White River Tailwaters Fishing Report 04.12.12
Submitted by Berry Brothers Guide ServiceSubmitted on 04/12/2012
During the past week, we have had no measurable rain, warm temperatures and less windy conditions. The lake level at Bull Shoals Dam fell three and nine tenths of a foot to rest at seven tenths of a foot above power pool of 654.00 feet. This is forty and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell five tenths of a foot to rest at one tenth of a foot above power pool or fifteen and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell one and five tenths feet to rest at three and five feet above power pool or six and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we have had very heavy generation (at or near maximum generation) early in the week and lower generation later in the week. There has been no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell four and six tenths feet to rest at four and seven tenths of a foot above power pool of 552.00 feet or twenty three and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had heavy generation with additional flows entering the river through the flood gates. This week the total flows were around 9,000 cubic feet per second (maximum flows are around 7,200 CFS). There has been no wadable water. The Corps of Engineers has been aggressively drawing down the lakes to prepare for spring rains and we should receive wadable water soon.
The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed to fishing from November 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. It was opened to fishing on February 1, 2012. When you are fishing there you should avoid the use of drag chains to prevent damage to trout redds and the brown trout eggs in them. On low water, you should wade carefully to avoid them. They will appear as clean depressions in the gravel bottom.
On the much higher flows that we received this week, the key to success has been to drift brightly colored San Juan worms and egg patterns below an indicator. You should use a leader/tippet combination of twelve feet or longer and heavy weight (AAA split shot or heavier). To increase the takes, suspend a dropper fly beneath the lead fly. Productive choices would be copper Johns, sowbugs and fluttering caddis nymphs. Concentrate on fishing the bank, submerged islands and weed beds. There have been reports of shad coming through during the heavy generation and some anglers have reported success fishing shad patterns.
Another productive technique for this high level of generation is to bang the bank with large articulated streamers on a fast sinking sink tip fly line (250 grains or heavier). In order to cast these flies on these lines, you will need at least an eight weight fly rod. Suggested flies are butt monkeys, sex dungeons and zoo cougars. This technique is heavy work and not for the casual fly fisher. It will not produce large numbers of trout but can generate some big fish.
Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and clear. The water temperature is at the level for the Smallmouth to be active. Some 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.
There has been generation continuously on the Norfork. On higher flows, the best technique has been to drift brightly colored San Juan worms (red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and egg patterns (pink and orange). Here again banging the bank with large articulated streamers can produce some large trout. With the flood gates open, warm water species are escaping from the lake into the river.
Dry Run Creek has been productive. The weather has been mild and it has drawn lots of young anglers taking advantage it. Spring break is over and it is much less crowded during the week. There is an opportunity for a bit of solitude at times. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Be sure and bring your camera in order to catch the one of the significant memories of a life time.
The water level on the Spring River is lower and clearing. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season has not started yet and we have much less traffic on stream. Be sure to 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 Bayou Access. The hot flies have been brown 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.
Practice water safety and always check conditions before you leave home.
THIRD ANNUAL TROUT NATURE CENTER BANQUET
BY JOHN BERRY
The third annual Trout Nature Center Banquet will be held on Saturday April 14, 2012 in the Vada Sheid Community Development Center at Arkansas State University at Mountain Home. The festivities begin at 5:00 PM with a sponsor only reception in the Trout Nature Center. The Cocktail Hour/Silent Auction begins at 5:30 PM in the McClure Convention Center at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center. Dinner begins at 6:30 PM, the program is at 7:15 PM and there is a live auction at 8:00 PM. The cost of admission is $50.00. Tickets are available at several locations around town. They are also available at the door. My wife, Lori, and I have attended all of the previous Trout Nature Center Banquets and we look forward to this one.
The purpose of the banquet is to raise funds to construct the Trout Nature Center. The Trout Nature Center and the Trout Hall of Fame are currently under construction at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center. Its mission is to educate the public about all aspects of trout ecology and conservation. I believe that this is a worthy project and that the Trout Nature Center will be an asset to our community.
The principal part of the program for the annual banquet is the induction of honorees to the Trout Hall Of Fame. Previous inductees are Dave Whitlock, Jim Gaston and Robert Behnke. This year’s inductees are Forrest L. Wood and Joan Wulff.
Forrest Wood is no stranger to the residents of the Twin Lakes Area. In the 1950s, he was the top fishing guide on our local lakes and rivers. In 1968, he began making boats behind a service station. That business eventually became Ranger Boats, the largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats in the United States and the premier manufacturer in our community. He is generally considered to be the developer of the modern Bass Boat. Forrest was appointed to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission by former governor Mike Huckabee and served on the commission for seven years. He was chairman in his last year. He has also been active in conservation and championed the struggle to obtain minimum flows for the White and Norfork Rivers. Forrest L. Wood is a living legend.
Joan Salvato Wulff is the real deal. She has been in the business since the early 1950s when she won the national fly casting distance championship with a cast of 161 feet. That is basically the length of two fly lines. The fact that she beat all the male competitors with that cast is astounding. Joan was the wife of the legendary Lee Wulff until his death in an airplane accident a few years ago. Joan’s career has revolved around teaching fly casting. She has particular appeal to female fly casters. She has written three popular books on the subject, has been a fly casting columnist for Fly Rod and Reel magazine for over twenty years and is the lead instructor at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing. She is also a consultant for the R. L. Winston Fly Rod Company. One of the fly rods that she had a hand in designing is the Joan Wulff favorite, which happens to be Lori’s favorite fly rod. We use her approach to teaching fly casting in our fly fishing classes at ASU. Joan Salvato Wulff is the best known and most respected woman in fly fishing. Unfortunately Joan no longer travels and will not be at the banquet to accept the honor. Unfortunately Joan no longer travels and will not be at the banquet to accept the honor.
A new feature of the banquet is the award ceremony for the Baxter Bulletin Fly Tying Contest. We received sixty entries from twenty four tyers from several states. We had a blue ribbon panel of judges pick the very best of the flies submitted. The tyers of these flies will be honored at the ceremony. The Renzetti Award, a Renzetti Master Fly Tying Vise (retail value $700.00), will be presented to the tyer of the fly judged “Best in Show”. All winners will be awarded nice prizes. Half of the winners are local and half are from out of state.
All of the winning flies have been framed in a fly plate. The center of the fly plate is an outstanding piece of art created by local legend and outdoor artist, Duane Hada. The fly plate is being framed by Mike Schraeder, owner of Oak Creek Outfitters. I have seen his work and it is outstanding. The fly plate will be auctioned off for the benefit of the trout nature center at the end of the evening. This item will be a great addition to anyone’s den or cabin wall. I would love to have it myself.
As you can see, the Trout Nature Center Banquet this Saturday will be an outstanding event. I hope to see you there.
Donna Y. asks: How do I secure my rod when fishing from my kayak?
Donna, I do not actually fish from my kayak. I use it to go from spot to spot. When traveling, I generally break down my rod into two pieces (keeping it strung and rigged for fishing) and put that into my hatch.