Jump to content

John Berry Fishing Report 2/03/2011

John Berry

Recommended Posts


During the past week, we have had a minor ice/snow event, extremely frigid temperatures and ferocious winds (to include lake wind advisories and wind chill advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam remained steady at six and seven tenths feet below power pool of 654.00 feet. This is forty seven and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Up stream, Table Rock Lake fell two tenths of a foot to rest at eight and seven tenths feet below power pool or twenty four and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell two tenths of a foot to rest at ten feet below power pool or nineteen and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a significant period of no generation (five days) followed by heavy generation punctuated with brief periods of wadable water. Norfork Lake fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at ten and three tenths feet below power pool of 552.00 feet or thirty eight and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had a similar pattern with heavy generation and significant wadable water. All of the lakes on the White River System are lower than we have seen them for several years and we should receive more wadable water. The heavy generation we had for the past few weeks was due to the increased power demands brought on by the frigid temperatures.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed 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 was seasonal Catch and Release for the same period. These sections are now open. These trout have not been fished over for three months; they have finished their spawn and are ready to feed. 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 wade around them.

The fishing has been good for those anglers willing to brave the elements. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals on low water. On sunny afternoons there have been some excellent midge hatches. Before the hatch, the hot fly has been red zebra midges in size 18-20. Once they start coming off, the hot fly has been Dan’s turkey tail emerger. Once the water rose the hot fly was a pink San Juan worm with a midge dropper.

With the cold weather, the lake temperatures are near those required for a shad kill. The lake levels are much lower than the last few years at this time, which could affect generation levels. Our best bet for a shad kill will be mid to late February.

On the higher flows, the most consistent technique to catch the big browns has been to bang the bank and any heavy cover with large streamers. The hot flies have been zoo cougars, circus peanuts and sex dungeons cast on two hundred fifty grain lines or heavier. Be sure and pinch down the barbs on these big flies. If you duff a cast and have to remove one of them from yourself, it could be painful.To toss this rig all day is heavy work and you will need a stiff eight weight rod and heavy tippet, at least 3X.

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. We have had wadable water just about every day but the weather has kept most anglers at home sitting by the fire. There have been some spectacular 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 and several anglers have had substantial success with size twenty parachute Adams. On high water, try brightly colored San Juan worms (cerise and hot pink) or egg patterns (orange and peach).

Dry Run Creek has been abandoned. The brutal weather has kept everyone from fishing here. It has been too cold to take the kids out. Wait for some nice weather before bringing the out. It is important that your first efforts be positive ones.

The water level on the Spring River is very 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




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I snuck off for a quick trip on low water on the White River at BSSP with the flyrod. I got 20 to hand in just over an hour. I had another 10 or so hooked up, but that's the beauty of barbless, right. Mostly bows, but a few beautiful browns. Nothing over 16 inches, but some healthy chunks to be sure.

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On Instagram @hamneedstofish

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.