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John Berry Fishing Report 12/18/2013

John Berry

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During the past week, we have had rain (around an inch here in Cotter), warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals remained steady at six tenths of a foot below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is thirty six and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell two tenths of a foot to rest at one foot below power pool and seventeen feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose three tenths of a foot to rest at one and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool or eleven and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we have had little wadable water. Norfork Lake rose one tenth of a foot to rest at one and four tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty seven and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had wadable water every day.

The water level for the top of power pool has been reset lower for some of the lakes in the White River system. With all of the lakes in the White River system below power pool and the temperatures moderating, I predict that we will receive more wadable water, in the coming weeks.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam will close from November 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal Catch and Release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period.

On the White, conditions have greatly improved. Access roads and ramps are clear of snow and ice and all are usable. The Corps of Engineers have been running a bit more water and that has benefitted the streamer fishing. There have been very few anglers and most were fishing streamers like sex dungeons and circus peanuts. Other hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, ruby midges, pink and cerise San Juan worms, and sowbugs. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low. With the cold temperatures, the smallmouth are not very active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown Clouser minnow. 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.

There has been wadable water on the Norfork every day. There has been very limited fishing pressure. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). There have been reliable hatches of small midges and caddis (try a size 22 Adams parachute).The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.

Dry Run Creek has been virtually abandoned. Now would be a great time to fish it. Numerous brown trout have moved into the creek.The hot flies have been sowbugs, Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Use at least 4X tippet (I prefer fluorocarbon) to maximize your youngsters chance at landing a big one. Carry the largest net that you can lay your hands on and do not forget the camera. While you are there take a few minutes and tour the adjacent Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering, to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.

The water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. 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 and Dry Run Creek 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.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169 or http://www.berrybrothersguides.com.

John Berry


Fly Fishing For Trout




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