenths feet below power pool of 654.00 feet. This is forty five and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Up stream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at six feet below power pool or twenty two feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell seven tenths to rest at seven and nine tenths feet below power pool or seventeen and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a significant period of low water over the New Years’ Holiday followed by an erratic schedule with a burst of heavy water in the morning and again in the afternoon with wadable water in between. Norfork Lake rose two tenths of a foot to rest at seven feet below power pool of 552.00 feet or thirty five feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had a similar pattern with less generation and reliable wadable water. All of the lakes on the White River System are significantly below power pool and we have received more wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam will close from November 1, 2010 to January 31, 2011 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park from the bottom of the Catch and Release section down to the wing wall will be seasonal Catch and Release for the same period.

On the White, the browns are in spawn. There are spawning beds in various locations. Please try to avoid these areas. On high water, do not drag chains through them. On low water, carefully avoid them when wading.

Overall the fishing has been much better, particularly on the low water. There here have been more anglers but it is nowhere near crowded. The fishing has centered on some pretty reliable midge hatches, our most prolific insect this time of year. The hot fly has been Dan’s turkey tail emerger, when there is active feeding on the surface. If there is no top water action, concentrate on midge larva or pupa imitations. The hot flies have been red or black zebra midges with silver wire and silver beads in size twenty or twenty two. The other productive flies have been Y2Ks and olive woolly buggers.

On the higher flows, one of the more productive techniques has been to bang the bank with large streamers. The hot flies have been zoo cougars and circus peanuts cast on two hundred fifty grain lines. To toss this rig all day is heavy work and you will need a stiff eight weight rod and heavy tippet, at least 3X.

The hot spot has been the section from White Hole down to down to Wildcat Shoals. The midge activity has been heavy at times and midge emergers have been the key to success. Small soft hackles (size eighteen) like partridge and orange or green butts have also been effective. Olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash have also accounted for some good fish.

Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and clear. The water temperature is low and the small mouths are not active. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

The Norfork has continued to fish well this week. There have been few anglers. This was due to substantial periods of low water on the White that provided some needed relief. There have been some good midge hatches. Try black zebra midges in size twenty or olive Norfork bead heads the same size. Dan’s turkey tail emerger has been the hot fly. There have been substantial changes to the section below Norfork Dam there due to the recent work on the ramp area. It has been built up and at low water the current is now directed to the far bank. Thanks to a new emergency exit it is now much safer to fish below the Ackerman access. Remember, this exit is located on private land and is for egress only. On high water, try brightly colored San Juan worms (cerise and hot pink) or egg patterns (orange and peach).

Dry Run Creek has fished well. The hot flies have been cerise San Juan worms and sowbugs. With the milder weather we have had lately, it has been a great time to visit the creek. There have been some huge fish caught, particularly browns. When you stop for a picture, leave the fish in the net in the water until you are ready to take the picture. Handle the fish carefully and return the trout to the water as quickly as you can.

The water level on the Spring River is low and clear. Be sure and wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot spot has been downstream from the dam Three access. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash, cerise San Juan worms and pheasant tail nymphs.

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

Practice water safety and always check conditions before you leave home.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over twenty five years.

John Berry


Fly Fishing For Trout




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