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John Berry Holiday Fishing Report

John Berry

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We have had several days of rain and the lake levels on the White River system have raised a bit. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam rose eight tenths of a foot to rest at three and four tenths of a foot below power pool at 654.00 feet. Up stream, Table Rock Lake has fallen two tenths of a foot to settle at four and eight tenths feet below power pool. Beaver Lake has risen four tenths of a foot to rest at seven and one tenth of a foot below pool. The generation pattern on the White River has been erratic. There has been a forty-eight hour period of no generation followed by several days of generation where the levels have yo-yoed up and down with some brief periods of very heavy water flow. This has improved boat navigation. There have been some limited wading opportunities on the White River. We had a few windy days where there were lake wind advisories. Norfork Lake has risen six tenths of a foot to rest five and two tenths feet below power pool of 552.00 feet. The pattern on the Norfolk has been for several short pulses of generation daily. The level of generation has been a bit higher than the previous week’s. This has created some limited but excellent wading conditions. The forecast is for warmer weather with the possibility of rain. With the existing conditions, we should have some wadable water on both rivers.

With the colder weather during the past week, the dissolved oxygen levels on both rivers greatly improved. Both rivers, the White and the Norfork, are now in compliance with the state standard of six parts per million.

The White has fished very well on low water but has not done as well during the erratic generation. The weather and the season have kept most anglers away. As a result there is a lot of solitude out there. There have been several hot spots along the river. Wildcat Shoals has fished very well especially during low water. The most effective tactic here has been to fish soft hackles on the lower end of the shoals. The best flies are the partridge and orange, green butt and hare’s ear soft hackles. Other flies for this section would be black and silver zebra midges, red San Juan worms, and olive woolly buggers.

Round House Shoals has also fished well. Here again soft hackles have been very productive in the gentle riffle water. In the heavier water, use weighted nymphs. The Y2K has been especially productive here. On some days there has been a blue wing olive hatch. The flies are very small. Use light tippets and work close so that you can see the fly. A good pattern for this is the parachute Adams in size twenty or smaller (match the hatch).

Rim Shoals has been productive. On low water the fishing has been best with nymphs. The go to fly has been the olive scud in size eighteen. The zebra midge in black with silver wire and silver bead and in brown with copper wire and copper bead has also been hot. The partridge and orange soft hackle, olive woolly bugger and Y2K have also produced fish.

The Norfork has fished very well during the last week. The crowds from last fall are gone and it is possible to pretty much fish where you want. With the dramatic improvement in the dissolved oxygen levels, the Quarry park access near the dam has been a great place to fish. After the recent rain, this area remained clear while the lower river got fairly muddy. The hot fly here is the sowbug in size sixteen. Other hot flies have been the partridge and orange and green butt soft hackles.

The handicap access has fished well when the water has been clear. There is some siltation occurring during heavy rain. The source seems to be Otter creek. Small midge nymphs have done well here. The most productive patterns have been the zebra midge and the Norfork bead head. There have been some great midge hatches in the afternoon but the flies are incredibly small. My clients were catching fish on size twenty six dry flies. Work close in order to see anything this small.

Dry Run Creek is fishing well. During the holidays would be a great time to take your youngster fishing. There are several places where they can fish from the bank. With the cold weather we have had, it is important to keep them dry. Carry a camera and a big net!

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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