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John Berry Fishing Report 11/22/2007

John Berry

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With the exception of Beaver Lake, the lake levels on the White River system have remained constant. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam is at five and six tenths of a foot below power pool at 654.00 feet. Up stream, Table Rock Lake is at four and two tenths of a foot below power pool. Beaver Lake has fallen two tenths of a foot to rest at six and one tenths of a foot below pool. The pattern on the White River has been for very little generation with long periods of no generation. This has created some difficult water to boat on. On the other hand there have been some excellent wading opportunities on the White River. Norfork Lake has remained steady at five and four tenths feet below power pool of 552.00 feet. The pattern on the Norfolk has been for several short pulses of low level generation daily. This has created some excellent wading conditions. The forecast is for cooler weather and sunny skies. With the existing conditions, we should have a lot of low water on both rivers.

On the Norfork, the dissolved oxygen levels have remained low. The dissolved oxygen level was around two tenths parts per million. The state standard is six parts per million. On the White River, the dissolved oxygen has also declined. It has averaged one part per million and dropped below eight tenths parts per million. The oxygen level is at the critical stage on the Norfork. Once the water has traveled a bit down stream and runs over rocks and riffles, it picks up oxygen. Great care should be taken to prevent stressing the trout particularly near the dam where the dissolved oxygen will be the lowest. Fish should be quickly landed and carefully revived before release.

The low water on the White river has made for some truly excellent fly fishing. The water is the lowest it has been all year and this has allowed anglers to wade fish in spots that have not been available to them for months. As a result, everyone is spread out and individual spots are not over crowded. Great fishing has been reported up and down the river.

Wildcat Shoals has been a hot spot. In the riffles, nymphing with black zebra midges with silver wire and silver beads and brown with copper wire and copper beads has been excellent. Below the riffles the most effective flies have been soft hackles. The most productive flies have been partridge and orange, green butts and hares ear soft hackles. The best sizes have been fourteens and sixteens.

Further down stream just above Round House Shoals in Cotter there have been some spectacular blue wing olive hatches. These mayflies are very small, around size twenty. With flies this small you will have a lot of trouble seeing the fly unless you are fishing pretty close. A good match for this hatch would be a parachute Adams in the proper size, if you do not have a good blue wing olive pattern with you. You may find small soft hackles like the hares ear soft hackle in size eighteen to be effective and easier to fish than dry flies during this hatch.

Rim Shoals has been another hot spot. The Jenkin’s creek area has fished particular well. The go to fly has been the black zebra midge in size eighteen. Down along the island, the fishing has been good on a variety of flies. In the riffles here, the hot flies have been zebra midges, olive scuds and sow bugs all in size eighteen. Partridge and orange soft hackles have also been effective. Below the first island, the go to fly was the tan egg with a red spot.

The Norfork River is much less crowded, with the excellent wading conditions on the White River drawing a lot of waders there. You should avoid the upper river just below Norfork Dam due to the low dissolved Oxygen there. The Handicap access has yielded some nice fish but angling has been slow overall. The most productive flies have been the olive Norfork bead head, small olive scuds, and worm brown San Juan worms.

Dry Run Creek has fished extremely well. The dissolved oxygen content on the creek is much higher than the upper Norfork River and a lot of good fish have sought sanctuary there. In addition Brown trout have gone up the creek to spawn. The best flies to fish there are sowbugs size sixteen, egg patterns, and large San Juan worms. Take your camera. This is where memories are made.

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

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

John Berry


Fly Fishing For Trout




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Thanks for the report John.

Happy Thanksgiving,


"My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it" - Koos Brandt

Greg Mitchell

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