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John Berry Fishing Report 6/23/2011

John Berry

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During the past week, we have had a rain event, cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at thirty six and seven tenths feet above power pool of 654.00 feet. This is four and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell one and two tenths feet to rest at nine and eight tenths feet above power pool or six and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell four tenths of a foot to rest at seven and eight tenths feet above power pool or one and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, all of the flood gates have been closed and we have had moderate generation all day with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell one and two tenths feet to rest at twenty three and one tenth feet above power pool of 552.00 feet or four and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork the flood gated been closed and went to a summer generation schedule with moderate generation at night and high generation during times of peak demand.

When the flood gates were open on the White and Norfork the seals around the flood gates were possibly damaged by debris flowing through them. As a result, there is more water flowing through the dam than normal. The Corps of Engineers is monitoring the situation and will inspect and repair them if necessary, when lake levels are low enough for them to do so.

The best place to fish was the upper river from Bull Shoals State Park down to White Hole. The key to fishing the high flows has been to fish long leader/tippet combinations (twelve feet or longer), very heavy weight (two or more AAA split shot) and a large strike indicator set at the top of the leader. The go to flies have been brightly colored San Juan worms (red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and egg patterns in pink or orange. There has been some sulphur action reported. The best fly for this hatch would be the sulphur parachute.

Another hot spot was Rim Shoals. The hot flies were brightly colored San Juan worms and egg patterns. To increase the possibility of hook ups consider adding a copper John nymph. If you want to wade, Rim Shoals Trout Dock runs a water taxi and will ferry you to wadable water and bring you back for a moderate fee.

The thirteen year Cicadas are hatching. These insects hatch every thirteen years. They are large dark insects that make a loud chirping sound. Many of these insects make their way into the river where they are large tempting morsels for trout to feed on. This provides for some fabulous dry fly fishing. There are good Cicada patterns at the local fly shops or you can use a black Chernobyl ant. Use a stout rod and a heavy leader to turn over the large flies. Work the bank and be prepared for a vicious take.

Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and clear. The water temperature is right on and the small mouths action has been red hot! Several anglers have reported success with Clouser minnows and crawfish patterns. 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 action has picked up a bit on the Norfork. With the generators back on line, the water temperature has dropped back to levels comfortable for trout. The ramp at Quarry Park was severely damaged when the flood gates were opened significantly to relieve the dam and is being repaired. Check the ramp before attempting to launch to ensure that it is usable. With the White fishing well, the Norfork received much less pressure this past week. On high water, the best technique has been to drift brightly colored San Juan worms (red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and egg patterns (pink and orange). Some anglers have reported success banging the bank with thirteen year cicada patterns. Others have had success fishing sulphur dry fly patterns. Try size fourteen sulphur parachutes.

Dry Run Creek has fished well. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). This spot is very popular with locals and visitors and can get a bit crowded. The fish are everywhere and you can achieve success anywhere on the creek. Remember to use heavy tippet (at least 4X) and carry a big net. Do not forget to take a camera.

The water level on the Spring River is lower and clearer. This is a great place to wade fish. However, there are many canoeists there this time of year, particularly on the weekends. If you wish to escape them, fish the upper section near the Lassiter Access. If you do fish there, 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 the Dam Three Access. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.

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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